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"Another Jedi snickers, 'A cyborg? How anachronistic.' Remember, everyone, this is the Future!, so things which may seem extraordinary to you and me (i.e., cyborgs) are archaic now. Don't forget that. It's kind of important."
     -Sam, Xenosaga Part 5

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Final Fantasy IX : Part 3
By Jeanne
Posted 10.20.02
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Recap within a recap -- Zidane and the others saved the princess, traveled through the Ice Cavern, and defeated Winged PUGGY!! No. 1. Well, Zidane did that last part. Adelbert was consistently annoying. PUGGY!! melted ice. Garnoa changed her name to Garnoa.

Their destination, a nearby village, is called "?", according to the little gray pop-up box. The buildings in ? are rather squat and round, and the crowning feature of the town is a windmill. PUGGY!! is noticeably excited by the windmill. Zidane crushes PUGGY!!'s dreams by making him go to the inn first. No, not like that -- they all have to rest. I just noticed that the windmill sounds like one of John's gyroids in Animal Crossing.

As Zidane and company disappear into the inn, some random kids run onscreen and say "Did you see that?" They could be referring to anyone in the party -- from Zidane's tail to Garnoa's wedgie-inducing outfit, they're all pretty strange. The Hey, I Didn't Feel Like Writing a Whole New Song, So I Ripped Off My Own Balamb Garden Music music starts playing in the background, and we find out that the true name of the village is "Dali". Well, why the heck couldn't they tell us that earlier? They certainly did with the Ice Cavern.

In the inn (heh), Zidane wakes up the innkeeper, a man named Innkeeper Hal. With that name, he had no chance to get any other job, did he? Zidane catches Innkeeper Hal staring, and assumes he's staring at Garnoa. "Hey, I know she's cute, but it's rude of you to stare." It's also rude to keep hitting on her incessantly, but that doesn't stop Zidane. "Oh, I-I wasn't looking at the young lady. I was just...The room is right over there," Innkeeper Hal says, as if there's more than one room in the tiny inn and they would have trouble finding it or something.

Finally, the issue of the entire party staying in a single room is addressed. I've been waiting years for this. Garnoa asks Zidane where she will be staying, and he replies, "In the same room. Where else?" as if it's the oddest thing for her to not want to bunk with the guys. Zidane explains to her that country inns don't have private rooms. Well, that gives us the excuse for this town in this Final Fantasy, but what about all those other ones that do have private rooms where they all share? I think Zidane's just trying to get into Garnoa's pants.

For some odd reason, Zidane chooses this moment to ask Garnoa why she wanted to leave the castle. Oh, wait, I do know the reason -- clumsy furthering of the plot. "If the theater ship hadn't crashed...," Garnoa begins. "It would've arrived at the neighboring regency of Lindblum," Zidane finishes. Yeah, I love it when people finish my sentences. Maybe you shouldn't have asked her if you already knew the answer, asshole. "You were gonna leave Alexandria!?" Zidane shrieks. Well, weren't you going to take her there already? Why is this a big surprise? "I see. If you hadn't been caught, you would've reached Lindblum by now," Zidane says. Oh, so we're back to the obnoxious repetition of facts stated two seconds earlier. Zidane mentions that they'll have to cross South Gate, at the border between Alexandria and Lindblum, on foot.

Now we get to Garnoa's explanation of why she wanted to leave. I'm just kidding. Do you think that she's actually going to tell us at only a couple hours into the game? She only says that there is a reason, but she can't tell Zidane. Zidane doesn't care why -- he just wants to bang her, so he'll do whatever she says. He promises he'll get her to Lindblum. At this, it's time for our obligatory Adelbert annoyance.

"Princess, you cannot trust the words of a thief!" he blusters. "Shut the FUCK UP, Adelbert!!" Garnoa screams. "You've only said the same damn thing 500 FUCKING TIMES in the last hour alone!! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!!!!!!!" I should be writing the dialogue for these games, I know. Anyway, Adelbert still wants Garnoa to return to the castle with him. Apparently he didn't hear the part about her having reasons for leaving. Blah blah blah, Zidane will protect her, blah blah blah, it's Adelbert's job to protect her (yes, he mentioned it again). "Then tell me. How do you intend to take her back to the castle?" Zidane wonders. "I-I will think of a way," Steiner bluffs. Garnoa just stands there through all of this, looking vapid. Suddenly, they all notice that PUGGY!! has fallen asleep. Even PUGGY!! is bored to death by this shit. Thankfully, everyone else goes to sleep, too.

After the screen goes black, Zidane hears a female voice singing a lovely tune. "Who's singing...?" he wonders silently. Well, I think that the fact that there's only one female in the room would narrow it down. The singing fades out, and Zidane wakes up to find himself alone in the room. I'm not surprised. "I've never heard a song like that before..." he gushes. "...Was that Garnoa singing?" Oh, what I wouldn't give to have it be Adelbert. Just as Zidane wonders where everyone else is, we are blessed with another ATE. Life just keeps getting better, doesn't it?

The first one (yes, there is more than one) is called "PUGGY!!, Confused." You'd think that confusion would be a theme more suited to Final Fantasy VIII, but whatever. PUGGY!!, wandering through the village, is confronted by a group of kids, probably the same ones from earlier. One of them, with the illustrious name "Snot-nosed Gudo", seems to recognize him. Then they run away, stopping to stare at poor PUGGY!! from afar. They appear to be avoiding him. PUGGY!! is -- wait for it -- confused. That's all.

The second ATE is called "Garnoa Tries." Tries what? Maybe I don't want to know. She's standing in an extremely dinky vegetable patch, wondering if the castle is all right. She gives a monologue about how the queen shouldn't have fired at her, yada yada yada. "Some people could've died...Like in Evil Forest..." It's such a good idea to think out loud when you're trying to hide your identity. An old woman in a patched cloak walks up to Garnoa and says, "You're in my way, kiddo." Garnoa seems surprised to have someone call her "kiddo", and then apologizes. She messes up, though; she starts speaking formally before she corrects herself. As the woman begins working in the vegetable patch, Garnoa asks what she's doing. "Can't you see what I'm doing? I'm killing the bugs on the crops," she replies as if speaking to an imbecile. "You're...killing the bugs?" Garnoa asks. "Yeah, that's what I'm doing!" Old Lady replies. I can hardly stand the excitement of this riveting dialogue. We get a mini farming lesson about how bugs destroy the crops. Garnoa doesn't even seem to know what crops are. Oh, please. I get that she's sheltered and all that, but she wouldn't know about crops? Whatever.

The old lady finds an oglop, and it bounces over to Garnoa, who catches it. "Oh, an oglop! Oglops eat vegetables?" she wonders blankly. The old lady is confused by Garnoa because, as she says, "Most girls hate oglops." Since Garnoa is trying oh-so-hard to be like "normal girls," she suddenly starts screaming and throws it into the air. Good cover, Garnoa. That was so believable.

Now that we've caught up with the ever-so-important things that everyone else (except for Adelbert....thank God) has been doing in the last two minutes, we rejoin Zidane. As soon as he steps out of the inn, there's another ATE. Oh, for cripes sakes. This one, entitled "Cat's Eye," is all about our friend Innkeeper Hal. There's a random cat in the scene, hence the title. Innkeeper Hal starts talking to the cat, announcing all his plans. "What should I do? I don't wanna give in to my brother, but everyone else is makin' money 'cept me...Hey, wasn't that customer traveling with...? I won't have to give in if I tell him about them!" Has he figured out who Garnoa is? Or is it something even more sinister? (Hint: it's the second one.)

Zidane finally gets to walk around the town, stocking up on items and all that good gameplay-related stuff. He barges into the mayor's house. The mayor's name is Mayor Kapu (go figure), and he isn't too happy at the intrusion. He kicks Zidane out. I thought RPG NPCs liked having people break into their houses.

Zidane spots something that looks like an airship engine wheel next to the mayor's house. "Why would they need something like this on a farm?" he muses. This is yet another inkling that All Is Not Right. And you know they're going to beat us over the head with it for the next half hour. At least.

This is Final Fantasy IX, not Final Fantasy VIII.

PUGGY!! is standing around, staring at the windmill, when Zidane finds him. Zidane asks what he's up to, and PUGGY!! says he's just thinking. Zidane assumes that everyone is exactly like him, so he's convinced that PUGGY!! met a girl. Dumbass. "What? Don't tell me you don't like girls!" Zidane stupidly says. Well, Zidane, some guys don't. Hello, and welcome to Final Fantasy. Of course I know it's nothing like that with PUGGY!!, but still. Also, PUGGY!! is a kid. PUGGY!! says that he doesn't think about that kind of stuff. "I'm always thinking about girls," Zidane tells him. He says that so often. Is he trying to convince PUGGY!!, or himself? "I'm popular with ALL the ladies in Lindblum," he wanks, causing my eyes to roll. He offers to help PUGGY!! if he ever has girl trouble, as if Zidane's advice would ever be worth anything. With that totally inane and random conversation out of the way (I think the writers were clumsily trying to to give us a "bonding" moment), Zidane asks PUGGY!! to return to the inn, and then goes off to find Garnoa and Adelbert.

But before he does, Zidane turns back and asks PUGGY!! what he was looking at. "Nothing," PUGGY!! replies. "But I keep hearing a sound like 'kweh.'" That would be a chocobo, as Zidane tells him. Yet another sign of something odd. Well, it's not all that odd in a Final Fantasy game, but it's supposed to be odd in the context of the town, so go with it. Oh, and PUGGY!! doesn't know what a chocobo is. Why does no one know what anything is in this game? After Zidane walks away (for real this time), some random dude abducts PUGGY!!. Well, crap.

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