Ch 12, part 9
"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II retelling
Disclaimer: Square Enix owns Final Fantasy II and all FFII characters, places and references found within. Original characters and interpretations belong to the co-writers of this fan fiction. There is no profit being made from this story.
There was a vast celebration in Fynn that lasted for days. Everything was the way it was supposed to be.
The Palamecian army, with no more orders to invade other lands, all headed home. The winds had blown favorably on the rest of the world. Preparations were all ready being made to cultivate the lands again. At the head of all of the remarkable changes happening to the world was Gordon, officially named King of the continent of Fynn. The countries of Salamand and Kashuon joined Fynn and united under the one name, the territories receiving protection from the Kingdom within days. Food and other needed supplies for survival were donated from the faraway land of Mysidia, once Minwu had finished negotiating with the Council of Mages once more. Recovery would take time, but it was started.
The three blue-haired girls were staying in Fynn. Clarisse had made her presence within the White Knights, the royal military of the country, as Captain Firion's second-in-command. Together they were building a stronger, more efficient military. They taught newcomers and retrained ones who had been out of service for a very long time. Ricard, once he fully healed from his injuries after having a duel with the Emperor, and Candice assisted with rebuilding homes for the destitute and opened an orphanage who adopted all without parents from around the world. In Fynn Castle, Royal Mages Minwu and Cantirena were the leaders of negotiation between nations, traveling back and forth between different countries to do political work on behalf of Fynn. It seemed as if they had found their places in the world.
Then, when the sun went down six days after the funeral of Emperor Mateus Palamecia…
Cantirena noticed that the Lunar Harp she found in the Angel's Tunnel landed in Fynn instead of Palamecia, and she guessed that it was from the fact that Candice was carrying most of her belongings after she fell sick on the southern continent. It was placed on Minwu's desk in his room in the castle, and since she woke up there after coming home from Palamecia, she had been using the room. The house she once lived in with her sister was gone, and it didn't seem like anyone else cared that she slept there whenever she was home.
Soon the door opened with a very quiet cree-e-e-ak, and Minwu stuck his head through. "Are you busy?" he asked, making note of the fact that she was holding the Lunar Harp on her lap.
"Not particularly," she answered, strumming the strings a few times.
"We haven't had much time to sit since coming home," Minwu said, coming through the door. "You might do better with some time to rest instead of running off yet again."
"I am an official of Fynn's royal court, and I will do what I need to do," Cantirena said. She didn't look up at him at all. Her eyes were locked onto the harp. "So, am I needed?"
"No. The King has requested that you come to the court this evening, but I will tell him that you need to be left alon-"
Cantirena stood up and put the harp down on the desk. "I'm coming," she said tiredly.
"Consider the condition of your body, my love. You've done enough all ready. Stay here and sort out your thoughts, as I can see you are preoccupied right now," Minwu said, pushing her gently back down where she had been sitting. "Learn the harp if that is what helps you let go of-"
"…he didn't have to die, did he?" her question was so abrupt that it caught him off guard.
Minwu took in a very deep breath. "Firion said that he… took the sword and rammed it through his heart on his own. There was nothing that could be done."
"Even though the Demon King's presence was gone from his body because of the crystal… he… must have carried so much guilt…"
"There is no way to consult with the dead, my love," Minwu said sadly. "There is nothing but speculation to do when it comes to thinking of him. I knew you needed some time to sort yourself. Stay here for the night. I will attend the court in your stead."
Cantirena shook for a few moments before nodding in agreement. "I'm in no shape," she said through her tears. "Let me… be alone…"
Minwu put his hand to her cheek before turning to leave. "Take as long as you need," he said. "You've been through so much. King Gordon will understand." He closed the door behind him, and from where he was standing in the hallway, he could hear Cantirena's wails of despair. "No one can know what you feel but you. I'm afraid all I can do is comfort you, when you allow me to." He headed down the hall.
He was stopped by the usually-chipper Candice, ready to hug him as tightly as she could.
"I haven't seen Canti today," she said. "Is our second royal mage taking the day off now that she's got the job she's been working for all her life?"
"She needs time. I've dragged her around from Salamand to Mysidia this week, and I forgot to consider her feelings before having her go on her duties…" Minwu answered. "Cantirena is resting."
"I wonder… It's about what happened to the Emperor, huh?"
"Minwu, have you thought about the next step in your relationship with Canti yet?" Candice asked. "Perhaps if you helped her move forward, she'd be able to recover stronger than she was before."
"…what next step?" Minwu asked, confused.
"You promised her that when you brought her home, you'd marry her, remember?" Candice asked. "Life is slowly getting back on track. You should take that next step with Canti. It'll reassure her, keep her looking to the future instead of the past. Hm? Hm?" She nudged him. "I can't get going on what I promised I would do until I know Canti's all taken care of."
"You… have something to do?"
"Yeah! I do! I made the promise to Ricard. We have to head up to and rebuild Deist! The world isn't complete without the dragoons, y'know? When we get up there, we'll raise the dragons, and we'll raise dragon knights. And we'll always be on patrol all over the world, instead of just in Deist!" Candice put her hands on her hips. "Ricard and I have talked about it over this last week, but I can't go anywhere until-"
"You should just go," Minwu said, trying to walk past her.
"Why?" Candice asked forcefully. "Are you not going to keep your promise to Canti? Was that just in the heat of the moment or something? You… you're not that kind of guy are you, Minwu?"
"Hardly am I the type not to keep a promise, however…"
"However?" Candice sounded so disinterested by this point. "Goddess forbid there be one man in the world who says what he means and keeps his promises…"
Minwu crossed his arms. "She's not ready to move forward yet. You can't blame me for this. I love her dearly, and if she was ready to accept me as her husband, she wouldn't be mourning the Emperor's suicide. We should just be glad Firion spared her having to hear his last words."
"Did Firion tell you what he said before he killed himself?"
"He wanted to die because he couldn't bear to see Cantirena sad over him. The problem is… she has so many unanswered questions, and he was the only one who could satisfy what she wanted to know," Minwu explained coldly. "When Cantirena is ready to move forward, we will be able to take that next step as you call it. She's locked in an emotional stasis where she is right now. If I could reach her heart, I would have been able to do so all ready."
"Yeah, yeah, excuses…" Candice muttered, turning away from him. "The only way she's going to recover from the Emperor's death is if you help her out of that pit, okay? Speaking from experience, when your first love dies, it's… it takes everything you have to stay alive. To not follow the one you miss. If it wasn't for my dad keeping tabs on me after my first love passed, I would have done the same. Mateus may have abused her, but she loved him either way. I suspect that if you were to die, she would do the same… if not worse." She started to head down the hall in the opposite direction he was going. "She needs you, Minwu. Her heart could lead her down a path of implosion, and you don't want that. I'm warning you."
Minwu nodded. "I shall keep your warning in mind, Candice."