#ThrowbackThursday – Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 21

When we picked things up last week there was a lot of moodiness in the camp, Zidane was failing at trying to hide his feelings about Garnet from the rest of the party whilst Eiko was upset that Zidane’s feelings were so strong, Garnet herself seemed to be suppressing her feelings too. But as my update closed, Doctor Tot had shown an interest in Eiko’s past, whilst Zidane wanted to head to Treno to enter the card tournament that was taking place.

In Treno Eiko enlists Vivi to show her around as it’s her first time visiting the city, Freya and Amarant also go off to do their own things, and Doctor Tot reminds Zidane that today is the last day that he can register for the card tournament.

Whilst they look around, Eiko attempts to fill Vivi in on the relationship between Zidane and Garnet, she labels them as stupid for not realising that they both like each other, though she seems to mostly blame Zidane for this, suggesting that he tries to act cool all the time, which then leads to him and Garnet arguing. She then runs off to look at the hall that the card tournament will be taking place inside and Vivi bumps into somebody from the airship he rode into Alexandria at the very start of the game. The man prompts him to go home and see his family, Vivi tells him his Grandpa has gone but decides to go anyway.

Before entering the card tournament Zidane leaves Treno to visit the nearby village of Dali, I manage to obtain the Mayors Key by searching his house, being cautious not to wake the boy on the couch. Once I have the key I head out to the Chocobo pen and discover 30,000 Gil and some Burman Coffee. Unfortunately, after checking my Key Items, I only seem to have two of the three coffee’s that the old man at the observation tower wanted me to collect.

Zidane heads back to Treno and visits Queen Stella to hand in the Stellazzio’s that I have thus far. Scorpio nets me 1000 Gil, Libra a Phoenix Pinion, Virgo 2000 Gil, Gemini a Blood Sword and Aries 5000 Gil.

It’s only after doing these things that I head to the card hall, I speak to the card seller in order to register, they tell me I have to win two games before I can face the champion. After a bit of prodding, he tells Zidane that the champion is a “cutie in a sailors uniform”. I don’t really remember much of this part of the game from my previous playthrough nearly twenty years ago so I’m wondering if this is some kind of set up, particularly as up until now Zidane has seen himself as a bit of a ladies man. As soon as I enter the card hall my first game begins against Attic Man Waker, which I win 6-4 and get a Nymph card, which I already have in my collection but was the best of the options available to choose from.

A couple of ATE’s play out after the first round. In the first Vivi makes his way home through the Ice Cavern, he hasn’t been home in a long time. In the second Freya bumps into Amarant outside the auction house, the two discuss Kuja. There have been rumours that he has been seen here (which we already know to be true). Amarant reveals he’s met Zidane once before, though he doesn’t think Zidane remembers.

Amarant was once a security guard at the mansion that sits alongside the auction house, he spent most days looking for someone to have a fight with, didn’t care who, he just wanted a fight. Anyway, one day, Zidane had gotten into the mansion and stolen something and during his escape had run into Amarant. The other guards hadn’t seen what the thief looked like and Zidane managed to frame Amarant for the deed before getting away.

Back at the card hall, Zidane’s second opponent is ready and is called Cardona Bishop. Again, I win first time, 7-3, and claim his Carrion Worm card, which is a new addition to my deck.

More ATE allow us to spend time with Quina, who’s wandering around Treno in search of food, as ever. They’re most put off that they need Gil in order to eat. S/he looks at the water beneath the bridge they’re standing on and wonders if there are any fish down below then just jumps in.

Next, we see Eiko visit Doctor Tot in his observation town. She begins to tell him about Mandan Sari, she tells him that the rest of the people there are all gone and that she’s been living with the Moogles since. She asks why everyone wants to know about her horn and the eidolons. He tells her that he’s a researcher and he’s just curious. She remembers that he was once Daggers teacher and asks him to teach her to be a “graceful princess”. She reveals to him that she exchanged crystals with Dagger, though she calls them her “mark of the princess”.

Doctor Tot tells her about the Crystalling, he says that he was once one crystal but was divided, one piece remained in Alexandria, whilst the rest we sent to Cleyra, Lindblum and Madain Sari with the summoner tribe. He soon becomes lost in thought, wondering what happened 500 years ago that warranted the crystal being broken up, when he comes around Eiko rushes off, she thinks Mog is in trouble.

Time for the final round in the card tournament. As Zidane enters the hall, Regent Cid approaches the card seller to register, he’s accompanying the champion, or so that’s what the organisers are to believe (they think he’s the champions pet as he’s still an oglop).

I pull out my best cards, which in honesty aren’t all that great, the coin tolls state I go first. I hate going first and always feel more confident when on the offence. We draw the match so must go again.

Second time around, the champion goes first, but I win this one 7-3 like I did in the second round, the champion had used all Oglop cards, so that’s another new card type for my deck. Zidane’s also rewarded with a Rebirth Ring.

After the game, the champion introduces herself as Erin, she’s actually an airship pilot from Lindblum. It seems that she and Cid were in Treno for more than just the card tournament, they’d also been testing their new airship, the Hilda Garde 2, which doesn’t require Mist to fly. Cid says its a little slow, but they made it to Treno, he felt he must test it as he had a feeling that trouble was just around the corner.

Eiko soon interrupts the conversation though, she’s clearly in distressed, a Moogle from Treno has told her that something bad is happening in Alexandria.

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