Ch 13, part 4
"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.
Minwu sat next to Cantirena. He didn't have any books out, and he didn't seem to be trying to study what was going on, as he was prone to doing before. She laid there on their bed; her eyes half open, unfocused. Nothing he did called her out of that stasis. He caressed her face, gripped her hands, kissed her a few times in various places. But nothing caught her attention.
Gordon walked in quietly, stopping when he noticed Minwu's dreadful expression. He'd never seen the royal mage look like he had lost all hope before. "Minwu," he started to speak, noticing that the mage's expression didn't change even if his eyes moved just enough to see the king. "There is something I must tell you. Cantirena warned me about a storm before she shut down. Well. It's on its way. Is there anything we can do?"
"Bring in all of the citizenry," Minwu answered, his voice never leaving a very cold monotone. It was the first time he had spoken since coming in with Cantirena previously. "Protect them as well as you can."
"That is in progress as we speak," Gordon replied. "But I mean, can we stop the-"
"There is nothing we can do about the storm itself," Minwu snapped. "If it is truly what I believe it is, then… even bringing in all of the townspeople is useless. Your Highness, it is every man's destiny to die. You should prepare to see your brother within the next few days." He looked back at Cantirena. "At least in the afterlife, I'll be able to do what I cannot here in this realm."
"What is that, if I may inquire?"
"…take revenge upon he who has done this to my student."
Gordon was shocked to hear Minwu say something like this. He never was a violent man by any stretch of the imagination. His powers were always there to soothe and comfort anyone in need. Now he had done a complete turnaround in personality, and frankly, it didn't just shock Gordon. It scared him to know that someone usually so benevolent could have thoughts like this. "Even if you did die, I do not believe you'd be able to take revenge in the way you'd like to for this travesty," he said sternly.
"No, of course not," Minwu said. "The tyrant is all ready dead."
"With her parents gone, I'm the only guardian she has left. I've given her everything, even my body, and… it wasn't enough," Minwu continued. "She doesn't want to exist in a world without him. It's clear that's why she's done this. Even though she's been faced with death through this entire ordeal, starting with watching her own parents being butchered in front of her and all the people she's killed, all because of him and… this is the one that throws her off? The one who wanted nothing more than to use and abuse her?! If you don't have an answer for me, get out of here. I don't want to exchange pleasantries with anyone who doesn't have any answer to what I want to know."
"You want to know who has your answers?" Gordon asked, crossing his arms. "The lady lying in your bed right now. Talk to her."
"She doesn't respond to anything I say or do. I've tried. She's shut me out, the same as her sisters and everyone else she's claimed to care about."
"It doesn't matter. Talk to her anyway," Gordon said. "Even if she doesn't say much, you have to reach out to her or you're going to lose her forever." He took in a deep breath and turned to leave. "Stay in here." Why did he even say that, of course Minwu wasn't going anywhere now. "The castle will be busy and I'd rather you not get separated from Cantirena unintentionally. If they find you, they will beg your help, because that's what you've always done for them. So, I will visit you once again, after the storm has passed."
"I understand," Minwu answered the king quietly. He didn't know why Gordon gave that order either, it wasn't like he was planning on leaving his chambers.
As Gordon started to walk out, something about the room felt very different. He looked along the walls. He didn't see anything in the room out of the ordinary. Hundreds of books on shelves, hundreds more on tables, pens and parchment, a dresser for clothing and personal items, and one single mirror with a beautiful frame. It was a very simple room, considering it was in a castle. Something about it caught his attention, though. The feeling was very similar to what he felt inside the Kashuon Keep before getting the Sunfire.
"…sire?" Minwu asked. "I thought you were leaving."
"I was…" Gordon said. "But… I…" He took a step back. "There is something odd about this room, Minwu." He then looked at the mirror again. The reflection he saw from where he was standing was Cantirena. He saw her blank expression and her half-closed eyes. "Perhaps I am wrong after all… There's no reason to overreact." He looked into that reflection for several minutes before noticing that under her curly blue hair was something else. "A… hand?!"
"A hand?" Minwu asked, looking up at Gordon.
Gordon looked at Cantirena. It wasn't there when he looked at her. But he looked at the mirror again, and he saw it: a hand resting right on her collarbone. Just seeing it, he had no idea whose hand it was. But that was a hand. And it only appeared in her reflection. He walked closer to the mirror just in case he could see more from another viewpoint.
"I think I know why she's shut down," Gordon said after another few minutes. There was yelling going on outside of the room, but Gordon's expression didn't change. He stared into that mirror with abject horror. "Minwu, come here."
"There's nothing there," Minwu answered quietly.
"Do as your king commands!" Gordon yelled. "Get your ass over here and look at this!"
Minwu nodded, following only because Gordon insisted. And when he looked exactly where Gordon pointed, he saw it, too.
Cantirena smiled in the mirror. Minwu looked back at her, but her expression was still blank. How odd. Then he looked at the mirror again. There was a hand resting on her collarbone, and another hand on her forehead.
"He's holding her," Minwu gasped. "She wasn't hearing voices at all." Minwu could see it clearly. She was laying upon the Emperor's lap, and he held her gently. He leaned over to rest his chin on the top of her head, causing his yellow hair to surround her. Even though he could not hear what they were saying, their mouths were moving as if they were having a conversation. "Mateus has been haunting her!"
"…is this a magical mirror?"
"Then… it wouldn't show this sort of reflection normally, would it?"
"Mirrors have been known to show the truth before, but I didn't expect this," Minwu said. "And until she's able to face the fact that he's dead, he's not going to be able to pass to the afterlife. He can't leave with unsettled emotional baggage." He cursed his rotten luck. He was hoping it was a different situation. He didn't know a single thing about how to deal with unsatisfied spirits.
Gordon's eyes widened. "You don't think that… quite possibly, he… he counted on this happening, do you? Firion said he took his life, and his last words were regarding his feelings towards Cantirena. He built her relationship with her… to prevent from having to deal with dying permanently."
"That would… that would explain a lot."
"Then what do we do?"
"You need to get to overseeing the castle preparing for the upcoming storm," Minwu said. "Get going. With this information, I can come up with some sort of solution." He nodded confidently. "Thank you, Your Highness. I never would have learned this, had you not insisted. I appreciate it."
"Anything for you, loyal friend," Gordon said, rushing out the door. "I will be back to check on you once all of the people have been relocated."
"Understood!" Minwu said loudly, finally being able to bring himself to smile. "Cantirena, my student, hang on a little longer. You may not like the end result, but… there are things that must be done."