Nyx felt like his body was on fire. This was the power of the Ring of Lucii? Shit, no wonder everyone wanted to get their hands on it. How had His Majesty withstood this?
Then a ringing calm. The pain faded, the bright blue light dimmed, dark spots that were dancing in his eyes vanished and all Nyx could feel was power, humming through his veins.
Nyx looked up to the towering figure looming over him. The armor obscured any features, but Nyx knew who this was, had seen the statue many times. The Founder King.
“The Ring accepted him,” the only female voice said. Dimly Nyx realized it must be the Rogue Queen.
“Impossible,” The Founder King repeated.
Nyx was starting to piece together why the Founder King sounded so stunned. The Ring accepted him? The very same Ring that only royal blood could wield? Sure Nyx put it on in a desperate attempt to barter because he would he see Lady Lunafreya to safety. He had promised. But exactly what was being in implied here?
There was a booming laughter. “I didn’t think you had it in you, Regis,” the bulky man to the right said. (The Tall? Maybe? Was that one with the giant sword? Nyx was Galahd born and raised, not Lucian, he didn’t know his history of Kings that well.)
“I did no such thing. I had exactly one son who I love very dearly,” the voice directly to Nyx’s left said.
Nyx turned, breath being stolen away. “Your Majesty,” he said reverently. Oh. Oh. That made sense didn’t it? He had witness Regis’ death just what, minutes ago? God, his sense of time was warped. It had been a constant battle one after another, betrayal after betrayal.
Regis gave him a mischievous smile. “Sir Ulric or perhaps I should say, nephew? It seems you’re family. Wish I had known; it would have shut up the stuffy council members ages ago.”
Nyx felt his jaw drop. This was too much. There was no way… Wait…
“Fuck,” Nyx said. “There’s no way that shitty piece of a sperm donor is royalty.”
Nyx had two wonderful loving parents and sister before the fall of Galahd. He loved them to pieces. His mother’s sweet lullabies and spiciest curry you could eat. His father passed on Nyx his hunting skills and the solid stance of morals. His sister’s bright smile and laughter. They were everything to Nyx.
The little family secret was Nyx’s father wasn’t Nyx’s biological one.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t inherit that bright red hair,” his mother once mused.
His wonderful mother had been charmed by a man who promptly left her after a string of dates lasting a month or two. Only for her to find out she was pregnant with Nyx and Nyx’s real father stepped up to marry her.
“So which one of you assholes is responsible for a red haired man running around knocking up women and abandoning them?” Nyx asked bitterly.
Because the absolute insult here was after Nyx arrived in Insomnia, after losing everything, his home, his parents, his sister, he found others like him. Whoever this fucking red haired man was, he was leaving behind an entire string of broken heart woman and did not fucking know how to keep it in his pants. Nyx now has more half siblings than he could ever imagine having.
(Crowe was the only one Nyx admitted to. But there was Mariana in the kitchens and Coqi over at that little bar three streets away from his apartment. Soren the doctor at the Citadel who bitched about patching up Nyx every time Nyx came back hurt from a mission and the whole reason why Nyx knew there were others like him. And too many others that Nyx only knew in passing. Libertus just complained because he wasn’t allowed to join the monthly ‘Our-sperm-donor-is-an-asshole’ club meetings.)
(Shit. He really hope they’re all safe. He already lost Crowe and Selena. Please, by the Astrals, no more dead siblings.)
“Red hair, how unusual. Then again it has to be a few genetics down the line,” The Wise said.
“No,” The Rogue said.
Nyx did not have a heart attack at the sly but downright cruel smile curling on her face.
“No, the Ring recognizes that Nyx Ulric is the biological nephew of Somnus Lucis Caelum,” The Rogue said.
All eyes turned to the Founder King who, to Nyx’s absolute surprise, actually bowed his head into his hand.
“Ardyn,” The Founder King said in a tone that was all too resigned.
“What the fuck,” Nyx said. How on earth could he be biologically related to the Founder King? “You’re like 2000 years old. How on Eos could you have a brother still running around banging women?”
“Surprisingly easy when you consider he is The Accursed One,” the Rogue Queen said mildly amused. “He’s immortal.”
What the fuck. “How many of us are there?!” Nyx half howled. 2000 years. Shit, Nyx wouldn’t be surprised if he was related to half of Eos at this point.
Whoever this Ardyn Lucis Caelum was, he clearly didn’t know the use of a condom.
“How many do you know of?” The Just asked, curious.
“26 in the city,” Nyx answered bitterly. It used to be 27, but Crowe… “Soren is the one who keeps finding us.” And kept abusing his position as director of the medical wing to run paternity test to prove it.
Regis blinked in surprise. “Doctor Soren Tellius? Good man.”
Nyx nodded miserably. Soren might be pissy stotic man who threw books at Nyx’s head for his recklessness, but he was also a damn good doctor.
“Well, I supposed the comfort here is that Lucis Caelum line won’t be ending with Noctis,” Regis said calmly. Too calmly.
Nyx turned to Regis. “No offense Your Majesty, but what the hell is that supposed to mean? Is this about little prince’s crush on his best friend?”
“No,” Regis said. (And he was still too damn calm for Nyx’s taste.) “According to our beloved ancestors, or your Uncle in this case, and the Astrals themselves, Noctis won’t live to rule as King as he will have to die to save our world. Which means as next in line, you’re it, nephew.”
What. Hell no. “There's no way I'm letting little prince die,” Nyx bitterly spat.
“Not you too. You're just like Regis,” The Conqueror groaned. “The prophecy must happen.”
Nyx turned to look at Regis who was glowering at the Kings of Yore. Oh. Regis wasn’t calm, he was fucking pissed off. Nyx could relate. He liked Noctis. The boy was a little sullen, but his heart would was in the right place.
How many nobles made it a point to visit the refugees’ soup kitchens, incognito too, to prove it wasn’t a PR stunt? Two. Regis came once, taking a rare day off with Noctis who had at that point, shown up three or four times.Their hands might be tied by politics and bureaucracy, but it was those little moments that reminded Nyx that the Royal Family he served were actually good people.
“Look, I would make a terrible King. I’m also not the fucking oldest of all of us. So it’s really in everyone’s best interest that Noctis goes onto become king,” Nyx pointed out. “Just because some Astral-” it had to be an Astral, probably Bahamut, who declared Noctis as the Sacrificial Lamb, “said little prince had to die for some prophecy doesn’t mean we actually to listen to it, right?”
There was a scandalized gasp throughout the Kings of Lucii.
Nyx paused for effect before delivering his last point. “And given the way you called my asshole sperm donor The Accursed One, do you really want his line on the throne? Because that sounds a lot like he gets the last laugh.”
(Which in hindsight, might be his actual evil plan and the damn reason why Nyx is one of many half siblings left behind. He was still an asshole though.)
“... You have a point,” The Rogue said. “I don’t want that cur’s bloodline near the throne.”
(It was official. The Rogue Queen was one of his favorites. Right after Regis. Sure he was throwing himself under the bus by being “one of the bloodline” but if it kept Nyx from the throne, he would take it.)
“But is there another way?” The Wanderer (that was the one with twin swords right?? Nyx needed a history book) said.
“They believe there is one,” The Rogue said. A smile curled on her lips. “Why not let him try and find one? If not, the Ring has accepted him as a suitable successor.”
“I am not-,” Nyx started.
“Oldest, you are not. But you’ve been using our family magic for years. If the King of Kings falls according to prophecy, you are the one who will succeed him. Nyx Ulric Lucis Caelum CXV,” The Rogue said. “Consider it incentive to ensure that young Noctis survives.”
Holy crap. She was bloody terrifying.
“I agree,” The Founder King said.
Nyx froze. Everyone turned to look at the Founder King.
“Nyx Ulric Lucis Caelum CXV, we will grant you the full powers of the Ring of Lucii to defend Insomnia through this attack,” The Founder King said, voice ringing with power. “You will help Noctis Lucis Caelum CXIV avoid his fate as the sacrifice while still riding the world of the Accursed One, my brother. Should you fail, we accept you as the next heir.”
Ominous. And threatening. But Nyx was going to take it because he wouldn’t, couldn’t, become King.
Regis clapped a hand on Nyx’s shoulder. “You’re a good man, Nyx,” he said. “Thank you for everything.”
“Your Majesty,” Nyx said in a quiet voice.
Regis shook his head. “Regis. I’m dead, no longer your King and you’re family. Noctis is going to go crazy when he finds out he has 26 cousins roaming around.” His expression turned wistful. “If I can make one more request…”
“Anything,” Nyx said. He would follow it through.
“When you see Noctis, please tell him… please tell him I’m sorry I never told him the truth about the prophecy. I wanted him to have as normal of a life as possible,” Regis said, pained. “Tell him I love him.”
“I will,” Nyx said. Those words, he would deliver them safely to Noctis, Luna too.
Regis gave him one more fond smile.
“I recommend checking Costlemark Tower,” The Tall said. “The tower is old, it might have something that could help.”
“But first you must defend Insomnia and survive this attack,” The Wise said.
“Fight well, nephew,” The Founder King said. The area around them grew brighter. Looked like it was time to go.
“Right. Drautos. The daemons attacking the city,” Nyx said. “Should be a piece of cake for a hero.”
Noctis blankly wandered the streets of Lestallum. Ignis and Prompto were off restocking their supplies and Gladio had been browsing the weapon shop. That left Noctis with a frail quiet moment to himself. It had been two weeks since Insomnia’s tragic fall. Two weeks since his dad died. Two weeks.
“You look like you're thinking too hard, little prince.”
Noctis froze. There was only one person who called him that. He whirled around and looked up. “Nyx?” he whispered.
Sure enough, there on the roof, looking down was Nyx. In one fluid moment, Nyx jumped down. “Hey, glad to see you're still in one piece,” Nyx said.
Noctis reached out to touch him, not believing his eyes. There was no way to know who did and didn't survive the Fall of Insomnia. A cold hollow comfort to know his father was absolutely dead, but everyone else was just a mystery.
“I'm fine,” Nyx reassured. “Really.”
Noctis felt tears welled up in his eyes, but refused to let them fall.
Nyx swung an arm around Noctis’ shoulder. “Now, now. We got a lot to catch up with, but first got a few free minutes? There’s a couple people you need to meet.”
Noctis nodded, not trusting his words. He followed Nyx to the set of tables at the local restaurant. There was a familiar person sitting there with two others.
“Doctor Soren?” Noctis whispered.
“Your Highness!” The older man jumped to his feet, long hair flying behind him. “You’re safe! Thank goodness.”
“Why does little prince get a warm welcoming and I got a “oh you survived” when I found you,” Nyx drawled.
Soren gave him a flat look. “You’re a cockroach, Nyx. Nothing could kill you for long.”
Nyx laughed and waved him off. “Right, so you know Soren. Mariana used to work in the kitchens at the Citadel. This here is Coqi.”
The other two waved at Noctis with a smile. Coqi was the youngest looking, probably only a year or two older than Noctis himself. Mariana on the other hand, looked around Nyx’s age.
“There’s a couple more of us, but right now, this is who is in town. Lady Lunafreya is also here, we’ll go find her next,” Nyx said. “But I just wanted you to meet these three and know that you have honorary membership to our club.”
Noctis startled. “Luna is here? Wait, what club?”
“The ‘Our Sperm Donor is an Asshole’ club,” Nyx said cheerfully as everyone else groaned. “You get honorary membership, because surprise, you’re family.”
Noctis stared. What. Both his parents and grandparents were only children. He had no extended family.
“I don’t believe it,” Soren said flatly. “There’s no fucking way that bastard is royalty.”
Noctis threw a desperate look at Nyx.
“It turns out the Founder King? Somnus Lucis Caelum? He had an older brother,” Nyx said with a grimace. “An older brother who is apparently immortal and evil. Who likes to charm women, sleep with them and abandon them only for the women to discover that they’re pregnant months later.”
“I think you broke him, Nyx,” Coqi said.
Noctis scowled. “So we have to go hunt down someone and cut off their balls,” he said.
Everyone stared at him for a hot minute before Soren let out a bark of a laughter. “You’ll fit right in with us, Your Highness.”
“You’re not surprised by the whole immortal asshole?” Mariana asked, eyes wide.
Noctis just scowled harder. “My- our family has protected a magical crystal for 2000 years. Not mention some of the ancestors in our family line are pretty fucked up. What’s one more?” Not everyone in the Lucis Caelum line was a saint. Noctis should know. Ignis made him study Lucian History harder than any other subject. Noctis could recite all 113 ancestors and their (mis)deeds in his sleep.
There was a vague mention of an older brother to the Founder King but it was generally concluded that he had died and the crown went to Somnus. Clearly that was a lie.
“Also, just Noctis or Noct. We’re family,” Noctis said.
Nyx grinned. “Well said. I believe this is yours,” Nyx said. He pulled off the ring he was wearing.
Noctis blinked. It was the Ring of Lucii. There went any last doubts that it might have been a big lie about the whole immortal uncle. “You can wear the Ring without any problem?” he asked.
“It’s how we found out the asshole was royalty,” Nyx said. “I was put it on, trying to protect Lady Lunafreya, met your, ours I guess, ancestors and found out a lot of interesting things.”
Noctis felt the Ring in his head, this tiny thing so heavy. The last time he saw it, it had been on his father’s hand.
There was soft murmuring that sounded just like his father, a brief whisper of ‘I love you’ and left Noctis wondering if his father had joined the Ring instead of moving on.
There was a louder voice, rumbling yet silky smooth. Noctis blinked at it before blinking at Nyx. “Nyx… why is the Ring telling me you’re my heir?”
“What?” Soren asked, looking halfway to delight at the sheer mocking that could occur.
Nyx groaned, glaring at the Ring in Noctis’ hand. “I keep telling you I would make a fucking terrible king. Little prince on the other hand will make a great one and so help me, we’re going to make that happen. I would also like to take the time to point out that Soren here is the oldest.”
“Fuck you,” Soren swore. “Don’t you dare.”
“Since you’re related to the Founder King, you actually have the right-,” Noctis started.
“Hell no,” the other four chorus together.
“You’re the one born with the birthright and the training,” Nyx said.
“Noct!!” Prompto came dashing down the street. He tackled into Noct, waving his hands animatedly.
“Ardyn is here,” Prompto hissed.
Fuck. Why was that asshole here? He was so creepy. Noctis hated him. He swore under his breath. Dealing with a creepy asshole wasn’t on his list of things to do today.
“Ardyn?” Nyx asked.
Prompto blinked, finally registering who Noctis had been talking to. “Nyx! You’re okay!”
Nyx smiled. “Yeah. But later, tell me more about this Ardyn guy. Does he have red hair?”
“Wears a black coat?” Mariana asked.
“And ridiculous scarf?” Coqi continued.
“And a stupid black hat?” Soren finished.
Noctis blinked. No way. That was some coincidence. So the asshole was Nyx and the others’ biological sperm donor? Ugh, Noctis knew Ardyn was creepy as fuck.
“Err, yeah actually,” Prompto said. “You guys know him? We ran into him at Galdin and I’m like convinced he’s stalking us.”
“How long-?” Nyx asked Soren.
“Within hours,” Soren said, tapping away at his phone. “At least for those I know who definitely want a piece.”
“I got a set of Assassin Daggers that are poisoned,” Noctis offered. How would poison effect an immortal? Mild discomfort? Would be interesting to find out.
“You’re the best, little prince. Want to help?” Nyx asked.
“Absolutely,” Noctis said.
“Guys?” Prompto said, looking worried.
“Turns out I got an asshole ‘uncle’ who runs around knocking up women without any remorse,” Noctis said. Family was very important. And according to Article 147.1 of the Royal Protocol Handbook, when a family member dishonored the family line so shamefully, vengeance could be dished out on a cold dish.
(Dishonor was a broad term and really, the rule hadn’t been used outside of Rogue Queen’s reign who used it mostly to get rid of greedy backstabbing distant cousins who were trying to overthrow her. Honestly, their family line was clean for years after that.)
“Wait, really?” Prompto asked.
“Yeah, I got-” Noctis looked at Nyx. How many new cousins did he have?
“30, we found a couple here in Lestallum,” Nyx said.
Noctis nodded. “30 cousins I didn’t know I had.” 30 cousins?! The asshole certainly got around. Noctis would get Nyx to introduce him to all of his future cousins properly. Later though.
“And Ardyn is the guy?” Prompto asked.
“Yup. Matches the description,” Nyx said.
“Oh,” Prompto said. “Can I help?”
Everyone blinked owlishly at him.
Prompto shrugged. “I never confirmed it, but I know a thing or two about shitty biological parents.”
“You got honorary membership to our club too,” Soren announced.
“No one tell Ignis,” Noctis said.
“Err why not?” Prompto asked. “Because he’ll stop us?”
“There’s no stopping us,” Mariana said darkly.
“No, because he’ll get to Ardyn before the rest of us and immortal or not, he’ll make Ardyn permanently disappear,” Noctis said. Ignis took his job very seriously after all, and it was a little secret that the House of Scientia also served as the Crown’s hidden assassin, the final line of defense, lurking in the shadows. There was a reason why Ignis preferred daggers. Easier to slit a throat.
“Immortal?” Prompto asked, not questioning Ignis’ ability to make someone disappear. (Which was very smart of him. Nyx looked skeptical, but Noctis would let him figure that out for himself.)
Noctis nodded. “Yeah, the asshole is immortal and we’re about to find out if castration is permanent for him.”
Luna set down her cup with a small clink. “The entire town is buzzing about a brutal murder of a man so mutilated that they cannot identity him and Gentiana is telling me that the Accursed One is gone.” She smiled a very not friendly smile. “So who wants to tell me what is going on?”
Across from her, Nyx wouldn’t look her in the eyes and Noctis clutched his own cup of tea, mumbling words she couldn’t make out. Prompto had managed to escape with Gladio earlier, before Luna could corner him. No matter, she would get her answer from these two.
“Noct,” Ingis said.
Luna was impressed because Ignis hadn’t said any beside Noctis’ name and still Noctis crumbled like a wet napkin.
“Ardyn was the Accursed One and it turns out he’s immortal older brother of the Founder King,” Noctis blurted out. “Which makes the asshole family and Nyx is one of his sons.”
“The Chancellor?” Luna said surprised. She had always known there was something off about the man, but she had never been around him long enough to confirm one way or another.
“Oh fuck, that’s why he looked familiar,” Nyx said. “We saw him at the party.”
“Is the chancellor position hereditary?” Noctis said. “Because-”
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, little prince,” Nyx said.
“One of his sons?” Ignis asked sharply.
“I got 30 cousins you gotta meet, Specs,” Noctis said.
“30 is just ones we found,” Nyx groaned. “2000 years is a long time to sleep around and the asshole clearly made an attempt to sleep with every woman who ever crossed his path. Probably over half of Eos is related to us.”
“And how did you end up killing him?” Luna asked. The prophecy hadn’t been fulfilled. She hadn’t woken any of the Astrals yet and the Crystal was still somewhere in Gralea.
“30 cousins who all have magical ability, even if they didn’t know it,” Noctis said. “Then you have Nyx here who actually wore the Ring of Lucii and was granted full access to his own magical potential, which included wrestling away Ardyn’s amiger from him which happens to include over 100 royal arms. Add all of that together with my own magic and amiger and we apparently killed the asshole, permanently.”
“So no need for a prophecy,” Luna said.
“Yeah,” Noctis said. “I’m probably gonna have a meltdown over that later.” He cast a glance at Ignis who was steadily looking more and more alarmed.
“That’s fair,” Luna said. She couldn’t tell him the truth when they were children and couldn’t bear to put it down in their notebook later on. She also knew King Regis had never managed to tell Noctis the full truth either.
Luna sighed softly. Suddenly, her entire life purpose was negated overnight and she was feeling a bit lost. There was no need to wake up the Astrals now. She would live. It was very overwhelming.
But one thing was clear.
“I’m disappointed you didn’t invited me,” Luna said with a pout.
“I concur,” Ignis said.
Both Nyx and Noctis looked apologetic.
“Sorry,” the two mumbled together.
Noctis sat up straighter, eyes opening wider. “Oh, that reminds me. Hey Ignis.”
Nyx looked downright panicked. “No, don’t you dare little prince.”
“According to the Ring of Lucii, Nyx is my heir,” Noctis said.
“I fucking hate you,” Nyx said.
“I have 30 cousins who can be suffering with me under Royal Protocol and manners,” Noctis said primly. “I’m going inflict Ignis on all of you.”
“I must be such a nightmare,” Ignis said dryly.
Luna laughed brightly. “I supposed the only thing left to do is to retrieve the Crystal.”
“Should be easy,” Noctis said with an amused grin. “Nyx has an amiger of 100 royal arms. He’s going to be a great King. I’m so proud of my heir.”
“I hate you so much,” Nyx said.
“Welcome to Royalty, Nyx.”