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Final Fantasy IX a long form playthrough

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Part 2:



Current Play Time: 06:35
Current Location: Village of Dali


Whats Been Happening:

After camping out outside of Evil Forest, Zidane tells the group (Garnet, Vivi and Steiner) that North and South Gates are closed and the only way out of where they are is to head through a cavern that Blank marked on the map he threw to Zidane before he was Petrified. Rather than heading south I decide to have a bit of an explore of the portion of the World Map I can access. It’s mostly empty, a few small wooded area’s are around, but to the West set against the cliff wall is an arch way. When we approach Zidane says this is Melda Arch, a footpath entrance for North Gate, but again, its closed. Steiner notes there is smoke coming from behind the gates and that the Alexandrian War Banner is flying above which angers him. Zidane knocks on the gate and a womans voice is heard, she cant let the party through but she can sell us Potions. After topping my hoard of Potions up to 40 we retreat and I spend a little time grinding to get the party up to level 5 before heading into Ice Cavern.


As we enter Vivi tell’s the group that his Grandpa told him about Ice Cavern:

“He said the Cavern takes travellers to the top of the Mist”

Garnet remarks how beautiful it is and how she’s so pleased she can see it with her own eyes as all she’s ever had available to her are books. This is the first time there’s any puzzle element to any of the locations. Zidane notices some of the walls look different to others and persuades Vivi to us his Fire magic to melt them, revealing chests behind each time. What amuses me is that every time Vivi does this Zidance jumps back and shouts “Whoa!” in surprise, never seemingly getting used to it. It’s through this that Zidane finally gets his Mage Masher (which you may remember I tried to steal from Baku last week with no success). There’s also small pockets of Mist that flow and thens top, then begin flowing again, the point is to avoid them as if they touch you you are automatically thrown into a battle, there’s still random battles but no point making things harder for ourselves right?


As we progress through the Ice Cavern we reach a point where there’s an incredibly strong blizzard, the group are already incredibly cold, and one by one they collapse and fall asleep. Zidane is the last to fall and first to awaken, doing so by being alerted by the sound of a jingling bell. He stumbles through the blizzard in the direction of the noise and discovers Black Waltz No.1 (a much larger Black Mage like Vivi) who doesn’t understand why Zidane is awake. Immediately the boss battle music starts and Black Waltz No.1 summons his Icelion to help him fight Zidane. I focus my attacks on Black Waltz No.1 until Zidane’s Trance is activated allowing me to hit both enemies at once and the pair fall quickly. As he vanishes a voice is heard, Black Waltz No.1’s attempt to retrieve Garnet was unsucessful, but there are still two more Waltz’s who will succeed. Zidane heads back to check on the others and the camera pans to reveal Zorn and Thorn watching from a ledge above, theres more to both of those than their appearance suggests.


As Zidane approaches the rest of the group awakes, Steiner accuses Zidane of trying to touch Garnet who in turn tells Steiner to stop as Zidane’s already told them nothing happened (he didn’t mention the the Black Waltz) and the group head out of Ice Cavern. As they emerge into the sunlight, they spot a village in the distance and decide thats where they should head next. Zidane tells Garnet that she needs to be more inconspicuous, once again Zidane angers Steiner (although the fact Zidane is still breathing probably angers Steiner) who wants Garnet to return to Alexandria. As he pushes Zidane the latter drops his weapon which Garnet picks up, she asks what its called and is informed its a dagger (whilst Steiner shouts that she should put it down before she harms herself). After thinking on this Garnet decides she wants to change her name (at which point the player can name her anything they want, I’ve stuck with the default) and chooses Dagger as her new title. In order to help her hide a little better Zidane suggests she speaks a little more like himself or Vivi and she promises to try. We then head off toward the village.


Before doing so however, we’re again on a part of the World Map and situated along the coast before we reach the village is a small “mountain”, this Observatory Mountain is an airship port allowing for deliveries for the village to be dropped off and other supplies collected. The only habitant is an old man by the name of Morrid, who just so happens to love his coffee. Zidane spots a model airship, similar to one a friend used to own, and the old man offers to trade it if Zidane can get him three types of coffee: Moccha, Kirman and Burman.


After leaving the Observatory, Zidane and co. head to the nearby Village of Dali. Before we go ahead I have to say this place has one of my favourite pieces of music from the Final Fantasy franchise, its just a really nice peaceful tune that perfectly suits what appears to be a rather dreamy little village.


As we enter Vivi notices a windmill and is rather excited to see it, however the rest of the group think it best they rest first, and then come up with a plan before they look around the village. As they head into the local Inn, they speak to the Innkeeper about hiring a room, there’s only one available, which Dagger is a little uncomfortable with, but there’s little choice. The Innkeeper appears to be staring at Dagger, does he recognise her?


Once in the room the conversation turns to why Dagger wanted to leave Alexandria Castle, she says she wanted to escape to Lindblum, which is where the Theatre ship Tarturus would have gone next if it hadn’t have crashed. However, thats all she’s willing to divulge at this point in time. Steiner still doesn’t trust Zidane and tells Dagger she must do the same as he and goes as far as to accusing Zidane of exposing her to danger, particularly in Evil Forest, and requests she returns to the castle with him, seemingly ignoring what she’s already tried to tell everyone, but Steiner still doesn’t have a plan as to how to get back to Alexandria. To his credit, Zidane admits to screwing up in Evil Forest and swears to protect Dagger with his life from this point onwards. As the conversation dies down, the group decide to get some sleep.


The next morning Zidane is awoken by the noise of a woman singing a song, he notices that everyone has left already, and once searching the room for any items, leaves and the attention switches to a series of ATE’s. The first of which show’s Vivi meeting the village children who seem both afraid and excited about his appearance. Dagger is trying to blend in, and finds herself at a small vegetable patch where she wonders to herself if her mother had gone too far in attacking the Tartarus ship. Her thoughts are interrupted by an old lady who appears to tend to the patch and kill the bugs, Oglops, infesting it. She’s surprised to see Dagger isn’t scared of them, but then, in an attempt to try and blend in, Dagger feigns being scared, throws the Oglop into the air and screams.


Back to Zidane, I head to the Moogle in the corner, his name is Gumo, and he has a letter from Mois who was in the Ice Cavern, Gumo doesn’t like Mois. The letter reads:


“From Mois to Gumo

Yo! Man, I got totally iced up by some dude with wings on his back!

Stitlzkin passed by me without doin’ anything! Is he rude or what?

Of course I couldn’t say nothin’ ’cause I was trapped inside the ice!”


We go back to Dagger, who is now in a shop listening in on a conversation between the shopkeeper and one of the local kids, nothing is particularly said as the scene is cut short and we’re back in control of Zidane again who heads out of the Inn. Another ATE focuses on the Innkeeper talking to his cat, he tells the feline that he’s feeling under pressure from his brother, but he doesn’t say why, and that, unlike the rest of the village, he isn’t making any money. He decides to tell “them” about Zidane and the others. He doesn’t say this, but perhaps he’s hoping for some kind of reward for finding Princess Garnet.


Zidane finds Dagger in the shop still, she’s looking at something on the wall and takes a while to notice him. He praises her on her attempts to blend in, but also says she was “good at faking it” when she had to act out “I Want to be your Canary” which she’s insulted by. Zidane asks her to head back to the Inn whilst he looks for Vivi and Steiner, she agrees and heads off. I look at the wall she was studying prior and theres some information about equipping items and abilities, and then a theory about Tetra Master:


“Do you play cards?

My theory is that the first number written on the card represents the card/s attack power.

The third and fourth numbers are probably defence power. I still don’t know what the second character means.

Please press [] to play a game with me

by Eve Subboard”


I’ve not actually played any Tetra Master since those opening moments in Alexandria prior to meeting Rat Boy, its a game I quite like, I definitely preferred it at the time to Final Fantasy VIII’s offering Triple Triad, although I’ve grown to like the latter in Final Fantasy XIV. Now seem’s as good a time as any to have a go, so I challenge the shopkeeper, the aforementioned Eve, which I easily win (although I only win one card from her, not the full set), and then I buy a new Iron Sword for Steiner and a Feather Hat each for the others. Outside the shop, Zidane peaks through the window of the room at the Inn at Dagger, who is practicing how she should be speaking whilst on the run from Alexandria Castle. I explore the village a little more, there’s a well in the centre, and I head into the second building on the left of the main path through the village. Inside a man introduces himself as Mayor Kapu and asks who Zidane is, Zidane merely shakes his head and Mayor Kapu demands he leaves. Outside again, I speak to the two kids who are running around:


“I wonder if he’s one of them?”
“He’s definitely one of ’em”


We find Vivi seemingly staring at an empty plot of land, he tells Zidane he’s been thinking and Zidane asks him if its about a girl. Vivi says he doesn’t’ really think about things like that and Zidane admits to think about girls all the time then boasts that he’s popular with “ALL the girls in Lindblum”. Zidane asks Vivi to head back to the Inn whilst he searches for Steiner. Before they seperate Vivi tells Zidane he heard a

“sound like ‘kweh'”

Zidane says thats the noise a Chocobo makes, but Vivi’s never seen a Chocobo and wonders what they are, Zidane heads off but before Vivi can make his way back to the Inn someone runs, grabs him and runs away again. Zidane turns around briefly and wonders what just happened, but heads back to Dagger at the Inn.


Another ATE shows the Innkeeper acting a bit suspicious, he seem’s really pleased with himself, it sounds like he may have had something to do with whatever has just happened to Vivi. As Zidane enters the Innkeeper is asleep (well, pretending to be), and Zidane heads to the room to wait with Dagger for Vivi. Whilst waiting the pair discuss the village, Dagger has noticed that despite there being kids running around, there doesn’t seem to be many adults, Zidane remembers he used to see the adults working the farm but this confused Dagger as the only farmland she’s seen is the tiny vegetable patch the old woman was tending to. They  both agree that something is going on in the village of Dali, but Zidane quickly moves on to reveal he has a plan to get the party, minus Steiner, through South Gate.


Speaking of Steiner, it appears he’s been helping out at the local pub, doing chores for the young girl who is working there. It seems he’s doing this in order for her to put him in contact with the adults of the village, but she tells him that they’re all away working and wont be back till the evening. He reveals who he, Aldebert Steiner, Commander of the Knights of Pluto from Alexandria blah blah, and says he needs transportation to take somebody back to the castle (he doesn’t tell her its the Princess). The girl informs him that he’d be best served speaking to Morrid at the Observation Tower we visited previously as he looks after the cargo ship.


Back at the Inn and Zidane and Dagger have begun to worry about Vivi and decide to go look for him. The local kids  deny seeing him, so the pair head to the spot Zidane last saw him. The spot where Vivi had been thinking and had heard the Chocobo. Zidane notices he can hear crying, its coming from a small pipe leading underground and the pair soon find its Vivi who is crying, he’s been told not to move from where he is and he tells Zidane he’s not hurt. Zidane promises to get him out of wherever he is, and we head off to investigate the village. The first place I try is the well in the centre of the village, but its too small for Zidane to go down.


I head off to inspect the rest of the village, starting with the pub, then the village patch, Inn, shop and the Mayor’s house, again he tells us to go away, this time I notice there’s somebody laying on his sofa, I can’t recall if they were there the first time I went in though. Somehow I’ve missed exploring the building directly next to the patch Vivi went missing from, its the windmill Vivi wanted to look at. Once in I try the door at the north of the mill, but its locked and requires the “Mayors Key” to open, which I don’t have. Near to the door I find an item called “Aries”, which goes straight into my Key Items section of my inventory. It’s description reads:



The story of 12 Zodiacs.
The 11 Zodiqas pondered.
How best to catch Virgo’s heart?
Aries headed east.

-Stellazio Story-


Which I think reads like a Haiku?


Up a ladder are two treasure chests that I can’t access right now as the mill is working. Back down the ladder and I get to the very obvious hatch over in the bottom corner (Zidane even comments on how obvious it looks), open it up and head down.

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Just published part 3 of my playthrough, in this part we rescue Vivi, find out whats been going on in Dali and arrive in Lindblum where Garnet asks for help




I’ve now spent three weeks with Final Fantasy IX and progress has been slow, but thats because I dont want to speed through it, plus taking notes adds to the play time and lastly I don’t want to include too much in one post. As things stand theres alot going on in this first disc of the game and this post, just judging by my notes, is going to be even longer than the last one which was rather lengthy. So, lets get on with it shall we?


Current Play Time: 11:05
Current Location: Lindlbum


Last week I left things in the Village of Dali, we’d discovered a hatch in the windmill and upon opening it Zidane and Dagger headed down the ladder which takes the two into what initially appears to be a Mine. We progress through the tunnel ahead and come out in an open area with a shed like structure tucked away in a corner and next to it is a pen with a Chocobo in. As Zidane tries to walk past the shed we hear voices from inside so Dagger and Zidane hide behind a nearby barrel. The voices seem to be discussing the Innkeeper and his discovery, the dispute between the Innkeeper and his brother and how this could mean the Innkeeper is joining the rest of the village in whatever it is they’re up to, that once they’ve dealt with this shipment then its up to the castle to deal with, and with that the leave the shed, with Vivi following them. It is then that Dagger notices the pattern printed onto the barrel they’ve been hidden behind, she recognises it and believes she’s seen similar barrels at Alexandria Castle, she tell’s Zidane that their must be a link between Alexandria and whatever it is that is happening in Dali. Zidane wants to go and rescue Vivi, but Dagger makes him promise to wait before he causes any trouble so she can try and find out more about whats going on, Zidane makes the promise but with the caveat that if he thinks Vivi is in danger (isn’t he already?) then he’ll be putting Vivi’s rescue first.


I remember to equip Dagger and Zidane with the Feather Hat’s I bought in the village shop earlier on, Dagger only gets a small increase in her Spirit and Magic Defence stats, Zidane gets the same increase but can also learn Bright Eyes and Add Status.


As we make our way through this underground area Zidane notices loads of boxes scattered around that also happen to look a bit like coffins. Kumop the Moogle is hiding in a nearby barrel, he has a letter that needs to be delivered to Mogki. There’s also a treasure chest suspended in the air in the background which I manage to access by kicking an old rusted up winch, allowing the chest to drop to the ground, it’s only got a potion inside. There’s another chest I have to climb to too, which rewards me with an Ether. Further chests in this underground area result in me getting a new Iron Helm for Steiner and a Leather Wrist that allows Zidane to learn “Beast Killer”.


Dagger and Zidane find Vivi stuffed into one of the coffin’s, once freed Zidane tries to give Vivi some advice about standing up for himself and fighting off anyone who tries to harm him in future, I’m not entirely sure Vivi takes it all in though but with Vivi safe the group decide to investigate further. In this same room there’s a door with Mist pouring through the gap beneath it and theres also some machinery pumping out egg like things onto a conveyor belt. I open the door and defeat the pair of Ghosts that I’m thrown into battle against. Through the door is a cave like entrance leading to the surface but Mist is pouring in through it and being sucked in by another machine that seems to be sending it to the egg machine in the previous room. I head back and follow the route the conveyor belt is taking the “eggs”, along this route is another Chocobo whom is being used to power the conveyor belt by being forced to run in an oversized hamster wheel, maybe the other Chocobo we saw was being rested? The eggs are disappearing into yet another Mist powered mechanicsm, it seems as though this one is used to hatch them in some way. Horribly, coming out of the otherside on claws, are Black Mages. Zidane notes (to himself) that they look alot like Vivi, there are differences: they’re larger and dressed in different colours. Vivi is visibly disturbed by what he is seeing, and who can blame him? Dagger’s also concerned and questions her Mothers involvement. Zidane hears someone approaching and drags the other two into another machine in order to hide, it sounds like its almost time for the cargo ship to collect its shipment, which it now seems will also include Dagger, Vivi and Zidane as they are boxed up by the machine they were hiding in.


Whilst all of this has been happening Steiner has gone back to the Observation Mountain to visit Morrid who is uncooperative with Steiners demands by ultimately tells him the Cargo Ship has already arrived. Back on the outskirts of the village, near the vegetable patch, Steiner watches as a trap door opens and barrels are loaded out of it nearby to the airship. Whilst inspecting one of the barrels it begins to move and tip over followed by the other three all pouring out of it. Zidane asks Steiner if he knows where the ship is going to, Steiner lies and tells them its going to Lindlblum, however, before they can climb aboard the airship they are attacked by Black Waltz No.2, who reveals it has been sent by Queen Brahne.


My power, magic and speed make me far superior to No.1!
Resistance is futile!”


However, the battle is fairly easy, Zidane faced No.1 alone, this time he has Vivi providing his black magic, Steiner’s strength and Dagger’s white magic, and thus the fight doesn’t really last very long. Upon victory we decide to rest back at the Inn before we depart for “Lindblum”, the Innkeeper seems surprised to see Vivi, although Zidane inteprets his staring as being him gawping at Dagger and Zidane tells him off for this. Unfortunately I’ve done everything I think I can do in Dali for now, theres the chests in the mill I couldn’t reach and finding the Mayor’s Key but I can’t seem to do anything about either of those right now, so we head off to the cargo ship.


Dagger and Zidane think they know what Steiner is up to, they definetly know the ship is heading for Alexandria rather than Lindblum, but Zidane has a plan and asks Dagger to trust him. Vivi finally manages to speak up about what they have seen in Dali and asks if Zidane thinks the mages they saw really look like him, Zidane thinks they do but lies to Vivi and says they’re just dolls (as they had no life in them). Suddenly the airships engine starts up and Zidane, Dagger and Vivi have to rush to get on board, Dagger is hesitant as she doesn’t want to go back to Alexandria and Zidane tells her he doesn’t have time to explain and that she needs to trust him. He doesn’t really help matters by grabbing her backside as they climb the ladder to board the ship, he claims its an accident but I’m certain Dagger doesn’t believe him. But he promises to get her to Lindblum.


Onboard, the ship appears to be manned entirely by Black Mages, Vivi keeps trying to get their attention but his attempts are unsuccesful. Zidane inspects the engine and wonders where and how Alexandria got the technology they saw underground in Dali as Mist engines are built in Lindlum and Alexandria isn’t a technologically advanced kingdom. He also wonders if the remaining members of Tantalus (minus himself and Blank) managed to escape the Evil Forest, then heads up onto the deck where he finds Steiner who is on his knee’s cursing himself, seemingly unaware that Dagger is onboard the ship after all, and is thus surprised to hear Zidanes voice accusing him of almost leaving them all behind, he angrily tells Zidane his plan to return the Princess to the Castle. Zidane heads over to the cabin with the ships controls in and takes over and the Black Mages pen him into the cabin, before they can do anything Black Waltz No.3 lands on the ships deck, attacks Vivi and laughs at him, labeling him a small child. But before it can finish Vivi off, the Black Mages rally together and stand between Black Waltz No.3 and Vivi. Black Waltz No.3 attacks and kills them instead, damaging the ship in the process, allowing Zidane and Steiner to come to Vivi’s aid and the three take on the creature, leaving Dagger in control of the ship and the decision of whether to change course and head to Lindblum or carry on and head back to Alexandria.


As the battle begins Vivi enters Trance, which allows him to cast his magic twice per turn. This battle changes things up slightly as Black Waltz No.3 takes off at times which renders physical attacks useless, during these spells Steiner uses his Sword Magic (getting Vivi to cast magic onto his sword before attacking their opponent), Vivi continues with his Black Magic and Zidane is relegated to using items to heal the party. I also managed to get Zidane to steal a Linen Cuirass and, unlike the previous Waltz’s, Black Waltz No. 3 retreats from the battle. Zorn and Thorn have been watching this battle from afar, like they did with the fight against Black Waltz No.1, however, instead of retreating fully, Black Waltz No.3 goes rogue, attacks the pair and steals their ship to give chase to the Zidane and company, Dagger has turned to head towards South Gate and onto Lindblum, and during the chase Black Waltz No.3 manages to set fire to the craft its commandeered and crashes into South Gate with the Cargo Ship just about squeezing through as the gates shut. Somehow, despite everything, Dagger has managed to finally make it to Lindblum!


Upon arrival Dagger immediately demands to see Regent Cid, not knowing who she is the gurards refuse this but Minister Artanis arrives and recognises Garnet and her Falcon Claw necklace and asks the party to follow him. Whilst in the lift to Cid’s throne room, Zidane asks Garnet what Cid is like, as despite living in Lindblum for a long time, he’s never seen him. Dagger states that whilst he’s very wise, he can come across as a little odd, but thats because he’s always thinking ahead of everybody else. As they disembark the elevator Garnet finds that the throne room is mostly empty, theres an Oglop with a huge moustache sat where Cid should be seated. The creature tries to approach the Princess so Steiner punches it and sends it flying just as Zidane walks into the room. It is as this point that the Oglop introduces itself as Cid Fabool, Regend of Lindblum. Minister Artanis fills everybody in, telling them that six months ago somebody snuck into Regent Cid’s quarters attacking him and turning him into an Oglop, they then abudcted his wife, Lady Hilda. Cid also hints that he knows why Garnet needs to speak with him, but says that they all need some rest and discussions can wait till tomorrow.


Zidane decides he doesn’t want to stay and eat at the Castle and heads to a pub within the city of Lindblum, after trying to chat up the barmaid he’s scolded by another woman at the bar whom he then very nearly picks a fight with. She seems to know who he is but he pretends he cant recall her name, eventually he gives in and addresses her as Freya, and it seems she’s

in Lindblum to take part in the Festival of the Hunt.


The following day Garnet tells Cid of her concerns for her Mother, shes been behaving erratically ever since her husband passed, she’s also been seeing a strange man around the Castle. Garnet is worried that she’s planning something terrible but everyone she has raised her concerns to so far hasn’t listened. She believes Queen Brahne would listen to Cid and tells him of how she arrived in Lindblum, Tantalus’ attempt to kidnap her and what they witnessed in Dali. Cid reveals that he had hired Tantalus to kidnap Garnet, he had promised her Father he would protect her should anything happen and he’d been watching Alexandria’s actions from afar, but felt that direct action would lead to war which he would ideally avoid. He takes Garnet down to Airship Dock 1 where Lindblum develop and research new airship technology. The latest model they’d constructed doesn’t require Mist to run, but was stolen by whomever it was that attacked Cid six months prior, or so Garnet thought. Actually, what had happened, according to Cid, is that he had met another woman in a pub shortly before all of this, Hilda had discovered this and used her magic to turn Cid into an Oglop, she then ran away in his new airship which he’d named the Hilda Garde.


In a Inn in Lindlum Zidane is given a letter by Moodon, its from Ruby who is still in Alexandria:


From Ruby to Zidane

Ain’t y’all comin’ back to Alexandria?
I’m so lonely!

Just kiddin’! I’m openin’ up a l’il theatre in an alley here.

(A bartender pal o’mine is quittin’ the saloon and gettin’ into showbiz. He asked me to help.)


Zidane asks Vivi if he wants him to show him around Lindblum but Vivi declines and heads off to explore on his own, in a shop, the shop keeper gifts him a Kupo Nut, which she says is the Moogles’ favourite food.


As Zidane explores Lindblum there’s alot of excitement around the Festival of the Hunt starting, from what I can gather Lindblum was originally a settlement of hunters and its first Regent, Cid I, started the Festival. I pop in and out of whatever buildings I can access, in the church I find a Leather Plate, whilst in the weapons shop Zidane looks at a wall of swords

“I remember a guy with spiky hair who carried something like this”


In the shop I buy a Mythril Dagger for Zidane, Glass Armlets and Steepled Hats for Zidane, Vivi and Dagger and Silver Gloves for Steiner. I also visit the Synthesist and create a pair of Desert Boots. Whilst visiting the Tantalus Hideout Zidane notes that the troupe haven’t made it back to Lindblum yet but an ATE shows that they’ve found their way out of Evil Forest. Baku and Marcus discuss Blank’s petrification and they plan ot try and find a way to cure him without doing the same for Evil Forest.

After exploring Lindblum and its three districts: Theatre, Business and Industrial, and playing everybody I can in Tetra Master (In 15 games I only won 6, drew 1 and lost 8, earning me 3 Zombie card, 1 Bomb card, 1 Cerberus card and 1 Lizard Man card and bringing my stats to P22 W10 D1 L11), Zidane heads back to the Castle to visit Garnet, but when she arrives she is no longer in her quarters, only Steiner is there. Unsurprisingly he blames Zidane for her latest disappearance, he then leaves to search for her. In Garnets quarters are two chests, one contains a Glass Armlet, the other an Ether. There;s also a Moogle called Mogki, I happen to have a letter for him from Kumop.


“From Kumop to Mogki

Stiltzkin visited me!

He said he found a place that seemed interesting, and then he left.

I wish he stayed longer, kupo.
Where did he go, anyway?
Let me know when you find out! Kupo!”


Whilst conducting his own search for Garnet, Zidane hears the song he heard back in Dali. It sounds like it’s being sung by the same person so it must be Garnet, she’s upstairs, but the guard wont allow Zidane through as he’s not “authorised personel”. I remember seeing a guard sleeping nearby and approach him, Zidane wakes him by saying he saw someone suspicious heading upstairs and instructs the guard to follow him, leading him to Garnets quarters where Zidane knocks him out and steals his uniform. Now in disguise Zidane can board the lift, once its in motion he changes out of the uniform then heads for the roof where he does indeed find Garnet singing, she seem’s unhappy. She asks Zidane if he helped her because he was told to do so, but he tells her how once they’d crashed in Evil Forest he chose to help her, that Baku didn’t agree with his plan so he left Tantalus. When she asks what Tantalus’ plan was to kidnap her entailed, he tells of how they were going to use Sleep Weed to knock her out. Garnet asks for some Sleep Weed as “she’s been having trouble sleeping lately”, Zidane doesn’t think her using it is such a good idea as he’s worried she could become addicted to it and offers to keep her company at night instead. She brushes off his advances so Zidane asks her to sing again and whilst she does we get to see brief snippets from other characters we’ve met along the way. Steiner is looking at armour and gets angry at a comment another customer makes about Queen Brahne. Vivi finds some toys left behind by some bickering children and wonders again about the Black Mages and Dali, we also get very brief moments with Freya on the roofs of Lindblum and Cid in Dock 1 trying to get his latest design to work.

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Part 4, I take part in the Festival of the Hunt and leave Lindblum after hearing shit has gone down in Burmecia




Last week we left the story in Lindblum, Zidane and Princess Garnet/Dagger had had a heart to heart of sorts whilst we also saw other characters in and around Lindblum itself. We pick up the plot during preperations for the Festival of the Hunt.


Current Play Time: 14:57
Current Location: Gizamalukes Grotto


Whilst still on the rooftop of Lindblum Castle Zidane asks Garnet about an airship date he’d apparently planned, however it seems that she wasn’t the girl he’d actually invited on this date

and Garnet appears to be upset by this. Zidane tries to style it out and declares that if he wins the Festival of the Hunt then he’ll take her out on a date.

The following day is the morning of the Festival of the Hunt. It seems the goal is to fight as many of the beasts that have been let loose in Lindblum as possible within the alloted time,

“The bigger the catch the higher the score!”


“Festival of the Hunt.

The time limit is 12 minutes.
Use air cabs to go to other districts.
Once you lose in a battle you will be forced to retire.

The winner will be crowned Master Hunter and receive the hunter’s reward.
Who will come out on top!?


Participants get to choose their reward, Zidane opts (unsurprisingly) for Gil, Freya says she’d like an “add-on” (an accessory) and Vivi, who wasn’t even aware he was entering but Zidane had put his name forward, chooses to receive a card in the event that he wins. Zidane also promises him a date with Garnet if he wins, although Garnet isn’t aware of this as its kept hush-hush between the pair. Each has a different starting point, as Zidane I start in the Theatre District. As it all kicks off, Garnet and Steiner cheer Vivi on.

I optimize Zidanes gear so battles are over quicker, although they’re still agonisingly slow when you’re sat there watching the clock tick, you lose time to the game loading between screens and the ATB gauge always takes ages to fill up and there’s very little you can do about it. After clearing the Theatre District, I head to the Business District. I see Vivi being chased across the square and then on the next screen Zidane and Freya team up to take down a Zaghnol thats a little more than the organisers expected, however the timer runs out before we can finish it off. Ultimately Freya wins the Hunt and is awarded with a Coral Ring.


During the ceremony a Burmecian soldier staggers into the Throne Room, interupting proceedings, he’s severely injured. He has grave news from the King of Burmecia, their Kingdom has been attacked and the Burmecian soldiers are no match for whomever it is conducting the attack, the King requests reinforcements. Though from what the soldier says the enemy forces are comprised of Black Mages. Cid wants to recall one of his aerial divisions but is reminded that would mean they can no longer monitor Alexander. Garnet wonders if her Mother is somehow involved in the attack on Burmecia.


Freya decided she needs to head home to Burmecia immediately and Zidane opts to go too, though Freya initially refuses his help Zidane manages to persuade her otherwise. Vivi and Garnet want to go to, Vivi wants to find out more about the Black Mages whilst Garnet thinks she can talk to and stop her Mother if she is involved. However, Steiner tells her she can’t go and much to her surprise Cid agrees, she turns to Zidane for support but he too believes its too dangerous for her to go and so she is resigned to staying behind in Lindblum where she can be better protected. Cid invites the group to finish the celebration of Freya winning the Festival, despite all of this news, and as it will take some time for Dragons Gate to open, allowing them a route to Burmecia, the rest of the group agree’s to join him in the traditional feast.


During the feast Steiner notices Garnet isn’t eating, so she begins to pick at her food. Shortly afterwards everybody, aside from Garnet and Steiner, collapses. Steiner starts shouting in a panic, believing everybody has been poisoned and falls to the floor clutching his throat. Garnet looks at him, surprised, and tells him she didn’t put anything in his food, then tells him she put Sleep Weed, that she got off Zidane, in everybody elses food. She tells Steiner that she needs to escape Lindblum and head back to Alexandria to talk to her Mother. He tries to explain to her that its safer for her there in Lindblum, despite his earlier attempts to return her to Alexandria, but soon submits and obeys his Princess’ demands.

When the rest awake, they soon cotton on to whats happened, though it seems they believe Garnet is heading for Burmecia and decide they can hold on no longer and depart as soon as possible. Freya suggests heading to Gizamalukes Grotto in order to go under the mountains and get to Burmecia.


Before heading to the Dragon’s Gate, I return Zidanes equipment back to its pre-Festival state so he can continue to learn the abilities that were tied to that gear. I also take the cable trolley in the opposite direction and head to Serpent Gate first, which leads to Lindblums Harbour, which is barely used now because of the Mist and the airships.


At Dragon’s Gate Moonte has a letter from Stiltzkin:

From Stitlzkin to Moonte

I left Lindblum and headed north,
I walked through the Mist and Gizamalukes Grotto to reach Burmecia for the very first time.
It’s raining, as expected.
I’m going to look for shelter now…


On the World Map I find my way to Gizamaluke’s Grotto by following roots growing out of the ground. However, before entering I decide to explore my surroundings a little more. i move Freya into the front row for battles, her Jump move is good, but its not really needed in most random battles and I’m better served having her at the front of the party alongside Zidane where she can do more damage. If I need to play more defensively I can always move her back at any point. There’s Chocobo tracks, but I cant use them just yet.

Whilst wandering around the World Map, I happen upon Qu’s Marsh where I bump into Mogster and his brother from the games tutorials, he doesn’t have anything new to teach me/his brother yet. There’s also a strange, large blue creature with a large tongue, chefs hat and a red/pink cardigan. It tell’s Zidane that it’s hungry, so when Zidane catches a frog it asks Zidane if he can eat it. It then introduces itself as Quina. Another of these creatures appears and lambastes Quina for not being able to catch food for itself, and then sends Quina off into the World with Zidane in order for it to experience different food (and frogs, which are apparently this species’ favourite) from the rest of the World.


As we leave Quales hut something appears to be bothering Vivi, he tells Zidane that Quale looked alot like his Grandpa and wonders if he knows him. We go back into the hut to question Quale, who tries to make out like he didn’t know Quan (Vivi’s Grandpa) but gives us just enough information that its clear that he does. He calls Quan a bigot and spills that they are from the same clan. Quale also refers to Quina as “S/he” but also as “him”. What a confusing bunch this lot are.


Back at the pond  where we met Quina I play a mini-game that involves catching frogs, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the game is, its one of those games where you have to wait for the right moment to strike to catch your prey and in all honesty I’m not very good at it.


Back out on the World Map, I enter random battles and I should mention at this point that Quina is a Blue Mage (Freya is a Dragoon/Dragon Knight), and in order for Quina to learn new abilities, Quina has to eat enemies, which means I have to weaken them sufficiently first, which is easier said than done. Even so Quina manages to learn three new abilities:

Pumpkin Head

Aqua Breath

Mighty Guard


I suddenly remember that when Zidane and Garnet were talking on the roof of Lindblum Castle the pair took some time to look through a large telescope and that I spotted various locations through it. So, again, before I head to Gizamaluke’s Grotto I check the map to see what I can access now and see Chocobo Forest on there. Once there I meet Mene the “Master of this forest” and he introduces me to his friend Choco the Chocobo. He tries to convince Choco to let me ride him but Choco runs away, Mene then gives me some Gysahl Greens, a Chocobo’s favourite food, that will allow me to summon Choco on the World Map, thus allowing me to travel faster and avoid random battles, he tells me that when I return he’ll tell me a secret. So I leave the forest, head to the nearest set of tracks, summon Choco and go straight back in.


The secret is another mini-game, Chocobo Hot and Cold, where I get Choco to run around the forest pecking the ground in the hope of finding hidden treasures, again, I’m not particularly good at this sort of mini game, mostly as I lack the patience for it.


Outside Gizamaluke’s Grotto two guards lay dead at the entrance. Freya demands to know who the Black Mage’s are, seemingly directing her question at Vivi, but runs ahead as she becomes ever more worried that the King is in danger. Inside there’s a door with a bell design carved into it, pushing the door wont open it, so there must be another way. We find another injured Burmecian soldier who, just before he dies, gives Zidane a bell and tells the group to go to Burmecia. We ring the bell outside the door we couldn’t open previously and the door begins to chime too, then once the bell in Zidane’s hand shatters, it opens and allows us through, I’ll be needing a bell for each door I find in the Grotto.


Through the door Black Mage’s are killing Burmecian soldiers. Zorn & Thorn notice Zidane and the rest and are unsure if they recognise the group or not. They send a pair of Black Mages to kill them anyway, but I deal with them easily, which leads to Zorn & Thorn running away.


In one room within the Grotto, there is a Moogle frantically running around a large bell, it appears it has fallen and trapped her husband inside. Her name is Mogmi and she’s desperate for some help, its then that she notices something about Vivi, and after giving him a good sniff she realises he’s carrying a Kupo Nut. Vivi hands over the nut and she approaches the bell with it, which excites her husband enough that he finds the strength to tip the bell over, thus freeing himself. The couple are called Mogmi (the female Moogle) and Moguta (her husband). Mogmi also happens to have a letter from Moodon


From Moodon to Mogmi

This years Festival of the Hunt was sooo exciting! Kupo!
The highest score was 132 points!
A woman named Freya won the title!

Last years winner, Belma, only got 88 points!
Oh, it was so much fun!!!


In a room that is filled with water another soldier warns Freya to be careful, something is wrong with “Master Gizamaluke” and at that moment the party is attacked by a large serpent, the aforementioned Gizamaluke. This is the first challenging battle I’ve experienced in the game thus far, the Black Waltz No. 3 fight threw a bit of a curve ball, but in this I had to revive party members using Phoenix Downs quite regularly, even so, the beast is felled. Freya declares that they must hurry due to the king being in danger and, before I can explore the Grotto any further, the scene changes and we are now with Steiner who is carrying a large bag over his shoulder.

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Part 5 was published last night, I've finally reached Burmecia and also the end of disc one.





Last week we took a break from this playthrough of Final Fantasy IX to focus on July’s Retro Games Club game – Parodius (well, Sexy Parodius, the version I played), but now we return to Final Fantasy IX and when we last played Zidane, Freya, Quina and Vivi had just defeated Gizamaluke in Gizamaluke’s Grotto and the action then switched to Steiner carrying a bag outside on of the foot gates to South Gate, namely Bohden’s Gate.

We’re now in Alexandrian territory, at least according to Steiner. As Steiner approaches the gates he is stopped by two guards who are looking for a “middle aged man with a young girl”, which Steiner certainly fits the description of, though Garnet isn’t with him, Steiner pretends he is a labourer looking for work (though how the guards fall for that considering he’s wearing a full suit of armour I don’t know), this pleases the guards qas South Gate is still in a state of disrepair after Black Waltz No.3’s attack. One of the guards questions Steiner whilst the other (“Short Guard”) investigates his bag, but only discovers it to be full of Gysahl Pickles (much to “Short Guard”‘s disgust). Steiner is allowed through and it is then we discover Garnet is also in the bag, somehow hidden among all the pickles. So, we need to find a place to hide so she can get out of the bag, but there’s a guy and a girl near to the only suitable spot, an alleyway. Turns out the guy is Chief Engineer on the rebuild of this particular area, and it seems his apprentice isn’t doing his job properly (instead of repairing one of the gateways, he’s merely polishing it). Informing the Engineer of this sends him on his way to go sort the apprentice out.

There’s also a shop keeper who has gone out of business, turns out the girl knows him and is worried for him, Steiner persuades her to help the shop keeper out, which leaves the alleyway clear for Garnet to climb out of Steiners bag, once out she tells Steiner he must call her Dagger, at least until they reach Treno.

Through the alleyway is Bohden Station, with a tram car available to climb the hill, Grimo asks me to deliver a letter to Nazna. After restocking on Potions and Phoenix Downs, Steiner and Garnet board the tram and depart from the station. Steiner praises Dagger for her strength and intelligence, saying they wouldn’t have gotten this far if it weren’t for her abilities as a White Mage nor her plan to hide in a bag of pickles, he then resorts to his favourite past-time, ranting about Zidane and his lack of manners.

Speaking of Zidane, we now go back to the group in Gizamaluke’s Grotto. Freya swears to protect Burmecia and leaves the grotto with the rest following behind her, however I’ve not done exploring so send everybody back in. Within the Grotto the one creature I’ve had trouble with in battles is the Lamia’s, so I spend a bit of time fighting these over and again in order to raise the party’s levels. Unfortunately the other doors in Gizamaluke’s Grotto are still locked and I can’t get any more bells to unlock them, I must have done things in the wrong order before, so I decide to leave and head for Burmecia.

Before we continue, I’d like to take a moment to discuss FFIX’s Trance system, this is the games equivalent of the Limit Break. A bar under your characters HP and MP gradually fills up by being hit by an enemy, there are other times where Trance is triggered, usually during a heightened emotional state within the story, and once the bar is full it auto-triggers itself increasing the party members damage output and unlocking special moves (for example Vivi can cast two lots of magic per turn whilst in Trance), the system itself isn’t bad but you can’t save it up and use it when needed and there have been a few occassions where its triggered right at the end of a fight but that character has been unable to take their turn and then the bar is depleted at the start of the next battle. It’s a sometimes frustrating design choice, and whilst I’m sure there’s ways to play the system and work it to your advantage, such as maybe taking a party member out of the group when you have the numbers to do so and then putting them back in if you know theres a boss coming up, but as I’m playing this sans walkthrough and pretty much relying on my memory from playing FFIX properly nearly 20 years ago, I’m not likely to be able to do that. I’m surprised by how much of it I actually remember so far, but there’s been a few bits that have been a surprise too (I’d completely forgotten about Gizamaluke’s Grotto being before Burmecia for example).

Once I finally arrive at Burmecia, it’s clear all is not okay, even the weather is depressing, Stiltzkin was right when he mentioned it raining in one of his letters! Barrels of fruit lay upturned, their contents spilling onto the wet cobble stones with no concious citizens in sight. Freya reveals she has been away from he homeland for five years. As we walk through the streets, the party is attacked by some Magic Vices that have a particularly horrible attack that takes almost all of a characters MP, thus rendering Vivi pretty much useless as I know that Ether’s are hard to come by in this game.

As I approach one building, Zorn and Thorn appear on a balcony above, their Yoda like manner of talking is wearing incredibly thin really fast. Once again, they set their Black Mages on us, but as usual these are easily dispatched, Zorn & Thorn then threaten me with the “General” who is apparently “very scary” when mad, I suppose I’ll find out who their referring to later as they then flee, again.

Burmecia has other enemies other than the Magic Vice’s that are annoying, Basilisk’s can petrify party members, though this takes 10 turns to take effect and their easily dispatched in 2 or at the most 3, and some of the treasure chests that are left for you to open in the hope of finding an item are actually Mimics. Though I think the offending chests are a slightly darker shade of brown compared to the normal chests, but that could be my imagination and me remembering where the Mimics were (and still fighting them).

After exploring any open buildings I gain a “Protection Bell” which opens a gateway leading to the Palace and works in the same way as the bells in Gizamaluke’s Grotto. Inside the Palace gates “Burmecian Soldier Dan” challenges us, he believes Zidane and co are in league with the Black Mages, mostly because of Vivi’s presence. Fortunately Freya steps forward and he backs down, he instructs us to flee because of the number of enemy forces, but we must press on.

Zidane saves an injured male Burmecian who was trying to persuade his pregnant wife to leave him behind, a large altar collapses and Zidane manages to drag him out of the way in time. Another Burmecian appears to see what the noise was and Zidane tells the three to head to Lindblum where Regent Cid will provide them with refuge. The pregnant Burmecian tells Zidane he must visit them once all of this is over with and that their child should be born by then.

Atla wants me to deliver a letter to Monev. Before I leave Atla, Stiltzkin appears and sells me a Soft, Hi-Potion and Ether for 333 Gil, I also buy a Needle Fork for Quina, a couple of Magus Hats, a Barbut for Freya and an additional Bronze Vest from the shot Atla has set up, I also stock up on Potions again before using a Tent and saving. In the armoury nearby Freya finds a Mythril Spear that also allows her to learn her first Dragon Knight ability: Reis’s Wind, then we head to the Palace itself.

Hidden amongst the shadows cast by some suits of armour, Zidane and Freya watch Queen Brahne talking to General Beatrix, whom Zorn & Thorn must have been referring to earlier on. But the story quickly cuts to Freya having a flashback talking to another Burmecian, revealed to be Sir Fratley, who has decided to leave Burmecia in order to grow stronger in order to protect his homeland, spefically citing strong warriors such as Beatrix as his reason for believing he can grow stronger. The news leaves Freya devastated, she loves Sir Fratley. She later hears rumours of his death, and being unable to accept the news, leaves Burmecia herself to search for him. When we return to her in the Palace with Zidane, its clear shes been unable to verify these rumours.

He thoughts, however, are distracted by the entrance of a man neither Zidane nor Freya recognise. Queen Brahne refers to him as Kuja and praises his Black Mages, though it seems neither Brahne, Kuja nor Beatrix know the whereabouts of the Burmecian King, whom she wants rid of. Kuja says “Rats often look for new homes when they sense an earthquake. They probably moved to the sandy treehouse by now”, this is probably a reference to Cleyra, or at least thats how Freya and Brahne both interpret it. Apparently Cleyra is protected by a huge sandstorm, rendering it impossible to attack, though it seems Kuja believes otherwise and asks Beatrix to gather her troops nearby.

Freya tells Zidane a little about Cleyra, she says that its people were once Burmecians, but they severed ties with Burmicia over a “trivial conflict”, but the kingdom is at peace and shielded by a sandstorm. At that moment a Burmecian soldier storms in and makes a move to attack the Queen, before he does Freya and Zidane launch to his aid, Vivi and Quina also finally catch up and join them, and we’re thrown into a battle with the formidable General Beatrix.

This particular battle is essentially one of survival, knocking down the turns until Beatrix unleashes an attack that leaves the party struggling on the floor, at which point her and Brahne leave to ready the Alexandrian troops for the attack on Cleyra. Before leaving Kuja stops to examine the group, he seems concerned that one of the group could cause a problem, I assume he’s talking about Vivi as he looks alot like the Black Mages Kuja and Brahne have been creating and using, he then climbs on to an Ironite and departs into the sky.

End of Disc One.

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Off to Treno this week in search of some Supersoft to cure Blanks petrification




Last week we finished off Disc 1. Zidane, Vivi, Freya and new companion Quina were defeated in battle by Alexandrian General Beatrix, and the trio of Queen Brahne, Kuja and Beatrix had stated they were to move on to Cleyra in pursuit of the Burmecian King.

As Disc 2 starts we are once again outside Bohden Gate, the two guards that searched Steiner’s bag of pickles are discussing the rumours surrounding recent events. The Short Guard is frustrated at being on guard duty and wants to join the front lines in war, his colleague however doesn’t understand why anyone would want to go to war, and with that we join Steiner and Dagger aboard the Cable Car.


Steiner has his doubts around everything they’ve heard about Queen Brahne and doesn’t believe she is capable of starting a war, however, he decides his duty is to protect the Princess whatever it takes. It seems the cable car only goes so far on its journey to Alexandria, and stops half way there, this is because the journey is split into two with a cable car for each half of the journey, as one reaches the station in the middle, the other reaches either Lindblum (the cable car Dagger and Steiner are aboard) or the station that leads to Treno within the kingdom of Alexandria.


Whilst the pair wait for the Alexandrian cable car to arrive Dagger hears a familiar voice, Cinna and Marcus have arrived at the station from Evil Forest, just missing the cable car to Lindblum (because Cinna wanted to eat Bundt Cake), they head into the rest area and bump into Steiner who is far from pleased to see them. He accuses them of being there to try and kidnap the Princess again. Nazna the Moogle sits in the corner of the rest area and I have a letter for her (I don’t know why I assume Nazna is female, I guess the name sounds more feminine?)


From Grimo to Nazna

I feel so sad whenever I see
Mary, that part-time worker.

Have you ever fallen in love?
I’ve never fallen in love before, kupo.
If watching someone else in love
is so difficult, I wonder how difficult
it is to actually fall in love myself?


Nazna gives Dagger a Kupo Nut as thanks for delivering the letter. From the shop here I buy Dagger an Air Racket, Mythril Rod, Glass Armlet and a Magus Hat, for Steiner I purchase Mythril Gloves and a Barbut.


Every time Dagger tries to speak to Cinna and Marcus, Steiner interupts and tells her not to interact with them, she ultimately has to put him in his place, asks why she can’t talk to her friends, which leaves him essentially speechless, seems Garnet is becoming less the Princess he expects her to be and more the Dagger that Zidane has tried to teach her to be. At that there’s a rumble and the Station Attendant announces that the cable car to Alexandria has arrived. It turns out that whilst Cinna was heading to Lindblum (and missed his cable car), Marcus actually wants to go to Treno. Marcus reveals to Dagger that the reason he is heading to Treno is because he is trying to locate an item called Supersoft that he can use to cure Blanks petrification. Dagger offers to help but Marcus refuses, and before she can make her claim for why her help could be useful, the Cable Car comes to a sudden halt.


The Conductor thinks the reason could be engine related and leaves the cable car to investigate, but quickly re-enters saying that there’s a “demon with a pointy hat outside” Dagger, Steiner and Marcus all rush out to see whats going on and are confronted by an injured Black Waltz No.3 blocking the tracks.


This battle is literally just Marcus and Steiner smacking the thing with Dagger on healing duties, Black Waltz No. 3 wont hurt her either, so its fairly easy to keep the other two on their feet and the fight is over in four or five turns.


Back on board the Cable Car, Marcus comes to the conclusion that Dagger knows what going on with her Mother and Alexandria in Burmecia, though none of them know whats really gone down there just yet, the pair also understand that Steiner is in denial about it all. Marcus guesses that he will be unable to stop Dagger helping him find the Supersoft and notes that she’s changed (albeit it that there’s still some of Princess Garnet still there when she talks about the Nobles of Treno).


On the World Map I encounter a Ghost, the music is different in this battle, and rather than attack me the Ghost says it “could really go for some Ore” so rather than attack it I throw some Ore from my inventory to it, the battle ends with the Ghost saying “Give my regards to Ladybird”. After this I spend some time levelling up as Steiner and Dagger are only level 7 compared to the group in Burmecia all being at level 11 or thereabouts. Whilst levelling I come across Quan’s Dwelling, I find three Ethers and “Scorpio”



Scorpio was very timid.
He always looked at his
shadow, until one day,
he decided to look away.
He walked up a hill.
=Stellazzio Story=


I also found some markings on a wall


“Six months since I adopted Vivi. Still too small to eat?”


In Treno Marcus and Steiner argue about how to obtain the Supersoft, Marcus plans to find it and steal it. Steiner won’t allow him to do that and goes off on one, whilst his back is turned, Dagger wanders off.


A series of ATE’s follow Dagger as she explores Treno. In the first a thief pick pockets her, stealing 500 gil, you can prevent this but my timing was off. the following ATE has her attempt to chase the thief, but he manages to hide and she turns down a different path. The thief decides its about time he left town. She then asks an old man about the Supersoft, but he’s partially deaf and confused and talks about his deceased wife before telling Dagger that she’s still young and not to give up, lastly she finds her way to the Auction house and spots a man that she recognises up on the balcony (it’s Kuja but she doesn’t know of him properly yet, though I assume its the man she referred to back in Dali that she had seen around Alexandria Castle).


I explore Treno as Steiner and come across the Pick Pocket, Steiner asks him if he’s seen a pretty girl with long hair, which the Pick Pocket tries to deny but keeps blurting out information about her, that he stole nothing from her, then he gives Steiner a Power Belt (that he bought with the 500 Gil) before running away. The Power Belt allows Steiner to learn MP Attack and Counter, it can also teach Fira, but Steiner can’t learn that particular ability. From the auction room below, Steiner overhears two Noble’s discussing the nights auction and how the main attraction is a Reflect Ring.


Marcus also has a series of ATE’s. In his he heads to an Inn and meets Baku downstairs. Baku has discovered where they can get the Supersoft they’ve been searching for, it’s in a Nobleman’s home and its up to Marcus to break in and steal it. Baku tells Marcus that he’s got “two liabilities coming along”, I think he’s referring to Steiner and Dagger.


Treno’s resident Moogle is Mogrich and I have a letter for him


From Stitzkin to Mogrich

There’s trouble in this rainy city.
The guys I saw were heading
towards Vube Desert, west of Burmecia.

They’ll only find sandstorms.
What could the possibly want?

I’m gonna follow them and see…”


In the item shop the floor is like a huge cage, there’s a monster beneath it that the clerk says belongs to the store owner who likes to get people to battle it. From the shop I buy a Mythril Sword, Flame Staff, Ice Staff, Bone Wrist, a Bandanna and some Chain Mail.

When Steiner finally reaches the auction house, he also finds Dagger there who lambasts him


“How can I find the Supersoft when I keep having to listen to your complaints?”


Steiner is visibly deflated, she asks him where Marcus is but Steiner doesn’t know. Dagger decides shes going to go and try and find him and see if he’s found the Supersoft, she tells Steiner she’s going with or without him, ever dutiful, Steiner follows after her. Before leaving though I join in with the auction, I am outbid on everything bar a Mini-Cid, which is the only thing to go for less than 10,000 Gil, maybe I shouldn’t have bought all that equipment before.


As expected I find Marcus at the Inn, he informs Dagger he knows where the Supersoft is and he is ready to depart when she is. He leads her to Baku at the Dock, Steiner pleads with her for her to listen to his counsel and turn back, agreeing takes us back to the Inn and gives us another opportunity to prepare for whatever lies ahead, but I think I’ve done all I can in Treno for now and have taken an absolute hiding at Tetra Master, losing nine battles, drawing one and only winning three. And whilst I found a Yeti card and won a Sand Golem card (plus a Goblin and a Flan) I also manage to lose both those cards, plus my Cerberus, Ironite and Mimic plus others that I happened to have multiple of, leaving my collection pretty weak now. Baku asks if Dagger understands that breaking and entering is a crime but Dagger merely informs him that shes coming along as she needs to make sure that they don’t steal anything else.


Meanwhile, Kuja is talking to the auctioneer. The music during this scene is oddly reminiscent of the Shinra music from Final Fantasy VII,. Kuja reports that things went well in Burmecia, though it would have been better if he hadn’t seen “those vermin and the ugly elephant-lady”, the auctioneer is instructed to prepare something ahead of Kuja’s appearance in Cleyra and is then asked if a “pretty lady was in the crowd today?”. He talks about how the canary has flown into his cage willingly and bigs her to fly home to her Mother. I can only assume he is talking about Garnet.


The screen fades to black with the text:


“I, too, will welcome
you home with open arms”

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We're of to steal the Supersoft this week, though that doesn't quite go as expected




Last week Dagger, Marcus and Steiner were exploring the Dark City of Treno, home to the Noble Men and Ladies of the world Final Fantasy IX takes place in. The trio were trying to locate an item called Supersoft so that Marcus could head back to Evil Forest and cure Blank who has been petrified since the early stages of the game. Baku, leader of the theatre troupe (and party of thieves) Tantalus, has discovered where it is and its upto Marcus to break into the location in question and steal it. Dagger decides she’s going along too and Baku leads them to a boat that will take Marcus, Dagger and Steiner to where they need to be.


The boat moves slowly through the water, Steiner is stood on the bow before the screen fades to black again and we’re given an insight to the knights inner thoughts


“What in the world
am I doing?

I’m assisting thieves
I’m commiting a crime…

I must be patient

Protect the princess
Escort her back to the castle.

Focus on your duties…

Trust the queen…
She would never commit an atrocity

There must be a good reason.

No thoughts of my own?


How can I, a lowly knight,
understand the queens thinking?

I need not worry about
the ramblings of a criminal.

Just think about
Escorting the princess home.

I’ll probably never see him again

He was the culprit”


followed by Dagger’s


“It was your fault Zidiane
If you hadn’t treated me
like a child…

…I wouldn’t be here
hunting after Supersoft to save
one of your friends.

Why am I doing this…?

Because Blank saved me?
Yes, he saved me.

He saved my life.
The least I can do is
return the favour…

But I never thought about
things like this before…"


The trio arrive at the back area of the Synthesist’s shop. Marcus instructs the others to search the boxes for the Supersoft, but before they can get properly started they hear footsteps coming down the stairs. A “Scholarly Man” is making his way to the store to search for some ink, Dagger dashes out when she recognises him and calls out to Doctor Tot, leaving Marcus and Steiner unable to prevent her doing so (this seems to be a recurring theme with the princess). It seems Doctor Tot was once the princess’ tutor, she tells them they are searching for Supersoft but before she can answer why, a voice calls down the stairs, its the storekeeper. Tot tells the group to leave the store and meet him at his Observation Tower where he will give them the Supersoft, then, once they are gone, calls up to the storekeeper to tell him that he’s just looking for some ink.


Marcus fills Baku in on the new plan, but Baku’s not happy about it, though he readily admits they have very little choice to trust this “Toot” fella. Marcus is also a little annoyed at having to “babysit the princess” (though Steiner reqiures just as much babysitting if you ask me). Anyway, Baku advises we rest up before going to the observation tower, but I decide to definetly make sure I’ve done all I can in Treno first. I remember a water fountain near the city entrance, I’d thrown some Gil in there before, but nothing much happened (other than it made me “happier”), but after throwing a few more in I’m rewarded with “Gemini”.



Gemini thought by the river
‘I will sing her a song’
He didn’t know where
she was, but he hoped
his song would reach her

=Stellazzio Story=


I also visit Queen Stella who wants me to bring her the Stellazzio’s I’ve been finding, in return she says she will reward me, but doesn’t tell me what with. I have three so far, and going by their titles I assume there are twelve to collect, but I choose not to give her the ones I currently have, I’ll come back later when I have more of them. I then visit the synthesist and craft some new equipment, I have him make The Ogre, a Cotton Robe, Yellow Scarf, Glass Buckle, Cachuscha and a Gold Choker, with that all done I head to Tot’s observation tower after resting at the inn.


Doctor Tot tells Garnet that he set up home in Treno after finding a sponsor to help fund his research after he’d left Alexandria, then directs her to where he’s stored the Supersoft, which Marcus takes without saying thanks, unsurprisingly (and actually quite understandably) this pisses Steiner off.


Behind Tot is a giant globe that he’s turned into his observation area, the globe represents Gaia, the planet that Final Fantasy IX takes place on, at this point we get a flashback of Tot studying in Alexandria and his time spent tutoring an eight year old Princess Garnet. We learn that the rules of Alexandria have passed down a pendant through generations and that its believed that within this pendant is stored the power of the Eidolons, we are also told there is a relationship between the stars and these Eidolons. Back in the present Garnet fills Tot in on her mothers activities, which don’t seem to surprise Tot. He promises to make sure she returns to Alexandria safely so that she can confront her mother and reveals he’s been maintaining an ancient transportation system between Treno and Alexandria “just in case of an emergency”.


Tot takes the group down a hatch to Gargan Roo. There’s a moogle down here called Mochos, I’m not sure how long he’s been here, but I don’t have a letter for him at this time and he doesn’t have anything for me to deliver elsewhere either.


Gargan Roo, it turns out, is like the London Underground, but instead of trains, it has giant bugs called Gargants that carry a basket beneath them as they run along vines on the ceiling. We spend a few minutes running around activating switches to get the whole system up and running, then before we depart Tot asks Steiner to take care of the princess and pleads with him to think for himself, Steiner typically replies with something about following orders or not being worthy enough to deny those in charge, which Tot challenges and asks if thats an honest answer, he tells him that his way of thinking and behaving may endanger the princess. The group then board the Gargant’s basket and it sets off on its way to Alexandria (with Tot pulling a switch to make sure it can progress along the correct route).


However, before we can get very far, the Gargant stops and refuses to budge, it seem’s its scared. Obviously Dagger jumps out of the basket to investigate, with Marcus and Steiner chasing after her again. There’s a giant worm like creature (and by worm, I mean some disgusting tape worm like creature, not an earthworm) called Ralvurahva blocking the way, which then attacks the group. Again, this isn’t a particularly difficult fight, its attacks are weak and the only trouble it causes is that it manages to cast Slow on Marcus and thus makes the battle take a little longer than I’d have liked, it soon squirms off before I can properly defeat it though and with everybody back on board, the Gargant carries on along its route to get to Alexandria.


When we arrive, we’re in an underground part of the city that Steiner doesn’t recognise (surely the leader of the Knights of Pluto should know every nook and cranny of the castle? Just shows how inept they all are and why the queen relies on Beatrix’s troops instead). Garnet recognises it from Trots teachings and believes its an area that was designed to stop invaders getting into the castle from Gargan Roo. Steiner belittles her and tells her its not time for stories whilst Marcus agrees they must make haste in order to get the Supersoft to Blank sooner rather than later. However, before they can progress a large gate rises quickly from the ground in front of them with another appearing behind. Zorn and Thorn then appear, Garnet insists that they take her to her mother, to which they inform her they were going to do so anyway as her, Steiner and Marcus are all under arrest and they were issued with the order to capture her and bring her back to Alexandria.

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This week Zidane, Freya, Quina and Vivi all head to Cleyra




In Burmecia Zidane checks on the rest of his friends, everybody is carrying an injury but, with Freya’s insistance, everybody decides that they must push on to Cleyra. So we take to the World Map and save then enter Cleyra’s trunk through the base of the storm. This route through the roots at the bottom of Clerya is full of sand from the sandstorm and there is alot of enemies that are aerial based such as Zuu’s, so I make sure that I equip the Bird Killer ability to those who have it to make life a little easier. The most difficult enemy is probably the Sand Golems, these have a red core that I can target and attack, but doing so whilst the Golem is standing results in a counter attack that easily takes 2-300HP from whomever it hits, instead the tactic is to hit the Golem itself until it collapses, then attack the core. It seems to be time based rather than number of hits, but I can normally get two hits in before it reforms its shape and the process begins again.


In one area there’s a hole that Zidane then sticks his hand into, this triggers a switch that lets even more sand in to the root system, filling in some of the “rooms” and allowing me access to new areas. I find Monev stood at the top of a sandfall in a hollowed out section, I have a letter for him:


“From Atla to Monev

Kupo! Strange people came into town
and destroyed the entire place!
What the heck is going on? Kupo!
I don’t wanna see any more pointy hats!

Monev should be careful, too!
Maybe you should move elsewhere…”


After reading Atmas news, Monev sounds concerned that things in Cleyra might go down like they did in Burmecia.

Further progress is made with another switch and sandtrap combo and one room is filled with whirlpools made of sand that I need to navigate around, falling in results in me having to mash the X button in order to escape, which I manage to do each time. No doubt in the past I’ve fallen in and not made it out, but that didn’t happen this time and I can’t recall what the penalty is for failing in.


Climbing a ladder at the very top of the tree trunk brings me into the settlement of Cleyra itself where I am greeted by Forest Oracle Kildea and Sand Oracle Satrea who recognise Freya and have been expecting her. The King of Burmecia has requested that the pair bring Freya to him upon her arrival. Zidane, Vivi and Quina take the opportunity to get some rest, though Kildea offers to take them on a tour of Cleya, which Zidane accepts, Vivi tags along but Quina decides s/he wants to go off on their own to look for “Yummy-Yummies”. During the tour we’re shown how Cleyra utilises the power of the sandstorm to pump water up from the ground to the top of the tree allowing the citizens fresh clean water and that in the Cathedral is a harp that contains a magical harp that allows them to control the sandstorm that in turn protects Cleyra from invaders.


A set of ATE’s then follows Quina as s/he explores the settlement, s/he’s not happy as s/he can’t find much in the way to eat, she manages to scare some of the civilians (who later make some remarks to Zidane about their apron). Quina does, however, find some mushrooms that it has never seen before, it takes a moment to ponder if they’re edible, then eats them anyway.


We then follow Vivi around Cleyra, he meets some Burmecian refugees, one group of whom happens to be Burmecian Soldier Dan who you may remember Zidane saved from being crushed. He’s not happy to see Vivi and calls him a “pointy headed devil” and accuses him of killing his father, all whilst Dan’s wife and children scream “bastard” at poor Vivi after being chased into the inn. Vivi can only plead that he hasn’t hurt anybody.


Zidane learns a little bit of the history between Cleyra and Burmecia whilst outside the cathedral. He is told that both civilizations value dance, though Cleyra’s customs are much older and carry much more power. Sun Oracle Flourin tells him that the Clerans fled to the tree that they now reside in to avoid conflict with the Burmecians who had begun to value the arts of war.


Funnily enough when Zidane bumps into Burmecian Soldier Dan he recognises him immediately, and this is the funny thing about this sort of game as Vivi was part of the party during Burmecia but he wasn’t on screen during that sequence back in Burmecia, pity Zidane didn’t know what happened between him and Vivi as I’d hope he’d have called him out on his bullshit. Anyway, Dan has some equipment to sell, probably stuff he looted from Burmecia before he fled. I didn’t have enough money to buy everything but did manage to buy a Partisan, Multina Racket, Bone Wrist, Mythril Armlet, Thunder Gloves and a Bandana. At the inn I find Mopli who has a letter for Zidane:


“From Ruby to Zidane

I decided to start a small theatre, but
I ain’t had no luck finding actors…

Do you know any good actors who are
looking for work? Man, how I wish
y’all were here!

Come to think of it,
you Tantalus guys look like
a bunch of outlaws!"


As it happens Mopli wants to become an actor, can Moogles become actors?

At the cathedral the two guards won’t let me enter, they, however, have a message for me from Freya:


“Zidane! This may take some time, so please wait at the inn!”


So back to the inn I go, but as I arrive Burmecian Soldier Dan comes running up the stairs calling for help,he tells Night Oracle Donnegan that the antlion is mauling a kid, this confuses Donnegan who claims it is usually a docile creature. Donnegan doesn’t appear to be in too much of a hurry so Zidane follows Dan to go and help. When he arrives at the antlion pit Quina and Vivi are already there and Freya joins shortly after. The antlion has somebody who looks remarkably like Puck, Vivi’s friend that helped him watch the theatre performance in Alexandria, Freya reveals it is indeed Puck, though she uses his true title Prince Puck just as the antlion throws him to one side and attacks Zidane, Vivi, Quina and Freya.


This battle seems fairly tough, like the Sand Golem it counters my attacks, though I can’t see a way to prevent it doing this like there was with the Sand Golem. I get Freya to cast Reis’s Wind, which casts Regen on the entire party, Quina enters into trance mode, and from there its just a case of keep hitting it. It lets off its Sandstorm attack, which very nearly wipes out the entire party but thankfully it is felled before it can cause much more damage.


So, Prince Puck, it seems, is the son of the King of Burmecia, who ran away three years ago, shortly after Freya also left Burmecia. Freya tries to persuade him to see his father, but he runs away and gives her the instruction to simply tell his father he said “hi”. Vivi chases after his “first friend he ever had” to tell him something and Freya reports back to the king. Freya is then talked into joining in with the ceremony to make the sandstorm stronger. It’s clear she feels an obligation to protect Cleyra and says she failed Burmecia. Zidane stands by as the Cleyran harp is played and they perform a routine that is reminiscent of the River Dance. As the performance finishes though, the strings on the harp suddenly break (they actually seem to shatter like glass), the Cleyrans regard this as a bad omen, and sure enough sunlight begins to shine into the room as the sandstorm surrounding and protecting Cleyra dies. The King of Burmecia voices his concern that someone is trying to invade Clerya.

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I'm back on Final Fantasy IX this week, with lots and lots going on, Sir Fratley returns, Cleyra is destroyed and Princess Garnet is held captive




We took a break last week to take a look at SEGA's Daytona USA which had been selected as August's Retro Game Club title. When we last on Final Fantasy IX things weren't looking good for Cleyra after the sandstorm surrounding and protecting it had died alongside the strings on their magical harp breaking.


This week we start in Alexandria, though not for long, when we were here previously Zorn & Thorn had taken Garnet, Steiner and  Marcus prisoner. The latter two are being held in a cage thats being suspended from the ceiling of one of the castle's halls with two of Beatrix's soldiers keeping guard, Steiner is still, somehow, completely delusional about the Queen's recent actions. Garnet has been confined to her quarters and has alot of questions for her mother whom she hopes will listen to her. She noticed her mother began to change around a year prior to the events we've experienced so far, coinciding with her fifteenth birthday, which is also when Professor Tot left Alexandria and "that tall man" (must be Kuja) appeared at the castle.

Zorn & Thorn are sent by the Queen to summon Garnet to see her, despite wanting to speak to her mother she is aghast at how Zorn & Thorn have spoken to her and shouts "Get off me scumbag" which leaves the pair a little confused (it confused me too as it didn't really fit in with this particular situation). Regardless, they apprehend her and escort her to see her mother who tries to tell Garnet she's been worried about her whereabouts but Garnet gets straight into the questioning. Brahne denies her attack on Burmecia, to a degree anyway, she claims it was in retaliation as, according to her, the Burmecians were planning to destroy Alexandria and she was acting in the best interests of her kingdom. Garnet doesn't believe a word of this and begins to say as much when Kuja enters the room


"May I also play a part in this act?"


He then uses a spell to send Garnet to sleep, declaring


"She is beautiful, even in sleep"


Zorn & Thorn are then summoned to extract the eidolons from the Princess. It would seem that the Queen, Zorn, Thorn and Kuja had been awaiting Garnet turning sixteen to perform some kind of spell on her to remove some mystical power that she holds.


Back in Cleyra, Freya is pondering why the storm has disappeared, she tells Zidane that the sandstorm had been protecting Cleyra for a thousand years and not once had it disappeared, she believes Brahne is behind it all, Zidane wonders how the "guy that was with Brahne" could also be involved. The pair decide to head down the tree to investigate why the sandstorm has stopped. As Freya I talk to everybody in Cleyra, the over riding belief is that Cleyra will be invaded. The Cleyrean High Priest gives Freya an emerald which can teach Haste, MP+ 10% and White Draw. Stiltzkin has also now made an appearance at the inn and has a combo of Hi-Potion, Ether and Phoenix Pinion for sale for 444 Gil. Mopli also has a letter from Monev:


"To Mopli to Monev

People are climbing up to Cleyra since
the sandstorm disappeared... kupo.
I have a bad feeling about this.
Whats going to happen?

Will Cleyra end up like Burmecia?
Isn't there anyone who can help us?


Mopli decides he's going to pack up and leave Cleyra when Stiltzkin moves on.


At the foot of the settlement, Zidane, Viva and Quina have all gathered and are waiting for Freya. Vivi, who had been searching for Puck after the antlion attack, informs everybody he was unable to find the young prince, so we all head off down the tree to figure out just whats going on.


As the group enters the area that previously had the sand whirlpools they are attacked by Alexandrian soldiers. That kind of confirms what everyone was thinking, but as we progress back through the root system there's not a whole lot of them, Freya and Zidane are wondering about the seriousness of this attack when Puck appears, he's apparently been looking for them since they left the settlement as shortly after leaving Cleyra has been attacked. Everyone rushes back the way they came, but the camera lingers as Beatrix steps into shot, she seems to be rather pleased with how things are unfolding.


Back in Cleyra again, Black Mages are appearing in magical orbs from the sky and begin attacking the people. they're new "Type C" variants so are stronger and can cast Thundara, Blizzara and Fira. It would seem Alexandria have pulled of some kind of pincer attack, sending soldiers from below, which anyone would assume is the natural method, but also sending in Black Mages from above, the odds on anyone surviving don't look particularly good. Burmecian Soldier Dan's wife is trying to flee with her children and as Zidane I try to point her in the best direction to go, but I must have picked wrong as Black Mages block her path forcing her to sacrifice herself to save her children, before she is killed she begs Zidane to get them to safety. As everybody reaches the cathedral, hoping its a safe space, more Black Mages appear and surround everybody, however, their is somebody atop the Cathedrals spire who declares:


"My spear will purge this land of you!"


and dispatches the Black Mages easily, telling everybody else to run. After Zidane tells the stranger he owes him one, he retreats into the cathedral with everybody else. It would seem though that Freya recognises their saviour, it would appear the warrior is Sir Fratley, she tells him how she had heard he had died but had spent years searching for him, never believing the rumours to be true. He doesn't seem to know who she is, Zidane reacts angrily and tells him how Freya is her lost love, but still he doesn't remember. He doesn't remember the King of Burmecia either Puck appears again, and fills everybody in, he managed to find Sir Fratley, but he had no memory of Puck, Burmecia or Cleyra, nor indeed who he was himself. However, once they heard of the attack on Burmecia and Cleyra he immediately returned, maybe because of faint memories of being a Dragon Knight, and with that Sir Fratley leaves again with Puck chasing after him.


Despite this news, Freya's resolve returns and she tells Zidane that they must regroup and protect Cleyra, however, Beatrix suddenly appears through the catherdral window and steals the magic stone from  the broken harp before fleeing with Zidane, Quina, Freya and Vivi in pursuit. As we chase after her, the Burmecians and Cleyrans give us a bunch of items that they hope will help in the battle that is to come and Mopli asks me to deliver a letter to Serino.


Freya, Zidane, Vivi and Quina give chase and engage Beatrix in battle on the steps of the cathedral. The fight itself, like the prior one against Beatrix, is one of survival. I can do plenty of damage, forcing her to use Cure, but her Shock ability takes out whoever she uses it on, forcing me to use Phoenix Downs and Potions to get them back in the fight and putting us on the back foot whilst we do all of that. Once the battle gets to a certain point she unleashes yet another attack that, like in the last fight, leaves everybody on 1HP before leaving with the stolen stone whilst instructing the Black Mages to leave immediately.  Which they begin to do so by summoning the same orbs that they arrived in. Zidane manages to jump into one, with Freya and Vivi following behind. Quina, who states s/he doesn't like heights, chooses to head down the tree instead.


The scene goes to Queen Brahnes airship, the Red Rose, she appears to have been watching events unfold in Cleyra from this vantage point. She declares she has some Dark Matter, that I presume is what Zorn & Thorn "extracted" from Garnet. She says it gives her the power to summon an eidolon and then does indeed do that, summoning Odin to destroy Cleyra.

The orbs that Zidane, Freya and Vivi had taken arrive onboard the airship, Zidane tries to rush off to find Beatrix but Freya lags behind devastated at what they've just witnessed. She feels like she has now failed both Cleyra and Burmecia, but when Beatrix appears on the balcony above the trio have to quickly hide beneath a staircase and listen in on her conversation with her soldiers. It seem's Beatrix is beginning to question the queen's behaviour, believing that she used too much force on Cleyra and that he soldiers would have been more than enough to take it. Then Brahne begins to call for her, she wants the stone that Beatrix stole from Cleyra, then commands her to find the "last jewel". She then tells Beatrix that she plans to have Garnet executed for "stealing the jewel", which shocks Beatrix, she begins to object but is shot down and told to follow orders. Zidane now needs to get to Alexandria before Brahne does, but he's stuck on the Red Rose with her, Dagger needs saving before its too late. Vivi knows how they can get there first and suggests using the "telepods" (the orbs they used to get aboard the Red Rose), at which point Serino appears, so I give him his letter


"From Mopli to Serino

By the time this letter reaches Serino,
Cleyra may be destroyed...
Stitlzkin keeps saying

'I've been through stuff like this before,
we'll be fine'

But what if we wont be okay this time!?


Everyone then jumps into the giant jugs that hold the telepods (or are the telepods? I don't know how this technology works!!) and are taken, hopefully, to Alexandria.

Back in Alexandria, Steiner and Marcus are still imprisoned in the same cage as before, however Steiner has decided its finally time for them to escape and the two begin leaning side to side in order to make their cage swing, the goal is to smash it against a wall and thus free them. Once this is achieved, the guards rush to investigate and are easily seen off by the two men and once to safety Marcus leaves Steiner behind to head to Evil Forest to free Blank, Steiner tries to call him a coward but is ignored and is then surprised by the sudden appearance of Zidane, Vivi and Freya in the floating orbs. Zidane tells him they don't have much time, that Garnets life is in danger and a timer of 30 minutes appears in the top left corner of the screen and immediately begins counting down.


After reaching the queens chambers, Garnet is no where to be seen. After searching around we activate a switch by moving a candle that opens up a hidden passageway behind the fireplace. The passageway leads to a spiral staircase so we begin to descend to the bottom, once there we find Zorn & Thorn standing over Garnets body, after being surprised by Zidane and co's appearance we are thrown in to a battle, its actually pretty easy, the point of it is to attack which ever one has been given the more powerful attack but Vivi goes into Trance allowing me to cast double magic, so I just let loose with that and also have Freya cast Reis's Wind to give everybody Regen.


Once beaten, Zorn & Thorn tell us its too late anyway, they are done with the princess, they then flee from the chamber. The group approach Garnet, who is unresponsive, Steiner believes her to be dead and starts shouting how he's failed her and all sorts of things along those lines, but Freya and Zidane notice that her heart is still beating. Zidane picks her up and begins to leave the chamber, however a Moogle appears and has a letter


From Kupo to Mosh

Kupo! Whats going on in Alexandria!?
Soldiers are everywhere!

I heard a rumour that Princess Garnet
returned to Alexandria!

I guess Princess Garnet left the castle
because she suspected Queen Brahne!"


They all head back up the staircase back to the queens chambers where Zidane chooses this time to lay her on a couch to rest. Steiner has a bit of a breakdown, shouting into the air demanding to know what the queen is trying to do and why she would hurt Garnet. Surely all of this, Steiners shouting, Zidane letting Garnet rest, is better suited to once they've actually escaped the castle. He does however blame himself for Garnets condition, say he should have gotten to her sooner. Steiner accuses Zidane of not being himself and demands blame him and his incompitence for Garnets condition but Zidane refuses to do so.


Then, to no ones surprise (well, certainly not to mine) Zorn & Thorn reappear with Beatrix following behind. She tries to get Steiner to come over to her side and another battle with the general begins. This battle is tougher than the previous two, I have to revive Steiner twice and Freya once, but it again ends in a similar manner to those other engagements, with Beatrix unleashing a devastating attack that leaves everybody on 1HP, but again, she doesn't finish them off. She tells everyone to never step into Alexandria again though Zidane challenges her duty to Alexandria and Princess Garnet, pointing out Garnets unconscious body lying on the couch. Beatrix, shocked at what she see's, says she didn't believe it when Brahne said she wanted Garnet dead. Steiner is still, despite everything he's experienced, in disbelief, but Beatrix tells him he must accept it as so, then asks for Burmecia's forgiveness. Freya tells her it is too late for that, but that its not too late for her to save Dagger, so Beatrix attempts to heal the princess despite Zorn & Thorn's protestations that it is useless. However, on the third attempt, Dagger awakens, at which point Queen Brahne now enters the room, (seriously, I think we're only missing Kuja and the members of Tantalus and the whole cast would be here in this one room in the castle!)


Zorn & Thorn fill her in on whats happening and also tell her that they succesfully extracted the eidolons. Brahne tells them to throw Garnet in prison but Beatrix stands in the way and refuses to let it happen, Freya joins her in finishing off Zorn & Thorn, allowing Vivi, Zidane, Steiner and Dagger to escape through the fireplace passageway. Zorn & Thorn set their pet Bandersnatch on Freya and Beatrix, but the latter has it defeated in one move. As the other group makes their way down the staircase a Bandersnatch also chases them, but again, its easily beaten. However, at the bottom of the staircase Steiner has a sudden change of heart, he can't stand by and watch Freya and Beatrix make a stand whilst he escapes and runs back up the staircase to aid them telling Zidane to get Garnet to Treno and to Professor Tot, being sure he can come up with a way to save the kingdom. Zidane has to persuade Garnet to leave them behind, saying they are performing they duty to her and to the kingdom in order that she can escape and survive, another Bandersnatch then attacks and is again easily seen off, and the group run to make their way to Gargan Roo.


However they are trapped by the same trap Zorn & Thorn used previously on Dagger, Marcus and Steiner, the annoying duo can't believe their luck that it worked again and are so distracted that Marcus and Blank manage to sneak in and knock them out, freeing Zidane, Dagger and Freya to escape to Gargan Roo. They climb on board the Gargant who takes off in the direction of Treno, but then stops suddenly. Why can't this escape just be simple? In the way is a much bigger worm like creature than the one that scared the Gargant previously. Both Dagger and Zidane enter Trance whilst fighting the Ralvuimago and despite it coiling to protect itself each time its attacked, the battle isn't too taxing, however once back aboard the Gargant it begins to move off slowly, much to Zidanes (and mine!) annoyance, though it begins to speed up because the Ralvuimago starts to chase us. This leads to the Gargant running straight through Treno station, though some Oglops  messing with the switch that would allow it to stop certainly didn't help!


It's soon apparent that the creature is out of control and as the ride becomes more and more violet, everyone is thrown from the carriage, the screen turns white and we're taken back to Alexandria with Zorn & Thorn being refused an audience with the queen. They're only really there to tell her her guests have arrived. Brahne wishes for them to be sent straight to her but essentially banishes Zorn & Thorn. Her guests, it would seem, are a pair of bounty hunters "Boisterous Woman" reveals her name to be Lani, whilst her companion is only referred to as "red-headed man". She instructs them to retrieve Garnets pendant and to also assassinate the "black mage travelling with them" whom she calls a "soulless golem" and a "defect running free". The "red-headed man" asks if there was a boy with a tail travelling with the princess, which the queen confirms and adds that he will receive an extra reward if he is taken care of too. A soldier then reports that the fleet has arrived back in Alexandria and requests the queen prepares to depart on the Red Rose.


It seems the Gargant took them further than Garnet, Zidane and Vivi has wanted to go as they were thrown out of its carriage at Pinnacle Rocks, which lies closer to Lindblum than Treno. Garnet still wants to go to Treno and asks Zidane if they could borrow an airship, though before he can think of a plan an old man appears, floating in the air and introduces himself as Ramuh. Garnet recognises the name from her books and identifies him as Ramuh the Thunder God.


He tells her that her summon magic was used to destroy Cleyra, which she was obviously not aware of, Ramuh asks her what she will do now and she begs him to help her become strong enough to wield summon magic. Ramuh challenges her to find five manifestations of himself to prove her worth and only upon completing this task will he help her.

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I think it's my favourite one too (and have played XII), well it's between this and XIV

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Though I prefer IX over VII as well, I think VII is the more meaningful choice for the PS classic. It's what brought FF to the masses, and I think still the most popular single-player FF to date.

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FYI if anyone has a shiny psc and wants to play along, it looks lush through autobleem. Just crank the pcsx clock up to 100 and set audio interpolation to 2 (Gaussian). I’m finding hi res mode , whilst looking great on field screens, causes slowdown during magic casting in battles. 


To my aged eyes, it looks better than running on the ps3. 

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9 hours ago, Keyboard Koala said:

Though I prefer IX over VII as well, I think VII is the more meaningful choice for the PS classic. It's what brought FF to the masses, and I think still the most popular single-player FF to date.


Plus can you imagine the state of Twitter if anything other than VII was on there!?


Next part will be up this evening, it's not as long as last week's. :lol:

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Here you go guys, Part 10. Dagger gets her first eidolon this week




Ten weeks in, I’m still on disc 2, though I’ve not had much time with Final Fantasy IX this week so its only going to be a short update. Last week we reached Pinnacle Rocks and that is where I’ll be for the entirety of this post.


When we were last with Dagger, Zidane and Vivi they had been thrown out of the Gargant they had been riding in through Gargan Roo, they landed with a bump at Pinnacle Rocks, further than they had wanted to go as the Gargant had ran past the stop at Treno due to being chased and some mischievous Oglops. Pinnacle Rocks, it would seem, is home to Ramuh, the God of Thunder, whom has tasked Dagger with finding five manifestations of himself in the surrounding area, each manifestation has a part of a story to tell and its up to Dagger to then recite that story to Ramuh himself before he will decide whether or not to teach her how to summon eidolons.


The manifestations themselves aren’t difficult to find, mostly as when you approach an empty area that one happens to be hiding in they reveal themselves and all thats left to do is approach them, talk to them and listen to their slice of the story. The first one I find is near Monty the Moogle:


“Once upon a time, 33 small countries fought together against an empire. One day, a rebel troop visited a man named Joseph, who lived with his daughter. Owing a debt to the troop, he gladly accepted their plea for help. They headed for a cavern in the snow field.” – Beginning


Number two was at the bottom of a ramp in a pool in the same area as the first


Historians Explanation:
“The fact they didn’t report Joseph’s death to his daughter was indicative of their guilt for failing to protect him. In the end, heroes are also human.” – Human


Numbers three and four are in the following area, one beneath a ramp, the other at the top of it


“With Joseph’s help, the troop defeated the adamantoise in the snow field cavern and acquired the Goddess Bell they needed to enter the empire’s castle.” – Co-operation


“On their way home, they fell in to a trap set by a traitor. Joseph gave his life to save the troop. The troop left without telling Joseph’s daughter, Nelly about the tragedy.” – Silence


Whilst the last part of the story to be told is by a manifestation that was at the original place that we met Ramuh


Historians Explanation:

“Although Joseph’s death was not reported to his daughter, the manner of his death speaks for itself. This is the story of a true hero.” – Hero


As I’ve said, I have to put these into the correct order, though it turns out there’s a trick here. Ramuh reports that there are actually only four parts to the story, though I have five, and that one of them doesn’t belong. I choose to go with the following:







As I feel the conclusion in Human feels more natural and more fitting with the tone of the story, Ramuh asks Dagger why she chose that particular conclusion:


"People pass down stories of other people to whom they feel an affinity. The people in the story had flaws, as we all do. That is why they come heroes in the people mind.”


Whilst Ramuh sort of accepts this answer from her, he also wants her to tell him what she really thinks after hearing the story, in her own words


"I am away from my country, but I haven’t forgotten my people.”


Ramuh feels that her soul is very tense and he hopes that by becoming her eidolon that it will become more relaxed, he fades from view and Dagger is rewarded with the Peridot jewel that allows her to become his master. Once she has met this challenge, she decides that the three of them, Dagger, Zidane and Vivi, must now head to Lindblum.


Vivi says to Zidane that he thinks Ramuh would have become Dagger’s eidolon regardless of whether she chose “Human” or “Hero” as the ending to the tale. Ramuh’s disembodied voice confirms this to the two of them and says that the test was about whether or not she knew her true self.


"She may not have realised it, but when she wished to learn how to use summon magic, the summon power returned to her. Summon magic can be used for good or evil. She is still young, but there is room for growth… So I chose her as my master. I’ll be watching over her. I hope you two will also protect her."


Before leaving Pinnacle Rocks I make one last sweep to make sure we haven’t missed anything and speak to Monty to save the game, he has a tattered letter from Stiltzkin:

From Stiltzkin to Monty



Might be…

The end of me…”


Which doesn’t bode well, but there’s nothing we can do for Stiltzkin and there’s definitely nothing left to do at Pinnacle Rocks so I guess its off to make the journey to Lindblum.

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As Zidane, Dagger and Vivi leave Pinnacle Rock, Brahne attacks Lindblum




As Dagger, Zidane and Vivi leave Pinnacle Rock, where last week Ramuh became Dagger’s eidolon, Queen Brahne’s airship the Red Rose flies over their heads in the direction of Lindblum, it then opens fire, sending Telepods into the kingdom which allow Black Mages to get inside and begin to attack, taking out Cid’s fleet of airships and leaving Lindblum in a position they cannot defend. Brahne then summons Atomos, which looks like a giant mouth, to cause as much destruction as possible.


when the trio eventually arrive in Lindblum via Hunter’s Gate, Zidane notes how quiet things are, however there are Alexandrian guards everywhere, buildings lie in ruin and there are also Black Mages lying on the floor, either dead or unconscious. Zidane tells Vivi he needs to hide, its too dangerous for him to be spotted here, though Vivi tries to protest but Zidane persuades him it would be for the best, so Zidane and Dagger make their way through the streets together. One soldier if Zidane plans to resist them, Zidane replies that he will do so “to the death” which amuses the soldier who is confident in the strength of her colleagues and Brahnes Mages and summon magic. One thing that is unchanged is Moodon the moogle is still in one of the rooms at the Inn, he has another letter from Ruby:


“From Ruby to Zidane

Oh, I’m havin’ a terrible time finding
actors! I’m willing to take anyone
who can read at this point!

What was his name? That narcissist
from Lindblum? I’d even take him!
Get him over to my mini theatre!

We need to get some business!”


Outside on the Inn on Main Street there are a group of people gathered round an unconscious Black Mage hitting it, Zidane shouts at them to stop, telling them that its been killing people because the Queen has programmed them to do so, that they’re unable to think for themselves. An old man who is part of the mob doesn’t believe him and his anger at losing his family to them gets the better of him and he doesn’t seem to want to understand what Zidane is trying to tell them. I try to take an aircab to the Theatre District to pop in to the Tantalus Hideout. I can’t do that at this time however as the cab service was also attacked, the Theatre District was seriously damaged whilst the Industrial District has completely gone thanks to the attack from Atomos. There is a sign nearby that states the cab system will be up and running tomorrow, but under new management (i.e. Alexandrian management) and will cost 200gil per trip.


Another Alexandrian soldier asks me if I’ve heard of a group calling themselves the “Vigilantes”, I genuinely haven’t so I get Zidane to say as much. An officer tells Minister Artania about the conditions of the Theatre District (heavily damaged) and Industrial District (gone) and that the Business District, where we are currently, is in need of serious repair. Artania tells him to allocate soldiers to reconstruction in order to get citizens’ lives back to some level of normality as soon as possible. Dagger cries out to Artania who is happy to see that she and Zidane are safe and informs them that Regent Cid is also safe and that the castle had been spared, he then takes the pair to see the Regent.


Cid is surprised to see them, he through Garnet had been imprisoned by the Queen so she quickly fills him in on her escape. He admits he knew the Queen was after the eidolons but that he underestimated their power. A Lindblum soldier interrupts the conversation to say he’s captured a Black Mage, though it’s smaller than the others. As he escorts the Mage into the room it’s evident that the Mages he has captured is actually Vivi. Minister Artania instructs him to let Vivi go, telling him that he isn’t an Alexandrian Soldier and that Vivi is actually in disguise to deceive the enemy.


With that the soldier leaves to continue his patrol and Cid reveals he has more information about Queen Brahne. He has discovered a weapons dealer named Kuja is behind the recent attacks, though Zidane knew that already. He has been supplying Brahne with highly advanced magical weapons, the Black Mages are just one of these weapons. Eye witnesses in Treno say that he appeared in the Norther Sky riding on a silver dragon. Minister Artania believes he may have come fro the Outer Continent, an uncharted continent located north of Mist Continent, where the kingdoms of Alexandria, Burmecia and Linblum lay.


A plan is formulated, the aim is to defeat Kuja, doing so removes his influence over Brahne and also her supply of weapons, which would allow Cid’s remaining forces to perform some kind of counter attack. If they were to defeat Brahne first, the risk would be that Kuja would be able to sell his weapons to other clients. Zidfane, Vivi and Dagger decide to start the search for Kuja, they ask for an airship to allow them to reach the new continent, but are informed that even if the fleet hadn’t been destroyed, it wouldn’t work as airships require Mist to operate and there isn’t any on the Outer Continent. Cid’s new Steam powered airship isn’t an option either as that has been commandeered by Alexandria as part of the conditions for Lindblum’s surrender. Zidane asks if they could leave by boat, but the harbour has also been seized.


Cid also reveals that the other condition for their surrender was that he must also hand over the Falcon’s Claw. Zidane can’t think what Brahne would want with the stone, nor can Cid.

Cid tells them the only way they could reach the Outer Continent is via an excavation site located north of Lindblum. Monsters not native to Mist are rumoured to have been spotted near a cave system that was uncovered there. The cave system itself is rumoured to lead to another continent, though nobody knows if it is the Outer Continent, theres a chance it isn’t, but its literally the only option they have of being able to put their plan into action. Cid then gives Dagger 3000gil to “prepare” for their journey, which by this stage of the game isn’t really alot and is almost the equivalent of an Aunt sellotaping a £1 coin inside a birthday card.


Preparations mean stocking up, leaving Dagger at the castle, Zidane heads to the Business District to do some shopping. After stocking up on the basics: Potions, Antidotes etc, Zidane also visits the Synthesis and gets him to create some Magician Shoes and Silk Rovers, then from the weapons store I buy two Magical Vests. I pop back to the inn in order to save my progress with Moodon, he now has a letter that he’d like me to deliver to Moonte, then Zidane heads to the aircab station again, first speaking to a young man stood outside who reveals his name to be Justin. Justin, it would seem, is the leader of the “Vigilantes” group Zidane was asked about earlier, sniffing a side story I head back to that guard and dob him in. Though it doesn’t really lead anywhere, the soldier asks me to tell Justin to “stop what he’s doing” and that “Nicole said so”. Justin obviously refuses to heed her request and tells Zidane he’ll never stop fighting for a cause he believes in even if it means fighting Nicole. This particular interaction doesn’t go any further than this so Zidane takes the aircab and visits the Theatre Distritct.


Once there it would seem the Theatre itself has gone, one soldier tells Zidane Brahne plans to build an Opera house in its place. Zidane bumps into Lovell, the famous actor and the guy Ruby called a narcissist in her letter, he happens to be looking for work due to the Theatre being destroyed so Zidane tells him about Ruby’s theatre. Now Lovell’s a bit up himself and see’s the audiences of Alexandria as being beneath his talent, but work’s work so he decides to leave Lindblum to hopefully teach Alexandria about culture. There are only two people in the Tantalus Hideout, a pair of young children, who tell Zidane that they will protect the place until the other members of the group return, there are three chests here with different amounts of gil in each one.


Unsurprisingly there aren’t many people in Lindblum willing to play cards, though I do find two people willing to give Zidane a game, both of which I surprisingly beat.

With all preparations made, Zidane heads back to the castle. As he and Dagger take the elevator the two discuss the journey ahead. Dagger is apprehensive about going to the Outer Continent, she’s worried that if something happens to Zidane or Vivi that she might not be okay on her own. But then gets all flustered when Zidane asks if she’s worried about him. Ultimately though she decides that she needs to go if she is to stop her mother committing any more atrocities. Down at the trolley station beneath the castle, Cid has managed to sabotage one trolley, leaving it stranded between the castles platform and Serpents Gate. This allows Zidane, Vivi and Dagger to take the other trolley to Dragons Gate and out into the wider world  though before departing Cid gives Zidane a map of the entire world.


At Dragons Gate is Moonte


“From Moodon to Moonte

Oh it’s terrible! Kupo!
Mogki, from the castle, is missing!

Did the Alexandrian soldiers kidnap him?
Or did the Black Mages eat him? Kupo!

I’m so worried!!!”


From Dragon’s Gate we head out onto the World Map and I spot Qu’s Marsh in the distance, so I make that my first place to visit, wondering if Quina has made their way back home after s/he had left Cleyra on foot rather than taking a Telepod with Zidane, Vivi and Freya. Sure enough, s/he’s exactly where I expected to find them, by the pond trying to catch frogs to eat. Zidane tells them of the plan to head to the Outer Continent, which Quina likes the sound of as it means more chances to find new frogs to eat. We then visit Quale and ask him about the excavation site, but the chief replies that “maybe I hear about it, maybe not” though there may be a road to it hidden in Qu’s Marsh, the chief believes Quina might know.

As we begin to search the marshes, Quina catches scent of some frogs and rushes off, Zidane chases after them, and in this manic moment they all accidentally stumble across a tunnel entrance thats been chained off, Quina claims they’ve never seen it before.

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Week 12. I've not had as much time as I'd have liked with Final Fantasy IX despite it being a fortnight since my last post, this is mostly due to writing up my thoughts on ESWAT and also starting a playthrough of Gregory Horrow Show



Anyway, my previous update had Vivi, Zidane, Garnet leaving Lindblum and ending up at Qu's' Marsh again, where they met back up with Quina and found the entrance to Fossil Roo.




Through the tunnel we arrive at an excavation site where we are chased by a monster on a monster drawn carriage, it ultimately catches us throwing the group into battle. Defeating it stuns it for a while, leaving us to a chance to create some space whilst trying to escape which is finally achieved when Zidane jumps a gap in the bridge we’ve been running along.

However, there’s little chance to rest a Lani, one of Brahnes bounty hunter appears in a staircase. She declares shes been looking for the Princess and when Zidane asks if he has met her before Dagger tells him off for flirting. Lani isn’t trying to return Garnet to Alexandria, she wants the pendant the Princess wears around her neck, she threatens Dagger and we’re thrown into another battle. Thankfully Vivi enters into Trance and the whole thing is over quite quickly with Lani retreating, stating she’ll “let you guys go for now”.


We head down the staircase Lani appeared from, this leads us to Fossil Roo, where wild Gargants follow roots in the ceiling. Picking flowers for them to eat allows Zidane to ride them around the tunnel system. There’s a treasure hunter in the cave system who is baffled that we aren’t there to look for treasure, Zidane tells him they’re tying to get to the Outer Continent and he replies that the caves are like a web, he dosn’t know how far it goes, but has a rough idea of what direction they should head in.


Nearby I notice two Moogles, one is Stiltzkin, so it looks like he did make it out of Cleyra after all! He tells Zidane he had been hurt so bad that he couldn’t move but he’s now recovered and back on his travels, then sells me a pack containing a Phoenix Pinion, Remedy and an Ether for 555 Gil. The other Moogle is Mogki, who Kumop asked me to deliver a letter to:


“From Kumop to Mogki

Stiltzkin visited me!

He said he found a place that
seemed interesting, and then he left.

I wish he stayed longer, kupo.
Where did he go, anyway?
Let me know when you find out! Kupo!”


He also has a letter from Kuppo, though he doesn’t know who Kuppo is


“From Kuppo to Mogki

I’m bored, kupo!

I’m so bored, I’m going to hide away!

Try finding me inside the cavern!

Hint: I’m behind a wall…”


As before I pick flowers to attract the Gargants in order to ride them. There’s currently two routes, on to the North and one to the South, I take the Southern route first, which splits but the Gargant will only follow the route that isn’t blocked off by water, activating switches changes which route is open. For now, the route I can take only takes me to a treasure chest which only contains a set of Fairy Earrings. Status effects really play a part in Fossil Roo, I regularly have to use Echo Drops to cure Silence and keep having Trouble cast on me, Trouble leads to the affected character sharing any damage received with the rest of the party. I go back to the central area and take the Northern path and activate the switch there. Following the new route gets me an Ether and takes me to another switch which changes the path for the Southern route.


I eventually come across a miner who lets me use his pickaxe in exchange for a potion. Whilst chipping away I free Kuppo from the wall he had been hiding behind. I don’t have any mail for him but he does want me to deliver a letter to Kupo, who if I remember rightly is in Alexandria. I spend a further ten minutes or so chipping away at the rock face but only get a few Ores for my troubles, there’s probably something better there but I haven’t got the patience to keep at it and leave the area. Theres also a Lamias Tiara in a chest near here, this item allows Dagger to learn Clear Headed, Confuse and Float. Once I’ve gotten that I activate a switch that opens up the route that takes me to the exit of Fossil Roo.


Leaving Fossil Roo does in deed bring us out at the Outer Continent, just as Cid thought it would, and just like he said, there’s no Mist here. Outer Continent is a brown rocky land, this is the first time I come across a Cactuar, which I stupidly think I can take on, then it uses 1,000 Needles on Quina and wipes them out, so I try to flee but am unsuccessful in doing so which leads to what I think is my first Game Over.


When I load back up, I explore what I can off the Outer Continent at this point and come across a marsh, here I find Mogster (though I’m not sure how he got here from Qu’s Marsh on Mist Continent) who gives me directions to a “flat shaped building like a bridge” saying I should go there first. Looking at the map I head in a Westerly direction to where Mogster told me to go and discover Conde Petie.

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Dont worry I hadn't forgotten nor abandoned this




It's been a couple of weeks since we last visited Final Fantasy IX, last week was a pretty busy week so not only did I not get as much time with the game as I'd have liked, the opportunity didn't arise to actually do a write up on what I had played, so this week is a bumper post. There'll be another break after this one too, as I have something seasonal planned for next week's #ThrowBackThursday and the week after that will be a Retro Games Club edition.


Last time out we had discovered, but not entered, Conde Petie.


Outside Conde Petie Quina decides there must be some delicious food inside and rushes off with Zidane voicing the obvious "all s/he thinks of is food" and Dagger responds that all Zidane thinks about is girls to which Zidane tries to smooth things out by saying he only thinks of her, however she's already made her way into the village, completely ignoring Zidane. Inside everybody is greeted by a green skinned man who calls out "Rally-ho!". Apparently this is their sacred greeting, which we're informed "If ye dinnae say RallyHo, then ye cannae enter Conde Petie, hametoon o' the dwarves!". Not sure who was doing the translation on this game but thats a real mish-mash of dialiects there, though I'm sure it sounds like "The North" to anyone with an SW postcode. The Moogle here is called Mogmatt, I don't have any mail for him but he would like me to deliver a letter to Suzuna. Quina gets accused of being a thief by the shop owner as s/he doesn't really understand why you need Gil for food, though I should point out s/he hasn't actually taken anything. Vivi feels like, for the first time, people aren't afraid of him and Dagger gets stuck in a discussion regarding being married off to a village called William, she tells the village women she's not marrying anyone, but it intrigued when they mention a place called Sanctuary.

The people here recognise Vivi as they talk about items they've traded with him and really liked, but Vivi has no clue what they are on about. After exploring Conde Petie for a while, Zidane returns to the shop where Quina was accused of stealing and happens upon a Black Mage trading with the shopkeeper. Vivi see's him too, but he runs away before we can try to speak to him. Zidane chases after Vivi, with Dagger also joining him, as he pursues the Black Mage through Conde Petie to its entrance, though we don't follow the Mage out of the village. Zidane is worried that the appearance of a Black Mage could mean Brahne has found them. "Harold Pathknower" says the "Pyntie-Hats" often come from the south east forest to trade with Conde Petie, apparently there's more of them that live so deep in the forest that "not even the owls dinnae live there!".


We leave Conde Petie and follow the cliff edge round to the forest south east of Conde Petie, as we progress through the tree's the path begins to split into two with a sign post pointing down either side, one arrow says "Where there are owls" whilst the other says "Where there are no owls". Remembering what Harold told me, we go down the path with no owls, though I can't help wondering whats down the other path.

Funnily enough the "no owls" path feels like it loops back round, though really its just a re-use of assets and I have to keep checking the sign post each time and taking the relevant path until eventually a Black Mage appears on one of the forks and we follow him further.

We find the Black Mage in a clearing, and watch as he uses a spell to reveal a further path through the tree's, Zidane and Vivi rush through before the path closes and find themselves in a village with the Black Mage they'd been following stood in front of them with its back to them. Another mage spots them, cries out and all the other mages run and hide whilst screaming "Humans!". Vivi begs them to wait, but they don't hear him. He remarks to Zidane that they were talking, then runs off excitedly to try and find out more. Dagger wonders why someone would build a village in a dying forest, then runs after Vivi and, unsurprisingly, Quina goes off to search for food again .


Zidane is left to explore on his own.

An ATE shows the mages all hiding. Vivi finds some that will talk to him though, they don't seem to have names and refer to each other by number. 288 tells Vivi the mages here all escaped from Alexandria and the cargo holds together, they came this far as they wanted to live in a world without humans, somehow they crossed the ocean. Vivi is shown their cemetery and 56 tells him he came with "Mr. 36", they had so muchy to learn and were scared at first.  But they helped each other, however Mr 36 stopped moving one day and it was then that 56 learned what death was and was told he had to bury 36, though he doesn't really seem to understand why and think's his friend is going to come out from the ground again one day.


Dagger meets two other mages and tries to convince them she's there to stop Brahne using them, but they don't believe her, meanwhile Quina tries to persuade another pair to give up their Chocobo egg so that they can eat it. As Zidane leaves the synthesist shop Vivi runs past, Zidane heads in the direction he came from and finds 56 and 288 at the cemetery still. Zidane asks 288 why it is they can talk and is told they just became aware one day, each under different circumstances. He asks Zidane if he remembers being born, which of course he doesn't, 288 says its the same for the Black Mages. He just woke up one day and there was a human body lying next to him covered in blood, this scared him and he ran as fast as he could and when he looked around again he was far away from the front line. He found many others like him and so they decided to escape together.


Zidane searches the village for Vivi and finds him at the inn, Zidane tries to find out whats wrong but Quina interrupts by complaining about the food in the village. Dagger also arrives and asks Vivi what's wrong, though Vivi doesn't answer. Zidane covers for him, tell her he's tired, Dagger says she is too and thinks they should all get some rest. Quina doesn't want to and heads back to the forest to search for food.


That night Dagger see's Vivi leaving the inn and tells Zidane who jokes that "maybe he's letting us have some romantic time". Dagger's response is to do her hands on hips (no doubt pouting) angry pose, so he tells her not to worry too much and to let Vivi try and figure all this out for himself

Zidane: "Think about it...

Vivi's never met Black Mages like himself before."
Dagger: "But what if they're being mean to him or saying nasty things"?

Z: "Do you reall think the people of this village gathered to do something like that?"


Z: "Maybe... Just maybe, he'll find what he's been looking for."

D: "...Find what?"

Z: "A place to call home."

D: "Home...?"

Z: "Yeah... A place where he belongs..."


Zidane then tells Dagger a story about a man (Zidane) who had longed to find his birthplace ever since he was a small child. He only remembered it in his dreams. He wanted to know more about himself, his parents, the home where he was born. One day he left the home of his adoptive father (Baku) to look for answers, his only clue being blue lights he saw in his dreams, though he never found it. He returned to his adoptive father who beat him and then smiled after doing so. The man couldn't believe it, but thought to himself "This is my home. This is the place I call home". He is still looking for his birthplace, but he has a home.


Vivi returns to the cemetery and talks to 288 again. He asks him how many people have stopped moving.288 says its very kind of Vivi to use their words, but he knows that Vivi knows what it means to live and die, he tells Vivi that seven of their friends have "stopped" recently, and that he thinks their lifespan is limited. It varies but most stop moving one year after "production". 288 feels fear when he thinks of this, he doesn't want to "stop" and would like to run away from if all but living in the village fills him with joy, which outweighs his fear of death, he wonders if Vivi's travels with his friends give his life meaning.


Next morning Dagger is talking to 144 and discovers someone saw a silver dragon in the "northwest part of this continent", she also tells Zidane about the Sanctuary she head about in Conde Petie. 144 also says he thinks he heard "this Kuja" mention a secret being hidden on this continent that may have something to do with the source of the Mist. The plan is to head back to Conde Petie and find out more about the Sanctuary. Before leaving, I visit Mogryo, who wants me to deliver a letter to Mocchi and also has a letter:


"From Stiltzkin to Mogryo

I'm becoming familiar with the geography of the Outer Continent. My next destination is Conde Petie.

They exchange a special greeting with each other before entering the village... What was it?

I think it was 'Rally-Ho!'"


I pop back to the Inn and find Virgo near the bunk beds


Watching the sunset from the cape, Virgo whispered

'My only wish is to be with you now...'

=Stellazzio Story="


Which means I now have four of the Stellazzio's and with that its back to Conde Petie.


There were two area's of Conde Petie I couldn't access before, and at present I still can't. Both are guarded but the group believe one of these will lead to the valley on the other side of this bridge based settlement and then onto the so-called Sanctuary.


"Jenny Greet" tells a tale of a man who tried to head east of Conde Petie, however he hadn't undergone the "ceremony" so he wasn't allowed passage through.


I speak to Shamis Gatekeeper, who also says that only people who have received ceremony can pass. To find out more about this ceremony I have to speak to His Holiness, though Shamis doesn't know where he is. Richard and Matthew Watchman, the guards near the weapons shop, also tell me to speak to His Holiness but again, neither of them knows of his whereabouts. I eventually find Father David Heavenguard pacing up and down a corridor, Zidane tells him they want to pass through the village and is told

"Tradition sates that only those who undergo the ceremony can approach the Sancturary"


when pressed for more information on this ceremony they are told that hwen a man and a woman are blessed in holy unison, they undertake a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary, so, as Zidane observes, a wedding and a honeymoon. Zidane suggests to Dagger that they get married, though he doesn't even finish his sentence before she agrees leaving Zidane both staggered and confused, but the ceremony does indeed go ahead. Funnily enough though, despite it being his suggestion and the only way they can pass through, Zidane begins to display signs of itchy feet, wondering to himself whether Dagger really means it, whether she really likes him, though he does settle on that last point, deciding it was him showing her that he was deep back in Black Mage Village that woo'd her "I'm such a stud!" he tells himself. When he goes in for the kiss, Dagger just walks off. Apparently there's a few other things they have to do before they can take their pilgrimage to Sanctuary and Dagger takes this time to remind Zidane that they're only married whilst they're in Conde Petie. Vivi and Quina figure out they can't come along so Zidane suggests that they get married too.


An ATE shows us their ceremonry, Quina reveals that s/he feels really happy and Vivi says he does too. As Zidane and Dagger speak to Matthew and Richard about passing through they hear cries of "Thief!" and a young blue haired girl with a Moogle following behind, is chased past the two newly weds, with Matthew and Richard joining the pursuit. Zidane and Dagger follow the chase out of Conde Petie, Matthew and Richard believe the young girl has gotten away, but it sounds like she regularly steals food from the village (and is probably the thief Quina was confused for last time we were here). Once the guards have gone we spot the young girl hanging from a branch by her clothing.

She seem's to like to talk to herself, or at least vocalises every thing she see's, noting that Zidane doesn't have a horn but that he does have a tail, though I'm not sure why she'd notice the lack of a horn. Her Moogle friend has abandoned her, but Quina mentions it was a "funny colour" and decides s/he might like to eat it, as she runs off to chase down the Moogle she knock the tree the girl is hanging from freeing her and she then tells us her name is Eiko.


Dagger offers to take her home, with Zidane agreeing by saying "Yes, yes, anything for my lovely wife". Eiko asks if they're married, Zidane says yes, but Dagger speaks over him and says no, they're just friends, at this Zidane hangs his head in disappointment. With our next destination  decided (Eiko's home, where we hope to find her Moogle friend, Mog, and Quina) the group with their new friend as part of the group heads off.

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It's been a few weeks since my last update on Squaresoft/Square-Enix's Final Fantasy IX, the past two weeks I'd taken a look at other games for #ThrowbackThursday, but we're back now, and I'll be honest, I've not made as much progress as I'd have hoped, both since I last updated and overall, I'm not quite at the end of disc 2 yet.


Last time out Dagger, Zidane, Quina and Vivi had met Eiko for the first time, she had been stealing from the village of Conde Petie and whilst being chased had gotten stuck on a branch, once freed Dagger decided that we were going to take her home.




We make our way through the mountain pass, Quina had gone chasing after Eiko’s Moogle friend Mog and so Eiko has now joined the party. Like Dagger, she has access to white magic and summons, she also has an auto-regen ability, its not very powerful but its better than nothing. On the mountain path en route to Eiko’s home I spot a stone altar, embedded into it is a red stone that I remove, it goes into my key items menu but I’m not sure what its for right now. Further along I find another altar, this one rewards me with a blue stone.


I find Suzuna talking to Siltzkin, (I presume Suzuna is female as she has a pink belly, I think all the others have had white bellies, but I could be wrong) she has been awaiting a letter I have for her from Mogmatt:


“From Mogmatt to Suzuna

It’s been six months since I started
living in Conde Petie…

The food here is great, and the
people are very nice. Kupo.

But… But… The only thing I can’t get used to is the ‘Rally-ho!’

I keep saying ‘Rally-kupo!'”


Stiltzkin has another bundle for sale, this time it consists of a Magic Tag, Tent and an Ether for 666 Gil, the Magic Tag cures the Zombie status effect.


I find another altar that I can place both the red and blue stones in, thought it doesn’t seem to do anything right now. Zidane notes there there’s a hole so maybe I’m missing a stone or two. We cross a bridge made of large roots and in the background is a very large tree surrounded in Mist, Zidane wonders if it’s the Sanctuary, a little further ahead the ground begins to shake and the group is attacked by Hiligigars, a giant green troll like creature.


I’ve not used either Dagger nor Eiko’s summons so far, so I guess this is as good a time as any to unleash Ramuh and Fenris. Laughably both do less damage than Zidane does with his normal attack, but it still far more than either of them would normally deal out. Whilst still in battle Dagger shows surprise that Eiko can use summon magic. The battle takes a while, enemies are starting to get a little tougher to take down, even so I don’t ever feel like I’m being tested.


After the battle Eiko tells us the monster turns up every now and then, but she normally just runs away. Zidane compliments her on her fighting ability and Dagger asks her how it is that she can summon eidolons. Eiko’s is surprised that Dagger hasn’t always been able to do it as she has, just as her Grandpa had and “everyone else”, they all summoned eidolons “all the time”.


When asked what she means, she changes subject, they’re going the wrong way to her home, the path they’re on goes to the Iifa Tree. Apparently the Iifa Tree and the Sanctuary are one and the same. There’s another of those altars here that Zidane takes a yellow stone from before backtracking the the altar I left the red and blue stones in. Once again, though, nothing happens, but a little while later I find a green stone and when I place this into the altar, something falls out of the back of it. I retrieve the item and find its a Moonstone that can be equipped to teach Shell and Beast Killer.

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Wow, Fifteen parts and I've still not made it to the end of disc two! Last week was the journey to Eiko's home, which means we'll now be arriving at Madain Sari, Village of the Summoners.




After leaving the Mountain Pass we have to traverse the World Map just a little, nestled away on the coast is the village of Madain Sari, Eiko's home. The place looks like a complete ruin, though there appears to be a small army of Moogles living here. Mog has also arrived and after being reassured by Eiko that she's not mad at him for running away (though to be fair, he was chased by Quina) he vanishes inside her clothing as Eiko says its safer for him there, she then sends the rest of the Moogles off to work.


Eiko tries to separate Zidane from the others, she wants him to tell her all about himself, Dagger watches on in amusement as he is bombarded with questions by the young girl. Though she then goes into a slight daze, Zidane thinks she might be jealous, but she denies this, it's only then that they all realise that Vivi has wandered off.


Mocha arrives and tells Eiko he has finished cleaning, so Eiko announces she is going to start cooking and invites Zidane to eat at her place. Zidane accepts the invitation as he has a lot of things he wants to ask her (and hasn't been able to get much of a word in otherwise) The group finds Vivi staring off over the sea, thinking to himself about all he had learned back at Black Mage Village, he has so many existential questions he needs answering, the most pressing of all being where he came from and where he goes when he dies.

Zidane finds Libra at the fountain in the centre of Madain Sari



Libgra was a perverse fellow.
He would always
walk in the opposite
direction of the sun.
Would he ever see Virgo?

=Stellazzio Story="


Dagger seems to be giving Zidane the silent treatment, though an ATE then shows he wondering about Madain Sari and the summoners who had lived here. She says knowing she had eidolons inside her, like the summoners had, didn't bring her any joy. But now that Brahne has taken them from her to be used as part of Kuja's war machine, she feels like she's lost a piece of herself. She feels that Maidain Sari feels familiar to her but doesn't understand why.


Moco the Moogles stands guard outside a cave, he says its a restricted area, Quina arrives and complains that this place is only rocks and sand with no food, though the water looks clean, this prompts him/her to jump in for a swim. 


Eiko is busy in her kitchen with a trio of Moogles, they're preparing a meal for her "hero Zidane" who she appears to she wants to fend off Dagger for the attention of. She plans to get between the pair by cooking lots of food and showing Zidane that she's a good homemaker. The Moogles seem to lack confidence in her cooking abilities though, which, she says, is why she's enlisting their help. She has to decide which Moogle does which job, Momatose is sent to catch fish for the "Barbecue Fish", Mocha goes to dig up potatoes for the "Rock Potato Stew" and Chimomo helps Eiko in the kitchen. Chimomo's job appears to be put enough water on to boil to make enough stew for everyone. Eiko lists everybody's names though she misses Quina, which makes 10 diners, though I instruct Chimomo to boil enough water for 11. Eiko then puts an Oglop into the water for seasoning.


Momatose snags a fish, it's a big one, Eiko rushes to help reel it in while Chimomo continues to cook, its not a fish though, its Quina! Eiko thinks Quina is Kuja because of their white hair and strange clothes. Quina tries to correct her and tells her that Zidane is looking for Kuja and that s/he is called Quina. Eiko then remembers Quina chasing Mog, then introduces herself before whispering an instruction to Mog to never come out of hiding whenever Quina is around. Quina notices the food, commenting that it smells good, but informs Chimomo that the heat is too low on the water, s/he tells Eiko they need Vivi's black magic to create more heat and then continues helping Eiko out in the kitchen.

Zidane tries to enter the kitchen, but Morrison won't let him until the food has finished cooking, and so he takes him to the Eidolon Wall. Turns out the cave that Moco was guarding wasn't actually a cave, it's actually an amphitheatre that contains the Eidolon Wall. Morrison instructs Moco to let them through, then tells Zidane that Eiko's summoner tribe has protected the wall for generations, Zidane decides Dagger needs to see this and goes to fetch her.


Inside, the walls are covered in paintings of the Eidolons that the summoner tribe had discovered during their research. It's considered a holy place for summoners and Eiko visits every day to pray to her ancestors, Dagger decides to stay here and study the mural some more, at least until Eiko has finished cooking anyhow.


Finally, the food is done and everyone sits down to enjoy the meal, Zidane comments that Eiko should open a restaurant. He then asks where all the other summoners are, Eiko replies that they're all "sleeping the eternal sleep" and that she's the last survivor of her tribe, she's been living with the Moogles since her Grandpa died last year.


Ten years ago, four years before she was born, the village was hit by a "natural disaster". The Summoners suffered a great deal. Her Mum and Dad fell in love and started a family, though they both died when she was very young. She believes she was left alone in the village to meet Zidane, her "beautiful shooting star" before she can continue though, Vivi finds the oglop in his stew, Eiko claims that they're a Conde Petie delicacy, but everyone seems to be put off by the discovery.


Zidane helps Eiko take the dirty plates through to the kitchen, there Zidane asks Eiko if she knows anything about the Iifa Tree. She tells him they can't get in as it's been sealed with an eidolon. Zidane wonders if Eiko did this, she tells him it happened before she was born, the tribe sealed an eidolon they had failed to summon inside the Iifa Tree as it's their custom to seal failed eidolons where the attempted summon had happened. Zidane wants Eiko to break the seal for them, though she refuses, calling him crazy.


That night Zidane finds Vivi alone, thinking to himself once again. He tells the little guy he should get some rest as they're leaving tomorrow but Vivi tells him that he tried to stop worrying about things but he just can't do it. He wants to be more like Zidane but finds it difficult. Zidane tells him that it's simply because they're different people and that he doesn't have to do everything Zidane's way.


"I want to stop...
I don't wanna feel like this any more." says Vivi.


Zidane tells him is boils down to two simple choices, either he does, or he doesn't. That you'd think with all the problems in the world there would be more answers. It's not fair, but that's the way things are. The choice is Vivi's, Zidane just wants to protect the people he is with, it doesn't matter whether he can or not. That's just what he believes in, Eiko is listening in on the pair and decide3s she "wants to go with Zidane". Zidane then tells Vivi he has an age-old ritual that helps take a mans mind off his problems and then shows him how to urinate over the side of a cliff (or that's what the game seems to be alluding to), its very nearly like the scene in Titanic where Jack teaches Rose how to spit over the side of the ship.


Next morning Dagger tells Zidane she wants to come back to Madain Sari, the Eidolon Wall scared her at first but the murals then began to soothe her. Zidane says they have to come back for Quina anyway.[/quote]

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Still not on Disc 3




A new week and another update, last week we got to spend some time with Eiko and the Moogles. The little girl has been living alone (well aside from her Moogle friends) for around a year now after the passing of her Grandfather and there’s the hint that she may be able to teach Garnet a thing or two about summoning, that is if she’s not distracted by trying to avert Zidane’s attention away from the Princess.


After leaving Madain Sari we take to traversing the world map again and head back in the direction of the Conde Petie Mountain Pass in order to take the second path that leads to the Iifa Tree. We get closer to its huge mass of roots but can’t get any further as there’s an impenetrable force standing in the way, Eiko says this is the seal that her tribe placed on Iifa Tree.

Eiko tells the others that to break the seal, she has to ask the Eidolon to “come back”, that the Summoners Horn allows “us” to communicate with eidolons and wild animals. She performs a chant and we receive a Ruby, the seal is now broken. Vivi asks if the chant was used to break the seal, but it wasn’t, Eiko just had to focus her thoughts in on her horn, the chant was just for show. I check out the Ruby we obtained and it will allow Eiko to learn Carbuncle and also teach her and Dagger Reflect.


It takes me a while to climb the Iifa Tree (which I still keep misreading is Lifa Tree, which I also think makes more sense). I mean, it’s like five or six screens just to scale its roots and get inside the tree itself and the Stropers I encounter along the way seem to have a lot of HP and so take a while to defeat. I eventually come across Mocchi and can’t help thinking that these Moogles don’t half hide out in some weird places, plus how did he get beyond the seal the Summoners placed on the entrance? Anyway, I have a letter for him:


“From Mogryo to Mocchi

A kid named Vivi came to the Black
Mage Village. His eyes were so sad…
Like he had the weight of the world on
his shoulders, kupo.

I wanted to say ‘Good luck!’ to him,
but I couldn’t… kupo.

I’m on your side, Vivi!”


Once inside the tree, Zidane touches a circle platform in the centre of the floor which begins to glow. He stands on it and it descends, so he quickly jumps off. When it comes back up again the entire party climb on it. At the bottom of the shaft is another root system, this one covered in what looks like cobwebs, we work our way down this makeshift pathway, fighting Dracozombies (undead dragons) as we go. These are tough as they can instakill the entire party and can also cast Zombie on them, which makes any healing items have the opposite effect. It occurs to me that I can use healing items on the Dracozombies to make defeating them a little easier, I have to use Magic Tag’s to remove the status effect from the inflicted part member.


After a while, we come to another chamber with a massive vertical root going through it. There’s a leaf-like platform connected to it that when stood upon by the entire group takes them to the roots base. Mog tells Eiko he senses a lot of life beneath them, she says Moogles are Faeries and can detect life, but that he senses a lot more than normal here.

Zidane and Dagger wonder what this could all have to do with Kuja. Just then they are attacked by Zombies, like the Dracozombies, these have a weakness to healing items and magic, but I don’t want to use my items or MP up as I suspect there will be a boss fight soon.


Dagger, Eiko and Zidane begin to wonder about the Mists effect on monsters and about how it reaches Mist Continent, but there’s none on Outer Continent, then Dagger notices that Vivi is acting a little oddly. He’s lost in thought again, thinking about the Mist, he asks Zidane if he remembers the factory in Deli. Vivi remembers there was a lot of Mist inside the factory, Zidane remembers the machines were using a lot of it and Dagger reminds them of the eggs that they saw. Vivi believes there’s a connection between the Mist, Kuja and the Black Mages (though I thought this had already been established?), but before the conversation can go any further the party is attacked by a Dracozombie.


Once this has been seen off, Zidane notes he can finally see the bottom of the Iifa Tree, Dagger feels that the tree looks more like a machine than a plant, Vivi and Eiko are watching some sparkling water at the base of the tree and Vivi wonders aloud if its the origins of the Mist. Eiko invites Ziudane to watch it with her, he tries to resist but she refuses to let him go. Zidane then notices that she’s not watching the water and she tells him that she’s watching it sparkling in his eyes. Zidane thinks they may need to go deeper somehow, then Mog senses something coming their way from above.


The walls around them begin to shake and a tree-like monster appears, though it seems to have been expecting Kuja, it tells the group that it creates the Mist as a “by-product of the refining process”, whatever that means, it says that Kuja has found another use for it as a weapon, “his Black Mages”, if we can defeat this creature, known as Soulcage, it says there will be no more Mist and “no more weapons like this puppet here”, referring to Vivi.


Now, because of how things have moved along I know I’ve gone into this fight unprepared, nobody has been healed since the last Dracozombie fight, I’ve used some of Vivi, Dagger and Eiko’s MP up too, though Vivi is close to going into Trance. I can’t really justify using Eiko or Daggers summons now either as their MP cost is too high and I’m probably going to need to heal lots and the Soulcage can cast Lv5 Death which can kill in one hit.


So I’m not surprised when Soulcage defeats me, though there is one moment where I think the tide could turn as the whole party if revived by a randomly occurring move called Rebirth Flame, which can apparently happen if you have Eiko in your party and she has the Phoenix summon. But that hope is short-lived and he defeats me fully at the second attempt. This throws me right back to the entrance of the Iifa Tree where I met Mocchi so I’m forced to make my way back down again.


On my next attempt, I decided to see if the methods I could have used on the Zombies and Dracozombies would work on Soulcage and get Dagger to cast Life on it. This is normally reserved for reviving party members, but it does indeed work and Soulcage is defeated in one move


The Iifa Tree begins to shake violently as the Mist pouring from its roots begins to dissipate, leaving clear blue skies behind. Zidane thinks the Mist on Mist Continent should be gone too and Vivi fears that this means that there will be no more Black Mages. Moco turns up unexpectedly, he tells Eiko that someone has stolen something valuable from the village so she needs to rush back.

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Part 17!? Seriously, if you're still with me through this, THANK YOU! 


A fortnight ago we'd entered the Iifa Tree and discovered that a being inside, called Soulcage, was responsible for all of the mist on Mist Continent and that it thrived on causing heightened levels of aggression, which Kuja was seemingly using for two purposes, one was to create his army of Black Mages, the other was two bring about war on Mist Continent, after defeating Soul Cage, the mist began to disperse and as the party left the Iifa Tree Eiko received news that something important had been stolen from Madain Sari.


So, back at Madain Sari, Eiko runs off with her Moogle friends. Zidane tries to search for her and finds the Moogles gathered outside a room beneath her kitchen, they say a stone has been stolen by somebody with a large axe. Inside Eiko is visibly upset, though she refuses to cry as "grown-ups don't cry". The stone that has been stolen is a symbol of the summoner tribes heritage. Zidane suggests they look around for clues so they can track who has taken it and get the stone back, whilst doing this its obvious that Eiko is fighting back the tears (she keeps hiccuping), she's blaming herself for the stone being taken as she made a promise to her Grandpa that she'd never break the seal to the Iifa Tree, and well, we already know whats happened there, but I gather she thinks this is her punishment for doing so. Eiko decides shes going to go to the Eidolon Wall to pray, though really I think she just wants to be alone so she can cry and not try to be a grown-up, Shortly after she leaves Zidane and Dagger hear a scream and Vivi rushes into the small room to say that he saw "that girl from Fossil Roo take Eiko".


Zidane, Vivi and Dagger rush through the empty streets, heading for the Eidolon Wall. When they reach it, the Moogles are all gathered outside, Zidane peeks inside the monument and sure enough Lani, one of Brahnes bounty hunters, has captured Eiko. Zidane tries to ask Mog to help rescue her, but Mog is too afraid to do anything, the other Moogles give Zidane a new weapon, called "Exploda", it allows him to learn the move "Sacrifice" which allows Zidane to sacrifice himself to heal the other party members. However, Exploda is actually a good few points weaker than Rune Tooth, which I already have equipped, so I stick with that for now.


Zidane, Dagger and Vivi enter the Eidolon Wall to take on Lani, it seems she's been waiting for Zidane and has put Eiko to sleep using Sleeping Weed (the very same stuff Dagger used on Zidane, Freya, Vivi and Regend Cid in Lindblum). Dagger offers Lani her pendant in exchange for Eiko, Lani confirms she stole Eiko's stone and then demands they hand over Daggers pendant. However, she doesn't trust Zidane and asks for Vivi to hand it over, Zidane gives Vivi the pendant, however before he can hand it to Lani, Brahnes other bounty hunter appears and attacks her. Zidane thanks him for intervening and Eiko wakes up.


Zidane demands Lani then hands over Eiko's stone, Lani is baffled by the new arrivals actions and Dagger recognises him from "Wanted" posters she saw in Treno. The "Red-Headed Man" tells Zidane he isn't here to help, he just wants to be fair, he instructs them to leave the jewel and go and tells Lani that he doesn't work with hostage-taking scumbags and tells her to get lost. After telling him he'll regret all of this she does indeed flee. The "Red-Headed Man" then demands Zidanes party fight him, though when the fight gets started its only "Scarlet Hair" (as he is called in battle, and I will be using from this point on) and Zidane that are set to fight each other.


It quickly becomes apparent that Scarlet Hair moves around the arena as you battle him, meaning unless he's directly in front of Zidane, then attacks will miss. Prior to the fight starting I'd equipped Zidane's Counter Attack ability, so on occassion I can get two hits in and whilst Scarlet Hair is moving around the arena I use this time to heal Zidane using Potions and Hi-Potions (though I don't have very many of the latter, which I need to begin to rectify next time I can buy them). The fight, as with alot of the boss fights in Final Fantasy IX thus far, isn't particularly difficult and Scarlet Hair is defeated.


Scarlet Hair can't believe he's been defeated and demands that Zidane finishes him off, Zidane asks him to stand and then tells him to give back what he stole. Scarlet Hair asks Zidane to finish him again, but Zidane informs the man that he has chosen to spare his life. Scarlet Hair believes that Zidane wishes to banish him (from where and where to I do not know), however Zidane responds that he's free to go, they won't follow him, which Scarlet Hair thinks is some kind of trick. He doesn't understand why Zidane wouldn't kill him.


Zidane explains that they fought, but both of them still live, that Zidane got back what was stolen, thats all there is to it. Scarlet Hair can't believe that he has lost to a "spineless thief£ and, laughably, Zidane tries to sound wise by saying "The sly eagle doesn't kill at whim", Scarlet Hair takes this as his cue to leave.


Eiko heads back to her home and the others all follow. There she asks Zidane if he thinks its okay to leave the village as she promised her Grandpa that she wouldn't leave until she turned 16. Zidane tells her he'll agree if thats what she wants, it doesn't matter what he says as he believes she's already made up her mind. Vivi reminds her that she told him that shouldn't ever lie to himself, he tells her that she should be more honest with her feelings.


At that she perks up a bit and decides to wear the summoners stone as an earring, Mog thinks Eiko is mad at her, she admit she's furious with her but only because she went off without Eiko and could have gotten herself into trouble. As Eiko tells Zidane about her relationship with Mog, Dagger wanders off, and as he leaves Eiko's home Zidane hears her singing.

He follows the sound of Daggers singing and finds her sitting in a small boat, Zidane proposes that they become a bandit team together, especially as Dagger seems to have gained the ability to sneak into well hidden places. She says she's learnt it all from Zidane but he disagrees, he says its because she's put the effort in to learn everything she can. Dagger reveals to Zidane that she hopes she can live up to the faith that everyone has that has helped has shown in her, but Zidane tells her that they weren't just doing things to help her, they were all were also following their own paths.


After telling Dagger a tale about an adventurer called Ipsin and his friend Colin, the pair hear the song that Dagger often sings, then Dagger thinks she see's the Eidolon Wall lit up like its on fire and then begins to have some kind of vision of a storm attacking Madain Sari and she collapses into Zidanes arms.


Zidane takes her back to Eiko's home. When Dagger awakens, she tells Eiko, Mog and Zidane that she doesn't really remember her childhood, but it's something she's never really put much thought into before. She was only raised in Alexandria from the age of six and she now believes that she must have been in Madain Sari before that, unfortunately most of her memories are shrouded in fog. She does remember a huge hurricane hitting th evillage and she remembers being with her birth mother in a little boat far from the village. The song she sings is from Madain Sari and she wonders if Doctor Tot would be able to tell her more, though she realises her birth mother died protecting her from the storm. They then go to the Eidolon Wall and Dagger says she used to pray there, this surprises Eiko, and makes her feel much happier, she says this makes her feel less lonely now.


A little while later, Eiko says her goodbyes to the Moogles, but before we can leave Madain Sari, Scarlet Hair appears again. He still doesn't understand why Zidane let them live, to his mind the victor lives and the defeated dies. He tells Ziudane he'd rather live as a warrior than die as a beggar, so Zidane offers Scarlet Hair the chance to come along with him, if he does, then maybe he'll understand Zidanes decision. Zidane says that he's a good fighter and they could use his help hunting down somebody, Scarlet Hair agrees to follow Zidane and is given a new moniker of Amarant.


I now have five party members, which means that, for the first time, I can choose my battle line-up. For now I go with Zidane, Dagger, Vivi and Amarant, placing Eiko on the subs bench. I like Eiko, especially as she has Cura, which Dagger doesn't have yet, but her HP and MP are lower than Daggers. Zidane then tells the group that they're going back to the Iifa Tree.

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Last week Zidane had to rescue Eiko from one of Brahnes bounty hunters, then fight the other to recover the stone that had been stolen from her home, the latter bounty hunter was called Amarant and, through shame at losing to Zidane, has now joined the party.


On the way back to the Iifa Tree the group bump into a Yeti, who rather than fighting us, demands some Ore. Vivi throws this to it and the creature demands more, which Dagger hands over, the "battle" then ends with the Yeti asking us to say hi to Nymph.


In my first proper battle with Amarant in the party, I check out what he can do. His key skill appears to be throwing items from my inventory at enemies (this is in addition to his normal physical attack), I'm not sure how I'd use this as I don't think the item set is similar to that in Final Fantasy X where Rikku's similar ability can come in handy. He also has a skill called Chakra that allows him to heal an allies HP & MP, which could come in really useful as things progress. He's not as physically strong as I'd hoped, standing below Zidane and thus making him only the fourth-strongest potential party member (with Steiner first, then Freya, Zidane, Amarant) for physical attacks, but with that Chakra skill it means I don't always have to have both Eiko and Dagger in the party.


As expected, Kuja arrives at the Iifa Tree on the back of his silver dragon, he delivers some kind of monologue, though I think he's talking to himself, saying that its finally time to reveal his true self, stating his plan is to "watch the drama unfold from the trunk of Iifa" as he expects no one will interrupt him there.


The group head to the Iifa Tree to confront Kuja, I'm given a chance to change my party, but stick with the line up I mentioned last week of Zidane, Dagger, Vivi and Amarant, though I do wonder if it would be better to have two healers if I do have to fight Kuja as I've not used Amarants Chakra yet so have no idea how powerful it is and the two healers are also summoners so they have some extra power there if I'm in a bit of a pinch.


Zidane and co need to climb the tree, rather than descend into it like they did previously, but there's no obvious path and Dagger, Vivi and Eiko say they can't climb it. Amarant thinks Zidane should go it alone, though Zidane says they all stick together and instructs the newcomer to find a Gargant as he'd spotted some Gargant Grass around, instead of doing this though, Amarant picks up "the kids" and carries them to the top of the tree himself, leaving Zidane to give Dagger a piggyback.


Kuja notices the ragtag bunch climbing and decides that they'll be the perfect warm-up, he's waiting for the "elephant-lady" to show up. I'm given one last chance to change my party, but again stick with Zidane and Amarant in the front row with Dagger and Vivi taking up the back row, but I do make sure everyone is fully healed before continuing.


The party have a lot of questions for Kuha, but his answers are either cryptic or absolving himself of the majority of the blame, for example, Vivi asks what about the Black Mages and is told that he "only provided the recipe. He tells Dagger that Brahne is greedy and that she always wanted war because she has to have everything, he just gave her a push.


His dragon suddenly lets out a roar and Kuja notices that Brahne, along with her new navy, are arriving. The queen herself is at the command of a gunship and it seems she may have chosen to turn on Kuja as she believes he is all that stands between her and domination. She orders her navy to open fire on him and has her Black Mages instructed to focus all of their energy into one combined spell.


Despite the Iifa Tree not producing Mist, Kuja says he can still create monsters, after all, there is still Mist lying dormant in some areas, such as caves, that he can harness and he then sets a pair of Mistodons on Zidane and friends.


Brahne hasn't quite opened fire yet so Amarant suggests leaving whilst she's getting everything into position, thinking it would be best if both of Zidane's adversaries fight things about between themselves, especially as Kuja has now taken to goading Brahne, Zidane agrees and the group begin their escape from the battle. However, Dagger wants to save her mother, despite everything she has done. Dagger doesn't want her to die and her plan is to try and summon the Eidolon that the summoners had imprisoned in the Iifa Tree.


At the base of the tree, Dagger finds a statue and preys to it, it begins to glow and she receives an Aquamarine stone. This is no good, the stone holds the power of Leviathan inside it and if Dagger uses this then her Mothers navy will be destroyed by the great tidal wave that Leviathan will unleash.


Whilst Dagger and Eiko have been discussing this, Kuja has obviously been fighting with the fleet, leaving the latter in a bad shape as smoke and fire cover the decks of the ships. They've used up all of their ammunition in fighting off Kuja's monsters, however, the Black Mages have finished combining their power and manage to summon Bahamut, who is instructed to attack Kuja, though the effect it has is minimal, with Kuja only taking on a small head wound.


Then it gets weird, Kuja summons some kind of giant eye in the sky. It's huge and red and manages to kill the Black Mages, not only that but it turns Bahamut back onto Brahnes navy, the screen fades to black and next, we know Vivi, Eiko, Zidane and Dagger have found Brahne washed up on a beach. An inner-monologue suggests one of the party, I think its Vivi, wanted this to happen to the queen, they say they should be happy as they hate her so much, but then they say Dagger crying and didn't know what to feel any more.


Brahne is still alive, just about, she tells Dagger she is free of her greed now, she says she hasn't felt like this for a long time, not since she "saw that play with you and your father", she realises that she has let Alexandria down a path of ruin, but believes the people will be happier with Dagger on the throne. The group decide they must return to Alexandria, bringing the queen's body with them.


In Alexandria, Garnet is reunited with Steiner and Beatrix, they both dutifully try to take some blame for all that has happened. However Garnet asks them both to help her rule over Alexandria, the three then join Doctor Tot in laying a wreath of roses that the townspeople had sent as an offering for Queen Brahnes grave, Garnet promises her she will become a great queen and with that, we (finally) reach the end of Disc Two.

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I'm now at the start of disc three and in Alexandria as the kingdom begins preparations for the coronation Queen Garnet Til Alexandria






Back in December, prior to Christmas and prior to my Albums of the Year countdown, I'd literally just finished Disc Two, an excellent place to end the year. Zidane, Vivi, Eiko, Amarant and Dagger had gone to the Iifa Tree to take on Kuja, though before they could select the battle music, Brahne appeared with a navy, she unleashed Bahamut, but Kuja turned the eidolon back on her fleet resulting in the death of the Queen of Alexandria.


Disc three opens with Beatrix, Doctor Tot, Steiner and Garnet arriving at Alexandria Castle by boat/ The Princess hasn't yet been crowned, her coronation will be in three days time.


Elsewhere Zidane has managed to meet up with Cinna, Marcus, Ruby and Blank, though he's hardly in a talkative mood. They decided to leave Zidane to it and go visit Ruby's theatre. En route Blank bumps into Vivi and the two quickly fill each other in on what they'd been doing since Garnet had been freed from her imprisonment at the castle. Marcus tells Blanbk to hurry up as Ruby hates them being late, so he bids farewell and follows after his Tantalus companion.

Vivi heads into the bar but Zidane still doesn't want to talk, I have a couple of quick games of cards with the other people there and lose both, though I pull things back in games elsewhere in Alexandria, ultimately playing 6, winning 3 and losing 3.


Out on the streets, there's a bit of excitement building surrounding Garnets coronation, one little girl declares she wants to grow up to be as strong as the soon to be crowned princess.


An ATE shows Eiko visiting the castle, she meets the kitchen staff who realise shes rather hungry, but then declare that to be "too bad" and head back to their kitchen.


Hippolady tells Vivi that her son, Hippaul, plays too many card games and asks Vivi to have a race against him, which Vivi agrees to do. The race requires me to hammer the square and circle buttons alternately, like in the old Track & Field games from the arcades (and home consoles), this isn't the easiest thing to do on the Vita as its face buttons are rather small but still, I beat Hippaul rather easily, though Vivi doesn't receive anything for his troubles. I do the race again and purposely lose, but again, Vivi doesn't get any reward. Hippaul does have "(Level 5)" next to his name so there's probably more to it than just running it a couple of times, but I decide to move on. After all, Hippaul doesn't even like running.


After exploring Alexandria for a while, Blank encourages Vivi to enter Ruby's theatre, he's not dared to go in so far as he knows Ruby will be angry at him being late, indeed, when Vivi descends the stairs Ruby begins to tell him off, thinking he's Blank and Marcus but is surprised when she turns around and see's Vivi there. Not knowing him she calls him "kind strange" but before long Cinna arrives and introduces the two to each other properly and Ruby invites him to see her play.


Back in the castle, Garnet wants Steiner to find Zidane, he tries to tell her she has more important matters to attend to and that she lives in a different world now. Tot and Beatrix arrive and tell the princess it is time that she got changed, with Tot handing her stones of Opal, Topaz and Amethyst, which contain the power that Brahne (and Kuja) had removed from her. Steiner and Tot then excuse themselves, leaving Garnet with Beatrix. She asks the General to see Zidane but Beatrix also denies this request.


Eiko is still walking around the castle and she's still intent on "winning" Zidane, she believes that Garnet is now out of the picture as she's to become queen and see's this as the perfect chance to write him "the most romantic letter ever". She spies Doctor Tot coming down the stairs from Garnets quarters, though she doesn't know who he is, she decides he must be intelligent of his "big beard, nerdy hat and thick glasses", she asks him if he's a writer, which he confirms, and enlists him in writing her letter. As she leads the way to where she wants to do this he notices her horn.


This triggers a memory of a ship washing up in Alexandria after a storm, inside were a woman and a baby girl. Unfortunately, the woman was dead, but when he looked at the baby's face he was surprised to see she looked exactly like Princess Garnet, who had just passed away. However, this child had a horn. When the baby was presented to the king he ordered for the horn to be removed, then he and Queen Brahne raised the child as Princess Garnet (and nobody asked any questions or raised any objections!?)


After getting into her coronation dress, Garnet reveals to Beatrix that Brahne wasn't her real mother. However Beatrix had already been told this by Doctor Tot, Beatrix tells Garnet that he allegiance will remain to her rule and she will continue to serve the new ruler of Alexandria.


Eiko finishes her letter (well, Doctor Tot writes it all), and runs off to give it to Zidane. Unfortunately, she somehow bumps into Baku on the balcony above the main staircase in the castle, this throws her over the side of the balcony and she gets caught on something, leaving her hanging in the air and dropping her letter. For some reason, Baku can't help her down, but he agrees to deliver the letter to Zidane instead.

Baku then stumbles across Steiner who tells him to leave the castle as thieves do not belong there. Baku reminds him that "one of his boys" saved the kingdom, which Steiner reluctantly agrees with (he still doesn't like Zidane) but he believes once a thief, always a thief and he can't possibly let "their kind" roam about the castle, before leaving though, Baku somehow drops Eiko's letter.


Trying to figure out what all the commotion is, Beatrix also arrives at the docks, though this is just after Baku and Steiner leave. She realises that was all Steiner though. Thinking to herself she acknowledges that Alexandria is at peace again, though she wonders why it is that she still feels sorrow in her heart, it is then she spots Eiko's letter on the ground and assumes it was Steiner who dropped it, she picks it up and reads it:

"When the night sky wears the moon as it's pendant, I shall await you at the dock."


She thinks that Steiner has written her a love letter.


Back at the bar, Zidane is pining for Garnet. Ruby, Marcus, Blank and Cinna all burst in and start shouting things like "you can do it" though exactly what they think he can do is unclear. When Baku arrives Zidane begs him to allow him back into Tantalus. Baku refuses by saying "A Tantalus always gets what he sets his eyes on." "If you can't even capture a canary, you ain't got what it takes to join Tantalus!" Vivi also arrives and asks if they can go to see Dagger. Zidane agrees to go, saying they could go cheer her on before she becomes queen.


We're really getting to see all the main cast now (Quina's classed as an optional character I believe). Freya is by the docks, staring at the water complaining Zidane hasn't visited her to say hello, as she turns to leave Amarant is walking towards her, she stops (having not met him before) to ask him what he's staring at, Amarant takes this as a challenge and the two warriors square up to each other until the Alexandrian soldiers keeping watch over the docks threaten to arrest them.


Zidane and Vivi arrive, with Freya trying to leave. Zidane tells her to stop being mad, this irritates Freya and she tells him that he is the reason she is mad because he's been off wandering around, avoiding Dagger and probably hasn't found anything else out about Kuja (and Freya is the first person since Brahne died to even mention Kuja!)

She believes Kuja will attack again, he's already taken Garnets eidolons once (or coerced Brahne to do so) and has now killed the queen, so there must be more to come. Zidane gets all that, but he can't even talk to Garnet and doesn't know if he can protect her, plus now she's becoming queen, she'll have all the guards she needs. Vivi clearly disagrees with Zidane, and rather bravely for the little guy, tells Zidane he thinks Garnet will want to see him and then encourages him to take to the boat to the castle.


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I took a week off last week, I just didn't get much opportunity to actually play and didn't want to just upload a couple of hundred words. So, two weeks ago, we were in Alexandria, awaiting Princess Garnet's coronation, though none of the gang had spoken to her since she had arrived back home, well other than those that were also in her employ such as Doctor Tot, Steiner and Beatrix. The others had decided they should go and visit her though, and that's where we left things.


Zidane, Vivi, Amarant and Freya all arrive at the Castle docks and explore the grounds. We use the Neptune statue to go to the harbour, though there's currently nothing to see, the Alexandrian soldier on guard there tells Zidane that the Ruby Rose can't fly now due to there being no Mist. Everything else on the castle grounds is locked down. Before we enter the castle itself, we come across Steiner manhandling Eiko, he threatens to throw her into the dungeons, but Zidane intervenes. Steiner hasn't met Eiko before, nor has Freya, and whilst Eiko is introducing herself to the dragon knight Steiner loses his rag. He's definitely not pleased to see them all, well, apart from Vivi that is, who explains why they're all at the castle. Steiner agrees to arrange a meeting, purely because it was at Vivi's request.


Steiner tells the group to wait at the foot of the stairs and trots off to tell Garnet they are there. She stands on the balcony above them, thanking them for her visit, everyone compliments her on how she looks, and everything is conducted very formally, although Zidane never speaks. After a very brief amount of time, Steiner tells her that she must go. Eiko rushes up the stairs, asking if its the last time they'll see each other. Garnet claims it won't be, she says she won't be able to journey around the world with them anymore, but she'll never forget the time she did. Garnet then trades two of her jewels for two of Eiko's before bidding her goodbye.

Vivi and Freya demand to know why Zidane didn't say anything. He says he had a whole speech prepared but he just couldn't say anything, he wanted to say "Good luck Dagger! I'll be watching you from afar". But he says it would have just been a lie because that's not how he feels at all.


This upsets Eiko, because she now realises that Zidane is besotted with Garnet. She wishes that she never wrote her letter, not knowing it never reached Zidane and has instead been mistaken for a letter from Steiner to Beatrix. So, whilst sat at the dock and expecting Zidane's arrival, she decides to hide before he does to save her embarrassment. Whilst hiding, she hears someone coming, its not Zidane though, its actually Marcus and Blank. The latter has also gotten hold of the letter and thinks it's for him, Marcus has just tagged along for the LOLs, but when they hear someone coming, they also hide.


This time it's Steiner, who is merely patrolling the grounds. He now finds the letter on the floor, as Blank had dropped, and when he reads it he convinces himself that someone must have dropped it knowing that he would pick it up. Beatrix arrives next, he thinks its from her (and as we already know, she's previously read the letter and thinks its from him). Eiko, Marcus and Blank are all listening in, but before anything can happen Baku appears and lets off a huge sneeze.


At the bar, Freya, Amarant and Vivi are all wondering where Zidane has gone. Vivi decides to go search for him, but before he can leave Eiko bursts in and the two bump into each other. She's in a bad move as she thinks Zidane stood her up and tells Vivi to keep out of her way. Tot then enters the bar, he's searching for Eiko. He wants to talk to her about Madain Sari. She agrees to tell him about her home but only if she can go to his home, though that's all the way in Treno. She thinks visiting Treno is a great idea as she "enjoys sight-seeing". Zidane finally shows his face and says that he's planning on going to Treno anyway, there's a card tournament on that he wants to enter and head to the Gargant station to make their way there.

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When we picked things up last week there was a lot of moodiness in the camp, Zidane was failing at trying to hide his feelings about Garnet from the rest of the party whilst Eiko was upset that Zidane's feelings were so strong, Garnet herself seemed to be suppressing her feelings too. But as my update closed, Doctor Tot had shown an interest in Eiko's past, whilst Zidane wanted to head to Treno to enter the card tournament that was taking place.

In Treno Eiko enlists Vivi to show her around as it's her first time visiting the city, Freya and Amarant also go off to do their own things, and Doctor Tot reminds Zidane that today is the last day that he can register for the card tournament.

Whilst they look around, Eiko attempts to fill Vivi in on the relationship between Zidane and Garnet, she labels them as stupid for not realising that they both like each other, though she seems to mostly blame Zidane for this, suggesting that he tries to act cool all the time, which then leads to him and Garnet arguing. She then runs off to look at the hall that the card tournament will be taking place inside and Vivi bumps into somebody from the airship he rode into Alexandria at the very start of the game. The man prompts him to go home and see his family, Vivi tells him his Grandpa has gone but decides to go anyway.


Before entering the card tournament Zidane leaves Treno to visit the nearby village of Dali, I manage to obtain the Mayors Key by searching his house, being cautious not to wake the boy on the couch. Once I have the key I head out to the Chocobo pen and discover 30,000 Gil and some Burman Coffee. Unfortunately, after checking my Key Items, I only seem to have two of the three coffee's that the old man at the observation tower wanted me to collect.

Zidane heads back to Treno and visits Queen Stella to hand in the Stellazzio's that I have thus far. Scorpio nets me 1000 Gil, Libra a Phoenix Pinion, Virgo 2000 Gil, Gemini a Blood Sword and Aries 5000 Gil.


It's only after doing these things that I head to the card hall, I speak to the card seller in order to register, they tell me I have to win two games before I can face the champion. After a bit of prodding, he tells Zidane that the champion is a "cutie in a sailors uniform". I don't really remember much of this part of the game from my previous playthrough nearly twenty years ago so I'm wondering if this is some kind of set up, particularly as up until now Zidane has seen himself as a bit of a ladies man. As soon as I enter the card hall my first game begins against Attic Man Waker, which I win 6-4 and get a Nymph card, which I already have in my collection but was the best of the options available to choose from.


A couple of ATE's play out after the first round. In the first Vivi makes his way home through the Ice Cavern, he hasn't been home in a long time. In the second Freya bumps into Amarant outside the auction house, the two discuss Kuja. There have been rumours that he has been seen here (which we already know to be true). Amarant reveals he's met Zidane once before, though he doesn't think Zidane remembers.


Amarant was once a security guard at the mansion that sits alongside the auction house, he spent most days looking for someone to have a fight with, didn't care who, he just wanted a fight. Anyway, one day, Zidane had gotten into the mansion and stolen something and during his escape had run into Amarant. The other guards hadn't seen what the thief looked like and Zidane managed to frame Amarant for the deed before getting away.


Back at the card hall, Zidane's second opponent is ready and is called Cardona Bishop. Again, I win first time, 7-3, and claim his Carrion Worm card, which is a new addition to my deck.


More ATE allow us to spend time with Quina, who's wandering around Treno in search of food, as ever. They're most put off that they need Gil in order to eat. S/he looks at the water beneath the bridge they're standing on and wonders if there are any fish down below then just jumps in.


Next, we see Eiko visit Doctor Tot in his observation town. She begins to tell him about Mandan Sari, she tells him that the rest of the people there are all gone and that she's been living with the Moogles since. She asks why everyone wants to know about her horn and the eidolons. He tells her that he's a researcher and he's just curious. She remembers that he was once Daggers teacher and asks him to teach her to be a "graceful princess". She reveals to him that she exchanged crystals with Dagger, though she calls them her "mark of the princess".


Doctor Tot tells her about the Crystalling, he says that he was once one crystal but was divided, one piece remained in Alexandria, whilst the rest we sent to Cleyra, Lindblum and Madain Sari with the summoner tribe. He soon becomes lost in thought, wondering what happened 500 years ago that warranted the crystal being broken up, when he comes around Eiko rushes off, she thinks Mog is in trouble.


Time for the final round in the card tournament. As Zidane enters the hall, Regent Cid approaches the card seller to register, he's accompanying the champion, or so that's what the organisers are to believe (they think he's the champions pet as he's still an oglop).


I pull out my best cards, which in honesty aren't all that great, the coin tolls state I go first. I hate going first and always feel more confident when on the offence. We draw the match so must go again.


Second time around, the champion goes first, but I win this one 7-3 like I did in the second round, the champion had used all Oglop cards, so that's another new card type for my deck. Zidane's also rewarded with a Rebirth Ring.


After the game, the champion introduces herself as Erin, she's actually an airship pilot from Lindblum. It seems that she and Cid were in Treno for more than just the card tournament, they'd also been testing their new airship, the Hilda Garde 2, which doesn't require Mist to fly. Cid says its a little slow, but they made it to Treno, he felt he must test it as he had a feeling that trouble was just around the corner.


Eiko soon interrupts the conversation though, she's clearly in distressed, a Moogle from Treno has told her that something bad is happening in Alexandria.

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I'm really behind on having this up to date on here, so if you've been following my progress via this thread rather than the blog then I apologise. I actually had a break through most of February as my mental health took a dip so its not quite as bad as it could have been!




Previously, Zidane entered a Tetra Master tournament and Eiko there might be something terrible happening back in Alexandria.


Sure enough, Eiko’s Moogle friend was absolutely right. Kuja has re-appeared and he plans to use the distraction of Garnets ascension to the throne to unleash Bahamut on the kingdom. The great dragon appears from the skies and immediately attacks. Steiner and Beatrix have gathered the Alexandrian forces and it’s up to Garnet to give the Knights of Pluto their orders.

Blutzen & Kuhel are told to gather information, Weimar and Haugen are to protect to the townspeople, contacting Lindblum to ask for aid is down to Briereicht and Laudo whilst Dojebon Mullenkedheim are to prepare the cannons. Beatrix then gifts Garnet with a pair of Angel Earrings as reward for her ability to command. As the General and Steiner leave her she says aloud that she wishes her mother was there to help her. A light flashes before her and she suddenly collapses.


Steiner and Beatrix charge through the streets, taking on any foes that get in their way. Despite being wounded Steiner vows to keep fighting, for Garnet, for Alexandria and for Beatrix. He tries to tell her his feelings, but before he can finish his sentence she tells him to save it for later as they will fight to see another day.


Back in the castle, Dagger awakens to the sound of music. It sounds like it’s coming from the upper floors and whilst looking for it she eventually finds her way to an external balcony with stone soldiers blocking her way from retreating, though Dagger doesn’t recognise this part of the castle. After she swears not to re3ly on others any more and to server her kingdom we cut to Zidane and the others aboard the Hilda Garde 2.


The ship is struggling and Zidane is worried that it could crash at any moment, Cid thinks it should hold out long enough for them to reach Alexandria. Vivi begins to feel airsick and heads inside to lie down, though as he does so he notices Eiko’s pendant spark, then there’s an explosion that knocks everyone off of their feet. Eiko thinks she head Dagger voice and wonders if the light coming from her pendant is the “Holy Judgement”.


She jumps from the bow of the ship and the light from her pendant pulls her towards Dagger who is on the battlements of the castle, her pendant is also glowing. When the two join, she tells Eiko that she heard the young summoners voice too. Eiko tells her that it’s the “Light of Destiny” which appears from the four stones of the Crystalling, they glow when a holy eidolon is calling for its summoner. The two then pray together and through their combined effort Alexander is summoned to protect the kingdom from Bahamut.


Seeing this from the town square Kuja summons his ship, the Invincible, and seems to be planning to capture Alexander.


However, seemingly onboard the Invincible is an unknown man, he is displeased with Kuja, saying he’s gone too far and that he’s been granted too much freedom to do what he wanted on Gaia, though now he will no longer tolerate his actions and plans to show Kujha (and Zidane) just who they are meddling with.

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