Ch 9, 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.
Cantirena shot straight up out of bed, finding herself the only one to be awake. Something pulled her out of that amazing sleep, and she wasn't quite sure what it was. After straightening out her dress, as it had been all crooked from sleeping, and even more wrinkled as Minwu was lying against her, she headed over to the bookshelf. She was still tired, but after being woken up like that, her gut feeling was to stay awake. If she learned anything, when her intuition led to something, she needed to follow it. She was being led along for a reason. Going over each and every single book, she waited until she saw one that almost begged her to read it. There was something she needed to see, and damn it, she was going to see it.
Cantirena reached for a book that had a lovely design that looked something like stars on the spine. It was a very faded blue cover, and the stars were painted on in yellow. She opened it slowly, noticing that all of the pages were a dingy brown color. This book was ancient. She blew the dust off of it. The language was something of a cross between the Ancient Mysidian, which she had yet to learn any of, and the simplified modern Mysidian, which she was just starting to learn to read while staying in the cavern.
"Ku… ris… tal… ru…" she slowly read a few symbols aloud as she traced her finger over them. "Nu… chel… rai… to?" Cantirena thought really hard. The diagram next to the few pieces she could make out depicted a person with light coming from within their heart. "Son…gu…" Then she turned the page to see someone holding a harp that was shaped like a perfect circle. "….this is a song…" she whispered. "This is a song! The Magi Tribe believed that all music was magic, and all magic was music. So essentially, this must be a spellbook. This book has songs for the harp!" As she turned the pages, she scanned all the pictures she could find. "Ho.. rii… son…gu… rai…to…" Cantirena shook her head before she snapped her fingers and shouted, "I've GOT it!"
Minwu sat up instantly. "You… you've got what?" he asked.
"This book… is a songbook, and a spellbook!" Cantirena proclaimed loudly. "Holy song of light!"
Clarisse and Candice were up right after that. "Uh oh, Canti's gone crazy," they both said at the same time.
"If crazy is what we need," Cantirena said, "Then this world is fine." She smiled. "Minwu, please. You must help me. I am stumped on many of these passages. But I've stumbled on something that I believe is going to lead us straight to the crystal."
Minwu nodded, climbing out of bed. "Cosmos herself said that we needed a strong blast of pure white light to create a crystal. You use that to burn three things together…"
"That's right!" Clarisse said. "She said you put together three things… things that represent love, freedom, and…"
"…and truth," Candice finished her sentence. "So the reason why we were researching all this time was because we needed to figure out how to make the white light."
Cantirena held up the book. "This, this is it!" she said happily.
Minwu walked over to her, sitting down on the extra bed with her so they could look at it together. "Ru… nar…" he read aloud. "Haar… pu…"
They sat together reading the book or a while. It must have been hours before either of them said anything to each other or the other pair. They murmured soft exchanges of affection, passing kisses between them every now and then, until something caught their attention.
"Hey," Candice said from the other side of the room. "There's a box of things over here…" she dragged the box which was heavier than she could lift over to where everyone could see it. "…you might want to look inside it."
Cantirena was the first to scramble over to look at the box. Inside it, she saw something that she was certain she saw in that book.
To the Magi tribe, all music was magic, and magic was music… she thought. So that means instruments and things like that were magical inhibitors, kind of like how Minwu uses his staff to focus his spells…
"I've never used a weapon in my entire life," Cantirena said quietly. "I think I understand why."
"What? Why would that be?" Clarisse asked. "Other than the fact that you're gifted with magic."
"It's because I'm a student of one of the Magi," Cantirena explained, reaching into the box. She found a circle that was made out of some kind of bone, decorated very intricately. There was a white piece that was run between the sides of the circle, keeping it tight. Strings ran from the white piece to the outside frame. She pulled it out, fingering the strings. "I woke up just a little bit ago, driven by some feeling inside that I couldn't explain to anyone who asked. My feelings drew me to that book, like it does to this… this…"
"Harp," Minwu said gently. "That's the Lunar Harp, as depicted in this book. The light we must use to create the crystal is called forth from the moon, which is why it's called the Lunar Harp. The spell concentrates the light… so that it can burn the three pieces of love, truth, and freedom into the crystal."
"Must be the reason all the pictures and passages describe a crystal having a faint glow…" Cantirena thought aloud. "Because that's exactly what the light of the moon is like."
"So we can leave now?" Clarisse asked. "We have what we need! Now, we just have to set it all up!"
"…we still don't know what the pieces are," Cantirena said. "They could be almost anything. Artifacts lost in the mists of time… or hell, they could be the souls of people."
"That would be terrible!" Clarisse shrieked. "Truth, love, and freedom… being the souls of people… burning to create a crystal?! Sacrificing them for the good of everyone else is a horrible idea and I won't condone it, even to stop the war. We've had enough death happening in our world, we don't need any more."
Minwu looked down at the book. "No, hold on… Cantirena, my love, you may not be that far off. Perhaps they don't actually burn objects together, but the souls which represent those absolutes create the crystal together… they might not actually be things."
"Then how do we find who represents these… concepts?" Candice asked curiously.
"…there's no way to really know," Minwu answered. "All I can do… is keep reading and hoping we find something, anything…"
"No, I'm tired of waiting around like this," Candice snapped. "We go out into the world and we find those who represent those three things, we make a crystal, and we stop this fucking war all ready!" She was going crazy, everyone could tell. "Come on, Minwu! Enough waiting around like this! Please! Let's just go and figure it out on the way!"
"That's not a safe idea…" Cantirena said hesitantly.
"If Mateus comes to you, you fight back. I don't care." Candice said, standing up. She walked over to Cantirena, who was sitting on the end of the bed holding the harp. "He broke you before, he will not do it again. You're stronger now. You have things to live for. He'll never, ever take us away from you."
Cantirena shook her head. "He told me… that… Clarisse died in battle, and…"
"Well she's alive now," Candice retorted.
Cantirena sighed. "You don't understand…"
"You can't quiver in fear down here forever."
"I'm not going to," Cantirena said angrily. "I'm not going to hide forever. I have a world that I need to help save. The problem is without a fail-safe way to make this work, I'm afraid that he'll find me and-"
"And then you fight back."
"I couldn't go toe-to-toe with Mateus' pure power," Cantirena said. "You don't know the kind of powers he has. He can do practically anything. He has magic more than any person I've ever seen because of the darkness that he's carried with. The only way to defeat him is to make the darkness leave him. The only way to do that is with a crystal!" She looked at the harp in her hand, running her fingers over the strings. "So we can't leave here without a crystal in hand!"
"Canti, come on-"
Minwu put his hand up. "Candice, please…"
He got up and placed the book on the bed, then walked to Cantirena's side. "You could," he said. "Theoretically, you could very well face off with the Demon King's power. You three are pieces of the Goddess, and… Cantirena, my love, you… you have unbelievable potential. I've known this since the day I met you, and I know that must be the reason why the Demon King desires you." He put his arms on her shoulders, slowly rubbing his cheek on hers from the side. "You could very well be the most powerful magician to ever have walked this green world…"
"I… don't want to fight anymore," she whispered to him, tears coming out of her eyes. "I would rather protect this world."
"Sometimes, the only way to protect is to fight," he said sadly. "I know this because I have dedicated my life to protecting those who need it, and yet… I can't cast enough cure spells, I can't build enough barriers, I can't protect by being passive. I must fight if I'm going to protect everyone I want to look after, including you."
Suddenly, Cantirena remembered the dream she had not too long ago. She was going to have to face her fear and battle it, and she said she would. But when it came time to actually go forth out into danger, it was much harder to keep that resolve. She reached to Minwu, pulling him closer.
"…don't be afraid of the power you contain," Minwu said gently. "Don't be afraid of who you are."
She cried. Loudly.
"You can fall into the Demon King's possession again," he added, though he wasn't quite sure if that was a lie or not. "But, remember, you are stronger than you've ever been, and you're going to get stronger. Even I know this much."
"Of course you are," Minwu said, putting his hand to her chin. "We're all scared."
"I'm not," Candice grunted.
"…okay, so Candice isn't," Minwu said. "Whatever. That's because she's so short-sighted she doesn't have a clue of what we're up against."
"Hey!" Candice interjected. She was going to ramble, but Clarisse just slapped her hand over her mouth to keep her from saying anything else.
"Listen, Cantirena, the truth is that you can't be strong or brave without knowing what fear is. You have to understand what it means to be scared, and feel it in your heart, before you can rise above it. We may very well fail, but there's no way we can succeed without trying," Minwu said. He pulled her close for a kiss, then when he let up, he used his other hand to wipe away the tears under her eys. "I can comfort you until the day the world ends, but you must find your resolve and stick to it. We will all be at your side, even if we're not there physically with you. We will never leave you. I will never leave you."
"…all right…" Cantirena said. "We'll… find a way back to… to… home. We'll sort it all out… on the way…"
"I think that's for the best. I'll translate the book on the harp for you as we go, and we'll do our lessons involving that as we have the time," Minwu said, kissing her forehead. "Pack up, girls, we leave today."