Last week we left the story in Lindblum, Zidane and Princess Garnet/Dagger had had a heart to heart of sorts whilst we also saw other characters in and around Lindblum itself. We pick up the plot during preperations for the Festival of the Hunt.
Current Play Time: 14:57
Current Location: Gizamalukes Grotto
Whilst still on the rooftop of Lindblum Castle Zidane asks Garnet about an airship date he’d apparently planned, however it seems that she wasn’t the girl he’d actually invited on this date and Garnet appears to be upset by this. Zidane tries to style it out and declares that if he wins the Festival of the Hunt then he’ll take her out on a date.
The following day is the morning of the Festival of the Hunt. It seems the goal is to fight as many of the beasts that have been let loose in Lindblum as possible within the alloted time,
“The bigger the catch the higher the score!”
“Festival of the Hunt.
The time limit is 12 minutes.
Use air cabs to go to other districts.
Once you lose in a battle you will be forced to retire.
The winner will be crowned Master Hunter and receive the hunter’s reward.
Who will come out on top!?
Participants get to choose their reward, Zidane opts (unsurprisingly) for Gil, Freya says she’d like an “add-on” (an accessory) and Vivi, who wasn’t even aware he was entering but Zidane had put his name forward, chooses to receive a card in the event that he wins. Zidane also promises him a date with Garnet if he wins, although Garnet isn’t aware of this as its kept hush-hush between the pair. Each has a different starting point, as Zidane I start in the Theatre District. As it all kicks off, Garnet and Steiner cheer Vivi on.
I optimize Zidanes gear so battles are over quicker, although they’re still agonisingly slow when you’re sat there watching the clock tick, you lose time to the game loading between screens and the ATB gauge always takes ages to fill up and there’s very little you can do about it. After clearing the Theatre District, I head to the Business District. I see Vivi being chased across the square and then on the next screen Zidane and Freya team up to take down a Zaghnol thats a little more than the organisers expected, however the timer runs out before we can finish it off. Ultimately Freya wins the Hunt and is awarded with a Coral Ring.
During the ceremony a Burmecian soldier staggers into the Throne Room, interupting proceedings, he’s severely injured. He has grave news from the King of Burmecia, their Kingdom has been attacked and the Burmecian soldiers are no match for whomever it is conducting the attack, the King requests reinforcements. Though from what the soldier says the enemy forces are comprised of Black Mages. Cid wants to recall one of his aerial divisions but is reminded that would mean they can no longer monitor Alexander. Garnet wonders if her Mother is somehow involved in the attack on Burmecia.
Freya decided she needs to head home to Burmecia immediately and Zidane opts to go too, though Freya initially refuses his help Zidane manages to persuade her otherwise. Vivi and Garnet want to go to, Vivi wants to find out more about the Black Mages whilst Garnet thinks she can talk to and stop her Mother if she is involved. However, Steiner tells her she can’t go and much to her surprise Cid agrees, she turns to Zidane for support but he too believes its too dangerous for her to go and so she is resigned to staying behind in Lindblum where she can be better protected. Cid invites the group to finish the celebration of Freya winning the Festival, despite all of this news, and as it will take some time for Dragons Gate to open, allowing them a route to Burmecia, the rest of the group agree’s to join him in the traditional feast.
During the feast Steiner notices Garnet isn’t eating, so she begins to pick at her food. Shortly afterwards everybody, aside from Garnet and Steiner, collapses. Steiner starts shouting in a panic, believing everybody has been poisoned and falls to the floor clutching his throat. Garnet looks at him, surprised, and tells him she didn’t put anything in his food, then tells him she put Sleep Weed, that she got off Zidane, in everybody elses food. She tells Steiner that she needs to escape Lindblum and head back to Alexandria to talk to her Mother. He tries to explain to her that its safer for her there in Lindblum, despite his earlier attempts to return her to Alexandria, but soon submits and obeys his Princess’ demands.
When the rest awake, they soon cotton on to whats happened, though it seems they believe Garnet is heading for Burmecia and decide they can hold on no longer and depart as soon as possible. Freya suggests heading to Gizamalukes Grotto in order to go under the mountains and get to Burmecia.
Before heading to the Dragon’s Gate, I return Zidanes equipment back to its pre-Festival state so he can continue to learn the abilities that were tied to that gear. I also take the cable trolley in the opposite direction and head to Serpent Gate first, which leads to Lindblums Harbour, which is barely used now because of the Mist and the airships.
At Dragon’s Gate Moonte has a letter from Stiltzkin:
From Stitlzkin to Moonte
I left Lindblum and headed north,
I walked through the Mist and Gizamalukes Grotto to reach Burmecia for the very first time.
It’s raining, as expected.
I’m going to look for shelter now…
On the World Map I find my way to Gizamaluke’s Grotto by following roots growing out of the ground. However, before entering I decide to explore my surroundings a little more. i move Freya into the front row for battles, her Jump move is good, but its not really needed in most random battles and I’m better served having her at the front of the party alongside Zidane where she can do more damage. If I need to play more defensively I can always move her back at any point. There’s Chocobo tracks, but I cant use them just yet.
Whilst wandering around the World Map, I happen upon Qu’s Marsh where I bump into Mogster and his brother from the games tutorials, he doesn’t have anything new to teach me/his brother yet. There’s also a strange, large blue creature with a large tongue, chefs hat and a red/pink cardigan. It tell’s Zidane that it’s hungry, so when Zidane catches a frog it asks Zidane if he can eat it. It then introduces itself as Quina. Another of these creatures appears and lambastes Quina for not being able to catch food for itself, and then sends Quina off into the World with Zidane in order for it to experience different food (and frogs, which are apparently this species’ favourite) from the rest of the World.
As we leave Quales hut something appears to be bothering Vivi, he tells Zidane that Quale looked alot like his Grandpa and wonders if he knows him. We go back into the hut to question Quale, who tries to make out like he didn’t know Quan (Vivi’s Grandpa) but gives us just enough information that its clear that he does. He calls Quan a bigot and spills that they are from the same clan. Quale also refers to Quina as “S/he” but also as “him”. What a confusing bunch this lot are.
Back at the pond where we met Quina I play a mini-game that involves catching frogs, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the game is, its one of those games where you have to wait for the right moment to strike to catch your prey and in all honesty I’m not very good at it.
Back out on the World Map, I enter random battles and I should mention at this point that Quina is a Blue Mage (Freya is a Dragoon/Dragon Knight), and in order for Quina to learn new abilities, Quina has to eat enemies, which means I have to weaken them sufficiently first, which is easier said than done. Even so Quina manages to learn three new abilities:
- Pumpkin Head
- Aqua Breath
- Mighty Guard
I suddenly remember that when Zidane and Garnet were talking on the roof of Lindblum Castle the pair took some time to look through a large telescope and that I spotted various locations through it. So, again, before I head to Gizamaluke’s Grotto I check the map to see what I can access now and see Chocobo Forest on there. Once there I meet Mene the “Master of this forest” and he introduces me to his friend Choco the Chocobo. He tries to convince Choco to let me ride him but Choco runs away, Mene then gives me some Gysahl Greens, a Chocobo’s favourite food, that will allow me to summon Choco on the World Map, thus allowing me to travel faster and avoid random battles, he tells me that when I return he’ll tell me a secret. So I leave the forest, head to the nearest set of tracks, summon Choco and go straight back in.
The secret is another mini-game, Chocobo Hot and Cold, where I get Choco to run around the forest pecking the ground in the hope of finding hidden treasures, again, I’m not particularly good at this sort of mini game, mostly as I lack the patience for it.
Outside Gizamaluke’s Grotto two guards lay dead at the entrance. Freya demands to know who the Black Mage’s are, seemingly directing her question at Vivi, but runs ahead as she becomes ever more worried that the King is in danger. Inside there’s a door with a bell design carved into it, pushing the door wont open it, so there must be another way. We find another injured Burmecian soldier who, just before he dies, gives Zidane a bell and tells the group to go to Burmecia. We ring the bell outside the door we couldn’t open previously and the door begins to chime too, then once the bell in Zidane’s hand shatters, it opens and allows us through, I’ll be needing a bell for each door I find in the Grotto.
Through the door Black Mage’s are killing Burmecian soldiers. Zorn & Thorn notice Zidane and the rest and are unsure if they recognise the group or not. They send a pair of Black Mages to kill them anyway, but I deal with them easily, which leads to Zorn & Thorn running away.
In one room within the Grotto, there is a Moogle frantically running around a large bell, it appears it has fallen and trapped her husband inside. Her name is Mogmi and she’s desperate for some help, its then that she notices something about Vivi, and after giving him a good sniff she realises he’s carrying a Kupo Nut. Vivi hands over the nut and she approaches the bell with it, which excites her husband enough that he finds the strength to tip the bell over, thus freeing himself. The couple are called Mogmi (the female Moogle) and Moguta (her husband). Mogmi also happens to have a letter from Moodon
From Moodon to Mogmi
This years Festival of the Hunt was sooo exciting! Kupo!
The highest score was 132 points!
A woman named Freya won the title!
Last years winner, Belma, only got 88 points!
Oh, it was so much fun!!!
In a room that is filled with water another soldier warns Freya to be careful, something is wrong with “Master Gizamaluke” and at that moment the party is attacked by a large serpent, the aforementioned Gizamaluke. This is the first challenging battle I’ve experienced in the game thus far, the Black Waltz No. 3 fight threw a bit of a curve ball, but in this I had to revive party members using Phoenix Downs quite regularly, even so, the beast is felled. Freya declares that they must hurry due to the king being in danger and, before I can explore the Grotto any further, the scene changes and we are now with Steiner who is carrying a large bag over his shoulder.