Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 13, part 6

"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.

Part 6

Minwu stayed there at Cantirena's side for another hour as the storm outside grew angrier, and the voices of the people inside the castle grew louder. There were screams and murmurs and a general sound of hundreds of people rumbling through the castle walls. Literally, people were being huddled into every place within. He couldn't think straight, what with his guilt and regrets, worried about the storm that his student was able to point out before fainting, and then the fact that he was neglecting his royal duties to sit there and do absolutely nothing. The White Knights of Fynn, led by Firion and Clarisse, were bringing in every person they could find from the surrounding area. The castle staff were doing everything they could to make the people feel more at home and less terrified over the oncoming storm – King Gordon included. Then there was the expedition team heading to Palamecia to handle whatever it was that was bothering the folks there, and it was really hard for Minwu to shake the feeling like the storm was going to be too dangerous to fly into. But he couldn't warn Cid about this. It was too late. He was too focused on sitting here trying to help his student, when there seemed to be nothing he could do, and he hated it. He hated every single second of his inaction.

He got up and paced about the room, and right as a bolt of thunder sounded, he had an idea. A crazy idea, of course, but considering he wasn't able to do anything else right now, even a crazy idea was worth a shot. When he walked over to the same place where he was able to look into the mirror and see Cantirena conversing with the Emperor, he spoke into it.

"Mateus," he said sternly. "I can see you there. I need to talk to you. Now."

The reflection showed that Cantirena was asleep, just as she was on the bed, and Mateus had only been holding onto her to offer security and comfort. A few moments passed before Minwu broke the silence again.

"I know you can hear me! I know you know that I can see you right there, holding Cantirena!"

That's when the reflection of the Emperor looked up at Minwu, acknowledging he was aware of his presence the entire time.

"Yes, I'm sure you can."

"Your voice-"

"Telepathy, my dear mage. Cantirena is capable of it, and since I am linked to her power currently, I can use her power to communicate with you."

"…my student is capable of telepathy?"

"Yes, but you aren't capable of teaching her how to do it, so I suspect she will never put it to use. Alas, a waste of talent. The lady is sleeping, so we have this channel completely open and without interruption. If you wish to speak to me, Minwu, take the chance to do it now."

Minwu agreed. "Fine. I need to know what you did to her to make her like this."

"You're accusing me of casting another spell on her to take away her will to live? You are severely mistaken. Cantirena doesn't need magical assistance to shut down. She does it on her own. The powers that dwell in this body are indeed magnificent and Godlike, but they come at a price. I'm quite sure you've noticed by now that she's completely unstable emotionally. It's hard not to. What's worse is, I believe she's confused on how to handle matters of the heart, and all its done is tear her up inside. A lot of that is my fault, but not all of the blame lies with me."

"The Demon King…"

"I'm not talking about Iluia. I'm talking about you and the people she's lived around all her life."

All that statement did was piss Minwu off. How dare Mateus say something like that! "She was raised lovingly in a peaceful environment. You've no right to say anything about how she was raised." He tried to keep his calm, but it wasn't easy. Not with all the mess going on around him.

"Can you honestly say she feels that way about it? Otherwise, why did she betray Fynn and all the people she'd ever known in her whole life so suddenly? I showed her my face, and she killed in my name willingly. There was no magic involved at that point. The Demon King wasn't even aware that I'd even claimed her until I had taken her home with me to my palace. But, while in Fynn, she struck down people that I deemed unworthy. That lived with her here, in Fynn. If she was loved in a peaceful environment, surrounded only by people who love her, wouldn't she have questioned the order? Wouldn't she have stopped and said 'these are my kin, I cannot kill them'? But she did not. All of the people here in Fynn are not actually Fynn citizenry, Minwu. Don't delude yourself. They are mostly refugees from Altair, Galtea, Salamand, and the nearby port. Those she lived around, except you and her blue-haired knight sister… are all dead."

"Cantirena confessed that she was in love with you from the first time she met you. She said the reason why she killed those people was to prove her love. Are you honestly expecting me to believe that she'd kill for…"

"Revenge? Absolutely. You don't know how dark the human soul can become, even for someone who was brought into this world to be a beacon of light for all. Cantirena and her sisters are children of the Goddess. I cannot refute this. But what I can say is that they are human and they exist within human laws. They eat, they sleep, they feel just as much as any other humans do. With all that power riding within them, it stands to reason that they would have hard time adjusting, especially in Cantirena's case. She's a mere child with the magical capacity of a deity. What do you expect her to do?! And considering all of the things she has done since the attack on Fynn leading up to this point? You can't expect her to handle it in any other way. You want to know what drove her to this point, or do you want to know what we can do to snap her out of it?"

"I'd honestly like to do it on my own."

"Then why did you bother speaking to me?"

"Because I don't know what to do."

"Minwu, there is nothing you can do for Cantirena right now. And even if you could, I doubt she would let you. You need to let her sort her emotions out. Go help the king to whom you have given your vows. Go help the people who would take comfort in you guiding them."

"Why?! So I can leave her to you?"

"If nothing else, she lets me comfort her."

"It was your death that threw her into depression…"

"Don't lie to yourself. Your student came to me all ready broken from all the misunderstandings she suffered as a child. She gained more cracks along her journey since then… as more me, I will not be leaving her side. I can't. Not only that, but if you were fearing me trying to use her for some untold purpose. I have agreed to not possess her the way Iluia did me."

"Is that possible?"

"Ohhh yes. The same way he possessed her, I can do the same. It's very easy considering my current state."

Minwu snapped his fingers. "Then… could you possess me?"

Mateus' expression in the mirror changed radically. It was the first time anyone had been ever to shock him in such a way since he was a child. Why would anyone ask that sort of question? It did nothing but puzzle him.

"Do you intend to have someone kill you to be rid of me that way?"

"I wouldn't dare do that. My student loves you. Cantirena has adored you for a very long time and I couldn't ever imagine going out of my way to ruin that. I've done it before and I can't stand the fact that I did. I can't stand the fact that I've lied to her about feelings. I gave in to her advances despite my better judgment. Mateus, if there is a way for you to come back to life, then I would do it… for her sake."

"What's to stop me from going back on the track of trying to take over every inch of the world again?"

"Even if you did that… she would still be by your side. And as your Empress, not as your servant, hopefully. If she is happy, then it's worth me giving my life for. I know her sisters would object and want you dead. They want her to marry me. But forcing her into marriage like that would make her unhappy."

"You being dead would make her unhappy."

"And then you could hold her like you are doing right now. She takes comfort in you, despite what you've done to her. It makes absolutely no sense to me… but I've come to the realization that it doesn't have to make any sense to me. I love her enough that I'd see the world united under your flag if that's what it took to make her happy."

"Your selflessness is resounding, Minwu. To love another person that much is a great thing. Very well. Go to your duties. When this storm has passed, come back and see me, alone. Tell no one that we have conversed. By the time the storm is over, Cantirena will be awake."

"Then how will-"

"It matters not. Working will keep your mind off of the matters of your heart. For that reason alone, you should do it. We will be here."

Minwu took in a deep breath. Mateus was right about that. Working would help him quell at least some of his inner doubts about the situation. "Fair enough. I will return." He turned to walk out the door, then looked at Cantirena one more time before leaving.

She was smiling in her sleep.

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