Well, I was dropped off at Ontario Airport an hour before my flight, so that gave me plenty of time to continue the quest to "restore grace" to the crystals.
When we last left off, the king of Cornelia had finally built the bridge he promised for the heroes to enter the mainland. But first, I decided to trek back to the shrine for some treasures. Wouldn't you know it, I ran into some undead monsters! Of course, had I bought the Dia spell, it would have been completely useless since my fighter could kill them in one hit.
Two of the four doors were locked by the 'mystic key.' If I remember correctly, this key won't be available until after I wake the sleeping prince, which is several hours further in the game.
Anyway, crossing the bridge triggered the good ol' Final Fantasy theme and the intro sequence. After that, the game plopped be back onto the world map. I headed north to Matoya's cave. I seem to recall fighting lots of ogres and creeps back in the day along the way. But for some reason, I kept fighting goblins in the GBA version.
The possessed brooms were still sweeping the cave, but instead of talking backwards, they now say stupid things like "swish-swish-shisheroo!" Talk about unnecessary.
Matoya's Cave has changed into a pretty nice bedroom with carpet and bookshelves. A mini-cutscene also plays upon entering. In the NES version, Matoya lived in a dark chamber littered with skulls. Considering the townspeople aren't trembling at the mere mention of Matoya the man-eating witch, I suppose this characterization is more fitting. Besides, why would the Warriors of Light want to help a crazy, blind woman wandering around a pit of human remains?
I traveled southeast to Pravoka, running into some crazy horses (formerly mad ponies). Here, I met Bikke the pirate: the manliest character in the history of the series. Okay, maybe not. Actually, I didn't even fight Bikke. In true Mr. Sinister fashion, he send nine of his henchmen after me. After I made short work of them, he begged for his life and gave me his ship as a sign of good faith.
Considering I took care of him with weapons that I bought from the Pravoka weapon shop, it begs the question: why couldn't the townspeople kill the pirates themselves? Bunch of cowards.
With a new boat magically appearing at the docks, I now had access to the high seas. Next stop: Elfland.
I had forgotten how hard the sea creatures were (or that there were sea creatures at all). The sahagin come in waves and cause my fighter to miss. The only consistent attack against them was the black mage's Thunder spell. It took some back and forth grinding and inn-resting, but eventually I made it to the southern part of the continent and entered Elfland.
I'll be flying to New York at the end of March for a client visit. So I guess the elves will have to wait a few weeks for the Light Warriors to wake their sleeping prince.