Lightning wasn't quite sure what had happened after her dancing partner pulled away from the kiss. She was standing up correctly now and Noctis? Lightning already knew that he was no where to be found. Long gone, almost. But, how did he leave so fast without her knowing? They was no sound of retreating footsteps, it was quiet outside. The last song from the ballroom had stopped playing, and all there was was the drops of rain hitting the street.

Noctis had left her in a strange stupor. She was alone. Just as she wanted to be since the beginning of the conference, but this was a different alone. Had she just been abandoned? How could that be so! She felt almost embarrassed, rubbing her arms as it continued to rain. What was she outside in the cold? What a gentleman that Noctis had been to not even walk her back inside! The PSICOM officer in her snarled with rage. Not only had he kissed her without her consent, he'd left her. Back home on Cocoon, he would have surely been stripped of his duty. However, another side of Lightning-- It must be the dress, she concludeddidn't seem all too mad with Noctis. Surprised, yes, but she couldn't be angry. Part of her told it was a rash and odd departing sign.

But nice nonetheless. Lightning put a finger to her lip, looking ahead of her to the sight of the road. She smiled slightly to the streetlights and the distant lights ahead as though thanking the city for the dance.

A slight breeze answered her. With a shiver,the lady took a hint and headed back up the stairs where her forgotten drink waited. She reached to pick it up, taking a small sip. Warm. It was a pleasant change.

She headed back to the ballroom.

There were no more dancers in the middle of the grand room, no. Each couple and person moved to their respective area under the flags of the military they came here to represent. Lightning spotted hers and walked past the whispers of others to get to it, head held confidently and stance strong despite her wet appearance.

Sazh had wormed his way out of the small crowd over to her. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her back in. He seemed a bit worried as he guided her back to where his family was sitting.

"Where did you go, Lightning?" Sazh questioned quietly, looking his co-work up and down. "You're completely soaked! Do you want to give PSICOM a bad--"

"Hush." She said sharply, silencing him. Lightning moved away from him into the rest of the Cocoon representatives. Sazh followed after her, waiting by her side. "I just went dancing outside, there's nothing wrong with that, hmm?" she continued, glancing over. "There's more space out there, after all."

Sazh was unconvinced. Lightning. . .dancing? It didn't seem to fit. Sazh sighed,"But in the rain?" Lightning only sipped her wine. He shook his head and fixed his tie. "What a nice time to come back," he commented quietly, motioning to the stage where the musicians were once set up. "They were just about give the opening speech."

It was true. Over the two's discussion, the head of royal family was preparing to speak. Men and women were bustling to set things up. Old and middle-aged advisers were speaking with the King as we made his way to the podium on the stage. Anyone would recognise his Highness, King Caelum. He was a major funder in many of the projects of those different militaries here.

Tonight, he was dressed in but a simple business suit, like any other male present. Was there any reason to dress up more?

The King cleared his throat and adjusted the mike carefully. His council members stood a ways behind him, hands clasped behind them. The rustling of the ballroom slowly dissolved. All attention became focused; Sazh and Lightning ceased their bickering as the King's strong voice echoed in the ballroom.

"Ladies, gentlemen. I'd like to welcome you all to the Thirteenth Annual Military Conference. Unlike previous years, my son will be opening…"

The King trailed off as a woman drifted onto the stage to him, presumably the Queen herself. He put a hand over the microphone as she spoke with him, although parts of their hush discussion sneaked to the rest of the room. Whispers started among the different groups as some of the men on stage split up. What was going on?

Lightning caught rumors around her and Sazh sighed. "That's just great," he muttered. "First time here and something's gone wrong already."

His co-worker glared at him. "Shut up and listen, Katzroy," she hissed.

"It seems that the Prince has gone missing..."

King Caelum, with details from his wife, began to explain the situation, stating that the prince had come with them to the conference, but had left on his own sometime before he was supposed to speak. The King continued, describing the prince's friends and asking if anyone had seen them. Listening, Lightning shifted her weight, imagining their features. Next, the King began to describe what their son looked like, once finished, they gave a name.

Lightning put her finger to her lip, smiling.

"…Noctis Caelum."


Vaniolel→
The Lovely End.