Ch 11, part 9
"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
Firion and Ricard obviously had no idea where they were going. Whenever they ran across anyone who looked like they would scream or alert the castle of their presence, the two silenced the person and moved along. They didn't kill or act violently unless it looked like the one they encountered was going to stop them, but most of those in the castle were pretty much expressionless. They looked tired from… well, existing. Pushing them onto the mortal coil would have been a mercy killing from all the blank faces Firion and Ricard had come across.
The duo had searched hundreds of doors, finding nothing, until after running around for what felt like days, they came to a corridor that seemed to have no natural light at all.
"Is this even the Palamecian castle anymore?" Ricard asked.
"Oh yeah. There's the purple rose emblem on the wall, over there," Firion said, pointing at a flag which was hanging nearby. "We're still in Palamecia."
"But there is no light here," Ricard pondered aloud. "Save the torches on the wall and the candles on tables every now and then."
"We don't know how we got here, we don't know where we are… Ricard, how the hell are we even going to find a way out of here?" Firion asked. "All I wanted to do was save my little sister, I mean, come on… can't we ever catch a break?"
"You wish to know where the youngest blue haired girl is, then?" a voice asked from above them.
"I know that voice!" Firion said. "Paul!"
The shadow landed right in front of them, and yes indeed, it was Paul. "Heh. I knew you boys would get lost in here, so I tagged along," he said proudly. "I'm the number one thief in the entire world, you know! I've been through this place tons of times." He crossed his arms. "You're actually not that far from where the Princess is. You've managed to, completely by accident, find yourself in the Palamecian Captial's Inner Sanctum… quite possibly the darkest place inhabited by people. Most people have to solve a puzzle. Walk a certain way, 'cause this is all a maze. I know I did the first time…"
"Paul…" Firion said, trying not to scold him for talking too much.
"I know, I know. Cantirena is down the hall, to the right."
Ricard was confused. "How do you know this?"
"Because it's Emperor Mateus' personal bedchambers. He wouldn't keep her anywhere else, now would he? The bastard's not subtle, all right?" He pointed backwards. "I'm heading back up to the ceiling. When we're ready to scram, give me a signal and I'll lead you out of the castle."
"…but, wait, the girls went on a different path!" Firion said, worried. He didn't want anything to happen to Clarisse or Candice.
"Ah, yes…" Paul said. "I know they went a different direction, but I can't help them without helping you first. They'll just have to remain where they are until you're on the airship. I might even have you take Cantirena back home before coming back to save those two…" Paul thought aloud. "Either way. When you're ready to go, I want you to say… Wyvern Egg."
"…the hell kind of signal is that?" Firion asked.
"Ricard won't forget it, now will he?" Paul asked.
"Your words are too true for my heart to take," Ricard said. "Go, hide."
Paul nodded. "Remember, down the hall, to the right. Can't miss it." Then he leapt up at the ceiling, once again becoming like a shadow and being unseen within the darkness of the hallway.
Firion darted off in the direction Paul explained. He wondered how Paul could have been here waiting for them, but then he realized that it was just what Paul did. He was a shadow-like persona, sneaking about pretty much everywhere, taking what he believed would benefit those who would fight against the almighty Empire. Firion never doubted Paul for a moment, and it was right then that he realized that he counted Paul among his best of friends. There wasn't many souls in this world he could trust more than Paul. He was on par with Minwu. That was for certain.
"Here," Firion said. "This place…" he stopped at the door and put his hand on the doorknob. It wasn't even locked. It turned around quietly, and with a very still click the door was open.
Inside, Firion found the largest bed ever made. It was the most lavish bedroom he could imagine, which made sense, considering the Emperor wasn't the type to live in a room that wasn't up to his beautiful standards. He walked around the room, looking everywhere. There wasn't a spot of dirt or dust anywhere that he could see, but then again, the entire place was only lit by candles.
He looked behind him, finding Ricard standing at the door.
"Have you found Cantirena?" Ricard asked.
"…not yet…" Firion answered, finally finding himself at the head of the bed. Lying in the middle of a pile of pillows and wrapped in a purple blanket he did see someone there. "…wait. Cantirena, is that you?" he asked. "Cantirena!"
She sat straight up. "Minwu?" she asked. "Where is my teacher?"
"Busy plotting to save the world even against his better judgment and health, as usual," Firion answered. "Come on, Canti. Let's get the hell out of this place."
"No, that's all right," she said. "Minwu and I have resolved to stay here in Palamecia, to help the Emperor rebuild his country in the name of the Goddess. He needs our help. Firion, you need to get back to Fynn. The war is over, and now we must help our world heal from what's happened here."
"I'm not leaving here without you. Your sisters are worried terribly at what Mateus may have done to you!" Firion said, grabbing her hand. "Come on!"
"Mateus has agreed to end the war if we stay here with him," Cantirena explained.
"You know as good as we do that he's not the type to hold to peace agreements," Firion said strictly. "Canti! You know what?! If you want me to believe that Mateus agreed to such terms, you're gonna have to take me to him so I can hear the words from his own mouth."
"…what are you doing?" Ricard asked.
"Shut it, Ricard…" Firion said. "Take me to the Emperor. Let's talk this out with him and Minwu, and if it is the truth, then I will leave you here to your own devices. If that will really buy peace, then that's fine… we'll learn to live without you being there with us to endure freedom. Sure."
Though I get the feeling that there's no way in hell that's actually the case. Cantirena, I don't want to say it, but I… I think he put another spell on you. Firion thought. Because for some reason, you still haven't learned to really stand up for yourself. You want a cause to believe in, but you don't think yourself is that great of a cause.
"Fine," Cantirena said, pulling herself out of the bed. "I will go with you. I will see to it that you hear from the Emperor the deal that we discussed."
"Great!" Firion said. "Let's boogie, then."