Your next goal is to find your way to the Temple of the Ancients. You don't start out knowing where it is, and if you happen to find your way there, you'll notice that you can't get in. Now that you have the Tiny Bronco, the game gets a bit less linear. You can, and should, explore stuff! Time to head to the firm land again. Just about every random NPC you find will babble something about Sephiroth's whereabouts anyway.
Things to do
- If you didn't get Aeris' Level 4 limit break yet, this is your last chance. See Aeris' limit breaks for more details.
- If you didn't do this earlier, grab two fairly essential enemy skills: go to Junon and find a Zemzelett, manipulate it to get the White Wind; go back to the Midgar Zolom guarding the swamps near the chocobo farm. It's a level 23 creature, so it should be pretty simple to bash by now, and it can teach you the Beta Enemy Skill.
- If you feel you need to level up a bit now is the perfect time to visit the Mideel Area.
- You can try your luck at Fort Condor. This is not necessary though, and you gain no real benefits from this.
In Bone Village (a village on the northern continent, a big dinosaur skeleton sticking out of the woods); you arrive there by traversing the waterways northward, the guys working there have seen Sephiroth looking for the "Keystone," except that apparently some rich guy has it. Go back down the western seaboard and you'll see a river that cuts across the middle of the continent past the Gold Saucer. The guy at the weapon shop on the peninsula east of Gold Saucer and east of Gongaga was the previous owner, and he tells you that the stone was sold to Dio, owner of the Gold Saucer.
Head back to Gold Saucer to retrieve the Keystone. In order to do that you'll need to go back through Corel. Do not use the Buggy again to cross the quicksands, this will only bring you back to the desert outside Corel Prison. Head to the Battle Square, you'll find that Dio has a showroom full of really weird things consisting of trophies, trinkets, and the Keystone.
Dio shows up, and won't let Cloud borrow the Keystone unless he fights in the arena. Basically, this is one-on-one fighting against all sorts of weird critters, with a random handicap between the fights. For details, see the Battle Square guide, though you won't need the guide much in this fight: after all, there's only one possible prize this time. The goal here is to survive at least one fight. Just keep defeating monsters as long as you can stand up. If you get wiped out in the first fight, Dio will let you try again.
After a successful fight, Dio gives you the stone. When you go to leave, you find that the cable car is busted. Luckily, Cait Sith knows the hotel owner. There's a brief cutscene where Cloud and the rest try to recap exactly what you're trying to accomplish next and what strange mystical things we've learned of the Cetra.
In the middle of the night, one of your party members shows up. Which party member depends a lot on who you've been treating best over the course of the game. If you've constantly worried primarily about Aeris, she shows up; if Tifa, she shows up. With a little bit of trickery, it's possible that Yuffie or Barret will show up, both of which have amusing dialogue in the following scenes.
Now, it's time for a little bit of romantic and silly fun. The first stop is the Event Square: here, you'll end up acting in a play. It really doesn't matter what dialogue choices you make, just pick the ones that seem like good ideas at the time. The results are usually exactly what you expect them to be.
Next up is Round Square. If you didn't try this before, you can make Cloud look in different directions with the movement buttons. Your companion will tell a lot of interesting things here.
The date ends when you see Cait Sith making off with the Keystone. After a little bit of chasing him around the place, a few things become apparent: he just handed the Keystone to the Turks and he has Marlene as a hostage. After a bit of dialogue, you end up back in your hotel room. Be sure to check the wardrobe for an Elixir.
Before the Temple
It's time to head out of the park and to the Temple of the Ancients. Your team consists now of Cloud, Aeris, and one more lucky winner. Along with the recommended level, you should seriously consider getting the Big Guard Enemy Skill if you don't have it yet.
A good spot to train at this moment would be the island with the Temple of the Ancients itself. You can't miss it, once you get going with Tiny Bronco; go southeast of Gold Saucer and follow the island chains, at the end there's a big island with a forest and a pyramid in the middle. Of course, the pyramid is the Temple of the Ancients. The only annoying thing is that the island is inhabited by Slaps, who are mosquitos. They cause the party to get poisoned, saddened, and berserkified, and cause just about as much damage as normal mosquitos in general.
Stock up on Tents, Elixirs, and anything else you'll need. There's no need for Tents inside the temple, but they're very useful if you're training up beforehand.
Aeris will have a prostration fit once you reach the temple, because her ancestors are around. A black-caped guy comes out and collapses. Sephiroth is somewhere in the Temple, and at the entrance you find out he has stabbed Tseng with his sword. Tseng gives the Keystone to his (as you learn) old friend Aeris. With the help of the Keystone, you get into the Temple.
The courtyard will look complicated, but it's really not. There's one correct path to follow, and the temple guardian (an old man in a blue robe) will show you the way. Basically, use stairs and the vines and doorways and such. You can pick up Trident (Cid's weapon), Rocket Punch (Barret's weapon), Lucky Plus materia, Mind Source, Turbo Ether, and Silver Rifle (Vincent's weapon). There's one chest you can't get to right now, and one doorway you can't access.
At the end, you reach a door that leads to a single corridor with big stone wheels rolling through it. The wheels have a gap in them; the idea is obviously to run to the center of the corridor right where the gap happens to be, then run to the next wheel's gap, and so on. You'll get flattened if you fail, but you can just try again.
At the end of the corridor, the stones somehow disappear, and Aeris and the Ancients will lead you to the pool and show you a vision about what happened a bit earlier. Grab the Morph materia from the ground: it's highly useful. Continue along the corridor, and the guardian waits there, giving you the option to restore HP and MP for free, or save the game.
Press on and you find yourself in the Time Guardian's room, with a clock face puzzle. You must use the clock hands to cross. The instructions on controlling the time are shown, they should be simple enough. If you get knocked down from the hands, you end up in a small room where small dragons attack you. In that room there's a chest with the Nail Bat (Cloud's weapon). The door leads back out.
Here's what happens in the various rooms.
|I||A chest containing a random encounter.|
|III||A chest containing a random encounter.|
|IIII||A chest containing Princess Guard, Aeris' ultimate weapon.|
|V||Leads to the inaccessible roof in the courtyard, with a chest containing Ribbon. This is a very rare item, be sure to grab it!|
|VI||Toward the hall with the murals. This is where you should head once you're done. Check the other rooms first!|
|VII||A chest containing Trumpet Shell, a weapon for Cait Sith.|
|VIII||A chest containing a Megalixir.|
|X||Where you came from, back to the corridor with the pool.|
|XII||The back door of the temple. You'll get here later.|
Once you head through the six o'clock door, you find yourself in a room with a lot of caves and locked double door. The idea is to catch the temple guardian. You need to memorize where each passage seems to lead, and try to get yourself into the same corridor with the temple guardian, or you can cheat and just go in the same corridor each time: you're bound to collide sooner or later. The guardian, once again, gives you the option to heal up or save. Open the chest on the lower level to receive a Work Glove for Tifa.
Once you head through the double doors, you find yourself in the mural hall. Sephiroth shows up, talks about his true plans, and makes Cloud seriously freak out too, before disappearing. After the cutscene, it's time to fight a big creature.
You get a Dragon Armlet, a really nice armor, and after the fight, you see Bahamut materia floating right in front of you. A big summon materia. Now, go back to the end of the mural hall. There's a model floating about. Shake it. This destroys the Temple, but Cait Sith calls you and offers to grab it while you run outside.
Head out, and the guardian is still here. Heal up and save. This would also be a good time to make sure Aeris doesn't have any unique armor equipped on her. Feel free to give her tons of good materia and an accessory, though. That is obviously needed here. Now the Time Guardian room is locked so that the only way out is through the 12 o'clock door, which leads out of the place.
Next comes a long cutscene where you first see Cait Sith get flattened, you get a hard-earned Black Materia, and then Cloud gives it to Sephiroth. Cloud freaks out, and Cait Sith no. 2 shows up to replace his predecessor. Cloud faints, Aeris shows up in his dream, and as Cloud wakes from the nightmare, you find that Aeris has gone to the Forgotten Capital.
Anyway, now you found most of the weapons without materia slots. It's a perfect time to do the Wutai sidequests. Have at least average party level 32 to do the first quest, and have Yuffie at that same level if you also intend to do the second Wutai quest.