Welcome to another chapter of Grimm's Evolution. You all are probably surprised by this quick release, but if you read the AN in the last chapter you would know that this chapter was available on my discord server for over a week. Still, after chapter is a faster chapter.
Honestly, I don't have much to say so I will just thank you all for reading and invite you to join my discord server. New chapters are posted quicker on discord so if you like to be a few days faster than FFN then I welcome you all. Link below.
Discord Server: discord. gg/ b7JaQcpuc7 (Just delete the spaces.)
Chapter 14. Step by step
Qrow swung his sword at the incoming Arctic Beowulf and bisected it in half. A grin stretched on his face as he quickly transformed his weapon into its scythe form and in a whirlwind cut through another pack of Grimm. Even though life as a Hunter wasn't too easy, Qrow thoroughly enjoyed getting loose from time to time.
Nothing better than killing some Grimm to release some pent-up irritation and anger. And considering what was currently happening in Atlas, Qrow already gathered some of those emotions.
Of course, life could never be easy for him, and just as Qrow took another swing, he missed a step and almost got pierced by an incoming Sabyr. His lovely Semblance just couldn't let him have one fight without showing itself. Oh how Qrow would love to have anything else as a Semblance. Really, he would take shitting himself randomly over his misfortune any day, even when it helped him. At least that way Qrow could have a consistent fighting style...
"Get the hell away from me you overgrown cat," Qrow growled as the Sabyr type Grimm once again jumped towards him, claws ready.
Just when Qrow was prepared to block the attack and come up with a counter, a streak of rubble that probably came from the partially destroyed Mantel's defense wall, impacted the Grimm in the side. Qrow even winced a bit as the Sabyr got buried underground. He was at the end of this attack a few times, and he knew that the Grimm wouldn't be getting up again.
Looking to the side the Brawnen gave a mock bow to the blond woman waving her black riding crop, "Thanks Blondie, but I had this," she might have helped, but it didn't mean that Qrow couldn't have some fun. After all, it was Branwen's favorite pastime hobby to annoy Glynda Goodwitch.
The woman didn't give any outright reaction to Qrow's action and only shouted back, "Focus on the job Qrow. James' people should be here any minute."
Qrow rolled his eyes and cut through another offending Grimm. Leave it to Glynda to be always overly focused on the job. Especially when their current task barely made Qrow sweat. Oh, he didn't doubt that as soon as they finished here, he would wish that the only things he needed to fight against were the weak Grimm.
After all, a shiver ran through his spine every time he remembered the pictures of those turned by Merlot's virus. Fucking zombies — or at least that was what they decided to call them —, like they didn't have enough problems with Grimm and Salem.
Suddenly a loud screech echoed above them and Qrow's brow twitched as a pack of raptor-like Grimm with wings — Teryx — flew in their direction. He just had to think that their current enemies were easy.
Just the usual Monday eh, Qrow thought with a sigh before addressing his companion, "Think you can launch me towards them? No need to wait."
Glynda rolled her eyes but nodded non the less. Of course, she would have something against his perfect plan.
Shaking his head, Qrow transformed his scythe back into its sword form and rushed towards the steel plate that Glynda controlled with her Semblance.
The moment his feet touched the steel, he shouted, "Now!" And just like that Qrow's body flew toward the nearest Teryx, his sword already prepared for the impact.
The first Grimm lost its head before it could even react and the next two lost one of their wings, thus crash landing in the snowy plains below. Of course, Qrow wasn't done and as he neared the fourth Grimm, his scythe emerged once again as its blade found its target in the Teryx's back.
With one mighty swing, Qrow too landed on its back and took a second to scout the area around him.
Qrow already reduced the pack of Teryx to three members including the one he was currently riding. Below him, Glynda dealt with the remaining Grimm that decided to take their chances with the hole in the Mantle's walls that was created by an explosion during the Virus outbreak. All in all, their task here was almost finished if the approaching Bullhead in the distance was anything to go by.
Shrugging, Qrow cut off his mount's head and jumped towards the last two Teryx, his scythe at the ready.
Like previously the Grimm didn't stand a chance against an experienced Hunter and were dealt with before they even realized what was going on. Qrow would say that he didn't even break a sweat, but there was no reason to jinx himself, especially with 'Misfortune' as a Semblance.
Landing in a crouch next to Glynda, Qrow smirked, "I think that's it for us," he said pointing to the incoming Bullhead, "Guess Merlot is next."
Glynda pocketed her riding crop and turned to the same Bullhead that dropped them here an hour ago, "First we need to meet up with James and the new specialist to finally get debriefed on what's going on here. Ozpin didn't know much and I don't like going in blind."
Qrow snorted and took a sip from his flask, "Zombies... and here I thought that the mad Grimm lady will be the biggest surprise in my life."
The blond-haired woman glanced at the flask in Qrow's hand and almost growled, "You could try to refrain from drinking when on the job Qrow. If we want to find Merlot then you could at least try to remain sober."
With a shrug, Qrow pocketed his flash and watched as the Bullhead finally landed, "Hey, we all have our weird quirks. I have my trusty flask and you a perfectly normal riding crop as a weapon… Besides a wise person once said, a day without a drink-"
"Is a day lost," Glynda cut in, her eyes narrowed, "Yes I know Qrow. You like to remind me of it every time we meet. Now come, we have work to do."
Qrow chuckled and followed the fuming Goodwitch. Yeah, life was good even when shit like zombies walked on the streets of Mantle.
After a few hours of nothing but water below me, I got really tired of seeing it everywhere I looked. Thankfully just as my irritation reached the point where Gamer's mind almost activated, I spotted the frozen shores of Solitas on the horizon. Also if my vision didn't fail me then the black speck even further down the line should be the flying city of Atlas.
I squinted my eyes and tried to focus on the image before me...
Yep, that's Atlas. Can't see any details from here, but damn a flying city. You don't see those often, I thought slightly amused and pushed myself to fly even faster. At least the night was approaching so in a few hours I wouldn't need to care about anyone spotting me. Not that it would stop me. I had a job to do and the quicker I dealt with it, the sooner I could go back to Patch.
As the land below me turned into snowy and frozen plains I slowed my flight a bit.
Merlot was in a hidden base somewhere in Solitas and unfortunately, the base I raided didn't have any coordinates for me. And so all that was left for me, was the traditional search while flying around in hopes of finding the mad bastard. At least my evolved eyes with weak thermal vision helped in this situation. I also wanted to use my Hunter pulse to help, but I was far too high for the skill to work.
I passed above multiple small hills and mountains, I even managed to spot a few cave entrances, but usually, even those were empty. I already saw hundreds of Grimm on my way. Some I never saw before while others were just arctic versions of Grimm I already fought. What surprised me was their movement.
I expected that just as when Salem attacked Atlas, all Grimm would flock towards the floating city and Mantle. After all, a virus outbreak should create a lot of negative emotions and make the place a beacon for Grimm.
Fortunately for the humans, somehow only about one-third of the Grimm I passed decided to travel in Atlas' direction. Obviously, Ironwood — who I learned was already a General and Headmaster of Atlas academy — dealt with this outbreak much better than he did with Salem's attack in the future.
The working Cross Continental Transmit System definitely made Ironwood's work easier. Having the ability to contact your allies and ask for assistance would have helped in the future too. But like we all knew, when Salem attacked Atlas, shit hit the fan and at some point, even I had no clue what the fuck was going on in the show.
I shook my head, dismissed my thoughts of the clown fiesta called RWBY, and focused on the spot ahead of me that finally showed some signs of life.
Activating every hiding skill, I lowered my flight and landed a few hundred feet away from the warm spots in my vision. Instantly I changed into a human, to lower the chances of anyone spotting me, and focused my every sense on what was happening in the area in front of me.
Multiple high-quality buildings stood before an entrance to a pretty large cave. Machines of all kinds were parked near those buildings and I had no clue what any of them did... Well, I could recognize a few trucks with tracks instead of wheels that probably were used for transport, but apart from that, I felt like I was in a science fiction movie.
Still, neither the cave, buildings nor machines caught my attention. No, I had eyes only for the bunch of humans — Faunus, I corrected myself — gathering around one of the transporters. Some of them were geared with weapons, while others looked like they saw better days and were evidently scared by what was going on. I would know as my negativity absorption skill already began working.
Huh, so those are the members of White Fang that the quest mentioned, I mused, Let's see what the hell is going on there. I am pretty sure that this is one of the famed Dust mines.
I sneaked a bit closer and began listening in with my enhanced hearing.
"Get in you idiots!" one of the White Fang members shouted, "Don't you see that we are freeing you from this slavery? Soon you will be back with your brothers and sisters. After we leave our little surprise, Atlas will know that they shouldn't fuck with Faunus."
My eyebrows rose at the short speech. Damn, those extremists were already in the White Fang even long before — at least to my knowledge — Ghirra Belladonna stepped down as their leader. Branch members indeed Game.
I went back to observing the Faunus when one of the 'rescued' scowled back, "We don't need any help. All of us here enjoy our job and are paid well. If you wanted to help anyone then you should have found the mines belonging to Schnees. They are the ones mistreating Faunus. Now let us go before you get all of us arrested or worse, killed."
Well, that was obviously the wrong thing to say as the White Fang member instantly punched the brave Faunus and threw him into the transporter. I saw that coming from a mile away...
"Anyone else thinks that we are doing the wrong thing?" Idiot one, as I named him, growled, and when no one spoke he continued, "Then get in, the surprise will activate soon and we need to get to the meeting point."
This time no one tried to oppose his command. Soon all of the Faunus were inside and the transporter began to ride away.
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. What the hell was I supposed to do with them? Kill them and free those that were against it or just let them go? I shook my head. I could decide after I found out what the so-called surprise was.
A few inhumane leaps forward got me to the same place the transported just stood in. Immediately I began my investigation.
The machines were untouched and didn't give me any information about what could have possibly happened here. Next, I visited one of the metal buildings, and to my surprise, the door was completely destroyed. Probably some sort of explosives from what I noticed.
Walking inside I glanced around the interior and frowned. Tools and furniture laid all around the room, knocked over or destroyed. Lights were dead and no electronics even appeared to be working.
I took a sniff of the air and narrowed my eyes.
Blood, not much, but my nose picked its scent without a problem. Well, so they fought with someone, and from what I saw, the rescued Faunus didn't have any wounds. So where are the victims?
I activated 'Hunter Pulse' and waited for the detailed feedback.
Huh, nothing alive above the ground, but in the cave, it's a completely different case. Or at least that's what I can assume from the few living forms on the edge of my pulse.
Quickly dashing out of the building, I approached the large entrance to the mine and stopped. Another Hunter Pulse and this time I was sure that at least twenty beings were trapped inside.
Just when I made the first step to move inside, I stopped again as screams and growls reached my ears.
What the fuck is going on there, I thought as a shiver ran down my spine. I had a very bad feeling about this. I just hoped that whatever happened next wouldn't show me why the quest was apparently set to impossible difficulty.
I backed away slightly, activated my Aura, and transformed my right hand into blade form. Say whatever you want, but from the rumbling of the ground beneath my feet, I knew that soon I would need to deal with whatever the Faunus did.
When the first and then the second and then another dozen of creatures emerged from the mine, I cursed that once again I was right.
Those creatures, they were humans... Well at least before the Virus got them.
They didn't grow to extreme sizes, nor did they change into a Grimm. No, in about seventy percent their bodies were human, mutated and evolved, but still human.
Their skin was almost black, just like the Grimm, and probably provided some sort of armor to the previously vulnerable human body. Their eyes glowed with sickly green color while their teeth looked much sharper than nature allowed.
Of course, those were only the mild changes, the rest were... well, more visible and recognizable as part of the Grimm.
Claws instead of hands, white armor plates covering some parts of their bodies, feathered wings coming out of their backs, and spikes growing out of their arms or legs, just to name a few.
Merlot you really outdid yourself, you mad bastard. If the Virus couldn't be the cause for the end of the world, I would have even applauded him for coming so far with his experiments. That was if I ignored his complete disregard for human life during experiments...
Sighing, I raised my gaze and used 'observe' on the approaching hybrid.
Infected Human, Level: 14
MP: 241 (Locked)
Additional Info: Average intelligence (Reduced by the Virus), Partial weak armor, Permanently locked Aura, Infected (Can spread the Virus by cutting its enemies and drawing blood), Sharp claws
Of course, they are a bit stronger than the Hybrids from Merlot's base. Just my luck...
Not waiting for an invitation, but also remaining in my human body, I dashed forward and swung my blade at the first infected.
My eyes widened as the ex-human raised its claws and blocked my attack. Well, it already proved to be more intelligent than the Hybrids. Those only attacked like mindless beasts while here I was fighting against something that at least had some battle instincts.
Unfortunately for the infected, it required both of its arms to block my attack while my left Grimmified arm was still free. And so I directed my claws at the unprotected stomach and left four, wide cuts before jumping back.
I watched as the slightly green blood flowed out of the wound and frowned. Not good if the Virus went so deep that it even changed their blood color. I was no scientist, but that obviously couldn't be good. I just hoped that the creation of a cure or at least a vaccine was possible.
I shook my head and threw a few bolts of lightning at my previous enemy. The attacks went straight through its heart and head, instantly killing it. Even though I couldn't save them, I at least could free those people from the madness they found themselves in.
And so I did. I danced around the incoming infected, cutting with my blade where I could and sending various techniques of lightning when I had the time.
Each time I hit, the swarm grew weaker. Bodies dropped all around me when their health reached zero or they received a fatal injury. Still, I didn't stop and continued fighting until the last infected fell down to its knees as the head was cut off with my blade.
I didn't know how long I had fought, but it definitely didn't take me long to kill them all.
Oh, it wasn't easy, but I learned my lessons after my battle against hybrids and used them here. Also, it helped that I didn't need to fight against any other Grimm. The Death Stalkers were the main reason why I struggled when Merlot trapped me. Well, that and the limited space to move.
I shook my head as I looked at the snow drenched in greenish blood.
Over twenty of almost intelligent pseudo-Grimm would probably pose a threat to most normal people. Hell, they even managed to lower my MP under twenty percent and I didn't use any overly taxing skills. If a city like Mantle or Atlas fell to the virus then the world really could end. After all, some of those fuckers had wings and I really didn't want to know how far they could fly with them.
Yeah, not a funny thought...
Alright, stop thinking about shit like this. I have got some Faunus to catch, I mused as I approached the tracks left by the transporter.
This branch of White Fang somehow got their hands on Merlot's Virus and this I couldn't ignore. I believed that they wanted to help their brethren, but spreading the virus would only make this whole mess worse.
No, I must stop them, and take the Virus from them. I bet that a sample can speed up the process of creating the cure a lot.
With that thought, I grinned and jumped into the air as my body transformed into my true form.
Snow to the right, snow to the left, snow fucking everywhere! I grumbled internally. Let it be known that I was never a fan of winter. Bitter winds, snowflakes falling right into your eyes, and let's not forget about the white color I could see in every direction I looked. Really if it wasn't for the evolution that made me resistant to the cold, I probably would have let the others deal with the virus and Merlot...
Yeah, never mind, Merlot was mine. His name occupied the top spot on my shit list — even if it was the only name, for now — and there was no way in hell I would just forget about him.
I shook my head and took a quick peek at the vehicle driving far below me. I had been following the transporter with Faunus inside for at least a few hours and the darkness already fell on this part of Remnant. Finding them wasn't hard at all, just follow the track, and here I was. In the middle of nowhere getting further from Atlas every second.
Not for the first time I asked myself if it was really worth it. I already wasted half a day and it didn't look like the Transporter would stop anytime soon. Really, where the fuck were they even going with a bunch of 'rescued' Faunus? Or what was the purpose of taking them away?
I sighed heavily, nothing that the aggressive branch of White Fang ever did make sense so why would it now...
Gliding, I lowered my flight a bit and followed the transporter as we traveled around yet another snowy mountain. This one was pretty huge and if the warning about Ancient Grimm living in this territory was anything to go by, then I wanted to get as far from it as I could.
I grew pretty powerful in the last months, but taking on an ancient Grimm was out of the question. I value my life too much to do something so stupid. Though I wouldn't mind checking out what a Grimm like that was capable of... From a safe distance of course.
Finally, the mountain gave a pass to a small valley that was again, surprise, surprise, covered in snow. Not that I minded it this time as when I focused my gaze, I instantly noticed the glowing lights and movement in the distance.
At least three or so people — Faunus — were gathered around an aircraft of some sort. Not a Bullhead, I would recognize it in second, so they must have stolen it from Atlas if its quality was anything to go by.
Alright then, let's see what will happen next. Who knows maybe they plan to go back to Merlot, I almost stopped flying at the thought and snorted, Yeah right. I might not know much about the old man but there is no chance that he would give his final secret location to a bunch of Faunus, even if they are helping him.
I shook my head and dived towards the valley, touching down near the landed aircraft. I wanted to know for sure what would happen next and the cover of the night along with my skills gave me the chance to get very close to my target.
It took some time, but soon the sound of the transporter's engine reached my ears and I watched as the Faunus leader left the vehicle.
"You got everyone?" One of the Faunus from the aircraft called out, nodding to the transporter.
The leader gave a nod of his own, "We did. Not everyone is happy with our actions, but I'm sure that as soon as they get back to their people, they will change their minds."
"Indeed," the man replied in agreement, "They spend so much time in this cursed land that they forgot how true freedom feels... We will show them, brother, we will show them."
I continued to listen in on their conversation about the rescued Faunus and my eyes only grew wider and wider with each word leaving their mouth.
Were they for real? How delusional were those people to think that 'freeing' people against their will would make them grateful? Were all White Fang members — or at least those who took part in terrorism — cursed with madness? Like, I understand that some people were dumb, but those Faunus were downright idiotic with their statements on how today's actions would help Faunus as a whole.
Right, because basically kidnapping a bunch of people, who were living their lives just fine, and killing over a dozen of humans would help their cause.
I dragged my clawed hand over my snout. The more I thought about those Faunus the bigger headache I got, and it should be impossible with Gamer's mind and body!
Taking a few calming breaths, I focused back on the conversation between the two White Fang members. They already began moving people to the aircraft so maybe I could find out what was their next step.
"Take them back home brother," the leader stated, "We still got one more place to hit before heading to Mantle, but we won't be rescuing anyone from there. Only some humans that will taste Merlot's present."
The other Faunus nodded, "Understood. When should we be ready to extract your team?"
The leader hummed, "Three or four days at max. I want to see the chaos that has fallen over Mantle and finish our last job. Besides staying there any longer could prove dangerous. Merlot's virus might have taken Atlas by surprise, but I lived long enough to know that sooner or later those rich bastards will deal with it. And trust me we don't want to be there when they will finally start searching for those who helped Merlot spread the virus."
Huh, so he isn't as stupid as I thought. Still dumb, but now he at least showed some common sense.
Chuckling quietly, I waited until they finished talking and moved out in their respective vehicles. From the direction the aircraft flew in, it looked like it would be leaving Solitas soon. Not that I cared as all of my focus was on the transporter that already drove away, following its previous path.
That information created a feral grin on my face as now I had an idea how to stop the massive vehicle. Also, it would finally give me a chance to test one of my lightning moves in a real situation.
With my sharp teeth still showing, I leaped into the air, quickly passing the transporter and settled down behind a small hill. This was the only way out of the valley for a vehicle that large and it gave me enough cover to prepare a trap.
Changing into my human form, I crouched and touched the snow-covered ground with both of my hands.
Slowly mana began to flow through my entire body. I changed its power and element, letting small sparks of lightning appear around me. Finally, as the build-up of power began to be too much, I channeled it all into my hands and then straight to the ground.
I gritted my teeth as the strain on my body became almost too much. Still, I pushed forward and focused on creating the perfect trap. As large as the passage and powerful enough to at least stop the vehicle. After all, it would be the first time I tried using this skill on this scale and something not alive.
Closing my eyes, I let out a sigh of relief as the snow all around me began to fizzle with power. How the hell the snow remained unchanged after I infused it with so much lightning I didn't know.
I looked around and nodded, proud of my accomplishment. The 'trap' technique of my lightning element was almost never used. It just didn't fit my style and definitely took too much time to set up. So seeing it working as I wanted, with almost zero practice, put a large smirk on my face.
Maybe it wasn't an EMP pulse yet, — something that I should definitely create later on — but it should work just fine... At least I hoped so.
The trap should overload the electronics in the vehicle and shut it down without damaging the transporter. After all, I didn't want to destroy the virus that the Faunus carried.
Of course, I had no clue if it would even work, I was going purely on assumptions. Not that it worried me, after all, there was nothing a few lighting spikes couldn't fix. I just wanted to see how 'trap' worked in situations like that, and if it didn't work? Well, in that case, I had plenty of different ways to stop the transporter.
Shrugging, I fell back on the snow behind me and listened to everything around me. I still had some time before the vehicle would arrive and I was pretty much invisible to them from this angle.
I laid on the cool snow for gods know how long before the transporter's lights illuminated the trapped road in front of me. I stood up and waited with bated breath for the vehicle to cross my trap.
When the moment finally came, a full-blown grin appeared on my face as the trap activated and the extreme amount of lightning traveled all around the vehicle. The transporter stuttered a few times before its movement died completely.
"Well shit," I murmured, my tone a bit disbelieving, "It really worked, no-"
Whatever I wanted to say, died in my mouth as the doors to the transporter opened. I waited behind my cover for at least a few Faunus to get out, before stepping out in front of the vehicle, my face and most of the body hidden under my black cloak. What? I thought I looked pretty badass at the moment.
"Fancy meeting you all out there lads," I exclaimed in all too cheery tone, "I see that your little stolen truck broke. Need some help?"
The Faunus' frozen bodies as they realized what happened, was a reward enough in itself for creating this trap. And well, my feral grin that was probably the only thing visible on my body definitely didn't help to calm their nerves if the amount of negative emotions I felt was anything to go by.
Suddenly I also froze for a moment. Wait, why do I feel like some cliche villain... Oh whatever, let's get the virus.
And that's it for today's chapter.
First encounter with a few infected. Yeah, they are not that strong, but trust me they can be very deadly in large groups and the next chapter will show you that.
Besides that, I gave you all a short Qrow's PoV to show a bit of what is happening with them and how the timeline looks. All of the things happening in those chapters will be important for the arc and the plot in the future so if any of you think that I am just unnecessarily stretching this arc, then I am sorry, but that's how I planned the plot and I don't plan to change it anymore (I already changed it enough times to give me a headache).
Thank you all for reading and let me know what you think. Also question for this chapter. What do you all think Summer's and Tai-yang semblances should be? I don't want to spoil anything, but yes we will see them fight at some point and I am not sure what to give them. Oh, I have some ideas, but would like to hear what do you think.
That should be all. Remember to join my discord if you want to help with improving the quality of my work and read new chapters a few days early.
Have a good day/Dobrego dnia.