But the Kings were hiding something in their mansion...
Oh, no. Your story is very interesting.
You're right. He is late. I'm not worried about Steiner, but Vivi, I'm not so sure about.
We've now got Dagger in our party, though it doesn't really factor into anything for now.
Last time I saw Vivi, he was standing over there.
Best place to look for clues, right?
It's coming from the hole...
FADE INTO WINDMILL SOUNDS
Vivi! Where are you? Are you underground? Can you move?
They told me to stay here...
Are you hurt?
Don't worry, we'll get you out. We'll hurry, so stay where you are, okay?
I like that Zidane's already developed a bond with Vivi this early on and is ready to do whatever he needs to to rescue him. It's part of Zidane's nature as well to help those in need, besides maybe knuckleheads like Steiner.
There's gotta be a way into the underground somewhere. Let's look for one.
Gotta love the first small village we come to having some sort of dark secret.
Our destination is the windmill right next to us.
We also receive our first Stellazzio.
The Stellazzio Story is another sidequest where we collect twelve various stellazzios hidden all over the world, named of course after the Zodiac. The story is about eleven dudes trying to impress a hot chick, so this stuff is right up Zidane's alley.
Arieth is the first one we can get, so we get it first.
It says Mayor's Key here.
I think this door isn't accessible until a small section of the game where you really have to go out of your way to get here because this is Final Fantasy IX.
Likewise for this treasure chest.
This takes us back to dickhead Mayor's house.
Why did you stop, Zidane?
I'm the mayor of this village. Who are you? I'm busy. Please leave.
Anyway, let's go exploring.
There's quite a few treasures as usual, though no random encounters.
Is it true that the mayor's brother found it?
I guess they reconciled. His brother's one of us now.
...Wasn't he on the old lady's side before?
Oh, about abandoning the farm? He probably only said that because he was fighting with the mayor. Who cares? We need more workers anyway. Hey, let's put this in a box.
Did you see the large barrel next to the shed? I've seen the exact same pattern on some of the barrels at the castle. This place must have some kind of connection with Alexandria Castle.
So please...I beg of you, don't cause any trouble just yet.
Alright, let's go. They went further inside.
So time to do more exploring. Lots of flavor text to go through.
It is kind of weird, now that I think about it.
All sorts of weird things going on here.
Don't get excited, it's only a Potion.
This room has an Iron Helm and a free Leather Wrist if we missed out earlier.
What is it?
It IS you! I'll get you out!
How could they...?
After you left, some men kidnapped me and brought me here. They told me to stay put. I was so scared... I didn't know what to do. They asked me, "Why were you outside?" and then they said, "The cargo ship isn't even here yet."
And they put you in that box?
Well, I'm glad you're safe.
You should try- screaming back or whatever.
Like that! It surprises your attacker and empowers you!
Huh... I see.
We want to check out what's ahead. I know you might not be thrilled with the idea, but...
Look... What is that thing?
Vivi's joined, so now we can get him started on learning a passive I'll probably never use.
Is this machine...making eggs? This isn't a Mist engine, but there's Mist coming out of it...
No... This... This is Mist!
This door's kind of a trap, in that once you open it you'll get random encounters for the rest of this section.
But for LP purposes I want to show off the enemies here anyway so why not.
This is a Ghost.
They're pretty annoying what with their magic attacks.
Osmose is particularly annoying to get hit with, especially if Vivi's the target.
Though they do have an interesting death animation.
Looks like it's sending Mist to the machine outside... What are those eggs made of...?
There's a Pinion here so good enough reason to open it. Moving on.
The chocobo is powering the conveyor belt... Why don't they just use a machine to do it...?
It looks kinda like the Mist engine on the theater ship.
...but I can't see anything. I just hear some noise. Are the eggs...hatching?
Are you even talking to anyone, Zidane?
These fellows are Vices.
These jerks are wannabe Zidanes.
I get one back from winning so no biggie.
Anyway, the next room...well...
Some parts are different, but...
Wh-What is this...? Are they...dolls?
Vivi is a nine-year old kid who just discovered a ton of creatures that look a lot like him are being manufactured in secret. He's visibly shaking and freaking out upon witnessing this.
Poor kid's been with the party for two days and goes to a small village to relax and look at windmills and ends up developing an existential crisis.
Dagger, too, is pretty freaked out about something her own nation is likely responsible for.
Zidane's freaked out too, but he'd rather just get the fuck out of there and ask questions later.
Okay. Never mind. It's almost time. Hurry it up, will ya?
I hear ya!
Looks like the party's getting into some serious shit now, what with finding out about a potential black mage army being manufactured in secret and being caught in the middle of this, not to mention the emotional trauma this is bringing to Dagger and especially Vivi.
FUCK THAT SHIT LET'S FOLLOW STEINER SOME MORE
I must escort a person of high rank to the castle! When will the cargo ship arrive?
Hmm... Looks good.
Come to think of it, isn't Tantalus a popular theater troupe of Lindblum? They don't look like anything but common criminals.
How about a cup?
Tell me when the cargo ship will arrive, or else the Alexandrian royal family will appropriate this property!
And then what?
I order you to tell me when the cargo ship will arrive!
I am just trying to do what is right!
Anyone can tell right from wrong.
Ha ha ha... Still as green as a pickle.
It's already here. They should be loading it now.
Next time, we'll find out what happened to Zidane and the others. Steiner will also probably say something stupid.