Final Fantasy IX : Part 6
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See, what our boy Zidane conveniently forgot during his little nap was Garnoa's determination to go back home and have it out with Queenie Dearest. He thinks she took off for Burmecia. Cid and the others must also be deaf as posts, since they think Zidane's on to something. Oh, poor Garnoa. First it's hard enough to be the pampered, cosseted, and highly desirable heroine, but no one listens to a damn word she says.
|What's the worst part of being a princess?
Freya advises Zidane (and me) to take Gizamaluke's Grotto and from there, we'll be right into Burmecia, perhaps in time to catch up to Garnoa and Adelbert. Unca Cid encourages the plan by telling us that the Dragon's Gate is now open and can be reached from the lower level of the castle. Well, then, what're we waiting for besides good armor, a shitload of potions, a few new weapons and a doomsday machine, let's go!
And go we do, but not the Dragon's Gate, oh, no. That would be far too easy. No, my ever handy Brady Guide tells me to hightail it via the trolley on the lower level over to the Serpent's Gate near the Lindblum Harbor. After chatting up the guards, I finally see what glorious treasure awaits me at the Serpent's Gate. It's...a card. Yes, you read that right, a card. Oh, happy day, now my battle preparations are complete! Why, when faced down with a fire-breathing, vicious brute of a beast outside, I'll just challenge it to a game of Go Fish! Fear me and my lusty battle cry of "You got any sevens, punk?"
Fortunately, the trolley will take me straight on to the Dragon's Gate, so all we've lost are the few brain cells that died while I looked those sage words of advice up in the guide and then went through the steps to perform them. I should count myself lucky that the damned thing didn't tell me that I had to "look it up online at www.PlayOnline.com!" like it does every other useful piece of information it could've just come out and told me. Besides, have you looked at PlayOnline.com lately? You'd have to fight your way out of a Hume/Galka/Elvaan/Mithra FFXI spooge-fest just to get anywhere, and even then, you could've just saved yourself the trouble and gone to GameFAQs. I'm lucky that Joey loves it when the veins pop out on my forehead and I threaten to incinerate every Brady guide I own. He thinks it's cute.
At the Dragon's Gate, Moonte the Moogle stands ready with a letter from Stilzkin he just can't wait to share with us. Stilzkin took off for Burmecia too, and it's raining there. Um, okay. Thanks dude. I'll be sure to pack my raincoat before heading out. Luckily, a merchant stands close by, ready and willing to take all Zidane's hard-earned gil in exchange for some potions, tents, and first-aid items. But no raincoats. Dammit! The guard at the gate tells me to look for roots popping out of the ground which lead straight up to Gizamaluke's Grotto. Easy enough, I suppose. Thing is, I have an empty spot in my traveling party, and I'm sure that four well armed folks would do better than three, seeing as how I haven't done much level-fighting and poor PUGGY!!'s a little low in the hit points department. What to do, what to do?
Not too far outside the gate the ground gets marshy-looking, at least, as marshy looking as something can in this game, i.e. darker gray-green blobs on a lighter gray-green field instead of the soft rolling green-ness we had earlier on more civilized ground. Yeah, I know I'm not making any sense, but you try describing 2-d marshland and see how well you do. Of course, we can't go very far inside the marshy ground without some aquatic creature attempting to kick our asses, so progress does slow as I fight, heal PUGGY!!, throw a phoenix down on PUGGY!!, throw a potion on PUGGY!!, steal a potion from the monster to throw on PUGGY!! so he doesn't die again, and let Freya knock the monster into next week with one well placed hit. Eventually our brave band reaches a squatty, kidney-shaped area marked with "?". The in-game menu tells me to enter using the X button, so I do. Inside a title screen comes up with the legend "Qu's Marsh" and some vaguely tribal music starts up on the soundtrack. I'm not sure just how to describe the music, it sounds like kettle drums and a classically-trained baritone singing "Ee ee ee ah ee ee ee ah" overtop a synthesized melody. Don't you people look at me like I'm on crack, that's the best way I can think of to describe the wonderful game music. I'm just the recapper, it's not like I wrote the piece or anything. If I'd written it, I would've put in squelching noises for atmospheric drama and because I think there are far too few musical pieces that utilize the various disgusting noises the human body can make.
There's a plank bridge leading deeper into Qu's Marsh, and lo and behold, there's that long-winded little shit Mogster, yammering away to his little brother again. Zidane runs right by, afraid that if Mogster sees him he'll be stuck in one game tutorial after another and die of starvation (or blue balls) before his time. I don't blame him. Let's move on.
The path directly north of Mogster leads through some insanely tall grass, where watery hoodiecreepers jump out on PUGGY!! so Freya beats them up while Zidane robs them blind. Hell, we may as well get something out of this, right? Well, hold on to your Queer Eye decoder rings kids 'cause we're about to get more than we bargained for, including a headache for your brave recapper.
Zidane exits the tall grass to find a frog pond with a quaint little arched bridge and...someone. Someone in pink. It's wearing a pink frilly nightgown, hot pink coat, bloomers, and capping off the lovely ensemble, a white chef's toque. This someone walks around the frog pond, sniffing the water and whining in one-word sentences about being hungry and wanting frogs. That's when I notice the huge lolling tongue. This is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to start. All I can think of is that this person would be the Grand Master at every GLAAD parade across the country, as soon as they figure out what side of the rainbow flag it's on.
Zidane finally breaks down and catches a frog for our pink-clad friend, and in exchange we get a short bit of banter on the lines of "Who are you?" and the resulting answer. I'll tell you who they are, monkey-boy, they're your new party member and half of one of the worst pairings to grace the pages of fan-fiction since the multitudes of deluded, squee-ing Sora x Riku 'shippers, an offence that should lead to an instant banning from the forums or at the very least a burning at the stake fueled by burning every Auron x Tidus doujinshi in existence.