It's a brave new world, though it's not quite what Aldous Huxley wrote about. Let's have a look around, shall we?
When Celes sets out on the raft that Cid built for her, she's on the sea for a few days before eventually making landfall near the town of Albrook. The equipment that they sell here is pretty much the same as it was before the end of the world. The people, however, have new information now. Some say that Kefka's become something of a god and has built himself a tower, from which he looks down upon the world and fries whole towns should they be home to so much as one person who opposes him.
Others tell us about how the world is different after it was pretty much nuked by all the magical energy that got set loose when Kefka started shoving those giant statues around on the Floating Continent. One guy says that when everything changed, there were ancient monsters released. He mentions a few by name: Phunbaba, Death Gaze, and the eight dragons.
There are even a few people who mention having seen other party members, specifically Sabin. They say that Celes looks like Sabin, for some reason, and that he went north to Tzen to look for friends. So, I guess we'll stock up on a few items and head north.
In Tzen, there's a house that's about to collapse with a kid trapped inside. Making matters worse, the house is full of monsters, to boot. This is where we see that Sabin's still alive after the end of the world. He says that he'll continue trying to hold up the structure, in hopes that he can give Celes long enough to go in and bring the kid out. There are a few good items to be retrieved, most notably the Heal Rod and the Holy Rod, or as it was called in this game, the Pearl Rod. This is a lot like the translation for Final Fantasy 4, where all the Holy-elemental weapons, items and spells were called White. Here, they're all called Pearl. I'm not entirely sure why, but there you go. There's also a chunk of Magicite that summons a random Esper if used as an item in battle and something called the Drainer.
It's important to have a Relic on Celes that prevents the petrification status, because most of the monsters in the collapsing house will cause it when they die, which, at this point, will wipe out the party and cause the mission to fail. Fortunately, I did have a Jewel Ring, which did the trick.
After getting the kid out and chatting with Sabin for a minute about seeing him alive again, Celes has gone from feeling completely lost and hopeless to confident that everybody's still alive and that they can save the world. That's quite the 180, but not uncommon for games in this era. Other townsfolk suggest that we head east and find what used to be the Serpent Trench. It's all above water now, and it's a curved strip of land that connects Moblitz on its eastern end to the port town of Nikkea on its northern end, with a tower in the middle. The tower was built by a group called the Cult of Kefka. There's a magic-only side quest that involves Strago, but it'll be quite awhile before we can get to that.
In the meantime, we're going to head east to Moblitz, or at least what's left of it, and see what's going on there. If memory serves, Terra's there, but won't be rejoining the party just yet. And I think we also have the first of two encounters with Phunbaba, one of those ancient beasts they mentioned in Albrook.
But that's for next time. Until then, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA!