Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 7, 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

Walking through Mysidia again, Minwu felt the familiar energies from the ground almost engulf him like they wanted to welcome him home. He longed to be away from the lay lines. It wasn't like he ever used them himself when casting his magic in the past. Minwu actively avoided the lay lines when he could, because he always thought he was going to be eaten alive by them somehow. Perhaps it was a silly fear, but he could not help it. Mysidia was not a place of comfort for him, and it certainly wasn't a marvelous homecoming for him. Hell, he didn't even consider Mysidia to be his home.

He walked through the grasses, feeling the light blades of green tickle the inside of his feet. He passed many people. Some were guiding their students along for lessons, or giving lessons while walking. It was clear to see those who had become adopted into Mysidian society and who had yet to take the graduation exam. Those who dedicated their lives to the Goddess exposed little to no skin.

Minwu groaned inwardly as he approached a very rickety old door with a pentagram engraved on it. He didn't want to knock on this door. But… he had no choice. If he was going to meet with the Circle of Mages, he was going to have to make his presence known, no matter how much he hated the thought.

He knocked on the door twice.

"Come in, ya blasted…"

The old door creaked open to reveal a man who was just about Minwu's height, wearing gray robes. He had stringy, ugly gray hairs peeking outside of his turban, and a pair of beady black eyes that seemed to have absolutely no soul behind them. He was propped up on a magic wand like he didn't have the bodily strength to stand on his own and he was too stubborn to use a cane like any other old codger.

"…teacher," Minwu said quietly. "I… have returned."

"Ming-Wu. I thought you had tucked your tail in for good," the old man grunted at him. "What's a failure like you doing back in Mysidia, hmm? And you have no student, either! HA! You're no better than the dirt beneath a chocobo's claws, boy."

"I have a student," Minwu replied, doing his best to keep his anger subdued. "She is resting in my cottage for now. There are more important matters-"

"SHE?" Minwu's teacher asked, cocking up an eyebrow. "You adopted a girl. You know that girls do not make honorable gifts to the Goddess. They are sinful creatures by nature-"

"This one is not," Minwu said sharply. "I will take insults to me, but you will not insult my student without meeting her first. And even then, I may not tolerate it. I did not come to continue your tired old traditions, Teacher Lee-Chun. I need to speak with the Circle of Mages promptly on matters of a great importance. You are a member of the Circle and I do not know where to find the Great Sage. I wish for you to ask them to assemble so I may speak to them."

"You have no right to ask me for any favors," Lee-Chun groaned, hobbling back into his own house, which was falling apart. It had a few holes in the roof which allowed the sunlight to fall in, something that the old wizard did not take very kindly to. "When you left Mysidia, they all called me a failure of a teacher. This society has left me to die, no one here does anything to help an old dying man. I saw some great destiny in you, but I was wrong, Ming-Wu. I was terribly wrong. What you did cast a shame on me greater than any deed I had ever done myself."

"This is about the sake of the entire world," Minwu insisted. "Please, listen to me, teacher."

"I am no longer your teacher, Ming-Wu. Get the hell out of my house!" Lee-Chun yelled. "You're a failure, your student is a failure, and I hope whoever cares about you in this world dies a horrible, painful death."

Minwu turned to leave before he was further tempted to take Lee-Chun's life, but before he left, he muttered, "It was your fault I left. If you hadn't used me like you did… if you hadn't… taken me when you did…"

"That was your one redeeming quality," Lee-Chun said, giving Minwu a very yellow, rotten smile. "You were a tight young lad. You made a very nice cum rag. I imagine you still are, since you physically tremble when you speak of it. No one was ever going to touch you again, you said when you took the white robes. You're pathetic! I saved you from death on that deserted island and you get upset at me for using you to relieve myself that once? Can't you show your savior more gratitude? Come, I bet if you bowed before me, it would come up just to welcome you back home."

Minwu raised his hand, charging up a spell instantly. White light came to his hands. With one cast of Holy, he would die.

"Ming-Wu, if you fire that shot, you will be put to death," a voice snapped him out of his rage.

Behind Minwu stood Lady Say-Ri. It caught Minwu completely by surprise. "Say-Ri?" he asked.

"I figured you would be here," Say-Ri said quietly. "You had better leave this bitter old man alone. No one will kick him out of town, but he is not allowed to be a part of our society. Lee-Chun is outcast. He is not worth dying for, considering who would be left at your wake. Your student needs you more than that one needs punishment."

"He is not being punished," Minwu said angrily. "You're letting him live as he wants." He stormed out of that house just so he could keep his temper.

Lee-Chun hobbled back over to his door and slammed it shut after Say-Ri followed Minwu outside. "And stay out!"

Say-Ri shook her head disapprovingly. "Now, Ming-Wu, were you the one who taught your student to react so quickly in anger, or did she teach you that?"

"You have no room to speak," Minwu said. "I need to speak with the Circle of Mages, I thought-"

"He was kicked from the Circle the day you left," Say-Ri answered quietly. "You didn't even bother asking me. You, like everyone else in Mysidia, treat me the exact same."

"I don't treat you like anything, Say-Ri. I was in a rush, and I still am!" Minwu almost shouted at her. "Where is the Great Sage? I need to speak with him immediately."

"Ming-Wu. The Great Sage passed away around… oh, I don't know. It must have been almost two weeks ago now."

Minwu had a hard time keeping his shock from being visible even underneath his mask. "But he had lived for over two hundred years! The Circle of Mages thought that he had found the secret to immortality."

"The Great Sage had a vision the night before his death. There was a great fire in the east. It engulfed a village, a castle, the heart of an entire nation… it was lead by a man who was the embodiment of evil, with fully grown horns on the top of his head, dressed in gold."

"He… he saw the massacre of Fynn?!"

"That was not all he saw, however," Say-Ri continued. "Our saviors would come in the form of three young girls with dark blue hair. He proclaimed the prophecy has indeed come to pass. When I first saw you, I saw you with three girls… I didn't even take the time to notice that their hair was blue. Blue hair… this does not occur naturally. If it does, it is indeed a gift of the Goddess."

"What did he say about the girls?" Minwu asked worriedly.

"Nothing else. By the way… where are your girls, anyway?"

"In my cottage," Minwu answered. "I know Cantirena needs to rest. She does not have the physical endurance to make a pilgrimage like the one from Altair to Mysidia."

"You are supposed to train that before leaving to come here, Ming-Wu…"

"What do you know of having a student?" Minwu asked. "You've not left the Holy Mecca in twenty years."

"And you've not been here for twenty years? Your point?"

"Say-Ri…"

"If you wish to see the Circle of Mages, I suggest you show them not just your student. Show them all three girls. Let them know that the prophecy has come true."

"…I cannot."

"Why?"

Minwu stopped walking. "Cantirena has no desire to live in Mysidia as one of the Goddess' Chosen."

"But that is what she has been training for, studying for while being your student," Say-Ri said. "It is the Mysidian way, Ming-Wu."

Minwu looked at her. He was being serious. "I don't want this future for her… and when this war is over, I'm… going to leave Mysidia forever." He smiled. "I don't need this life anymore, Say-Ri. I want to be free. And to break free, I have to learn to depend on my own inner strength, not hiding underneath these damn white robes for the rest of my life like some sort of coward."

"…you are braver than most who end up here. Most of the students that are taken in by the citizens of Mysidia have no idea what they are trained for, and they are brought here without understanding the truth of our laws," Say-Ri said very quietly. "You were saved by one of us on a journey, but… who knows who you would be without being rescued, or even if you would be alive now? Ming-Wu, I will help you. Tell me what I can do to help you."

"Say-Ri…"

"If you wish to break free, I wish to help you."

"I… appreciate your help. Thank you."

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