As like the last time we were here, there's so much plot going on that I had to split it to two updates.
The moogles are pretty appreciative that we saved the day as usual.
But I guess she still can't find the right words.
Mog feels pretty bad for being completely useless earlier.
FADE TO SILENCE
My grandfather told me not to leave the village until my sixteenth birthday... But I want to go with you guys! I really do!
Eiko's understandably torn between honoring her late grandfather's wish and following her heart and leaving Madain Sari. Despite her grandfather's good intentions, a dead city with nothing but moogles is no place for a lonely six-year-old. She needs human friends and companionship, and Zidane, Dagger, and Vivi at least are going to try their best to protect her and help her when she needs it.
Yes, I think she should leave and follow her heart.
'Eiko, come with us. Forget what your grandpa said.'
You said I shouldn't ever lie to myself.
The stone is now a rare item in our inventory. We'll look at it later.
I think Mog wants to talk to you.
You can kinda see Mog peeking in to the northeast of Dagger in this and the previous screenshots. Just noticed this while double-checking the update before posting.
What? You think I'm mad at you?
What would you do if you went off and got into trouble!?
Oh well. Thank goodness we're both alright.
Well, yeah. We're best friends, after all!
This is our friendship ribbon! Mog gave it to me! Mog, do you have the ribbon I gave you?
It's too big for her now, but once we're both sophisticated ladies, we'll wear them together!
This is the biggest plot twist in Final Fantasy IX.
We're back in control of Zidane, again.
The kids are alright.
Nothing ominous there, much like how non-ominous half these rare items are.
Maybe that's why Eiko has always been the big sister.
FADE TO THAT ONE SONG YOU SHOULD ALL KNOW WELL BY NOW
FADE TO OCEAN SOUNDS
There's already so much history between these two.
I'm surprised you found this place.
And they've definitely got some chemistry going on. Even a six-year-old can tell.
If I am, I must've gotten it from you.
Naw... It's all because you made the effort to learn.
No, it's because you stuck with me.
Everything I tried to do on my own was a total failure. I couldn't stop my mother...
You helped me so much... Not just you, either.
I haven't forgotten... I want to believe everyone is alright, but sometimes I just can't.
I hope I can live up to the hopes of everyone who has helped me.
But I do!
Nobody wants you to feel that way. They didn't do it all for you, either. Each was following his own path.
Vivi wants to know more about what he is, and how he can stop others from exploiting his kin. Steiner and Beatrix are both loyal to Princess Garnet, but are above all else loyal to the nation of Alexandria itself. Freya wants to avenge the loss of her nation and redeem herself for not being able to protect it. Even Quina has a desire to explore the world and experience new tastes and adventures to better themselves as a gourmet.
And as for Zidane...
Ipsen? Who's that?
Ipsen is a character from a play, but he's a real-life adventurer. I think the play is based on his adventures.
One day, Ipsen got a letter. The letter was so wet from rain that most of the writing was illegible.
He didn't know why he had to go back, but he got some time off, gathered his things, and set out on his journey home.
And then, after much time on the road... He had to ask Colin something.
FADE TO THAT SAME SONG DAGGER ALWAYS SINGS EXCEPT NOT BY DAGGER
How come... Who's singing it!?
I've seen this somewhere before...
Dagger seems preoccupied with a rather neat visual effect from nature itself.
Probably because it's giving her flashbacks to that same city on fire.
With a...giant hovering eye? What the hell, game.
Do you remember that intro FMV at the very start of the game? That weird dream Dagger has before she wakes up a Princess? It's back again.
But now we've got a slight bit more context.
Dagger!? Wake up!
She's...understandably not handling this very well.
He's sleeping. I don't wanna wake him up.
I have no memory of my early childhood. I never really thought about it. Besides, nobody ever told me.
Six!? So where were you till then?
Until then... Until I turned six...
It makes perfect sense. Dagger and Eiko are the only two people we've met that could naturally summon eidolons. Eiko comes from a ruined city of summoners, but Dagger's talents have made no sense...until now.
But I do remember one thing...
There's a cove behind Eiko's house, right? The boat I was on was just like the one there. It all came back to me when I heard that song on the boat.
That song is from Madain Sari... So that's why nobody else knows it.
Dagger's flashbacks are explained as being the result of a hurricane (though that doesn't explain the fire or the giant eye in the sky, but those details are unimportant) with her true mother. It also explains why she happens to know this song that nobody else knows...except for Eiko.
It's also kinda telling that Dagger and now Eiko both left Madain Sari at the age of six, ten years before Eiko was told to leave Madain Sari and ten years before Dagger was old enough to have her eidolons extracted from her.
How come you got to be a princess? How come you don't have a summoner's horn?
I don't know. But maybe Doctor Tot can tell me. About the lady who protected me from the storm as the boat lurched about in the waves...
(The woman she thought was her mother became someone else, and her true mother was already dead...)
There's still a lot of questions without answers, as Eiko pretty much lays out. But we're finally getting somewhere with some of these niggling mysteries.
You pray here, too, Eiko?
After ten years, Dagger has finally returned to her birthplace. She finally has a better idea of who she really is.
And Eiko has finally found someone just like her. Someone in this world who she can actually relate to, who's experienced the world in a similar way she has. She's no longer the last of her tribe.
I'll be breaking my promise to my grandpa, but I wanna go! Besides, grandpa always told me to be honest with myself!
But I want to finish what I came here for.
So do I!
Zidane, as always, wants what's best for everybody. Dagger and Eiko both have found some peace of mind.
It's kinda easy to forget this whole part with all the other big moments in this game (I know I certainly did before replaying this part), but this is just one of many, many reasons why I love this game so much.
(By the time we defeat Kuja and return to Alexandria...)
Song of Memories still plays throughout this part.
Oh, you're coming with us!?
Hey! Why the long face!?
Mog's coming, too!
Now, don't forget that you'll always have a home in Madain Sari. Don't let our memory become a burden. You must always be light-hearted and free.
...aw crap I was wrong, Morrison isn't the final party member after all. Sorry, guys.
Oh it's you again.
Your actions yesterday were incomprehensible to me.
Well, that's a tough question... Are you really that unhappy that I let you live?
I'd rather die as a warrior than live as a beggar.
What are you after?
Follow me and maybe you'll understand. Besides, you're pretty good in a fight.
Huh? You say somethin'?
What's your name?
Call me what you will.
Yep, this weird guy we fought who has a regular-sized battle model and is weirdly on the cover art of the U.S. version is our actual eighth and final party member. He's...kinda weirdly placed late in this game. I know, that's weird to say since Eiko just joined a few updates ago, but she has a lot of time to develop her character and an entire dungeon to grow in. We're not really gonna have much opportunity to do so with this guy since Disc 2 is almost over.
Anyway, his default name is Amarant and the PS1 can only fit seven letters instead of eight so I can't rename him Morrison.
Fine. We'll call you Amarant.
So for the first time in the game, we can choose our party! Amarant's a must so he has time to learn some damn abilities, and Eiko still has a few to learn as well. Dagger and Vivi have both learned everything they can learn for now, so common sense says to leave Dagger since Vivi brings some diversity.
But the Iifa Tree also has a lot of undead for two white mages to rip apart, and honestly I felt Vivi deserves a break because he's been battling as long as Zidane has while being younger and having a lot more emotional trauma to work through. Rest easy, Vivi, you deserve it.
Just follow me!
Next time, we'll finally get to confronting Kuja and in one or two updates finally finish Disc 2!