After getting Quina to level 36 and equipping Auto-Float to, I head back to the Earth Shrine. I’m hoping that s/he has a fighting chance now. The Earth Guardians “Earthquake” attack now misses every time, taking some of the pressure off of Quina’s White Wind Blue Magic (which heals the whole party, but not by a huge amount), as does having Auto-Regen and Auto-Potion equipped. The bass has a fair amount of HP, it takes a good few hits for it to go down, but it eventually falls without causing me any real grief.
With each of the guardians defeated, everyone leaves the shrine they were assigned to. Whilst waiting for the airship to collect them, Eiko and Dagger have a conversation, Eiko wants to know if Dagger really loves Zidane. Dagger delays her answer long enough for Zidane and Quina to arrive. Onboard the Hilda Garde III Amarant asks Zidane what his motivation is. I get to choose Zidane’s answer, though I get the feeling whatever I choose Amarant will scoff at it. The choices are:
- “I do everything for Dagger”
- “To find out what Kuja is after”
- “I don’t know”
I can’t really settle on a decision so just opt for the last one, Zidane says this he does all of this because he doesn’t know what motivates him:
“To understand something is interesting, but what’s already understood is boring. I’m sure we’ll understand something when we get to Shimmering Island and to Terra.”
Amarant thinks he’s beginning to understand why Zidane won their fight.
Once I have control again, it’s time to make sure I’m fully stocked on the best equipment. At this stage, I’ll admit to checking a walkthrough, it feels like I’m at a stage of not being able to go back once I reach the Shimmering Island, so I spend the rest of the week visiting optional locations, doing as much Moogle Mail as I can and trying to get the old man in Dali his coffee!
One of the optional locations is Daguerreo, I meet a refugee from Cleyra there who has decided to basically live in the library and improve their knowledge of the world and engineering. I buy a whole bunch of equipment and synthesise a few other bits, though I run out of money and other equipment I need to clear absolutely everything, so I need to gather some of those bits, teach the gang all the new abilities and tackle the sidequests I’ve already mentioned. I also find the Capricorn Stelazzio here, so that’s another thing closer to completion.
I realise I’ve made very little progress on the story in recent weeks, but this is what Final Fantasy is all about, certainly this era in the franchise, and when you’re at this stage there’s usually a lot of prep work needed to be put in as so far I’ve mostly been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride with very little freedom offered. For a series that used to be famed for its World Map, there’s a hell of a lot of smoke and mirror work going on.