Ch 10, part 10
"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.
The Emperor Mateus originally intended to have Cantirena below him until she passed out while in his possession, but seeing exactly how cold she was to everything he did made him change his mind. He watched her very carefully. She had no replies to give him except every now and then, she would just say "yes, your majesty" in a very emotionless, expressionless sort of way. She didn't even cry, as he expected her to do. He wanted to make her beg for mercy, to beg for both her life and that of her dear Minwu, but she was so lost within herself that it wasn't going to happen. He led her down the paths which led to the innermost sanctum of the great castle known for being the greatest landmark in the civilized world, and she followed right at his side, her eyes staring down at the intricately decorated carpets with no desire to look at anything else. Cantirena had little will to resist him or put up a fight, which made what he had in mind seem a complete waste. But as he watched her lovely blue curls bounce up and down as she walked, he came up with another idea.
"I want to make you an offer," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
"You have nothing I want," she muttered.
"That's not true, my lady. Right now, I own both you and your teacher. But there is a way to set you free as per Palamecian law that I cannot refuse," Mateus replied very quietly.
Suddenly, Cantirena looked at him. He saw that there was a spark of life in her yet with that expression.
"You are interested now, hm?" he asked.
"Tell me what the catch is," she said. "What do I have to do?"
Mateus smiled just a little. "You are aware that there will be a tournament on my mother's birthday, yes? What you don't know is how it works. Anyone in the world may participate; and to the victor goes the spoils, as the saying goes."
"You want me to compete," Cantirena said, putting her hands on her hips.
"Not just that, my lady," he added. "You must win, and you may ask for anything in the world. If it is in my power to make it happen, then I have to make it happen, as per the Palamecian Tournament rules established centuries ago. What do you want more than anything in this world? I can give it to you… if you win."
"You could just let us walk out of here right now without asking me to risk my life, too," Cantirena grunted, looking away. "…Though that would probably take more empathy than you're accustomed to using on a monthly basis, oh mighty Emperor."
"How curt you've grown," Mateus said. "I can live without your sarcasm."
"Forgive me, sire," Cantirena laughed for a moment. "Where do I sign up?"
"You are not frightened?" he asked.
"Frightened?" she laughed even harder. "No. I'm overjoyed! I'm going to win freedom for both Minwu and myself, and there's nothing you can do about it. You just told me that like I wasn't going to take that offer upon hearing it." She loved it. Cantirena got a deal she couldn't refuse and she was ready to start throwing down.
Mateus nodded. "I did know you were going to take the invitation," he said. "You look like you want to be as far from me as you can possibly be. Here is a way to make it happen. You may die in the process, of course. Are you sure you don't want to be safe by my side as my Empress instead? I will protect you from everything. You will have want for nothing."
"As tempting as that is, I've made a promise," Cantirena said sternly. "Your Majesty, I can't turn my back on a promise. I'll fight for our freedom. Glady. I will fight until I have nothing else in me, if that is indeed what it takes to keep the promise I made."
"I see," he said. "If that is the case, then I will send you to the training area. All who sign up for the tournament ahead of time are given a place to stay within the castle where they can hone their skills before they fight."
"Let me tell Minwu," she said, turning around. "He'll be my coach-"
"I'm sorry, my lady," Mateus said, snatching her arm. "You cannot go back to him. You've accepted to join the tournament. You have no freedom until you win it." He snapped his fingers, calling two guards to the hallway. "Take the lady to the training area. Give her an area to herself. Her powers can be quite dangerous and if she kills any other contestants, there will be trouble."
"Wait…!" Cantirena said as the guards each took one of her arms. "You tricked me!"
"I did not deceive you, my lady," Mateus answered, reaching over to put his hand on her forehead to lift her face to he could look directly into her eyes. "You did not ask about all of the rules of the tournament before accepting to enter it. You did want time to yourself, didn't you? Now you will have it."
"…what if I don't want to be in the tournament?"
"Oh, so you accept my wedding proposal, finally? You really are frightened."
"On second thought… fine. I'll go. And then when that tournament starts, I'm killing everybody put in front of me," Cantirena said. "I will be free of you for once and for all!"
"I'm sure you will," he said. "Go then. Prepare the best you can, my lady. I wish you all the best of luck. I'd much rather keep you safe from harm, but… if you're going to run into it, you may go with my blessing."
"I don't need your blessing," she said.
"Fair enough. Be on your way, my lady."
And when you die at the hands of someone you care about, perhaps you will regret your decision to refuse my offer, Mateus thought as he watched the guards take Cantirena away. Because I will be sending invitations worldwide, and when they hear about your involvement, I know they'll come running to my door.
Standing in the Fynn Castle throne room, Gordon found himself face to face with a giant of a man wearing the Palamecian Emblem on his black breastplate. He was taller than any man any of the four heroes had ever seen in their life, even sitting in the throne. It was amazing that armor could even fit on him. His face was in the shape of a brick, and his nose just as ugly and squared as his jaw. His hair, which stuck out in black tufts from below his awkwardly placed helmet that didn't fit all on the top of his head, appeared greasy and thickly coated in sweat and dead skin cells. He was piggish, brutish, and very, very smelly.
"I am the new ruler of Fynn," the giant declared in a very gnarled sort of voice that made Candice cringe with disgust upon hearing. "What business do you have with me, hmph?"
"You are not the ruler of Fynn," Gordon said, planting the blunt end of his spear on the floor. "You wear the emblem of Palamecia."
"Aye, because I am the ruler here at His Majesty's order," the giant answered loudly. "The Emperor has put me here, therefore it is my rightful place."
"No!" Clarisse shouted. "This is not Palamecia. Our lands are not his lands. We are citizens of Fynn, and we have come to take back our land, our home!"
The giant stood up, reaching behind the throne to draw out a large axe which appeared to be bigger than that of Firion. He grunted as he did so, letting the four know that he was not impressed with this challenge whatsoever. He was disinterested in fighting them, but he was made into the new king of Fynn now. He had no choice but to fight.
"Your land?" the giant asked. "What makes it yours? Are you a member of the royal family of Fynn? No. Did you buy this land? No. Did you take it by force? No." He shook his head, standing up to his full height. "This land is not yours."
"It is," Gordon said. "I am Gordon, Prince of Kashuon. Princess Hilda of Fynn was my bride, making me the king of Fynn." He lied, but it was what he hoped to do before finding out about Hilda's suicide. He always wanted to make her his bride, even after she was betrothed to his older brother. "That throne is mine, if you would kindly remove yourself from it."
"Kashuon is destroyed," the giant said. "So you are the prince of nothing."
Firion gasped as Gordon ran straight at the giant, his spear aimed right for the large man's neck. It went through instantly, killing the giant with a large splatter of blood falling on everything in front of him. The giant fell over and Gordon stabbed him again in the head with every single bit of his strength. His beautiful face was marred with cuts, sweat, blood of both his body and that of those who he killed to get this far.
"Fynn… is free," Gordon declared tiredly. "Hilda… you have not been avenged completely, but… give me time. I will do it… until then… rest knowing that I'll never let anyone else take control of your castle until my dying breath." He blinked a few times before slumping over onto his butt.
"Gordon," Candice cried out, coming up from behind to give him something to lean on. "That was… amazing. I never thought you had it in you."
"…he insulted the memory of Kashuon… the memory of my parents, my knights, and my brother…" Gordon whispered. "I would never let that stand. Just because Kashuon was destroyed does not mean that it's nothing. It still exists because I still exist. I… I am Kashuon…"
Firion nodded in agreement. "I'll go tell everybody. Let's clean the castle up and have a party!"
"We can't throw a party yet," Clarisse said. "Not until we find Minwu and Canti."
"Oh all right then. We'll clean the castle up and… uhh… well, we can have a party - just you and me, right?"
END CHAPTER TEN