Ch 11, part 2
"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II retelling
Disclaimer: Square Enix owns Final Fantasy II and all FFII characters featured within. Original characters and interpretations are owned by the co-writers of this fan fiction. There is no profit being made from this story.
The town of Fynn was full of people dancing, singing, and partying for the whole day after the giant who had been sitting on the throne since the Emperor put him there. The day after that, there was a whole lot of reorganization going on. The town's defenses were made stronger than ever before with watchmen all along the town's borders. Only those from Galtea, Altair, and Fynn were permitted within the boundaries under Gordon's jurisdiction. While normally a free community which allowed anyone from any area, no one wanted to take any chances of spies entering Fynn's borders. It was bad enough that there were surviving Dark Knights that deserted their posts once the throne was taken – it wasn't going to take long for word of Fynn's recovery to reach that of the Palamecian capital.
It was after everything settled down for the night that Clarisse and Firion slipped off into a room to celebrate their own way, leaving Candice by herself in one of the castle's waiting halls, wondering what she was going to do now. She gripped around the beautiful sapphire which hung gracefully around her neck. Was she going to dedicate herself to restoring Deist now? She did promise that after Fynn was saved, she would help Ricard, after all. She became very lost in thought, until she heard the clacking of boots behind her.
"Why are you here alone?" a voice called out to her, catching her attention.
Candice turned around to see that it was indeed the dragoon there. "I… was just thinking of you, actually."
"Likewise," Ricard said, coming to sit next to her on the couch that she had been on for a while now. "So. Peace in Fynn has been restored. Do you have any idea as to what you will do now?"
"I promised I would go to Deist," Candice said quietly. "Or are you going back on restoring your homeland?"
"I would never betray my home," Ricard replied. "I wish to speak with Prince Gordon regarding supplies, but I know things are difficult here in Fynn. Even though the town is standing and the Imperial troops have all gone, the people are still craving normalcy."
"We can go and speak with him together," Candice said, smiling at him. "Don't give up hope, Ricard. I'm sure that in exchange for all your help with the fight here, that Gordon would give you what you need. At least a ship and a handful of men to take care of rebuilding, just to get started. Gordon is not a heartless monarch like some we've run into the past."
Ricard nodded. "Have you spoken with your father about your decision to come with me?"
"Does it look like he and I speak often?"
"…no," Ricard answered honestly. "I figured you would at least tell him of what you wish to do, so that he will not be beside himself with worry. Parents ache over their children, regardless of age."
"Ricard, I know you mean well…" Candice started, not even wanting to look at him right then. What was this feeling? She could feel her heart race. He was a cute boy, and now that he had grown, he was a handsome man, and that voice didn't help much. "…but this is something I need to handle in my own way. Maybe it's cultural differences between those down here living in the peninsula area and those who live in Deist, or maybe it's just me being a stubborn bitch, I don't really know or have time to think about that right now. I made a promise to you, to go with you after Fynn was set free, but…"
"Are you having second thoughts?"
"Something else is bothering me, and no, it's nothing to do with that."
"…you speak of Cantirena, do you not?" Ricard asked.
"You've not even met her yet. How do you know about her?"
"Firion speaks highly of her, as does Clarisse," he answered simply. "They both miss her very much, along with Royal Mage Minwu."
"Minwu may be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud at times, but he's a good person at heart. I'm jealous of Canti… the one she's with is the one who has known her the longest and knows about every one of her quirks; and he still loves her… despite their age difference, despite the rest of the world considering it a taboo. They live more freely than I've ever seen any other couple live. How in the world could I not be jealous of that? I have to deal with my dad's judging of every person to come along in my life, and there's social norms that I have to abide by…" Candice shook her head, showing off her frustration. "Those two need to be back here at home before I can think of leaving. I need to know that those two are safe. Minwu and Canti need to be here. We need them to show us what it's like to march along, not by the drum that the world hears, but by the beats of their own hearts."
"You say they are free, but I do not think you understand what they go through, Candice," Ricard said very softly. "Gordon has told me that Minwu left his post to take care of his student. He was the caretaker to the princess, and had he not left… Princess Hilda would not have met the fate she did."
"He can't blame Minwu for that! That was out of his control, nobody knew what she was thinking. It's wrong of anyone to blame Minwu for Hilda's suicide!"
"I do not believe he does blame Minwu," Ricard added, "Because Hilda and Scott both told him to follow his heart. Minwu did what his heart told him to do."
Suddenly the door from the outside burst open, and in ran a messenger as fast as he could go. He zipped past Candice and Ricard, catching their attention, before he ran into the throne room.
Candice got up instantly, walking over to the door to see if she could hear anything about what was going on. Judging by the look on the face of the messenger, something big was going on. Something incredibly big.
"Your Highness, Prince Gordon, I've brought an urgent message from the capital of Palamecia!" the messenger said loudly enough for both Candice and Ricard to hear in the next room.
There was enough of a pause to guess that Gordon decided to have the messenger read the message before anything else was said.
"To Prince Gordon Kashuon, may I congratulate you on your victory in retaking Fynn. However, this seems as if it was a waste, as I have called all of my troops back from around the world to participate in my festival celebrating my mother, Lady Airu's birthday. I have declared world peace for the time of this festival! I wish to cordially invite you, or those you wish to have fight in your name, to the tournament which will be held five days from now. Among the guest list are Royal Mage Minwu and his star student Cantirena, both of whom say they look forward to seeing old friends. Please present the ticket in this letter to enter the Palamecian border. I eagerly await your response. Signed, Emperor Mateus Palamecia."
Candice looked at Ricard, running back over to him so no one would know she was trying to overhear everything that was said. "…we have to do something!" she said, trying not to yell. "We know where they are, we need to go to them!"
"Wait for the order, Candice. I'm sure that Firion and Clarisse, as well as you, will be summoned to hear of this matter," Ricard said.
The door to the throne room burst open with Gordon standing there. "Candice!" he said sternly. "I want you to find Firion and Clarisse, bring them to the throne room immediately."
"Firion said he wished to rest. He is in bed right now," Ricard answered the prince very formally.
"I don't care if he's stark naked in the middle of doing the dirty dance between the sheets," Gordon snapped. "Then Ricard, you go get him. Candice, you go find your father. I need him, too. We're going to be launching a major operation, starting tonight. We do not have much time."
"Aye, Prince!" Ricard said, giving a salute, dashing off in the direction of one of the castle towers.
"You got it," Candice said proudly. "I'll go find Dad. You can count on the Polledina family to help you out whenever you need, Prince Gordon."
"Your father has never ceased to be loyal to Fynn, and I see now that it has transferred to you," Gordon said with a smile. "You are the same as a White Knight of Fynn, Candice, except your heart is in the skies, rather than on the ground."
Candice giggled before turning around to leave.
"Oh, and don't tell everyone what's going on, either," Gordon said sternly. "I wish this to be covert more than anything. The people here are starting to go back to a life of balance. I would hate to interfere with that…"
"You have my word. Don't tell a soul, except my dad," Candice agreed before running off.