Chapter 1: Birth of a Spider
"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.
"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.
Chapter 2: Thick as Thieves
Olivia crouched in an alleyway, watching her quarry as it travelled along the sidewalk ahead. Olivia’s food had run out a week ago, the small amount of money she had brought, four days ago. Now all she had were the clothes on her back, the weapon in her hands, and the strange invisible limbs that she could make appear and do things when she wanted them to.
The first day in Mistral, Olivia had taken the time to see what they looked like as well as she could. She had bought paint to splash on them while they were out. They were definitely spider legs, four of them in all. The ends came to a very sharp point, the inside edge had barbs that she could hook to things, and they were incredibly strong. Olivia had used them, practicing as best she could to learn this new power. Climbing a tree had been literal child’s play. It hadn’t tired her out in the slightest. She had panicked when she realized they would be exposed for anyone to see now because of the paint, but the instant she retracted them, the paint vanished with them.
Olivia had used them to scale buildings around town at night. There were often doors up top, and even if they were locked, she could still get inside by forcing her way through without drawing too much attention. Olivia didn’t steal, not at first, but as the hunger set in she had no choice. Olivia was hungrier than she’d ever been in her life, and the person ahead of her had just left the market, carrying an entire bushel of apples under one arm.
The woman was oblivious to Olivia’s presence. She continued walking down the street, idly looking left and ride as she winded down the road leading from the market back down into the residential district. Olivia felt a little guilt wrench at her chest, but it was overstepped by the hunger that ate at her stomach. She crept out of the alleyway, and approached the woman from behind.
“Stop right there! Don’t turn around!” Olivia whispered, holding her brother’s weapon up, in gun form at the lady’s back. She had no intention of actually using it. People were just scared of guns, and not little girls. It was the only way these little muggings would work.
The woman froze in place, the one hand not holding the bag raised in the air, “Please, don’t hurt me. I-I don’t have much money,” she stammered at the end.
“I just want the food. Leave it and go home,” Olivia whispered again. She hoped it would help disguise her voice so that the grown up wouldn’t know they were being held up by an eleven year old.
Still, Olivia had to yell “Don’t turn around!” as the woman’s head started to tilt her direction. At the squeak of her voice, though, she did turn around fully. Her eyes widened in surprise as she took in the bedraggled child, with a dirty oversized black hoodie and some kind of gun pointed directly at her.
“H-hey, listen kid. Are you okay? Do you need to use a phone? We can call your par-”
Olivia swung one of her extra legs, catching the woman against the chest with the blunt side, knocking her down with a sudden force she wasn’t expecting. The air from her lungs was huffed out as she went sliding across the ground. Olivia sprinted forward and grabbed the bag, taking a moment to put some of the apples back in that had spilled out. The woman was getting back on her feet, fear in her eyes. She couldn’t breath yet to scream.
Olivia sprinted back into the alley, out of the woman’s sight, then used her extra appendages to pull herself up the side of the building. She had just managed to get over the wall when the woman burst around the corner. She ran down the alleyway to the next street, thinking that was where Olivia had gone. She watched the woman leave and sat down with a sigh, allowing her ‘ semblance ’ to fade away. The word was still weird, but she had followed some boys to the arcade after they left Sanctum Academy and asked them if they knew what it was. They had told her what ‘ aura ’ was as well. ‘ None of it makes sense to me. ’ The boys hadn’t been very good sources for the information.
Olivia ate a few apples, and decided where to sleep for the night.
There were some abandoned buildings in the warehouse district. Olivia started there, she’d already gone into the area many times. With the rolling hills and twisting streets, though, she wasn’t always able to find her way back to places she’d already been. So, Olivia made it a habit of sleeping somewhere new each night. ‘ They can’t track me down if I’m never in the same place, right? ’ That was the best reasoning she could give herself. All the buildings were tall , and looked so much alike. It was easy to forget where to go when everywhere looked the same as where she’d already been.
Olivia spotted a decently sized building. There were no lights on, and the street was abandoned at this time of the night. Bag of apples in hand, she crossed the street to the building. It was a warehouse, like most of the rest. One small door at the front of the building was only a few feet away from one massive door that could be slid open to let cargo containers inside. Olivia pressed her ear to the smaller door, listening intently. Silence. Her other sense wasn’t picking up on anything either.
With one loud clang of metal that echoed down the street, Olivia stabbed a leg through where the door knob had been, and swung it open. There were cargo containers in here. She ignored the snowflake symbols on the sides and found her way to a nice, secluded corner. After shuffling a few boxes around, she had made herself a hollow to lie down in. Olivia pulled her hood up and used her hand as a pillow while she tried to fall asleep.
It was nearly half an hour later when she awoke with a start. There were people here. She could sense them, in the warehouse with her. ‘ Okay, okay, maybe I set off an alarm of something. ’ Olivia moved into a crouch and left the bag of apples lying on the ground. She didn’t want to make any noise right now. Her faunus eyes could see easily enough in the warehouse despite the lack of lights or windows to let moonlight in. It was cold and grey. The world felt lifeless without light.
A figure stepped around one of the containers. She got a glimpse of white over black, and a grimm mask before she dropped back down to hide. ‘ It’s her! ’ Olivia’s initial shock and panic ebbed away after a few seconds, though. It wasn’t her. Those were White Fang masks.
“I’m just saying, it’s weird, okay? I’m telling you the door was already broken open,” a man’s voice reached her. He sounded young, maybe in his late teens. ‘ What are they doing here? ’
“You sure Carnel didn’t already go through that way?” another answered, both men.
“She said she was going around back. Unless her sense of direction is worse than mine, I don’t think so, Crim. And, the way it was opened. It was like someone shoved their arm straight through it,” the younger of the two replied.
Crim sighed, “Well, maybe there’s another faunus in here with a grudge against the SDC, Reo.”
“Hey, if that’s the case, I’ll be the first to try and get them on our side. That steel looked like someone stabbed a pencil through a piece of paper,” Reo said, a tinge of admiration in his voice.
‘ What should I do? ’ It sounded like these White Fang had another member somewhere around. ‘ They’re probably planning on stealing from the place. ’ Olivia paled from her hidden spot behind the boxes. You don’t mess with the SDC. She’d seen scars from the brands used on faunus. ‘ On people! ’ It wasn’t pretty. Olivia had no intentions in getting wrapped up in all that danger. She stepped back, content to just hide and wait for them to leave.
Olivia’s foot hit the bag of apples behind her, toppling it over.
She sensed both of them stop, listening intently from only twenty feet away. ‘ Maybe neither of them has extra ears? ’ Olivia’s breath stilled completely. She knew from experience how good someone’s hearing was if they had four ears.
“Who’s there?” one of the men asked, the older one called Crim, she thought. His presence drew closer. Olivia heard the whisper of cloth and a dry metal on metal sound. He had pulled his weapon out.
“Speak up! If you come out now, we can just talk. Don’t make us find you,” Reo threatened. Olivia couldn’t think straight. Her entire mind was in a state of panic, ‘ What do I do!? ’
The sound of a gun being cocked answered the question for her.
“Don’t shoot, please!” her voice squeaked out from behind the boxes. The footsteps of both men stopped in their approach.
“Show yourself!” Crim demanded.
Small eleven year old hands were the first things to appear over the top of the box, then the rest of her as she stepped out from behind the crates, “Please, I didn’t know this place belonged to the SDC. I just needed a place to sleep.
“ You’re the one that broke the door open?” Reo asked incredulously, his eyes darting around, “No way, who’s with you?”
“It’s just me,” Olivia squeaked again.
“You’re a faunus, right kid?” Crim asked, putting his weapon away as he raised his hands in a calming gesture and walked forward. Olivia nodded hesitantly and pulled back the sleeves of her hoodie enough to show the black veins running up her arm.
“Hey, I know another spider faunus,” Crim said when he saw her veins, “You’ve got a good sense of when people are around, right?”
Olivia nodded again, curious but still all around scared of the situation.
“It’s a sixth sense, vibrations in the air. She told me about it over drinks one time. It’s a really useful talent in our line of work. What do ya say, kid? Wanna come with us? Learn how to help fight against the humans?”
Olivia’s eyes went wide and she backed up half a step, “I-I um, no thank you.”
“It’s alright to be scared, but if you want to live a happy life, then you gotta help in the fight. The humans won’t leave you in peace, so why should you do the same for them?”
“One minute, Reo.”
“No, but Crim!”
“What!?” Crim turned on him with a shout, frustrated by his interruptions.
“If she was the one that opened that door… then where’s Carnel ?” there was a hint of worry in Reo’s voice, and Crim seemed to pick up on it as he drew his weapon again.
Crim turned back to Olivia for a moment, “Kid, do you feel her anywhere nearby?”
Olivia closed her eyes and let her sense stretch out across the surrounding area, focusing as she did. Her eyes shot open and she pointed towards the back of the building, “There’s six people out back.”
Reo and Crim both gave each other a worried look and moved the way she had pointed, back behind a stack of containers to the door on the other side. Crim did have an extra set of ears, and pressed the side of his head up against the door. He turned back with a grimace, “They’re about to come in. Run back to the front and get out of here, kid.” Sure enough, as he finished speaking there was a rattling sound. Keys being searched through to find the correct one for the door between them and the humans. Olivia didn’t wait another second. She took off across the warehouse floor, around stacks of containers back to the front door.
Olivia’s feet ground to a halt as she felt more people ahead of her. She threw herself behind a stack of crates as they neared the door. ‘ Three of them, ’ she thought. The sound of gunfire rattled out from across the warehouse. The back door had finally been opened. There was a muffled curse, and the door closest to her was slammed open, three SDC guards slowly walked in, keeping an eye on their surroundings. ‘ I can just let them pass. They won’t see me here. ’ But then… ‘ They’ll catch those other two from behind. ’ Crim at least had been nice, had seemed concerned for her. Memories of the people that had been branded flashed through her mind. A feeling of determination overcame her desire to run, to escape.
Olivia’s semblance sprouted from her back as she prepared herself. The invisible appendages rose up above the crates, she could feel their exact positions, as well as those of the three closing in on her position. ‘ I.. I’ve gotta do this fast! ’ The gun shots from the back were beginning to die down, as the first two guards crossed in front of her. Olivia launched herself with her fourth appendage, closing the distance from her hiding place in a matter of seconds. The other three were poised to strike, to take out the guards the instant she was within range.
There was a startled cry from the one in the back, the only one to see her immediately after she burst from cover. The other two reacted quickly, turning their guns in Olivia’s direction. The one in the lead was closest, and he paid dearly for it as Olivia’s leg slammed into his chest. There was a cracking sound as a shimmer of color rippled across his body, and a muffled explosion of air out of his lungs. He was thrown back into the container behind him with a metallic thud that left a dent before he slumped to the ground.
The second man got a couple shots off, but they bounced harmlessly off her aura. The second leg swiped into him from the side, knocking him back towards the door they had entered through. His gun went flying in the air above him, completely forgotten as he hit the floor in an uncontrolled roll and grabbed at his chest, groaning in pain from the devastating blow.
The third, a woman, started to empty her magazine at Olivia. Her appendages swivelled up, protecting her aura and body from the bullets that pinged off them harmlessly. With another burst of speed, she flung herself at the woman, both legs that were blocking slammed forward like a wall. She let out a strangled cry and flew back into the second man, rolling into him in a tangle of limbs. Olivia took a moment to smash their weapons before walking to the door.
“You won’t get away with this, kid,” the woman gasped, rolling on to her side to try and get a good look at Olivia. Her hood was still up from earlier, and she made sure to keep her face averted.
“I-I didn’t want to,” Olivia whispered.
“You still did it , and that’s all that matters to the law.”
Olivia whimpered. Her hood hadn’t been pulled up when she first entered. ‘ I hope they don’t have cameras… ’
It seemed like she didn’t need to worry about whether the place had cameras or not. Olivia was three blocks away when she heard, and felt , the earth shattering explosion. An enormous sparking fireball that arced into the sky from where the warehouse had been, followed by a thick cloud of black smoke. ‘ I hope they got out okay… ’ Olivia didn’t just mean the faunus. She hardly liked the idea that she had helped someone commit murder...
Olivia decided against sleeping in the warehouse district from then on.
The line at the store was long, and Olivia was impatient. She had managed to score some cash the night before off a fat human that had probably never been threatened in his life. A little girl with a gun pointed at him and he’d turned into a blubbering mess. Olivia had almost felt sorry for him. Almost. There was still her own empty stomach to take into consideration, and compared to his own rotund shape, she could deal with a tiny bit of guilt weighing her down.
Olivia had thought this line would go quick, but the human at the counter was having trouble finding his lien. ‘ Okay so maybe I should have waited until after he left. ’ It had been so inviting, though. So easy. His wallet had been practically popping out of his pocket, begging to be swiped by any poor orphan girl that crossed his path. The weight of it in her hoodie pocket was a welcome one. ‘ There might be even more in here than the fat man’s. ’ The man eventually gave up and left deeper into the store to try and find his wallet. ‘ Finally. Honestly, I’m hungry enough right now that I would have bought your stuff for you just to get out of here faster. And kept the change for myself, of course. ’
A calendar posted up next to the cashier caught her eye as she moved forward a few feet with the rest of the queue. Olivia wasn’t really interested in what day of the year it was. They all blended together when you were struggling to live on the streets. What did interested her was how much time had passed since she started all this, though, ‘ Oh, I’m twelve now. ’
The thought had no real substance to it. Who would she even celebrate a birthday with? What was so remarkable about them in the first place? Olivia tried to think back to a year before, about what she would have been excited about back then. She came up dry. ‘ A full belly is as exciting as it gets. ’
Olivia’s hand basket was filled with premade sandwiches in durable plastic wrappers. At times like this she would buy in bulk, enough to last a week at least, then hoard them away in an abandoned house she had stumbled upon. The place wasn’t much, but it had a bed, moldy as it was. She’d also managed to get the refrigerator running, in a way. One stolen ice dust crystal in the bottom drawer put out enough cool air that her food wouldn’t go bad for a while.
The man from earlier’s voice cut through her daydreaming, “Thought you could get away with it, did you!?” Olivia turned in alarm, already preparing to defend herself, but it wasn’t her that was getting yelled at. The man was standing in front of a couple other kids, about Olivia’s age. They looked like they’d been living rough. The girl’s orange hair was sticking out in places, her clothes an absolute mess. The boy had black hair with a little stripe of pink in it, and was standing in front of the girl defensively.
“We didn’t take your money,” the boy said, trying to draw himself up to an imposing height that was simply impossible at his age.
“Right, two gutter rats just happen to be waving around a fistful of bills after my wallet goes missing. What’d you do? Ditch it and just take the money?” the man seethed in rage, staring down at them with his hands on his hips. Other people were being drawn in to the scene, watching from the sidelines as they whispered to those nearest them.
“ Oh how awful, who let those kids in? ”
“ Someone should call security. I don’t want my purse getting stolen. ”
The two kids were looking around at the assembled crowd in fear. Their shoulders hunched, looking like they wanted to run but had no means of escaping. The boy spoke up again, “N-no! We earned this money fair and square! I’m telling you, we didn’t steal it!”
The man scoffed, “Earned it? At what, the ripe old age of ten? Just give it back and I’ll forget this ever happened.” The whispering of the crowd increased as the security guard finally appeared through the massive throng.
“Alright, what’s goin’ on here?” he leveled an eye at the man, then at the children, who balked under his gaze. The girl stepped back into the display behind her, rattling it in place but not knocking it over.
To his credit, the boy faltered only a little, keeping his eyes locked with the security guard as he spoke, “This man is accusing us of stealing from him. We did not. This is our money.”
“Said they earned it. Couple of children. Do you believe that!?”
The security guard’s gaze swept back and forth between the three of them before he sighed, “Look kids, just give him his money back. I don’t know if you’re from around these parts, but theft is kinda frowned upon here. I’ll overlook this, but you gotta give him his money. Now.” The last word was demanding. An adult that knows full well he’s talking to children and wants to make his authority known. Olivia’s hackles raised. She’d heard too many adults try to use that voice when she was mugging them. They thought they held power over her life, just because they were older.
To her surprise, the girl stepped up past the boy, despite his protests, and held out a wad of lien that made Olivia whistle. ‘ There’s a lot in this wallet, but that much? Not a chance. ’ The man also seemed to realize it as he looked at the tight wad of lien the girl held out. A flicker of greed behind his eyes betrayed his thoughts though, as he reached out and pried it from the girl’s fingers. She stared at the floor as it happened, a few tears already starting to stream down her face.
The man stood up straight and headed for the exit.
Olivia dropped her basket full of sandwiches and followed, hunger forgotten.
She slipped back behind a group of people when the man’s eyes darted back. He stepped out of the store and turned right. Olivia kept up with the group that was also leaving, then shot past them as they started to falter. ‘ You are not getting away. ’ The man’s back was all she saw as he turned into the alleyway between the store and another building. Olivia ran to catch up then peeked into the alley. The man had stopped to count the lien in his hand. She took one final look around and nodded. No one should hear what happened next.
Olivia crept up behind him and let her invisible appendages unfurl around her. She winced as her foot kicked a can across the ground. She’d been too focused on the man. He flinched and spun around, holding the lien to his chest, then breathed out a sigh, “What do you want, kid?”
A sweet smile played across Olivia’s lips as she looked at him, eyes beaming. She’d put on this act plenty of times in the past, “I just had a question~”
The man frowned and shrugged, “Go on.”
“Did you want the lien back that I stole, too?”
The look of anger and confusion that began to make its way on to the man’s face was cut unceremoniously short as one of her limbs collided with his chest. He was lifted off his feet backwards and pinned against the wall, the limb grinding against his throat to keep him from screaming for help.
Olivia bent down and picked up the wad of lien he had dropped, stuffing it in her hoodie pocket next to his wallet, “Now, the next time you think about shaking down some children, I want you to remember this. Remember how you were pinned against a wall. Defenseless. At the mercy of a child that could rip you limb from limb if she chose. Really think about that.” Olivia ended it with another concussive blow to the man’s head with one of her other appendages. His eyes rolled up into the back of his head, and she let him slump to the ground in a heap
When Olivia turned the corner, she saw the kids outside the front of the store. The boy was standing behind the girl, rubbing her shoulders as she sat on the edge of the sidewalk, bawling into her hands. Olivia quietly walked up in front of them. The boy noticed her immediately, uncertainty on his face.
Olivia didn’t focus on him, though, and bent her head down to look at the orange haired girl, “Hey, buck up kiddo. I heard some good samaritan taught that punk a lesson for you.” As the girl’s tear streaked eyes looked up at her, she punctuated her words by pulling the wad of lien out of her hoodie pocket, holding it out to the girl.
The girl’s hands hesitated, but when Olivia simply pressed it into her palm, she gave one final sob and threw her arms around Olivia. She looked over the girl’s shoulder as she picked her up and started rocking her back and forth through the air. The boy just smiled and nodded his head in thanks before he spoke.
“My name is Ren, and that girl holding you in a death grip is Nora. Nice to meet you…?”
“Olivia!” she choked out. The girl really was squeezing hard. ‘Nora’ dropped her the next moment, though. Olivia patted Nora’s shoulder comfortingly, a realization flashing through her mind.
“So... if you guys go back in now, I doubt they’re going to let you buy anything. Want me to get your stuff for you?”
The two shared a look. Ren turned back to her first, “We would hate to impose.”
“Nah, no problem. Take it as thanks for giving me an excuse to beat on that guy,” Olivia held up her hands as if to stop their protests, “So, watcha want?”
“If you’re sure…” Ren began.
It opened the floodgates next to him that was Nora. The girl listed off a rapid fire series of foods and drinks. Olivia couldn’t help but noticed she mentioned ‘pancakes’ about six times.
“Noraaaa,” Ren said quietly. The girl hushed up and smiled, stepping back next to Ren who shook his head, “Just something for the road. We’re headed to a small town outside Mistral tomorrow.”
Olivia nodded and went back into the store. She bought her sandwiches and about a weeks worth of food that she thought would last on the road. Olivia realized as she placed the mountain of food down on the counter that it would be tough for them to travel with it all. She excused herself and ran to grab a backpack for them. It left her with only a handful of lien, but Olivia didn’t care. After a year worth of only looking out for herself, there was a lightness to her step, and a smile on her face for the good deed she was doing. ‘ Pity I can’t afford to get used to this. ’
The two were still waiting outside a little way off. Olivia proudly handed the bag to Nora, “There’s pancake mix in there too, along with a heating pad that’s powered by fire dust. You’ll be able to make them anywhere, as long as you have water with you.”
Both of their faces were locked in shock as they opened the bag and gazed at the horde of food and items Olivia had bought them. When those eyes turned up to her, she just shrugged, “You said you guys were leaving tomorrow?”
“Y-yeah,” Ren replied. Olivia could hear his voice trying not to choke up.
“Well then, why don’t you stay at my place tonight? It’s not much, but nobody goes there, so you don’t have to worry about people. You’ll at least be better rested for your trip tomorrow.”
Even Nora was looking like this was all too much to ask of her. As she opened her mouth to protest, Olivia just grabbed her hand and dragged her along behind, setting off across the city to the residential district. They had no choice but to follow.
“Alright, so there’s the bathroom. There’s the living room, the couch is actually pretty comfy. There’s the kitchen, you should put your pack in the fridge. It’s got ice dust in the bottom that keeps it all cool. Aaaand there’s my bedroom,” Olivia gave them the grand tour of her little shack. Most of the places she listed were little more than areas with old stuff in them.
“Thank you, Olivia,” Ren stated.
“Yeah, thank youuuu~!” Nora pulled her into the second hug of the day. They both sounded genuinely appreciative, and Olivia couldn’t help but smile back at them. The little group made their way to the couch after they dropped their food off in the fridge. Olivia snagged out three of the sandwiches she had bought and handed them out. The three of them plopped down on the couch and dug in. Olivia was quickly reminded of just how hungry she had been before the day’s events had transpired, and ate with abandon.
Olivia felt the presence of three people outside her door before there was a knock on it. Her mind flashed to a familiar scene, blood, and cold dead eyes. It was all she ever dreamed about. Olivia turned a smile to Ren and Nora, trying to sooth their frightened expressions, and excused herself to go see who it was. As she approached the door, her semblance activated. Olivia brought two legs in front of her, and left the other two poised over her shoulders. The first set ready to defend, the other two…
There was a knock on the door again before she reached it, “Who’s there?”
“Just some friendly neighborhood faunus hoping for a place to crash for the night. We saw you three sneaking into this place with that heavy pack around your shoulders. Whaddya say, feel like sharing?” the voice was low and nasally. Olivia didn’t recognize it in the slightest.
“Sorry, only three allowed. You can leave on your own two feet, or in a casket, your choice,” Olivia threatened back. She wasn’t about to let her good for the day get ripped out from under her feet on the home stretch.
“Ahhh, come on. Is that any way to treat a few friends?” the second voice was deeper, someone larger in size.
“I already have enough friends, which is exactly zero. Just the way I like it.”
There was a much heavier pounding on the door, and Olivia’s patience snapped. She flung the door open, the big brute in front of it looked shocked at first, fist still raised to pound on the door. That quickly turned to pain as he screamed. Olivia pierced clean through his shoulder, shoving him back in the same motion so that she could step outside and close the door behind her. She already felt Ren and Nora running in her direction, desperately wanting to help. Olivia didn’t need it. Not for this trash. The end of one appendage curled around the door knob, holding it in place to keep her hands free as Ren tried to pull it open.
The other two thugs were staring wide eyed at the hole through their friend’s body. Olivia decided to drive the point home, and lifted him off the ground by it. Blood ran down the appendage, revealing it, if they had eyes for anything other than the man screaming in agony.
“Now. As I said. On your feet. Or in a casket . Your choice,” Olivia let all of her frustration seep into her voice. The two on their feet looked at each other, looked at their friend, and fled. Olivia laughed over his pain-filled groans.
“Some friends you’ve got. Didn’t even stick around to carry you home,” Olivia mocked. The man could only whimper in response. ‘ Pathetic. ’ Olivia pulled him back towards herself, then hurled him down the street. The man rolled across the ground a few times, crying out in pain as he did, before getting up with one last look back at her. Olivia narrowed her eyes.
He ran, literal tail tucked between his legs.
Olivia let out a long sigh. The two were still banging against the door behind her, trying to get out to help her. Olivia gave out a light chuckle, “Guy’s, I’m fine,” and let her semblance disappear. The door burst open and their eyes frantically swept the street in front of her. Olivia raised her hands in a ‘what can you do’ motion, topping it off with a shrug.
“What the… we thought you were in trouble for sure!” Nora shouted in disbelief, still looking past her to try and find the three thugs that had disturbed their peace.
“Nothing I couldn’t handle. Let’s go back inside, eh?” Olivia steered them back into the decrepit house and pushed the door closed again, locking it.
Ren seemed more doubtful now, his eyes looking closely at Olivia, but she simply smiled in return and sat back down on the couch, patting it invitingly, “So, tell me. How are two kids hoping to travel outside the cities when they’re infested with Grimm?”
Nora sat down excitedly, ready to share. Ren sat down more slowly, but when it appeared that Olivia wasn’t any danger to them, let the tension leave his body. “Oh, can I tell her Ren? Can I? Can I?”
“Ren has a superpower!” Nora exclaimed, head nodding up and down as if Olivia was going to proclaim it nonsense at any moment. Instead, she spared Ren an eye as he closed his eyes a fraction of an inch.
“It’s called a semblance, Nora.”
“But ‘ superpower ’ sounds so much cooler!”
“And what ‘superpower’ would make you comfortable enough walking between cities?” Olivia continued to press for information. She wasn’t planning anything. She was just genuinely curious.
“I can hide us from the Grimm,” Ren replied. As he said it, he reached a hand out to Olivia. She hesitated a moment, then touch hers to it. Immediately, an intense sense of calm overrode every other emotion in her body. The tension left her shoulders, and she slumped down further into the couch cushions.
“Oh, yeah. That’s the good stuff,” Olivia mumbled. The feeling slowly ebbed away as Ren’s hand left hers, but a fraction of it remained. Olivia felt safe, for the first time in a long time, and for some reason, a bit sleepy. She yawned heavily, arms raising above her head to release the final tidbit of pent up anxiety. It drained from her body and left nothing but a warm fuzziness in its place. Olivia was suddenly very tired.
“I’m gonna go to bed. I’m glad I met you two. Don’t leave tomorrow without saying goodbye, okay?” Olivia mumbled again, heading to the bedroom. She grabbed the thin blanket and curled into it, the pressure from all sides adding another level of security. She was asleep in moments.
The nightmares did not claim her that night.
“Wow, it's like the first time you used it on me,” Nora said lightly. The door to Olivia’s room was still open, the girl had been so tired she hadn’t even bothered to shut it.
“It is quite draining to have so many pent up emotions let go of all at once,” Ren replied in the same quiet tone as Nora, “I thought it would be… safest, if I did that for her.”
“Safest? What do you mean, Ren? She’s been nothing but nice to us,” Nora asked quietly, but she knew the answer.
“Nora. You heard those screams, and you saw the blood on the ground. Olivia may be playing nice with us, but she’s dangerous. Very dangerous.”
“Isn’t it good to have someone dangerous on your side?”
“Perhaps, but I didn’t want to take any risks. She should be asleep like that for the rest of the night. Let’s try and get some rest too. We have a long day tomorrow.”
“We’re still going to say goodbye though, right?”
“...Yes. We can still do that.”
Olivia woke up feeling the most well rested she had in a long time. She stayed in bed for another half hour, enjoying the warmth of her blanket, thin as it was. A knock on her open door announced Nora’s presence. Olivia had known she was standing there for the past thirty seconds, but was content to wait until she announced herself. She didn’t think the girl had a bad bone in her body. Olivia rolled over, eyes finally cracking open.
“Wake up, sleepy head! Me and Ren are heading out soon!” Nora smiled at her. The pack Olivia had bought for them was around the girl’s shoulders. Olivia couldn’t see Ren, but she felt him just outside the front door.
Olivia extricated herself from her blanket with some reluctance. She hadn’t undressed, and was still in her clothes from the night before. Olivia hopped to the floor and stretched, listening to her back pop in several places, “Ah, that is so much better.”
The two stepped out into the morning sun. Ren was already outside, leaned up next to the door, another pack around his shoulders. He turned to them both and gave a small smile. Olivia was starting to feel like the boy just couldn’t show emotions. ‘Maybe his semblance keeps him from having strong emotions?’ Olivia shivered. She didn’t know if she would like that long term.
“Well, it was nice meeting you two,” Olivia said, giving each of them a hug in turn.
“You too!” Nora cheered, hugging her in a third and final death grip.
“Good luck on your travels. If you’re ever in Mistral again, try and find me. I’m sure there’s nowhere to go but up from here,” Olivia rapt a knuckle against the decrepit building.
“We’ll certainly do that,” Ren replied. It sounded sincere, and Olivia smiled more brightly because of it. She really would like to see these two again.
“Every pancake I eat, I’ll think of you!” Nora gleefully announced, patting her backpack.
Olivia gave them one final wave, smiling as they left, off to some grand adventure.
'Now then, I have a bed to get back to.'
Chapter 3: Mistakes
Olivia was having a great day. After saying goodbye to Ren and Nora, she had spent another few hours curled up in bed enjoying the comfort of the sheets. A growl from her stomach had announced her hunger, and instead of grabbing one of the sandwiches from her fridge, she decided to treat herself. The sandwiches could wait. Olivia wanted to go out and pretend to be just another person for a few hours while she enjoyed a meal.
She left her little corner of the slums, up into the city proper. Olivia didn't come up here often. It was a large place, plenty of shops and businesses full of people that were around at all times of the day, and she was afraid of being recognized in the crowd. 'I'm not up to anything today, though. They'll leave me alone…' she reassured herself as she made the climb.
Olivia paused in an alleyway, watching the mass of people going about their day in the district. Her eyes swept above their heads, looking for a place or a sign that would point her towards food. There were plenty of well lit and colorful signs along the street, and Olivia noted with a small smile that many of them were indeed places to get a bite to eat. She stepped hesitantly through the crowd, but when there was no shouts of 'Hey, stop that girl!', she started to relax. Olivia's shoulders slumped back down as she returned to her usual demeanor, casually uncaring, and set off towards the smell of food.
Olivia idly wiped a sleeve across her mouth as it started to water. She could smell them. 'Burgers…' How long had it been since she'd had one? It felt like forever. Her body followed the scent of its own accord to one of the small shops that lined the street. Olivia waited in line, stomach rumbling while looking up at all the different variations. It was a little confusing, but they at least came with helpful pictures along with numbers. She set herself on one of them, and when her turn came, said it with determination to the old man behind the counter.
"Number 4… the Bacon Ultimate Deluxe, eh?" the man eyed her up and down, "I don't think you've got the stomach for it, little lady." The man smiled as he said it, obviously teasing her, but Olivia huffed and tossed the necessary lien down on the counter.
"And an order of large fries, please."
Ten minutes later, Olivia was starting to think the old guy had been right. He presented her with the tray, stacked tall with the biggest burger she'd ever seen in her life, and a side of fries. Olivia managed a weak smile, lacking all the confidence that she had displayed earlier, and left to sit at one of the tables outside the shop. Still, once she had dug into it, Olivia couldn't help but grin in satisfaction. It was delicious. She managed to get half way through it and finish her fries before her stomach began to protest with each bite. 'Uuughhh' Olivia hadn't been this stuffed for literal years.
As she approached the counter, the old man was already holding out a small foam container and waving it in her direction. He smiled down at her as she sheepishly took it from him and set the plastic tray back on the counter, "Thank you for the meal." Olivia wasn't even certain the man would hear her, but it seemed as if he understood the sentiment either way, and gave her a happy but brief nod before turning back to another customer trying to make their order.
Olivia held the small box with her leftovers in one hand and her other hand against her stomach as she wandered around the busy streets. She was content to walk off the food for the time being before heading back home. 'Going back downhill while feeling like this?' Recipe for disaster, she was certain. After walking the length of a few streets and seeing the sights, her eyes caught on to a much more brightly colored building, several signs were lit up along its exterior, promising fun and games inside.
She made her way over to it and peeked inside. The building was jam packed with kids of all ages crowding around the various games. Olivia's sixth sense was going haywire. There were too many people to account for, and she spent the first few minutes just watching from the entrance, getting used to the sensation. Eventually the panic racing through her heart started to lower, and with a deep breath, she plunged into the mob.
The children running past in every which direction kept Olivia on her toes as she tried to just look at all the games they had to offer. It was her first time in an arcade, but her brother had told her about it once before. She wasn't sure if it had been this exact arcade he talked about, but after looking around and seeing some outfits belonging to students that went to the local combat school, she thought it must be. Olivia observed them all for a while. The kids would use their lien to pay for the games, and then it would dispense tickets depending on how well they'd done. They would then spend the tickets at one of the counters in the store to buy from the myriad of toys on full display.
Toys were of very little interest to Olivia, but she was feeling good today. After meeting Ren and Nora, and getting both the best sleep and best food she'd had in the past year, Olivia was ready to have a little fun as well. She spotted one game that wasn't currently in use, "Grimm Invasion Defense Force III". Olivia had no idea what the three slashes were for, 'Isn't that a White Fang thing?', but decided to spend some of her lien and play. She picked up the brightly lit plastic gun as the game started, but when the Grimm appeared on screen and began slowly lumbering towards her, she got the idea.
Olivia was on her third playthrough when a group of older kids, combat school students from their uniforms, approached her and began loudly talking to one another while she was trying to focus. They looked about the age her brother had been. Olivia didn't mind their voices too much, this place was already louder than anywhere she'd been before. It was their school weapons they'd brought into the arcade with them that kept her from being able to ignore them completely. As they were talking, the leader of the group leaned over next to her and placed some lien on the edge of the game's screen. Olivia ignored it. She didn't know what he was doing, but she wasn't going to try and steal it either even if he did leave it right there for the taking.
Bits of their conversation bled through Olivia's focus.
"Did you hear a twelve year old won the Regionals this year? A twelve year old!"
"Yeah, some girl named Pyrrha Nikos. Girls phenomenal."
"I coulda taken her."
"Bragging about winning a fight against a twelve year old girl? How pathetic is that?"
"It's not the same thing, she won the Regionals. She's literally the best."
Olivia continued trying to ignore them as she finished the game again. She reached into her pocket and pulled out another bit of lien to feed into it. A hand on her wrist stopped her before she could insert it.
"Hey kid, watcha doin'? I called next," the older boy said dryly, pulling her hand away from the game.
Olivia looked at him in confusion and with a little bit of annoyance at how he'd grabbed her, "But I'm playing."
The boy looked uncertainly between Olivia and his friends. They laughed, egging him on, "So I'm the one that's pathetic for wanting to fight against a twelve year old champion, but you're going to back down from one that doesn't even know how to fight?" one of the boys teased. The others laughed along with him, and the one holding Olivia's wrist turned red in the face.
He turned back to her. "Listen kid, when someone puts money down on the game, that means they want a turn," the boy pointed at the lien he'd put next to the screen, "Like I said, I called next. It's just common courtesy, ya know?"
"And is grabbing people you don't know common courtesy, too?" Olivia said with a glare, ripping her wrist out of his grip. It was surprisingly strong, but Olivia didn't think he was really trying to hurt her. Still, as she pulled away, Olivia rubbed at her wrist, trying to sooth it. Her anger spiked again.
"Yeah, Jace. What's wrong with you?" another boy mocked, poking 'Jace' in the back as he said it, "A huntsman in training with no manners. How will you ever win the ladies?"
Olivia was annoyed at the older boy, and decided to join in insulting him, "I could take a scrawny teen like you any day of the week."
His group of friends burst into laughter as Jace turned an even deeper shade of red. His eyes took in Olivia, his voice taking on a threatening tone while he tried to intimidate her, "Do you wanna back that up?"
"I'll have to if you don't back up," Olivia threatened back, standing her ground. She just wanted to go back to her game.
"Oooooooooooooh~!" the other boys were loving it.
It seemed like Jace had reached the end of his rope. His temper flared, "You wanna prove that? Come out back so I can teach you a lesson, little girl. I don't know where your parents are, but they must be pretty shit at it if you're the result."
The mention of her parents had been the final straw. "Sure, but when I win, you go play somewhere else, little boy," Olivia stepped past him towards the back of the building where she'd seen another exit. He followed, his friends jeering at him the entire way.
Olivia pushed the exit door open forcefully with a little assistance from her semblance. The metal door slammed into the brick wall outside with a loud cracking sound. Olivia ignored it as she stepped out into the empty alleyway. 'I can't show off my semblance the same here, there's too many spectators.' She couldn't exactly expect to beat the older boy without it, though. Olivia thought about it and decided to try the next best thing.
She brought the top two legs down across her shoulders, then down along her arms. One on each side. As far as she could tell, hits on her extra legs didn't count as part of her actual body, and didn't lower her aura. Olivia experimentally moved her hands around. The sharp point ended right before her knuckles. She didn't want to stab him, and with a few practice jabs, she realized that working her extra legs and arms in tandem gave her a much stronger punch than she would have normally.
Hit by inspiration, she replicated what she was doing with the lower two legs by putting them against the back of her actual legs. With those she allowed the point to grind down into the ground a little. It gave her a lot more support in her footing. Olivia experimented again, and pushed off with both of her right legs, real and semblance, at the same time. 'So much faster!' It made her feel a lot lighter, too.
"Aw, look. She's warming up!" one of the boys mocked. The rest laughed along with him. None of them noticed the large crack in the brick wall where the metal door had hit it.
Olivia rolled her neck like she'd seen people do in the movies and raised her hand, making a 'come at me' motion with her fingers. Jace rolled his eyes in response, and put up the mockery of a guard before stepping towards her. 'He really shouldn't have insulted my parents.'
Olivia didn't wait for him to cross the distance. With a sudden burst of strength through her dual legs pushing off the ground, she dashed in one step across the ten feet between them and threw a wild haymaker.
Jace was surprised at her speed and reacted instinctively. His hands raising into a more proper stance that had been drilled into him for years on end, and threw a straight jab. Olivia was no fighter, her only thought was to try and put power behind her punch with the long wind up. The quick jab to the face caught her completely off guard, partly due to its speed. The second thing that surprised her was the power behind it. She was flung backwards, all forward momentum sent recoiling in the other direction.
"Dude! What the hell is wrong with you?" one of the boys yelled, shocked by the display of force. They each began to berate him as Olivia slowly stood up. Her aura had protected her from the blow, and it seemed Jace had realized that as well. He ignored the other boys, and one by one they noticed that Olivia looked completely fine after the hit.
"A twelve year old with aura, huh?" Jace remarked, sticking to his trained stance.
Olivia shrugged, "Wouldn't exactly be a fair fight otherwise, right?"
'It still wouldn't be a fair fight, for you, if I could cut loose here.' Olivia bent down and got herself ready. She had learned from her previous mistake. 'I already have enough power because of my legs. Better to get faster hits in.' Olivia brought her hands up to try and mimic the way Jace was holding his. She knew it wasn't perfect, but it was close enough.
Olivia flew forward again, this time with her arms up in front of her. She threw a right jab at Jace's chest. He quickly sidestepped, bringing up his left hand to push her punch to the side and redirected her momentum past him. Olivia could only watch in shock as his knee came straight up into her stomach. It slammed against her aura, still protected from the blow thankfully, but Olivia could feel the chunk it had taken out of her defense.
She pushed off with her left foot to turn, and brought up her left hand this time, aiming for his gut. Jace tried to use both of his hands to force her hand down and away from him again, but this time she made her extra limb more rigid. Jace's hand connected with the invisible force that laid on top of her arm. Unbending and unyielding, his mistake allowed her to finish the blow to his gut. He doubled over from the impact and stumbled back, clutching at where he'd been hit.
The choir behind Jace had gone silent as their fight continued, looking uncertainly between one another as Olivia actually managed to get a good hit in. 'Yeah, that's right. This little kids got some moves!'
Jace recovered and regarded her more warily than before. He took the initiative this time, moving into her guard with a flurry of attacks, both punches and kicks, that took her by surprise. Olivia brought up her arms, and used the back of them that were protected by her extra legs. She blocked as well as she could, but he was quick, and tricky with his attacks. Jace would throw a punch, only for it to turn out to be a feint to draw attention away from one of his other limbs which would then score a hit on her. All of the ones she did manage to block were stopped dead, courtesy of her semblance, but she was having trouble keeping up. Moving two sets of legs and arms at the same time with each other was hard, and this was her first time even trying it.
With one final jab to her chest, Olivia was knocked back off her feet. Her aura sparked around her entire body, a flash of pink and black that was gone the next instant. She breathed heavily as she remained lying on the ground, numbly aware that her extra legs had disappeared with her aura. Olivia flinched and closed her eyes as a hand came down into her field of vision, but when no attack came, she opened them again to see that Jace was holding it down for her. Olivia grabbed a hold and let herself be shakily pulled back on to her feet.
"Hey, you got promise, kid. That was a good fight," Jace remarked, giving her a reassuring pat on the back. Olivia looked down at herself. She was a mess. Her brother's hoodie was torn on one of the sleeves when she'd tried to replicate Jace's redirect technique. It had been completely unsuccessful. Olivia noticed Jace's eyes widen, and looked to see what he was staring at.
The ripped sleeve had exposed the black veins on her arm. Olivia yelped and brought her other hand up, closing off the tear as best she could. She gave the boy one fearful glance before taking off down the alleyway, back into the crowds that soon hid her from sight. Olivia was so busy looking behind herself that she didn't notice the large man she ran into until she was already off her feet, knocked to the ground.
"You!?" the large man yelled in surprise and anger. One of his meaty hands reached down and grabbed her by the forearm. Olivia looked up in shock and recognized his face, the fat man she had mugged only two nights ago. Olivia tried to lash out, to send the man flying back into the crowd away from her, but nothing happened. 'My semblance is gone!' she realized in horror. Olivia shifted to trying to rip her hand free, but the man kept a firm grip. All she had was the strength of a twelve year old to try and fight against the fully grown man.
"None of that! We're going straight to the police!" the fat man dragged her across the ground, despite anything Olivia could try to do, and through the crowd. She felt him pull her forward roughly one last time and drop her down in front of him, "Arrest this girl! She mugged me two nights ago. It was armed robbery!"
Olivia looked up into the face of the two officers she had been thrown down in front of, pure dread in her eyes. They gave each other a look, and dragged her away.
Jace watched from the crowd as the girl, 'the faunus', that had fought him was taken away in cuffs. 'She could have gotten away if she had her aura…' Jace felt the guilt weighing down on him, and decided to give his uncle a call.
Olivia trembled for reasons other than the bumpy road she was being driven down. Her aura still hadn't returned, and despite not having the extra appendages at her disposal, she could still feel them. Could still feel as if they were there, ready to be used. They just couldn't manifest without her aura. It was that fact, and how defenseless she was, that were making her queasy.
They were taking her to jail. She'd be locked up, like a rat in a cage. They had removed her hoodie to check for weapons and found her faunus trait plain to the eye. Olivia pounded her arm against the side of the car in frustration. She was in the back of a van, legs chained to the floor beneath her. The fat man had insisted he come with them and was sitting in the front of the vehicle. Olivia could feel his presence there. They were having a conversation, as far as she could tell, although the fat man was talking more than the two officers. All Olivia could distinguish was a deep, distinct cadence that belonged to him. None of his words were intelligible.
'Come onnnn, come on!' Olivia tried desperately to make her semblance form, to reappear. She was still exhausted from the fight. 'Why did I even do that?' Olivia already understood her mistake, though. She had gotten cocky after mugging people for over a year and encountering little resistance. Putting herself into a compromising position against someone who's strengths she didn't know had been a dumb, irrational move.
The van came to a halt, front doors opening and closing with a slam before the officers opened the back door. Olivia shouted the instant the opened, "He's lying! I've never seen him in my life!" She let her fear come to the forefront of her expression, hoping that they would take it as the genuine truth.
"Nice try, kid. He already told us everything," one of the officers scoffed and undid the chains around her ankles. They each grabbed her by a forearm and pulled her bodily out of the van. They were parked right outside a large brick building, 'Mistral Detainment Center' was written across the front in big block letters. Olivia struggled against them but couldn't break free. They kept a hold of her as they entered, heading through the front area and directly to the back where the cells were. The fat man was following along, happily watching her torment as she was thrown into one of the cells.
The officers left to go file their paperwork, leaving Olivia in her cage, and the fat man standing just outside it, "I wonder if you knew who I was before you stole from me?" The man stated the question out loud, not really expecting an answer from Olivia, "Of course not. What does a little faunus brat like you know?"
"I know you cried like a baby when you were held up by a twelve year old," Olivia seethed. She was already in jail, what more could he do?
The man laughed lightly. There was no humor in it.
"Well, I've given my friends in Atlas a call. They'll be sending a Manta to come pick you up tomorrow morning," he gave Olivia a devilish smile. It only widened when she looked back in confusion, "You're going to be serving an… alternate sentence. In the Schnee Mines."
'No!' Memories of branded faunus flashed through her head as she recoiled back against the back wall and slumped to the ground, as far from the fat man as she could get.
The man laughed heartily, elated at the terror in her eyes, "Maybe think of that the next time you want to steal from humans, you filthy faunus bitch!" The man turned around after that and walked off, leaving Olivia quivering on the ground in the corner of her cell, knees pulled up against her chest. 'Come onnn, come on!' Tears rolled down Olivia's cheeks as her semblance once again failed to appear.
Olivia's hatred for these humans grew by the second. After they had started on their paperwork, the two officers had also gone over other incidents to try and find any matching her description. According to the human she was currently glaring at, she was a 'piece of faunus trash that should have been left in whatever gutter she crawled out of'', among other things. She had stayed in the corner, sitting with her knees against her chest. Olivia no longer trembled from fear, though. Her aura had returned a few hours ago, and along with it, her semblance. She trembled with barely suppressed rage. The appendages were already out, waiting for the first person foolish enough to approach and taunt her to her face instead of just shouting insults from a distance.
'I'll rip them to pieces.'
The iron bars that surrounded her would be easy enough to break out of. Olivia's issue was that for most of the day, the room between her and the door was filled with armed policemen. There were too many angles to get shot from, and she knew that if her aura dropped again in a situation like that, then she wouldn't get a second chance. She would be killed.
It was getting late now. Several of the officers and workers had already left. Olivia could just barely see a clock on the wall from where she sat, '10:32'. It seemed like their work day was coming to a close. Olivia stood as another wave of them left, their shifts ending. The one that had insulted her the most was still at his desk, twenty steps away from where she was being held. 'Good…'
Olivia focused on her sixth sense. 'Seven…' There were only seven people left in the building that she could feel. She liked those odds. Olivia just needed to start it off by getting rid of one instantly. Her eyes settled on the racist at his desk.
"E-Excuse me?" Olivia called out to him weakly.
"No, I won't let you out. If you need to use the bathroom then do it in the corner like the dirty animal you are," the man grinned maliciously before turning back to his desk.
"I-I just had a request?" She kept her voice sounding timid, afraid.
The man stood up in a huff from his desk, realizing Olivia wasn't going to leave him alone. He walked up in front of her cell and glared down at her, "And what might that be?"
"Do you know where I can find my hoodie?" The man's face turned into one of confusion right as Olivia prepared to spear him through the chest.
At that exact instant, the front of the building exploded. Both of their heads whipped to the side, distracted by the sound of it. A smoke screen of dust had been blown into the air when the wall exploded. There was silence for a few seconds, aside from the shuffling of the officers as they stood from their desks. Gunfire rang out, bullets whistled through the air and cut them down like the dogs they were. Round after round of bullets flew randomly through the dust cloud, hitting everything in their wake.
Olivia and the man were off to the side, in a small hallway that held the cells and protected from the gunfire by the brick wall. He reached for his gun, attention entirely diverted from Olivia. Her leg jabbed out between the bars, closelining him for a moment before she curled it and pulled back. He was choke slammed against her bars, back to her, held a foot off the ground. His heels drummed against the bars frantically, hand reaching for the gun at his waist.
Her hand reached out and grabbed his gun before he could. Olivia positioned herself so that he would be a human shield if anyone came around the corner firing randomly. All of the officers were dead or moaning on the ground, blood pooling out from wounds that were certainly lethal. 'Good riddance.'
The dust cleared as a group of White Fang stepped through, looking around at their handiwork. A gasp from the man Olivia held pulled the White Fang's attention in their direction. The man that Olivia held was hopelessly clawing at the invisible thing that held him in place. Olivia let it wrap around him tighter, one of the barbs pierced slowly into his chest, earning her a delightful groan from the man.
"There you are, kid!" a familiar voice yelled out. One of the White Fang members was waving at her as he walked towards them. Olivia couldn't quite place the voice, but if they were White Fang…
"Are you the one from the warehouse?" Olivia asked incredulously, "I thought you got blown up!"
"What? Naaah, we did that on purpose. Hell of a light show, eh?" Crim smirked as he walked towards her. He did spare a curious glance to the officer being held up against the bars, off the ground.
"Don't worry. I've got him. How have you been?"
Crim rubbed a hand against the back of his neck, "Ah, you know. Making the world a better place, one dead human at a time. What's the story with this one?" he pointed his thumb at the man.
"He hasn't answered my question yet," Olivia said darkly. She dug the barb further into the man's shoulder and wrapped another appendage lower across his chest. She eased up on the one around his throat, and he gasped for breath raggedly as his eyes darted back and forth in fear.
"Please, I'll do whatever you want!"
"There's only one thing I want from you, like I asked before... Where's. My. Hoodie?"
"It's in the storage room! Bottom shelf! That's where we keep all confiscated items!" the man whimpered as more blood poured down his chest from his wound, "Are you going to let me-"
Olivia didn't wait for him to finish. She speared an appendage through his back, leaving a gaping hole in his chest, and dropped him to the floor. She then positioned them between the two bars directly in front of her, and with a small amount of effort on her part, bent them open.
Olivia stepped out of the cell and gave a smile to the shocked expression on the man's face.
"So. You wanted me to join the White Fang, right?"
Chapter 4: Revenge
Olivia bundled her arms into her hoodie pockets as a chilling breeze rippled along silent streets past what would be her new home. They were back in the warehouse district, along the edge that led into the slums. The portion of the slums that these warehouses ran along were heavily populated by faunus, pushed to the fringes of the city where they would be 'out of the way' of the humans. It was the perfect place to have a secret White Fang hideout. There were no humans to report suspicious activity.
Crim opened the door ahead of her and stepped inside, "Welcome to the White Fang," he smiled back at Olivia and waved his hand for her to head in past him. She obliged, and walked past. She could feel dozens inside, several in this room alone. What greeted her eyes first was a large open area. There were couches off in a corner, all facing a television, with several faunus lounging around. A little way from that was a small kitchen, one that actually worked unlike hers from the looks of it. There were quite a few weapons and crates of dust ammunition scattered around the center of the room. A few members were there at one of the tables, doing maintenance on the guns and packing magazines. Off to the far left corner was an open floor space with weapons lining the walls. Not guns, but swords, staves, axes. Olivia didn't know the names of many of them. On the mat, looking like he was training…
"Jace? That was your name, right?" Olivia struggled for a few seconds to recall what the other boys had called him.
"That's me! Glad my uncle could help you out," Jace replied, pausing in his workout to look over and smile at her. There was a sincerity to it that made Olivia's shoulders relax. She hadn't even noticed she was tense.
"I recognized you from the description he gave me," Crim said from behind her. They both stepped to the side to allow the other faunus to enter the building as well. They deposited their weapons and headed off to mingle or feed themselves. Several disappeared into back rooms or up the stairs.
"That was a year ago. You either just have really good memory, or… I should be worried about a stalker," Olivia smiled to show she was messing with him.
Crim grinned before his face turned a little more serious, "We were making sure that you were out of the building when we found the guards near the front door. You could have just let them pass and got yourself out safely, but you risked yourself to stop them from flanking us. Thank you."
Olivia shrugged, "And now you've saved me from a trip to the Schnee Mines, so I'd say we're even."
"You looked like you had at least one of them under control," Crim smirked, "What was that you did, by the way?"
Olivia paused and tipped her head to the side while she thought it out. 'Can I tell him the truth? I don't think he's going to turn against me or anything. It is a nice secret to keep, though…' Olivia decided to just tell him the truth. He'd already seen it in action, the cat was out of the bag.
"My semblance creates invisible spider legs. I was holding him against the bars with them."
"And the hole through his chest…?" Crim was looking at her with a measure of respect, now.
"One quick jab, yeah," Olivia tried to keep her face from cringing. The man had made her mad, and they were threatening her with slavery. That didn't make the guts that spilled out any more appealing. 'Thank Oum I don't feel as if I'm actually touching them.' Olivia did shiver at that mental image.
"You didn't use anything like that in our fight," Jace remarked, also giving her a look, "You would have had a better chance if you did."
"I didn't exactly want to give away my greatest secret to a bunch of huntsman in training," Olivia began, "I did use them though. I've never tried it before, but I was coating my arms and legs with my semblance to try to punch harder and move faster. It was… hard… to control."
Jace laughed, "You did look like you were really concentrating during our fight."
Crim was looking thoughtful as he finally let the door close and stepped further into the room next to them, "You have a good point. It could be the ace up your sleeve. You should think about learning how to fight that way, and only reveal them when you absolutely have to, or when you're certain the secret won't get spread afterwards."
Olivia recognized the implication, 'When you know you're going to kill whoever you're fighting.'
"You could train with Jace!" Crim's eyes lit up as he looked at his nephew, a twisted smile on his lips, "He's trained the most at hand to hand."
Jace's eyes met Olivia's, and he nodded, "I wouldn't mind. You did show promise before, I wasn't lying about that, and if it helps you keep your secret..." he shrugged, "Two birds, as they say."
"Don't you have classes, though?" Olivia asked, a little confused. He had been wearing a student uniform and hanging out with those other students at the arcade.
He shook his head, "Today was the last day of regular combat school. I have three months before I join Haven Academy for my first semester there." 'I was right, he is the same age as my brother had been.'
Olivia looked around the room, "You're not a part of the White Fang? Or are you going in as a spy?"
"A little of both…" Jace gave a hard stare at his uncle, "I wanted to join, but Uncle Crim didn't want me to. Said I should try and make something more of myself," he shook his head in exasperation, "I eventually talked him into letting me pass information off to them at the very least. Not much to really give, since the school doesn't exactly hold any sway over the SDC or the police, but I'll help any way I can."
Crim looked annoyed that his nephew had managed to even get that much out of him. He looked between the two of them and gestured over his shoulder, towards the couches that had just been vacated. It was late, and many of those in the room were starting to head to their rooms. Olivia accepted gratefully. It had been a long day, and her legs were immediately thankful when she sunk down into the couch. 'This is so much softer than mine…' Olivia sighed and leaned against the arm rest.
"So, kid. I hate to ask, but it's a requirement for the group. Anyone we need to be worried about by taking you in?" Crim asked seriously from the couch across from her.
Olivia thought it over. The fat man had definitely sounded like he thought he was important, at the very least, "The man I ran into after our fight," she glanced at Jace to make it clear who she meant, "was someone that I mugged a couple nights before then. He said he'd pulled some strings with friends in Atlas to get me sent to the mines, and asked me if I had known who he was before I mugged him."
"Can you describe him for me?" Crim looked troubled by the news.
"Fat, bald… wore expensive clothing, which is why I mugged him. The police took him at his word over mine before they even knew I was a faunus," Olivia thought it over again, but that really was all the details she could remember, "He was a coward too, I guess."
"Did you get a look at him, Jace?" Crim turned to his nephew.
Jace nodded, "Pretty much what she said. Expensive clothes and everything. I did notice a gold medallion hanging from his neck, like a chair in a circle."
Crim winced, "So he was a member of the Mistral Council," he sighed, "He'll definitely hear about the detainment center getting attacked and wonder what happened to the faunus being held there." Crim looked at Olivia, "How mad was he?"
Olivia hesitated, but decided the truth was the best way to go. If she withheld information and got all of them killed because they had taken her in… "He was pretty mad. I did… taunt him a bit more, before he left. That may have included calling him a cry baby in front of a bunch of police officers."
Crim nodded, "So, we focus our next mission on him before he gets any bright ideas to start upping searches for a black haired, pink eyed faunus girl."
Olivia felt a lump in her throat, "How are we going to narrow it down? How many members are there on this 'council'?"
"Seven, including the Headmaster at Haven. We can get pictures of all of them, though. It's in the public records," Crim pulled out his Scroll and navigated through a few websites before pulling up an official looking webpage. He held it out to Olivia, who took it and swiped down the images until she found the man.
"That one," she pointed to his portrait, "Beryl Verdigris".
Crim took the Scroll back from her and look over the man's information, "Alright. I'll let Widow know when she gets back. She can find out where he lives and do a little recon before we move in."
"Widow?" Olivia asked curiously.
Crim brightened, "She's the other spider faunus I told you about. That isn't her real name, she gave it to herself when she joined. Stealthiest damn person you'll ever meet." Crim's expression darkened a little, "That reminds me. There's a second question we have to know before we can make this official. What's your story? Why is a twelve year old living on the streets?"
Olivia sat back as both Crim and Jace sat forward, expectantly waiting for her answer. Olivia decided to just give them the short version, "My family lived outside the city. My brother and father were both trained at the combat school, so they didn't have much trouble protecting us from the Grimm," Olivia's eyes teared up slightly and she glanced at Jace, "My brother was going to join Haven, too. He never got the chance, though."
They both waited patiently for her to continue, "We were attacked by three… well... four, bandits. They killed my brother and parents, and I unlocked my semblance when I thought I was going to die with them. After I killed the two that were left, this woman… I think she was with them, congratulated me on it and offered to take me in. I said no, and she left through a red portal."
Crim's eyes widened at the last tidbit of information, "What was she wearing?"
"Black and red armor, and a brutal looking Grimm mask. Bigger and more detailed than the type you all use."
Crim's eyes were downcast as he pondered what she'd said. He muttered out his reply after a few moments had passed, "Raven Branwen."
"Who?" Jace asked from next to him.
"She's the leader of the Branwen Tribe, a group of bandits that roam the continent, attacking smaller towns and travelers. We've lost a lot of supplies in their raids," he stared into Olivia's eyes, "She's dangerous. Those bandits would have been her men. Don't try to get revenge. Raven is one of the strongest people I've ever encountered. She doesn't care what happens to the people she steals from. I've seen entire towns get overrun by Grimm after one of their raids. They don't stick around to help."
"That's horrible," Olivia choked out. She was suddenly very glad she hadn't stopped to listen to the woman all those months ago. 'What would I have turned into?' The words the woman had spoken to her came back, 'The weak die, and the strong survive.' It was a terrible philosophy, but at the same time... "It's kept her safe… Her very name inspires fear. Gaining strength at least wouldn't be a bad idea. I don't have to use it the way she does.'
Olivia nodded to herself, "I'm sure she doesn't even remember me by now," she spared an eye to Jace, "I'm not going to try and hunt her down or anything, but I would appreciate training. I need to get stronger. It's the only way to protect myself so things like today never happen again."
Jace smiled, "Of course. We should start with the basics, then once you have those down you can start learning how to incorporate your extra legs into it. How strong are they, by the way?"
Olivia activated her semblance and gave them each a meaningful look, "I'm holding one out to each of you. Grab on." When they had both hesitantly reached out in front of themselves and taken a hold of one of her extra legs, she lifted them into the air, unmoving from her own spot on the couch, "I really don't even feel your weight on them right now," Olivia chuckled slightly, remembering back to the occasion at the warehouse, "And it was me that tore through that warehouse door."
She set them down. They both looked at her, impressed, and Jace laughed lightly, "Now I'm really glad you didn't use them in our fight. I was thinking that one punch you hit me with was how strong they were, but if you can pick both of us up that easily?" he shook his head, "You'll be an absolute power house soon enough."
Olivia beamed back at the compliment, happy with herself, 'It really is a strong semblance.' She looked at them both with curiosity, "What are your semblances?"
They gave each other a look and nodded. "I can expel my aura outwards in short bursts. That's what I did the first time I punched you," Jace smirked. Olivia remembered the straight jab she'd taken to the face, and the sheer power that had been behind it.
'I can project my thoughts into other people's minds,' Olivia heard Crim's voice even though his mouth hadn't moved.
'Uhhh, can you hear me too?'
Crim grinned mischievously, "No, I can't read your mind."
Olivia reeled back, "But that's just what I was-!"
Crim's laugh cut her off, "That's what everyone thinks the first time they find out," his laughter slowly ebbed down, "As long as I've seen the person's face before and have an idea of their general location, I can speak to them telepathically. It makes ordering these guys around so much easier. No radios to be overheard by the guards unless someone needs to talk back to me."
Crim's expression sobered, "Just keep in mind, you're among friends here. Everyone that joins the White Fang has some unfortunate experience in their past that drove them to it. You aren't alone. Not here."
Olivia decided not to pry into their 'experience'. She was the one that needed to prove herself, and she could hardly expect them to share something so personal. Her eyes scanned the room instead, "So, where am I sleeping?"
Crim chuckled and pointed up the stairs, "Last room on the right. We're starting to run out of space, but we have a few rooms left over. Do you have anything stashed away somewhere?"
Olivia nodded, "I kept my brother's weapon. It's at the house I was staying at. I'll go get it tomorrow, if that's alright?"
"I'll have Jace go with you. Not that I don't trust you to take care of yourself after all this time alone, but he's good for backup," Crim looked her up and down, "and we can find something more fitting for you than that hoodie."
Olivia's finger idly twisted one of the drawstrings for the hood, "I'd, uh- like to keep wearing it. It was my brother's…"
Crim held his hands up, "Say no more. You won't be able to wear it when you're on missions, but feel free when you're on your own time," his eyes caught on to the tear in the sleeve, "We can have July patch that for you as well. She used to be a seamstress."
Olivia nodded thankfully, "Well, unless there's some secret third question… Mind if I turn in for the night?"
Jace stood up in agreement, "It's late. I should be getting home as well. I'll be back tomorrow morning to pick you up, then once we're back from our little trip we can start training."
Olivia smiled and gave him a miniature salute, "Looking forward to it. Have a goodnight."
Jace and Crim both reciprocated the sentiment as she walked up the stairs. She gave one last wave as she was lost to their sight and headed for the room that would be hers. It was a cozy little room, about fifteen feet across in either direction. It was lightly furnished with the essentials, a bed, dresser, and a nightstand. Olivia jumped into bed and pulled the thick blanket around herself, 'Oh yeah, much better. This one isn't even moldy.'
For the second night in a row, Olivia had a peaceful night's rest.
"Look, I'm not saying you should do it. I'm just saying it would be cool," Jace explained himself. They were walking from the hideout to the house Olivia had been squatting in, and Jace had told her about the ideas he'd come up with since last night.
"I am not wielding six guns. I would look like such a weirdo."
"Uh, yeah. A weirdo with a lot of firepower. No one would dare call you that," Jace scoffed.
"Not to my face," Olivia laughed, "Besides, that defeats the entire purpose of trying to keep them a secret, remember?" Olivia adopted a deeper voice, like she was pretending to be someone older, "Say kid, watcha doing with all those guns? Don't ya know you only have two arms?"
"And that's when you shoot them," Jace replied simply. The grin spreading across his face betrayed the joke.
"I'm not really a fan of using guns in the first place. I feel restricted if my hands aren't free," Olivia said after the moment had passed, "I only used my brother's til now because people aren't afraid of a twelve year old. Hard to mug people without attacking them if they just get all sappy and call you cute."
"You should still have a gun to use. What are you gonna do if they shoot at you from a distance?"
Olivia tapped the back of his head with one of her appendages, "These babies are completely bullet-proof. I don't even lose aura when I block with them. So, I close the distance, and get back into my preferred range while they waste their ammo."
"And if they have explosive ammunition, or too many bullets to block all at once?"
Olivia pondered the question, "Then I dodge? What else can you do against an explosive, anyway?"
Jace laughed, "Good point. I guess if you're keeping your semblance a secret, it might even make them more confident when it looks like they're getting free shots on you."
Olivia nodded happily. She hadn't thought of it that way, but it was a nice idea. 'As long as I can keep it a secret, no one will be any wiser.' "Plus that means I can go anywhere I want without worrying about being searched."
They had just walked to within thirty feet of Olivia's old house when she grabbed Jace, pulling him to the side behind another building, "Someone's inside," she whispered fiercely. She focused, letting her sixth sense ebb out while she concentrated, "Three someone's. Hold on… I recognize them from…" Memories of the large faunus man and his two thug friends swam through her mind, "Oh, he is dead."
"Wait, who is? Who's in there?" Jace whispered back, a little panic tinging his voice.
"Some thugs that tried to disturb a good time. They were trying to force their way in while I had guests, and I didn't take kindly to it," Olivia spared a glance to Jace, "If they came back, they're probably ready for me."
"Are you sure you want to go in there?"
Olivia laughed lightly, "No. I don't want to walk into an ambush. How about we bring them out to us?" She grinned at Jace's confused expression and stepped out from behind the building they were at. She walked closer to her own, keeping her sixth sense sharply attuned to the three people that were inside. There was one waiting on each side of the door. 'Perfect.'
Olivia stepped up directly in front of the door. She could feel them tensing up inside. 'Good thing this place is so rundown. It'll work in my favor for once.' Olivia gestured for Jace to get ready, and with one last moment to orient her appendages, pierced them through the wood. Each wrapped around one of the two that had been waiting next to the door. Her other two slammed into the door itself. She used the blunt side of her appendage to send the door flying forward into the third person on the other side. With one backwards heave, Olivia dragged the two through the wall and on to the ground. Their weapons clattered across the porch. They were too stunned to keep a grip on them.
Pain bloomed across Olivia's chest as shots started pinging off her. She quickly pulled the other two appendages back to defend herself, bullets now bouncing off with no effect. Olivia glared through the open doorway, into the dark interior, at the large man from the previous day, 'Shoot at me with my brother's gun, will ya?' She uncoiled the two that were already on the ground, they wouldn't be trying anything soon, and stepped into the house. The large man was frantically firing at her, terror clear in his eyes.
Olivia spared him a smirk, "This was your big idea? You're a disgrace to faunus everywhere."
"Fuck you!" the man yelled in panic. He hadn't even noticed yet that the gun was out of ammo, giving him only a small 'click' each time he pulled the trigger. Olivia spotted the bulge sticking up from underneath his shirt, a few bandages poked out from the neck line. She gave him a devilish laugh, then stabbed him through the same spot, pinning him to the wall behind him.
"It seems like you didn't learn from last time. And I was so insistent, too. Are you just that dumb?" Olivia tilted her head as she asked the question. He was too busy yelling in pain and struggling to pull himself free. Olivia slapped the gun out of his hand with another appendage and pulled it closer to herself so that she could pick it up with her actual hands.
"Please! I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I get it now! I won't show myself around here ever again! Just let me go!" tears streaked down the man's face. Olivia ignored his pleas, looking over her weapon to make sure it wasn't damaged.
Satisfied, she spotted the extra magazines on his waist and reclaimed those as well. Olivia began to reload as she spoke, "You know. The first time I ever shot a gun was with this one?" she spared him an evil grin as she finished reloading, "That guy was begging for mercy, too."
His eyes went even wider as his face paled, "No, please! Don't do it! I'll never come back!"
Olivia was aiming it at his chest when a hand grabbed her by the shoulder. Jace didn't pull her back, but his fingers clenched tightly. He spoke to her in a calm, soft tone, "Just let them go. You have your gun back. Be the bigger person, here."
"And were they just going to 'let me go'?" Olivia turned her eyes to him in annoyance, "Were those police just going to 'let me go'!? I tried being nice. It ended with me behind bars and with a one way ticket to hell. I was thinking about it all morning before you got there. What could I have done differently? What would have kept me out of that situation?" Olivia leveled the gun at the large man's chest in front of her, the double meaning she spoke was clear to everyone in the room. "I shouldn't have left him alive."
"No! Please! We weren't gonna kill ya, I swear! We just wanted to mess you up a bit and trash the place!" the man continued to beg, hands struggling futilely against the spider leg. The tip of it was stained red with his blood. His hands were slipping as he tried to push against it.
"If you do this, I won't train you. I'm not going to teach someone that enjoys hurting others."
Olivia whipped around on him, arms shaking, "You think I enjoy this!? I'm scared! I'm terrified of what might happen if I let him go!"
Jace let his hand relax on her shoulder as he spoke, voice still calm, "Then you'll have friends there to protect you. What is he," Jace gestured to the large man crying in pain, "going to do against the White Fang?"
Olivia's body trembled as she stared at the man. No one spoke. With one final, long sigh, she retracted her appendage. The man collapsed to the floor in a heap before struggling on to his feet. He barrelled between them and out the door, this time being the one to leave his friends behind. Olivia just shook her head as she started to calm down, "I really hope I don't end up regretting that."
"You won't," Jace said with a smile. There was a slight tremble to his voice as he spoke again, "Now, let's get to training, eh?"
Olivia nodded and grabbed a few other things that she didn't want to leave behind, letting her semblance vanish as she did. The blood on them disappeared, but the pool on the floor had already started to stain into the wood.
'I hope you're right, Jace.'
Chapter 5: A Walk in the Park
"Good! Again!" Jace commanded Olivia. Her arms trembled from the exertion. She'd been running drills like this for half an hour straight, and her body was slick with sweat. Her hair was even lankier than usual. Olivia gritted her teeth and repeated the form that Jace was drilling into her this time. A series of jabs, knees, and kicks, all of which Jace blocked with the pads he was holding.
A series of jabs, knees, and kicks.
Olivia finally collapsed mid kick, her leg simply giving out beneath her, and rolled on to her back on the floor. Her breath gasped out raggedly, even her thoughts came slowly, 'I think... I'm ready… to just use my semblance… Who need's secrets…?'
"Alright, take ten. We'll pick up with a new set once you've caught your breath," Jace turned to a nearby table and tossed her a water bottle from it. She was too weak to catch it before it smacked her in the chest.
"You're… a… monster…" Olivia said between gasps for breath. The bastard just grinned in response and turned back to his own workout. 'Where does he get the stamina!?' Olivia drank greedily from the bottle, not caring that some of it dribbled down her chin. It was the best water she'd ever tasted. 'Or I'm just that damn thirsty.' Olivia would put her lien on the second option.
Olivia felt something strange through her sixth sense as she was lying there. A tingle that sent a sliver of warning down through her bones. "Someone's here!" she whispered to Jace hurriedly, pointing towards the front door. Jace's eyes narrowed when he heard the tremor in Olivia's voice. He wordlessly got the attention of a few others who grabbed up weapons, aiming them at the front door.
Everyone waited in silence, a tension in the air that could be unleashed at the drop of a hat. Olivia felt herself shiver from the fear clutching at her throat, 'What is this feeling!?'
Three slow knocks echoed through the room, coming from the front door. The tension evaporated, White Fang putting their weapons down and going back to what they'd been doing before. Olivia's gaze whipped around the room in confusion, 'What are you all doing!?" The door opened, and a red haired woman stepped through that Olivia didn't recognize. She recoiled when she saw the woman's eyes were staring straight at her, too. A smile crossed the woman's face.
"I take it you're the young spider faunus I've heard so much about?" the woman stepped through the door and closed it behind herself. Olivia flinched when it closed, 'Between me and the escape!'
The woman seemed to notice Olivia's blatant fear and slowed her approach, holding her hands up, "Calm down, little spider. There's no threat here. I take it you've never met another spider faunus before?" Olivia just shook her head timidly in response. The woman sighed, "Your sixth sense is just warning you that there's a 'bigger' spider nearby," she smirked, "I promise I'm not going to gobble you up. I'm Widow, by the way."
Olivia tried to force herself to calm down. She could still feel her heart beating rapidly, but the tremors had stopped. She stood and tentatively held her hand out, waiting for a handshake. Widow grinned and took it slowly, letting Olivia get used to the contact as they shook hands. Her senses protested, screaming at her to let go, to run, to hide in the darkest corner she could find and wait for it to leave. Olivia grit her teeth and continued the contact. After ten seconds, she didn't feel like hiding. After fifteen, she didn't feel like running. And after thirty seconds, she finally let go, sighing with relief as her senses calmed down. Her heart no longer raced in some mad attempt to beat itself out of her chest.
"That was intense," Olivia choked out, still breathing hard.
Widow nodded, "Exposure therapy is the best way to get over it. The first time is the worst, especially if you've grown up so long without meeting another yet, but you'll always notice another spider faunus more distinctly than anyone else. Your senses recognize that someone else knows you're there the same way you do for them, and warns you as best it can."
Olivia shivered one last time and smiled, "Nice to meet you."
"And you as well," Widow smiled again, "I found Beryl's home. He's holed up pretty tight, but I think we can get a few key people in. Were you wanting to come along?"
"Yes," Olivia said immediately. Beryl had threatened her with slavery, and was now a threat to her very existence.
"Good! Also, do you mind putting those away?" Widow pointed above them both. Olivia gave her a look of confusion before she realized her appendages were all poised above, ready to strike down at Widow at a moment's notice. She let them retract in embarrassment, rubbing a hand against the back of her head.
A thought came to mind, "How did you know?"
Widow just gestured at her entire body with a smirk, "Spider faunus, remember? I can sense them just as well as you can."
"Oh, right," Olivia nodded in understanding. 'Obviously. Stop asking stupid questions.'
"You ready to get back to it?" Jace asked from behind her.
Olivia turned back to him with a weak smile, "Right now?" Jace grinned maliciously.
Widow watched from the sidelines as they got back to it. Jace taught her a new series of strikes that ended with a kick to the knee. It was designed to put someone on the defensive, make them put the weight on that knee, and then debilitate them with one clean strike to it that would break their leg. 'Now we're talking.' They'd just been doing body blows up until that point, but Olivia understood why. You couldn't break someone's leg like that until they were out of aura. Better to learn how to get them to that point in the first place. They began their drills again.
"You're learning hand to hand? Why? I could feel the power in that semblance of yours. Why use weaker attacks?" Widow asked from her place, leaning against the wall.
Olivia paused and cocked her head at Jace, "Mind if I show her?"
He grimaced, but lifted his hands back up, pads firmly held in place, "Alright. Just one set, though."
Olivia's semblance activated again, the appendages draping across her arms and legs in the way she had been practicing. Her elbows and shoulders each rested directly in one of the joints, the last bit of it curled down over the front of her fist. If Olivia wanted to, she could bend the last joint back up and use her appendage to stab whatever she was punching. The appendages also curled perfectly on to the back of Olivia's legs. The final tip of it buried into the ground right behind her heel. It turned out, with a day's worth of practice whenever she wasn't running drills with Jace, the feeling had come much more naturally. The contours of the extra legs had been mismatched before, with Olivia trying to keep the end behind her fist, instead of wrapped in front of it as it was now.
Widow's eyes widened, and she nodded in approval with a smirk on her face, "Keeping it a secret, eh?"
Olivia waited for Jace to say he was ready, then launched into the set they had been practicing before with devastating strength and speed. Each blow earned her a wince from Jace, his hands struggled to keep up with the assault. She finished the set with a powerful kick, knocking him back a few steps even though he'd been braced for it. Jace pulled back immediately and waved his hands through the air, trying to shake them off, "No more! It's a good thing I have aura, otherwise you'd be snapping my wrists through the pads."
Widow clapped after the display, "Marvelous. You're making me jealous, little spider."
Olivia let her appendages retract and accepted the praise, turning back to her while Jace continued to shake his hands off, "What's your semblance?"
Two swords were pulled off the rack next to Widow as she lifted them up. She gave Olivia a smirk, then smacked them together roughly. Metal slamming against metal, and yet… silence, "My semblance allows me to cancel out noise within an area. Noise I make, noise things make, noise you make."
Olivia tried to whistle in appreciation and couldn't even hear her own breath coming out, "Okay, that's awesome." Her voice was finally audible after she stopped trying to whistle.
Widow bowed her head, also accepting the praise. She turned back to Jace, "Hey kid, when's Crim getting in?"
Jace finally gestured for Olivia to restart the sets they had been doing, this time without her semblance, and spoke as he blocked, "He left to get some more supplies. Pretty sure he expected you to be in today, so he's prepping for the mission."
"Speak of the devil," Widow muttered. Olivia paused in confusion and tried to sense Crim. It took another ten seconds before she could feel him approaching the front door.
"How'd you sense him from so far away?" Olivia turned back to Widow as she asked.
"Your sense will get stronger as you get older. More accurate, too. Another reason why it's more difficult to meet other spider faunus later in life. Your sense for them gets stronger, but you haven't been exposed yet," She waved her hand towards the front of the building, "I paused at the door when I first got here because I could feel everyone pointing their guns at me. You'll also be able to tell who's a faunus and who isn't, no matter how visible their 'parts' are, among other things. I could fight with my eyes closed if I wanted to."
Olivia brightened at the news. By no means was she unhappy about her sixth sense, but the fact that it would get even better in time? 'Fantastic.'
The door finally opened as Crim stepped in, holding a large wooden crate under his other arm. He spotted their little group and smiled as he headed over to them, "Alright, first thing's first," he set the crate down and popped the top, pulling out a bagged uniform and tossing it to Olivia, "Go see if that fits."
Olivia quickly obliged. She came back down a few minutes later, making some final adjustments as she did. Olivia stood in front of them and did a slow turn. Black short sleeve shirt, black pants with a white vest fitted snug to her by a black belt around her midsection. Her hands were covered by fingerless gloves that reached all the way up her forearm, just far enough to cover her black veins. A pair of steel bracers around her forearms as well, helping to hold the gloves in place. Finally, soft toed boots with steel shin plates. To top it all off, the mask. It was larger than the rest, actually covering her entire face including her mouth.
Widow put her fingers together and wolf-whistled.
"Just showing my appreciation. Get your mind out of the gutter, little spider," Widow smirked.
"It suits you. I should know, I had to order it specifically for you. We didn't already have outfits that would fit a kid," Crim shrugged, "Glad it turned out so well."
Jace sighed and shook his head, "I'm just plain jealous."
Olivia rolled her shoulders. Her arms and legs still felt free, like they did when she wore her hoodie, but the additional weight on her arms and legs was a little off putting, "Let's keep going. I need to get used to wearing it when I fight."
Jace nodded, and they continued their training session.
Olivia crouched down behind the car in the driveway as her senses told her the guard was about to round the corner. She positioned herself against it, low and quiet, and stepped around the edge. She kept the bulk of the car between the two of them.
'Take him out when his back is turned. Widow will make it quiet,' Crim's thoughts whispered through her mind. She nodded. He was behind her with Widow, the two keeping watch as she made her approach. Olivia rounded the back of the car, right as the guard walked past it. He was wide open, exposed and completely unaware that she was there. She unleashed her semblance and poised them to strike, doubt suddenly creeping into the forefront of her mind, 'Am I going to kill him?'
Realizing she was waiting too long, Olivia decided to just knock him unconscious. With one horizontal swipe of an appendage, his head was knocked to the side. He slumped silently to the ground, courtesy of Widow's semblance. Olivia grabbed him under his armpits and dragged him back to the others, making sure to stay low in case someone peeked out a window.
'What are you doing?' Crim's voice whispered through her mind as she pulled the unconscious man next to them. Olivia mimed throwing his body into one of the nearby bushes, and when Crim just continued giving her a confused look she decided to just do it. She picked his body up with her appendages, drifted him over top of a nearby bush, and dropped him.
Crim shook his head, 'I mean why didn't you kill him?'
Olivia paused in thought, she had no idea how to gesture in a way that meant 'because I don't have anything against him personally' so she just whispered it instead.
Crim sighed and shared a look with Widow, 'You don't need to have a personal vendetta to end someone's life. You need to be more pragmatic. What if he wakes up while we're still in the middle of our mission?' Crim stood and walked to stand over the man, pulling his sword out as he did, 'Should we take the time to tie up every guard we knock out? Then they'll have time to notice he's missing. There's a very simple solution.' Crim punctuated his next words by stabbing down into the unconscious guard's chest, 'Remove the variables.'
Olivia staggered back at just how callously he had murdered the man, whispering fiercely, "That's… How can you be so calm about it!?"
'I've had many allies, comrades, and friends die because someone wasn't willing to do what needed to be done to keep them alive. That's why I refused to let Jace become a member of the White Fang. I love the kid, but he has a bleeding heart. He can't do what's necessary," Crim looked Olivia up and down, 'Can you?'
'Could I…?' Olivia had to ask herself. She had killed three people so far in her life, two in self-defense, one because she really wanted to, and almost a fourth if Jace hadn't talked her out of it. 'Leaving that brute alive was a risk, no matter what Jace says.' Olivia looked at the guard that had died before he could even realize it. 'If we left him alive… He really could have given us all away. Then we would have been inside, surrounded. Outmanned and outgunned, in unfamiliar territory. They certainly wouldn't hesitate to kill us…'
"I can," Olivia confirmed. There was no tremble in her voice, nor flicker of her eyes that might show her as lacking resolve. She paused, though, a thought coming to mind, "Don't tell Jace. He'll stop training me if he finds out about this." The other two nodded their acceptance.
'Well then, let us continue,' Crim returned to his place along the wall, 'By Widow's count, there are ten guards stationed on the grounds at any one point in time. With that one gone, that makes nine left. They tend to sweep back and forth through the house, trading places as they go, so another should be on his way soon. We need to close the distance to where he should be coming from, and get him before he gets suspicious. Sound good?'
When they had both nodded, Crim snuck out from behind the wall up to the car Olivia had been at before and waved for them to follow. The side of the building they were on had an open car port of sorts. There were four different vehicles, three parked inside, and the one they now hid behind that had been left out in the driveway. From their position, they could either go into the garage and try to pick the lock on the door, or they could go along the right side of the garage towards the front door.
It was the front door they now hurried towards. They leaned back against the wall to the left of it, hidden from the light of the open windows above. 'Keep waiting,' Crim commanded. Olivia was starting to get worried, but complied nonetheless. After another thirty seconds she felt a presence approach. The door swung open, another guard stepping out. From their position, the door was between them and the guard until he had closed it. Widow quickly vaulted on to the steps next to him as they came within sight. The man's eyes widened, lips opening to scream for help. No sound came, and a moment later Widow's knife was protruding from his chest.
She wiped the blood from her knife onto his coat then let him fall backwards off the other side of the front steps, into the shadows of the wall opposite them. Olivia and Crim hopped up onto the steps as well. Widow slowly cracked it open, eyes peering inside closely. Olivia's senses were telling her no one was close by, and it seemed like Widow agreed. She led them into a large open area. There was a set of stairs off to the right that curled up along the wall to the floor above. It was there that they went, ascending silently towards their true goal.
They arrived at the top and Widow placed a hand on either of their shoulders. Olivia waited, just around the corner to the hallway they needed to go down. She felt the man's presence soon after, heading down the hall in their direction to come downstairs. Crim pushed her forward, 'Now's your chance. If you fail here, at least we can make a break for it. Do or die.'
Olivia didn't think he would literally kill her. It was just an expression, after all, but even still she mentally prepared herself, 'If you don't do this, then they'll hunt us down. Hunt me down. Especially after we've already killed two of his guards!' Olivia poised her appendages, ready to strike. A guard stepped around the corner. His eyes went wide as he caught sight of the three of them. His hand dropped to his side, reaching for his gun...
Olivia speared him through the chest and dragged him back from the front of the hallway.
Body dealt with for the moment, Widow once again took the lead and headed into the hallway. It was long, but as they made their way down it, Olivia was glad to notice the lack of guards in the upstairs area. They were in the clear, just the Council member left to take care of and they would be home free.
Their progress slowed, and after a dozen more feet, Olivia realized why. There were five people in the room ahead, not one. 'Does he have guests over? Maybe that fourth car in the driveway wasn't his…' Widow seemed to be having the same idea. She turned back to Crim and held up five fingers, spread out so that he wouldn't think she was just telling him to wait there. They shared a nod and continued forward, eventually standing directly outside the door.
'Widow and I will each take two. You run in immediately after we do and single out Beryl. He's your kill. Once they're all dead, we'll go out the way we came. We have to do this quick, there's no telling when someone might find that guard on the stairs.'
Olivia nodded quietly and stepped back, waiting for them to make the first move. It seemed like a few more words passed between Crim and Widow. They each gave her one last look, and flung the door open. Widow entered first, soundlessly. The men inside were playing poker. They began to silently shout, standing up from the table and reaching for weapons.
Crim and Widow closed the gap in a flash and were on them. Two were dropped instantly. They didn't have enough time to defend themselves. Olivia followed suit, her eyes locked on to the fat man on the opposite side of the table from her. Beryl saw her making her quick approach and stumbled up on to his feet before throwing the table up, trying to put a barrier between himself and Olivia.
Olivia brought down one of her appendages and used it to vault herself high through the air. She twisted midair, feet turning into the fall so that she stopped behind the man, only a few feet away. Beryl spun in place, scream on his lips but with no sound escaping, as Olivia drove all four of her appendages through him at once. His body went limp instantly as he was lifted off the floor, arms swaying to the side, and head dropped to his chest. 'I'm almost sad I didn't get to hear him scream.'
The other two 'fights' were over mere moments later.
'Well done. I'm proud of you,' Crim smiled at her as they began to leave. Widow raised both her hands up, and gave her a silent double high five as she whispered, "Good job, little spider." Olivia's face glowed under their praise.
'That was easier than I thought it would be…'
Who knows? Maybe she could get used to this whole killing people thing.