Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 13, part 1

"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II alternate universe

Disclaimer: Square Enix owns all Final Fantasy II characters, places, and references found within. Original characters and interpretations belong to the co-authors of this fan fiction. There is no profit being made from this story.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN BEGINS

Part 1

Hustle and bustle otherwise continued around Fynn even with the war with the Palamecian Empire now over. Firion was training Fynn's troops in the downtime, both looking after the needs and safety of the townspeople, as well as building defenses in case there was any sort of attack at any other place within the kingdom. King Gordon had a memorial built in the gardens of the castle for both the previous king Gilbert and his daughter Hilda, both of whom he missed terribly with each passing day. Leila, Paul, and Cid were an every present source of effort and aid during this time.

Candice and Clarisse were waiting for something to happen outside of the Royal Mage's chambers, but for three days straight, Cantirena and Minwu had been confined to their room. There wasn't so much as any noise audible from the other side of the door. Gordon let them remain there. He knew the constant travel wore them out. There was nothing too important that would merit taking away their time to heal.

"You honestly don't think they've been sleeping this entire time, do you?" Candice asked Clarisse. "Those two don't know how to lie in bed all day. They're obviously reading or… something else."

Clarisse dismissed it. "I can't spend all my time waiting to surprise them. I do have things I need to do. I've been accepted as the vice captain of the Royal Guard, and I've been shirking my duties lately just because I want to give my little sister a surprise wedding," she said as she crossed her arms. "When they're ready, they'll come out and get back to their normal lives, Candice. We should do the same."

"My normal life sends me across the world, Claire!" Candice said, putting her hands on her hips. "I'm supposed to leave with Ricard and Leila to head up to Deist. But until I know she's safe, I can't do anything."

"You don't trust Minwu?" Clarisse asked.

"I do. I don't trust Cantirena on her own."

"Candice! How can you say that?"

"I'm only being honest, and I know you feel the same way," Candice retorted. "Look what's happened so far. She's been led astray so many times. If she's not being watched-"

"She has the entire Fynn Military, including myself, here to protect her. She lives in the fucking castle now! She shares a room with Minwu!" Clarisse shouted. "You don't trust us at all… you…" She couldn't believe what she was hearing. This woman was supposed to be the oldest of their trio, and here she was, looking at everything like she was an outsider. "Just because you didn't grow up with us, you shouldn't doubt what we can do."

"Oh I don't doubt anything you can do. Cantirena is potentially the most powerful magic user on this planet and most likely has ever been since the Crystal War," Candice said worriedly. "She shouldn't be a royal mage. It may be a useful way for her to put her talents to use, but it's too much stress and responsibility. She's not level headed like Minwu. I want her to marry Minwu so she's not liable to wander off and get herself hurt or something. She'll stay by his side if she knows she's supposed to."

"What do you think she's going to go off and do?!"

"I…"

The door to the Royal Mage's chamber came open slowly, and Cantirena was standing there with her arms crossed. "Are you going to bicker outside my bedroom over my mental state, or are you going to confront me about it?" she asked sharply. "If you want to know what Minwu and I have been doing, we've been sleeping most of the time."

"And the rest of it?" Candice countered, smiling devilishly.

"…expressing our love with our bodies," Cantirena muttered, looking away. "But seriously, you think you're being quiet, but you're not. You're loud. We'll come out and speak to you when we're damn well good and ready to!" She had a very angry look on her face. She seemed ready to fire magic at them both. "Stop plotting what will happen with my life. I've all ready decided what I'm going to do next to prepare for my royal mage position, regardless of what you think, Candice."

"Holy shit," Candice said bluntly. "Canti, are you… all right? I've never seen you so… bitchy before."

Cantirena rolled her eyes as she said, "Maybe if I wasn't woken up by my older sisters trying to plan my life for me!"

"Canti," Clarisse said, bowing her head in the direction of Cantirena. "I… I don't know what's come over me. You are your own person and you can make your own decisions. I'll… I'll get back to work. I'm… I'm sorry." She then stood back up straight and left the hall quickly, tears streaming down her face.

"Wow," Candice grunted. "That's… not very like you at all, Canti."

"I've changed over the course of the last few months… as I'm sure everyone else here has, too," Cantirena said quietly. "I'm going back to bed now. Please leave the hallway and get to your duties, if you wouldn't mind."

"Sure," Candice said, turning around. "Get some rest. You really sound like you need it." She looked at the floor as she walked in the direction opposite that Clarisse went, just as sad.

"I'm sorry to have to do this," Cantirena whispered, looking back through the door behind her. "But I'm not letting anyone make my decisions for me anymore. Not even you, Minwu." She started to head to the throne room, but made a turn when she found a staircase that led up to the roof of the castle. When there, she looked to the south, her eyes fixated in the direction of the Palamecian Empire. "The skies are dark there, as I figured they would be. He was right."

"The magic Iluia uses… it's much darker than any I've ever seen before. He was able to turn your spells into corrupted versions of themselves…"

"Mateus."

"Defeating him will be no easy task, my lady. I can help you do it, if only you allow me to. Set me free from this state, and I will take back what is mine."

"No. You want to control everything."

"Aren't I better than the Demon King?"

"In what way? Why change one tyrant for another?"

"How can you say that about me? You love me."

"You're a cruel ruler, Mateus. You mistreated your people, you infused demonic blood into your soldiers, and you forced women to work in labor camps to feed them. You were a terrible leader for a country. Demon King in your head or not, you don't deserve to wear any crown. I may love you, but I'm not afraid to call you out on your bullshit, especially when you're nothing but a disembodied voice!" Cantirena said, turning to go back into the castle.

"I'm not just a disembodied voice, my lady. I am a part of you. One you cannot forgive, one you cannot forget, but eternally a part of who you are. I've managed to live on in you even after my death. That in and of itself is a mighty accomplishment."

"I'm going to report the storm to King Gordon. If I have to, I will go to your grave myself."

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