Ch 8, part 7
"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.
"You know, the rebels are quite creative. Someone tried to pretend they were you to just have a chance to kill me… I don't appreciate that very much, my lovely princess."
Cantirena snapped awake, staring up at the ceiling of the barely lit cavern. She wasn't going to look at anything else, and since she woke up laying on her back, she wasn't going to turn at all. But she did have something to say this time.
"You know, Mateus, you really need to stop waking me up. You're incredibly intrusive." Her voice was stern.
"Huh? Canti?" Clarisse turned over. "Sis?" It took her a few moments to remember about Cantirena's attachment to Mateus, and then she thought about the fact that she didn't sound timid at all. She was being up front about her feelings. She'd never done that before.
"Do you… have any idea… as to whom you are speaking?!"
She rubbed her eyes, but kept staring upward. "Yes. I do. You're the Emperor of the Palamecian Empire. I know you very well, Mateus. I'm sorry, but since I'm not a member of your court or a citizen of your country, I don't have to address you by your title or any honorific. I'm not going to apologize. I don't owe you anything."
"Whoa," Candice said as she sprung up. "Canti! She's… she's talking back to the Emperor!" Her voice was loud. "Oh, hell yes! You tell him, girlie! Give him a piece of your mind!"
This woke Minwu up. "He's connected with you again…?"
"Yep," she answered. "And he's going to stay that way, whether you like it or not."
"DAMN!" both Clarisse and Candice swore at the same time.
Minwu leaned over to look into Cantirena's eyes. "You've become quite forceful. I wonder exactly where the confidence has come from?" he asked, knowing damn well that the Emperor could both hear and see what she did. Mateus had a first person view of Minwu giving her a lovely good morning kiss. "Oh, I'm sorry… I guess the Emperor didn't want to see that."
"Wooo," Candice said. "Climb on top of her, Minwu. I bet he'd just love to see that."
"Oh, I'm sure you're right about that, Candice, but I'm not going to be so rude as to make him watch that, through his princess' eyes, no less… I like to believe that I have some tact."
"I will have your head on a pike for that."
Cantirena smiled. "You'll have to find us first. I'm done being your plaything. When you want to treat me like an actual person for once, we can talk it over a nice cup of tea, all right? Get the hell out of my head, Mateus."
"You… the rebels have corrupted your mind further than I believed it could be corrupted. Here I was under the impression that you were a broken spirit…"
"My spirit?" she asked. "I was broken. I was broken for a long time. I thought because what I'd done in your name that I could never be repaired. I believed I was never going to be accepted by anyone. That's different now." Cantirena sat up, staring at the wall in front of her. She felt a well of confidence inside her heart, and it was bigger than any despair she had ever felt in her life. "Emperor Mateus, you can't have me anymore. You have no power over me. I'm free."
Suddenly, a light glowed around her. It was a gentle, green light that gave off a very warm feeling. The light zipped about the room, brightening everything. If it hit anything that was broken, it magically healed what needed to be fixed. It was something unlike any spell Cantirena had ever cast before.
Contact with Mateus was dissolved almost instantly. Cantirena felt like herself again for the first time since before Fynn was destroyed. She was beaming.
"You… your white magic," Minwu said, putting his hand on her shoulder. "You've broken your own curse. This green light… it's a cure spell! And not just any cure spell, either. It takes true ability to cast Curaja."
"Cure… curaja?!" Candice asked. "There's a fourth level of cure?!"
"I'd heard of Curaga, but nothing higher than that," Clarisse said. "So… I imagine seeing a Curaja must be very, very rare."
"It is indeed," Minwu answered. "Curaja is a spell that only those with the strongest spirits can cast. It is beyond that of normal white magic. Turning that same power to attack with creates a Holy spell."
"Minwu…" Cantirena turned around to look at him. "…I've found it…" She was so relieved, she wasn't sure how to express it. "Oh, Cosmos, I… I didn't think I would ever… heal again."
He nodded, pulling her close. "I knew you could do it," he said. Minwu hugged her tightly. "Remember? The light of cure is found within. It never left you."
"It's because of what you said to me earlier…"
"What do you mean?"
"Because of what you told me, I realized that I don't have to constantly fear going back to Palamecia. I don't have to be afraid anymore. Minwu, you… it's you. My bond with you makes me stronger. I can fight back." She snuggled against him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Minwu whispered into her ear.
The same spirit I found underneath that rubble… the one that protected herself during a fire…
"Wow, Canti," Candice said, jumping from her bed to the one that Cantirena and Minwu were on. "I was wondering when you were going to finally tell him off. I bet he's so pissed, he's blown up half a country."
"That's not a good thing," Minwu replied with an expression that seemed like it was locked between confused, shocked, and disgusted. "Why would you… say that?"
"Oh, you can't tell me he's not off blowing something up with his magic because he can't contain his anger right now," Candice retorted sharply. "If he's not killing civilians, he's probably killing his own army members, because he doesn't know how to think ahead that well. Who trains an army from scratch and then kills members of it after spending so much money on it? An idiot, that's who… I mean, how dumb can you be to set up a trap where the woman you want the most is the bait and not wait there to stop the people who want to take her away? That shit was stupid."
Minwu couldn't help but laugh at that. Candice was a sharp girl.
Power. Wit. Heart. Three pieces of the goddess… they're coming together…
"So, I don't know about you, but I'm starving," Clarisse said, getting out of bed to stretch as far upward as she could. "Either we have food in the item pouch, or we need to go hunting."
"Hunting? Underground? …and under water?" Cantirena asked. "Can't imagine what kind of food you'll catch in a tunnel that is below the bottom of the ocean. We didn't even see monsters out there on our way here."
"Then we need to get the fuck out of this tunnel then," Clarisse said. "I'm fuckin' hungry and there are no taco stands for miles."
"Tacos..." Minwu said. For some reason, that struck him as absolutely hilarious.
"Yes, I said tacos. I want some fuckin' tacos."
"But we need to stay here," Cantirena said. She got up from sitting against Minwu and walked over to the stack of books. "We have to create a crystal before we can go above ground. Just in case Mateus learns where I am before we regroup to invade Palamecia."
Candice stood up. She had an idea. "Okay, okay," she said. "Minwu, you and Canti get to studying about the crystal. Clarisse and I will go to the end of the tunnel and forage for ingredients. Hell, we might find a town over there, and if we do, I'll get Canti her cake and we'll get a big box of tacos for everybody. But if not, we'll catch some rabbits or some shit. You know, stew, because we haven't had that on our adventures a million times all ready."
"As much as I disagree with this idea, girls, I hardly see any other choice. The item pouch is low on edible supplies, as I didn't have the chance to restock in Mysidia," Minwu said as he looked through the pouch. "We don't even have enough to make a stew with what's in here at the moment."
"Then it's a deal," Candice said. "Everyone, bring all your gil together… you know. Just in case."
"I gave my purse to Gordon. I've been broke since."
"Huh? You want money? Ha. I don't have money," Cantirena said as she sat next to the books. "I typically just give it to Clarisse or Minwu." She picked up one of them and tried to read it. She didn't even start learning how to read basic Mysidian past basic words, and the Ancient Mysidian text just made her dizzy. "The hell would I do with money? I don't use weaponry, most armor is completely uncomfortable, and I've always just made my own food if I needed to eat…"
"Are you saying we have absolutely no gil?" Candice asked. "Am I gonna have to go pick some pockets for us to eat tonight?"
"You had better not," Minwu said, chastising her for the very thought. Mention stealing in front of a man who dedicated his life to purity and study and expect him not to have a negative reaction? "Here. Please. Knock yourself out." He reached into a pocket and pulled out his coin purse. It made a loud noise when being handed over to Candice.
She smiled. That was a heavy little bag full of coins. "C'mon, Claire, let's go get dinner."
Minwu walked over to break the spell on the doorway. Clarisse and Candice left together, and Minwu sealed it back. Then he turned to find Cantirena was lying on the floor, half propped up by the wall, with a stack of books right next to her. He could tell she was trying very hard to concentrate on it. "Ever my student," he said, "always with your nose in a book."
"Even if I can't read it," Cantirena said sort of sadly. "I don't feel like your student when I can't even read Mysidian text. How would I join the dumb Circle of Mages without knowing how to read their language?"
"If they had claimed my life, I suspect that you would be given another teacher and be taught how to read Mysidian before the entrance exam. Based on tradition, the teacher of the teacher would be the candidate," Minwu answered her. He walked over there and sat down next to her, picking up another book. "Which means… you would have been given my teacher, Lee-Chun."
"My thoughts exactly," Minwu said. "But if you wish to learn to read Mysidian, then, come. We will read it together." He pulled on her so that she was closer, so that they could both see the same book clearly. "Start here…"
"…I don't even know what that one means or how to pronounce it…"
Minwu looked at her as she was staring that book in total defeat. They were alone, and yet, Cantirena insisted upon learning Ancient Mysidian? They had a perfect opportunity, and she wanted to study. She wanted to study.
There are times where you are simply unpredictable…
"Why are you looking at me like that?" Cantirena asked. "Minwu, if you want to go at it because they're gone, then what the hell are you waiting for?!"
He dropped the book instantly. "I don't know," he answered her.
Within seconds, their mouths were locked together and their hands wandering each other's bodies. They didn't know how long the other two were going to be gone, but they didn't care. Surrounded by the books, Minwu and Cantirena made love right there on the floor. Sweet talk, gentle caresses, and moans from both sides were exchanged. It was more than heaven for the both of them. They needed each other's closeness, they needed the warmth and the companionship. It was…