Exit the Dragon’s Gate to find yourself back on the world map, in an area called Eunorus Plains. While here, head north or so and you will run into some place that looks like a forest, but it really isn’t. Approach it to see it isn’t named, as you haven’t been here yet; it’s called Qu’s Marsh and is home to the extra party member you will be getting shortly. Enter Qu’s Marsh and head to the next screen, where you’ll see the two moogles who offered up some tutorials from previous ATEs. Take the path behind the moogles, leading into the weeds, until you come upon a pond.
Important: Since Quina is necessary for some upcoming ATEs, it’s imperative you get him/her now for them to push forward to the Movie Critic trophy/achievement.
The character walking around here is Quina, and talking to him/her will have Quina mention s/he is hungry. Walk around the pond until you can catch a frog, then head back to give it to Quina. After a little scene with Quale, Quina’s master, s/he will join you on your adventures. Give some equipment to Quina, especially the Needle Fork, if you managed to snag it from the Zaghnol from the Festival of the Hunt. It should be noted that all of Quina’s weapons have the same ability on them, High Tide, so you never have to worry about equipping lower versions to learn an ability.
In fact, all of Quina’s actual in-battle skills will come from Blue Magic. For those unfamiliar to the Final Fantasy series, Blue Magic is basically a character learning magic that enemies can use. For Quina, s/he will have to use the Eat command to learn the spells, but the enemy must be at 25% or lower health in order for this to work. Quina’s Trance changes Eat to Cook, which will make the health threshold 50% or lower. There’s a number of Blue Magic you can learn right now, actually, so let’s go and hunt them down.
Tip: To make it a little easier to reduce enemies’ HP to help with Quina learning Blue Magic, it might be best to equip weaker weapons.
Learning Blue Magic (1)
First up is inside of Qu’s Marsh itself, where you will find two of the enemies have Blue Magic. The first one, the Axolotl, has around 211 HP and you can get Aqua Breath from it. The second enemy, the Gigan Toad, has around 297 HP and yields the Frog Drop magic. The latter can be a good skill, depending on the number of frogs you catch in the Qu’s Marshes around the world (more on that in a little bit). Exit Qu’s Marsh and on the world map around it, seek out another enemy called the Serpion. This creature has around 397 HP and can teach the Mighty Guard Blue Magic; while it costs a lot of MP, it can cast both Protect and Shell on the entire party, making it quite useful.
For the final one in this little region, backtrack to Dragon’s Gate and run around on the plains there to run into a Hedgehog Pie. With around 295 HP, you will be getting the Pumpkin Head Blue Magic from it. For the next batch of enemies with Blue Magic, head back inside Lindblum and return to the Business District. As soon as you get off of the air cab, journey south to find the exit to the world map. You will be able to get three more Blue Magic spells here, with the first one being from the Carve Spiders. They have relatively low HP (around 123), so you might want to switch Vivi to the front row and have him use physical attacks to lower their health enough for Quina to learn LV3 Def-Less.
Next up is the Axe Beak, which has around 241 HP, and can teach the Limit Glove Blue Magic. This spell might seem a little useless, as it doesn’t work under normal circumstances. However, get Quina’s HP to 1 and it will do a whopping 9,999 damage to enemies; one surefire way to do this is to get Auto-Life on Quina, which you can’t do quite yet. The last enemy you’re looking for in this area is the Bomb, so journey to the forests for that one. You will want to be a bit more careful with these, as they can use Blowup after Grow has been used three times to deal some major damage. They have around 526 HP and can teach the Mustard Bomb Blue Magic to Quina. This can inflict the Heat ailment on enemies, making it so their next action will KO them.
You’re finished on the Lindblum Plateau, as far as Blue Magics are concerned, but there’s one more point of interest here. That would be Pinnacle Rocks, found southeast from the Dragon’s Gate. Move toward the screen and at the very end of the path, you will find two chests, containing an Elixir and a Phoenix Down. Return to Lindblum, restock on any items you might need, then head back to the world map by Qu’s Marsh.
Blue Magic Coffee
North-northeast of Qu’s Marsh will be the entrance to Gizamaluke’s Grotto, but you’re still not going there quite yet. Journey east of the marsh and cross the bridge you’ll run into, where you’ll find Chocobo’s Forest a short distance from the bridge. You’re not going in there quite yet, as there are still two more Blue Magics to get here. The first enemy you want is the Vice, which has around 129 HP, and can teach the Vanish Blue Magic. Note that you’ll have to be quick about this, as the Vice can steal your items and run from battle. The other enemy is the Ironite, which looks like a dragon. Its Flame attack deals a lot of damage to your party, so you’ll want to be extremely careful here. The Ironite has a whopping ~889 HP and you can learn the Angel’s Snack Blue Magic.
Before entering the Chocobo’s Forest, there is one last thing to do, which is to go to the South Gate that’s east of the forest. You won’t find any traditional treasures here, but if you search along the right hand side of the area, along the tree branch, you will find some Moccha Coffee. If you don’t know what this is for, it’s needed for the Rare Coffees side quest, which in turn is needed for the My Little Airship trophy/achievement.
Chocobo Hot and Cold
It’s finally time to get to the other large mini-game in Final Fantasy IX, which is Chocobo Hot and Cold. Return to the Chocobo’s Forest and go inside now, where you will meet up with a moogle named Mene. He’ll hand over some Gysahl Greens and tell you to use them on the world map, on some chocobo tracks. Obey the moogle’s wish by exiting and finding the tracks just south of the forest. Use the greens on them to have Choco appear, which you can ride. While riding Choco, you will not get into random encounters on the world map, so he is extremely useful. Enter the forest again while riding Choco to get told Mene’s secret he was talking about before.
Tip: You can purchase more Gysahl Greens from Mene, for 80 Gil each, so make sure you get some before leaving the forest.
Choco has the ability to dig underground and find items, which is the mini=game in question here. It costs 60 Gil to play each time and you get one whole minute to try and search for treasures. You can tell how close you are to a treasure by Choco’s expression (Kweh), so keep a lookout to see if you are hot or cold.
- Kweh - Means nothing is there
- Kweh!? - The treasure is far away
- Kwehhh!? - Means you are close to the treasure
- K-KWEHHH!!! - You’ve found something
Keep pressing the button when you’ve found something to have Choco dig it up. All items you find are yours to keep. Each item you find has a point value attached to it, and these points can be traded with Mene for items. In addition to this, as you dig up more items, Choco’s beak will become stronger, meaning he will be able to dig up treasures more quickly. In the enhanced versions of the game, there is a trophy/achievement, called Follow Your Nose, for leveling Chocbo’s beak all the way to 99.
Note: For a full breakdown of the point allocation and what items you can receive while doing Hot and Cold, visit the Chocobo Hot and Cold page.
The main point of Hot and Cold are the Chocographs, with your first one not bearing that name (it will be a Stone With Patterns). These are essentially treasure maps that show off a location in the game’s world. By bringing Choco to this location, you can have him dig for the treasure, which tend to be quite nice. Let’s grab the first Chocograph, named Streamside, so head to the world map and cross the bridge as if you were heading back to Qu’s Marsh. As soon as you cross, go to the beach and around the beach ends, search there until you find the treasure, which consists of 2 Elixirs, 3 Hi-Potions, 4 Ethers, and 2 pairs of Germinas Boots.
Return to Chocobo’s Forest, as it’s time to hunt down another Chocograph. It should be noted that you can get eight Chocographs at this time (2-6, 8, 9-10), but you can only ever get a single one in a round. In particular, you’d want to try and get Chocographs #2, 4, and 10. The first one is one you can get the treasure for right now, while #4 can be done after finishing Gizamaluke’s Grotto. This will follow up with #10, should you wish to get it after that one, but it’s completely optional. Of course, while trying to dig your way into obtaining these Chocographs, you’ll likely obtain a good amount of items, including Gysahl Greens.
Tip: The speed-up booster present in the modern re-releases of this game does not slow down the in-game clocks and timers, so you can use it to help speed up the digging process of the mini-game. This will make it a lot easier to accrue a lot of points and even dig up the max amount per turn. Just note that it can be very difficult to control and even the tiniest of movements can send Choco going across the screen.
Once you’ve gotten Chocograph #2, at least, let’s go ahead and find its treasure. Return to Dragon’s Gate, the place where you exited to the world map in this section, and follow the mountains to the west. Eventually, you will reach a small mountain and become sandwiched between the two. This is where the Chocograph is pointing to, so dig here to find the treasure, which consists of 5 Potions, 5 Hi-Potions, 2 Tents, and 2 Cotton Robes. That will about wrap things up with this little bit of side questing, unless you haven’t gotten the other Chocographs in the forest, but it’s time to move onto Gizamaluke’s Grotto.