Zu Nis Lahney
Qrow's eyes widened in surprise as SAM, no, the creature lunged at him while shrieking. It caught him off guard and he jumped to the side, dodging its claws. He swung horizontally at it with his scythe, but it caught the blade between its claws and tried to wrench it out of his hands. He swept its legs out from under it and broke its grasp. He went to stab it in the skull, since there was no visible heart to destroy, or any internal organs of any sort, but it skittered away, making these vile clicking noises as it did so.
This thing acted feral, but there was still intelligence behind its eyes. It knew perfectly well what it was doing as it stood there momentarily, analyzing him. As it lunged forward once more, he transformed Harbinger into its shotgun form and blasted it square in the chest, sending it flying backwards and tumbling through the sand, stopping on its stomach, completely still. He watched it for a moment to confirm it was dead, and when it remained still, its jaw slacked open, he breathed a sigh of relief as he folded up Harbinger and hooked it on his lower back.
That was surprisingly easy. He thought. Looking towards the monolith, he was confused to see it had disappeared entirely, the only thing remaining being the indent in the sand where it had once been.
"How the hell?" He briefly wondered before shaking his head. He'd drive himself mad trying to figure any of this out.
He turned his attention back to the creature and began walking towards it. It hadn't started disintegrating, but since this was the result of SAM's Semblance, or "Gift" as he'd called it, that made sense. Despite the heavy appearance of a Grimm, it wasn't one. He arrived at where its corpse laid and rolled it over, hand on Harbinger in case it had only been pretending. When it made no reaction and he saw the light in its eyes had gone out, he concluded it was fully dead.
He examined the corpse closely, noting the ribs where he'd shot it. There were scorch marks from the Fire Dust, but no real damage, which confused him. He figured Ozpin would appreciate it if he brought the corpse to him. Maybe they'd be able to find some sort of specific weakness in case more of these unholy creatures existed.
He hefted it onto his shoulder before beginning to lug it towards the Bullhead to meet with Emma. That poor girl must've been under the control of SAM the whole time and the monolith transferred him into that other guy. Then everything happened, and he had a helluva story to tell Tai the next time he saw him. He heard a faint noise from behind him and he turned his head around to see what it was. He damn near shit himself when he saw the creature had raised its head and was staring him right in the face with those dead, haunting eyes.
He felt its claws enter his side, seemingly ignoring his Aura and sending him to the ground. He groaned in pain as he clutched his wound, the emotional pain being almost as bad as the physical as he realized he'd been tricked. The strike had been meant to be crippling rather than fatal, otherwise he was sure it would've simply taken his head off. He looked up and saw it standing over him, still making those clicking noises. It got on all fours and crawled over him, never breaking eye contact. It grabbed his blood soaked hand and stared at it intently, focusing on the blood. Then it opened its jaw just enough for a long, glowing red tongue to slither forth and slowly lick his hand, like it was savoring the taste of his life force.
As it did so, the roar of a Bullhead being started up swept over the desert, causing the creature to retract its tongue and snap its head in the sound's direction. As if remembering what it was meant to do, it shrieked and began bounding towards the Bullhead, and Emma, on all fours, leaving him to bleed out.
He struggled to his feet, still holding his side. He raised his shirt to get a look at the wound, and didn't like what he saw. It didn't seem to be deep enough to be fatal, but it also seemed that whatever its claws were made of it was severely slowing his Aura's ability to heal the stab. Realizing he didn't have time, he transformed into a crow and took off in the direction of Emma, hoping he'd be able to fly faster than the creature could run.
Emma stood at the open bay door, waiting anxiously for Qrow to arrive. She doubted he'd be able to kill SAM, but she hoped he'd at least be able to slow him down enough to escape. As she waited in silence, aside from the rumble of the Bullhead's engines, she thought on everything she'd been through. She had to get back to Ozpin one way or another and explain as much as she could. About her, about Earth, about SAM, and most importantly the Ones.
She was brought out of her thoughts when she saw something in the distance. She couldn't quite make out what it was, but it seemed to be making a beeline for her. She stood up and placed her hand on the switch for the ramp, ready to close it should it be SAM. Right then, a bloody crow swooped in through the opening and transformed into a badly injured Qrow.
"Close the ramp!" He cut her off before stumbling up the ramp. She obeyed and pulled the switch, allowing the ramp to shut at an agonizingly slow rate. Right when it was about to fully close, SAM got close enough to lunge forward and grab onto the edge, wrapping his claws around the lip of it. Fortunately, this ended up backfiring. While his claws momentarily wedged the ramp open, the pressure from the hydraulics eventually became too much and his claws snapped off, clattering to the floor. She could hear shrieks and loud bangs from outside and even as the Bullhead took off after Qrow set the autopilot, though they sounded more rageful than pained.
He stumbled back in from the cockpit, trailing blood, and sat down in one of the seats. Seeing in her eyes she wanted to help, he waved her off.
"My Aura may have been slowed, but it'll still heal eventually." He panted. Listening to him, she sat down in the seat opposite him. After fifteen minutes but what felt like an hour, Qrow spoke up.
"You wanna explain to me exactly what the fuck that thing was?" He still sounded strained, but it wasn't as bad as before. She didn't answer at first, but eventually she spoke up.
"It'd be better if I explained everything to both you and Ozpin when we get back." She reasoned, and was met with a sigh before he dug his Scroll out of his pocket.
"I'll just call him, let him know what happened." He called the Headmaster and began explaining what he could as Emma zoned out, looking through the window to the dark desert. Despite everything that's happened, at least she was now free.
SAM shrieked in pain and rage as his prey escaped, though her freedom would be short lived. He had become the vile embodiment of violence and hatred, he would not let her go for long. He looked at his severed claws as they began to rapidly regenerate from the damage. His mind was still muddied by the rage, and so his sights were next set on the town of Viper Fang, the closest source of blood for miles around, and the next outlet for his anger.
But before he could charge towards the town and begin the bloodbath, he heard something behind him. His head almost literally snapped in the direction of the sound and he was met with the sight of a small pack of Beowolves, the Alpha nowhere in sight. Then something he didn't expect to see emerged from the group.
It looked like a crystal ball attached to a platform of spikes and barbed tendrils. He recognized it, as it'd been an urban legend spoken of only in the most remote of places, though it had no official name. As it approached, the bone plates covering the ball moved to the bottom, showing it was filled with orange mist. He approached in turn, curious as to what it would try. Perhaps he could sever one of the barbs and use it to shatter the ball, releasing the mist. But that would only be the case if it proved hostile.
They stopped inches from each other, the unholy beast getting a closer look at the orb. Then the mist began to clear, showing the image of a woman that could only be described as a human-Grimm hybrid. Her skin was paler than his human form, and black veins sprouted from her eyes, which were black with red pupils. Going off his gut feeling, which was a strange thing for a person like him to have, he guessed she was the leader of the Grimm.
"And so we finally meet, Mr. Wisp." She greeted through the sphere. This piqued his interest, as it showed that, despite her acting like she knew him, she had no idea what'd happened. "I had wanted to speak with you before, but it would seem someone got to you first." He chose that moment to return to human form. Starting at his feet, his flesh began reappearing, hiding the monstrosity beneath. Soon enough, he was back to looking like Delvin Wisp, though with one small physical difference. His eyes glowed faintly, but enough to notice if you looked right at them. And this seemed to tip off the woman, as her bravado gave way to suspicion. It didn't help his mannerisms were contrasting with what Delvin was reported to be like. She was expecting a manic killer akin to Tyrian, but instead she got a cold husk of a man the likes of which she'd never seen before.
"I am not Delvin Wisp. He is dead. I am SAM." He said simply and coldly. This caused her confusion, but she continued.
"Well then, SAM, I am Salem, Queen of the Grimm, and it would seem our interests align. We both want the girl, Emma." Ah, so that's what this was. A recruitment pitch. He figured as much, but didn't know for sure until now. As much as he didn't want to help her, he didn't have much choice. As much as the Ones aided their followers, they helped primarily from behind the scenes, subtly providing help. He would need more direct aid to hunt down Emma.
"And in exchange for aiding me in my hunt, you wish for me to pledge my services to you and your cause." It was unlikely he was the only human she'd approached.
"My my, don't you catch on quick." She said with a dark chuckle.
"I have little choice but to accept your offer, but I wish to make one thing clear. You are not my master in any way. I serve only the Ones, and our alliance is born out of mutual interests. Once Ms. Fisher is dead, that will be the end of our partnership." He told her. She hid it well, but he could tell she was shocked that he wanted her dead. She likely thought he wanted to capture her for some nefarious purpose, but things aren't always so complicated.
"Very well." She said, any semblance of unprofessionalism destroyed. "You will need an alias. I have little doubt you'll be able to sneak into even the major cities without issue, but your name will still likely be well known amongst Ozpin's allies. Simply give me a name, and one of my underlings will take care of the rest." It made sense that he'd need to change his name due to the reason she stated, among others. And he wouldn't go for something simple, he needed a name that would befit an enforcer of the Ones' will. He remembered a band from Earth that one of the members of the old space crew enjoyed listening to. The lack of alternative languages and the intimidating name made it perfect.
"My name will be Anaal Nathrakh." He stated, Salem nodding in response.
"I will send someone to speak with you soon. He will find you, simply wait for him." After she said this, the orb she had been speaking through clouded up and the Grimm began leaving, along with its Beowolf entourage. He would say he'd just made a deal with the Devil, but that pact had been formed long ago, on an alien planet surrounded by death and burning wreckage.
And that's a wrap. Don't have much to say, so I'll get right to the reviews.
TheReckless1One: Even if nobody else leaves a review, at least you still do. I think I responded to this in a PM but I don't remember if I did. I really hope No Code doesn't turn out to be run by scummy people, that would be such a let down. If they do try to make it into a series, I can only hope they keep the lore behind the Ones vague and keep that same atmosphere the game has. And I don't know what to think of a bigger company buying them. I guess whether that would be a good or bad thing would depend on what company buys them. Gods help us if it's EA. I'm glad you liked the chapter, seems like you're one of the few.