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Black Lotus

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"Olivia, darling! Did you set the table like I asked you?" Olivia's mother called from the kitchen.

Olivia balked from where she'd been lying on the ground reading her favorite comic. She hadn't yet. "Y-yes, mom!" she lied, hoping her mother wouldn't catch the stammer. She ran across the room to the home's dining area and frantically began pulling out bowls, scattering them on the table close to the four chairs that took up each side of the table. She ripped the silverware drawer open with a clatter, 'I hope she didn't hear that!' and grabbed a fistful of forks, spoons, and knives before placing them with a little more care than she had done for the plates. The excess silverware was unceremoniously tossed back into the drawer as it was slammed shut, the instant before her mother's head popped around the corner.

"What was that sound, darling?" her mother's sweet voice asked, fox ears perked to the side and a slight smirk to her lips. 'You saw nothing!'

"Uh, just double checking that I put the forks back in the right spot," she lied again. By the knowing laugh her mother gave, Olivia didn't think it had worked.

"Well, go ahead and play outside. Your father and brother should be back soon from their little trip, and dinner will be ready in half an hour," her mother made a little shooing motion towards the front door as she said it.

Olivia huffed but did as she was told, 'My comic books are inside, thank you very much'. As her mother's head disappeared back into the kitchen, though, she quickly slipped the comic she had been reading into her hoodie's front pocket. 'Alright it's not my hoodie, but Copper didn't complain that I never gave it back.' Her big brother was nice like that. The black hoodie itself was overly sized on her, Copper was almost seventeen and she was only eleven, 'But it's so comfy!'

The sleeves also hid her faunus trait, black veins that ran from above her wrist to just past her elbow. Not for the first time, Olivia thanked Oum that she could hide hers so easily, her parents and brother were not so lucky. They still weren't sure what kind of faunus she actually was, but as she got older Olivia had started noticing subtle changes around her, nearly imperceptible at first. She could always tell where her brother was during hide and seek, or get the jump on him when he was sneaking up to try and surprise her. Copper kept playing, though, because it made Olivia happy.

Olivia stepped outside and immediately headed for the tree swing a little distance away from the front of the house. Her mother would see the comic book if she stayed too close, and the tree swing was far away and angled well enough that she would be able to hide it. 'I can play outside and read my comic!' Olivia knew that wasn't what her mother wanted, but ever since her brother had declared that he was going to Haven when he turned seventeen, Olivia had been enchanted by the stories. 'My big brother is going to be a huntsman!'

Olivia sat on the swing and idly bent back and forth while holding her comic book. She didn't swing high, that would ruffle the pages, but she made it as convincing as she could all the same. A low cold wind blew across her back, through the trees around her. She shuddered into the hoodie, huddling her arms closer. Their little cottage out on the edge of Mistral was secluded from most of the rest of the city. It sat on a low hill, the forest surrounding it on all sides. Most didn't live out this far because of the Grimm, but her father had gone to Sanctum, and had sent her brother there as well when he was old enough.

'Just two more years!' Olivia hummed happily to herself. Her father had promised that she could go to Sanctum as well as soon as she was old enough. They needed to be able to protect themselves from the Grimm, 'and the humans…' Olivia still didn't understand why the humans hated them so much, maybe she never would. They were all people, weren't they? Olivia went back to reading her comic, the heroes in the stories didn't care if you had an extra set of ears or a tail or black veins on your forearms.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, but Olivia pretended like she didn't notice. The area around her was silent. There was no shuffling of leaves or grass, no whisper of clothes rubbing against itself, but she knew what awaited behind her if she turned around. Olivia felt the presence approaching, and quietly rolled up the comic to stick into her hoodie. It was only five feet away now.

Olivia tipped back on the swing, letting herself fall completely backwards to the soft ground beneath and raised her hands, putting on her scariest face, "Raaah!" she yelled up at Copper. Her brother's face twisted in surprise as he stepped back from where he had been trying to sneak up on her.

"I really thought I had you that time!" Copper pretended to glare at her, but was having trouble keeping up the act due to the smile threatening to curl his lips.

Olivia put a hand to her face like the characters in the comics would, looking at Copper through the split between two of her fingers, "Heh heh hehhh, you must learn to suppress your fear if you ever wish to catch me off guard, hero!" Olivia felt another presence out of sight ahead of her as it walked up the path, "Your master approaches…"

Olivia and Copper looked up to see their father carrying the packs that held all the supplies the two had bought in town, "No, it's fine. I'll carry everything myself," his gruff voice huffed, hiking the packs further up his shoulders. Copper gave her a sheepish look, tail going taut, and ran over to intercept, taking one of the packs from their father. Olivia got up from her position on the ground and ran to the front door ahead of them, calling out as she opened it, "They're home!", and holding it for them as they stepped inside the cottage.

"Good timing, dear," her mother poked her head out of the kitchen again as she heard father step inside, "Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, go ahead and leave the packs outside the kitchen." Her father nodded and laid the packs he'd been carrying down next to the kitchen doorway, stepping away to let Copper follow suit.

When Olivia noticed the extra bag he kept with him, sides poking out, she squealed in excitement, "Did you finish your weapon!?"

Copper turned back to her with a prideful grin, "Sure did. Wanna see?"

Olivia's face told him all he needed, as he slung the pack off his shoulder and pulled the strings open. Copper held a hand up as Olivia leaned forward, trying to get a peek. She glared at him for making her wait, but rocked back onto her heels again. Slowly, her brother withdrew a folded mass of bronze steel. Olivia could see the barrel set in the blade, visible in its collapsed form as he held the grip. With a swing of his hand out to his side the grip shifted into a handle position. The blade unfolded from within itself to create a shortsword.

"Lemme try!" Olivia shouted gleefully.

She struggled against Copper's hand as he held her back, "Woah there! This thing is dangerous, sis!" Olivia gave up and pouted an arms length away from the weapon. Problem was, it was his arm's length, which meant it was still well out of her reach.

"Watch this," Copper's eyes lit up as the weapon did, electricity coursing around the edges of its double-sided blade.

Olivia's eyes grew wide as she looked at it, the sparks of light reflected in her eyes, "Ooooooh," she whispered in appreciation, "You'll beat up so many bad guys with that."

Copper stood up straighter as he accepted the admiration, then retracted the weapon back into its smaller form and put it back in the pack, "No playing with it, okay?"

"Not even for a minute?" Olivia sulked, eyes locked on the pack.

"Only if I'm there. I'm sure dad will let you shoot at some targets out back tomorrow if you behave," Copper smirked and ruffled her hair. Olivia cheered up at the idea, she'd never shot a gun before.

"Dinner's ready!" their mother's call grabbed both their attention as she walked out of the kitchen, a steaming pot in her hands that she set down on the table. She swept back into the kitchen then returned a moment later with a large bowl filled with bread for them to pass around. Their father held out her mom's chair for her, then scooted it in while Copper and Olivia took their usual places.

They all waited for her father to sit down. He picked up the ladle and spooned out a healthy amount for each of them in turn, starting with her mother, Copper, Olivia, and finally himself. They all dug in, her mother's cooking was fantastic, as always.

Olivia was staring over at her brother's pack between bites, thinking about the weapon concealed inside, when she froze. Her father noticed her expression at first, "Are you okay, sweetheart?" He gave her a troubled frown. Olivia's eyes whipped up towards the side of the house, eyes locked on to something that wasn't visible from where they were sitting.

"There are people outside… I can feel them," Olivia whispered. Her father's face hardened as he looked at the wall then towards the door. He quickly moved over to it. His chair fell back against the floor with a clatter as he locked the door and backed up a few feet to wait afterwards.

Her mother's ears swivelled on her head, seeming to pick up sounds outside now that those inside had all gone silent. She held her hand up so that father could see, 'three'. Copper stood quietly and moved over to his pack, pulling out his weapon with only the slight whisper of the strings coming undone. Copper stepped up ten feet from the front door and raised his gun, waiting to see what would happen.

The voices could now be clearly heard outside the front door. Her father stood resolute and raised his voice to be heard outside, "Leave, and we can avoid any conflict!"

"Ah, but what if we want conflict?" a snarky man's voice replied after a moment. There was a metallic crashing sound against the outside of the door and Olivia watched as the door knob clattered to the floor on their side. The door slammed open, plowing into their father's chest as he moved to hold it shut. He stumbled back a pace and it swung wide, revealing the three bandit thugs outside.

Olivia screamed as two of the bandits and her brother opened fire at the same time. Blood splattered across the room as holes drilled through his chest. Olivia's eyes brimmed with tears as she was forced under the table by her mother. She was frantically trying to get Olivia out of the way of the bullets. Father roared in outrage, charging straight out the door into the group of bandits.

"You're going to be okay, Olivia. Just stay here. Stay put," her mother choked back tears, pushing her down onto the floor. The table cloth draped low over the edge of the table, obscuring most of the room from her eyes, and her from it, but she could still see Copper. Her brother's face turned towards her as their mother ran outside. He coughed up blood, clutching at his chest in a futile effort to stem the bleeding. 'He's going to be alright… Big brother is so strong…' Copper smiled at her, 'See... I knew you'd be okay.'

She was still telling herself that as his eyes went cold and still.

The sounds of fighting outside grew silent. 'Mom and Dad took care of them, Copper. Now they'll take care of you.' She was about to pull herself out from under the table when she felt the two presences that remained standing outside. 'That's… that's not Mom and Dad.' Olivia trembled, sitting back in place and waiting to see who would walk through the door.

"Damn bitch got Terrance," a deep voice she didn't recognize spoke, heavy boots stepping in through the front door. She couldn't see much more than the feet of the two men that walked into the house.

"His fault for not hearing her scream as she ran up behind him. Bastard was always dense as a rock," the second man replied.

The booted foot kicked into Copper's side, "Brat got me good with that first shot." Olivia heard the sound of his teeth sucking in before a bullet was dropped onto the floorboards. She whimpered and pulled her knees up against her chest. 'What do I do?", she barely contained a choked sob, instead stuffing her face between her knees to try and suppress it. Olivia rocked back and forth, finding some small comfort in the motion.

"Hey, look at the table."

"What about it?"

"How many people did we kill, dumbass?"

The men's footsteps slowed. Olivia could feel them searching the room for the fourth person. 'Shhh, shhh, shhh,' she tried to tell herself as she rocked. The footsteps drew closer, and with a sudden scraping of wood followed by a crash of the bowls that had been on top of it, the table was thrown on to its side, revealing Olivia as she held her knees against herself in a death grip.

Wide eyes stared up into the man's. Olivia's eyes were blurred from the tears, she couldn't tell what his expression was. She felt him step closer. Panic raced through Olivia as she realized she was about to die. This was the end. He would kill her like the rest of her family. 'I-I don't wanna die!" Another step. A hand reaching down for her. His voice rumbled as he started to speak.

Olivia felt a change. It was indescribable, like she had suddenly sprouted more arms out of her back. Longer arms. Those arms shot forward into the man. Blood splashed down across Olivia as her eyes cleared. A hole had been ripped through the man's chest, bones and organs exposed as he stared at her wide eyed. His body grew slack. Olivia used these new… whatever they were, and hurled his body across the room into the wall. He slammed into it, then slid to the ground, already dead.

"Shit! Shit! What the fuck!?" the second man yelled. He fumbled at his waist and pulled his gun out, aiming it at Olivia.

Olivia screamed and threw her hands up in front of herself, 'No! Not like this!" The gun fired, six shots rang out through the air, deafening Olivia. Her breath hitched in her throat, 'What?' Olivia opened her eyes again, and saw the six rounds on the floor in front of her. She looked up to see the man's eyes wide, staring between Olivia and the gun he held. Another one of her invisible hands shot out at him, and as it pierced his chest, she could see it this time. The moment it made contact, it shimmered briefly in the air, '...Spider legs?'

"N-no, please," the man's voice was quiet and hoarse, his hand raised towards her, his eyes pleading.

Olivia stood on shaking legs and stepped closer, "You… you…" her anger brimmed to the boiling point. Hands now trembling in fury instead of fear. The man continued trying to beg.

Olivia turned away and bent over Copper, closing his eyes in a silent moment that was being disturbed by the man's pleading behind her. She reached across Copper and picked up his weapon, still in gun form, 'I'll make my first time count, okay?'

She turned back around, looking at the man that was still held up by her invisible appendage. Blood leaked from his body on to it, revealing part of its shape as his bloody hands held on to it. Olivia wiped away the tears in her eyes as she raised the gun. Her arms swayed as she aimed it, but she eventually got it on target.

Olivia pulled the trigger… and a hole appeared through the man's skull. Olivia dropped to her knees as she vomited at the sight and withdrew her appendage. It squelched out as the man was dropped to the floor in front of her. She felt the invisible limb, felt them with her extra sense. The four of them started from her lower back, ten feet long, with three joints that let her curl them around her body in various ways. 'They really are like spider legs,' she thought to herself.

A sudden clapping sound caught her attention, her eyes swivelling up as a black and red clad figure stepped into the doorway. The woman wore a white mask that looked like a Grimm's, and had one hand on a dangerous looking weapon sheathed at her side.

"Well done, child. You have claimed your revenge," the woman said it lightly.

"Who are you!?" Olivia shouted uncertainly. Her body was limp after the entire ordeal. She could not bring herself to stand again so soon.

"Your savior," Olivia felt the woman smirk beneath her mask. The tone was clear, even to her.

"Leave!"

"Come on, kid. You can't survive all the way out here on your own," the woman started walking closer to Olivia, "You're going to need a new mom-"

The woman's words were cut short with a gasp as two of Olivia's appendages struck, slamming into the woman's chest and throwing her back out the door. She used her two others to support herself back on to her feet, walking shakily after the woman. "I have a mother!" Olivia screamed at her.

She froze as her eyes fell on her mother, blood pooled out from her body that lay stretched out across the ground. Her father's body right next to her, a dagger sticking out of his back. Olivia could see her mom's face, the scream that was still there, fixed and unmoving.

A cough brought her eyes back to the woman that was still standing, 'Why did they not go through you like the other two?' she thought it at first, then decided to ask.

"Why didn't that kill you?"

The woman smirked, "Because I have aura, unlike them. You do too, now. Since you've unlocked your Semblance."

Olivia frowned, there were words in there that she just didn't recognize, 'Aura, semblance?'

"Curious?" the woman's smile deepened, "If you come with me, I'll tell you everything you want to know. You can become strong, unlike the rest of your worthless family."

Olivia's eyes glared at the woman, "My family is strong!", but a tiny voice in the back of her mind betrayed her, 'was…' She held back her tears through sheer determination.

The woman shook her head, "No. The weak die, and the strong survive. You are strong."

Olivia had just about as much of this as she could take. She used the two appendages supporting her to launch herself forward at the woman. Olivia wanted her to shut up, to stop talking bad about her family, "What do you know!?" she screamed in hatred. The other two invisible limbs streaked through the air at the woman.

The woman's eyes narrowed, her katana finally pulled free of its sheath. In a flash of red, she brought it up in front of herself and blocked one of the appendages, 'the blood!', before the second slammed into her again, knocking her back a few steps. Olivia could see a brief flicker over the woman's chest where her appendage had hit her, stopping mere inches away.

"Fine!" the woman growled suddenly. She backed up a few more steps, waiting to see if Olivia would follow her. She didn't, Olivia just wanted the woman to leave, to stop insulting her family. The woman slashed her sword through the air before resheathing it. Olivia's eyes stared in disbelief as a red hole appeared in the air.

"Don't say I never tried to help you," the woman muttered, then vanished as she stepped through the portal. It closed behind her.

Olivia collapsed to her knees, feeling the invisible appendages disappearing as the tension left her body. She finally allowed the tears to pour out, a flood of anguish and sorrow that threatened to consume her completely. She stayed there for hours, holding herself as she cried, until the night came, along with a chill that she already felt.

Olivia was all alone in the world.