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#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 26

After heading east I find several quicksand pits, so I begin to examine them and am thrown into a battle with a seriously difficult Antlion that not only packs a serious punch but also blinds my entire part. I weather the storm, having to revive Vivi and Eiko in the process. Ultimately I use Eiko’s Fenrir summon to finish the fight, I’ll admit then after that I cheated a little by checking a sandpit then restarting the game if a battle began. The very last pit I check is the one I needed to find (of course). The screen fades to black and white text appears

“Huhahaha…I knew you’d come. Everything is going according to plan…”

Cid and Zidane find themselves in a circular room, Zidane seems to have been knocked out. Neither of them have a clue where they are or where the others are. A voice then speaks to them

“So you are finally awake”

Zidane knows its Kuja

“I’m happy to see you again”

Zidane: You rat bastard! Where are my friends?”

Kuja: “My, my… Aren’y we feisty today?
No need to worry about them.
They’re in rooms not unlike yours
Oh, yes… By the way;
I should probably enlighten you as to your current situation”


The floor opens up revealing some red mist or lava beneath it.

Kuja: “I’m sure that even your feeble mind can grasp what would happen if you were to take that plunge.

Zidane: “Kuja! You’re dead!!!”

Kuja: “Oh, dear. Was it something I said?
Either way, now that you’re aware of your predicament I’d like you to do a tiny little favor for me.
I’ll let your friends live if you say yes”

Which obviously leaves Zidane with no choice but to accept whatever plans Kuja has.

Kuja: “Very good. You’ve chosen wiseley. First, step outside”

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Outside is a balcony with lots of identical doors. Zidane asks Cid to look after the others. Kuja then instructs Zidane to stand between the two Black Mages that are waiting for him, once he has done has instructed he is teleported to a poorly lit room where he finds Kuja stood by a fireplace. Kuja tells Zidane he’s sending him to a place called Oeilvert, which he tells him is sought of Seaways Canyon on the Forgotten Continent, which means as much to Zidane as it does to you or I. Kuja claims he can’t go there due to an anti-magic barrier that surrounds Oeilvert, that’s why he’s sending Zidane, he believes he”s “too stupid to use magic”.

Once there, Zidane is to retrieve the Galug Stone, he says that Zidane can choose three companions for the trip. Emotionally I want to choose Dagger, Vivi and Freya, but the anti-magic barrier would render Vivi useless. Ultimately I choose to take Dagger (who can’t cast regardless of if she goes or not and I imagine Eiko will be needed at Kuja’s palace as these things are never straight forward), Freya (for Reis’ Wind) and Steiner, leaving Vivi, Quina, Eiko and Amarant behind.

All three of my chosen party are summoned to Kuja’s quarters and all four are sent to board Hilda Garde I, and are no doubt heading into some kind of trap.

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#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 25

I’m going to start by saying that I totally expected to have had this playthrough wrapped up by now, but taking notes and typing up has definetly added to the play time.

The hunt for the third and final ingredient that I need to create the potion needed to cure Cid, or at least Doctor Tot believes it will cure him. I ask all over the Business District but nobody seems to have a clue what Zidane is on about, eventually I make my way to the weapons shop, the guy in there suggests I speak to Alice, who just so happens to be stood outside. She stands out a mile too as she’s dressed in a beautiful gown and it just so happens the potion I’m missing is the “Beautiful Potion”. Alice claims she actually has it! She then drags Zidane around the corner and begins to search through her dress for it, once she finds it she gives it to him for free saying that “it’s too old to sell anyway”.

Before heading back to the castle I have the Synthesist craft me some more equipment. I live his workshop with a Pearl Rouge, Anklet, Reflect Ring, Extension, Fairy Earrings, Burette and Gold Choker, then I make my way to deliver the ingredients to Minister Artania and Doctor Tot.


The Doctor mixes the three potions together and applies the mixture to Cid straight away. The potion does indeed change him, but not back into a human, instead he’s been turned from an Oglop into a Frog, Quina better not get to meet him in this state. Anyway, he’s understandably far from happy and he summons everyone to the conference room, he’s had enough of potions and medicines. He declares that they must find Kuja, Steiner reminds him they don’t have a ship, but the Regent instructs Master Artania to “ready the ship we stole in Alexandria”. Vivi is still upset about the revelation that Black Mages were aboard Kuja’s ship during the attack on Alexandria, he wants to go to the village to find out more, the rest are in agreement that this is a good idea and Cid agrees to let them go, instructing everybody to meet at the harbor.

We get a brief glimpse of where Quina’s been, s/he is currently lost in Lindblum but they seem perfectly content, especially as they get to try Lindblums local delicacy “Gysahl Pickles” which you may remember Steiner once filling a big with and hiding Dagger amongst them when he was trying to smuggle her back into Alexandria.

Once at the harbor Zidane boards the Blue Narciss and is surprised to see Quina there too (to be fair, he’s not the only one considering the little scene we’ve just had). When s/he see’s Cid for the first time s/he is almost speechless, s/he’s amazed at a talking frog and whilst they pondor whether to eat him or not, Zidane warns Cid of their love for frogs.

For the first time in ages I get to choose my party. This time I go with Zidane, Freya, Vivi and Eiko, for not at least. I’m heading for the Black Mage Village on Outer Continent. Once I disembark the Blue Narciss I come across a Ladybird who wants some Ore (rather than me fight it) which I obviously hand over.

The village appears to be deserted and Vivi races off to investigate. Zidane also takes a look around, every building is vacant, well apart from all the owls. However one Mage has stayed behind. No. 288 is at the cemetary with Vivi, he tells them everyone else bar himself and two others went with Kuja after he had promised to be able to extend their lives. 288 refuses to tell Zidane where Kuja took them as he doesn’t want to betray the others, after that he refuses to speak at all.

Vivi heads to the Chocobo Shack to speak to the other two Mages who have stayed behind. Zidane follows behind and finds Vivi banging on the door, there’s quite a while before anyone answers but eventually one of the two Mages bursts out and declare’s “It’s born!”. Inside both the Black Mages are celebrating the birth of a baby Chococbo, No. 111 tells Vivi that they were going to leave with the others, but someone needed to stay behind for the Chocobo, so they did. Vivi then find 288 stoof outside, he asks him if he’s also going to “stop” soon, but 288 can’t answer his questions. He does however reveal the location of Kuja’s “secret palace”. He says its on the eastern side of the continent, buried underneath quicksand.

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#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 24

In Lindblum Cid is overseeing the reconstruction of his kingdom after Queen Brahnes attack. He’s also started building a third airship, with engineers from the Industrial District having volunteered their services. Baku interupts Cid’s conversation and asks how Zidane is doing, it seems he ahs been recovering form the events in Alexandria within the walls of Lindblums castle. Baku send Blank to visit him.

At the castle Zidane is just waking up, his immediate concern is for Dagger and Eiko, though he’s also confused to how he got to Lindblum in the first place. In a chest near to Zidanes bed is an Egosits Armlet, which teaches the Beast Killer and Level Up abilities, another chest nearby contains an Elixer. Mogki, who is also in the Guest Quarters, wants me to deliver a letter to Mudoon.

As Zidane goes to leave the bed room, Blank rushes up the stairs to ask how he is. Zidane tells him he’s okay and asks where Dagger is, Blank thinks she’s upstairs by the telescope and before the conversation can continue, Zidane barges past to see the Princess, en route a guard instructs Zidane that Cid wants to see him in the Royal Chambers, though I think I’ll try and see Garnet first.

Up on the roof of the castle Zidane does indeed find Garnet looking out over Lindblum, Zidane literally talks at her, the poor thing, but she only seems to be replying by nodding or shaking her head. He tries to play it cool, stating she loves him so much that she’s speechless that he’s okay, but he’s quietly worried that he’s done something wrong. When he outright asks her this, she still doesn’t answer. He tries to cheer her up by offering to take her out but when she still doesn’t talk to him he decides that maybe she wants to be alone.

After that Zidane heads back down to see what Cid wanted from him.

In the Royal Chamber Cid greets Zidane as a hero, he’s discovered something about the attack in Alexandria and escorts Zidane to the conference room so everyone can learn what hes found out all at the same time.

Everybody bar Dagger is waiting, Eiko runs out to fetch her, triggering an ATE which shows Dagger deep in thought, she reveals that Alexandria is gone, leaving many dead and others homeless, she blames herself for everything, if only she hadnt run away (at the beginning of the game) then none of this would have happened.

Back in the conference room, Steiner is clearly very upset, he says he gave his all but it wasn’t enough and he doesn’t know what happened to Beatrix either. Freya wonders what Kuja is trying to accomplish as he’s already suceeded in destroying the four kingdoms (Alexandria, Burmecia, Cleyra and Lindblum). Zidane doesn’t care, his emotions have gotten the better of him, he just wants to “go and get” Kuja. However, Amarant of all people, state its not that easy because Kuja’s powers are far beyond theirs.

Cid reveals he witnessed Kuja escape from Alexandria aboard the stolen Hilda Garde I and that he had Black Mages on board, though these were able to “talk normally” unlike the ones he’d previously enslaved, this upsets Vivi and he becomes concerned about the friends he made in the Black Mage Village.

Eiko interupts the meeting and tells everyone that Dagger has lost her voice (tut tut Zidane, now you should feel like a dick). Quite rightly Zidane and Doctor Tot then visit Dagger in the Guest Quarters, with Steiner also tagging along. Eiko leads the way. The three guys obviously don’t understand and all try and get Dagger to talk to them. Doctor Tot explains that the trauma and grief she has suffered has led to her losing her voice, he believes it could take months or even years to recover, though in the typical fasion of a Doctor, he speaks about Dagger like she isn’t there, directing all of this at Zidane rather than his poor patient.

Zidane immediately comes up with a plan, first he needs to cure Cid so he can build him an airship, then he’ll go and “beat the crap out of Kuja”, Tot tells him to calm down before the two of them visit Cid to discuss this plan and fill him in on Dagger’s condition. Doctor Tot also thinks he has a cure for Cid, though he’s not sure about the reliability of its source. We need to find three ingredients, mix them together and then apply them to the Regents body, the items we need to find are “Unusual Potion”, “Beautiful Potion” and “Strange Potion”, then mix them in a 5:2:3 ratio. Apparently these aren’t common items, but rather handily Zidane believes Cinna may have some Unusual Potion.

I immediately head to the cab and go and visit Cinna in the Theatre Distrct where he is busy helping repair the Tantalus hideout.

An ATE fills us in on the state of Burmecia, most of its citizens took refuge in Lindblum after the destruction of both their home and Cleyra, but they’re not sitting back and taking advantage of Lindblum’s generosity, instead they’re rallying as many of their own people together as they can and plan on rebuilding their city.

At the hideout, Zidane just out right asks Cinna if he can “borrow” the Unusual Potion, Cinna agrees, no questions asked and and its over. That’s great, thats one of the three items gained rather easily. I’ve no idea where to start with the others, and thats only if I don’t have to collect enough to fit the ratio’s mentioned previously. I start by asking around outside the cab station and head into the Artists studio. He says he’s never heard of any of these items, nor the potion we want to create, but says if I find anything in his studio I’m welcome to keep it. Thankfully I do indeed find a Strange Potion in the corner by the stairs. No one else knows anything in the Theatre District, so its off to the Business District, though as soon as I arrive there I head for the inn to save my game and give Moodon a letter:

“From Mogki to Moodon

Alexandria is in a horrible state right now…
I wonder if Kupo and Mosh are okay?

Let me know when you have more info!
I heard that Stiltzkin was also in
Alexandria! Kupo!”

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#ThrowbackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 23

It’s been a while, for reasons, some of them I discussed here, but also because I really got put off this for a while, which I’ll come to later. So let’s get to it, though you might want to read my last update to remind yourself where I’m at.

Kuja watches on as the Invincible disappears, he accuses Garland of being reponsible, though he questions why he would come to Gaia in the first place, I presume this garland is the mystery man we were inroduced to in my last update.

Zidane arrives at the castle with Cid, Vivi, Freya and Amarant, they immediately decide to search for #dagger and Eiko. In the library Zidane hears a voice, “Challenge me if you dare!” it says. When I accept the challenge I’m thrown into a battle against Tantarian that I’m not prepared for. Tantaraian initially appears to be a huge book which opens on random pages. It’s defence is very high as I’m barely scratching it, with attacks only resulting in taking off double figures of HP. Eventually though, it opens on a page and inside is a blue spherical monster, which when attacked does take alot more damage. Vivi is the strongest here, his Blizarra deals damage somewhere in the region of 1500HP, however I spend most of the fight healing and ultimately I’m defeated.

It’s here where the game tests my resolve, I hadn’t saved in a while, in fact I hadn’t saved since the final round of the card tournament so I have to do all of that again, sit through all the talky sections again and play out Steiner and Beatrix’s last stand just to get back to this point. I do a little research and I could have saved in one of the rooms in the castle once I had control of Zidane, I’d just not done so as I went straight into the library, it being the closest room to where you have this party and ended up in the battle with Tantarian.

I also decide to Google some tactics on how to defeat this optional boss, its something I’ve refrained from doing up until now, but then most of the fights I’ve been able to brute force my way through.

This time out I stick everyone in the back row, Optimise their equipment and also equip the Devil Killer, Counter, Auto-Potion and Antibody abilities for those characters who have them. Once the battle begins I have Zidane stick to using Steal, with Freya casting Reis’ Wind to give provide all of the party with Regen, she also takes over duties of using Phoenix Downs and Ether’s when the need arises. Amarant, usually used for just hitting stuff, now uses his Chakra ability to heal a party members HP and MP, Vivi is the only one who can actually attack Tantarian, with the suggestion being that I use Bio whenever the book opens up on the pages that reveal the creature hidden inside, until that point the party just Defend unless healing is required.

Vivi’s Bio ability allows him to deal out around 1800 damage, though I also start to use Focus when the book is closed, which when I can attack again, increases his damage output to 3800, and so the fight actually becomes a walk in the park despite only one party member actually dealing out any punishment.

Once the fight is over I’m rewarded with a pair of Running Shoes, which allow the wearer to learn Auto-Haste, unfortunately Zidane only manages to steal a few Ether’s and a couple of Elixers. I save again and head in the direction that Dagger originally took, finding my way to the roof where Zidane tells the others to leave him to rescue her and escape from the castle before Kuja destroys it. The rest are reluctant to leave him, but he tells them this is important to him and he needs them to go, Freya resigns herself to leaving her friend behind, though she does so on the condition that Zidane doesn’t confront Kuja alone, he just gets Dagger and Eiko and flee’s the castle with them.

As he climbs the staircase, Alexander covers the castle with its wings in order to try and protect it, though it does so too late, allowing the Invincinble to unleash a pillar of light, blowing up parts of the castle in the process. As Dagger and Eiko are thrown from the balcony they were previously stood on, Zidane arrives in the nick of time to rescue them, using some bunting to swing them to safety. Once on some slightly more solid ground, Zidane apologises to Dagger for not being truthful about his feelings for her, but they’re not out of the woods yet as the remains of the castle begin to shake. The Invincible unleashes another attack, this one more powerful than the last and a huge shockwave spreads throughout the kingdom. On board the ship Garland talks of souls “returning” and states that in time, they will no longer belong to Gaia.

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#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 22

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.

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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.

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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”.

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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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#ThrowbackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 21

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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#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 20

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.

#throwbackthursday, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 19

Before we get underway with part 19 of my Final Fantasy IX playthrough I’d like to say Happy New Year to you all. 2019 was the year I threw myself back into my writing after stopping towards the end of 2016 on my previous website, and, well, the fact I’m still at it is a big positive, that I still enjoy it is an even bigger plus and that as far as statistics go, I’ve had a far better reception than I ever thought I’d have, personal feedback has been positive too, so thank you to everyone that reads my stuff, thank you to everyone who comments and clicks that Like button and thank you to those of you who also follow me on my social media platforms. I’d do this stuff anyway, but you make it all worth it. 

I do have one more thing to add before we go onto the game stuff, normally the first #ThrowbackThursday of the month is used to talk about the Retro Game Club game that I’d been playing prior to that month, but as December is such a busy time (for everybody), I just didn’t have the time nor energy to join in with that, so that feature should be back at the start of February.

Onto Final Fantasy IX then.

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.

#throwbackthursday, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 18

Yes, I know, it’s not Thursday any longer, the title is merely there for continuity, this should have gone up yesterday but I time got away from me and I was watching Rise of Skywalker last night, my opinions on that will go live tomorrow, making this the first of 12 consecutive posts as Sunday is the start of my Albums of the 2019 countdown.

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.

#throwbackthursday, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 17

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.