So what was it? Where DID I go wrong? As far as I'm concerned I did everything right. So...if there was just one thing I've regretted about the way I've lived my life...everything that I've done up until this very moment...
It's that I'm dying.
My body sailed through the air as the wind screamed past me. My clothes restlessly fluttering because of the current's influence. Below me lied a beautiful verdant forest chock full of deadly grimm. But right now where I was going wasn't the immediate problem, it was HOW!
"SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!" My mouth screamed out curses as I tried to prevent myself from becoming the world's most attractive pancake. Damn it! Now's not the time for jokes!
Briefly closing my eyes, I tried to calm myself for a moment. "Think. How are you going to fix this?"
My right hand still clenched the silver and purple spear. 'How do I slow my descent? Wedge the spear into a tree? No, the recoil might tear my arms off. Stab into a tree and slide to reduce my momentum? I don't have that kind of skill.' My index finger brushed over the small button on the handle of the weapon. The claw really was my only option. But I have to wait until I'm ABSOLUTELY sure I can hit a sturdy enough part of a tree. Something that's quite difficult for someone of my skill level. If I panicked and messed this up, there wouldn't be a second chance...
Opening my eyes, a nauseous fear permeated my body as the ground continued its mad dash towards me. And I did the most difficult thing possible for someone in my position...I waited. The wind blasted at my eyes causing tears to form around the edges. But I waited. The indistinguishable hunk of green below quickly became a more detailed form of trees. A cold sweat formed on my motionless body as my mind screamed at me to do something, making it very difficult to keep my composure. It was as though time had slowed down in response to my potential death. And while I was grateful for this, the experience was absolutely maddening.
"NOW!" My right arm shot forward holding the spear and pressed the button. Immediately the bottom of the spear opened up firing the claw which dug deep into a thick branch.
My downward plummet started to become a curved swing. Barely missing the ground by a couple of feet, the momentum of my swing carried me into an upward arc, with my back to the ground and my face skyward.
"Oh dear..." There was a splintering sound as the claw had ripped out a chunk of the branch because of my swing. "Waaugh!" I fell, crashing through several thin branches before my back slammed into a thick one finally stopping me. "Ow..." I lay there for a second before shaking my head and pushing myself up, putting the claw back into place. "Well, any landing you can walk away from is a good one I suppose."
Good news, I didn't plummet to my death. Now I can look forward to being ripped apart by grimm. Steadying myself by placing a hand on the trunk, I looked at the enormous expanse of the forest before me. "You know, when it's not threatening to kill you, this forest can be pretty beautiful." Alright, enough sightseeing.
'I need to find a way to get out of this exam. Ozpin and the other staff are watching me right now on those monitors so if I were to give up, would they come and rescue me?"
Remembering what Glynda and Ozpin had said, this didn't seem likely...
*"Can't this wait? You'll ruin the assignment of teams if the number isn't divisible by four."
"You will be monitored and graded for the duration of your initiation. But our instructors will not intervene."*
"Goddamn it!" Why?! Why isn't there an option to give up?! This is just cruel, the only options here are to pass or die! The point of an exam is to see if you're ready, not to kill you if you aren't! "Okay...let's try and calm down..." Screaming about the lack of common sense here isn't going to get me out of this forest, I need to get my team started. If there's at least one capable student with me, I have a chance of making it out of this mess. 'I just need to find someone...anyone...'
"Huh?" I looked up to see Jaune tumbling through the air, much like how I was a moment ago. "When I said anyone, I meant anyone BUT Jaune! Fine, whatever, Pyrrha will save him like last time. And when she does I can just add her to my team as well." Pyrrha will have to babysit TWO incompetent students instead of one, but I guess it's better than nothing...
'Any second now Pyrrha will spring into action.'
Jaune continued to yell as he dropped.
'I'm...sure it'll happen at any moment...'
*Sigh* "Why me..."
Hoisting the spear to my shoulder like a rocket launcher and squinting one eye, I fired the claw at Jaune's descending figure. The metal talon just barely missing my target and ending up on his left side. "I really need to practice with this th-URK!" Jaune had reached out and grabbed onto the chain next to him for all that he was worth. Well, that didn't go as planned but, whatever works. "URGH!" Aero's arms bulged and strained at the falling weight, just barely able to turn his fall into a swing.
Unfortunately, his momentum proved to be too much, as I was yanked off my thick branch, causing me and Jaune to be sent tumbling to the ground. No good deed goes unpunished it seems.
"Whew, thought I was a goner." Jaune said standing up and dusting himself off. "Hey, thanks for the help back there."
"Sure, whatever." I wasn't planning on sticking around.
"Ah! Wait up!" Jaune called after my retreating figure.
"Don't follow me."
"Huh? Wait, aren't we supposed to be on a team? I mean you kinda just fished me from the sky just now."
"Ozpin said those who make eye contact would be put on a team together. Since your eyes and mine haven't met yet, technically I don't have to join up with you. I only have to join up with people whose eyes I see."
I might be acting like a douche, but Jaune isn't exactly someone I can count on to protect me. We can only have four members on a team, and if that team included me who was already weak, AND Jaune, then half of the team would already be pretty unreliable. I had hoped that Pyrrha would save him like before so I could follow her, but it seems my meddling to the timeline has made a few small changes. Before I even THINK about trying to save Vale, I'll need to make sure that I survive first. "So don't take this the wrong way, but I don't want you with me." I turned around, hoping that was the end of that, however...
"Wait! Don't leave me behind!"
'Man this guy's persistent.'
"So, can I ask you a question?" Jaune continued, refusing to take a hint. "You saw what happened back there with Weiss in the locker room right?"
"You mean when you got speared to the wall?"
"Yeah...that...anyway, what did I do wrong? My dad said all women look for is confidence."
"Jaune, there's a difference between being confident and being annoying." Like right now for example. "Weiss can be...temperamental at times. If she doesn't already have a good opinion of you or if you don't pique her interest, your conversation probably won't go that well with her. I mean, would you be attracted to some random girl who got in your face saying how great she was?"
"Probably not." he sighed. "Any suggestions?"
"Do I look like a love guru to you?"
"Well, I was just hoping that-"
"Look." I turned around keeping my eyes on Jaune's feet in order to avoid his eyes. "Can we talk about this LITERALLY any other time? This place isn't exactly safe and I don't want a grimm..." I paused as I noticed a shadow looming behind me, causing Jaune's face to become pale. "To...sneak up on us..."
There was only a brief moment of time, between looking up before the grimm attacked. I rolled forward as a large claw slashed down onto my previous spot. In front of me stood a tall black Beowulf with gleaming red eyes.
'Oh my god...'
The Beowulf roared and charged at me. I dodged one of its claw strikes, as the other smacked me right across the face knocking me down. Rushing in, it opened its mouth revealing rows of sharp teeth, clamping down towards me.
I quickly held out my spear as the rod part of it separated me from the Beowolf's fangs. The creature snarled still gnawing on the spear handle between us still trying to get to me. Its glowing eyes bore into my mind like red hot coals. 'What do I do?! What am I supposed to do?!' My mind froze up, unable to do anything else but try and keep the snarling beast mere inches away from ripping me to shreds.
"I gotcha Aero!"
Jaune ran in with a shout causing the creature to turn its head. The Beowolf roared in anger as Jaune slashed at its forearm. He raised his shield as a blow came from the grimm making him stagger. Seeing that the beast was distracted, I scrambled to my feet, immediately running in the opposite direction.
"Wait! Where are you going!?" Jaune cried in confusion.
Jaune hesitated for a moment before sheathing his sword and sprinting alongside me with the beowolf hot on our trail. The two of us kept running, but the sounds behind us kept getting louder with each passing minute. The grimm growled before crouching down and leaping into the air, landing right in front of me.
"Aero look out!"
Seeing the grimm raise its claws I let out a panicked yell, shutting my eyes tightly and swinging the spear in my hand as hard as I could, expecting the worst. But instead of feeling the pain, there was a heavy thud at the end of my weapon. Opening my eyes, I watched as the beowolf sailed backward from the attack before crashing into a tree with a yelp.
"Did...did I do that...?"
The grimm lay there for a moment before shaking its head. Climbing to it's feet and letting out a bone-chilling roar before charging at me. Legs still shaking, I tried to raise the spear again, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a faint gleam as something shot past me. A hunk of metal almost the size of my head slammed down onto the Beowolf's skull with a disturbing crunch.
"Whoo-hoo!" The culprit stood triumphantly on the grimm's corpse as it disintegrated. Mint colored eyes and tangerine-colored hair, Nora gave her work a small nod before turning to me. "Hee hee, sorry." she said with a huge grin plastered on her face. "I know you had that one but I couldn't help myself. I mean it's been so long since I've seen any action, like really long. Well maybe not TOO long but a pretty long time."
I shakily collapsed on the grass, still preoccupied with what had occurred to listen to her rambling. 'That was close...if Nora hadn't shown up, who knows what might have happened! I just barely started here in this world, and I've come close to dying three times already! How many more times is this going to happen? Did I really come here just to run around and have people protect me?!'
I looked at Nora who was still happily rambling on as if the grimm that had attacked earlier was nothing more than a rowdy kitten. When would I get that level of composure? That level of confidence.
"Whoa!" Nora turned around and saw Jaune. "Looks like I found two teammates for the price of one! Talk about a bargain. Hello everyone, I'm Nora Valkyrie, teammate #3! So, what's your name?"
"Me?" Jaune asked a little surprised "I'm Jaune Arc, that's Aero over there. Hey, thanks for your help earlier."
"Psht, it was nothing."
The orange-haired girl looked in my direction as I called her name. "Yes, new teammate?"
I walked forward, lifting my spear and hacking at a decent-sized branch in a tree above me causing it to fall. "I want you to hit me." I said, handing the branch out to her. The two of them both looked at me in confusion.