Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 5, 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

Mateus had a smaller airship to call his own, but it didn't matter. He was ready to destroy anyone who thought to displease the Demon King, who was starting to give Mateus massive headaches for letting his pretty little toy get away from his possession. The Emperor walked on the deck of the ship, watching the skies. It was nighttime, so there wasn't much to see. At this rate, he was going to destroy anything he saw move.

"There's an airship lifting off from Altair," a guard said from nearby.

"Cid…" he muttered, "The only other person in this world with an airship." He grinned. "Well, what are you waiting for? Shoot it down."

"Yes, sire!" the guard shouted. "All hands to your stations. Open fire on the airship ahead. I repeat, open fire!"

Mateus walked to the front of the ship, watching closely. The guns on his airship shot out, making a loud, repetitive, rat-tat-tat-tat-tat sound that he was not very fond of, but he dealt with it none-the-less. The ship in front was hit in the rudder and a part of the back of the hull, which meant that no matter what they tried to do, they were going to crash.

"Struggle, rebels," Mateus said as he laughed. "All you had to do was accept me as your ruler. It wasn't that difficult. I believe it would have been the much easier option." He flicked a part of his hair away from his face for a moment. "You should rejoice. You have to struggle no longer. I am a very merciful man."

Smoke came out of the airship ahead and fire burst out of nowhere. The Emperor could hear three men yelling back and forth about trying to land without crashing. They were still determined to survive? Even after everything, they were more persistent than cockroaches. Mateus hated cockroaches.

"We'll be fine!" a voice shouted from the other airship. "As long as he focuses on us, it's all good, kids!"

What? Mateus thought. Cid is not the only target?

He looked around. There was nothing else in the sky, and that yellow airship in front of them was going down quickly. Then he tried to look at the ground, but there was nothing to see. Even with the lights on, there was nothing but a still damaged Altair from a while ago. The trees seemed to yield nothing but birds as they flew over the woods.

I love a good hunt, Mateus thought. But give me something to start with, little mice. A scent, perhaps?

Suddenly, there was a blast of fire not far from Altair.

Hmm! Ask and you shall receive… I can live with that.

Mateus turned to the people onboard his ship. "Chase after that fire. I want to see what caused it."

Minwu couldn't believe what Cantirena had done. Sure, they were surrounded on all sides by a large pack of goblins, but she didn't have to use a Firaga to clear the area in one fell swoop. Candice and Clarisse were more than capable of taking them out, no matter how slowly they were doing it. When Cantirena turned to look at him, he was in the middle of a facepalm.

"My child…" he groaned "…what were you thinking?"

"I wanted to help," Cantirena smiled. "So I blew them all up with a big fire spell. I thought maybe you'd be proud of my progress, Teacher."

"But, uhh, Canti? You could have just blown our cover," Clarisse said. "We're trying to escape without being seen, remember?"

"Now is not the time for a test, Cantirena," Minwu said, pointing ahead. "We have to get to Mysidia as quickly as possible. For your sake."

"Then what are we doing, standing around here jabbering?" Candice said, yanking onto both Cantirena and Minwu's arms. "Just keep going. If we don't give that tyrant a chance to catch up with us, then we'll be good as gold."

All four of them could hear the rush of propellers nearby. There were some lights coming from above. That was an airship and it was coming closer.

"You think it's Dad?" Candice asked very quietly.

"No… Cid was headed in the other direction, towards the east…" Minwu whispered.

"Besides," Cantirena said, "Cid's airship is yellow. That one is not." She sounded sort of proud of herself for remembering something that should have been easy for Candice to recall, since she was Cid's daughter and all.

Clarisse threw her arms around Cantirena and made her duck into the shadows, while Minwu and Candice headed under another bush. They could hear the airship was right above them.

"Thanks a lot, Canti… you gave them something to track," Clarisse whispered into her little sister's ear. "At this rate, you're going to give us away!"

"So will you if you don't stop complaining," Cantirena whispered back.

Minwu could feel a surge of evil coming from that ship. If his senses were correct, the Emperor himself was on it. He looked up. They were not flying forward anymore. It almost looked as if they were about to land.

They all knew it was him for certain, when they could hear his voice directly after the airship landed in a clearing that was close by.

"Search the area. Bring whoever you find directly to me. I want to know where that explosion came from." Mateus' voice was unmistakable.

"Yes, sire!" a group of soldiers said all at once before dispersing into the woods.

Minwu couldn't believe his rotten luck. He wasn't going to make it very far like this. There really wasn't much he could do. After giving Candice a signal, he ran over to Clarisse and Cantirena, lifting them both up to show them that he was ready to run. They headed back into the dense part of the woods. He was going to take a different route to hopefully avoid being caught.

Candice was the quickest on her feet, and she ran ahead of everybody. On the other side of the woods was a marshland. When she got there, she waited for the others to show up. Clarisse came out next, turning to see where Minwu and Cantirena were. She waited and waited, getting more nervous as the seconds ticked by. Every second felt like an eternity.

Cantirena tripped over a branch somewhere between Minwu and Clarisse while running. She landed with an "oof" kind of sound. Her leg hurt so bad she was having a hard time getting back up.

"Did you hear that?"

"It came from over there."

Minwu reached the marsh on the other side of the wood, noticing that Clarisse and Candice were standing next to each other. He didn't see Cantirena at all and flew into a panic, running back into the woods. He found her face down in the dirt. He could hear the steps of those on patrol very close by.

"My child, you must come with me," Minwu whispered, trying to pull her up. "Try to move faster."

"It's my foot," she said. "I tripped."

"You always were a clumsy girl," Minwu said, lifting her off her feet.

The guards stepped onto the path.

"Hold it right there!" one said loudly. "You're in the custody of His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Palamecia! We won't hurt you. Come with us peacefully."

Minwu turned to face them. "Like hell I will," he hissed at them, instantly releasing a bright ball of light from his left hand. "Wrath of the angels! HOLY!" With both of them on the ground, he ran out of there as quickly as he could, carrying Cantirena.

I just… broke… my vow… to never cast a harmful spell at another living person… Minwu thought, having a hard time believing that he actually did it without hesitation. But I… had no choice. I was not going to lose my student to the Emperor a second time… he felt Cantirena grip around his neck. Vows or not, I had a perfectly good reason to do it. My Cantirena is akin to a daughter and there's nothing… nothing that would stop me from protecting her.

When Minwu came out of the forest and into the marshland, both Clarisse and Candice let out sighs of relief. Minwu caught up to them and, they all ran as far west as their feet could possibly carry them.

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