This isn't a new chapter. The rest of the text below is just the entire draft and plot points for the rest of the story –
No wait don't close the story!
It's a joke! A shitty joke!
This is an actual chapter! I'm sorry, please don't go! Ah, wait, put down those pitchforks, there's no need for violence!
Right. So, on a more serious note. I would like to thank all of you who gave me the support and patience for my last update. No, seriously, you people have insane patience. It's kinda scary. I didn't expect that many of you to reach out to me. I'm very grateful for it. I think I've made it clear but let me remind you all.
Yes, my updating schedules are shitty. No, I will never quit this story.
And yes, I'm backing up my work now.
Something felt off when Qrow opened his eyes. Instead of looking up at the stained roof of his tent, he was instead presented with a blurry image of rustling branches and faint glimmers of sunlight staring down at him. He could feel the gentle prickles of grass brushing his cheek. He was outside – but why? The Branwen twin tried to recall the reason but the ringing in his mind made it impossible.
"Y-Yo." A familiar voice spoke in the background. Wait, where did he hear that voice from? And why did that voice piss him off?
"I won't ask a second time. What did you do to my brother?" Another voice demanded. It was closer, and anger was clearly present in her – wait.
What was she doing here?
He tried to get up but was overwhelmed with an invisible weight. The best he could muster was a simple finger twitch. His muscles felt weak; exhausted and yearning for energy. He tried to call out to Raven but no sound was made from his slack jaw. Ah, that's right. It was coming back to him now. Qrow was starving.
Unfairly punished for being unable to find some made-up village full of made-up people with...
"Oh ho? Are you really asking such a question? Hah! Spoken like a true mob character – just like your brother."
The mental ringing ceased, and the prior events were beginning to piece itself together. The attempted robbing, the psychotic bitch, and…and…glaring red eyes? What happened after that? He focused on his memories even harder.
"Mob character? What the hell are you talking about?" Raven said. "No, hold on, y-your eyes. They're silver."
"And yours are red? Is this some sort of cultural thing within bandit tribes to focus on eye colour? Your brother said the same thing when he tried to rob me. Ah right, about your earlier question about er – Qrow, right? – I uh…overpowered him…? Yup, that's totally what I – and absolutely nobody else – di-
"Alpha beowolf!" Qrow shouted as he shot straight up off the ground with newfound energy. His heart was now racing with his chest rapidly rising and falling from his suddenly unsteady breaths. What the hell? What the hell did he just remember?!
"Oh, you're awake." The psycho said with a disturbing grin that screamed: 'Oh good, you're not dead. Yes! Now I get to torture you even more!'
He frantically patted his body to check if all his limbs were still intact. He let out a sigh of relief, "I'm still alive? B-But I don't understand. There was a beowolf standing right behind me and then… then… hold on, that's the same beowolf behind you!"
And it's trapped under a tree…?
What the hell happened when he blacked out?
"Qrow, are you alright? What happened? Who is this weak-looking girl?" Raven asked him without looking back. She stood between him and the silver-eyed girl with a firm hand over the hilt of her blade. To have his sister protect him like this; he could already feel the bile rushing up to the back of his throat.
"Hey, who are calling weak-looking?! That's no way to describe the hero!" The silver-eyed girl spouted out some more nonsense that went ignored by the twins.
"I don't know." He answered. "One second I'm staring into the jaws of a beowolf and the next thing I wake up to is that same beowolf buried under a tree behind that girl." He suddenly blinked at the realization and frowned, "Tsk, she must have knocked me out when I was distracted."
Her technique must have been beyond flawless. Not only did she close the gap against him in just a few seconds but she rendered him unconscious without him even feeling her attack. Just what the hell were they up against?
Raven snickered and for a split second she glanced over with an amused look. "So you took your eyes off your enemy and lost? And your life was spared? Pft, ha ha ha, how pathetic!"
"N-Nevermind that!" His blood boiled at his sister's remark. But despite having the urge to sucker punch Raven, he clenched his teeth and continued to speak in a calm manner, "Oi, girlie…"
"Eh? Are you referring to me? If so, I would prefer if you addressed me as 'Great Hero' or Su-"
"SHUT UP!" Qrow interrupted.
Honestly, did she really think he'd fall for the same psychological trick? Did she really underestimate him that much? His eyebrows twitched at the annoying thought. "I'll admit it – you beat me the first time. But don't think for a sec – oi, Raven, if keep you keep snickering like that, I'll dropkick you. I'll seriously do it." His bitch of a sister replied by flipping him off, but she at least complied. "Ahem! As I was saying, don't think for a second I'm going to back down just because you saved my life from some stupid grimm. Now that I know how you fight, I'll definitely make you regret crossing the Branwen tribe!"
He unsheathed his sword –
"Ah." The realization hit him like three bottles to the face (on lucky days, the old man would only hurl two at him). The empty sensation of curled fingers grasping air made his blood freeze over. And yet despite that, embarrassment ignited over his face. "Oi, girlie…"
"What is it now? And can you please stop calling me that? I have a name, you know." Girlie frowned at the last part.
"…Where's my sword?" He forced the words out. To ask your opponent such a question. Urgh. A small part of him just died. His sister chuckling only added more fuel into the fire.
Girlie stared at fallen beowolf for a brief moment before shrugging. "It's probably somewhere under that tree. I'm sorry but even if you got your sword back, it's most likely shattered into pieces by now."
"Why you…!" His eye twitched.
Knocking him out and disarming him in a way where he can't even retrieve his weapon? And fucking apologizing about it too?
Just what kind of psychotic thoughts was this girl having?
"Actually, if you don't mind me asking – why did you save my idiot brother's life? You could have stabbed him in the back or just let the beowolf eat him." Raven spoke up.
Seriously, can't you read the mood right now?
"What are you talking about?" Girlie tilted her head, "Mordred was the one who – I-I mean of course I saved him! That's right! I was the one who saved Qrow! Ah hah hah hah!" She erupted in laughter with hands on her hips. Her expression just shifted from confusion to pure psychotic joy. Was this another one her mental tricks? To be honest, hearing her chilling laughter made him break into a cold sweat.
She pointed directly at him while covering half her face with her other hand; another bizarre pose to throw his mind into disarray. "Listen well, Qrow of the Branwen tribe. Simply put, I saved your life for one reason and one reason alone!"
She held a dramatic pause, giving the twins enough time to consider the possibilities of her reasoning. Qrow was leaning towards torture.
"It would look very bad for the protagonist if the main villain swooped in and stole the spotlight. Which was why I had to take drastic measures in order to prevent such a development!" This crazy girl boldly declared with her boot planted over the beowolf's snout. The beast didn't even try to gnaw her leg off – it just…blankly stared at them. What the fuck.
"…" Were both the twins' responses.
"…I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like this girl is either bullshitting us or has a few screws loose in the head." Raven muttered, unsure of what to make with that answer.
That's because she needed to read between the lines.
'It would be a merciful death if I let you get eaten by that beowolf. What I will do to the both of you will be much, much worse.' Was what Qrow interpreted from that nonsensical speech.
He regretted doing such as it made his skin cold and his fingertips numb.
"Well, whatever. I'll figure you out after you're tied up." Raven spoke up and took a step forward. "To be able to overpower my brother and make an example out of a beowolf, hmm, yes, you're quite strong. You have my respect."
For some reason, girlie blushed and started to scratch her cheek.
"Ah, for a lowly mob character to call me strong and earn their respect. This tingling feeling bursting within me – is this the hero's pride that big bro' was talking about? Heh heh, I'm only starting my training arc and I've already made leaps in my development." This girl spouted more random bullshit. Of course, Qrow was well aware that it was all part of her scheme of getting into his head. It won't work a second time. Nice try, bitch.
"What the hell are you talking about? And what's this about me being some lowly mob character? I don't know what that means but I have a sudden urge to dropkick you now." Raven said.
'...Son of a bitch.' Qrow mentally groaned.
He wanted to bash his head into a tree now.
Just because he was smart enough to see through her words didn't mean his barbaric sister could do so as well. All she ever bothered to think about was fighting, fighting, and more fighting.
"Hey, just what do you think you're doing?" Qrow demanded to his sister.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm cleaning up your mess, dear brother. You had your chance and you screwed it up. Don't bother arguing with me. Without your sword, I can easily cut you down." She nodded ahead, "Girlie over there can do it as well if you really want to rush in with your fists. Go ahead, get killed, I won't stop you."
"Or you know, you can just run away and never come back. I've been told that's a common tactic you mob characters use." Girlie added. His sister giggling at her suggestion only further contributed to his rise in blood pressure.
"You stay out of this!" He barked at her. He shifted his attention back to Raven. "You think I care about that 'strong live, weak die' crap right now? Raven, can't you see you're falling into her trap? You're letting this psycho get into your head. How else did you think I lost to her?"
"You're weak and she's strong?" She answered instantly without any hesitation.
"Were you even listening to me?!" This girl was hopeless.
"Dear brother, it's adorable that you're trying to help me with your useless advice, but you don't have to worry about a thing." She flashed that signature smug smile that pissed him off to no end. "After all, unlike you, I was born with a brain."
"There's no way I'd fall for her tricks." Raven continued. "So just stand back and watch me make quick work of this girl. You might learn a thing or two."
'The only thing I need to learn is how much a dumbass you are!'
She turned her attention over to the silver-eyed girl. "Sorry about making you wait. My brother's an idiot, you see. There's no cure for it, unfortunately. But he's still my brother and you spared his life. You should know that I almost never say this, so burn these words into your memory: Thank you."
Girlie's cheeks burned red and began scratching the back of her head. "Heh heh. I'm the Hero after all. Don't mention it – "
"After I beat you, I can prove once and for all that I'm the superior twin. I will make sure my brother will never live this down. I will make this day haunt him for the rest of his life."
The red in her cheeks died instantly. "Umm…that's a little bit – "
"Every morning, I shall greet my brother like this: 'Good morning, dear brother who lacks a brain. How are you feeling? Ah, you don't have to mention your feelings of being weak, the entire tribe knows that already. Hey, do you remember that time you lost to that girl with silver eyes and I was the one who saved the day?' Heh, I already feel refreshed saying it aloud. I'll say it again. Thank you for letting my brother live. No, seriously, thank you."
He glared at his sister with wide, unblinking eyes of pure, unrestrained murder. To think that Raven's speech had pissed him off to the point where he tensed every muscle fibre in his body. His vocal cords had strangled themselves, hell, his entire body just locked up. The human body was truly a remarkable thing.
"…I'm sorry but I can't accept your thanks." Girlie solemnly stared at Qrow with an expression of pity. There was no psychological trick behind that look; there was no mask at all. It was pure, honest, pity.
'…Please stop looking at me like that. Please, I'm begging you.'
And that only made it worse.
Raven readied her stance, pulling her left foot back and hand over her blade's hilt. "Now with that out the way, we can finally begin our duel –"
"Just a moment." Girlie brought a hand up.
Raven tilted her head and spoke with slight agitation. "Excuse me? If this the part where you beg and grovel for mercy, then I'll be very disappointed in you after everything you've done of making yourself worthy."
"Don't misunderstand, there's no way a mob character like you can beat me. I'm ready to rise to the challenge as any amazing hero should." There was a cocky grin plastered on her face along with an annoying glimmer in her eyes. She pointed downward. "I just wanted to tell you that your shoes are untied."
…Did she honestly just halt the moment for that?
Raven's shoulders trembled after hearing that.
She looked back at him with a face that had an impossible mixture of disappointment and amusement. "Qrow, did you actually fall for something like that? When you said that you lost against her because of psychological warfare, I was expecting something along the lines of some genius who could plan 2 steps ahead. But this? Calling you an idiot would be a compliment at this point."
Instead of lashing back, he uncharacteristically looked to the side.
"…I have no words to say."
"What?" Raven exasperated at his docile reaction.
"…I have no words to say." He repeated.
It was Girlie to break the awkward moment. "Hey, I know you two are having a sibling moment but if you could just tie your shoes before we – "
Raven dashed forwards without warning.
"As if I'd fall for the oldest trick in the book – Kyaaa~!"
And tripped face forward into the dirt.
"Hey, your sister just made a cute noise just now." Girlie pointed out.
Qrow had both hands clamped over his mouth to prevent the flood of laughter from escaping. After hearing what his sister was going to put him through, he didn't give a shit if he was being petty for not telling her that, yes, her shoes were untied. And, damn, did that feeling of sick satisfaction hit him hard.
Raven remained motionless on the ground for a good couple seconds, no doubt processing what the hell just happened to her. Well, that, and the embarrassment that was surging through her veins.
"Are…are you okay?" Her opponent taunted in a convincingly sincere tone.
Without uttering a word, Raven got up, dusted her knees, and started tying her laces.
"…Excuse me." Her tone was neutral, but her red-tinted ears told another story.
"Ah…take your time."
If such an event took place during one of the spars back at the tribe then Raven would have definitely gotten her head smashed in from her opponent. In the Branwen tribe, you were expected to seize every opportunity to win. Eye-gouging, groin-kicking, or self-induced vomiting on the enemy; it didn't matter as long as you came out as the victor.
Because only the weak would hesitate at opportunities. And they would die accordingly.
Anyone would have mistaken this as a "kind and honourable" gesture. (The thought made him sick to the stomach.) But Qrow knew better. This was a power-move; an indirect message at his sister, 'I won't bother myself in coming to you. Come to me and face your death. I don't want you to make up excuses for yourself in the afterlife.'
Once she was satisfied with her knots and double-checked for good measure, Raven stood up and got back into her combat stance. She leaned in further, trails of ebony hair swinging down on her face.
"You…did you really think I don't know what you're trying to do?" Raven hissed in an icy tone. Oh? It looks like his sister was beginning to understand his "advice" after all.
"Shut up!" She barked back. "Trying to get into my head like that…hah…hah…and you almost caught me too. But your cheap tricks won't work on me! Why? Because I'm stronger in both body and mind compared to Qrow!"
"Oi! Why the hell am I being involved here?!"
"Because you're the weakling who lost to her!" She turned around, breaking her stance, just to scream that at him. Her face was completely red and she looked like she was on the verge of tears –
Was…was she trying to hide her embarrassment?
Pfft…! How cute.
She drew her sword and pointed it at Girlie. "I was going to let you off easy with a couple of bruises, and a few cuts here and there, but I've changed my mind! I'm going to make you bleed until you're holding on to an inch of your life and then I'm going to drag your bloody self all the way back to the tribe!"
The only time he ever heard Raven get this riled up was when some poor fresh-blood called her weak. The idiot had to eat with a straw for a couple weeks after she was done with them. Raven's threat wasn't an exaggeration; once his sister says something, she was going through with it all the way – logic be damned with that brutish girl. Any normal person would take a step back with an air of caution after hearing such a threat. But this girlie with silver eyes…
"S-Such a cool line! You're definitely a much better mob character than your brother!" She was absolutely ecstatic if her vibrant hand gestures were anything to note. Was getting Raven angry part of her master plan all along? It must be! He had to warn her then!
But no sound could escape from his dry throat.
It was as if an invisible hand had grasped its boney fingers around his neck.
And before Raven could say another word, Girlie stepped into that damn combat stance that was used against him. It was slightly different from before, however. There were no overly-exaggerated elbows or knees like last time. Her form was perfect. In fact, it was a perfect imitation of Raven's combat stance. Did she intend to kill his sister with her own fighting style? That wasn't a power-play, that was a declaration of absolute dominance.
"That sword-drawing stance…are you mocking me? You are, aren't you?" Raven growled.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Her excited tone shifted into a low, more serious one. "This sacred stance is just one of the many secret techniques I've cultivated while walking the path of the Hero. I should warn you, however. You will enter my holy sword's range if you take three more steps forward. You'll be defeated with one strike – that I promise to you."
That's bullshit. It must be. With how far apart they were standing and the pathetic size of Girlie's sheathed sword, there was no way in hell it could cut Raven. But that confident glimmer in those damn silver eyes. She wasn't lying or making this shit up.
Her warning was the truth.
That was the sole conclusion that Qrow reached.
"You're delusional." Unfortunately, that was the conclusion that Raven reached. Seriously, how much farther from the truth can she get?
His heart skipped a beat when she took a step forward. "One."
This stupid girl!
"Oh? So you really are approaching me? Despite my warning of your failure, you still intend to make it a reality? Only a true mob character would ignore the Hero's warning." Girlie smirked, her inhumane bloodlust revealing itself in broad daylight.
"I can't slash the living shit out of you without getting any closer." She advanced another step. "Two."
Raven pulled her sword back with both hands firmly grasping the hilt, angling the steel beside her head at eye-level. She bent her knees and leaned forward. Girlie didn't seem fazed at all.
The air around them had gone tense. The chirpings and rustling of nature had gone eerily silent. His breathing had stalled to a halt, his reluctant eyes refusing to blink at the scene before him. A single bead of cold sweat trailed down his face.
"Three!" Raven pumped all the energy into her legs into one decisive lunging stab!
"Secret Heroic Holy Blade Technique # 71: Divine Flash!"
Here it comes – the critical moment!
Time had stopped. No one uttered a word at what happened next. The stillness lasted for a good five seconds.
"…Hey, what am I looking at right now?" Qrow decided to break the unnerving silence. "No, really, what the hell just happened? Where did that clicking sound come from?"
In both his relief and (tiny) dismay, Raven was still alive. For some reason, his sister stopped her attack and now stood frozen a few feet away from Girlie who was striking that same stance. Speaking of Girlie…
She was blushing. Actually blushing! Eh? What's this? What's with that thin line over her lips and downcast stare? It reminded him of Raven's embarrassed expression from earlier. Hold on, did that mean that Girlie was feeling embarrassed?
'WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!' His mind was tearing itself apart in sheer desperation in finding the answer.
His scrambling thoughts were interrupted when Raven leapt back to his side.
"Raven, what are you – " The rest of the words died in his mouth. All the blood had drained from her face. He had never seen his sister's eyes this wide, nor did he ever recall them vibrating in random directions before. Profuse sweat showered down her pale cheeks. Her breathing was short, rampant; pretty much all over the place. Add in all these details and you got yourself a very terrified Raven.
"S-So fast…it was…so fast." She muttered.
That raised his brow, "What are you talking about? She's just standing there doing nothing – ACK!"
He suddenly found himself being held by the collar of his shirt with his sister's forehead pressed against his. Way too close!
"Her sword-drawing technique!" She cried out hysterically. She pushed him back and then ran her hand through her hair. "I couldn't see her blade at all. Hell, I couldn't even see the body motions of her attack. All I could make out was that damn clicking of her sword being sheathed!" She let out a pitiful laugh at what she was saying. "For such a technique to exist – t-that's impossible. Was it dust? Her semblance? But…but how can I beat that? I-I'm supposed to be strong…the strongest!"
"But you're alive? It looks like she straight-up missed you – "
"Open your eyes, brother!" She shouted before pointing her trembling sword at Girlie. "The beowolf is dead!"
"W-Wha-? But how?" Wasn't it just there a moment ago?!
"I saw it with my own eyes, brother. The beowolf died in a puff of smoke the moment that girl unleashed that technique! It didn't even cry out or bleed…it just…it just…died instantly." She let the ominous words hang in the air to raise tension. Finally, Qrow finally pieced it together.
She used the beowolf as a fucking example. That must have the sicko's reasoning for letting it live for this long. She wanted to break Raven down, strip away her sense of confidence and pride. Only then would she end the twins' lives. How the hell did she plan this far ahead? Was everyone in Argentum like this?!
"What are you talking about? Mordred is right over – ah!" She squeaked in feigned surprise, no doubt trying to worm her way further into their minds. "You're right, they're gone!" With both hands on her hips, she boldly declared, "I mean – of course, they're gone – I was the one who slew the beast with my awesome technique after all. I can finally go all out!"
Girlie pointed at her trembling sister. "You have quite the perception, Raven of the Branwen tribe. Everything you just said was absolutely true and definitely happened. Well, except for one tiny detail…"
"W-What?" Raven gasped and took a step back.
"When I unleashed my holy sword from its seal, I didn't slash Mordre – er the beowolf – once. Oh no, such a move wouldn't fit in the protagonist's arsenal." She brought up five fingers. "This is how many times I swung my blade."
"Five times?!" Raven muttered.
Girlie shook her head.
Girlie shook her head.
Raven gulped at what sounded like an entire dust crystal. "F-F-Five hundred?" When Girlie confirmed with a nod, Raven went hysterical. "How?! That's impossible! How stupid do you think I am?!"
He would have joined in too, but he was utterly speechless.
"But you saw it yourself, no? The beowolf was incinerated without any visible cuts. Since you're a mob character, I don't expect you to understand the logic behind it. So allow me to grace you with some heroic knowledge!" She tapped her forehead with a smug smile. "It's quite simple, actually. I slashed the beowolf at such an intense speed that its body didn't even realize that it's been cut." She made some swinging motions with an imaginary sword.
"Since I slashed it another four-hundred-and-ninety-nine times – under a second, mind you – a tremendous amount of kinetic energy was generated, which was then released as heat. After that…"
She snapped her fingers, "Poof~! You got yourself a blazing creature of grimm removed from existence! And that, my fellow mob characters, is the secret behind the Divine Flash."
He had no idea what Girlie just said. He was certain Raven didn't either. For all he knew, Girlie's explanation could have been absolute horse-shit. But then again, the twins didn't exactly have a good education – let alone a proper one.
But it didn't take a genius to figure out that their auras couldn't protect them that.
"S-S-S-So what? Y-Y-You think some fancy technique is e-e-enough to beat me?!" Raven stammered with chattering teeth as she stubbornly held on to her sword with shivering arms. The arrogant flames in her eyes had died out. The only thing left behind was cold denial. Really now, who was she trying to fool here?
Girlie crossed her arms and tilted her head with a grimace. "Hold on. You're telling me that after everything I said, you still want to fight me? I get that you mob characters are stubborn and all, but you're really surpassing my expectations here…"
'You have it all wrong! It's just her! Don't lump me in with this idiot!'
"O-Of course! Running way would mean I'm a coward. It would mean that I'm... that I'm weak!" His sister just said something incredibly stupid! Can't you see you're just walking straight into her trap? This is what that silver-eyed monster wants!
She's going to get herself killed if this keeps going.
"Hey, Raven, do you realize how badly your legs are shaking right now?" He hissed into her ear, both hands holding her shoulders to steady her composure. "We can't win this. Do you hear me?! We absolutely can not win against her! Let's just retreat for now and report this to – ACK!"
The air in his lungs rushed out from his mouth. His bitch of a sister just elbowed him in the gut!
He fell back on his ass. With his body starving and low on energy, he expected as much.
"Raven, what the hell?!"
"Shut up!" She pointed her sword at him with wild eyes. "I know what you're trying to do! You…you just want to steal all the glory for yourself! You're just waiting for your chance to take me down, but I won't have it! You can't fool me!"
She's lost her mind!
"What are you talking about?!" He yelled.
"You can't fool me…" Raven raised her sword, fully intent on cutting him down. A shadow loomed over her face; her expression screamed bloody murder. Shit! He brought up his arm to protect his neck. "You can't fool me…you can't fool me…you can't fool me…you can't fo – BAGAAAH!"
"Only a mob character would look away from their opponent in the middle of a duel!"
A pair of boots collided directly into her face and for a split second, Raven's expression twisted into surprise, then into confusion and anger, and finally into teeth-clenching pain. The impact sent her tumbling a couple of feet away. She remained motionless.
"Did…did you just dropkick my sister?" Qrow asked in bewilderment; his mouth wide open and his eyes full of shock and awe. He was still trying to process what he just witnessed. Did that just happen? Really? She could have easily killed either of them with that stupid technique but she decided on a simple dropkick? What's going on? He didn't understand at all!
Silver eyes loomed over him, piercing his very soul. There was a thin line over her lips. His heart rate doubled and yet his body froze. She spoke in a low intimidating voice, "Hey, you mentioned before how you were going to drop kick me before I even had a chance to land a hit on you. Well? Do you still want to fight me?"
'Do you want to die?'
That was the true question.
It was at the moment, for some odd reason, he recalled the tribe's way of life: 'The strong live, and the weak die.'
Words so simple and yet so stupid at the same time.
This girl with silver-eyes – this damn girl with silver-eyes who saw him as nothing more than an ant in terms of power – expected an answer. She looked down on him and that seriously pissed him off. In the end, Qrow knew the best response.
'Fuuuckkkk thiiiissss shiitttt!'
He shook his head in a frenzy out of self-preservation.
He had even planned so far as to beg for his life but her petrifying gaze silenced him.
"I see…" And then her expression suddenly shifted. To his utter shock, she gave him a large smile that radiated with heartwarming joy, "I'm glad!"
Did she just spare his life? Again?
"Hmm, I guess I saved your life twice now, huh?" She grimaced. "Well, I guess the first one doesn't really count since that was all Mordred."
Hold on, she just said something important at the end there –
They both looked over to see Raven on one knee with her sword planted into the ground. Her shoulders were rising and falling at a steady rate with each successive gulps of air that she took. Her hand clenched her lower jaw. Wait, did this idiot really bring down her aura when she tried to kill him? And this brute had the guts to claim herself as the stronger twin? Ha!
The madness behind her eyes didn't die down one bit, in fact, it only seemed to have gotten far much worse. "You…! You can also conceal your presence?!"
"Hah?" Qrow and Girlie both muttered. Did his barbaric sister pay any attention to what Girlie yelled out a few moments ago?
"What? Am I suddenly not worth your sword anymore? Did you honestly think that pathetic kick was enough to stop me?!"
'Can you say that again when you aren't shaking so badly?'
Girlie just blinked at Raven's outburst before letting out a long sigh. "Well, looks like I have no choice then."
She unbuckled the sheathed blade from her belt and held it with both hands.
"W-W-What do think you're doing?"
"I'm going to deliver justice, of course. Using the Divine Flash again would be too boring since you're already expecting it now. So, I've decided to use one of my forbidden techniques instead." All he could do was watch as she leisurely made her way over to his sister.
"Yup! I'm going to send you into an endless darkness. A contradicting realm that's both blissful and miserable at the same time. With that said, would you kindly hold still for me, please? It'll be quite messy if I miss."
Raven, like a raving grimm that has been cornered by a huntsman, snarled back. "L-L-Like hell I'm g-going to! Ngh! M-My sword?" She tried to lift her sword out of the earth with both hands, but to no avail, "Why can't I raise my sword!? Why is my body frozen?! I-I see – this must be your semblance!"
'No, dear sister, that's not her semblance. The reason why you can't raise your sword against her is that, deep down, you've already acknowledged this silver-eyed girl as the stronger being. It's as if a baby deer encountered an alpha wolf. The baby deer can't do anything but lock-up and stare into the eyes of its predator. I warned you, Raven. You lost the moment Girlie got into your mind.'
Girlie stood before Raven. It was clear that a mountain's worth of adrenaline wasn't going to be enough to free her, especially with her fractured mind. Holding the still-sheathed blade in a reverse grip, she raised the weapon overhead. He felt an aching in his heart, an agonizing stabbing sensation that spread throughout his body. Was he just going to sit on his ass and watch his sister die?
But it's Raven's fault. She stubbornly chose to keep fighting despite all the warnings she's been given! So why did he feel like shit?!
"I…I don't understand. How did you…? But I'm the supposed to be stro – "
"Forbidden Hero Technique First Form: Dragon's Dream!"
She swung her weapon across her head.
Raven didn't scream or struggle. It wasn't the bloody mess that he expected.
Her lifeless body fell to the ground without a word.
"Tsk." Girlie clicked her tongue in disappointment. "To think I had to use such a disgraceful technique. Where's the creativity in such a pathetic move?"
He ignored her ramblings.
"S-She's dead." He muttered, the cold, awful realization draining away all the colour from his face. "You killed her. You snapped her neck…"
Girlie immediately whirled her head. "What on Remnant are you talking about? I just knocked her out!"
"Look! She's fine!" She waved at his sister's corpse – er unconscious form? Wait, what?
"But why?" He realized how messed up that sounded. "Why didn't you kill her?"
"Why would I kill your sister? She's a mob character. A mob character for crying out loud!" She threw her hands up, "It'll look bad for my character if I ended up killing one of the first mob characters I encountered. Plus, there's absolutely no character development for that either!"
She crossed her arms and looked to the side with the faintest hint of a blush, "And…well, she's your sister, after all. Even if you both act harshly around each other I can tell that…"
Qrow couldn't make out what she mumbled at the end there, but he was certain it must have been an insult.
She didn't seem the least bit interested in Qrow. Instead, she appeared to be busy staring off into random directions. She hummed, "Hmm, yes, that should be the correct landmark, which means I should head eastwards. Anyways, it's been nice meeting you, but I really should be going now. Abandon your bandit ways and never set foot in this forest ever again, else you'll really feel the justice of my holy blade."
"That's it? You're just going to walk away after all that?" Qrow spoke with a hoarse voice. He could feel his rampant heart rate slowing down. They really were nothing more than insignificant ants in her view. After all, why would you bother wasting your time crushing an insect beneath your foot? This amount of strength that came from someone his age – Shit! – Qrow couldn't imagine what would be left of his corpse if he encountered someone older. And there's supposed to be a whole village of them? What?!
Whether it was sheer stupidity or an outburst of courage, Qrow raised his voice and asked, "Just what exactly are you? Who are you?"
Girlie stopped in her tracks and stood in silence.
Without turning she said, "Haven't you been paying attention? It's so obvious…no, wait a second….AHHH! I didn't even introduce myself at the beginning!"
She ruffled her hair in frustration. There was a long exhale soon after. "Ahem!... I am the White Void."
"I am the Cold Steel. I am the Just Sword…"
"…No, really, what are you saying?"
"…With holy blade in hand I will defeat the villains of this world and cleanse it in the Light of Justice!"
She spun around on her heels and struck an embarrassing pose with a bright smile and dazzling eyes. "I am Summer Rose! Your end has co –"
A loud, abrupt snapping sound from above interrupted her. Not a second later a large branch fell and crashed on top of Summer's head. She wobbled and swayed left and right for a brief moment before finally collapsing onto the ground. Qrow waited for a whole minute, almost expecting her to get up and walk away. He tried to call her out, thinking this might have been some kind of twisted test for him to get cocky. But she didn't; Summer was out cold just like Raven.
He ran both hands through his hair. There was a tingling sensation as his fingertips brushed through cold sweat. While his outward composure made him appear calm and collected, his inner composure was…well…
'Did that just happen?'
To put it into another perspective, mental Qrow was furiously pacing around in circles.
'Eh? Ehhhh?! Did a fucking stick really just knock this monster out?! No, no, no. This arrogant bitch must have been so cocky that she didn't bother bringing out her aura. Yes! That must be the reason!'
"What horrible luck – oh."
The realization finally dawned upon him.
For once in his life, his shitty curse finally did something useful.
He rolled his head back, breaking out into a fit of hysterical laughter.
Never in my reborn life have I felt such terror radiating from one person. I remember Summer's first encounter with my pack (rest in peace all their unabsorbed Essence) and how much fear she felt. And since she's a brat, I assumed that was the maximum amount of fear one could emit when faced with impending death.
But the Branwen twins?
Holy shit, I'm actually amazed not a single grimm showed up throughout this clusterfuck of a "fight" if you can even call it one. Raven alone was practically a giant lighthouse!
After I came to my senses, I reverted back into my pup form and watched the whole scene in a shrub. You can call me a monster, but I was sort of praying that the twins would catch on to Summer's bullshit and beat her to a pulp. Not that I want to see her suffer, definitely not the case, but it would have been a nice wakeup call for that brat.
Raven tried to impale Summer the moment Qrow slapped her awake. Thankfully, Qrow smacked her again before the deed could be done. After a heated argument – and believe me, there was a lot of swearing and threats that I had to filter out – the twins decided to bring the sleeping Rose back to the tribe for interrogation. It was quite the sight to see the twins carry Summer like a medical stretcher: with Qrow holding her arms and Raven leading with her legs. It was even better with how careful they handled her; they were treating her like a ticking bomb!
Hmm, I suppose this is the part where I coolly make my entrance and save the day, right? Heh heh, just imagining their reactions of an alpha beowolf appearing out of nowhere made me grin in excitement! Well, here I go…!
I turned in the opposite direction and walked away.
It's a shame that I'm not going to!
I refuse! You hear me?!
I'm done! Finished! I'm sick and tired of being that brat's guardian!
Every time! Every single bloody time! This brat encounters a grimm that isn't me, she locks up in fear, then – SLASH! – I, the "Villain" come in and decapitates them. And this girl – oh this stupid, ungrateful, delusional, good-for-nothing girl! – has the guts to make up excuses?! No "Thanks for saving my life, Mordred!" or "Wow, Mordred! You're so strong and unrivalled! Thanks again!"
Not from her.
NOT FROM SOON-TO-BE-GREATEST HERO IN REMNANT WHO DOESN'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT BEING GRATEFUL!
Nope! Nope! Nope! Noooopppe!
And it turns out from her, I'm the one who should say thank you. I'm the ungrateful one. I'm the rude one who lacks humility. I'm supposed to sing her praises!
Even though I was the one who just saved her from a falling tree!
"ARRRGGGGGGHHHHH!" I vented out my frustrations.
I probably should have done that in my Alpha form. I sound like a child throwing a tantrum when I'm in this form…
Never mind that!
I've already made up my mind.
I'm not going to bail you out of this, Summer. If you're so great of a hero, then you can get yourself out of this! Screw the "canon timeline!" I don't give a shit if the world burns if team STRQ isn't formed. Becoming the strongest beowolf, that's all I care about!
And I want to make myself perfectly clear.
I'm not the type of person who acts like an asshole on the outside but is secretly a big softee with a heart of gold on the inside. This isn't some cliché fanfiction. I'm a selfish scumbag who only cares about my selfish goals. There is no benefit in interacting with Summer Rose. So don't expect me to come in last-minute and play the "hero." Therefore, the only thing left to do is to leave her to wallow in her mistakes.
So repeat after me, my inner conscience!
Summer Rose. Is. Not. My. Friend!
I will absolutely not help her!
I can already see the reviews, "LMAO who is Mordred fooling? Such a tsundere etc etc."
I mean, Summer DID get captured. I remember a few of you claiming how Summer would be the one to convert the twins onto Argentum's side. Well, did you expect this outcome? So knowing this, do you really think Mordred is going to save Summer?
On a side note, a few of you have claimed that August sounds a lot like Zeke from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I have never played that game before. So imagine my surprise when I decide to youtube the guy. "Shit, they're right! And his voice is so fitting too! I can't imagine August NOT sounding like this guy!"
And now, allow me to give you an AU fanfiction within an AU fanfiction. Think of it like a ONE-TIME treat for making you wait so long.
Overlord: Alternative # 1
The Hero's Apprentice
In an alternate universe where Summer didn't get captured. In an alternate timeline where her bullshitting abilities, delusions, and dumb luck kick into overdrive, Summer DOES end up becoming the greatest hero in all of Remnant. The tale of a certain huntress-in-training in a white cloak never having lost a single match throughout her studies at Beacon and her accomplishments as a licensed huntress have spread throughout Remnant. She acts as an inspiration that all hunters strive to achieve. No one has ever seen Summer's holy sword fully unleashed. Not even the rest of her team are aware. Everyone has their theories: a saint from the heavens? An agent of the Brother of Darkness? One man claimed that the Great Hero's exploits were lies and that all her miracles were simply the actions of a lone beowolf hiding in the shadows! How insane is that?! Professor Arc's bluffing doesn't have shit on Summer Rose's delusions. After all, in order to fool the rest of the world, you must first fool yourself.
The story begins at Salem's castle.
Salem sits upon her throne, pondering what moves the wizard Ozma was making with his golden chess piece. Dark energy swirled around her in response to her rising anger of this child's exploits across the chessboard. She has seen many heroes, each talented and special in their own right. But like any hero, they were all destined to fall. Whether it be by her hand, or by time's itself.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
Summer Rose was just like all those optimistic fools. And yet, she was so much more. There was something about her that seemed off about her. Sometimes she would act accordingly to her role as a righteous individual. That made her predictable. But, to Salem's surprise, there were unexpected events where Summer Rose's actions were downright cruel. Too cruel for a human to make.
Was it because this girl was aware of Salem's timeless intellect? Salem wondered about that from time to time.
And that fabled sword of hers. Could it be the Relic of Destruction?
Just then, the huge gates leading into her throne room were swung open. Tyrian stumbled into the room, beaten and bloody, and fell onto his knees before her. Her follower was covered in cuts and deep bite marks; his tail had been gnawed off.
By all accounts, any ordinary man should have bled to death a long, long time ago. But Tyrian Callows was no ordinary man. Indeed, it was through sheer faith alone that he was able to arrive here.
"Tyrian, you have returned. What of your task to assassinate Summer Rose?"
"M-My Goddess…" He lowered his head in shame. He spoke with a raspy voice, "Oh my Goddess! My Goddess! I have failed you!"
Disappointed, but she kept it to herself. She silently placed both hands over her lap. "I see. But you survived against her sword. You are one of the first in my circle to do so. Raise your head, Tyrian."
"…My Goddess…I…" There was a pained look in his eyes.
"What is it? Speak."
"These wounds that I bear, they are not from that wrenched hero."
"A beowolf, my Goddess! One of your children attacked me while I was stalking my prey!"
That fully raised her attention. That should be impossible. Tyrian possessed her blessing. The devoted follower should be immune from the eyes of the grimm. Unless…
Her hands tightened.
"I shall look into this pressing manner soon. And what has happened to Hazel? I do not see him present. Did he fall by Summer Rose?" She asked.
He shook his head. "No. He's alive, just barely. Watts is treating him as we speak. But he won't be able to fight in your name for a long while. His entire skeleton has been shattered, you see."
She raised a brow. "Shattered?"
"It was the beowolf, my Goddess. The same one that attacked me! It may sound crazy, especially coming from me, but this wild beast…"
"You mean to tell me a mere beowolf was able to outclass Hazel in strength?"
"Well…not exactly. You see, Hazel…" Tyrian hesitated for a moment, but spoke when Salem's glare proved too much for him to handle, "…got crushed by a road roller!"
She could already feel the migraine coming. "A road roller?"
"Yes, my Goddess. Hazel only lasted nine seconds before he was overpowered by the beast's excessive attacks."
"A road roller?" She repeated.
"My Goddess, it's a vehicle used for construction and – "
"I know what a road roller is, Tyrian!"
He shrunk, "Forgive me!"
Salem leaned back and remeasured her options. According to her spies, Summer Rose should have been traversing the deserts of Vacuo for a mission. That should have been the perfect setting to cut her down. And yet, her plan failed. All from a single unexpected variable. And the road roller in the middle of a desert– how did she plan that far ahead? Why would a creature of grimm turn against her will?
The revelation was upon her. She gazed at the ceiling with wide eyes.
For centuries, she fought against her former lover in this twisted game of never-ending chess pieces. Up until this point, Salem had assumed that Ozma had been the one pulling Summer's strings.
But what if it was the reverse?
What if it was Summer Rose who has been secretly manipulating the headmaster of Beacon? She had already won the hearts of all humanity as their shining hero in white. Could she be after the power of the Maidens? Ozma's dwindling magic? And the way the beowolf interfered – it was almost as if - !
Salem shot up from her seat. For the first time in 400 years, the old witch felt her heart racing.
"M-My Goddess! What is wrong?"
"She's not just after humanity. She also wants to rule over the grimm." She said her thoughts aloud. "She intends to become a god."
She suddenly cackled. "Yes, yes, it all makes sense now! I've finally figured you out, Summer Rose! So you intend to take my throne, do you? I already know the proper moves to make against you." She looked down at her servant, "Tyrian!"
"Bandage your wounds. And once you are finished, bring Cinder to me!"
"R-Right away!" He bowed and then limped out of her throne room.
As the doors slammed shut, Salem gazed out into the wastelands and smiled.
"There was once a foolish woman who thought she could slay the gods. She failed, not because the gods were too powerful, but because she was blinded by her ambition. You remind me of that woman, Summer Rose. You may gather all the allies you want, obtain all the power you could imagine, but it won't be enough to slay me. You shall be stabbed in the back by your most trusted ally. That is the destiny I will give you."
"Please let me become your apprentice!" Cinder Fall, a mere 15-year-old girl, pleaded as she bowed before the great warrior.
"Eh?" Summer Rose muttered, the look of confusion on her face not hidden at all. How did she end up in this situation? She had initially gone on a nightly stroll around the neighbourhood with Mordred and came back to this strange girl standing in front of her home.
And why was there a large suitcase behind her?
"Please let me become your apprentice!" Cinder pleaded once more, this time getting onto her knees. Those words were drilled into her head by her Queen and further implanted by Watts. She had to succeed! They made it very clear that she would have no home to come back to should she fail.
"Um…" Summer felt internally giddy at the thought of having someone follow in her footsteps. But she still had many years in her and wasn't ready to have a student yet. Plus, the world still needed to be saved from Salem! And also…
She looked to the side to see Mordred hiding behind a tree, their eyes glowing in the night. They were frantically shaking their head.
"Please let me become your apprentice!"
Summer walked up the steps and unlocked the door. "I'm sorry, but I'm currently not looking for an apprentice right now. Please go home, I'm sure your parents must be worried about you – ah!"
Cinder latched onto Summer's legs. Her inner dam of emotions finally broke. "Please, I'm begging you! I've been waiting the whole night for you, Ms. Rose! I have nowhere to go!"
"Are you crying?!"
"sniff…sniff…I got lost in the city trying to find you. All my lien got pickpocketed. I haven't eaten anything since yesterday. When…sniff…when I finally found your home, I was so happy! I tried to knock, but you didn't answer. I waited, I waited for so long. And then the police came and tried to arrest me for suspicious behaviour! I had to hide in a dumpster, and then I got attacked by raccoons! WAAAHHH!"
Summer's entire body shivered. She felt Cinder's snot and tears trailing down her leg. Her story sounded so ridiculous and yet her sadness told another story altogether. She thought of her past. The hardships she had to go through, the pain she had to endure. Cinder's tears reminded Summer of herself when she was her age. She searched into her heart and made her decision.
Mordred wasn't going to be happy with her. It's going to take a lot of belly rubs for them to forgive her for this.
"I…I travelled across Remnant to get to you. I had to endure being eaten by giant toads and being slimed! I want you to teach me how to become strong like you! Please! I'll follow you to the ends of Remnant!"
Summer opened the door. She moved forward and ended up dragging Cinder into her home.
Finally, Summer spoke, "Okay."
"What…?" She stared up at Summer through flooded eyes. A trail of snot hung down her nose.
Summed bent down and brushed away a stray strand away from Cinder's face. "You can become my apprentice."
Phase one of the Queen's plan was a success!
"Do…do you really mean it? Do you really think that…that someone like me…?
Huh? Why was she still crying? These weren't the crocodile tears that she had rehearsed.
These were genuine tears. Uncontrollable honest tears.
Cinder didn't understand!
And as Summer brushed those tears away, Cinder stared into the face of the strongest huntress alive. It was then that Cinder realized why she was crying.
Her words gave her strength. Her warm, gentle smile alone had melted her frozen heart. The way her silver eyes radiated in the moonlight, it was almost as if she was staring into the face of a goddess.
Not some…some…faker like Salem!
This was the face of an actual, living, goddess.
Summer Rose was a genuine goddess!
And what Summer would say next would completely thrust Cinder Fall into an unimaginable world of wonder and awe.
"You can become a hero."
The Hero's Apprentice
There! Are you satisfied now? Did you get enough of a fix?! WRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!