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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
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  -Part 4 :: [01.09.03]
  -Part 5 :: [08.17.03]
  -Part 6 :: [09.07.04]
  -Part 7 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 8 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 9 :: [07.04.05]
  -Part 10 :: [07.04.05]
  -Part 11 :: [01.28.09]

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"Yuna has one question before she goes to meet her fate -- she wants to know if Seymour will let her continue her pilgrimage. Tromell answers in the affirmative, and adds, 'Lord Seymour wishes nothing else, I'm sure.' Well, obviously Seymour doesn't care if Yuna goes off and eventually dies because she's right on the cusp of turning eighteen, and at that point, she's of no use to Seymour anymore. This is a no-brainer, really."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 12

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Final Fantasy VIII : Part 7
By Jeanne
Posted 12.11.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
When we last visited the Land of Gay, Squally experienced a nonsensical and irritating Laguna flashback, found out his gay lover was dead, got stuck with an assassination mission, and had to deal with Rinhoa, all in one day. And people wonder why the guy is so antisocial and moody all the time.

Upon arriving at the Casa de Caraway to receive their mission orders, Squally and the others were sent on a dumbass fetch quest to pad the total game time test their mad student ID-finding skillz. So it's off to the Tomb of the Unknown King, located at the very end of the peninsula near Deling City.

Lady, I think you're in for a challenge if you're flirting with Squally.

Unfortunately, as you'll recall, Deling City is the most confusing fucking city in the entire universe, so it actually takes me longer to find my way out of the damn thing than it does to find the stupid tomb. I should get my SeeD rank upped just for reaching the exit.

On the way to the tomb, one of the random battle monsters is called a Thrustaevis. I just mentioned that because it's so appropriate to the main theme of this game. I should probably also mention that Quistis and Selphie are along for this trip. I'm not sure why I stuck Squally with the ladies, because that's really not very nice of me, but they were already equipped and I was probably just lazy. The three of them have a grand time drawing Float magic off of the Thrustaevises, just because.

The entrance of the tomb looks like your average ruined building, with grass growing through the remains of stone stairs and walls. And as a recapper, I am required to make note of the stumps of what once were most likely grand phallic pillars on either side of the path. Of course I have no proof, but this is what we call pattern recognition, folks. As Squally and the others take in the majesty of this old tomb (and Squally fantasizes about the phallic pillars), two female Galbadia Garden students come running out faster than an 8-year-old pursued by Seymour. They scream, "F-Float!" Hey, wait a minute -- that's the magic the Thrustaevises were carting around. Could this simply be a random coincidence? Just play along -- it's more fun that way.

As for the frightened girls, I'm not sure if these are a) the missing student(s) mentioned by Caraway's guard, b) some other students on Caraway's obligatory fetch quest, or c) something the game designers threw in without any thought in order to give me a hint. We never actually find out. Since we've already established that this whole set-up is completely retarded, let's not think about it too hard. We have to make it through the rest of the recap.

Two screens into the tomb, Squally finds a sword with "Student ID No. 109" written on it. Well, I can see why this quest would prove a person's skills to Caraway, what with the complete lack of random battles in here so far and the way the object was pretty much right inside the entrance. Easiest fetch quest ever. I would mention that the presence of the sword does not bode well for this missing student, if indeed neither of those girls was the student in question, but I'm already ignoring what I said at the end of the last paragraph, so let's move on.

From here, Squally can turn right the hell around and go back to Caraway's house with this essential information. But this sorceress assassination thing can wait until I complete my tour of the tomb. There may be something very cool hiding in here, you see. Okay, it's just a lame subplot I need for the sake of completion. First, Squally must figure out how to navigate the maze. Instead of having a fixed camera direction, the camera always faces the same way as Squally. So getting lost in here is easier than getting a blow job from Shion. But Squally utilizes his special GF, Stratguidos, and finds out that he just has to keep turning right. This will allow him to access the "special" rooms at the points of the diamond-shaped tomb. So I'll just skip over all the fun stuff like walking and random battles.

The first special room contains a purple minotaur statue on top of a pedestal. Fabulous. When Squally approaches it, it comes to life. But that's not the scary part. This minotaur is a punctuation-abusing, all-caps-using fiend. And he doesn't appreciate being bothered by a gay, eyeliner-wearing man and two sexy chicks. Man, this guy's hard to please. Battle time!

'I totally need one of these for my dorm room.'

If you haven't guessed the gimmick of this battle, then I am sad for you because I did my best to jackhammer it into your skull. I'm secretly a game designer, you see. The minotaur -- whose actual name is Sacred -- lives deep within the earth, so is inevitably an earth elemental. Which means he can heal himself just by standing there with his thumb up his ass. Squally and the others must ensure that Sacred stays -- wait for it -- floating at all times. And they also have to use Protect because getting hit with Sacred's Big Fucking Mace hurts like a bitch.

That's 3 more than fanboys have.

After Squally pounds the purple minotaur's ass into the ground, Sacred screeches, "BASTARDS!!! IT AIN'T OVER!!!" It's always so comforting when a guardian of an ancient tomb speaks in modern slang. Most likely trying not to cry like a girl, Sacred leaps over the party and runs away. Geez, what a sore loser. With his departure, the pedestal raises slightly. This, I believe, opens up the next two rooms. I'm just repeating what the strategy guide said. What, you expect me to run around and confirm this shit?

In the next room, which is at the exact opposite point from the entrance, a window looks out at a body of water, perhaps a moat. The water is held back by a stone slab, which is itself held in place by the world's strongest chain. It's not actually strong enough to prevent Squally from simply detaching it, though. The slab falls over as a huge torrent of water pours neatly into a slot in the floor. As opposed to, say, flooding -- or at the very least, heavily splashing -- the room. The laws of physics are definitely going to press charges against the game designers for forcible sodomy.

The fourth point of our diamond is a room with another opening looking out over the moat. A water wheel is stuck in place, straining against its bonds like Squally's...okay, I think you know what I'm going to say here. It looks like Squally pulls some kind of lever -- whatever it is, he grasps it and squats, legs spread, and suddenly the water wheel starts moving. I'm probably better off not knowing, come to think of it.

Now everything is in place for reaching the final room. Squally heads back to the entrance and instead of turning right, he walks straight forward to the center of the tomb. A drawbridge has lowered over the moat, leading into a small chamber. It would be awesome if there was not actually anything important there. Well, not awesome for me, the person who had to go through all that shit, but you know what I'm saying.

And who else would be in this final chamber but our friend Sacred, screaming, "Y-YO, YOU BACK AGAIN!?" He's standing on a giant stone coffin, which, if I am guessing correctly, belongs to our Unknown King. Sacred threatens the party with an even tougher battle, now that his "big bro" is there to help. On cue, another minotaur appears right in front of the camera. He's clear for some reason. The clear minotaur shrinks until it is standing, opaque, right in front of the coffin. The joke here is that we think this guy's all big and shit, but he's actually puny. And he talks in all lowercase, the exact opposite of Sacred. Oh, the comic relief in this game!

Sacred has a big whiny fit to his brother about the big mean gay guy and his fag hags. The mini minotaur -- whose name is, creatively, Minotaur -- is slightly impressed. I think he's checking out Squally. Quistis comments on Minitaur's diminutive size, causing him to be all, "Size doesn't matter." And then everyone works out their differences in a civil manner. Right, it's another fucking battle.

This is just like the previous one, except that now I have to keep Float on all my characters as well as the two brothers so I don't get pummeled by the Obligatory Double Attack. True to the "It's not the size of the minotaur" concept, the little guy kicks a lot more ass. He's probably been teased about his size his entire life, so to prove all the naysayers wrong, he had to train extra hard to become a respectable figure. Yet even with his X-Treme Asskicking Skillz, he never quite earned the respect of his colleagues. It's a sad story, really.

Upon their defeat, Minitaur offers to join these mighty warriors. This will give meaning to his life. Or maybe he just totally wants to junction with Squally, if you follow me. We get a split second shot of Minitaur's bluish Ken doll crotch for some reason. I hate that I notice this shit. The two minotaur brothers join as the GF Brothers. I immediately change it to GayLovers...well, just because. Call it a vibe.

With those two dudes out of the way, the coffin pops open and a glowing translucent zombie puppet rises up. Seriously, this thing moves like something from Silent Hill. But it's just the ghost of the Unknown King, thankful that Squally and the others got those obnoxious minotaurs out of his damn tomb. Seriously, would you be able to eternally rest with all that yelling? UK says he's totally free now. So I guess the Brothers were not actually well-meaning tomb guardians, but instead, jerks. "...However, there is something I have been thinking of for a very long time," UK offers. "Is it really necessary to entomb those traveling to the other world, after such a long and tiring journey through life?" Squally says nothing in reply, as that was the most random thing he's ever heard. Seriously, what in the hell? After the White Screen of What the Fuck, the coffin is once again closed and Zombie Puppet King is off in the afterlife, spouting nonsensical philosophical shit to all the other poor souls who had just been chilling there having fun until this weirdo showed up.

Squally has finished the optional part of his fetch quest, so it's back to Deling City.

The gayest gas station ever.

Several hours later, when I find myself back at Caraway's mansion, I give the correct ID number to the asshat guard, then punch him in the head. He asks Squally to follow him, heading offscreen. And that's the last we see of him, as he has disappeared into Who Cares Where the Random NPC Went Off To Land. Caraway's mansion looks like a large evil castle. I approve. At the front entrance, Squally has another internal monologue: "(Both Balamb and Galbadia Garden are joining forces with the general from the Galbadian Army. ...Why?)" Then he cuts off this line of inquiry, as he's not paid to think, just to look pretty and swing around a phallic object.

Squally enters the front door as we cut to the interior of a study. There's a desk, fancy furniture, paintings, and ornate window dressings. Caraway is obviously not one step away from the poorhouse. Nor is he averse to indulging his feminine side, if the pink curtains are any indication. The SeeDs have clearly made themselves at home, except for Zell, who is pacing back and forth. This, along with the general "What the fuck is taking this asstard so God damn long" type dialogue gives us a subtle impression that perhaps the General isn't the most punctual NPC on the planet.

Rinhoa comments, "Hmph... He always does this! So discourteous...making people wait." That's right, this is our big revelation that Caraway is actually Rinhoa's dad. So we can check off "daughter of someone important" off of our RPG Mary Sue checklist. Rinhoa goes off to bitch at him, then turns back to announce that this is her house. Cue shock and awe from Zell and Quistis. Apparently that "subtle" bit of previous dialogue went right over everyone's head. "Umm, just don't leave me here, ok?" Rinhoa begs. Actually, it's pretty tempting. She is a minor, and unless General Caraway is a "Daddy stop touching me" type of guy, I don't see any good reason why she shouldn't get her delinquent ass back home. Then again, I'm over 18, so I just don't understaaaaaaand how hard her life is in her mansion with her powerful daddy.

I can choose the reply here, either "(...Is that an order?)" or "(...What does she mean?)" The first one sounds more like an impartial statement that Squally is only hanging around Rinhoa because his stupid headmaster gave him the order, whereas the second one sounds like he could be concerned for her well-being or at least asking her to expand on the situation. First reply it is. "Your contract hasn't expired yet. That was an order, right?" Squally inquires. Rinhoa briefly attempts to turn it into something more personal, but surprisingly lets it go. Huh. I guess the game designers do throw shocking twists in once in a while.

Squally's thinking, "Well fuck, I hope this doesn't cause any shit." A couple moments later, a man enters the room. It's obviously General Caraway, as he is dressed all military-like, with a long black coat. And -- dare I say it? -- he has almost an Auron-esque air about him, with the dark hair and generic-over-25 appearance. He could be a ProtoAuron. But I don't really want to give that nickname to someone who was half responsible for creating that worthless hobag, so he'll just remain Caraway. The first thing Squally wonders is the whereabouts of Rinhoa. "She has not received the type of training you all have, and may become a burden," General Caraway understates. Hey, he's not so bad, despite his failure to use a condom properly. "It's for the best that she stays out of this operation," he continues. Thank you Jesus. I know that the game designers will totally fuck me over anyway, but let me have my brief moment of YES! Please. "So you're Rinhoa's father?" Selphie wonders. "I can't remember the last time she called me that," General Caraway responds. Along with Rinhoa's bitchy fit a few moments ago, this is our gigantic hammery hint that Rinhoa and her dad aren't exactly your typical Kodak Moments family.

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