Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 10

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

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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:

  • Beginning
  • Co-Operation
  • Tragedy
  • Human

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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

“This…

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.

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 5
#ThrowBack Thursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 6
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 7
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 8
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX Playthrough part 9

 

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Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 8

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.

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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 escaping. 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.

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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.

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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.

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 5
#ThrowBack Thursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 6
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 7

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 7

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…

No…
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?

Nonsense

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…

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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

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”.

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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.

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 5
#ThrowBack Thursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 6

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBack Thursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 6

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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”

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4
#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 5

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 5

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3
#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 4

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

#ThrowBackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1

#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough Part 2

#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough Part 3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
Kupo!

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.

 

Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 1

Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 2

Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IX, Gaming

#ThrowBackThursday: Final Fantasy IX Playthrough 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?

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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.

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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, have a listen:

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.

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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:

“Aries

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.