NLC: WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?!?!?
PA: Uh, halfway to Hammerhead???
PA: Did I forget something?
NLC: YES you forgot something. We were supposed to meet today!
PA: Meet where?
NLC: ...did you even check the date before you left?!?
PA: oh shit
NLC: TODAY WAS THE DAY WE FIRST MET
NLC: HOW COULD YOU FORGET OUR ANNIVERSARY PROMPTO, I FEEL SO BETRAYED.
NLC: but at least now I know you traveled with me, that’s good to know.
PA: Like I’d leave you to do it by yourself.
PA: [emoji of a chocobo with a heart over its head]
PA: Anyone else come with?
NLC: Doesn’t look like it. If they didn’t they’d probably also be confused by your being MIA on such an important day.
PA: I’M SORRY NOCT!
NLC: You better be :(
NLC: It made me sad. [emoji of a crying chocobo]
PA: NOT THE SAD CHOCOBO. ANYTHING BUT THE SAD CHOCOBO!
NLC: YOU DESERVE THE SAD CHOCOBO! LET IT’S FACE JUDGE YOU AND YOUR LIFE CHOICES!
NLC: Anyway, why’d you flee the city? If you killed someone I could probably get you a pardon.
PA: You’re so sweet. But all of the people I’m planning on killing aren’t in Lucis.
NLC: You’re headed for Niflheim?
PA: Yep. Let’s see just how much they like sneak attacks. And since I’m a literal nobody at this point, no one will be expecting it.
NLC: Nobody expects the Prompto invasion. Just don’t get yourself killed. Or I will be MAD. >:(
PA: Dude, I’m like Level 99 now and the game has not even begun. I still have those sweet guns we found in that one sealed dungeon.
NLC: Yeah, I know. ...guess I’m still powered up too, now that I think about it. At least now I don’t have to spend 10 years in a rock to power up before the boss battle.
PA: No more decade-naps for you, how sad.
PA: … also I like how casually you’re taking the knowledge that I’m literally planning a mass murder spree.
NLC: Not like they wouldn’t do it if given the chance. Not like they HAVEN’T done it.
NLC: And you’re right - the only way that we can change anything is by doing something unexpected. Granted, I didn’t expect you to literally dash out if the city , but whatever.
NLC: And speaking of boss fights, I’m pretty sure that I drunk-dialed Ardyn last night and demanded that he meet me at the nearest Coernix’s to duke out the whole “Chosen King” thing.
PA: What’d he say?
NLC: Dead silence. I think he was too appalled to speak.
NLC: He finally managed to sputter out that I might as well have suggested a Crow’s Nest parking lot for the amount of reverence I was showing this.
NLC: I said that’d be fine too.
NLC: Then he hung up in disgust.
PA: You should hang out at the nearest Crow’s Nest just in case.
PA: It’d be rude to invite him and then not show up,
NLC: Iggy’d kill me.
NLC: i’ll gladly take on the source of all darkness, but I’m a man who knows my limits. I don’t wanna die!
PA: ...I don’t blame you one bit.
NLC: So just text me which Kenny’s you wanna meet at and we can do that whole “battle to the death thing”.
AI: I can't believe that you’re even suggesting such a thing. How… crass.
NLC: YOU’RE the one that suggested the Crow’s Nest, I’M just trying to be accommodating here.
AI: It was hypothetical .
NLC: And I made it unhypothetical. Now get your ass down here and we can fight it out.
AI: I simply can’t believe the last of respect in the youth nowadays. Back in my day we followed along with prophecies in a mature and dignified manner . And then suffered as the gods decreed, like good little sheep .
NLC: Did you seriously just go “back in my day”? Do you know how clichéd that is?!
AI: I’m not having this discussion any longer. Come back when you’re ready to behave in a manner befitting of a king.
NLC: ...if I believe even a fraction of the stories that Dad’s friends tell about their Roadtrip of Destiny, then I believe that I am behaving with the manner and dignity of a king.
[No response was sent.]
NLC: DON’T ACT ABOVE THIS. I BET GILGAMESH COULD TELL TALES
PA: Ran into Aranea unexpectedly.
PA: Bluntly told her that I was off to assassinate most of Niflheim leadership.
NLC: ...really, Prompto? I am judging you right now.
PA: Hey, she looked at me like I was either stupid or crazy, but did say that if I managed it, she would help me with any further chaos. Guess she was uncertain about all of this even back then.
PA: Er, back now? Current time? Time travel is weird .
NLC: Yeah, it is. And don’t underestimate her, she could have thought that you were both stupid and crazy.
PA: Har de har, Noct. You’re so funny.
NLC: I know.
Invitation: Epic Fight of Destiny ‘n’ Shit
Time: Thursday, October 14, 751 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM LST
Location: Crow’s Nest Parking Lot, Old Lestallum, Cleigne, Lucis
Organizer: Noctis Lucis Caelum
Invitees: Noctis Lucis Caelum, Ardyn Izunia
Respond: Accept Tentative Decline Propose New Time
Invitee Ardyn Izunia has Declined the invitation.
NLC: You know, if the date didn’t work for you, there was an option to “Propose New Time”
NLC: I guess that I should just be grateful that you even know how to work technology.
NLC: Do you know how to work tech? Is there a minion specifically designated to explaining how email works for the 10 dozenth time?
[Official Notice: The recipient is no longer accepting calls or texts at this time. This number has been disconnected.]
NLC: Rude . I was trying to be helpful here.
NLC: Or did you accidentally disconnect? There’s no shame in asking for help, you know. We all have to start somewhere.
Zegnautus Keep was the same miserable pile of flying rocks that it was the last time Prompto had been here.
Except now, the once-deserted halls were absolutely packed with people. Politicians, soldiers, cleaners, secretaries, mechanics, delivery workers… they were everywhere . Enough that Prompto had little enough problem getting physically inside the building.
Zegnautus Keep: Same old creepy vibe, but now with 100% more humans!
...and still way more MTs than should ever be in one place. As in there’s more than zero. A lot more.
Which on the one hand is a good thing, seeing as his entire plan involves disguising himself as one of them, but on the other hand...
Fuck MTs. Fuck Besithia. Fuck the Empire and all it’s stupid schemes. Fuck Ardyn for being a prick. Fuck the Six for sitting on their asses instead of doing something. And fuck the Emperor for okaying all of this.
So that list and his hit list had a bit of an overlap. Whatever. On a brighter note, at least for this mission he’d managed to get one of those earpiece things, because those were badass. He felt like a super spy. And useful, too!
Or, at least, they would be if his navigator could get his act together .
“You make a terrible Diana, Noct,” Prompto hissed, ducking behind some discarded old boxes that for some reason lined the hallways of the keep. The Niffs really needed to declutter every once and awhile. He had just been led into yet another dead end and his path back was currently blocked by a patrolling MT.
“I’m doing the best I can, ok?” Noctis grumbled. “I’m working off of what little data our spies have managed to get ahold of, and spotty memories of going through a ruined keep in the apocalyptic future. So sue me.”
“I will if I make it out of here alive, ” Prompto grumbled. Prompto watched the MT patrol as the sound of papers flipping filled his earpiece.
“Alright,” Noctis said finally. “Once the coast is clear, take the left path…”
It took another half an hour, three more dead ends and one close-call interruption on Noct’s end, but finally Prompto made it.
The control room. Here they tracked the locations of every MT - well, they tracked a lot of other people too, but mainly MTs - including the ones assigned to the Emperor. All Prompto had to do was take out one of them and steal their armor.
Which, while a little easier said than done, didn’t take too long, and soon Prompto was awkwardly clad in ill-fitting armor. Now all he had to do was avoid mirrored surfaces so as to not give his brain any more nightmare fuel and last the few hours until the Emperor retired for the night. Easy.
...they were all screwed .
PA: Hey Noct, I shot Aldercapt in the face for you, happy birthday.
NLC: It’s not my birthday.
PA: Well, then happy early birthday, or belated birthday, or half-birthday.
PA: You did miss 10 of them in the crystal, so I have a lot of gifts to catch up on.
NLC: Does this mean that you’re gonna destroy 10 of my enemies?
PA: Maybe? Depends on how many there are. I’m honestly not sure.
PA: Annnyyway, hopefully they’re gonna arrest Besithia for treason soon. I left my DNA all over that gun.
NLC: ...this is the first I’ve heard of that being a good thing.
PA: First time for everything, dude. There has to be some upsides the whole “clone” thing, amiright?
NLC: I guess so.
PA: And if they don’t get Besithia, hopefully they’ll blame it on rogue MTs.
NLC: ...too easy. Not going to make the joke. Do the scourge-infected MTs even HAVE fingerprints?!?
PA: You’re no fun. And noooooo idea. Guess we’ll find out!
NLC: I’m changing your contact info to “Private Assassin” btw. And YOU’RE going to explain that if we get caught.
PA: I can feel the love from here, buddy. Really. Thanks for throwing me under the bus.
NLC: It’s only a hypothetical bus.
PA: Better than a train, I guess.
PA: ...too soon? Just joking, dude.
NLC: Still. :( It’ll always be too soon.
PA: Aw. :( Sorry for making you sad. :( How about I give you Ardyn’s new number as an apology? It was on Aldercept’s cell phone.
PA: Which I also got my fingerprints all over, after sending some emails from there indicating that Besithia was about to have all of his funding cut.
NLC: I suppose I can accept that as a worthy sacrifice.
PA: Sending number now!
Aldercept Found Dead in Bedroom, Minister of Research Detained as Suspect
NLC: Hi Uncle, long time no text. Because you blocked me .
AI: I have no idea how you managed to get my number, but I have damage control to do. Be a good little pawn and wait for me to have time to deal with you.
NLC: I feel so special.
NLC: Guess I’ll just have to keep sending you reminders that I exist, lest I pine away from loneliness.
NLC: Have you heard of this thing called the internet? It’s a magical place.
NLC: What exactly are your feelings on cats? The internet has a lot of cats.
NLC: Or are you more of a dog person? The internet has a lot of dogs, too.
[Official Notice: The recipient is no longer accepting calls or texts at this time. This number has been disconnected.]
NLC: ...neither? How sad.
NLC: So, Specs has been wondering why I’m on my phone so much.
PA: What’d you tell him?
NLC: That I was trying to goad the Chancellor of Niflheim into fighting me in a Kenny’s parking lot, what else?
PA: How’d Iggy take that?
NLC: Stared at me in silence for a few moments before offering to let me help him as he tried to recreate the Tenebraen pastry. I think he’s feeling sorry for me because he thinks that I’ve made no friends at school.
NLC: Don’t know how to tell him that I DID make a friend, he just ditched me to go destroy my enemies and sow general chaos.
PA: Sorry Noct, couldn’t hear you over the sound of your enemies being destroyed. What were you saying?
NLC: That YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE.
PA: I just killed the emperor for you! What more do you want? The next few people on the list are going to have to wait until Sunday.
NLC: Speaking of that, I hear that Besithia was let go. Something about there being security footage of him during the murder that confirmed his alibi.
PA: Yeah, I heard. On the bright side, they’re now blaming rogue MTs!
NLC: They’re not wrong.
PA: Hah, you gave in! And no, they’re not, but they’re looking in all the wrong places :)
NLC: I’ve learned to find that smile mildly terrifying.
NLC: Guess you might eventually have to go after Besithia yourself. What a pain.
PA: No kidding. Hopefully this time when I shoot him he won’t turn into a gigantic mechanical worm monster.
PA: But since this is several years too early, everything should be fine!
NLC: What mechanical worm monster?
PA: And this time Aranea has offered to help me bomb the place if it gets to that. Not sure if she believes me, but since I got away with shooting Aldercept in the face she seems to be willing to humor me.
NLC: Prompto. Giant. Mechanical. Worm. What .
PA: And maybe see if we can rescue any untransformed research subjects first - they’re just kids.
NLC: WORM MONSTER.
PA: Oh, would you look at the time! Sorry Noct, gotta go. Places to go, evil people kill, regimes to topple, you know how it is.
NLC: You can’t just casually mention he turned into a giant worm monster and then walk away .
Verstael Besithia’s Mysterious Death - Rogue Army Units Suspected
“Is there some sort of resistance?” Regis asked, rubbing tiredly at his face. The late, late hour caused the words on the reports to swim in front of his eyes a little.
His two friends glanced at each other, before Clarus shrugs helplessly. “I don’t know what else it could be,” he said. “It’s certainly not us, Accordo most likely wouldn’t want to risk it, and Tenebrae is in no condition too, not with the Oracle as hostage.”
Cor was frowning at the newspaper headlines, apparently deep in thought. “Something to add, Cor?” Regis asked, slightly curious.
Cor slowly shook his head. “Nothing concrete. Just… an interesting minor coincidence.”
Clarus raised his eyebrows. “Coincidence?”
“Yes. Just - a stray thought.” Regis knew that he wasn’t going to get any more out of Cor if was already digging in his heels. The man had good instincts, but he prefered to wait until the proper moment before revealing his hand - even to his closest friends.
“You’ll tell us if it becomes less minor?” Regis asked, not really needing the confirmation, but wanting to hear it anyway.
Cor straightened. “Of course, Your Majesty. “ he said.
Which would have to do for now.
PA: Well, since I’ve convinced Aranea that I can actually pull this off, she’s given me a list of Most Awful Generals. And Ardyn’s new phone number. Thought you might like that.
PA: Guess what she wants me to do with that list?
PA: You there?
NLC: I’m not speaking to you until you explain the worm-monster thing.
PA: Are you still hung up on that?
NLC: Why do I miss all the cool shit?
PA: ...not even going to touch that one. And what more is there to say? He changed, I went “blam” with a machine gun a lot, and then he died.
NLC: ...that’s a very unsatisfying story. You suck at storytelling. I demand a refund.
PA: It’s what happened.
NLC: When I see you in person again, I’m gonna make you tell me in more detail.
NLC: But, later. What are you gonna do with the list?
PA: See if I can convince each of them that they have a shot at the throne and then let them duke it out. Most of ‘em are nobility of some sort, with more than enough ego to go through with it.
NLC: ...are you trying to change our media genre from “video game” to “TV show”?
PA: Eh, more of “TV tie-in to video game” if you get my drift. We’re in spin-off territory, Noct. Rackin’ in the big bucks. Soon we’ll have a whooole connected universe.
NLC: Speaking of connected universes, according to my meetings, Accordo is starting to eye freedom. I bet Ravus is too, not that anyone but him and Luna could tell by looking at him. Good job on your chaos-spreading.
PA: Yeah, I don’t think that it’s quite at the point where Ravus would feel confident enough to risk Luna’s life, but give me a few more weeks. I’ll get it there.
NLC: Oh, speaking of Aranea, I have a favor to ask of her.
PA: About what?
NLC: See, I recently acquired a Kenny Crow doll, and it gave me an idea…
GA: Dare I ask why Noct has been lugging around a stuffed Kenny Crow?
IS: I honestly have no idea.
IS: He’s been bringing both the doll and a point and shoot camera everywhere he can for the past week or so.
GA: A camera? What’s wrong with the one on his phone?
IS: I hardly know. And as for the doll, he mentioned something a few months back about the Chancellor of Niflheim and Kenny Crow, but I didn’t take him seriously.
IS: Now I kind of wish that I had.
GA: Wait, what? Is- is he okay?
IS: I don’t know. He seems fine - actually, he seems in far better spirits than he’s been in years , but I’m concerned that it’s not for… healthy reasons.
GA: ....do you think we should get help?
IS: ...no. I don’t think. Not yet. There’s nothing concrete , he just seems… different.
IS: I don’t know what to do.
GA: We’ll keep an eye on him, Iggy.
GA: Actually, let me grab Iris, you get Noct, and we’ll all watch movies together at his place.
IS: That… sounds wonderful, actually. I’ll see you in an hour.
GA: See ya then.
Top Generals Found Dead, Deceased Besithia’s DNA Mysteriously Found at Crime Scene
NLC: Hey Prompto, mind taking a break from sowing chaos long enough to swing by Tenebrae and give Luna and Ravus cell phones? Journals carried by way of magic dog are nice and all, but I’d like to be able to text.
PA: Sure, if you send me phones from Lucis. Any I buy from the Empire’ll probably be bugged as hell.
NLC: And the ones from Lucis won’t?
PA: If they are, it’d be by OUR side, so…
NLC: We still have a traitor to find, remember.
PA: Yeah, but if they do anything based on info from supposedly secure phones, then at least we can narrow down who they might be.
NLC: Good enough, I guess. I’ll send them to Galdin Quay if you can convince Aranea to give you a lift.
PA: Should be able to. She’s taking an unholy amount of glee in needling the Empire without actually putting her people in danger. Might have to land a little farther out though. Don’t want to give vacationers a heart attack.
NLC: Good point.
NLC: Wait. Does that mean the the Niffs were tracking OUR phones first time around?
PA: Uh, yeah? How else did you think the drop ships kept finding us???
NLC: I don’t know, magic??? Why didn’t you say anything!?
PA: I thought you knew! And it’s not like they were even challenging.
PA: I just assumed you didn’t want to give up your phone because then you wouldn’t be able to play King’s Knight.
NLC: ...you make a good point. I have no further objections.
Some MTs Found to Contain Traces of Besithia’s DNA - Rebellion Amongst MTs Suspected
NLC: So, have you gotten any of the photos I sent you? In deference to your old-man-ness, I even printed them and sent them by snail mail rather than email. Tell your tech support you’re welcome .
AI: How do you keep getting my phone number you irritating little insect?!?
NLC: 1. Rude 2. I’m the one trying to get things moving here. It’s not my fault that you’re being uncooperative.
[Official Notice: The recipient is no longer accepting calls or texts at this time. This number has been disconnected.]
NLC: How old are you, again?
[Item Description: Postcard that arrived for Ardyn Izunia. On the front is a picture of the original Crow’s Nest in Old Lestallum with the words “Wish you were here!” printed on it in bright yellow letters. Nothing is written on the back. The card itself is rather wrinkled, as though it had been clutched very tightly.]
PA: So, Glauca showed up soon after I arrived. Dunno how he found me, but he seemed really interested in killing both me and Lady Lunafreya. Guess with the Emperor dead, he was off the leash.
NLC: Are you ok? Is Luna ok!?
PA: Everyone’s fine :)
NLC: ...the smile is back. What did you do?
PA: Meeeee? I did nothing. I am the picture of innocence.
PA: Shiva. Apparently she didn’t like the idea of “kill the oracle” round 2, so she froze him.
PA: Then Luna stabbed him with her trident.
PA: He shattered. Apparently divinely frozen armor can be really brittle, who knew?
NLC: Holy shit.
PA: Yup. :)
General Glauca Found Dead - Imperial Power Play Suspected
NLC: So, you’re Luna’s new bodyguard now?
PA: Yup. Ravus announced on national television that he “didn’t feel comfortable” leaving his sister unprotected in such “trying times”, which basically implied that the Niff army was useless at their job... then he pretty much declared that he was staying the fuck out of this conflict and heading back to Tenebrae with his men.
NLC: I saw it. How much did it hurt Ravus to have to say all of those nice things about you?
PA: Dude, my arrival caused the death of the person who killed his mother, and I brought unmonitored cell phones and a plan to deal with the Starscourge that doesn’t involve Lady Lunafreya dying. He would have cheerfully said anything I wanted. ...also, I’m not you. That probably helped.
NLC: But I’m surprised that his little speech was even broadcast. It didn’t exactly show the Empire in the best light. The media’s being unusually honest about everything that’s been happening. I would have thought that the government would try to cover it up more.
PA: What government? Most of the higher ups are fighting amongst each other, and what does Ardyn care if the truth is released? Chaos and destruction is his whole deal .
NLC: Still. Is there no one left?
PA: Not really. The last of the power-hungry morons are still fighting amongst themselves, and Lady Lunafreya told me that the more...competent members of the military are basically pulling back and waiting for the dust to settle before moving in. But who knows when that’ll be.
NLC: Not until after Ardyn’s gone, probably. He’ll probably approach Lucis about a “peace treaty” once he’s regained some more control.
PA: You think so?
NLC: Yeah. I’m pretty sure that the Niffs lost their mole - Captain Drautos hasn’t been seen in the two weeks since you texted me about Glauca’s death, so…
PA: …we found our traitor?
NLC: Think so. Hope so. Or something else is going on. But we guessed that it was someone high up, from what Libertus had said in the future. Past. Future-past.
PA: Still… that’s pretty high up, if you’re right.
NLC: Yeah. But even if they’ve lost their mole and can’t destroy Lucis in a sneak attack - since, thanks to you, they’ve lost quite a bit of their army as well - Ardyn will probably make his move anyway. He can’t risk things getting out of hand any more than they already are.
PA: And what he wants more than anything if for you to suffer, and to kill him.
NLC: He’s not getting the first, so he’ll go faster on the second.
PA: Bets? I say within two months.
NLC: No way. One.
PA: Deal? Winner buys at Crows Nest?
Imperial Chancellor Holds Country Together As Rival Heirs Fight It Out Amidst MT Scandal
“That coincidence may have become less minor. Damned if I know how, though.” Cor said, barging into Regis’s office. He halted at the sight of his King with his head in his hands. “Regis?”
“I’ve been contacted by Niflheim,” Regis said quietly.
Cor forgot all about his own news at that revelation. “What do they want?” He asked, taking the chair across from Regis’s desk.
“Peace. Or so they claim,” Regis said heavily. “I don’t trust it, but even with all of their internal chaos over the past few months, they still pose a large threat to Lucis. I don’t think that I can afford to pass this up.”
Cor sighed. No, they couldn’t afford to - no matter how much of a trap it was. “Guess we’ll just have to try and disarm the trap then.” he said.
Item Description - a small plush doll made to represent Crow’s Nest mascot Kenny Crow. When squeezed, it alternates between saying “CAW kids, it's Kenny Crow!” and “Welcome to the Crow’s Nest”. The doll was found on the floor of the hallway outside of the Niflheim Chancellor’s private quarters, although similar dolls have been spotted all over the Keep. It looks rather singed.]
NLC: Hello, Luna! How does it feel to join the 8th century with the rest of us?
LNF: Absolutely marvelous . I didn’t know that phones had gotten so advanced! I feel like I can do anything with them! And Prompto’s been such a sweetheart - he’s shown both Ravus and I how to do dozens of things on them that I never would have even thought of.
NLC: Glad to hear it :)
LNF: [emoji of a chocobo with a heart over its head]
NLC: ...yep, definitely Prompto who taught you that.
LNF: We’ve been having a lot of fun, especially since I’m basically on house arrest right now - everything’s so volatile that I can’t even go out and do Oracle work.
NLC: Sorry to hear that. :(
LNF: It’s fine! Hopefully in a few weeks the Starscourge won’t even be a problem anymore.
NLC: ...what will you do then?
LNF: People will still need a healer - other diseases still exist, and Ravus and I are planning to declare Tenebraen independence once Ardyn is dead. So, ruling a country, hopefully.
NLC: Sounds like a lot of work.
LNF: No more than what you’ll have. Prompto tells me that you two have been drafting plans to help unite Lucis.
NLC: Outer Lucis, yeah. It’s been mostly neglected by Insomnia for the last 400 years. People are rightfully pissed. It’ll take a lot of work - trade routes, modernization of technology, medicine and health care, mass producing things that are basics in Insomnia…
NLC: It’s a lot. And I don’t even know if people will want it.
NLC: But of course, all of this is useless if we can’t defeat Ardyn.
LNF: If you can beat Ardyn in combat with the Royal Weapons, he should remain dead long enough for you to access the Astral Realm and destroy his soul. Since you’ve already obtained the 13 Royal Arms and upgraded the ring, there shouldn’t be any problem. And my magic can keep the entrance to the Crystal open, so you don’t get stuck in there for 10 years this time - or permanently.
NLC: So killing him with the ultra-special weapons slows down his respawn time?
NLC: But I should probably remain in close proximity to the Crystal, just in case, so he doesn’t respawn before I can enter it.
LNF: What’s the matter?
NLC: There goes my plan of fighting him in a Kenny’s parking lot. And after all that time I spent trying to convince him of the idea, too!
NLC: Yeah, that’s been most people’s response. When I told Gladio, he had me dragged off to the nurse to make sure that I didn’t have a concussion.
LNF: ...Noctis, are you the reason that the Chancellor of Niflheim has been overheard paranoidly muttering about a Kenny Crow doll?
NLC: Look, if he refused to accept my text messages any more… or my calls… or my postcards… or official handwritten letters… or Moogle invites...
LNF: Really, Noct???
NLC: Then he’s just going to have to accept the consequences. The doll was the only avenue left to me.
LNF: How are you moving the doll all the way from Lucis!? It can’t be Prompto, as it’s apparently still happening.
NLC: Asked Aranea to do it. She thought it was funny. But apparently other people have gotten in on the action, so she barely has to do anything anymore.
NLC: Apparently people besides me think that Ardyn is a dick. Who knew? Truly I have unleashed a power that I cannot fully control.
LNF: I’m… not quite sure how to respond to all of this, actually.
NLC: That’s okay. So anyway, kill Ardyn, enter godly realm through rock, kill Ardyn again, profit.
NLC: And by “profit”, I mean “expunge all traces of daemons from this earth”.
LNF: Succinctly put, yes.
NLC: And all without the need for us to become as gods.
LNF: ...I feel as if I’m missing something here.
NLC: ...video games, Luna. Once all this is over, I’m introducing you to video games.
LNF: I just asked Prompto if I should be afraid, and he said to run while I still could.
NLC: Tell Prompto that he’s a coward, and I totally always won fair and square.
LNF: I’m pretty sure that Prompto’s answer is treasonous, so I won’t be reprinting it here.
NLC: Only treasonous? That’s disappointing. Usually he manages “blasphemous” as well.
LNF: But he is recommending a game. Something called “King’s Knight”?
NLC: Download it. Download it now .
Tainted MTs Purged, Rest of Army Cleared by Chancellor
LNF: I no longer have any free time, and I hate you both for getting me addicted to this stupid, stupid game.
LNF: I’m recommending it to Ravus.
NLC: Eh, you were on house arrest anyway. I have no regrets.
PA: You are now ONE OF US!
NLC: ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
PA: And yes, you should absolutely drag Ravus down with you. That is the whole point of nerd-dom. Dragging your friends and family down kicking and screaming into the deep dark abyss that your life has become.
NLC: Do we really want him to be one of us though?
PA: Aw, don’t worry buddy - until he makes his own, custom-made assassin’s robes, he will never be up to your nerdy caliber.
LNF: Assassin’s robes…?
PA: Oh man, Luna, you gotta try Assassin’s Creed. I think that Noct literally has a copy of one of the games in his Armiger. And Ravus has a console, right?
LNF: Yes, he does. I’ll go grab it.
NLC: DON’T YOU TWO DARE PLAY ASSASSIN’S CREED WHILE I’M STUCK IN BORING MEETINGS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.
NLC: DON’T LEAVE MEEEEEEE.
RNF: I’m rethinking my decision to not kill you.
NLC: Why am I the only one getting death threats? Luna and Prompto are FAR more responsible.
RNF: Because I actually like THEM. Now are you going to help me on this raid or not?
NLC: I’m coming, I’m coming.
General Roth Crowned Emperor of Niflheim
IS: Are you busy tonight, Noct?
NLC: I’m busy improving international relations.
IS: Are you still talking about the Chancellor?
NLC: Yeah no, he DEFINITELY hates my guts by now. I’m playing King’s Knight with Ravus and Luna.
IS: Are they both alright? No one has had any word of them since Prince Ravus’ announcement.
NLC: They’re both fine. :) Luna’s new bodyguard is introducing her to the world of video games.
IS: Doesn’t seem terribly professional.
NLC: No, but they’re basically on house arrest right now - waiting until the chaos dies down a little more before making their move.
IS: Niflheim did just crown a new Emperor.
NLC: Doesn’t mean he’ll last.
IS: Correct - I suppose you have been paying attention to your paperwork after all.
NLC: Gotta grow up sometime. But anyway, what did you want?
IS: Gladio and I were wondering if you were available this evening to go to the aquarium.
NLC: I’ll be ready in half an hour.
IS: I look forward to it.
It was with a heavy heart that Regis had accepted the delegation from Niflheim.
Despite all of the chaos of the last year following Emperor Aldercapt’s sudden death and the execution of Niflheim’s head researcher (along with a good portion of the army), the Chancellor had been depressingly effective in pulling together the army and fending off all would-be contenders for the throne.
Oh, he hadn’t declared himself Emperor - there was some distant cousin that was just crowned - but everyone knew who really had the power.
So while Regis could expect the “peace terms” to be far more favorable then they would have been, say, a year ago, Lucis’ future prospects were still rather grim.
It was for this reason that he was greeting the delegation personally, rather than waiting for a formal introduction as his council had gently suggested. Regis had declined their suggestions. If this was to be the beginning of the end, then he wanted to be there the entire time. He stood in the courtyard, watching as a drop ship came nearer and nearer - far ahead of the time that they had been told.
It’s a good thing Regis had been ready well in advance.
“Brazen of them to land right in the middle of our courtyard,” Clarus grumbled besides him.
“They have good reason to be brazen,” Regis said grimly, before forcing himself to fall silent again as the ramp lowered. Then he blinked in surprise.
“Your Highness,” he said blankly, as Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, the Oracle herself, walked down from the drop-ship, followed by her brother, the man that foreign intelligence had confirmed was her new bodyguard, and one of Niflheim’s hired mercenaries - presumably the captain of the ship.
“Your Majesty,” she said, inclining her head. “It is good to see you.”
“You as well,” he answered automatically. “I had not expected you among the delegation.”
“That is because we are not,” Ravus said, looking him square in the eye. “The delegation is a few hours behind us - we would prefer to be out of sight by then.”
Murmurs broke out behind them.
“You are here without their knowledge?” Clarus asked, leaning forward slightly.
“Yes,” Lunafreya said. “There is more going on here then you know, Your Majesty. Is there a place that we can speak in private?”
“I - yes, of course,” Regis said. “We can meet in the conference room.”
“Your Majesty, are you sure-” one of the councilors began, before cutting off when Regis raised a hand.
“I am sure, Tarsicius” he said gently.
“I’ll be off then,” the mercenary said. “Give me a holler if things go south, Princess.”
Lunafreya turned to smile at her. “Of course, Aranea. Thank you.”
“No need to thank me,” the woman said, nodding at her. She turned and walked back on to the ship, ruffling the hair of the bodyguard as she passed. He jerked away from her hand good-naturedly, making her laugh.
Once the ship had taken off and was out of sight, the slightly odd group entered the citadel.
“I would like Noctis to be present, Your Majesty,” Lunafreya said, falling into step next to him. Which Regis didn’t like exactly, but he doubted that the Oracle meant them harm, and even if she did her people would be vastly outnumbered.
Which of course meant that Gladiolus would come as well. Ignis Scientia followed them with a determined expression, and when neither Lunafreya nor her companions said anything against it, Regis let it slide.
He was curious to note the glances both Gladiolus and Ignis were giving Lunafreya’s bodyguard.
They weren’t hostile , just… curious.
Even stranger, Cor kept looking at him, although he seemed to be torn between suspicion and confusion. (...not that anyone who didn’t know him would be able to tell…)
Was this the “coincidence” he had mentioned?
Once they were all seated, Noctis was surprisingly the one to speak first.
“Dad,” he said, looking seriously at Regis. “I’ve been communicating with Luna over the past few weeks. We’re going to fulfill the prophecy today. The Imperial Chancellor, Ardyn Izunia, is the accursed.”
Whatever Regis had been expecting, that wasn’t it. He felt his insides turn to ice. No. He thought that he’d had more time -
“Fulfilling a new and revised version of the prophecy,” Lunafreya’s bodyguard - Argentum, was it? - cut in. “No one’s dying today but Chancellor Creepy.”
“Dying?” He heard Gladio breathe, confused.
Lunafreya bit her lip to cover a smile. “Prompto’s correct,” she said. “We’ve made preparations over the past few months that will allow us to skip most of the prophecy. To be brief, Noctis needs to physically kill the Accursed’s body in the real world, then use a combination of my magic and the Crystal’s magic to create a portal to the Astral realm, where he can destroy the source of the Starscourge. To that end, we’ve created a plan of attack for the day.”
Ignoring the bewildered looks of most of the Lucian group, Lunafreya opened some paper files that her bodyguard had handed to her. Even while the rest of his people asked questions and were told of the plan of attack, Regis could barely pay attention, mind numb with shock.
Just - ignore parts of the prophecy? With no repercussions? What exactly has his son been up to for the past few months?
Noctis noticed his distraction. Peeling away from the group huddled around the plans, he walked over to Regis.
“Dad,” Noctis said quietly, looking him straight in the eye. “I know this is a lot to take in. Trust me?”
And what else could Regis answer? “Always, my son.” he said.
Noctis gave him a small smile before turning to look at the others. “They should be arriving soon,” he said. “Everyone ready?” About half of the room looked like they were anything but ready, but all of them nodded.
“I just have one more thing to add,” Argentum said, digging around in a satchel he had been carrying on his back. “Aha!”
He brought out a… plush Kenny Crow doll?
He wasn’t the only one confused, but apparently Noctis understood because he burst out laughing and said “That’s perfect!”
“Didn’t want you to have to give up your dream entirely,” Argentum said, grinning as he passed the toy to Noctis.
Regis exchanged a glance with Clarus. Hadn’t there been that rumor…
“Now,” Noctis said, grin a tad bloodthirsty. “Who’s ready to destroy the Starscourge and kick Niflheim out of our homes?”
Ardyn entered the Throne Room of the Citadel, flanked by soldiers, ready to end this farce once and for all -
Only to come abruptly to a stop.
The room was deserted.
Or, not deserted.
For on the throne, barely visible from where he was standing, was a small figure.
No, not a figure.
A doll .
That Astrals-damned, thriced cursed, Ifrit’s hellspawn of doll that had been haunting him for the last several months.
“I,” he said, very calmly. “Am going to kill that brat slowly and painfully, and I will e n j o y i t. ”
There were several thuds behind him.
“Kinky,” Noctis Lucis Caelum, current Chosen King of Light and pain Ardyn’s ass said, calmly removing his sword from the body that it had been embedded in. The doors had swung shut behind him, but from the muffled thumps, Ardyn was sure that the soldiers that had not made it into the room had been taken down as well. There were a few gunshots, and the rest of the soldiers that had made it fell like dominoes.
Ardyn glanced up, and noticed a young man standing in the rafters, gun trained on him. A very familiar -looking young man. Was - was that one of Verstael’s clones? It would certainly explain a few things...
While he’d been distracted, the Oracle had appeared from… somewhere, and was pointing her trident at the crystal. Which was in the throne room for some reason. A swirling vortex was appearing in front of it.
“What,” Ardyn said coldly, turning back to the Chosen King, “do you think that you’re doing?”
“Editing the script,” the boy said insolently. “Bahamut’s version is nice and dramatic, but contains a lot of unnecessary filler. Gotta stick to the essentials, don’t you know?”
Ardyn laughed bitterly. “Trying to go against the gods doesn’t work, boy. Believe me, I know.”
An odd expression crossed Noctis’s face - pity, perhaps. “Maybe,” he said softly, “but I have the advantage of this being take two, so I know which parts are actually important and which aren’t. Practice makes perfect, you know?”
And without any more warning - or explanations - he threw his weapon, warp-striking them both into the vortex.
Noctis woke to the sound of quiet beeping.
Everything also hurt , but at least he was still alive to feel the hurt, so, much better than last time.
Aw crap, he thought. Stasis. I so haven’t missed this .
The temptation to go back to sleep was nearly overwhelming, but he wanted to know how everything had gone, so he forced his eyes open.
The first thing he saw was that yes, he was in the hospital. Various monitors and sensors were attached to his body, which explains the beeping, and there was a Glaive standing guard at the door.
The Glaive - Ulric? Noctis thinks? - seemed to have noticed that he had awakened, because he was radioing in a status update. Things got rather hazy after that, drifting in and out of the edge of sleep, because the next thing he remembered was his dad by his bedside.
He’d officially survived his destiny.
Now he just had to survive the hospital. Then a worried Iggy and Gladio. And a worried Dad. And Prompto and Luna would be worried too, but at least they’d be more on his side than the doctor’s.
Noctis let his head fall back into the pillow with a groan.
Guess the hard part isn’t over just yet.
NLC: So, I hear that I’m gonna have to fight Luna if I want you back.
PA: Eh, I’m sure you two can share. Plenty of me to go around. But if not, I’m sure that she’d be willing to fight you in the parking lot.
NLC: Yeah, she probably would. Wouldn’t be great for publicity, though.
PA: lol, I wonder why?
NLC: Iggy and Gladio want to meet you, btw.
PA: ...so strange to think that these versions of them has never met me.
NLC: So, you think that you’re ready to give up you’re wanderin’ ways? Settle down, meet the family, put up with a boring life here in the Citadel as my Crownsguard?
PA: As if it’s going to be boring around here. You’re a trouble magnet. Treaties to make, land to reclaim, Kingsglaive to clear of traitors, so many EXPLANATIONS... You know, I’ve already had Cor corner me to demand exactly what I’ve been up too. Uh, apparently he’s suspected what was going on for awhile.
NLC: Not surprising that he figured it out.
PA: I guess.
NLC: ...you’ve got time to decide, y’know. The whole rest of our lives, in fact.
PA: Strange to think that we’ve actually made it here. That there’s a future to have. It’ll… take some getting used to.
NLC: Specs has already offered to help us find some therapists, if it would help.
NLC: He’s taking the whole story quite well, actually.
PA: ...maybe. I’ll think about it. And I guess even you can’t avoid explanations when you literally can’t leave the bed.
NLC: Once again…
PA: Take your time, I know. Thanks, dork.
NLC: Anytime, nerd.
NLC: Anyway, willing to come bust me outta here? I am SO over the hospital wing.
PA: ...look, I’ve done some crazy things in the past few months, but I’m not THAT crazy.
NLC: Some best friend you are. Here when it involves defying destiny and battling gods and untold numbers of enemy forces, gone when I need to leave the hospital just a few days early.
PA: How about we compromise and I smuggle in some junk food instead? And Luna can grab some new movies to watch. She’s nearly as bored as you are. And guess who had to hear allll about it? Guess I’m the official Royal Therapist now.
NLC: Royal Entertainment, more like it. And I suppose that’s acceptable. Get your ass up here.
PA: On my way.
[Item Description: Photograph of the Lucian throne. Sitting on the throne is a small plush doll with a sword resting next to it. On the back of the photo is written two words:
Thank you ]