Final Fantasy VI copyright Square Enix.
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Imperial Palace

- After the events of the Cave of the Sealed Gate, the Blackjack will crash outside Maranda. 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.) I recommend bringing 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 upon arrival. 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. Two tips before speaking with the Emperor: ignore all chests and set your character to run automatically. You’ll understand why in a moment. (Sprint Shoes are pretty awesome here, too, though they’re not at all compulsory.)

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 his 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.
  • First, there are two soldiers in Gestahl’s throne room. They don’t count. Ignore them. They’re stupid anyway.
  • Head south to the entry hall of the Palace. There are four soldiers standing guard. Continue south and to the front of the Palace to find three more soldiers, one of which will attack. Blast his Mega Armor with a nice, strong attack, such as Thundara.
  • Back inside. Head to the east wing of the Palace and check out the second door up the stairs. (The first contains Kefka, lingering in jail. He’ll waste a lot of time and net you squat. Screw ‘im.) 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, and 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. The next door down leads to a barracks where six soldiers meander about in a confusing huddle. One of them will attack as a Sergeant. Check the rear bathroom and you’ll find another dude who will do the same.

Once the four minutes are up you’l be immediately whisked off to Gestahl’s banquet. What follows is a series of toasts and questions. How you respond to Gestahl will determine your manners at the end of the banquet, and the rewards that follow. 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; opt to ask all of them, starting with the first (‘Why did you start the war?’) and working your way down the list. After another comment, which you can answer with ‘They have gone a bit too far…’, repeat your first choice with the previous list (‘Why did you start the war?’) for maximum points.

Cid will eventually ask 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 ever so slightly longer if Cyan is in the party) you’ll be free to leave, though only Locke and Terra will now be in your active party. You’ll have no way to change this, either.

Head out of the Imperial Palace. On your way you’ll be greeted by an Imperial. Depending on the number of troops you spoke with and your manners at the banquet, you’ll receive the following gifts from the emperor:
  • A withdrawal of troops from South Figaro
  • A withdrawal of troops from Doma Castle
  • The Imperial Observation Post will be unlocked
  • A Tintinnabulum
  • A Ward Bangle

New Territory

- Your next destination is the port of Albrook, to the south. 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. But first…

- 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 a Gale Hairpin and a Holy Water.

- Assuming you were super polite and spoke to all of the soldiers, check the Imperial Observation Post. In the basement sit a ton of 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.

- 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 will be joined by Shadow to have a look at the small, odd town of Thamasa.