Part 44: Episode 21 - Mouths of BabesEpisode 21 - Mouths of Babes
Welcome back. I didn't plan it this way, but it looks like the theme of this update is going to be inter-generational relations. So you young whippersnappers better sit down and keep quiet.
We've got fifteen areas of the World Map to clear out for the last time before tackling the final dungeon. However, the game has a weird bug where it can screw you out of a completion reward if you leave Zanarkand for last. So let's start there and work backwards. It'll represent... um, something meaningful, I'm sure. Symmetry or something.
Pretty much everywhere we go is going to have two or more outcomes, depending on whether we did well enough to earn a Hotspot!. If we didn't clear out Zanarkand with sufficient monkeys, there's still tourists milling around outside, standing in Tidus' spot and being all insensitive.
The cloister gets closed off no matter what you did, though. No looting all those chests this time around. The main feature of note is Isaaru milling about inside the dome.
You're really... brave.
I would do anything to protect these ruins. Today's Spira changes at a dizzying rate. People flock to what is different and what is new. They are quick to forget the old things that stay the same. If no one is watching, this place, too, will be lost in the shifting sands of time. So I thought, there may as well be one man around to defend the unchanging.
That's all for this place. If we try to enter the cloister, we get teleported out.
Back on the World Map, the entry for Zanarkand reads "Episode Concluded." An Episode Concluded is like an attendance award; technically it's an achievement, but usually coming with the subtext that the game couldn't find anything else nice to say about you.
If we played the monkey game, however, and spoke to Isaaru over the CommSphere in Chapter 4, things go a little different.
Well, I guess your memories are finally safe, Yuna.
Yeah. But... I have to learn to be stronger. Even places full of memories...
You want to not care?
That's not what I'm saying.
Just be yourself.
Don't worry, Yuna, I have no idea what that advice is supposed to mean either.
Perhaps one day, I'll find something more precious. But until that day comes, I want to protect this place.
A lot of the "good ending" scenes we'll see in this chapter carry this theme; Yuna recognizing that her memories, while precious, are just memories, and she'll have to move on eventually, but deciding to wallow in them for just a little longer.
Ahh, that's what we came for. An "Episode Complete" (or an EPCOM, as the kids are calling it these days) means we've completed all of the necessary tasks in a given area sufficiently to win an end-game completion award. We have to get one in each of the fifteen World Map locations, although some locations have extra hidden EPCOMs that don't count toward that goal. Bah, in my day we didn't have these fancy acronyms, we had to make do with anagrams. And we liked it!
One important point to note is that, while completion percentage from a Peeled Composite does carry over with a New Game +, the prerequisite flags for it do not. If we were to find out later on that we had screwed up something at, say, Mushroom Rock, and only got fourteen out of fifteen, when we started the next cycle, we'd have to do the monkey mating quest, along with every prerequisite in every other area, all over again.
The other reason to come to Zanarkand is to find our old pal Maechen. And by old, I mean... well, you'll see.
One could argue that the coming of Sin made war a secondary concern. But the real reason was that Vegnagun was nothing short of a titanic failure. You see, it was quick to respond to hostility, but lacked the ability to discern friend from foe. A weapon that slaughters indiscriminately would be far too dangerous for actual use in combat.
I'm gonna pause Maechen there for a second and talk about that line. The way it's phrased makes it sound like Bevelle's engineers couldn't figure out how to build a decent IFF system, and that Vengagun would just attack everything that got close. But that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since Vengagun can clearly distinguish between things that mean it harm and things that do not, and also because building a superweapon that wants to kill you is a really stupid thing to do, even for Bevellians. I have to believe that the line is meant to be more nuanced; that Vengagun's main weapon is just so powerful, and has such an area of effect, that it can't fire at an enemy without hitting an ally.
Incidentally, I think we still haven't been explicitly told that Vegnagun is capable of destroying the entire world, but if it is, that line would be yet another hint, and another way in which Vegnagun is a cold war metaphor.
Incidentally, this is why Vegnagun was never considered as a measure to combat Sin. Instead it was locked away under Bevelle.
Geez, Gramps, you really know a lot.
Hmm, that would be...
That would be...?
Pyreflies emerge from Maechen and swirl around him. Who saw that coming?
Gramps! You're dead?
Mortifying, isn't it? Over the years I managed to completely forget that I am unsent. It was only when I shook your hand, Lady Yuna, that I remembered.
One thousand years ago, here in Zanarkand, I shook the hand of another young lady.
A thousand years...
It was Lenne.
Correct. It was quite a strange feeling, shaking your hand. Two different people from two distant times, with exactly the same handshake.
Do they naturally have the same handshake, or was that the influence of the Songstress dressphere? Also, remember the recording in the Black Mage dressphere, Zanarkand's Prime? That was apparently Maechen, and the reason he keeps popping up where we need him to be is probably because we're carrying a sphere with his memories in it, which attracts him to us.
You've met a lot of people, huh?
The many people I have known have all journeyed to the Farplane, leaving only me behind. 'Tis quite lonely.
Do forgive me. My memories seem to have a mind of their own...
Reminiscing brings a flash of Maechen's memories to the surface, where the pyreflies of Zanarkand give them form. Maechen probably guided Braska the same way he guided Yuna on her pilgrimage.
You know, I like that the unsent seem to be balanced between good and evil. There were the three undead maesters of Yevon and Yunalesca, but on the other side there were Maechen, Belgemine, and Auron. Considering that the whole root of today's crisis is Shuyin's unresolved baggage, it's nice to remember that vengeance isn't the only thing that can hold a dying man in this world.
So people really are connected.
Ah, but of course.
Well, Maechen, thank you. I hope we meet again.
And what's interesting about this bit of story is that it doesn't end with Yuna sending him. Besides being kinda lonely, he seems perfectly happy to float around and be the unliving repository of Spira's history, so we might as well let him. I guess he's supposed to be sending himself at the end there, but whatever, I'd rather believe he's still out there.
Video: Maechen's Last Monologue
Don't worry, Yunie. One day he'll be back with more stories.
I always thought he was a little loose with his words, but he was right... Everything really is connected.
Even if it's only through Maechen. He's basically Zombie Kevin Bacon.
Next up on the list is to watch the fallout of our actions on Gagazet. If we didn't stop the Ronso attack, Garik will be posturing at Kimahri and making demands.
Not satisfied? All Garik's wishes come true! Garik attack Guado in forest. Take many lives. Murderer Garik happy?
Silence! Garik's anger never heal!
Otherwise, Garik's tone is much more... desperate.
Garik must be patient.
Garik feel hate, try to stop. But without path, hate is strong. Garik lose to hate. Garik rather unleash anger than go mad searching for path Garik cannot find!
Both sides of the conversation join up here.
Then what good is power Ronso receive from mountain? Once Ronso train to defend Yevon sacred ground. But now summoners not come! Ronso power go to waste! Kimahri true elder? Then Kimahri answer Garik!
Kimahri, sadly, has no answer.
Afterwards, Yuna goes to console Kimahri, having apparently learned nothing about Ronso etiquette from those multiple choice tests.
Yuna see Kimahri's shame.
Don't be ashamed!
Yeah! Yunie's right! Forget about that ogre.
Kimahri is elder. Kimahri must lead way to Ronso future.
Elder! Good news. Ronso children return to mountain.
An unnamed Ronso woman brings Lian and Ayde up the mountain path. They actually come back no matter what you do; whether you helped them out only determines whether they bring you souveniers.
But we could not find a way to restore Elder's horn.
We are sorry.
Man, I managed to make it to Chapter 5 without having to make a thumbnail for these guys. I'm still gonna make them share. If the developers won't give them separate models, I'm not going to try to make separate icons.
No apologies. Lost Lian and Ayde trouble Kimahri more than lost horn. Lian and Ayde enjoy seeing vast Spira?
Yes, Elder. Ayde did not want to come home.
Lian felt that way, too. We saw today's Spira with our own eyes, and we thought deeply. We think about path to future Spira.
We decided. We will journey again and meet many people.
And as if that was all he needed, Kimahri starts to walk after Garik.
The next cutscene takes place somewhat up the mountain. This is more fun for those who completed the mission in Chapter 3, because you're more likely to have activated the teleporter that goes straight there.
Kimahri unable to give answer he not have! Kimahri not elder!
And Garik slugs Kimahri, which probably won't help his critical thinking skills any.
Yuna stands up to intervene...
So be it. Kimahri teach Garik how to use force!
These animations might look familiar from a similar Ronso fight in the prequel. This feels more satisfying, though, because Garik is more than just a generic jerk like Biran and Yenke.
Kimahri use force? Force not solve problems! Kimahri still have no answer!
Silence! Garik not think for himself! Beg Kimahri for answer! Garik not even pup!
Lian and Ayde make long journey. Find own path.
So, Garik must settle Garik problems?
Wrong. Garik not alone. Let us think together. Kimahri is elder.
Vengeance is a very selfish emotion.
Elder right. One Ronso problem is problem for all. All Ronso problem is problem for one.
Was going to make a "This I Belive" photoshop, needed effort, ran out of care. Anyway, on the bad path that's the end of the scene, and there's nothing to do but board the airship.
I know how you get when you're mad, so I was a little freaked back there.
Maybe this is what had to happen for the Ronso's Calm to come.
A little depressing, but a resolution nonetheless. However, on the good path, we get teleported up to the Fayth Scar, where the Ronso have apparently started building living quarters and statues despite it being sacred ground where Ronso not tread. Kimahri even gets his own
Kimahri think looking at road ahead better than looking back on things lost. Kimahri look at future.
Garik want to see too.
Ronso must look together, without fear!
Honor to Ronso! Honor to mountain! Long live Elder Kimahri!
Long live Kimahri!
I like this bonding moment between Yuna and Paine. They're both more than a little guilty of that.
What about her?
Two down, thirteen to go.
Kimahri was amazing back there. I love happy endings!
So, Yuna. Where do you think the "road ahead" will lead us?
There's a couple more things to see here.
First, for getting everything right at Gagazet, we get a statue of Yuna... with a horn. Well, she is a summoner.
Second, there's this exchange, which I cut down to the part that I consider relevant. If you guided the kids in Chapter 3, they give you a prize they were given by a Guado child. It's a nice indication that the next generation of Ronso might be able to grow up without becoming fantasy racists.
The Calm Lands are our last stop for this update. Nothing really happens on the bad path; since you can always play the minigames here to earn PR points, you've never really lost this mission. However, I did that back in Chapter 2, so let's finish this.
I hadn't noticed before today that one of the attraction operators was always old and the other was young. Shows how much I don't care about the Calm Lands minigames. Anyway, this is a special version of this scene you get if both groups are at Level 5 PR.
Yup-yup! I can taste it in the air! Confrontation, I mean. Guests simply will not come with all this confronting! Please, please, please, allow me to take care of business!
And Tobli arranges a merger of the two entertainment companies. Instead of Open Airsoft and Argenix, the Calm Lands are now staffed by...
Because we got both companies maxed out, two new minigames open up, but I don't really care about that. What I do care about is that we can now purchase items from both companies' reward lists.
So first, we pick up this reward that lets us fast travel all over the area for free, and head to any of the attraction vendors.
Then we start buying credits. We're going to need two hundred thousand credits for each of the items I wanted.
Finally, we trade for the two unique grids I never bothered to get my first time through.
I don't usually go into sticker shock in RPGs, but take a moment to absorb the difference between my Gil total before and after. Holy shit, I just spent four million Gil.
At least I'll never have to do that again. Next time; Schrodinger's Humanoids.