|Battle of the Gardens|
|Final Fantasy VIII|
|Balamb Garden versus Galbadia Garden|
|Địa Điểm:||The skies above southern Centra Continent|
|Kết Quả:||Pyrrhic SeeD victory. Fall of Sorceress Edea.|
|Phe Tham Chiến|
|SeeD Mercenary Force||Galbadian Army|
|Squall Leonhart||Sorceress Ultimecia|
|Unknown, heavy.||Unknown, heavy.|
The Battle of the Gardens was fought between the flying vessels of Balamb Garden and Galbadia Garden between the SeeD forces under the command of Squall Leonhart and the Galbadian Army under the command of Sorceress Ultimecia (within the body of Sorceress Edea).
As both military academies were built with mobility devices by the Centra, the battle began after Galbadia Garden intercepted Balamb Garden in mid air, just over Edea's House. Squall, recently appointed Commander of the Garden, led the ensuing battle against his rival.
The targeting of SeeD began when a team of SeeD mercenaries received orders to assassinate the Galbadian Ambassador, Ultimecia (using Sorceress Edea's name and body), during her inauguration ceremony in Deling City. The assassination was a failure and the SeeD mercenaries were captured and jailed in D-District Prison. Ultimecia held SeeD personally responsible and ordered a missile attack on Balamb and Trabia Gardens.
Following the prisoners' escape from D-District Prison and the survival of Balamb Garden, Ultimecia utilized Galbadia Garden's own Centra tech to make it mobile and outfitted it for use in Galbadia's forces as a means to combat the now mobile Balamb Garden.
The Battle of the Gardens started in the south Centra continent, north-east of the Cape of Good Hope, just east of Edea's House, and continued on over the continent's Lenown Plains near the Almaj Mountains.
On the way to investigating a lead in the Centra continent, Balamb Garden was intercepted by Galbadia Garden. Seeing the battle as inevitable, Commander Squall Leonhart issued orders from the bridge to the soldiers and cadets: 1st and 2nd Class Sabers were to assemble in the Garden's parking lot, personnel with MG Ranks 3 and above were to head for the second floor deck and await instructions.
Anticipating the Galbadians on coming aboard, he concentrated his forces at the Front Gate and the Quad, splitting the forces by their Student ID in order to do so. He also ensured the protection of the junior classmen by ordering those with an 8 at the end of their IDs to supervise them. He then descended to the Headmaster's office to organize his team into two groups, one to oversee each force in the Front Gate and Quad. He also ordered Zell's group to take care of Rinoa. Taking his group, he headed to the Quad, organizing the students under his command along the way to find that Zell was already there. Nida called Squall back to the Bridge to inform him of Seifer leading the Galbadian troops.
The Battle Joinssửa
Seifer releases the first wave of rocket propelled Motorcyclists, launching them from the Garden's front gate and over the bridging gap between the vessels. Squall issues evasive maneuvers and warned the Quad team of the incoming attack.
Galbadia Garden proceeds to ram into Balamb Garden, causing damage to the vessel's structure and resulting in Rinoa clinging to the edge of Balamb as the path underneath her crumbles. Unable to help her, Zell moves back to inform Squall, just as Squall himself moves to the Front Gate to reinforce the defense; he is subsequently called back again as the classrooms come under attack. Forced to make fast decisions, he orders part of his team to go with Xu to reinforce the Front Gates, another to assist him in defending the Classrooms and Zell to help Rinoa.
Ascending to the second floor classrooms, Squall's team intercept the inbound Paratroopers and ward them away from the junior classmen that were sheltering there. Once again called to the Bridge, he reports the damage to Dr. Kadowaki, estimating that they would not be able to hold off another wave. The Front Gate team and Zell then return to report: Zell informs that the only way to get to Rinoa is either by going over the roof or flying to her. On the verge of giving up on her, Irvine, Selphie, Quistis, and Zell force Squall to go save her while they prepare to invade Galbadia Garden. Before leaving for her, he gives a final (and noticeably uncharacteristic, surprising everyone) announcement over the P.A system.
- "...Everybody. This is Squall. How's everyone doing? You're all probably too tired to even stand up after all the fighting. But I want everyone to listen to me... We still have a chance to win, and I need your help. This is going to be our final battle. We're going to attack them before they come in again. To do that, we're going to head straight into their Garden. So I want everyone to prepare for a major collision. Take care of the junior classmen. Irvine, Quistis, Zell and Selphie will lead the attack into their Garden. As for everyone else, please support them if you can. SeeD was formed to fight the Sorceress; at least, that's what I heard. And Garden was created to train SeeDs. So this battle is Garden's destiny and also our destiny. It's a grueling battle and I'm sure you guys are all exhausted. But I don't want to have any regrets. I don't want anyone to look back and regret this day. So just this once, I want you guys to give everything you've got! For yourselves and for me!"
- —Squall Leonhart
On a side note, it is at this point that Squall's character completely changes from the lone wolf that he was prior to the battle to the caring and born leader he is for the rest of the game.
With these stirring words, Nida rams Balamb Garden into Galbadia Garden hard enough for the two vessels to get locked up in each other, allowing the SeeDs to board the rival vessel.
On his way to save Rinoa, Squall comes under attack from a paratrooper in an armored hover-suit in the second floor hallways of the Garden. Thinking fast, Squall opens the emergency exit as the paratrooper rams him, causing them both to tumble out of the garden. Squall grabs onto the hover-suit as they fall, prying the paratrooper from the out of his suit as both of them grab onto the suit's emergency cable and engage in a fistfight. Defeating the assailant, he then uses the trooper's hover-suit to winch Rinoa to safety, landing aboard Galbadia Garden as an enraged SeeD force push the Galbadian army back. Squall and Rinoa enter Galbadia's classrooms from a rear entrance and rejoin the rest of his team. He then leads them through the complex, encountering the fatigued Raijin and Fujin who let them pass without incident. They gain access to the Headmaster's office where they face off with Seifer. After Seifer's defeat, Ultimecia (as Edea) shifts through the floor down to the Auditorium. Squall and his team follow her there and defeat her, ending the Battle of the Gardens, as well as Ultimecia's possession of Edea Kramer.
With the Sorceress defeated, Rinoa received Edea's powers and became a Sorceress herself. Sorceress Ultimecia (who had been using Edea's body as her own in order to further her plans) then possessed Rinoa and awakened Seifer. Then Ultimecia forced Rinoa into a coma. Free of Ultimecia, Edea was finally able to explain to the party her actions and the nature of Ultimecia, the Sorceress from the future. She told the party about the existence of the White SeeDs, advised them on how to find Ellone and then returned to her house, accompanied by Headmaster Cid, her husband.
- Interestingly, this is the only the second time that the transformed Galbadia Garden can be seen. It is assumed that both Gardens would have transformed at the same time (or near enough) since Galbadia Garden is seen flying over Balamb. It is never seen moving; it "disappears" from its original point and "appears" over Balamb. This happens again when the Garden appears over Centra. After the battle, Galbadia Garden is never seen again, neither mobile nor stationary. It is not implied whether or not the Garden was destroyed in the conflict.