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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
  -Part 2 :: [03.24.02]
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  -Part 5 :: [09.29.02]
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  -Part 8 :: [11.29.02]
  -Part 9 :: [12.30.02]
  -Part 10 :: [01.19.03]
  -Part 11 :: [05.23.03]
  -Part 12 :: [06.08.03]
  -Part 13 :: [06.17.03]
  -Part 14 :: [07.20.03]
  -Part 15 :: [08.09.03]
  -Part 16 :: [09.27.03]
  -Part 17 :: [11.16.03]
  -Part 18 :: [11.23.03]
  -Part 19 :: [12.20.03]
  -Part 20 :: [02.17.04]
  -Part 21 :: [04.04.04]
  -Part 22 :: [04.18.04]
  -Part 23 :: [04.28.04]


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"The ground begins rumbling, causing all of the party members -- including Auron -- to make surprised grunts. What, did they expect a little fluttering fairy or something?"
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 22




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Final Fantasy X : Part 12
By Jeanne
Posted 06.08.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Electrocuting Tightass was a blast and a half, but it's time to move on from one endless area with random battles to the next endless area with random battles, namely, Macalania Forest.

The forest, as I mentioned earlier, is all sparkly, in just the way to make Wakka say, "Whoa." The main pathway winds up and around through the woods. It's just your average game designer crack-induced forest.

Unfortunately, the first battle results in Auron being stoned. No, not like Wakka or the game designers -- I mean he actually gets turned into stone. An interesting side note is that attacking characters after they are petrified causes them to shatter. I would try this on Tightass, but I never use him in battle, so it's a moot point. Of course I have Yuna heal Auron, because naturally he's the only one who can defeat those armored mole things with the crystals sticking out of their backs. I swear I'm not making this stuff up.

Some random Guado guy walking around the woods tells the party to hurry up because Seymour is waiting. Jeez, does the whole damn population of Guado have tickets to watch the honeymoon or something? What the hell do they care anyway?

Partway through the woods, Barthello comes running up to the party like Squall toward a naked Seifer, screaming, "Hey!" He's clearly distraught, oddly enough because he can't find Thonga. Wakka is a little slow on the uptake, and wonders what's going on. Barthello explains that he and Thonga got separated. "Damn it all! I've got to find her!" he screeches as if he isn't in search of the bitchiest person on the whole damn planet. Auron tells him to calm the hell down, and since Auron is Barthello's secret fantasy, the big dumb lug actually listens. Auron is probably surprised that someone is listening to him, seeing as how his last few words of advice have fallen on deaf -- and dumb -- ears. The game designers were trying to be all fancy with the camera again, so there is this really awkward three-part zoom-in right before Barthello gets a hold of himself. Wait, that came out wrong. You know what I was trying to say.

Auron offers to help Barthello search, and surprisingly, Barthello refuses. The guy had the chance to be alone with his dream guardian and then turned him down. Whatever. Barthello runs off and Rikku starts running after him. Wakka wonders why, and Rikku chirps, "Oh, I just wanted to wish him good luck." Now most of you probably realize what's going on here, namely, that the Al Bhed are still going around kidnapping summoners. You didn't think they'd drop that plot point just yet, did you? Anyway, despite the fact that everyone already knows the secret behind the disappearing summoners, not one brings up the possibility that the Al Bhed are involved. Not even Wakka, the guy obsessed with making the Al Bhed responsible for every disaster in the history of Spira. And although everyone except Wakka knows that Rikku is an Al Bhed, no one even thinks to ask her if she knows what is going on. Everyone here is an idiot.

A little further along the pathway stands a humanoid bird with a feather headdress and a harp. Just when you think shit can't get any weirder. It walks up to Tightass and says, in a woman's voice, "A butterfly with rainbow wings Will lead the way to secret things." Alrighty, then. I don't want anyone leading Tightass to any sort of "secret things" so I force the party to move along. Plus, the text box informs me that this is the infamous butterfly game, and I have absolutely no desire to inflict that upon myself. I mean, isn't it enough that I have to deal with Tightass? How much do I have to suffer?

After another several minutes of walking and random battles, the group reaches O'aka, who is so excited about Yuna and Seymour getting married that he offers a discount on all his items. Of course, with his prices, Tightass might as well just bend over and receive the items up his ass, and you know how much I don't want that. Luckily, O'aka has the decency to ask if his prices are akin to forced sodomy, and after I answer yes, he lowers his prices. I think it would be funny to not buy anything, but Rikku has a shit weapon, so I buy her a new one. My revenge will have to wait.

Moving to the next screen triggers a cut scene. Auron walks to the side of the path, saying, "It is here...somewhere." Tightass asks what he's talking about, and I hope that Auron will respond that he's looking for the perfect place to kill Tightass where no one would be the wiser (like anyone would care anyway). Instead, he responds cryptically that it's "something [Tightass] should see." Auron goes apeshit with his sword on a poor, defenseless crystal tree, and I try to point out that Tightass is behind him, but it's too late. After a path is cut in the tree, Auron proceeds through it, leaving me wondering why the hell he couldn't have done that any number of times along the way so I didn't have to spend half a damn hour fighting my way through the forest.

Auron leads the group to a clearing with a pretty sparkling pool in it. In the middle of the pool is a twisty tree with a big crystal in it, because God knows we can't have a Final Fantasy game without a freaking crystal. "It's just water, isn't it?" Tightass asks for no good reason, prompting Auron to reply, "This is what spheres are made of." This leads me to think that he's talking about the "water," but then how does it become spheres? Are they going to explain this? The answer is no. Of course not. "It absorbs and preserves people's memories," Auron continues. Let's just put this in the same category as "gunblades" and "Tightass" when it comes to things that make no sense.

At that moment, a big, blue blob emerges from the pool. It has little orbs floating in it. "What's that?" Wakka asks, inwardly wondering if he's the only one that can see it. "Fiends are also attracted to these places," Auron explains. Of course that means it's time for a boss battle. The blob is only weak against black magic, and it changes its elemental weakness every time it is hit with a spell. Hitting it with a physical attack causes it to counterattack with the element with which it is currently aligned. This allows me to use Tightass as a decoy. While he gets hit with spells and other attacks, Lulu blasts the blob with magic. Therefore I get to kill a fiend, and get Tightass hurt in the process. Can it get any better than that?

The blob has a death scene that lasts as long as a FFVIII GF animation, and eventually sinks back into the pool from whence it came. It leaves behind a small sphere like the one Jyscal dropped earlier. A text box informs us that this is Jecht's sphere. Oh goody. Wakka tells Tightass that the sphere is really old and that it may not play. Dude, it's a sphere, not a fucking 8-track. Auron announces that Jecht left the sphere there ten years ago, and everyone gasps in surprise as if he just announced that Squall was straight.

Tightass activates the sphere, and the whole TV screen is filled with a blue, swirly video of Braska and young Auron walking down a fancy-looking walkway. Now, when I say "young" Auron, the guy is still older than everyone in the current party, excepting Kimahri (and who knows how fast Ronsos mature anyway (I'm sure someone has written a fanfic about it)). Interestingly, he wears the exact same outfit as in the present, excepting the sunglasses and collar, and he appears to wear the robe off the shoulder all the time. Let's not focus on the differences, though -- the guy wears the exact same outfit as he did ten years ago. This may have some significance to the story, but in my opinion, it just shows how lazy the game designers truly are. Of course, it's not like he's wearing Tightass's outfit, so I have no complaints as far as having to see him in the red robe.

Jecht is all excited that he gets to be the obnoxious asshole with the video camera, gushing about how he'll get to show all this neat shit to his wife and his whiny wanker kid. "This is no pleasure cruise," Auron bitches. Jecht ignores him, swinging the camera over to Braska. Braska is wearing this godawful headdress with a pointy metal thing that sticks out behind him. He looks like he could poke an eye out with that thing. "Ain't this supposed to be a grand occasion?" Jecht wonders. "Where're the cheering fans? The crying women?" The crying woman would be me, mainly because I have to deal with Tightass and his old man in one recap. Braska replies that there will be nothing of the sort, and he makes it sound like he doesn't want any of them to have second thoughts about leaving. At this point in the video, Auron walks past, displaying clearly for the first time his child molester ponytail. His coolness just went down a few levels, but he's got coolness to spare, so don't be too worried. Jecht proves that he's just as dumb as his son as he talks about all the fantastic celebrations they'll have to look forward to at the end of the trip. Braska just laughs, because apparently the thought of his own death is funny.

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