This time, we go from one end of the former Serpent Trench to the other, and just a little bit beyond.
When we left off, I'd taken Sabin and Celes to the town of Moblitz, on the eastern end of the Serpent Trench. When we first enter, some dogs bark at us, alerting a child to our presence, who scurries into one of the few remaining buildings. The town really got the shit kicked out of it when the world ended. There's a cave in the basement, where the town's survivors are hiding out. It's mostly kids, with David and Katarin, two lovers we'd seen there earlier, are the oldest of the survivors.
With them is Terra, who found herself there after the airship broke up during the escape from the Floating Continent. She explains that the very day of the disaster, Kefka fried the town with his magic beam, and most of the adults died protecting the kids. When she saw all this, Terra somehow came to the conclusion that she needed to be there for the kids as a mother figure of some sort. As she tried to figure out why that was, she lost her will to fight. This is only made worse by the fact that Phunbaba, the ancient demon somebody mentioned in Albrook, has been terrorizing the town.
Hard as Sabin and Celes try to convince Terra to come with them to fight Kefka, she says no because she has this need to stay for the children, so the pair goes on their way without her. Shortly thereafter, Phunbaba attacks. Terra tries to fight him, but can't do a damn thing to him. Fortunately, Celes and Sabin aren't too far off and come back to chase the monster away.
Back in the children's hiding place, we see that Terra really got her ass handed to her. She says that this is just further proof that she should stay behind and take care of the kids. As Celes and Sabin depart for the second time, one of the kids hands over the Magicite for the Esper Fenrir. With all that out of the way, the only thing left to do is move on and search for other friends, which means going to the other end of the Serpent Trench and the town of Nikkea.
In Nikkea, everybody's on edge, afraid of getting hit by Kefka's Light of Judgment, because it seems it hasn't yet. There's also news that Castle Figaro hit a snag in the desert after it dove to avoid destruction, and the prisoners escaped the jail through a damaged wall that lead into Figaro Cave near South Figaro. The band of thieves is hanging out in the cafe', discussing their plan to sneak into the castle and jack all the treasure hidden in the store room. Once they've all spilled the beans, they head to the ship docked at the port. Before the boat leaves, though, there's one more person that needs to be found. There's this guy called Gerad hiding behind some crates out back of the cafe'. He's supposed to be the real leader of the thieves. Talking to him basically makes Celes question him on being King Edgar of Figaro. He'll deny it, of course, because he's using the criminals to get back into his own castle and reclaim the place.
Celes and Sabin sneak onto the boat and follow the thieves to South Figaro, with Edgar keeping the Gerad persona going there, too. When we talk to him in his room at the Inn, he acts all miffed at us for continuing to follow him, and when one of the thieves comes in to say that everything's ready, they head off to the cave.
When Celes and Sabin go into the cave after Edgar, they run into Siegfried, who says he's going to wipe out the monsters for them. His real motive is to get into a part of the cave we haven't had access to before and hork the treasure before the party can. He does a pretty good job of it, until the party catches him in a side tunnel just before the part that goes into the castle. Something tells me this is one of those things that changes something later in the game depending on if you catch him or not. I usually go see what he's doing, just out of habit.
When the party gets into the castle, it's officially revealed that Gerad actually is Edgar, as he tries to help a wounded guard. We need to get into the engine room of the castle, which is across the main entry foyer of the castle. The guy who used to flip the switch to move the castle lets us through now, whereas he didn't before. There are monsters in these two new sub-basements, and some of them can be nasty if you're unlucky or unprepared. The worst part is the boss fight in the main engine room itself. Edgar, as Gerad, sends in his thieves to get the treasure, and then joins the party to fight a four-tentacled monster that's jamming up the engine. This is one of quite a lot of bosses in this half of the game that can be a real bitch and a half to take out. I had thought I was going about it right, because I took out one of the four tentacles easily enough, but then it all went to crap on me and I wound up getting everybody killed, so it was time to call it a night.
So, with that in mind, I'll pick the next issue up with the boss fight again and go from there. See you then, folks.