#ThrowbackThursday Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 47

Zidane walks towards the white light which resembles the moon being reflected in a pool of water.

Garland: “You have entered a new realm. There are no more worlds. There is no more space…
Follow your memory, your original memory, and march forth…”

Zidane: “Garland, what exactly is our memory!?”

G: “…”

Z: “Why can I remember other other peoples experiences and events that happened before my time?”

G: “…”

Z: “Garland, please! Tell me!”

G: “… Do not limit memory to just one individuals experiences from birth…
That is only the surface. Every life born into this world, whether natural or artificially, requires a parent. And that parent also requires a parent. Life is connected, one to another…
If you trace the root of all life, there exists one source. The same can be said for memory.
All life is constitutes an intelligence that holds memory beyond experience.
Memory is not isolated within individuals.
It is an accumulation of generations of memories that continues to evolve.
You can say that memory and evolution go hand in hand.
But most life-forms do not understand the true nature of memories…
…which explains why most memories never cross paths.”

Z: “…So, what am I gonna find by tracing back our roots?

G: “…A presence that presides over all life and memories. The crystal…”

Z: “Crystal…”

G: “You are on your own now.”

The background music stops

G: “Zidane…take care of Kuja.
…and protect the crystal.
Farewell…”

Z: “Garland, wait!
Garland!!!”

G: “Even if I were created to serve one purpose alone, I do not regret being born to this world.”

The screen goes white and Zidane is back on a crystalised pathway.

Z: Is this the crystal Garland was talking about…” It’s time for us to find out the truth.

A melody featuring the Final Fantasy theme tune plays. As he follows the path the party are thrown into battles against weaker, crystalised versions of the Chaos Guardians. Eventually we come across Kuja.

Kuja: “Nice of you to come. I’m surprised you beat the 4 Chaoses that I created from the crystals memory. But… you’re too late. Take a good look. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s the original crystal…
This is where it all began… The birthplace of all things… Once I destroy it, everything will be gone. Gaia Terra, the universe, everything… Your lives ane memories too, of course. HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!”

Z: “Shut Up!!!
The only thing that’s gone be gone is you!!”

(lol, nice comeback Zidane…)

Z: “I’ll take you out right now!”

K: “Hmph, you honestly think you can beat me?

Even if you do, Gaia’s already doomed. It’s assimilation by Terra has begun, and the Iifa Tree will initiate a cataclysmic destruction of Gaia. It’s all over for you and your friends. See, I win, either way.”

Z: “It doesn’t matter! Even if Gaia is assimilated, the planet will remain and we’ll start over to make a new home.

Kuja, you’re nothing but a coward! If you’re gonna die, leave us out of it!”

K: “Why should the world exist without me? That wouldn’t be fair. If I die, we all die! Zidane, you will be my first sacrifice”.

He call’s upon Deathguise, which opens the fight by hitting on the whole party forcing my strategy to use both Garnet and Quina as healers. Both Garnet and Freya enter Trance due to Meteor’s impact which results in the fight being over pretty quickly.

Kuja is in disbelief that we defeated Deathguise (far too easily I might add), he says his time is up and now its our turn to die.

this time we fight Kuja, who starts the fight in Trance and opens by hitting Dagger with Flare. She falls early on so I have to go into recovery for a little while, but this leads to Zidane also entering Trance. We now have both Genome’s in Trance mode and going at it, with Zidane doing 9999 damage with his Solution 9 Dyne attack.

K: “ugh, I’m gonna die anyway. I won’t be afraid anymore, I’m not gonna die alone. You’re all coming with me.”

He sets off a massive firework display as his final attack, leaving the entire gang, even those not in my immediate party, on 1HP.

Z: “What happened to the crystal…? Where is this?”

He appears to be on a small rock, clouds circling them with moans and groans floating on the air. An unknown voice speaks to him

“You stand before the final dimension and I am the darkness of eternity.”

Z: “Wh-who are you??”

“All life bears death from birth.”
Life fears death, but lives only to die.
It starts with anxiety.
Anxiety becomes fear.
Fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate… hate leads to suffering…
The only cure for this fear is total destruction.
Kuja was a victim of his own fear. He concluded he could only save himself by destroying the origin of all things – the crystal.”

Z: “What the heck are you talking about? Why are you telling me all this?”

“…Now, the theory is undeniable.
Kuja’s action proves it. All things live to perish.
At last, life has uncovered this truth. Now, it is time to end this world.”

Z: “Wh-what do you mean by that!?”

“I exist for one purpose…
To return everything back to the zero world, where there is no life and no crystal to give life.
In a world of nothing, fear does not exist. This is the world that all life desires.”

Z: “Who the hell do you think you are!?
You’re not ending anything!
Never, not as long as we have the will to live!”

“Foolish creature.
Your fear has already deluded you. One day, you will choose destruction over existence, as Kuja did.
When he sought to destroy the crystal, the purpose of life ended.
Now, come…
Enter the zero world that you desire.”

Z: “No!
We’ll destroy you and prove you wrong!
And through our memories, future generations will see that we can overcome fear!
…we can’t give up now.
…we have to fight together.
Even if we lose, it doesn’t matter…
Our memories will live on inside others.
So, even if we are born to die, I’m not afraid. I’m gonna live!”

I’m asked to form a party, everyone is still at 1HP still after the fight with Kuja so I’m expecting to start on the backfoot, I’m given an opportunity to organise my equipment and abilities. Sticking with the same party thats got me here, Zidane, Garnet, Quina and Freya, I make sure they have Auto-Life, Auto-Potion, Auto-Regen and Auto-Haste equipped. Those I don’t choose all give Zidane their blessings.

Vivi: “I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything. Good luck”

Amarant: “…Don’t screw up.”

Steiner: “Though I am unworthy, accept my powers.”

Eiko: “Promise me you’ll win?”

As each spoke, blue orbs float out of their bodies and enter the characters I’ve chosen, this seems to replenish their health and MP, giving me much more confidence.

 

Z: We’ve come too far to lose now. Let’s just finish this up and go home… all of us.”

A huge winged creature, who’s “face” resembles that of Soulcage from the Iifa Tree, drags us into battle.

It’s really strong, one of its attacks, a focused laser beam, takes the targeted party member down to 1HP and its only due to Auto-Potion and Auto-Regen that I don’t spend the entire fight using Phoenix Downs. Once again I have Quina acting as support, casting Shell and Protect on the party and helping Dagger with healing duties. Freya’s Jump ability also means she takes very little damage as she’s quite often above and out of the battle until she uses Spear. It’s Grand Cross attack, which is almost Summon like in its animation sequence, almost has me struggling to keep going, but I’d also previously equipped High-Tide which allows the Trance bar to fill up quicker and resulting in all party members having a period of Trance by the end of the battle, Zidane’s Solution 9 comes in handy again.

One thing I notice whilst playing is that theres some odd time signatures within the music, I don’t know anything about music theory and it may be the version of the game I’m playing, but there’s moments where the music takes a beat or two longer to play a certain part than my mind was expecting.

Necron: “Why defy your fate?
Is the will to live this powerful?”

As Necron begins to explode, the entire “world” does too”

N: “This is not the end, I am eternal.
…as long as there is life and death…”

Light beams appear around the party, the screen fades out and they find themselves back on Gaia, stood before the Iifa Tree, it’s roots moving around like tentacles.

Z: “Are you alright?”

Dagger: “Yeah…
But look at what’s happening.”

Z: “So, what Kuja said was true… The Iifa Tree is beginning its violent retaliation.”

D: “What’s gonna happen?”

Z: “I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good…”

Beatrix watches on from the deck of the Red Rose, “…I doubt anyone could’ve survived that explosion…”.

The Knights of Pluto stood by her side cry for their lost Captain, but Makoto informs them all that Zidane and the others are all still alive. Beatrix instructs one of Steiners men to inform the Hilda Garde 3 of their survival and request they rescue them as Cid’s ship is much closer. After receiving the message, Cid instructs his crew to land.

“…farewell, Zidane…”

Zidane tells Dagger to go on ahead, he’ll catch up later. He tells her he has to take care of something, that “He” is still alive and instructs Steiner to take care of Dagger. He’s going back for Kuja.

Z: “I can’t just leave him”

S: This is ludicrous, just because you two are from the same planet doesn’t mean-”

Z: “No, that’s not the reason.
I might’ve done the same thing if I were in his shoes.
I probably would’ve fought against you guys and wreaked havoc in Gaia like he did…
I know it sounds crazy…
But I know, deep down inside, I have to do this.
I can’t just leave him. There’s no way I could live with myself. I’m going.

I have to face up to it, just like Vivi did when he confronted his fears to find out about himself.
That was a big decision for Vivi.

Vivi: “I don’t know about that…
I don’t think it was really a big deal.”

Z: “That’s what you think, but I might not be doing this if it weren’t for you. You’ve definitely taught me to take life more seriously.”

Freya acknowledges that he won’t change his mind, she says she’s going too. Steiner says he will join them “assisting a comrade in times of need” is a “principle of Knighthood”.

Zidane tries to stop them following him, its his moment and they shouldn’t butt in, he says. Amarant seems to agree with the others, but then admits that they wont change Zidane’s fight and tells him that he’ll meet see him another time Cid tries to hurry them all onto the ship and with Amarant’s comments in mind the others all give in, leaving Zidane with Steiner and Dagger, who’s reluctant to leave. Zidane turns to her and takes a knee.

Z: “This abduction is over. I can ‘t take you any further. I’m sorry for being so selfish.”

D: “No, you’re not being selfish. You’ve done so much for us. If it weren’t for you, I probably would’ve led a meaningless life. With you I was able to see so much of the world and meet so many people. We faced many hardships too… but, I think I finally know what’s important.
I’m so fortunate to have met you. I’ll never forget our time together.
Thank you, Zidane.

Promise me one thing… Please come back.”

The screen goes black and Zidane watches Garnet depart aboard the Hilda Garde 3.

Z: “Kuja can you hear me. I’m coming to get you.”

K: “You still have time.,.
Forget about me and go.”

Z: “Just shut up and stay where you are!”

K: “I don’t understand you.”

Zidane sprints towards the Iifa Tree roots and vines trying to attack him though he then rides a “tentacle” of ivy before descending into the heart of the tree to find Kuja.

Z: “Hey! Are you alright?”
K: “Zidane.
What are you doing here?
I thought I told you to go…”

Z: “Wouldn’t you do the same for me if you knew I was dying?”

K: “…”

Z: “..Never mind.”

K: “Your comrades were able to escape?”

Z: “Yeah, I knew you had something to do with it.”

K: “…I’m glad they made it.”

Z: “Yeah, well, its our turn to get moving.”

K “…
…I don’t deserve to live after all that I’ve done.
I’m useless to this world.”

Z: “No ones useless.
You helped us escape, remember?”

K: “…
After you guys beat me, I had nothing left…
nothing more to lose.
Then, I finally realised what it means to live…
I guess I was too late”.

Kuja’s head falls to one side.

Z: “!!!
Hey! Don’t you go dying on me, alright?”

There’s a loud bang and dozens of roots rush towards the pair. The screen goes blank.

“Kuja…
What you did was wrong.
But you gave us all one thing.
Hope.
We were all created for the wrong reason but you alone defied our fate.
We do not want to forget this. We want your memory to live in forever…
… To remind us that we were not created for the wrong reason. That our life has meaning.”

 

_____________________________________________________

Some time later…

Vivi walks through Alexandria, which appears to have been rebuilt. Puck suddenly runs into the back of him.

Puck: “Pick up the pace will ya!
I don’t believe it! Vivi!”

Vivi: “Vivi?
How do you know that name?”

P: “What are you talking about? It’s me, Puck! How could you forget me!?”

V: “Puck?”

P: “You know, Puck. The Prince of Burmecia??
Oh, come one! What’s wrong with you?
If you’re not Vivi, then who are you?”

V: “I’m Vivi’s son”

More “young” Black Mages walk up behind Puck

P: “Yeow, look at all the Vivi’s!”

_________________________________________________

“I always talked about you, Zidane.
How you were a very special person to us, because you taught us all how important life is.”

_________________________________________________

Freya and Fratley are walking through Burmecia

Fratley: “Freya, you’re leaving soon, are you not?”

Freya: “Yes, I can hardly wait to see everyone.

Fratley: “Alexandria, I went there many years ago.
How long will it take to rebuild Burmecia?”

Freya: “I don’t care, as long as I am with you.”

Fratley: “…I love you Freya”

Freya: “(Yet he still doesn’t remember our past).
I just want to cherish our time right now.”

________________________________________________________

“You taught me that life doesn’t last forever.
That’s why we have to help each other and live life to the fullest.”

_______________________________________________________

Beatrix walks into a room in Alexandria Castle

Beatrix: “It’s time to say goodbye to this room again.
‘Save The Queen’, you have served me well.
My duty is finished here.
Farewell, Alexandria…”

____________________________________________________

“Even if you say goodbye, you’ll always be in our hearts.

So, I know we’re not alone anymore.”

____________________________________________________

:”…Hey.
Why are you going to Alexandria?”

Amarant: “You’re not going?”

Lani: “I-I never said that. Hey, wait!”

_____________________________________________________

“Why I was born…
How I wanted to live…
Thanks for giving me the time to think,”

___________________________________________________

We find Quina in the kitchen at Alexandria Castle

Quina: “Good food not only delicious!
Good food made with heart.
This very important when cooking for friends!”

___________________________________________________

“To keep doing what you set your heart one…
It’s a very hard thing to do…
We were all so courageous…

___________________________________________________

Eiko: “Hurry! Hurry!
We gotta get there before the play begins!”

Cid: “Ha Ha… There’s no need to hurry. The theatre ship is no match for my new ship.”

Eiko then calls refers to Cid and Hilda as her Mother and Father.

________________________________________________

“What to do when I felt lonely…
That was the only thing you couldn’t teach me.
But we need to figure out the answer for ourselves.”

__________________________________________________

“…Beatrix!:
Steiner: “What are you doing?”

B: “Please don’t ask. My mind is already set.”

S: “Wait, listen to me
I, uh… I-I never wish to lose you again.”

B: “Steiner…”

S: “Let us protect the queen together!”

_____________________________________________

“I’m so happy I met everyone…
I wish we could’ve gone on more adventures.
But I guess we all have to say goodbye some day.”

_____________________________________________

On board the Theatre Ship

Baku: “Alright you scumbags! We’re almost there!”

Blank: “Been a long time since we last saw Alexandria. Lets give ’em a show they wont forget!”

Ruby: “Yeehaw!”

_________________________________________________

“Everyone…
Thank you…
Farewell…
My memories will be part of the sky…”

_________________________________________________

Garnet watches the arrival of the theatre ship.

D: “It’s been so long.
I can’t wait to see everyone.

But…

It’ll never be the same.

I have to let go of the past.
I have to move on, just like he taught me”

We cut to Baku introducing another performance of ‘I Want To Be Your Canary’ as performed by Tantalus. The character of Marcus is played by a robed figure this time, and unlike at the start of the game, we get to see the majority of the play performed. but before it reaches its conclusion the robed figure removes their disguise and reveals themselves as Zidane!

Z: “Bring my beloved Dagger to me!”

Without pause Dagger runs from her balcony, with the approvement of Beatrix and Steiner, through the crowds into Zidane’s arms. The people are all jumping and chairing, including Freya, Quina, Eiko and Cid. Even Amarant seems to be pleased, though Vivi’s is notably missing his “children” are there.

D: “How did you survive?”

Z: “I didn’t have a choice.
I had to live.
I had to come home to you.
So.
I sung your song.
Our song.”

And with that, the credits roll which brings to this playthrough of Final Fantasy IX to its conclusion. I’d like to thank you all for joining me for this and reading through my playthrough, it’s been a hell of an experience even though I’ve played through it before. I think, I’m going to collect my thoughts and maybe make a post for next Thursday about my feelings on the game now it’s finished and then put the #ThrowbackThursday Playthrough on hold for a couple of weeks whilst I make my mind up on what the next entry will be.

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