Time for a new story I have been waiting to post for a while! Thanks to ramel (on Ao3) for helping beta this and all that.
The meeting had dragged on longer than he would have wished, but of course there was no other way around it. As king Regis knew he had to do it all, it was to be expected. Though he still wished that he could get some time off again, perhaps to spend time with his wife or to go fishing, maybe even both. Anything would be better than being stuck in the stuffy meeting room all day.
He was walking down the hall, Clarus and the other Crownsguard at his side when someone came tumbling out from one of the cross hallways.
Even though Regis could protect himself, Clarus already was standing in front, his sword drawn. Though Regis didn't object, he was far more interested in this mysterious person who seemed to have come out of nowhere.
They wore strange garments, a sort of long white cloak. The hood was large enough that it covered their face when they stood up, but Regis could see the faint shade of a person underneath along with what looked like to be a thin beard covering the chin.
The figure held up their hands. "Whoa wait, hold on a minute!" Their voice was a bit deep, and rather somber. "I didn't mean to crash right in front of you. But… okay it may be a bit hard to explain, but I need to speak to da… R-Reg… I mean the king."
Clarus tightened his grip, unmoving from his spot. "You will not speak with the king. You will explain yourself."
The man still did not drop his hands down. "Look I know it looks bad with me barging in, I'm sorry for that, but I really need to speak to him." Tilting slightly to the side he looked at Regis, even though his hood was still obscuring his face his face could almost be seen again, his lips pressed together in a line line. "It's urgent that I do. Please."
"And just what is this matter that you speak of?" Regis asked calmly.
"It's ah… something I only wish to talk with you privately," the man replied before bowing his head slightly. "Uh Your Majesty."
Placing a hand to his chin, Regis began to stroke it slightly. "Intriguing. What possible reasons could it be that would lead to you wishing for a private audience with me?"
"I don't know how to explain it," the man sighed. "I really should have thought it thought a bit more before running over here, but I don't want to waste any time."
While Regis was curious about this man, and just how he managed to get so far into the Citadel without being noticed, he knew he still had to be reasonable. Even if this was a change from his usual pace, he knew the smart choice was to take precautions.
This man wore white clothing and most typically that was associated with Niflheim, the ones who they were currently at war with. Who could tell if this man was merely a fan of the color or actually a spy from the other nation? Regis knew he had to keep that in mind while trying to balance out the curiosity that was boiling in the back of his mind.
"You may say that, but you must understand that just barging in doesn't make the matter feel any more serious to me than it is to you."
There was a sigh from the man, most like him having to think over whatever it was that he had to say next. "Okay, the best thing I could say right now, is that it concerns the future."
Now that got Regis to listen a bit more carefully. "The future you say? Now that does change some things." Slowly Regis began to take a step forward, moving past Clarus who looked still very concerned.
"Your Majesty, you shouldn't just-"
"I know what I am doing, Clarus," Regis answered, barely even looking at his Shield. His eyes instead were focused on the strange hooded man. "If this man comes claiming something about the future concerns me, I feel that I should give the benefit of the doubt and listen. If this man is true to his word, then I have nothing to fear."
With not a inch of fear in his body he held out his hand to the man and waited. Only a few seconds passed before he saw the man breathe out slowly and reached to shake his had in return. There was something faint that Regis could sense, something that was almost familiar to him. If he had not been so keen he would have not noticed it at first, but now he could sense the energy coming from this man as clear as day.
The crystal's magic was a dead give away that this was no ordinary man. This man was someone else… someone he felt like he should have known. Or perhaps, since this man claimed to be from the future, it was someone he was going to know.
After that he dropped his hand to the side and looked back at Clarus. "You see there is nothing to worry over. This man is trustworthy."
"We don't even know who he is or why he is hiding himself. I still do not trust him," Clarus grumbled, still refusing to let go of his weapon.
"That is true," Regis said as he faced the man once more. "Can you at least inform us of who you are or perhaps take the hood off?"
There was a shake of his head. "I can't. You know future stuff… can't reveal who I am too much."
Regis hummed. "I see. Well in that case we can overlook that aspect."
"Regis!" Clarus tried again, using his name rather than title. "I still do not think it is wise."
"You can stand guard outside of wherever we talk if you are so worried. But this man requested a private audience and so it shall be. Is there any particular area you wish to speak? Perhaps the gardens or some other place that is pleasant."
"Somewhere as far away from the crystal as possible but still in the Citadel. I think leaving the area would only alert the Draconian."
Another hum left Regis's lips. "Ah so it is that kind of matter. We shall go to my office below levels. Come."
Regis started to head off towards the hallway that would lead to the elevators. "Clarus you can come as your concerns warrant it, the rest may go attend to your duties elsewhere."
The hooded man followed in front of Regis slightly, most likely as a way to show that he meant no harm. If he was ahead of him and Clarus then there would be no way for a surprise attack, not without him having to turn around and stop first. It was strange though walking him walk ahead, as if he knew where to go in the first place. But that only added up to more theories in Regis's head, and he was very determined now to get to the bottom of it.
Clarus walked alongside Regis, his eyes fixated on the man before them. "Are you sure about this Regis?" Clarus asked in a hushed voice.
"Yes," Regis answered back. "There is something about him that brings familiarity. If he is truly from the future, that feeling I got could only mean a small handful of things. I considered at first, the thought that he may be a Messenger."
"A Messenger who can time travel?"
"It was something to ponder, but then looking further into it, I believe he may be something else. Or perhaps someone else. He knows more than he lets on, especially how he walks these halls as if he knows them."
Clarus raised an eyebrow. "You mean…? But how far into the future would he be?"
"I don't know… perhaps he can disclose that information at least when we get to the lower levels," Regis whispered.
Soon they arrived at the elevator and right away the man pulled the button to call them. He only stiffened up a moment later and cleared his throat. "Oh sorry about that, I guess I kind of went on autopilot there. Uh you know how to get to the lower levels anyway."
Regis could barely contain the amusement in this voice. "Oh I see. There was no harm done though, so please do try and relax. We shall get down there soon enough."
The three boarded the elevator, with Clarus insisting that the mysterious man stand in front of them. After that Regis used his keycard to gain access to the lower levels of the Citadel. The three rode down in silence, not saying a single word to one another. Though throughout the trip, Regis could hear the deep breathing from the man.
When the elevator binged, opening up to the lower levels, the man stepped out and looked to Regis. "So which way is it?"
"Oh? I thought you would have known, with the way you so easily found the elevators," Regis replied almost smugly, and he could hear a soft sigh from Clarus somewhere behind him.
"I um…" the man faltered. "I don't know-"
"If you are from the future I can presume you have been to the Citadel beforehand, which is why you knew where to go before," Regis replied.
"Yeah, that's true. But I never actually came down to these levels in my time. Never had a reason."
"Interesting," Regis mused as he began to walk. "This way then."
They walked down the hall until they reached the door to the basement office. Regis opened the door and gestures for the man to walk in first. Regis then looked to Clarus and then to the man who was now in the office. "So are you okay with Clarus standing at the door? My Shield only wishes for my protection after all."
"Yeah that's fine. I should have figured I couldn't just get you alone. A Shield has to do his job after all," the man replied simply.
With that taken care of, Clarus and Regis stepped inside and Regis closed the door behind them. He walked over and made his way to his desk and sat down, seeing that Clarus had now positioned himself at the door. "So, can you now inform me what all of this is about?"
"One last thing… though what it is probably will just make me look more suspicious, but hear me out. The ring you wear… the Ring of Lucii. Since it connects you to the past kings, I don't want them listening in on this either. Can you, I mean, are you able to take it off just for the time that we are speaking?"
Clarus gasped in exasperation. "That would be an entirely risky motion to do! You dare ask His Majesty to-"
Regis held up a hand. "Clarus, it's fine. I am able to take it off for a short time with no effects on the wall." Carefully he pulled off the ring and placed it on the desk before resting his hand over it for protection. "Now, can you tell us just how far into the future you say you are from?"
"M.E. 766," the man answered. "And I came back in time to try and change it for the better."
"I'm sorry," Regis said suddenly. "It's hard to truly trust what you are saying if I can see your face to read your expression. Are you sure you cannot reveal yourself?"
"I uh…" the man shifted where he stood. "I don't know if I can. It's already a huge risk what I am doing and I don't know the technicalities of time travel. I don't know if revealing myself would change anything for better or worse."
"Well whatever you say or reveal here is just between Clarus and me. You are of the Lucis Caelum line after all."
The man gasped. "How did…? I mean why would you-"
"You've done a good job at suppressing your magic, so much so that the Draconian wouldn't notice. I am sure if he did notice your magic he would have already done something. So I know that you must be of the Lucis Caelum lineage."
The man gasped, lifting his head up to stare right at Regis. Even from under the hood, Regis could see how caught off guard the statement had made him. It also gave him a much more direct look at who he was dealing with.
His eyes were as blue as the crystal's magic, almost glowing just as bright. But that blue was also one that reminded Regis of Aulea's eyes, and it brought him a wondrous feeling in his heart. At the same time he could see his own features within this man, more than just by appearance. It was the way he carried himself and the solemn expression that he wore that struck a chord.
"I'm correct, yes? Even if you are from about 30 years into the future, a good father should be able to recognize his son."
Clarus was staring with wide eyes, clearly not believing the assumption that Regis had just made, but on the other hand, Regis remained calm.
He smiled generously at the man, waiting to see what his answer would be. Sure enough he sighed again and reached up to pull back his hood, revealing his long, slightly messy black hair and those very blue eyes.
"I guess I should have figured you'd know," the man replied softly.
"I suppose I won't be getting a name though?"
"Probably not, unless I am the one that unintentionally gives you the name for… well myself."
"I think that would be quite the amusing situation for yourself. I'll leave it up to you though if you wish to say it."
His son stared at the floor for a moment, mulling it over before he closed his eyes. "Noctis. If that makes it easier."
Regis smiled again. "Thank you. Now please go on with what you have to tell me."
"Where do I even begin?" Noctis replied as he began to pace the room. "All of this, I mean the whole reason I am here is because of the prophecy."
"You know which prophecy I'm talking about, it just isn't relevant to you yet."
Regis nodded, knowing the stories he had read many times over. The ones about the future where the True King would come and save the world from a long darkness. He had read about it a few times, only glossing over it, but he had never read the entire prophecy in depth. Most of the true facts of it was more than just the paintings they had on the walls. If he wanted to find out the true meaning he knew he would have to consult the Old Kings as well as check the books that contained the story.
Though that did bring up some concern, even if he had not read the full extent of the prophecy he knew it was something that was quite dire. If Noctis was from 30 years into the future, could so much really fall apart in that time? It was hard to wrap his head about it but he was still ready to listen.
"As you probably guessed, I'm the Chosen King. And everything I feel would be fine… if Bahamut wasn't such a fuc-" Noctis stopped, licking his lips slightly. "If he wasn't so admit about how things had to be dealt with in 'his vision' and stuff."
Regis was almost afraid to ask him the next question. "And what is it that is so concerning?"
"The only way for me to bring the light back to the world, is at the cost of my own life as I destroy Ardyn, I mean the Adagium."
Regis straightened his posture, feeling the blood drain away from his face. He almost couldn't believe the words he was hearing. His son, the son he knew he would no doubt love with all of his heart, was destined for such a dark fate? Now it started to make all the more sense why Noctis had shown up in the first place, well almost. Regis still had a few questions, but he was sure he would get to them soon.
"So the reason why you are here…"
"I want to try and change things for the better. If we can defy Bahamut and his stupid prophecy then there is a chance we could turn things around for the better."
"But that would come at risks, while I may not favorite the prophecy-"
"The prophecy is a load of crap! Bahamut couldn't or didn't want to deal with the Starscourge so he left everything to go to shit. He claimed the only way it could be purged if I gained the power from the crystal, which if you think about it… doesn't that make me more powerful than the very god himself?"
Noctis was pacing now, huffing angrily between his words. Regis could see the frustration and anger that burned in his eyes. He listened patiently though, waiting to see what else Noctis would say. He had thought to interject, but he realized it was probably best to let Noctis vent out as much as he could so they could go back to a calm talk after the fact.
"What's worse is, he made me sleep for 10 years to gain all of the magic. Subjecting the world to 10 years of daemons and darkness because I wasn't there and the oracle was dead! Then he claims that my death to save the world is warranted because the people have done so much for me, waiting for my return, now I gotta die to bring back the light for them. But!"
Noctis stopped where he was, gritting his teeth. "If he hadn't decided that I had to sleep for 10 years then maybe things could have been dealt with sooner so not as many people would have died. Maybe then the world wouldn't have suffered for 10 years and wouldn't make me feel guilty that so many died for me!"
Noctis's breathing was heavy now, though he had finally moved to sit in the chair in front of Regis's desk. "I think what sucks the most is that he lied and twisted his own prophecy just to stretch it out. The Adagium… how much do you know about him?"
"It has been something that is a secret kept amongst the family," Regis replied, closing his eyes as he recalled the information. "The Accursed is not one to be dealt with lightly. We are to stay alert if he is ever to come close, taking any precautions to keep him away. Since he is the source of the Starcrouge he poses a great threat to everyone."
"Well I can guess you don't really know who he is," Noctis took in one long breath. "Even if I hate what he did to me… a lot of it rides on what Bahamut did to him. He's the Founder King's brother."
"What?" Clarus interjected. "There is no evidence that such a thing ever existed."
"That's because apparently he was wiped from all records and history as 'Ardyn Lucis Caelum' and instead remembered as 'The Accurded' or 'Adagium' or whatever else people call him."
"This…" Regis slowly brought his words together, thinking it over carefully. "I see now why you wished I took the ring off. No doubt The Mystic would have objected by now. He always has been quite a cold one out of all the Lucii. Rather stubborn too."
"So you understand then? Like you believe me?"
Regis nodded solemnly. "It's a lot to take in, but I do believe that you tell the truth."
"So do you think you can do anything about it?"
"I don't know… it's a lot to consider. From what you say I am certain the Draconian would not easily allow such a change to the prophecy."
"There has to be some way though!" Noctis sighed heavily. "I wouldn't be able to be sent back in time if it didn't mean anything. Ardyn is going to be here in a few days to try and ruin the Founder's Day Festival. He'll try and fight you, but maybe you could talk to him instead?"
Regis leaned forward on his desk, resting his chin on the back of his hands. "I'll take that into consideration. But… does this mean we should be more prepared for the Founder's Day Festival?"
Noctis nodded. "Yeah, you probably want to be a bit more prepared. I don't know exactly what he did, just know that he showed up and caused some chaos."
"Perhaps it is best if we postpone the festival," Clarus said softly. "I won't risk His Majesty's life on the whim if something could change."
"But the festival is supposed to happen anyway!" Noctis said as he turned around "The festival happens, some damage happens, dad fights Ardyn, and then Ardyn just vanishes. I wouldn't be here trying to talk to dad if I didn't know that he made it."
"He has a point, Clarus. He trusts his old man that he can hold his own," Regis replied with the slightest smirk.
Even Noctis started to smile. His expression for a moment calmed down and he looked happy to see Regis smile. Whatever happened in the future, Regis had a feeling that Noctis hadn't seen him in quite a while. Whatever the future held, it was beginning to feel more and more foreboding.
"Either way, we will make do with what we can and try something. I won't give up on my son's future so easily."
Noctis smiled again as he stood up. "Thanks. I should probably be getting back now. Shouldn't stay in the past for too long."
Regis also stood up, walking over to his son to place a hand on his shoulder. "Of course. You must get back to your future, whatever it may be."
"Yeah… we hope at least. Don't know if changing the past will change my future or make a new timeline. Prompto spent hours trying to figure it out," Noctis commented. "Oh… that's right. There's one other thing you need to know."
From his pocket, Noctis pulled out an envelope. He looked at his father before he leaned forward to whisper something in his ear. Regis nodded and listened as best as he could before he took the envelope and placed it into his own coat pocket.
"I'll do what I can. I hope it can work out."
"Thanks dad," Noctis sighed before he turned to leave.
"Noctis," his father said, causing Noctis to stop in his tracks. "I'm proud of you for walking so tall."
Noctis stiffened up, his entire body going rigid. With a shaky breath he tried to speak again. "Really… thanks dad. For everything."
Outside of the Citadel Noctis hurried his way back into the city, through one of the nearest alleyways. He moved down there carefully, making sure he wasn't being followed. He didn't see or sense any signs of being followed by the royal guards so he began to loosen up.
At the end of the alleyway, three other men stood there, shrouded in the shadows of the area. They stayed close together, but looked over when Noctis approached.
Noctis walked up to them and offered a smile. "Well I told him."
"And?" Prompto asked. "What happened?"
"He listened and said he would try to do something," Noctis replied.
"So? What happens now?" Gladio asked. He looked over at Prompto. "You're the sci-fi expert."
"Well we haven't disappeared yet, so clearly we haven't prevented our own futures and erased our existence," Prompto stated. "So that really only leaves two of the options. There's the one where the future is changed for us so when we return everything is going to be different when we return but to everyone else it's normal. Or there's the different timeline that's now been created, but our future still exists."
"I guess there's only one way to tell," Noctis shrugged.
"But we don't wanna stick around? Or even try to jump a few days ahead?" Prompto asked. "Just to see what happened if anything?"
"I think we've stayed in the past long enough. Umbra is using all of his magic to bring us here, we shouldn't exploit it," Ignis replied.
Noctis nodded. "Ignis is right, no matter what our future holds, we can only hope what I did here was right. If it changes our future or makes a new one, we only can hope it's for the better."
All of the men could nod in agreement to that. They had done what they had come to do and now it was their time to leave. Noctis called Umbra over, his Umbra from his future time. The dog barked and the world around the men faded away from their eyes. They were being brought back to the future and none of them knew what would happen next.