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That Isn't Me

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      You Lose

     Noctis frowned at the game over screen. He blamed the bad wifi for his defeat. He was currently sitting in a small cafe located in Lestallum, chowing down on a muffin. He was playing a new game called King’s Knight on his recently purchased phone. His phone was not all that great compared to his previous one, but as long as he could still play games, it’ll have to do. He had gotten this one as a present for himself on his 19th birthday. 

     It had taken him a while to save enough gil to buy a new phone since he had to ditch his previous one to avoid getting tracked. While hunts usually paid a decent amount, most of the money went towards food and motel rooms. It probably hadn’t been a good idea to go on these hunts alone, but he had desperately needed the money, especially since he no longer had access to his bank account. After some time, he had gained enough skill where he could take on a pack of coeurls by himself. Besides, he had only gained a few scars. No big deal.

     Someone walked past his table, and Noctis casually pulled his hood further over his head to hide his face. He had run away about four years ago. His dad had informed him that he had been arranged to marry Lady Lunafreya when he turned 20. Noctis had not been happy about that at all. He had argued with his dad for hours. His dad had stated that it would help improve relations with Niflheim; that there was no other way. 

     “Is there really no other option, or is that what those assholes on the Council said because they were too lazy to think of something else?”

     His dad had told him that it was the best for Lucis and its people, but Noctis had only stormed out of the room. It hadn’t been that he hated his friend Luna, but he had only been 15 for Astrals’ sake. He had also wanted to, at least, be free to choose who he married. Not to mention, he was into guys. Besides, Noctis couldn’t see how a marriage with Luna was supposed to stop the fighting. Sure, the Niffs had control over the Oracle, but it wasn’t like she was related to their emperor or anything. So, what difference would it make? Surely, the Council, or even his father, would have seen that?

     Thinking about his father caused Noctis to put his phone down. He had honestly meant to return to Insomnia after a couple of months. However, the guilt of running away prevented him from returning. The longer he spent in hiding, the worse he felt. How could he face his dad after causing him so much heartbreak? He let out a sigh before finishing his muffin. He put his phone in his pocket and left the cafe.

     There was a nice breeze blowing on this sunny day in Lestallum. It was noon, and the weather was a little too warm for Noctis’s liking. He debated what he should do for the day. He was still tired from the previous day’s hunt. Perhaps, he should visit Galdin Quay. If he can get some new fishing line, then he could spend some time fishing. He wondered if he had enough money to get some food there too. He had managed to save enough gil to buy a meal once, and it had been delicious. Though, it hadn’t been as good as Ignis’s food.

     Noctis found himself missing Ignis at times. The first couple of years had been the roughest, and he could have used his advisor’s guidance. It had been then when Noctis had realized he had never fully appreciated Ignis. And, despite their rough start, Noctis regretted leaving Gladio behind. His shield probably could have helped him out with hunts and would have joked that Noctis had become a man when he had gotten his scars. Noctis wished they were there with him.

     He strolled through the town down to the outlook. After popping a gil into the slot, he peered into one of those tourist binoculars. His view landed on the Disc of Cauthess. Now there was a place he had yet to visit. He should go down there to check out the place where the Titan was still holding up the meteor. Noctis had no idea how his arms weren’t tired after all this time. Holding a giant rock for centuries sounded like too much work. Surely, there wouldn’t be any harm in putting it down for a minute or two.

     Noctis gave a little shrug. Maybe he could get a nice picture or two using his phone. He backed away from the binoculars and walked away. He was debating whether he should rent another chocobo when he went past a stand that contained newspapers. Normally, he did not bother with the news. Most of the newspapers talked about mundane things that no one really cared about. Oh, a celebrity had given birth? Wow, like no one had ever done that before.

     Occasionally he would look them over whenever something big was happening with Lucis and Niflheim. Sometimes, there would be speculation about his whereabouts and what it would mean for the peace treaty. Naturally, his dad was determined to find him. Noctis had lost count of how many times he had come across members of the kingsglaive. There had been a few times where he had almost been discovered.

     However, the headline of today’s newspaper caught his eye. It was another piece about him, but this time it was different. The picture was of him hugging his dad at the Citadel in Insomnia. This puzzled Noctis. It had been prohibited to take photos of the prince while he was under the age of 18. So, this was not an old photo. In fact, he looked to be about his current age, but he had never been anywhere near the city recently. He looked at the headline again. It had to be some sort of mistake.

The Lost Prince Has Finally Returned!