Motion Sickness 35
Jaune’s life goes bad in this one.
pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq
We marched in Leonardo's empty stronghold, Qrow in front and with legs that were only getting stronger. And Oscar was in the back. We rolled up on Haven in force and fully expected things to go sideways. I hadn’t allowed my friends to go in thinking anything but. Anything else would only get somebody killed.
Not this time. Not my friends. Never again.
We pushed our way in through a set of double doors into a large atrium. It was huge and in Mistrali style. It had plants and art lining the walls all of which ran up to a set of double stairs around a single central statue.
“Why hello.” Lionheart greeted from the top of the stairs. He wasn’t waiting for us in his office like last time. Alarm bells went off in my head. My instincts screamed at me. Ruby walked beside me and her careful patience held me in check. Her own instincts had always been more on point than mine where non-Grimm were concerned. “Thank you for coming. There seems to be more of you than last time.”
“Yeah well you know what they say, the more the merrier,” Qrow inclined his head. “So what’s going on with the council.”
Lionheart appeared to be armed, for all that he was alone in a vast empty room. I suppose we were too.
A portal, same black and red swirling mass that I'd seen Yang and Weiss emerge from, opened beside Leonardo. Out started to step people. People I recognized.
"Raven…" Qrow murmured. "Jaune and Oz were right. It's a set up."
I witnessed the enemy line up. I started with the Scorpion, his eyes and mine met and he licked his lips. His gaze went past to Ruby and he glared, mechanical tail writhing in the air behind him. He looked fairly pissed. No doubt he wanted revenge for the missing appendage.
I went down until I stopped at a huntress with tattoos and claw-like weapons. I recognized her as Vernal from when we fought.
"You!" She recognized, looking at me. "You're that huntsman." She was the bandit from GaiLong with the wicked semblance. Or...
"Jaune?" Ruby asked from beside me, not recognizing the blue eyed girl.
"Vernal." I cleared the air, pieces fitting in my mind. "You're the spring maiden."
"You and I have unfinished business," she said, glowering. She'd have to get in line. I stared beyond her at Cinder. The two groups of hunters stood, sizing each other up in the middle of the atrium. Then out came Cinder's accomplices. Emerald and Mercury.
Raven herself never came through the portal. Instead it collapsed and Vernal's eyes flared with maiden power.
It seemed I indeed had unfinished business with two of the four maiden's if you counted Cinder.
"Steady Jaune," Ruby murmured. Easier said than done. I wanted to activate my semblance and fling myself at Cinder. But she had two lackyes beside her. They'd get in the way. If I wanted to do this right I'd need to be careful. If I wanted Cinder to die I had to play things straight.
Anything else and it would be my friends who suffered.
"You killed Pyrrha. I'm going to take you apart for that," I whispered.
"Who?" Cinder asked. "Oh the would-be maiden. You can hardly expect me to remember everyone but she does stand out to me."
I wanted to rush her. I wanted to charge my semblance and backflip up there and take her the fuck apart. Ruby reached out and grabbed me by my hand and my heart rate slowed down. I felt our aura's overlapped and the tension I felt in my heart eased slightly.
I remembered the words she gave me at the top of the Gold Saucer carnival ride. If I wanted to have that, if I wanted to be hers, I had to wait. I had to approach it like Yang had mentioned to me, slow and careful. I'd have my chance at Cinder's throat.
I heard a noise from behind me, the great double doors on the atrium closed as an enormous man shut them. "The Whitefang are setting up the charges. No one's getting in, an' no one's getting out."
"Leo I have to say I'm enormously disappointed in you." Oscar or maybe Ozpin said.
"That boy is Ozpin, he must be." Lionheart said.
"Ozpin is here?" Cinder asked.
"That's not a problem, is it?" Vernal interrogated.
"No. Leo, open the passageway to the vault." Lionheart pranced over and did something to the statue in the middle of the room. The dais began to descend, no guesses where it was heading.
"Ozpin?" The enormous man growled. "You're the boy from the train station." He growled and surged forward. Ruby got in his way and shot him. There was a whorl of petals and she blocked his approach.
I began to move forward as our two sides clashed in combat. The moment breaking like glass.
I approached Cinder, sprinting over the ground with a scream. She blocked with a summoned sword and we clashed again and again. She smiled at me, sharp calm in the face of my jagged anger. Vernal only stood off to the side.
I brought my sword down on her hard enough to crater the floor but she only stood firm, one sword turned sideways, her eye flaring up with maiden power.
“You better mean it,” she whispered.
“Boy do I.” I hit her with the diagonal forward slash where I whipped my blade and my hips into it and leaned back. She blocked it with a casual smirk.
"Stop messing with me!" I shouted.
"But it's so easy." She laughed. I charged a little and activated my semblance, bringing the sword to bear against her as wisps of blue flame clung to me.
"I'll show you," I growled.
We flew at each other, she was on a platform of red flames which carried her forward and I was propelled by my will with one arm stretched forward and the other back, holding the massive weight of Crocea Mors.
I surprised her by backflipping at her and I hit hard enough to send her sliding back. My strength doubled, my speed increased.
I struck out holding onto the mobility and muscle improvements.
She held out a palm and a torrent of flame shot at me but I skirted around it without traction and front-flipped at her bringing my sword down in a massive stroke.
I slammed her and her weapon shattered like, well, like glass. She fell back. Her aura flared as I bit deep into it. Then I finished the trick and Limit broke, a whirling of blue attacks stormed her as I went for the finishing touch and tried to take her down. I knocked her back into the statue hard enough that pieces of it shattered off her face.
She whipped to her feet, eyes narrowing as I stood stock still, flexing and charging my next semblance. She let out a scream and a torrent of air whipped over us all flinging us and her own allies about.
Without my semblance she put me on the back foot. She came at me spinning like a top with her glass weapons. She slashed at my stomach then tried to take my head off with a swing of her opaque weapon.
She summoned a series of molten arrows and the pieces stabbed my stomach and penetrated my aura hard enough to do some real damage to me. They were hot enough to leave welts behind where they struck.
She rolled over my back and dragged me down in a choke hold with her weapon around my neck. Getting choked hurts for those unaware. The blood in your head throbs in time with your heartbeat and it's a bunch of pressure on your neck.
The person doing the choking can control how much it hurts based on how hard they do the choke and you have one guess which decision she made about how to choke me out.
She made it hurt. A lot.
I kicked back at her and she dragged me to my knees. I managed to get my center of mass under my legs again and dropped my sword. I picked her up and slammed her into the statue. I did it again. And once more before she slid to the side and kicked off me, pushing me into the statue.
The back of my head rang like a bell against the hard stone.
When I got my bearings I slid baseball style and picked up my weapon. When I got back to my feet I faced another opponent.
I just had to trust that my friends had found their own opponents and we’d be fine. Together we can do this.
He gave me a leering grin. "Jaune, right?"
I said nothing, leveling my broadsword at him. I finished the last bit of charge and turned on Limit Breaker. It was faster to charge now than ever before. The result of practice or something more? I was unsure.
I wanted to get past him and fight Cinder again but she was descending in the elevator on a flux of wind and magic. Her eyes met mine and she gave me a beautiful smile, only marred by her half face. She blew me a kiss, promising vengeance.
Black kicked at me and pushed stepped towards me but I had my semblance activated and outmaneuvered him by hovering.
He tried to breach my space again but I timed him out with a tremendous swing of Crocea Mors. He blocked it with his legs but the blow sent him reeling. He stumbled back a few steps.
He reengaged me more cautiously the second time, without the arrogant smirk.
I struck Mercury back with my sword with a falling aerial attack. It was devastating and it rocked him on his feet.
We clashed again and he bounced off my massive blade. I rolled my wrists and another flying kick was met with the edge of my sword. He kicked off of it and tried to force me into the ground.
I was nimble with my semblance, though. I just rolled away from the pressure.
I spent my semblance while in mid air and hit him with all five hits of Cross Slash. He blocked them all arms and feet dancing about but I could tell the experience wasn't comfortable. I saw him wince, especially at the tremendous last hit. He tried to punish me but I hadn't over extended. It was all safe pressure and I punished his own jump kick by bringing my sword all the way around my body as I glid through the air.
Even without my semblance I had grown fast. Not fast enough to escape another snapping round kick. Then another from the opposite side. He'd penetrated my range and was seeing fit to make it hurt like hell.
He kneed me in the face and I managed to stumble back.
He tried to approach me and I swiped upwards. The move caught him and launched him airborne. I did it again and launched him a little higher. The tip of my blade tearing into him.
I bench pressed Mercury, juggling him with the massive sword. I hit the ground and swept the blade upwards, knocking him into the air again and I bench pressed him one more time.
It felt like a bad matchup for him and I seemed unstoppable. He backed off when he finally hit the ground and shot at me with his legs. I had range on him and I was brutally strong. Even without my semblance I was fast enough to combo him.
I countered with a blade-beam. We found ourselves staring the other down, our projectiles canceling out.
I heard Nora cry out somewhere to my side but I couldn't let my focus waiver. I had to have faith. Ruby let out a grunt behind me as I continued to glare at Black. When I last got a peek, Ruby was engaging the tall man with Yang and Qrow. I heard him let out a bellow as he fought my friend and girlfriend and mentor.
I supposed that left Weiss, Nora, and Ren fighting the Scorpion and Lionheart with Oscar. Oscar being one of the weaker members of our own squad I felt a flash of concern for him but I could ill afford the distractions.
I stood still charging my semblance, my aura flaring as I approached the tipping point. Black got the memo. He had to approach me or I would become an even bigger threat.
I'd kill him too. Black deserved it for what he put Yang through.
He came at me pushing off the ground with a flare of his boots. He kicked at me high which I deflected, then he tried low and I punished him with a rising aerieal attack. I side-flipped at him bringing my sword around my body in a massive swing. He was forced to block it and I had him trapped beneath me.
I backflipped in place, threatening Mercury the entire time I was airborne. When I hit the tile I reached out and grabbed him where he was blocking, picked him up off his feet and slammed him into the ground.
He leapt back up to his feet but I was already airborne and threatening another devastating landing aerial attack the entire time. He watched me with a wary look in his eyes, he knew how dangerous my falling attacks could be and while he wasn't quite scared he was over respecting me.
I hit the ground once more and reached out and slammed him into the ground again. If he thought he could just block against me, he'd have another thing coming.
I backflipped in place and was seriously going to do it to him a third time in a row when he boost-kicked off the ground and hit me in the face.
I fell back but caught myself on the tile, flipping back to my feet.
Cinder was back up the vault shaft, Vernal wasn't with her, and she had what I could only suppose was the Relic in her hand. A dangerous sly smile on her face as she flexed a hand and blue power flared around her one remaining eye.
A sniper shot struck Cinder's hand and the relic went flying. Her gaze snapped to Ruby who must have fired the shot. Her eye flared with power. Vernal was dead, then. I wanted to stand between her and Ruby but I held my position against Black.
Leonardo Lionheart picked the lamp up.
"Jaune stop him!" Ruby called out, she had her eyes on the prize. I was closest to acquiring the relic. The relic was what mattered.
I disengaged Black, hitting him with a triple sword swing, the first two attacks holding him in place before the last, blinding fast, flung him away.
"I got him!" Yang called out, communicating with me that Black wouldn't be free to harass one of my friends in the back.
I activated my semblance and chased Lionheart. I slashed at his shield-like weapon with Crocea Mors.
I chased him down the school corridors, the swings of my sword tore up the hallways as I sprinted after him. He fired dust back at me which I narrowly dodged again and again. I hovered in place and threw a blade beam at him but he blocked with his shield.
He retreated down a narrow passageway away from the rest of the fighting, the relic still in his free hand.
I kicked him back and threw him into a room and inside there was this glowing, hovering, Grimm, thing. It had long sweeping tentacles beneath a large orb. Before I could spend my semblance on either it or Lionheart a woman's voice boomed from it. The voice was quiet and calm but it seemed to come from inside my head as well as the orb. I collapsed as my forehead pulsed with pain.
"Now what's this?" I heard the voice say. I felt it too within my head. It was a woman’s voice and I heard it all the time.
I recognized it intimately. I knelt on the ground in front of the Grimm and looked up through my throbbing eyes.
"What have you brought me, Leo?"
"M-m-m…" I stuttered out. "Mother!?"
I'd heard that voice in my dreams and beyond. In my worst nightmares that voice terrorized me. I recalled a thousand horrible dreams as I crouched on the floor of that room.
"Oh you must be Merlot's." The voice purred. I could see her face through the orb. "And haven't you done well for yourself. For us. Hush now. Don't speak."
The voice in my mind commanded me and I bit down on my tongue rather than utter a word. Blood welled up from it in my mouth. I couldn't fight the compulsion. No matter how hard I tried to speak or move I couldn't. I had to obey the thing on the other side of the Grimm. I tried to scream out, the agony in my head far worse than the middling pain coming from my mouth yet all I managed was a quiet moan.
"We expected you to fail. I expected you to be thrown out by Ozma when he discovered you didn't even have aura. Yet here you are," Salem's voice went on. "You will bring the relic to me." She decided.
"But your grace…" Lionheart tried, he'd regained his footing. The Grimm thing lashed out with one of its tentacles and ripped his throat out. Blood poured out over the room as Lionheart choked on nothing but blood and his own gore.
"Bring me the relic, child. My child. Long have you and your sisters filled my dreams. Jaune Arc, was it? Yes, I know your name."
I could still say nothing. Blood poured over my lips as I trembled beneath the thing. She was reaching out through it and controlling me so thoroughly I managed not a single other thought.
Obey me. The compulsion demanded. It shook something loose inside my mind and I thought I was going to go mad. I reached out and picked up the relic. With trembling hands which slowly grew smoother I strapped it to my waist by a belt.
"Jaune!" It was Nora at the door. "Ruby did something to Cinder, she and Emerald are-" she broke off. She looked down and saw me with Lionheart's corpse, kneeling before the tentacled Grimm. Ren stood behind her, shocked looks on both their faces.
"Kill her," the voice purred from the orb and in my mind. "And the boy."
I couldn't help it. I whipped to my feet and struck against Nora. I spent Limit with intent to kill. I caught her by surprise and blew her off her feet and through the adjacent wall.
Ren cried out in fear. He drew his blades against me but I swept them aside. I charged Limit between our clashes and soon I would have it again. We collided and I laughed madly in his face. Soon I could kill these two and be on my way to Mother. Nora lept from the crater I'd put her into and tried to bring her hammer down on me.
"Jaune why are you doing this?!" Nora screamed. "What's going on?!" I slashed at her with the long edge of Crocea Mors. She ducked and backed off, spinning away from me with her hammer in hand.
I choked on blood and my own mangled tongue worked in my mouth. Parts of it were hanging on by threads of flesh. "Because Mother told me to," I cried out, voice warbled by my destroyed tongue. The words were indecipherable as they exited me. I couldn't stop my movements anymore than I could stop the sun in the sky.
It was something ingrained in me. Deep in my bones. I slashed at her twice before I chased after Ren. I knew he would give me the greater trouble. I brought the sword down on him in a massive overhead slash which slammed him into the ground. Nora's hammer pinwheeled and caught me center of mass and threw me into a wall but she was holding herself back.
I could feel her holding herself back. She clobbered me again and once more. Around the shoulders and chest. She was still not giving it her all, though. If she kept that up I'd win and kill them both.
She had to stop me.
She had to kill me.
"Jaune what did that thing do to you?"
I gargled blood and babbled out something unintelligible. I laughed and tried to scream at the same time. I was sure I was frothing at the mouth besides. All I could think of, all I could focus on, was the desire to kill my friends and if they kept holding back I'd succeed.
I hit Nora like a ton of bricks. I slashed into her aura and bit deep. I cut at her again with a horizontal slash that flung her to the side.
"No!" Ren cried out.
He slashed at me and rained bullets as he jumped over me. I caught one of his blades and hit him like I was swinging a home run. It caught him in the chest and I saw his aura flare up.
"That Grimm must have done something to him. Jaune you have to snap out of it! How do we help him?!"
I knew all their weaknesses. I slashed a golf swing at Ren which nearly put him through the ceiling and ripped a long cut in the paper walls besides.
I was all over him with my sword. Swinging away and chipping at his defenses. I'd break through eventually and then… and then… and then…
I muttered madly under the pressure I felt in my thoughts. They were going to die. They must die.
"I don't know," Ren grunted under my assault. "Jaune please," he begged.
I brought my sword down on him tearing up the thin papery walls. He blocked again and again but he wasn't fighting to kill me like I was him. Instead he tried to disarm and subdue me but I backed off. Warding with the long blade, I swept it at his face.
I flew at him like I was a monster and slashed low then high then back and forth in front of my body. I brought the blade all the way around my body and down on him, trying to crush him if I couldn't slice him.
Nora came at me and I caught the handle of her hammer by my free hand and threw her into Ren. They collided and went tumbling down, over the headmaster's office desk.
Nora jumped up at me but I met her in the air with a massive helmsplitter and knocked her through a few walls with an expenditure of Limit Break Braver.
I stood in the middle of the room then. Just charging and waiting for Ren to rise. He came at me low, having seen what kept happening to Nora when she went high but I knew all his moves and never let him get close enough to grab me. I side-flipped and slashed him into a wall. Then I hammered him into it again with a giant swing.
Nora came at me again and I ducked under the swing. She reversed it and tried to catch me up in it but I blocked with the side flat of my blade and swept down towards her fingers. It forced her to back off and I climb-hazard her up onto the next floor and slammed her back down again. My blade flashed and sung through the air as I pounded her.
Ren came at me screaming and I kept him off me. I was fighting to kill him and he was fighting just to stay alive. It showed. I backflipped over him, jumped off one of the narrow walls and Limit Break Cross Slashed my friend in the back as I hung upside down in the passageway.
I hung in place as I delivered the terrifying attack. There was nothing he could do being caught up in it but grunt under the weight of the blows.
One. A slash to the side. Two. An ‘x’ across the legs. Three. A blow to his ribs. Four. A horizontal slice across his chest. Five. The last of the kanji hung in the air.
Each of the five hits struck true. The second to last one shattered his aura and the last one cut him so deeply at the stomach I knew he would die. I severed his spine and he nearly fell into two gasping halves.
"No!" Nora called out. "Jaune how could you?!" She kept at me with tears in her eyes. She brought the hammer down on me and I bounced off the floor. I slashed at her while she stood guard over Ren and relentlessly whaled on her while all she could do is block.
Some hits got through. She couldn't block everything and, even with Ren dying behind her, she still wasn't fighting back to kill me.
I reared back, took aim and thrust forward with Crocea Mors. It slid through her crackling pink aura and blood welled up in a fountain as I ran her through.
She softly touched my face as I speared her all the way to the base.
I slid my sword into her small body all the way to the hilt and with a last shudder, she died.
She fell back onto Ren and they passed together.
Like that I was the last member of team JNPR.
I wanted to claw my eyes out, I wanted to scream, all I could do was start walking in the direction I knew, knew, Salem to be. I snuck out of the school through the entrance we'd come in on that day we met Lionheart, tearing my way through the walls. I snuck away from the rest of my friends.
She'd looked so much like the blonde woman I knew to be my Mother… but her skin was ghostly white like Grimm bone and her eyes were red instead of pale blue.
pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq pq
2 notes · View notes