Part 12: Ain't no gettin' offa this train we're on
We're automatically kicked back onto the world map after the magitek sequence, and after leaving the imperial camp, we can never go back. It's no big loss, but I guess if you really wanted that star pendant, you better grab it before moving on.
Doma Castle is close by, but the entrance is blocked by imperial troops who'll tell you the area is off limits, so there's nothing for us there.
Instead, we're heading across the river and south through the Phantom Forest-
-which as the name implies is full of ghosts.
Some of them can hit pretty hard - the one on the bottom here can cast Fire - but we're still able to one-shot them with blitz, batarangs and bushido, so it's not that bad.
As a side note, Aura Cannon is "holy" elemental damage, which ghosts don't particularly care for. Earring + hitting enemies' weakness = damn that hurt.
The Phantom Forest is a very nice looking area, and it even has a healing pond in it, so it's kind of a pity that it's one of the shortest "dungeons" in the game.
What's that in the distance...?
Yup, it sure looks like one.
There could be survivors. Let's take a look inside.
We can't just wander around out here all day. We have to check inside!
Poor MrThou, no one takes him seriously.
Nice looking interior.
The train's whistle sounds... but I'll spare you the "SHOCK" animation. THIS time.
We must get off this train at once!
Didn't you see the episode title, MrThou?
Nevertheless, they try the door they came in through...
The door won't open!
...with predictable results.
I fear we are too late.
What did you say this train was?
This is the Phantom Train...
It carries the souls of the departed to their... final destination.
Huh. I thought that was a level in a Mario game or something.
I just can't get enough of these expressions.
...Wait a second.
You're saying this train's giving us a one-way ride to... the afterlife!?
Unless we find a way off, I am afraid that is exactly where we will end up...
If it won't let us off, then we'll stop it ourselves. Let's make for the engine.
Matt just keeps being awesome.
And sure, we'll head for the engine, but first...
He seems to want to accompany us.
Well, I suppose technically he's not made of meat, but... you know what I mean.
Also, there's something inside the door you could see in the last shot.
Sir Matt! I think it would be best not to touch that!
Oops! My hand must've slipped!
He runs up and resets the switch.
Oh, thou art truly insufferable...
MrThou... You're not... scared, are you!?
Wh-what dost thou mean? It's not as though I have an aversion to machines...
...or try to stay away from them as much as humanly possible... or anything like that!
MrThou... So, you're afraid of machines!
"Tell us about the train."
The Phantom Train ferries the souls of the departed to the other side.
Once the souls arrive, they are granted their eternal rest.
"How do we stop this thing?"
You want to stop the train?
Search every corner of the engineer's compartment... I'm sure there's a way.
Helpful fellow! You'd think he'd have something against random living dudes messing up their time tables.
And speaking of time tables...
...Huh? They're all blank!
This train carries the dead to the afterlife.
It's a little tough to be making timetables with as much conflict in the world as there is right now.
It'd be kind of if the entire concept of this place weren't so silly.
Anyway, the place has a save spot and I'm down on HP so I'll just take a nice rest right here on the floor.
This place is dickish as fuck. In addition to the regular random encounters, talking to most of these ghosts will throw you into a fight.
No reason to be overcharging now... like they say, you can't take it with you!
However, there's one who will sell you stuff, and it's really quite nice because I'm running low on... well, basically everything that isn't batarangs.
Most importantly, I'll be needing one of these. FORESHADOWING.
The next car is pretty similar, but this guy comes in after us and plugs up the door...
Killing him is as simple as fighting just one single ghost (Matt one-shots it), but...
(Generic dialogue again.)
The undead have it in for us. Scary! Or at least it might have been, if we hadn't already killed 20 of these guys on the way here.
Gah! They're coming after us...!
I'm somewhat regretting not putting MrThou in the lead for this part...
Hast thou an idea?
Yes... The time has come to put my training to use!
As opposed to all those times you dropped guys on their heads or threw fireballs at them. But sure, if you can save me the tedium of another encounter, I'm all for it.
So Matt, apparently carrying MrThou, Batman and a ghost on his back or something (well possibly not Batman, he can probably handle himself), backs up...
...and jumps between the cars.
He tries it a second time...
...but the roof gives out...
...and he falls flat.
Lucky for him he landed on the actual car; I don't think a tumble on the ground at this speed would have been very healthy.
Not quite out of the fire yet...
Hey... They couldn't still be...?
Yup, they could.
They just don't let up!
We'll have to detach the rear cars!
Easily done, because just inside the next car, there's a switch that does just that.
Don't worry, super heroes fuck with the natural cycle of life and death all the time. This won't have any consequences at all!
Also, flicking the same switch a second time opens the path ahead. It is a very convenient switch.
Here's another ghost. However, we already have a full party...
...Maybe another time!
...and can't take him with us.
Free grub? Don't mind if I do!
Matt not only looks like a bear, he has the manners of one as well.
MrThou is worried...
What are you worried about? Can't wage war on an empty stomach!
Do what thou wilt, sir. I'm sure there is no stopping thee...
The food isn't just safe to eat, but extremely healthy!
Whew! I'm stuffed! Shall we get moving?
We shall, but first...
...we'll let our companions have a bite...
...because it's not fair to just let Matt stuff his face.
Also, check this back door. Cha-ching!
Here's a curious chest that can't be opened from the side. Try to open it from the front...
...causes this weirdo to drop from the ceiling.
He has the best insults.
"Greatest windbag" is more like it... You're the one who had best beat a brave retreat.
Brazen words for a man about to be spitted upon my blade like a plump and juicy pig!
You kids had better get ready!
He lets loose with a flurry of... really, really weak attacks. See that 3 over Matt's head? Imagine that, like ten times spread out among all four party members.
Heh... heh... Had enough yet?
We have had enough. I'm not sure what kind of HP Sieg here has, but one hit is all it takes to make him run away.
The reward is truly awe-inspiring.
N-no! It cannot be! But... the last laugh belongs to me!
The party does nothing to stop him as he runs up, loots the chest and heads for the door.
I think they mostly just feel sorry for him.
An adjacent room has more treasure...
and an enemy that actually takes more than one hit to kill!
The treasure is a Hyper Wrist, which ups the wearers Strength by 50%.
Guess we're on our own again...
As the party approaches the locomotive, the ghost remains behind...
Fortunately, there's an instruction manual in the upper left corner.
"To stop the train, shut down the first and third pressure valves, then throw the switch located by the smokestack."
I don't know what kind of moron would put that switch by the smokestack, but we'll give it a shot. First switch, third switch...
The train's whistle blows.
The train is pissed.
And, yes, Matt can suplex the phantom train. It's not very effective, but it's awesome and that's really all you can ask for.
Perhaps the best known "secret" in this game is that the Phantom Train counts as undead. One phoenix down, and that's all it takes.
We get a tent for winning. And nothing else.
And so the train pulls in at a station much like the one we found it at...
The faster we leave that train behind, the better!
Our heroes disembark.
But suddenly, something catches MrThou's eye.
More victims of Kefka's little stunt have come to take the last step into the afterlife, and among them-
-two familar faces.
MrThou! Was that your wife and son!?
The train's whistle blows...
MrThou chases after the train...
...but he can't keep up.
Out on the other side, the destination is almost within sight.
To the south of here lies the Veldt.
'Tis a wild and dangerous land, inhabited by all manner of ferocious beasts...
But if we turn around and go back, the Empire will be waiting for us.
Hmm... The village of Mobliz lies on the eastern coast.
If we can make it through the Veldt, we could head there...
I know, which is why you are currently naked.
Sucks, I know, but I'd rather keep my stuff.
Thanks for your help! Let's team up again sometime!
Clearly never gonna happen.
Batman walks off without another word, firmly determined to appear cool and mysterious.
And so, we...
...wait, that was the plan?
You're not seriously planning to-
As if the fall damage wasn't enough, we're ambushed by a school of freaky fish on the way down. All of them fall to a single attack...
...and then this guy shows up and is a pushover, although for some reason he gets a boss death animation.
Our reward for this fight is a remedy and two potions.
...and MrThou comes floating down the river and lands on the beach.
But hold, what manner of beast is this?
"Beast?! Sir, such slander is uncalled for."
"Lo! I spy a man on yonder shore!"
"Such terrible injuries! I must administer first aid forthwith!"
"It is most fortuitous I came upon him when I did, for he would surely have perished without aid."
Well, you know what this means. Six letters as usual.
"A thousand pardons, sirs, but the hour is late, and I can not tarry. I fear proper introductions must wait, as I am forced to take my leave with all haste."
We have finally reached the Veldt.
And man, I hate this place so fucking much.
Fun fact: I used up 33 batarangs on that trip.