Imperial City of Archades

Trant

Vaan and Penelo will have a short conversation during a cutscene as the entire group enters the Imperial City of Archades. Walk westward towards the center of Trant and another short cutscene will take place – Balthier will leave the team for a short time. Travel west into the next zone.

Vaan opting to check out the city when the arrived at Archades
Balthier parting ways with the rest of the team

Molberry

As with Old Archades, you should speak to each of the Archadian Gentry and Archadian Ardent that you pass. Each of them has an actual name which will appear above their heads after you have spoken to them.

The first store on the right side is Charlotte’s Magickery. Purchase all of the spells that are currently available if you have not done so already. You can also complete the July side quest by speaking to July, but only if you had started this quest earlier:

Head further west further on down the street to Bulward’s Technicks shop. There is a Moogle from the Cartographer’s Guild on the second floor of the shop. Purchase the map of the Tchita Uplands for 3,300 gil and the map of Archades for 230 gil. Head south into Nilbasse.

Nilbasse

Both the weapon and armor shops are located in Vint’s Armaments. There are quite a few upgrades available; new items are denoted with an asterisk in the lists below:

Walk down to the Cab Queue area just south of Vint’s Armaments shop and speak to the Cab Guide. This will initiate another cutscene involving Jules and about obtaining Chops. Jules offers to provide Vaan with more information if you pay him 2,500 gil. Pay him the gil and he will explain that you need to obtain 9 Pinewood Chops in order to get to the area where the gentry live.

Map of the Imperial City of Archades

(Click on the map to enlage)

Chops

So what exactly are Pinewood Chops? They are like a unit of currency that can be used to gain access to a few areas within the Imperial City of Archades. You can obtain Pinewood Chops by speaking to the citizens within the city and relaying information between them. There are a total of 28 Pinewood Chops that you can obtain. You only need 9 but it may be beneficial to obtain them all now.

Speaking to the Cab Guide who explains that you require Chops in order to use the cab
Jules offering more advice for 2500 gil in Archades

The people that you need to speak to first are listed on the left. The “information” that you carry between the two individuals is listed in the middle column of the table below, and the second person you need to speak to is listed on the right:

Molberry
Reminiscing Lady “The Mummer” Family-minded Girl
Daughter-in-Law “A Trinket From Giza” Man from Giza
Look-Alike “The Master of Disguises” Look-Alike
Would-be Judge “To be a Judge” Judge’s Wife
Talented Woman “A Knack for Magick” Akademician
Ardent Woman “The Eight & Twenty Chops” Ardent Man
Proud Mother “The Tutor” Tutor
Poor Husband “The Anniversary” Poor Wife
Avid Traveler “The Traveler” Traveling Gentleman

Trant
Boutiquere “The Boutique” Moneyed Gentleman
Farce-Goer “A Ticket to the Farce” Girl on an Errand
Music Appreciator “The Lutenist” Lutenist
Historian “A History of Empire” Perceptive Man
Builder “The Artisan Architect” Artistan Architect
Smitten Man “The Client’s Daughter” Smitten Woman

Nilbasse
Gentleman Onlooker “Working up a Sweat” Eager Crier
Senior Researcher “Words of Encouragement” Failed Researcher
Worried Husband “Wages Halved” Materialistic Woman
Athletic Woman “A Grand Line of Gamesmen” Avid Reader
Aspiring Starlet “The Path to Stardom” Faded Star
Determined Researcher “Time to Leave” Ex-Researcher

Rienna
Philosopher of Cuisine “A Revolutionary Dish” Dangerous Chef
Lazy Profiteer “A Gambit for the Market” Researcher’s Wife
Greenseller “Out of Ears” Vegetable Seller
Good Brother “What She Wants” Waiting Woman
Tarot Reader “The Misfortune Teller” Happy Novelist
Lucky Man “An Epistle to Love” Romantic Lady
Tour Leader “The Aerial Gardens” Bhujerban Lady

You can speak to the Tarot Reader in Rienna after you have received the Pinewood Chop from completing “The Misfortune Teller” and relaying her story to the Happy Novelist. The Tarot Reader will tell you how many Pinewood Chop pieces you’ve missed in each of the regions which can help you track down any that you might be missing.

Committing stories to memory
Speaking to the Tarot Reader to determine how many Pinewood Chops are left

Trade your 28 Pinewood Chops in at any of the shops for Sandalwood Chop by speaking to one of the Chopmasters. This completes the Chops mini side-quest. You can now move forward to the next stage of the game.

Speak to the Cab Guide once you are ready to continue and choose the “Take me to Tsenoble” option.

Speaking to the Cab Guide who now offers you to Tsenoble

Tsenoble

Balthier will approach Vaan and the rest of the team when they arrive in Tsenoble. Touch the orange Save Crystal to activate it as a teleport point and then travel northward to initiate another cutscene involving Imperial Soldiers. Head back towards the Cabs afterwards. Jules will approach Vaan and Balthier and, after a brief conversation, will tell them that they can now travel to the Draklor Laboratory by speaking to the Cab Guide.

Balthier rejoining the team in Tsenoble
Asking the Cab Guide to take you to the Draklor Laboratory

Approach the Cab Guide and select the “You know where to go” option.