Although I’ve defeated Ganon, saved Hyrule, won the game, there’s still a number of things I’ve left undone. Like in those dreams where I’m back at elementary school as an adult because of some homework assignment I never turned in, I restore from my last save point, the auto-save generated right at the steps of the door to the inner chamber of Hyrule Castle where I had my final boss fight with Calamity Ganon.
I turn around and run back down the trail, and when it turns to the left I leap off into the open air and glide straight down to the outer gate of the castle.
I’ve used up all but 7 of my normal arrows, and broken more than a few hard to replace, high-end weapons. If I’d kept to my original plan, I wouldn’t have advanced past this point to begin with, and now I’m reversing course. If I could, I’d just restore all the way back to the point that I found the recipe inside of Hyrule Castle, or maybe to the point where I had reached the outer main gate, and discard all of that progress.
I return to Riverside Stable, where I find the man who is searching for a recipe for a meal made for the Hylian royal family, and tell it to him. I also make him a fruit cake using the recipe, and give it to him. He gives me 100 rupees in return.
Next, I transport to Tarrey Town, and visit the sick little girl, Hunnie, and her family. I’ve prepared a second cake, for her, since I know she has said that she likes cake. But she won’t take it, and the conversation dialog hasn’t changed. I’m not sure what the deal is. I haven’t actually officially triggered the side quest, either, as it’s not in my Adventure Log. I know that I need to do something, and it feels like I’ve already started, but I can’t understand why it hasn’t created a sidequest for me in the Log.
Puzzled, I google the answer, and find out that in order to trigger the sidequest, I was supposed to wait until night, and then when the father is home and is talking to his wife, and she asks me to leave because they are having a personal conversation, I’m supposed to go around to the back of the house and eavesdrop from the open window near where they are speaking.
I don’t know how I would have ever figured that out on my own, so I guess cheating and looking up the answer is the only solution for me on this one. It’s not the first time Link has eavesdropped on the conversation of regular folk who don’t want him around, and I can’t understand why doing that is considered heroic. Like, spying on enemies, I can understand. But not respecting the wishes of townsfolk who wish to be left alone and conduct their private affairs, even when I’m the key to helping them, I dunno, it just seems wrong.
There are a few actions that Link takes in the game that I have moral qualms with, and this is pretty minor compared to sneak-striking sleeping enemies to kill them in cold blood, and generally fighting the monster races for no other reason than the fact that they are defined by the rules of the game as enemies, even when they are just minding their own business and not hurting anyone. But it’s also a much more likely thing for a person to do in real life. I hope that no one playing the game decides that this is the right thing to do, but I guess everyone gets to think and decide for themselves, in the end.
It turns out that Hunnie doesn’t want just any old cake, she wants a recipe called Monster Cake. I don’t know how to make Monster Cake, but there’s that old woman who is a retired royal baker who lives in Tarrey Town, and now when I talk to her, she has heard of Monster Cake and knows how to make it. She tells me: monster elixir, goat butter, tabantha wheat, and cane sugar.
I have all of these ingredients, and make a Monster Cake, and go talk to Hunnie’s mom, offer her the cake, and then she gives it to Hunnie, who recovers and becomes healthy and active again. In gratitude, Hunnie’s mom gives me 300 Rupees. Not bad.
I have the Lynel parts that I need to power up my Barbarian leggings, so I transport to the Fairy Fountain and get that done. In looking at my inventory, I see that I did pick up 2 ancient cores somewhere along the way as I ransacked Hyrule Castle, so now I’m just two short of maxing out the Ancient Armor suit. And if I get some more beyond that, I can talk about building myself an Ancient Bow, which is one of the best bows you can obtain in the game, or buying an Ancient Short Sword, which I can show to the kid from Hateno village who wants to see one in person, and complete that side quest.
Looking at my recovered memories, there are two yet to be found. One, I know, is from a sheikah slate photo taken at Hyrule Castle, somewhere, and I’m not sure exactly where to find it, but I have no doubt that I can find it somewhere on the outside perimeter wall.
The second one, I don’t know what it could be, but it’s not a memory photo. It might be that it’s triggered by finding the Hylian Shield, which I’ve read about, and is supposed to be Link’s personal shield, and the companion piece to the Master Sword. It, too, is found somewhere in Hyrule Castle, but I haven’t found it yet.
There’s also a bunch of places in the central Hyrule region just south of Hyrule Castle that I really have not begun to adequately explore, and since I’ve already cleared out a bunch of the Guardians that lurk around that area, I might as well return back there soon, before the next blood moon happens, so I can find whatever I might find, be it memory, Hylian shield, or korok seed.
I figure that the memory photo was taken from a location along the outer wall around Hyrule Castle, but probably not inside the castle proper. It seems unreasonable that they would put a memory photo so close to the final boss. I transport back out to Central Tower, so I can take a long route and poke around the western side of central Hyrule and explore, and hopefully find some more korok seeds, or do battle with Guardians and obtain the last ancient core that I need to upgrade my helmet.
I do fight more Guardians and I do get enough ancient cores to upgrade my helmet. I also find a few more korok seeds, and a bunch more hidden chests, which have some pretty good weapons and shields. Since I have barely spent any time in this area, it rewards me on my second and third passes through, and I keep finding things that I had missed previously. Eventually, I make it up to Mount Daphnes, and find a lake with a massive ancient tree stump in the center of it, which has a bridge leading to it, guarded by a couple of moblins and a bokoblin. I kill the first moblin, then bomb the bokoblin off of the bridge, and take out the final moblin, and there’s a great flameblade there for me to take as a reward.
Proceeding to the north, I come to the Sage Temple Ruins area, and there are some Lizalfos armed with lightning arrows. The ruins are flooded and the wet ground makes the lightning arrows more effective, as their shock discharges over a wider area, making it easier for them to hit me, and I have a hard time of it. It’s raining at the time, as well, making it all the worse. I get out of the water by climbing a tree, but the rain makes it too difficult to get up the tree high enough to allow me to glide down and attack from above. So I give up on that idea and just rush them, absorb the damage, and take them out hand-to-hand. There’s not much in the ruins, a couple of chests, but nothing spectacular.
I head up and east out of the ruins and pick my way through the Giant’s Forest, where I find a blue Hinox sleeping. I don’t need to disturb it, so I leave it alone, finish exploring the woods, and press on.
I cut eastward over open meadow, and run all the way to Mabe Village Ruins and the nearby Ranch Ruins. In this area, I keep encountering Yiga archers, who harass me nearly constantly, as well as the occasional bokoblin and chuchus, not to mention a Guardian or two. But I’m all about fighting the Guardians, and I get a bunch more ancient technology parts, including the last core I needed to upgrade my helmet in one of these fights.
Next, I proceed further to the north, and explore the east side of the town directly south of the castle. This area is festering with Ganon goo, and most of the builds are completely leveled, just piles of rubble with a bit of wall standing here and there, a collapsed tower or a couple of beams leaning against each other. Everything looks like it’s been burned up pretty good, too. The outer walls of the castle town fortification have multiple breaches where some massive blasts have completely obliterated whole sections of wall. There are active Guardians about, and I no longer need to fight them, so I try to avoid their notice for the most part, but if one is in my way and preventing me from exploring, I’ll take it out. I make my way up to the north end of the east side, and there’s some walls with towers here, which I think may be the area where I’ll find that memory photo, but I do not find it here.
I explore around, and then it starts to rain again, this time with lightning, which forces me to change my equipment for non-conductive stuff.
I spend some time studying the map, and studying the photo, trying to figure out where it might have been taken. The photo looks to have been taken from atop a wall, and shows a battlement tower directly in front of the camera, with some part of the castle in the background, but it’s hard to tell for sure where it could have been taken.
Guessing, from the fact that the castle seems to be at the left of the wall, I’m thinking it’s more likely the photo was taken on the west side of the castle, somewhere. So I continue to make my way through the ruins and rubble that was once Hyrule castle town, and get all the way back to Castle Town Prison.
From studying the map, I notice a spiral formation of rocks that I’m sure is a korok seed spot, and I’m heading in that general direction anyway, so I try to find the korok. There’s also the korok puzzle with the three statues and the rusty shields nearby, as well, and I go back to see if the shields have respawned, but they haven’t.
But while I’m here, I notice something that I had seen previously when I was here, but did not pay much attention to at the time: there’s a wide moat or river between the island where Castle Town Prison is and the Castle proper. And from a certain vantage point along the wall, I am able to see that near the water line there appears to be train tracks, like the tracks that the Goron mine carts rolled on. I didn’t come across this area when I did my frontal assault on Hyrule Castle and defeated Ganon last night, so this must be some other section of the Castle that I didn’t even find on my first run.
I decide to check it out. Maybe I’ll find the Hylian shield, or some other good stuff. I glide across the moat as far as I am able, and use the Zora armor to swim the rest of the way, and climb out, and get to the tracks, where I find a mine car. I get in and set it in motion with a bomb, and it takes me a short distance, and then reaches the end of the line. I get out, and there’s a small entrance into the side of the rock wall that serves as the castle’s foundations, and I enter. I proceed through a tunnel, and come to a hot spring, where I rest a while, the waters healing me. I’d lost about 2/3 of my hearts by this point, so it was a good thing to find.
There’s also a korok seed puzzle here, where there are 3 statues with eggs in front of them. There’s a nest where I find two more eggs. When I get close enough to check the eggs in front of the statue out, I find they are hard boiled, not raw eggs. So I have a bunch of bird eggs, I put them in the hot spring and they turn into hard boiled eggs, and I put them in front of the statues, and get a korok seed.
I continue on, and encounter a moblin or a lizalfos here and there, and these ones are tougher variety, and better armed than the ones I ran into at the library and in the banquet hall on my first run. They’re white and striped and take a lot of hits to kill, even using the Master Sword.
Eventually, I reach a gate that I can’t open. I try magnesis, and it’s not affected. I can’t time-stop it. And there’s no water beneath it, so I can’t use cryonis to raise an ice block to lift the gate. On the other side, there’s a goo pile and an eyeball, and also a moblin and a lizalfos. I am noticed and the moblin starts hurling rocks at me through the gate, and hits me. I use an arrow to shoot the Ganon Goo eye, and it blows up and the gate opens. The lizal rushes in and I start kicking its ass, but it has a lot of hit points, and the moblin gets in before I can finish it off, and gangs up on me. Two on one, in tight quarters, it’s not easy to avoid taking damage, but as I’m freshly healed from the hot spring, I can take the damage, and I just duke it out toe to toe with my sword until they drop.
I move forward and there’s a long hallway with a lot of prison cells, inside each cell is a moblin or a lizal. The lizals use their tongue and spit attacks to hit me from range, and the moblins pick up rocks and throw them at me. They are well armed, which provides me the incentive to open their cells and kill them, and I do kill a couple. But my inventory is still pretty well maxed out for weapons, so I don’t bother killing all of them. Some of the cells have chests in them, and I obtain a royal guard bow, which is a stupendous weapon that has an attack rating of 70, which is amazing, but low durability.
I continue on and eventually emerge from the dungeon cell block, and find myself back outside. I’m not sure if I should continue this way, or go back into the castle and explore the dungeon area more fully and make sure I’ve covered it from end to end. But I see a korok puzzle across the moat, and decide to glide across to collect it first. After doing so, I come back over, and I find that there’s a path or road going up the hill, leading inward to the inner part of the castle complex. I decide to follow this path, and see where it leads.
I’m on the west side of the castle, and as I follow the path, it’s ascending the hill. I start to encounter Guardian turrets and there’s a few flying Guardians patrolling about, so I have to be careful. I duck inside of the castle wall where I can, and occasionally there’s a tower where there will be a chest or some boxes where I can collect some weapons or fruits. I guess the fruit stays magically fresh for 100 years, or else was brought there by the monsters who now inhabit the castle very recently.
After making a bit more progress, I see a tall tower, and am immediately all about climbing it to see what’s at the top. I leap out to glide to it, and start climbing from mid-way up. I reach a window, and enter, and find myself in Princess Zelda’s Study, a small office-like room where she has left behind a notebook, which I read. It talks about Sheikah technology and fills in some backstory about the shrines, the sheikah slate, the guardians, and the divine beasts. These were all ancient technologies that they were uncovering and re-discovering, trying to figure out how they work and how to use them. They did not create the technology or understand it as the ancient Sheikah did. Interesting.
Exting the study, I am on the top of a wall, walking toward a tower, and I see it: the memory photo location! I walk forward and recollect the memory.
The cutscene depicts a scene at the castle where Princess Zelda is more interested in developments of the Hylian scientists studying the ancient Sheikah tech. Zelda has lost faith in her ability to unlock her birthright power to seal the dark power of Ganon, and is more interested in using the ancient tech to combat the even of the Calamity. The king comes out and scolds Zelda, and commands her to focus on her study and prayer to unleash her own power, which is her duty and is critical to the defense of Hyrule. Zelda is upset and it’s clear she has lost faith in her own ability and is looking for this as an alternative way to save Hyrule. But the King is stern and demands that she waste no more time with the technology or the scientists, and forces her to focus on her study.
I proceed to enter the tower that was in front of me and in the memory photo. The tower is blown apart, there’s a section of wall and ceiling missing, and a hole leading down into the next floor below, where I can see a powerful looking moblin sitting, waiting for someone to come by. He is armed with a powerful looking two handed sword. I don’t want to mess with him, but I want the sword. So I hit him in the head with an ice arrow, freezing him, then jump down and hit him with the Master Sword, doing a ton of damage to him before he recovers enough to try to counter attack. His attacks mostly miss, swinging over me, and I take him down without too much trouble. The word he has is an Edge of Duality, with an attack bonus, which makes it one of the more powerful swords I’ve encountered in the game, but only comparable to the Savage Lynel and Royal Claymores that I already have. So, worth picking up, but not next-level.
I explore the area more fully, and find a second diary that Zelda kept, which talks more about her feelings about Link. It is revealed that she initially was hard on him, but came to regret her abuses toward him, and admired his stoic calm. The diary entries seem to hint that she has stronger feelings for him as well, but doesn’t explicitly say it in so many words.
This part of the castle is cut off form the rest by collapsed ceilings and so the way I came is the only way in or out.
I decide to depart the castle, still haven’t found the Hylian Shield, but not sure where I will find it. But I have a feeling it will be somewhere in the castle.
Right now, though, I want to return to Kakariko village and see Impa, because the Adventure Log says I should do that after finding the 12th memory photo.
I climb to the top of the tower that hosuses Zelda’s study, and launch off of it to glide out from the castle, so that I’ll return to the normal overworld map and can transport to Kakariko village.
I go there and talk to Impa, and she tells me that there is one more photo for me, one more memory to find, and I’m now ready for it. She shows me a painting on the wall of her house, and says that when I find that location, that will be where I’ll regain the last of my memories.
The area is not easy to figure out, but Impa says it’s about half a day’s travel from here, and I think it’s probably a good bet that I’ll find the memory spot on the road between Kakariko village and Fort Hateno. The mountains, fields, and Guardians littering the ground in the photo look reminiscent of that area.
I head out from Kakariko and grab a horse, and take it up the road. I get to the ruined wall of Fort Hateno, and look around, but the contours of the landscape do not look quite right, and I have a hard time orienting myself with the photo, and can’t tell if I’m in the right spot or not.
I decide to continue along the road all the way to Hateno, and then ride back, and try to see if the mountains line up for me like they do in the photo.
I get all the way to Hateno village, and I haven’t felt like I got any closer. If anything it’s probably nearby the outside of the fort wall, but I just missed it.
While in Hateno, there’s been this ongoing mystery of these two women who never want to talk to me, and rudely tell me to buzz off when I try to talk to them. Recalling the eavesdropping that I had to do in Tarrey Town, I sneak behind them and find I’m able to listen in — they talk about the Hateno Tech lab, and a young girl that has been spotted around there by one of their children. It’s clearly a reference to Purah, who has reversed her aging. No new sidequest or anything like that.
One of the Hateno children talks to me and asks me if I want to see something, so I say yes, and he says “follow me”, and leads me to the sinister statue that I found way early in the game, which allows me to reconfigure my heart containers and stamina meter, for a price. I’ve never used it, having never regretted my power up choices.
I ride the horse all the way back down the road from Hateno to Dueling Peaks Stables, and board it. Along the way, I found a few more korok seeds. There were a couple of korok archery pinwheels, and I expend about 20 arrows claiming two seeds. And I find an additional seed on the roof of Dueling Peaks Stables, which surprises me because I know I had been up on that roof before, and didn’t notice it earlier.
At any rate, I’ve gotten back over 10 seeds, which means I can take another trip out to Korok Village to see Hestu, and expand my shield inventory one more slot. I do so, and then I transport back to the shrine near Hyrule Castle Prison island, and now the shields have repawned at the offering statues, so I drop my rusty shield there and get another seed. And then I remember the spiral formation of boulders nearby, which I’d gotten distracted and forgotten about earlier, so I go there, and get another seed.
I also transport back to Kakariko and upgrade my Ancient Helmet. The Fairy takes me up to Level 3, which means that I’m not quite done upgrading this helmet just yet. To get to Level 4, I have everything I need but a star fragment, so now I am back to looking for shooting stars at night to hopefully find one more.
Once I do that, I can probably buy an ancient short sword to show the kid at Hateno village, and then the only things left in the game for me to do that I care about will be finding the Hylian Shield and the final memory.
Then I can beat Ganon again and see if I get a better ending this time than Zelda asking Link if he really remembers her.