The Sealed Gate Edit
Now, you have to take along Terra to the Gate. But who else should come along? Well, Mog and his Dances must go, he's very powerful. Setzer is alright if you can time his Slots properly. Locke has little to Steal, so his only role would be as a fighter, and there are better ones. Gau is strong, but with Mog's Dance that gives you two Berserkers, so he's out. Sabin's elemental claw and his Rising Phoenix are Fire-elemental and thus heal the enemies here, so if you bring him stick to Aura Bolt, it's holy-elemental and enemies dislike that. Edgar is better with his Tools. Make a party of Terra, Mog, and whoever you like of Sabin, Edgar and Setzer, then land the airship near the mountains east of Albrook. Enter the Imperial Base.
The base is abandoned. Odd, if you had come here earlier, it would have been crawling with Troopers. Hm.....take the stairs, walk right and down to leave. Cross the bridge and save before entering the Cave to the Sealed Gate.
Cave to the Sealed Gate Edit
Here, the Antares can cast Magnitude 8, except it doesn't have enough MP, so it's easy. The Provoker can use Imp, so either kill it in one hit or have an Esuna ready. But the Lich is the worst of all. They can use Confuse, Fire, Fira, and the Level 3 Firaga. They take first priority for killing. Fortunately, they only appear in the first three rooms of the cave.
Immediately, open the chest to find an Assassin's Dagger. For either Locke or Shadow, it can instantly kill an opponent, but the undead are in fact revived by it. Keep that in mind. Go down into the next room to find another Kazekiri, the first being stolen from Number 128. In the next chamber, the wooden panels shift their positions. The key is to step on the panels that are the same in both formations to avoid the lava. It's difficult to post exact directions, so just watch the panels and move when you think you spot the pattern. The lower chest has a Heiji's Jitte, which turns Setzer's Slots into GilToss. But I don't like it, it's too expensive and Setzer's Slots are just as good. In the other chest is a X-Potion.
Now head down the steps. Here there are only two types of enemies. The Outcasts are healed by Fire, but are weak to Holy and Water. Unfortunately unless you brought Sabin, Gau with an aquatic Rage, or went through the trouble to teach Mog the Water Harmony Dance, you have neither. I prefer to use the Earth Blues myself, a Rock Slide may only hit one enemy at a time, but it ignores defense so one time is all you need, it can kill anything here. But be careful, the Outcast can use Liveshaver, which is an attack that works just like Drain. But usually they only use when weak, thankfully, so a barrage of attacks can stop them. Besides, with Mog Dancing they probably won't have a chance to use it anyway. Zombie Dragons can turn party members into Zombies, but they drop Revivifies to cure that, and are weak to fire so just hit them with a Fira spell, or Sabin's physical if you brought him. Both of them are undead and thus, Cura works well if you're having trouble.
There's a chest with an Ether over a wall on your immediate right. Go under that same path and onto the bridge. Flip the switch and fall down. Now go up and open the chest to find a Genji Glove. Previously the bridge to the chest wasn't here until you flipped that switch. Go back up the stairs and head right. The left switch opens the door, the right calls down a Ninja, who likes throwing Scrolls so unless someone knows Cura or Mog Dances a Dance with Sunbath, you're in trouble. Beating it gives no worthwhile rewards so ignore it and only pull the left switch. Inside, take the Tent and save before moving on.
Head right and throw the switch. On the ground here are some hidden Items, none of which is anything you can't buy in a store, you cheapskate. Head right and up through a hidden tunnel in the wall. Take the Elixer. Ignore the two floor panels and go around the right one over the bridge and open the chest - it's actually a switch, so flick it. Go south and hit this floor panel. Inside the hidden passage are an Ether and two Magicite shards. These are Items that summon random Espers, but thanks to one time when they summoned the last Esper you ever want to see on the battlefield, I never use Magicite and you shouldn't either. But in the 4th chest, oh boy...
Behold the Ultima Weapon! The fact this weapon gets its very own paragraph is a testament to how cool it is. First, it's a lightsaber. I don't like Star Wars, but everyone loves a lightsaber. Next, only Terra, Celes, Locke and Edgar can use it, and it is not compatible with the Merit Award. The Ultima Weapon does not register as a weapon - selecting optimize will cause the computer to ignore it, even if the only weapon a character can equip is the Ultima Weapon, it'll still just make them go barehanded. It has a near-infinite battle power, however. Its damage increases (along with its attack animation) as the equipped character levels up. The higher the level and HP, the more damage it does. Plus it ignores defense. I love this weapon, but at the moment your levels are too low for it to do decent damage, so let it sit in your inventory for the next little while.
Now, head right, up the bridge, hit the switch, go across and head the left one, then proceed right. The chest has another useless Magicite shard. Go down the stairs and up into the large doorway.
The Esper Rampage Edit
Here, Terra goes to the gate to try and speak to the Espers, when suddenly, everybody's favorite cackling sociopath shows up. Kefka spews some crap about letting Terra escape the Empire so she'd lead the Returners to the Gate, but this is also the same guy who said Celes was a spy. Luckily this time the party knows better. This battle is a letdown, the message says to keep Kefka busy, which means you just attack him once.
Terra Morphs, and the Gate flies open. The Espers come flying out and fling Kefka away. Then Terra collapses, the Gate closes, and a cave-in means it'll be staying that way for a while. Oh well. Go down and find the newly-opened passage that leads directly to the entrance. Enter the Imperial Base and rendezvous with your party. The Espers headed to Vector. This can't be good.
Watch as the Espers attack the airship and send you crashing down. Now, here's what I don't get. As the scene occurs, I can clearly see a narrow strip of land in the middle of a mountain range that is clearly the passage between Mt. Kolts and the Returner's Hideout, so how do you end up at Maranda? Hm...well, leave the ship, don't worry about your party. You can visit Maranda if you want, you know, check the shops and normal stuff. But in the end, search the forest and find the Chocobo stable. Ride it to Vector, hop off, and save. It's time for the long-awaited face-to-face with Emperor Gestahl...
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