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.

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