Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 9, 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.

Part 6

"Minwu! Look!"

Minwu turned to look behind him, noticing that Cantirena was pointing at the cave they had just walked out of. The rock with the opening had sunk right back into the sand, leaving them with no way to go back.

"So that's it. We have no way back in," he said, putting his arm around Cantirena's shoulder. "But we don't need that, do we?"

"…nope," Cantirena said, looking at him. "We'll be fine."

"All right!" Candice shouted loudly. "Let's find a settlement or something! I need a bath."

"And tacos!" Clarisse added. Those two walked arm-in-arm ahead, scouting the land and taking out any monsters that came along together. They really were like two peas in a pod.

Cantirena watched them, but she walked with Minwu, holding onto his hand. In Minwu's other hand was his trusty staff. She'd never seen him without that staff far from him, and she figured it would be a very strange thing to ever see him without it. She wondered if she'd ever be able to be like those two were. They seemed so carefree even in the middle of all this turmoil. She was a little jealous of that ability, as she wore her concern and fears visibly.

"Do you wish to be with your sisters?" Minwu asked her quietly.

"Why would you ask that?"

"You watch them longingly," he answered. "Like you wish you could… play with them. You've always looked at your peers with a sense of confusion, my love. You've always wanted a sense of acceptance that most did not have in them to give you." Minwu pecked on her cheek before they continued walking. "I've seen this first hand. Even when I told you to go and play, you would sit there and watch them out the window. The children of Fynn were beyond your understanding, even if you could understand all of the writings in a magician's textbook years before most do. You wouldn't go. It was like you were more afraid of a group of children than the king himself."

"Why would a child of a Goddess have… inhibitions like these?"

"Because. You may have the power of a Goddess inside you, but you're not a Goddess yourself. You are just as mortal as the rest of us," Minwu answered. "You're human. Having fears, having these… inhibitions… they make you human. You're the same as everybody else. Made of the same stuff we are. Cantirena… is something wrong?"

"Sometimes I feel like I don't belong in this world. Like, I was put in the wrong place."

"Oh my dear," Minwu nodded. "I know."

"You do?"

"I felt like that for so long," he said quietly. "Not only did I feel like an outcast in Mysidia, but I felt even worse in the middle of the culture on the outside. I wondered if there was anyone who would ever understand me, accept me. I found work in the castle, but I did not care for the manners of court. I would just spend the most of my time in the castle library and…" Minwu looked down at the ground. "Sometimes, I wonder how I even made it this far. It wasn't until I interacted with you that I found someone who… I saw myself… and I understood. It all made sense."

"It's… different now, though," Cantirena said. "Right?"

"So it is," Minwu said, smiling from ear to ear. "So… it is."

"Hey!" Candice shouted. "Are you two gonna stand there and whisper romantically all day, or are we leaving this Goddess-forsaken continent?" She waved at them from quite a distance away. "Hurry up!"

Cantirena and Minwu laughed together.

"Don't get your knickers in a twist," Minwu said. "We're coming."

"At the pace of a sleepy snail," Clarisse added loudly. "Come on, I see tents over the top of this hill!"

"Tents?" Cantirena asked. "Like a campground?"

"…there's only one group of people that ever made their settlement completely out of tents," Minwu said. "As they lived as nomads…"

"The Magi Tribe," Cantirena finished his sentence. "Do you think… maybe… they might be…?!"

"No. Remember, Cosmos herself said that she tried to save them but was unable to," Minwu reminded her. "But…" it was hard not to get his hopes up. Perhaps he could find the place of his birth, the place where his parents lived? Maybe, he could finally have his answers? It was hard not to hope for that outcome. "…we will go and see. Together."

She agreed, saying "Together! Together always."

"That would be my only selfish wish of this world," Minwu whispered. "Together always."

Emperor Mateus sat at his dining table, wondering where his mother was. Lady Airu was never the type to be late for any reason, and this was starting to rub him the wrong way. It didn't help that the Demon King Iluia was quite active that evening. Mateus' nerves were becoming frazzled the longer he sat there and waited.

"Mateus…"

"What is it?"

That's when Airu came from the shadows, wearing one of her old lovely ball gowns. She walked somewhat slowly, as she still felt weak, but a guard was helping her stand as she approached the Emperor. "Pardon me," she said, bowing her head. "I did not mean to be late."

"Are you sure you can use your mother as bait for the trap?"

Mateus didn't want to answer Iluia's voice, not with his mother right in front of him. The woman all ready knew he was deranged. It would only get worse, and he would lose her trust if she knew he was hearing voices, too. He ignored the grumbling of the demon which had taken root inside his body and addressed his mother directly. "No, no, I was worried for you. Did you find everything?"

"You did not move it while I was gone," Airu said gently. "It's like you… knew I would be returning."

"I had planned on giving the room to my beautiful bride so she would have her own space," Mateus answered, watching Airu sit at the table to his left. He sat at the head of the table in a chair taller than he was even with his golden headdress. "But before we could arrange any formal ceremony, the poor dear just had to go home and take care of things."

"Arrangements?" Airu asked. It felt great to have her voice back. She remembered the little nurse Lina helping her drink a lot of purifying water to clear her throat before getting dressed. It helped a lot, though being able to speak made her much more nervous about possibly shooting off and triggering her son's temper again. "Where is your fiancée from, if I may ask?"

"She is from Fynn."

"Fynn? You do not speak of the Princess, do you? I recall Hilda having lovely yellow hair."

Mateus shook his head. "No. I met her there at the castle at the summit before the father passed away. She is the student of the white mage, Minwu. Very gifted, very capable of being my beautiful, powerful Empress to rule alongside me, you know. I would not select a woman not worthy of me, Mother. You should know this."

Airu knew she'd heard about something like this before. After a few moments, she realized that Mateus was speaking of the girl that Paul was looking for. "Your Highness," she said somewhat hesitantly. "Is this girl… is her name Cantirena, perhaps?"

"Then you have heard of her," Mateus said as a servant came up to pour him a glass of wine.

"I have indeed," Airu said quietly.

She was here, but she's gone now? Does that mean Paul came and rescued her? Airu thought. So she doesn't love him. He… kidnapped her!

"Oh… wonderful," he said with a slight smile. "The legacy of Minwu extends far beyond the country he serves. He has raised a lovely girl who behaves just like a princess. So timid, so tender… hm, and her voice is like a song which carries me to a world of freedom, you know. To hear her call my name is to hear angels proclaim their Goddess has come… hm," The thought was turning him on a little too much, so he decided to change the subject quickly. "Mother, are you excited for your birthday celebration?"

"…certainly," Airu didn't sound very convinced.

"I hope so!" Mateus said, putting his hand on the table. "Bring out the feast!"

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