Yang was angry. No, she was beyond angry, she was furious. All she had wanted was a nice simple spar with her baby sister, maybe help her finally get the hang of hand to hand combat over the semester break while they were back home, when they had been interrupted by not one, not two, but three fucking Ursai. At least unlike the last time something like this had happened Ruby had Crescent Rose on her. The Grimm advanced into the wooded clearing slowly, eyeing the both of them up. Thankfully they all looked to be Minors, so they should go down easily enough. Ruby called over to the blonde.
"I'll take right, you take left, then we team up on center?"
Yang smiled. Her little sister had really come into her own as a leader.
"Only if I don’t kill both of them before you kill yours!"
She could hear the confidence in her sister’s voice as she responded to her challenge.
"Whoever kills center gets to choose dessert tonight!"
Her smile grew into a grin. "You're on!"
Before Ruby could respond she threw her arms back and triggered Ember Celica, the burst of flame from her gauntlets launching her at the leftmost Ursa. The shadow and bone mockery of a bear roared a challenge as it charged at her in turn. Its right claw swung down, slamming down on her like a sledgehammer as she raised her left arm to block it, her Aura flashing golden yellow in response to the blow. Her other arm jabbed into the monster's gut, firing off her gauntlet's in-built shotgun upon contact. She let the recoil push her arm back, then pistoned it forward again, jabbing twice more in quick succession. She’d need to finish the Ursa off quickly if she wanted to beat Ruby to number three. Hopefully their earlier spar and the hit she had taken would be enough. She activated her Semblance, eyes flashing red as her hair burst into flame, and sent her right fist flying upwards into the Grimm's pale mask, obliterating it with her fist of fury as she channeled all the damage she had taken into the beast.
She glanced over to her right and smirked. Ruby was still tangling with her opponent, scythe whirling around her as she sliced at its limbs. She turned back to face the remaining Ursa, which had apparently been waiting to see which of its buddies would die first before acting. It reared back, ready to come down on her...
Only to fall over onto its face, a sword sticking out of its back. Huh. Deja vu.
From her right the sound of Crescent Rose's in-built sniper rifle firing heralded the death of the final Ursa. Yang walked over to the slowly dissolving body of bear number three, wondering just what the hell had happened. Her sister quickly joined her, weapon now folded up and stowed on her back.
The weapon that had killed the Ursa clattered to the ground as its victim fully faded away. Ruby let out a gasp of shock at the sight of it, and for once, Yang could see why. Whatever it was, it was no ordinary sword. The blade was made of crystal, yellow at the base, fading to orange before shifting to a deep red at the tip. It was shaped like a blast of fire that curled back on itself at the end, forming a sharp hook. The hilt was equally weird, a big red circle around the handle, with four big spikes coming off at diagonals, and three smaller circles at the sides and bottom. The ones on the side had small spikes as well, but the one on the bottom had a chain trailing from it, ending in a small silver token in the same shape as the hilt, but with a cross shaped handle.
“That has to be one of the coolest swords I've ever seen!”
Yang had to smirk, that was too perfect a set up.
“What, Uncle Qrow’s isn’t cool enough?”
Ruby scoffed in semi-faux outrage, glaring at her sister and pointing accusingly.
“I’ll have you know Harbinger is far more than just a sword!”
Yang just grinned and ruffled the little weapon fanatic’s hair.
“Heh. You’re too easy sis.”
“I’d ask if you two are alright, but if you’re joking like that then you must be.”
The sisters turned towards the voice that had interrupted them, giving them a look at the man who had killed Ursa number three as he walked into the clearing. The first thing Yang noticed was his height. He was tall, over a head taller than her, downright towering over Ruby. He had fair skin with a warm complexion, and his hair was a mass of crimson spikes, all swept backwards behind him, giving the impression that his head was on fire. Soft turquoise eyes glinted with mischief, complementing the wide grin on his face.
He wore a long black leather coat that hung tightly on his arms, a pair of silver drawstrings hung from the collar, keeping the hood cinched tight behind him. A silver chain strung with five cylindrical metal beads was fastened to a pair of loops near the collarbones. The zipper had two separate sliders holding it closed, and he’d left them pulled together above his heart, leaving the rest open to show off a grey plaid shirt, black jeans, and mid calf boots with two inch heels. He had his hands held behind his head as he approached, but as he reached down to pick up his sword Yang could see that he was wearing gloves of the same material as his coat.
As he picked up the sword, holding it by the guard and not the handle oddly enough, the crystalline blade seemed to glow internally, light flowing up along the shape of the flame. She heard Ruby give a muttered “Holycruditgetsevencooler” as the man slung it over his shoulders.
Yang gave him a smirk.
“It’ll take more than a few Minor Ursai to give us trouble, but thanks anyway for the assist.”
The man just chuckled. "Heh. You’re welcome. I’m guessing you two are Huntresses then?”
Yang opened her mouth to correct him but was cut short by her sister.
“Yeah, well, kinda, we’re still in school and everything, we’re first year students over at Beacon, haven’t even gone on our first mission yet, we’re home over the semester break and were in the middle of sparring when they showed up and now I’m rambling Yanghelpme!” Ruby’s face was bright red with embarrassment as Yang draped her arm across her shoulders.
“Easy sis, remember to breathe.” She glanced over at the guy, noticing that his grin had shrunken to a warm smirk as he watched Ruby stumble over herself. “Anyway, what she said. I’m Yang, and the prodigy over here is my sister Ruby.”
She gave said sister a pat on the head, Ruby’s face getting even more red at the praise, trying and failing to cover her embarrassment with her hands.
"Ohmygodsshutup! I'm not a prodigy!"
Yang just booped her sister’s nose. "Getting in to Beacon two years early says otherwise sis."
Any response Ruby might have had was cut off by the stranger chuckling again. "I'd believe it. A scythe isn't exactly the weapon of an amateur, and from what I managed to catch a glimpse of through the trees before those Grimm showed up, you’re pretty good with that thing!” He shook his head, rolling his shoulders as his smirk widened into a grin.
“But where are my manners? My name's Lea,” he said, holding up his free hand to poke at his temple, “Got it memorized?”
Yang couldn’t help but snort at the display, and only Ruby’s quick response prevented her from snarking at the guy.
“Pleased to meet you! So, what brings you to Patch, Lea?”
He smiled again, his free hand placed against his hip, sword kept slung over his shoulder.
“I’m on assignment actually. Investigating reports of strange occurrences. You two wouldn’t have happened to see anything weird recently would you? Strange lights, glowing shapes appearing on walls, anything like that?”
Yang shrugged. “Can’t say I have, sorry. What about you Rubes?”
Ruby shook her head. “Wish we could help you more!”
Lea just waved off their apologies. “Probably nothing, just-”
He stopped, staring behind them, face set with concern. They turned to follow his gaze, and their eyes went wide with shock.
Four clouds of utter darkness hung just above the ground, radiating thin black tendrils ever so slightly tinged with indigo. They collapsed in on themselves with a sound unlike any other, rushing wind and displaced air, followed by a chill that seemed to seep into the back of the mind. Where each cloud had been was a creature of pure shadow, humanoid in shape with pitch black skin marred by blue veins. The only feature on their faces were spherical eyes of bright piercing yellow, utterly devoid of life. Two long spindly antennae hung from each one’s head, trailing behind their emaciated bodies. They had pointed feet that were one solid mass, and hands ending in five long clawed fingers.
Before Yang could blink, Lea was suddenly in front of her, sword held by the guard in a relaxed reverse grip, the tip of the flame towards his body. Without turning to face them he spoke, voice devoid of its earlier warmth.
“You two, stay behind me. These things aren’t like anything you’ve faced before, got it? I’d rather not lose my new friends so soon after meeting them, so just let me handle things.”
Some small part of Yang wanted to complain about being sidelined, but the complete reversal in tone from their earlier conversation made her hesitate. She nodded, Ember Celica unfolding as she backed towards the treeline.
“Yeah, got it.”
She heard the sound of Crescent Rose unfolding behind her, and glanced over to see that Ruby had it shifted into carbine mode, barrel pointed toward the ground for a quick escape.
Lea nodded, still facing the monsters as they stood in the clearing, twitching erratically.
“These things should stay focused on me, but if they don’t, don’t bother trying to fight them. Just run.”
Before either girl could respond, Lea moved.
One second he was standing there, the next he was right beside the closest creature, swinging his blade with a quick flick of his wrist into the thing’s side, cutting into it with a blast of flame. The only response from the creature was to lash out at Lea with its claws, but he had already moved out of the way, leaving it to strike empty air. He danced between the monsters, stopping just long enough to lash out with a quick movement of his hand before fading away to strike at another.
Yang stared, transfixed by the sheer speed he displayed, evading lunging swipes with ease. Soon, two of the shades had been killed, vanishing in puffs of dark smoke. As he moved to deal with the third, the remaining monster faded into the ground out of sight. Yang swung her head around, searching for it, only to get tackled by Ruby in a burst of petals, saving her from being clawed from behind.
As she regained her footing however, she saw a faint thread of yellow floating to the ground, and she heard Ruby whisper a faint "Ohno" as her vision went red.
Yang flung herself at the monster that dared to touch her hair with a feral cry, whaling on it with a series of rapid jabs, not even bothering to trigger her guns.
The thing soaked a number of punches before sinking back into the ground, popping back up on her right side, claws swinging down at her.
She raised her arm up to block, flaring her Aura to absorb the impact of the strike, but as its claws made contact with her manifested soul, she could only scream as her world became agony.
It felt as though her soul was being torn away from her by blades of wrathful flame, each separate slice hungrily digging its way into her very core. She collapsed to the ground in a daze, the pain quickly fading as fast as it had come, save for lingering aches where the claws had glanced across her aura.
She felt her sister pull her to her feet and watched as Lea threw his blade at the monster that had caused her such pain, impaling it from behind as the blade erupted with a blast of flame. Before it had even finished fading he ran over to her, face heavy with concern. Ruby clung to her side, trembling slightly as she stared at where the thing had struck her. The skin where her Aura had shielded her had darkened, a set of ragged slashes just above the elbow. Lea put his hand on her shoulder, blade left abandoned on the ground.
“Okay Hothead, talk to me. How you feeling?”
She looked up into the face of the man who had saved them, his smile weary as he took in the damage to her arm.
“Like someone just tried to rip out my Aura with a flaming butter knife. What the hell were those things?”
Lea sighed with relief as her Aura flared to life around the wound, the discoloration fading slightly. Ruby let go of her other arm and stared at him expectantly, her weapon still by her side.
“How was that thing able to hurt her through her Aura like that? It shouldn’t be possible!”
Lea glanced between the two of them, sighing wearily as he rubbed at his temples.
“They’re called Heartless. Neoshadows, to be specific. As for what happened to your arm, I have no idea. It should have just been like a normal scratch, albeit a very, very sharp one. Those things are the real reason I was here. Look, I’d love to tell you more, really I would, but it’s getting dark, and I’m worried that scream of yours got the attention of every Grimm within earshot. You two said you lived nearby, right?”
Yang glanced over at her sister, who smiled and gave her a nod in return. The guy had probably just saved their lives, the least they could do was offer him dinner. Plus, he had technically won their bet.