Chapter III :

- Test ground : Mithril forest. -

"Yo, you got anything new over there?"

"No, just same stuff that we've been looking at for the past hours, what in the world are we even looking for anyway?"

"Can't really tell, command just said to be on the look out of anything suspicious, probably some idiot from that faunus terrorist group trying to pull some dirty job."

"Damn animals, I say we just roll into their main base in the Edelweiss and BOOM, blast them back to the stoneage."

"Yeah and technically invade another nation in the process? You are one smart motherfucker ain't ya."

"I don't see the problem, if they ain't with us then they're terrorist sympathizer, beside, you really think they will pose any real threat, they're still pretty much savages fighting with stick and stones."

"I'd really like too see you bring this up in front of the Commander,…"

"Just you wait, I'll climb through the ranks and eventually…"



Toward the front of the two soldiers, strange rustling noise, similar to that of a moving creature was coming from the bushes ahead. As they cock back their rifles and began approaching the source of the sound, it suddenly disappear. They made it pass the foliage that was blocking their view, arriving at a small open ground. Everything was quiet then, nothing but the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind and the occasional bird chirping in the distance. All in all, just another similar sight in the Mithril forest.

"Hmm, strange, I was sure there was something here. James, radio command just incase, report that…."

Before the soldier could finish his sentence, a large silhouette flew in from his side. As it struck the soldier, the silence of the forest was replaced by the should of the meat and bones tearing and breaking, as his entire upper body begins to move upward and separate from its lower half. The force of the impact was so great that the legs were the bodiless legs were left still standing, blood spurting out of the expose flesh and organs up top. A couple of seconds goes passed before the legs finally collapse from the lost of commanding system, spilling out its content and staining the rest of the cargo pants it had on with a crimson shade.

The remaining soldier, who went by the name of James, couldn't even register what had happened yet. As the blood from what was left his former partner splatted against his face and mouth, he registered its distinctive metallic taste. Then, just as his partner's limb took seconds to collapse, it took only a little bit longer for the soldier to fall down against the ground and recoiled in horror of what was in front of him. As his eyes moved from the still-twitching corpse in front of him to the surrounding environment, he spotted it. A large mass of mud that bore strange human teeth around the rim of what was seemingly his mouth. It had an terrifying grin on as it begins to devour the top half of its victim, the sound of flesh and bones against its teeth mixed with the bits of intestine and blood dripping down along its jaw creating an ominous and grotesque sight for the one who was starring at it. After finishing its meal, its attention now turned toward the remaining prey. James was utterly terrified. Years of intense training under the SRED now seemingly useless, as the death seemed ever so close to him at that moment. But perhaps, it hasn't gone all to waste, as for a split second, he regained his senses and quickly pick up his riles to fire at the soldier. The sound of machine gun fire and bullet cases falling rung out through the entire area, yet the creature didn't stop. Any bullets that hit him, were just absorbed into the muddy mass

BAM BAM BAMM *click * click *

As the final bullets left the barrel of the gun, the creature accelerated towards James. Realizing his end, the soldier, move his hand to alert the rest of the force:

"Command ! This is team 0-2-4-2, Hostile threat at Section Delta 23… ARGHHHH!"

The communication device fell onto to the dirt as the creature consumed its prey, the noise of the operator from the other alternate with static :

"This …. **buzz ***command…..2-4-2 …..plea… repeat…..."

- Test ground : Over the sky of Mithril forest –

Team LIN and the other teams, all sat in their own individual carrier as they arrived at the edge of Mithril forest. Each member was about to begin a final check and prep of their equipment when professor Glynda appeared on the screen on board.

"Team LIN, please listen carefully , I'll now hand you your objective for today's test. Team leader, it is crucial for you to remember this information as it will not be repeated again at any point."

Izetta , Len and Nina all gathered around in front of screen. Their eyes and ears now focused.

"You will be task with cooperating with team STAR to take down a reported Nevermore nest in the eastern section of the forest. The exact coordinates of the next will be split on to 2 different scrolls, one given to you and one to team STAR. You will need to get the rest of the missing information from each other. Once obtained, you are to immediately move to exterminate the nest. In both the tasks of gathering the coordinates and taking down the Grimm, you may choose to either cooperate, or compete with team STAR, but please keep in mind that the first team to take down the Nevermore and make it back will be the winner. Your time limit will be 4 hours."

Izetta gulps at the amount of information she had to take in, as well as the hard decisions they will have to face later on when it comes to how they were going to deal with the opposing team. However, she was calmed by a reassuring tap from Nina, and a enthusiastic thumbs up from Len. Whatever might happen, she was sure that with the help of her teammate, they would overcome it.

"You will now be given two scrolls, one contains the coordinates, as well as a map of the area and radio connecting you and team STAR. The other is the emergency beacon mentioned in the ceremony. I wish you good luck, and may the best team wins."

With that, professor Glynda, disappeared from screen, just as the carrier was touching down at a open patch of ground of the forest.

"That's it kids, this is your place, go , go , go."

The sound of the pilot filtered through the overhead speaker, rushing them out of the carrier. As team LIN landed on the grassy surface of their LZ, the carrier immediately lifted off and disappeared over the tree line, along with the ear-bursting noise of its jet engine. Izetta took a deep breath of the air now around her. Her ears perks at the sounds of the wind passing through the thick trees ahead and of the birds that flew over her. Now, their test finally begins.

"Alrighty , man, I really need a stretch for my butt after that plane ride, what are we doing red ?"

"Hmm…We'll need to make contact with team STAR eventually to get the coordinates, do you guys think we should work with them?

"If my memories serve me correctly, I heard they are a very capable team, especially their leader, Siyena Milakova. We trained under the same teacher as children so I can attest for her combat abilities, as well as her integrity if we choose to cooperate. However, I do not know about the other members."

"I say just to be safe, we go in friendly, and if they turn on us, we'll beat their ass!"

Len confidently chirped as he finished his stretch.

Izetta had one arm folded while the other rubs the side of her temple, trying to come up with a correct course of action for her team. It is at time like this that she wondered why she was chosen as leader, when Nina would have obviously been a far better choice for it. But it was no time to be wondering about such matters now, she had ben entrusted with the responsibility of getting her team through and she intends to accomplished to the best of her ability. Suddenly, one of the scrolls in her pocket begins to vibrate. As she took it out, a young girl suddenly appears on the screen, causing Izetta to be so startled that she almost dropped it. The young girl looks to be the same age as Nina and Len. She had long platinum hair that was tied into a beautiful braided, that draped over one side of her shoulder. Her eye were a clear vivid blue, similar to that of her brother and her soft pinkish lips clashes again her almost porcelain-like skin. She was extremely beautiful.

"Ah! You must be Izetta Arc of team LIN, I'm team STAR's leader, Siyena Milakova, its an honour to meet you."

Flustered by the royal-like figure in front of her, Izetta just quickly bowed busted out the lines of thoughts that was going through her head:

"P-p-p-please marry me your highness !"


"uhh….." ARGHHH die die die you stupid stupid girl, why are you a lesbian all of a sudden! WAHHH This is so embarrassing. Izetta just firmly closed her eyes and hope for the whole ordeal to disappear. But then, she was caught off-guard by a soft giggle coming from the girl in front of her.

"hihi… I see you leader is as very bit surprising as you said she was, Nina"

"Yes, she is quite the girl isn't she…hehe"

"I…pftt…. never know you had a thing for girls red, its kinda hot, pftt….HAHAHA"

"NO NO NO, that's not what I mean !" That's it , I may as well drop out now….

While Izetta was recovering from the whole situation under the "consolation" of Len, Nina turn her attention back to the white hair huntress on screen.

"Now what did you contact us Siyena."

"We're looking for cooperation of course."

Hearing this, both Izetta and Len came back to their senses and gather around the screen to get down to business.

Siyena continued.

"The coordinates, aside, A nest full of Nevermore, are too much for either of our team to handle alone. If we work with each other and take down at the same time, then the school will have no choice but to pass us both, especially say if each team were take out the same amount of Grimm. Therefore, I propose we meet up at an agreed location to exchange the coordinates and move towards the nest together."

Nina and Izetta ponder fro a moment before the offer before them. But Len swooped in from the side.

"How do we know this is not some fancy plan in order catch us of guard for you guys to take all the glory."

"The Milakova is an honourable family of knights. We're smart but we're not without integrity. I can swear on my family's name that if you choose to help us, we will return the favour to the best of or abilities."

"She's right Len, you've been around me long enough to know this, tradition and honour matters a lot to those like us. I believe we can trust them". Nina added in after hearing her friend's reasoning.

"hmmm… I don't know, I still have my doubts, but what ya think red?"

All eyes now turned on Izetta, who after a few moment of hesitation, finally made up her mind.

"We'll cooperate with team STAR. As she said, a full nest of Nevermores are too much for one team to handle. With larger numbers, we can take them out more effectively and more quickly as well. On top of that, it means that none of us has failed and repeat the past 3 years."

"Very well"

"Cool things red, but I'm still gonna keep my eyes out for you, your highness"

"That won't be a problem. Then might I suggest the location we should meet up. There's a cave entrance near the edge of the hill area in the North Eastern section of the forest. We're already on our way there. I'll send you the coordinates to it now. We'll meet up with you there."

"Okay, we're on our way"

"We look forward to it" Siyena gave one last smile before disappearing from the screen of the scroll.

Izetta stood up and let out a breathe of relief and turned towards her teammate. Her eyes now fierce and focused, casting a smile on both her teammates as they return it with grins of their own. They all share nod in agreement before finally setting off in the direction of the meeting point.

- SRED's airship SnowFlower , over the sky of Mithril forest –

Jaune entered the observation deck of the air ship where many of New Beacon and SRED personnel were monitoring the test down below. Dodging pass the numerous officers crossing back and forth between his path, Jaune finally reached the very front of the deck, where stood New Beacon's headmaster Oscar Pine, as well as head Professor Glynda Goodwitch. Beside them was an odd little group, consisting of 3 individuals, all dressed in what look like extremely hi-tech Atlesian battle armour. Their faces were fully covered by their helmets so Jaune couldn't tell if they were man or woman. Each of them carried their own unique weapon, one was a sniper rifle, one a large hammer, and one a cleaver like blade.

"Ah Jaune there you are, let me introduced to you. These are the member of SRED's Task force I, Alpha, Charlie and Omega, the finest troopers within the Atlesian military. They are here to provide security support for today's event."

Oscar then turned toward the group.

"And I believe you need no introduction to this man right here"

"Of course not sir" A woman's voice came from the soldier in the front, her arm reaching out towards Jaune.

"It's a honour to finally meet you Mr. Arc. Your contributions to the battle against the Grimm are nothing short of legendary. Both Commander Schnee and Agent Rose spoke very highly of you."

Jaune was almost taken aback by the honorifics of the soldier before him. He still had never quite gotten used to being called "hero" or "legend" after all this time. But, not to be rude to the people in front of him, he quickly return the gesture.

"Likewise… Do you know Ruby as well ?"

"Yes sir, Agent Rose leads or team in special operations, and even trained some of the men as well."

"I see… how is she doing"

"…. She's getting better sir,… Her attitude remained as cheery as ever, but it will still be sometime before she can get back to her full capabilities. In the meantime, we are determined to locate this beast and enact some much needed payback for our leader."

"Right, we're counting on you then Alpha"


Jaune felt a slight relief in his chest. Occupied with his position in beacon, neither him nor Oscar has had the time to visit their old friend, to support her through these difficult times. It was good to known then that she is surrounded by people who seems to care for her. Jaune attention now turned back to the forest below

"How are they doing Oz?"

"Well so far everything is going smoothly, but, we did received this transmission just before the students arrived at the testing grounds, here."

As he finished his sentence, Oscar opened up an audio file on one of the monitors next to them.


"The team that was designated with this frequency ID has not been responding in. We managed to trace the last signal to a cave entrance here in section Delta 2326."

Professor Glynda then continued : "We don't know if this is just another regular Grimm, or the new-type. That is why we're called you here. You and Task force I are to investigate this lead and report back with any information you find. If it is the new-type, you are too immediately retreat and call for re-enforcement, as well as bring back any students you might encounter. Is that clear?"

"Yes ma'am"

Oscar, whose eyes were serious ands focused, now turned to face Jaune.

"Jaune, the most important thing fro us is to keep the students safe, can I trust you with that ?"

"No problem Oz"

"That's good to hear, now off you go, the sooner we can clear this mystery the better."

With that Jaune and the members of Task Force I left for the hangar bay. Now alone by himself, Oscar closed his eyes for a moment to think about all the possible scenarios that may come. When he open his eyes again, they were not the same as the one that faced Jaune before.

"Professor Glynda, what if ,… the worst really happened. How would I deal with it?"

Glynda just softly smile and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder.

"I don't know, no one can't really tell, but we'll be here to support you dear, and besides, you still have that wise fool in your head to help you out no?"

"I guess you're right, thanks professor."

- Testing ground – Mithril forest.

"URGHHHHH,… are we there yet, my legs are killing me ! We've been walking for over an hour!"

"Be quiet you bum, you don't see me or Izetta complaining now do you?"

"Well you guys don't have carry around this giant-ass sword now do ya"

"And who is the idiot that pick it to be his weapon in the first place?! It would be badass he said. I'll be like that blonde guy he said."

Nina's and Len's heads were pressed against each other, their eyes full of murder for the one opposite them. Izetta ignored the spat of the couple behind her as they moved passed a large bush into an open area. Then, appearing right in front of her the cave entrance they have been searching for.

"Guys there it is!"

Izetta excitement snapped the couple's attention back to the sight before them. The cave entrance was big, slightly larger than the size of a Atlesian's Paladin. Its placement within this area of open flat land, made its aura seems even more prominent. There was total darkness inside, suggesting that the cave itself was quite deep. If anything, it looked straight out of a horror novel Izetta used to read as kid.

"* whitsle* Would you look at that, you think anything is in there ?"

"The chances are high, hideouts like this just scream to be a Grimm's hidden nest. We best avoid going in if not necessary."

Izetta scanned the area around her, then she noticed something.

"Guys,… where's team STAR.?"

Nina and Len now aware of the missing team as well, also looked at the environment around them.

"Perhaps, we arrived first ?"

"No they were already on their way when we set off. Since they chose this location they should have arrived before"

"Or maybe, her highness is hiding around somewhere and is waiting for an ambush!" Len exclaimed as he draw his greatsword into a battle stand.

"No If she was planning to ambush us, she would have done so by now."

"Then where the heck is she then! I thought you vouched for this chick Nina?"

The dark-hair huntress, slightly annoyed at her partner, were quick to spat back.

"Oh? Are you calling me a liar" Her eyes were like daggers, piercing straight into the deepest core of Len's soul, causing him to recoiled a bit.

"No ma'am, my utter most apologies ma'am."

"Yeah that's right, anyways, let's try contacting them through the scroll."

Nina pulled out the device of her side back and begins to communicate to the members of the other team.

"Hmmm….this is strange"

"What's up"

"Its going through, but no one is picking up."


Their head turned toward the voice of their leader, who was crouching down at a patch of ground along the edge of the cave entrance. As they moved closer towards, they realized the reason Izetta had called them over."


All of them stood in silence as their mind immediately raced towards the worst possible scenario for the missing team STAR. Izetta's simply gulped at horrifying sight before her. The blood splatter was large and went up the sides of the cave entrance as well. From its vibrant colour, one can tell that it was fresh. Behind it, a long trail of the same crimson liquid led into the cave.

"What do we do" Izetta turned to Nina for counsel. Her mind now troubled by the sight.

"I don't know, we don't know for sure what had happened yet, but I it is exactly what we think."

"Do you think is the Grimm"

"Almost certain, beside us students, there's no other threats beside Grimm."

"But what should we do ?! I mean, they can be seriously injured, we need to help them."

"I'm with red"

"No no guys, team STAR are an exceptional team of huntsmen and huntresses, if they can't handle what attacked them, how do you think we can. We need to find a way to contact the tutors and send in a rescue team of some sort."

"But how can we?!"

"Well,… there's the scroll"

All of them turned toward the second scroll that was in Izetta's pocket. At this point Len's immediately countered the proposition.

"Are you nuts, push that button and we failed remembered?! What if there's actually nothing there then, we would have to repeat the years for nothing !"

"And what if there is something then ?!"


Len's teeth grinded against each other as he ruffled his hair in frustration. Izetta who by this time had been quiet, now chimed in.

"I think we should go in"



"Len's right Nina, if there is nothing, then it would have been for nothing. But if they are injured and we left them while waiting for back up, its no less different then kill them ourselves."


"We can do this Nina, if we can beat it, then we can at least rescue them from whatever is in there."


"Come on Nina, this is our chance to be real heroes ! Like we dreamt off when we were kids !"

"OHhhh FINE ! Siyena is a close friend anyway and I'll be damned if I tarnish the Hildenberg name by running away!"

Izetta breathe a sign of relief

"Thank you Nina"

And with that, team LIN entered the mysterious cave, weapons readied in hand and steeling themselves for what they may face inside.

- Testing ground – over the sky of Mithril forest.

Jaune and Task Force I stood on board the moving carrier heading towards the cave's location. His mind was now thinking about how his little sister was handling herself in the forest below, as he prayed for the worst possible situation not to happen to her. However, his line of thoughts was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. The source of tap came from one of the Task force I's member, Omega, if his memories served him right.

"Sir, I'd just like to know, since you're friend with them and all, what was commander Schnee and Agent Rose like when they were young?"

"Omega, lock it down" The stern voice of Alpha came from behind him.

"Oh come on sis, I know you want to know as much as I do, it is commander Schnee's past we're talking here!"

"I concur" said Charlie, the remaining member of the task force.

"We're on a mission, and It is rude to intrude into the private …."

"Its alright Alpha, I don't mind. Ruby was pretty the way she is now, energetic, enthusiastic, and a total weapon-freak. Weiss on the other hand, was quite difficult at first, as she was quite snobby, you know, being an heiress and all. I don't even remember how many times I was shot down while I was flirting with her."

That last quote pitched the interest of even the stoic Alpha of Task force I.

"YOU FLIRT WITH THE COMMANDER ? How in the hell did you survive?"

"I just did ?"

"Charlie you getting this?!"


Jaune just let out a laugh of his own from the closeness of what was a very dangerous and very professional military force, and from the wave of nostalgia that was hitting him as he recalled the past.

"Well yeah, we were regular teens doing what regular teens do, the only difference is we were training to fight Grimm at the same time. But then the fall of Beacon happened, and then Salem, and we didn't get to be teens anymore."

The interior of the aircraft now filled with silence. It's a feeling that all of them share, Task force I being raised in the periods of destruction that followed the end of Salem. Omega, undoubtedly realized his mistake in asking what he shouldn't had were the first to speak up.

"I'm sorry sir,… for asking."

Alpha and Charlie watched in silence from behind.

"It's okay soldier, we all have matured from the past now. Pain and lost is just another process in becoming a "hero" you know? But what matter is that we have to always keep searching that new thing we want to protect and cared for, because more than any aura or weapons we may possessed, that is the true source of our power."


"I can see why you went into teaching sir."

Alpha voice was gentle and understanding.

Jaune just looked back at the soldier with an embarrassed smile as her rub the back of his head.

However, just as the atmosphere in the cabin was warming up, an emergency messaged appeared on the monitor inside. When the team gathered to investigate, Oscar appeared on screen:

"Jaune, we lost contact with one of the student team and received an emergency beacon activation from another, it's your sister's…."

Jaune eyes widen at the news.


"Its…at the cave"

Jaune quickly ran up into the cockpit and screamed at the pilots.

"Get us there now ! as quick as you can."

"Y-yes sir"

As Jaune's grip on the pilots seat tightens,…his heart was racing to point of wanting to fall out of his chest. His worst nightmare was becoming true. And all Jaune can do now is pray that he arrives before its too late.

Hold on Izetta…please.

- Testing ground – within the cave – 30 minutes earlier

"Damn its dark in here, hey red, you see anything down there?"

"No nothing yet"

"Just keep an eye out you two, anything can come at us in any angle."

As team LIN followed the trail of blood, they were led deeper and deeper into the cave. Apart from the shining beam of their flashlight, the entire cave was drowned in utter darkness. From what they can see, it was even larger than they had expected. The ground of the cave consisted of a fairly open rocky terrain, with the occasion stalagmite rising here and there. As they travelled deeper into it, the stalagmite begins increasing in number, before appearing as a sea of point silhouettes that complete surround the two sides of the path. The trail finally ended in a open section that has several individual pools of blood that was splattered throughout. It seems like they had reached a dead end.

"Guys the trail stopped… what now."

"We haven't encountered any Grimm as well"

"Seriously, where the heck are these guys, this place is giving me the heebie jeebies."

" Shsh ! Quiet, Izetta , try ringing up their scroll again, it should vibrate if the call is going through, and if they are in this area, we should be able to hear it. "


Izetta shuffled through her bag to take out the scroll. Just as she were about to hit the button, she turned to the others and signaled for their weapons:

"We don't know what other creatures it will draw in as well so be prepare. Okay here we go. !"

As Izetta's finger pressed down on the screen, they all stood in complete silence, listening out for any noise they might here.


"Do you hear that ?"


"Its coming from behind that rock there"

As Izetta turned the corner of the rock, she spotted it – a flashing scroll, belong to team STAR … held onto by what seems like a severed arm of a person. The gory image caused Izetta to jump backed in horror, falling down to ground as Len rushed in to catch her. As Len turns toward the direction Izetta was starring at, he too spotted the severed arm and immediately turned blue from the sight. He was afraid of what it might suggested had happened to the ill-fated team STAR. As he held on to the now shaking Izetta , eyes remained firm on the arm, he signaled towards his other partner.

"N-nina,…get over here"


"Nina, c-come on"


Frustrated by the lack of response we turn his head towards the direction of the girl.

"What the hell are you doing ?"

Nina was standing still, her eyes filled with shock, her mouth slightly agape, her shoulders visibly shaking. As Len's and Izetta's follow the girl's light beam toward the ceiling of the cape, they discovered a scene that was ripped straight from hell.

A body was stuck against the cave ceiling – a young woman. She was held on to by a formation stalactites that pierced several area of the torso, head, and legs, the one through her stomach causing her internal organ to fell out and dangle above ground. Her limbs were twisted in unnatural ways, appearing to be the results of broken bones though extreme force trauma. Even with a stalactite pierced through half her face, one can still see the large dead look-looking appearance of the remaining eye, as here mout stood agape, perhaps from the shock of an instant death. However, the most important detail of all was her hair. It was a familiar platinum white.

"Siyena…" Nina whimpered out the words as she fell on her knees before the scene. Her shock only interrupted by the scream of Izetta who was shining a light at the surrounding stalagmite. Slowly, they began to make out the different odd shapes among the formation, an arm, then a leg, pieces of clothing, armor and flesh that litters the ground of the rocky terrain. All of it was too much for the 14-year-old huntress who could not hold back any longer and begins to vomit out what little breakfast she had earlier. Len and Nina, didn't fair much better, as they struggled to hold back the sickening feeling at the grotesque display in front of them. After what seems like an eternity of silence, Len finally were the first to speak out.

"what in the world could have done this"

"* sniff * I don't know… but we need to get out of here ,…now" Nina did her best to hold back the tears as her mind keeps jumping back to the image of her friend who was dangling above her. She quickly turns to her shaken leader and traced her hand in a circular motion on the red-head girl's back.

"Izetta, we need to go, as soon as possible"

Izetta who now had tear streaming along the side of her cheeks only managed to let out a small whimper and a nod, before being held up by her partner.

"You got her Nina ? come on , go on first , I'll cover your rear"

As Nina attention returns to her other partner, her expression filled with horror at the large black mass that had form behind Len. Its teeth twisted in a sicken grin as its mouth slowly open in preparation to crush its target. Without a second to spare, Nina dropped Izetta down on the ground as she blasted toward the creature at break-neck speed, her sword and gauntlet full drawn out.


Hearing her warnings ,Len quickly turned around, only to face the jaws of the beast coming down towards him. And then,


Everything went black for a second. Len got up from the ground, his head now aching from the impact it had with the rugged surface. As his consciousness finally returned, he discovered Nina lying on top of him, pinning him down against the floor. After a good shaking, the girl finally came back to her senses. As she saw Len lying underneath, a wave of emotion rushed through her mind,relief, joy, then anger.

"You idiot, be more aware of your surrounding !"

"I'm sorry, come on lets go" Len laughed as he held the girl up. But just as he was about to grab the sides of the girl, something felt off. When they both looked down, a horrific realization had dawn on the both of them : Nina's right arm was fully bitten of. As the blood start spurting down along her uniform, staining both her and Len's, the sound of the muddy beast's teeth crunching down on something rung around the cave. Finally, the pain settled in, as Nina let out an agonizing scream. Len was in full panic mode, he didn't know what to do or even what was going on anymore. It was then that suddenly, two plasma beam blasted across the space and ended up right in the jaws of the beast, causing a huge explosion. As the beast wailed, Izetta ran up toward her partners, the smoking coming off of Silver Ray's barrel.

"Len you carry Nina and go now ! I already called in the beacon. I'll cover you guys"

Izetta's words snapped Len back to reality as he picked up Nina and began running towards the cave's exit. Izetta quickly followed behind as she fired several more shots at the beast in an attempt to damage him. It was working , however not in the way she intended. The beast wailed in pain as the plasma ray impact against it, causing it to turn into a frenzy and quickly gained pace towards the trio.

As they made around one-third of the way, Izetta foot was caught on one of cracks on the floor, causing her to fall down. Before she could even react, muddy tentacles from the dark space behind her shot up at incredible speed and wraps around her entire lower half. Izetta then feels herself being pull towards the beast's direction, holding on for her life to a piece of stalagmite that was near her. Just as her fingers were about to give out from the force, Nina shot past her and slice the tentacle clean off.


"You heard the lady , come on red"

Len cut of the rest of the muddy piece from Izetta, and held her up from the ground. Nina then turns back to her enemy, held up her gauntlet and shot out 3 blue dust-filled canisters. As they flew towards the beast, she slashed her blade from side to side, creating two crescent shape beams that flew behind the . As it struck the end of each canister, the impact cause the dust-charge inside to explode, creating an explosion of ice that froze an entire section of the cave, causing the beast to get stuck within.

"That should buy us some time" Nina let out a breath as she turned around towards her partners.

"Come on we should…"

Nina felt an intense pain in her stomach. As she looked down, she discovered a muddy blade, piercing through her. The shape of the blade looked familiar to her, as it had mirrored her own. When she turn around to face what was behind her, her eyes widen in horror as she faced a muddy figure that looked nearly identical to her. It had a disturbing grin on its face as it pull out the sword from her stomach and proceeded to stab it again and again and again. Nina couldn't scream, she was to shock by the sight to scream. The lost of blood now slowly takes hold of her as she fell down on her knees.

"NINA" Len scream towards her, as Izetta could do nothing but held up her hands to cover her gasp. Everything had happened to quickly.

For a brief moment, Nina managed to register the scream of her partner. Tears that were welled up in her eyes now broke out like a dam, fall down against the side of her cheeks. Everything begins to flash in her mind. She saw herself back in her kid-self , sitting in her mansion's garden. Beside her sat a small boy with chestnut colour hair. The boy turned towards her and flashed a bright smile, as he uttered something that caused the heat in her cheeks to rose.

You're the best princess ever Nina, so I'm gonna train even harder so I can be your prince when we grow up.

"Len…" a small whimpered came out of the girl, before her entire body collapsed against the floor.

Nina Hildenberg, was dead.

"No….no… no… Nina…..this…" Len couldn't find the strength in his legs anymore, as he collapsed on his knee before the lost of his love.

"this is not real…this is not real…This…is ….". The boy broke down in the middle of his denial, his cry echoed through the entire cave.

Izetta couldn't held it in as well, her whimper came through even as she tried her hardest to cover it with the hands.

As the two was dealing with their lost, the muddy beast broke through the icey entrapment and caught up to where they were. The muddy figure that stabbed Nina, now morphed into a tentacle and merged with the main body of the beast. It the grabbed the body of the dead huntress and began raising toward it's opening jaw. Seeing this, any grief that was left in Len turn into pure fury, his eye turned sharp with murderous vibe as he took out his greatsword.


"No Len! S-t"

Before Izetta could stop him, Len charged toward the beast in a frenzy, his sword flashed as lightning-like sparks came of it. He took a great swing at the tentatcle that was holding up Nina, only to be block by another. Drowned in his raging frenzy, he failed to notice another tentacle coming up from the side and swatted him against the wall of the cave causing him to spurt out a great deal of blood from the impact.

"Len! NO" Izetta desperate cry failed to reach the critically injured huntsman, as he fell onto the ground from the impact point on the wall. Against all odds, he gathered all the remaining strength he had left to propped up his sword, pulling his battered body with it. Len let out a deep breath, as he raised his sword up at the beast, his eyes still filled with fury and determination.

"I'll…be …damned…..I lose to that much."

It was all a misguided hope.

Another tentacle quickly charged towards Len. He managed to dodge its attack, only to be flanked again by another on. This one though got hold of the base of the boy's leg and slammed his entire body against the wall. However, having learn from its experience just a couple of minutes before, It continued to hold on to the boy's legs as it repeatedly slammed him from wall to wall over and over again. After a couple of minutes, the tentacle now finally dragged the lifeless body of Len from the ground and lifted it up in the air, causing his grip in the sword to loosen and dropping it entirely. His face now bloodied from the blunt force trauma, as his eyes rolled back inside of his head.

Izetta couldn't comprehend anymore. She just watched her two best friends and teammate being brutally murdered in front of her. Now, the only she could do is watch them being consumed by the monster in front of her. Fear, sadness, pain,… all contained within the streams of liquid that was streaming down her face. Her body shook heavily, her heart banging against her chest like it wanted to jump out. She fought to gather all the strength she has to lift up her gun and aimed at the creature, who has now taken notice of her. She knew that this was probably her last chance to survive. Mess this up and she won't be able to go back home anymore. Images of life flashed before her eyes, her parents, their old house, Beacon her friends and teacher. Dearest of all, she remembered the image of her brother. She wondered how he would react if she dies. Who will take care of him then if she wasn't around anymore. Then her tears stops as she remember the last moment they shared with each other

" I'll forgive you if you promise to buy me cake at that new bakery in town."

"And you promise to be safe today okay"


That's right, I did promise him that didn't I, what good is a sister if she can't keep her promises, he sure will make do chores all week to make up for it.. As her survival instinct kicked in, Izetta found a source of strength to stabilize her aim.

Her eyes now cleared of the tears, she took aim at the beast. Scanning around for a location to hit, her vision locked on to the gauntlet of Nina's body, as something sparked in her head. With one last breath, She closed her eyes to brace her soul for what may comes. As she opened them again, the beast tentacles flew towards her. Her finger clamed down on the cold metal trigger of Silver Ray , letting a bright beam of plasma towards its intended target.

The beam hit.

The intense heat of the plasma, melted the reinforced structure of the gauntlet, causing the beam to broke the dust canister holder. The ruptured triggered a chain reaction within all of the canisters that was held inside. A humongous explosion occurred causing the entire cave to shake violently and begin to collapse down onto everything that was inside. As rocks and debris fell around her. Izetta just smiled to herself.

Looks I won't be able to keep our promises after, big brother.

Then, blackness.

- New Beacon Infirmary – 3 days after the incident.

Izetta stared at the white ceiling of a hospital room. The only prominent was that the heart monitor, creating a constant beat that goes on and on. Her mouth felt dried. Her body was aching all over. She felt slightly drowsy, as if she had just woken up from a very long sleep. She gathered enough strength to push herself up right. She noticed besides her a the teddy bear that she had always kept in her room. However, there was something even more surprising. She felt a warm grip on her left hand. When she turn her to it's direction, her eyes widen at the figure at the side of her bed. It was Jaune.

He had dark bags under his eyes, his hair thoroughly disheveled. He was sleeping soundly against her hospital bed, his hand holding to her as he do. Izetta didn't believe what was in front of her. She just stared intently at the figure of her brother as if she was looking at a strange exotic animal. Then Jaune eyes flutter open. As he rose up from his sleeping poster, his eyes met the emerald orbs of his now awoken sister. This shocked him so much that I caused him to recoiled back and fell flat against the room floor. He now too stared at Izetta in amazement.

"Izi…?" His voice slightly trembled

"Izi… IZI…you're back. YOU'RE BACK"

Jaune couldn't contain his emotions as he rush in with a big bear hug, only to let go after he realize it could cause his sister pain.

"Big brother ?"

"Yes, I'm here."

"But … I died…"

" No you didn't Izi"

- Testing ground , mysterious cave. –



"Well that's should get us through"

"Well done Omega"

Omega raised his thumb as he propped down his hammer against the floor. A large explosion has cause the inner section of the cave to partially collapse as Jaune and Task force I entered. However, determined to rescue the students inside, each of them begins to work through the rubble to get into the inner area. As time passed, back up from New Beacon arrived with heavy-duty machinery to clear out the rest.

"Right, TF I, follow in behind instructor Arc, worker, follow in behind him. Once there spread out in 3-men group and begin searching for survivors, keep within eye-sight of each other at all time, we don't know if the thing that cause the explosion is still down there. Move in"

As the group duck through the opening they had made, they was met with a sight that came of a fantasy movie. The entire cave was frozen in a blue layer of ice that sparkled as their flash light struck it. The stalagmite that was on the sides of the cave now looked like large shards of sapphire coming up from the ground.

"Wow…" Omega exclaimed before the beautiful scenery in front of him.

"Keep it together Omega"

"Sorry sis."

Jaune couldn't quite believe in his own eyes as well. But any thought of marveling the beauty that was in front of him, were quickly drowned out by his desire to look for his sister. And so, the rescue begins to spread out, turning everything piece of stones and debris they see. After an hour of searching, a discovery was finally made.

"Oi over here" Charlie signaled the rest to his position.

As Jaune moved passed the ground that was gathering, his eyes teared up at the figure that was lying underneath the soldier. It was Izetta

"Izetta!" He rushed toward her sides.

After doing some initial scan on her body, Charlie report the information he had to Jaune.

"She's has level 3 damages to her left shoulder and right leg, as well as some internal bleeding around her liver, and she is suffering from hypothermia from all the ice here. We're lucky that this large piece of boulder here block most the smaller debris from hitting any of the vital organs. She'll survive but we need to get her to a hospital right now before the bleeding cause anymore damage."

"I understand, can I leave the rescue effort to you then"

"Copy that sir"

As Izetta was carried on board the carrier, Jaune never left her sides. Using his semblance to stabilize her condition before arriving at the hospital. As the pair left, a rescue worker approached Alpha with a worrying look on his face.

"Ma'am , we found something that you really need to see…."

"… And that was pretty much the story. When we got to hospital , I worked with the doctors here to further improve your situation. But we didn't know when you would wake up. Thanks Remnant that you are now"

"You mean….this is real?"

"Yes Izi"

Izetta couldn't believe it. She had really done. She had survived. All her emotions now finally starting to break through as the tears start falling down her cheeks. Jaune was caught off guard at first but walked in to hug his sister tightly. As she cried Izetta gripped her brother's suit more and more tightly. She was afraid that if she let go now, then everything would disappear that she would wake up in that cave again. She bore her face deep into her brother's chest, craving for that warmth that had comfort her all this time. As she begins to recollect the memories of the tragedy that had passed, her mind flew passed the image of her former team member, and the tears flowed even harder. Between her sobs, words begin to slipped out.

"Jaune… Len… Nina….they , they… It's my fault, we should have stayed outside that damn cave….Its…my…."

Izetta hold tightly to his brother's arm as she coiled in pain. Looking over her, Jaune could barely contain his emotion as well. It reminded him of his own experience in the past, and how much pain he had to go through before overcoming it, only now to see the same thing happening to his dearest one. He didn't know what to do or what to say, the only he's sure of that he'll do anything to help his sister overcome this tragedy, first by, being there for her right now when needs him the most.

- Edelweiss, SRED HQ – 2 weeks later

"I am sorry about your sister Jaune"

"Don't worry about it Weiss, Izi is a strong girl like Ruby, she'll make it through"

"That's right, as the adults, our task now is to ensure this will never happen again,… I am not about let the lives of 6 of my best pupils to go to waste"

"It won't Oscar"

The trio left the elevator and walk out onto to an observation deck overlooking the containment room of the Edelweiss. In front of their view, the muddy beast, frozen in crystal blue ice.

"This is the first live specimen we've caught and it may hold the key yet to our future battles."

Weiss turns toward the two teachers behind her

"The real race starts now"

- END -