Ch 5, part 1
"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.
CHAPTER FIVE BEGINS
Everyone in the rebel base rejoiced with Minwu. It was the best thing that happened to the rebels in a long time, and it gave many others hopes that victory would be achieved in the end. Princess Hilda decided it was a good idea to let them have as big of a banquet as they could manage, and everyone from town, including Master Tobul and his granddaughter Krystal, were there. The rebels partied and drank as if the war was over, though Cantirena was the only one who sat there staring into her bowl of stew. She wasn't really sure as to why they were celebrating in the first place.
"Hey," Krystal said, sitting next to Cantirena. "Do you remember me?"
"…I think you're from Fynn," Cantirena said. "…right?"
"That's right. I came here to live with my Grandpa after… after what happened there." Krystal put her hand on Cantirena's shoulder. "My name is Krystal. And… well, to welcome you back home, I want to forge you a weapon!"
"I don't use weaponry," Cantirena said. "I fight with magic."
"Minwu fights with magic and he has a staff," Krystal said. "So come on. Maybe there's a weapon you want to learn, but you never have?"
She thought about it for a few minutes. "I… I've never thought about it before. I always hold my spellbooks and just use the power from my body…" The more Cantirena tried to think about how she would fight, the more she felt like she had been fighting. She could feel the powers right there, at the tips of her fingers. She could shoot of magic at any time she wanted. It made her feel very apprehensive. She winced in pain for a moment. What was that trigger feeling? Where did it come from? …and what's worse, why did it feel familiar?
Minwu was sitting on her other side. "My child, is something the matter?"
"I… don't like this feeling," she answered.
"What is it?"
"…I feel like I'm about to start casting spells at everyone in the whole building. Or… like I have before," Cantirena said, closing her eyes. "Everyone falls at the might of my magic. Even if they scream and beg for mercy, they do not escape."
Minwu put her hands in his. "Calm down," he said very soothingly. "You're not going to kill everyone in here, are you? Heavens, no! You're still recovering, so at times you're not going to feel much like yourself."
Is she having flashbacks? Minwu thought. Perhaps unlocking her memories of before being in the Palamecian castle was not exactly the best thing to do…
"Krystal, now may not be a good time to talk about weapons or fighting," Minwu said, trying to be kind to the girl. She did only mean well. "Here. Instead of making her a weapon, make her a beautiful accessory instead. One that will make her feel stronger in her time of need."
Krystal's eyes grew brighter upon hearing that. She hugged around Cantirena and went over to another table, drawing on a piece of paper that just happened to be there. Just hearing Minwu's encouragement, she felt inspired to make the best accessory she could design. If Cantirena needed to feel stronger, she was going to help with that effort.
Cid stood up from where he was sitting, which was between Firion and Candice, and walked up to Minwu. "You think this is a good time, now that Cantirena's awake?" he asked. "We have everyone here, we might as well get it done now."
"Wait until the party dies down a bit, Cid," Minwu said, giving Cid a can't-you-grow-some-damn-patience sort of expression.
"If you haven't noticed, Minwu, the only people left right now are the closest ones to us. There's Paul, Candice, Clarisse, Firion, Prince Gordon, Princess Hilda, you, me, Cantirena, and the little girl from the weapons shop across the street," Cid said, pointing around the room. "If we lock up the door, we won't have any other visitors."
"…fine," Minwu grunted.
"Excuse me," Cid said to Krystal. "You gonna be staying here tonight, missy, or are you gonna head on home?"
Krystal looked up from her paper. "Can I stay?"
"If you wish, then yes, you may," Princess Hilda answered from her throne. "I know there is an extra bed. You have been very helpful to the rebellion, even at your young age. We consider you a true member of our ranks."
"Really?" Krystal asked. "Wow, Princess! You're making me feel really special!"
"Everyone who helps in times like these should feel special," Gordon said from another makeshift throne which must have just been put up recently. "Because only the bravest hearts will rise up in the face of desperation like you have. Please, Krystal, sit with the others. I believe we have something very important to discuss. Cid, lock the doors of the main hall and of this one."
"Aye," Cid said, walking back to do just that. Krystal took an empty spot right next to Clarisse, looking directly at the princess. If she was going to be considered a true member of the rebellion, she felt like she should damn well act the part.
"Minwu, if you would," Hilda said, nodding in the direction of the royal mage.
Minwu let go of Cantirena's hands and stood up, walking into the center of the room. "I am glad that you all gathered around to celebrate my student coming home," he said. "But while we have had our party tonight, our war is far from being over. I have had the privilege of reading a very rare book on Palamecian history, and I believe that what it describes is true. I have seen the 'Mark of Ascension'. I know that it corrupts memories first hand. But I also know that we can be rid of this dark magic with the powers that were left to us by the Goddess herself." He then walked over to a book case where Princess Hilda had the book of legends put away. "In this text here, it describes three gifts given to the world by the Goddess when faced with world-destroying power. Three gifts, that come in the form of three dark blue haired girls." He looked at Cantirena, then Clarisse, then Candice.
"Wait, what?" Candice asked. "…Dad?"
Cid nodded. "I'm afraid I believe it's true, too. The reason you don't have a mother is because I found you out in the woods behind Fynn castle. You were all alone in the world, covered in scrapes and bruises. I… took you home with me to Poft, where I raised you as my daughter."
"But what about…" Clarisse started. "We had parents! Canti and I had a mother and a father!"
"You were adopted, just like Firion was," Minwu answered. "While you were not to be told until you came of age by your parents, neither Sumia or Frederick are here to tell you themselves. They confided in me one night after both of you had gone to bed. They didn't know Cantirena was going to have magical abilities, because neither of them were mages. They didn't know what to expect from either of you." He looked over at Cantirena, who looked like she was in tears just from hearing all of this. "…and I would have no trouble believing that the Emperor came to Fynn to find them. Servants of the Goddess are who sealed the Demon King Iluia away within a stone. If he is indeed possessed by the Demon King, then it would make sense for him to want to capture or kill anyone so closely associated with the Goddess."
"…the stone…" Cantirena said, shaking her head.
"You know of it?" Minwu asked, rushing back to her side.
She nodded. "I… have seen it. The darkness of that thing… is unbelievable." She shuddered at remembering it. Her head started to ache. Just remembering that stone made her tremble in fear. "It surges with the most terrible evil. The power is so strong that… I can feel it, even from here. Once you feel it, you will never, ever forget it."
"You can feel it?"
"Not just that…" Cantirena said carefully. "I can tell you that the power… is coming here. And it's not the stone that approaches."
"What is it?" Minwu asked.
"…the man who carries the power of the stone," she whispered. "He's coming. For me. Right now…"
Hilda stood up. "Then we must act! Now!"
"The book describes away that is thought to be a way to defeat the Stone of Iluia," Minwu said. "To do it, I must go to Mysidia."
"Fine, you do that, Minwu." Hilda said loudly. "Firion, I want you to form a party to investigate the land of Deist for me. Go to Poft and catch a boat that will take you south. I need you to go and check on the Dragoons. I fear for them, as their powers are great in combat. The Emperor may target them, so I want you to warn them."
Firion stood up immediately. "I will go to Deist!"
"Cid, take Minwu to Mysidia at once."
"You can't do that," Minwu said. "There is a forcefield around Mysidia's borders which keeps out machinery. We will walk."
Gordon then got out of his chair. "I will accompany Firion. They may be more receptive to a group on a ship if we have someone there who is acting as a leader."
"Fair enough," Hilda said, shrugging. "Cid, I don't know if you'll be able to fly to Deist or not, but I want you to accompany Firion in his assignment."
"Will do, Princess," Cid said. "C'mon, boys, I'll take ya to Poft. We'll catch a ship over there."
Clarisse looked at Cantirena. "I will go with my sister. I must make sure she is protected at all costs."
"…I'll go with them, too," Candice said. "If we're supposed to be more powerful together, then we will stay together."
"I accept that," Hilda agreed. "Minwu, it looks like you'll have a bit of assistance. I hope you don't mind."
"As long as they don't mind the walk, we will be fine," Minwu said, helping Cantirena to her feet. "Come, my child, I wish to take you to my home. I am certain that without a shadow of a doubt, you will be very safe there."
"I am not sure if anything will stop the Emperor from coming," Cantirena said.
"I will protect you," Minwu promised, hugging around her. "I will protect you until the end of my days."