#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 26

After heading east I find several quicksand pits, so I begin to examine them and am thrown into a battle with a seriously difficult Antlion that not only packs a serious punch but also blinds my entire part. I weather the storm, having to revive Vivi and Eiko in the process. Ultimately I use Eiko’s Fenrir summon to finish the fight, I’ll admit then after that I cheated a little by checking a sandpit then restarting the game if a battle began. The very last pit I check is the one I needed to find (of course). The screen fades to black and white text appears

“Huhahaha…I knew you’d come. Everything is going according to plan…”

Cid and Zidane find themselves in a circular room, Zidane seems to have been knocked out. Neither of them have a clue where they are or where the others are. A voice then speaks to them

“So you are finally awake”

Zidane knows its Kuja

“I’m happy to see you again”

Zidane: You rat bastard! Where are my friends?”

Kuja: “My, my… Aren’y we feisty today?
No need to worry about them.
They’re in rooms not unlike yours
Oh, yes… By the way;
I should probably enlighten you as to your current situation”

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The floor opens up revealing some red mist or lava beneath it.

Kuja: “I’m sure that even your feeble mind can grasp what would happen if you were to take that plunge.
Ahahahahahahahahaha!”

Zidane: “Kuja! You’re dead!!!”

Kuja: “Oh, dear. Was it something I said?
Either way, now that you’re aware of your predicament I’d like you to do a tiny little favor for me.
I’ll let your friends live if you say yes”

Which obviously leaves Zidane with no choice but to accept whatever plans Kuja has.

Kuja: “Very good. You’ve chosen wiseley. First, step outside”

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Outside is a balcony with lots of identical doors. Zidane asks Cid to look after the others. Kuja then instructs Zidane to stand between the two Black Mages that are waiting for him, once he has done has instructed he is teleported to a poorly lit room where he finds Kuja stood by a fireplace. Kuja tells Zidane he’s sending him to a place called Oeilvert, which he tells him is sought of Seaways Canyon on the Forgotten Continent, which means as much to Zidane as it does to you or I. Kuja claims he can’t go there due to an anti-magic barrier that surrounds Oeilvert, that’s why he’s sending Zidane, he believes he”s “too stupid to use magic”.

Once there, Zidane is to retrieve the Galug Stone, he says that Zidane can choose three companions for the trip. Emotionally I want to choose Dagger, Vivi and Freya, but the anti-magic barrier would render Vivi useless. Ultimately I choose to take Dagger (who can’t cast regardless of if she goes or not and I imagine Eiko will be needed at Kuja’s palace as these things are never straight forward), Freya (for Reis’ Wind) and Steiner, leaving Vivi, Quina, Eiko and Amarant behind.

All three of my chosen party are summoned to Kuja’s quarters and all four are sent to board Hilda Garde I, and are no doubt heading into some kind of trap.

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