Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 3, part 3

"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 3

Paul and Candice were inside the Palamecian capital, having climbed the wall between the village and training ground over the course of a night. It was amazing how they weren't spotted at all, and now that the day had come again, the two were hopping between bushes until they could find the castle courtyard. Not that it was easy, considering the castle was atop a set of stairs that could have been almost as tall as the mountain the castle was built into.

"We'll have to climb some more," Candice whispered angrily. "Let's just snag one of those airships over here and high-tail it out of here. I hate Palamecia with every bit of my being, I'm tired of being here."

"Hell no," Paul replied. "I've gotta get something to take back with me." He noticed that atop the large set of stairs, there was some kind of commotion. "We've gotta get up there. Something is going on…"

A few armored knights passed by, dragging normal men away wearing what must have been just a loincloth. The men struggled to get free, but there was no way they could. Being dragged in the heat and through the sand gave Paul the impression that it really hurt, especially after noticed that they also had bloody wounds on their backsides.

When the coast looked clear, they darted to another set of bushes and found a shadowy part of the mountain to climb up. It took a while, but the higher they went, the more they could see what was going on. Guards up closer to the castle were loading supplies, food, and weaponry onto the Dreadnaught Warship.

"Cosmos almighty," Candice breathed out. "That's gotta be the biggest airship that's ever been built…"

"Oh yeah it is. By the way, how do you think I got here?" Paul asked. "I used my kite cape and rode its tail wind. Damn straight, it's the biggest. Just flying over towns knocked them for a loop. Just imagine what would happen if that thing ever attacked."

Candice said, "We're stuck so far up shit creek, we don't have to worry about finding a paddle. We're all ready drowning in it. No one alive can stop that behemoth."

"At least… not from the outside," Paul corrected her. He smiled at the thought of it. "All right, you got me. Let's hijack an airship, Candice. Let's hijack that one."

"Let me get this straight," Candice thought aloud. "You want to sneak onboard that flying fortress which is bigger than most mountains, filled with probably a billion armored knights who are all on patrol constantly, and try to make it to the cockpit without being caught by anyone."

"Well, I am the world's greatest thief," Paul said proudly.

"And the world's biggest damn idiot," Candice groaned. "I say we wait it out until that thing leaves and make off with one of the littler ones. We might actually, I don't know, stand a chance that way? Besides, there's no way you know how to pilot an airship. When you get to the cockpit, what do you plan on doing?"

"Well if I can't fly it, maybe I can blow it up," Paul suggested, his grin getting even bigger.

"Not a chance," Candice said, looking at the Dreadnaught as carefully as she could. "That thing is made of solid mythril. And even if you blew up one tiny part of it with your pathetic ninja-spark spells, I bet you that they can have it fixed within a day, and still go on their rampage to kill every person on this planet without breaking a sweat." She watched the men carrying creates inside the hull of the ship. "No, Paul. The secret of taking care of something like this would be the engine, since it's connected to every other part of the ship. If I remember right, airships run on Sunfire."

"How would… you know something like that?" Paul asked. "Wait. Exactly who is your father, again? You never told me."

"Shut up and let me think," Candice snapped at him, starting to climb up the mountain again. "I want to get a better look at exactly what's going on."

"They're preparing to go on the offensive, that's what's going on," Paul followed her up.

Then, the large gates of the castle opened. There was the sound of a very loud horn, and two figures came walking out of the gate, both wearing crowns. Paul couldn't believe his eyes. There was the Emperor, large glittering golden bull horns and all, walking down the path with a lovely girl with dark blue hair. The same color that he remembered Minwu's student having, and the same color hair Candice had, too…? This had to be more than just a coincidence. Blue hair was a rare thing, and Paul was convinced the only two people in the world who had blue hair were Cantirena, Minwu's prized student, and her older sister, Clarisse.

"Cantirena?" Paul asked in a hushed whisper. "Wha… what's Cantirena doing with… with the Emperor?!"

"There's that name again," Candice grunted. "You called out to me, thinking I was this Cantirena or whoever." She watched Paul's expression turn to abject horror. "Who is that girl?"

"…my best friend's student," Paul answered. "Minwu's student, almost… kinda like his adopted daughter, honestly. As Minwu and I have both served Princess Hilda with our talents for most of our lives, we know a lot about each other. Cantirena has been Minwu's student for over ten years. What the hell is she doing here, wearing a Palamecian crown?! Last I heard back in town, she'd gone missing during the attack on our capital, Fynn…" He wanted to stop everything and scream at her. He wanted to beat the Emperor within an inch of his life before cutting his beautiful head off. "Oh I can't let this just sit where it is, Candice. I have to find out what's going on. Minwu's going to kill somebody over this…"

Candice shook her head. "Going into that airship is tantamount to suicide, Paul. Let's get a smaller airship and actually make it out of here before trying to attempt a rescue…"

"You can do that if you want," Paul said angrily. "But I'm getting on that Dreadnaught. Even if I can't rescue her, I'm going to find out everything I can." He started climbing in that direction so that he might be able to hop onto the deck or something without being seen. "I have to see this through for Minwu."

Candice sighed, following him. She didn't know why she was doing it, other than the fact that he agreed to take her with him out of this Goddess-forsaken country. Yeah, that was it. But she was really starting to hate how illogical he was. The man didn't want to think anything through. It was just 'go steal stuff, listen in, we'll be fine, don't worry'. Well, having been captured and enslaved by the Imperials before, this looked incredibly stupid to Candice. All she could see was being caught by those damn Dark Knights yet again, and finding herself back at the village where she was tending the fields by force. Two weeks of that shit was enough. She was done.

But one thing made her curious. Candice had never seen anyone else in the world with blue hair. She'd been to a lot of places, and she'd never seen anyone with hair like hers before. Her father had bushy bright white hair that came with his age, though his mustache didn't match, so it was hard to know what his natural color was. Come to think of it, while she was raised in Poft, she had no idea where she was born. Just more questions to ask her father when she finally got to tracking him down.

Well, more like if. There was a great possibility that the man was all ready dead, knowing how bad the Empire's attacks had been, and knowing that he wasn't the kind of guy who liked to sit still for any reason…

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