Monday, 7th April 79AGW.
Lecture Hall A6, Beacon.
The Boarbatusk wasted no time in charging out of the cage and straight towards the person opposite it; Weiss.
“It’s fast.” Teak said quietly.
“Straight lines, it has trouble with turning-see how she parried it and slipped to the side?” Lima said, grinning, “Now it’s forced to bleed off its speed and rotate around, the best moment to attack is right after it starts to slow down.”
Weiss didn’t follow up with an attack, instead rolling back to her feet in a smooth motion and retaking a ready stance. The Boarbatusk glanced around the room, taking in everyone sitting in the rows above, with its four glaring eyes before it refocused on the white-haired girl.
“You’re right, it came to a complete stop almost to turn around,” Teak murmured, “How do they act in more open areas?”
“Much the same, but there's more room for wider turns out in a field than in this room,” Lux said simply.
“You can follow adjacent to it if your fast enough; stay on its flank, and it will find it hard to turn fast enough to attack you.” Claire chimed in.
“I feel so far behind, and it's only the first day,” Teak said quietly.
Claire nudged him with her shoulder, bouncing him into Lima, and he squeaked at the sudden assault.
“You’re doing fine,” Claire smiled, “I promise.”
Teak ducked his head embarrassed, but Lima could see a smile working its way back onto his face.
“Hang in there, Weiss!” Ruby cheered in support.
Weiss didn’t respond. Instead, an icy blue symbol of some kind appeared beneath her on the floor, and she blurred forward in a straight line, right at the Grimm. Somehow the Boarbatusk managed to snag the girls rapier between its tusks, holding them both in a power struggle as it did it’s best to throw her across the room.
“What was that symbol on the ground?” Teak asked, surprised.
“It’s her Semblance,” Claire spoke up, “You know how I can turn invisible?”
“Yes?” Teak nodded, “So that’s hers? It makes her faster?”
“I don’t think that’s it exactly,” Lima said noncommittally.
He could do something similar with his own Semblance, but he wouldn’t say that his Semblance makes him faster; that was just a single way in which he could leverage it.
“The Schnee family all have the same Semblance; it’s one of the inheritable bloodlines.” Lux said evenly, “The symbols are widely known as ‘Glyphs,’ and have a variety of different effects.”
Lima glanced at her curiously; she knew an awful lot about the Schnee family. Lux caught him staring and huffed before looking away.
“Winter Schnee participated in the Vytal Festival a few years ago; I remember the announcers explaining it to the crowd.” Lux mumbled, “I watched most of it at home.”
“Bold new approach!” Professor Port beamed, “I like it!”
“Weiss is struggling,” Claire snickered, “Why is she attacking it head-on? She's more than fast enough to keep behind it.”
“Come on, Weiss!” Ruby cheered again, “Show it who’s boss!”
Lima had a pretty good idea of what she was doing, so he spoke up.
“She obviously wants to look it in the eyes as she wipes it off the face of-annnd she just got disarmed by a Boarbatusk.” Lima said, shocked, “What the hell?”
The Grimm smacked her halfway across the room, and her rapier went in the complete opposite direction. Teak stood up immediately, trying to step into the aisle, but Lux just grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back down.
“Lux-she doesn’t have a weapon now!” Teak said worriedly, “We need to help her!”
Lux threw her arm over his shoulder and dragged him down into a part-headlock part-hug.
“She’ll be fine, Teak, relax,” Lux said, smirking.
“You’re such a hero, Teak,” Claire swooned, “You can’t go around saving other maidens like this, I’ll get jealous.”
“Yeah,” Lima said, grinning, “You punched her in the tit, remember? That’s pretty much a proposal, you know?”
Claire pouted at the reminder, and Teak flushed.
“Hoh, hoh!” Professor Port laughed, “Now, what will you do without your weapon?”
“Lima,” Teak mumbled, redfaced, and still stuck in Lux’s grip. “What if she gets hurt?”
Weiss rolled out of the way of the next charge, and the Boarbatusk couldn’t halt its momentum in time and smacked headfirst into the front desks, rattling them all from the force. She sprinted across the room, slid across the floor, and snatched her rapier back up.
“Weiss!” Ruby called, “Go for its belly! There’s no armor underneath!”
“See, she’s got her weapon back now,” Lux said, easily loosening her grip on him, but not letting him go. “Nothing to worry abou-”
“Stop telling me what to do!” Weiss snapped furiously, completely taking her eyes off the Grimm.
The Boarbatusk tucked itself into a ball and started rolling towards her the second she looked away, thinking it had found an opportunity. Weiss generated another of her glyphs right in front of its path, and the Boarbatusk ran into it headfirst before recoiling onto its back, exposing its belly in the process.
“She’s kind of an asshole,” Claire said curiously.
Weiss flipped backward, generated another glyph in mid-air that flashed black before she rocketed forward to spear the Grimm straight through its torso.
“Bravo! Bravo, it appears we are indeed in the presence of a true huntress in training!” Professor Port said cheerfully, “Well done! Please retake your seat.”
Weiss stomped back over to her team and sat down, refusing to look at her teammates.
“This will be a reoccurring theme here, I will be bringing a single Grimm to each class, and you will each be taking turns eliminating them.” Professor Port said easily, “Adjacent to that, I routinely run small hunting missions in the surrounding areas. My schedule is by the door; they usually take place on weekends.”
Lima was definitely participating in those.
“Students from other years and classes occasionally join me,” Professor Port said cheerfully, “You can come on your own, or bring your team; it’s up to you. These missions will have no bearing on your grades, and these specific hunts are not mandatory.”
The man clapped his hands and grinned.
“Well, now that the exciting part of the lesson is over, it’s time to cover some actual book studies.” Professor Port said good-naturedly, “I’ll be handing out the Grimm compendium we will be going over, be aware that there will be some assigned reading to do in your own time-after class-you can find all the resources you need for that in the library.”
Looks like he was never going to escape doing bookwork; what a shame.
“Now, let's go over a quick summary of today's Grimm; Since we’ve seen one in action this morning, I think we will start with the Boarbatusk, although that won’t always be the case.” Professor Port said cheerfully. “Let's have ourselves a little poll; what are some of the main characteristics of a Boarbatusk? Ms. Nikos.”
“The substantial amount of bone plating?” Pyrrha said, smiling.
“Fantastic!” Professor Port said cheerfully, “You are correct; Most people I ask tend to answer the Tusks, but the main issue is the durability. It makes it exceedingly hard for an untrained person-even with their Aura unlocked-to defeat one.”
Lima started jotting things down; This was pretty different from what he was used to at Sanctum. Most of those lectures focused on killing the things, but this was an interesting perspective; which of the Grimm was most dangerous to civilians?
“The Grimm that most experienced hunters think of as ‘fodder,’ ‘weak,’ or ‘not a threat,’ forget that even a single Boarbatusk is a monstrously difficult task for a regular person to survive against.” Professor Port said seriously, “Ms. Schnee here has the benefit of a Semblance that allowed her to disrupt the Grimm’s footing, and as a huntress in training, she has the skill, strength, and reflexes to accomplish such a feat with her weapon alone.”
Lima studied the man closely.
“The same can not be said for your average person,” Professor Port said firmly, “How does a civilian protect themselves from a Boarbatusk? She or he has not the physical strength, the Aura, or the Semblance to accomplish such a thing. Can any of you think of a way? Ms. Rose?”
“U-um,” Ruby squeaked, “Superior firepower?”
“While you are correct, that is how we have survived for as long as we have against this endless threat.” Professor Port agreed, “An untrained civilian most likely won’t have superior firepower on hand in most cases. Anyone else? Mr. Fawn?”
Teak placed his pen down and spoke up.
“Cooperating in groups, and staying behind defenses.” Teak said nervously.
“Correct,” Professor Port said cheerfully, “Hunters and Huntresses exist so that others do not have to worry that death sits behind every corner, hidden within every shadow-now, Boarbatusks have no ability to climb and do not have the power to break through large defensive perimeters; they can, however, jump quite high, but sufficiently high walls or obstructions are enough to defend against them.”
Monday, 7th April 79AGW.
The Workshop, Beacon.
The workshop was a large room, benches, tools, cabinets, and a hundred different machines all littered the place. Lima recognized barely a third of them, from his own experience at Sanctum, but Beacon clearly had the funds to go all in.
The Professor had been waiting silently at the front of the room as they filed in; shoulder-length dark hair and a matching bushy beard, small eyes that missed nothing studied them as they each found a bench to stand behind.
After a moment, the man finally spoke up.
“Welcome,” The man said evenly, “My name is Harold Mulberry.”
There was a murmur as the man stopped leaning on the desk and stepped forward.
“In battle, your weapons are your only friends.” Professor Mulberry said stoically, “Forge them well, and they won’t let you down. Fail to maintain them, and you’ll only be around to regret it for a little while.”
Once again, Lima found his gaze drawn to Ruby, as she practically vibrated in place; she certainly seemed excited.
“You have two responsibilities when you’re here, and I am available to assist with either.” Professor Mulberry said simply, “You will perform maintenance on your weapons every single time you are here, and by the end of the year, I expect you to have created a single piece of gear to aid you.”
“I don’t care what it is, but the design, construction, and testing will be your responsibility.” Professor Mulberry said evenly, “If you find yourself in need of a specific resource that is not available, there are requisition forms there; fill them out with your request and put it on my desk. There is a budget allotted to each of you for additional resources, but its not much use it wisely.”
Lima grinned; that was the first thing he would be doing, putting in a request for Gravity Dust.
“I’ll give you all a warning; if you mess around in here, I’ll kick you out,” Professor Mulberry said indifferently. “That’s all; get to work.”
Professor Mulberry turned and headed back to his own work desk without giving them another glance. Lima didn’t waste any time and headed for the requisition forms; a glass cabinet stretched across a section of one of the walls, filled with Dust, not a single Gravity Crystal to be seen. He quickly filled the form out, dropped it on the man's desk, and then headed for one of the empty benches.
He wouldn’t be able to finish them, but he could make the metal casing at least.
“U-um,” Teak mumbled, taking the bench beside him. “This is rather hands-off.”
“It’s pretty awesome,” Lima laughed, “You guys have any idea what you want to do for your project?”
“Not yet,” Lux said easily, “I’ll think of something.”
“A third sword?” Claire smirked, and Lima snorted. “Nah, I have no idea.”
“I don’t know either.” Teak said sheepishly, before glancing at him again. “What are you going to make Lima?”
“I want some kind of grappling hook,” Lima said thoughtfully, “A wrist-mounted one, maybe; some kind of strong cable that can reel me in and retract.”
“That sounds really cool,” Teak mumbled.
“Could you use your Semblance through it?” Lux asked with narrow eyes.
Lima just grinned.
Monday, 7th April 79AGW.
Dining Hall, Beacon.
“Well, thoughts?” Claire asked curiously.
“Carrots are probably the worst food in history, but they are also objectively the best color.” Lima said, frowning, “It honestly makes no sense, nature is weird.”
The other three gave him a strange look that he completely ignored, too busy poking the carrots on his plate with his fork.
“Um, okay.” Claire said, bemused, “I meant about the teachers?”
“Port is an absolute unit,” Lima said honestly, “That story about the Beowulf was awesome too-I didn’t even know that Grimm did stuff like that.”
“I didn't know they did things like that either,” Lux added thoughtfully, “What purpose does a Grimm have in capturing someone?”
“Saving a meal for later?” Claire offered.
“Except they don’t need to eat to survive,” Lux countered, “They kill things because they want to.”
They fell into a momentary silence while they tried to think of a valid reason, but nothing was forthcoming.
“Regardless, he definitely seems to know what he’s talking about,” Teak admitted, before shaking his head. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your home town destroyed by those monsters.”
Lima certainly could; the thoughts of a ruined town brought to mind the ruins they had seen in the initiation test.
“Teak,” Lima said curiously, “Did you end up looking up those ruins in the forest?”
Teaks eyes lit up at the question, before nodding happily.
“Last night; There's barely any information, but they are old enough to be part of our lost history,” Teak confessed, “There was more recent company outpost built there on top of the ruins, although it was destroyed a while ago before being moved to Mountain Glenn.”
“Mountain Glenn? Didn’t that place get destroyed as well?” Claire asked curiously, “What was the name of the company?”
“Merlot Industries,” Teak said thoughtfully, “There's not much information about it other than it used to be a research facility that was working on Artificial Intelligence and genetics. It’s listed as defunct now.”
“Two locations, both of which were destroyed, now there's some serious bad luck,” Lima sighed. “I bet whoever paid for that was pissed.”
“Doctor Merlot was the company's founder, and it’s main financial backer,” Teak revealed. “He apparently died during the fall of Mountain Glenn.”
Two destroyed facilities and then killed. If the Grimm had any form of higher functioning, he could almost believe it was a concentrated attempt to get rid of the guy.
“Back on track!” Claire interrupted. “Professor Port said he does missions; what do you think about that?”
“U-um,” Teak mumbled.
“I’m definitely going,” Lima said immediately. “Teak, I demand you to make everyone go; just think-supervised killing of all the things! Is there anything better?”
“Sleeping In?” Claire suggested smiling.
“Joining the Beacon Sparring Tournament?” Lux grinned savagely.
“Going to the library?” Teak added hesitantly.
Lima pouted, staring around at the three of them in disappointment.
“You three are the carrots of Remnant, only without having the decency to be nice to look at.” Lima huffed.
“I don’t like carrots either,” Teak said despondently.
“I look fantastic,” Lux defended, “Besides, why to bother going out to fight some weakling Grimm when you could be fighting your way up the rankings?”
“I don’t want to fight people,” Lima complained, “I want to kill Grimm. Hmph.”
“Did you just ‘hmph?’ at me?” Lux said incredulously.
“Can’t we do both?” Claire said thoughtfully, “Port’s mission schedule was early morning on Saturday and Sunday.”
“Tournament matches usually happen after midday on Saturday.” Lux said immediately, “I looked it up earlier, you put your name down, and a timeslot, as well as an opponent, will be automatically chosen based on your total points-earned and removed for each win or loss.”
Teak looked like he was considering it as well; he knew a lost battle when he saw one. That meant he couldn’t spend all day on the weekends in the Emerald Forest; life was tough.
“I think we should do it, Lima.” Teak said quietly, “I could use the experience.”
Lux was grinning triumphantly.
“Teak, we are getting a divorce,” Lima pouted, and Teak flushed. “I’m taking half the squad; you can have the shit half.”
Claire started laughing, and Lux narrowed her eyes at him.
“Exactly, which side is the shit half?” Lux demanded. “Huh?!”
Lima decided it was safer to leave that one unanswered.
“Hem, Hem. We have History next, with a Professor Oobleck? It’s in-Lecture Hall B.” Lima said cheerfully, “I’m excited, gang.”
Lux’s yellow eyes were burning a hole in the side of his face, but he did his best to blatantly ignore her.
I’m a fantasy author from Australia, and if I were to describe my work in a single sentence it would be; Realism contained within an unrealistic backdrop. I aim to put out high-quality, original, long-form written content that will entertain, and engage you. Expect dark themes, characters making costly mistakes, and unreliable narrators.
My standard process starts by releasing draft chapters to my Patreon, and then to everybody else online. Once the story is completed, I convert it into a more conventional eBook. I also routinely go back and revise, edit and enhance my older work as I improve as a writer.
I now have a website that has links to all of my original works to date.