Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 2, part 5

"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.

Part 5

Clarisse typically never failed to be the first one up in the morning, but on this sunny morning, she was beaten by Minwu, who was studying his map just like he was the night before. She wondered if he even slept at all, with how tired his eyes looked. It was hard to judge him by anything else, as he always wore his turban, mask, and robes over every other part of his body.

"G'morning, Lord Minwu," Clarisse said, sitting up.

"Is it morning all ready?" Minwu asked, not looking over at her. "I seem to have forgotten the time yet again. Forgive me, my student, I've not prepared a lesson for today."

"Um, Minwu?" Clarisse asked, immediately confused by that.

"Please, go on home and rest today," Minwu added. "I've become swamped with work for Princess Hilda."

Clarisse got out of bed and walked over to Minwu. "Hey. Are you even in there?"

Minwu blinked a few times before putting his map down. "Clarisse," he said, bowing his head for a second. It seemed as if the man was asleep while awake, which was something Clarisse had never seen before. He was always calm and composed, which left everyone to believe that Minwu could handle just about anything that happened around him. Clarisse was starting to see that even the sage-like Minwu had his limits of emotional taxation. "Good morning. I was thinking about which way we should take to go north. I don't believe it is wise to walk all the way to Salamand, as it will take a good week or so, and we can't carry all the supplies we would need for such a trek right now. I will inquire other ships about passage to Poft."

"While you do that, I'll wake the other two," Clarisse said carefully. She put her hand on Minwu's shoulder. "Are you sure you don't want to go back to Altair? I'm not sure if you should be traveling like this. Maybe you should help Princess Hilda-"

"My student needs to come home before I can even think of staying put," Minwu answered. "She is my responsibility. It is the Mysidian way."

"And I know those ways are ancient and well-respected," Clarisse said gently. "But…"

"My health be damned," Minwu muttered, standing up. "I will do what I must." He walked out of the bedroom while Clarisse sat there with a hopeless expression on her face.

You need her just as badly as she needs you, Clarisse thought as she stood back up and started pulling her armor on over her clothes. If your circumstances were different, I'd almost believe you were in love with Cantirena. I've never seen a drive like this before out of any teacher for their student, even if it is the Mysidian way.

She walked over to Firion's bed and thwacked him on the head really hard. "Come on. Minwu's all ready looking around outside to make a decision about how to get up north. You need to get up and get ready to go, too, ya lazy bum."

"I'm not lazy," Firion said, sitting up. "Just because I don't get up first thing in the morning doesn't mean I'm lazy." He got out of bed and stretched every which way. "So, did Minwu even sleep last night?"

"I don't think so," Clarisse answered. "When I first talked to him, he… he thought I was my sister."

"Well, you have the same hair and eye color," Firion said, strapping on his armor. "And your voices sound very similar if you're not listening carefully. I mean, if her hair was straight and longer, you two would look exactly the same." He shrugged. "Even I made the mistake once."

"What?"

"Yeah, it was kinda weird…" Firion trailed off. "She was bathing in the part of the Lake over by the forest, and… yeah…" He blushed. "If it wasn't for her singing, before I got in the water, I was totally ready to surprise her and-"

Clarisse grunted. "How awkward! You thought she was me, so you were going to jump into the water and surprise her! Naked, too, I would assume!"

"Aww, hey, it wasn't like that," Firion said. He walked over to Prince Gordon, who was still sleeping soundly despite everyone else getting up. "Good morning, your highness. We're getting ready to go."

"Oh," Gordon said, getting up immediately. "Where is Lord Minwu?"

"Out trying to make the decision of how to get up north," Clarisse answered. She was all ready to go. Her sword tied to her hip. She wanted to point it at some imperial scum, but she wasn't going to get that chance with the flimsy thing she had now. After getting the Mythril and having her sword reforged, that was when she could finally save her sister. Finally she would have everything she needed.

Suddenly, the building started to shake. Decorations fell off of the walls and it was very hard to stand. Firion snatched both Gordon and Clarisse under his arms and led them outside just in case. The first thing they laid eyes on was a huge black thing in the sky. It was bigger than any other flying machined they'd ever seen before. There were more propellers on that than anything ever seen before. It was a monster that blotted out the sun as long as in eyesight.

"That's… that's it…" Clarisse breathed out. "That must be the… the Dreadnaught!"

People in the port were screaming. Fear was rampant as men, women, and children all tried to hide from the large ship flying overhead. It was headed southeast. Even though it showed no intention of attacking the town, it left everything in an uproar.

"That's the Dreadnaught?!" Firion asked. "That huge flying machine?"

"What else could it be?" Clarisse asked.

"I'm… I'm…" Gordon shook where he was, looking at that thing. He was trembling. "I can't fight… against something like that…"

When the ship was completely gone, the town was left in a huge mess. Everything from outdoor furniture to papers were scattered about the place. Just flying by was enough to tear up the town, it was easy to tell what would happen if that thing had actually attacked.

Minwu approached from the port, still his ever calm self. "I trust the three of you saw that monstrosity," he said gently. "The Dreadnaught Warship is complete, and now… it's probably headed to Palamecia's capital before it starts its rampage."

"Does this mean we're too late?" Gordon asked. "We wanted to get Mythril to try to stop the warship's completion."

"We may be too late to stop it from being built, but we can still go to Salamand to get mythril for Princess Hilda and Master Tobul as we were ordered," Minwu answered. "However, Prince Gordon, there is a task that I will have you complete."

"What? Me?" Gordon asked, blinking at Minwu in confusion.

"You, Prince Gordon," Minwu said. "Because you need to gather your courage to rise up to face such a dreadful enemy, I will give you a task of your own. When we get to Poft, you will seek out Lord Cid. We need as much information on airships as possible, and since you are the heir to Kashuon, you can ask about the Sunfire as well."

Gordon gulped. "I… I hope I can live up to this task…"

"You'll do just fine!" Firion said, "Because you're Scott's younger brother. You share the same blood!" He tapped Gordon on the shoulder. "You're a political man, remember? Talking to people suits you better than fighting them, right?"

"R-right," Gordon said, trying to pull himself together. "I… I am the heir of Kashuon, and I will… I will do what I can."

"That's what we wanted to hear," Clarisse said, hugging Gordon's arm. "You're amazing, Gordon! You can get over your fears! The whole world is counting on you."

"I hope I can live up to your expectations," Gordon said, trying to force a smile.

"Well, Minwu," Firion said, putting both Clarisse and Gordon down on their feet, now that the ground was table again. "Have you made a decision as to how we're going to go up north?"

"Well, yes, I have," Minwu said, pointing at the docks. "I've talked to all the other ship captains, and even though Cid's ship might not be leaving port, others are. It seems as if the lady just didn't want to take us on her boat for whatever reason. We'll be taking another ship, which means we will be in Poft come tomorrow morning."

"That's great," Firion said, smiling. "We'll get that Mythril and be back in time to impress Princess Hilda!"

As the group was getting on the boat with a different flag, Leila stood on the deck of her ship, unable to believe what just happened. She wanted to trap the group in the mountains and loot them for all they had, but that wasn't going to happen now. Minwu and his entourage were leaving on another boat, one that knew the weather near Poft was perfect for sailing. She bit her lip. Her plan wasn't fully thought out. But that was okay.

"Don't worry, Master Minwu," she muttered, "We will meet again." She turned away, going back down into the hull of her ship. "Pluie, we're leaving port. Head south!"

"Right, Cap'n Leila," Pluie replied, and the ship started pulling out until it was able to set sail.

Minwu watched that other boat with Cid's flag on it. "Maybe she got a notice from Cid about something else," he thought aloud. "But she couldn't say what it was, so she lied about the weather."

"It doesn't matter now," Clarisse said. "We have our passage to Poft, so it's only a matter of time before we get to Salamand."

Gordon sat in the center of the ship's deck. "Oooh, I've never been on a boat before…." He held his stomach. "I feel… queasy."

"Uh oh, the prince is seasick," Firion called to Minwu. "Do you have a spell you can use to help him with that?"

Minwu turned around. "No, unfortunately, I don't know any spells for relieving seasickness. Prince Gordon, please, go below deck and try to stay in the center of the ship. That might help a little."

Gordon got up, but the natural bobbing of the ship on the water made it hard for him to even walk. "I think next time, we should rent chocobos…"

"If we could," Clarisse said. "We don't have chocobos in our area of the world. They're only native to Kashuon."

Gordon cursed his luck, but he still felt braver now than he ever had. Before, he always relied on his brother for everything. The only place he felt at home was in the castle classroom. Now, he was on a mission to help the world. If he could do this, then he could do more things later on, and maybe, just maybe, he might grow to be as powerful and as brave as his older brother Scott. That filled him with courage just thinking about it. He wanted nothing more than to fill Scott's shoes. I will help not just our country, but all countries! Watch me from Heaven, big brother… watch and guide me, as you always have… Gordon prayed. It gave him comfort to pray to his brother's spirit. I only hope I am worthy.

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