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Sunken Desert, 600 AD
- The first step in this side quest is triggering it in the first place. To make the Sunken Desert appear you must first speak to one of the residents of Zeal. If you’re still wandering through the Kingdom of Zeal as a massive floating island, you’ll find the woman in Zeal Palace, in the bottom-left corner of the main area. If the events of the fall of Zeal are already through, you’ll find her at the Village Commons on the small island that constitutes the only remaining landmass in 12,000 BC. Either way, she asks if she should burn a plant, and you should instead insist that she plant it.
- Doing this will make the Sunken Desert appear in 600 AD. You’ll find it in the desert north of Porre, a short walk from Fiona’s Villa. Don’t enter without at least one character capable of using Water magic (Marle, Frog, or Magus).
- There are two levels to the Sunken Desert, and the first is populated by enemies and chests. The two types of creatures living here, Vilepillars and Sandragos, will take a big hit to their physical defences if first attacked with Water magic. Soften them up with Water II or Ice II. After clearing this twisty-turny area of enemies you can find chests containing a Hi-Ether, a Lapis, an Aeonian Suit, and an Elixir. You can also find a Strength Capsule sitting in the sand on the left side of the room, though it can be a struggle to reach the thing.
- Head downstairs. Upon arrival an enormous creature will begin popping in and out of the sand. This is the Melphyx, the boss of the Sunken Desert and your target. Before attacking it, though, move around the room and pop open the chests in the sand. They contain a Hi-Potion, 5000 gil, a Turbo Ether, an Aeonian Helm, a Muscle Ring, a Hi-Ether, and a Memory Cap.
The Melphyx is similar to Zombor of many days past, though with a twist: it now has three body parts, consisting of the upper torso, the legs, and a Core. Melphyx will periodically draw on the health of the Core to restore its HP, and once the Core dies Melphyx will pull out some seriously dangerous attacks. The key here is to target Melphyx’s other body parts without touching the Core and deal as much damage as humanly possible before the Core dies. Use powerful, non-elemental Dual Techs to target Melphyx’s bits individually. Like the other creatures here Melphyx’s defences are weakened by Water use, so have one character cast Water II or Ice II periodically to drag it down to a manageable level. Water will not hurt the Core, so don’t fret over the possibility of accidentally killing it off. (That said, Water also doesn’t hurt Melphyx, so avoid any combo attacks that include Water.)
- Once Melphyx is gone, put Robo in your party and speak to Fiona. Robo will offer to stay with her to fix the state of the desert, and he’ll leave your party. If for some reason you really don’t like Robo, you can ditch him permanently at this point. (Jerk.)
- Jump forward to 1000 AD. The landscape has changed a great deal, and if you visit the newly-created Fiona’s Shrine you’ll find Robo waiting. Bring him back online. (You can also purchase some really nifty hats here, though they cost an arm, a leg, and various other body parts.)
- What follows is a weird jump to another time which can change a small, but interesting, part of the game. Without spoiling it, you need to enter a password on the machine in the middle of the house (inspect the wheel to your right to enter the password). The password is the buttons L, A, R, A, in that order, or L1, Circle, R1, Circle on the PSX version. You don’t have much time, so enter them quickly. Regardless of the outcome, you’ll receive a Green Dream as the side quest comes to a close.