Well, OK, King Edgar of Figaro isn't nearly as bad as the Looney Tunes Character I'm comparing him to, but he is as close as any Final Fantasy character I can remember has come.
And to be honest, I'm much more willing to put up with Edgar than I am of the classic cartoon skunk or the last bit of royalty we played, back in the early parts of Final Fantasy 4. Simply put, Edgar may be a womanizer like Pepe, but his “lust-mode”, if you will, is much less overbearing, which is a plus, as is the fact that unlike FF4's Edward, he's actually useful in battle. Not only can he fight, but he's got quite a collection of tools he can use in battle.
But first we've gotta get him in the party, so it's off to Castle Figaro. It's a good chance to use Locke's thief skill, even if it doesn't get much this early in the game. It only works about a third of the time, but it does get some healing items when it does.
Once we actually get to the castle, the guard takes a minute to ID Locke, but lets us in once he does. Castle Figaro is actually a pretty damn cool castle. At first look, it doesn't seem like much, aside from all the ventilation fans on the top. There's a couple shops here that sell various potions and recovery items, on the left, and Edgar's tools, on the right. That is the downside to those, that they do have to be bought or found, as we don't get to see him just invent them on the fly at certain levels.
After we're all stocked up on stuff, it's off to actually meet King Edgar. He and Locke discuss business for a bit, part of which is introducing Terra. After Edgar makes a fool of himself, he says that he and Locke still have a bit of other business to discuss and that he's getting a bit rusty at hitting on women.
As Terra, we're free to look about the castle for a bit. There's a key person we need to talk to in the west wing of the castle, who tells us about Edgar's twin brother Sabin. I won't say he's gone so far as to actually renounce the throne, but he'd certainly left all the royal duties to Edgar several years earlier when their father got sick and died. I don't recall it ever being said what happened to their mother, presumably the queen, which I find interesting.
When that story's told, Edgar will be back in the throne room, waiting for Terra to show back up. He'll ask how she likes his fancy castle. It's OK, but we really haven't seen much because we're not allowed very far into the lower levels. The Chocobo Guards are the best things so far. One comes in to tell us that Kefka has come to visit the castle on behalf of the Empire.
On his way to the castle, we see that Kefka is not a well man, psychologically speaking. He only seems a little crazy right now, ordering his two soldiers to brush the sand off his boots because he can, I guess. Naturally, he gets worse before the end, especially once he learns how to get his own magic.
This first encounter has two parts. In the first part, Edgar bluffs and says he doesn't know where Terra is, since that's who Kefka's after. Later that night, Kefka comes back and tries to burn the castle down. It doesn't work as well as one might think, because not only is there not as much flammable stuff around as one might think, but the castle can actually dive beneath the sand to put the fire out, too. This is the first of many cool scenes in the game, seeing the wings of the castle retract before the whole thing sinks in the sand to leave Kefka on his ass.
Of course, Edgar has Chocobos ready to get himself, Locke, and Terra to ride off into the desert on before the castle does dive. This is only one of two times I can think of where we can get into fights while still on Chocobos, as these birds will, for the most part, prevent battles. And in Final Fantasy 7, fighting with Chocobos is how we catch rides with them.
What happens here is a mini-boss fight against two MagiTek Armor Units. The funny thing that happens here is that Edgar and Locke start loosing their shit when Terra uses magic in this fight, because it's the first time they've ever seen it get done. Once the fight's done, the men try to convince Terra to join the Returners because they'll need her help to stop the Empire from taking over the world with magic. They explain themselves on the way to the next town, a place called South Figaro.
The thing about the Chocobos is that in each game, with the exception of 2 and 4, far as I can tell, each game handles the iconic yellow-feathered mounts a little differently. In the initial encounters, the birds were found in forests and could be ridden by talking to them. In this game, there are barns around the world where they can be rented. This is the only time I know of where we get the sort of 3-D experience with them, too. I can't really speak to how it is in the later games, because I've not played them nearly enough.
Once we're done with our little ride, there's a cave that leads to South Figaro. Edgar tells the guard to head back to the castle and tell the Chancellor that everybody's safe, and the party proceeds through the cave. The monsters here are a little tougher, but that's to be expected, and the increase is gradual over the course of the game. This cave is not so hard, and there's even some decent treasure in the twists and turns.
Since we're all leveled up a bit, it would be smart to use the inn before saving for now. As we enter the town, we see a man all dressed in black headed to the inn as well. Keep him in mind, as he'll be important later. But for now, it's a quick trip to the Inn to get all healed up before we get into a few more details next time.