Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 7, part 4

"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 4

Gordon didn't wake up for about a day and a half. When he did, it was all ready near the evening, and he found himself on the rocky shores of Deist, next to a small campfire, surrounded by all ten of Leila's crew members eating and drinking to their hearts' content. The first thing he did was check his coat and pants pockets, only to find that Leila must have ordered the pirates not to pick his pockets. For that, he was thankful. He didn't know what he would do if he lost any of the few things he had on him. He sat up slowly and rubbed his eyes a few times. Gordon didn't feel much like a prince, but rather a stowaway being kept on some sort of high seas adventure.

Looking at the water going through its constant ebb and flow, Gordon remembered the lovely sea adventure he had before passing out. It made his stomach tremble just thinking about it. He was not a man of the sea, and preferred thinking that he would never have to touch water again unless he needed a bath. And right then, yes, the once beautiful downright girly-looking Prince of Kashuon certainly did need a bath, among many other things. His lovely blonde hair was matted in the back, it felt somewhat sticky in places, and he felt like he was going to have to cut his perfect ponytail off the next chance he got. He used to pay a lot more attention to how he looked, but with the war in turmoil like it was, he figured that it made sense to focus more on saving the world than saving his tarnished, angelic appearance.

"Hey, cap'n," one of the crew members shouted loudly. "Ol' princey here's awake!"

"Oi," Leila said, hopping down from a large rock formation. She was lovely, as always. Her skirt was so short that Gordon could see little purple polka-dotted panties every time the breeze blew by, and Gordon blushed just looking at her. How did a woman who spent so much time on the sea look so dazzling? Gordon reasoned that it had something to do with how she tried to seduce him a while back. That was probably one of the many illegal ways she procured gil when Cid wasn't there to scold her for it. "I see you're awake now."

"I am. Where are Firion and Cid?"

"I'm the first thing a pretty boy like you sees after wakin' up, and you ask where the men are?" Leila asked, somewhat disappointed. "I guess when you're fighting a war like this, you don't have time to focus on pretty gals, huh?" It was obvious that Leila had developed some sort of warped affection for Gordon, but the prince couldn't take that. His heart, since he was young, had been dedicated to that of Princess Hilda. He was not going to even think about another woman, not now that he might actually have a chance to marry the stubborn young princess. "Firion and Cid left with that knight we found adrift in the water to head up to the castle." The lady pirate pointed up towards the highest mountain on the island. "They left almost two days ago."

"I am the leader of this expedition, I should hurry and catch up to them," Gordon said, trying to pull himself up on his feet. But he was weak. He hadn't eaten anything in so long that his strength was falling out from under him, and he wasn't exactly the strongest sort of person, either. He wished he had Hilda's stubbornness.

"You spent days aboard my ship, puking your entrails out into the sea," Leila said sternly. "Sit the hell down and eat something. Gain your strength back, and then you can head to Deist Castle and announce yourself to the Queen, okay?" She snatched one of the shish-kabobs from the hands of one of her pirates which happened to be made of smoking monster meats and all sorts of natural plants which grew in the area. Somewhat bitter Dragon grass, pinch of parsley, hell… Gordon had no idea what was exactly on that metal rod, but it smelled divine. She put it in Gordon's hand and ordered one of them to pour the prince a glass of whatever the hell they were drinking. "Eat light at first. You don't want your body to reject it."

Gordon took the skewer, drooling just over the smell. Even though he didn't want to rush eating it, he couldn't help himself. The more bites he took, the more the flavor came out, and he found himself enjoying the best meal he'd eaten in years. A pirate brought him a mug of ale, and even though the monarch-in-training was not very fond of frothy alcohol, he downed it within seconds of finishing the skewer. Then he promptly fell back over, breathing much more evenly than what he was doing before he had anything in his system.

"When you wake up, I bet you'll be ready to take on whatever this island has to throw at us," Leila said, sitting night next to him. Man, was Hilda lucky to have a looker like Gordon to chase after her skirt. The pirate was jealous. "But for now, you had best rest up."

"I'm in no condition to meet with a Queen," Gordon said. "I feel like a failure of a prince."

"A failure?" Leila asked. "You want to know who's a failure, my royal friend? That would be me. I took up piratin' only because I didn't have the choice."

"Leila…"

"I didn't want to grow up to be a pirate, you know." As Leila spoke, that country accent she used to keep up seemed to vanish from her voice. "I grew up in the biggest city in our world. Before Emperor Mateus took the crown, Palamecia was a different sort of place. You could even say there was something of a cultural boom during his father's reign. I… I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little girl. You wouldn't guess it, but I was so good at painting that I even got to paint the previous Emperor's portrait! That's… that's how Mateus knew me when my family was being taken to the slave camp." Leila closed her eyes. "And that accent? I used it because I didn't want any other pirates thinking that I was just some lame ol' city gal who never wanted to plunder a day in her life."

"So what I overheard was true. You are from Palamecia."

"What? All of a sudden, you don't want to trust little ol' me?" Leila asked, putting her hands on her hips like all it did was ruffle her proverbial feathers. "And I thought so highly of you, Gordon."

Gordon just smiled at her. "No. Even people from the very country that gave the Emperor power want to be free of his tyranny. It makes more sense than you'd think."

"I want to save them. My mama, papa, and three baby sisters are all working in a damn slave labor camp, and I…. I have to save them."

"You will, Leila. I will see to it."

"You… you will?!" Leila asked.

"On my name as the heir of Kashuon," Gordon said, putting his hand over his heart. "I will see that your family is saved, as well as every other family that has been ripped apart by this merciless war. Those who have died cannot be replaced, but we will save those who are still alive. I vow this world, even if there is not much left of it, will one day be at peace once again, where we can all build new lives."

"You…" Leila smiled. "…you sound like a true leader, Gordon."

"Maybe I have inherited my brother's passion after all," Gordon said, laughing at that. "I ever so wish to be like him in all ways… It's his memory that keeps me going when I have nothing left."

"You have a passionate voice," Leila said. "Do me a favor, Gordon."

"Hmm?"

"Don't ever lose it."

"I've gone through so much hell trying to find my inner fire, I don't think I could ever lose it."

They both laughed together. The next day, they would be on their feet, making their way to Deist Castle. There was so much to do, but there was only so much they had the strength for now. Gordon ended up slipping back to sleep again, though it was somewhat more restful now. He was lulled by the gentle sea waves and the loud, obnoxious singing of a band of drunken pirates.

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