Previous Part: A Sinking Feeling

Storyline text and attempted translations from...

Final Fantasy V

 Butz Lenna Galuf Faris Exploration

But first, who can resist exploring? There are no random encounters on the ocean in the submarine, much less when underwater, so nothing's stopping us.

Due east of where the undersea cave to the barrier tower was, the ocean floor has a large crack in it. Although an interesting feature, the submarine won't enter, and nothing else happens, so it's of no importance for now.

Of more relevance is a spot in the west marked on the underwater map. Surfacing here gives access to another town. I won't go into more detail until it becomes plot-relevant, but for those with the money, they sell not only new equipment but also all level five (and four) White, Black, and Timespace spells.

Another mark in the northwest indicates yet another underwater cave, this one with some fairly dangerous monsters.

The Druid (ドルイド), one of the monsters in this cave, has Black Shock in its !Control list.

The cave leads to the mountain-ringed lake north of Surgate Castle. There's not much here at first glance, except a chocobo forest with a single chocobo.

「クエーっ! : Kweh!
"A female chocobo...
 Can't ride her."

Why not? Not that there's anywhere to go around here, but still, that seems weirdly arbitrary.

However, fighting battles in the forest around the lake commonly leads to an encounter with the dread beast Catoblepas, which counters any damage it takes with the petrifying Demon's Eye. That's its only truly threatening attack, though, so using only powerful attacks and curing as needed makes the battle fairly simple. Upon defeat, it drops the Catoblepas item, which adds Catoblepas to the summon list when used.

ギードのほこら Butz Lenna Galuf Faris Gheed's Shrine

Though now underwater, the cave seems intact and even still has breathable air, though it's also full of monsters, because of course it is.

One particularly noteworthy monster is Metamorpha (メタモルファ), which has no attacks of its own, but will transform into other monsters, then use one of their attacks before turning back. These include Elf Toad, which will use Frog Song, and Crew Dust, which will use Flash. More importantly for Blue Magic collectors, its Fan Demon transformation uses Aeroga, which neither the actual monster nor anything else so far has used. Aeroga doesn't quite measure up to the -ga level Black Magic spells in terms of power, but it at least costs slightly less to cast, and the element comes in handy sometimes.

Each Metamorpha has a fixed set of three monsters it can turn into, either Shiva, Ifrit, and Ramuh; Shiva, Gayla Cat, and Elf Toad; Ifrit, Wyvern, and Fan Demon; or Ramuh, Crew Dust, and Dragon Zombie. Keep that in mind to more quickly identify useless ones when seeking skills.

Also, Radiator (ラジエーター) has Bloodsuck in its !Control list and may use it as a counterattack when damaged, for what it's worth.

Shortly into the cave, we come to a room with five doorways, all but one closed, and a formation of five chests in the center, only the center one closed.

"An empty box... hm?
 There's a big rock inside..."

This rock can be taken...

 This is heavy!!"

...which closes the open door. Placing it in a different chest opens one of the other doorways. Two lead nowhere, but one leads to a skull switch that opens the path ahead behind the fourth doorway. A passage on the next floor, only visible when nearby, leads to another skull switch that reveals a staircase down. After another floor that consists mainly of similar passages, we reach what looks like a dead end at a large pool of water. However, Butz spots something down there.

『カ! カメだ! "T-turtle!"

For whatever reason, this gives the option to jump in the water. Doing so takes us to a similar pool, and after climbing out, we continue across a causeway to a sort of an island where we find the turtle. Butz approaches it.

『なんだ、このカメ!? "What's with this turtle!?"

He harrasses the turtle, which ducks into its shell.

Galuf: Butz!
 Knock it off!!

Lenna and Faris advance. Butz ignores them all and keeps tormenting the turtle.

『こりゃあ、おもしろいや!! "But this's fun!!"

The turtle gets up, spins around, and hops a few times with apparent annoyance.

「やめんか!! : Knock it off!!

Butz, Lenna, and Faris fall back in astonishment.

『しゃ…しゃべった!? "It... it talked!?
Galuf: Sage Gheed.
 I'm terribly sorry.
"Then, this turtle is..."
Lenna: Sage Gheed?
Faris: For real!?

Galuf gives them a look.

Galuf: That's right!
 How rude!!

Gheed looks around at them all.

ギード「まあよい、まあよい! Gheed: Oh, it's all right!
: Never mind that.
 More to the point... I have something
 to tell you, and we need to hurry...
"Is this about Exdeath?"
: Indeed.
 What he seeks is in the
 Great Forest of Moore.
"Great Forest of Moore?"
: The living woods that stretch out
 west of Surgate Castle...
 The place Exdeath was born...
: 500 years ago, evil hearts swarming
 about what is sealed in the woods of
 Moore turned a tree into a monster...
: That is Exdeath...
 I kept Exdeath sealed for
 500 years... but that was
 broken thirty years ago...
"The battle thirty years ago of
 the Four Warriors of Dawn..."
: Indeed. Dorgan and the others
 did well. They sealed Exdeath
 away using the Crystals.
: But he has returned.
"Thanks to us..."
: No, that isn't so.
: What is sealed will return...
 You must vanquish him this time!!
"Where is he!?"
: Most likely...
: The Great Forest of Moore...
 He seeks what sleeps there...
"The Great Forest of Moore..."
: Please!
 Go to the Great Forest of Moore
 and protect what sleeps there!!

Gheed steps back, and the party circles up.

"To the Great Forest of Moore..."
Galuf: Time to avenge Zeza!
Faris: We'll vanquish Exdeath!
Lenna: Let's go!
: The woods of Moore are alive.
 They will attack whomever
 may enter the forest.
: Take this with you.

Gheed ducks into his shell briefly before handing Butz a branch.

Received the Elder Branch
from Sage Gheed!!
"And this is?"
: A branch of the eldest tree... part of the
 one who guards the seal. You should
 be able to enter the forest with that...
: Hurry!
 Exdeath is already headed
 for the woods of Moore!
"Got it!"

ムーアの村 Butz Lenna Galuf Faris Village of Moore

The submarine can surface in a lake next to this village in the west. As noted above, they sell new magic and equipment.

It's said that in the deepest depths
of the Moore woods is the eldest
tree that guards the seal.
なんだか クポ クポ さわぐ
I was rescued by a peculiar creature
when I got lost in the Moore woods.
It was an odd fellow, kept making
these kupo, kupo noises.
Legend has it that 500 years ago
something beautiful was sealed
somewhere in the forest to the east.
Tree spirits sometimes hide the paths
that lead deeper into the woods.
The tree spirits don't normally show
themselves. They'll speak to you if
you peek into the little holes in the
tree trunks, though.

There's also another piano in the pub. Hey, isn't that actual classical music?

Piano master!'re almost there.

It's barely worth mentioning at this point, but outside the town the... Bold Manny(?)—seriously, am I missing a mythological reference or something?—(ボールドマニー)... have Bloodsuck in their !Control list, and need to be given MP before they can even use it.

ムーアの大森林 Butz Lenna Galuf Faris Great Forest of Moore

The path seems to dead end almost immediately, but then the branch reacts.

Lenna: The Elder Branch we
 received from Gheed!

The branch shines, and an opening appears in the growth.

Faris: The forest...
"It's accepting us...?"

The Mini Magician (ミニマジシャン) in the forest is the first enemy with Little Melody, and uses it at least once every third turn, unless it runs out of MP. The skill inflicts 'minimum' status on one target. It has the same cost as the White Magic spell [white magic] Minimum, but lower accuracy, though it can't be reflected.

The... Gajela Gajelly(?) (ガジェラガジェリ)... has Aerora in its !Control list, in case you're missing that.

Not much further in, the path appears to stop again, but examining a hole in a tree trunk prompts something shiny to come out and reveal a tunnel under the tree. There's a similar setup at the end of the next area, too. Then, not far beyond a save point, comes a sudden rumbling that knocks everyone off their feet. Exdeath's theme plays, so this can't be a good thing.

『なんだ? "What?"

On the world map, a massive forest fire starts in the south and rapidly spreads northward.

"It couldn't be...
 Exdeath is burning
 down the forest!?

With fires burning all around, the party is trapped. However, after a delay...

モーグリ「クポー! Moogle: Kupo!

A moogle pops out of a hole in the ground, waves, then hops back in. The party follows, finding a safe cave underground, complete with a recovery spring. One moogle guards the exit while another roams around.

『しばらくここでようすを見よう。 "Let's watch the situation from here for now."

After a delay, the moogle by the exit moves out of the way. The party emerges to find the fire died out and the forest in ashes, though as a silver lining, that at least improves visibility and makes it easier to navigate. Unfortunately, the monsters remain unaffected.

A chest now in plain sight nearby contains a Flame Shield if opened now, or an Aegis Shield if taken before the fire. The Flame Shield has higher raw stats and absorbs Flame damage, while the Aegis Shield prevents 'petrified' status and also has a unique effect that gives a 1 in 3 chance to block most magic, including many common spells that otherwise always hit. Both shields are uncommon, and both can be stolen in potentially unlimited quantities from late-game enemies.

There's an exit to the south shortly ahead, where the view from the world map gives some idea of the sheer extent of the damage. Besides the burned forest, there's also now a gap in the mountains to the south, making the area reachable by wyvern.

Chests near the exit contain some Soot (largely useless) and a Flametongue (useful for Knights). Another dead end appears to the north.

レナ「あれは…? Lenna: Is that...?

The screen pans up to show an unusually large tree.

Galuf: The Eldest Tree...
 guardian of the seal...?

The screen flashes a few times...

『長老の枝が!? "The Elder Branch!?"

...the branch rises toward the tree, and the nearby forest rearranges itself into a pathway leading to a doorway that opens in the trunk of the large tree. The dooway closes behind the party after they enter. In the back of the trunk, four organic pillars have... some sort of energy rippling across them?

"What are these?"
Galuf: Are they what's sealed!?

The energy things descend the pillars with menacing red flashes.

ガラフ「来るぞっ!! Galuf: Here they come!!

Four nameless crystalline enemies attack. All four are immune to Holy, Poison, Thunder, and Ice. Each additionally absorbs a different single one of the remaining four elements: the top one Flame, the bottom one Earth, the one in the front Water, and the one in the back Wind.

Each uses only unremarkable physical attacks at first. However, each starts spamming a high-powered spell associated with its element once its health gets low enough (under about 40%): [black magic] Figa, Earth Shaker, Aqua Breath, or Aeroga. The key to keeping this battle manageable is to deal with one at a time.

Curiously, they aren't Heavy, nor are they immune to instant death. That opens up all sorts of cheap tactics.

Aqua Breath and Aeroga are learnable. Though neither one is new, they're at least easy to get hit with reliably here.

The energy things retreat back to the pillars. But then...

 ファファファ… 礼を言うぞ。
: I expected as much from the warriors
 carrying on the hearts of the Crystals!
 You've done well to undo the seal...
 Fwa fwa fwa... you have my thanks.
ガラフ「エクスデス!! Galuf: Exdeath!!
Exdeath: The seal has been undone
 by the power of the Four Warriors!

The energy things take on a more concrete, meaningful shape.

Galuf: Crystals!?
Exdeath: The power of the
 Crystals once bound me...
 and now, it will be mine!

Exdeath summons the Crystals to line up in front of him.

Exdeath: Kneel before the Crystals!

Energy flows from each of the Crystals, knocking the party members over and pushing them up against the far wall. The scene fades... then fades in at Bal Castle, where Karulu stands by the wyvern, looking worried.

Karulu: My heart is racing...
 Has something happened to
 grampa and the others...?

The resident moogle rushes out and hops with apparent agitation.

Moogle: Kupo!
Karulu: What?
 In the Great Forest of Moore!?
クルル「飛竜! Karulu: Wyvern!

Karulu heads to the wyvern as the scene fades out... then fades back in inside the tree, where the situation remains unchanged.

Exdeath: This is the end!

The screen shakes as Exdeath presumably cranks up the output, but then something shiny circles around and knocks him away, ending the barrage.

    バッツ! レナ!
Karulu: Grampa!
 Butz! Lenna!
Galuf: What about Exdeath...!?
Karulu: It's fine. He shouldn't be
 able to move for a while...

So of course Exdeath gets up almost immediately.

エクスデス「きさま… Exdeath: Damn you...

He conjures what looks like a ring of fire that encircles Karulu.

クルル「なにするんだよっ!! Karulu: What are you doing!?
エクスデス「死ねい!! Exdeath: Die!!

He starts moving the ring around, slamming her into the walls.

クルル「お…じいちゃ…ん! Karulu:!

Galuf struggles to his feet.

ガラフ「ク…ル…ル…! Galuf:!

Exdeath, noticing this, resumes the barrage from the Crystals, but this time, Galuf stubbornly remains standing and even pushes back against the energy.

Exdeath: Are you sure you want
 to do that, Galuf? If you fight
 against this power, the
 Crystals will shatter!!

Galuf hesitates, then turns to see Karulu collapsing.

ガラフ「クルル!! Galuf: Karulu!!

He presses on, and sure enough, the Crystal attacking him shatters. Undeterred, Galuf forces his way through the ring of fire, tossing Karulu to safety, then seems to absorb it and stands with a glowing aura to face down her attacker.

ガラフ「エクスデス!! Galuf: Exdeath!!

Galuf charges him and engages in single combat, with a new battle theme. However, his health is draining rapidly, and Exdeath's attacks are more than he can handle on his own. And yet... even with no health left, he keeps fighting.

エクスデス「くらえっ!! Exdeath: Take this!!

Exdeath uses Vacuum Wave (しんくうは), hitting for four digits of damage regardless of defense. And yet... Galuf keeps fighting.

「わたしを本気にさせたな! : You've made me get serious!
「死の世界へ 行くがいい!! : To the world of the dead with you!!

Exdeath casts [black magic] Flare, [white magic] Holy, and [time magic] Meteor in rapid succession, inflicting massive amounts of damage... but Galuf shrugs it all off.

エクスデス「な なぜ死なん!? Exdeath: Wh-why won't you die!?
ガラフ「まだまだ! Galuf: Not yet!
「まだまだ死ねんのじゃ! : I can't die yet!
ガラフ「この命 燃えつきても! Galuf: Even if my life burns away!
「わしは きさまを たおす!! : I will vanquish you!!
エクスデス「いかりや にくしみで Exdeath: Rage and hatred
「わたしを たおすことはできぬ! : cannot defeat me!
ガラフ「……いかりでも…… Galuf: ...this is neither rage...
「……にくしみでもない……!! : ...nor hatred...!!
エクスデス「では なんだと…… Exdeath: Then, what...?

Exdeath falls, and the remaining Crystals stop their attack. However, Galuf also collapses, and everyone else remains unable to move. Exdeath uses the opportunity to gather up the Crystals and teleport away. The others slowly recover... except for Galuf.

Karulu: ......
レナ「ガラフ!! Lenna: Galuf!!
: Grampa!!
: Galuf!!
: Hang on!!
: It's... too late...
 I'm... done for...

Sad music fades in.

『ガラフ! なに言ってるんだ!!
"Galuf! What are you saying!?"
Lenna: Galuf!
Faris: Stand up!
Karulu: Open your eyes!!
: Butz...
 Lenna, Faris...
 and Karulu...
: Grampa!
 You can't die!!
"Don't die, Galuf!
: Please!
: Open your eyes!
Phoenix Tail!

But to no avail. His body flickers and disappears.

   ガラフの命はつきた… Galuf's life expired...

Karulu stumbles forward and collapses.

: Grampa!!
 You can't!
 Don't die!!

After a long delay, the music fades, the screen flashes several times, and Karulu gets up.

Karulu: Grampa is calling me...!!

The entrance reopens and she heads outside.

: Karulu...
: What!

She runs around, seeing nothing, until what looks like a vine circlet drops from the tree.

: I'm borrowing the power of the
 Eldest Tree that guarded the
 Crystals for a thousand years
 to send you my strength...
 クルル… 泣くな…
 Karulu... don't cry...
 Fight with Butz...
 and the others...

Karulu: Grampa!
 No! Come back!
: You're not alone...
 You know this, Karulu...
Karulu inherited Galuf's Abilities!!

And his experience points, level, job levels and experience... only her base stats, and of course her appearance, are any different from what Galuf had. His equipment goes into your inventory, too, so there's not even any need to remove it ahead of time. While that's certainly convenient from a gameplay standpoint, immediately replacing Galuf with someone who can so readily take his place feels like it blunts the impact of his death.

Karulu: Grampa...
 It's warm...
 I can feel you...
: I will... always be
 here... within you...
Karulu: Grampa...
 I understand.
Karulu: What?
 Exdeath is...?

The others emerge from the tree.

『クルル! "Karulu!"
: Butz!
 Lenna, Faris!
 I'll fight with you!!
: Exdeath is intending to
 shatter all the Crystals.
 Grampa told me so.
 We've got to hurry!
 Let's go!
 To Exdeath Castle!
クルル「飛竜! Karulu: Wyvern!

The wyvern lands, and everyone gets on to fly off. It's time to confront Exdeath...

Anyway, now that Karulu has joined the party, let's take a moment to showcase how she looks in all the jobs available:

Knight:Karulu - Knight Monk:Karulu - Monk Thief:Karulu - Thief Wyrmknight:Karulu - Wyrmknight Ninja:Karulu - Ninja Samurai:Karulu - Samurai Berserker:Karulu - Berserker
Hunter:Karulu - Hunter Sword Mage:Karulu - Sword Mage White Mage:Karulu - White Mage Black Mage:Karulu - Black Mage Time Mage:Karulu - Time Mage Summoner:Karulu - Summoner Blue Mage:Karulu - Blue Mage
Red Mage:Karulu - Red Mage Beast Tamer:Karulu - Beast Tamer Chemist:Karulu - Chemist Geomancer:Karulu - Geomancer Minstrel:Karulu - Minstrel Dancer:Karulu - Dancer Normal:Karulu - Normal

Previous Part: A Sinking Feeling

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