"Thank god we have Roy, I can't imagine how much harder this would be without his semblance."
Roy gave a small smile to the lone female of their team as he checked over his weapon. His 'Vibration Location' allowed him to feel the vibrations in the ground. If his semblance wasn't passively active, they wouldn't have noticed the King Taijitu coming up from the sand before it was too late. "Thanks May, it's nice to know someone appreciates what I do."
"Oi! We appreciate you too!" Snapped a ticked Naruto that Grimm would have swallowed him whole. He had to withhold a shiver just thinking about it; it was as if he had were eaten alive in a past life.
"He knows we do Naruto. You know how much he likes to tease you 'bout that though." Brawnz grinned; he loved watching when Naruto got like this. Roy could rile him up so much. It wasn't hard to believe they had been at each other's throats when they had first met all those years ago.
Growling, Naruto turned to face Roy. "You are sooo lucky I have better things to do than get annoyed with you."
"He has a point guys, as fun as it can be to tease him about that, we can do it later. Right now we need to get moving." May pointed out. They had been very lucky so far, conflict had been avoided up until a day ago. They were now five days into the exercise, and it was time to go on the offensive.
Brawnz nodded in agreement, Team CHAR were going to try to recover their briefcase soon. "Right. Okay, same formation as we've been using. Naruto take point. I'll follow behind you with May alongside me. Roy, you cover behind us."
Taking position at the rear of the group, Roy remained quiet and focused. Ignoring the vibrations coming from his teammates. While his semblance was always active, there was a downside to it; it always stayed on. When he slept, he could still feel them- the vibrations always stayed persistent, like a quiet humming noise.
Roy froze up. He could feel something; something. That was the only way to describe whatever this feeling was.
He wasn't sure if he should tell his team. While he couldn't tell, they seemed not to have noticed his expression yet. This was good. On the off chance it was a Grimm, the fact that he couldn't describe it would be enough to cause them worry.
There were many times before that Roy had felt scared, but they did not compare to what he felt here.
The cold feeling of dread, gripping his heart.
Roy stood on watch, his breath was bated; almost like he was trying to hide himself, shortening his movements, hiding as much from the world as he could.
Silence. Nothing but silence. At least, until something touched his shoulder.
Bringing his tanned arms up to his chest, weapon at the ready. He looked his shoulder and saw that it was a hand, gaze following the arm connected to the previous hand he relaxed.
It was May. Looking at her face he could see the concern on it. Glancing to Brawnz and Naruto he could see their concern, even if they hid it.
"Roy? Are you okay? You looked worried." Roy couldn't blame her for asking.
If terrified was the only thing she got from his face, then he had done a good job keeping his true fear hidden from his face. Looking at her face and once more seeing the concern he made his choice. "Terrified doesn't even begin to describe this. We need to move, now. There is something so huge down there that I can't describe it."
He could see fear take over May's expression, the widening of her eyes and the quickening of her breath were some of her tells. She was trying her best to calm herself, but he could feel vibrations in up one-hundred foot in any direction. A glance to the duo stood behind May showed that they felt the same, but had done a better job of hiding it.
Brawnz could see the situation starting to escalate, so he forced himself to calm down and take command of the situation. "Alright, first things first. Everybody take a deep breath and calm down. Now. Roy, has it noticed us?"
"Uhh, no. No it has not."
"Then, we keep going, and we stay calm. For all we know it could be an underground equivalent to the Goliath. Let's keep moving, if we find a team… if we find a team I don't think we should tell them." As soon as he finished that sentence Brawnz sighed at the expected outburst from his team, he hated his decision aswell but he knew it was the right thing to do. "I know we should tell them, but if it is a Grimm, then we can't risk having them get scared. Too many negative emotions and it could actually sense us, which would not be a good thing."
Naruto gave a long look toward Brawnz after hearing his reasons. He loathed that he couldn't dispute that argument. Not telling about this went against every fibre of his soul. "I don't like this, but you're right; I don't want to agree with this, yet I can't disagree. So I'll go along with it. I'll take the briefcases if that thing is out there though. We'll need all available limbs. I can hold both of our briefcases with my tail that'll free you and May both up."
Brawnz and May both hooked the handle of the cases over Naruto's yellow Monkey tail. It was rare that you could see Naruto's tail, he usually wrapped it around his waist, like one would a belt.
Shivering at the feeling of the cold metal handles on his extra appendage, he coiled the tip of his tail and held the cases tight.
"Alright if those are held tight then we should get moving." Brawnz said, much calmer now that he'd had time to process what Roy said. Sure, he was nervous, but there was nothing he could do about it.
XX Line Break XX
"So, Nebula, what do you think we should do next?"
Nebula didn't turn to face the speaker when she heard the question, she remained focused on the group in front of her. Team COAL she believed.. "We take their briefcase and go looking for our final one."
The three girls behind her glanced at each other before the redhead, Octavia; who asked the previous question, spoke up. "We know that, we meant how are we going to go about doing that?"
This time Nebula did turn to face them. "It's simple. We go after BRNZ. They're the only ones who can fight us on even ground anyway. So, if we have three cases by now they must either have their third or be working on their third."
"I call dibs on fighting Naruto. We were going to spar after this… but this seems like the perfect opportunity." Spoke Dew with a wide grin, the thought of a fight against Naruto where both fighters fought to their full potential. It sent tingles of excitement down her spine just thinking about it.
"Okay, I know how much you've been dying to fight him so you can fight him. I'll be fighting against May, we both rely on ranged weapons that have melee capabilities so taking her on would be the best choice for me.
Gwen you'll fight against Roy, your knives versus his saw blades are a good counter. Octavia, you'll be fighting Brawnz. You both rely on close combat but you should have the advantage with your semblance." Nebula looked at her team, she could see on their faces that the matchups confused them slightly but they didn't mention it.
She hadn't told them the second reason for these matchups. When it came down to it, this test did not matter. Improving their abilities until they reached their peak and then pushing on further was the most important thing. To help them with this, she paired them against people who use a fighting style as close to theirs as she could.
"So… where do you think they are? I mean, knowing Naruto's luck they could walk right over this sand-dune any moment now." The question came from Gwen, but Dew burst out laughing at the mention of Naruto's luck. His luck was something else, give him a single lien, and he'd bankrupt a casino, but in a combat situation? Well, his luck just up and leaves him alone in those situations.
"OH MY GOD!" The loud shout was followed by several figures running straight past NDGO as if they weren't even there. A brief glance was shared between Team NDGO before they chased after them. As they neared, Dew was able to identify one of the figures at the back of the group as Naruto.
"Naruto?! What are you guys runn-" Dew was interrupted by a loud hiss behind them, turning her head to see behind her, she saw the biggest Grimm she had ever seen in her life. It looked to be about seventy five foot tall.
In her opinion the height was the least frightening feature of this Grimm, the fact that it looked to be the deformed love child of a Death Stalker and a King Taijitu was the most terrifying feature of it. "OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT?!"
Her question wouldn't receive an answer due to the sudden burst of speed the Grimm displayed. It managed to cut in front of the group. Right then and there both NDGO and BRNZ knew they would have to fight if they wished to survive. Brawnz looked to Nebula and gave her a wink. "Bet you're glad we had those team training sessions together now 'eh?"
Nebula rolled her eyes and looked away from him, hiding the rosy blush that spread across her cheeks from seeing her 'not so secret' crush wink at her. "Idiot."
Snickering at the exchange between the two leaders, Naruto looked to Brawnz. "So, how are we doing this boss?"
Keeping his gaze focused on the Grimm; that he'd decided to name the Death Claw. "I believe the best choice would be to try different methods of attacking it. We've never read about this Grimm in Grimm studies so we lack info to plan around. The best we can do would be to do like I said and try different methods of attacking it."
"Yeah, I like the sound of that, I'm ready to move when you are then boss." Spoke Naruto, as he grabbed his weapons from his pockets. They were simple weapons, a plain pair of Brass Knuckles. Much like the majority of Vacuo huntsmen he had never been a fan of mech-shift weapons technology. His Brass Knuckles were the epitome of what a Vacuoan hunters weapon should be. Simple and reliable.
"Well let's go then!" Yelled Brawnz, charging toward the Grimm with his weapons raised. Seeing this, everyone followed with May staying behind and taking shots at range with her sniper. A strong gust of wind kicked a few grains of sand into May's eye uncovered eye as she pulled the trigger, knocking her aim at the last second. The bullet that came from the barrel clipped Naruto's shoulder causing him to stagger as he ran toward the Grimm.
"Ow fucking dammit May!" Yelled Naruto, he was lucky he had been shot though, as soon as he had been shot he had stopped moving. This had saved his life because the Death Claw had slammed its tail down in front of him. If he hadn't stopped moving he would have been crushed underneath it. Taking advantage of the tail being lowered in front of him, Naruto climbed up onto it and ran up the back of the Death Claw. As he ran up the tail he threw out a few jabs at the ghostly white bone spikes on it's back.
Meanwhile Roy and Brawnz, after spotting Naruto running up the Grimm's back, ran toward the left claw of the Death Claw in an attempt to remove it from the body. A quick glance to their right showed Dew and Octavia attempting the same thing with the right claw with support being given to them by Nebula and Gwen with their crossbow and throwing knives. Returning his attention back to his target, Roy jumped and launched both his saw blades and the joint of the Death Claw's claw.
His saw blades bounced back to him after doing no damage. A closer look at the joint he targetted showed a thin layer of bone armor. Looking to Brawnz he noted that must've seen this too as he ran in with both fists cocked ready to use his semblance 'Shockwave'.
As Brawnz got within punching range of the joint he threw his fists forward, a huge cloud of sand kicking up due to massive shockwave caused by his semblance. Cracks had started to form on the joint, not enough to expose any of the fleshy underside, but enough to know that this was a valid method of attack.
Roy grinned at seeing the damage done by Brawnz's attack. Brawnz's semblance may not have been as multifunctional as some other ones they had seen during their time at Shade, but he'd be damned if it wasn't one of the most devastating with it's raw power. "Damn partner, nice hit!"
Brawnz flashed him a quick smile, he had always loved showing off with his semblance. Jumping back from the joint, he never landed because all he heard was a scream before he was knocked away by a violet coloured object that collided with him mid-air.
Brawnz came to a few foot after he landed, shaking his head to clear the dizziness away he looked toward what had hit him to see it was Nebula. Looking her over to where her teammates were he guessed that she had moved in to use her melee skills since ranged attacks seemed to have little to no effect on this Grimm. He noticed that she was bleeding, it wasn't life threatening but it was enough to know that she wasn't going to be much help for the rest of this fight. Standing up, he scooped her into his arms and ran to where Gwen and Octavia were providing ranged support for Dew who was still fighting against the other claw. After her teammate was knocked away, she had been the only target for the claw and her fight had rapidly increased in difficulty.
Dodging out of the way of yet another relentless attempt to crush her by the claw, Dew decided it was time to go back on the offensive. She had seen how Roy and Brawnz had managed to damage the joints with brute force and figured it was time that she gave it an attempt with her style. Ducking under an attempt to grasp her in it's claws, she ran toward the joint. Pulling her spear back and channeling her semblance 'Wind Waker' toward the tip of the spear, she jumped.
Throwing her spear forward she launched one of her biggest tornadoes ever toward the joint. Thanks to the fire dust she had infused into the tip of her spear she had given enough heat to the dust devil to turn it into a fire tornado. Landing she guided it toward the Grimm's joint, the intense heat of the flames melting away the bone armor almost instantly before continuing to eat through the rest of the Grimm's arm and separating it from the rest of the body.
Once the claw fell to the floor she turned to the group who were watching her and noticed that May was still shooting toward the head of the Death Claw, turning her gaze to where she was shooting she noticed that Naruto had finally made it to the Death Claw's head.
It wasn't until he reached the top of the Grimm's head that Naruto discovered that heights were not his favorite thing in the world, in fact they came rather close to his least favorite thing in the world… Ghosts. Swallowing down the irrational fear bubbling up inside of him because of the heights, Naruto started pounding on the armor surrounding the Grimm's head. Punch after punch, jab after jab, Naruto saw cracks start to form at the area he was aiming all of his brass knuckles enhanced punches toward. With one final haymaker of a punch, Naruto had finally cracked through the armor. A few more punches to the sides of the hole he had created and it was about the size of a watermelon, which was perfect for the next part of the plan. Moving away from the hole he created, Naruto focused his eyes on May and yelled. "Take the shot!"
Getting the hint, May lined up her sights upon the gap created in the armor, activating her semblance she fired off one shot. Her semblance 'Sure Shot' ensured that she never missed her target, so long as they were within her line of sight. The bullet flashed straight through the hole and came out the other side, destroying everything in its path.
As the Death Claw started to fall to the ground, disintegrating as it did so, Naruto jumped off cursing himself in his head for doing something stupid from such a height. Landing in a crouch Naruto stood slowly, keeping his eyes on the Grimm behind him, as if expecting it to come back to life and attack him. When he was sure it wasn't going to attack him, Naruto turned to the group with a grin.
"Fuck am I glad that's over!"