The party teleports away at the last minute, as things collapse back on the Hill of Despair (more on that later), and finds themselves back outside the Iifa Tree in the present, the tree’s roots starting to move like tentacles as they began the process of destroying Gaia, or whatever would happen after the destruction of Terra. Luckily for the party, Mikoto was on board the Red Rose with Beatrix and was able to sense Zidane telepathically, and they sent a message to Cid to pick up the party. But at the last second, a psychic voice reached out to Zidane. I originally assumed this was Garland, but no, it was Kuja, who was still alive. Zidane wanted to rescue or at least go to him, saying that, “Because I might’ve done the same thing if I were in his shoes.” Okay, like, I sympathize? But also don’t agree in the slightest. But whatever, he’s doing it anyways, and to my absolute annoyance, he reneged on his life lesson from Disc 3 and decided to ditch everyone to go in alone. I really expected them to turn him around on it, but Amarant just gave up and everyone ultimately followed his lead, even Garnet, who had the longest farewell speech. Extremely disappointed at this reversal.
After the others were gone, Zidane began his approach. This was shot in a very peculiar manner, with a pre-rendered CG in the background, depicting the Iifa tree nigh-attacking him with its roots, but with Zidane’s in-game model running around on top of the pre-rendered CG in what I can only assume is real-time. I’m not sure why they did this, though I imagine it was budgetary. On the PSX, this looks a little janky but not ultimately that bad. In the HD remake, with the now out-of-date prerendered cutscene in the background and the HD Zidane in the foreground, it looks like absolute crap. Long story short, Zidane finds Kuja, including an unintentionally silly bit where he spots him, time momentarily freezes, and he falls past.