It’s been nearly two weeks since my last play session. Having beaten the game, the missions nearly 100% completed, there seems to be less draw for me to return to play more.
I had not found the Hylian Shield, and wanted to do that. My last save point is right at the doorstep to Ganon’s sanctum, in the center of Hyrule Castle. I know the Shield is supposed to be somewhere on the castle grounds, and I’ve been through most of it and not turned it up yet. Also, there’s supposed to be a shrine in the castle complex somewhere, and I’ve yet to find that either.
I glide down from Ganon’s doorstep to the northeast quadrant of the castle, as I have a general idea that the shrine is in that general area. I start exploring, and enter the castle at the dungeon. I’ve been through here before a time or two, but this time I’m not in a hurry, and I explore thoroughly, and clean it out completely rather than avoid unnecessary combat.
At the far end of the cell block, I find a large, round chamber, and as I draw near to the entrance, I see a huge pile of bones in the middle of the floor, and recognize it immediately as a dormant Stalnox. As I enter the chamber it springs to unlife, and we fight.
I am hoping it will be an extra special boss-level Stalnox, but it seems that it is just a garden variety specimen and it’s not any more difficult to fight than the others I’ve faced much earlier in the game. After vanquishing it, a treasure chest appears and I open it to find the Hylian Shield.
That’s one thing off my checklist.
I proceed to explore as much of the Hyrule Castle complex as I can, following every corridor to its end, and I definitely covered a lot more of it than I had on previous expeditions, but I don’t know that I found everything there is to find. I did manage to find three more koroks. Two hiding under rocks, and one at a pinwheel archery challenge — I couldn’t manage to hit the balloon for this one, as it was a great distance away, and I didn’t have the range with my bows, but I tried shooting a sword beam at it, and nailed it on the first attempt with that, after wasting several arrows.
I eventually fought my way down to the lower levels of the castle, and re-entered it at the banquet hall. I cleared it out again, and followed the hallway down to the library, and cleared it out again. This time, using magnesis, I note that some of the bookshelves on the lower level are movable. I had never noticed this before. I discover the King’s Study, and a hidden room where I find a number of nice arms and shields, and some rupees. And the third bookshelf leads down a staircase to an underground cavern, filled with water, where there are some lit torches and a large, unlit torch.
Using my great flame blade, I light the torch, which triggers the emergence of a shrine. I enter it, and find a combat trial. It’s a Major Test of Strength, and again I’m hoping for something really extra special. But this shrine guardian seems almost docile, hardly aggressive at all, and I have an easy time fighting it. I use electric arrows and the Master Sword, and together they seem to be rather effective. It doesn’t seem to get off its spinning charge attacks, and when I get its health down it doesn’t start shooting its super laser at me, either.
The guardian drops an Ancient Axe++ and a Spear++ and a Sword++, but all I have space for in my inventory is the axe and sword. At the end of the shrine, I’m awarded a flame sword, but I don’t need it.
After emerging from the shrine, I continue exploring the cavern and find some docks down by the water, patrolled by some red lizalfos. I find a lot of loot in the crates on the docks. I explore the cavern a bit and find that the cave opens out to the outside, and then I realize that I’m just about back where I started, at the entrance to where the dungeon cell block is.
I make my way off the Hyrule Castle compound, and once back on the overworld map, transport to Kakariko village to visit the goddess statue so I can exchange four spirit orbs for my final Heart Container upgrade. Thus my life meter is maxed out.
Checking my progress, I now have 112 shrines completed, meaning that there must be 8 more shrines yet to be discovered somewhere in the world. I have no idea where to look. I’ve been everywhere, or so it would seem.