Part 101: Interlude - Part 4The Interlude Interlude: Part 4
When we left off last time, the party, having made their way through the Sealed Cave, encountered Rydia unconscious at the Crystal chamber, alone and disoriented. Taking her with them, the next move is planned...
But first, rocks! Shiny, shiny rocks!
I have a problem
I make it all of eight steps outside the Crystal chamber before I remembered that oh right, Palom has Warp. A wacky chain of teleportation ensues.
Once the party reaches the entrance, Rydia jolts ahead.
They're... calling me...
What is going on in your head, girl!?
Let's get her out of here.
Rydia, as she is when she joins, er... sucks. She's equipped with a Blitz Whip, Golden Hairpin, Minerva Bustier and Ruby Ring, virtually none of which is conductive to her role of being the mana cannon she's built to be. The Bustier in particular completely tanks her Intellect, despite granting a crazy Speed boost that ensures she act before anybody else even has their bar half full. She could be a semi-effective fighter if I really cared to try, but having less HP than the twins all but guarantees that she'll get flattened the moment an enemy locks eyes on her.
No, this won't do at all.
Much better. Unfortunately, without access to her summons, she's still not nearly as powerful as Palom; her spell progression halts at the -ra spells and Bio until level 39, when she gets Firaga. Not really worth the grind to get there, however.
Our shopping trip complete, let's go talk to Luca and advance the chapter a bit.
We found her unconscious in front of the Crystal's altar...
Rydia takes this moment to wander across the deck, distracted...
The party's gaze follows Rydia's, looking off to the Tower of Babil across the underworld, and...
Did you see that!?
See what!? I didn't see anything!
The Tower of Babil just shone for a moment...
This game all but outright spells out for you that something is seriously wrong with Rydia, at the very least. Subtle this is not.
Cid's apprentice: Shall I set a course for the Tower of Babil, sir?
Sure, why not, let's get this show on the road.
Liftoff, and journey! I'm starting to think it's Cecil that's making every airship the party rides ridiculously slow, because it's still going about as fast as the Red Wings ship at the beginning of the game. The Falcon is faster than this, dammit!
Airship rides, of course, being secret code for "Time to switch characters!" within Interlude. We're suddenly thrust into control of Edge at the mouth of the Eblan Cave. The dude walks at a crazy leisurely pace, apparently, as it took him the whole time the main party ransacked the Sealed Cave to get here from his front door. Eblan is really not that far away.
Also yeah we totally have the option of going back to Eblan, but there's absolutely no reason to; Gekkou and Zangetsu are still at the entrance like well-trained dogs, blocking you from going any farther.
Please be on guard, Master.
Your Highness, we will gladly guard the castle in your stead.
That's just super. Let's go back to the cave.
Admittedly, putting this or a Killer Bow in Rydia's hands with that Minerva Bustier would be a pretty okay move since she'd be well-protected in the back row, but I'm so far beyond archery now that I just sell it the first chance I get. Rydia serves well enough in her caster getup anyhow.
Holy crap, Edge, what have your ninja chefs been feeding you? You weren't nearly this awesome a year ago.
Oh, that's why. Dude comes with some crazy Strength-enhancing stuff, those Giant's Gloves giving him a +10 to both it and Stamina. It doesn't help that he's above everybody else we've seen in level, as well. For being all by his lonesome, Edge will completely annihilate any random encounters thrown his way, and as we'll see, even manages to outdamge Cecil on a regular basis when he finally joins up with the main party.
edge what are
are you taking their order, or
what the hell do you think you're doing
So yeah, Edge's Ninjutsu actually does pretty well for itself here.
In short order, we make it to the old refugee town from the first game, back when Eblan was razed to the ground.
As you'd imagine, however, nobody is actually here anymore.
A healing pot remains, but you more than likely won't need it unless you're like me and just spam Ninjutsu and have to refill while scrounging for hidden loot.
This is also found in the infirmary. It is precisely what you think it is, and we'll be finding its twin within a few screens.
Speaking of loot, there are still a fuckton of hidden passages within the Cave, and some boxes will taunt you mercilessly as you try to find the path to them only to realize that it's in the other wall. Most of the loot here, like the vast majority of Interlude's treasure, is the same crap that's been wasting inventory space all chapter.
Not to say that everything is worthless, however. Dig deep enough through a mountain of trash and you'll find a precious gem that somebody carelessly threw away.
The game, apparently sensing my undying rage, throws me a particularly hilarious bone. The dude's Speed is such that he slaughters all six bats, one by one, with Auto-Attack, none of them taking a turn before all that remains is Edge.
Of course, sometimes it's just more fun to completely wreck everything at the same time.
Further and further through the Cave, exploring every blank wall possible that it might actually contain something of value, further ramping up my encounter rate. That's okay, free money is always appreciated.
Diligence pays off only mildly, as the secret path in the save room is almost blindingly obvious. A new sword is always appreciated, though, especially one with a nearly ten-point Attack boost.
Rubicante is still quite dead. Edge doesn't even ruminate on the encounters with him, he just soldiers on through to the Tower.
NINJA NOCLIP! Huttah!!
I knew it. Someone has been here.
And so, Edge shakes free of player control, beginning his trek through the Tower of Babil as we switch back to the main party.
The dwarven tank batallion is already stationed and ready, perfectly positioned to make sure the player can't go anywhere but inside the Tower.
We'll need you on the Falcon, and ready to support us, should things go ill.
You can count on me. You lot be careful out there.
No more Cid for the rest of the chapter. I completely forgot to unequip him before shipping off, but it really doesn't matter; the rampage through the Sealed Cave and the stroll we took with Edge just now got us quite the influx of cash, so if you're spending wisely you can afford whatever else is necessary. The Tower of Babil is also home to a few chests that contain actually good treasure, as well, so several pieces of equipment for Cecil they stock are going to become quickly obsolete.
gah-- who fucked with my marching order?!
Tune in next time, as we tackle the final stretch of Interlude!