Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 1, part 7

"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II retelling

Disclaimer: Square Enix owns Final Fantasy II and all original characters featured within. Original characters and interpretations are owned by the co-writers of this fanfiction. There is no profit being made from this story.

Part 7

Luckily at sunrise there were hardly any monsters out and about, so they were able to travel quickly between the hamlet of Galtea and Altair. Altair was busy when Firion, Clarisse, and Minwu arrived the next morning. The townsfolk had a farmer's market going out around the fountain in town square, and it seemed like everyone was buying, selling, or eating the fresh produce. Even the refugees had a chance to enjoy the finer things that morning.

Minwu's first order of business was to deliver Prince Scott's ring, so he immediately headed for the rebel base when he noticed that Firion and Clarisse were starting to get distracted. He did not even notice that he had lost his composure as he marched through the hallway. Many of the rebel s had offered him salutes, and he didn't even notice. They all seemed confused about it. Today was apparently a happy day. Why would Minwu, the most peaceful and calm of people, have such a glare in his eyes?

"Hey, wait!" Firion shouted at Minwu, snapping him out of his angry stare. "We've gotta give a report, too."

"I don't have time to dawdle," Minwu said. "If you are coming, then kindly keep up."

"Who thought a mage could walk so fast?" Clarisse groaned, trying to catch up to Minwu as quickly as she could. "What lit a fire under your ass?"

"You will see," he answered once Firion and Clarisse were standing next to him. Minwu knew what was coming. He was going to be scolded for leaving without telling anyone, and he was sure he was going to be punished for it. But that didn't matter. There were things that needed to be done.

Firion opened the door to the makeshift throne room. Hilda stood up instantly, looking weak from sheer worry. The three of them bowed before her.

"What happened to the three of you?!" the princess asked, putting her hands on her hips. "I was so worried that I did not sleep! Minwu, please, speak."

Minwu looked at Firion and nodded slightly. Firion stood up and pulled out Prince Scott's ring from the item pouch. "I don't think I have to," he said when Hilda's eyes locked onto the ring. "We went back to Fynn."

"That… that ring belongs to the heir of Kashuon!" Hilda said. Her legs shook so much that she couldn't stand up anymore. She fell back into her throne. "So… so Scott is…"

"He was gravely wounded before he managed to escape the Imperials," Clarisse said quietly. "We couldn't save him."

"Did… did he say anything?" Hilda asked, her eyes burning from all the tears she held back.

"No, not at all," Clarisse said, looking down at the floor.

Hilda nodded. She wiped her eyes and sat there for a few minutes, doing all she could to hold her composure. After a few moments, when she felt like she could speak again without breaking down into an incomprehensible, emotional mess, she sat up straight and gave the group a smile. "You're brave, both of you. Firion, Clarisse. You've proven yourselves to be very capable, having brought that back. The Wild Rose Rebellion could use your strength and courage. Please, will you join in our fight?"

"Of course!" both Firion and Clarisse said proudly.

"Oh, Clarisse, what of your sister?" Hilda asked.

"She wasn't there. There wasn't a single prisoner being kept in Fynn," Clarisse replied.

"She might have been taken to Bafsk, where the Empire is building their warship," Hilda thought aloud. "The Dreadnaught is supposedly the largest flying fortress anyone has ever seen in the history of our world. Spies have said that there have been many prisoners of war taken there to help construct it."

"Then we leave, now!" Cantirena shouted. "We'll stop them and save Cantirena today!"

"Do not rush into a fight you cannot win," Minwu said sternly. "Listen to me. You need to prepare for that kind of adventure before you even think about attempting it."

"But Minwu, we want to save her as quickly as possible!"

"Could you take on a Dark Knight?" Minwu asked. "No. We had to avert being seen because we are not equipped properly for that kind of opponent. We need better weaponry and armor. And even when we have that, we don't know a single thing about how airships work."

"That would be Cid's area of expertise," Hilda said. "He once was a trusted member of our royal court, but after he invented the airship, his heart longed for nothing but the sky. If we could find him, we could ask him how to destroy it." She sighed. "However, Minwu, you make a very good point. All of the weapons the imperial soldiers had in town were made of Mythril, which is mined up north in Salamand. Firion, I want you to go to Salamand and speak to Josef, the man I have charged with mining the mythril, and bring it back here so that our smiths can arm our troops better. If you need to know anything more about mythril, go talk to Tobul in the weapon smith's shop."

"All right, we'll get right on it," Firion said.

Clarisse and Firion started to leave, but Minwu just stood there, looking at the princess.

"Are you coming, Minwu?" Clarisse asked.

"I will meet you at the smithy," Minwu said. "Go and get the information and supplies we need."

Clarisse saluted him and turned around to leave. "Then that's where we'll wait for you."

Minwu didn't watch them leave. He just had his eyes locked onto Hilda's. Once the door was closed and Minwu knew that they were no longer in earshot, he took in a deep breath. "Princess, I need to request something personal."

"You have been nothing but royal to my family for years. What can I do for you?" Hilda asked. "I will do whatever is in my power."

Minwu got down onto his knees. "I know that after I return from Salamand with those two, you will want me to stay here. I wish to accompany them, at least until Cantirena has been found."

"You sound serious," Hilda said carefully.

"More than I ever have been," Minwu answered.

Hilda smiled. "You have my permission to find your student and bring her back to safety. The poor dear never had much combat experience, so she's at a disadvantage out there, wherever she is. I will allow you to travel with Firion and Clarisse. It's all right. I understand. You love her."

"I do," Minwu said, standing back up. "Thank you for understanding, Princess. I owe you for your patience and understanding."

"You owe no such thing," Hilda said. "We have owed you more. This is the first time you've ever made a personal request since you joined our court." She pointed at the door. "Get going. Your youthful comrades need you."

"Aye," Minwu said. He walked out of the rebel base feeling a bit more relieved. Hilda understood. She was right about the fact that he had never asked for anything before. He didn't enter the service of Fynn's Royal Family to take advantage of the system, after all.

Be strong, Cantirena.

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