Location: World Map. Between Gatrea and the Lakeside Wood
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Ultimecia
Opponents: Goblin, Hornet, Leg Eater
BGM: Final Fantasy II Main Theme
Although Ferret will eventually become a powerful party member, for now she is on level 1 and possesses one skill, Shriek, which, although useful, isn't going to be enough to pull her weight. We may have just gotten her some spiffy new equipment, but the prissy ferret princess will definitely need some training.
Ferret learns her helpful Vocalize skills in a variety of ways. Some she learns through leveling up; others by using her previous Vocalize skills a certain number of times. The remainder - primarily the Final Fantasy series theme songs she can learn to sing - are taught through side quests. Well, obviously we can't do much about learning that last type, but we can get a head start on the other two kinds at this very moment.
Since Vocalize skills do not cost MP, you can feel free to abuse them - and should, in the interest of learning more. Ferret's skills progress in this manner:
Shriek - Default skill
Ultrasonic - Use Shriek 25 times
High C - Use Shriek 50 times
Piercing Scream - Use Ultrasonic 50 times
Lullaby - Learned on level 10
Requiem - Use Lullaby 50 times
Cheer - Learned on level 20
Elegy - Use Requiem 50 times
Aria di Mezzo Carattere - Complete the Jidoor Opera House sidequest
Calling - Complete the Eidolon sidequest
Eyes on Me - Play every piano in the game
Melodies of Life - Speak to Hurdy in Alexandria
Suteki da ne - Complete the Blitzball sidequest
Real Emotion - Use Suteki da ne 20 times
Conceivably, you could sit here and level until Ferret had learned every skill shown above (that doesn't require a sidequest, of course). However, this would bring ridiculous new definitions to the term "overkill." As long as you use Shriek at every available opportunity, you should easily have Ultrasonic by the end of the coming dungeon, which is an excellent start.
Preparation: None is necessary. The world map outside Gatrea is exceedingly small, as setting foot in the forest terrain immediately puts you into the next dungeon, and the enemies upon it are terrifyingly unimposing. Proceed with abandon.
Goblin, Goblin, Goblin, Goblin
Goblin, Leg Eater, Leg Eater
Hornet, Leg Eater, Hornet
Leg Eater, Leg Eater
Leg Eater, Leg Eater, Leg Eater
You've certainly seen Goblins before, but Hornets and Leg Eaters are new to you unless you've played Final Fantasy II before. Hornets score high in annoyance points because their physical attack has a small chance of poisoning you, but as Leg Eaters frequently drop Antidotes, this isn't quite as annoying as you might otherwise think. Leg Eaters themselves are the owners of a rather creepy name, a very creepy sprite, and little else. If you were curious, their vine-like bodies contain a sap that functions as a restorative, which is why they so often drop Antidotes.
To reach the Ferret Empire, you'll have to make your way through the Lakeside Woods. Reaching the Lakeside Woods is easy enough, as all you have to do is step on any forest tile surrounding Gatrea; however, the tile you step on will influence the part of the forest you enter first. The Woods are a large, circular area that surrounds Gatrea, and if you leave Gatrea, walk to the west, and enter the Lakeside Woods from there, you will be on the west side of the Woods. The Ferret Empire is on the north side of the forest, but if you explore the rest of the Wood thoroughly before entering it, you'll be able to pick up a large amount of helpful additional items. So, advance the story quickly or pick up some additional supplies? The choice is yours.