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.
If you’d like to read previous entries in this play through, click the Final Fantasy IX link on the right hand side, or go here.