The Day After The Hunt
Chapter 1, The Hunters Dream Come True
I do not own anything pertaining to RWBY or Bloodborne. I wouldn't be writing fanfiction if I did, now would I?
All I do have to say, however, is that Jason Wu and Hunter of Entities made me do this. If you want to blame someone, blame them.
Consider this a highly revised Under A Pale, Shattered Moon, with a much easier to use MC than an edgy OC.
Jaune Arc sighed as he settled in for the night like so many others around him, the cover of his rabbit-themed onesie not bringing him the comfort he thought it would or should have inspired within him. He was not expecting such zealous laughter at his expense when he stepped out of the bathroom after changing but he supposed he shouldn't have been too surprised. His interactions with others in the past had mostly been along the same line, even amongst his family.
He was used to being the laughing stalk, but he had hoped coming to Beacon would have given him a chance to get away from the mockery. If anything it almost felt worse, as these were supposed to be his Comrades-in-Arms after the following day. How was he supposed to fight and bleed along side them if they were too busy casting pointed fingers in his direction?
He had made a fast friend in Ruby Rose at least, who had the most ridiculous weapon he'd ever seen in his life and was probably more accident prone than even himself. She was almost pure, in some strange way. Sweet and honest, unlike her blond sister who was obviously a devious bombshell of a woman.
It was nice to not be the most awkward person in the room, even if it were only for a moment. That moment had passed when he laid eyes upon what he would call perfection given a female form, one that was unknown to him in all but physical appearance. When she, the flawless one, referred to him as tall, blond and scraggly, he felt as if his entire existence had finally become vindicated.
He didn't know what scraggly meant, but the tall and blond parts were complimentary enough to make him assume it was something good. Jaune wasn't used to receiving compliments from anyone, let alone someone as beautiful as the precious white haired, blue eyed angel had been. He was humbled by her kindness, and his drive to succeed had been forced to heights he hadn't thought possible before.
She left him a blubbering mess in her wake, though the effect she seemed to have on him didn't last long.
It was long enough, though.
He heard whispering from behind him, and soon it was made clear that it was apparently a joke being passed between friends. A joke he was likely pinned to the end of, as both sets of eyes full of mirth were locked onto him.
They were guys like him, in the fact they were obviously male. Those were the only similarities between them as far as Jaune could tell. He tried to pay them no mind, and instead turned his attention towards the front of the room.
They didn't matter, nor did their words. He was sure they would be eating them eventually, anyway.
Jaune was an Arc, and he was going to do what the Arc's do best.
Eat, Sleep, Kill and Reproduce, in any order he saw fit. He was actually hoping to hold off on the reproducing thing, and he only really wanted to kill the Grimm but eating and sleeping were still easy enough rules to follow. At least, he thought those were the four rules that every Arc male was supposed to follow.
They were the rules his grandfather had laid out for his father, anyway. Jaune wasn't sure if they applied to him or not, but he was going to act like they did anyway.
The events of the day had been strange to say the least, and Jaune couldn't stop the whispering 'what if's' in the back of his head as he caught glimpses of well muscled guys flexing and rough housing in an effort to show off for the girls and on the rare occasion women among the crowds.
What if he wasn't strong enough for Beacon's test? He had hardly trained before arriving at the academy, his father only giving him the bare minimal guidance to say Jaune wasn't a complete hazard to himself. It wasn't as if his father doubted him, either, but was testing him in his own way. If Jaune couldn't become a man by his own terms, then so be it. He'd never truly be a man.
Beacon provided him a chance to prove them wrong, but was he even capable of doing so in the first place? Did he even have the right to try and prove them wrong, when they were no doubt indeed correct?
Travel weary blue eyes scanned the crowd of students around him once more, most having settled completely for the night to drift off to the Realms of Morpheus as he drifted in his doubts, though he wasn't sure what he was looking for. There were no pleasantries to be exchanged with those around him, no hello's or good night's, no more merriment and embarrassment for the day. The corner he decided to settle in for the night was isolated from the rest, keeping the mocking eyes from earlier from berating him further than they already had.
Finding nothing to capture his attention, however, Jaune instead allowed his head to lay heavily upon his rather fluffy pillow and his eyes to slowly close to get some rest, knowing that staying up all night would only ruin his chances of surviving Beacon's Initiation the following day. His inner fear was strong enough as was, with no really adequate combat experience to his name and forged transcripts being his only path to admission to such a prodigious academy of learning.
The last thing Jaune felt before he drifted to sleep was not fear, however, but determination. With a final promise to himself, the blond faker felt a heavy tug behind his navel and his vision faded completely to black, suddenly far more tired than he had ever been in his life.
'I'll be the best Huntsman Remnant's ever seen, or I'll die a million times trying! Damn everyone elses opinion!'
Too bad for him fate found a way to make his Dream come true, in the worst way possible.
Ruby Rose was a bit more than deeply concerned for her newest and technically oldest friend Jaune Arc. The blond had been the first person to befriend her after exploding the white haired girl Weiss's Dust stash, which was totally not her fault, so that made him important to her.
Important enough to greet when she first saw him the morning following the sleepover. Important enough to warrant the surge of terror that raced through her when she saw the dried blood caked under his eyes, nose, mouth and apparently ears as he blearily rose from his sleeping bag. Important enough to feel a small piece of herself die upon recognizing the panic in his wildly bloodshot eyes as the scabs that formed over his eyelids cracked apart after being forced open.
His blond hair was so thick with congealed and dried blood that he looked to have been doused by the bucket loads, with only small sections of his face not being touched by the previously crimson substance.
She could almost smell him from where she stood, though it could have just been a trick of her mind.
The entire front of his bunny onesie was ruined with just how much blood coated it, being absolutely doused to the point of being black with the thick life essence, evidently coming from the blond himself and not from some kind of terrible murder out of a twisted horror story.
Ruby had always been a light sleeper, rising much earlier than her big sister and apparently, a large portion of the student body around her as well. This afforded her the luxury of being the first to watch as Jaune first rolled out of his sleeping bag, shake his head rapidly not unlike a person trying to stay awake would on a long night and slip into a tight combat ready stance that she would have a hard time poking holes into.
Bright blue eyes quickly scanned the room as his head snapped frantically from side to side, as if he were looking for an enemy that wasn't there.
Ruby felt her heart go out to him in that moment, as she had a few dreams in the past that made her react in almost the same way, if not a bit more sluggish and clumsily. It was the only reason she could think that Jaune would react in such a way upon waking up, though she still had no idea on why he was covered in so much blood.
Did he get beat up the night previously and just didn't make a noise after it happened? Judging by how much blood was on his face, clothes and in his hair, Ruby highly doubted she could have slept through such a butt whooping, not to mention that despite being bloodied, Jaune hardly looked wounded.
There were no obviously broken bones on his hardly visible body, his nose wasn't sitting at an odd angle to explain the leak of blood there and she didn't see any teeth to explain the blood in his mouth around his sleeping bag area, leaving her to draw a small blank in her line of thought.
So getting attacked was out, leaving Ruby just as clueless as before on the reasoning behind his current appearance. When she was tried to call out his name to get his attention, however, the blond seemed to relax and almost recoil in on himself as he looked down and took in his current appearance before he started to look around the room once more. Eventually Jaune's still terribly bloodshot eyes passed over her, not stopping long enough to prove that he had really even seen her. There were no reactions to her face whatsoever, nor any hello's or good morning's from him.
It was as if Jaune were still sleeping, yet his body attempted to go through the motions anyway.
Instead of looking like a dying man on his last leg while surrounded by enemies however, Jaune began to slowly smile and the deep blue of his eyes lit up not unlike fireworks.
Watching her newest and now absolutely strangest friend do a little happy dance while covered in more blood than two recent accident victims had really changed Ruby's perspectives a bit, and perhaps made her a bit more hesitant to approach him than before.
What on Remnant's green grass could he possibly be so happy about?
Just as she once more started in his direction, her hand raised as if to reach out for him, the bloodied figure quickly gathered up his belongings after ceasing his dancing and made a beeline for the nearest trashcan. He stopped only for a second at an empty trashcan lined with a bag to dispose of his likely horribly ruined sleeping bag, tying the liner tightly after he did so before taking it with him.
Ruby wasn't so sure that it was the most sanitary disposal method of such an object, but considering how easily Jaune was moving around and with some kind of plan in mind as he rounded the corner into the mens communal bathroom, the younger girl decided to leave her strange friend to his own devices while she went about dealing with her own.
If he needed her help, she would only be a girly scream away from running to his rescue.
Peter Port had seen many, many things in his life, both great and terrible. He had been a Huntsman for going on thirty years and had experienced almost everything a man could experience in his life short of moral taboos. He was proud of his many accomplishments, proud of his position at Beacon as a highly valued staff member, but most importantly, proud of his ability to read people.
As they had for many years now, the Professors and Doctors of Beacon gathered together within a faculty room deep within the confines of the prodigious academy to watch this years batch of newcomers participate in Initiation.
Unlike the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress, they were not required to gather at the cliff the two heads of the Academy used to launch the students into the Emerald Forest, instead allowing them the comfort of sitting down in air conditioning as they viewed that days events. It was one of his favorite times of the year, where he could use his abilities to their utmost potential and score yet another bountiful haul to his already enormous data-vaults full of Lien.
There was a betting pool amongst the teachers, of course, as per usual for any such occasion. It was only second to the Vytal Festival and the Tournament that took place during said celebration, which was on a much grander scale. The man was sure there were bets that took place at the other three Academies as well, not counting the Prep Academies like Signal. It was only to be expected of Humanity and Faunuskind alike.
Peter was smart with his bets, not always picking the correct candidate or pairs for the many different tests that the Headmaster kept in circulation to win him the pool. Clearing the board year after year would lead to a pattern, one where the staff of Beacon would start placing bets that matched his own and that was unacceptable to the finely mustached blunder-axe wielder.
No, he instead chose to flop the past two years with his predictions, folded when there wasn't much to gain, but this year was different.
The amount of potential amongst this single year of incoming students alone brought more Lien to the table than almost any other year Peter had been teaching the newest generations of Huntsmen and Huntresses how to properly skin the Grimm.
It made him glad he saved his money for such an occasion, as the amount of Lien both Glynda and Ozpin had put on the table when calling their bets was astounding. Ozpin, the sly old fox, had placed his bets on two people in particular. Ruby Rose, a young fifteen year old that had been promoted from Signal a year early with strangely familiar eyes and Pyrrha Nikos, the crimson haired hoplite warrior from Mistral.
It was no wonder that the man was betting on the tall redhead, as she was one of the youngest Huntresses-in-training to even gain a title, let alone one as prominent as hers had become. The supposed 'Invincible Girl' would be a tough student to bet against, as the four time Mistrali champion was no slouch when it came to her physical and mental capabilities.
Glynda Goodwitch, the Deputy Headmistress, placed her bets in a similar vein, completely on Pyrrha alone however. She did not split her bet like the Headmaster, instead going all in on but a single person. It wasn't a bad idea, and Peter was of the same mindset, but he wasn't going to bank his money on the Invincible Girl.
No, she may be one of the mightiest of the current generation, she was not the epitome of Huntsmanship that Peter usually looked for in a winning bet. He saw the worried glint to her eyes, and the way she shuffled uncomfortably as she looked around for perhaps a potential friend or ally.
She didn't have a plan, much like a large portion of the students. It was hard to plan for an event that was veiled in complete mystery up until the Headmaster called the students to the cliff face, but that was not the point.
His gut told him that while she would be someone he would have placed his bets on in a fighting tournament, Beacon's Initiation was more of a controlled field exercise that tested beyond one's physical might alone.
The mustached man continued to peruse the crowd gathered on their platform as quickly as his analytical prowess would allow, not allowing a single microscopic detail slip past his hawkish eyes as the countdown for launch drew nearer and nearer.
It was then that Peter found his student of choice.
He was hard to distinguish from behind, his hood being drawn upon his head and obscuring his features from the angle Peter was currently using to watch the students upon the cliff face. Something about his stance, the way he rolled his shoulders and kept his face forward when hearing his mission details, the way he kept his palm just over the hilt of his blade without wavering in the slightest, however, screamed at Peter to look closer.
Picking his Scroll up from its position laying upon the counter, the portly man swiped to the right and changed the angle at which he was viewing the students, allowing him to get a better look at the hooded figures face.
Peter was not disappointed, not in the least. The boy was absolutely ferocious looking, his face drawn tightly into a grim visage of determination. His boyish features hardly detracted from the fact that the blond teenager looked like he was marching right back into a war zone after a small fifteen minute break in the fighting for a cup of tea.
He was eager for the fight and seemed to lick his lips in anticipation for the revelry Peter always found himself jealous of every year.
Peter could hardly contain his excitement when he called his bet.
"Hohoho! This year looks like it's going to be a smashing success!"
The odds were one out of one hundred and twelve, with no member of the staff outside of himself placing a bet on the tall blond wearing only a black hoodie, jeans, sneakers and his sword at his hip.
Those were just the kind of odds Peter liked.
"All in on... Jaune Arc, Professor Peach M'dear."
He couldn't wait to see just what kind of chaos the young man would bring to the table. It was sure to be just as glorious as the familiar glint that Jaune's eyes gleamed with.
In the span of time between when he laid down to sleep the night before Initiation and awoke the following morning covered in blood deep within the halls of Beacon, the blond teenager known as Jaune Arc had been forced to experience the most intense and disturbing Dream that a Hunter could possibly conceive.
The aching patchwork of scars littering his body and the blood that coursed through his veins, however, told him that his Dream had been anything but.
Jaune could vividly recall the scent of Yharnam as he 'awoke' within a clinic near the edges of the Bloody City dressed in nothing but his onesie after having a dream within a dream. He could still taste death on his tongue as he thought of having his throat ripped out by the werewolf that had lurked over the body of his Blood Minister. He had tried to beat the werewolf off of the man, of course, but a blond teenager dressed in a bunny onesie was hardly any real threat to the monstrosity.
The blood soaked blond dressed as a rabbit had woken up in a strange wooden and cobblestone workshop after his death at the hands of the bipedal wolf, with an old man calling himself Gherman and a strangely lifelike doll being the only other occupants of the surrounding area lost in a limitless void. It was difficult to comprehend the gaping kaleidoscopic abyss that surrounded the floating workshop at first, but it was also one of the first things Jaune had learned to ignore that didn't make any logical sense.
From that point, Jaune had learned that he was quasi-immortal so long as he was a Hunter of the Workshop within the Hunters Dream, able to reawaken from his death to traverse the streets of Yharnam once more.
This time in something more than a bunny suit of course, as a set of Hunters attire that was far too finely detailed and dare he say feminine had been gifted to him by a far too heavily amused Gherman. His claim of the leather and silk garb decorated with gold embroidering belonging to his former student set hard on Jaune's stomach, as the previous revelation of his limited immortality became even more of a mystery than before.
If the Hunters loyal to the Workshop were immortal, where did they all go? How did immortal Hunters truly die if they just reappeared in the Dream every time they physically perished?
His questions remained unanswered, with a crumpled note in the corner of the room providing him his only clue on how he might one day return to Remnant.
'To escape this dreadful Hunter's Dream, halt the source of the spreading scourge of beasts, lest the night carry on forever.'
And so that became Jaune's mission. To halt the source of the spreading scourge of beasts, even if he had absolutely no clue on where the beasts came from or where he would have to go to find the source.
His goal was to go to Beacon, not some damnable city crawling with creatures straight out of bed time stories parents used to scare their kids. It didn't help that he couldn't spot a single Grimm, nor had Gherman ever heard of such a creature when Jaune questioned how a Huntsman didn't know what a Grimm was.
It was then that he learned the keen difference between a Hunter and a Huntsman.
Once more, Gherman was mostly unhelpful in the fact that he had no destination to give Jaune besides 'Yharnam' when questioned on just where the blond was supposed to start looking for said source.
With that in mind, the blond teen dressed in clothes that looked far too expensive to be used for battle had knelt at the tombstone of Yharnam and once more awakened within the same clinic he first died in. With no goal in mind, the blond had wandered from the clinic and was almost immediately beset upon by men that had been laying around and moaning in pain near a set of stairs to his right.
They had been the source of Jaune's second death, not even thirty feet from where his first had taken place.
His second death had been the hardest to rationalize as well, as he had been killed by what appeared to be a walking, talking Human and not a werewolf like previously. The unintelligible man had cleaved through Jaune's collarbone with an axe before kicking his body away over the ledge he had been laying by. The blond died suffocating on his own blood, and in more pain than he'd ever experienced in his life.
There was no mercy for the man the second time Jaune saw him, the cleaver that had been lying at the foot of the stairs leading up to the front door of the shop finding itself lodged in the other man's throat before he could rise from his position. The blond had proceeded to waste five rounds of ammunition with the hardly usable blunderbuss styled weapon the Hunters of the Workshop called a pistol by shooting the dying mans twitching body before tossing said weapon away in disgust.
Even point blank the weapon was as inaccurate as it was gaudy.
Yet again, the blond had only made it maybe a dozen or so feet further than before until he was beset upon again by a man leaping from behind a large pile of what appeared to be coffins and crates. Jaune was quick enough to kill the man, but not before receiving a lethal wound as well.
Upon his fifth death and reawakening, Gherman had taken some kind of shine to him and offered to educate him in the proper way on wielding a blade, and educate him he did. Despite what the one legged man said when Jaune had begged him for training, he was anything but out of touch.
From the teachings of Gherman, Jaune became adept with his blade, one he had pillaged during his forays into Yharnam. A silver sword measuring four feet in length had been lodged deeply into a corpse near the main bridge of Yharnam, still as sharp as the day it was forged.
Jaune never found the other section of the very obvious trick weapon, leaving him to wield only the straight sword as a result from that moment on and not the over sized saw he called a Cleaver. He had been more than fine with that, as the light silver blade reminded him faintly of Crocea Mors and any reminder of home was a good one.
The thought of returning home was the only thing keeping him sane, by that point.
The very same bridge that he found his new weapon was where he died perhaps his most terrible death during his first month in Yharnam, at the hands of what he would learn was a Cleric Beast. It was also around that point that Jaune had stopped fearing his foes and started hating them instead. Why should he fear a creature that couldn't even kill him permanently?
Yharnam had become his oyster after that, his skill with the silver blade evolving by leaps and bounds until the only opponent to give him any notable trouble after the Cleric Beast was a man known as Father Gascoigne for quite some time. Even the feared Blood Starved Beast that some of the Yharnamites had warned him about through their doors and windows did not manage to stir the same dread within him that it probably should have.
Fight after fight, death after death, discovery after bloody discovery, yet nothing had pointed Jaune in the right direction when it came to finding the answers he sought. Slaying the giants of the Church did him no good, nor did his many deaths at the hands of whom he could only assume was the Vicar Amelia that the Church Apostates had whispered about in the back of his mind when he disemboweled them and drank in their essence.
A blood saint turned beast, easily larger than the Cleric Beast, yet no where near as fearsome as a foe.
It was after watching her transform and her eventually death by his hands that Jaune finally understood the so called source of the scourge. Or, he thought he had, at any rate, only for his assumptions to later be shredded to pieces like his mind had been when he conducted his first Chalice Ritual.
He could recall his many failures within the massive catacomb the residents of Yharnam called the Chalice Dungeons located deep below the city with frightening ease, where he stared down countless beasts, demons and eldritch abominations that drove his sanity to the brink and back again, all in his efforts to end the source of his Nightmare and return to Remnant once more.
When it became clear that the answers he sought did not reside below with the Pthumerians, he rose above to stalk the scholars. Passing through a massive gate using a password Jaune was sure he stole directly from a dead mans memory, the blond knight turned bloodied Hunter started his 'education' at Byrgenwerth with a crash course lesson in fly-man hybrid anatomy immediately.
It was an education that gave him a few extra mental scars and perhaps and eye or two lining his brain, but it was an enlightening experience none the less. Master Willem would have probably argued his extended attendance of classes without tuition being paid, but dead men conducted no sales and Jaune was sure that he had forfeit his right to live the moment he started conducting his experiments against others wills.
Slaying Rom the Vacuous Spider, Byrgenwerth's attempt at creating their own 'Old One', had changed Jaune's interactions with Yharnam and the Dream drastically, and not in the good way if such a thing were even possible.
Jaune Arc had died once more at this point upon returning from his foray into the illustrious college, though this was the very first time it had been by his very own hand.
Even slaying an 'Old One', man-made or not, was not enough to free him from his nightmare.
If crawling the depths of Yharnam's darkest corridors wouldn't yield results and killing a God was not enough, just what did he have to do to finally return home and awake from his horrid dream?
Respite came after a few days of ruminating, mostly done while wading waist deep in the blood of the many beasts lining Yharnams streets, Jaune had decided his course.
If killing a God wouldn't be enough, then he'd become a God and force his way home.
By that point in his journey, the blond Hunter had gained deep insight into the nature of the reality surrounding Yharnam, and the hidden truth of the Blood Ministrations of the Healing Church. He'd been imbibing the filtered blood of the Gods since his arrival, or the refined vitae of the blood saints when he healed himself with a simple blood vial.
If such watered down blood granted him strength when he absorbed the echoes within his enemies veins upon their deaths, just what would happen if he absorbed the strength of every God he crossed paths with? How many acts of deicide would he have to commit before he was strong enough to force his way out of the surely coma-like Dream should he never find the source of the scourge of beasts?
And so his Hunt was renewed once more, sending Jaune spiraling into madness as he scoured the eldritch realms of Yahar'Gul the unseen village, the Nightmare Frontier and finally, the Nightmare of Mensis. He had yet to reach the top of the massive tower within Mensis, however, due to the massive lantern that glowed orange near the center of the massive building to the left of the tower forcing him to retreat due to the threat of having his body speared through constantly.
The slaying of multiple Amygdala, a lesser form of 'Old One' that seemed to be a species more than a singular entity, and finally Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos, forced Jaune to accept that perhaps ascending into Godhood might not be in his best interest if he would have to sacrifice his Humanity and Human form to do so. That cost was far too great for him to accept, even under duress of mental collapse.
What was the point of becoming such a powerful being if he lost everything that made him Jaune Arc in the first place? Would he even want to return to Remnant upon Ascending, and would it even be worth it at that point?
He wanted to be a Hero, to save those who couldn't save themselves, even if he had to save them from themselves as a result sometimes. No man or woman Jaune knew back on Remnant would consider a beast like Rom, the Amygdala or Ebrietas any kind of Hero at all to say the least.
Becoming such a beast, twisted and incomprehensibly complex with thoughts that warped reality, would not serve in his best interest what so ever.
It was quite the mental conundrum to find oneself in when elbow deep in the blood of, as far as he knew, an actual God.
From that point on, his goal was to no longer Ascend, but to remain Descended while he searched for a way back to the waking world.
The Doll, by then, had become a constant source of comfort for him, as well as a surprising fountain of knowledge pertaining to almost every aspect of the Hunt, from the weapons he could forge to the Gods he would eventually be forced to slay. When the echoes within him became too potent for him to contain, she soothed his mind and put him at ease when he needed it most. It was through her subtle manipulations that Jaune finally found something he didn't know he had been looking for all along, even if it was grotesque to touch and look at.
The umbilical chord of an Old One.
It was tucked away within the ruins of a workshop identical to the one located within the Hunters Dream, likely being the basis for what Jaune eventually came to realize was a self contained pocket dimension of sorts. It was much like the other Nightmare Realms he had scoured, though slightly different in nature that it wasn't actively trying to force inhumane knowledge directly into your brain constantly like the Nightmare Frontier.
In that very same workshop, next to the altar in which the ceremony using the chord had taken place, was the Doll, or rather, an unmoving and lifeless yet breathing Doll.
With nothing more in hand but a comb that was previously placed in the hair of the physical Doll and the chord tucked away within the confines of his large carrying case, Jaune had retreated back to the confines of the Hunters Dream to collect his thoughts and create a new course of action.
Doll had shed actual tears when the shorter blond presented her with the comb that was in her counterparts hair, once more driving home the fact that she seemed so much more Human than she claimed to be.
Once more he was given an objective by the much taller being, this time taking him to a stretch of Yharnam that he dared not go before. On the outskirts of the bleeding city, past the Hemwick Charnel Lane, lived an ancient family of nobility as knowledgeable on the ways of the blood as the Healing Church.
Their knowledge was no real surprise, as their dabbling in the consumption of blood went back as far as the founding of Byrgenwerth through a woman named Maria, first and only true apprentice to the First Hunter, Gherman. The kicker for Jaune was their animosity towards the Church being no secret to the Yharnamites, a few citizens not yet inflicted with the plague confusing him for a member of the nobility more than once and professing their own dislike to the status quot upon their rescue by his hand.
After killing the imposter Iosefka within her clinic, the very clinic he had first awoken in, and discovering the existence of yet another hidden organization of the Healing Church, Jaune had been pleasantly surprised with an invitation to Castle Cainhurst with his name on it waiting for him on Not-Iosefka's desk. After presumably months of sitting on said invitation idly, the blond felt it high time to heed the call and make his debut appearance at the castle post haste.
The flea-like bloodsuckers and the ghostly women that prowled the massive castle were hardly worth his time in killing, yet Jaune dared not leave a beast unslain lest they attack him from behind. He couldn't afford parlay when such a notion was not afforded him.
After the slaughter of what seemed like countless laughing and crying ectoplasmic women and a highly perilous climb around the edge of a tower, Jaune came across a kneeling man wielding a sword and spear blocking his path. He knew who the man was by that point, however, having studied and scoured many tombs of knowledge and forgotten lore he smuggled from within the Healing Church, and mentions of the Executioners were all too frequently mentioned in some of them.
The crowned man wielding a sword and small bladed scythe was Martyr Logarius, the leader of the Executioners and the very man that ordered the slaughter of the Nobles of Cainhurst.
With Jaune's goal being a meeting with the Queen of Cainhurst, it was no wonder that he found himself wearing the Martyr's crown upon his head after relieving the taller man of it forcefully and thus revealing his destination to him at last.
That was when he found the solution to his mortality problems, paving his path towards Godhood forward once more with a way for him to retain his body and mind. Queen Annalise was far more important to him than her title alone, or her by then faintly familiar shade of silverish white hair. She represented that his goal of becoming a God was not yet out of reach.
For all of her knowledge, the woman was ignorant of the truth of her nature, merely thinking herself undying. It went beyond simple undeath, beyond the strength of her flesh and vitality, though. Queen Annalise, in all of her power and glory, had ascended into Godhood without sacrificing her mortal shell, all while being completely unknowing to this fact.
With a deep draught of her blood, Jaune Arc had twisted his own words and allowed himself to finally become something else, something more than simply Human, yet retaining his original shape.
He had become a Vileblood, or as he knew them by name on Remnant, a living, breathing Vampire.
The corrupting change had been nigh instant, using the power of the countless echoes drifting in his veins to facilitate the process. Every cell in his body died a true death, yet resuscitated just as quickly in a massive chain reaction. When he collapsed with blood leaking from nearly every orifice of his body, only then did the Queen rise from her throne to watch the process of his change with perhaps a closer look.
It brought pain unlike anything Jaune could comprehend, and it wasn't the first time his mind cracked just that much more when trying to understand something it simply couldn't.
Jaune Arc had died once more, yet was reborn in body before his Soul could return to the Dream. He had been forced to remain aware of the entire process that the corruption of Annalise's blood brought to his body, and through that process did he gain insight into the power that all Vilebloods were instinctively capable of.
Blood manipulation was not something Jaune could understand at first, but slowly his mind processed just what the ability spelled for him.
Beyond just the blood in his veins, the now paler blond could control the very echoes that empowered him with absolute precision. They no longer threatened to burst free from his seams, instead becoming calm and malleable to his thoughts and whims, though not quite as strongly as the Dolls presence was capable of.
He had instinctively summoned a cocoon to shield his vulnerable body, tendrils of blood woven tightly around him as he grew accustomed to the changes brought to his body.
The end results were hardly notable at first, with only the tones of his hair, eyes and skin being different than before. If that was all the young man had to sacrifice of himself to realize his end goal, it was a price well paid.
Jaune had gladly served as the Knight of the Queen for quite some time afterwards, dueling in her name against many other Hunters that did not have the same advantages that he did. Their blood dregs were gifted to the silver haired Queen, while their echoes became one with his own. It was a fair tradeoff if he ever knew one, as he had no use for the blackish blood Annalise required from him.
Let her bare her child of blood, Jaune wanted no part in her madness. The Imposter pretending to be Iosefka had suffered a fate he considered worse than death after becoming impregnated by an Old One. He couldn't imagine anyone doing so willingly, let alone a woman of Annalise's stature.
He was told of her woes sometimes when he knelt before her to bare sacrifice, sometimes stories of her past. Jaune was forced throughout his service as a Knight in her court to do as nobles do, dance as nobles dance, speak as she spoke and only when spoken to. Some part of him was grateful for all that she did for him, every subtle gesture of kindness that he may or may not have misinterpreted.
Eventually, however, the blond Hunter temporarily turned Knight felt his time in his Queens service come to an end almost overnight, like a feeling in his bones that he couldn't shake.
All good things came to an end, however, and the pale blond Hunter had learned all he could from the undying woman and the vast library available to him through his services in her name. It was a sad moment for him, but Jaune had made a promise to himself, one that no amount of word twisting would get him out of.
So he slew the Queen in a final act of mercy, driving his silver blade directly through her heart before taking the entirety of her blood and echoes for himself, pushing his already intensely corrupted nature as a Vileblood to new heights while the power running through his veins nearly doubled once more.
What was a Queen with no subjects to rule and no illusory barrier and Martyr to protect her? What, truly, was a Queen in a world where none but he would come to love her enough to grant her a true death at the cost of his own being? What was a Queen that was a God, yet ignorant of her own divinity?
With his act of regicide carried out, the last remaining Vileblood returned to the Hunter's Dream to give Doll news that he was finally ready to hunt down the last of the remaining Old Ones, as she was the only confidant he had that he felt could understand just what such a course of actions entailed.
It was partially her goal as well, though Jaune did not have any proof to substantiate his theory of her true motivations and identity.
His return and subsequent news had pleased the Doll greatly, causing her to go as far as clapping lightly in delight when first laying eyes upon him after what could have very well been a year. The passage of time was a terribly fickle thing, with no passing of the sun to give him an idea on the amount of days that had passed during his time in the land of eternal moonlight.
It was then that the Doll bequeathed him with yet another item he wished he didn't have to handle. The Eye of a Blood-drunk Hunter, suspended in a small jar filled with preservation serums, was supposed to be his ticket to finding the next Old One that the Doll spoke of in passing.
Kos, or Kosm as Micolash called her as Jaune carved out his spleen, dwelled somewhere deep in a Nightmare realm associated directly with the Hunters of Old, the source of which was located somewhere near the heart of Yharnam.
It had been some large amount of time since Jaune had been into Yharnam proper, specifically near the Church of Oedon in the Lower Cathedral Ward of the city, so he set off once more on a Hunt he wished he didn't remember.
Yharnam had looked very different to Jaune by that point than it had before during the first months of his Hunt, the massive bodies of Amygdala clambering over towers and buildings as far as his many eyes could see. Jaune was more than sure they hadn't been there before, but he soon realized perhaps they always had, and he hadn't had the insight required to see them.
The pale blond recently-turned Vampire King in all but name had done well to dodge the any Old One's as they attempted to swipe him up from the ground to crush him in their grips, yet he was unable to completely dodge them all. He was near where he found the burned out corpse of a Hunter that had fallen to another when his back hit an invisible wall, a stone toss away from three angry looking Church Hunters with lanterns covered in eyeballs.
Only, the Amygdala hadn't crushed him rather than sent him directly to the Nightmare realm he had been tasked with locating and infiltrating to hunt down the Old One Kos, Mother of the Sea.
That was where Jaune discovered the answer to one of his earliest questions about the Dream, as the Hunters Nightmare was the location of almost every single Hunter who came before him were locked away after losing themselves to the primal bloodlust of the Hunt. It was also when Jaune discovered that there were indeed answers to the questions he still had about Yharnam, though answers he wished he had never learned.
From Whip-Saw wielding wizards to crazed cave crawlers armed with chainguns, the realm calling itself the Hunters Nightmare took its name far too seriously when it came to how many people Jaune constantly had trying to kill him the very moment he touched down in the twisted dimension. The icing on the cake for the first little sectional of the Hell made specifically for Hunters was when Jaune had reached the flight of the stairs leading into a cathedral mostly identical if twisted copy of the Healing Church, where a flaming Cleric Beast he later learned was Laurence himself awaited him lazing upon a throne.
The Founding Father of the Healing Church had been a hard-won victory for Jaune, nearly losing his life to the beast multiple times and only barely limping away with severe burns and lacerations covering his broken body. He didn't bleed blood when wounded like the other Cleric Beasts Jaune had slain, but rather molten magma.
It explained the massive beasts constantly burning body, but Jaune still didn't comprehend how his flesh hadn't burned away completely. Then again, he had also killed a giant skeleton dog creature that was capable of electrocuting him to death in a split second and a slimy slug God the size of a small house, so Jaune wasn't quite sure if he had reached the limits of bizarre the world connected to Yharnam was capable of yet. His blade had been in shambles by that point, barely holding on from the brutal punishment he had put it through yet stable enough to get him by for the time being.
The molten blood of Laurence had been one of the final nails in the coffin for the cracked blade of silver that had served him so well, a small portion of one edge of the blade being reduced to a blunt hammer-like surface.
Jaune had proceeded to beat two Church huntresses to death with the hammer-edge of his blade before stealing their echoes and going on his merry way, taking some delight in ridding the world of yet another twisted psychopath attempting to force onto others what no Human should ever have been subjected to. His hatred for the Healing Church ran deep, and slaying their Founder hadn't even been enough to sate said hatred in the least.
It was mostly Laurence, Willem and Gherman who were to blame for the blood of the Old Ones finding its way from the massive crypts beneath Yharnam into the city itself anyway, so two out of three people Jaune felt tasked to kill were by that point super dead and not just regular dead.
Some beasts and people could continuously come back from regular death, after all, and burning the corpses usually assured no further resurrections. Laurence had been a conundrum, as he was already on fire, but Jaune set him ablaze even more than normal just to be sure.
The next abomination that really got Jaune's blood flowing, literally, had been the horse-man wielding a weapon of mass destruction disguised as a sword. The man-beast once known as Ludwig the Holy Blade, the first Spartan of the Healing Church, was no easy opponent to fell, and it was only after losing his life nearly a dozen times over before the blond Vileblood was familiar enough with the enraged colossus and his attack patterns to deal him a finishing blow to the dome thrice over.
Jaune couldn't be blamed for trading weapons with the now deceased equine being after the fight was said and done, the beautifully crafted sword once wielded by Ludwig being unlike any other the vampiric Hunter had ever been graced with.
It was nearly as long as he was tall, but nearly just as light in his hands as his silver blade had been. It made fighting in narrow corridors almost impossible, but the Blades of Mercy gifted to him by a dead crow named Eileen had been more than sufficient for such occasions thankfully.
Ludwig had been a hard fight and pushed the blond Hunter to a height he hadn't known possible, but two of the three major opponents he faced afterward only reinforced what Ludwig had beaten into him.
Lady Maria of the Astral Clock Tower was not only strikingly similar in appearance to the Doll, but her voice was the same as well. That was as far as the similarities went, however, as Jaune had been killed by the woman whose clothes he still wore twice as many as Ludwig before he felt he made any progress in slaying her.
Being of Cainhurst origin, Lady Maria was not only gifted in the art of Blood Manipulation thanks to her lineage and prestige in the annals of their family, but equally as gifted with the blade.
Jaune had abused his undying gift and continued to test his mettle against the woman for perhaps hundreds of battles to the death, each fight and death that scaled upwards in the pain department teaching him something new not only about Lady Maria, but himself as well.
When Lady Maria began to coat her blades in Blood, Jaune had forcefully taught himself to do the same with the Holy Moonlight Greatsword. While he had yet to discover how to summon the ethereal energy that Ludwig had used to coat his blade, Jaune had learned that his blood was just as good as a replacement.
Thanks to his nature as not only an elite Vileblood, but a Paleblood as well, the nearly translucent crimson liquid that had replaced his once opaque vital substance had the special property of being able to channel what he knew was 'Arcane Energy', or the energy all beings innately channeled from their souls in varying degrees of strength, thus preventing it from collapsing under the strain of an equally as superior blood as his own.
They clashed in battle so many times that he could claim to know Lady Maria as intimately as he knew himself, to the point that their conflict had become almost like a dance between estranged lovers finally meeting again after a century apart. He was loathe to end his learning under her tender mercies and sweet pleasantries as they battled, soaked so deeply in the blood of one another that he couldn't remember where one began and the other ended.
Jaune couldn't kill her, even after having long surpassed her skill with both their blood lineage and the blade. The once proud boy of seventeen and innocence so bright it hurt to remember couldn't kill the only woman to show him the same kind death that he had offered his Queen.
So he didn't, and the Mother of the Ocean remained unaware of his mercies.
The pale blond Hunter of the Workshop awoke from the Hunters Nightmare with his head in Dolls lap, a knowing smile upon her face that nearly froze his heart in his chest.
The Doll wasn't just a Doll, but a mirror image of a woman that Jaune could honestly claim to love dearly. The reflection wasn't perfect, as the Doll had claimed ignorance on knowing Lady Maria personally or anything within the Nightmare, but the same spark that had slowly developed in the Vileblood mistresses eyes now glinted within the Dolls.
Jaune was no fool and could spot the differences in the Doll almost instantly, ranging from her mannerisms down to the way she carried herself. She could pretend to be ignorant to the ways of the Hunt, but the blond knew a skilled foe from a dumb one and the Doll moved with the grace of a veteran of the bloodied sort.
He rested in her arms for quite some time afterwards, trying to remember himself and his objectives still yet to be fulfilled. It was hard to recall some of his past by that point, thoughts of Remnant having grown fewer and fewer yet equally as important none the less. He was scared that by the time he finally did figure out how to wake back up from the Dream, he would be an old man in the hospital on his deathbed after falling comatose, or spending so much time in Yharnam he forgets about Remnant completely. Worse yet, his fear of waking up so scarred by his experiences that he would forget who he really was.
Would he end up sinking back into the Hunters Nightmare, a slave to his own mindless bloodlust and urge to kill? Would he end up like Maria, reclusive and hidden away from a world that was creeping towards total incomprehensibility?
His fears upon going to sleep the night he woke up in Yharnam were childs play to the fears he tried to come to terms with. It was when he tried to recall the faces of his mothers and sisters did Jaune finally realize just how long it had been to him since he last saw them, and the realization that he may actually never see them again finally slammed into him with the power of a nuclear bomb.
After what could have very well been years, Jaune Arc realized just how deep he had waded through the Dream and Nightmares to find a way home, only to be rebuffed in his efforts at each and every turn.
He could possibly never return to Remnant, or become a Huntsman like his father or his fathers father before him, never be the Hero he knew now knew he could be to the people, never find a love that could bare him multitudes of children to protect him when he grew old.
All he would be is a bloodied Hunter only good at slaying beasts and gods that weren't even a threat to the ones he cared for most. He couldn't stomach the thought and spent more than a few hours dry heaving, the wooden palms of the Doll rubbing circles on the small of his back as he knelt near her usual position by the stairs in a crouched fetal position.
Her once usual presence wasn't enough to throw off the heavy weight of loss that he felt for the life he was almost forced to leave behind for good, at least not at first. After some time, her whispering words in both his ear and in the back of his mind had returned enough sense to him to rise from his position to try and fight through his final hurdles before he could achieve his destined goal.
She knew of Remnant through his stories of the world from whence he came, knew that becoming a Huntsman and later father had been his dreams for his future, and thus used that knowledge to rebuild Jaune Arc every time he fell apart at the seems. He had written diaries upon her suggestion when he first arrived in the Hunters Dream, describing his life from birth until the start of his Hunt with almost striking honesty, from his family, his legacy and the expectations he held of himself as a result.
Being the only boy born amongst a sea of females, for having seven sisters could only be considered an entire body in and of itself, the Doll knew that Jaune had developed a habit of being the protector of his pack with fierce loyalty for those he loved.
She had used every bit of her knowledge on him to not only keep him whole and sane, but to manipulate him to the very end.
The night had been so, so very long, and it was only after what Jaune felt like was an eternity did he finally find what anchored him to the Hunters Dream near the top of the tower within the Nightmare of Mensis. Slaying Mergo and the unfathomable being that guarded the still-born yet living child of the late yet also living Queen Yharnam had been what led Jaune to return to the Hunters Workshop afterwards, where only flame and regret greeted him.
The Doll knew.
She had known all along, not surprising him as much as he thought it would after looking back on it.
She had been the one to first start guiding him away from hunting beasts to hunting the Old Ones, and with each Old One he slayed, the more power she gained through him.
The Doll, nearly all knowing in her wisdom and inhumane grace for being literally hand-made, had known how to free him from the Dream all along.
He nearly drew his blade on her, and the amount of betrayal he felt by her admissions had nearly destroyed his ability to keep his calm, but Jaune was eventually coherent enough to question her on why she would do such a thing. The sad smile she gave him was not pitying, but one of regret. She claimed that she had a reason behind her actions, and she begged him to remain silent long enough for her to explain before he struck her down if that was his desire in the end.
Jaune had remembered the teachings of Annalise and held his tongue from lashing out in anger, instead giving the mystically animated woman a stiff nod.
He was glad he hesitated on drawing his blade and ruining his relationship with her, because he found that his goals had aligned with her own in a way. Beyond returning to Remnant and subsequently, hopefully, Beacon, Jaune wanted to kill as many of the Greater Old Ones bothering Yharnam as he could to lesson the chaos that his second reality had become.
It turned out that was exactly what the Doll had wanted as well, as mostly every Hunter before him had failed to get passed the Cleric Beast on the central bridge of Yharnam before succumbing to madness. Every failed Hunter resulted in yet another appearing in the Dream, time after time, until Doll had lost count of how many came to pass through the workshop.
That was until Jaune Arc took on the Paleblood Contract and appeared in the Dream's Workshop in nothing more than his bloodied but otherwise undamaged bunny onesie.
His charisma, shy as he was at first, and his youth saved him from falling into the bloodlust that those before him had. He succeeded where they failed, becoming more and more determined to succeed after each death rather than deterred.
Jaune Arc remained true to himself even in the face of the absolutely worst Nightmare possibly imaginable, accepting a necessary change in his nature when all other alternatives proved unacceptable to his tastes.
After slaying almost an entire pantheons worth of what some would consider actual Gods, the Doll had finally revealed to him his final opponents.
Gherman, the First Hunter, and the Old One that kept the Hunters Dream a constant in reality beyond the physical realms were to die by his hands, and his hands alone.
Gherman, Old Ones rest his soul, had tried to offer Jaune a choice when the blond Hunter had approached his former master in the graveyard to the right of the workshop.
A choice that wasn't really a choice at all, but a choice none the less.
A choice that Jaune Arc had refused, and instead reflected back on the original.
Jaune offered Gherman the chance for a true death, and for the briefest of moments the blond student could see the glimmer of hope that his offer had brought before it was hidden away by battle-hardened coal blackness.
That had been enough for him.
Unlike the many battles he had faced in Yharnam, whether in the crypts, the college or even the Nightmares anchored to the land, Jaune Arc would have died a true death should he have failed in his goal of allowing Gherman his long overdue rest.
Thanks to his hundreds of bouts with Maria, however, Jaune proved far too skilled for the old man to put down, his sudden revelation of extreme speed and sword-beams being nowhere near enough to stop the final student of the First Hunter.
His end came with a massive claymore engraved in runes that Jaune could barely comprehend driven straight through the heart after leaving himself open a second too long, perhaps even on purpose.
The disgusting creature that had descended from the sky after Gherman breathed his final breath was not one that Jaune would easily forget, even if the invention of the rumored brain bleach ever did come to reach the market for consumers to purchase freely.
With no small amount of effort, Jaune was able to repulse the strange Old One when it attempted to embrace him, almost lovingly in a way, yet clearly for a reason he could not accept. The Moon Presence, as the Doll had called it, was the true source of the Dream and had been summoned by Gherman using the very umbilical chord that the Doll had sent him to retrieve.
Its purpose, and the purpose of the two other umbilical chords he was able to get his hands on during his many Hunts, had granted him the ability to fight off the Old Ones mentally as if he were one himself. When the Moon Presence tried to override his mind and will with its own to continue the massive bloody cycle that every Hunter it Contracted waged, Jaune Arc had not only reflected the mental attack back at the Old One, but did so in a way that connected the two further than they had been already.
Driving his massive blade through the cranium of the Moon Presence's Mental Projection and cleanly bisecting its face, a flick of his wrist and a bit of manipulated blood finished off the fake Old One when his already large claymore became twice it's normal length and width, yet gaining no more weight than before as he used the enhanced size to rend the monstrosity posing as an Old One into many chunks of tentacle and rib bones.
The connection that had formed between the Moon Presence after it's supposed death did not fade as it should have, and the nearly salivating Hunter rounded upon the tree beside him after making sure he wasn't just losing his mind again. After a moment of staring at the massive, spiraling tree that Gherman's wheelchair still rested before, the blond Hunter approached the mobility device and moved it out of his way almost gently.
At the base of the tree was a lever, that when pulled revealed a stairwell that led downward at a rather steep angle. Jaune had turned his head to look back at the Doll one last time before descending into the abyss below the Dream, where the physical body of the Moon Presence and true reason for his immortality awaited him fearfully.
He was supposed to remain unaware of its existence, absorb the essence of the Mental Aspect should he prove powerful enough and then succumb to the True Nightmare's innate nature.
If Jaune had absorbed the Moon Essence's decoy, he would have simply replaced it and allow the cycle to continue almost uninterrupted. Due to his nature as a Vileblood, he was able to prevent the forced Ascendency through rejecting the blood echoes of the Mental Aspect and redirecting them towards the Doll, who had waited idly by for that very moment to finally come to pass.
The descent had become an ascent at an indiscernible point in time that Jaune had faintly registered was his point of no return. After his climb down became a climb up, it took all of a minute for the blond to finally come face to face with the final opponent he would face within the Hunters Dream.
The true body of the Moon Presence had been waiting for him the moment he finally pushed open the doors that sealed it away from harm, two large tentacles ensnaring him as quickly as they could. Instead of crushing him, however, they drew him in close to a terribly disfigured but possibly once human face, a face that looked like Maria and the Doll yet not at the same time.
The Moon Presence had been the source of not only the Paleblood of the Hunters Workshop, but the corrupted Vileblood of Cainhurst as well, if Jaune had to hazard a guess. His affinity for the inhumanely warped creature allowed him a respite from its mental attacks, and with no small effort he had freed him from its grasps and swung his blade forward true.
Impaling the head of the true body of the Moon Presence caused his world to tremble, both within his head and outside it. The empty, barren beach with bleak skies and choppy seas beyond his vision splintered, fragmented and restructured itself, condensing and attempting to consolidate before total collapse.
Once more, he rejected the echoes of the final and only true Great One and guided them towards the stairs, where the natural pull of the Doll was already tugging them along.
Pulling his massive blade free from the now stilled corpse of the Moon Presence, Oum rest its soul, Jaune had turned and tried to make his way back towards the same stairs he knew the Doll awaited him at, only to be hit with the same bone-deep exhaustion that befell him so long ago it took him a few seconds to recognize. It had, after all, been a very long time since he had actually felt exhaustion.
With a faint smile and no small amount of hope in his heart, the bloodiest Hunter to ever grace the Hunters Workshop collapsed onto his own blade and allowed the encroaching darkness to claim him at once.
He would finally, finally be free, and wake up under the rising sun of Remnant once more.
Jaune Arc had nearly bawled his eyes out when he finally did.
Jaune stared down into the dark depths of what he assumed was the Emerald Forest as the Headmaster had called it previously during his unimpressive speech, millions of scattered thoughts racing through his mind. Despite the extremely calm visage upon his face, he felt sick to his stomach and wanted nothing more than to curl up into a little ball and die.
He supposed that was normal, as all Hunters of the Workshop that came before him professed to feeling the same when they awoke from the Hunters Dream, or Nightmare, depending on whom you asked.
The tell-tale signs of the blisters he could feel beneath his damp, clothed hands from heavy usage of the Holy Moonlight Great Sword was not unwelcome to the slightly fresh blond, as it meant Crocea Mors wouldn't require getting used to when wielding outside of it's disappointingly short reach.
Everything that Jaune had done in Yharnam, every ghost of the monsters that hid in his flesh had followed him home. This existence was not freedom for Jaune, but it was far more sweet than bitter to him.
This moment was his real dream come true. Being able to bask in the sun once more, hear the voices of others chatter away in his ear without the threat of death baring down on him by their hand.
The tall blond could feel the blood echoes of countless foe, Beast and Old One alike, still coursing his veins, reinforcing his previously weak body to a level that any veteran Huntsman would be jealous of. His physique as one of a warrior, just as it had been as he had slayed the true Moon Presence some few hours prior.
The forest beyond stared back, and Jaune knew no fear.
Jaune Arc had fallen asleep an ignorant, sad and lonely teenager with his sights set upon the stars. Jaune Arc had awoken with his ignorance stripped bare and the heavy sights of the stars forced in his direction.
It hadn't been easy, keeping his cool and not immediately trying to hug the person nearest to him when he awoke from his time in Yharnam, but he stopped himself almost a second after he had begun to stalk towards the sleeping being.
The killer instinct that had been honed by constant life and death struggles, not unlike life or death struggles, had been simple to suppress now that he was truly home and supposedly safe, preventing him from freaking out on anyone before they proved they were a threat.
This had been exactly what he hoped for, and he wasn't going to ruin his chances at Beacon now after being forced to live through the Hell that was Yharnam, if he ever truly even lived through it.
He had, of course, considered that he had finally lost his mind and forced himself to believe he was home. It took a bit of studying everything around him to confirm that he hadn't gone crazy again, and that he really and truly was back on Remnant and not another Nightmare realm.
It was those very same analytical and strategic abilities that reminded him of where he really was, as well as his purpose for waking up amongst a sea of sleeping and heavily vulnerable teenagers, that rattled his memory enough to allow him to recall where his belongings would be located as well as the nearest shower.
Despite the massive presence that his time in Yharnam represented in his most recent memories, his recollection of his time on Remnant had not been lost to him completely yet and thus he was able to gather up his belongings and wits in time for his Initiation. The vague sea of faces around him hardly mattered as much to him as they did the night prior, though Jaune did faintly recognize the same white hair he had the day before his Nightmare started in the distance.
Despite the brief and powerful feelings that flickered in the back of his mind, the blond dutifully ignored thinking about the white haired girl and instead focused on cleaning his body, filling his stomach and preparing his weapon as quickly as he could in the short time he had left until Beacon's Initiation started.
The Jaune Arc that appeared by the cliff face as directed by the voice over the intercom was not Blondie The Bunny as he once had been called by Gherman, the First Hunter, but the Paleblood Hunter of the Huntsman Workshop and final caretaker of The Doll before his passing.
He was finally awake, sane and whole, with all of Remnant at his disposal and all of the skills forged in the fires of Yharnam at his disposal.
The wicked, almost fanged smile that crossed his face would have scared even the Grimm should they have seen it, and the shimmering delight in his cold, cobalt eyes made him appear alive for the first time in what he felt like was an eternity in itself. There was no beast in that forest that he felt he couldn't Hunt, no monster on Remnant he couldn't eventually overcome.
Yes, Jaune Arc might actually have loved it when Dreams came true.
He had no idea of the Nightmares yet to come, and instead busied himself with the mundane task of successfully becoming a student of Beacon Academy.