Final Fantasy VI/Chapter 9
You'll start off to the SouthEast of Maranda. You'll have to do a little fighting in this section but not much, so choose your party accordingly. You can enter the middle of the nearby forest to rent a Chocobo or just walk the whole way.
When you arrive at Vector you'll find the whole place burning. Head North to enter the imperial capital, and you'll be asked to speak with the emporer. Make sure you have your sprint shoes equipped since he'll ask you to talk to as many soldiers as possible. Don't pick up any of the treasure chests yet and don't go talk to Kefka in his cell, he doesn't count and he just wastes your time. In the rooms with soldiers moving around keep track of how many there are to make sure you talk to each of them. If you talk to all of them your count should be at 24. In the next section you'll dine with the emporer and be graded on how well you respond.
For each question you'll generally want to offer the most gracious response. Offer up the toast "to our hometowns" and for Kefka say "leave him in jail." For Doma, say "that was inexcusable." For Celes, say "Celes is one of us!" You'll then be offered a chance to ask some questions. Ask each one only once and exactly once, and remember which one you asked first, it's easiest just to start with the top one. For the Espers, say "Yes, the Espers went too far." Choose to take a break, then fight his sentries in two minutes to gain more kudos. Tell him that all you want to hear him say is that "the war is truly over." Agree to help him, and you're finished with your little exam.
You'll be left with Locke and Terra in your party. My advice would be to give Locke the Genji Glove and Black Belt to increase his effectiveness. Head south, and if you did everything correctly imperial troops will be pulled out of South Figaro, Doma, you'll gain the rights to all the treasures in the imperial base, and you'll receive a Tintinabar which increases your HP with every step as well as a Charm Bangle which lowers the rate of enemy encounters. From here you can go to the west of the island to see a scene with Cid and Setzer on the airship, or you can head to the east to clear out the treasures in the imperial city, making sure to get the treasure in the pots, fireplace, and hidden chest in the bottom right corner. You can also go north to Tzen and by the Saraphim Esper for 3000 GP which teaches a lot of useful healing and life spells. Eventually though, you'll just want to go to Albrook and leave via the port there. Talk to Leo on the ship, and you'll meet Shadow and Celes again. Rest in the inn then go to the ship again to take off. You'll be dropped off at the southern coast of Thamasa.
You'll have Locke, Terra, and Shadow in your party again. I normally use Genji Gloves and black belts on Locke and Shadow, you should have two genji gloves so far if you followed this guide and you could have bought black belts in Narshe. When you reach Thamasa at the top right portion of the Island stock up on the best equipment you'll have seen yet, and search the barrels and talk to the people as usual. You'll meet and name Strago and Relm in one of the houses. When you're ready to move on, empty shadow of his equipment and espers, you won't have him for the next scenario.
When you wake up you'll learn that Relm is trapped in a burning house, and Strago will join your party. Every time you touch a flame you'll be forced into a battle so be careful. Have Strago use Aqua Rake to clear out the large groups. When you have a choice, go through the right door. In the next room the right door leads to a chest and the left door goes forward. The same is true of the next room. In the next room you'll fight a boss, hope you're strong on ice magic. Strago can use Aqua Rake to deal with the groups of monsters, and if you can cast rasp enough times to drain its MP the monster will simply die like that, this stratgegy works best with a morphed Terra. Shadow will show up and rescue you, and Strago will offer to accompany you to find the Espers.
Go to the cave to the north of the island. Keep in mind that some of the monsters will need to be damaged by magic. Take the right cave to move forward where the path branches. Keeping following the path and you'll find three statues of the goddesses of magic. You'll then run into Ultros for a boss fight. Use Fire2 if you have it and have Terra morph as usual. When Relm shows up immediately have her sketch Uncle Ulty. Relm will join your party, equip her as usual, then get going. In the next room step on the bottom left tile to move on, the other ones will lead you to treasure chests. After you meet the Espers a long chain of events will begin, ending with you fighting Kefka as General Leo. You'll regain control at Thamasa with the airship nearby. You can go into town for a little scene with Strago's rival Gungho, then ride the airship to witness another scene. From there you have control of the airship again, and it's time to move on to the next chapter.
Continue to: Chapter 10, The Floating Island to the World of Ruin