Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 7, part 10

"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 10

Mysidia's people had never seen anything like this before. An actual machine, an airship, was landing right there, in the center of the courtyard – the same place where, just the night before, there was a meeting of the Circle of Mages. Many of the Mysidian people, including Say-Ri, were caught off guard by this arrival. What could that trial have led to? Was this divine retribution for not taking the right one for punishment? None of the students or their teachers knew what to make of this.

Say-Ri petted the chocobo she remembered Minwu rode. She held onto his reigns, even though he chirped and warked in fear from the boat in the sky descending upon the country town.

The hull opened, and out came a group of six Dark Knights. Following them was the gallantly dressed Emperor Mateus, looking incredibly full of himself as usual. Say-Ri gasped when she laid eyes upon the man. He was dressed in all gold, and he had horns sprouting from his head. His magic was far greater than that of most of the mages within Mysidia these days. Now that Minwu was gone, Say-Ri feared the worst.

"People of Mysidia," the Emperor called out to them, even though they were frozen with fear just seeing him. He was the person the Great Sage saw in his vision before he died. "I come seeking my Empress, who has been kidnapped by foul people. I do not wish to declare war on your ancient culture. Give me what I seek, and you will have peace."

No one wanted to answer him, and after about twenty minutes, he became very impatient.

"Do you hide her from me?" he asked. "Where is my Empress? This is all I wish to know." He said, looking around at all of the fearful people.

Say-Ri closed the door to the stable, stepping out to where the Emperor could see her. "We do not know of anyone royal," she said. "So we have no idea who you're looking for."

Mateus nodded. "I understand," he said. "That could cause confusion. Very well. The girl I seek is of fair skin with blue hair. She has vast magical potential. I believe she is a student as per your tradition."

"You seek Lady Cantirena," she said, taking a step back. "Ming-Wu's student."

"Yes," the Emperor agreed. "So you do have her. Bring her forth."

"I'm afraid we can't," Say-Ri shook her head. "For you see, she… fled last night. Too much happened yesterday for her to be able to stay."

"She did?" Mateus asked. "This is troublesome. Well. If this is the case, we'll have to occupy all of the Mysidian lands until she is found."

"You don't need to do that," a voice said from in a nearby tree. "I can tell you exactly where she's going." The figure leapt from his spot. When it was in the light, everyone could see it was Paul. He held something in his hands. "Cantirena heads north."

"North?" Mateus turned to see his ninja there bowing on one knee. "Hmm. So she heads to the Bog."

"Oh, and… Your Imperial Majesty," Paul said, standing up. "You might want this." He threw whatever it was that he was holding onto the ground in front of him. The white cloth unfolded to reveal a white turban with a red jewel shining in the center of the front, the whole thing marred in red liquid. It was held in what looked to be a cape.

Mateus' eyes almost glittered at the sight. "Minwu's…" For the first time since he was a child, he almost felt delighted to be presented with something. "He's dead."

Say-Ri gasped in horror. After finally breaking free of Mysidia, something else had to take him from enjoying his life? How… unfair.

"That's right," Paul said smiling, even though it sickened him to do so. "Without her guardian, she's wandering and so very lost. Poor lovely lady alone in a magical jungle... You should go rescue her from the wilderness. I'm sure she will come running into your arms, crying for your protection and comfort."

"Hmm." Mateus liked that very much. "You've done well, Paul."

"Don't mention it," Paul said quietly. "I'll see if I can track her, but you might want to get on looking for her. I've all ready found through previous experiences that I can't get her to listen to me at all. But you, sire. She will listen to you. She misses you."

"How do you know if she misses me?"

"How could I not? She cries for you, for her beloved Emperor… for your love and your forgiveness."

Mateus smiled widely. "And she shall have it." He turned to the Dark Knights. "Split it up, all of you. The Empress is scared and alone in the jungles to the north. Find her, bring her to me. If any of you bring her any pain in anyway, you all will be incinerated."

The knights all heard their orders, and many more filed out of the airship to head into the nearby brush. Paul took the opportunity to dash away unseen, only until he bumped into someone else who was hiding.

"You!" Paul said, looking at the man. He was the one who identified Cantirena the night before as the Dark Princess. It filled him with nothing but anger. "What are you still doing here?"

The man looked up at Paul. "Paul?" he asked, "The noble thief of Fynn?"

"The one and only," Paul answered. "I have a major question for you."

"You have but to ask," the man said.

"What the hell are you doing in Mysidia?"

The man shook his head. "The last time I saw Minwu, he was traveling with two others who escaped Fynn, going into the town to look for someone else. I gave him a note that the girl with the blue hair told me to give to him before leaving Fynn… her voice was unmistakable."

"Why did you interrupt what was going on between Minwu and the Circle of Mages?" Paul asked angrily, picking up the man by his collar and smashing him up against the wall. "Don't you realize that Minwu came here looking for a fucking solution to defeating the Emperor once and for fucking all? Don't you realize that Princess Hilda gave her life to ensure Minwu got here… and it's YOUR fault that Minwu didn't get any results?!"

"I'm… I'm sorry…" the man cried out. "I was scared. I was so scared that she would only pull the same thing she did in Fynn!"

"What exactly was it that she did in Fynn that scared you so much?"

"…she was given the order to execute every single citizen of Fynn: man, woman, and child. And she did it. The only reason I survived the lightning attacks she used on everybody was because I told her that I was not from Fynn," the man explained. "I was afraid that she was still under the Emperor's control and that she was going to do the same thing to Mysidia that she did to Fynn…"

"You still didn't tell me exactly what you're doing in Mysidia, old codger."

The man had all ready pissed his pants. "I followed them. The Emperor landed near Galtea, where I was staying, and had his men search the area because of this explosion, you see. They were hot on the trail of Minwu… and once the knights were gone, I followed Minwu and the three blue haired girls from a distance."

"Wh… why did you follow them!?"

"…because the Emperor threatened to destroy Galtea if I didn't."

Paul threw the man on the ground. "So Cantirena spared your life and you repaid her by getting yourself found by the Empire again only to be used by him?!" He spat at the man. "What kind of man are you?"

"An unlucky one," the man said sadly. "If only Scott and Gordon were not in Fynn at the time of the attack, we would not have been caught like that."

"It was because of Scott that so many managed to survive the attack on Fynn, you idiot!" Paul punched the wall of the building they were hiding behind. "Kashuon was given asylum under Fynn's wing. You serve the princes of Kashuon, right? That's your sworn duty, is it not?"

"Aye, but… Kashuon is dead."

"Wrong. Prince Gordon yet lives."

"Prince Gordon is still alive?"

"Yes…" Paul said, reaching into his belt. "Take this letter back to Altair. You are to wait there until Prince Gordon arrives to give him this letter, do you understand? After that, stay by your prince's side until further notice. Gordon needs support." He put Hilda's letter for Gordon into the man's hands. "If you do this, I won't kill you."

"But… I saw you… help… the Emperor! Why should I trust you?!"

Paul glared at the man who was practically groveling on the ground. "Hey, stupid. I'm not working for him. I'm only biding my time for revenge. Now get the fuck out of here before I gut you."

The man scrambled to his feet, clutching the letter like it was his survival. He ran for the brush surrounding the town, and Paul watched him until he could no longer see the bearded, pudgy coward. Then, the ninja leapt onto the top of the nearby building. He was going to have to work quickly and carefully if he wanted to pull this off without a hitch.

He looked up to the sky. I don't believe in Gods or fairy tales. But Cosmos, if you can hear me, please… guide Minwu.

END CHAPTER SEVEN

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