Corruption

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Epilogue

“Stella, what do you think you’re doing?” Nocturne asked. His arms were covered in bandages at his side. Apparently, Zeno’s arrows tore straight through the muscles in Nocturne’s arms so the doctors ordered Nocturne to rest and not handle anything with his arms for at least a month. I insisted on healing them for him but he refused. He kept saying that “time is the best medicine”.

“I’m going to help you change your clothes,” I smiled. “You’ve been sitting outside in the garden all day in the sun. Your body’s probably full of sweat.”

Nocturne remained silent as he sulked about his situation. He turned his face away to the trees, where Noctis laid on the ground, watching us.

Without delay, I began unbuttoning Nocturne’s shirt. My black hair dangled over my shoulder, sliding over his bare chest. His body was only slightly sweaty from the midday sun, but I was paying little attention to his perspiration. I felt my heart race as I tried to keep my hands steady. I kept staring down at his muscled chest. Was he always this well built?

“Stella, your face is red,” Nocturne whispered in my ear.

My body immediately jumped in surprise. I could still feel the heat of Nocturne’s breath on my skin. “Y-you’re too close!” I pushed him away.

He smirked at me. “How’re you going to change my clothes if you’re too far away?” He pressed his body closer to me.

I didn’t have the strength to push him away. Why is he so strong even when he’s injured? “H-hey, the doctors said to not push yourself too hard,” I spoke defensively.

“I’m not using my arms,” he retorted.

“B-but--” suddenly I was cut off. Nocturne had pressed his lips against mine. It was a forceful, yet gentle kiss. Slowly, our lips parted and I found myself gasping for breath. “W-what was that for?” I asked.

“Stella, I love you.”

I looked at him. “I love you, too,” I replied.

Nocturne sighed.

“God damn it, you stupid brat! He loves you as a woman, not as a stupid friend,” Ace shouted as he walked up.

“H-huh?”

“Ace…” Nocturne sighed once more.

“You’re not getting anywhere on your own. And this stupid brat is just too dense for her own good.”

“Hey, don’t call me a brat, you stupid insect!”

“If you both keep calling each other names, Nocturne will never be able to complete his confession,” Olber walked into the garden. Behind him followed Ren, Aeris, Zeno and even Zelgius.

“Nocturne’s confession?” I asked, still confused.

“Stella, I love you as a woman. And I hope one day you’ll be able to see me as a man.”

I felt the blood rush to my face as I looked down at my hands and began fiddling with my fingers, tangling them with each other. “Nocturne…”

Suddenly Zelgius clapped his hands together, stealing all our attentions. He smiled at me. “Stella’s too dense to understand an upfront confession but she’s wonderful at showing her true feelings. If that expression wasn’t one of accepting Nocturne’s feelings, I don’t know what it is.”

Nocturne rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Anyways, what do you want, Wight? Aren’t you done here now that the shadow magic’s been calmed?”

Zelgius chuckled. “There is one more thing I must do before I go. And I’m sure all of you will be more pleased with it.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Stella,” Zelgius turned to me. “You’ve fulfilled your role as the Demon King. You’ve made it through your journey without losing what you treasured most. So now, you no longer need to continue living as the Demon King.”

“Really?”

Zelgius nodded. “Now that the world no longer needs a Demon King, you can return to just being a Noble of Light.”

“Wait, if you take away the powers of the Demon King, what will happen to Noctis?” I asked hesitantly.

“Not to worry. There is always shadow magic in the human world. So as long as he isn’t exposed to your purifying magic, he should continue to exists.”

“Alright. Then please take the Demon King powers back.”

Zelgius took my hand into his own and closed his eyes. I felt energy begin to swirl around me. I felt a wave of heat leave the core of my body and exit into the palm of my hand. Soon after, Zelgius opened his eyes and moved his hand away from mine. In his palm was a dark, purple stone-- the same stone that had first caused me to eventually gain the powers of the Demon King.

“What will you be doing with that?” Olber asked.

Zelgius shrugged. “I’ll keep hold of it until the world needs a Demon King again.”

“Where will you go?” I asked.

The Wight chuckled. “I’m a Wight. I don’t think it would be beneficial for nobles to be aware of my whereabouts. Anyways, don’t worry too much about me. I want to live in a world where there are many humans since that’ll make my life easier!” he grinned.

“Then I better not hear about any cases of humans that have their life force sucked from them.”

“I pray you not.” He began walking away from us as he waved his hand in farewell. In a single moment, his entire body disappeared and he was gone.

“Stella!” Zeno gasped, “your hair!”

“Her eyes, too,” Ren spoke.

I looked at them in confusion. I took my hair in my hand and found that it was changing color once more. It had returned to the pale, blue color I had been born with. I immediately walked over to the fountain and looked into the water. My reflection revealed that my eyes were no longer purple. They returned to a vibrant violet-blue. I turned and looked at everyone with a wide grin on my face. They all smiled back at me happily.

I’m finally home.


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