I stand outside of my palace, my daughter in my lap.

I can barely see ahead of me. The fog is so thick. I didn't think I'd be returning to Insomnia in such harsh weather conditions.

Not that Stella knew. She was just sleeping the entire time, oblivious to what was truly happening.

I have never been a fan of ignorance. I had been raised to despise it. Not only was I a fairly inquisitive boy growing up, but my thirst for knowledge often bordered on arrogance. I routinely looked down on people who did not share my worldview. I considered them blind and naive.

And yet they lived their lives by their ignorant values, refusing to understand the world for what it truly was. That, to me, was what made them so repulsive.

Of course, I never could hold myself to account for my own ignorance. The humbling experience of realizing that I was the foolish one all along led me to meet some of my closest friends. It also led me to my beloved. My deceased wife, who helped bring Stella into this world. My daughter is also ignorant. My daughter will also grow up to be a fool.

And there is nothing I can do about it.

How can I possibly ensure that she can handle her destiny with wisdom? I know I never could. I barely scraped by, with one failure after another etched into my memories. Somehow I was able to surpass my parents and turn Lucis into the powerful kingdom it is today. But along the way, I failed so many people. I broke so many promises.

And my sins continue to haunt me. They will haunt my daughter too. Stella will have to face the burden of my mistakes. That is her fate as the future Queen.

None of us are free from the sins of the past.

Realizing that I can't walk into the palace yet, I lean against the car. Stella tightens her grip on my neck.

She has barely learned to walk. She can't speak the Common Tongue very fluently either. Those things I can teach her. That much I can handle.

I will just have to focus on the small steps. To ensure that I can be there for her as she continues to grow, bit by bit. But I cannot prepare her for her destiny. I cannot prepare her for what truly awaits her.

I will have to leave her to face the wilderness as the fool she will grow up to be. And I will have to hope for the best.

It's not easy for me to accept. Not when I know how dangerous my path has been. How dangerous her path will be.

She's so fragile right now. And even after she grows, even after she rebels, she will remain fragile.

And I won't be there to hold her.

So I hold her now. I tighten my grip, even as she irritably shoves me away. I desperately promise that I will never leave her, even though that isn't true.

Perhaps I even shed a tear. But I don't want to cry in front of her. She needs me to be strong. She needs me to be firm.

It is too soon for her to know what an utterly foolish and tragic man I am.

Perhaps, in the future, I could tell her not to be foolish.

Perhaps in the future, I could tell her not to be rash.

Perhaps I could remind her, over and over again, how she is a fool who does not know what is best for her. That her folly will cost her dearly before she even realizes it.

But this is what I was told throughout my life, and I never listened. I could never accept how foolish I was until I saw the consequences of my own mistakes.

So it shall be with her. She will refuse to listen. She will rebel. Until she faces the consequences of her sins, she will not learn.

And yet...how far-reaching will the consequences of her folly be? How much will she suffer as a result of her ignorance?

Will she be able to survive?

That I do not know.

I look on ahead of me. I can see the massive silhouettes circling the city. They cannot break in. The barrier I have created, with the aid of the Ring, is too powerful.

The silhouettes are not what scare me. What scares me, is the person standing right in front of me.

She looks at Stella with a powerful reverence. I can tell that she wants to come closer. That she wants to hold my daughter as closely as I have.

I look her in the eye, making it clear that she cannot.

She does not see Stella as a fool. She sees her as a God. And that is why I cannot reason with her.

Those who refuse to acknowledge their own folly, are the most dangerous people of all.

Allyn Izunia smiles and walks away. I know that she will return. And I know that one day, I will not be able to protect my daughter from her.

I can only hope that when that day comes, my dear Stella will be okay.


AN: This will be my final "serious" Versus XIII fic before the game launches. Though I am aware of some copies being sold prematurely, I'll try my best to avoid spoilers before the launch. Once I do know the whole story, I will write a complete version of my Versus XIII fics and conclude Stella's story. Thank you to all who have read and supported my Final Fantasy fics, it means a lot!