Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 9, part 8

"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 8

Minwu climbed that hill as quickly as he could. Part of him wished he was wearing pants, he figured it would probably help him move more efficiently in this situation. Cantirena was the slowest at moving upward, as everyone was expecting. She told him to go without her, and that as long as she could see them ahead of her, she'd be able to keep going. Cantirena was never the type for physical activity, even when she was a child. He climbed up and when he got to the top, he looked over everything.

"Look," Clarisse said, "There's a bunch of tents over that way."

"So there are," Minwu said once he had caught his breath. He looked behind him to see Cantirena was making her own pace. "We'll wait here. I wouldn't dare leave her."

"We know, we know," Candice said, nudging him a little. "You wouldn't let her get too far from you."

"Mateus may not be on this continent, but someone who is acting as his eyes just might be," Minwu said softly. "He has spies all over the world, I'm sure. You three all have blue hair, and that's one of the identifying marks…" He frowned a little. "We need to hide your hair color until we get back home. Do you have anything you could hide your hair in?"

Clarisse wrapped her red scarf around her head and tucked all her hair inside it. "Like this?" she asked. "It's all I've got to work with at the moment, so…"

"It's perfect," Minwu said as Cantirena finished climbing up to the top of the hill. She sat down next to them to catch her breath. "My love, do you have anything to hide your hair in?"

"What?" she asked. "Why would I do that?"

"Because I don't know if the Emperor has spies out here, and I don't know how long we'll be staying in the settlement of tents," Minwu said. "If he has any men out in this place, they'll know to look for blue hair. You three are the only people in existence with blue hair. You must hide your hair."

"You were the one who threw away your turban and cape," Cantirena said, feeling her heart race. "That would have been useful now."

"Hm," Minwu agreed, opening the item pouch. "I suppose I have no choice then." He reached inside and started ripping cloth until he had a big enough strip of cloth to hand to her. "Here, Cantirena, I want you to wrap up your hair." Then he ripped another big strip and handed it to Candice. "You, too, Candice. I will take no chances."

"No chances, huh…?" Candice asked, doing as she was told. "Anything's better than being captured by that horned tyrant. I've been caught by him twice all ready, and I'm not looking forward to a third."

"I don't want to be captured by anyone, period," Clarisse said, stuffing every last tuft of hair inside her scarf. "This is nothing."

Cantirena wrapped her hair in the cloth Minwu gave her, and noticed that it smelled familiar. She knew the smell all too well, and it made her feel safe. It smelled like Minwu's robes, which was something she had no issues with at all, of course. She could have curled up in that little scrap, if only it were big enough to envelope her completely. "Where… exactly did you get this cloth from, Minwu?"

"…we only need one tent," Minwu answered quietly, looking away from her. He didn't have any emotion in his voice when he answered that question. Everyone could tell Minwu felt pretty badly about having to do it, but at the same time, Minwu was ever the fatalist and wouldn't be the type to fight against what needed to be done. "To ensure you three make it back home, we'll have to make a few sacrifices."

"Well, shit, don't make me feel too bad or nothing," Candice muttered. Her eyes immediately went down to the grass below her high-heeled boots, watching the blades play back and forth as the wind brushed along them. Ripping up one of those magical, smell-hiding tents? Ripping up one of the only two shelters they could rely on at all times because they were too short-sighted to bring cloaks or hoods or even more Mysidian turbans?! She felt like that might have been a just maybe a smidge excessive.

"Not one of us knew what was in store for this journey, Candice," Minwu said, looking at the tents nearby. He had a sense of foreboding and it made him very apprehensive. There was something down there, but he could not tell if it was friend or foe, or if it was even human at all. His senses must have been dulling over time, and he silently hated himself for it.

"Well this is weird," Cantirena said. "Talk about role reversal, Minwu… usually, you're the one who hides your hair, and look… your hair is being fluffed about by the wind while ours is in hiding."

"Hmm," Minwu said. "How does it feel?"

"Kinda weird," she replied. "I like it better when my hair bounces when I move. Having it tied down and hidden feels very… tight."

He didn't want to go to that settlement, but he felt they had no choice. Minwu needed a way to cross the seas to get back to the Altair region. Who knew? By this point, Firion and the others were probably back from Deist, and they had questions that needed to be answered, and they needed solutions for their problems, too. Minwu had so few options other than to keep going. He wasn't going to give up, but he wasn't going at it at full force like he was before, either. Part of him wished he could have stayed with Cantirena in the Angel's Tunnel until their olden days, but he knew it wasn't the right thing to do. Selfish wishes aside, there was a world that needed saving, and he was going to do all he could.

"Let's go," Minwu said somewhat sternly, helping Cantirena onto her feet.

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