Chapter II – No turning back
(anyone who wants to be tagged or removed, please let me know! )
Feedback is always appreciated!!Thank you for taking the time to stand by me! <3
In a single night, the promise of peace had been broken, the Crown City along with it. Putting their home behind them, the company set forth to find answers in Hammerhead.
With Ignis behind the wheel and Noctis not letting go of Six’s hand in the back seat, they set new course, turning back to Hammerhead to meet with Cor Leonis, the Immortal.
“Don’t suppose the Crownsguard is still active.” Gladio spoke after a few good minutes of silence and grief.
“Wouldn’t count on it, not with the marshal out here.” Ignis answered, looking back through the rearview mirror.
“I wonder how things are in the city…” Prompto thought out loud.
“There should be reports before long.” Six’s voice came out low as if she didn’t want to take Noctis by surprise. His head was touching her shoulder and her fingers rubbed gently over his while his eyes wondered around on everything and nothing at once.
“Yeah,” Gladio answered, noticing the scene next to him “Something this big can’t go ignored.”
“What about us?” Prompto turned to Six for answers “What do we do?”
His eyes where almost pleading with her to have answers that could help them, but Gladio answered on her behalf “We make for Hammerhead now, and figure the rest out later.”
“Have you heard anything from your family?” Six turned her head to look at him, voice as soft as it was before.
“Got a message from my sister;” he answered after a long sigh, obviously not happy with the information he had on the rest of the Amicitia family “she’s with refuges bound for Lestallum.”
Six nodded “Well, at least Iris is okay.”
“Yeah. Doesn’t sound like everyone else was so lucky, though.” Gladio thought quickly when the words left his mouth and turned to look at her. Her eyes fell on the Regalia’s floor the second he finished his sentence. Mind running back to the fallen of Insomnia. Six had spoken with Libertus just a few minutes ago but his answer about Nyx’s whereabouts didn’t put her mind at ease. The exact opposite actually; it had made every single thought go back to the one she tried to avoid. Realizing that, Gladio was quick to intertwine his fingers with her free hand. Giving a reassuring squeeze, silently apologizing. Her thumb instantly rubbing against his hand.
“We’d best make haste.” Ignis suggested “Noct won’t be dead forever.”
“No going back” Prompto agreed “only way’s forward.”
Noctis sighed as he raised his head from Six’s shoulder, getting back to reality “No going back.” He removed his hand from under hers, making her turn to look at him, wondering what went through his mind. He smiled weary at her as he nodded “Let’s go.”
They reached Hammerhead’s gas station and got out of the car, Cindy meeting up with them right away.
“Hey” Six said once everyone was out of the car.
“Glad y’all made it.” She gave the company a sympathetic smile.
“Where’s Cor?” Noctis asked.
“Left to see to business,” she turned to look at the boy “and left y’all a message with Paw-paw”
“How is he?” Six asked, realizing he must’ve heard the news as well.
“Boss ain’t sat still one second since he heard y’all were comin’.” Cindy answered.
“We’ll talk to him, Cindy.” Six said to the young girl after she commented on how she hadn’t seen her old man like that before.
The company made their way to Cid’s garage, where he waited for them; sitting on his chair and staring at an old picture of the first company, himself, Regis, Wes, Cor, Clarus and Six; all standing tall, smiling.
“Hey old man” Six said once they got closer to him, her voice calm, not wanting to hit him with the reality of what was happening since he seemed to be traveling back to better times.
“They played my father for a fool” Noctis thought out loud after a while, and everyone turned to look at him.
“Don’t kid yourself” Six answered calmly, standing just a couple of feet away from the rest; arms crossed in front of her chest “Reggie wasn’t born yesterday.”
“Lucis got dealt a losin’ hand” Cid agreed, speaking his mind at last “and your old man played it the best he could. He saw this comin’ a mile away, and he wasn’t gonna go down without a fight.” His words and the silent tears coming from Six took everyone by surprise. From what they knew about Cid, he hadn’t been in the best relationship with King Regis the last few years, so hearing the respect in his voice and words, took them aback. Gladio kept his worried eyes on Six’s reactions while Cid kept talking “In the end though” he made a small pause “Well, it just wasn’t enough.”
Cid put his head down and everyone stayed silent for a few seconds. Everyone gathering their thoughts, thinking about the sacrifices and the outcome that was yet to come.
“You need something else, you talk to Cor” Cid cleared his throat, getting up and out of the garage, leaving the company behind “I can’t even remember the last time I saw Reggie.” A shiver run down Six’s spine upon hearing his words, sadness and guilt taking over her as tears continued to fall down her cheeks, unable to even try to cover them anymore as she couldn’t take her eyes off the picture on the table “Feel’s like a lifetime ago.”
Gladio moved closer to her, placing a gentle hand on her lower back “Hey” voice and eyes filled with concern.
Six brushed the tears off her cheeks as she sniffed and cleared her throat “We should find Cor, he uh –“ her thoughts where all over the place, running back and forth to everyone.
She was the kind of person who thinks about everyone’s feelings; and seeing Cid like that, beat up, venerable; knowing that the rest of her company shared the same feelings, it took her apart. Not being able to do something, anything to help; it killed her inside.
“We will” Gladio answered softly, running his thumb over the top of her cheeks and under her eyes, clearing the remaining tears off “Come on” he took her hand and led her outside, rejoining with Cid as the rest followed.
“Cor left a message, said he’ll wait for ya in the tombs.” Cid spoke again after everyone was out of the garage “You should know where they are” he pointed at Six as she nodded.
“They’re to the northwest, just outside the outpost. We should find that first.”
Everyone said their goodbyes and promised to be back soon as they got in the car to begin their quest on finding Cor, hoping he would hold some answers for them.
“They will have sealed off the city by now” Ignis pointed out from the back seat of the Regalia as he was now sitting there, next to Prompto and Noctis.
“What do you think it’s like inside?” Prompto asked Noctis, trying to get him to say something at all.
“I don’t know” the prince answered “your guess is as good as mine.”
“We’ll see for ourselves in time.” Gladio answered softly from the passenger’s seat, eyes wondering on the road ahead.
“Indeed.” Ignis agreed “Merely a question of when.”
“Can’t believe the Crystal’s gone” Prompto spoke up again, thinking out loud.
“The bastards took it all.” Gladio’s voice was filled with anger.
“Yeah?” Six’s voice was heard for the first time since Cid’s “We’ll take it back!”
“This is far from over!” Ignis agreed, determent for revenge.
It was already late noon when they found the place. They reached the outpost within half an hour of driving, finding Monica waiting for them after orders from Cor himself. She informed them about the Crownsguard solders and how many of them hadn’t made it out of the City alive. She told Gladio about Iris, how his sister was safe and sound, escorted by Dustin, one of her finest.
“We owe you guys big time” Six said after hearing they took good care of Iris. Gladiolus and Clarus weren’t the only members of the Amicitia family she held close. Iris was like a little sister to her and she cherished her company and friendship.
Gladio smiled to himself upon watching the relief on her futures and the concern she showed.
“Head for the royal tomb. The marshal awaits.” Monica instructed and the company started their way to where Cor waited for them.
“Can’t keep up with this guy” Gladio whined while walking to find the marshal.
“First the Crown City, then Hammerhead, then the royal tomb?” Prompto agreed.
Six smiled to herself, proud of the reactions her friend drew.
“His nickname should be ‘Cor the restless’” Ignis commented, joining in the conversation.
“Somehow not as catchy as ‘Cor the Immortal’” Six answered, softly chuckling to herself.
“Making it out of Insomnia only adds to his legend.”
“Well, fortune favors the bold.” Noctis decided it was time for him to speak up as well.
“The wise make their own luck, Noct.” Six answered.
“You think it’s a coincidence he’s made it out of all those battles alive?” Gladio asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
“No.” Six kept her eyes ahead “I think I trained him well” she laughed.
Gladio smiled to himself, mouth acting before his brain as he spoke again, blushing because of his words in an instant “It’s nice to hear your laugh again.”
Six gave him a side look as it was her turn to blush from his words.
“Wonder what drew him to the royal tomb.” he wondered.
“A morbid curiosity for the late kings of Lucis?” Ignis wondered as well.
“Only one way to find out.” Noctis answered, putting their minds back on track.
The company went through the two tall pillars and met the royal tomb of the Wise king of Lucis, Cor waiting for them inside.
“We’re here.” Six said, almost to herself as her voice was low. Mind running around in circles, not knowing where to actually stay. She was about to see Cor Leonis again after a long time. When the old company was a ‘thing’ Cor was in Prompto’s place, she had a soft spot for him, cared for him like a son, even though she knew he was tough as nails. He had made a name for himself over the years, made Marshal of the Crownsguard in a small amount of time as he had proven himself capable and worthy of the title that was bestowed upon him. She sure had missed him. She was happy he was out of the City when everything went down.
“A tomb fit for royalty.” Prompto commented on the greatness of the tomb before them.
“Let’s go in and find the marshal.” Gladio said as everyone moved to the entrance.
Noctis pushed the door in and they met with the light blue eyes of the Immortal.
“Marshal” Ignis made their presence known but Six knew better. Cor already knew they were there, even before the door had opened. Cor was one of the best Insomnia had, as well as one of the most stubborn, alongside herself, Cid, Nyx and a few others who would neglect a direct order if they thought it was crap. In her eyes, Cor was at the top of the list, carrying the ‘crown of the stubborn’ as she used to say when they traveled together.
“At last, Your Highness.” Cor spoke up, voice ruffed up as he rarely used it when it wasn’t needed.
“Wanna tell me what I’m here for?” Noctis asked, mind and body exhausted.
Cor glanced over to Six, standing next to the entrance, and she nodded at him “The power of kings, passed from the old to the new through the bonding of souls.” He said pointing out at the tomb between them “One such soul lies before you. To claim your forebears’ power is your birthright and duty as king.”
Silence followed for a few seconds as Noctis decided his next words “My duty as king of what?”
Everyone was surprised at the words that left his mouth, their breaths hitching as they stared up at him “Now is not the time to question your calling.” Six scolded him as Cor continued “A king is sworn to protect his people.”
“And yet he chose to protect only one prince.” Noctis’ voice was calmer than his thoughts “Was that his calling? Forsake the masses to spare his own son?”
His words lit a fire inside Six’s heart, she couldn’t let him believe those things about his father when she knew he sacrificed everything he held dear “How long will you remain the protected?” her voice was stern as she practically demanded that he listened to her “The king entrusted the role of protector to you.”
“Entrusted it to me?” he fought back without meeting her eyes, fearing if he did he’d meet with her anger “Then why didn’t he tell me that? Why did he stand there smiling as I left?” he asked desperately, trying to hold back the overflowing emotions “Why – “
No one had an answer for him, and no one blamed his outburst. Six wasn’t mad as he thought her to be; not at him at least. She was concerned, as she always was, about him, his feelings, the ones she knew he kept for himself. Realizing all that and tired from the reality of what was happening, he lowered his voice “Why did he lie to me?”
A few seconds passed before Cor answered again, comforting the boy “That day, he didn’t want you to remember him as the king.” His voice was steady and strong, meaning and emotion in everything he said as he believed every single word “In what time you had left, he wanted to be your father.”
Noctis took in a couple of short breathes that went out as whimpers as he finally let his tears fall; grieving his beloved father.
“He always had faith in you” Cor continued as the boy cried, letting his emotions out “that when the time came, you would ascend for the sake of your people.”
Noctis took a long breath and stood up, raising his head as he answered “Guess he left me no choice” He extended his hand above the Wise’s sword and it glowed brightly as it ascended above the tomb. Making its way to stab Noctis in the heart as he took in the power the old king possessed. Noctis took a step back at the feeling that action had left him with, a feeling he shared with Six as she was now bound to him; as her duty commanded, she was bound by magic with the king of Lucis. The rightful one at last.
She let out a sharp breath as she felt part of her power leave her body and enter his, as it was foretold for the True Kings ascension.
“The power of kings goes with you, Your Majesty.” Cor said proudly as Noctis looked at him, seemingly determent to see this through.
It took Noctis a couple of second to shake the feeling away.
“That’s not the only power your forebears left you.” Six commented once the feeling was gone from her too “Our journey has just begun.”
Cor nodded, agreeing with her “Another tomb lies close by. I suggest you head there next.”
He told them about the tombs of the old kings; how they were scattered all around the land, on dangerous grounds, and how Noctis should collect all of them to gain their power.
“I’ll go with you, for the time being.”
Six raised an eyebrow at him, silently mocking him for sticking around. Something he didn’t do often. Cor let a soft smile run across his lips, not letting it reach his ears as he rarely smiled anymore. Being the marshal of the Crownsguard had changed him, made him more serious as his no-nonsense attitude was everything to him now, unlike the cocky attitude he had when they traveled together. Thirty years had made a man out of the boy he used to be.
“Not only to help” Cor continued, in order to explain “but to get a measure of your strength.”
“So, just how many of these ‘powers’ are there?” Noctis asked, making his way out of the tomb.
Six raised her head and stared up at the night sky, thinking, silently talking to the stars while Cor explained “There are thirteen known royal arms, each enshrined at a royal tomb, though we know the location of only a few.”
“Six?” Noctis made her turn her attention to him “Do you know where the rest are?”
“No” she shook her head “I don’t even know where mine is.”
“I’ve enlisted the help of the Hunters.” Cor spoke again, knowing Six was busy with helping the line of Lucis and raise the Kingsglaive unit; something that resulted to her having no time for herself or needing to know about the tombs of the old “They comb the land in search of the lost tombs.”
“So where’s the one nearby you mentioned?” She asked, her curiosity peaked. She did want to know about the lost tombs; also the idea of finding her own was more than exciting.
“Keycatrich Trench.” He said “We know there to be a crypt deep inside the tunnels.”
“You know whose it is?” she asked in hopes it would be her own.
“Not yours I’m afraid.” He gave her a side smile, knowing what she was thinking.
“Shall we go now or wait for morning?” Ignis asked, pointing out it was already late.
“The hunters’ outpost is nearby. We could go back and rest if that’s what you want” Cor answered “But I would suggest we go as fast as possible.”
“Noct?” Six turned to the boy, feeling his exhaustion.
“I’d rather take a nap if it’s ok with you guys.” Noctis answered, running a hand through his hair.
“Yay! Nap time!” Prompto jumped and everyone started for the outpost.
There was no laughter or King’s Knight that night. The boys went right to sleep, as everyone was beat from the past day’s events. Cor was standing outside, next to the fire the hunters had going just a few feet away from the caravan the boys were sleeping in.
Six didn’t waste any time and joined him, not being able to get some sleep of her own.
“Nightmares?” he asked once she made her way to stand next to him.
She just nodded.
“Your boys are beat.” He laughed, mostly to himself, trying to make small talk. Meeting with his friend after a long time had made him nervous, especially after talking with Clarus back at the Crown City, before everything.
“Yeah” she smiled, looking back at the caravan’s direction “How about you? Are you alright?”
Cor nodded, staring back at the ongoing fire, thinking to the events of Insomnia “Can I ask you something? What did His Majesty and Master Clarus said to make you come all this way?”
“Huh?” she looked at him not knowing what his point was.
“When I drought Prompto into the Citadel, Clarus said they took care of it; of you, when I said you wouldn’t agree to leave.”
“Why wouldn’t agree to accompany the boys to Altissia?” she asked baffled.
Cor didn’t know what to say. He was absolutely sure Six wouldn’t have agreed to leave the King alone in any case. So what was her motive for leaving?
“Cor” she asked silently after the idea hit her “what are you saying?”
Cor turned his whole body to her, taken aback from her question. He didn’t mean it to sound like it had “Six, no” he put his hands on her shoulders “I didn’t mean anythi –“
“What did you mean, Cor?” her grey eyes stared back to his blue ones, pleading for him to explain.
“I –“ he stuttered “listen” he made her sit down on one of the chairs around the fire and looked her straight in the eyes while answering “I had kind of a falling out with Clarus, back at the Citadel. He said the Crownsguard, me included, would have to stand with the people instead of the king, when the treaty should happen.” Six listened to him carefully, trying her hardest to remember what happened that day “We got to the point where I said you wouldn’t agree with it, having just the Kingsglaives at the Kings disposal.” Cor made a small pause, seeing how her mind run back “Clarus never let me finish. By the time I said your name, he told me I needn’t worry about you. That whatever was to happen was already taken care of.”
Six was lost in thought when Cor spoke again, after letting a few seconds pass so she could take in the seemingly new information “Six, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“I believe you.” She said sincerely “But, Cor, what did he mean?”
“You don’t remember?” he wondered, frowning his eyebrows.
“I remember coming back from the outskirts. I remember talking with Reggie and making fun of Clarus’ hair” She smiled to the memory “and I remember leaving to get ready for the trip to Altissia.”
Cor gave it some thought “Maybe Clarus wanted me out of their hair.” He thought out loud.
“They knew what was gonna happen. They wanted us both out.” She made a small pause, gathering her thoughts “We need to figure out what went wrong, Cor.”
Cor didn’t answer right away, he stared at her for a few seconds. Six wouldn’t just leave. Even if the King had ordered her to do so. She would spit some witty comment about the orders and his royal ass and she would do whatever she thought was right. So what had happened? He was determent to find out, as much as she was; but this wasn’t the time; and both of them knew it “We should stand by the Prince for now.”
Six stared up at him, proud of the way he was thinking, proud of the man the boy had become; just as King Regis would’ve wanted him to; so she went with it. Getting her personal affairs on the side and putting Noctis ahead of everything once more “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.”
Cor got up and moved his hand to caress her cheek “Go to sleep ‘mom’, we’ll need you at a hundred present tomorrow. The cave’s going to be a pain.”
Six laughed at his comment. Cor hadn’t called her ‘mom’ in a very long time; last time being ten years ago, when she got injured to protect him from a Magitek assassin while on a Crownsguard clean up mission.
“It’s nice to see you smile in times like this.” Cor commented “I know you’ve lost a lot.”
Her smile fell for a few seconds as she let out a sigh, looking back to the boys’ direction “So have they. Yet, they all remain strong for each other. That’s what I’m gonna do, too. I’ll sand by them.”
“They are lucky to have you, you know.” Cor said, staring at the same direction as her.
“Well” she let out a long breath “We’ll see about that.” She said as she got up and walked toward the caravan “Get some sleep Cor. There’s a reason your nickname’s not ‘Cor the restless’”
Cor shook his head as he let out a laugh. Six felt proud of herself for bringing it out of him as she hadn’t heard him laugh in a long time. “It’s good to have you here, Cor.”