Forest Owls Mission

The team will land at the Timber train platform. Even though you won’t be jumping into any battles for a little while, you should know that Zell and Selphie no longer have their Guardian Forces equipped. For some reason, the first Laguna Dream Sequence de-equips the Guardian Forces that they had on. You can re-equip them now if you’d like or later on just before the next battle (you’ll be reminded again).

Train on the world Map approaching Timber

As you proceed down the stairs the man at the bottom will say the code phrase “Oh, the forests of Timber sure has changed!” (they corrected the grammar for the PlayStation 4 remake!). The password is “But the Owls are still around” although there are no negative consequences for choosing the wrong password at this point.

Using the proper pass phrase at Timber - But the Owls are still around

Forest Owls’ Base (Train)

Follow the man (Watts) onto the next train. Zone and Watt will introduce themselves and will then ask you to go “wake up the princess”. Before you do, though, challenge Watts to a game of cards so that you can win the Angelo Card.

Then it’s time to go and “wake the princess”, the female lead character of Final Fantasy VIII. [Authors note: can I just say how cheesy this is? Why does the female lead have to be a princess? A trope to make the lead female more interesting then she needs to be. Why can’t she just be some normal girl? Lame.

What’s even more annoying is that this ‘princess’ title is never, ever referenced in the game again…] Go wake Rinoa. She can be found at the back of the train.

Squall waking up Rinoa in the train

Rinoa will introduce herself and will also introduce her dog, Angelo. Angelo joins Rinoa in battle whenever she uses a Limit Break, so Rinoa gives you a brief overview of how to teach him new abilities (using Pet Pals magazines).

Follow Rinoa down to the team and then into the briefing room. Her and the team will give the SeeD Members a very long and very convoluted mission briefing. You really don’t have to pay much attention to this. In fact, its not clear why they spend so much time showing you the diagrams of the train as these steps all happen automatically…

Preparing for the Timber Forest Owls mission to kidnap President Deling

There are two parts that require you to be particularly careful: dodging the guards and entering the codes. Stand still when a blue guard is under you and run when a red guard is under you. Pretty straightforward compared to the lengthy and convoluted explanation provided in the game.

Rinoa explaining the details of how the team plans to swap the train cars

Head back up to Rinoa’s room after the explanation ends and grab the Pet Pals Vol.2 Magazine sitting on her bed. Talk to Watts when you are ready to begin the mission.

Picking up Pet Pals Vol.2 off of Rinoa’s bed
Telling Watts that you’re ready to begin the kidnapping mission

The Kidnapping of President Deling

Run to the left towards Rinoa and jump onto the 2nd escort train when she indicates. Rinoa will state that you have 5:00 minutes for the next section of the mission, which is plenty of time.

The guards on the next car will go through a bunch of dialogue, essentially revealing that their detection systems are not working. This means you can just run right over them without worrying about being caught.

Running across the top of the train cars during the Timber Forest Owls mission

The 1st escort is the first section of the train mission that can be a bit challenging. Selphie and Zell will follow the two guards around and give you a heads-up when they are getting too close.

Make sure to scale back up to the top of the train whenever they are coming. You can’t move up if you’re in the middle of entering a code, and scaling back up the train takes a couple of seconds, so play it safe and climb back up early.

Entering code 3221 to decouple the train cars during the Timber Owls Forest mission

You can use the L1Button to look to the left and see if the guards are coming. Then use the following buttons to enter the code:

  • CircleButton
  • XButton
  • SquareButton
  • TriangleButton

You will have to enter 3 codes to successfully uncouple the train. There isn’t enough time to enter all three before the guards will come over, so be ready to jump back up to the top of the train whenever you need to.

Entering the second code and using R1 to check for guards

Squall and Rinoa will wind up back on the 2nd escort train and will have to uncouple another lock, but this time Selphie and Zell won’t be available to watch for the two guards. Take your time and proceed cautiously. The mission is complete once you enter all 5 codes.

The train cars separating during the mission to kidnap President Deling

Squall, Selphie, Zell, and Rinoa will return to the Forest Owl’s Base train. Squall will reiterate that these will be “serious negotiations” and will remind you to equip your Guardian Forces.

This is another reminder that Zell and Selphie’s Guardian Forces were unequipped after the completion of the Laguna Dream Sequence, so make sure that you go back in and reequip them. Also, make sure that you have at least one character who has access to the Item ability.

Boss Battle: Fake President
Rinoa confronting President Deling on the train

The first boss battle is against the “Fake President”. This is a quick precursor to the actual boss battle which comes next. This boss does not hit hard and does not have a lot of HP. Hit him a couple of times and get ready for the next fight.

The initial battle against the Fake President

Draw List:
Mug List:
Drop List:
Boss Battle: Gerogero
Close up of Gerogero, the second boss battle during the President Deling kidnapping mission

Gerogero’s main attacks will come at you in the form of negative status effects. It is capable of inflicting Darkness Status Darkness (increased chance of missing with attacks), Silence Status Silence (unable to use magic) and Berserk Status Berserk (only able to attack). The cure to these status effects is to use Esuna magic or to use curative items. Esuna can be drawn directly from Gerogero if you need it.

Final Fantasy games always have one undead-type boss that you have to fight in each game (Gi Nattak in Final Fantasy VII and Soulcage in Final Fantasy IX, for example). Undead-type enemies take heavy damage from healing spells and curative items. This means that you can use a Phoenix Down item on Gerogero and it will instantly kill it.

Boss battle against Gerogero

Draw List:
Mug List:
2x Phoenix Down
Drop List:
8x Zombie Powder

After the battle, you will be brought back to the train station for more discussions with the team as they come up with another plan to complete their main objective (achieving Timber’s independence).

Rinoa will join your party for the next part of the game. Use the “Junction Exchange” option to quickly move all of your Guardian Forces and magic from either Selphie or Zell (whichever one you aren’t taking) over to Rinoa rather than going through and equipping it all manually. Speak to Watts when you are ready and the train will return back to Timber.

Refer to the “Best Party” section for more information on which party members make the most sense to add to your main party. Selphie is considered the better party member to add at this stage of the game (over Zell).

Town Center

There is a short cutscene involving some Galbadian Soldiers in Timber before the train arrives at the train platform. During your travels through Timber, you may encounter Soldiers that you will have to fight or you may run into random encounters in certain areas of the town.

Travel back towards the Pet Shop behind the train platform and purchase Pet Pals Vol.3 and Pet Pals Vol.4 from the Timber Pet Shop. You may also want to consider purchasing some Amnesia Greens so that you can have your Guardian Forces forget some of their useless abilities if they start running out of space.

Purchasing Pet Pals Vol.3 and Vol.4 from the Timber Pet Shop

Head back towards the train platform and look for the wording at the bottom of the train platform that says “Galbadia”. There is a pathway that runs along the lower side of the platform heading to the right side of the screen (not the bottom). Follow that pathway into the next screen and you should find yourself standing in front of the large “Timber Maniacs” building.

Rinoa peering off the bridge down at the trains in Timber

(You can check out the other areas of town, which have some optional cutscenes that you can watch, but they are fairly irrelevant to the story and don’t have much of an impact on the game)

Standing outside of the Timber Maniacs Building

Timber Maniacs Building

Search the piles of magazines at the front of the Timber Maniacs reception area until you locate the Girl Next Door magazine. This is a ‘naughty magazine’ that you need to have in your possession later on in the game in order to obtain the Shiva Card.

There is also a hidden Draw point in the room on the left that contains Blizzaga magic.

Picking up the Girl Next Door magazine near the entrance of the Timber Maniacs Building

Proceed to the room at the back of the hallway and find the next issue of Timber Maniacs lying on the ground. This is everything that you can do inside the Timber Maniacs building. Head back out the front door.

Picking up the Timber Maniacs episode

Town Center

Go to the right of the Timber Maniacs building, ignoring the small house, and right to the next screen. This area has some stairs on the far side of the walkway with writing on the ground pointing out that this path leads to the “Pub”.

Wandering through the town of Timber

Go past those stairs and continue walking to the right. You will find yourself standing near some train tracks with some stairs that lead up to a door on the left side of the bridge over the tracks. Go through the door and into the house.

The train tracks in Timber


Start off by examining the cupboard on the far side of the room. Squall will say “(It won’t open…?)” and the lady in the house will ask him what he’s doing. Examine the cupboard a few more times until you’re presented with the option to “look closer” and Squall will snatch 500 gil; taking the secret life savings out of the cupboard.

Hard to feel like the hero of the story at this point of the game, isn’t it?

The Timber Forest Owls returning to the train station at Timber

Town Center

Exit the house and make your way back to the screen with the stairs leading to the Pub. Go down the stairs to observe another scene with some Galbadian Soldiers.

You will have to defeat two of the Soldiers before you can enter the pub but they are extremely easy to defeat. At the end of the battle you will receive a free Buel Card.

Confronting the Galbadia Soldiers outside of the pub

Use the nearby Draw Point for some Cure magic. You can also swing by the nearby store on the left side of the screen which sells the following items:

100 gil
500 gil
500 gil
100 gil
100 gil
100 gil
100 gil
100 gil
1,000 gil
1,000 gil
3,000 gil
20 gil
40 gil
200 gil
500 gil

While none of these restorative items are critical for your success as you progress through the game, it certainly can’t hurt to have a few items like Antidote, Eye Drops, etc., on hand to remove negative status effects.

Unlike in some other Final Fantasy games, negative status effects in Final Fantasy VIII persist from battle to battle until you remove them. These restorative items can be much cheaper options for removing negative statuses without having to use Esuna magic or a Remedy.

Enter the Pub after you have purchased everything you want.


There is a drifter that will start talking as soon as you enter the pub. Depending on your choices, after you approach the drifter to get him out of the way, you’ll be rewarded with a different Triple Triad Card.

Squall can either choose to buy him a drink, tell him about a Triple Triad Card, or do nothing. If you choose to buy him a drink, select the “Reagan” drink (which is what the woman near the bar says he likes) and he will reward you with a Forbidden Card.

Alternatively, if you just tell him about the card you currently have, he will give you a free Tonberry Card. Both cards are fairly common throughout the game so don’t spend too much time worrying about your choice here.

Inside the Timber Pub

Proceed through the back door and into the alleyway once the drifter has moved out of the way.

Entering the back alley behind the Timber Pub


Your view in the next screen is looking straight down when you enter the alleyway. Make use of the Save Point to save your game before you head to the left. Go through the gate and up the stairs.

Walking up the stairs towards the TV Station in Timber

There is some additional dialogue that takes place as Squall, Rinoa and your extra party member pass by the large outdoor screen in front of the catwalk. Watts will run up to the team and them that the president is in the studio and that there are now too many guards for them to storm the place.

The long walkway towards the Timber TV Station

Quite a few more cutscenes and quite a bit more dialogue will take place before Quistis and Seifer will show up on the scene. Quistis will order the SeeD team to make their way to the Timber TV Station. Continue left along the catwalk and towards the station.

The game will automatically direct Squall and his team back to the small house on the right side of the Timber Maniacs building to hide out.


Talk with each of your team members once you find yourself back in control of Squall on the second floor of the old lady’s house. The team will discuss their plan of action which involves travelling to the nearest garden: Galbadia.

In order to get there, you will have to ride the train to “East Academy” and then depart (although this guide recommends a few places you should travel to before going to Galbadia).

Quistis in the Timber Residence explaining where the team should go next

Choose your party members and, before you leave, the old lady will give you a cache of items which includes a Potion, Phoenix Down, Soft, Antidote and a Remedy. Head towards the right side of town where the train tracks were located (not the area where you jumped on the Forest Owl’s train/hideout), and hop on the train.

Squall getting on the train at Timber

World Map - Lanker Plains Area

Quistis will remind you again that you’re to head to the “East Academy” and then “go through the forest, west of the station”. But we won’t be headed there just yet…

Complete the first part of the Dog and its Bone side quest to re-obtain your MiniMog Card. There are a few other rewards that you can obtain while completing it, but note that if you come back and complete this side quest later, the rewards are quite a bit better (X-Potion, Mega-Potion and an Elixir):

There’s one more item to grab while you are back in Dollet. Travel back to the Dollet Hotel in the center of town and choose to spend the night in a room for 100 gil. When you wake up, read the issue of Timber Maniacs on the table.

Dollet Hotel room with the issue of Timber Maniacs visible

You could also consider returning to the town of Timber to pick up one more issue of Timber Maniacs. Just enter the town and stay at the Hotel right up at the front of town and grab the magazine off the table before you leave.

Entrance to the Timber Hotel
Timber Hotel room with the issue of Timber Maniacs visible

It’s now time to make your way towards Galbadia, or more specifically, the forested area near Galbadia Garden where another scene will takes place.

Walk back to the first train stop in the “Timber - Yaulny Plains” area and look to the northwest. You should see a forested area between two canyon walls (shown in the screenshot). That’s our next destination! Head into the forest and a cutscene will begin as soon as you enter.

East Academy Station on the World Map looking at Yaulny Canyon
Approaching Yaulny Plains on the World Map