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The Occupation of South Figaro is an event in Final Fantasy VI that marks an escalation in the Gestahlian Empire's war against the Returners, as well as substantiating the end of the Figaro-Imperial alliance. To the Empire, the invasion is a response to Edgar Roni Figaro's refusal to hand over Terra Branford at a previous encounter in Figaro Castle, as well as a step in a wider plan to invade Narshe.
The party visits South Figaro right before and immediately after the invasion, but never gets to see the actual battle. It is mentioned the town fell with almost no resistance due to an inside informant, despite a citizen in southeast South Figaro expressing faith in the city's defenses prior to the invasion. The informant is the richest man in town, revealed if spoken to prior to the Imperial occupation; the party will catch him writing a letter to the Empire: "The city's eastern border..so attacking from there would..." According to a little girl in the rich man's house, her dad has important people coming over for dinner all the time, even General Leo. After the occupation, the informant regrets betraying the town to the Empire, because all he could think at the moment was the money. The Imperial troops turned his house into their headquarters during the occupation.
Locke Cole travels to South Figaro to operate on behalf of the Returners and slow down the Empire, but his efforts are in vain and he is forced to escape. The Gestahlian Empire asserts control over the city, and when Locke visits after the invasion the streets are patrolled by troops with Magitek Armor. The Empire occupies the strategic Mt. Kolts, blocking access to South Figaro from the Returners and prepares to strike the Returner Hideout.
Locke learns that General Celes Chere committed treason shortly after the invasion when she learned of Kefka Palazzo's plan to poison the water source of the besieged Doma Castle. She is rescued by Locke the day before her scheduled execution.
If the party attempts to enter South Figaro through Nikeah by ferry, a sailor will ask the party to enter a treasure chest and smuggle them past the soldiers patrolling the city to the edge of town so they can safely leave the area.
The occupation precedes the Siege of Doma where the Empire faces tougher resistance but nevertheless emerges victorious. The Gestahlian Empire continues its advance towards Narshe, culminating with the battle for the Frozen Esper where Narshe Guards and the Returners inflict the first decisive defeat on the Empire.
Although no known resistance takes place after Locke's escape from the city, the Empire unconditionally withdraws its forces from South Figaro after reaching a peace agreement with the Returners. This decision is taken in the light of the decimation of Vector at the hands of furious espers, which alters the balance of power and forces the Empire to change its strategy.
- The scene where Celes is being tortured by the Empire was removed for the Game Boy Advance release. This is because the original Final Fantasy VI was created before the Japanese ratings board, CERO, existed. Violence is rated strictly in Japan, and Square wanted a CERO A rating for the Game Boy Advance version, which would have been impossible if a game depicts violence against a restrained human.