|Final Fantasy IX owned by Square Enix.|
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- After a cut scene and some sailing you'll wind up on the shores of the northeastern continent, a snowy place with monsters you've seen before. Hang a left at the beach (west) to find a small settlement, Esto Gaza.
- Previously occupied by people, the front of is Esto Gaza is now filled with monsters. Make your way inside to trigger a cut scene, and check to the right of the main room to find a Weapon and Armor Shop with some new wares. Of particular note is the Octagon Rod, which finally gives Vivi his third-level attack spells. Look around the rear of the Shop for a Wing Edge, if you've never been here before.
- Wander through the rear of Esto Gaza. There's a Moogle out here named Mogrika who has a letter when you arrive, and she'll ask you to take a letter to Moolan. Take a right at Mogrika and you'll find a path to the next area.
- The monsters of Mount Gulug are worthy of note. Not only are they relatively strong, they have a penchant for rendering your party comatose for long periods of time via attacks that inflict heat status. The Body Temp Ability is highly recommended for the majority of the dungeon. You should also have Vivi along to use Blizzaga, if possible, as everything in here is weak to ice - though bear in mind that the Red Vepals can nullify elemental damage, necessitating strong non-elemental damage-dealing as well.
- This area is fairly short if you go straight to the end, though there are plenty of side spots that drag out the experience a bit. Start by taking a left at the entrance, into the building. You'll find 9,693 gil in the bottom-right corner of the house, and an Ether in the rubble at the top of the ladder inside the house. Outside of the second floor you'll find a second, longer ladder. It appears to lead nowhere, though you'll find a hidden Red Hat on your right at the bottom of the ladder.
- Take a right from the entrance and walk until you find a well. Ignore the well for the moment and walk along the edge of the platform to the right. You'll find a spot to jump to an adjacent platform. This leads to a chest containing a Golden Hairpin.
- Return to the well and slide down. There's an intersection at the bottom. To the left is a house containing a Demon's Mail; to the right is what looks like a coal chute room with a Moogle, Moolan, waiting inside. Give him the letter from Mogrika and he'll ask you to send a letter to Mogtaka. Look just right of Moolan for a Wing's Edge. Head through the door on the right and you'll find a winding path that terminates at a dead end where you'll find Gaia Gear.
- On your way back from getting the Gaia Gear you'll get hit by an encounter with two Red Dragons. Though not bosses per se, they're strong enough together to count as one. Throw up some defensive spells and batter them with ice for the best results. Each one has 8,000 HP; try to kill one of them as quickly as you can.
- Return to the well. There's a lever on the right side, and if you pump it down several times you'll send a rope down another level. Two more Red Dragons will ambush you at the bottom. Heal up, then go through the wall they tore down. After a cut scene and an automated fight you'll receive a Ribbon for Eiko. Battle time, and this one is long overdue.
Zorn and Thorn were never exactly adorable, but... ew. Anyway. Meltigemini likes poison-based attacks, and will use Bio and Venom Powder on your characters with fair frequency, along with the occasional physical attacks. It also starts the fight with Viral Smoke, which, if allowed to endure, will strip your characters of an AP award for winning. More petty than anything, that, but... there you go.
All in all Meltigemini is not that difficult, though you don't have Vivi around to exploit its fire-based weakness to the fullest. Smack the creature around with your strongest physical attacks while Eiko either heals the party or, if you have it, uses Phoenix. Viral Smoke is arguably the most dangerous attack since it puts someone out of commission, so be ready to cast Panacea or use an Antidote the moment it sticks to a character. Other than that, no big deal.
Zidane can Steal a Vaccine, a Golden Hairpin, and a Demon's Vest from Meltigemini.
- After the events in Mount Gulug you'll wind up back at Lindblum. Speak to Mogki in the bedroom for a letter to Kumool, then head upstairs to the royal chambers for a meeting. During a looooong series of cut scenes you'll receive a Garnet, and, speaking of Garnets, Dagger will go back to normal. You'll also receive the Hilda Garde III, an airship that will allow you to travel to most of the world map... not that there's a hell of a lot left to see.
- Your next destination is Ipsen's Castle, a topsy-turvy location in the northwest of the world map. Before heading there, though, we're going to check out a side area that's worth the trip: the scholar's paradise of Daguerreo.
Part Twenty-Three: Daguerreo