Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 11, part 8

"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.

Part 8

Candice didn't like the idea of standing silent and playing along with Mateus' politically-charged passive aggressiveness. She was ready to start destroying shit. She didn't want to be walking around in that castle like she was on tour. She felt insulted because she couldn't go along with the customs of nobles. Cantirena was educated in these sorts of things, which was why she could negotiate. Clarisse might have also had some exposure, but Candice was raised in a port alongside pirates. Opium smugglers, slavers, thieves, and brigands were commonplace in Poft. This beautiful castle made her feel uneasy, as if it was all unnatural. She didn't belong in such a place.

"And over there, you'll find a painting of my father…"

Can this get any less boring? Candice thought. This is a rescue mission, not 'tea time at Palamecia'!

Suddenly, a maid came running towards them. "Your Imperial Majesty!" she cried out loudly. She was trying to catch her breath, and in doing so, she almost fell over when she reached the trio's position… "The blue-haired girl is…"

"What?" Clarisse asked. "…Blue-haired?"

"She's…"

I can't count on mortals for anything, Mateus thought. "If you cannot give me the message, then I will just go there myself. Dismissed," he said very coldly. "I was promising to take these emissaries to visit their sister anyhow."

"Your Majesty," the maid muttered. "I do believe she's… she's given up… You may not find her alive if you do not hurry!"

Mateus wasted no time. His movements were swift, and he took off at top speed towards the infirmary. Candice and Clarisse were not far behind him. The only reason why they didn't run faster than he did is because they had no idea where they were going. Mateus immediately stopped in front of a door labeled with writing neither of the sisters knew off hand. Clarisse wondered if it was Ancient Mysidian, the language of the Magi, but she put that into the back of her mind when the Emperor opened the door to go inside.

Cantirena was lying there in the bed in the center of the room. Her left arm was propped up in a holster, and both legs spread. She was covered in wounds that were both dressed and bandaged, and a few which were still untreated. She looked like she had taken part in the most violent battle she'd been in before.

"…hey, Emperor," Candice grunted angrily. "If those wounds are real, care to explain why Canti hasn't healed her own wounds yet?" She knew she was supposed to be polite, but there was no way that was coming out right now. Candice was face-to-face with Cantirena in the worst state she'd probably been in her existence, and dammit, she wanted some fucking answers.

Mateus said quietly. "But she's so far gone that not even any of my royal healers can do anything for her. She… refused to accept the treatment. When she was first brought in here, she used her magic to burn those who came near her with her magic. Imagine being a doctor or a healer, and your patient is so lost within herself that she casts Firaga on you if you even get near her. That's why I decided to have her sedated at first, so we could at least tend the wounds physically if her spirit was so broken that she couldn't even be healed."

"Here's a concept," Candice continued. "Why not let Minwu heal her? If anyone can bring her back from this vegetable state, it would be Minwu. He's slowly losing his mind! Is this not proof enough for you that they absolutely depend on each other?"

Mateus tried not to laugh at that suggestion. "Do you think Minwu could even take such a sight?"

"Minwu wouldn't hesitate to do all he could for her," Clarisse said gently. "You don't know what it was like before we broke the possession the Demon King had on her. The heartache, the blame Minwu carried around that entire time when we went traveling the countryside looking for wherever she might have been." She shook her head slowly. "I've never known a sweeter relationship than the one between Canti and Minwu. I… just haven't. But you have done nothing but try to break them to your will, Mateus. This right here? This mess? You did it to her. It's your fault."

"…and what do you plan to do about it?" Mateus asked.

"Even tearing you limb from limb wouldn't calm me down," Clarisse said flatly. Even though her voice was calm, she was boiling inside. "So I'm not even going to bother. But because of what happened last time, there is one shiny ray of hope…"

"You think that'll work again?" Candice asked. "It's a shot in the dark, but… it's all we have."

"…that's how I feel, too," Clarisse said. "We should give it a try."

When Candice and Clarisse took Cantirena's hands into their own, there was no mystical all-healing light like what happened the last time Cantirena was in a similar state. Instead, Cantirena's head just turned to the side and both girls were sure they heard her voice.

"Canti?!" they both asked at the same time.

Mateus turned around. "Stay in here with her," he said quietly. "Maybe you can get through to her when no one else can. She did mention how she missed you before going into combat..." He promptly left the room, and when neither girl could see his face, he smiled.

Heh… you don't actually believe that is my Lady Cantirena, do you? He asked, laughing within his thoughts. Poor children are so delusional… of course if you had used the same technique, it would have healed her! Cantirena is resting now in a place you will never find. I don't think I even have to use a guard to keep you in here. Your hearts will have you stay where you are without the need for outside manpower. Welcome to your new home, pieces of the Goddess. You will never leave this castle.

Mateus walked away from the door, heading back to the place where Minwu had been staying. If he was right, he expected his mother to come home very soon, and he was going to be there to greet her.

"Prepare a welcoming group," he said aloud to the maids who were in the hallway. "We are going to meet the Queen Regent in the airship courtyard.

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