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  -Part 1 :: [06.09.04]
  -Part 2 :: [07.04.04]
  -Part 3 :: [11.01.04]
  -Part 4 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 5 :: [12.26.04]
  -Part 6 :: [04.24.05]
  -Part 7 :: [06.13.05]
  -Part 8 :: [07.17.05]
  -Part 9 :: [02.17.13]

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"Before this completely nonsensical dialogue can progress much further, my heroes the Esthar soldiers show up. And they aren't there to engage in small talk. Or buttsex, for that matter. I have to clarify that in this game."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy VIII Part 6

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Final Fantasy X-2 : Part 3
By Kelly
Posted 11.01.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
The girls grab another hummer ride to the North Exit from the Travel Agency, since my hands are tired, my patience is strained, and I'm desperately in need of another drink. Bypassing the Prophet and Whatshername and their stacks of PETA-approved chocobo rights tracts, Yuna heads down the Mi'ihen Oldroad to see if there's anyone she missed in this round of canvassing. As it turns out, there's a defrocked Yevon priest, sentry-bots, two whacked-out stoners, and random battles aplenty! Why, this is certainly worth me spending another fifteen minutes of my life down here, it's not like I have anywhere important to go or an urgent mission to complete. To my chagrin, however, monsters down here are a wee bit tougher than those on the Highroad, and if not for stoic, unflappable Paine with her Skull Sword of Angst, our little party might've had their asses handed to them by a Dualcorn a time or two. As it is, Paine gets to stand around smirking as the other two creampuffs wheeze their way out of battle with that not-so-fresh feeling.


Finally, after many, many repetitions of "here comes the buttplug" and that idiotic "Duck Soup!" after-battle cry, Yuna and the girls make it to Mushroom Rock Road. And looking back, I can't believe that over an hour of my life was taken up by something that can be recapped in about four Word-sized pages of Tahoma ten point, including paragraph breaks and filler. My parents would be so proud that all those English Lit. classes I took didn't go to waste.

Just past the handy save point, our girls see Laurel and Hardy traipsing down the road. Rikku whines and Paine opines that maybe there's a sphere in this area while the Hint Hammer catches me a good knock right below my left ear. No, I had no use for those brain cells, and apparently neither did you, game designers. Yuna, a crafty mistress of subtlety, tells the other two that maybe this time they should follow Laurel and Hardy instead of, you know, the other way around. Yuna, your plan is so cunning we could put a tail on its ass and call it a weasel. Speaking of weasels, Laurel and Hardy are making tracks down the road, so let's get a wiggle on, ladies.

Yuna and the girls don't get very far before they're confronted by a member of the Youth League, a git named Yaibal. Now, some of you may remember that Yaibal made his first appearance in the "Another Story" FFX International ending video that set the wheels in motion for the side-quest crack-fest we're now puzzling our way through. It also prompted some forum fanboys to flood the old boards with updates on this game a full year before it ever hit Stateside, no doubt to inflame other forum fanboys with their gamer hard-ons for games no one can play for months. I'd offer those of you who remembered Yaibal a cookie, but the sad fact of the matter is that I just don't care, and he's not really all that important to the game right now. At the moment, he's in my way, and he's a babbling annoyance, much like my co-workers.

When prompted, Yuna pretends she remembers Yaibal since I don't feel like listening to him pout about not being remembered. Unfortunately, pandering to this twit's ego doesn't make him shut up any faster. The Youth League are in on this sphere hunting racket, too, you see, and Yaibal just can't keep it to himself. He marches around his little pack of fellow Youth Leaguers like a tinpot general from a country whose name sounds like you're trying to gargle gravel with a throat infection. He finally reaches long-suffering whiner Clasko and demands that Clasko do his duty - by reciting the Youth League Creed. And I'm aware that there very well may be some smutty, whine-and-lust-filled Yaibal/Clasko slash-fics out there because of this scene, but I like my eyes better when they're not bleeding. It's so much easier to stab myself to death with a rusty spoon that way.

Goodness knows the game wouldn't be complete without a wanker package shot.

Clasko recites the Youth League Creed with about as much enthusiasm as I have when going to a three-hour departmental re-organization meeting on a Friday afternoon. And to the person who read that last sentence and said, "I'll bet she's got a case of the Mondays!!" to themselves, know this. I heard you, and I will find you. No one can escape the wrath of Auntie AG and her Red Stapler of Doom, no one.

And just what is the Youth League Creed, you ask? Well, it's simple. The Youth League are out to find out more about Spira's past by doing what everyone else in the damned world is doing these days, i.e. hunting down ancient spheres. I'm currently brought to mind a bleak vision of the future where tons of home videos and DVDs are piled into a massive, stinking waste dump and our descendants one thousand years hence sift endlessly through a mound of stupid pet tricks, daddy-got-hit-in-the-balls pratfalls, jiggly-cam wedding ceremonies, grade school plays, and boring amateur porn to find something of value about their long-ago culture. Think on that the next time YOU pop a disk into the Handycam for a little memory-making, Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class America.

Finally, after far too long, poor little Rikku's had all she can take. She tells the boys to cram it, like, now and let them get on with their low-speed chase of Lesbianc's devoted lackeys. And despite the evidence of a minute or two ago when we clearly saw Laurel and Hardy making their lackey way down the Mushroom Rock Road, Paine still wants to know if Lesbianc's men passed by this way on their travels. Perhaps the game designers are just humoring the drunk old broad sitting behind the controller and this is a helpful little reminder to me, to make sure I'm on the right track. Or, maybe the game designers have all the attention span of a gnat and they assume I do, too. I'll let you fine people be the judge.

Yaibal confirms that Laurel and Hardy did indeed pass this way, and as their Boy Scout good deed of the day, they've offered to clear Mushroom Rock Road of fiends so the Youth Leaguers can prepare for some SUPA SEKRET mission they've got going on, preparations that have left the fiend patrols shorthanded. You can just tell that Yaibal is almost creaming his dork-britches to tell the girls all about the mission just so he can impress the three of them with his knowledge. Whatever, Yaibal, they're still not going to sleep with you. There's just one little hitch. Those wily rogues of Lesbianc's didn't so much as bruise a fiend on their way to wherever it is they're heading, so the burden falls on Yuna and the girls to finish the job and battle the fearsome fiends all the way up the road until they get to the lifts. Oh, yay, it's mission time, with more level fighting and buttplugging ahoy!

For an extra wrinkle, the game designers thought it would be a hoot 'n' a holler to add some fog to the mix, and there are times when you're doing battle with the fiends in near-dark. Oh be still my trembling, DT-raddled heart, I cannot bear the excitement of this totally new enhancement in my RPG gaming fun.

Rikku? Shut up.

Luckily, battling fiends in the dark isn't all that hard if you know where you're going. The Mushroom Rock Road hasn't changed much since the last time Yuna was out this way, and your fearless recapper has played FFX so many times that she could play through this section of the map blindfolded, so this is no problem. Of course, hearing Rikku's lame puns for the Blizzard spells ad infinitum is another matter entirely. I hate you, writers. I hate you so very, very much.

Not too far away, Yuna spots Laurel and Hardy easin' on down the road. Damn, those guys must move slower than I do if they've only gotten this far in the time it took Yaibal to run his mouth, let alone the time wasted in the random battles I've managed to blunder the girls into. Our lads head off the main path and go down a series of heretofore unexplored steps down to the lower part of the road. Yuna and the others follow, a not-so-stealthy distance behind. However, since the whole point of this little game is to make sure I know where the hell I'm going, Laurel and Hardy don't pay a damned bit of attention to Yuna Drew and the Drewettes following hot on their heels.

There's a few high-priced goodies and a save point down this way, so whatever's down here is probably something important. Or, the game designers took pity on me and decided to give me some decent goodies in exchange for the last of my sobriety. Either way, just after the save point, we catch up at last to those two masters of subterfuge and their secretive dealings down here in the buttcrack of Mushroom Rock Road. I can feel the tension building, can't you?

The happy little henchman theme starts up as Hardy exclaims about a sphere being "no good" and tosses a yellowish sphere aside. Laurel commiserates, his sphere won't work, either. They're standing in front of a strange looking door set into the rock. It looks like a cross between a bank vault door and one of those old "sunburst" clocks like my Mom used to have. There are nine points set in a fan formation at the top portion of the door, with a sphere-shaped area at the top of each one. Yuna, looking on in confusion, wants to know what the hell these two are up to. Now, Yuna, think, sweetie, think. They have spheres, and there are sphere-shaped places set in the door there. So, logically, you would use the right spheres know what? Never mind. If I ever manage to collect all the spheres it takes to open this damned door, I'll just tell you a wizard did it and save us all some trouble.

Yuna's simple question causes Laurel and Hardy to throw a shit-fit of epic proportions. They simper and whine, and run on back to Lesbianc, clutching their no good spheres to their quivering henchmen chests, managing to drop one in their haste. Rikku swoops down upon it like a bargain hunter at a flea market half-price Beanie Baby table. Oh, sparkly! The game text informs me this is Crimson Sphere 9.

Pretty sparkly sphere in hand, Yuna approaches the Sun Vault door and touches it. It in turn lights up with bright blue-green light but does nothing else. Bored with the light show, Yuna makes her way back to the entrance of the Sun Vault chamber, only to find a shadowy figure waiting there. Oh, no, is it Old Man Smith, here to take out those meddling kids once and for all?

Of course it isn't. It's another recycled FFX character, this time Isaaru's brother, Maroda. He also asks if Yuna remembers him, further cementing my theory that Yuna's memory problems are known more widely than she thinks. Still she manages to lie convincingly and Maroda's little ego is saved. Maroda also joined the Youth League after the Calm, he tells Yuna, and she tells him she's a sphere hunter now. Turns out that Maroda and Isaaru's little brother Pacce is a sphere hunter too, and Maroda wants Yuna to be nice to him if she should see him. Yeah, Yuna totally makes it her business to fuck up a little kid's day, Maroda, then she goes to her livejournal community to brag about it. Crispy coated Jesus on a chocolate crutch, how stupid can you be, boy? Yuna tries asking about Isaaru, but Maroda pretends that he didn't hear her and walks towards the Sun Vault door. Uh, oh, did our boys have a brotherly spat? I'd call it a lover's quarrel, but the whole incest thing just squicks the living hell out of me.

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