The Cave, Continued Edit
To pick up where we left off, exit, then walk over to the bridge and press the switch. Don't worry, it won't drop you into the lava: it only creates a staircase out of pure imagination. Descend it, then stop for a second. Treasure beneath a staircase? By Jove, that piss-weak ninja must have been on to something? Walk one step to the left to uncover an Invisibility Scroll, then walk all the way south and turn your head to the right to find a Golden Needle. Walk over to the east wall find the notch, then look in the space two steps to the west to find a Water Scroll. Now go south and left to that chest on the side to get a Hi-Ether, then walk beyond it to find 293 gil buried beneath the ground. Go back to where you got the Scrolls/Needle and enter the cave on your right; walk north in the darkness when you hit a wall, then east out the top to a different section of the room.
First walk south to get an Elixir from the chest. When you've done that, walk east, ignoring the two switches, and walk down the stairs. Cross the bridge, run west, cross this bridge, and step on the switch here. Double back over the bridge, then enter the cave ahead of you that was just opened. Inside you'll find a Hi Ether and two pieces of Magicite - just ordinary magicite I'm afraid, only capable of summoning a random esper into battle when used once. The other chest contains the Ultima Weapon. 'Oh my God, the ultimate weapon!' I can hear you exclaim. Don't get too excited though, since the Ultima Weapon's power is tied directly to the HP of its wielder. That means that it isn't quite as powerful now as it will be later on. You can still give it a go if you want to see for yourself, though. Travel west to the edge of the island you're on, then travel upwards past two bridges to a switch. First of all, ignore that chest you can see - it only has a useless switch inside. Second of all, hit that switch, walk over the bridge it creates, disregard the second one, and walk upwards. North of you is a Magicite Shard, grab it, then run down to the next screen. Then walk east and north to exit the cave all together.
The party stand before the Sealed Gate, all sealed and gate-like in its brilliance. Terra steps forward, ready to open the gate, but a woop of laughter sounds from behind her. Yup, the mad klown himself has tailed us through the cave, and has made his entrance, determined to force his way through the gates and claim the espers for his own. A fight begins, in which we're supposed to hold Palazzo at bay while Terra slips into the gate. Keffie informs us triumphantly that it was the Emperor's plan all along to have Terra open the gate for us. OH NO!!! Shouldn't he have appeared after Terra broke the seal? Why don't we just tell Terra to stop? Oy Terra! Don't open the bloody door! But of course - she doesn't listen. As the other three characters, (who are actually fighting the general so that Terra CAN open the gate) hit Kefka once, and a scene begins. The gateway has opened, and even Kefka has a bad feeling about the situation. A slew of summons bursts forth, even Shiva, who I thought we owned already. Imposter! A couple of rocks fall in front of the gate, which is the universal symbol for 'shut off forever'.
We wind up in the cave again. Walk directly south to return to the first room (Oh, wouldn't that have made our voyage easier?), then get the hell outta here and head for the ship. The party gathers at the entrance of the Imperial Post, where we learn that the espers we unleashed are heading for Vector, for the purposes of bedlam and chaos, I hope. Oh fuck me dead! Those stupid espers are attacking US! That's what we get for vindicating those poor creatures... The Blackjack loses control, and after a turbulent ride through the skies, Setzer's ship crash lands in the fields outside Maranda. Looks like we'll have to walk back to Vector... Before you get there, make sure you have some Sprint Shoes equipped on your lead party member, and set the battle speed and messages to their maximum of 6. We need them once we're inside the city.
Return to Vector Edit
There are two things to take notice of when we return to Vector:
- The Returners and the forces of Narhse have taken over the city,
- The Espers have fucked shit up.
And the place wasn't exactly Paris to begin with. Buildings are on fire, the infrastructure is falling apart, and there are scorch marks marking tiles in the city centre. Climb up the steps towards the Imperial Palace, where you'll find Banon, who appears to be stunned that the espers would even dream of destroying the town. Old Man Arvis is also present, dusting his hands of any responsibility of the disaster: 'It was like that when I got here'. These frauds make me sick. As if they didn't intend to slaughter these ratched shitbags. Walk up to the palace entrance, where a ridiculously dressed Imperial invites you to attend his majesty Gestahl, who has finally decided to meet with us, knowing that there's no coming back from a fall like this. Follow the steward to the throne room, where the Emperor awaits.
Gesto has had a change of heart about the war, seeing as the espers went berserk and murdered everyone when they found out that their pals at the Magitek Research Facility had been killed. He now invites us for dinner, to discuss what must be done about those bloodthirsty monsters we unleashed upon the world. Cid tells us that there are still soldiers unwilling to give up the fight, so we must talk to every one of them and try to convince them to pursue peace. Here's where those shoes come in handy: we have four minutes to talk to every soldier in the palace, checking every room and floor, before dinner begins. This part is totally shit - ESPECIALLY on touch screen. And if you don't have Sprint Shoes? Well tough luck mate, since there is no relic shop in Vector or Maranda, and the relic shops in Tzen and Albrook don't sell them. I love how they make it easy for you.
Run down into the entrance hall or whatever the fuck this place is. Talk to the two guards (1,2) on either side of you, descend the steps, then speak to the two guards in Magitek armour (3,4). Walk outside, where three guards are waiting - one to the right, one to the left, and one below him (5,6,7). Race back inside, turn left, charge through the door, and into the next one. Grab the Alarm Earring and X-Potion, then run out and climb the stairs to find the next room. There's plenty of guards in here (8,9,10,11,12,13), and it's hard to talk to ALL of them, since SOME of them move up and down and up and down out of sight. Worse, a lot of them I feel actually ran from me when I tried to speak with them. STOP RUNNING FROM MEEEEEH! One of them wants to fight, so mop the floor with him. And remember to talk to the one in the middle bed! He's a bit hard to see. Look inside the door to the north here to find a soldier (14) and a chest with an Ether inside. 'Poo on peace!' he declares, before attacking. He'll be dining on poo when I'm finished with him.Run outside, then up the stairs to find another soldier (15). This guy's a prick. Always standing in the fuckin' doorway... MOVE DICKHEAD!!! Walk outside onto the terrace, where a Magitek soldier and a normal one (16,17) are hanging around on the west side. After them, walk right, then up, to find two more (18,19). Enter the summit of the pyramid to find Kefka's torture chamber, where one guard (20) waits to challenge you. Exit, go around to the right, speak to another magitek guard (21), then re-enter the palace. Walk down the steps to a door, where a soldier and one of those stewards (22,23) waits. Speak to both of them, get the Gail Hairpin from the chest, then enter the south door to find a restroom with the final soldier (24) waiting inside with some Holy Water in a chest. If you still have time, descend the next set of steps and enter the door to find the prison, where Mr. Kefka has been imprisoned for his heinous actions against the people of Doma. You can examine the door to his cell if you wish, but that only results in a scene where he acts most like himself: A stark raving psychopath.
Once the clock runs out, whether everyone's been spoken to or not, it's dinner time!
The Banquet Edit
The reason for speaking with all these soldiers was to come into Gestahl's good graces and get a reward for our willingness to pursue peace. This feast is another test - the big man will question us about certain things, and we're given the opportunity to respond. HOWEVER - if you want the best prize, you must give the answer that Gestahl most wants to hear. He's seeking a ceasefire, true enough, but he's got a prickly pride, and it wouldn't do to insult him any.
Emperor G. raises a toast, and he will ask what we should toast for. Like at the opera, the right choices are in bold:
- To the Empire.
- To the Returners.
- To our Homelands.
So far, so good. We haven't glorified our own enemy, or Gestahl's, keeping it nice and vague. Kefka is on the agenda next, with our host telling us what we already know about his imprisonment. Whether you personally want that menacing jester put to the axe is not relevant. The most courteous and G-pleasing response to what should be done with Palazzo is:
- Leave him in jail.
- Pardon him.
- Execute him.
Speaking of Doma, Gestahl says that no one ever dreamed of Kefka using poison (either he's stupid or he's a terrible liar). What do we think of the tragedy at Doma?
- What's done is done...
- That was inexcusable.
- Apologize again!!
Apologies are made for the terrible incident, with the emperor promising a future crusade to eradicate all poisons (Then what? People know how to make more you moron) in the World of Balance. Topic shifts to Celes now...:
- Was she an Imperial spy?
- Celes is one of us!
- We trust Celes!
Turns out Kefka was lying about the betrayal. To us, I mean. Now comes another trial. You get to ask the big man a question, you lucky dog, you. You can choose any of the three options to hear what Gestahl has to say for himself. DO NOT ask the same question twice, or else he'll think you're ignoring him, mocking him, or maybe he'll think you're slow, and not offer you the grand prize for this imperial farce of a banquet. Gestahl asks for our permission to talk about the espers; you can accept, or you can ask some more questions to him. Ask the two remaining questions, and then agree to speak about the espers. Regarding the esper's vengeance sack of the imperial capital:
- They have gone a bit too far.
- You're the one who brought them here in the first place!
Tricky Dick Gestahl poses you a tricky question: Which did you ask him about first? If you're like me, and chose the first response given, then it's the one about why he started the war. This is just an effort to see if you'll slip up at all in your attempt to be as ambassadorial as possible. How can I prove that? He asks what the question was, then just ignores our answer, like he didn't care at all. Nice try, mate. Cid (who showed up, I forgot to mention) asks if we want to take a break. Say yes, then quickly run around the table and speak to one of the hooded men sitting with the emperor. You have two minutes to kick their asses, after which you have to resume your seat. Why do we have to do this? Maybe Gesty is impressed by our display of Alpha dominance? Last thing: Gestahl wants to know if there is anything we would have him say. Tell him:
- That you really want peace.
- That your war is truly over.
- That you're sorry.
And with that, the intense grilling is over! Well, almost. Let battle planning commence. Here's the Emp's idea: The espers have flown up north to Crescent Island (no relation to Crescent Mountain). he wants us to convince the espers not to follow up on another attack on civilization, a plan he entrusts to Terra, with accompaniment by an Imperial retinue, headed by Good General Leo. For the sake of all things sane, AGREE to his request so that you don't offend him in the closing stages of the night.
After dinner has concluded, Locke decides to go with Terra to Albrook, where a ship will take us to the crescent isle. Why do we only have two characters in our party? OH. Now I know... Time to leave the palace now. As you enter the entrance hall, a servant will run up bearing word from our gourmandising host. If you spoke to all 24 soldiers, and answered every question correctly, you'll get the following gifts of goodwill and thanks:
- All troops are withdrawn from South Figaro and Doma.
- The armoury in the Imperial observation post will be unlocked.
- A Tintinnabulum (I beg your pardon?).
- A Ward Bangle.
The Tintin restores HP as you walk, and the Ward Bangle lowers the rate of enemy encounters. If you didn't talk to some of the guards, or stuffed up at dinner, then you'll get a fewer amount of items and rewards. Explore the palace for items that you might have missed during the rush to talk to everyone, then leave Vector and head towards Albrook.