Ch 11, part 7
"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.
Minwu saw out the window that there was an airship which landed about an hour ago with the flags of both Kashuon and Fynn on it, and he had a pretty good idea of who exactly was on the ship. He was familiar with Gordon's strategies, though not as familiar as he was with Hilda's. He paced back and forth, waiting for Airu's immediate return when the door to his chamber slammed open and two blue haired women stepped through it with their weapons out, ready to attack who they found.
"Gordon doesn't surprise me in the least," Minwu said to them both. He crossed his arms. "Of course he'd send the two of you."
"Firion and Ricard are looking in the other half of the castle," Clarisse answered, running up to hug him. "So, where's the princess?"
"Yeah, I deserve a kiss for saving her," Candice said sternly, though she was smiling the entire time.
"She's not with me," Minwu's voice was so quiet, it sounded more like whispering. He shook his head as Clarisse pulled away from him. "Cantirena made her own choice, and I couldn't stop her."
"Did she go back to that golden bull-horned tyrant again?! It's time to go beat some sense into her, then," Candice said. "Come on, Minwu. The hell are you even waiting for? She's in trouble. Why are you staring down at the carpet like that? We have shit to do."
"No," he answered gently. "Cantirena is fighting to free us legally, by Palamecian law. She accepted the terms, and so did the Emperor. If she could win the tournament, then he would have no choice but to honor her one wish. Her wish is for him to never have anything to do with us for as long as he lives. She's fighting to free us of his oppression." Minwu sat down on the bed. "I don't want to break the contract she has with Mateus, because if I do, the deal would be nullified."
"Last time I checked, Mateus wasn't exactly the type to follow laws," Candice muttered. "This smells more fishy than the Poft Sushi stand, and that shit was rank."
"Other than that… there is another reason why I must be here. Lady Airu has gone to retrieve the one text I need to complete the ritual to create the crystal. I'm not leaving here until I can settle this one way or another," Minwu said, sitting on the bed. "I must not rush things."
"…indeed. I was wondering where my mother had gone, but overhearing that, now everything makes sense. So what I heard from my little bird was true. I thought it was nothing more than visions from her fever dream."
"You!" Candice shouted. "Stop hiding in the shadows all ready! Where is Cantirena!?"
Mateus appeared right between the three. "My teleportation spells have grown much more powerful as of late, and how handy they can be when holding guests of an enemy nation within my walls." He smiled. "But it would be wise not to assault the Emperor within his own palace, yes? Please, lay down your weapons. I will not attack you without being provoked."
"Like hell I'm giving up my arrows, ya lyin' sack of shit," Candice said, raising her bow. She pointed her arrow at Mateus' face. "Not until I see my little sister."
"Cantirena is resting. After all, she's been through so much with the preliminaries of the tournament going on within the last two days. The dear is exhausted to the point to where she can't stand, and covered in wounds from head to toe. I daresay that Dragon Zombie almost took her from us much before her time," Mateus said. "If you wish to see her, she is in the castle infirmary. I refused to allow her to go without treatment, though she refused my good graces at first. And, if you will lower your arrow, I will take you to see her."
"How do we know you wouldn't lead us to your dungeon?" Clarisse pondered aloud.
"You are honored guests representing the Fynn royal family, yes? Besides, it would be a bad idea for me to lock away pieces of the Goddess."
Minwu stood up immediately. "Girls, go," he commanded. "Find Firion and Ricard. Get the hell out of here."
"Crystals and Goddesses," Mateus said, shaking his head. "The way that the Demon King can be defeated is through these holy things… yes, ladies, if you wish to flee, you may. Minwu is here as per a deal with Cantirena, and thus I cannot permit him to leave. But you two have no reason to remain."
"We came to find our sister," Clarisse said. "We're not leaving without her."
"You will be leaving without her. You may visit her. But you will not be taking her with you. According to the laws of the tournament, contestants are slaves to the Palamecian Empire until they attain victory in the tournament," Mateus said carefully.
"What other nation in the world would heal a slave?" Candice asked. "You're keeping her alive because you want her for yourself. In that condition, there's no way she'd be able to compete. Fucker, you wounded her on purpose."
Minwu stepped between the girls and Mateus. "Candice. Clarisse. Get out of here before it's too late," he said. "Mateus, if you must taunt someone, taunt me. I have no choice but to remain here."
The Emperor nodded. "I understand your quest, mage, and I am happy to give it to you. Begone, ladies."
Clarisse sighed. "So, us coming all this way was useless? We wanted to not only make things right between both nations, but we were hoping to bring our family back with us when it was over," she said, putting her sword back in its sheath. "Prince Gordon told us to come here as official representatives. That's why we came here."
Candice couldn't believe what she was hearing. "How else were we going to settle this fight?" she asked. "We're gonna ram a blade into his heart!"
Minwu face-palmed. She may have been smart, but boy, she needed to learn when to shut her mouth all ready. Her emotions were running so rampant she was having a hard time controlling herself.
"If that worked, then the spy in the bog north of Mysidia would have done me in a lot sooner, missy," Mateus said, shrugging dismissively over the subject. "But it didn't even leave a scar, no matter how much it bled. It was a valiant effort, though the woman died of asphyxiation as payment for it." He then crossed his arms. "So, since you seem like you have more of a head on your shoulders than the busty one beside you, I will hear of your official business. Please. Give me the message your prince has given you."
Clarisse stood at attention, then bowed onto one knee. "Forgive our rudeness, Emperor. I bring a message from Prince Gordon, the new patriarch of Fynn. 'The group of four and the airship pilot have come here to Palamecia at your request to participate in the birthday celebration of Queen Regent Airu. I am, however, unable to attend, as I am assisting in the reconstruction of Fynn personally.' There ends the message."
"Rise," Mateus said, and she did so. "If I were Gordon, I would have been more selective in my choosing of representatives, but that is neither here or there." He then smiled. "Welcome, representatives of Fynn! Come, allow me to show you around the Golden Palace. There is much to be seen here, as it is the biggest capital in the world. When we are done with that, then you will feast until you can hold no more." He started to walk out of the room. "Well? Are you coming?"
"…can we… have a moment?" Clarisse asked.
"Of course. I will wait here for you." He closed the door.
Minwu put his hands on his hips. "What are you thinking?!" he demanded angrily. "You know that he wants Cantirena for her powers, he's going to want yours, too! You two are foolish for coming here."
"Foolish or not," Candice said, "We're going to get out of here with Cantirena and you, then you're gonna get married and start making babies to-fuckin'-night, all right?"
"Candice, you must not rush into anything..."
"Yeah, well, it's better than sitting on your ass and doing absolutely nothing!"
"Shut up, Candice!" Clarisse shouted. "Cosmos, I want to put some tape over your trap. You're going to get us killed if you don't start watching what you say. Now, we are representing Fynn and Prince Gordon while here. We have to do it all by the books and politically-minded, or we can have things worse than they are now. These meetings are really formal."
"Yes," Minwu agreed. "What she says is right."
"Gahh," Candice grunted. "All right, fine… I'll let you do the talking, then. I'll just be here if you need some dumb muscle, I guess. My job is to sit here, look pretty, and kick ass when the time calls for it. I don't get politics. Honestly."
"That's probably for the best," Minwu said quietly. "You told him about the other two, but you didn't specify where they are."
"I might have, if I knew where exactly they went," Clarisse said, shrugging. "Don't worry, Minwu. We're at least going to have him escort us to where Canti is and see if he's lying about her or not. Maybe Firi and Ricard will fuck shit up around somewhere to get enough attention to sneak the two of you out of here, haha."
"No, we're doing this right," Minwu insisted. "If we beat him at his own game-"
"You're doing it in whatever way we can afford to do it in," Candice grunted. "Weren't you listening? Palamecian law says she'll be free if she wins the tournament, but if not, she's a slave. If she's hurt so bad she can't fight, then she was being set up the entire time, and that means we're getting you both the fuck out of here, even against your will."
"But the crystal-"
"At this point…" Candice said. Her temper was really going crazy, though her voice was somewhat subdued outwardly. "…Airu isn't going to be permitted to see you. He overheard you mention the crystal. He knows his mother is plotting against him. The plan isn't going to work, Minwu. Stop thinking you're the only one who has any answers! You're a smart guy, but you're blind to what's going on around you!"
"The Goddess left this puzzle to me, it's why I was saved in Mysidia by a miracle-"
"Stop it, both of you…" Clarisse said, pulling Candice along by her arm. "We're going now. We'll tell you what we find."
Minwu nodded. "I'm sure you will."
"Gain a backbone," Candice said as Clarisse was dragging her away. "You won't be able to save Canti if you're gonna sit there and over think everything! Think about what I've told you!"