We've got a chance to stock up on some basic items before we head out.
We can also do some Mognet to get a new letter.
Ruby sounds like a nice girl! Kupo!
Yeah, that's why all of Tantalus forgot her and don't even notice she's missing.
Time to rescue the princess. Let's check out the other enemies around here.
This is a Fang, another underwhelming starter enemy that dies easily.
Steiner and Vivi can wreck anything at this point, and the dungeon is short enough and Vivi has a large enough MP pool to keep it up. I end up having Zidane pretty much exclusively Steal because why not.
With the Iron Sword and Beast Killer, Steiner just did over triple this thing's HP in damage.
He may be an oblivious goofball, but Steiner can fucking wreck some god damn shit.
And dammit, he knows it.
Back at the screen where we fought Soul Cage twice, we've got another ATE available. Hopefully you'll recognize the following music!
Violinist: Yeah, let our music do the fighting against those monsters!
Cymbalist: This oughta boost morale.
Drummer: This is great!
Trumpeter: Brrum, brrrum, brrrruuum!
I'm gonna go take a look around. Stay on your toes. We'll be leaving soon.
A nice little scene featuring the band, none of whom are important enough to get anything close to resembling pictures. I don't even really know what they look like, or if they even pop up again later. Oh well.
Meanwhile, Steiner and Vivi are murdering the wildlife.
This is a Dendrobium, and by far the nastiest regular encounter here.
It has a party-wide attack that can inflict blind. Blind reduces hit rate by 50%, which is pretty bad for Steiner.
Time to try out Magic Sword, since it doesn't care about crap like Blind or Protect.
Magic Sword spells add a base attack and course give that element as well. Dendrobium happens to be weak to Fire, so Steiner ends up delivering nearly 400 damage to this guy at a point in the game where 100 from Zidane or Vivi is considered impressive.
The only problems with Magic Sword is that it requires Vivi in the party (which is not a bad thing since Vivi can kick some serious ass himself), both characters have to be in fighting condition, and Sword Magic takes from Steiner's horribly small MP pool, meaning it's something you really use for bosses. But that's fine since Steiner's regular attacks are still overkill for this stage of the game.
After a couple of screens we get a breather.
And a mandatory ATE.
Yeah, don't worry. We'll be outta here soon, too.
Alright. I'll see you later.
I'm countin' on you!
This is a nice place to rest. Not a bad grinding spot if we weren't already way overpowered for this stage of the game. Of course, a huge part of that is stealing stuff early, otherwise the difficulty balance would be more finely-tuned.
This is the moogle we have a letter for. So let's deliver it!
A letter from Kupo? Thanks for the delivery! Kupo!
Hmm? Princess Garnet? Didn't she just...? Oh, never mind. Kupo.
After that, Monty also gets a letter from Stiltzkin.
A cold place... Oh, I know where he is! Kupo! There must be something strange going on.
Monty doesn't need us to deliver anything, so that's it for Mognet for now.
As we get closer to the boss, the game slides over to show off this mysterious plant.
So, maybe you should heal up.
We're about to fight our first real boss, and that means the first time we'll get to hear the boss music!
So, this is the master.
Alexandria would be disgraced if a mere bandit should rescue the princess.
You think you can handle him on your own?
This is the Plant Brain.
As usual, first order of business is to steal from it. Due to its large HP pool of 916, Steiner and Vivi can get started on the killing.
Not that they need to put much effort into it.
It also has that Pollen move and uses it to blind Vivi and Steiner. Vivi's no biggie, but Steiner's kinda stuck with Magic Sword now. Or I guess I could use Eyedrops but I might need them later.
I'm trying to stall a bit of time so Zidane can steal. Focus boosts Vivi's magic stat by 125%. This can be done multiple times until Vivi's at 99 Magic. I could do sick damage that could one-shot this boss if I really wanted to. Maybe next time.
So, those Silk Shirts and that Rubber Helm that can reduce thunder damage? Those are actually handy for this fight!
Because if you don't have them then this hurts. Vivi's the only one protected for now.
And here's Vivi doing some solid damage.
Zidane's actually the weakest member of the party, and he's no slouch either! Remember, even he can one-shot the Goblins and Fangs!
This guy also has physical attacks, but they're nothing to write home about.
Finally I get what I'm after. The Iron Helm teaches Steiner Bright Eyes, which gives Blind immunity, and Level Up, which boosts EXP gains. Both very useful abilities for him.
I actually let Zidane get knocked out because this triggers another event.
Step aside. I'll take care of this.
Uh, I think we got this.
I even revive Zidane to get the end-of-battle rewards.
But sure Blank, you can land the killing blow and pretend to be a hero.
You smug motherfucker.
Zidane, give her the stuff.
Princess, please try to drink all of it.
Is she gonna be okay?
Sheez! We're gonna be surrounded!
Let's get out of here!
Blank's along for the ride right now. Not a bad opportunity to steal his stuff.
Along the way, there's these Plant Spiders that are chasing us.
They're not much of an issue.
They can cast Thunder as well, but it's not as nasty as the Brain's.
The entire forest is coming after us.
And from here we switch to FMV mode.
As the Plant Spiders give chase, suddenly everything behind them turns to stone.
So, you know how Zidane subtly hinted he was going to play the hero and sacrifice himself for the good of the others?
Yeah, Blank's a dick like that.
You see, there's another part to Zidane. He's fiercely loyal and always willing to help others. So having a close friend sacrifice himself does not sit well with Zidane.
Of course, Zidane's also not an idiot and takes advantage of the second life given to him.
He even takes the time to make a wicked badass leap from danger.
Unfortunately, that's it for Blank.
Have you nothing to say, you filth!?
...How did I survive...? You brought me here?
It is my sworn duty to protect you at any cost.
What are you talking about? It was Vivi's magic and my dagger that got you out of there, Princess.
I thank you both.
And how dare you claim that you have rescued her!?
What a coincidence, eh? We went to snatch her, and she wanted to be snatched.
So what do you say, Rusty? Friends? Come on, let's just enjoy this camping trip while it lasts.
The vicious monsters it spawns! The abnormalities it stirs in the mind and body! Princess, we must leave this dangerous place at once.
You've gotta be kidding. She hasn't even fully recovered yet.
Silence! Who asked for your opinion!?
We're standing in a valley surrounded by tall cliffs. And last I heard, North Gate and South Gate were sealed off.
I think we should rest here for now.
...Very well. Until the princess recovers, I will guard this place with my life.
Sounds good to me.
Good...thanks to that medicine you gave me. Could this be...?
Vivi told me that we were able to escape because of your friend.
...His name is Blank.
We must go help him.
We can't do anything for him right now.
I love how something like getting petrified is no big deal in this world. "Oh, my friend turned to stone. Oh well, no biggie, I'll cure him later." I mean, this game also has the petrification status effect and Gold Needles or Soft or whatever to cure it, but as you may expect this particular case takes a wee bit more than that.
According to the map that Blank gave me, there's a cavern to the south of us. Maybe we can get above the Mist through that cavern.
I'm impressed, kupo! First time I've seen anyone escape from Evil Forest. You all must be strong, kupo! But don't get cocky, kupo. Lots of stronger monsters ahead.
You're gonna love this lecture.
This is a tutorial of sorts for various other things we haven't really gotten to yet. An overview on battles, learning abilities, Trance, Moogles, and some UI stuff.
This is the Moogle that gives help on stuff in the menu, by the way.
I'm gonna skip all this because I have covered or will cover it as I go.
With this flute, you can call us anywhere in the world, kupo. Press [SQUARE] to play it.
Who goes there!?
Your friends already left, kupo.
Next time, we finally hit the overworld.