AW Year 0
-The monarchs of Mantle, Vacuo, and Mistral bow before the King of Vale, leading to an almost immediate cease in hostiles. Although the term After War would not come into official use until nearly two years later, historians widely consider this moment to be the beginning of the After War period.
-The ensuing peace talks in Vytal last for almost two months. During them, it is agreed that:
a) Mantle and Mistral take full responsibility for the Great War and agree to pay reparations.
b) For their contributions during the Great War, faunus are given the island of Menagerie to use as they see fit and granted full rights as citizens.
c) The four kingdoms agree to abolish slavery. A time frame of five years is set for the liberation of all slaves. It should be noted that slavery only persisted in the kingdoms of Vacuo and Mistral at that point in time.
d) The four monarchs agree to cede their power to national councils. The method of election and structure of these councils is left up to each kingdom. Ten years are given to finalize this transition.
f) The Huntsman system is proposed by the King of Vale. Despite strong opposition from Mantle, all four kingdoms ultimately agree to its implementation. Each kingdom commits itself to the creation of a Huntsman Academy.
AW Year 1
-The First Vytal Festival takes place. During the inauguration, the King of Vale gives a speech fostering unity and cooperation. This marks the first official record of the term 'After War' being used to refer to the new era. In a deeply ironic result, Mistral and Mantle take the first and second place respectively.
-The Queen of Vacuo becomes the first monarch to step down. Unfortunately, Vacuo's Council would prove to be highly ineffective. Its inability to gain the support of the people would lead to the fracturing and collapse of the kingdom in the years to come.
AW Year 2
-Alsius Academy opens its gates.
-The Color Movement begins in Vale. Parents start naming their children after colors. The King of Vale voices his support for the movement. In time, the movement spreads to Mistral, then to Vacuo, and finally to Mantle.
-The first AW calendar is printed.
-Shade Academy opens its gates.
-Slavery is officially abolished in Vacuo.
AW Year 3
-Nicholas Schnee is born.
-Beacon Academy opens its gates.
AW Year 5
-Haven Academy opens its gates.
-Slavery is officially abolished in Mistral.
-The Emperor of Mistral steps down. This marks the first successful transition of power in the After War era.
AW Year 6
-As tensions rise between Atlas and Mantle, The King of Mantle cedes power to the Council of Atlas to prevent hostilities. The Kingdom of Mantle becomes the Kingdom of Atlas.
-Alsius Academy formally changes its name to Atlas Academy.
Gray Rook fought the urge to yawn as he saw yet another applicant battle against a combat droid.
Once upon a time, the Atlesian Knight 45 (AK-45 for short) had been top of the line equipment. However, times changed, and technology moved forward. Now, the AK-45 was relegated to testing the skills of kids in combat schools all over Atlas.
As one of Atlas' top 3 combat schools, Hyades Academy was no different. In fact, due to receiving quite a bit of funding from the military, Hyades Academy could afford to use AK-45s as part of their entrance exam. Applicants were made to fight against the combat droid on one-on-one matches while a panel of judges watched their performance in a separate room and graded them.
Naturally, those who defeated the droid received high grades, but victory was not necessary to pass. Judges looked not only for fighting skill, but also adaptability, a cool head under stressful situations, and resourcefulness.
The current applicant showed none of those things.
Rook sought refuge in his coffee to avoid having to watch the blond applicant try and fail to dodge the droid's strikes. Pitiful. The thing was even set on the lowest difficulty. If he were a judge, Rook would have already failed him. However, that wasn't his job.
Rook was a Specialist.
In Atlas, the military worked closely not only with its Huntsman Academy but also with the multiple combat schools all over the kingdom. Hyades was no exception. Rook's job was to keep an eye out for any promising talent and pass the information to his superiors so they may be taken into consideration. All thing considered, it was a rather simple job.
It was also a very tedious one.
Watching untrained and half-trained kids fighting was painful. Watching kids who thought they were hot shit just because they could beat a droid or two was even worse. Out of sheer boredom, Rook took a look at the current applicant's other test scores. What he found was average from start to finish. Knowledge Assessment. Average. Physical Assessment. Average. Combat Assessment. In-Progress. Aura Assessment. O-
Rook spat his coffee all over the desk, barely managing to get his scroll out of the way in time.
The act drew the attention of the judges. Rook hurriedly raised his hand to assure them he was fine while trying to get his coughing under control. His eyes quickly went back to his scroll. There was no way. It couldn't be possible. Jaune Arc was an untrained teen whose aura was obviously still locked. A scrawny little thing like that couldn't possibly have that type of results.
Yet that was what his screen displayed.
Rook frowned. The science of Aura was complicated and best left to those with bigger brains than him. However, even he understood the basics.
The technology to measure someone's Aura had been born in Atlas. It was a tremendous scientific breakthrough at the time and led to the creation of Aura meters which were immediately put to use in the Vytal Festival. In the old days, only special arenas could display Aura meters, but with time, the technology had grown smaller and easier to manufacture. Nowadays, it was as easy as having the right type of scroll.
However, that was only true for those whose Aura was already unlocked. Measuring the Aura of someone whose Aura was still locked was a completely different game.
In fact, until about a year ago, it had been impossible. The technology had been created by Atlas and was still in its testing stages. That meant only the military, Atlas Academy, and a few combat schools in the kingdom had access to it. Combat schools outside Atlas would have had no way of seeing Jaune Arc's latent aura.
Had they been able to, Jaune Arc would not be here today.
When it came to Aura, there were only three categories that mattered: capacity, control, and Semblance.
Of those three, only control could be reliably improved. Even in cases of extreme ineptitude, the basics of Aura manipulation could be taught in a few years. Meanwhile, increasing a person's Aura capacity was not something that could be reliably done. According to studies done by Atlas, a person's Aura would grow only by about 25% over the first decade of training and usually stop after that.
Semblances were in an even worse position. While there were many theories on the subject, most studies were inconclusive. In the end, it all came down to luck. Some people had Semblances that were naturally suited for combat. Some people had Semblances with limited combat applications. Some people, even among huntsmen, just never discovered their Semblances. It was rare, but it happened.
That meant sheer Aura capacity was the most attractive trait in a prospective Huntsman. The skill could be taught. The knowledge could be imparted. The Semblance was a roll of the dice. However, the Aura one started with and the Aura one ended with would remain largely the same.
As Rook looked over Jaune's application papers, he could see that Jaune had applied to combat schools in Vale the year before and had been rejected. Had they realized just how much aura he had, they would have accepted him right away.
It was a good thing for Atlas they did not have the technology to do so, Rook realized.
However, Hyades did have those resources.
The Specialist snuck a peek at the other judges. They looked as bored by the fight as he had been a few seconds ago. In time, they would check Jaune Arc's other scores, and they would realize the depths of his Aura. If that happened, Jaune Arc would be accepted into Hyades. He would train and grow like any other student and eventually go to Atlas Academy.
Rook couldn't let that happen.
No visible training and substantial Aura reserves. It was precisely what the guys in R&D were looking for. There was no doubt in his mind. Jaune Arc was the perfect candidate for the project.
Rook looked at his scroll. All he needed to do was push a button. Jaune Arc's profile would be sent to his superiors. His admission process would be halted. He would receive an invitation which, if his application history was any indication, he would accept out of desperation.
Rook once again looked at the small blonde kid getting his ass kicked by a droid. According to his papers, he was fifteen. He looked much younger than that. He probably wasn't even five feet tall.
Rook pushed the button.
Jaune Arc trembled as he stared at his scroll.
One New Mail. That was what his notifications said.
It was pointless to be nervous, Jaune told himself. It was pointless because he already knew what it said. It was a rejection letter. It couldn't be anything other than the same thing he had received from every other combat school he had applied for.
Looking back on things, his initial optimism had been unbelievably naïve. Jaune could see that now. However, back then, he really did think he could get into a combat school. Who cared if he was 14, and thus two years older than what was normal for new applicants? It had taken Jaune a long time to convince his parents to let him apply, but now that he had, he wasn't about to waste the opportunity.
He could do it. He believed in himself!
Those had been his thoughts at the time.
Jaune had braved the motion sickness and traveled all the way to another kingdom to begin his education. He had picked Vale because he wanted some distance from his family. It wasn't that he didn't love them, because he did. He really did. However, going at least one day without being reminded of his shortcomings in comparison to every other Arc would be a welcome change of pace.
Besides, he would hardly be the first Arc sibling that moved to another kingdom. He could even think of it as an adventure.
Jaune winced as he remembered the foolish thoughts that had plagued his mind back then. He had filled out dozens of applications. He had taken all those stupidly long tests. Jaune could honestly say he had given it his all.
It made every rejection all the more painful.
Signal had rejected him, and the other combat schools in Vale had not been any different. Whatever it was combat schools looked for in their prospective students, it was clear Jaune Arc did not have it. He was too old, too untrained.
That year Jaune Arc did not go to combat school. He returned to Mantle in defeat and went to a regular school. His family hadn't even been surprised about it. If anything, his mother's voice over the scroll when he told her the sad news sounded like she had expected it. She had expected him to fail.
That hurt more than all the rejections combined.
Maybe that was what prevented him from giving up. As soon as the application period for the next academic year started, Jaune began filling out applications again. He bit the bullet and tried his luck with combat schools in Atlas this time. It wasn't as far away from home as he would like, but as long as he didn't end up near Mantle, things should be alright. Jaune had even gone all the way and applied to Hyades, one of the best combat schools in Atlas.
Hyades' exams had been far more intensive than those of any Valean combat school. They had taken X-rays, blood samples, and made him go through all sorts of machines. He had even fought a droid. Sure, he had lost miserably, but it had been kind of cool. At least, he could now say he had fought a robot. That was something.
Now, one month later, Jaune had their answer.
Jaune stared at the unopened message for minutes. The clock of the hotel room he was staying at ticked loudly in his ears. Finally, Jaune sighed and tapped his scroll. It was best to get this over with quickly. As the message opened on his screen, his eyes rapidly dashed past the names and addresses to get to the important part.
Dear Mr. Arc,
We regret to inform you-
Jaune's hands tightened around his scroll. If his Aura were unlocked, he'd have broken it. Really, why was he getting angry? He knew. He knew how this was going to turn out. What else could he have expected?
One chance. That was all he needed. Just one chance.
However, no one seemed to be willing to give him even that.
Jaune slammed his fist against the wall behind him, then promptly flinched as pain shot up his arm.
Jaune gritted his teeth and glared at his scroll. He looked ready to throw it against the wall. However, he managed to stop himself at the last second.
Maybe it was sheer masochism that guided his actions, but Jaune placed it over his lap and kept reading. Jaune's eyes moved over the by now familiar sentences. It was a bit more direct and harsher than the rejection letters he had received in Vale, but the message was the same. He didn't meet their standards. There were many good applicants this year. He was free to try again next year if he wanted.
Next year he'd be 16. That would give him only one year to get himself up to the standards of one of the four huntsmen academies. Every year that passed, his dream got further away from him. Jaune frowned and forced his eyes back to the letter, forced himself to keep reading it. It was the only way he could distract himself right now.
Jaune blinked as his eyes reached the next paragraph. Then he reread it just to be sure he wasn't imagining things.
…Hyades Academy is proud to work closely with Atlas Academy and the Atlas military to maximize the Kingdom's future defenders. As such, we are always on the lookout for promising talents. While you did not qualify for admission into Hyades Academy, your test results showed great promise in other areas.
We are pleased to inform you that you qualify for a position in Atlas Academy's R&D Department. As a member of the R&D Department, you would be rewarded handsomely and given the possibility of admission into Atlas Academy in the future.
A message from Atlas Academy will be reaching you shortly.
Jaune Arc was not a stranger to being dumbfounded. He had seven sisters. He was master at being dumbfounded. Still, this was a very unique occasion for he had never found himself quite this dumb before. He stared at his scroll for several minutes, trying to process its content.
Why was this happening? How was this happening? Jaune Arc did not know the answer to those questions. He didn't know anything, and he didn't understand anything. However, once his brain concluded that he was, in fact, not dreaming, there was one thing Jaune did understand.
This was an opportunity.
With every rejection letter, Jaune had told himself that if they had just given him a chance, he would have been able to prove himself. That was all he needed. Just one chance to prove he wasn't a failure. Jaune took a long trembling breath as a beep from his scroll reached his ears. He had mail. He didn't need to look at the sender or the subject to know who it was from.
This was it.
This was his chance. He just needed to be brave enough to take it.
Jaune Arc opened the message from Atlas Academy, and his future changed.
And so begins a new story. I will try to update this one once every two weeks. I wish I could update it weekly like I did with Lonely Nights, but that was super hard, and I have even less free time now. Sorry, everyone.
Now, onto other things. Technically, this fic is a Kamen Rider crossover. However, anyone who has read the original one-shot over at The Jaune-Shots knows the suit is really the only crossover element. Speaking of the people who read the original one-shot, you probably don't want to skip this chapter. In the original, I jumped straight to Jaune already being about to enter the Vytal Tournament. Here, we're going to take the long route with his development. There's a lot of stuff to cover, and I'm going to try to have fun with it. There's going to be action and terrorism and mad scientists (I'm totally using Merlot eventually) and stuff.
It's Atlas time!
Till next time!