LOCATION: Sealed Cave
PARTY MEMBERS: Edgar (Lv. 20 HP 659/685 MP 160/160), Sabin (Lv. 20 HP 694/694 MP 157/157), Setzer (Lv. 20 HP 682/682 MP 166/166), Terra (Lv. 20 HP 488/676 MP 143/191)
ELAPSED TIME: 11:02
STEPS TAKEN: 29470
I don't believe I can adequately express my disappointment in myself today. I intended to complete the Sealed Cave today, putting me on a careful pace to get to the Floating Continent and beat it in two or three days. At this pace I don't think I will get to it before Day 15, exactly one day before the cutoff day for doing it. While I will almost certainly trigger the event before then (as after the Sealed Cave, there's only the banquet, the burning house, the mountain, and the Imperial Air Force prelude that are actually required to play through), I worry about the other tasks I have to do, such as building up Gau's Rage list.
In any event, I equipped all the characters in my party, and after optimizing them to my content, I wondered if Mog was now recruitable. A quick trip to Figaro Castle confirmed that Lone Wolf had escaped from his cell, so I headed back to Narshe. I went to the storehouse, then chased Lone Wolf all the way through the Narshe mines. In the random encounters with Were-rats and Repo Men, I noticed that they did not give any Magic Points, but only experience. At last I caught up with him and he took Mog hostage, so I stayed still until the choice came up. Save Mog or take the Gold Hairpin. The choice was obvious. I chose Mog, only to find out later that he was at a whopping Level 22, so obviously taking him to the Lete River or the Serpent Trench was out for now. Then again, by the time my characters get control of the Airship again, he'll be on the low end of the experienced characters.
After this, I went to Albrook and bought an Amulet, then headed for the deserted Imperial base, then went into the Sealed Cave. At first, I had little difficulty aside from blowing through Terra's MP as though they were out of style (she had Shiva equipped). Until I got to the lava room, it was uneventful. Then I got to the room and started messing up repeatedly and badly. I must have spent ten minutes in the room, timing and positioning my lead character wrong so I'd fall in the lava when the planks shifted.
After this point things went as normal, although due to my idiocy with Terra's MP I ended putting her in the front row and hitting enemies with her Blizzard sword. Other than making adjustments with Espers upon levelling up, the battles were very much Drill Aurabolt Lagomorph or "successful" Slot action (although I'd argue that summoning Ifrit with the Magicite result or using Chocohop on Ings don't qualify as successes). I ran around and grabbed as many treasures as I could, including that Genji Glove. I got to the Save Point, saved, fought the Ninja, saved, and triggered the next section on that floor before doubling back and saving. I just hope I don't forget the AtmaWeapon tomorrow.