|A Grimm Fate|
He stands up and walks back to the edge... not where the girl and her boyfriend are, mind you, he's not that dense, and climbs out of the fountain. "Well, that's 0 for... thirty. Or so." He sighs and ruffles his own hair... It's about the only place he can actually dry off while here in the park.
On one of the park benches, there's a person asleep. It's a guy, and he's got a newspaper over his face. Tattered trench coat, black shirt-- oddly the shirt looks like it's got bulletholes in it-- worn jeans, and boots that have seen better days. He's stretched out on the bench, one hand resting on his stomach, the other arm thrown over the back of the bench. The splashing seems to alert him, though, and he starts a bit. Reaching up with the hand on his stomach, he pulls the newspaper off, and sits up, straightening his wide-brimmed hat. He has straw-colored blond hair and his face looks weathered and has permastubble. He looks over at Jaune. "...You OK?" he asks, dropping the newspaper next to him. He has a rough-sounding voice.
Jaune takes his sheath off his belt and starts shaking it to try to get as much water out of it as he can. Don't want any of it to rust, after all. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine... Uhh... are you... living... here? I mean, I thought there was those apartments that apparently have free rent or something..."
"Yeah." The mention of free apartments gets a shifty-eyed look. "I know, but... I don't want to settle down. I feel like... it'd be a bad idea for some reason..." He looks at the ground. "...I feel like something bad would happen if I did... Though I'm not sure what." Just paranoia, maybe? Could have something to do with his amnesia. People don't lose their memories for no reason, after all. And most of the time those reasons are bad...
Jaune looks at Mitch with a raised eyebrow. "Really? Huh. Well, if you say so, but I imagine it'd be a lot better than sleeping on a park bench. By the way, name's Jaune... Jaune Arc."
In the meantime, it seems that girl and her overmuscled boyfriend are getting into a yelling match. No, she's not upset he got rid of Jaune. She's upset he pushed him into the fountain, splashing water on her.
And those with a keen sense of motion might notice the ground shaking ever so slightly.
"Mitch," he offers in return, when Jaune offers his name. He doesn't immediately notice the shaking. He does, however, notice the yelling, and looks in that direction. He raises an eyebrow. "What's all that about?" he asks.
"This skirt is ruined! You got that nasty water all over me!" the girl yells.
"Baby, I'm sorry, I just didn't want that weirdo anywhere near you!" He oddly doesn't sound that sorry, in fact, almost more angry. And the ground rumbles again, slightly more noticeably.
Jaune looks in the direction of Mitch's gaze and shrugs. "If I were to take a guess, she didn't want fountain water on her skirt? It is a nice skirt on her, you gotta admit." He then glances around. "Did you feel that?"
Mitch huffs an amused breath through his nose. "Yeah. Does look nice on 'er," he admits. "I hope she thinks he looks nice on 'er too, 'cause what I heard was 'shut up, you're mine'." The smirk is wry. But then Jaune asks about the rumbling, and Mitch pauses. "...Yeah. Felt it that time. What was it? This place prone to earthquakes?" Wouldn't surprise him, with how unstable the whole place is.
Jaune looks around at the trees, then down at the ground and stomps his foot once. "Not that I've noticed, but I've not been around all that long just yet, myself. Just kinda... been going to classes as I figure out how to make myself in this crazy place, ya know?"
As the two 'lovers' continue their yelling match, the ground shakes once more... and then one of the trees just falls over as the ground under it seems to explode. From the crater now left there emerges a gigantic scorpion with white armor along its top, seemingly marked with red runes across it. Its stinger is very large, very prominent, and bright orange. Its eight glowing red eyes seem focused on the quarreling pair.
There is a girlish scream coming from the pair... No, it's not her, it's the big, tough looking guy screaming as he sees something that he knows he can't bully, something that even he can tell is extremely dangerous.
"Makes sense," Mitch replies. "Gotta do somethin' while you unravel the mysteries of the universe, right?" The smile freezes, though, when the rumble happens. And outright disappears as the scorpion appears. "Shit fire and save the matches..." he mutters under his breath.
He doesn't question the impulse. He just acts. What does he do? Runs between the scorpion and the couple, as it so happens. Turning to look ove rhis shoulder briefly, he says quietly, "Both 'a y'all get movin'!" Then he turns back to look at the scorpion. Should it try to go after the (hopefully) fleeing couple? He'll thrust his arms out as if in a warding gesture, palms flat.
What does that do? An invisible 'punch' of air will go towards the beast, with enough force to tear up a tree by its roots. Though Mitch didn't aim at a tree.
Indeed the thing does at first start to go after the fleeing teenagers... though the girl is now asking the guy why he's running instead of protecting her. Yeah, these two are both real keepers, aren't they? Regardless, it doesn't seem to be expecting the 'punch,' and it gets knocked back a good ways... skidding along the ground and making large furrows in the ground as it drags its claws in the ground. As the force of air subsides, the thing hisses and widens its claws, snapping them threateningly as it rears back its prominent tail stinger. No, it seems to have forgotten about the teenagers now, and is instead focussed entirely on Mitch. It soon charges at the man, snapping with its claws and striking down at him with its tail.
Drawing his sword from its sheath and then grabbing the sheath itself with his off hand, Jaune yells out, "Deathstalker! Pyrrha, Nora, oh, right, you're not here." It sounded like he was about to actually start issuing battle commands there for a second, but instead he just expands his sheath into a shield. You know, since the people he was going to start commanding aren't in this universe. "Well... This is probably going to be painful," he says as he starts approaching the beast from the side.
Mitch doesn't seem to have any combat training. Jaune is probably skilled enough to pick that up. But Mitch also doesn't seem to have any fear of the situation. He doesn't question why he's stupidly run in front of a Grimm with no training or knowledge of the beast. Jaune also can probably see exactly what he's doing-- he's using himself as a shield between the giant scorpion and the fleeing couple.
His response to the swinging-down stinger is instinctual-- he fires another blast of air at the incoming stinger. But because it's instinctual, it's also unfocused. Moving to fire the blast shifts him to the side just enough to avoid an immediate death-by-stabbing. Though the fact that it tears a massive line down the side he's got the arm raised on probably isn't that great.
"Augh!" Mitch grunts, biting off the sound quickly. He stumbles and falls, a hand over his side. He's not stupid enough to not get clear, though. He rolls to the side, to avoid a followup attack.
The deathstalker doesn't seem to notice this second blast much... The stinger is fairly aerodynamic, after all. It hisses once again as it only manages to graze the man, then swings down one of its claws like a club, trying to smash him. Jaune is, in the meantime, running in at its side while screaming at the thing. It's not a particularly fear inspiring yell... Jaune just doesn't have the kind of voice needed to be intimidating like that. But it is enough to get the monstrous scorpion's attention on him and it makes a quick jab at the teenager, which is deflected by Jaune's shield. Apparently this was Jaune's plan all along, as once the stinger is deflected and past him, he swings down with his sword right at where the glowing stinger connects to the rest of the tail... and chops the stinger right off.
To say it was 'only' a graze is understating things a bit-- it tore through his coat, shirt, and the side of his jeans at his hip. He's not in danger of losing his clothes, but he's bleeding pretty bad. But still he's standing up, all but limping back into the fray. Does he have a death wish? Possibly. Or he's just an idiot.
Thankfully, though, Mitch has managed to dodge the club-- the backroll did that, and then Jane got its attention before the thing could come after him. "Good!" he calls out when Jaune chops the stinger off. "That's one less vector of attack!"
Jaune calls back, "I've fought these things before!" Well, he's fought one of them before. "But we don't have a hyperactive girl with a giant hammer to smash its stinger into its head this time, so I'm not sure how to go from here!" Seeing another claw being swung his way, he puts up his shield just in time to have it smashed into him, knocking him back flying into a nearby tree. Well, that doesn't look like the best way to proceed from this point. The sword and shield wielding threat dealt with for now, it now turns its focus entirely upon Mitch, hissing threateningly and snapping its claws together before reaching out with them to try to grab him in its vice-like grip.
"Jaune, watch--!" Mitch tries to call out, but it's a little too late. And as Jaune goes flying, Mitch tries to get between Jaune and the scorpion-thing. He's not planning to move out of the way, not and leave the blond man unprotected. Unfortunately... this means Mitch isn't in much of a position to avoid the grabby claw! He tries to blast it back... but indeed, claws are quite aerodynamic. Particularly along their edge. So he gets nabbed! He yelps in pain as the scorpion creature's claw closes around his middle. He tries to struggle free, but that's not happening...
It's like... a perfect example of exactly what kind of image Jaune wants to avoid. Jaune stuck in the tree while others fight for their lives... No, really, this is almost an exact quote of what he doesn't want. Well, it could be worse for him.
He could be in Mitch's place.
The deathstalker once again hisses menacingly at the struggling man, and closes its free claw.
My, that pointed end looks quite sharp, too.
It thrusts the pointed end of its claw straight for Mitch's chest as Jaune yells out from the tree, "Mitch! NO!" He struggles himself, getting down, but far, far too late to actually help.
It's a bit different for Mitch. He knows it's not going to be pleasant... but he'd rather it be him that gets killed by this thing than Jaune. He's fairly certain that Jaune wouldn't get a second chance if he died. Hell, Mitch isn't even sure he will. What if the first time was a fluke? He's not going to have time warn the blond, either. Because that claw is sharp, and fast, and heading right for his heart.
('...Shit. This is gonna suck.')
It's about all he has time to think before the ripping sound of flesh reaches his ears. For a split second, his chest is on fire. He draws a breath to scream... but there's nothing there to breathe in; the strike has separated his lungs from the tubes that connect it to his windpipe. His head goes back, the hat falling off, and his arms go out... and then he goes limp in the beast's gripping claw. His eyes are open, and he's staring up at the sky.
The scorpion seems to relish this for a second before it tears open Mitch even further by simply opening the claw that is now impaled in the man's chest. It lets go of what it now thinks is little more than a corpse, letting what passes for Mitch fall to the ground as it turns itself towards the now charging Jaune. Well, no one's ever claimed Jaune was a coward.
Oh, wait, yes they have. They were just wrong.
Jaune runs in with a full swing down on the thing's head, making a full connect, and even leaving a thin line visible in its armor there. Not much, just a crack, really. He put all his force into this strike, really, but there's a problem with that, in that it leaves him open.
And the deathstalker takes full advantage of this, snapping at him with both its claws. One grabs the shield, prying it from Jaune's hands to toss away before closing again, ready to take advantage of its sharp point, still coated in Mitch's blood. The other has gotten a firm hold on its victim once more, closing tight around Jaune's chest, straining his chestplate.
As Jaune struggles to get free, he looks over to see the other claw rising up to point at him, and his mind races, trying to come up with plans. All he can think of, however, is how much he wishes his team were here.
And when the claw releases him, Mitch hits the ground in a twisted heap. It really is a sickening sound, when all that meat that used to be a human hits the ground. That's going to leave a stain! Worse, so is Jaune if someone doesn't come to his aid, now that the deathstalker seems intent on repeating its performance with Mitch, but with the blond playing Mitch's part as corpse-to-be!
It's cutting it close. Like REALLY close. But just when that thing draws back its claw to stab Jaune... something swings at the claw. It's not a blast of air. It's a fist. And not just any fist. It's a large fist, plated with glossy brown chitinous armor. And it's attached to something, too-- something that looks like a large humanoid bug! It has spikes all along its back and down its limbs. The face is plated in such a way that hides all features but eyes; its eyes are black and faceted, like an insect's compound eye, but there are only two eyes, placed in the featureless face about where a human's ought to be.
This thing is strong, too. That hit was no gentle tap. No, that punch would hit with enough force to send an uncomfortable shockwave through the air. POW!
The deathstalker didn't seem to see this coming at all! As it rushes its pointed claw at Jaune, its aim is completely thrown off by the blow, and passes completely by the hapless blonde. Hissing in anger, it throws Jaune aside as it turns to face this new threat. Its claws are clacking threateningly as it seems to eye up this new opponent.
Jaune, in the meantime, has been thrown into a tree. In fact, it's the same tree he was thrown into before. "Oh come on!"
The monstrous scorpion hisses once again and starts swinging its massive claws at this strange new creature in front of it. It doesn't seem to want to grab this time, instead it tries to simply pummel its new enemy.
The brown bug-man stands firm when those claws start swinging at him. When one claw comes at him, he raises his clawed hands-- if they can even qualify as hands; they're more like articulated claws sticking out of a massive chitin gauntlet-- and does something incredible.
He catches the claw!
It does take him both hands, though, and the impact makes his feet leave furrows in the ground as he skids back. But he stops the claw, and his trip backwards keeps him out of range of the second claw.
Then the bug-man shoves the claw he's caught back at the beast. Hard! He's trying to close the distance, to grab the other claw with one hand, trying to push the claws back at the deathstalker. He's trying to bind up the claws, even if only temporarily.
Jaune manages to extricate himself from the tree once more, then looks at the strange unfolding events. He pauses a moment, unsure of what to think of it. But he spots the deathstalker's severed stinger lying on the ground nearby, and it's completely distracted by this strange new ally... So he's made his plan. He runs up, forgoing seeking out his shield, he's gonna need a free hand anyway. He won't quite let go of his sword yet, though, so he does struggle for a moment to actually pick the large object up. Glancing up as he actually sees the strange bug-man making progress in moving the claws against the scorpion's wishes, he then runs up and tries to slam the stinger down, pointed end first, into malevolent beast's neck, right behind the head's armor.
The deathstalker, however, seems to realize what's happening just before Jaune strikes down with the severed stinger, and shifts its head towards him... moving a thicker armored plate right in the way of where Jaune was trying to stab downward. It then lets one of its claws be pushed in, as it's now swinging back at Jaune again, casually knocking him away once more.
The bug-man emits a muffled growl, a clearly frustrated sound, as Jaune's knocked away again. The thing is... when it swings that one claw out to hit Jaune? It leaves itself open. Sort of, anyway. Whatever the proper terminology, its left it's 'face' exposed. Even if it's armored.
So in response, the bug-man ducks between those claws and makes to grab its fangs. He's not going to get another chance and he knows it. So if he can get hold of them, he'll pull up hard. His intention is to flip the beast over onto its back. Maybe the underside is less-armored...
Having indeed left itself wide open, the deathstalker seems to realize the bug-man's plan just a few milliseconds too late.
It starts trying to pound on its chitenous foe again with its claws now that they're freed, but this now seems to be a bit more flailing than a concentrated attack, as it's really putting more effort into trying to dig in its legs to try to keep itself from getting flipped over.
It seems like it's going to succeed at first, it has many legs, after all, but then Jaune comes running in once more, with a yell, swinging his sword at one of those legs with a two-handed grip. It shifts slightly to avoid the swing... But that's all it takes. Its footing lost, it soon finds itself flipping over sideways, landing on its back. It hisses in anger, trying now to snap at the bug man with its claws, but not quite getting purchase against his chitin armor.
Jaune then actually drops his sword to get a proper grip on the massive stinger this time, and screams with effort as he slams the thing down on the black, more vulnerable looking underside. He does... kinda penetrate it. The end of the stinger is indeed stuck in, but really... not very far. The creature really does seem more concerned with being on its back than the stinger stuck in it. Jaune, however, looks at the bug man and yells out, "Nail it!" hoping that his strange ally is able to see what needs to be done.
The bug-man weathers the blows. They crack off his armor with sharp reports. But he stands his ground. Keeps hold of the fangs. Jaune forces the thing to shift its weight, and then suddenly, over it goes! A loud cry of effort emits from the bug-man as his arms finally go up now that the thing's balance has been overcome. Flip! The beast goes belly-up!
And then Jaune tries to impale the thing with its own stinger! And succeeds, but it's not a clean hit. Jaune's instruction gets a quick nod, and the armored man raises a large fist and makes to slam it down on the stinger, hoping to drive it the rest of the way through. He'll hit it more than once if it needs it!
That was exactly what Jaune was looking to happen! Really, he's not that strong himself. He never expected to get a full impalement on the thing with the stinger... But the time he's taken one of these things out before, something similar was what took it down.
Only last time it was a hyperactive girl wearing pink that smashed the stinger into its head with a giant hammer, but she's not here right now.
As the bug-man smashes down, the stinger goes right through the deathstalker's armor, deep into its flesh, and out the other side, now pinning it to the ground as it hisses again, this time in pain as much as anger. It squirms, swinging its claws wildly about without really aiming for a few seconds before it suddenly just gives out. Less than a second later, it starts to evaporate.
As he sees the grimm start to disintegrate, Jaune lets out a sigh of relief. "Well, that's over with..." He says, then looks over to the bug man. "Hey, you did good... bug-man." He then frowns and walks over to where he could have sworn Mitch's body should have been, and frowns. Grimm don't actually eat their victims, so he's not sure what happened here at all.
And the bug-guy also sighs in relief when the thing starts to evaporate, too. His shoulders slump a little. And the Jaune goes over to where Mitch's body was supposed to be. It's not there. The only thing that's there is the blood lost from the attack, Mitch's hat and coat, and some scraps of his black shirt. The bug-guy winces a little, though it's not seen behind the plating. "...Yeah, about that..."
Suddenly the plates retract from around the bug guy. The sound is like enameled metal clicking together, but with a sharper quality, like plastic. The plates seem to retract into his back. Under it?
It's Mitch. Very notably not-dead. In fact, he isn't even scarred. That's easy to see because he has no shirt on. "Sorry, I didn't get to warn you in time." He bends to pick up his hat and coat, donning both. "Look, you might be hurt. Maybe we ought to take you to a hospital."