Ch 7, part 6
"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.
The skies mourned the fall of Deist with a depressing shower.
Firion woke up abruptly, like he felt a jolt surge through his body. He didn't remember dreaming, so he wasn't sure where that came from. He was in Deist with Cid next to him. They slept under a somewhat tumbled roof, where there were beds that weren't bloodstained. He wondered what happened to Gordon, as he expected to hear from the prince before two days had passed. Sure, there didn't happen to be a queen to present himself to like they originally intended, but Gordon was still important to the rebellion. Ricard wasn't around when Firion looked for him.
"You look like shit," Cid said, passing him a mug full of something warm that he had been holding over the fire.
"I feel like it, too," Firion said, taking a look into the cup. It smelled like coffee. He took a drink, letting the warmth flow through his insides. He was cold, even though he didn't realize it at first. "Where's Ricard?"
Cid shook his head. He watched the rain. "The kingdom has fallen. He's been thrown into a despair that nothing can bring him out of. The last time I saw him, he was standing on the roof of the castle staring out at the sunset. That young man… he…"
Suddenly, they saw a purplish figure coming through the downpour. When he came into the shelter, he gave a nod to both Firion and Cid. "Someone survived," he breathed out. "It's a miracle!"
"There were survivors?!" Cid asked. "Where are they?"
"Elina, my best friend's wife, and her son, Kain…" Ricard said, trying to catch his breath. "They are in the castle, watching over the Queen's dragon." He shook his head. "I… was only able to understand very little… but the Queen Prism' dragon is dying of poison. From what Elina explained to me, the Empire's soldiers poisoned the water supply to kill off the Dragons inside their own mountain. She gave me the Dragon's Egg to take to the hatchery, so it might survive. This little one is… the very last Dragon in the entire world. As I am the last Dragoon, I must save it! This is my test of honor!"
"Where exactly is the hatchery?" Firion asked.
"Within Dragon Mountain," Ricard replied. "I will make haste for it."
"We'll go with you," Firion said, standing up.
"No, I wish another request of you, my friends," Ricard said quietly. "Can you… please take Elina and Kain back to the ship? There is no reason why they should have to stay here alone. It would only devour their spirits even further."
Cid nodded. "Firion, you go with Ricard," he said very quietly.
"Shut your damn kid mouth and do as you're told," Cid barked at him. "I can go get the lady and the young'un and take 'em back to Leila. Meet back here in town, all right? I'll be here until you're ready to leave once I've done it. This also gives me a chance to tell Gordon to stay put instead of heading up here. He's all ready seen his Kashuon Keep and Fynn Castle in ruins. I would like to save the boy some heartache, if I can."
Ricard agreed with Cid's idea. "Fair enough. Come, young Firion. We do not have much time."
"Right," Firion retied his bandanna in a way that would keep his hair and his face from getting wet before running out of the half-crumbled shelter. "We'll be back later, Cid."
"Aye," Cid said. "See you soon."
After Cantirena was up and dressed properly, Minwu finally had the chance to tell the girls why he came back to see them. They all sat in a circle around the floor with a hot pot between them, each taking servings out as they wanted.
"So… they know about that prophecy thing here, too?" Candice asked. "Why is it that my dad never heard of it until Princess Hilda mentioned it?"
"Honestly, I think it's because your father was not the type to sit around and read," Clarisse replied. "Cid would rather be tinkering than studying."
"My question is, if it's a world saving prophecy, why didn't anyone tell anyone directly? Why'd they write it all in books. Only mages, students, and students of mages tend to read at all," Cantirena said. "If we're the ones who are going to save the world, why didn't our parents know? Because they didn't read. They worked all day in the fields. I'm not even sure if our dad knew how to read at all."
"He didn't," Minwu said gently. "It's one reason they were so proud of you when I told them I wanted to make you my student. You were going to learn to read and that was going to grant you vast opportunity in the future." He took a sip of the broth from his bowl. "But I need to present you to the Circle of Mages."
"Well, where are they? We'll go right now," Candice said. "Get it done and over with."
"No, there are rules," Minwu shook his head. "The Circle of Mages only meet at night and when they are summoned to meet. It's not something they just… do. There has to be a reason for them to come together. Say-Ri is giving a message to one of the members, and tonight they will be assembling under the light of the full moon in the courtyard. Tonight, we will make our case known."
Cantirena frowned at that.
"You are not going to be put through the graduation exam," Minwu said quietly. "They won't turn you into one of them. I won't let that happen."
"I'm not upset about that," she said, eating some noodles.
"No," she took another bite. "I'm afraid for you, Minwu."
"Because I know things I shouldn't," she whispered.
Minwu gave her a quizzical look. "What do you mean by that?"
"I've said too much, teacher." She took yet another bite, staring into the bubbling stew in the hot pot. "I… think this should wait until we're out of Mysidia and this whole thing is behind us."
"What do you know that you're not supposed to know?" Minwu insisted on getting an answer.
"In the dream I had… where you and I…" Cantirena said, not looking away from the pot. "Well, you told me things. I didn't think they were true, I just thought it was only a dream, that is… until… we got here." She sighed. "Minwu, I know why you are the way you are, and I know it hurts you to this day. I know your heart aches as much as anyone else's."
"I told you in your dreams?"
There is a lot of magic of this nature in the world, Minwu thought. I'm not surprised you could use it, considering everything else that's happened thus far.
"You must have needed to tell someone, even if it was in a dream," Cantirena said. "Because you keep everything that's ever hurt you inside. You're such a sensitive soul, and… I'm afraid for you."