LOCATION: Outside Nikeah
PARTY MEMBERS: Cyan (Lv. 23 HP 828/902 MP 166/193), Relm (Lv. 22 HP 795/809 MP 161/194), Gau (Lv. 23 HP 894/894 MP 198/198), Mog (Lv. 23 HP 859/883 MP 59/204)
ELAPSED TIME: 14:38
STEPS TAKEN: 36946
Well, I took on Ultros again, and this time, he was as easy as I remembered. The primary difference is that I equipped a pair of RunningShoes on Strago, and that I remembered to follow up my magical attacks with physical ones to keep some sort of balance. Before I knew it, Relm popped in and asked to draw Ultros' portrait, and I used the dreaded Sketch command to finish him off.
After this I got Relm in my party and moved forward. In the next room, I picked the hole that led to the Espers, and watched the various sequences that followed: Terra meeting with the Espers, everyone making peace in Thamasa, and Kefka thankfully breaking up the scene with his "surprise" entrance and wiping the floor with everyone at once. Once I got control of General Leo, I engaged Kefka in mortal combat. Kefka actually managed to poison Leo in the battle and I wasted an Antidote on him, even though I knew Leo was going to die anyway. Still, I played through to Leo's end and watched as the more Espers fell to Kefka's hand.
After seeing the deaths of Espers and Imperial soldiers, I finally got control of the party again only to board the Blackjack and watch the Floating Continent rise into the air. I then decided to change my party members, when I noticed that the straggling characters had been "bumped up" to Level 23. This not only meant that Relm was my lowest leveled character at Level 22, but that I now had my pick of characters to select. I decided to take Cyan, Relm, Gau, and Mog, then land in the Veldt to begin building up Mog and Gau's skills.
If Strago weren't at such a high level, I would have brought him on the Veldt so he could learn some Lores. In fact, I still might do it later on if I have time before tackling the Floating Continent. But I wanted to go from the Veldt to the Serpent Trench, and I didn't feel like switching characters after gathering Rages. Even if the experience gained from the non-Veldt battles was minimal, I'd rather have it go to some people I wouldn't be getting for a little while (and could also be technically disqualified for going to the Floating Continent due to said experience).
I went to Molbiz, landed, talked to the beaten former soldier and received the Tintinabar. So I wandered on the Veldt for a little while, trying to build up Rages. Eventually, I decided to stop fighting and went to Crescent Mountain, when lag reared its ugly head. I jumped into the Serpent Trench and took the long path, fighting as many enemies as I could. Once I got to Nikeah, I bought a few too many Magus Hats (they'll be good for the Fanatics Tower), a few needless items, then exited town, and saved.