Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 4, 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

Firion, Clarisse, and Josef were able to get the Snow Craft from Semitt Falls, where Josef had it hidden for quite some time. The whole excursion only made Firion wonder why it even hidden in there, especially when it used to be under control of the Imperials. How did the Dark Knights not even find it, when it was hidden in a pretty obvious location. The blue obelisk stood out like a sore thumb. Upon exiting the cavern, they noticed a black shadow over them.

"Oh shit," Firion said, pulling Clarisse close to him suddenly. "Get back in the cave! We don't know who the hell that is."

"Yes, you do," a voice called from above. A white robed man was hanging on a rope ladder suspended from an airship, until he was close enough to jump down. As it turned out, it was Minwu. He gave Firion a nod of respect. "Forgive me for frightening you."

The airship took higher into the air, and started flying back down south after Minwu landed on the ground.

"That was Cid?" Clarisse asked curiously.

"Yes," Minwu replied. "He has been a tremendous asset to the Wild Rose Rebellion since I found him in Poft. He's been through hell like the rest of us. Having eyes in the sky doesn't save you from what the Emperor has managed to do." He then pulled out his staff out from being tied onto the back of his belt. "I find it very strange that the Emperor has a bad habit of kidnapping daughters and daughter-like figures, don't you, Josef?"

Josef cocked up an eyebrow. "He's been stealin' more girls from their homes?" Suddenly, his expression turned to an even deeper anger.

"Or from crashed airships," Minwu said.

Josef wanted to punch something. As a father, it only enraged him to hear that more fathers were having to go through what he had to go through. "This only makes me want to help ya more, Minwu. I can't keep letting it go. I'm lucky that my Nelly is safe at home."

"Meanwhile, Cid's daughter is in the hands of the Empire," Minwu said carefully.

"So is yours," Firion said, putting a hand on Minwu's shoulder. "Well met, Minwu. I was getting curious as to how you were getting along by yourself, but as it turns out, you're doing much better than we are."

"I think not," Minwu said quietly. "But we've much ground to cover. Josef, please, lead the way. I know little to nothing about the snow fields. I did come to join you after making my report to Princess Hilda because there's no point in having you go all the way back to Altair or Poft to meet me. Poft is nothing but a pile of rubble now. Once we have the Goddess Bell, we head straight to Kashuon."

Josef smiled at that. "Well, then. I'll be on with ya longer than I expected. When we get back to Salamand, I'll tell Nelly I'll be gone longer. It'll break the poor dear's heart, but I can't imagine sitting back and doing nothing when other fathers I'm friends with are struggling to find their daughters…" Then he looked at Minwu. "I didn't even know you had a daughter, Minwu."

"I… I don't," Minwu said, looking away. "She is my student."

"You love her like she's your daughter," Clarisse added. "So it counts. Don't give me that whole 'I didn't father her' crap, Minwu. You love her, and that's all there is to it." She then started to walk on, leaving Semitt Falls for the second time this week. "So let's get up there with all that snow all ready. I am tired of standing here talking."

Minwu nodded in agreement. "I believe she's getting impatient."

"Well, she's not seen her sister since Fynn was massacred," Firion said. "I can tell she's just as lonely without her as you are. I've tried to fill that role, but… there's only so much a guy who was adopted into her family can do. You'd think she forgot that we grew up in the same house."

You weren't the only adopted one, Minwu thought. He turned to face the wind, his robes blowing every which way as he walked. "No, Firion. There is a different sort of bond between sisters… especially with twins like Cantirena and Clarisse."

Firion laughed. "Good thing there's not more of them! Wouldn't that be upping the difficulty?!"

Minwu smirked at that. He had no idea, and right now, it wasn't worth discussing. He had yet to meet Cid's daughter, Candice. It was hard to draw any conclusions as to how the three were linked to the Goddess yet. He didn't know anything but very vague details about the Demon King of old, except that he was an enemy of the original Emperor of Palamecia. Besides, how would Clarisse take it if she was to hear that not only did she have another sister besides Cantirena – but that her other sister was also in the hands of the Empire? It would be more distracting than anything right now. She would want proof, and to meet this other lady, before she would even consider such an idea. There were so many thoughts swimming around Minwu's head that he didn't even notice Josef was setting up the Snow Craft when they reached the end of the Salamand Grasslands.

"There he goes again," Clarisse said quietly. "Hey, Minwu! Snap out of it!"

Minwu blinked a few times. "I'm sorry."

"Goddess Almighty," Clarisse grunted at him. "I know you miss my sister. Hell, I miss her, too. But being trapped in memories is no way of going about finding her and bringing her home, now is it?"

"You are correct," Minwu said. "Josef?"

"All set, Minwu!" Josef was putting the final touches on his Snow Craft. When he kicked it one final time, the sail flopped open and was ready to go. It flapped with the wind, which Minwu noticed had become much harsher since coming to the end of the Grasslands. "The snow out there gets deeper than we can walk. This here is a boat for the snow! And don't worry about bein' cold, I keep blankets here on the craft for when I need to use it. The cavern is about a day's ride. There's no way to keep her goin' at night, so be prepared. I won't sail in total darkness when there are rocks I could crash into. I absolutely refuse to drown in fifteen feet of snow!"

"I can't imagine being turned into a human popsickle," Firion said, climbing into the snow craft. "Just… no, that sounds downright terrifying."

"So you stick to what I tell ya, m'boy," Josef said. "I'll teach ya how to steer her."

"Her?" Clarisse asked curiously.

"Didn't you know all vessels are girls?" Josef asked. "Ask Cid next time ya see him about the names of his airships. All vessels are girls. It's just that simple. This one, she's… her name… this one is Sally." His expression turned sad for a moment, but he snapped right back into a smile. "Sally the Snow Craft. There's only one like her, hahaha!"

In her honor, Minwu thought, also climbing into the snow craft. It's hard to believe you'd choose any other name but that.

Firion helped Clarisse climb into the snow craft, and she almost tripped over a few ropes. When all three of them were seated, he pushed it into the snow for a while to make sure the wind took to the sail correctly. Then Josef hopped in, stood right next to the mast, and pulled on the steering lever.

"And away we go!" Josef shouted, feeling the wind almost lift the snow craft off of the snow before she started to move like that of a boat. "Hahaha! This ol' girl, she'll give ya the willies if you're not paying much attention. Feel the pull of that wind, southerners? C'mon, Sally, we're gonna help save the world!" He sounded like a maniac with how much he was laughing. There never was a dull moment around Josef.

Meanwhile, in Palamecia, Emperor Mateus had spent the last few days sitting on his throne. He was so lost in thought, he lost track of everything. While he was essentially handing over his greatest tools for war, he knew that it would pay off in the end. Anything to get rid of the rebellion and establish himself as the ruler of the world. He could have another, better, bigger Dreadnaught built in the future, once he knew he stood unopposed.

But, the longer he sat by himself, the louder the voice in his head grew until it completely interrupted his thoughts all together.

"You have surrendered what belongs to me. I have given you your powers, Emperor. You had better give back what is mine…"

"Or what?!" Mateus screamed out loud, scaring everyone who could have been on that side of the castle. "My plan is flawless! When they take our pretty little princess back to the rebel base, we will know where they are and we can destroy them all!"

"It brings me nothing but pleasure to have a piece of the Goddess who sealed me away as my own property. You may have her body and her love, but that magic is mine."

"That may be so, Demon King…" he muttered, "…but I will not let anyone else have Cantirena. I can sense where she is. She has not moved from where I left her to sleep, and because she is carrying my heir, she will not have the energy to move without aid. There is no reason to be upset."

"Answer my requests, Emperor, and this world is yours…"

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