Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 10, part 5

"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 5

As the sun rose over the few tents scattered in the center of Altair's ruins, Candice was all ready awake. She wasn't able to sleep. The fact that every day, they went to check the surrounding areas to look for Minwu and Cantirena and always coming back with nothing was driving her nuts. She knew they were both alive, and she knew that they were fully capable of taking care of themselves, but she liked having them around. They were an admirable couple, and even though Cantirena showed moments of weakness, Minwu never hesitated to take care of her. She wanted nothing more than to have a relationship similar to the one they had. Their love seemed so innocent, and yet so true to itself. Minwu cared for Cantirena more than anything in the world. It was hard to tell anybody, but she was sort of jealous of it. She was sitting right next to the flap that led into her father's tent when she heard footsteps nearby.

"Prince Gordon wanted us to head to Galtea today to look for those ready to take back Fynn," a very low, soothing voice said behind her. "You being without rest will make it that much harder for you to participate."

She turned to find the dragoon Ricard there. He was carrying his helmet which was normally atop his head, blocking anyone from seeing his true face. It had been a long time since their eyes met, and when they did, both Ricard and Candice could hear that day which changed both of their lives forever.

"Ricard," she said quietly. "I couldn't believe it was you when Dad introduced you to me yesterday. Took me for a loop."

"Aye, I can believe that, as I was overwhelmed with nostalgia myself," Ricard answered. "You should rest. In a few hours-"

"I couldn't sleep right now even if I tried," Candice muttered, letting herself slump over, laying on the cobblestone pathway in a very weird sort of way. "So lost in my thoughts that my mind will not let my body rest."

"You miss your sister," Ricard said gently, sitting next to her.

"Yeah. Even though I wasn't aware of her being my sister until fairly recently, when the three of us are together, something about it just… feels right," Candice said. "And knowing that they're in trouble, it's hard for me not to want to rush into battle to stick up for them, especially Canti. She's the smallest of us. I can tell her confidence has grown since Minwu started to give her support in the ways she needed him to, but I know that she doesn't have a lot of faith in herself. It would be a great relief if I could just find her all ready." She sighed.

"I… wanted to ask you something."

"…you can ask me anything you like, Ricard."

"The pendant I gave you when we were children-"

"You need it back?" Candice asked, reaching behind her neck and undoing the knot that held the twine in place. "Here, I know you need the Dragon's Pendant to communicate with a dragon, so go ahead. Take it. It's not like I…" she looked at the shimmering blue charm which she'd worn every day since he had given it to her. Candice felt somewhat naked without it. "…it's not like it's ever really been mine anyway."

"That's not it at all." Ricard said. "No. I searched all of Deist for another pendant, but there were no others to be found, and we are going to need that if we want to communicate with the last dragon. I am the last Dragoon. When I go to take the Dragoon's trials, I wish for your company."

"Wouldn't it be easier if you just take the pendant with you to complete the trial?" she asked.

"Easier, yes," Ricard replied. "But it would be a lot emptier." He smiled at her. "I will fight for the Wild Rose Rebellion, as they saved me and the only other two survivors of my home country. But when the fighting is over, I wish to rebuild my home. I cannot complete the trials without a way to undergo the ceremony as intended and I… I…" He looked away. How was he going to put this? "…I humbly request that you be my partner for the Dragoon's trial ceremony. It may seem a bit selfish of me, but… I… I would love to have you alongside me, helping me build Deist to its former glory."

"Ricard…"

"Please help me do this."

"…all right," Candice said. "You have my word. When everything is said and done, I'll go to Deist. I'll help bring it back to its lovely past self. I'll do whatever I can. I liked Deist a lot more than Paloom or Poft, that's for sure. Yeah, the culture was very eccentric, but I found it much more peaceful than the pirate-filled port slums I was used to. I could have lived there, no problem."

"Thank you."

"Hey, you saved my life once," she said. "Least I can do is help you rebuild yours now."

Ricard laughed softly. "I suppose if you wish to think of it that way…"

Soon, Gordon came out of his tent with his hair frazzled and his eyes half opened. He pointed directly at Candice. "Hey. It's time to get the troops in order. Go wake Clarisse and Firion. I need them both," he said sternly, finding it hard to focus his sight in the morning sunlight.

"I'm on it, Prince," Candice said, standing up. She headed over to their tent, pulling the flap open. "Good morning, sunshi-"

All she found was Firion sprawled out on top of a blanket and Clarisse on top of him, both as naked as the day they were born, breathing incredibly heavy, as if they had just both passed out after having a full night of passionate lovemaking.

Candice giggled quietly to herself. So she wasn't the only one who didn't get any sleep. She didn't want to bother either of them even if it was Gordon's order to wake them.

For having gone at it a while, they were quiet about it… Candice thought, turning to walk out of the tent. Either that, or someone's invented a soundproof tent. Wait… Minwu, did you leave a soundproof tent in the item pouch for that specific reason? She closed the flap behind her, feeling a little bit jealous. When was the last time she had the chance to lay in such peace in the arms of someone who loved her? Hell, when was the last time she had the chance to find someone who actually cared about her as a person in that sense, rather than just as a casual way to relieve themselves? Cantirena found peace in an unlikely source, and now Clarisse had the same thing. Well Cosmos, what happened here…?

Clarisse lifted her head for just a split second. "…you think she was fooled?" she asked Firion in a hushed whisper.

"…probably," he answered quietly.

"I know we've got to do our duty for the rebellion, but right now, I don't want to move."

"Oh, you want to move…"

"Fine, I don't want to get dressed and march to Galtea to look for troops who want to help us take back our home. I'm content right now." Clarisse whispered. "More than I have been in a very, very long time, Firi."

"It's hard to believe that Minwu and Canti made it to this before we did," Firion said, pulling her closer.

"I know… but the way they are makes it seem like they really are meant to be. When think of them now, I find it virtually impossible to picture them apart."

"I can't wait to see what Minwu's like, having… found what he needed."

"He's still the same serene healer we've always known him to be. Though… he seems like he's got so much more on his mind now than he did before."

"Maybe Canti 's carrying his kid, and he's nervous about it."

"…that would be interesting…"

"So, do you want another round of me, or should we move on with our day?"

Firion grabbed her hips. "Oh if it were up to me, we'd never leave this tent."

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