Final Fantasy IX : Part 5
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This penultimate ATE is entitled "What can I do?" and stars Garnoa. Don't everyone shout the answer at once, please. The ensuing cry of "Nothing!" might deafen these old ears. Garnoa is bored in the castle proper. She wants to get out and experience life, the kind of life she's only read about in books! The kind of life where servants don't bring your meals and you could starve to death if the harvest is bad, or you could die of smallpox in the streets! She wants to live a common sort of life where salt of the earth people treat her as one of their own, only a little more respectfully because, well, she is a royal princess, you know. Unfortunately, with that lunky guard standing at the foot of the stairs leading from her comfortable apartment, the only thing she can do is go back to reading her books or sit on the bed and pout, which is Standard Bored Princess Option #3, just past Throwing a Foot-Stamping Temper Tantrum and Threatening to Have Her Daddy/Mommy/Uncle/Guy She Knows Take Lunky Guard's Job. Garnoa whines that she didn't come all this way with an ass-obsessed monkey boy feeling her up just to sit around and be protected from all the other ass-grabbers in the world. She wants to help her Mother! Lucky for us, the ATE is over at these selfless, noble words from our heroine.
|What's the best way to "help" Queen Brahne?
Once again, back to Zidane. Two children have joined him in the Infamous Clock Tower, a boy named Bunce and a girl named Lucella. They're just as pleased as they can possibly be that they've found Zidane. The kidlets announce that he should've told them he was coming back, since they're in Tantalus, too. Zidane does a verbal double take and Bunce explains that Uncle Baka told them that if they could find some treasure, they could join the infamous band of attention whores -- er, I mean thieves. Bunce presents some "trick sparrow's wings" as proof that he and Lucella are hardened criminals, and Zidane humors them. Aww, sweet. I've always tried that bit with kids, too, but they always see right through it to my black, black heart and kick me and/or spit on me. Bunce and Lucella buy right into it, though. Dammit, even a Final Fantasy hero is more convincing than I am. This makes me so very, very sad.
Lucella and Bunce now ask Zidane if their "plan" had worked. Zidane replies that it did and that Garnoa is now at the castle. So, two little kidlets worked up the plan involving a rather disturbing doll, some oglops and a kidnapping attempt so full of holes that the abductee ended up doing all the work herself? Yeah, I'd buy that. Lucella and Bunce bug Zidane about getting a little piece of Princess action. Wow, what are you teaching them, Uncle Baka? Zidane dances around it as best he can and the kidlets wish him luck before running off. Zidane leaves the Infamous Clock Tower -- and is hit right upside the head with an ATE. Why, God, why?
This ATE is called "Baka and his crew." Baka and his crew are still in the nasty Evil Forest. Baka and his crew want to save poor, stoned Blank. Baka and his crew don't know how to do it, and Cinna likes the local water so much he wants to open a Starbucks for the boys. Baka threatens him with whatever dire consequences come with disobeying an express Baka order. I just don't want to know. Luckily, this ATE is over so I don't have to find out. I will now dance with obscene joy that the ATEs are over for this recap as we go back to Zidane for the final time. Oh, at last I am delivered!
Zidane's gone down to the theater to check out Lowell, the famous actor who turns wives into little girls for their husband's pervy delight. Lowell has a fan club, and they're all hanging about outside. Zidane is being ignored, so he makes sure to get himself noticed, introducing himself as "Sir Zidane", the bestest thief ever in Tantalus. Never mind that Zidane left the band in the pursuit of some princess lovin', I guess Tantalus is one of those jobs where you never truly leave, like some of the people who work for my company. They can quit, have the worst possible exit interview, then come back to work for us a year later like nothing ever happened. Either way, the fan club's never heard of him, and they want him gone. Burn! Meanwhile, Lowell makes his appearance to the screaming delight of the fan club. LOWELL-SAMA!! Lowell is followed up by a man dressed in a huge moogle costume for the abuse of the seething fan club members who want their boy back in a hurry. The moogle-man runs off after facing the scorn of ten screaming teenyboppers. Zidane heads to the Business District to (finally) do his shopping.
Stopping off at the armorer's, Zidane finds a Buster Sword hanging on the wall and says that he knew a "guy with spiky hair" who carried something just like it, as the FFVII fanboys email Square that the Buster Sword shown wasn't the real Buster Sword and how they're never, ever, ever going to buy another FF game EVAR because of this detail. That is until FFX came out. Stupid fanboys. Zidane picks up a Mage Masher and some new armor then heads on his way to the item shop for restocking. Next it's off to the synth shop to listen to passive aggressive banter between the shopkeeper and his apprentice while Zidane waits patiently with two Mage Mashers in hand to be made into a Butterfly Sword. It may be just me, but a weapon with the name "Butterfly Sword" isn't likely to strike fear into my girly little heart. It sounds too close to "Butterfly Knife" which were the stupid things the redneck boys used to carry when I was growing up. They almost always tried to do some stupid trick maneuver with them and ended up going to the school nurse with multiple cuts. Luckily, Zidane spends the rest of his gil on a weapon called "The Ogre", which is ever so much more manly-sounding and cool.
As I'm sure you've already noticed, Zidane didn't bother to spend any money on the rest of his party. Nope, not even a present for Princess Garnoa. It could be because Zidane's a cheap bastard who thinks his mere presence is gift enough for any girl, or because he didn't have a lot of gil and wanted to win the upcoming Festival of the Hunt. Discuss amongst yourselves, or take the handy poll there.
Shopping concluded, Zidane goes back to the castle to catch up with the rest of the party. Well, we'll eventually catch up with the rest of the party but for now we have a meeting with Adelbert and the Romantic Moment™ to contend with. Zidane goes back up to the guest suite, finds Adelbert who oh-so-shockingly accuses him of making off with the Princess. First of all, it's make out, Adelbert, and second of all, if Zidane were doing the horizontal boogie with Garnoa, he wouldn't be in here looking at your rusty mug, now would he? In either case, this is just the set up Zidane needs to go looking for his beautiful brain-dead heroine, but he's got to stay put until Adelbert's finished his bitching. This takes a while. In fact, I think I'm going to go on a three hour cruise aboard the S.S. Minnow, and by the time I get back, Adelbert should just be finished up with the indignant recriminations against our monkey-boy Mack Daddy.
After Adelbert's finished his blame game and gone in search of Garnoa, Zidane opens two treasure chests in the room, both of which make me glad he didn't needlessly spend his money down in the shops. Then he stops off and speaks to the room's moogle, Mogki. Mogki has a letter from Kumop, and he's just dying to let us in on it. Stiltzkin visited Kumop and said he'd found somewhere that seemed interesting. Well, I imagine that the local Waffle House would seem interesting, if that's the kind of things moogles put in letters to one another. It doesn't mean that I necessarily want to go there. I prefer to go to places where people have their own teeth and can read words with more than one syllable. Lucky for Zidane, Mogki can't hear me, and he agrees to save my game. Take that you damned ATEs!
Now Zidane is on the hunt for his Garnoa. Stepping outside the hall leading to the guest rooms, he wonders where she could be. As he steps into the central foyer to this part of the castle, we're given our first "hint", which is a nice euphemism for "hit upside the head with the Plot Mallet of Doom." Someone's singing a sad, sweet melody. It's nice, but I've heard better. The singer only knows one word, "La", and she's working it for all she's worth. It has the desired effect on Zidane, however, and he takes off towards the elevator at the south end of the foyer. The guard on the elevator won't let him on, so Zidane concocts a cunning plan to get on anyway, which happens to be the same cunning plan he used in Alexandria castle, i.e. stealing a guard's uniform. Let's hope Garnoa doesn't have to repeat her performance of throwing herself off the tower, or the fanfolks will cry. On second thought, jump, Garnoa, jump!