Too far away to detect any presences. Magenta eyes slid over the two story warehouse, taking in the grey metal sheet siding, the slightly angled roof, and the large sliding doors, currently firmly shut. A small door on the side seemed a promising possible point of entry, but Ren needed more information before he could formulate a working plan. I suppose crouching on a rooftop across the street doesn't exactly give me the best tactical view.
"Kinda plain for a baddy hideout, don't cha think?" The Huntsman glanced right to the monkey faunus resting on his haunches beside him. Sun noticed his glance. "I mean, like, the one I was checking out yesterday was a friggin' mansion! All fancied up and scary as hell." Ren tuned him out as he continued, "Who needs roofs that pointy, I ask you? How did the architect expect to climb up there?"
"I think roofs are kinda just your thing, monkey boy," Nora cut in from behind them. Ren had asked her to stay back a bit, as he knew if she was up with them, the impulse to send the entire building skyward with a few grenades would be very difficult to resist. They didn't want them knowing they were here quite yet.
"You sure about that?" Sun raised a golden eyebrow while indicating the rooftop on the which the three of them were currently camped. Nora stopped for a moment, brow knitting together as she pondered on that, and Sun chuckled. "Sun Wukong: 1. Nora Valkyrie: 0."
Ren sensed Nora's metaphorical hackles rising. His partner was an outrageously competitive woman and would go absolutely all out in any situation, like when she sent Yang into the stratosphere during a food fight. Worse than that, though, was what she'd do if challenged, exactly as Sun had just done. And he knew he had done it, too, the smug bastard. Ren could see it in his eyes. The monkey faunus and Nora had sparked a strange friendship after his transfer to Beacon. They had to turn everything into a contest, and both of them were perpetually attempting to get the upper hand on the other, often to incredibly destructive ends.
So, before she could even think of retorting (because a Nora Valkyrie retort often involved several thousands of lien worth of property damage) Ren grabbed her shoulder. She glanced at him, and he gave a subtle shake of his head. Nora shot Sun another glare, though, for good measure. "Next time, Wukong."
"Any time, Valkyrie."
Ren wondered exactly what he had done to deserve this as he glanced down at his scroll. 11:57. "Time to move," he said flatly, and immediately the other two's expressions turned serious, and they nodded. Ren leapt over the side of the building and landed on the street in a crouch. As his companions landed behind him, he dashed forward, crossing to the warehouse as quickly as he could. He sidled up against the ridged metal, spreading his senses out. His Aura flared as it registered the threats waiting within.
"Seventeen enemies inside," he said.
"None outside?" Sun asked.
"Probably trying to avoid drawing attention." Ren looked at his clock again, right as it hit 12:00.
"12:00!" Nora exclaimed. "Time to go!"
"No, wait, Nora!" Sun cried as the ginger Huntress slipped Magnhild from her back, unfolding it into hammer form. Ren sighed. Honestly, he had been expecting this, but still, it was going to be loud.
And it was.
Magnhild slammed into the thin metal with a deep, throbbing gong, and the entire wall of warehouse crumpled as massive chunk of it tore off, rocketing inward. Two enemies disappeared from Ren's detection. Probably flattened.
He dove through the freshly made hole and rolled into a kneeing position. The left side of Stormflower spit a stream of bullets in the direction of a group of faunus standing in shocked silence, sending them scurrying for cover. Ren rammed his right blade into the knee of an enemy who had tried charging him from the side. The faunus gave a shout of pain, but the left blade across his throat cut it short.
Sun was beside him then, staff out and slamming into the chest of another opponent trying desperately to draw their pistol. Nora fired a few grenades off from behind the duo, splintering wooden crates and leaving black scorch marks on the grey floor.
Then the faunus began returning fire, and the three of them had to duck for cover as bullets sprayed around them. Ren rolled to the right, ducking behind a metal rack stacked high with boxes. Nora and Sun took refuge behind a messy pile of crates. Ren glanced out from behind his position, eyes darting around to assess the situation and determine possible courses of action.
The warehouse was a single, wide open room. Crates and boxes of varying size were spread along the edges, and two rows of standing shelves ran long the right-hand side. Across the room, their enemies were ducked behind turned over tables, chairs, and even a forklift. On the wall opposite the one they had entered from, a staircase led up to a rickety catwalk that ran along all four walls. Gunfire was pouring from all over, including above. Ren pulled his head back.
"They have guns," Nora commented from beside Sun.
"Gee, you think?!" Sun cursed before reaching one of his shotguns around their cover and firing off a round. He glared at Nora. "This is why we have a plan before we blow open the fucking wall!"
"But it's so much more fun this way!"
"Your partner's insane!" the faunus called across to Ren. "Like, frolicking with Grimm batshit!" Ren didn't reply, instead closing his eyes.
He drew a deep breath through his nose, letting it out slowly from his mouth as his heart rate dropped. Ren summoned his Aura and sent it coursing through his body. His senses sharpened, even the tiniest sounds becoming crystal clear. The bear faunus behind the forklift in front of him was shaking slightly. The cat one on the balcony wasn't. Ragged breathing assaulted his ears from all directions as the gunshots became fireworks.
Another breath, and he pushed his senses even wider. In his mind, the enemies' positions lit up. Eight on the first floor, five on the catwalk. Manageable. There's one directly above me trying to find an angle. It was time to get started.
"Stay there," he intoned to Sun.
Before the Huntsman could reply, Ren burst into motion, jumping to the damaged wall behind him. He gathered Aura to his legs and sprung forward off the bent metal, out towards the room. He twisted himself in air, so he was facing the ceiling, and brought Stormflower up as he passed under the balcony, pistols aiming directly at the faunus stalking the walkway above him. He saw his opponent's eyes widen as she realized what was about to happen. He watched her try to bring her gun up, but she was far too slow. He fired a single, precise shot. The bullet tore through her feeble Aura, tunneling through the bottom of her chin and out the top of her head. She slumped to the floor as Ren continued out.
"What is he doing?" Sun hissed as he landed in the middle of the room. "I know Ren's good, but it's suicide to attack them front the front like that."There was a few moments of silence as their opponents tried to figure out what Ren's ploy was. Sun stood. "We need to-hrk!" Before he could get even one step forward, a hand cinched around his collar and yanked him back down. "Nora what the hell?" He rubbed at his throat. "Do you have any idea what Weiss would do to me if I messed up this vest?"
"He's using his semblance," she explained, completely ignoring his comment on his girlfriend's wrath. "If you go out there now, you'll just be in his way."
"His…?" Sun glanced out over the crates to their green-clad friend, before looking back to the woman beside him. "Nora, I've seen his semblance, his extra-sensory whatever, and it can't help him here. He's going to die if we don't do something."
The Huntress just grinned at him. "You haven't seen his new semblance."
Sun's eyes widened. "New semblance? You can't just-"
"Just sit back and watch," she interrupted him with a grin. "This is gonna be good." Sun turned his gaze to Ren, still standing in the middle of the room.
Sun almost covered his eyes when they opened fire; he really didn't want to see his friend peppered with bullets. What happened next made him infinitely glad he did not. As muzzle flashes flared from all sides of the room, Ren moved, ducking low and spinning. His arms were wide, and his right foot slid along the ground in a smooth semi-circular. Bullets filled the air all around him, every single one missing him by a hair's breadth. They pinged into the stone, into crates, into the walls, but none of them touched him. He planted his right hand as the spin finished, twisted himself so his legs were in the air, and rotated about on his palm.
And then Ren was in the air, arcing away from where he had been. The moment his feet touched the floor, he folded into a backwards somersault, avoiding the stream of gunfire that chewed apart the concrete not a second later. He came up into a crouch and crossed his arms to either side, fingers squeezing the triggers on his pistols with a practiced ease. A short burst from each found their marks in two of his opponents. The one dropped without a sound, blood flowing from the new perforations in his skull. The other cried in agony, weapon clattering to the ground as he grasped at his shoulder.
Ren's head came up, and he moved forward and straightened up as he swung his right pistol in a vertical slash. Sun heard a brief screeching noise as the blade hit something, and a patch of ground to either side of the Huntsman exploded.
Did he just…? Ren's left hand swung around, and another swift pull of the trigger brought down the antelope faunus who had taken the last shot.
And then it was quiet.
Ren's eyes opened as Nora bounced to her feet. The magenta orbs were glowing slightly, though it was quickly fading. Sun hesitantly stood, wondering what had happened to the other enemies in the room. He had only seen Ren take down four of them. And yet, as grey eyes scanned the warehouse, not a single soldier remained standing, not even those on the catwalk. Some were rolling about on the ground, hands clamped tightly around bleeding wounds. Other were still, and Sun got the impression they wouldn't be getting back up. The faunus made his way to where his friend was storing his pistols back up his sleeves and brushing dirt from his clothing.
Not a single round had touched him.
Sun couldn't believe it. At least twelve guns had been firing on him from twelve different angles. How on Remnant had he managed to avoid all that without so much as even a graze? Let alone take out all of the opponents as well.
He didn't even look winded.
He stopped in front of Ren, and asked the only thing he could. "Okay, dude, what the hell?"
"Told ya," Nora sing-songed as she skipped over to a fox faunus trying to struggle to his feet. A harsh foot to the face ended that endeavor with a brutal crunch. "Ren's semblance is awesome."
"Okay, no. I've seen your semblance before, and it was not that…that…ridiculous! Your semblance was just radar, wasn't it?" He raised his arms to his head, making wave motions outward from his skull. "You can't cut bullets in half with radar…can you?" Grey stared into magenta as Ren regarded him stoically.
Nora rolled her eyes and trotted back over. "He got a new one, silly!"
"Nora," Ren admonished lightly. "Semblances are linked directly to our Aura, a manifestation of our souls. You can't just 'get a new one.'" He looked at Sun. "It's more accurate to say I evolved my semblance."
The bodyguard looked around the room. "I don't know. You could've fooled me. Seems a whole lot different than before."
Ren sighed. "Do you know how my semblance worked?"
"You could detect the number and position of baddies within a certain radius, right?"
Nora giggled, as if this was a conversation she had seen a billion times before. "That's what it did, not how it worked."
"Okay…now I'm confused." Nora started laughing outright.
"Of course you are. I'll tell you later. For now, let's focus on the mission."
Sun almost seemed like he was going to protest, but nodded instead.
Truth be told, it wasn't that hard to explain. Aura was a natural defense provision that worked the same for everyone in varying degrees once unlocked. It worked like a passive sixth sense, warning its user of imminent danger just before it struck, and protecting them from potentially fatal attacks should they find themselves in trouble. Semblances were another matter entirely.
They varied greatly from person to person, and depended on an almost innumerable number of factors. Personality, fighting style, genetics, beliefs, Aura strength. The list went on and on. Anything that affected a person could inherently have an effect on what their semblance would be. Some people didn't even have one. Those who did always discovered them naturally, in the middle of training or a fight. It had been very different for Ren.
There had been a brief period back in combat school when he had been afraid he was one of those people without. He had watched as Nora found hers and happily flaunted it about (much to the chagrin of her father) and waited patiently for his own to appear. But after another year of no changes, he had taken matters into his own hands, and begun actively searching for ways to force his semblance to appear.
It hadn't taken long for him to discover that it couldn't be done. They always appeared naturally. He had toyed with the idea of an artificial one, but had thrown out the idea almost immediately. While his superb Aura control may have actually granted him the ability to create one, it wouldn't be a true semblance, and thus, he didn't want it. Not to mention it was sure to be a massive drain on his relatively small amount of Aura. So he resigned himself to not having one, hoping that it wouldn't cripple his future as a Huntsman. Their final year he had discovered that he did in fact have a semblance, and it had been active for quite a long time. Longer than anyone he knew of.
Ren's semblance was a sense for danger far evolved beyond the basic Aura. Whereas most people could only register a feeling of unease, Ren could clearly identify where and what the danger was. He had always figured it was the natural awareness that came with releasing one's Aura, but a teacher at their combat school had informed him just how special his ability was.
It had taken him a while after that to figure out exactly how it worked, since he had been doing it on instinct without realizing it. For most people trained in the art of combat, their Aura hovered close by them, like a cloak. But for Ren, it was dissipated thinly through the air around him in a set diameter. It was why he could detect enemies and danger at a much larger range than his companions, and why ambushes were never effective against him, much to the dismay of Nora. It also explained his below-average Aura pool, since most of it was constantly spread about him.
For years he had been content with it, using it to augment his style of fighting. Utilizing it to swiftly and efficiently move between opponents and avoid the worst of situations. After the Siege, though, he had taken a long, hard look at himself, and realized it wasn't enough. He needed more power, more skill. He needed to be better. And he found just the way. His semblance allowed him to detect danger, and Ren discovered that if he concentrated just a bit harder, he could detect every move an opponent would make, right down to the squeezing of a trigger finger.
From there it had simply become a matter of training himself to slip into the proper state of concentration to predict his opponent's attacks, and to react properly when they came. It had been ages since he'd even been nicked, and even longer since a clean hit had landed. With the ability to predict came the added benefit of being able to redirect. A small pulse of Aura could divert the course of a bullet enough to send it veering off of its original target and into one of Ren's. His control and command of Aura made sure that he spent only the bare amount necessary, and that even his meager well of it could last for much longer than the average Hunter. Dealing with rooms full of guns had become child's play to him, as he could now easily dodge their fire and turn their own weapons against them. Nora had nicknamed his power 'broken.'
He preferred 'flow.'
But Ren didn't feel like explaining all of that to Sun. He didn't feel a lot of things anymore.
Like sympathy for the faunus lying around the room, hands clutched over their stomachs or chests as their blood flowed into crimson pools beneath them. Or regret for the bodies that no longer moved.
Their lives didn't matter to him; his compassion had died in a blaze of fire, years ago. His hands had long since become uncleansable.
"Okay, mission, right," Sun's head jerked about the room. "Um…there's nothing in here. Shouldn't there be a, I don't know, computer or something? What kind of base doesn't have a computer?"
Ren knelt and splayed his fingers against the cool concrete, once more closing his eyes. He pushed his Aura out as far as it would go, his semblance feeding constant information back to him. Several pings alerted him to another enemy presence. There you are.
He stood and pointed to a stack of metal crates along the left hand wall. "Underneath those is a vertical shaft." His companions followed his finger. "There's a group of men waiting for us at the bottom. Nora." She needed no further provocation, and she grinned widely as Magnhild unfolded in her hands. "Try not to bring the whole building down."
She stuck her tongue out at him, but he knew she listened when she flipped a switch on the hammer, and a small section on the back of the head slid open. It looked perfectly sized to fit a fist, and Nora obligingly offered one. She thrust her hand into center of the weapon, and with a series of mechanical clicks, she extracted it again, with a new addition. From her elbow down to her knuckles, her arm was now covered in a silver gauntlet comprised of several interlocking sections. On the back of her hand was a circle of glowing pink energy: the core of Magnhild's explosive power.
When Nora had first told him she had added a "boom glove" feature to Magnhild, he hadn't exactly been sure what to expect. Turned out it was exactly what it had sounded like. The Huntress had somehow modified her hammer so that she could use it more effectively in close quarters combat. It also gave her a better directional control of the blasts from the weapon. Ren could attest though, after several thoroughly painful training sessions, that the change from warhammer to gauntlet had not impacted Magnhild's original strength.
Nora leapt into the air as she folded up the remainder of the cumbersome weapon on her back. Aquamarine eyes glinting gleefully, she plummeted towards the ground. She swung her fist downward as the glowing circle rotated down over the front of her fingers. Her hand hit the crates, and promptly blew straight through them with a bright pink flash. When it met the concrete, the stone exploded spectacularly. Nora leapt backward as the floor collapsed down into the shaft. Ren heard the cries of the men beneath as the rubble crashed down on them.
Before the dust had even settled, Sun's hands slammed together, and with a brief glimmer, two golden, transparent copies of the monkey faunus materialized. They dove through the new hole. There was scuffle as they landed, followed by a shout of panic and several loud cracks of gunfire. A cry of pain, followed by two thuds, and then silence. Sun lowered his arms, eyes cracking open as a smirk pulled at his lips and the glow faded from his hair.
"Too easy," he scoffed. He looked over at Ren. "We clear?" The Huntsmen nodded. Sun's light clones had finished off the few bodies he could detect that remained. Looked like no Roman for them. "Alrighty then," Sun interlaced his fingers and stretched them in front of him, eliciting several satisfying cracking sounds. "Let's find out exactly what they're hiding in deep, dark basement."
A/N: A little late in the evening, but still on time, woot!
What'd we all think? Got some Ren love, awwww yeah. He's fun to write, especially whenever he's cold and brutal. and as always, I adore writing Nora. Bubbly little shit with an ungodly amount of power and no discretion as to how she's going to use it
Hope you all enjoyed Ren's semblance. I tried to think of something that fit him (or at leas the Rending version of him) and I felt like this would be a pretty boss ability that would help put his fighting strength on the same level as the other members of RWBY and JNPR (since some of those semblances are fucking BROKEN). Also, what'd you guys think of Nora's little addition to Magnhild? Her weapon was hard to think of an upgrade to, but I figured she could use something for REALLY up close and personal fighting, since hammer's normally require at least a bit of range, and something to give her a more precise blast area. Rather than just "THIS WHOLE AREA IS GONE NOW" it's more "THIS ONE SPECIFIC AREA IS GONE"
Anyway, please read and review, my friends.
Also, holy fucking balls, we've cracked 200 reviews and 26,000 views?! YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
Until next time!