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Hello all, I first reported this to Atomos, and he thinks nobody is aware of this, so I guess I'll tell people. I was reading through the Ultimania around two weeks ago, in the 'secrets' section, and found a lot of interesting tidbits that I think a lot of the community might not know about. Most of them are just bonus scenes that don't provide any actual reward, or are already known, but this kind of side quest involving the Nero brothers both provides a reward and doesn't seem to be known. I haven't done it myself, so I don't have any in-game experience, and am just relying on what is written in the Ultimania. Check out pg. 557 to see it for yourself. Apparently at the end of the game, starting with entering the final dungeon, if you talk to the Nero brothers in Lindblum, it'll advance their little side quest a bit. It kind of reminds me of the Zell Love Quest from FF8 in how it advances based on story progression. There are 16 "advancement points", as follows: After the battle with Nova Dragon After you beat Marilith After you see the flashback of Alexander After you hear Zidane talking to himself After you see the flashback of Dagger getting on the boat After you hear about the giant eye in the sky After you beat Tiamat After you hear about the two planets After Quina thinks it is drowning After you hear the story about memories After you beat Kraken After you hear about Gaia's birth After you beat Lich After you hear about the story of the origin from nothingness After you enter the Crystal World After you beat Death Gaze
Now, it requires 9 of these advancement points to complete the side quest. It is possible to be unable to complete the side quest, due to having proceeded too far into the final dungeon and not having enough advancement points left. You need to leave after 9 of these events and talk to the Nero brothers or else you'll never be able to complete this quest. I am guessing a lot of people have missed this on their final saves, as the latest you can start it is at the advancement point "hearing the story about the two planets", sometime a bit after beating Tiamat. If you complete this side quest you apparently are rewarded to a treasure chest containing a Protect Ring. Whether this side quest was finished or left unfinished is easily determinable, so not doing it could be considered bad for a Perfect Game. However, unfortunately I think doing this side quest is mutually exclusive to the EXIIPG speedrun, since there isn't enough time to run back and forth out of the dungeon so many times. Doing a non-EXII PG, like Magical Moogles, would be the place to do this.
Remember, I have not actually done this myself, so although I'll assume the Ultimania is telling the truth, I have not confirmed it. I also see no reason why it would be removed from the non-Japanese versions, but as I have not confirmed it myself, I have no idea. If someone wants to check on this, that'd be great for the knowledge of the FF9 community. If you have any questions about what is written in the Ultimania please ask me. I am not a very good writer and sometimes have trouble explaining things well :(
So are you saying you need to have done exactly nine of these things, and then you go out and talk to them? Or you have to do one and then go out and talk to them, then do another and talk to them again and so on, a total of nine times?
I'll totally go and download a save at the start of Memoria and test it if you can clarify.
"Or you have to do one and then go out and talk to them, then do another and talk to them again and so on, a total of nine times?"
It's this one, at least according to the Ultimania. That's why it is probably impossible to do on a EXIIPG speedrun. Apparrently the Nero bros will change what they are saying/doing a little each time. If you could test it that'd be awesome! I can't guarantee anything other than the fact that it is written in the Ultimania.
So this may or may not be part of the endgame? I'm just running through normally right now, so I can probably spare the time to run in and out provided it doesn't take me so long it's just annoying (I haven't played in a while, I don't remember). Right now I'm on disk 3 right after Kuja's Palace when Eiko is kidnapped.
I had this incredibly, unbelievably, amazingly, fantastically directionally-challenged guy with me right here... http://i.imgur.com/vEZ3lhE.jpg - Chuuni
I just downloaded a new save, at the start of disk 4. Went to Lindblum and saw Zenero and Benero in the Theare district, as usual, and they went through the dialogue which can be found in the game script. I then left the screen and returned just to see if that would trigger anything new, but it didn't.
Then I went and killed the Nova Dragon.
Then when I returned to the Theatre District and walked up to the Tantalus hideout, Genero rushes out and says:
Genero: "Zenero and Benero aren't here." Genero: "I'd better go look."
Then rushes off screen. I've never seen this before. I'm going to keep going and report back with anything else.
Awesome, thanks MysterPixel! I almost doubted the Ultimania, due to thinking that if such a side quest existed, why had nobody found it before. It'll be great if you confirm it to the Protect Ring promised conclusion. This could add a new criteria for PGers as well, as it is confirmable on Disc 4 as having completed or not.