FFXII: Revenant Wings (8) – Chapter 4 – Have Folding Canoe, Will Travel

Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, we caught up with Ba’Gamnan’s old pals, explored our newly-remodeled airship, crafted custom weapons with ridiculous names, and stopped dastardly sky pirates from exploiting and robbing the aegyl.

While engaging in some of the same behavior ourselves. Oopsie.

Alas, it is time to bid farewell to Clan Wee Sprats:

Clan Wee Sprats

…and return to Clan Vaanity, because really I can’t think of a better name.

(Don’t worry, I haven’t played this game for godawful numbers of hours; apparently the clock keeps ticking if I leave the emulator on pause).

And now it’s time to visit the Skysea on a new and exciting island!

view of sea surrounding port Marilith

Whose name is quite a mouthful:

Llyud: The Muruc Cahuac Skysea is the largest isle in Lemurés.

Easy for YOU to say.

The Muruc Cahuac Skysea: A picturesque island named for the sparkling blue sea that dominates much of its surface. Its white beaches and lively port town have already marked it as a jewel by sky pirates. The sea itself is dotted with many small islands rumored to hide more literal treasures.

Tomaj reminds me once again why I dislike him:

Tomaj: We've made a sky salon that would be the envy of the East Ivalice company itself.

Tomaj: But it still feels like it could use something…

More unpaid labor, no doubt.

“East Ivalice Company?” That sounds awfully like the East India Company, doesn’t it?

Knock, Knock, it's Ivalice (spoof of history of Japan)

(See the history of Japan video if you haven’t, especially 3:00-5:00. Note the barrier around the islands keeping foreigners at bay until the Judge of Wings some jerkass with bigger guns shows up and says, “Open. The country. Stop having it be closed.”)

Penelo says there have to be more sky pirates like us, wanting to help the aegyl. Mmaaybe?

Penelo: if we find any others, we should bring them onto the airship. Strength in numbers, right?

Translation: We should encounter some new recruits in this chapter.

Filo is ready for some “real” adventure. Okay, okay. Break out the folding canoe. The most efficient way to cross a Mediterranean-sized sea is, obviously, by paddling:

Vaan and Penelo paddling the canoe

How delightfully retro: our airship half-submerges like a waterlogged Tiny Bronco, and then Vaan and Penelo appear in a wee canoe. It’s folding, so presumably we can fold the four other party members and their gear under the seats.

We take a lesiurely paddle around the Skysea, admiring islands and structures that we cannot yet enter. As with Bhujerba, waterfalls plunge over the edge into open sky.

Waterfalls cascading over the edge of the island holding the skysea

We’ve come so far since the floating continents of yore:

Shadow: Down with the Empire! Once I outlived my usefulness, they tried to off me!

Vaan folds the canoe into his pocket when we reach the sandy beach outside the main port. A handy travel brochure tries to provide an in-game reason for why we couldn’t just fly here.

Port Marilith: Breathtaking port overlooking the skysea. It is customary for the aegyl to travel the skysea by ship rather than fly, and the port bustles with travelers.

Once again, I’m reminded of all the stairs in the Fanes we visited. It seems like the aegyl will do anything but fly. Which raises the question of how they travel between sky islands.

At long last, we’ve reached a title screen!  “Chapter 4: A Grand Hunt.” (Screencapped a bit early so the letters wouldn’t hide the party).

Title: Chapter 4, a Grand Hunt

Oddly, nearly all of the port’s population appear to be non-aegyl.

Filo and Kytes hop up and down excitedly as the familiar strains of the Clan Centurio theme provide a festive atmosphere for the bustling port town.

Kytes and Filo dancing with excitement

Tomaj materalizes out of a Bag of Holding just long enough to warn us of unspecified danger (“You can cut the tension with a knife”) before running straight back to the Vaanity, probably stealing our canoe for the return trip.

Uh, thanks for that.

Tomaj’s doomsaying seems out of place amidst cheery music, palm trees, and a Costa Del Sol atmosphere. I suspect he’s not being entirely level with us. Was he borrowing the airship to come over here and sell contraband while we were busy on the other islands? Has he planted a field of pot he doesn’t want us to find, or what?

Oh well. We don’t want to talk to him anyway; let’s talk to everyone else!

Ba’Gamnan has grudges against a lot of people, doesn’t he?

Ba'Gamnan: I'd know that ship anywhere! They'll regret puttin' in to this port.

Vaan: They being your lackeys, I’m guessing?
Ba’Gamnan, still muzzled: Bite yer tongue! This is no concern of yours. I don’t need lackeys to handle your sort. Lucky for you I’ve got other scores to settle.

Boast if it makes you feel better, old chap. The curious thing is that the pirate ship he’s glaring at seems to be crewed by humes, not bangaa. So are they lackeys or rivals?

There’s just two aegyls in town besides Llyud, neither of them thrilled by the Ivalicians overrunning their port.

Sea-Dwelling Aegyl: I had heard what an unruly bunch these sky pirates were ,but I had not imagined...this.

“This”? Is that a euphemism for when pirates come rolling into port and— oh, phew. Never mind.

Aegyl: Still, that they walk among us in peace is more than can be said of those on the other islands.

Just how long have the humes and bangaa been infesting Port Marilith? Long enough to build water-based ships to sail the Skysea? Two years, perhaps, if that burst of Mist from the Sun Cryst in FFXII is what initially weakened the barrier enough to let outsiders in?

Port Watch: We never fly to traverse the skysea. A seagoing vessel is the only fitting way to cross.

Once again, I’d like to ask: Do aegyls ever fly outside of combat?

Port Watch: It is a display of humility in honor of the shrine that lies beneath its waves.

Oho, underwater dungeon!

Penelo rhapsodizes about the crisp air, and how this place feels more like a bazaar than a battle. A sad commentary on her upbringing, that those are her two default environments. But she reminds Vaan not to get carried away, since we’re still looking for the Judge of Wings.

Vaan has a cute bit of noncommunication with Llyud, who doesn’t understand why Vaan’s asking if he’s “having fun.” Llyud remarks on how much hume facial expressions change, because he is The Spock and doesn’t understand emotions hume things. Llyud also mentions that “the aegyl of this island hide themselves to avoid the commotion.” Their way of life is under siege.

Kytes marvels at the number of sky pirates in Port Marilith.

Kytes: You don't think it's a trap, do you?

Oh, Kytes. Anxious as ever.

Our next NPC points us towards the Path of Plot Advancement. A Hunt! I wonder if Vivi and Freya will be there?

Reckless Sky Pirate: When I heard Rikken was holdin' a hunt, I got here fast as I could.

Rikken? Whodat?

I was afraid he might be one of Ba’Gamnan’s former cronies, so I looked him up on FFWikia. Oh, that guy, one of the underwear-outside-of-pants fashion icons. He was Reddas’ right-hand-pirate in Balfonheim. Which is what Port Marilith feels like.

Rikken model from FFXII

Further NPC exposition reveals the tournament has an exorbitant entrance fee.

Both the reckless sky pirate and the nearby moogle can’t afford it, having wrecked their ship(s) on landing— not sure if they’re crew on the same ship, or if there’s some defense keeping people from landing any airships near the port. Guess it’s a good thing we used a canoe.

OH. Oh. Now we know whom Ba’Gamnan was glaring at: Rikken, Elza, and the beaky chap whose name I can’t remember.

Rikken: Well, well, look who we have here!

It’s an amiable reunion. Maybe these are the good sky pirates Penelo was hoping to find.

Rikken: The up-and-coming sky pirate has up and come. Good to see you, Vaan!

Elza: Been keeping well, have you? Raz: So it is, so it is! Haven't heard from you in ages!

Raz, that was the name. Remember that annoying footrace minigame? That’s the chap.

Nice hat.

Kytes and Filo whisper behind their hands, wondering who these people are, and Kytes guesses that Vaan and Penelo met them during “the war.” More like, “While wandering all over Ivalice waiting for the Princess to make up her mind whom to smite.”

Vaan asks what the Balfonheimers are doing here.

Raz: A sorry lot of pirates we'd be sitting around with an island's worth of treasure waiting to be had!

After more chitchat, we get down to brass tacks. Via a dialogue tree, Vaan can ask, “What’s all the commotion about?” which, obviously, is the hunt. Or he can ask about the Judge of Wings. I choose the latter.

Rikken: What I know is that I wish I didn't know what it is I knew.

Vaan poses the question several different ways, but Rikken clams up, claiming it’s for Vaan’s own good. Considering what happened to Rikken’s previous employer, Reddas, whom Vaan greatly admired, it’s possible that Rikken really is trying to save the boy from some heroic but suicidal stunt.

Okay, fine, let’s hear about the tournament.

Rikken: We're holding an auracite gathering tourney. A grand scavenger hunt, as it were.

Rikken: The First Annual Rikken Cup Auracite Scavenger Hunt, to be precise.

Sounds like this guy has borrowed Jecht’s grandiose turns of phrase as well as his dress sense.

Oh, dear. If we participate, we’ll once again be acting exactly like “bad” sky pirates, won’t we? And I thought we were supposed to be busy saving the world!

There’s some…unique aspects to Rikken’s characterization. Every once in a while the screen shakes like a sonic boom hitting a window, with a midi YAHOO! noise as if Rikken just let out a loud whoop. Sometimes he punctuates this noise with a sort of drunken half-cartwheel. It’s hard to explain:

Rikken: Consider yourselves on holiday. Enjoy!

Yes, after we’ve let the Judge of Wings destroy one of the auraliths and witnessed the death of Balthier (AND FRAN!), that’s just the time to celebrate!

Penelo: But we didn’t come for a holiday…

Oh, the prize for this whole Hunt is “a chalice bearing Rikken’s likeness.”  YAHOO!

Filo, bless her, is all excited and wants this highly valuable prize. I am less whelmed. No offense, but Rikken’s other fashion faux pas is to wear straps across his face like Nero the Sable, a truly disturbing creation from the febrile brain of Nomura. I don’t want any merchandise with that on it, thanks.

There’s just the tiny matter of the entry fee, a paltry 100,000 gil. Or rather:

Rikken: One hundred thousand a head, mind you.

Ah yes. We pay him 600,000 gil, collect as much auracite as possible and probably hand it over to him, and in return he gives us a chalice with his face on it. And the word “SUCKERZ” embossed on the rim?

Vaan: Now that’s sky piracy.

So much for the tourney. I prod Rikken once more about the Judge of Wings.

Rikken: You wouldn't be testing my patience now, would you? I'll talk no more of that unjust imposter!

Iiinnnnteresting. “Imposter” because she’s claiming to be a Judge, the opposite of Reddas, who was actually an honorable Judge Magister working incognito as a sky pirate? Or for some other reason?

Hitting a dead end on the “Judge of Wings” line of inquiry, Vaan blithely agrees to join the tournament, because it’s obviously the Path of Plot Advancement.

Penelo: Vaan, I don’t know how to break this to you, but we don’t have that kind of money.

Nonsense! We’ll just sell the multiple Tornesol swords and Zodiac Spears we picked up in the last game. Er.

After trying out all the dialogue tree options (Raz and Elza call Vaan a sorry excuse for a sky pirate when he declines the hunt), I try to back out of the conversation with “Never mind.” Ah. Here we go. The festive music stops, and it’s SRS BSNSS.

Rikken: Vaan, it would see you take us for petty thieves, when in fact our goal is much the same.

Balthier’s theme kicks in. Speaking of Judges in disguise. It sounds like Rikken and friends are indeed angry at the Judge of Wings for insulting Reddas’ memory by being a dishonorable Judge:

Elza: Dogs waggin' their tails as this mock magister tosses them scraps. It pains the eyes to look on!

Elza: A black mark on every honest pirate’s name.

Okay, so how does this mock tourney help combat the mock Judge?

Rikken: If it be auracite they’re after, let ’em find it themselves! Havin’ your treasure handed to you’s no way for a pirate to live.
Vaan: A treasure worth finding’s worth finding yourself.
Rikken: Precisely! And that’s the truth our friends have forgotten. It’s up to us to lead them back to the straight and narrow, and scuttle this judge’s plans.

Um. Still don’t see how setting up a tournament with an exorbitant entry fee is going to provide a Teachable Moment? Seems like it’s just a chance for Rikken to line his pockets. And if you’re trying to teach pirates the value of finding treasures for themselves, why challenge them to find it for you? My head hurts.

Rikken: A nobler cause you’ll not find, and all I ask is your entry fee!
Vaan: You had me up until “fee.”

On that note, Vaan and the whole of Claan Vaanity turn on their heels and walk away. Heh.

Sadly, Filo still wants to join the tourney. She thinks we can learn from this farce.

Filo: Maybe it'll help us learn more about being sky pirates!

Kytes agrees. Penelo suggests that perhaps we can haggle to lower the price. I’d think he’d pay us to dispose of that knickknack.

Vaan: There's nothing sayin' being a sky pirate means we can't have a little fun.

*facepalm* Even Vaan is willing to waste time on this hunt. What happened to “We’ve got a world to save”?

Okay, so who’s gonna go back to Llyud and tell him, “Sorry, we’ve decided that stopping the Judge of Wings from conquering Lemurés and Ivalice is less important than participating in some scavenger hunt held by sky pirates intent on plundering your lands.”

Penelo: But remember: We’re here to look for the Judge of Wings, right?

I’m glad someone remembers. Alas, Penelo’s beginning to sound like a broken record.

Irrepressible Filo and Kytes go charging off to haggle with Rikken. Shouldn’t they have taken Penelo with them?

Llyud wanders over to tell us that Ba’Gamnan has gone missing. Not much to be done about it, as Vaan says, except to “put him in his place” again if he causes trouble. Frankly I’m relieved to have an enslaved bangaa off our conscience.

The children come dashing back with Clan Rikken in tow.

Elza: Just what have you been teaching these young ones, eh?

OHO. I am actually impressed.

Rikken: They drive a hard bargain, they do. Talked me into waiving the entry fee.

Thank you, Game Contrivance God Penelo, for passing along the merchant skills you learned from Migelo!

Rikken jokes about being out 500,000 gil. Penelo wants to know where Filo learned to negotiate like that. Too modest, Penny.

Filo: It was easy. I learned it by watching you, Penelo!

I can’t remember whether it’s canon or only twigcollins’ excellent fanfic that reveals Penelo’s parents were middle-class merchants.

Elza notes “We’ll be entering, too.” So it’s a contest between them and us. And with another loud YAHOO! everyone dashes off.

A new location has opened on the map:

Isshu, Jewel of the Skysea: Island paradise where aegyl crossing the skysea often sojourn. The crystal-blue waters and shimmering white beaches offer welcome respite to the weary wayfarer.

Isshu, Jewel of the Skysea. (Gesundheit).

I’m so paranoid. The game has been giving us a relaxing tour of paradise islands, so I keep expecting some cataclysm to spoil them and catapult us into the World of Ruin or the Void or at the very least a Deling City Sewer Crawl.

Once again, the magic recapper fairy reminds us what’s going on, in case we took a six-month hiatus:

Mission: Pirates in Peril! The party tracks the Judge of Wings to the shores of the Muruc Cahuac Skysea where thye happen upon Rikken and his band of pirates. They know something... or at least look like they do.

The camera-pan intro shows the island’s beaches, where Rikken, Elza and Raz face off with a Moogle sky pirate summoning a few Sahagin. For the record, that’s not very much peril.

Mission 4-1: Pirates in Peri! Location: Isshu, Jewel of the Skysea

Oh look, another Moogle named after comestibles.

Soufflé: We don't take kindly to claim jumpers, kupo!

Um, Vaan, do you realize how insulting this question is?

Vaan: Rikken, you all right?

If they can’t handle 3 squirt guns and a Moogle, they’re in trouble.

Rikken replies that he doesn’t appreciate claim jumpers, either. Penelo reasons that we need to help Rikken & friends, since they’ll never tell us about the Judge of Wings if they meet with an accident!

It occurs to me that the downside of tactics-based games, where you mostly fight pitched battles, is that you have to have a flimsy pretext for each one. I guess that works.

Llyud is kind enough to let us know that Sahagin are vulnerable to lightning, just in case we’ve never played an FF game before.

Vaan, ever tactful (or possibly sarcastic): Right. Thanks for the advice.

Battle objective: Open all of the treasure chests! At least one ally must survive. Rikken, Elza or Raz must survive.

New twist for these battles: limited party size of TWO. I am going to take a big gamble and keep Kytes instead of Penelo because I need his Thundaga gambit. Unfortunately, I have no more auracite to recruit Lightning Espers.

Battle Party Screen

Oh, great. The enemy Espers include “Shiva’s cold-hearted paramour.” So that explains where her sprog Shivan came from. I’m so used to thinking of Final Fantasy’s Shiva as an ice lesbian (as opposed to Hindu mythology’s genderfluid but mostly-male Shiva creator god) that I am nonplussed by this development.

This mission is fun, although I confess to abusing save states once or twice, resetting the battle until I succeed in reaching all the treasure chests before Rikken’s trio. They make snide remarks at us for pretending to help them, then nabbing loot under their noses.

Scavenger hunt battle

Don’t mind us, we’ll just raid this treasure chest while Kytes is off plundering another one:

Of course, stopping to scavenge the more time-consuming treasures like carcasses and mineral ores and piles of wood slows us down. Vaan eventually gets KOed doing this, because his Espers aren’t as tough as Kytes’, but we gather all the goodies.

Loot from Mission 4-1

After that performance, Rikken wonders if we might have selfish motives for seeking the Judge:

Rikken: That's the way of it, then? Small wonder you're keen to track down this Judge.

Hey, you were the ones so adamant we should act like pirates and loot more treasure!

Vaan: Anything you could tell us would be a big help.
Rikken: So, you want to be knowing who the self-styled judge is and where she’s gone off to, eh?
Rikken: Meaningless trivialities.
Vaan: What?

Rikken: You've got to keep your eye on the prize. The cutter. The shiny stuff. The treasure!

What part of “trying to save Ivalice, like Reddas did” don’t you understand? Admittedly we’re getting a little muddied by these loot-gathering sidequests, but if the game would let us we had a lead on the Judge of Wings, we’d get right on it!

Penelo butts in: I’m starting to think that you don’t know anything that can help us after all.

Rikken dashes off, reminding us once again that treasure hunts are what piracy’s all about. I’m getting mixed signals here. But Filo and Kytes are eager to follow his example.

Filo: More treasure hunting? Kytes: You promise?

Vaan promises. Again, the children hop up and down with glee.

Llyud stands in the background, probably wondering if he should follow Ba’Gamnan’s example and slip away. He needs to warn his people about us!

After Vaan and the children scamper off, Penelo hangs back and gives Llyud a long look.

Penny and Llyud lagging behind, exchanging looks

Penelo heaves an exaggerated sigh, then they both follow behind the others. At least those two haven’t forgotten the real mission.

(“Can’t count on Vaan to keep track of these things, that’s for sure.” — Penelo in FFXII.)

Next up: looting yet another island!

Cebe, Isle of Treasures: isolated isle rich in natural resources. It is known to the aegyl only as "Cebe," its more colorful name owing to Rikken's band of sky pirates.

Oops. Hang on. I think it’s time to drop by the Bridge to catch up on gossip before it changes.

Tomaj points out that this airship isn’t like any other in Ivalice.

Tomaj: No glossair rings or engines, no skystone...it's a wonder it flies at all.

Yeah, well, it flaps like a bird, which is more convincing physics than antigravity. Slightly. Careful where you hang that lampshade.

I still want to know why it showed up in a big black cloud of doomy doom that’s since dissipated.

Vaan: It started moving when we brought the Cache onboard, so it’s probably from Lemurés.
Tomaj: I’d still feel better knowing a bit more about how it worked.

In this, if nothing else, Tomaj and I are in agreement.

Kytes: Do you think it's safe letting all those sky pirates on board?

Say what!? That’s news to me! I think I wasn’t supposed to come back to the bridge yet.

Vaan: They’re friends of Rikken’s. How bad can they be?
Kytes: But they actually like Penelo’s cooking! That can’t be normal.

Oh, Kytes. Please let’s don’t go through all that again.

Llyud is Spocking, as usual, observing that it’s an odd sensation to fly without wings. When Vaan observes that his people wouldn’t have much use for an airship (despite just saying this is where the airship came from):

Llyud: Only rarely do we even travel between islands.

Vaan: Really? You see to know a lot about everywhere we’ve been so far.
Llyud: As a warrior it is my duty to know. And I confess I have always been curious about how others live.

Yes, Science Officer Spock, I’m sure you are.

Here’s the “Lore” entry for Rikken, Elza and Raz (normally quotes from ancient texts, but where that doesn’t make sense, it’s quotes from friends and acquaintances.)

It were good seein' you, Vaan! A right proper sky pirate you've grown into. Lord Reddas, rest his soul, would be proud. We're doin' right by him, not to worry. Balfonheim is bein' well looked after. Now hadn't you be about your sky piratin'? — Raz

The kids are still arguing good-naturedly in the ship’s log.

A hard bargain: I'm full of hidden talents. Maybe I'll teach you someday, Penelo. — Filo | Lucky for Filo, Rikken's not as cutthroat as he looks. — Kytes

And so on, and so forth…

Hmph! I didn't hear Kytes saving us hundreds of thousands of gil. It's not my fault Rikken can't win at his own game! — Filo

Penelo’s mediating, as usual.

Penelo: Now, now. Play nice. I can see why so many people come to the skysea. The water's beautiful! Don't you wish you could just jump right in? — Penelo

Not that Kytes or Filo have visited the Phon Coast, because this game is about everywhere but Ivalice. Le sigh.

Over in the Sky Saloon, Cu Sith has started crafting “mementos,” aka trophies. They add colorful decorations to the saloon’s open spaces:

Bed of multi-hued flowers, each vying for prominence. Awarded for winning five melee battles, earning you the title of Skirmisher.

And one for our portfolio of Esper summons:

Bronze representation of a bird of prey taking flight. Awarded for forging pacts with more than twelve Yahri, earning you the title of Beastmaster.

And various “crests” (the bronze one commemorates Vaan becoming a Clan Leader):

Silver crest adorned with lapis lazuli as blue as the autumn sky. Awarded for completing a small number of missions, earning you the title of Trained Tactitian.

You can display one crest (on a pillar at the north end of the bazaar), one garden, and one statue. For now:

Trophies added

Oh, here’s that Reckless Sky Pirate and his moogle associate we met at the docks.

Penelo: Those sky pirates were stuck with no ship and nowhere to go, so I let them stay here.

Always looking after people, our Penny.

Kytes has heard they’re friends of Rikken, but he’s wary. However, they seem genuine enough.

Land-bound sky pirate: Not only is she nice, but she's quite the cook, kupo. Don't let that one slip away!

All right. One trip to the forge later (picking up a “Zappy Stick Deluxe, Cattleprod, Big Blue Kitty, Shiva Snap”, i.e. lightning and water weapons), we return to our looting and pillaging.

Mission: Pirates and Parrots in Peril! In the end, Rikken had little new to say, so the search for the judge is back where it started. Rikken wastes no time finding trouble again.

Another pan across another island, where quite a lot of enemy sky pirates are powering up buffs as the camera slides past.

Mission 4-2: Pirates and Parrot in Peril! Cebe, Isle of treasures

Rikken seems to have forgotten that he staged this Hunt in order to encourage sky pirates like us to get back to being… piratey. He doesn’t want us butting in! After we pinched everything in the last hunt (resetting a few times to pull it off), I don’t blame him.

Rikken: You again? Keep your nose in your own business!

Rikken: Though as long as you’re here, maybe you can help.
Vaan: Well, which is it?
Elza: There’s a fight a-brewin’.
Vaan: Need us to save your skins again?

Cocky, Vaan. You’re trying so hard to live up to Balthier’s example.

Raz: They don't fight fair, the cowards! You don't see US hiding behind conjured pets!

Rikken: Perhaps you could lend a hand or two. We wouldn’t want too much help, though. We’ve our pride to consider. I should think two of you ought to about do it.

Here we go again.

Oh, shoot, this is one of those capture-the-flag missions.

Battle Prep

And it’s tough. Especially since I’m far more focused on gathering all the treasures (sorry, aegyl!) than a speedy win.

The enemies keep clobbering us…

Raz: Brave were I, thought I. Now look where it's landed me...

Rikken and Elza get KOed as well.

The best thing about having a Soul Crystal is that it revives your characters from KO after a short time, so you don’t have to worry about having healers with you.

Just as well, because Vaan goes down while I’m indulging in my usual scavenging-for-loot greed. (I’m as much of a hypocrite as Filo).

Vaan Has Fallen

Poor Raz keeps getting KOed. He’s got the best “I die now” lines, several different ones:

Raz: I'm done for, but please, save the parrot!

I’m starting to like him, despite that maddening footrace minigame in FFXII.

Raz: I'll show you a bangaa as takes to the skies is not to be taken lightly!

Turns out he’s… a bangaa?! Who’d a thunk.

Kytes keeps his Lamia fire brigade busy hitting the enemy Soul Crystal with a barrage while everyone else is fighting hand-to-hand.

Kytes' magic users attack the crystal from a distance

Kytes gets KO’d in the middle of that mess (I can jus see him kind of at the top of the crush with his hand out),  but luckily, our soul crystal has just reconstituted Vaan.

Kytes and Vaan dancing by soul crystal

And as the Soul Crystal restores Kytes, his minions shatter the enemy crystal for us!

Rikken: Ah, thanks for the help! But don't go expectin' a show of gratitude.

You’re welcome, you rascal. (There’s no way they could ever have won that battle on their own; for once, being limited to abilities from the last game is a fatal handicap.)

Vaan: Then whaddya call that?

They part amiably, and we stroll back towards the shore and our folding canoe.

Oh, crap. Look who just showed up to spoil my good mood. We need to steal his folding canoe.

Tomaj: Lo, Vaan!

Vaan: What’s the good word, Tomaj?

Awww, he’s picked up some of Balthier’s mannerisms.

Tomaj: I’ve hit the jackpot this time. Found a temple below this very island.
Penelo: Not bad. I have to admit, I’m impressed.

Haha even Penelo damns him with faint praise. (Of course, we’d already heard about the underwater temple, but not where.)

More chitchat reveals that yes, the Judge of Wings is there, yes, there’s more treasure, and yes, Tomaj has an exaggerated opinion of himself.

Cue Kytes and Filo jumping up and down (finally managed to screencap them mid-hop):

Kytes, Filo: Did someone say "Treasure'? Oooh!

Okay, but first, back to the airship for a quick check-in.

Kytes has found something new to worry about: Ba’Gamnan! Not just where he went, but whether he’s okay. What if he’s passed out from hunger? (Presumably because of the muzzle). I’m glad Kytes is being compassionate, although in this case I’m sure (and Vaan is sure) his fears are misplaced. Ba’Gamnan will be fine. Grumpy, but fine.

Vaan and Penelo confer over the children. Penelo says they’ve really hit it off with Rikken’s crew.

Vaan: All battle and no play makes for gloomy children.

Vaan and Penny are good foster parents. Well, apart from dragging kids into mortal peril and teaching them the fine art of plundering.

Penelo is a little worried that Kytes and Filo are having so much fun they forget to be careful.

Vaan: Leave it to me. I won't let anything happen to 'em.

Following in Balthier’s footsteps. Beneath all the showmanship, of course, Balthier and Fran were very protective of Vaan and Penelo from the moment they got mixed up in their affairs.

Llyud continues to Spock at the noisy humes.

Llyud - Are all in the underworld so... animated?

(Remember, for sky people, Ivalice is the underworld.)

Vaan: What, like Rikken? No, he’s… one of a kind. But I guess it’s more common in Ivalice than Lemurés. You aegyl are all so…quiet.

All right. I’ll pause here. Tune in next time, when we chase after the Judge of Wings in the Fire and Lava dungeon!

(YAHOO!)

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