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Huntsman Academies—prestigious institutions in the world of Remnant dedicated to training the next generation of humanity’s protectors—Huntsmen and Huntresses. Together, they fight to protect the people from the ravenous creatures of Grimm and evil organizations. Unfortunately, not everyone attends these schools with such righteous ambitions in mind. The members of Team SWRZ (Pronounced Schwartz) are far from becoming the defenders of Remnant. (The lovely cover art was illustrated by https://www.deviantart.com/cindyaqui)

Fantasy / Action
Age Rating:

Chapter 1: Schwartz der Hund!

“I would rather have a dog as a friend than an enemy.”

In the large, open grass field of Anima, a small caravan of merchants traversed through the wet plains with great reluctance. Dark, grey clouds loomed over them in the sky, a forewarning of the rain that was soon to fall upon them with tremendous claps of thunder. With each sound, the horses pulling their carriages panicked, nearly escaping from their reins. The drivers quickly settled their horses down and ventured onward down the road.

Wisps of fog crept up on the edge of the forest that laid ahead. The drivers and merchants grimaced at the sight of it. Every fiber of their being told them not to go into the woods. The dangers of being attacked by the Grimm frightened them beyond belief.

The only thing that kept them going was the fact that their employer hired a team of Huntsmen to protect the caravan. The group consisted of three men and one woman. All four of them graduated from established Huntsmen Academies.

They traveled on horseback, moving alongside the caravan. Once the Huntsmen spotted the forest up ahead, they moved out in front. They were the first ones to enter the forest, scouting the area for any sign of danger. They cautiously surveyed the place area with their weapons at the ready.

“Anything, Pewter?” Asked the woman of the team, Max Wisteria. She looked to the leader of the group for assurance. Sure, she hadn’t spotted anything suspicious. But, letting one’s guard down was the worst thing a Huntsmen could do.

“No, nothing. I think we’re in the clear, Wisteria.” Pewter answered. He turned his horse around, then called out to his remaining partners, “Taupe, Russet, anything?”

“Nothing over here,” Taupe responded, returning to the group.

“We’re good. Nothing suspicious spotted.” Russet added.

“Alright, let’s head back to the caravan and get this done. We’re almost at Mistral. We complete this mission, and we get paid.” Pewter informed his team.

“Good. I’m tired of being out in the wilderness. I need a hot bath.” Wisteria complained.

“We know. We can smell you from here.” Taupe pinched his nose closed and moved his horse further away from her. Pewter and Russet joined the man in laughter, only stopping when Wisteria aimed her rifle at them.

“Alright, that’s enough. The sooner we deliver this caravan to Mistral, the better.” Pewter and his team returned to the caravan. With their guidance, they managed to maneuver into the forest without much difficulty.

The further they moved into the forest, the thicker the fog got.

“Damn it. I can’t see anything.” Wisteria complained.

“It’s gotta be the damn swamps,” Russet assumed. “Maybe we should pull back and wait for it to clear.”

“Sounds like a plan. Let’s...” Pewter suddenly halted his horse once an ominous ringing reached his ears. Everyone followed suit and stopped their horses once their team leader raised his hand. “Did anyone hear that?”

“Hear what?” Asked Taupe.

“It was...bells?” Pewter looked upward at the treetops. He noticed them. Shadows jumped overhead across the trees. With each movement from the shadows, came the harmonic, yet foreboding sound of bells.

“What’s going on, Pewter? Why did we stop?” Wisteria asked.

“Something’s wrong. Get your weapons.” Pewter ordered. Without hesitation, the others obeyed his commands. Even the merchants grabbed their weapons.

The group waited in silence, looking around for the potential danger that surrounded them. They huddled together around the caravan, preparing themselves for anything. Out from the wisps of fog came a bullet. It struck Wisteria’s horse. The poor animal cried in pain and collapsed, taking the unsuspecting woman with it.

“Wisteria!” Her teammates desperately called out to her.

As if given the signal, volleys of bullets tore through the fog and struck down the other horses. Without their horses, a means of quick escape was impossible.

Two people dropped down from the treetops, coming into full view of Pewter and the others. The one in front was a tall and imposing woman clad in armor and fur with long, grey hair that gradients to black at the tips. A Beowulf Grimm mask concealed the upper half of her face, and a pair of wolf ears atop her head complemented the accessory.

Next to the woman was her partner in crime, a young man with spiky black hair. His face was well-hidden behind the safety of bandanas and bandages. Attached to his waist armor were two swords and some bells.

“Damn it! Bandits?! Here?! Now?!” Pewter growled. The moment he raised his weapon for battle, the woman in front extended her arm out.

“We’re not here to fight you,” The Wolf Faunus announced, much to the confusion of the Huntsmen and merchants.

“Says the one that ordered me to shoot their horses,” The young man behind her snidely commented.

“Hand over your food, medicine, and equipment!” The woman demanded. “You do that; we’ll leave! No one has to get hurt!”

“Quite civil of you bandits,” Pewter commented. His encounters with bandits in the past never reached the point of conversation. Most of them always shouted demands and death threats. “Unfortunately, we can’t comply with your demands. Our mission is to make sure this caravan reaches Mistral.”

“Doesn’t look like they plan to cooperate, boss,” The young bandit earnestly pointed out. His arms casually rested on the hilts of his swords, just waiting for the moment to draw them.

“Last chance,” The woman warned her prey. She reached behind her back and gripped the handle of the large cleaver. “This doesn’t have to end in bloodshed.”

“You’re right,” Pewter agreed. The mission until that point hadn’t encountered any problems. Honestly, the man preferred to keep it that way. “If you two drop your weapons now and surrender, we’ll let you leave this place in one piece. You haven’t taken anything yet. So, we can overlook this.”

“Pewter!” The man’s teammates exclaimed in unison. Indeed, the team wasn’t on the same page.

“No can do,” The woman uncovered her cleaver and took her stance. “We need your supplies,”

The young bandit behind her shrugged his shoulders and unsheathed his twin swords. “Ah, well, guess it’s a fight.”

In a matter of seconds, the area turned into a battlefield. The bandits rushed the Huntsmen. Just before they made contact, they split apart and attacked the frightened merchants.

Pewter and his team split up, defending the merchants and caravan the best they could. Pewter, armed with his buster sword, went toe to toe against the Wolf Faunus woman. With each mighty swing of his sword, he aimed purely for kill spots.

Although he was a Huntsman, a sworn protector of humanity, he had no qualms about killing anyone or anything that got in the way of his missions. The cries of pain and anguish that came from his defeated foes in the past meant nothing to him.

“Protect the merchants!” Wisteria cried out and aimed her rifle at the approaching bandit. Strangely enough, it appeared as if the young man glided across the field as a black light surrounded his body. He easily bypassed the defenses of Taupe and Russet with his unusual mobile patterns.

The sniper took a quick mental count and studied the bandit’s movements. Once she found a rhythm, she pulled the trigger. The bullet nearly hit its mark until the man suddenly leaped into the air.

Wisteria raised her rifle and searched for the man through her scope. Upon finding nothing, she lowered her weapon and desperately looked around.

“Where the hell is he?!” She yelled. She and teammates went silent once the sound of bells flooded the ears of the combatants. With each chime, beads of sweat poured down the faces of the Huntsmen and merchants.

Soon, the bandit leaped from out the fog and aimed for the head of the sniper. It would’ve been his for the taking if not for the sacrifice of her teammate, Taupe. The man quickly pushed Wisteria out of the way and took the full brunt of the bandit’s sneak attack.

A dark brown light shimmered around his back before he collapsed and hit the ground.

“Taupe!” Wisteria and Russet shouted.

Pewter looked over his shoulder and inspected the condition of his teammate. The Faunus took advantage of the Huntsman’s carelessly and sliced him across the chest. The man exclaimed in pain and stepped away, placing a firm hand over his bleeding chest.

“Looking away from your opponent is a sure way to get yourself killed,” The woman warned him before she proceeded with the attack.

“You bastard!” Wisteria raised her rifle and fired another shot toward the bandit.

“You’re a terrible shot!” The bandit mocked her as he slid across the battlefield again. He closed the distance between them and landed a kick across her stomach. A lavender light shimmered across her body and dispersed when she flew across the area and hit a tree. “There goes your aura,”

He casually walked up to the downed woman. She slowly raised her rifle despite her injuries and tried to pull the trigger. But, a swift kick from the bandit knocked her prized weapon out from her hands.

“Damn you!” Wisteria cursed.

“Those are your last words? Alright then,” The young man lifted his sword, preparing for the finishing blow.

“Get away from her!” Pewter shouted as he dropped down from the air. He slammed his sword on the ground, creating a shockwave that sent both bandits flying into nearby trees.

A grey light shimmered and dispersed around the Wolf Faunus’ body.

“Wisteria and Taupe are vulnerable!” Russet informed his leader.

“Take them and the merchants out of here! I’ll hold them off while you escape!” Pewter pointed his buster sword toward the bandits.

“Are you insane? You can’t take them by yourself!”

“That’s an order! Go! I’ll catch up!”

While reluctant, Russet collected his wounded partners and assisted the merchants with their retreat. They couldn’t gather all their supplies, so they took what they could.

“You good, boss?” The young man inquired, having noticed the blood pouring down the woman’s cheek.

“I’m fine. Gimme a second to rest, and I’ll chase the bastards down.” The woman weakly responded.

“Guess that leaves him to me,” The bandit set his sights on the Huntsman. Quite satisfied with the situation, he removed the bandages from around his face, having no problems showing his identity. “Ah, much better. Now I can see clearly.”

Pewter took that remark of his as a personal insult. “You purposely handicapped yourself while fighting us? Are you that confident that you can beat us?”

“Yeah,” The young man calmly answered. “They called you Pewter, right?”

“Yes. My name is Pewter Strauss. The leader of Team PWTR.”

“Cool. Sweet. My name’s Schwartz der Hund. Make sure to remember that name when I kill you,” Schwartz said before he commenced with the battle at hand. The time for idle chatter was over.

He didn’t even give the man enough time to respond. Within a matter of seconds, Schwartz closed the distance between the two of them and attacked with his sabre. Pewter raised his sword and clashed with the man. The Huntsmen expressed his frustration as he noticed the utter delight in the amber eyes of the bandit.

With a single kick from Schwartz, Pewter was knocked back into a nearby tree. He regained his composure just in time to evade a sword thrust from the man. An impish chuckle escaped from Schwartz’s mouth as he removed his sword from the tree. He and the Huntsman shared a brief dance between attack and parries until he gained the upper hand and kicked Pewter further into the forest. Another laugh left from the man’s mouth as he continued with the assault.

He closed the distance between them within seconds once again. Pewter kept his guard up and blocked all the bandit’s swift, sword strikes. Schwartz’s gazes moved down to the Huntsman’s leg for a second. There, he swept the Huntsman off his feet with a sweep kick—immediately following up with a spinning back kick.

Pewter tumbled to the ground once more, finding himself in a small swamp area. The thick fog combined with the mud restricting the man’s movements put him at an immediate disadvantage. When he regained his footing, Schwartz had vanished from his line of sight. He desperately scanned the area for any sign of the bandit.

But, he found nothing.

Not a single trace.

The Huntsman steadied his breathing and closed his eyes, putting all his effort into his hearing. The ambiance of the swamp slowly drowned out from his mind, the harder he focused. Eventually, the chiming of bells resounded in his head, prompting him to sharply turn around just in time to block a sneak attack from his opponent. Bullets rained down from the sky, which Pewter blocked with his sword.

From what Pewter could see, Schwartz’s swords transformed into SMGs.

“Good job! You heard the bells!” Schwartz congratulated Pewter. “Now, let’s kick it up a notch!”

The bandit leaped across the treetops and unleashed a barrage of bullets. Pewter stood his ground and deflected all the projectiles with his swords. Schwartz’s smile grew wider as the Huntsman continued to showcase his prowess. The bandit made sure to avoid the swamp area, not wanting the swamp to obstruct his mobility.

In the swamp, the Huntsman was at a clear disadvantage. When the rain of bullets stopped, Pewter escaped from the area and returned to dry land. A black-light emanated from Schwartz’s body as he leaped from the tree, leaving behind a trail of that very light. It appeared as if he glided through the air until his feet hit the ground, but even then, he continued to slide across the surface with the same momentum.

Unhindered by the ground or mud, Schwartz closed in on Pewter, unfolding his twin swords back into their blade form, allowing him to slash at the Huntsman.

Both his attempts failed.

Pewter evaded the attacks then retaliated with a vicious horizontal slash. Schwartz used both swords to defend, but the force of the attack was more potent than he predicted. He was thrown violently through a nearby tree.

Pewter slowly approached the downed bandit, believing that it would take more than that to end the fight. His intuition proved to be correct. Schwartz leaned up and fired more bullets at him.

None hit him thanks to his sword defense.

Schwartz laughed and moved in, attacking with great ferocity. The black-light enveloped his body again as he resumed to glide across the battlefield, using his unorthodox movements to pin Pewter down. But the Huntsman’s guard remained undeterred.

When the opportunity presented itself, he switched and went on the offensive. Schwartz blocked, dodged, then parried all the Huntsman’s attacks.

Pewter raised his sword, let out a mighty roar, then went for a mighty vertical slash. Schwartz stood his ground and blocked the attack, which he immediately regretted. The Huntsman’s raw power nearly overwhelmed him, forcing him down to his knees, into the mud. The feeling of the cold, filthy substance staining his pants and shoes made the bandit grimace behind his bandages.

Pewter’s blade drew closer to the bandit’s face when the Huntsman noticed the loss of focus from Schwartz.

“This is where you lose,” Pewter announced, leaning forward and increasing the pressure on his sword. Regarding physical strength, the Huntsman certainly had Schwartz beat. However, in combat, there were several variables to consider.

Schwartz smirked and transformed one of his swords into its gun form. He pulled the trigger and fired off a few, short bursts of bullets into the ground. The mud beneath them splattered around, soiling their clothes and bodies. Pewter brought his arm to his face to shield his eyes from the dirt.

Schwartz jumped in the air then flipped, sending Pewter sprawling across the ground with a dropkick. Not giving the man any time to recover, the bandit closed the distance between them, not allowing Pewter to raise his sword. Schwartz struck his opponent with fierce slashes from his sword, following up with a swift spin kick to the man’s stomach afterward.

That kick got the job done. Pewter lost the strength even to hold the weapon, let alone stand. A blue light flickered around the man’s body before dissipating.

The sight of the large man dropping down to his knees brought a smile to Schwartz’s face as he taunted, “Your aura’s gone, Huntsman. It’s not looking good for you.”

“Damn you!” Pewter swore.

This defeat wasn’t supposed to happen. Pewter wasn’t supposed to lose to some lowlife bandit. His years of training should’ve outclassed the ruffian in every way possible.

As Schwartz approached, the reality of his death slowly began to creep in.

“No need to be upset, Huntsman. You put up a good fight. It just turned out that I’m better than you, that’s all.” Schwartz nonchalantly spoke.

“Why are you doing this?” Pewter suddenly asked, his breathing grew rough.

“I’m a bandit, pal. Taking things is what we do.”

Was this it for him? Would Pewter die in a godforsaken forest by some worthless bandit?


That’s not how he wanted to go out. There was still much for him to do--much for him to accomplish in his life. He refused to go down.

Pewter roared and flung mud into Schwartz’s face. Afterward, he bolted for his sword. If he could reach it, perhaps he could turn the tide of the battle. That hope of his vanished when a sharp pain pierced through his heel.

He collapsed and skidded across the ground. The source of the pain came from the sword lodged in his foot. His roar of anguish brought a smile to Schwartz’s face.

“Fucker, you got me dirty!” Schwartz pressed his foot against the end of his sword, adding more pressure to it, further lodging the blade into the downed man’s heel.

“Stop!” Pewter desperately cried out. But, the bandit ignored those cries. Schwartz then moved his foot onto the man’s chest, keeping him pinned. He transformed his other sword into its gun form, aiming at the Huntsman’s face. Without another word, he pulled the trigger.

Blood and mud-splattered around him.

He grimaced at the sight of the gaping hole in Pewter’s face. His grimace only worsened when he looked down to his attire, soiled with blood and mud.

“Damn it! I just had this fucking cleaned today!” Schwartz complained, sheathing his swords, then heading off in the direction of the caravan.

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