Terra and Banon inspect Vector, after an Esper attack, in Final Fantasy VI.
Final Fantasy VI copyright Square Enix.
Images used for educational purposes only.

Imperial Palace

The Blackjack crashes outside Maranda after the events of the Sealed Gate. The airship can't move for a while after this, and you'll need to complete a few more sections of Final Fantasy VI before you regain aerial mobility.

Choose a party, assuming you want to change things up after the Cave, and make tracks for Vector. (If you don’t want to walk, check the forests southeast of Maranda for a Chocobo Stable.) Bring at least one character good at inflicting a ton of damage to a single enemy, namely strong magic users or Edgar / Sabin / Cyan / Gau.

Vector is a ruin. The normal inhabitants are gone, replaced by Returners, and you can no longer buy items, rest, or visit the Magitek Factory. That said, you can now approach the Imperial Palace, the one part of Vector that was perpetually blocked earlier in the game.

Upon arrival in the far north you’ll be ushered into the presence of Emperor Gestahl. Among other things, he’ll ask you to speak to his soldiers. This triggers a special little quest that can earn you a great deal... assuming you complete it correctly. 

The party speaks to Emperor Gestahl, head of the Empire, in Final Fantasy VI.

Brokering Peace

Emperor Gestahl wants peace, and he wants his people to desire the same. Problem is, many of his soldiers aren’t willing to listen to reason. He asks your team to wander around the Imperial Palace and speak to as many soldiers as you can, twenty-four in all. You only have four minutes to complete this task, so it’s wise to perform this task efficiently. This list will cover the locations of all twenty-four soldiers.
  • Head south to the entry hall of the Palace. There are four soldiers standing guard
  • Head south, to the front of the palace, to find three more soldiers, one of whom will attack. Blast his Mega Armor with a nice, strong attack, such as Thundara, or one of the aforementioned single-target special attacks you hopefully brought along.
  • Head to the east wing of the Imperial Palace and check out the second door up the stairs. In here you’ll find two soldiers in a small bedroom and a third in an adjoining bathroom.
  • Head to the roof. There are four soldiers in Magitek Armor up here, as well as a soldier wandering the upper-left ramparts. If you check the uppermost chamber that’s previously been the setting for a few cut scenes you’ll find one more guy. He’ll fight you as a Sergeant.
  • Descend the stairs to the west wing. There's a soldier in the hallway on the way down. The next door down leads to a barracks where six soldiers meander about in a confusing huddle. One of them attacks as a Sergeant. Check the rear bathroom in the north of the room to find another soldier, who also attacks.
There are three people in particular whom you should ignore, as they don't count. The first two are the soldiers in Gestahl's throne room. The third is none other than Kefka, who is locked in a jail cell in the east wing of the palace. Kefka rants for quite a while if you make the mistake of speaking to him, and is just a big waste of time. You'll get a chance to hear him complain after this is all said and done. There are also several chests to collect, and you shouldn't bother with any of them unless you've already spoken to all twenty-four soldiers.

The party dines with Emperor Gestahl in Final Fantasy VI.

Once the four minutes are up you’ll be whisked off to Gestahl’s banquet. What follows is a series of toasts and questions. How you respond to Gestahl determines your manners at the end of the banquet, and the rewards you receive for your overall etiquette. Use the following answers to appease Gestahl:
  • ‘To out homelands.’
  • ‘Leave him in jail.’
  • ‘That was inexcusable.’
  • ‘Celes is one of us!’
That done, Gestahl will ask if you have any questions. You have three choices, and you should ask all of them, starting with the first (‘Why did you start the war?’) and working your way down the list. Make sure you don't repeat any questions, or you'll lose points. After another comment, which you can answer with ‘They have gone a bit too far...’, repeat your first choice from the previous list (‘Why did you start the war?’) for maximum points.

Cid now asks if you want to take a break. Agree, then speak with Gestahl’s attendants. They’ll ask for a fight. Agreeing will earn you yet more points... though lord knows how that’s considered polite. Sit down again after beating them, then say ‘That your war is truly over.’ when prompted.

Agreeing to help Gestahl when first asked will bring this session to an end. After a meeting with General Leo (which is slightly longer if Sabin, Cyan, or both are in the party) you’ll be free to leave, though only Locke and Terra are now in your active party. You’ll have no way to change this, either, so make sure they're outfitted with the best equipment you've got. 

Terra receives a nice bonus for being courteous to Imperials in Final Fantasy VI.

Head out of the Imperial Palace. On your way you’ll be greeted by an Imperial official. Depending on the number of troops you spoke with and your manners at the banquet, you’ll receive the following gifts, in this order, courtesy of the emperor:
  • A withdrawal of troops from South Figaro
  • A withdrawal of troops from Doma Castle
  • A room in the Imperial Observation Post will be unlocked
  • A Tintinnabulum
  • A Ward Bangle
Terra explores the basement of the Imperial Base in Final Fantasy VI.

New Territory

Your next destination is the port of Albrook, to the south of Vector. You only have Terra and Locke in your party, so be careful as you travel. All you have to do is speak to General Leo down by the docks (checking a create nearby for a Teleport Stone), stay at the inn, then talk to Leo again to get underway. There are two places you should check before going to Albrook, however:
  • Check the chests in the Imperial Palace that you skipped before. Located in a western storeroom is an X-Potion and an Alarm Earring; in the barracks is an Ether; and in the bedroom in the east wing is a Gale Hairpin and a Holy Water.
  • Assuming you were super polite and spoke to all of the soldiers, check the Imperial Observation Post, to the east of Albrook. In the basement of the post's central building you'll find a ton of treasure chests. They contain Angel Wings, an X-Potion, a Hi-Ether, a Reflect Ring, a Flametongue (in the stove), Hermes Sandals, an Elixir, an Alarm Ring, an Angel Ring, and a mighty sum of 41,000 gil from multiple chests.
Locke attempts to apologize to Celes in Final Fantasy VI.

Once all is said and done you’ll be on the ship bound for the eastern-most continent on the map. Along the way you’ll have some emotional conversations, and once you debark Terra and Locke are joined by Shadow to check out a remote, insular town called Thamasa.