Okay so. First of all, sorry for taking so long. I got a job and that's been taking up a bulk of my time. I've only managed to write a bit each weekend when inspiration hit me. Also a bit of info for this chapter.

A.E. is Ancient Era. The Era when Solheim stood and fell and when Ifrit waged war against the other Astrals.

M.E. is the Modern Era where FFXV timeline takes place.

F.E. is not canon. It's an Era a friend and I thought up to place a name for the time between the Astral War and the Modern Era. It was during this time that the thing with Ardyn happened. If you don't know what I'm talking about… You probably haven't finished the game.

The bit with the Kingsglaive still feels awkward to me. It was that part that gave me so much trouble and delayed this chapter so much. But I've been revising it since I wrote it and I'm just tired of looking at it lol. That's probably why it might feel a bit choppy and I apologize for that. I might go back AFTER finishing this fic to fix it but we'll see.

Also a lot of you cried for the last chapter and Episode Nyx. I would say I'm sorry but I sobbed like a child when I wrote it so shrugs.

And a huge shoutout to SuperbiJulia who directed me to that Pitioss Ruin theory thing on Reddit and for sending me such lovely messages. You literally filled in so many of the holes I was having trouble with in my plot. This chapter really would have probably taken a year as I tried to fill in the gaps about Stella's reincarnation as well as why she was reincarnated. So a big thank you and shout out to you, love! The theory gave me ideas on the backstory. I'll be taking the idea and tweaking it a little to fit my plot.

Thank you for being so patient with me, I'll do my best to write up the next chapter as soon as I can manage it.

May 17th, M.E. 756 – Hammerhead Outpost, Leide, Kingdom of Lucis [Early Morning]

"NYX!" Stella screamed, her voice steeped in horror, in rage, in disbelief, in grief. Tears fell, her heart constricted.

She failed.

"No. No, no, please. Nyx!" She sobbed, her hands in her hair, eyes wide, her heart breaking when she registered the morning sunlight. "NO!"

"Stella! Stella!"

She couldn't hear them. She could only feel hands grabbing her arms, trying to get her to stop pulling on her hair. Stella struggled, desperate sobs tearing out of her throat as she felt an emptiness in her that was so big. An emptiness that had once been filled by her father and Nyx. Now it was gone.

She failed. Again

She screamed her rage, her grief. She had seen Nyx's final battle, his resolution, his words. She felt his love. He loved her. Loved her so much, she could feel the love she had always felt for Ravus reflected at her from Nyx. All that time, the tiny brushes against her skin, the casual touches, the fond smiles, the fierce protectiveness.

Nyx had loved her. Had died for her and her 'future'.

She cried, loud and shrieking, her grief overtaking her mind and taking away her awareness of her surroundings. She didn't care. All she could think of was her own failure. She had failed to change Regis and Nyx's fate. The two people she wanted to save more than anything that night – dead.

Never strong enough. Never fast enough.

Worthless. Someone – anyone else could have saved them.

Pain registered itself in her mind as a large hand slapped her cheek. The shock and sudden sting brought her abruptly out of her grief stricken thoughts and forced her to focus. Clarus was beside her on the bed, arms around her and restricting her movement. Cor was right in front of her holding her shoulder with one hand and his other stretched out. Slowly, the two released her as her eyes trained on them, wide and disbelieving and tear filled still. They watched her cautiously and worriedly, waiting for something.

Stella couldn't think properly, her mind still muddy and her heart still aching from her dream, her vision of what had happened to Nyx. Choking out a sob, her eyes filling with tears again she reached out for Cor. Abruptly, the older men gathered her in his arms letting her cling to his back and sob into his shoulder. His hand drawing soothing strokes on her back as he looked at Clarus with pained eyes. The former Shield could only look on with the same look and shook his head.

They could do no more than to be the pillar of support their princess needed as she drowned in her grief. Clarus quietly exited the borrowed room in Hammerhead, leaving Cor to comfort Stella. The Marshal had always been the closest to her, having trained and taught her how to battle. Stella had always been fond of the man more than any other. He was the best person for Stella now, not him. He was more of a distant uncle to Stella.

Clarus found Cid leaned against the chair in his garage, staring at the ceiling with a morose air around him. Taking a seat beside his old friend, Clarus reached for the old photo on the table. In vintage, as was Cor's preferred filter; Regis leaning against the Regalia with a cup of coffee, Weskham, Cid and himself to the side at Cape Caem. Nostalgically, he traced Regis's form in the photo, his thoughts filled with the grief and guilt stricken princess in the other room. She needed one of her friends to comfort her. Noctis trying to help his sister would only drive her further into guilt. He would need to contact Libertus. Hopefully the man was still alive. From what Cor had told him, Libertus had stayed behind to help Lady Lunafreya escape when he realized Drautos was the traitor.

Anger filled him at the thought. He knew that some of the Kingsglaive were not happy with Regis and his complacent path on reclaiming Lucis. They did not know of the late King's dwindling strength or the effort it took to maintain the New Wall. But to think that the very captain they chose to trust was the same man who had murdered Queen Sylva and now King Regis…

Anger made way for grief once again. He joined Cid in mourning for an old friend. They would need to call Weskham about it… though with how fast the news is spreading, the restaurant owner would likely find out before they got the chance to tell him.

"How's the 'lil girl taking it?" Cid asked gruffly.

"Badly." Clarus replied, shaking his head. "She lost people that were close to her heart… It is not easy for someone like Stella. Someone that loves so whole heartedly…"

Cid sighed, pulling his hat down. He could remember the very first day he met the little princess. Fourteen and already sneaking out of the Crown City right under Reggie's nose. With familiar green eyes alight with mischief and hope, the girl brought a new light to Lucians outside the walls. She never hid the fact she was a princess and her station never stopped her from trying to help those within and outside the Walls. It was amazing Niflheim didn't find out about her escapades.

All those years seeing the cheerful visage of the ever too caring princess did nothing but bring an ache to Cid's old heart as he heard the desperate sobbing from the back room. A princess that had planned for years to save her people and her loved ones. She may have saved her people, but she had failed to save her father and friend.

A loud creak signifying the back room door opening drew Clarus and Cid's attention. Stella walked out, shoulders slumped and looking haggard. Eyes bruised and red and mouth open slightly to breath, letting them know she had cried so badly she couldn't breathe through her nose anymore. Cor walked beside her, arm around her shoulder and letting the girl lean tiredly on him as they walked. Clarus rose from his seat and approached them, an anxious look on his face as he raised his hand in the air, unsure whether he should pull his late friend's daughter into a hug.

Smiling slightly, Stella made that decision for him and walked into his arms, clutching at his back and breathing him in, reminding herself that while she had failed to save her father and Nyx, she had saved Clarus. It wasn't what she had hoped for, but it was she was given. She had broken down already, reeling from their deaths. She had to move forward now.

For Noctis.

"I'll… I'll be okay…" Stella told, letting go of Clarus with a small smile. She couldn't quite gather the energy needed to smile as she used to. "There's still so many things to do… I can't just stop here."

"You don't need to, Stella. Let us handle this." Clarus tried to persuade her. Truly. She had done much already. There was no need for her to continue. He should be the one to plan and plot.

Stella shook her head. "There are still things I need to do. And I have promises to keep." She looked up at Clarus, determination shining in her green eyes. "I won't stop until I've fulfilled all my promises. To the Glaives and to myself."

Clarus sighed as a fond smile stretched across his face. "Then I suppose I'll be joining you."

"What?" She spluttered. "You don't need to –"

"Face it, Princess." Cor interjected. "We're not letting you do whatever it is you need to do alone."

"But I won't be!" Stella protested. "I was going to ask Crowe and some of the other Glaives to help me!" She didn't want to. But she knew she couldn't do what she had to alone.

"Be that it may," Clarus's voice rose and Stella pursed her lips in response. "I made a promise to Regis that I would see you safely through your own journey. I may be old but I still have some fight left in me yet, Princess."

"I saved you not so you can risk your life to protect me." Stella glared at both of her father's friends.

"Perhaps," Clarus agreed. "But I take my duties as a Shield to the crown seriously. Iris is still young and Gladio guards Noctis. Please, your highness. Allow me to fulfil my duties to the crown by guarding you." He requested, a fist over his heart.

Stella stared defiantly at Clarus. She didn't want him to get involved but… She did need help to prepare for the World of Ruin if that ever comes. And Clarus is still part of the council until Noct released him from his duties. Sighing in resignation, she nodded in acceptance.

"We need a car then… I only have my bike stored here." Stella said, then blinked. "Wait. How did I get here? I remember falling off a bike and then…"

Terror stiffened her form as she remembered the events of the night. She had been racing to Sector D when… Ardyn. Ardyn had cast something to distract her, which led to her being thrown off her bike and getting knocked out.

Stella turned to the others in the room with wide panicked eyes. "How did I get here?!"

The three old friends simultaneously flinched as they exchanged grim looks. Niflheim's Chancellor had turned up at Hammerhead with Stella in his arms just before dawn broke over the horizon. They didn't know why Ardyn had done so, but it was obvious that it was he that had prevented Stella from saving her friend. Whether it was because of some convoluted plan or to cause her some pain, they didn't know. But none of them liked the idea considering how fascinated Ardyn had been with Stella before the invasion. It would have made more sense if Ardyn had simply kidnapped their princess, but he had returned her instead.

Knowing it would be a bad idea to keep such information from Stella, Cor told her of Ardyn dropping her off in front of Hammerhead with nothing more than a smug look and wave.

Stella bit her bottom lip nervously. What exactly was Ardyn's deal? She knew he had helped Noctis in his journey in the game but most of the time he had orchestrated the trouble her brother would find himself in. What reason could the man have in returning her to those she trusted when he could have kidnapped her as a hostage for Niflheim? Ardyn's motivation and knowledge worried her. Could her reincarnation really be of some interest to him?

"Your… circumstances were pre-ordained. Much as Noctis's destiny was."

Regis's words reverberated in her mind. Was that it? Stella did not have the time to ponder when her father had first said it, her attention more focused on saving him. But was her reincarnation part of some divine plot as well? Was she not a fluke, then? How did her father know? Was it something only the Kings of Lucis knew? Was Ardyn's knowledge of her reincarnation because of the same reason her father seemed to know about her so called 'pre-ordained circumstance'?

Did she have some sort of destiny to fulfill?

It didn't make any sense to Stella. Alice may have had a horrible memory bank but surely she didn't remember things incorrectly? Stella was sure she didn't exist in the world of Final Fantasy XV, so why would she ever have some sort of role in a story that already had an ending she was trying to change?

"Your very presence changes everything, little star."

Stella's heart clenched as she remembered her mother's words to her. The words that had brought so much hope to her before the events of the night before. Now, it brought nothing but foreboding. Her very existence was the cause for the changes happening in the world. Her father had implied that her reincarnation was pre-ordained. That would mean, in a world without her, things would go exactly as they had in the game Alice played. But with her here, she had already saved Crowe and Clarus and hundreds of others even if she had failed to save Regis and Nyx.

Would she be able to save Noctis and Luna?


Cid's voice reminded her that she was not alone. Stella looked towards Cid, Cor and Clarus with an apologetic smile.

"Got a bit lost in my own thoughts. Sorry." Stella apologized softly, then turned to Cor. "I lost my phone so could I borrow yours? I… I should call Noct…"

"I can talk to him if you want, Stella…" Cor tried to offer. He knew she was still emotionally unbalanced. There was no reason to put her through a conversation with Noctis after failing to save Regis. Stella may put on a brave face, but deep down she was a sensitive child who loved too much. Talking to her brother would bring all that guilt to the forefront.

Stella shook her head. "I need to be the one to tell him about… About dad." She swallowed, looking pained at the thought. She could feel the tears threatening to gather in her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to push them back. She couldn't let Cor call Noctis. She was his sister. His only blood family left… It was only right.

Sighing, Cor relented and Clarus and Cid left the garage, giving her some privacy. Cor ruffled her hair a little with a small sad smile and followed them after giving her his phone. Stella stared around the empty garage for a few minutes, gathering her thoughts. The grip she had on the phone tightening as she tried to muster up the courage to call her brother.

To tell him their father was dead. That she had failed to protect him.

The sudden ringing from the phone in her hand startled her. She felt her blood drain away at the name calling Cor.


Taking a deep breath, she swiped at the screen to accept the call and put the device to her ear.

"H-Hello? Cor?"

"…I'm glad you're alright, baby bro." Stella breathed out, her heart clenching.

"Stella! What's going on? The news just told me we're dead! Along with the dad and Luna!"

Stella took a deep breath. "A lot of things… I… can't explain everything right now… Just. Come meet me at Hammerhead." She paused and choked out a sob. "About dad… I'm… I'm so sorry, Noct. I couldn't – I wasn't strong enough. I'm so sorry…"

What was the point of her existence if she couldn't even save her father? Her friend? Would she be able to even save Luna or her brother?

"I'll… explain everything when I see you next…" She choked out, her body trembling with the emotions coursing through her. Grief, disappointment, anger at herself. "I'm sorry."

She cut off the call and crumpled to the ground, her arms wrapping around herself and trying to imagine it was her father hugging her again, offering her comfort just like when she had been so terrified of telling him about herself. But that couldn't happen anymore. Her father was dead and gone. Nothing but his sword and soul left in this world. He could no longer hold her or banter with her over silly things or take long walks in the Citadel gardens with her.

There would be no Nyx to complain to about having to act so noble like. No Nyx to tackle to a hug or persuade to cuddle with because she felt lonely in the Citadel. No Nyx to joke around with and who would make her laugh when she was feeling down or upset.

Regis was dead. Nyx was dead.

But Noctis and Luna were still alive. And she would do everything in her power to ensure they continued to live even after the banishment of the Starscrouge.

May 17th, M.E. 756 – Prairie Outpost, Leide, Kingdom of Lucis [Morning]

When Stella had first snuck out of Insomnia at fourteen, it had been on a bicycle and she had bribed Cor to cover for her for the week. It wasn't odd for her to miss dinner for a week straight. Her father and brother knew she could stay cooped up in the library for days on end. By coincidence, she had met a Hunter on a chocobo who had been tracking down a Dualhorn that had been terrorizing nearby outposts. The Hunter had been worried, seeing a young dainty looking girl like her out in the wild and had quickly sequestered her to Hammerhead. It was there that she had met Cindy and Cid, who took one look into her eyes and threatened to call her father if she didn't tell them why she was out of the castle Walls.

It took a bit of fast talking and revealing a little of her plans, but Cid agreed to cover and put up with her so long as she made friends with his granddaughter. Which wasn't exactly a challenge. Cindy had been fascinated by her and the technology she smuggled out of the Crown City. They shared a love for fast vehicles and bonded over that and building a bike for her to use when out of the City.

Said bike was named Sun of Lucis because most the work put into the bike was by Cindy and she had always reminded Stella of a sunny sun, brightly shining onto people with her bubbly and positive attitude. Cindy had cried when she told her of her reasoning and tackled her into a hug, swearing up and down she would take care of their bike like it was their baby. The bike resembled the old sports bike she used to see all the time back as Alice. It was versatile and could take quite a beating. She had been ecstatic when she was able to fend off beasts and daemons on the bike much like Cloud Strife did in VII.

Cindy had not been very happy with her but had resolved to find a way to make the bike even more heavy duty, scrounging through her information network of other tipsters and hunters much like she did with the Regalia in the game. Stella had once briefly wondered if Cindy would still do the same with the Regalia and her baby brother but rationalized that the mechanic would never miss a chance to take care of the car her grandfather had raged on about so many times.

When Cor had mentioned he had taken the Star of Lucis out of Insomnia to get to Hammerhead, Stella had immediately demanded a race. Cindy had been enthusiastically supportive of the suggestion and immediately got to work prepping the Sun. Clarus wasn't as enthused as Cor had been amused. Stella had studiously ignored the worried looks her father's old friends had exchanged. Yes, she knew she was compartmentalizing and that it was probably unhealthy but she had cried enough. There were things that needed to be done and she couldn't do them if she was stuck sobbing her eyes out in Hammerhead.

Already, she had received word from the Hunters of the Kingsglaives' arrival at the Prairie Outpost in the night and how the Crownsguards had been posted to the various shelters she had built for the fleeing Insomnians. She couldn't mope around forever. There were things to prepare for and do. She had made a promise and she swore she would see it through. While Noct went on his journey looking for their ancestor's weapons to use as his own, she would go on her own journey to reclaim Lucian lands from Niflheim.

She probably should have waited for Noctis in Hammerhead, but she wanted to check out the Tomb of the Wise before her brother got there. She remembered Regis's advice to her. Her answers would lie in the first Tomb. Perhaps she might finally get an answer as to why she had been reincarnated into the royal family. It had always been a lingering question at the back of her mind, the reason she was reincarnated in this world. She had pushed it away as a child and growing up, more preoccupied with her plans for the future. But now, she might actually get those answers.

Parking the Sun right outside the Prairie Outpost, she looked around. The Hunter's Outpost haven't changed much since the last time she was here, which was around six to eight months ago when she was finalizing the routes from the tunnels to the shelter outposts. The item shop was still parked by the side of the road leading to the Leid Imperial base, the shack was still home to lingering hunters and their beast tracking device and the watch tower was still operational.

But there were differences. One of them were the two brunettes talking near the Chocobo rentals. Stella's face lit up and she ran towards the shack, recognizing the two women.

"Crowe! Monica!" Stella called out.

The two women snapped their heads towards her and smiles over took their faces. Crowe abandoned her conversation in favor of rushing towards the blonde, meeting her halfway and accepting the crushing hug the princess gave. The female Glaive held on tightly to her friend and princess, her worry bleeding out of her and replaced with relief. Crowe had been so worried the whole time after Dave had saved her from near death. The thought of her best friend within the Crown City during the invasion had shaken her to the core. She had never realized how important Stella had become in her life until the moment Pelna had reported that the princess was still in the City in the dead of the night. The sheer terror at the words that struck her almost led her into a panic run to Cavaugh until Tredd had snapped her out of it.

Monica Elshett watched with a relieved smile. She had been worried when word got out from the loyal Kingsglaive that the princess had still been in the Crown City. But here she was, safe and sound and… looking more Hunter than Princess. The female Crownsguard had heard the rumors about Princess Stella sneaking out of Insomnia, but she didn't think it was actually true. To see her in Hunter gear, looking like she wore them every day and not the semi to full formal dresses the Crownsguard always saw her in.

The plain white shirt paired with a black leather jacket and jeans. Ankle boots in similar leather adorned her feet while a simple charm bracelet she recognized was a present from the late King fastened to her left wrist. She still wore the dainty silver chain with a skull charm around her neck and her hair had been pulled into a high ponytail instead of her usual half up-do.

Stella truly did not look like the Princess she was. Right now, she was a Hunter amongst fellow Hunters.

"I'm so glad you're okay." Stella whispered, tightening her grip on Crowe before releasing her reluctantly.

"I'm made of tougher stuff than glass, Stella." Crowe jested and immediately started dragging her towards the back of the shack. "Now, come on! The other Glaives have been worried about you."

Stella followed and brightened at the sight of her friends lounging around talking to each other and helping the Hunters with their wares. It was Tredd who spotted her first and he literally dropped the horns he was holding in favor of rushing towards her, catching the attention of the other Glaives and Hunters. Almost all at once, the Glaives dropped what they were doing and soon Stella found herself being crushed into hugs and passed around like a rag doll. She could hardly make sense of everyone talking all at once and she couldn't help the tears of joy, relief and bewilderment from gathering in her eyes.

She knew there were casualties. She knew that some of the Glaives she had made friends with had been traitors and were either with Niflheim now or dead. But she was so thankful that most of them were alive. It was a far cry from what had happened in the movie Alice remembered. Almost none of them had survived but in this world, where she existed, they did. She had managed to change something for the better.

The loss of two people closest to her had broken her heart but there was still hope. She had managed to save so many. There had to be some way to save Noctis and Luna, there just had to be.

But that was something to think on later. After she had hashed out most of the later parts of her plans. There were adjustments to be made and other preparations to be dealt with. Right now she needed to ascertain her friends' health and plans and also find out what was waiting for her in the Tomb of the Wise.

"I'm so glad you're all safe…" Stella smiled happily, tears of relief finally falling from her eyes. "You have no idea how happy it makes me to see all of you survive last night."

"Princess, if you had suspected Niflheim's intentions… then why did the King accept the treaty?" Pelna trailed off, looking hesitatingly at her with confusion.

Stella sighed. "Because we were losing the war… and because Fate's hand has started moving."

The princess raised her head as she looked at each and every Glaive that had survived the invasion. Libertus would soon join them, she knew. Crowe was still alive after all and after Nyx… She pushed the thought from her mind. She couldn't think of Nyx, not right now. Her Glaives didn't need to see her break down in front of them.

"There are things beyond the current situation happening… Fate's hand has started moving and soon, the world with be plunged into darkness. The prophecy of old is about to come to fruition and only my brother will be able to return the Light." Her green eyes hardened to steel and flashed with purple at the thought of Noctis's fate. "But that doesn't mean I'm going to just sit down and twiddle my thumbs. We must be ready for the Nights because it will likely take years before my brother will be ready to banish the Dark and return the Dawn."

"You… You're talking about how the nights have been getting longer." Tredd realized, his face pale at the thought of facing daemons without the powers of a Glaive. "Are you saying the nights will overtake day and we'll no longer see daylight?"

Stella nodded firmly. "I will still be fighting to return your homes to you. But I will also be fighting to give the citizens of Eos a fighting chance of surviving when dawn no longer rises. It's what I've been preparing for since the Crystal chose Noctis as the True King."

"How do we even know he can do it?!" Sonitus yelled, scared and terrified at the future Stella was describing. "How do we know he won't fail?"

"We don't." Stella shook her head. "But I know my brother. And I know he will succeed. I ask of you to have hope. Because Noctis cares about the people, even if he hasn't shown it. He is young and there is much he still needs to learn… I had hoped to teach him slowly but… Sometimes fate won't let us have our way. So please, even when all seems lost in the future, please have hope in him."

The Glaives were silent as they thought over Stella's words. The revelation of what is to come terrified them. It was nothing like fighting for their homes; a small goal in the grand scheme of everything. Stella was fighting for the world. They had thought her actions were merely to protect Insomnians and Lucis but never could they imagine she had been preparing for what looked to be the end of the world. To be prepared to save and help people who didn't know what was coming. They didn't sign up for this but…

"You're not thinking of doing this alone, are you?" Crowe demanded, glaring at Stella.

"…Cor and Clarus are insisting on helping me but that doesn't mean you need to." Stella said firmly. "Niflheim will still fall one day with or without my actions and they are something I know you'll survive fighting against but this…"

"I'm coming with you, whether you like it or not," Crowe said firmly. "I know Libertus and Nyx will want to as well."

A sharp pain filled her heart at the thought of Nyx and it must have showed on her face because Crowe's face fell. Stella closed her eyes and looked away, pained at the thought of confirming Crowe's fears.

"…Libertus…?" Crowe asked hesitantly and almost wanted to cry in relief when Stella shook her head denying it. But that meant… "Nyx…?"

Stella tensed and bit her lip, remembering the last words Nyx had said right before his death. The love he had for her filling her heart with grief and regret. Stella knew, if she hadn't been so in love with Ravus then she could have fallen for Nyx. Nyx who had sworn to protect her and had died so she could see her plans and future come true. Nyx who had been one of her closest friends.

The Glaives all grew somber at the realization that Nyx was dead. Crowe took a step back and was shaking her head, wanting to deny his death but the dead look in Stella's eyes told her that it was true. Nyx was truly dead. Abruptly, everyone realized how dangerous this was. They knew when they joined the Kingsglaive that they would be living with danger but none of them had ever truly experienced a loss of someone close to them in this war. Sure, some of the other Glaives had died in the war but it was something that was expected.

None of them expected this. They had expected Stella to have saved Nyx like she had saved so many others in the invasion with her plans. But she didn't. She had failed and they could clearly see how it was affecting her. Stella had never been one to advertise her negative emotions, always covering them with a happy visage. To see her upset and close to crying was a wakeup call for them.

Their princess was as human as they were. No matter her success, she always had devastating failures in her life as well. The invincible image of their princess shattered to reveal what all of them had never really seen before. A princess desperate to protect her family, friends and country. A princess that was doing all she could and could still fail. A princess that was trying her very best to do what she could for the people around her.

Their princess that bore a burden she never should have borne alone.

For Crowe, it was nothing but a confirmation for what she had already planned to do. Nyx's death hurt but she knew it must have hurt Stella more. The look on the princess's face told her she knew of Nyx's feelings for her and had only found out about it after his death. It was a conversation Crowe had with her once, when she had jokingly asked if there was any person other than Ravus she could have fallen for so deeply. To know that Nyx had loved her and that perhaps, Stella could have loved him too… It must have been devastating for her to find out whatever way she did.

"Then, that just settles it." Crowe announced with a grief filled smile. "No way am I going to let you out of my sight now, princess."

"Yeah." Sonitus grinned. "We're with you all the way. We'll see those long Nights through alongside you, princess."

Murmurs of agreement went through the group of Glaives and Stella didn't know whether to feel dread or relief. On one hand, she was terrified of losing her friends and on the other, she was pathetically grateful to have them by her side. She knew that this would never be as dangerous as the battles the Glaives had fought in but there were just so many things she couldn't predict and account for. Plus, they no longer had any powers to help them and she couldn't even give them the ability to summon weapons without the Crystal. But the Kingsglaive weren't just trained to combat with the Lucian powers, they were also trained to combat without them and that brought her more comfort than anything else.

"Thank you." Stella smiled at the glaives gently. "I'm grateful for your loyalty and your willingness to put yourselves on the line for this. Just know that, if ever you think you can't handle this, tell me. And I will ensure your safety."

"You're not getting rid of us that easily, princess." Tredd teased, flicking his nose. "Don't worry about us. We're still Glaives even without the fancy powers."

Stella laughed, relieved when the other Glaives gave their own agreements. She would always worry for her friends, but she knew she could trust them to take care of themselves. She nodded in agreement to their words then grew serious, changing the light hearted atmosphere to a graver one. Crowe and the other Glaives straightened and the lingering Crownsguards came to join them.

The roar of an engine drew their attention and many saw Cor Leonis the Immortal and Clarus Amicitia the Shield exit the expensive and fast looking car and walk towards them. The Crownsguards breathed a sigh of relief seeing their leader injured but alive and confidence filled them with the determined look on Cor and Clarus's face as the two stood attention besides Crowe. Stella gave them a bland smile of exasperation before she turned to look at the observing hunters around them. One she knew very well gave her a bland smile and nod before leading the other hunters away from the gathering of what was left of the Lucian army.

"Crownsguards and Kingsglaives of Insomnia. Niflheim may have won the battle in the night, but that does not mean they have won this war. The King has fallen, but myself and my brother still stand. We will continue to fight for our home. We may no longer have the powers and resources we once did but it does not mean we are helpless." Stella stared steely at those in front of her, determination shining in her eyes as they flashed purple with power and sending shivers down everyone's spines.

"Wars start and end in each generation and we will bring victory and reclaim our lands from Niflheim. It will likely take years because of the lack of our resources but a frontal assault is not the only way to win a war. It will be difficult and I will understand if many of you wish to stop here. But know that I will continue to fight for all of us. Until the day I die and even after I will fight.

"I will not demand of you to fight, but I ask of you to choose to fight. To help me in reclaiming our lands and free ourselves of Niflehim once and for all. It will be a difficult battle, but as King Noctis will fight to reclaim the Crystal for us, we must fight to reclaim our people and land and protect them. What lies ahead are years of fighting so I ask you this now," Stella summoned her weapons, allowing them to circle around her and form a shield. Thunder rumbled as fire and ice slithered amongst her weapons in a show of power. "Will you persevere with me in this war?"

One by one, Cor, Clarus, Crowe and the Lucian army dropped to their knees, their fists over their hearts as they swore to take up their arms to reclaim their city. And silently in their hearts, they swore to protect their home and Heart.

May 17th, M.E. 756 – Tomb of the Wise, Leide, Kingdom of Lucis [Afternoon]

"The Tomb of the Wise… The first King to raise the New Wall…" Stella murmured as she approached the Tomb's landing.

The other Crownsguards and Kingsglaives had dispersed to gather information on Niflheim's movements. A bulk of the Crownsguards have been stationed at the shelters and to join the hunters while gathering information and resources in the conquered regions. Stella would be traveling with Crowe most of the time as her guard while Clarus and Cor coordinated the efforts to gather information and man the communications between the scattered forces. While Clarus and Cor were wary of leaving her alone with only Crowe for back up, Stella challenged that she was more used to fighting outside the walls of the Crown City and that if she could match General Glauca, she could definitely take care of herself with only Crowe as backup when she had none before when she snuck out.

Right now, Cor was in the Prairie Outpost, coordinating the left over Kingsglaive and Crownsguards while waiting on Noctis and the others. Clarus and Crowe accompanied Stella to the tomb. It wasn't exactly a difficult journey but after the death of the King and Nyx, Clarus and Crowe did not want to let Stella out of their sights. Which was both endearing and exasperating so Stella put up with it.

"I don't see anything," Crowe said as she looked around the sides of the small building.

"Dad said it was at the back so…" Stella moved towards the back of the tomb, kicking away gravels and trying to see anything resembling a door or anything. Clarus moved to join her, going to the opposite side and searching for anything similar.

The only thing Stella could find was just the smooth granite of the tomb and nothing that could actually resemble a door or even a handle.

"I can't find anything," Stella huffed. "Clarus? How 'bout you?"

"I am unsure if what I found can be considered 'anything' but you might find it as 'something'," Clarus replied from the other side of the tomb and Stella curiously wondered what it was that he found.

"Captain's right, Stella. You might want to see this yourself." Came Crowe's voice.

Stella moved to where the other two were at, slightly anxious to see what they had found. Clarus was tracing something on the floor near the wall of the tomb as Crowe watched in barely hidden curiosity and anxiousness. Kneeling beside Clarus, she stared confusedly at the Lucis Caelum crest that was engraved on the stone of the floor.

Clarus moved away and Stella reached out to trace the engraving only to yelp and fall back on her behind when she felt her magic getting sucked out. A groan sounded and the engraving shined purple before melting into an enclave with a handle. Crowe and Clarus hovered uncertainly before Clarus moved forward to grasp at the handle and pulled on the handle, revealing a dusty trapdoor opening with stairs leading down.

"A trapdoor leading to a basement. Why am I not surprised?" Stella muttered as she moved to descend into the opening.

"I'm not sure this is safe." Crowe interjected but followed closely behind Stella.

"Not much in this world is safe. We'll simply have to be cautious." Clarus said as he pulled up the rear with cautious, experienced eyes.

"At the very least, there won't be any deamons here. That's for sure," Stella chirped, ducking under a half collapsed pillar.

"How can you be so sure? The hunters said that Keycatrich Trench is filled with deamons, you know." Crowe shot back.

"Because I can feel the Crystal's light down here." Stella said as she attached the small flashlight to her clothing and turning it on. The passageway was dusty and moist, though there was an odd air lingering.

"Curious…" Clarus muttered. "I thought the Crystal could not be destroyed or chipped off?"

"It can't," Stella agreed. "… but I think this wasn't part of the Crystal we had… Rather, it was made differently."

"What do you mean?" Crowe asked but Stella shook her head. She didn't know what it meant. She knew it was different from the Crystal she was used to feeling in Insomnia. This feeling in the air was similar but more… pure, in a way. Like carefree sunshine basking in the day skies. It was different from the Crystal harsher, rather desperate rays of Light that flowed from the core of the Crystal. The Crystal she was familiar with felt… stifled, almost compared to the feel of Light coming from this hidden passage.

Stella stopped when she saw what looked like the door she remembered seeing during those Menace beneath Lucis quests in the game. For a second, she hoped that whatever was behind those doors weren't anything like those last quests she did, especially the Menace beneath Costlemark. Logically, no daemon would be able to survive anywhere near anything resembling the Crystal and its power but still…

As Cid always said, a small bit of paranoia actually was healthy.

"I sure hope you have a key, Stella. 'Cause I don't think that thing's going to open on command." Crowe jested from beside her, though she gave the door a wary look as well.

"Let's hope my magic worked like it did for the trap door thing," Stella huffed and slowly came closer to the metallic door. The design was the same as the doors to the Menace quests, though the ruins surrounding the 'lock' were different, or so Stella could remember. They definitely had a different 'feel' to it, that was for sure. She had seen the Menace door in the Daurell Caverns once, when she was exploring Duscae. But that was a few years ago and she couldn't really remember it that well.

Hesitantly, she reached out to touch the door and immediately felt her magic getting leached out again. But this time it sucked out so much out of her she fell to her knees with a gasp. She heard Crowe and Clarus call out to her worriedly but she gritted her teeth as she fought off the pain at being drained of magic so suddenly and quickly. The door whirled with activity as it unlocked itself using her magic and opened.

Stella sighed in relief when she felt the effects of an Ether wash over her. She looked over at Crowe who had given the potion to her in thanks. Clarus pulled her up, steadying her when she stumbled and she felt a brief flash of hate for these trap doors that kept draining her. She had been drained of her magic more times in the past two days than she had ever been drained ever since the first day she snuck out of the Crown City.

"If one more door tries to drain me of magic, I'm going to burn it down." Stella muttered as she steadied herself and smiled at Clarus in thanks for his assistance.

Clarus gave a wry smile back. "I'm sure this will be the last door trying to drain away at your magic, Stella."

"This place feels… nice." Crowe said. She had stepped past the metallic doors and was looking around, pointing her flashlight down into another dark hallway.

"Was that sarcasm, Miss Altius?" Clarus questioned as he walked to stand beside her, peering into the dark hall as well.

"Sir, with all due respect. Please call me Crowe," The Glaive replied with a twitch. "And no. I really do mean it feels peaceful… Like the first time I felt Lucian magic in my veins."

There was a bit of grief in Crowe's voice and Stella wanted nothing more than to get the Crystal back so that she could grant her at least a piece of the powers she had once wielded. Crowe loved magic. She had been a natural with Lucian magic; wielding it as if she was of the royal bloodline herself. It had always amazed Stella how precisely her friend could manipulate the magic that had been bestowed to her. It had taken the princess years before she could have feasibly been able to achieve the level of control Crowe had managed to achieve in mere months.

Stella pursed her lips in silent frustration and reached for her friend's arm in comfort. Crowe gave her a brief smile in return before composing herself with a deep breath.

"Well, let's see what's in this deep, dark cave of mystery." Crowe smirked and gamely walked into the dark tunnel.

Stella smiled and followed suite, Clarus once again bringing up the rear, curiously looking around. The only blonde took note of the carvings along the stone walls. Many of them resembled the carvings of the Old Wall in Insomnia, but the deeper they went in she could only see the barest resemblance. It made Stella curious as to when the underground tunnel was built.

She had always loved learning the history of Eos; it was the backstory of the game she had loved as Alice, after all. The rich history of the Lucian Kings and the former great city of Solheim had been something Stella had taken the time to study thoroughly. Even though her knowledge was a little rusty what with her being more occupied with her plans and life, she could still remember that the Tomb of the Wise was built by his wife. There was no mention in the history books she knew of about an underground passage but Regis had known about it. That would mean that somehow, the Kings of Lucis had passed down the information about the underground passage only to the Kings.

Stella both anticipated and dreaded the information she would unearth in these ruins. The circumstances of her reincarnation had been pushed away in her mind in favor of trying to prevent or minimize the disasters she knew of. It had always been nothing more than a nagging curiosity. The prospect of actually getting some answers was… downright terrifying.

Was she a fluke? Was her reincarnation purposeful? Did some sort of higher being decided she would be good entertainment? So many possibilities, so little answers. Answers that might even save Noctis and Luna.

Hope blossomed in her heart at the thought. Since the day she had accepted her place in this world, saving Noctis and Luna had been her goal. Everything else she did, she did as her duty as princess and as a friend. But saving Noctis and Luna? That was her life's mission as his older sister. She wanted him to live past his fate, to have children and rule Lucis as he should. She wanted him to be happy and alive.

Even if it meant her death.

The trio arrived at another door. This one similar to entrance of the Royal Tombs. Stella sighed, seeing no key hole but the Royal family's insignia instead. Already knowing what to expect, Stella raised her hand and let her fingers brush against the stone carving. Her magic trickled out and the door opened slowly, creaking with disuse.

Taking a deep breath, the royal princess entered her forebear's tomb. It was almost identical to all the other Royal Tombs but… a painted portrait sat where a statue of a priestess should have been. The portrait was of a dark haired woman, fair skinned with electric blue eyes. She was wearing the official royal raiment and was smiling softly. Under the portrait was a plate with carved writing. Stella could not make it out from the entrance and walked into the tomb, approaching the portrait.

The closer she got to the painting, the heavier her shoulders felt. As if an invisible pressure was pushing down on her. It wasn't bad but she could still feel it weighing down on her. She heard Crowe and Clarus stop at the sarcophagus but didn't pay too much attention to it. The plate below the painting was covered in dust, making the carved name hard to see. Raising a hand, she tried to wipe at the dust. It was a bit better but she still couldn't make out the carving.

"Here, try this." Clarus interrupted, holding out a wet tissue.

Nodding in thanks, Stella used the tissue to wipe at the plate. She noted that it was made out of actual real gold and frowned. Gold were normally used by the Nox Fleurets as the Lucis Caelum line preferred using silver or platinum. Finishing up wiping the plate, she tried to make out the almost faded carvings.

Sperantia Lucis Caelum
0568 - 0578 F.E.

Stella blinked. Sperantia? She had never heard of that name before. Considering her last name, she must have been one of the royal family, but she had never even stumbled across the name before. Also, the Founding Era?! How in the Underworld did this survive so long?

"Hey, Clarus. Do you know if of my ancestors bore the name Sperantia?" She asked, showing him the nameplate.

Clarus furrowed his eyebrows in thought. "I cannot recall… It is a rather unique name, though…"

Oh she knew it was. Just like most of the royal family, the name was predominantly Latin. Latin was the language used in the Ancient Era and later on the Founding Era. It was only halfway through the Founding Era did the language evolve to English. Though none of it was called Latin or English here. Latin was the Old Tongue; English was the Common Tongue.

Even so, mostly only the royal family and those associated with them used Latin words or phrases as names. And even then, Sperantia was a rare name to have in the royal family. It was a little superstition that the name of the child decided their fates. There were many in the past that were named Lux because parents had wanted their child to be the True King. Noctis was probably one of the few to be named such because it meant 'Night', which was mostly associated with the darkness of the scrouge and rarely used. She knew her parents had named her little brother that because they had hoped he would not be the True King.

Even her own name, Stella that meant 'Star' embodied her parents hope that she would have nothing to do with the prophecy. They had only hoped she would be the guide and ruler for the Kingdom, like how sailors had once used stars to guide them.

Sperantia meant 'Hope'. And it was a rather great burden to bear such a name when you were born into the Lucis Caelum line. Stella wondered who the woman truly was and why was her tomb buried underneath the Tomb of the Wise.

"Stella, take a look at this." Crowe's voice drew Clarus and Stella's attention. The Glaive was crouching and looking under the sarcophagus.

"What is it, Crowe? Another carving?" Stella questioned as she hastened to Crowe's side and knelt beside her.

"No… It looks like some sort of puzzle…"

"A puzzle?" Stella repeated, feeling bewildered. She leaned her head as Crowe moved away to see it better.

There was a shape missing from the carved design. The design did seem awfully familiar, though. Like she had seen it somewhere before. She traced the empty shape, trying to see if she could recognize it. Clarus came and leaned down to see it as well, squinting his eyes in the low light.

"Is that not… the map of Eos?"

Stella froze.

"But… Insomnia seems to be the missing shape."

Green eyes flashed down to her wrist, where the charm bracelet her father had gifted her lay. Among the charms of stars, snow, fire, carbuncle and skulls, there was this one charm Regis had said had been passed down through the generations. A smooth stone carving the shape of a miniature Insomnia.

A perfect fit for the puzzle in front of them.

Shakily, Stella removed the charm from her bracelet, ignoring the way Clarus and Crowe had turned to her curiously. Carefully, she fitted the small charm into the empty shape and pushed it in.


A box fell in her hands. The box was beautiful. The box itself was made out of smooth stone, the same material used to make the past Kings sarcophagus. She could feel the carvings of the map of Eos pressing against her palm and briefly admired the delicate craftsmanship. The lid was made of ebony wood with the royal insignia burned in gold in the center. The initials S.L.C. waspainstakingly painted in flecks of gold graced below the familiar logo.

Anticipation, dread, curiosity and wonder flew through her. What would she find in this box? Would the answer to her questions finally be answered? Who was this Sperantia person and how would she have information on her reincarnation?

Preparing herself, she lifted the lid slowly. Dust came out and she coughed as she waved her hand in front of her.

"What is it?" Clarus asked after she finally calmed down. He was smiling, amused at her as she stared in disdain at the open box.

"A scroll, but there better be no more dust when I take it out, ugh." Stella muttered and Crowe snickered at her.

Taking the small scroll inside carefully, she placed the box down on the sarcophagus. The scroll was yellow with age but held up pretty well still. It was tied with a musty black cloth with the royal insignia embroidery on the ends. But what caught her attention was the writing in one corner.

To the reincarnation.

She knew she would find something about her reincarnation. What she didn't expect was to see writing in English. Actual English and not the greecian lookalike Common Tongue that was home to this world.

She had not been the only reincarnation in this world.

"Could you two leave the room for a bit?" Stella asked, her voice shaky.

"Stella?" Crowe called her name in concern but she didn't want Crowe to know. Not yet.

"Please?" The blonde pleaded, her eyes wide. "I'll tell you later, I swear. But right now… Please, Crowe,"

Clarus furrowed his eyebrows at her in concern but nodded slowly in assent. He lightly grasped Crowe's elbow and she looked at him defiantly.

"There are certain things that sometimes only a leader must know first before informing their fellows, Miss Altius." Clarus advised and Crowe deflated with a grimace. "Let us go,"

The two left the tomb to wait in the dusty hallway and Stella turned back to the scroll in her hands. Slowly, carefully, she untied the cloth holding the scroll rolled it out.

To the reincarnation,

When darkness veils the world,
The King of Light will come.

Seems familiar? It should. This is new though.
I hope it will give you the answers you need.

When darkness veils the world,
Heart of people, heart of blood,
The Night's blade will live again,
May Light reign whole in Dawn.

Remember Reddit? Seek the grave of Fire and Light to save those unfair deaths.
Long live the King of Light. Let them know happiness in Life.

Love you, best friend.

- Sperantia Lucis Caelum (Elouise Maxwell)

"Elouise Maxwell…" Stella repeated. She knew that name from Before. From her time as Alice. Elouise had been Alice's friend. She too had died in the school shooting that had killed Alice, shot to death as she attempted to shield the younger kids behind her.

Elouise had been the one to introduce Alice to Final Fantasy.

And the prophecy… It was different from the prophecy she knew of. This was new. She supposed the Light reign whole was the premonition of Noctis bringing back the dawn. But what about the rest? Heart of people, heart of blood? The Night's blade? Live again? Was there some sort of weapon that Elouise had created?

Stella stopped.

To save an unfair death, long live the King of Light. Let them know happiness in Life.

Unfair deaths. Noctis and Luna. Alice and Elouise had always bemoaned the unfairness of their roles. To know happiness only in death? It had appalled them. So many times they had imagined headcanons where both Luna and Noctis had lived, where they could have children and be happy with all their friends and family.

Could Elouise – Sperantia truly have created a weapon that could banish the darkness and save Noctis and Luna?


There was a way. There was a way! Stella grinned as she clutched the scroll to her chest. She could save Noctis! Luna! Her little brother and future sister in law would live! Feeling deliriously happy, she laughed. Loud and long and happy.

She could save them!

But how could she get that weapon?

Reddit. Grave of Fire and Light.

Stella desperately searched through Alice's memories, looking for the meaning to those words. Reddit. Reddit was a forum thing on the internet. Huge place with loads of fans posting anything and everything relevant to the game. Alice and Elouise often posted and read theories about the game there, fangirls of the plot they were. So something about that? Grave of Fire and Light, what was that referring to?


The theory of Pitioss Ruins. The love story of Ifrit and Eos. Fire and Light. Their graves would be… Rock of Ravatogh.

Hope burned in her chest and she couldn't stop smiling. For years she had looked for a way. For years she tried to keep the dwindling hope alive. And she finally found it. She sent a prayer of thanks to Sperantia, to Elouise. Elouise had always been one to take the first step in everything. Even in her second life, she did the same thing. She had found a way to save the True King. In consequence, she could save her little brother now. 'Hope' she was indeed. Determination and light shined in Stella's green eyes. She had a way, she just had to find out how now.

Next stop, Rock of Ravatogh.