Chapter I: Truth

This is a fantasy based on reality.

"The world will fall into a sea of darkness forevermore. Etro, the goddess who waits upon those who pass through the gate to their afterlife, shall awake from long slumber and bring due mercy to those who all must experience death as she did." - Unknown

"Prince Noctis," his attendant beckoned to him.

Noctis could not stop staring at the brand on his forearm with his wide blue eyes. It wasn't until he heard his name again a second time was he snapped out of his daze. "Huh?"

"Dinner is served, Highness."

"Oh okay." He walked out of his room, trying to sneak peeks at his brand as he walked to the dining room where his father, King Regis waited for him.

Sitting down at the table across his father, Noctis took light sips at his green soup. It tasted like vegetables, his least favorite food. He paused in his stare down of the offending meal and looked up at the sky through the windows. A harsh light, not like the sun, flashed before his eyes. He blinked, and felt a small burn in his forearm.

Regis was quietly whispering to one of his advisors until he took note of his son staring at his brand. "Noctis?" he asked.

"Hmm?" The young boy looked up, blowing a strand of his blue-black hair out of his eyes.

"Not going to touch your food?"

The boy put his spoon down. "It's awful."

"Ah, but you mustn't say so, lest the cook be sent away," Regis took a large spoonful of the soup. Swallowing, he faked gagging, sticking his tongue out with faux disgust. His tongue had changed green.

Noctis smiled. According to all who had been bare witness, the Prince always gave off an infectious smile. He took a spoonful of the green soup, bearing the terrible taste out of respect.

King Regis sat down at his place at the long table with his council. All of them, including the king himself wore black suits. The dim daylight shone through the windows high up the black polished room. At the King's left his Shield, Clarus Amicitia stood at attention. Sitting on his right is his attendant and main advisor. Regis knew that this meeting concerned the treaty proposed by Niflheim, and it wasn't going to be a pleasant talk. His eyes, just like all Lucian Royalty, turned red in reaction to his contained anger and worry at the hand dealt to him.

"We are losing this war Your Majesty. Lucis cannot rely on the Kingsglaive alone. Accepting the truce may be our best course of action," one council member said.

"You speak of Matters beyond the New Wall. We have no need of a truce here, as long as it stands. And if our position worsens we still have the King's power," another council member spoke.

"Yes, but this will end the fighting altogether. If only we could compromise-"

"Compromise is unwise. We know nothing of Niflheim's true intentions. Do not fool yourselves. The Wall is far from impenetrable." Clarus said.

Regis sat and thought of all he was hearing before giving his verdict.

"We have little choice in the matter. The paths left to us are far and few. We must accept their peace terms," the King spoke. His tone remained final. His council became silent. None shall dare question the King's absolute word.

I looked at my forearm as I leaned against the door to my father's council hall, trying to listen in. I was always an eavesdropper when I was a child.

"Who knows what he…?"

"Yes but we can…"

"A brand unlike…"

"He is…"

Lain on my forearm was an intricate arrow attached to two circles at the end. The marking's white color starkly contrasted against my pale skin. It appeared there suddenly a week ago and I didn't know why.

I heard my father speak. "Enough. We must observe the brand and see how…"

"Prince Noctis," a gruff voice spoke behind me. I turned around to see Gladio with his neat and tidy uniform and half-shaven hair standing there, arms crossed. "I know you like your mischief and eavesdropping but you're late to practice."

"Oh. I'm sorry." I looked at the door again and then my brand before walking forward. I looked up to see brief surprise on Gladio's face, his eyes darting to my brand.

He wasn't sure how to respond to my situation with my brand. "Well um, let's go. I want to see if you can last a few more seconds before falling on your butt."

I pouted, "I can last forever if I wanted to."

He laughed, "Sure, sure Your Highness."

The mark on my forearm was easily forgotten, if only for a small amount of time.

"Noct?" Prompto looked at my arm in concern. My high school uniform sleeve had accidentally been pushed up.

"Hmm?" I looked to my chocobo haired friend.

He pointed to my forearm. "What is that?"

My white brand was in full view for him to see. "Just my brand," I reply nonchalantly.

"Why is it white Noct?"

I shrugged, "It's been like that since I was a kid." The white brand usually meant there was no task for me to complete, not yet anyways.

I was thankful for Prompto dropping the subject and talking about King's Knight. I couldn't help but think about my brand after that. Why is it even there if it doesn't have a focus for me? Who even put it there in the first place?

"Prince Noctis," I vaguely heard in my sleep. No, whatever it was, it can wait. More sleep for me please.

"Prince Noctis," I heard again. Go away; do not disturb the prince who wanted more sleepy time.

"Prince Noctis," Cor spoke to me in a louder voice, shaking me awake from slumber completely.

"Hmm," I nodded my head slightly, eyes groggy from no sleep. I was woken up in the middle of the night right before dawn and dragged out to my own car by Cor. He refused to tell me why I was dragged out of my soft, comfortable bed, or where we were going.

"We will be there soon."

"Oh. Where?"

"You'll see."

I looked out the window, spotting the Citadel in the distance. At the checkpoint exit out of the Crown City a Kingsglaive greeted us, nodding at Cor and letting us through the gate.

We drove and drove till we were out of Insomnia and into the outskirts of Lucis, going past Hammerhead Outpost and towards the middle of nowhere near a cave. He parked the car in front of said cave. "We've arrived."

I get out and stare at the creepy cave entrance. In most video games that was the number one spot for a bonus end-game boss to hide out in. I was not about to go in there.

"Cor? Why are we here? In front of a rather dark cave that I am sure is home to a big Cie'th?" I asked him.

"I am showing you something that you will need once the time calls for it. Upon graduation from your studies in high school usually the next in line for the throne takes a rite of passage with their most trusted servants. They go around Lucis collecting the Royal Arms of the Lucian royalty, buried with them in a tomb. This place is such a sight. But with the war with Niflheim being extra vicious these past few years your father and I thought it was best to postpone it. When Niflheim comes to sign the treaty we want you to undergo the rite afterwards."

I wasn't expecting to be given all this info about past kings and rites of passage. Is there anything else about being king that I don't know about yet? Answer: Yes. "A rite of passage? So how many Royal arms are there?"

"Legend says there are 12 but one was lost to history. Your father only collected 11, as did his father before that, and his father before that."

"So all these arms Dad has access to?"


I thought having access to the Crystal was enough power. "Why tell me now instead of when I was 18?"

"It was best you didn't worry about it too much. Like your l'Cie brand it isn't incredibly consequential at the time for more pressing matters needed addressing first. The war came first."

"And now that's over I can take this rite,"

"Precisely. I do not know what will happen after the treaty is signed but I know that you must take this rite as future King."

I mentally winced at the very mention of me becoming king in the future. Dad wasn't going to die soon. He was perfectly healthy.

"So this is why you dragged me out here so early in the morning."

Cor laughed. "I thought the fresh morning air would do the Prince some good."

I yawned.

"Dad? Can I ask you something?" I stood in the doorway of my dad's office, looking at the white brand on my forearm. It was on my 9th birthday that I was branded. For the past week no matter who I asked what a L'Cie was, they refused to tell me. I only had one person left to ask.

"Yes Noctis?"

His voice always soothed my anxiety, even now when I had a very pressing question on my mind. "What is a l'Cie?"

I looked up to see his eyes wide. He put his pen down. "Leave us," he gestured the guards away. They left, closing the door behind them.

My father had a rather intimidating presence about him. The way he sat, stood, brushed his hair back, and commanded all beneath him. But to me, he was always Dad. His intimidation never affected me. He was always firm with me, but never raised his voice once. And as all his subjects, I obey without much question.

He stood up from his desk and walked over to me. Holding out his hand, I took it, feeling the metal of his two rings on my hand. He led me to the wide window seats. The view of Insomnia was beautiful. You could probably see the outer wall.

"May I see your arm Noctis?" he asked me. I held it out for him. He ran his fingers over it, analyzing the white blur. "Your mark is the brand of a l'Cie. You of course understand this. Now Noct, a l'Cie is a being who is tasked with a focus, or a mission to complete. You are a l'Cie, as am I."

I raised an eyebrow. "You are?"

He nodded as he pushed his right sleeve of his suit up. On his arm was his white brand, but it was a different shape than mine. It had a skull with feathers fanning out: the symbol of Lucis. "As King I have a focus to always choose what is best for Lucis. But of course I was branded when I took the throne. You Noctis have a different brand not unlike the Insomnia fal'Cie," he pushed his sleeve back up to cover his brand once more. "Each fal'Cie has a different design based on their brands. I was branded by the Lucian fal'Cie. You've seen others with the Lucian brand, yes?" I nodded. "You have also been turned into l'Cie early. Your mark is white because you cannot complete your given focus currently."

"Oh. What is my focus then?"

He gave me a very forced smile, placing his hand on my shoulder. "You will know when the time calls for it. However, a black brand means the clock has begun ticking and you must complete your focus within that time. Now Noct, you are just you, no matter what brand you have on your arm or what title you're addressed."

I nodded in understanding. "What happens if I succeed?"

Dad sighed. "You are granted immortality."

"And what if I fail?"

He hesitated before speaking. "You are doomed to become a Cie'th, the very same monsters that attacked you." He stood up. "It is best for you to know of l'Cie but do not dwell on it my son. You do not have a focus to complete at the present. Let us focus on more pressing issues."

I was no longer just a human. I realized that that day. I am a l'Cie, doomed either way. What my dad didn't tell me was that eternal life consisted of being a crystal statue. Being an l'Cie was a fate worse than death.

I never cared for formal titles, unless it was from people I didn't like. Prompto likes to call me Noct, as does Dad. But Ignis and Gladio always address me as Prince Noctis, or even Your Highness, even when we're alone away from the eyes and ears of Dad or his council. Even Prompto would use formal titles when in the presence of others.

I wanted to be just me: Noctis. No Lucis Caelum to symbolize my status as Lucian royalty. No l'Cie brand to mark me as special, especially since my brand is unique to any other brand out there. And I certainly don't want to be Noctis: the guy who can see people die.

I pleaded to Etro to explain things but she remained silent. Thanks Etro.

The treaty was to be signed tonight between Niflheim and Lucis, to finally end the war. I knew it was very fishy when Chancellor Ardyn Izunia came into the Citadel asking for peace, and Dad must've thought the same. He told me to find an excuse to not be in the palace tonight. But I wanted to be there for the signing. He relented and allowed me to stay.

Ambassadors from Accordo, Solheim and Tenebrae were to be there as well as Niflheim. The Prince of Tenebrae was currently the favorite of Emperor Aldercapt of Niflheim. Well, good for him I supposed. Not that it matters much since Tenebrae are enemies of Lucis, and it had been like that for a long while.

I left the spar secession with Gladio with my butt severely kicked, my mind wandering on other things.

"The Prince who gets his butt handed to him." Gladio laughed, slapping my shoulder roughly. I would never get used to his strength, possibly ever.

I cleaned up in the shower, throwing on my favorite black shirt and cargo pants. Entering my bedroom I noticed a white letter on my silk bed. It was sealed with the crest of Tenebrae royalty. Tentatively I slowly peel open the letter. How did it even get here in the first place? Inside was glossy white paper, the script in elegant strokes of the finest pen. Only one person could have written this.

Lord Noctis Lucis Caelum of Lucis,

I hope I am not intervening on your plans tonight but I wish to speak with you at the top of The 13th Tower this evening. I thought you might want some place to clear your head during the treaty signing.

-Princess Stella Nox Fleuret of Tenebrae

This had to be a trap. But something told me it really wasn't. It has been ten years since I last saw Stella Nox Fleuret, and we got along as children, if only for a brief amount of time.

The Crownsguard would want to escort me no doubt. I didn't want them there though. The Prince skipping the signing of a treaty between warring nations, imagine the scandal. At least Dad got his request.

One person had to know where I was. I would of course tell Dad but Cor, Drautos or any of the Crownsguard would surely insist on escorts. Ignis and Gladio would think this meeting be foolish too. That leaves Prompto, my best friend.

I grabbed my phone and auto-dialed Prompto, quickly running over to my closet to grab nice clothing.

"Yo Noct what's up?" answered Prompto. I dig through my clothes trying to find my suit.

"Hey Prompto. I need to do something tonight and I need you to keep it a secret,"

"What? What is it?"

"Princess Stella of Tenebrae wants to meet with me, tonight, at the 13th Tower,"

"During the signing? I don't know Noct...What if it's a trap?"

"That's why I am telling you and only you about this, in case something goes awry. Promise me you won't tell Ignis and Gladio."

"Alright man. I have to go to the palace tonight anyways. Uh Iggy wanted to discuss something."

"Thank you Prompto. I will see you later," I hung up, finally finding my dry cleaned suit. It bore similarities to what Dad wore, and I am sure if I dress less than formal for a princess I would get an earful from him.

Changing clothes, I look to my fatigues. A part of me knew I would possibly need them. The sense of doom lingered over Insomnia. I never trusted Niflheim. But I cannot help but think why Dad would accept their treaty terms. It was too fishy.

Only a couple more hours till sundown arrived. I make sure my arsenal of weapons was within my reach, among other things. I quietly sneak out of my room, expecting the glaive to be guarding nearby but none were around. That was odd.

I arrived at my father's office. I entered past the guards. Sitting in his chair he wasn't writing, his hand upon his forehead in deep thought.

"Dad?" I spoke to him.

He snapped out of his thoughts and looked up, smiling at me. "Noct. You look quite like a king."

I was no king. I didn't want to think of the implications that come with me being king. "Hmmph I don't feel like it." I brushed off.

He shook his head. "Oh Noctis. Your tie is not done correctly." He stood up and began fixing my tie. I slouched slightly, rolling my eyes. "A king shouldn't tie his own tie that is usually what servants do," he lectured.

"Then how come you know how to tie a tie?"

"My father claimed the servants never get it right so he showed me in the event a servant doesn't do it correctly. I suppose all those times I have shown you have been lost on your day dreaming head." He finished tightening it and stepped back. "Now you really look like a king." His eyes turned red for a brief second then went back to blue. "Now Noct, why are you here? Dressed like this?"

"Well the treaty signing is tonight, must dress to impress our Niflheim guests."

"Indeed. But I can't help but think you won't be there."

"I was invited to a meeting with the Princess of Tenebrae."

"Diplomatic meeting?"

"You could say that."

"I hope you mind your manners around our guest from Tenebrae."

"As do you for our Niflheim guests. And here I thought you would protest me going out alone on tonight of all nights."

"It would be best if you were not here during the signing. I would rather I deal with the Niflheim Empire myself."

My arm started burning. I gasp from the searing pain. Dad's eyes widened. "Noctis please, let me see your brand, quickly now."

My shaking hand roughly pulled the sleeve up on my arm. My brand was no longer faded and white. It was sharp black. Fear rushed my veins. The timer has begun ticking. I had a focus to complete. The pain quickly faded away, leaving a horrifying sight. 12 years after it appeared on my arm and now it began working as intended.

"Why now?" I whispered to myself.

"Noctis…" Dad had no words. The both of us only stood in silence. My dad couldn't look at my brand while all I could do was stare at it. He reached out to touch it but I yanked my hand away.

"Don't touch," I hissed, covering up my brand. His hand froze in place and I looked up to see the pain shown on his face. I hadn't realized at all he was possibly watching his son suffer the terrible fate of being a l'Cie come to reality. "Sorry, Dad."

He placed his lingering hand on my shoulder. "Remember this Noctis. No matter what shall happen, you are always Noctis, and you can and will be the man you want to be. I will always be proud of you. Walk tall, my son."

"I...I will. Thanks Dad."

He gave me another smile. "Now then, it's nearly sundown we both have places to be."

I nearly forgot about Stella. "Right. I will see you later Dad." I quickly turn around and leave his office, quietly closing the door behind me. I look around and see only the main Crownsguard, no Glaives out on patrols. That was incredibly odd but it gave me the most leeway with sneaking out without Cor or Clarus or even Drautos on my case.

The only way I can leave the palace undetected was through the car garage, in the basement. And I had already squandered enough time as it is. I ran as quietly as I could through the glossy black marble walls of the palace. In my haste however I ran into a guy who too was running, towards the throne room no doubt. I stumbled backwards, watching as the guy rubbed his forehead while leaning against the wall.

"Your Highness forgive me," he apologized. "I was in a rush."

"No sweat man its fine. I was rushing too." I look at his uniform and recognize the Kingsglaive crest on his robe. The first Glaive I have seen all day. "You're a Glaive yes?"

"Yes, Your Highness. Nyx Ulric. I have important news to deliver to your father."

"Glaive business?"

"You could say that."

"You're the first Glaive in the palace that I have seen all day."

Nyx raised an eyebrow at that information. "Really? That's telling."

"I would go with you to see what all this is about but I have very important business to attend to."

"Understandable Your Highness. Good evening," he bowed then rushed off. It wasn't just me who found the lack of glaives around an oddity. If Stella's meeting wasn't so pressing I definitely would have seen what Nyx had to say to Dad. I was sure Dad can handle it though.

Continuing on I slipped into basement, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The car garage was full, some people driving in but none of the Kingsglaive. My old man's car, the Regalia was nowhere in sight. I moved towards the pedestrian entrance and exit out the door onto the sidewalk. Twilight has arrived. All guards were stationed at the front entrance to the palace, to greet our supposed guests from Niflheim, and pacify the crowd of Insomnia citizens who are glad the war is ending.

I was there watching the glaives when they were first training to use warp-strike for the first time. Many of them got sick or disoriented. One guy even had warped out of their clothes. I was able to hear their chatter. Most glaives were from outer provinces that were taken by Niflheim, and they were very vocal about it.

"They only have us here just because we can use the crystal better than any other Insomnia citizens. How sad."

"And we're fighting for a King who hides behind a wall and his servants."

"Teh. We'd all be thrown to the streets if we weren't magical. At least we're not L'Cie,"

"I heard they induct you into the King's inner circle by bran-"

"Prince Noctis, your personal training session is in five minutes," an attendant informed me before I could hear any more from the glaives.

Walking through the streets of Insomnia without anyone at my side felt...Alien. Even when it was just Prompto and I in high school, I always knew Dad had someone trailing me from a distance. This time I truly was on my own.

The sun was setting very quickly. The 13th Tower was only a few blocks away, but it would be night by the time I arrived. The streets were empty for save a few cars parked on the sides or passing by. The lights and signs lit up as the sun dipped below the horizon. Many shops were closed or idle due to the treaty signing. They usually open up once night has settled. Insomnia rarely sleeps.

I found myself at the front of 13th Tower. The entrance had golden handles and ivory polish on the door. However, it was no Citadel. The rich citizens of Insomnia gathered here to celebrate the signing with wearing expensive simple outfits and drinking a bottle of wine that costs 10,000 gil.

Entering, I used the elevator to ascend to the top of the tower. The very top was an open space with floor to roof windows to take in the magnificent view of Insomnia. A small set of stairs led up to the main gathering area. I got some odd stares as I climbed the stairs. I ignored their gazes, internally laughing at their reactions to seeing their Prince out and about, unguarded of tonight of all nights. Then I paused briefly, seeing the light of a dying person. It happens on occasion, and rarely is it pleasant. It usually means someone died but I did not know them to see their dying breath.

Standing alone away from the crowd was a woman of my age dressed in white. Her blonde locks starkly contrasted against the typically dark haired population of Lucis. She has not changed much from when we were children.

Stella Nox Fleuret stood in front of the painting of Etro, patron goddess of Lucis. The artistic marvel was being held up by a reaper of death. Many have tried to depict the goddess herself, this painting was said to be the one to come closest, or so they say.

"Princess Stella Nox Fleuret," I greeted her. She turned to face me. Her big wide violet eyes bore into mine.

"Hello Lord Noctis Lucis Caelum," she responds in a soft voice. "I am glad you accepted my invitation. Many others would think it is a trap."

"I must admit, Your Highness that I initially thought it was a trap. But I have little reason to doubt you." I tried to be eloquent, as Specs would say. Huh. This was easier than I anticipated.

"Or maybe your good judgment escaped you, Lord Noctis," she ribbed at me, a teasing tone in her words.

For some strange reason my heartbeat accelerated briefly. "It appears it has. If I may ask why did you ask for this meeting?"

"So I get the chance to talk to you before everything changes. Destiny is a very fickle thing. We all play a part in it, regardless if we are aware or not. The treaty signing tonight is...A catalyst of some sorts."

"Isn't your brother Ravus part of Emperor Aldercapt's inner circle?"

"Yes. He is at the meeting right now. By extension, I am also a part of...The Empire, as is dictated by the rules of Tenebrae forging a treaty themselves. Ravus said we have to help the Empire, and so I do my part." She walked up closer to the painting of Etro. I followed suit, curious about the small details of the depiction. The painting was mostly in blues, greys, and whites, Etro herself wearing flowing clothing. "You can see the light, can't you Lord Noctis? I can too."

It wasn't just me then. I felt the sudden urge to walk away from the touchy subject. I try to shuffle away and Stella took note and walked beside me.

"Just now, what you were seeing from the staircase below was that light," she informed me. It was like she could read my mind. Even more weird was that she too can see it.

"I guess so...Since when could you see it?"

"Since I was a child."

"As I thought, did you almost die?" I asked. It was only when I suffered a near-death experience twelve years ago then I could see the light.

"Yes...You too, Lord Noctis?"

I hesitated. "It was a really bad situation."

"The Goddess Etro greets the souls of the deceased and opens the door to the afterlife. When that door opens, the released souls burst out in a streak of light that ascends to Heaven. However very few people are able to see that light. Those who can see the light are given power from the realm of the death. At least, that's the Tenebrae legend."

"But, it's the same here too."

"Lord Noctis, have you been granted that power?"

"Not at all...I don't need such a power. I have enough power for the moment." The crystal powers me enough as it is, and then this weird brand on my arm isn't helping anything.

"Is that so? Even though it's such an amazing power, you need to sacrifice someone to get it. Surely, it would be like a nightmare."

Now that was a terrifying thought. "Yeah...It's just a silly fairy tale. Still, it'd be a good idea not to talk to anybody about the light."

"Why is that?"

I sat down on a sofa. "Being different from others…Isn't it kinda troublesome?"

"But if the Tenebraeian legend is just a fairy tale, then that light...What do you think it really is?"

"It's...just something that's there. Isn't that enough?"

"Perhaps. It's complicated though. Not everything is as it seems. Nothing is simple. There is no such thing as good or bad, but thinking makes it so." She looks straight up at the ceiling, shuffling her feet a little. "Your people of Lucis thrive on the night because of the meaning. Etro, goddess of death. You favor her above Lindzei and Pulse, gods favored by Solheim, Tenebrae and Accordo. Niflheim favors none, believing that the gods stole their crystal. The people of Insomnia seem to enjoy their time before they reach the end of life, am I correct?"

"Yes, it seems so."

"Yet it is...Complexly paradoxical. Humans fear death yet it is an inevitable. Even Etro suffered death. I ask you Prince Noctis, do you fear dying?"

Being once inches from death once I can give a certain answer. "Yes..."

"Interesting answer. I have to go, Lord Noctis." She looked up at the night sky. "I feel as if I was granted the power of that light tonight. I was able to talk with you, even for a brief amount of time."

"Stella...Call me 'Noct'. And...You'll probably get nightmares you know?" I tease.

She smiled. "That was mean of you, Lord Noctis."


"I'll call you that next time we meet. Come to Tenebrae sometime, I'll show you around, now that the treaty ended the war."

"That sounds interesting. I'll think about it."

She quickly walked away, leaving me to stare at the outside. The sky was clear, the stars cutting through the deepest darkest blue. But Stella...she was an enigma. I wasn't sure what to make of her or her words. She certainly has changed since we were children.

Wait, airships are closing in on the palace. Only Niflheim has airships of that design.

It suddenly clicked. The treaty was nothing but a farce to get behind enemy lines. Insomnia was under siege.

The building shook beneath me. Screams of people flooded my ears. I run towards the direction of the screams and see an airship crashed into the side of the building. Magitek troopers poured out of the door, pointing their guns at people but not shooting. The citizens ran off, panic setting in. I walked into the MTs point of view and I could hear a loud click. They were to shoot me in particular: only one thing to do.

I summoned my sword into my grasp and immediately threw it at the nearest trooper in my line of sight. My body immediately materialized next to the MT, my hand curling around the handle of my sword and ripping it out of the MT's shoulder. I slice down the next MT, and then another before they can even shoot their weapons.

When I struck one down another took its place. I think twenty MTs surrounded me. The odds were not in my favor. I threw my sword at the wall of the center of the tower, warping out of their reach. I pull my blade out of the wall and rolled out of their gun point.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. I cringed as I pull it out, knowing exactly who it was. "Yeah?" I flinched at the bullets hitting the core wall of the tower.

"Noct, where are you?" The calm and collected voice of Ignis asked.

"Still inside the 13th Tower. I assume Prompto told you everything?"

"Yes he did. People down here are fleeing in panic. What is going on up there?"

"They're shooting at me, the MTs."

"Get out of that tower; we'll meet you at the bottom. Be careful."

He hung up. I knew I was in for a lecture later. I had to get out of this death trap…

Stella had led me into a trap. I was such an idiot.

The MTs only wanted me. If I flee the tower they will leave the citizens alone. My only exit was outside the windows. The lights were everywhere, fast but fleeting. I was half blind but I had no choice. I run out from cover and as soon as I could see the roof of the nearest building I threw my sword at it. This was going to hurt.

Never in my life had I traveled such a far distance with warp-strike before. Upon landing on the concrete I stumbled forward, my hand not releasing the sword fast enough and I slam my free hand down to catch myself. If I don't die from this entire ordeal Gladio will find this particular part amusing.

I stood myself up properly and summon my sword away. Surveying the area below, people poured out of the tower and off to the side was Prompto, Ignis, and Gladio. I quickly summon a dagger and throw it at the lamppost near them. I materialized up high on the lamppost, dangling from the handle. I safely drop down and put the blade away.

"Noctis," said a very familiar proper voice. I inwardly groan as I turn to face Ignis and Gladio. Prompto stood behind them, sheepishly twiddling his thumbs. I can imagine the reactions he got when he had to tell them their Prince was in another tower.

"Hey Specs, did I miss anything?" I said nonchalantly.

"It was very foolish of you to leave the palace without telling anyone besides Prompto,"

"I know that now."

"You're lucky you aren't seriously injured. But you are here now; we need to make our way to the Citadel."

This cannot be good. "Why? What are the Niffs after?"

"My guess is the Crystal. Niflheim has already waged war for crystals in Solheim, Tenebrae, and Accordo."

"Looks like my old man is on the lam then."

"Let's reach him before they do. There's another thing. Half of the Kingsglaive has betrayed Insomnia and the Crown, according to Cor at least."

My fist tightened up. "So we're short on people to protect the citizens and my old man. Great," I said through gritted teeth. This was probably why Nyx was in such a hurry earlier...

"It was too risky to drive here so we ran before Niflheim unleashed their massive MT army. If we are to get back in one piece we will have to fight."

"Fighting I can do. Let's go."

Gladio laughed. "Fight? You sure?"

"Absolutely Gladio."

"Just don't get super cocky please. We need our Prince to stay alive."

"Wait," Ignis pulled a small bundle of clothing out from a satchel. "As much as you look like a king in your current attire I think you would need something more versatile."

It was my favorite skull shirt and jacket, with cargo pants and combat boots. "Thank you Specs."

"You're welcome Noct."

For once they were suddenly calling me Noct.

"Go change quickly before the Niffs get here," Gladio said.

I change clothes quickly in semi-privacy and join my friends. With Dad dealing with the glaive traitors and Niflheim it was up to me to supply them with their weapons.

"Weapon test?" I ask. Ignis summoned daggers, Gladio a great sword, and Prompto a gun. Where Prompto learned to fire a gun or even get one I would have to ask later. "Good. See any Niffs around feel free to unleash hell on them. They will pay for invading Insomnia." For sure my eyes turn red from the rage I hold against Niflheim.

Prompto threw his fist up into the air. "Alright! Let's go! We have a king to save and a kingdom to protect."

We began our journey down the streets. Many buildings were being hit with attacks from the airships, citizens fled to the outside before running headlong into MTs. A few Glaives arrived on the scene.

"Your Highness! We were ordered by Cor to aid you. The larger buildings have been knocked down and you will have to go around." One soldier said, quickly bowing to me.

"Get all the citizens to safety. Underground if you can. We can fight the MTs ourselves." I confidently say.

"We can?" Prompto asked unease in his voice.

"If we are to get to the palace as soon as we can, we will have to go through a large amount of MTs," Ignis answered.

Gladio summoned his great sword. "Let's start hacking through them."

I turned to the Glaives. "You have your orders. Go; get everyone out of tall buildings and off the streets. Etro guide you."

They saluted to me. Man, being king seems...Rather easy in a crisis like this. Of course I am not king. I just want to help my old whenever I can.

Continuing on down the street we find the giant roadblock. The only choice is to go left and meander around the city. Clear the MTs and protect people. Sounds like that one video game about the kid with a key who does nothing but help people from the bad guys. Too bad this isn't a game.

We ran down the street to our left and find a horde of MTs in our way. I immediately throw my sword at the first one and warp-strike them in the head. Prompto aimed low and shot an MT in the leg. I jumped from the shoulders of the dead MT to the crippled one and stab my sword in. Gladio came in on the side of my eye and swept up a bunch with his great sword. Ignis summoned a lance to finish off the enemies I hit and run from. I hop from MT to MT, slamming my body weight into their shoulders and skulls.

When we cleaned out an entire horde of MTs more took their place. We would be fighting these guys forever.

"Noct! We need to devise a tactical retreat." Ignis shouted to me, stabbing his lance into an MT's leg.

I leapt to the side of the horde and summon my great sword to sweep them up. "You have any ideas guys?'

"What about your magic Noct?" Gladio asked, slicing down 4 MTs in front of him.

"Where am I-" I throw my dagger at a distant MT to catch them off guard. "Supposed to get magic to use?"

"That fire in that wreckage caused by the airship landing, Noct. You can use that." Ignis suggests.

"Wait what?" Prompto asked from the back of Ignis. "We gonna blow all this up?"

"Better cover your ears Prompto," answered Gladio.

"Oh boy."

I finish off the MT I was dealing with and warped over to the wreckage caused by the airship. Heat radiated out from the fire. Perfect. I use my great sword to knock down the surrounding MTs. Holding out my hand I absorb the flames into my palm, feeling the power of the crystal turn the fire into something much more deadly. I summon a flask into my free hand and pour all the fire into it. "Got it! Heads up everyone."

"Over here Noct! We have stairs up to the roofs down this alleyway." shouts Gladio.

I warped back to where Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto were, they holding off the horde just for a bit longer. I tossed the flask of magic up above the MTs. "Okay let's get out of here!" Scampering into the alleyway, I hear a very loud boom, the ground vibrating beneath my feet. We scrambled up the fire escape stairs up to the roof of the building. Prompto stumbled forward, not used to running so much.

"I think...We...Bought ourselves some time," Prompto gasped for air.

"We will have to move forward on the rooftops. The streets are either blocked or full of the enemy," Ignis observed.

"Sitting ducks in our own city, great," Gladio grunted.

"At least we can take care of the Niffs, but my old man…" I look into the direction of the Citadel. It was a ways away. I hadn't realized that I walked much further away than I thought.

"Aww Noct, he can handle himself just fine," Prompto leaned an arm on my shoulder. I nodded slightly.

"You're right. We can take care of ourselves and so can he," I tell mostly myself. Dad was probably dealing with the Niffs, but he was powerful. He would be fine.

The four of us proceeded to walk across the rooftops. Some MTs appeared but we dealt with them with ease. We reached a bridge over the highway.

"Noct look out!" Ignis warned me as I walked across the bridge. I froze in place. A massive explosion of fire and force from the highway threw a giant piece of concrete at the bridge. It landed 5 feet from me. MTs from higher buildings nearby attacked, and once again we fight.

The MTs were dead, and I leaned over, supporting my weight on my knees. This was vastly different from training.

"Are we dead?" Ignis asked.

"Maybe," Prompto answered, stretching his sore muscles in his arms.

"Nope, not yet," Gladio cracked his fingers.

"Noct?" Ignis noticed I was hunched over.

I stood up straight, yawning. "Does tired count?" I pull my phone out and right away I see it is midnight. What I would do for a nap right now.

"Sleepy head here has to stay awake till we get to the Citadel," Gladio ribs at me.

Not my problem that I liked sleep. A lot. Prompto and I would stay up till three in the morning playing video games then sleep most of the day. In Insomnia sleep was for the daylight. All this battle stuff though was wearing me out.

"To the Citadel, I guess," I responded.

Seeing the streets of Insomnia empty save for the enemy was unnerving. Once years ago I would walk these sidewalls to get to school, supposedly unguarded. Knowing Cor and Dad though they had some sort of high ranking spy in the Crownsguard keeping tabs on me from a distance.

Now all I see is barren sidewalks and the blood of the MTs on my hands.

It took us another few hours of wandering around the Crown City to finally see our chance to get inside the Citadel. The main entrance was swarming in MTs; Niflheim captured Cie'th and a general in high tech battle armor standing guard outside the gate.

"We will have to get inside past all that, but we are severely outmanned and outgunned." Gladio said as we observed the whole area from up above.

"Yes, getting in will be very difficult, and put our lives at risk," Ignis agreed.

"I don't suppose we can just toss another flask of fiery death in there, can we?" I chuckled at Prompto's suggestion.

"If only we had a source for that," I added. It sounded like a good idea but that giant behemoth and that guy in armor would suffer a punch to the face at most.

White hot pain shook me as I saw the light of someone dying before my eyes. I yelped in shock as the person seconds before they die.

It was Clarus Amicitia, the Shield to the King.

Hello! So this fic is based off ideas I got from both Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Versus XIII concepts, hence the title VS XIII (pronounced Versus XIII). Stella is in this fic but not Lunafreya, so this thing is going under the Versus XIII section. THIS IS NOT A LOYAL, TRUE TO NOMURA'S VISION FIC. This became its own thing and bores various similarities but it's not accurate to Nomura's vision completely. This fic is also trying to fix the issues I had with FF15 (I LOVE IT BY THE WAY. I DON'T HATE TABATA AND I DON'T BLAME NOMURA EITHER) Gotta get those disclaimers out of the way. FFXV is a great game but still suffers problems *coughitwasrushedcough*

I have a lot of trouble with tenses and proof reading things so please catch me if I mess up.

ANYWAYS if you have read so far thank you! This fic will be 13 chapters long and I will try to explain as much as I can but some plot elements from 15 will be removed to contain the story a little more and make things less complicated. The mythology borrows heavily from Fabula Nova Crystallis (of simply put Final Fantasy XIII's mythos)

Please leave a review and tell me what you think so far. ^_^ Thank you for reading!

EDIT 3-27-17: Fixed continuity errors and tenses.