The mischievous little Astral Carbuncle was practically bounding with limitless energy up and down the stairs, strewing the sylleblossom petals all over the steps. He was careful, however, not to obstruct the path of the groom and bride. Regis looks on proudly, Clarus and Nyx beside him. Jared Hester is there, along with the many who lost their lives to the Niflheim Empire. Lady Sylvia, across the aisle to the king, hooks her arm around Ravus' elbow and smiles at the approaching bride and groom. Ravus remains stoic, but there is a trace of a smiling dancing on his lips. The light had returned, showering the throne room with soft rays. All signs of the Starscourge were nowhere to be seen for the moment, at least.
Noctis, newly crowned, leads Lunafreya past the tapestry woven in his honor and up the steps to his throne. Applause erupts when he sits, Luna beside him. He takes out a photo, the last memorabilia from Prompto of their travels, and hands it to Luna.
She smiles at the group photo. She was smiling at Noctis smiling. Nothing else in that photo particularly spoke to her. In fact, she was a bit saddened by all the time they lost, being apart. Would the afterlife be able to make up for that?
Noctis takes off his gloves and runs his finger along his bride's face. She turns to him, placing the photo facedown, and smiles. It couldn't be any other way. The Oracle would stay by the king's side, even if she wasn't his betrothed. Pure faith and stupidity, child-like whimsy, really, had bought them together where reality tore them apart. Now, they could be at peace together … forever.
The two share a brief kiss. It was only so small. One would feel they sacrificed too much just for this little token. The ghosts disappear, at peace. Noctis and Luna begin to feel drowsy, as if they hadn't slept in years.
Luna rests her head atop her arms next to Noctis, who sleeps with his head propped up on his arm. Insomnia, finally asleep … finally the Chosen One is at peace, the Accursed vanquished … All the Kings and martyrs look on as the newlyweds fade away.
Pity they didn't notice the trace of night run after them.
At the gates of the Unseen Realm, there stood a tall door, one of the likes would encompass all the sky back in Eos. It's an intricate door, one emblazoned with gold and obsidian upon hinges of mythril. The metalwork masterfully weaves tales and prophecies of battles in far-flung with humanity and beasts and gods. Atop the arch of the door is the old ikon, one seen constantly from back in Noctis' palace, usually standing before the tall fish tank. Etro, with her hair splayed open and a hole in her abdomen, a depiction of her lovely corpse, watches now over the passage of souls to the beyond, to the Chaos. The Six, three on each side of the gate, look down upon two of the newest arrivals to which they were to receive: Noctis and Lunafreya.
Noctis and Luna look up to five of the six Astral with amity, having made their peace. All but Ifrit, the Infernian and Betrayer, nod back. Gentiana, or Shiva, the Glacean, gives a small smile to her former summoner. The newly married approach the grand gates and clasp each other's hands in baited breath as the doors to the afterlife groan to open.
A loud thud. The gates close. Suddenly, the ikon atop the gate glows and even the Six are all aflutter.
"What's going on?" Noctis asks firmly.
A voice echoes from the glowing ikon, "You cannot pass, Noctis Lucis Caelum."
"You bring with you the darkness. Mwyn tasked me with giving souls eternal rest. You shall not disturb them!"
The judgment rings loud and thunderous, as though final. Bahamut, armor clanking, steps up.
"O' Goddess, there must be some mistake. The darkness is no more. He is the Chosen One. He vanquished the Accursed…"
"And what of it? The Accursed arose from the line of these kings. Do you doubt my eyes, Bahamut, which see every seed of dark and light?"
Ifrit sneers to the side, "Kings … They're all bad eggs, really, aren't they?"
"Silence! Or you can die another pitiful death by my hand this time!" Ramuh lashes venomously at the contemptuous Wicked One, "It was all your doing from the start, do you not remember?"
"Hey, I didn't make the Usurper!"
"But you made the Starscourge-"
"Quiet!" Bahamut silences the two quickly, "Do not quibble before the Goddess!"
"Noctis is the True King! Not like Ardyn!" Luna steps up, her voice stern as when she struck Leviathan with Holy. She looks up to the ikon, her eyes full of conviction, "There lies no darkness in his heart!"
"…" Etro's voice is silent for a second, as though preparing for a grand revelation, "Then what is that?"
Everyone turns to Noctis. Luna gasps in horror, her eyes straying past him. Noctis slowly turns around.
A shadow. A sliver dark as night. It wafts around a little, as though uncertain. One could just barely perceive its eyes and mouth, being so wispy. Nonetheless, it emits the aura Ardyn did. Its tail is attached to the foot of Noctis' spine. His eyes widen and a scowl forms on his lips.
"What are you…" He slashes at it with his hand, "Doing here?!"
It disappears, a barely noticeable grin formed. Luna turns in alarm to the sound of the Astral drawing their weapons. She quickly moves to defend Noctis.
"It seems our own eyes were weary," Ramuh laments, "He is unclean, as Ardyn was."
"What?" Luna's voice is but a whisper. She turns her head a little to look at Noctis. He looks back at her, his eyes pleading. "No… NO!"
"Please, after you, dear," Ifrit mockingly bows and gestures for her to enter the gate, "Take care not to hit your head-"
"NO!" Noctis, his father's glaive in hand, rushes past the Six and swings upon the doors savagely, "I-It was over! IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OVER!"
"Noctis, stop!" Luna is stopped in her tracks as Shiva jumps in her way. Her breath catches in her throat when she sees her beloved's eyes glow slightly fiery, like a daemon's. As he hammers away at the door in futility, darkness seems to envelope him, making him take on a more ominous form. His cries become more rushed and hostile.
"REST IN PEACE! REST IN PEACE … YOU SONOVABITCH!"
"Oh-hoho," Ifrit summons a nimbus of flames to his hands, "I'm gonna enjoy this…!"
"Ifrit, no!" Bahamut moves to intercept him. The fire slips past his sword.
Noctis looks to the incoming flame for a second before it impacts. It mostly hits the door, due to its size. An explosion like a solar flare erupts and Bahamut curses.
"You idiot! Don't simply do as you please!"
The Infernian simply doubles over laughing, "Alright, alright, he's ash now. Now, Lunafr- AUGH!"
His sentence is cut short by the Oracle's trident thrown into his neck. Shiva gasps a little when the Infernian falls. The Archean points a finger and growls at the smoldering patch at the foot of the gate where the weapon flew from.
As the smoke clears, Luna glimpses Noctis. His clothes are largely charred; his shirt is completely gone. There are bloody burns and smears of ash all over his body, but he doesn't seem to notice. He glowers around him, his pupils alight like fire. An aura, unmistakably tinged with darkness, wraps around him, flowing fluidly.
The demonic Noctis grins and turns his back to them. He grips the edges of the gates and braces hard. A loud groan is heard as the gates actually begin to bend to his will. Billowing gusts from just the small crack blow past them all, and the cries of souls are heard.
"No! The darkness musn't enter!" Etro's voice is frantic, "Stop him!"
"It seems we … cannot move…" Ramuh strains to even lift a finger, "It's the Chaos, your holiness!"
"Noctis!" Luna cries out. She breaks from Shiva and runs like mad towards the king. On her third step, a familiar vision, accompanied with Regis' voice, bubbles to her mind. Noctis, the fiery demon, stabbing her with the trident … May the gods forgive me…
She snaps back to reality, where a crevice, still too small for either of them to fit through has opened. Her legs suddenly fail her and freeze on the spot. She can only stare in horror as Noctis turns, half his face a daemon skeleton, like Ardyn's. Amid the roar of souls, he speaks in a deep, throaty voice, unlike Noctis in all forms.
"Thank you for the audience."
A dark shadow suddenly slips out behind Noctis and he collapses. It disappears into the crack to the beyond. Luna regains control of her body and runs to Noctis, cradling his head in her arms. The Archean manages to slam the door closed with a well-aimed rock. The gusts stop and the flow of Chaos is stemmed. The Six stagger a little, bewildered.
"What … What just …"
"You fools!" Etro's shrill voice is a panicked scream now, "What's the point of even closing it now! It got in!"
"Surely one shred of darkness won't do so much harm-"
"No … it's found him. His corpse…"
Once the name falls off the Goddess' lips, a loud, hallowed and haunting laughter from beyond the gate arises, its volume shaking the very fibers of being.
There is a fierce pounding against the gate for maybe a second, then suddenly a fist breaks through, shattering the metal. The fist retreats and two clawed hands grapple at the hole, prying the door open from within. A painted face, wreathed in magnificent wings and horns of gold and ivory, and a crowned crest burst through the gate. Bhunivelze, God of Light resurrected, contorts his face into a dreadful smile and howls a single victorious note. The Six suddenly burst into smoke. Etro's ikon shatters and all Chaos is bursting from the now-opened gate.
Luna clutches Noctis feebly, bracing against the Chaos winds. She looks up to see the black sludge of daemons rolling down the deity's face and chin. From his wings and broken crown emit that darkness that left demonic Noctis. It has now taken a much stronger body. The God speaks, his voice high above the scream of terrified souls.
"I … AM REBORN!" The black sclera suddenly turn down to gaze upon the newlyweds with scorn, "And I will finish what I started."
The Double Deity appears, summoned to his aid. Its golden appearance has tarnished, but it still exudes the aura of Bhunivelze's two sons trapped within, Pulse and Lindzei. He rears, weapon in hand, ready to snuff out the small existences before him. Luna grimaces just as he brings the Lindzei end down, bracing for impact and imminent doom.
There is a loud sound of deflection as the Double Deity clashes briefly with the Chaos' Revenge, making sparks fly. Luna dares to open her eyes to glimpse a lone warrior, slender and muscular, clad in form-fitting purple armor, with long purple hair streaming along his back. A strange text of old, known to the servers of the Gods only, is inscribed on the armor which Luna understood as "Undying Witness to Infinite Fate." The mocking voice of Paddra Ballad-Caius draws her attention.
"I see you are an Oracle as well?"
"… Who are you?" The question rasps in her throat. This man certainly exudes formidable power, but it pales greatly in comparison to the God with which they are facing.
"That's no matter. I'm no match for Bhunivelze," He peers at her briefly from the corner of his eye and readies his blade, "You must escape. Yeul."
He pounces to meet the God's incoming strike. Luna feels a hand on her shoulder. She looks in surprise to a pretty, petite girl with blue hair pinned up in a diadem headdress. Her green eyes glimmered above the semi-transparent veil over half her face. Behind her was a myriad of other that look near identical to her, but with miniscule differences in dress.
"Come if you wish to live." They all spoke as though one, in unison with the same voice.
Luna gapes at them momentarily, uncomprehending. She looks back to the warring Caius, slowly being pushed back by the might of the great God.
"Quickly, Caius cannot stall forever!"
Luna, exasperated, struggles to stand with the unconscious Noctis in her arms. Some Yeuls assist in carrying him. At the younger oracle's command, a large series of rings materialize and form the Historia Crux portal.
Luna had barely stepped a toe into the crossroads of Time Gates before a huge explosion by the mouth of the Crux blows away her balance. It incinerates several of the Yeuls by the entrance that were helping unload Noctis. The queen can only grasp helplessly onto Noctis and tumble through the Crux. A subsequent Hypernova explodes before they are fully enclosed in the Crux and its explosive waves ripple, tearing several of the rings to rubble. The impact blows Noctis from Luna's arms. She manages to grab onto his right hand, but the overwhelming force threatens to pull them apart.
"No … Noctis!" She would never separate from him again. They were supposed to have a new life together! Why?! "NOCTIS!"
Her cry makes him momentarily lucid. He groans a little and stirs, but too late. The first conscious sensation he feels is Luna's fingers slipping from his own. His eyes open wide only to see Luna floating further and further away from him. Her mouth is a silent scream; the cries no longer even reach his ears.
He only grabs empty air. The Crux fluxes and suddenly, the two go warp speeds away from one another. Noctis flails in effort to change direction, but that speck that is Luna disappears from sight, swallowed by the flow of time and space.
Distraught and alone, tears begin rolling down his cheeks. His throat twists into knots. No … Not again. Not again…! I can't lose you again…!
Despairing, he feels his aching body loosen. His eyelids grow heavy and he welcomes rest. His body becomes weightless and floats along the Crux, to wherever it may take him. Despair in his dreams, he knows his beloved will not be at his destination.
They were apart again.