Part 78: Part Seventy-Eight: A Quick Check-InPart Seventy-Eight: A Quick Check-In
In our ongoing quest to find Ellone, it's time to finally go to Esthar.
First, though, let's check in with Edea to tell her the White SeeDs fucked up and lost Ellone.
Cid never actually said this officially, but by dropping "Headmaster" from his name and this line, we can see that he has completely ditched out on Balamb Garden. Cid is an absolute coward. At least Garden still has its true hero to lead it: Xu.
Edea is worried about Ellone. I mean, not worried enough to do anything, but worried. These two deserve each other, and they deserve this shitty fucking continent.
They do not deserve this cool flower field, or the really pretty backgrounds this area has.
Now, let's get on the road. Looking at the map, we can see FH.
Which means Esthar is somewhere around here. On this continent, anyway. While we're looking at the map, by the way, I want to point out that all the events of disc three have taken place about 20 km away from each other.
But we are now done with the Centra continent!
Here, we can see the eastern end of the Horizon Bridge, as well as the Seaside Station.
Turning a bit, we can also see that Seaside Station backs up directly into a lake. Who built this?
Anyway, we can't make landfall over there, so let's keep looking.
Hm. Apparently the entire coastline of Esthar is a cliff.
Thanks to a weird geography thing, we can get the Garden up the cliff over here.
Unfortunately, though, this entire area is a huge forest, so the Garden can't set down.
Despite looking like you could make the jump here...
...this tiny gap makes the Garden fall too fast to make landfall.
You can see on the world map that Trabia and Esthar are on the same landmass. As Quistis mentioned earlier, though, there are mountains in the way. This is total speculation on my part, but I would expect this overland route from Trabia to be how the Centra people spread to Esthar - it's either that or they got across the strait north of the Centra continent. Or the geography was significantly 4,000 years before the start of the game when Esthar and Dollet were founded (according to the Ultimania book).
While I'm on the topic, the Centra shelters that later became the Gardens are much more recent, dating back to when the Lunar Cry destroyed whatever settlements were on the Centra continent. That was well after the height of the Centra "empire" though.
Long story short, we can't get to Esthar from the sea. While I was in the neighbourhood, I stopped in at Shumi Village to use their draw point.
He's so close to max Str...
I also got rid of some of the garbage spells out of Selphie's stock.
Now, before I move on with the story, there's some side crap to take care of.
About to be a Thief: I wonder if I can just leave a note or something and check out this book?
First of all, someone's about to get extremely fired!
What the hell are you doing over here?
Hey, I'm looking for Occult Fan and y'all are in the way.
Booyaka: He said hot dogs.
Goddammit, I want to read about UFOs.
What the hell are these three doing, anyway?
Wait, why is a three-stars-out-of-five love the one that "will overcome any obstacle"? What the hell does five stars mean?
Booyaka: Um... Hey... We have to keep it down...
Are you blind or something?
I wonder what that's about.
So, I brought Zell along for this trip, but I'm not 100% sure you need to. I wonder if Zell understands what just happened.
Girl on the Right: But even if he did notice, I don't think Mr. Thick Head would be able to follow up on it...
This girl obviously does not think very highly of Zell. She's a good friend, though, so she'll support Booyaka.
Girl on the Left: It took me forever to get this book returned.
Why is it even in the library in the first place?
We'll have to follow up with that later. Right now, I'm just pointing out that the complaining guys aren't here right now.
Upstairs, we can check Selphie's blog for a post about the issue of Timber Maniacs we found on the White SeeD ship.
: So it's true that you get there from FH. By that time, there were no more trains. So Sir Laguna walked it. I wonder what the trains were like, here?
By the looks of it, we'll have to follow in Laguna's footsteps.
At least he enjoyed it.
And there we go, the last issue of Timber Maniacs! Now we have a pretty complete idea of what happened in Laguna's journeys, with the magazines filling in all the downtime around the flashbacks to Winhill and Trabia. I quite like Selphie's little entries on Timber Maniacs, as well as the idea of a guy who's on what's basically an RPG journey writing about it for a magazine.
On another note, this is the hint we really need to figure out how to get to Esthar. It's weird that they'd put it in a magazine you can't read directly, though. My guess is that you're meant to realise "oh, FH is on a bridge between the two continents" and go from there, and people in FH even mention having come from Esthar. On the other hand, that's all optional discussion. Putting so much stuff in optional NPC text may be Final Fantasy VIII's biggest storytelling issue, though I do think it was an intentional storytelling/character-integration decision. The execution could have used some work, is all.
Speaking of optional NPC text, I decided to pay a visit to Galbadia.
See, there's a bunch of NPCs who have new lines now.
We haven't quite seen the end of his arc yet, but it's interesting to see how Seifer's dream has ended up so perverted that he's leading Galbadia's army.
Seifer apparently also knows about Ultimecia. Did he know Edea was possessed the whole time, then?
A second Sorceress War seems like a bad thing to me, though I suppose Galbadia did technically win the last one.
While the army is ready to rally behind the new sorceress, it seems like a different sentiment is brewing among the people.
Apparently, the influence Edea was exerting on people is wearing off, and they're not feeling as hot on the idea of going to war under a sorceress.
Seifer's ruin-based strategies are also being discussed in the streets.
It's very small and very easy to miss (again, this is all optional) but the mood of Deling City has really changed since Edea's defeat. People are now being much more openly critical of the government and army.
Wow, somebody should probably do something about that. Good thing Seifer's not a sorceress, or it would be SeeD's problem.
This guy's worried about the moon. As good a time as any to remind you, don't fuck with the moon.
I honestly can't remember if we've discussed this or not before, but it's good information to know.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a variety of opinions and concerns being expressed among the citizenry regarding Ultimecia and Seifer.
Look, if you're not willing to commit some light treason for a fit, you're not serious.
I think it's really cool to be able to go back to Deling City and see what people in Galbadia have to say about this stuff.
There's one big question here, though: what the hell did Seifer dig up?
There's one last person to talk to in Deling City.
This guy would be pissed if he found out what happened to his daughter.
Despite his lack of a new opener, Caraway does have new lines if you ask about the sorceress or Esthar.
General Caraway: The new leader of the armed forces? Hah... I'd like to see how she does... It appears there's a new sorceress in town, but no one has yet to see her.
There's a small error there - he means to say "no one has seen her yet" but actually says the opposite of that. Translation difficulties aside, this suggests that people know about Ultimecia as a new sorceress, but not the fact that she was possessing Edea earlier.
General Caraway: She's at the forefront of history. What is she conspiring? It's all very mystifying...
They also don't know about Time Compression, so they think she's just after power.
Now, let's hear what he thinks about Esthar.
General Caraway: The powerful nation to the east. Esthar was a threat to everyone. Now it's Galbadia.
Now Galbadia is the threat, he means. Another weird translation.
General Caraway: After the war, Esthar kept quiet. No one knows what became of Sorceress Adel. Esthar itself remains hidden behind a veil of mystery. Very few people from the west have ever seen or been to Esthar...
With that done, let's pick up on Zell's romance plot.
Balamb Woman: She came by your house the other day.
Since the fortune-teller said the love spot was a seaside hotel, it makes sense to check out Balamb.
Let's check in with his mum, too.
Ma Dincht: Huh? What's this all of a sudden...? ...No one's stopped by.
: That's strange...
Well, that woman did say she came by the other day, so it's not that weird.
Ma Dincht: So you're going to have another friend visit? I'm looking forward to meeting this person.
I wonder if Booyaka really did come by, and Ma Dincht already figured it out.
While I was around Balamb, I talked to this guy, who has new dialogue.
She's not around the Dincht household, so she must have already...
She's not here.
Library Committee Member: She said she wanted to give you something. She's been looking for you, Zell. I wonder where she could be?
How come none of these girls have names?
As it turns out, you have to actually rent a room at the Balamb hotel to trigger this scene.
I love Selphie's line here.
Zell is, in fact, removed from your party for the duration of this sequence.
He hasn't gone far, though.
: W-Wait, Squall! Look at that...
Jesus, Selphie, just because she's an NPC is no reason to be so rude.
This is another great line.
Booyaka: Haha... I know. That's why I picked out this book...
She holds it out in both hands, a very humble kind of gift-giving gesture.
Whatever she picked out, Zell is into it.
You don't get these lines, but she's clearly telling him something heartfelt.
In the thread, Vil pointed out that these text boxes are filled in by seeing optional scenes in the library, so a couple must be missing on this save, but i81icu812 provided a script:
Booyaka: Each time... well even just sometimes when you read this book... Please think of me. Even if it's just a little.
I can't believe Zell is the first party member to get with someone...
Booyaka: Please take care of yourself!
Oh, she left.
Hmm...reminding Squall that he wakes up late a lot? There goes this month's pay, buddy.
Her confession gift to Zell is a magazine about fighting moves. Of course it is.