Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 3, part 2

"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 2

Cantirena found herself waking up to powers she'd never had before. She could tell they were surging through her body, and feeling them gave her this desire to use them on something to test them out. She sat up, finally ready to get out of the Emperor's bed after what must have been days at his mercy. Cantirena lost count of how many times Mateus had taken possession of her body. She didn't want to think about that very much, as the memories were still very fresh. The first few times left her in pain from her waist down. It was her first time experiencing that kind of touch. After a few times, she knew what to expect, and it hurt much less.

But he was there, sitting at a nearby table, holding up a goblet full of red wine, wearing absolutely nothing but the decorative beads in his hair and the crown he was rarely, if ever, seen without. "So, you've come back to me," he said, taking a sip. "Tell me, how do you feel?"

"Like killing something," she answered. When she noticed she was still naked, she pulled the sheets around herself.

Mateus smiled. That's exactly what he wanted to hear. "I will have fresh clothes brought for you, and you may bathe in here. It wouldn't do for you to go out smelling like me. Once you are ready, we will put that drive to good use." He stood up, coming closer to her. "I will see you again."

"Of course, Your Grace," Cantirena said, bowing her head. "Nothing would please me more."

Before leaving, Mateus once again kissed the newly formed jewel on her forehead which matches his own.

Does he always walk around in his castle naked? Cantirena thought. I suppose since he is the Emperor, so he could get away with anything in his own castle…

A bath was just what she needed, though. Maids came in to fill the tub, and when it was done, Cantirena had a nice long soak. It gave her time to gather her thoughts, not that she had as many as when she had arrived in Palamecia. Her mind became very clouded, and the only things she really wanted to do was serve Mateus to the best of her ability and to test her newfound power. Before, she had a lot of thoughts of Minwu. Now? It was like she didn't remember she had a teacher. Or, rather, it was more like she didn't remember anything about her past at all.

How did she come to live in Palamecia? How did she meet Mateus? How did she become the Emperor's consort? She didn't remember, and when she tried to think about these things, it made her head hurt worse than any headache she could imagine. Thinking about Mateus, made the pain melt away. Relishing in the powers she woke up with, that made her feel good. Enjoying the soak in the water itself, without asking any questions whatsoever? That made her feel the best.

It could have been three hours, or it could have been twenty minutes. How much time she was in the bath didn't matter at all. Cantirena dressed herself with the robes provided, and she was walking out in the hallway when she was greeted by Mateus yet again.

"There you are," he said, taking her hand. "Come. You said you felt like killing something?"

Just the thought of that made Cantirena smile. "Yes, Your Grace, I certainly do."

"We leave right now. Let us take the Dreadnaught on a World Tour!"

Prince Gordon was dropped off right in front of Kashuon Keep. He hadn't been there since the day the Empire destroyed Kashuon. He could hear the voices fresh in his mind: maids screaming, townspeople trying to flee into the nearby woods to no avail, and that of his loyal retainers telling him exactly what to do.

"Your Majesty, you must flee! Take this chocobo! No man or monster alive can catch up to a chocobo. Remember, head for Fynn. Do not stop until you get there. Don't even look back."

"But, Roderick, you can't expect me to-"

"You are a sweet man, my prince, for worrying about me in such crisis, but it is my job to worry about you."

"There… that one! He wears the fire seal! Grab him!"

"Over my dead body, bastards! Go, my prince! The time has come for you to grow up and be the man you are destined to be!"

The sword clashes echoed through his memories, and he could hear them as if it was happening right there around him. Gordon could hear the battle happening all around him and it brought nothing but tears to his eyes. Why did he not have the courage of his brother? Why did he have to be the last remaining Kashuon? Scott would have been able to walk through this castle with no problems at all. He was sure that not even the memories of past battles would stop him from doing this.

Gordon walked up to the gate and put his hand up. The door swung open for him, knowing exactly who he was. The bottom floor of the Keep was empty now, save for the Eternal Brazier which sat in the very center. It was supported by six different, smaller pillars. Gordon walked up to it, his eyes locked onto that of the precious Sunfire, which had always been the symbol and pride of the Kashuon royal family. It burned brighter than any fire in the entire world, and it had always been burning ever since it started.

"Eternal Fire, grant me your strength…" Gordon said quietly, staring into it. "…so that I may burn as brightly as you."

He heard a click somewhere nearby.

Gordon looked around, noticing there was a door with a fire emblem on it. He walked over to that door and put his hand up again. "This must be it," he said, "The door to the trial. I must have that torch. I need the Sunfire to avenge my country and save countless others…" Gordon concentrated on the door. "Open in the name of the heir of Kashuon!"

The heavy door slid open, and when Gordon walked through, it immediately shut again.

"That's pleasant," Gordon grunted, taking a few steps into the darkened halls. There were a few torches that lined the walls here and there, but for the most part, the Kashuon Keep had become a very dark place. It was weird seeing it like this, as he used to live in these very halls. They did not feel the same as when he was a child. In fact, he didn't remember Kashuon Keep looking so ancient before. Auras of all sort circled around him as he walked through the darkness.

Gordon could have sworn he heard voices. He tried to be as quiet as possible, as to listen to what was being said down the hall.

"Gordon," a voice called out to him, "How dare you return to Kashuon!"

"What?" Gordon asked, looking around. "Who's there?!"

"Only the souls of those who you have failed!" the voice shouted. "You are a terrible prince and should have died the day we did!"

Gordon shook his head, unable to figure out who was talking to him. "Please, I come to make amends…" he said quietly.

"Yeah, make amends…" the voice said sarcastically. "…what good will it do us now, failure? The souls of Kashuon cannot rest with you as the heir! Your brother would be a much more suitable heir than you."

"I'm quite aware of this," Gordon said, nodding in agreement. "Oh, how well I know this to be the truth…"

Is it possible that the castle is… haunted now? Gordon thought, taking a torch from the wall. Some parts were too dark for his liking, so he decided to take some light with him. The only magic he knew was a simple cure spell. He wasn't as useful as Minwu, who was able to use his staff to create light. Could it be that these… these floating feelings are...?

"We have been here since the day Kashuon fell," the voice explained. "Every spirit, trapped here. Every man, woman, and child who were slaughtered while you and Scott fled… are here, within this castle, bound to it… We cannot move forward…"

"Is… is there something here, preventing you from going on?" Gordon asked. "What could it be?"

"We… want our revenge," the voice answered. "And we will get it… we died protecting you, Prince Gordon of Kashuon. All of your people are dead! You will rule… alongside us!"

"No!" Gordon was afraid. He ran back to the door he came through and tried to open it, by chanting everything he could remember being taught. The door would not open for him. He pounded on the door in desperation, calling out for help. "I do not wish to die! Help me! I am not the brave one! Help me, my brother, help me!"

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