Last time, we met a village of Vivis. Vivi, finally finding people just like him, immediately learns he's probably got a short lifespan and thus will probably die soon because that's how Vivi's life goes. Anyway, we gotta go back to Conde Petie and see if we can enter the Sanctuary to see what's beyond.
First, here's Virgo from the last update. But who could this be referring to!?
Anyway, first I pick up Goblin Punch. It mostly sucks, a wimpy 20-power magic attack. If Quina is the same level as the enemy that's getting Goblin Punched, you add Level*20 to the damage, which at L20 is ~400. Still doesn't seem great to me compared to something like FF5's simple 8x damage multiplier.
After like ~50 battles I finally run into the last enemy available on this continent: a green dot.
Actually, it's the series staple Cactaur! First appearing in FF6, it's usually a gimmick monster whose main appeal is to give out large amounts of ability points to grind abilities with. There's also a Jumbo variety that's a summon in FF8.
This iteration isn't as unique as the others, though it's still pretty hardy and hurts a lot.
The Cactaur's signature attack is 1,000 Needles, an attack guaranteed to do 1,000 damage. It's useful in some circumstances, especially early on, but you probably won't be relying on this too heavily in general. Even in a low-level setting, Auto-Life + Limit Glove is likely much more useful than doing 1k damage on bosses that have at least five times that. Hell, the next boss we'll encounter is over 8000HP!
At any rate, we're done with all the side stuff. I did go to the Qu Marsh and cleared some more frogs out. Quale came by and gave Quina a Silver Fork. Don't ask me how Quale got there. But Quina has a much stronger weapon now and a nice array of blue magic, so we're set now!
But the exit leading there from the upper floor is guarded by a dwarf who won't let us through.
Twin dwarfies block way out from shop on right side. No can get through.
Hmm... Well, let's just try to go as far as we can.
First, let's get some NPC dialogue out of the way. This will be short since barely any changes.
But he hadnae undergone the ceremony, so he couldnae pass through.
What's a boat doing up there?
Boat? Ah dinnae ken what ye're talkin' aboot. What's a boat?
What the heck is that ceremony?
Speak tae His Holiness!
And where is 'His Holiness'?
Ah dinnae ken where he is!
He's now in the area where the dwarf who had the duggie hung out.
What are you doing, hanging around this hallway?
Well...a priest has much tae worry aboot, ye see?
Yeah...whatever. Look, we wanna get past this village.
Hmph! Tradition states that only those who underdgo the ceremony kin approach the Sanctuary.
So, what the heck is that ceremony about, anyway?
So...basically it's a wedding...and a honeymoon, right?
Ah dinnae ken yir words, lad, but methinks ye understan'.
So we can go to the Sanctuary is we undergo that ceremony, right?
In today's episode of Final Fantasy IX, the kids go and git married.
...But we have sae few young folks nooadays. We're doon tae ninety-nine couples. Ah was worryin' aboot that very thin'...
Note that Zidane has not changed stance this entire time.
Watch ower this man an' woman as they begin their journey...
In a region where dwarves marry people on a giant boat, maybe.
No kidding... But we have to do it to go on, right?
Yeah, but... But that's not reason enough!
...In sickness an' in health...
...Have the strength to cairry ye through the trials...
...An' the wisdom tae follow the path...
May the blessin's o' heaven be upon this man an' woman!
Welp. Now Dagger's official name is Princess Captain Mrs. Garnet "Dagger" Til Alexandros XVII Tribal.
Yes, it's going to keep growing through the course of this Let's Play.
Zidane...really doesn't seem to get it. But instead of talking about how inexperienced and immature Zidane is concerning putting up a front for women, I'll instead tell you to watch the dwarves in the GIF. Imagine how tired their arms must be if they have to do this for the entire wedding. Imagine if you were at a wedding and had to move your arms like that throughout the entire ceremony. Now imagine doing this while a guy with a tail does a faceplant on a kirkboat when attempting a leaping kiss to his new wife only for her to unceremoniously walk away. Could you still do those arm movements and keep a straight face while witnessing all that?
I'm just saying Kyle and Sherwood Armwaver should get more recognition for being so great at their jobs.
What!? You mean there's more?
We have tae follow tradition, lad!
Remember, we're only married while we're here.
"And to piss off my mother."
Also isn't Zidane Prince of Alexandria now, are we just gonna gloss over that or does Alexandria not consider dwarf marriage legal-binding?
Hey! You guys tryin' to ruin our honeymoon?
But you no can just leave us here!
Don't worry. I'll figure something out.
Now, we could simply take the top option, and plot circumstances will let Vivi and Quina through just fine. Yes, we could do that, but I would also be robbing you guys of one of the greatest scenes in this game. There's simply no way I could pass up marrying Vivi and Quina together just like in my fanfics...
Yeah, that's it! In the meantime, Dagger and I can go announce our marriage...
...Have the strength to cairry ye through the trials...
...An' the wisdom tae follow the path...
May the blessin's o' heaven be upon this man an' woman!
OK, this probably isn't legal anywhere but who am I to tell a black mage with a ten-year-old's mentality and a Qu with a single-minded focus on food where to find happiness in this crazy, messed-up world where rats have their own kingdom and the villain is a giant blueberry monster, let alone in a village where Scottish dwarves marry people on a boat suspended twenty feet off the ground?
Seriously if you can't appreciate this game after all we've just witnessed there's something fucking wrong with you.
Rally-ho! Happy fit! Off tae the Sanctuary then, are ye?
That's right. Will you let us through now?
Rally-ho! O' coorse! Safe journey tae both o' ye!
I dunno. Let's go take a look.
Does anyone live out here?
O' course no! It's forbidden!
Och! Yon two thieves are always snitchin' food!
Then they leave and the other newlywed couple joins us.
So you've had your ceremony, right?
Thief have nerve to steal food right in front of me.
For fuck's sake Quina your husband is right there and still all you can think about is food, you just got married like five fucking minutes ago you jerk.
Before we do that...
All it teaches are Body Temp and Distract, pretty damn boring compared to the other gems but it's a Diamond so we have to get it, right? That and there's only like four in the game.
Nothing else to note so let's tread on. Maybe let's see what this Thief/Treasure Hunting business is about.
Welp, looks like we've found our thief.
What's wrong, Mog?
Betrayed by my own trusted moogle... Is this how I meet my end?
It's kinda funny to me that in FF6, Mog is the only moogle who can talk with humans, while in FF9, Mog is the only moogle who can't. All it does is kupo. Go figure.
He has a tail, though.
Don't eat me! I won't taste good! It's true! I taste awful!!!
But moogle that ran away a very strange color.
Are you okay?
You're not hurt!
I told you I'm okay! I'm not a child, like that kid in blue!
But... You don't look any older than me.
And as you probably guessed from the Tindeck link, her name is Eiko. Yes, Eiko carries the proud FF tradition of "little girl who fights in your party" started in FF4 by Porom and briefly by Rydia before she ages ten years in the span of a week, and carried on by Relm in FF6. OK, so it's really only those two games and this one that do that, but yeah, this little girl is our seventh party member. Yep, we finally get our seventh party member in the latter half of Disc 2!
I'm Dagger, and this is Vivi.
Me? I'm Zidane.
Eiko isn't really a favorite of mine, but that's not really fair because she has to compete with everyone else in this game. I do think the game does a good job treating her somewhat realistically as a kid, and I don't think she's annoying at all and actually has some nice stand-out moments. So probably not a fixture in my "favorite characters" party but she's still a pretty well-done character and I think the game works better with her around, as you'll see.
I was hungry...
Ha ha ha... You sound just like Quina.
Oh no... S/he's gonna eat Mog!
I don't think Quina would eat a moogle.
Didn't you see Quina eat a fucking cactus earlier? That was in this very same update! Like thirty minutes ago in game-time!
Yeah, beyond this path. I'm sure Mog went home...
Why don't we take her home?
You two are married!?
If this was real life you know Zidane would be posting on reddit about men's rights. Then again he's only 16 so there's hope he'd grow out of it.
Thankfully he's a fictional character in a video game so he can be written to have both positive and negative characteristics and can change and develop as the narrative dictates.
Someone should write real life that way. That or they keep swapping out new writers for our lives each year and the person writing for 2016 is a complete asshole who's jealous of all the talent all the other writers have and is writing to spite them.
For those reading the Final Fantasy IX in the Let's Play Archive in year 2088, the year 2016 fucking sucked for everybody. For those reading the thread in the year 2016, you guys know what I'm talking about.
Eiko's replacing Quina for a good chunk of gameplay. Her weapon of choice is the flute, and you may notice she can cast White Magic (and is first to access Auto-Regen, which considering the long animations of this game is pretty damn great actually).
She comes with basic equipment (which I swap for other equipment because she's way behind on learning abilities) and a Sapphire. It teaches High Tide for those that haven't had access to it yet, but it also teaches Eiko Fenrir, a summon.
Yes, Eiko's general abilities are the same as Dagger's, White Magic and Eidolon. However, though they have some overlap, they both have a lot of different abilities to make them unique. You see, the game considers Dagger more of a Summoner than White Mage, and Eiko more of a White Mage than Summoner. There's several hints towards this, but biggest is that in battle, Dagger's battle commands are "Fight/Summon/White Mgc/Item" while Eiko's are "Fight/White Mgc/Summon/Item". Also, Dagger ultimately gets eight Eidolons to Eiko's four (though each learns different Eidolons with no overlap at all), while Eiko learns a good number of White Magic spells Dagger doesn't, like Regen, Haste, and ultimately Holy (Dagger does have a few exclusive white magic spells of her own, but they're mostly debuffs like Confuse, Berserk, and Blind). And finally, while Dagger's Trance buffs her Eidolons, Eiko's lets her doublecast White Magic in a manner pretty much identical to Vivi's Trance. Dagger and Eiko are similar mechanically yet different enough to warrant using either one of your choice (or even both if you really want to).
Knolls can cast Blizzara and attack, yawn. They can also Vanish themselves and cast Might to boost attack, plus they can drop more Sapphires.
However, their main use here is to show off Eiko's summon, Fenrir.
In FF6, Fenrir is a wolf summon that grants characters the Blink status, and is otherwise most noteable for teaching X-Zone, aka the spell that trivializes the otherwise-pain-in-the-ass Wrexsoul and pretty much any other enemy or boss you can Vanish (except Doom Gaze, gotta Vanish/Doom him to get Bahamut!). Other than the MMORPGs, this is Fenrir's other appearance.
Fenrir summons another FF staple summon, Titan. Titan is usually a giant buff angry man, though not so much here. In the series, he uses a powerful earth attack to fight enemies, usually being slightly stronger than the Ifrit/Shiva/Ramuh trio. Kinda weird for a summon to summon another summon, but it all works out.
This iteration simply does earth damage. However, Eiko's pretty unique in that a couple of her summons may actually do different effects if she has specific add-ons equipped. There's one that slightly buffs damage and, more importantly, changes the element to wind damage, but she doesn't have access to that quite yet.
Eiko can use summon magic, too?
We also get this but that's all we get.
I have Dagger summon to see if I get any more dialogue but I don't (possibly because this kills the gnolls).
There's four stones around this area to grab for some loot at the end.
As a bonus, the guy who married 3/4's of the party to each other has inspiring quotes to say about each stone, because surprise, they relate to the four base elements!
You can also catch oglops to get an oglop card but cards are for losers and Regent Cid would be appalled over such behavior.
Kinda late on that front.
Trolls aren't too bad. They can counter attacks and berserk you.
They're also good at dying.
This is pretty short, and partway in you'll meet Stiltzkin yet again.
Magic Tag cures Zombie, which will be an issue soon enough but not quite yet thankfully.
Of course we buy it.
Village life sounds hard. Kupo.
We get a Kupo Nut from this. Anyway, bottom right has our reward for getting all four stones, but first we gotta get all four stones so we'll keep going to the left.
Ochus are another FF enemy staple (though weirdly enough its only 2D appearance is FF1 before appearing in every 3D FF besides 12), though they're pretty boring here. Thorn Whip, Blizzara, Slow. That's it. At least they look cool.
The main path leads us onto a vine, which leads us...
...to a really big freakin' tree.
And then a boss battle.
This is Hilgigars, probably the happiest boss battle you'll ever meet.
This guy, surprisingly enough, hits hard.
The Common and Uncommon steals are nothing special (Uncommon is Mythril Fork, pointless at this point (except it does have points)). The issue is that it has a Rare steal, i.e. a 1/256 chance steal, in the form of the Fairy Flute. This teaches Eiko Esuna, Regen, and Haste, three strong abilities that Dagger can't learn, plus Eiko won't get access to this one for a long time yet. Thus it's actually one of the best items you can steal in terms of the period of time it's useful, though of course that's offset by the 1/256 chance of grabbing the damn thing.
I don't really bother bruce-forcing for it, I try a few times and then give up because who cares in the long run? So no Fairy Flute in this run.
Hilgigar's big attack is Earthquake, so casting Float constantly (since it wears off constantly) is a key strategy.
So is Silence and Slow. Hilgigars can cast Curaga on itself, so Silence is great to stop that.
Earthquake can hurt, and Float is cheaper than Cura.
He also has the best physical attacks.
Also while scanning through screenshots I saw this and just had to take it.
Dagger and Eiko can do like 1000 damage with their summons, but Vivi spammed Focus for awhile until I got bored and laid out this sick Bio attack. Keep in mind this guy has just over 8000 HP.
Between the two summons earlier, two Bios is enough to knock this guy out.
I usually just run away.
But you're a pretty good fighter, Eiko.
I thought you could, too, Dagger.
Not usually... Hey, have you always been able to do that?
Of course. My grandpa and everyone else did it all the time.
What do you mean?
So there's more summoners beyond Dagger and Eiko? Huh, imagine that.
I was only looking at the mountains...
The Iifa Tree? I thought it was called Sanctuary.
Huh? Oh, that's what the dwarves call it. Everyone else calls it the Iifa Tree.
The Iifa Tree...?
Why is it always Dagger who does the cliche "The Thing...?" response? Everyone else never does it besides one or two times, but Dagger does it constantly.
North leads to the exit. South leads to treasure.
And our final stone!
Southeast of the moogles we have this thing. Just gotta put in all four stones, and...
The reward is a Moonstone. This is our first opportunity to get one if I didn't cheat to win over all 100 nobles back at the swordfighting thing at the beginning of the game.
Next time, we'll check out a new village and get a bunch more goofy and interesting scenes.