I wake up in Hateno village at my house early in the morning, and have a look at my map. Looking at the region I had been exploring yesterday, there are a lot of places I had passed by but did not truly explore. Unsure of what I might find, I transport back to the shrine on Satori Mountain, and being a slow, spiral descent around it to see if I can find anything interesting. There’s a lot of crows up here, for some reason, and I mean a lot. Most bird wildlife comes in groups of three, but up here, it seems like there are dozens of crows about. I wonder if it could mean something.
Partway down on the north face of the mountain, I come to what appears to be an abandoned camp tucked away between a split rock topping the mountain like a miniature Dueling Peaks. There’s a cooking pot under a dead fire, and some signs that someone has been here recently, but I see no one. I take what I find that I can use, and feel like a thief for doing so.
A little below the camp site, I come to a flat part of land with a small orchard of apple trees. There are many dozens of apples here, on the ground and still on the tree. I find a wood cutter’s axe, but I don’t feel like felling the trees and ruin the orchard just to get at the apples more efficiently. Then I find a farmer’s hoe, and discover to my delight that smacking the tree trunk with the hoe will knock loose apples down, saving me time spent climbing up to get them. I pick a massive amount of apples, and last I had really paid attention, I was down to around 20 or so, as I’d sold a bunch off and had eaten a bunch more for little quick-heals, but when I look again, I’m back up to nearly 140.
I continue onward, and explore down to Rutile Lake, more of a pond, really, in a wooded area between Mount Satori and the larger mountains to the south. I find plenty of korok seeds here, a few abandoned weapons, some buried chests, plentiful forage, and only a few monsters to fight.
It rains off and on, and I am a bit discouraged because of how the rain slows my progress when I need to climb up to explore somewhere. But here, I’m mainly going downward, and it doesn’t impede me too much,
After I get done with this area, I proceed further down, into a low-lying gully at the foot of the larger mountain at the south, and here I find a stand of the baobab-like trees. They’re so tall, and wide, and they just look like there should be something at the top of them to reward me for climbing all the way up, but after reaching the top of 4 or 5, I’ve found nothing, and there’s a lot more trees to explore, and I don’t feel like taking that much time to maybe find something largely inconsequential.
At the end of the gully, the elevation drops even further, and far below me, perhaps 100 feet, maybe 200, there’s a river. The far bank is a lower elevation than where I’m standing, so I try gliding down there, and check around for more korok seeds. I don’t find any immediately, but after going down to the river itself, I find two more. There’s plenty more forage around, as well, and I take whatever I find, mostly mushrooms.
I poke around to the north a short distance, until I get between two high points that are labeled Washa’s Bluff and Illumeni Plateau on the map. I then backtrack, to explore the rest of the valley to the west, and go through the Lake Illumeni area, and stumble upon two moblins in a wooded area, and take both out with ease. They have such poor vision that they don’t see me until I’m right on them, and are so slow that even with a two handed club, which is one of my slowest weapons, I still manage to hit them first, and do so hard enough that it stuns them long enough for me to follow up with a second attack, which is all I need to kill them.
This area has some ruins in it, barely anything more than a stone foundation and a decaying wagon, but I search and find some minor things like an amber gem.
Having finished my sweep of this area, I proceed to the north, along the outside slope of Illumeni Plateau, along the edge of a deep canyon that borders the known map region. Continuing the broadest orbit of my spiral sweep of the area, I circle around the base of Illumeni Plateau and Washa’s Bluff, and as I come around to the east end of this area, I spot a bridge spanning the canyon, and the road that I have traveled up previously on my first excursion to this area.
I still didn’t check out the Plateau or the Bluff, but rather than return to explore those spots, I decide to head to the bridge and see what I can find on the other side.
It is raining as I approach, and as I get a bit closer, I can hear faint, familiar accordion music from my Rito friend, Kass the bird-man. I find him on the far side of the bridge, sitting on some odd looking rock formations, and he sings me a song about firing an arrow through two rings to make a shrine appear. Seems straightforward enough; the rock formations here have a multitude of rings, but I can’t seem to find any two that line up easily. I explore a bit wider, and find a pair that look like I can just barely take a shot at this challenge. It takes only three arrows, and then I succeed in my trial, and the shrine erupts out of the ground. Kass is impressed that I found the secret so easily, and I go back to the shrine to see if I can pass the test.
This trial involves standing on floor switches to tilt platforms in order to make a ball roll down a ramp to land in a basin. I have to time the order in which I stand on the switches to make the ball drop to the correct path, and land two balls in two basins. It’s very easy, and I collect my spirit orb quickly. After I emerge from the shrine, Kass is nowhere to be found.
I wander a bit east, into the meadow past where I met Kass, and find a small herd of horses. Figuring it will be quicker travelling if I can snag one, I manage to grab one and tame it. Then I hear the sound of a slumbering Hinox nearby. I’m not looking for a fight right now, but I look around and find the Hinox, and give it a wide berth lest I disturb its repose, and travel onward.
I want to ride the horse back to Outskirts Stable and see what its ratings are and possibly register it. On my way back, I am nearly there, when I spot a shooting star in the sky, just at the edge of my vision. It seems to crash into the mountainside, and then I observe a shaft of light piercing the sky, marking the spot where it had landed. Obviously, I’m meant to investigate this.
I mark the point on the map, and then take my new horse off the road, and get as close to the landing spot as I possibly can, dismount, and climb the rest of the way. It’s a good distance, but more walking uphill than climbing, and I get there in a few minutes time. I find a meteorite, and pick it up. I’m not sure what I can do with it, but I’m sure its use will become apparent in time.
I make my way back down the mountain, search for a bit until I find the horse again, and ride him back to the Stable, where I go to register him and find that he’s not a particularly strong horse, so I don’t bother.
Instead, I transport back to the shrine on the top of Mount Satori, and return to the vicinity of the Illumeni Plateau and Washa’s Bluff, intending to explore them. Instead, though, I get to a point where I see something more interesting: a windmill. It looks like a metal tower with a weather vane on the top, and at first I see just one, but soon I spot a second, and then several more, going off down into the canyon into the unmapped part of the world. A bit further past the first windmill that I spotted, I see a new shrine, and decide to head toward it.
I don’t get too far, when I spot a bokoblin rider. He sees me about the same time, and gives a shout and starts riding in my direction. Quickly, I see three or four more riders, and then more. Altogether, it looks like there maybe as many as 6 or 7 of them — and I’m out in the open, without a horse of my own, I have little hope of outrunning them or outfighting them. If I’m lucky, they’ll be relatively weak and I’ll be able to take one or two out quickly, but if they surround me and gang up, they may knock me around a lot and might be able to kill me by knocking me from one to the next and beating me every time I’m about to get back to my feet.
There’s a large boulder just to the right of me that I passed a short way back, so I retreat to it, climb up, and now they can ride around me and shoot arrows, but otherwise I’m fairly safe. This turns out to be a tactical masterstroke. The bokoblins aren’t terribly good shots under the best of circumstances, but on horseback, riding at full gallop, they’re positively terrible. They fire dozens of arrows at me and I hear them clattering about my feet, but none really stand much of a chance of hitting me, although eventually one or two manage to — although for barely any damage. Meanwhile, I’m able to stand off and return fire with my own bow, and it does the job rather more effectively. I knock bokoblins off their horses, and then follow up with 2-3 more arrows to put them down permanently. The moving ones are rather difficult targets to hit, but occasionally they’ll stop to scream, or to try to take an aimed shot, and once they do, I’m able to plug them, often scoring a headshot for extra damage. It takes 2-3 arrows each, and I miss quite a few shots, and so go through maybe 20 arrows or so, before they’re defeated.
I climb down and pick up as many dropped arrows as I’m able to find, but it’s only a handful. Then a straggler rider comes up and hits me. I didn’t notice him at first, and he snuck up, the bastard. I get back on my feet and run over to a nearby horse, jump on it, and try to fight the bokoblin on more even terms, but for some reason I’m struggling to close to melee distance with him, while he nails me repeatedly with 3-4 arrows, and takes my health down to where it’s starting to become a concern. I get knocked off the horse again, and get angry, and just sprint after him on foot, and finally connect with a spear weapon, unhorsing him, and deal him a mortal blow. I’m low on health now and need to consume a meal to replenish.
I continue on now, and arrive at the shrine. As I approach it, I spot another Stable, and grow excited, because I’ve come to love Stables. They are smaller than villages, but pack a lot of adventure and story into a smaller space, and I always get several leads on things that I can do in the general area.
But first, the shrine. I get to it, and this one is a ball puzzle called Aim for the Moment. There’s a large ball, continuously being launched into the air by a piston-like platform that goes up and down. It’s on a platform slightly above the ground floor, and behind a fence. I puzzle over this for a while, trying to work out what I need to do. Somehow I need to get the ball out of this loop, and knock it into a basin below the piston platform.
A short distance from the starting point, there’s a small slightly raised platform that I can stand on. When I stand there, I can see the ball flying up and down pretty clearly. I try using the time-stop power on it, and it’s in range, so I stop it in mid-air, but after the effect wears off it just goes back to being launched up in the air again by the piston. I try again, this time waiting for the ball to be high in the air, above the fence that stands between me and it, and here I have a clear shot with my arrows. I shoot three or four arrows into it to impart some kinetic energy, hoping that it’ll knock it out of the way enough that it won’t fall back on to the piston, and maybe will rebound off the far wall and come back to rest in the basin. It doesn’t really move enough, and resumes bouncing after it unfreezes. But I apparently knocked it offcenter just enough so that it eventually lands askew and rolls off the piston platform, and ends up rolling into the basin.
This in turn activates the platform I’m on, which shoots me up into the air. I spot an alcove high up on the wall, where I see a switch pedestal. I take aim with my bow and manage to hit the switch, which unlocks the door to the shrine master’s chamber. I collect a treasure chest that I noticed in the room, behind where the bouncing ball was, using the piston platform to launch me high enough into the air that I can glide down to where the chest is. Then I go to the shrine master, and claim my spirit orb.
I visit the stable, and talk to everyone there, and get a few new missions. There’s apparently a fairy pond nearby here, and one of the travelers at the stable wishes he could go, but he can’t manage the trip, as it’s too difficult. He asks me to take the fairy an offering of 500 rupees, and so I accept. Pikango the painter is here too, and he tells me another location for one of my memory photos is nearby.
I decide to go seek the fairy first, as it is near a tower, and unlocking the tower will reveal more of the world map to me. I head down the road, and spot a drone copter flying above the road, patrolling, and I try to avoid its detection by diverting to the left and hiding behind a small hill, and manage to evade it. A bit further up the road, very nearby, there’s another hill to the left of the road, and on the top of it is a shrine that I can see clearly. I head toward it, climbing up the far side of the hill to stay well clear of the copter drone. I get up there without any real difficulty, and unlock it and enter.
This shrine is another combat trial, and it’s called A Major Test of Strength. I’d seen another Major Test of Strength shrine earlier, on a little island on the east end of the Hyrule map, and it kicked my ass repeatedly. I doubt I’ll fare much better here, but I decide to give it a try. I have a few more heart containers in my health meter, and some very good weapons.
I equip a lizal forked boomerang, guardian shield and my strongest bow with lightning arrows, and step into the arena. The shrine guardian comes out, and it’s similarly equipped as the other guardian I fought on the Major Test at the island shrine, but this one somehow seems less aggressive. It’s attack timing seems slower, its defense seems a bit less tight, and I’m able to stun it with electric shocks from the arrows, run up and hit it several times, then back out of its way before it unleashses its attacks, which mostly miss feebly. Then I nail it with another electric arrow, run in, and pound it some more.
It has a very large health bar of 3000 hit points, and my attacks don’t do a lot to it, but gradually they wear it down. I break the forked boomerang, and switch to a stronger weapon, my greater Thunderblade, which I’d been saving for special combats. I can’t use a shield with it, as it’s two-handed, but I discover that I can keep a shield equipped, and if I sheath the weapon, by pressing B, it allows me to bring up the shield, by holding the Z-left trigger, nearly instantly, and thus I can defend myself a bit better than I thought I could while armed with a 2-handed weapon. It’s a little bit slower, and more button pressing, but more than manageable.
I bring the shrine Guardian down to about 1/2 of its health with the Thunderblade, when it, too breaks. Next, I switch to my most powerful weapon, called the Blade of Duality, a monstrous 50 attack rating 2-handed greatsword that I’d found somewhere recently and had been saving for a combat such as this.
I break this weapon on the Guardian as well, but by now it’s down to about 1/4 of its health, and I feel confident that I’ll be able to beat it. I’ve taken damage from a few of its attacks, though, and had to eat two prepared foods in order to bring my hitpoints back up. But I note that my improved armor and my larger life bar now mean that one attack from this thing is not enough to one-shot me into fairy resurrection territory — and that’s a very good thing, because at the moment I have 0 fairies.
It does one of those spinning attacks that are unavoidable, but I manage to duck behind a pillar, which absorbs the attack for me, and then blast it again with a lightning arrow, stunning it, and run in and wail on it with the Blade of Duality.
After the Blade of Duality breaks, I switch to a Guardian Axe+ that I had won in a previous combat shrine challenge. I beat on the guardian until it can’t walk anymore, but now it’s using its beam weapon to shoot super blasts at me, and it destroys two of my shields, and forces me to eat another meal. I can’t get close enough to hit it with a melee weapon, and arrows don’t seem to stun it any longer. It only has a little bit of life bar left, but I need to take it down quickly. I switch to bomb arrows, and it takes three of them to do the job.
It explodes, sending a shower of ancient parts and drops its weapons and shield, which I pick up, and then I go collect my spirit orb.
I’ve done it! I defeated a Major Test of Strength! It took nearly everything I had, but it was do-able. I have clearly made tangible progress in this game!
I have a small celebration involving alcohol.