Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 10, part 9

"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 9

Swords clashed between the rebels of Fynn and the Palamecian Dark Knights. Firion and Clarisse led the team straight through the town square, with Candice right behind them, armed with a bow and a quiver strapped to her shoulders. Gordon went with them in the center, his spear out, taking the ones who tried to attack the team from behind. They made their way to the steps of the castle, unable to be stopped. They were a force to be reckoned without a doubt.

Ricard, Leila, and Cid were busy handling the knights in the town square once the main four made their way through the center, with Paul picking the pockets of every mythril-clad Imperial Trooper that came before them. Once they had enough territory, Krystal watched over townspeople who were not quite ready to fight. They gathered around a statue of King Fynn the First, with Krystal standing on the top of the statue, looking out in all directions to make sure no more Imperials were coming. Leila's pirate gang helped keep all of the people safe and from being hurt by any of the knights. It took about three hours for the town to be free of the Palamecian troops, and from there, the Pirates went and set up a barricade surrounding the castle and the town to ensure there were no more attacks from the outside.

By the time that happened, Firion was panting heavily, looking around in a panic. Most of the knights were inside the castle, and they were wrong about how many troops were stationed in Fynn. Gordon grievously underestimated the amount of force they were fighting, but that didn't matter at this point.

"There's a clearing," Candice said loudly, "Head towards the stairs!"

"We're only one floor away from the throne," Gordon shouted, thrusting his spearhead into the neck of an attacking knight. "We're almost done…" Sweat poured from every place in his body. "…but we're not breaking through very well…"

Clarisse put her hands together, shooting out ice at attacking dark knights. "I have an idea," she said once a few of them fell over. "Candice, you go with Gordon through the stairs. Firion and I will guard this entrance."

"No," Gordon snapped. "We all go through. Once we have the throne, we can sweep through and get all the others at our own pace, if they don't desert once the castle is ours."

"Ah, all right, then," Firion said. "Charge through, Prince! I've got your back, your highness!"

"Well said, Captain," Gordon replied, giving him a nod. He used every ounce of his strength and pushed through a few guards, stabbing another with his spear in his right hand. With that, he was able to make it to the stairs. He turned around, standing defensively in front of it. "All right, you three! Come on! We don't have much left! We're so close! For our honor! For our freedom we must prevail!"

Minwu closed his eyes, doing his best to look like he was in a dreamless sleep once he saw that Cantirena had hunched over the side of the bed, trying to start her tears. It took her a few minutes, but eventually, she had her tears falling onto the pillow she buried her face into. He tried to act like he lost feeling in the rest of his body, but it wasn't easy.

A few moments later, he heard the door open again.

"Cantirena," Mateus' voice said. "Turn and look at me."

"…I can't."

"Look at me, my princess."

"Don't make me do this," she said softly. "I just saved my teacher from dying… let me… let me be, please."

"I know you wish to recover from all that has happened recently," the Emperor's voice was very quiet. He was trying to show no frustration, though it wasn't easy. "Before I let you rest, I wish to speak with you."

"…speak to me here," she cried. "I don't want to go anywhere…"

"Do you dare speak to the Emperor in such a tone?" Mateus asked.

Cantirena sighed. Minwu felt her weight come off of the bed. He could hear her hiccup a few times before busting into a sobbing session harder than she had cried in years.

"You are so stricken, you cannot even speak," the Emperor's words seemed cold. "That is fine. Allow your teacher to rest for now. He will need time to recover. Come with me."

"A…all right…"

Within seconds, Minwu heard the door close. He instantly sat up, though his midsection still hurt. She did a remarkable job patching him up, though she didn't even stop to think about the soreness left behind. Ah well. The fact that she was able to call him back from the sensation of death and heal every wound he had was good enough for him. She wasn't a perfect healer yet, but he knew it would come with time and patience. Everything he ever wanted to teach her had sunk in to a degree, and it filled him with a sense of pride. He loved her with all of his being, and he silently thanked her for all she had done for him. Minwu put his hand on his heart, which was beating at a comfortable pace. At one point, his pulse was so high, he thought his heart would explode, and at others, it was so low that he could feel his dizziness get the better of him.

Cantirena, he thought, closing his eyes again like he wanted to send his thoughts to her. I am so very sorry about what you must endure. I wouldn't have you in his arms in any other situation. I'm not the type to wish to keep something so selfishly, but I… I can't imagine living without you by my side. You complete me.

The door opened again, and Airu walked in. She held a stack of three books in her hands. "She's being taken to the inner part of the palace. I was hoping she would be able to come back without having to… be with him like that, but…" she walked over to Minwu and placed the books next to him. Then she put her hands on his belly and cast a spell slowly causing his soreness to fade away. "…there. You winced a few times."

"You're a white mage?" Minwu asked, finally able to sit up completely.

"Aye," Airu said with a slight nod. "So are my children." Her tone faded into something which depicted darkness when she let that slip.

"Mateus is a… a white mage?" Minwu asked again, this time in shock.

"He was training for it during his youth. The same as your Cantirena…" Airu said. "He began training when he turned six years old, and he was gifted at it. It's sad that… those tender hearts we mean to protect and nurture fall off the path so easily." She tried not to let her heart show too much, but she couldn't help it. She cried for her son. "We have to save them both from this spiral of darkness, Minwu."

"…wait," Minwu started. "You said 'children'."

"Mateus adored his older sister. So much so that when suitors came around her, he became jealous, anxious. How dare these strange men come to judge and take his sister away? No… he couldn't handle it. It drove him to such a rage that he locked her away in the highest tower of the castle. He declared to the world that if anyone could make it up there to her, they could have her." Airu told the story so coldly. "…and guess what? A man, riding in a balloon came. Took her right out of the window and headed towards Kashuon. I can't… I don't know where she went, but she was just like him. A talented magic user, especially in healing and protective spells. She was one of the only people who he trusted, and after she was gone…" Airu sat down on the bed, wiping her eyes. "…that's when he began to plot at this world war madness."

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