Storme Bleu wasn't much when it came to using common sense. After all, it took a complete stranger, who was now his friend, to point out that a vending machine was broken even though there was an enormous sign that said so. Yes, if there was an elephant in a room, he would be the last one to realize it. If there was some important notice regarding the daily lives of everyone in Remnant, he would be the last one to find out.
If anyone actually paid attention to him, they would assume he was extremely ignorant and dense. But in false illusion that's reality: Storme was just clueless to everything around him; not that it actually bothered him. He would always find out later than sooner.
It started out completely fine: got launched off a cliff, crashed (and tore down) straight into a tree, and wandered around aimlessly.
Now everything turned sour when his lack of awareness became effective: he went straight into the restricted area of Emerald Forest even though said area was walled off by Beacon's staff of expert hunters. There were even warning signs that repeated across all of the area which all said the same thing: 'RESTRICTED AREA: STAY AWAY OR GOODWITCH WILL KILL YOU IF YOU SURVIVE!'
He somehow managed to get through the impenetrable walls and failed to notice the signs.
He kept searching for the temple or another person who would become his partner, but he was alone, of course, in the area that the prestigious combat Academy had made sure to keep off from any wandering travelers or students.
He should have turned back if he actually noticed the bones of old huntsmen and huntresses scattered all around the dead soil or the eerie silence of the non-existent wild life.
But alas, Storme's lack of common sense was as strong as Aero's talent for advanced physics. Well, that's what he pieced to together from what he just witnessed when he was at the cliff anyways. Seriously, he wished that was on the refrigerator too!
He traversed a bit deeper into the restricted zone - however his body suddenly decided it was time to "call nature". And if anyone else knew Storme as good as he knew himself, they would be aware that he had the worst bladder in all of Remnant; there was no way he could control his fluid for the entire initiation.
He gave a quick check of his surroundings and made sure that he wasn't vulnerable for when he was about to do his business. Storme ran over to a nearby area where the soil was black and white branchless trees grew.
And then he let loose, relieving himself from the fluidly curse and let a wave of relaxation wash over him. Indeed, he felt majestic.
That feeling quickly faded away the moment the dark earth beneath him began to rumble furiously and two enormous black arms sprouted from the ground. The surface he was standing on began rumble and slowly rise, forcing Storme to find a new position in order to get look at his current situation.
With its "arms" planted into the surface, the "ground" rose until its shape became monstrous revealing a black ape-like giant covered with bone armor. Behind its faceless white mask, Storme could feel its sheer hatred and anger.
It was a grimm he had never before seen in his entire life. Although, he felt as if this was a new species of grimm and as such he felt entitled to name the unknown beast: Bertha. To Storme, the name felt right with a giant that was. . .
But then the cold realization hit him: he literally pissed on the back of Bertha!
"N-nice Bertha, n-n-nice b-b-boy..." he trembled as he slow began to back away from the giant. "S-sorry for taking a leak on your back...heh...heh...he-"
"OK TIME TO RUN!" Storme shrieked as broke into a sprint into the opposite direction.
If only he knew that he would soon encounter a group of familiar individuals.
If I could describe running for my life in one word it would be: refreshing. Yeah I'm serious; it feels exhilarating to have the wind rush by your face as your running away from a gorilla demon. Way better than the usual stationary aim-and-fire; it's get boring after the endless amount of weak grimm encounters.
It would have felt even better if it wasn't fo-
"Dammit Storme, let me go! I have to fight it!" pleaded an upset Ghras as she repeatedly hit him in the back, as if she was some child begging her parent to stay at the park longer. However, said person didn't even seem fazed by the little Terror's strength.
"There is no way in hell I am letting you fight Bertha!" he replied to her while maintaining his pace.
Bertha?! You named a Corpseback Bertha?!
"Bertha?! The name of that grimm is Bertha?! Who names a giant monster Bertha?!" Aero called out from ahead. Leave it to his enhanced faunus hearing to pick up the weirdest of conversations.
"I discovered it, so I have the right to name it!" the blue-haired answered back.
"That's actually a Corpseback, Storme, and it was discovered 50 years ago..." I exclaimed from behind, "but he's r-right Ghras, you really shouldn't fight that thing!"
"Hey partner, how do you know so much about this grimm?!" my faunus partner demanded.
"I...er...kind of...lost against it multiple times..." I grumbled with bitterness, the memories of the GAME OVER screen itching into my mind. God damn boss doing straight 9k to my party, it's not my fault that they're poorly equipped and under-leveled!
"WHHHHAAAAAT?!" they all yelled out in unison. I mentally face palmed myself for my screw up. I was talking about getting my ass getting beat in a video game; they on the other hand, assumed that I had to fight these things everyday as if I was some sort of legendary huntsman.
"H-how are you s-still alive?!" Storme questioned at my wellbeing and possibly my sanity.
"Um..." dear Monty, this is going to be so awkward when I correct myself about this. "When I said that I l-lost against it multiple times...I was talking about um...losing in a ...video game...You know, Genesis Reality IV, second boss?"
"..." that was the answer that they all returned to me. It got so bad that Aero even stopped running just to give me a What-the-hell look and Ghras just face palmed as she hung onto Storme's shoulder.
See, this is why the socially awkward never talk about ourselves; we always end up being labeled as weird.
"So...Red," Storme began in a nervous tone, "you did end up beating it, right?"
"Y-yeah..." I answered. I found that to be an insult really. I mean, after years of living a shut-in life: to not overcome a virtual challenge would be a disgrace to all socially-weak gamers in all of Remnant.
"A video game and real life are two completely different things!" Ghras cried out.
"Let me hear him out Ghras," he pleaded, "Red, does that thing have any weaknesses? Like an Achilles heel or something?"
"W-well, its entire body is like a tank...b-but its mask is its weakest part. S-so if we can break that then..." I stopped midway after realizing Storme's plan. "Y-you don't intend t-to fight that thing, are you?!" So far, I knew that Ghras was insane, but I didn't actually think that Storme, a guy who lacked common sense, was violently mental as well.
"Well, we can't exactly run forever ya'know?" Aero exclaimed as he was now running beside me. Seriously, the wolf actually waited for us to catch up. Well it's either that or he was reconsidering me as a partner and friend; I wouldn't blame the guy. I mean, I wouldn't want to be friends with myself either. "And I'd rather go down fighting than running."
Dust, not you too Aero!
"Majority rules...'Mr. Assault Rifle'." the blonde grinned at the last part, "So come on, spill it!"
"I-if you actually wa-"
"We," Aero interrupted, "as in you're going to be part of this, partner!"
You know, I'm actually more in favor for anarchy over democracy at this point.
"Ahem," I cleared my throat, "If we actually want to fight um, Bertha, then we should do it in an open area. We'll get wrecked if we fight here, an area with little space. Like I said before, its mask is its weakest point, so we sh-"
"But Red," Storme questioned, "this entre place is a forest! Where are we goi-"
"The river bank!" Aero and Ghras yelled out in unison. I couldn't see Storme's face, but I could only assume it was pure confusion.
"C'mon it's just a little bit up ahead!" my partner exclaimed.
"Do we even have a plan?!" I yelled out. It was an honest question really. My usual tactic is to just put bullets in the enemy until they die, but against Bertha, I don't think it would be that simple.
"Hey partner, you got a grenade loaded in Ol'M8?"
"A-Aero, t-that's not going work! Its armor is-"
"Just launch it into the sky!" the faunus cried.
"Aero, Bertha is behind us, not above us!"
"Just trust me!"
My instinct told me to ignore the wolf's plan; to distance away from him with the rest of society. It told me to just keep running and stay alive. But at the same time, in the darkest corner of my mind, was a faint voice. I didn't know whose it belonged to, but it was pleading with me. It wanted me to listen to him; telling me to take his metaphorical hand and have faith in hi-
Aero, I swear to Monty, if you're using some mind-alteration semblance: I am going shoot you in the foot, forcibly remove the bullet, and shoot you in the same spot again...
Putting what little faith I have into my partner, I became stationary and grabbed my rifle over my shoulder. I aimed it into the empty sky, feeling the sun's harsh glare into my eyes, and pulled the trigger, unleashing a shell full of fire dust into the air.
Seeing the projectile in motion, the wolf faunus whipped his yo-yo at the explosive.
Now what happened next put me into utter confusion. First, the sight a yo-yo's string, glowing a bright neon-white, extending all the way to a live shell that's already 50 ft in motion. Second, and although I'm not a genius, I'm certain that when a grenade explodes it makes a loud sound. I mean the presence of a fiery explosion and bits of falling shrapnel are what my eyes were detecting right now, but the distinct noise of a beowulf giving birth to a bulldozer was missing.
Just as things couldn't get any weirder, the pursuing Corpseback, known as Bertha, violently reacts with the explosion. Seriously, it literally stopped in its tracks and covered its entire head with one of its massive arms. A loud, yet muffled, roar was let out from the beast.
"W-what just happen?!" Storme asked Aero as he just stood that in awe at the sight that was in front of him.
Well, Storme was in awe, but I'm certain that Ghras was annoyed as ever since the only view she had was his back and the green scenery of trees and vines.
"Hey, what's going on over there?! Storme, let me down!" she demanded as she began to flail her legs like a child not wanting to go to the dentist.
"Oh yeah I didn't tell you guys yet!" Aero declared, "See, my semblance is sound manipulation; I can alter the frequency, pitch, and well pretty much anything involving the properties of a noise. Though, I can only use it if I have contact with the object that makes the sound, that's why I had to use Yang-Yin as an extension. Anyways, all grimm have a negative reaction to a certain identical frequency that only their ears can pick up. So I just changed the grenade's explosion to that frequency and now Bertha over there is disorientated!"
"Why Red's grenade though? Couldn't you just yell or clap your hands?" the blue-haired wondered.
"Because physics, my dear friend." the wolf answered in a nervous tone, "Ya'know, sound waves, vibrations, mediums, Doppler, and all that stuff."
I would have believed that answer only if he didn't avert his eyes away from us; it kind of makes you look like a liar, but I'm not a physics expert so I can't really deject his claim.
"Then let's hurry up and kill it!" Ghras yelled out, now squirming to get out of Storme's grip over her body.
"Let's not," Aero suggested, "well, not here anyways. You heard Red; it would be suicidal to fight it here. Besides disorientation is the first phase, the second is extreme violent behavior. So if you think that grimm wants to kill us for sport, now it definitely wants us buried six feet under out of a grudge."
"So all you did was make it even more angry?!" Storme cried.
"I only did it so I could have more time to plan it out – 15 minutes to be exact at this moment. There are some unknown variables that I need to have covered if we want to get back to Beacon with our limbs intact." Aero answered in a serious tone, before he turned around and ran towards the riverbank. We followed as well, not wanting to stay once Bertha regains its senses.
This was strange, it really was. Seriously the Aero I knew from yesterday and the Aero running with me are two completely different people. One of them is a sociopath, always managing to somehow getting me unconscious or in awkward senerios. The other behaves and sounds like a tactician! I never would have believed that Aero, the guy who sent me to the infirmary twice, would use the word "variables" and "plan" in the same sentence, in a serious tone for Dust's sake!
When we arrived back at the torn battlefield all the grimm had evaporated into nothingness, leaving behind empty craters and shattered stones. It wasn't so much of a sight to see once you've already seen (and experienced) it. Storme however, being the new party, was awe-struck at the scenery around him.
"Wh-what happen here?! Was there a war I wasn't told about?!" he cried as he looked around at the past destruction. "D-did anyone die? Were the first-years involved too?!"
"Heh, aside from a lot of grimm, nobody died Storme. And yes, a first-year was involved – in fact; she single handedly did all of this." My partner answered.
"Wh-wh-WHAT?! W-who...JUST WHO IS SHE?!"
"You're carrying her over your shoulder..." I pointed out.
It was at that moment that the blue-haired giant immediately grew pale, his seaweed eyes widening. "Y-you're joking r-right? T-there's no way t-that s-she could do that..." he trembled in a quiet voice.
"Storme...," Ghras began in a pleasant tone, "I'll say it one last time: Please. Let. Me. Down..."
"Yes boss!" he blurted as he put her down. However, when I meant "put her down", I meant that Storme quite literally threw her face-first into ground.
Well Storme's dead now. I wonder what I should write on his grave stone... maybe... "Here Lies Storme Bleu, He was Killed by Bertha"...yeah, that would save him the humiliation of having his heart ripped out by a vertically challenged girl.
As Ghras slowly got herself up, I was beginning to feel a surge of aura increase within her. "You know Storme..." she began as she brought her Ferrum Nex into its staff form, "didn't anyone teach you manners when it comes to treating girls?"
"Now look here Ghras...i-it was just an accident!" he explained as he slowly began to take small steps back. "L-let's talk about it, ok?"
The blonde's face was exactly the same face when she encountered the Corpseback: the eyes of the devil and the smile of a psychopath. "Hm, there really isn't anything to talk about other than where you want me strike fir-"
"Look, we really don't have much time for this right now..." Aero sighed as he stopped the short girl with a grip over her shoulder. "We need to put down a pissed off Bertha, and I'm certain that an unconscious or dead Storme will make reduce our chances of survival."
"I-if you're that mad Ghras, maybe you should d-direct it towards Bertha?" I weakly suggested from behind my partner's shoulder. Yes, I'm 100% certain that I look like a coward by hiding behind my partner, but can you blame me? The girl can practically send me to Death's doorstep if she wanted to.
"Hmph..." she replied as she began to rub her fingers between her rag of a scarf. "Just make sure you stay out of my way. I-I don't want any of you to get caught up in my attacks..."
I wasn't exactly sure if the last bit she just said was a threat or sheer concern for us, I was hoping for the later.
"Alright, we'll start with you partner..." the gray-haired began, "how many grenades you got left?"
I brought up my remaining supply from my sweater's pocket: two explosive shells rested in my palm. "Just a fire and ice dust shell left." It was a bit awkward to say the most, I mean I'm usually armed with at least a dozen of these, but I assumed the initiation was just us killing only one grimm and we'd be done.
He simply nodded at my current arsenal and walked towards Storme. Aero then began to inspect him; walking around him and even doing a pat-down to check for items of the sort. "Where is your weapon?" the wolf asked as he continually searched him.
"You could have just asked man..." a somewhat embarrassed Storme answered.
He raised his right arm, and the silver cuff around his wrist began to melt into a clear liquid, yet still maintain its shape. The now-liquid accessory moved to its user's hand where it expanded and began to change shape. It grew until it was at least the size of the blue-haired giant and clear chain grew out of the bottom-end. When it finished its transformation, it began to solidify into stainless silver steel.
My left eye began to twitch as I gazed upon his weapon; I just couldn't comprehend it. With the massive shank gripped by a single hand, it rested effortlessly over his shoulder as its chain hung lifelessly below. Storme Bleu's weapon was an anchor. A tool that's used by ships to prevent movement.
"..." That was our reactions to his reveal.
"At this point, I'm not even surprised anymore..." Ghras stated as she face-palmed herself.
"What?" Storme questioned. "You know most of the time when I show off my Grande Marina I usually get some more 'excited' reactions. But this is actually the first time somebody was actually silent."
"My partner uses a yo-yo and Ghras uses a frying pan, you're not that special..." I quietly mumbled to myself.
"What did you say Red?" the blonde asked politely.
"Huh?! Oh nothing... just um...thinking about Bertha..." I lied.
Storme must have gotten the wrong intentions because he assured, "Listen Red, if you're having doubts about my weapon - then you shouldn't worry about it! Grande Marina may be light as water, but it's as strong an Atlas warship ramming straight into you! Watch," – he hurled the silver anchor at a far away rock that stood at the edge of the river, at least twice the size of Storme. At it flew in the air the chain attached to the ring began to extend, and I noticed that he had a light grip at the end of the chain. Grande Marina completely shattered the stone, tearing through its very foundation. It would have continued in its path of destruction if its owner didn't yank the endlessly growing chain back, sending the massive weight back towards him.
"And if you're still having second thoughts, then let me show you my semblance!" he declared.
The anchor began vibrate vigorously and a faint hissing sound began to form from the mass. Seconds later, Grande Marina gave life to blue sparks of electricity; a violent blue, now glowing from the anchor.
He flung the electrifying anchor upwards into the sky, a brilliant blue chain growing as its distance increased. The blue-hair swung his arm downwards, forcing the shining mass to dive straight into the earth. A small explosion was created upon impact, and flickers of lightning briefly suspended in its wake.
"Lightning enhancement – that's my semblance, Blitz!" he yelled out in all of this.
Oh man, he's one of those guys who actually names semblances. I've got nothing against it, but I find it so embarrassing when people just scream it out in the open.
"Bravo Storme, bravo. However..." Aero said as he was slowly clapping at the performance. "Don't take this the wrong way big guy, but the ruckus you made with that anchor of yours just broke Bertha out of her daze – planning time is now cut in half – we got four minutes left..."
"O-oh...sorry guys...my bad..." a downcast Storme mumbled as he stared down at the ground.
"Hey, don't worry about Storme!" Ghras assured as she poorly attempted to get her hand on his shoulder (but failed of course), "even if wolf-brain doesn't come up with a plan, we could always go for the straight-forward approach!"
"Um...partner?" I nervously began, "can't we just use your semblance again and stall for more time?"
"Sorry I can only use that frequency once – Bertha's body is filled with whatever grimm use for adrenaline at this point; it'll just shrug it off and still come straight towards us." The faunus answered, "and I kinda have a plan made - given what we have so far ya'know?
"Kinda?! What do you mean by 'kinda'?!" Ghras demanded as she forcibly grabbed my partner by the collar.
"W-well..." Aero sheepishly began, "After seeing Storme's weapon, I'm just sayin' that he just hurl that thing at Bertha's face. And if that doesn't work – well, I'll think of something on the spot...hopefully."
Oh dear Monty, we are going to die...we are really going to die...
"But do really think that it'll wor-" Storme was abruptly cut off by a monstrous echo followed by a small trembling quakes.
Speak of the devil, big bad Bertha has arrived.
Said grimm made quite an entrance – actually, it really wasn't much considering that Bertha just charged through or trampled the lush wildlife in its path; pretty much the same approach during our first encounter. Now it was at a distance away from us, which became decreasingly smaller as it advanced towards us.
"Don't just stand there hurry up and through that thing!" Ghras yelled out.
The blue-haired giant did what he was told, empowering his anchor with his Blitz, he threw the Grande Marina straight at Bertha facial region. With the previous show that Storme presented to us, I was certain that a direct hit with that should send Bertha to whatever afterlife grimm go to after dying.
Well, that's what SHOULD have happened, but none of us (except for Aero, probably) expected what would have happened next.
Bertha stopped in its tracks, and with its enormous arm, it back-handed the electrifying projectile away before it could reach its destination. To stop moving, despite enraged and pumped with adrenaline-crack, to protect one's personal being? That could only mean one thing: Bertha was intelligent.
"Well we're screwed." I blurted out loud.
"Actually..." Aero began in a nervous laugh, "...remember when I said that I kinda had a plan? Well I sorta' lied about that – I actually got it all planned out. I just wanted to see Storme throw that thing again – I mean, just look at it- it's just so cool!"
Monty, he's gone back to sociopath Aero...
"Aero if we make it out of this alive..." Ghras grumbled as I felt her surging aura become increasingly darker, "...remind me to kill you later."