TOTK Diary 41

I walk down from the heights of Rito Village to check the bridge down at the bottom to see if it’s been repaired yet. It’s not, but there is a Hylian and a Rito talking about fixing it. They mention they need a Hylian specialized in construction, and I overhear them say that there was one such individual at Lookout Landing, so I make a note to head there real soon.

I also stop in at the Lucky Clover Gazette to talk to the boss, who suggests that I go to the Stables at Eldin.

So I fast-travel to the shrine near Woodland Stables in Eldin, and find that the Rito who works for Lucky Clover is already there, talking to the musicians. This time, they allow me to repair their wagon, by affixing wheels to it. I catch a horse, but can’t register it because I don’t have any more slots left, so I let it go and take Horsey out from the stables, attach a towing harness to him, and tow the musicians over to see the Great Fairy at her flower. I also learn that there has been sightings of a blond woman, who apparently matches the description of Zelda. But it’s hinted that this Zelda may not be the true Zelda, so I guess there’s maybe an imposter. But it’s very scant information, not much to go on.

They play a song, and the Fairy emerges, and I’ve completed a side quest, and unlocked clothing upgrades. I only have the one Fairy at the moment, so I’m very limited in the upgrades I can get, but I upgrade everything I can. It costs both rupees and materials, and only takes me up from the base rating of 3 to 5. But everything is necessary and will help some. The Fairy tells me the location of the other four Fairy Flowers, but in fact I’ve already located them through my previous travels. But now they are marked on the map and that’s good.

The musicians say that they are going to try to get the rest of the band back together, and I guess that will play into how I’ll need to unlock the remaining Fairy Flowers.

Some of the people are talking about Gorons and Death Mountain. And some kind of restaurant near there. And some of the Gorons have “strange rocks” and these should not be trusted.

After I’m through here, I fast-travel to Lookout Landing to try to find the builder who can repair Rito Village bridge, and the first thing I see is a Goron standing near the entrance to the underground citadel. So I run over and talk to him, and he’s apparently nice enough, but is lost and can’t remember how to get back to Goron City. His excuse is that he hasn’t forgotten, but that with the eruptions of Death Mountain the roads have changed. He gets instructions to head up the road toward Woodland Stable, where I had just came from.

I did just spend some cash at the Fairy Flower, so I need more, and to do that I pay a visit to the Well Investigator, who gives me 30 rupees and tells me that there are still 44 wells left to be discovered in Hyrule. Out of the 56 that the game started with, that means I still have a lot to discover.

I Ascend back up through the ground and emerge into the citadel. I talk to a few people who look like they have something important to tell me. The older lady who was sweeping the dust has knocked a hole in the wall, right where they suspected there might be a passageway. She says she thinks she can hear a demon in the tunnel, and is afraid it will come to take her. I gotta check that out right away, then. Hopefully it’s something they mistaken for a demon out of fear, and I’ll get some useful info out of it from whoever it is.

Another guy I talk to, Gralens, tells me about some info he knows. Hoz, Toren, and Flaxel have taken monster hunting squads on expeditions around Hyrule. It looks like I’m going to have an opportunity to help each of them, in turn, at some point. Suddenly I have a lot of things to do. He also tells me about the bigger monsters, the ones they have a hard time handling: Stone Talus, Hinox, Molduga. I don’t tell him about the other things I’ve seen: Lynels, Flux Constructs, Frox, Gleeok. Not even I’m ready to face them, yet.

I go back to the newly opened wall that the cleaning lady discovered, and explore the tunnel a bit. As I suspected, it’s an access tunnel to go between the citadel at Lookout Landing and Hyrule Castle. Only, it’s mostly collapsed and in a state of ruin. Much of the way is blocked by fallen boulders, and I don’t have that many bomb flowers to clear it all, and I only have but one hammer weapon to smash through with. I go as far as I can, encountering a couple of Like Likes, but just ordinary Like Likes, and I’m able to take them out without getting hurt. I do hear a mysterious growl as I start to enter the tunnel, but I don’t find the source of it, despite searching exhaustively. At one point, I hear a sound that I think is the sound of a snoring Hinox, but again there’s nothing to be found down here. I don’t get it. Eventually the tunnel changes from a rough hewn cavern to a more proper stonemasonry in the style of Hyrule Castle. I explore a bit more, hoping to find something interesting, a bit of information hopefully. At one point I find a chamber with a table and some old, moldy and tattered books, and it looks like this could be it, but they’re not interactable, which is disappointing. In a game as sophisticated and deep as this, if a thing looks like a thing, it should work like the thing.

All I’m able to find is a bunch of forage material, mostly minerals, and some weapons, but I don’t have any open slots, except when I break a hammer, and then I just pick up the nearest weapon and Fuse a rock onto it to make a new hammer, which I quickly break. None of the weapons I find is particularly good anyway, just more of the same decayed royal arms that I’ve been finding when near the Castle.

Eventually I explore the full cave, and unless I’m missing something, which I guess probably I am, I never did find the source of that demonic growl or the snoring Hinox. I decide to Ascend to the surface to see where I’m at, and emerge on the ground just outside of Lookout Landing, not quite halfway to the Castle.

I decide to return back to Lookout Landing and see who’s there who I haven’t talked to in a while, or at all, and it’s pretty much everyone.

I pick up a lot of new quests, and it’s hard to keep track of everything. Purah’s assistants want me to check out the depths again, I forget why for the moment. Thes male science guy says he can improve the Purah Pad again to give it a shrine detecting ability. I had been wondering about that.

I find at the clothing shop there are a bunch of outfits that I would like to buy, but I don’t have money and I don’t want to trade in a bunch of material right now. I think the game has done a good job at making all the materials more useful and interesting to keep. In BOTW all you could do with them is make recipes, which were mostly unnecessary, or trade them in for rupees or use them to augment your clothes, and sure, yeah, some of them had some useful special abilities, like octorock balloons that you could use to lift things, but the usefulness was always pretty limited and specialized. In TOTK, you can also use them for Fusion to improve your weapons and shields, which gives them a lot more utility.

Then, I turn around and see my old friend Hestu! That big walking broccoli has been missing for a while. I wonder when he showed up here!? I talk to him and give him as many korok seeds as I can to open up my inventory slots, and I have a lot of seeds — 73. When I’m done I just have 8, and I’ve added 6 weapon slots, 5 bow slots, and 4 bow slots. I think. Anyway I can carry a lot more stuff, which is great, because it means I can experiment with Fusion a lot more and carry some stuff that will be useful, like flame projector and rockets fused to things.

I talk to a man training with swords, and he offers me three swords. I was looking at one of them and thought it looked like the Master Sword, but it was just a Royal Claymore.

I talk to the man by the mini stable, and he needs help fixing the roof. Karson from the Hudson Construction Co is there, but he needs assistance. So I use ultrahand and put a piece of nearby lumber in the roof and that fixes it, and unlocks the Stable, giving me a Pony Point, and entitles me to a reward at the next full Stable I go to. Then I may be able to register that new horse I found, if it’s still possible to do so.

I tell Karson that the bridge is out in Rito Village, and he’s finished up with his work here, so he goes off to do the repair there. So I need to return back to Rito Village soon, and check on that, and also see what my next assignment is and get paid by the Lucky Clover.

Oh, and a big chunk of sky island fell from above and landed in the fishing pond. It has an inscription on it, and the resident expert on Zonai script tells me he needs to go to Kakariko Village to consult his notes so he can try to translate it.

And people are telling me that I should head to Eldin next. It’s the nearest point with one of the anomalous weather conditions that Purah wanted me to check into.

Suddenly I have like twenty things to do, the game has really opened up. I guess that’s what was meant to happen if I had followed the more obvious hints and been braver about the cold and went exploring Rito and the Hebra region first. Suddenly, I have so many directions to go in, and I’m not really sure which one I should do first. Some seem simpler and easier, while others seem more important.

Remembering Pee Wee Herman

I didn’t realize that I would be thinking so much about Pee Wee Herman after hearing about Paul Reubens passing away.

When I was a kid, in the early 80s, it seemed like there was an absolute line between kids and adults. Kids were kids and adults were adults. Kids were allowed to do kid things, but not adult things, and adults did whatever they wanted, but never wanted to do kid things.

I’m not sure, and I’m not saying he did it single handedly, but I notice that for those of us who became adults after Pee Wee, adults seemed a lot freer to continue to enjoy the things that they enjoyed doing as children. We don’t have to hide it, or feel ashamed to enjoy games and toys, comic books, or science fiction or fantasy. We can just enjoy being who we are, and love the things we love to do.

It sure seems like he set us free by his example.

Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Pee Wee.

TOTK Diary 40

When I played through BOTW in 2020, I completed the game in 90 diary entries, totaling some 300 hours of play.

I’m approaching the halfway mark of that in TOTK, and I feel like I am maybe a quarter of the way through the game. It’s tough to say, of course, I could be just an 8th of the way through for all I know. Either way, it seems like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be done in this game. Never mind the things that you can build with Ultrahand and zonai technology, or the things you can fuse together, just the places you can go, the creatures you can encounter, the quests you can complete.

This game is huge. Vast.

I’ve tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but without a total social media blackout, that’s been all but impossible. Gamer websites, youtube, reddit, and facebook video clips abound with clips of people demonstrating skill, exploits, secrets. I’ve managed to avoid most of the plot spoilers, but the spectacle of some of the achievements of TOTK players is something to behold. People pulling off amazing trick moves, improbable events caught on video, creative or impressive engineering in zonai builds…

I haven’t done very much building, apart from basic vehicles. Although the mechanic definitely is fun and can be very useful, I don’t feel like it is an ideal fit for the character of Link as I envision him. Link is a youthful, courageous, resourceful sword-wielding adventurer. Occasionally a spell caster and wielder of magic. I tend to play the game, thinking like I think Link would think. So I think about how to defeat monsters with weapons, not how to engineer complex constructions and ways to combine the properties of different objects to create a useful effect.

As I’ve played, I’ve very gradually, and only slightly, started to think in terms of the full set of abilities the game designers have empowered the player with.

I feel like BOTW was a game that was a good bit more grounded in the reality of the world. Link’s abilities are enhanced by some magical capabilities, particularly by the end of the quests to quell the Divine Beasts. But most of his capabilities revolve around, and extend, his basic physical capabilities: to move faster, jump higher, hit harder, or add an elemental flavor to an attack. In comparison, TOTK’s abilities feel like the designers have removed limits and enabled cheats, and don’t mind how game-breaking an ability they’ve given you is, as long as you can have fun with it, and exercise your creativity, unleash your imagination, explore possibilities, and express yourself almost without limit. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, or even that I prefer BOTW. But I don’t know that you could have given Zelda fans TOTK without first giving us BOTW. I think we needed a more reality-grounded, lower power bounded adventure in this edition of Hyrule, before we could be ready for the more unbounded, over the top things that we get to experience in TOTK.

I start off today’s session standing with Tulin and some of the adult Rito warriors, who have given their blessing and encouragement to us to press onward and upward, to investigate what’s going on inside the giant storm cloud in the sky. The young warrior has given me a new ability, a means of generating a gust of wind while I’m gliding, which can push me forward at a high rate of speed for a brief period. He also seems to lend a hand with his bow, when enemies are around, although he’s not very aggressive or fast compared to me.

At first, I think the game intends for me to just take off from this mountain peak, right here, and begin to ascend through this new ability. Well that turns out to be completely wrong. I blow forward toward a taller mountain peak, where I land, and find a Korok who needs help getting over to his friend on the other side of a snow-covered mountain trail. Looking down to the trail below us, there is a camp of bokoblins and beyond that, quite nearby, a trio of Zonai construct soldiers. The Bokokblins have erected a wooden barrier, which keeps these two groups from seeing each other. I decide the way to handle this situation is to knock down the barrier and let them fight each other, then clean up what’s left.

I launch a fireseed arrow at the wooden barrier, it burns, and when it is destroyed, the two groups see each other immediately and start to attack one another. The Bokoblins make quick work of the Soldier Constructs, however, and take hardly any damage from them. I take them down with the bow, pretty quickly, and easily, however. The Zonai Constructs have some balloons and platforms, and I attempt to use these to help my Korok buddy, who needs just a little bit of height to get to his friend. Unfortunately, I screw this up and the balloon lift gets caught on a rock overhang, and remains stuck until the balloons are exhausted and disintegrate before my eyes. I have nothing else to work with, other than Zonai gear I have in my pocket, and even though I’ll probably never use it all, I’m stingy and leave the Korok for now, vowing to return later, and marking the spot on the map so I can find him easily again.

Moving on, I continue climbing up the mountain peak, step by step, with Tulin flying along beside me. We encounter another Zonai construct, and then reach the top of the mountain, where we meet another adult Rito warrior, who gives us some further encouragement and tells us to continue forward. From here, we can ascend into the sky level of the map, and we’re back in the chain of little islands leading upward higher and higher, into the area where I’ve already explored a bit, where I found the air ship trampolines, and got a good close up view of the storm cloud.

As we get closer, we being to encounter more Aerocudas and then we start to encounter Zonai construct soldiers, and we work together efficiently to take them out as we continue making steady progress, hopping from sky island to sky island, the gusts of wind making it a little easier to manage the larger gaps, but not all that necessary. Eventually we make it to the area where the Shrine I had previously cleared out is, and now I know that I could just fast travel to this point and not really miss anything by doing so.

We keep moving forward and eventually make it to a point where I don’t think I could have reached before without Tulin’s Gust. I’m exploring new territory. After a time of moving carefully forward, I make it to a new island. Tulin mentions to me that it’s cold up here, even for him, and he hopes that I am OK. My cold weather pants and armor seem to be holding up, but the temperature needle is just above where it would start to do damage if it went any lower. Up ahead, I see a Shrine, which I rush up to and enter without hesitation. Another quick-travel location to resume from if I fail and turn back. There’s no challenge here, just Rauru’s Blessing, a free one for making it so far.

A little further and I’m at eye level with the bottom of the storm. The storm system is surrounded by ships, as I had seen from below much earlier. But now I’m at an altitude where I can touch them. Looking up at the storm, we see multiple flashes of lightning, which illuminate the cloud, giving us a glimpse of an immense sky ship, much larger than the long boat type I’ve seen so far. It must be the fabled Stormwind Ark. That’s our ultimate destination. And to reach it, we must make our way still upward, jumping from long ship to long ship until we’re above the storm winds and can safely descend to the Ark from above.

I jump onto the first one, and am catapulted into the air, high enough to glide to another, higher ship. I make 4 or 5 such jumps in succession, ascending into the upper reaches of the sky like I’m pogo sticking up a moving staircase. My flight paths and drops have to be planned and executed properly or I’ll fall back down, possibly all the way back down to Hyrule level, and I’ve come too far to let that happen. Fortunately, I make it all the way up to a sky island at the very top of the storm, and this seems like the last place where I can stop and catch my breath before I can get high enough to fall into the storm from the top, and discover what’s waiting for me.

On the ship, we briefly see what appears to be Princess Zelda, who vanishes before our eyes, apparently stepping through a portal of some kind. Is she a ghost? Is this a vision of her from the past? Who can say?

What we see confirms that the Stormwind Ark is generating the winter weather that has been freezing out Rito Village, and we need to turn off the mechanism that is powering this disaster. There are five locks on the ship, which we need to open, in order to achieve this. A voice speaking to us informs us. I can see the position of these locks on the map, and it should be a simple matter, I would think. But as I go about the ship, looking for a way in to access them, I’m blocked by gates that allow me to look in, but don’t seem to be openable.

I find several treasure chests with medicore weapons, and fight afew Zonai constructs and an Aerocuda or two swoops in on us, but Tulin takes them out for me. There are white chu chus here as well. The monsters seem rather modest and weak, fortunately. But these obstacles are stopping us cold, a puzzle that I cannot figure out.

I climb up as high as I can on the ship, and look around, but while I can explore a bit more and find some more chests that don’t help me, I’m unable to find a way into the ship to the places where I can open these locks.

The ship is a puzzle, of course, and it takes time and observation to figure out how to get into parts of it where I need to go to activate the locks. The aft end of the ship has a turret with a massive cannon, which traverses and elevates. At first I think maybe I’m meant to jump down the barrel, it’s that big, and access the turret’s inside, but that’s not it. The turret is there to shoot me out of the sky if I try to hover for too long in one place in the updraft being generated at the center of the ship. There’s a tower at the forecastle of the ship, which I can glide up to on the updraft from the center of the ship’s main deck. I can land there, and discover that there are large steel doors covering a hatch into the tower, which is open and has a fan blowing up from below, with laser tripwires that I have to dodge. It’s not that hard, and I manage to get down to the bottom of the tower, where I find a bit of machinery, which I puzzle over, until I finally figure out that the way to turn it on is to use a gust of wind. Tulin is able to provide this, and I imagine my Feathered Edge blade could as well, or even a Korok leaf, if I had one. I’m not sure they exist in TOTK, I don’t believe I’ve seen even one so far in all this time.

There are similar turrets mounted on sponsons on the side of the ship’s hull, as well. The sides of the ship have some open hatches, and some with gates blocking them, I discover, and I can easily glide to them from the top deck, and access the inner portions of the ship. It’s a bit twisty, but I manage to find how to access 4 of the 5 locks that I needed to activate, and only one remains, the one located on deck B1.

I know once I start up that last turbine, the lock mechanism will be fully working, and I can expect a boss fight at any point after that. I’ve managed to get injured enough times by falling too far and minor scuffles with the enemies here that I’m down to just one heart, so I eat a food to bring me back up to full health. I guess this is supposed to be a Dungeon, or like one of the Divine Beasts, but the combat portions of this have been really easy, more like nuisance skirmishes than actual challenges, with weak-powered enemies that don’t take much to kill, and only one at a time. So it’s a little surprising that the designers don’t seem to think that much of making the combat a big part of the challenge in this part of the game. The enemies put up token resistance — the chu chus and aerocudas go down in a single hit, the Zonai Construct Soldiers only take a couple of hits with a decent weapon, and are easy to disarm with arrow headshots before they’re close enough to be a threat. And with Tulin’s help, it’s not a great challenge even with no armor upgrades. But I expect the boss fight to be different.

I consult the map of the Stormwind Ark, and try to figure out how to access the final lock. The B1 deck seems to be divided into two separate but interlocking sections. I’ve been through half of it, but the other half, I’m not sure, but I don’t think I have.

From the F1 Deck, I do a little more thorough inspection of the hatches in the side of the hull, and only now do I realize that there are four: starboard and port, fore and aft. One of these is an accessway into the final area of the B1 deck where the last lock is. This portal is blocked by icicles, so when I glide over edge, I first have to clear it out with a bomb arrow. I wasn’t expecting to need to do this, so I’m a little too close, and end up taking some damage, and the blast knocks me away from the hatch. I somehow just barely manage to recover before I fall too low to get back into the ship, and feel very lucky.

This last area of the ship only has one Zonai soldier guarding it, but he’s got a shield, which makes him a little tougher to deal with. But with Tulin’s help, we outflank him and he can’t use his shield against both of us. Tulin’s arrows keep him off-balance, and I manage to stay out of reach of his attacks when he tries to land them on me. I hit him with an arrow and them land a few blows with my melee weapon, taking him down.

Now, it remains to find access to the machinery that we need to activate in order to unlock the final lock. There’s a gear turning in the room where we juts fought the construct, and it seems this is connected to a gate, but there’s a missing linkage. Only problem is, there doesn’t seem to be anything available there that I can fuse the two parts of the gear system together to open the gate. I end up improvising by dropping a spear from my inventory and use it to bridge the two halves of the machinery. This does just barely work, the gear only seems to connect to the spear on one end, and the other just freely meshes with the other side of the machinery, but it does the job. The gate opens, I climb in and use Tulin’s wind blast to start the turbine, activating the final lock.

I retrieve the spear and head back up to F1 Deck using Ascend. From there, we proceed to unlock the main hatch on F1 Deck.

A massive blast of wind comes up through the opened hatch, and Colgera, the boss of the Wind Temple, emerges. At first I think it’s a dragon, but it has a more insect-like look about it, with pincers and arthropod-like carapace and five eyes. It is icy and as big as a dragon. Tulin and I are blown high into the air, with a constant updraft keeping us aloft. I catch the wind in my glider, but the winds are powerful and sometimes I’m knocked reeling. Colgera flies at me, and I have to use Tulin’s gust to evade it.

This boss battle was not terribly difficult — I managed to win on the first try, using some meals at about the midway point, and one fairy at the end, and all of my Fireseed fruits.

The Colgera flies at me, and when it hits it does only very light damage, allowing me to absorb the hits even though I have no armor upgrades. Maybe the cold resistant properties help here? It can shoot ice at me, and wind blasts, and towards the end it even generates a swarm of tornadoes. Most of this looks more dangerous than it apparently is, because I manage to dodge most of it, and when I do take a hit now and then, I lose about a heart and a half, and am knocked reeling, which disrupts my glider and puts me into a dive that I have to recover from. But this is a good way to dive out of harm’s way and avoid taking further damage, it seems.

Colgera’s weakness is a series of three body segments which are rounded, almost disk shaped. There’s a carapace covering these, which opens briefly, and enables Colgera to launch his ice attack at me. But this also leaves him vulnerable. I fire into the open body segment with fireseed arrows, and these only take 2-3 hits to destroy. Once destroyed, the body segment becomes hollow, like a ring, and I’m then able to turn my focus on to the next one.

I go through about 20 fireseed arrows, because I miss with a lot of them. The wind is a factor, a bit, but also the range, which is very tricky to estimate. I do my best when I fall very close to Colgera and then enter bullet time when I’m at near point-blank range, and let loose with a couple of arrows.

Managing my stamina meter isn’t that difficult, although it definitely helps tremendously to have two full wheels of stamina at this point. But it seems that I get free refills of the stamina meter whenever I’m knocked reeling and recover my glide in mid-flight, which is pretty generous of the game designers. The “arena” where this fight takes place is encircled by a broken ring of sky islands, mere rocks that afford a bit of a standing spot to land on, and provide a tiny bit of shelter, shielding Link from the attacks which, mostly come from below.

Tulin doesn’t do much directly to help, but his gust is very useful for dodging or getting into position where I have a good shot at the vulnerable spots.

I finish the battle with my last two fireseed arrows, and then I switch to bomb arrows, and down he goes.

We’re victorious, and we meet the mysterious voice we’ve heard while up in these clouds. It is the Sage of Wind, an ancient Rito ancestor of Tulin, who passes his legacy on to the youth. Tulin swears an oath to give me aid in the battle against the Demon King for all of Hyrule, and seems honored but mainly excited beyond belief that he has been chosen for this.

Back at Rito Village, the weather has turned warm again, and the snow and ice rapidly melts away. The elders meet with me and Tulin, and thank us and congratulate us. Tulin’s father gives him his bow, and Tulin shows me he has some ability through the sage’s stone to project his spirit, so it can always be with me to protect me.

This completes one of the Anomalous Conditions, one segment of one of the Main Quests.

Well, hey, I did a thing.

TOTK Diary 39

Down the road a short distance from the Lucky Clover News, there’s a Shrine standing off the road, overlooking the large crater-like geography where Rito Village stands. It is surrounded by thorn bushes, which are no problem for me since I have several means of creating fire at my disposal.

I burn away the brambles, and enter the shrine. The challenge is not terribly difficult.

Exiting the shrine, I see that I’ve ascended a gentle slope and now am standing at a level slightly above the lowest pillars of rock which form the foundations of Rito Village. I’m curious if the obstacle to enter is more than that simple wrecked bridge. I know I must have multiple easy means of crossing — create a new bridge out of building materials and Ultrahand; glide over on my glider, even build a zonai vehicle that can fly. But maybe there’s something more to the situation than meets the eye — high winds, or, say a monster of some kind.

I decide to try gliding to the village and find out. I manage it very easily, and land without incident on the small rock pillar just past the fallen bridge, and walk the rest of the way into the Village proper. Picking up pine cones along the way, I come upon a trio of Rito children, practicing their singing. They are about to do a song about the Stormwind Ark and the god — the same story I first learned of when I talked to the Rito at the cabin outpost.

The children tell me that food is scarse in the village, and that many of the adult Rito have fled the village, leaving the children behind to run things. That seems crazy to me, leaving the children behind to freeze and starve? But maybe they are off doing battle against the Upheaval, or doing something else equally dangerous, and the village is really the safest place for the children.

A bit further in, I finda prayer statue, where I can exchange Light of Blessing for Stamina and Heart Container upgrades. I have 11 so I get one of each, and need just one more Shrine to get another. I now have two full rings on my stamina meter, and 8 heart containers. I proceed up the path further into the village, and find the inn and a food store and an armor shop, much the same as they were in BOTW, but with lower stock. I have almost 500 rupees, and buy some food ingredients that I can use for cooking recipes, and then sell off a bunch of mushrooms that I’ve collected an excess of, enough to afford purchase of the body piece of the Rito armor suit. The pants and the helmet are too much for me for now.

I notice right near the armor shop, there’s a Shrine, right here in the village, so I jump over a fence and enter it. This shrine is a flight challenge. Full of large, open chambers with very high ceilings, and fans blowing massive updrafts from far below. I proceed forward, easily navigating the challenges as I’m pretty used to flight by now, but there are a few parts that are a bit tricky, where I have to manage my altitude and descend through an updraft-filled room by diving and then catching myself. I also have to use the bow to take out some Zonai construct soldiers, and am rewarded when each of them drops a bundle of 5x arrows. A treasure chest contains a bow as strong as the weakest in my possession, so I just leave it, and then go into the next chamber to collect the Light of Blessing. Now I can add another heart container to my life meter. I’m not sure how much more stamina I really need now that I have two full rings, but lately it seems that my stamina has not been a limiting factor in the climbing, running, and gliding that I’ve been doing, so I think it’s time to start adding more hearts so that when I am in combat I can survive a bit more easily.

Outside the Shrine, I notice a slight indent in the side of the massive stone pillar that the entire village is built upon, and thinking it might be the entrance to a cave, I investigate it. It turns out to just be a shallow pocket of a cave, but there’s a small boulder which I pick up, and discover a Korok. I try Ascending, and yes, the shallow pocket cave has enough of an overhang that I can zip upward and back into the village again, a nice shortcut.

The remaining Rito children are working hard at keeping things running at the village, and have amazing spirit, but they are cold, hungry, tired, and too few and too young. By talking to them I find two easy side quests that I solve instantly: one Rito wants some icefruit so they can make a recipe with it, another wants icefruit or white chuchu jelly so they can fuse it to an arrow and make an ice arrow. I have both in my inventory and just give them to each, instantly closing the quest. These were intended to teach me about the potential of fusing materials, but I’m already clued into that from doing other side quests and experimenting and paying attention to things.

I find the last two remaining adult Rito: the new village elder, Teba, and his wife and adolescent child, Tulin. The child is ready to become a full-fledged warrior and wants to fly up to the clouds to investigate the storm seen high above, but his father says it’s too high and too dangerous even for adult Rito. The elder suggests I fly out to the Lodge where I can ask a Rito named Harth if he has seen Princess Zelda around.

I’ve already been there, I came from there, so I’m coming through this area kind of backwards, but it doesn’t much matter. The elder points in the direction of the two marker bonfires, and I jump off a ledge and fly out that way again.

At the Lodge, I talk to Harth, and he tells me he hasn’t seen Zelda and has been too busy to look for her, dealing with the cold emergency and hunting food. He suggests I try asking the child of the elder, who he last saw going out on a hunting expedition, and he points the way deeper into the cold frigid wastes, and uphill.

So I guess my choice at the moment is to continue with this, or go back to the newspaper quest. I think the newspaper quest is what will lead me to becoming able to upgrade my clothing, and make me more capable in combat and better able to finish the rest of the game. So perhaps it’s best if I leave Rito Village behind for now and return to that storyline.

Ah, who am I kidding? I go up the mountain path and look for Tulin.

I climb up some ladders and trudge a short distance, and encounter an adult Rito by a small campfire, and they tell me there are many caves in the area, which are good shelter from the cold. The Rito have been using them, and making large bonfires to mark the way for others.

I continue on and spot a couple of ice keese, which I try to kill with my spear, but I manage to get frozen by one of them. Then a bokoblin comes at me from up the hill. I hit him with an arrow, taking him out in one shot before he can get to me. But then another four bokoblins emerge from the right, along with a White Chu Chu. Fortunately, I kill the Chu Chu with an arrow, freezing all of them with its burst of cold. This makes it easy to kill the three red Bokobs, but the last one is blue and has more health, so when I hit him it’s not enough to take him down. He unfreezes, and then swings at me with a weapon that creates a gust of wind that knocks me back, and I go tumbling down the mountain trail, I get up and try to hit him, and he hits me again, doing damage this time, and I am blown back again, almost all the way back to the Rito woman and her campfire. Fed up, I ready my bow when I’m back on my feet, and nail him in the head at point blank range, just as he’s about to swing at me a third time, and this slays him. He drops a Rito sword called the Feathered Edge, which doesn’t have a lot of damage potential, but the gust of wind ability is probably handy. So I drop the honeycomb boomerang I’ve been carrying since the Hylian Plains, trading a swarm of bees for a gust of wind. Some nutjob Boko I fought a long time ago had a bee hive honey comb stuck to a boomerang, and I discovered that when you hit stuff with it, bees come out and swarm it to do a tiny bit of extra damage. But it’s real value is that the bees also distract the target, making it less of a danger to you, and easier to hit with a follow-up attack. It was a clever way early on for the game to tell me I should think about fusion with materials that would seemingly be impractical or even nonsense in the real world. But I haven’t experimented with it all that much so far, really.

Anyway, a little further up the mountain trail, I find a cave marked with bonfires, a Rito camp. I approach and spot another Rito woman, and talk to her. She tells me that Tulin went further into the cave, and I can find him if I go deeper. This cave is full of those brambly thorns, and for the most part I just move cautiously around them rather than try to burn them away. The cave goes pretty far into this mountainside, and I find a lot of forage and minerals to pick up along the way. At one point, I find a frozen over puddle, which I break through, and discover a deeper underground chamber full of even more mushrooms, cave fish, and minerals. I clear it out and continue further into the cave, and there’s a chamber with a gust of wind blowing upward through a vertical shaft lined with brambles. I fly up it and am fortunately not to collide with them, spot a tunnel branching off the top level of the vertical shaft, and make my way toward it.

Here, I encounter a Horriblin, who I take out with my bow. One shot. My strong Zonai bows do a lot of damage, and I hope I can find more of them when these break, because they are kick ass. I proceed further on into the cave, and find another chamber leading up into a tall vertical shaft lined with brambles, this one has a campfire, extinguished, and no updraft. Well that’s plain as day what I need to do, I put down a flint and a hylian pine cone, and light the campfire, it blazes brightly and I glide up the draft, and find the tunnel at the top, and continue onward. This time, I encounter a male Rito standing guard over some supplies they’ve gathered. He tells me that Tulin went ahead impetuously without waiting for help, to try to chase some monsters back to their “nest”.

I push forward, looking for Tulin. The Rito told me that he would be at the top of a mountain with a lone Cedar tree growing on it. I exit the cave, and there’s a trail leading up the mountain. I spot what looks like a small Bokoblin campfire, and come upon two reds and a blue huddling around a fire. I don’t want to screw around, so I just fire a bomb arrow and headshot the blue, killing him, and the bomb blast takes out the reds, so I take out the entire camp with one arrow. That’s what I’m talking about! Unfortunately the bomb blows away most of the stuff I might have looted from this campsite, but there is one treasure chest, which I open and discover a weaker bow than I have, but it’s a Rito bow that has rapid fire capability which is useful when flying, because bullet time takes so much stamina to get shots off. But I leave it behind, not wanting to give up my other bows. There are a couple of large crates, which I bust open and find an arrow in each. It’s weird how these giant 5 foot by 5 foot crates only have a single arrow or apple in them all the time.

Then I notice down the hill slightly, there’s Addison, holding up a sign. It’s crazy. He’s not dressed for cold, although he says he ate some chili peppers, so that explains it. I try to help him but I just busted up the only boxes around that I could have used to help hold up the sign. Nearby I spot some snowballs, but they just roll off the mountainside when I try to stick them together, and splatter far below. The only other thing I can find is a big boulder. Normally I have to use 2 or 3 things glued together to hold up his sign, but this time I am super lucky, and the one boulder holds the sign up by itself. I don’t know how, I just placed it perfectly I guess.

He rewards me, and then I continue back to my mission to find Tulin. I climb up the mountain some more, and encounter a large Boss Bokoblin and an entourage of small bokos. I duck behind a rock and let them pass, they don’t notice me, and I am relieved. Probably I’ll have to deal with these guys eventually, but in these snow covered trails, I can’t move very fast, and would be quickly surrounded and pounded into jelly by that group if I had to fight them on level ground out in the open.

I climb up the mountain some more, taking a shortcut by climbing directly rather than spiraling around the peak using the path.

Here, I finally find Tulin. I spot the Cedar tree, and just past it, looking out into the abyss surrounding the peak, is Tulin. He’s lost his bow to an Aerocuda, and cursing his luck. His spirits pick up when he sees me, and he asks me for help getting his bow back. He tells me he can give me aid by creating a gust of wind that can propel me forward, so I jump out and glide toward the Aerocuda, and use the gust to boost me but it doesn’t really seem to do much to help. I end up landing on the side of another mountain peak, one with a flatter area, a piece of stone that looks like Sky Island that fell from above. I climb up it, and take aim at the Aerocuda who is flying just above me, but somehow doesn’t seem to have noticed me at all still. My aim is good, and one shot is all it takes. The Aerocuda drops the bow and dies, and before it hits the ground Tulin swoops in and grabs it.

Just then, two adult Rito emerge from the darkness and tell us they saw everything. Tulin is ashamed for having been impulsive and disobeying, and for losing his bow and not being able to handle the monsters by himself. But he says he learned that teamwork is what really wins battles, not taking risks. The adult Rito tell him that now that he has learned this, he has matured enough that he is finally ready to be a Rito warrior.

So now the Rito warriors want me and Tulin to investigate the storm cloud. They know that there is something in there, and want us to check it out and find out what it is. They say it is impossible to get into the storm clouds from the side due to the high winds, and the only way in is from the top, but no one else but Tulin has the flying skill to be able to do it.

This seems a bit weird, because to me Tulin seems like he’s maybe 12-13 years old, and they’re acting like he’s the equivalent of a 17-18 year old who’s just become a man. But it’s cool; this is what we’re supposed to do, complete quests and stuff.

So I guess the next step in this quest is to go into the Hebra sky islands and find out way up to that storm. I have been up there and I kind of think I know where to go, but it’s distorienting to get around up there and I’m not sure if I can find that place where I saw all the long ships again.

TOTK Diary 38

It’s been a while since I’ve played. Probably a week. I’ve been busy.

Last time I played, I was on the Eldin region and explored a bit there, and unlocked the map before deciding I need to get to Rito village and start completing quests there if I want to get anywhere in the game.

I’m trying to figure out how to open up the Fairy Flowers that I’ve found, so I can upgrade my outfits and start to have a chance in combat against tougher monsters and groups.

I fast travel to the Hebra Skyview Tower, and blast off into the sky. I am hoping to get as deep into the winter lands as I can on a glider and minimize travel time to Rito village.

Up in the sky, though, of course I get other ideas immediately. To the west, there’s an archipelago in the sky, and I can see a shrine on it, which I’ve already pinned with my scope, so I definitely want to get there if I can, so I can open it as a future fast-travel destination.

It takes me a try or two to get properly oriented so that I don’t fall too far to make it to land at the archipelago. But it’s not actually hard to get there once I have my bearings. Each time I launch from the tower, it faces me the same direction, and I can’t pre-set my direction facing before I launch. The direction I want to go is backwards of the way the Skyview Tower launches me, so I have to quickly turn around and then glide. And it’s been a while, so I’m not as good at the controls and I have to get used to it.

The first try, I notice the archipelago too late and fall to grab the side of it, at a point where I can not climb up, nor can I find a flat spot to stand on so I can try to Ascend upward.

The second try, I get rammed out of the sky by an Aerocuda, and have to start over and try a third time.

The third time, I try to get directly to the sky island with the shrine, but I don’t quite make it.

The fourth time, I easily reach the near end of the archipelago, and hike it to the shrine sky island, making a few glides to get from one piece of floating rock to the next. As I get closer to the destination, I see what looks like floating viking long ships in the sky. When I get even closer to them, I discover that rather than sail rigging, they seem to have what looks like a kind of trampoline instead, which I can use to jump on and bounce off of to get a high boost into the air.

This gets me the rest of the way to the shrine. When I ender, the challenge is a series of more viking ships to bounce on, in order to gain altitude and get to the next floating platform.

I almost skip the shrine when I encounter a locked gate at the very start, but after I reconsider I realize that I can shoot an arrow through the gate and activate a trigger. It’s not very obvious, it’s just a glowing pillar of stone that doesn’t seem obviously like a door switch. But when I shoot it, the door opens, and I can retrieve the arrow, so I’m out nothing.

Getting through this shrine is really easy, the only challenge being at the end when there’s a moving skyship, which makes bouncing straight up and down a little tricky, and then a final gate, which I need to hit with another arrow, to open a door in the floor that I can then bounce up through. But it’s very easy.

I don’t notice any chests as I move through, so I probably missed something, but it’s probably not worth going back for. Unless it happens to be one of those rare permanent power-up items, like part of an outfit.

Having cleared the shrine, I want to see what else is to be found in this part of the sky, so I have a look around.

It’s hard to keep oriented, and not get turned around. The sky is dark and there are a lot of clouds, and the sky islands kind of don’t provide a lot of reference. Nevertheless I do figure out that if I keep going, I can hop a few more gaps and get to a tall structure a few islands over, and probably there’s something good over there.

I make may way over and fight a couple of Zonai construct soldiers, but they’re easy, just cannon fodder, really. I eventually get to the top of what I’m able to climb to, twice making clever use of Recall + Ascend to reach overhangs that I couldn’t Ascend to from the ground, by lifting boxes and then reversing time on them so I can ride them up high enough to where I can get up to the ceiling above me.

Unfortunately this seems to reach a point of dead end. Up above me, I see a large swirling snow cloud, which seems like it’s surrounded by a massive fleet of those “viking” long ship trampolines. If I could get up there, probably I could bounce up high enough to get into the snowstorm, but that’s almost certainly suicide with how I’m presently outfitted, even if I could make it up to the lowest of the long ships, which I can’t see how I could. There’s also Aerocudas flying around, patrolling the sky. I’m sure there’s got to be some bad monster inside the storm cloud, probably creating the bad weather that is starving out Rito Village, but I feel like I’m a long way off from being able to do anything about it.

Down and a ways off, I spot another Zonai Flux Construct, marching around on a larger sky island, and I expect that if I could make it over to there, I could probably fight it well enough to obtain another Old Map showing some part of the Underworld that I should try to visit.

And way down below, back on the ground, I spot another Shrine. It’s not far away at all, and I reason that if I could open it, I can fast travel there and use it for another starting point to explore these regions.

Over on the ground in another direction, there’s another SkyView Tower, the one for this region, which I haven’t unlocked yet. And that’s a priority, too, but I don’t know what I’ll need to do to unlock it yet, and it’s a bit further off than the Shrine, so I dive down and head to the shrine.

The shrine is near a hot springs area, but I’m full on health and don’t need healing, so I just enter. The shrine is a difficult one. There are numerous Zonai construct soldiers patrolling, some weaky armed, but most have decent arms and at least one has a shield. They’re guarding and patrolling, and I’m supposed to infiltrate, but I’m not clear how to do it.

I’m stripped of all my gear, and given a weak shield and two weak weapons to complete this mission, so I’m probably supposed to rely primarily on stealth.

I can trip the alarms and get away, and they reset after a while, so it’s not like being discovered is an automatic do-over, but there’s far too many of them for me to fight them effectively, and even if I try to pick them off and go one at a time, I’m not able to make much progress, beating one or two of the Constructs, if that. There’s one with a shield and a spiked club who is really lethal to fight against with my weak equipment.

Eventually, I work out that I could sneak around past the outermost guards, and get to an inner chamber, where there are, to my best count, at least three if not four more of them. There’s an elevated gangway above the floor, which I can Ascend to, and around the back way there’s a doorway, with some easily avoidable laser tripwires that will sound an alarm if I do hit them by accident, in which case I can just hide for a while until things calm down again. Inside this inner chamber, there are two rooms, off in opposite corners, and inside the first are a Zonai flame emitter and a beam projector. There’s a cover on the roof that I can move out of the way using Ultrahand, and then jump down and Fuse these two devices to my weapons, giving me a bit of range and a bit of extra damage dealing capacity.

It’s not very much though, and even if I Ascend up out of the room to the obscurity and safety of the roof, I still don’t know what I can manage against all these constructs at once. If I try to fight them, they quickly surround me and most of them are capable of one-shotting me, so I stand very little chance against them if I don’t have a flawless battle against them. One of them has a shock weapon, and one of them has a bow, and it’s too much for me, with my current skill level.

The second room, I don’t make it into, but the doorway is covered by tripwires, arranged so that there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid them, and this one is a bit taller, so that I can’t get onto the roof from the gangway.

I don’t want to waste the entire evening trying to get through this gauntlet, so I give up for now and fast-travel back to the previous Shrine, high above in the skyworld. Before I travel back there, I take out some ice lizalfos, who die easily when they taste the flame emitter shield. They are elementally weak to fire and die instantly, and I get a few easy Lizalfos parts and a nice hammer weapon one of them was carrying. Once I claim them, I zip back up to the shrine I just completed on the Sky world.

I try gliding down the other way, trying to get to the Skyview Tower, but it’s a bit too far for me to reach in one flight, with all of my stamina, so I look for a safe landing as I’m close to running out. As I get closer to land, I spot another Shrine, near a gorge. There’s a few camps of monsters, from the look of it, and some camp fires, which may or may not be friendly around nearby, but right now I’m only interested in that Shrine. I land, recharge my stamina meter, and take off again, crossing over the gorge and landing right in front of the Shrine.

This Shrine is much easier than the other one I gave up on.

I merely have to avoid a few tripwires. Some are low, I have to jump over; some are high, I have to duck under. At the end, there’s a grid of them, mounted on an enclosed housing that is sliding along the walkway. But it’s obvious that I can evade them by using Ascend to pop through the roof of the beam housing, and that’s exactly what I do. It’s easy, I make it on the first try.

I only didn’t see how to get into the treasure chest chamber off to one side, but I didn’t try to look hard or think about it, either. I’m really only here to unlock the fast-travel point and to collect another Light of Blessing. I will return just to make sure the chest doesn’t have something really good in it, but it almost certainly doesn’t.

I go back into the Shrine, and discover that the item in the chest is a spicy elixir which gives 8:40 of resistance to cold, which is perhaps going to come in handy if I don’t find more warm gear to wear soon, but so far the cold has been bearable with just my cold weather pants that I got way back at the start of the game. I’m sure that will change eventually, though.

My next stop is the Skyview Tower. It’s just a short glide away from the Shrine I just completed. As I get close I observe that the base of the tower is overgrown with thorny brambles. These will do damage if I touch them, but I could fly over them, probably, or I could clear them with flame. I have plenty of bombs, fireseeds, and a flame emitter shield. I have the shield equipped, so I just use it, and it immediately breaks, but not before the brambles light up, and the fire spreads around the base of the tower, consuming everything. In just a few seconds the way is clear.

There’s no one at this tower, nothing damaged needing repair beyond the blocked entrance, so I just walk in and activate it, shoot up into the sky, and scan the terrain to update my map.

While I’m in the sky, I can see another archipelago nearby with another Shrine on it. This one is easy to reach, and I go directly there, and land right in front of the Shrine, and enter. The challenge here is a series of Zonai construct soldiers, weak ones, which have something to teach me about Fusion and Shields. I take the soldiers out quickly with my bow, which I have several that have high damage potential and rip these guys to shreds in one or two hits. The first construct happens to have a Zonai device attached to his shield, but I knock it out of his hand with a heavy weapon and take him down before he can use it against me, getting a flame emitter shield right back to replace the one I just used up to enter the Skyview Tower moments ago.

The second construct has a steel plate fused to his shield, and after defeating him I see why: flame jets blocking the way forward. I can just block them with this shield, but there’s another steel plate if I want to fuse it to one of my shields already in inventory. I don’t want to do that, though, so instead I just Ultrahand the plate and move it to block the flames in front of the door, which works just as well, and I walk though.

The final obstacle is the trickiest, and if I hadn’t failed to avoid seeing some spoiler videos showing this in use, I might have been confused for quite a while until I figured it out. A high wall, with no way to climb or fly, apparent to me, but four rockets strewn on the floor. After I defeat the soldier in here, I can get up this wall in two ways: I could go back and grab that steel plate, and mount the four rockets to it, like a platform, and ride it up, or I can Fuse a rocket onto my shield, and when I deploy the shield, it shoots me up into the sky, a bit like Revali’s Gale from BOTW.

I opt to do this method. I know that in some places it’s going to be necessary to get up higher than I can using terrain, Ascend, and even Recall tricks. So I had been wondering how I would get up to those trampoline ships in the sky, and this might just do it for me if I go back again.

Outside of the Shrine, I look around and see not too far away yet another Flux construct. Was this the same one I saw earlier, when I was in the other sky archipelago? Or is this a different one?

I think it’s time to test out that rocket shield and see what I can do now that I can zoom up into the sky.

Except… when I exit the Shrine, I don’t see where the Flux Construct is. I lost track of it when I was flying to this Shrine, and I don’t recall where I saw it. I scout around in all directions with the Scope, but I don’t spot it.

Instead I walk around on the sky island the Shrine I just cleared sits on, and look around. There are a few frozen over fountains or pools, which when stepped on, the ice cracks. After several jumps, the ice breaks away, and I fall into a shallow depression still filled with a little bit of water, and find a treasure chest or two.

Nearby is another Zonai device dispenser, so I give it 5 small charges and see what it gives me — I get a few time bombs, some rockets, some flame emitters, a balloon.

There’s another one of those rotating catapult contraptions near by that I use to launch myself over to the last island in the archipelago, where I find a treasure chest containing an Old Map, which tells me the the location of a treasure I already found, which I expect must be that bright mining garment I found in the underworld that one time.

Looking around again, I spot another Shrine, far below on the ground, at the western edge of Hebra. I jump off the edge and glide down to it, making it without having to land and walk at all.

This Shrine’s challenge is a series of time-reversal puzzles, which are fairly easy and don’t give me any real trouble. I just roll some balls uphill and get them to go where I need them to. I do learn from this that the range of Recall is considerably longer than the range of Ultrahand — a fact which I’m sure will come in handy at some point. I still probably underutilize Recall, and could stand to find more creative ways of employing it.

So I’ve managed to cover a good bit of Hebra, unlocked the map for this zone, and cleared several Shrines, but I still haven’t made it to Rito village, and I’m not quite sure where it was located. As I’ve explored so much of this zone already, it doesn’t seem like I’ve needed any special cold resistance items beyond the pants I found early on in the game. I’m a little surprised by that, I thought for sure I would need more extreme cold gear to survive for long in this area, and so far that hasn’t been the case at all, not even high up in the sky where you would think things would be even more frigid, and not even when I’ve gotten dunked in some freezing water.

It turns out I’m actually not far at all from Rito village. I check the map, and it is easy to see the village from there. It’s an obvious round feature on the map, a nearly circular lake with a series of islands in the center, which in person are very tall pillars of rock. And it’s not far from the Shrine I just cleared, either. Just a couple of quick glides downhill, in fact.

I glide down, and I can see a Shrine inside the Rito Village, and if I can get over to it, I should be able to activate it as a travel point. But as I’m gliding out, I look down and spot what looks like a friendly, inhabited cabin, and some bonfires. I decide to stop here first and talk to the people and find out what they can tell me. It’s basically just the same information I have heard before, about Rito village being in a state of famine due to the extreme cold. They do have a book which talks about some legend of a god who came down from the sky, and the Rito tried to help him get back up to where he belongs, but needed to use materials to build something because even they could not fly high enough. The materials were used to build air ships, which from the description match what I’ve seen already from being up among the clouds. The legend mentions the storm cloud, too, but I’m not all that sure what to make of it. I’m sure I’ll figure it all out eventually.

After I take a few items that are offered to me, I head out, intending to try to glide the rest of the way to Rito Village. However, since I descended to check out this cabin, I don’t have enough altitude from where I am currently to make it, and it looks like I should just walk around the edge of the lakeside cliffs to where the old bridge is. I remember this from BOTW.

As I come around the lakeside cliffs perimeter, I come across a small bokoblin camp, with 3 or 4 bokos. They don’t look too tough, and they’re all sitting around a blazing fire trying to keep warm and cook some meat. I hit the blue one with a bomb arrow, headshotting him and taking him out entirely. Another boko dies, caught in the blast, leaving just two behind. Incredibly, they don’t even seem to know that they are under attack. They just seem puzzled, look around and don’t see me, and quickly forget about it and go back to standing around the fire. Idiots! I finish them both off with a couple more normal arrows, and loot the camp. They have a treasure chest, which contains a weapon that doesn’t seem very interesting, weaker than most of what I have already, so I just leave it.

The next stop is the old Rito Stables, only now it’s the Lucky Clover Gazette, a newspaper that has started up since the Stables had to close due to the extreme cold. I talk to everyone there. First I learn that the bridge to Rito Village is out, and there’s no way across currently. Oh they haven’t seen what I can do, have they. I bet I can get across in any of several ways, if I want to. And I do want to.

One of them tells me about pine cones being extremely oily and flammable, and how they can create updrafts. I’ve learned this already. He also tells me he used to own the stable, and decided to stay on to help out when they got bought out by the newspaper.

Then I talk to a Rito who recalls talking to me a while ago. He’s the pelican looking fellow, I barely remember him, as in real time it was several months ago, but he was the one who said I should meet him in Rito Village. And now here I am. He recruits me to work for the Lucky Clover, and introduces me to the boss, a Hylian woman named Traysi. She offers me payment in the form of a Froggy Armor suit, which has the special property of enabling me to cling to surfaces without falling. I guess this will be extremely handy in wet conditions, and perhaps may even enable me to climb ceilings. I hope.

Well, cool, I’m in.

They want me to take an assignment of going around to the various stables looking for information about Princess Zelda sightings. She’s been spotted all over, apparently, and they want the scoop.

So I guess if I would have come out this way first, like they suggested I do back at the beginning of the game when I first met people at the stable near Lookout Landing, I could have picked up those stories when I went around and found all the other stables. But now I have to backtrack. But that’s not a big deal since I can fast travel to all of them pretty quickly.

I really hope this advances some part of the side quests to get the fairy flowers unlocked — to get that traveling musical group to re-form, so they’ll play music to bring back the Fairies. Then I can get up-armored and start kicking some ass.

TOTK Diary 37

I am pretty nearby the Eldin SkyView Tower, so I might as well run out to it and see if I can activate it to unlock the map here before I head West to visit Rito Village.

It turns out not to be very difficult at all. The tower is out of commission. An Aerocuda has flown off with the control terminal, and is flying around in lazy circles with it in its claws. The repairman, Sawson, is there to tell me about it. It’s a simple matter of shooting the Aerocuda out of the sky. I climb up the tower to the limit of my endurance meter, and then jump off, glide, use bullet time, and it’s like the easiest shot in the world. Aerocudas are one-shot enemies, and the stolen terminal drops to the ground. I pick it up and take it over to Sawson, who asks me to put it near to where it installs, and he hooks it back up again. The tower is operational once more.

I shoot up into the sky to scan in the map data, and as I’m coming down I spot a sky island very nearby, and glide over to it to check it out. As I get closer, I discover a Flux Construct II walking about on a sandy arena-like field strewn with Zonai objects.

I engage it in battle, using Ultrahand to rip it apart, and drop the blocks. Eventually the whole thing is disrupted enough to fall apart, and I am able to hit the one vulnerable block with a bomb arrow. A few hits, and it drops a treasure chest it was carrying on its back. I run to the chest and open it, and find another Old Map with an X marked on a spot nearby to the northeast, right where there’s a great chasm to the underworld. I’m curious as to what the Map mark means, but I’m prioritizing my visit to Rito Village, so it will have to wait.

After it drops the chest, the Flux Construct II changes up its attack modes. It turns into a giant Rubik’s Cube of Death, which rolls at me. This form I can deal with, again by ripping out blocks and letting it fall apart and hitting the vulnerable part again. But the next mode is something I don’t feel equipped for: a carpet bombing checkerboard of death. It goes into the sky high above me, laying itself out in a big grid, and sending row after row of blocks at me, which hover above my head before tumbling down to the ground to do huge damage if they touch me. And I can’t see the vulnerable block among them, so I’m like what the hell. I bet maybe the thing to do is use Recall on a block and ride it up to the sky and hit the leader block from up there, but I have no idea if that’s really the solution or not. I don’t want to figure it out, I’m on a quest to unlock fairy flowers and upgrade my damn armor so I can last more than a hit in a real fight.

I run off the edge of the sky island and plummet earthward. Below me I see a shrine, so I glide to it and enter. The test is a sneak strike trainer. There’s a zonai construct in the middle of a small, semi-enclosed area. I need to sneak up behind it and get close, and then deliver a sneakstrike. This is not actually too difficult, but I do have to re-learn that in order to sneakstrike, you need to be close enough for the on-screen tip to tell you that you’re in range to do a sneakstrike. So this actually takes a bunch of tries, but eventually I figure it out.

After I leave the shrine, I run across a field, where I see on the far end, and off into the shallow waters of the eastern Eldin shore’s spiral jetty, there is another shrine. Between my location and this new shrine, there’s the chasm to the underworld that is right by where the X on the Old Map is.

I don’t dive down to check it out, but since I’ve unlocked this shrine right here, I can fast travel back any time I want to. A bokoblin skeleton comes out of the night to shoot arrows at me, and I harvest a few before running down to the spiral jetty area.

I don’t want to mess around walking the long way along the entire spiral. I have a lot of stamina, and this enables me to plow straight through, swimming the gaps and make a beeline straight to the shrine.

This shrine is called Turbo-something. There’s an electrical motor in the center of the room, disconnected from a power supply. There’s a metal plate that I can use to connect the circuit to power the motor, and a fan blade that I can attach to the motor hub using Ultrahand. This creates a massive updraft, which I can use with my glider to get into the air, where I see two corners of the room have platforms high above that I can now glide to. One has a treasure chest with a really buff Zonai Shield with a 50 rating, the other platform has 3 Zonai flame projectors. I can mount the flame projectors to the fan blades, and when the fan spins them around, they ignite these torches that are mounted on pillars surrounding the motor mount. If I just manually light each torch, they get extinguished by a water sprinkler system that activates, but if attached to the fan blade, they spin quickly enough to ignite all the torches, six in total, which is the trigger to unlock the door to the inner shrine.

So I’ve cleared two more shrines. Now it’s time to transport as far west as I can and see if I can find the way to Rito Village.

TOTK Diary 36

I decide to hike up the road from Lookout Landing to Eldin. It’s the quickest way to go into any new territory. If I take a horse, I can go faster, but I spend more time mounting and dismounting every five seconds while I am finding tons of interesting stuff to investigate and forage to pick up. I don’t have any quick-travel destinations that are much closer, and if I glide out there from somewhere, I just fly over a lot of interesting stuff, or I abort and dive the moment I come over something that looks interesting.

Running up the road, I don’t encounter a lot of enemies. In fat, I don’t have any combat encounters at all. I do spot a bokoblin or moblin here or there, but they’re well off the road and don’t seem to pay me any mind, and so I leave them alone.

As I get closer to the border of the Central Hyrule zone that I have mapped out, I’m coming to a bridge. On the far side, I see a huge, moss covered Battle Talus, with a couple of Bokoblins riding on it. I might have to engage it to get beyond and to the marker on the map where I have spotted a Skyview Tower, which is my destination. But just before I get to the bridge, I find a Korok who needs help finding his friend, and I decide to give him a hand. There’s a convenient Zonai wing on the ground, and I attach a rocket and a fan to it, and then glue the korok to the vehicle and ride it in the direction of the friend, who is on the other side of the river. We make it and I’m on the other side of the river without having to deal with the Battle Talus. Plus I get two more Korok seeds.

As a bonus if that wasn’t enough I spot the Eldin Stables right nearby, up a slight ridge and along a road. So I go there, and I talk to people. I get Pony Points, and I find two people standing on the stage. I think they’re the ones from the musical group. One of them has a violin, and her name is basically a weird spelling of Violynne (or something like that) and the other is called Mastro, and seems to be a conductor. Talking to them doesn’t really do much, they are talking about something bad that has happened, and they want to report it to the newspaper.

I’m not sure what to do about that, but I guess I’ve been hearing about the newspaper out in Rito Village, and how it’s possible to get a job as a reporter working for them. So I guess, I could go to Rito, get a job as a reporter, go to Eldin, and report these guys’ story, and maybe that will lead to the band getting back together and playing music for the Fairies and unlock all their flowers. It seems like a lot to do, but I guess that’s what I’m going to do next.

There is a Fairy flower near the Eldin Stables, which I need to mark on the map, and the usual Shrine and another Well behind the Stable. I explore the Well, it’s small. After I Ascend out of the well, I spot the Balloon that belongs to Kilton the monster guy. It’s night and I assume the rules are the same in TOTK as in BOTW, that he randomly appears sometimes in certain places, and only at night, so without delay I run out to talk to him. He is there, and he has a brother. The brother, Kolton, wants to become a Satori — the mythical blue animal we’ve known as the Lord of the Forest, or the blue bunnies, I’m not sure which. He believes this can be accomplished by eating bubbul frog gems, and I have 9 of them so I give him one, and he feels funny, thanks me, and then runs off before I can give him the rest of them, telling me that he’s going to look for more, and if I have more I should give them to him. Well, doofus, why don’t you take the 9 others I have? As a reward, he gave me a bokoblin mask, and I wouldn’t have minded getting the rest of his stuff right then and there. Oh well.

Kolton had been exploring a nearby cave, and said that there was a bubbul frog within, so I go down and explore it, clear it out, and then come back up and tackle the shrine.

The Shrine is a series of easy Recall puzzles that takes me no time to figure out and solve.

Once I exit the Shrine, I can see a campfire smoke drifting up from a way down the road, to the West. That’s the direction Rito Village is in anyway. I figure I’ll go check out the campfire and see what I can do there, and then come back to try to visit and unlock the SkyView Tower for Eldin, and then head to Rito Village.

On the way to the campfire I find another well, and clear it out. It’s got a bubbling mud pool instead of water, and I have to build a bridge to cross it to pick up a whole bunch of brightbloom seeds.

The campfire belongs to two treasure seekers who are trying to get a treasure chest sitting out in the middle of a muddy pool that they can’t cross. I build a bridge out of boards and retrieve it. Beyond the muddy bog, there’s another cave, and I go into it and check it out, clearing it out and finding another bubbul frog. I Ascend out of the cavern, and then glide down the hill to land on the road back where I started from, and run along the road away to a bridge, heading back to Hyrule Castle’s north side, where I spotted another Shrine.

This shrine has some more puzzles that are solved by Recall, and they’re a little harder than the shrine by Eldin Stables, but not that much harder.

After I come out, I’m ready to go try to get to the Eldin Skyview Tower. I fast-travel back to the shrine near Eldin Stables. I notice that there’s a broken down wagon with two wheels missing on it, sitting in front of the stage. I figure I’m supposed to fix it, like I did the wagon at another village, and there’s some wheels nearby, so I attach one, but the Mastro asks me not to do anything strange with their Breezer, which I guess is the name they gave to their wagon. OK dude.

Some other people I have talked to have warned me about Gorons carrying strange rocks, and another lady who is walking along the road talks to me about a fashionable bandit who hid outfits, and points out some locations on my map where they might be found. She also tells me that the Fairies are in hiding, but if they can be coaxed out again they will augment your clothes, making them more protective than armor.

Well don’t I know all that, but I’d like to know how. I guess I’ve been getting some clues. Once I see if I can activate the Skyview Tower here, I’m heading to find Rito Village and join the newspaper and see if I can’t get some fancy clothes from the Fairies.

When I get to the SkyView Tower, I find that it has been damaged by a falling piece of sky island, which has knocked the lid off and jammed the door shut. There’s a man from Hudson Construction Company who is there to service the tower, but he can’t get inside because of the damage.

It doesn’t really look all that damaged to me, although the lid of the tower is knocked off. I decide that’s a clue that I might be able to get in from the top, so I climb the tower, and find that my hunch is correct. I jump down and the controls are working, I just need to activate them. The tower turns on, the doors open, and I’ve resolved the problem.

I take the “elevator” up into the sky, and look around, updating the map as I do so. Very nearby there is a sky island that I can easily land on as I’m coming down, over to the east. I drift toward it and land on it, and it seems to be part of a chain of sky islands that are connected together by rails. There’s a system of Zonai carts that I can ride up the rails to ascend higher into the sky and reach the next island.

There are a few Zonai constructs here, all hostile, and I have to destroy them as I explore. In addition to the usual forage, I find a chest with a nice bow in it, a Zonai gumball machine, and a shrine.

I enter the shrine and clear it, the challenge is a firey one, with lava and Zonai water sprinklers. Spraying the lava with water cools it down, creating a crust that floats and is buoyant and cool enough to walk on. These serve as stepping stones, or can be joined together with Ultrahand to create bridges, ramps, or whatever you need. You can even carry a sprinkler, walk forward, and create a path as you go forward.

I clear the Shrine and look around for a bit to survey the land. There’s one last bit of sky island here to check out, and all it has on it is an apple tree. But it seems like it must be special, because it’s so hard to reach. I try to glide over to it, but I can’t climb up the side to reach a level part that I can stand on, and end up falling down. Rather than fast-travel back to the shrine on the sky level and try again, I notice a falling star coming down, and it’s hard to gauge how far away it is, but I think it’s nearby, but deep into the mountains of Eldin, and I decide to try to retrieve it. I glide a very long way, probably closing about half of the distance, but then run out of stamina, and fall nearly to my death. I save myself at the last second with the last chance glider move, but I deploy it a bit too early, and lose almost all of my health when I drop the rest of the way. Worse, I land on a steep slope and slide all the way down it, fortunately not taking more damage, and more fortunately than that ending up in a healing hot spring. I sit in it until I’m back to full health, trying to spot the star fragment’s shine, but the mountains around me are much too tall, and I’ve lost track of what direction it was in, and lose it.

I try climbing to re-acquire the marker, but it’s in vain. I do make it to the top of the mountain, much to my surprise it is not too hot and I take no damage. I spot a few shrines visible within a long glide’s distance, and note that one of them is by a stable, so I head toward that one.

This shrine is a real challenge for me, because I suck so much at combat. I’m stripped of all my gear and clothing, so all I have are my glider and the Zonai arm powers. I have to defeat a bunch of Zonai constructs, who are armed with weak weapons but any of them are enough to kill me in two hits, and they have significant reach advantage on me. There’s a wooden club, and two tank-like robotic Zonai vehicles. They’re really more like Roombas than tanks, but they can mount Zonai devices and thereby be turned into fighting vehicles, and turned on by striking them with a weapon.

There’s two of them in the first room, and two spikey metal plates, which I mount to the front, and then activate them, so they take out the first Zonai construct. After defeating the Zonai construct, a locked gate opens, and the real challenge is presented: a larger room, with 6 or 7 Zonai constructs, armed with all manner of weapons, most of them spear-like with reach advantage. These guys are fast, and I have to keep moving at all times just to stay out of their reach. Running around the room activates all of them and they rush me, and if I stop moving even for a second I get hit by one of them, and I can’t afford to get hit at all. But as I’m running around, I notice a few more of the Zonai roombas, and some weapons that I could potentially attach to them, if I could manage to get a moment of breathing room and was really on top of my Ultrahand control.

It’s not happening though. I try again and again, and I just keep getting slaughtered. I try a new approach, and just send the roombas in, hoping that they will distract the Constructs enough that they will not notice me run into the room.

I try pushing the roombas into the battle arena room with Ultrahand, and hang back and let them soften up the enemies as much as possible, but what keeps happening is the roombas will run up a ramp and fight the lead Construct, and push it to the edge, and then one of them will fall over the edge and flip upside down and become stuck.

One time, though, I finally get lucky. The little roombas manage to not fall off a platform, and all the Zonai constructs try to get at them, and they’re getting in each others way more than they are doing anything. I can’t see whether the roombas have life meters or not; I assume they can’t take infinite damage, but they aren’t going down. Maybe the spiked plates are working like armor, protecting them against damage, or maybe the Zonai constructs weapons just aren’t that strong. Whatever the case, the roombas seem to be winning. Eventually, they take down all the Zonai constructs except one, which is on a higher platform and armed with a bow. I run up at this point and activate one of the additional roombas sitting in the big room, attaching a flame projector to it, and using Ultrahand, move it up to the platform to attack the last one, and it takes it down pretty quickly, thankfully.

The challenge vanquished, I feel like I didn’t really do anything other than set up some machines and let them do almost everything. I wasn’t a capable, contributing fighter in the mix; I just sat back and let them take care of everything.

It kind of feels like maybe that was the lesson, but I also feel like if I had better ability with the controls, maybe I could have run in and activated each of the additional roombas and had a huge melee going on with them, and it would have been a lot less cowering in the back room waiting and watching from a distance, and more something that felt actually fun.

Oh well, I did it, and there’s no wrong way to do anything in this game, right?

The reward for this shrine is a really nice Zonai Captain III Spear, which is extra durable and has a high damage rating according to the description.

Anyway, I head out from the Shrine, and visit the nearby Stable, which is for South Akkala. I talk to everyone; the main thing going on here seems to be a missing chicken that I find has fallen down the well. I can’t figure out how to get the chicken out of the well. It isn’t grabbable with the Ultrahand ability, and I can’t find anything small enough that is ultrahandable that I can fit down the well to maybe build into a chicken bucket and lift the poor thing out. So I dunno what the solution is.

I talk to the chicken’s caretaker, and she says that she just wishes the chicken had some company, so I throw another chicken down there, and this does seem to make the chicken happy. It lays an egg, and so maybe I’m done? But I don’t feel like I am. I feel like I need to rescue the chicken.

The people at the Stables usually tell you about what’s going on in the area, as well as what’s nearby down the road. It’s no different here. But I’m not really that interested in hearing it right now, because I really wanted to go to Rito Village, and ended up clear on the other side of the world because of the way the SkyView Tower in Eldin lead me this way. It’s OK though. I can fast travel about 3/4th of the way to Rito from anywhere, and nothing I do in the world is really that much of a waste of time. It might not be the most important thing there is that I could be doing, but I’m always either finding koroks, clearing shrines, unlocking the map, doing some minor side quest or discovering some new part of the world.

TOTK Diary 35

I feel like I’m missing something.

So far in my travels, I’ve discovered two Fairy Flowers, but have been unable to open either of them. There have been clues about the troupe of musicians who hang out near the stables. They’ve apparently traveled to Eldin, which is in the northeast part of Hyrule, and an area I haven’t been to yet.

If I ever want to be capable of going toe-to-toe with monsters, I need to either power up my armor, or learn the secret to dodging. Mostly when I try to fight monsters, I find that my dodge ability stinks. I can’t gauge whether I’m close enough to an enemy to need to dodge. If I’m focused on one enemy, I get flanked by another and hit by that one instead of the one I’m facing off with taking a swing at. Either way, I get one shotted by just about everything in the game now, and it really sucks.

So I think while I’m going to have to master the perfect dodging to enable flurry rushes, I’m going to have to get hit a lot in the process, so probably the best thing for that is to power up my armor, by unlocking the Fairy Flowers, so that means traveling back out to the Stables and looking for more clues about how to find the traveling musicians.

I helped the boy with the flute a while back, and he said he was going to try to meet up with the rest of the group and re-join the band in Eldin, so I guess that’s where I need to go. But just to be sure, I decide to take a quick tour of the known stables I’ve found so far, and double check to make sure I remember all the clues so far.

On the way there, I’m distracted by another Shooting Star, which falls near Hyrule Castle Gates, and I run out that way to grab the Star Fragment. Since I’m there, I decide to try checking out the Castle. I find that the side entrance that had been guarded and off-limits is now open, so I walk in and look around. I find a lot of boxes, and breaking them yields a LOT of arrows. Pretty quickly, I’m stocked up to 45 arrows! I keep exploring the twisty maze-like passages of the Castle, and end up discovering a trap door in the floor, which I take down, and then this leads me to a spiral staircase, which I take up until I get to a hallway. Inside the hallway, I encounter a tough Bokoblin and Lizalfos, which I am not well enough equipped to fight, so I ditch this exploratory mission and fast-travel back to Lookout Landing, where I pray at the statue to get another Stamina expansion, rest at the free bed to regain my health, and talk to some of the people there. It’s a mostly successful mission, since I filled up with a bunch of arrows, I’m happy about it, but it doesn’t seem like I’m yet ready to take on this area of the world.

I quick travel back down to the South, to the shrine nearest Highland Stables, and talk to everyone there. They reinforce the “travel to Eldin” message, so I guess that’s where I should head to.

Outside of the stable, I find a broken Zonai vehicle made from four wheels and a stone slab. It’s rugged looking and can handle all terrain, it reminds me of the one I built when I was in the underground one time. I decide to try repairing it, I put the wheel back on, and then I find a control yoke, and I have a nice, steerable ATV. I decide to test it out and try to get a better understanding of how the battery system works.

I have yet to expand my battery capacity even once, and I’m starting to think I missed something or forgot/didn’t read some instructions on how to improve my battery pack’s capacity. I would like to have a few expansions so that the Zonai tech will be more useful and therefore more valuable. In the meantime, I need to figure out how this stuff works better. It surprised me when, even after turning off the power to the floating sky block vehicle that I made when I was trying to reach the floating labyrinth up North that the platform broke anyway after a while. I need to find out how that works, and on the ground with a wheeled vehicle seems really safe. I drive it, run the battery pack down, and disable it and hop off, and let my battery recharge, and this seems to allow me to travel indefinitely with the vehicle. nothing gets used up or breaks.

OK, so will that work with sky vehicles, or what? I guess we’ll find out next time I try them.

Driving around, I run into a Korok who needs to find his friend, and his friend is nearby but on the other side of the river. I don’t want to give up the motor cart, so I glue the Korok to it, and try to drive around to find a place where I can cross the river. I think maybe the vehicle will propel itself through water, anyway, so maybe it will just enable me to cross the river.

I drive around a mountain road, and keep having to stop to let the battery charge, but it’s OK because I keep running into patches of forage or running over game animals and harvest their meat. So this is really productive. I only try to avoid encounters with enemies, and learn that jumping off the vehicle without turning it off will continue to use battery, and the vehicle will run out of control. So I need to turn it off, then jump off. But sometimes jumping off and letting it ram an enemy might be just the thing.

I finally get down to where I can see the Korok’s buddy camped on the other side of the river. I try driving into the river, but the vehicle doesn’t work well. It floats, but can’t seem to move forward under power. I’m at the mercy of the current, which fortunately is slow. I decide to detach the Korok I’ve glued to the body of the vehicle, and extend him toward the opposite shore as close as I can using Ultrahand, then swim to shore, and hope I can grab him. This works, but just barely, he’s at the extreme range of Ultrahand when I wade out to just before it gets deep enough that I have to start swimming. But I grab him and take his soggy ass over to his friend, and they give me the customary reward. I’m now up to like 66 Korok seeds, and still have yet to run into Hestu.

I notice a well right by this Korok’s campsite, and decide to check it out. It seems to be filled with Gloom, and I wonder if I can go down it or not. It turns out to be a secret Discovery! –a hole leading to the underworld.

I am super low on bomb flowers, and those are pretty plentiful underground, and I’d been planning on doing a foraging session to stock up on them, so I decide this is a good opportunity to take some time to explore and see if I can find some good stuff.

I spend a long time underground, and I’m pretty well off. I have almost 200 brightbloom seeds, so I’m in no danger of getting lost in the dark. I can use them to light my way. I’m near the edge of the region that I had explored and lit up the Light Roots, but it’s mostly new territory that I haven’t been through before.

I mostly find a lot of Poes, Deep Fireflies, and plants other than the Bomb Flowers I really want. I also find a lot of Zonaite ore deposits.

I have to fight a few times, but mostly am happy to ignore enemies and sneak around them or run away. I end up discovering a chest in the Daphne Mine region which contains a Mining Suit of clothing which has a glow effect on it, which will keep me from being completely in the dark. I find though that it doesn’t do that much to light the way ahead of me, so I keep throwing brightbloom seeds, and switch back to my dark shirt after a while, on the theory that it’s better not to be lit up and highly visible when I’m trying to sneak and avoid monsters.

Due to the ever-present obstacles of cavern walls and Gloom pits, and the extreme dark, it’s really easy to get turned around underground, and it takes a long time to figure out a way forward and keep moving in the direction I want to go in. I spend a lot of time hugging the wall of the cavernous underworld, or a large expanse of Gloom, looking for a way to proceed in the direction I want to go.

I discover that there is more verticality to the underworld than I had appreciated initially. There are large fungus-like trees that are easy to climb, and have large, broad leaves that I can stand on and get a better look at the landscape. And there are some massive tree roots that are easy to climb, gentle curving slopes that wind around and allow me to get high enough to glide a long way. Getting a good glider launch position can really help save time, by getting me over an expanse of Gloom that I otherwise would have had to walk a long time to get around.

I eventually find another mining area, and then a Stalnox patrolling a field. I avoid that encounter until it becomes clear that I need to cross that field to get into a new unexplored territory, and I see a bunch of Poes in that direction. So I arm myself with my best weapons and engage.

I nock an arrow with a Red Keese eyeball, and try to target the eye of Stalnox. Keese eyeballs fused to arrows give them a homing ability, but it doesn’t seem to know to home especially on the eyeball, and so doesn’t really help. The first time I fire, I do manage to hit the eyeball, stunning the Stalnox, and I run up and hit it while it’s stunned with a weapon made of two Bokoblin Arms, which has a damage rating of 48, which is by far my most powerful weapon, but it’s also my least durable, and breaks after just a few hits. It seems weird that the damage bonus for bokoblin skeleton arms is so high, but it’s a quirk that I’m happy to take advantage of while it lasts, which is never very long.

Fortunately, though, these hits really deal a lot of damage. The Stalnox gets up and runs after me, and I am trying to evade it, while the camera wans to look back at it and not in the direction I’m running in, which is terrible when you’re trying to avoid stepping in a puddle of Gloom. But I’m extremely lucky and manage to not step in any Gloom. I waste a bunch of arrows trying to hit the Stalnox in the eye again, the Keese eyeball doing nothing to guarantee a hit on the eye. But eventually, after 6 or 7 more arrows, I manage to connect again and stun the creature. This time the hit knocks the eyeball out of its head, which is when you have the chance to finish it off. Unfortunately the eye rolls down hill a long way, and every time I hit it, it rolls further, toward Gloom and terrain I don’t want to get stuck in while there’s a Stalnox chasing me. Just as it gets to the edge of the Gloom, I manage to deal the final blow, and kill the Stalnox.

It’s a successful fight, I pick up a lot of loot drops, mostly Stalnox parts but also some weapons, and I need to replenish the empty weapon slots from weapons I broke.

Past the Stalnox field, I come to a new Light Root, one I haven’t activated yet. I hurry in that direction, climbing a steep ridge with several switchbacks, and eventually make it to the Light Root, and activate it, illuminating another section of the underground world map.

I still haven’t found very many bombs, and just have 7 now. So I try to continue exploring and foraging. I end up taking a long time in the depths, losing track of time, and exploring a lot. Mostly undisturbed, and I’m able to sneak around, avoiding enemies and running from them when I need to in the more open areas where I can use my extended stamina to outrun them. I do kill lots of stalfos, which is fine because they’re easy to kill, drop decent weapons, plus lots of Zonaite.

When the situation isn’t one I want to deal with, I just fast-travel out of the engagement back to the nearest Light Root, and start over. It’s almost unfair. But the game gives you this ability, which I feel makes the game difficulty “casual” at best until you decide to take on the more difficult challenges.

The monsters I least like to encounter are the the small, squat, lizard-looking creatures that come in groups of 3 or more. They’re fast, they leap at me, and they are good at staying out of the reach of my weapons. I learn to deal with them by fusing two spears together, creating a pike that has super long reach.

At one point I come to a dense grove of trees. Many of these are Dark Evermeans, the trees that come to life and try to kill you. There’s too many of them to waste all of my Fire Seeds and Red Chuchu jelly on, so I just outrun them. The great thing about Evermeans is that they’re so slow, so it’s easy to get away from them.

I don’t recall where, exactly, sometime before the Stalnox fight, but at one point as I’m climbing up a ridge, I find a large square ruin, what looks like it might have been a foundation of a Zonai building. There’s a Flux Construct here, scanning the darkness with a revolving 360 degree laser scan. I don’t get a good look at it, because it’s almost entirely black. Many sessions ago, I tried to do battle with a Flux Construct in the air world, the construct composed of many metal blocks, and it was too much for me, and I’m not looking for a challenge here, so I give this one a wide berth, and manage to avoid its detection, and move on.

At one point I run into a trio of bokoblin stalfos riding on skeleton horses, and I use the skeleton horse to travel over the Gloom, which allows me to take a more direct path without losing hearts to Gloom sickness.

By the end of the excursion, I end up collecting nearly 40 bombs, but using up more arrows, leaving me with just 28 left. But I discover 2-3 more Light Roots and open up more of the map around Central Hyrule. Including an area that looks like it must be directly underneath Castle Hyrule. There’s a section that looks like it should be accessible from where I’m at, that will lead straight into the Castle from below, but I can’t find the entrance to it. The map shows some structures that look unnatural, that is man (or Zonai?) made and not a geological cave, but no matter what I try, I don’t find a way to it. There is a sheer cliff that extends up to the ceiling where the entrance way should be.

Eventually I decide I’ve had enough exploring the underworld. I’ve tossed over 60 brightbloom bulbs, but I’ve explored a lot of territory and gained a few important things.

I fast travel back to Lookout Landing to rest and consider my journey to Eldin.

TOTK Diary 34

I’m in the hidden cave beneath the whirlpool of Lake Hylia, and there seems to be no way out apart from fast-travel. So I teleport back to Lookout Landing, cash in some Light of Blessings for a heat container, and try to figure out where to go next.

I’ve been a bit frustrated that there seems to be no way to activate the Skyview Tower in the area to the south, which I’ve now probably explored more fully than any zone in the ground level map. I gather that whatever it is I must do, there must be some other subquest linked to it in some other region that I haven’t done yet.

In all of my travels, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about Rito Village, and the next most commonly referred to place I haven’t yet visited is Lurelin Village, perhaps followed by Hateno Village.

I still haven’t made any headway in the Ring Ruins subplot in Kakariko Village, either.

I mostly waste the next few hours trying to explore the unmapped region to the South, with the only thing to show for it being a bunch more koroks found. I now have somewhere short of 60 korok seeds, and have not encountered Hestu even once yet. He seems to be missing from the game, but there were times in BOTW when I couldn’t figure out where to find him, either. So who knows, Hestu might be sitting this one out, or he might be somewhere I haven’t been to yet, which is most of the map at this point.

Random observation: I could be wrong, but I think it feels like Blood Moon happens less frequently in TOTK than it does in BOTW. If so, I think it’s probably a good idea. As I played BOTW longer and longer, it seemed to me like the lunar cycle was too rapid, resulting in a Blood Moon annoyingly too soon after the previous one.

But I also wonder why we still have blood moons. If the blood moon resurrection of defeated monsters was due to the Calamity Ganon, and I defeated Calamity Ganon in the previous game, then why are they still happening?

I guess it makes sense to have an in-game explanation for why monsters respawn in the world. But to me, it feels wrong that the explanation is the same as the cause in the previous game, which I had seemingly put an end to when I defeated Ganon.

Like, they could have just said that after a while nearby monsters wandering about nomadic ally simply repopulate an area that you have cleared previously, since you can’t be everywhere, it always happens when you’re not there to see it or do anything about it.

I decide to head into the northern lands, and hope that the conditions will not be too harsh. I have my cold weather pants, which will protect me from milder cold, and a few meals prepared that will give me some additional cold resistance; hopefully it will be enough to last me a while, enough to explore a bit and discover something.

I fast-travel to the closest point I can get to, which happens to be the underground temple hidden deep inside of the Forgotten Temple, which I had visited while working on Impa’s quest.

I have to walk around a bit in order to find a low enough ceiling to Ascend through the roof to exit the Temple efficiently, and while I’m doing that, I find a treasure chest with a weapon in it, and a korok, and a couple of forage plants and mushrooms.

But I’m not here to spend a lot of time, and as soon as I can, I Ascend through the roof of the Temple, and emerge topside. It’s a cold area, a wide, snowy field. The light is dim, and a slight snowfall starts a few moments after my emergence.

I scout around with my telescope trying to see what points of interest are nearby; I spot a Skyview Tower in the far distance, and two Shrines, and what looks like another Fairy Flower. The Fairy Flower seems to be the closest, and in order to be more effective in a fight, I’m going to need to find one that will open for me so I can begin to augment my clothing, so I hope that this will be a more easy one to get open, since that will most directly help me in all my journeys, and head in the direction of the fountain.

As I approach the mountain it sits atop, I notice a cave entrance, and decide to explore it, knowing that there will be lots of good forage in there, protection from the elements, and a quick route to the top of the mountain that is my current destination anyway.

I’m right on all three counts. I find some new items, cold-themed plants and mushrooms, some mineral deposits, and a bubbul frog deep in the cavern in a large chamber. Once I have harvested everything I can, I Ascend to the surface, and pop up directly next to the Fairy Fountain.

Unfortunately, the Fairy won’t come out. It tells me that it, too, is disgusted with the world’s state, and will not come out again unless it hears a musician’s horn playing.

I don’t have that, and wonder what I’ll need to do to get it to happen, and continue to the north, where one of the Shrines I had spotted is marked on the map with a pin.

I arrive at the shrine without incident, and enter. This one is pretty easy. It’s a couple of tests to hit a large bull’s eye target with your ultrahand abilities. I fuse a Log to a Wheel, attach a Rocket, and activate it; the rocket causes the wheel to spin, and strike the target with the log.

I emerge from the shrine, and there’s a korok who needs help getting to his friend; it’s a bit of a walk, but not too bad, so I take him there. I’m ambushed by skeletons but they’re easily dealt with, and I pick up a couple of arrows, which I’ve sorely needed.

Having dropped off the korok with his friend, I head back toward the shrine I had just cleared; from atop the snowy mesa it sits upon, I could see a geoglyph in the snowy field nearby, and I want to find the Tear to unlock the cutscene and complete another part of Impa’s quest.

I trudge around, and it’s slow going because of the snow, but eventually I find what I’m looking for in the right-hand wing of the geoglyph.

The story sequence is of Zelda, with Queen Sophia, who has just been struck down by Ganondorf. Ganondorf has taken the comma-shaped object and pressed it into his forehead, and this greatly amplifies his powers. Now he seems unstoppable. King Rauru bursts in, sees his stricken Queen, and becomes enraged. Ganondorf tells Rauru that it’s too late now, that he has taken the power from him, which he had taken for granted an squandered. Ganondorf summons a horde of bokoblins and other monsters, including some Lynels, a few of whom look like they have antlers instead of a leonine appearance. Ganondorf launches an energy attack at the three, but Rauru protects them with an energy shield that resembles the Daruk’s Protection ability from BOTW. This shields them long enough for Zelda to use the Purah Pad to quick-travel them away to safety.

My next nearest goal for this region is to reach the Skyview Tower and scan the map data into my Purah Pad. To make this journey take less time, I find a falling piece of Sky Island, which has fallen nearby at the edge of the Geoglyph, and I ride it up into the sky using Recall, and then glide in the direction of the tower. This gets me all the way there, I touch down just at the base of the tower as my stamina meter runs out.

I find that this Skyview Tower is in perfect working order, and is unguarded, seemingly abandoned. There’s no one at all nearby that I can find. I activate the tower and ride up in the the air, and obtain the map data.

Once among the clouds, I spot a large chain of sky islands extending eastward, toward a larger chunk of Sky Island that I think I should check out. I glide in the direction, and find myself in the territory of some aerocudas, who spot me and swoop up at me from below, trying to knock me out of the sky. It seems that as long as I keep gliding in a forward direction that all they can do is buzz me, but their near misses are alarming. I don’t have many arrows to shoot them down with, and doing so would use up a lot of my bullet-time stamina, which would shorten my glide distance by a lot. So rather than do that, I glide toward the nearest Sky Island, which is far below me, and rather than hover and descend slowly, I dive. I drop so quickly that the Aerocudas can’t keep up with me, and I lose them. The ground is rushing up to meet me, and I re-deploy my glider, and come in for a soft landing.

This Sky Island has very little on it, a plant or two, but there’s several batteries, a control stick, and a couple of fans, and a floating platform, which I assemble with Ultrahand to turn into a sky car. I hop on and activate it, and fly in the direction that follows the chain of sky islands.

Along the way, there are some active Zonai constructs, soldiers that are armed with rockets, and when they notice me they try to shoot me down. But again, as long as I keep moving, they seem to be unable to target me, and I manage to get past them unscathed.

The first large chunk of Sky Island I come to has a rotating platform with a mechanical piston that looks like it can be used to aim me toward another nearby large Sky Island. The island is strewn with rusty broadswords and claymores, so I’m thinking there must be a big fight coming up near here, if I continue in the direction I continue exploring. I can turn the piston platform using a turning wheel , and so I do so. I get it lined up, and then stand in front of the piston, which catapults me through the air in the desired direction. I’m at the apex of my ballistic trajectory, and starting to lose velocity, and it seems I’ll come up short if I just rely on the push I received, but I use the paraglider again to slow my fall and give me more flight time, and easily reach the Sky Island. I’m expecting a fight, but there’s nothing really around here. Just another Zonai gumball machine, which I use. It yields a few new toys: Sleds, and I forget what else.

But there doesn’t seem to be anything to fight here, and I’m not sure what else I should be doing here. Looking around, off in the distance I spot the massive cube-shaped Sky Island, and it seems to be floating directly overhead a labyrinth. The corner nearest me on this sky cube is an opening, and immediately inside I spot a Shrine. I decide that’s where I want to go next. But it’s not obvious how I can get there from here. Below the level I’m on, there’s another sky island floating between the island I’m standing on and the cube labyrinth. It looks like the sky island that the painter Pikango has been painting. I’ve encountered Pikango twice in this game, and I knew him well from BOTW, where he seemed to be everywhere in Hyrule, telling me things and giving me side quests. So far, Pikango seems to be very interested in this one particular Sky Island that has a distinctive shape, and I believe I’m now looking at it from above. It seems like I could probably glide out to it, and there must surely be something interesting there if I can do so. It doesn’t look very large, and shouldn’t take long to explore.

I try go glide out there from the near edge of the island I’m on, but I don’t quite have the stamina to make it, running out just short of the edge, and I don’t bother with using an elixir to extend my range, I fall just a few feet short of my goal. Plummeting without any stamina left is very dangerous, so I fast-travel back to the safety of the Skyview Tower that started from, thinking it should be simple to try again, and perhaps using a Zonai sky car would be easier.

It takes me two or three more tries, but I eventually find a path that avoids the Zonai construct soldiers and also takes me in a direction where I can get to the sky island I’m interested in.

When I land there, it looks like a tiny temple, shaped like a five-petaled flower. In the center, I find some Zonai runes, which I am unable to read, but I take a photo of, hoping that this will become useful when I next run into Tauros or maybe Pikango.

From this location, I’m too low in the sky to have a hope of reaching the floating cube, but gliding in its direction will take me to the entrance of the labyrinth on the ground level, provided I manage to survive the dive at the end. As I’m approaching the landing area, a shooting star falling from the sky just barely misses me. When I land, I turn around and it’s not more than 20 feet from me! This is the closest I’ve ever been to a falling star. In the sky, it seemed like it missed me by mere feet. I run over to collect it. Then I turn my attention back to the entrance of the labyrinth. Just outside the entrance, I find a traveler must have been here already, for there is a camp site and a journal notebook for me to read.

It tells me that the person who explored the labyrinth was a Hylian who was trying to explore after Tauros, who began the investigation here, left to check out runes at another site (probably Kakariko?). The anonymous author of the notes went on to explore the labyrinth, leaving a trail of pine cones, and stacks of firewood, and occasionally a new campsite with a new notebook with some more clues.

I try to follow his trail, and for the most part it’s not too difficult, although there are spots where Gloom makes it difficult. There are numerous ice blocks in this labyrinth, which is in the cold upper corner of northeast Hebron, and when I melt some of them, they reveal Zonai arms and shields of exceptional power.

But I’m trying to find the center of the labyrinth, which contains a locked chamber. There are barred windows showing a shrine in the center, and that’s my ultimate goal. But exploring every inch of the labyrinth seems worthwhile if it’s going to turn up these high powered weapons and shields. The best I find is a shield with a defense rating of 50, and another with a defense rating of 25. I also find some powerful Zonai swords, although they are only about half as powerful as the shields. I also find a few forage plants and mushrooms, and pick those when I find them.

Eventually I get tired of trying to find my way through the maze, so I activate Ascend and use it to get up on top of the maze walls, which enables me to “cheat” a bit, and quickly get to parts of the maze that I would have to wander a long time to reach if I was on the ground level.

But due to the 3D verticality of the maze, I can’t simply jump over the walls and get to the center. There’s a barred floor when I try, and so I have to find the right way.

There’s a korok shooting gallery challenge at one corner of the labyrinth, on the top of the wall, but I have but three arrows and not enough to spare to attempt the challenge. I mark the location to return later when I have more ammo, and continue trying to find my way into the shrine chamber.

At one point, I am on the top of the wall, when I look down in a spot I haven’t yet been to from below, and I spot a Gloom enemy, the horrible thing with many arms, which I’ve encountered before only once.

I’m afraid of this thing, especially in the tight confines of a maze where I will really struggle to outrun it, and mostly blunder into walls that will cause my camera to screw up my view, as the rendering engine stops drawing the wall I’m close to, and shifts the camera angle around to show the world through Link’s eyes, without drawing Link so that I can’t see where exactly he is, and then the monster will grab me and kill me with no problem. And probably I’ll start climbing a wall that I don’t mean to climb too. I hate fighting in close quarters in this game, and I think that’s a design flaw more than it is that I suck or that I’m not powered up enough.

I feel like I need to take out this gloom creature if I’m going to solve the maze, and who knows if I can, but I decide to try to soften it up as much as I can by dropping Bomb Flowers from above. I have only about 16 of them left, and I can’t throw them, and I can’t waste arrows on them either. From this height if I throw them they’ll hit the far wall of the maze corridor too high up to do any damage to the hands, so I have to drop them.

This proves surprisingly effective, though, and when I drop a bomb I do damage to most or all of the hands, taking its health meter down an appreciable amount. I seem to wake the thing up, and I’m afraid it will climb the wall and attack me directly, but it doesn’t seem capable of looking up or climbing. All it does is slide around on the floor, moving through the maze, apparently trying to find me, but unable to do so.

This gives me quite an advantage, and I use it to maximum effect, dropping about 10 bombs altogether, which finally destroys the creature.

This triggers a Boss Fight with a Phantom Ganon. The Phantom Ganon’s life bar appears and the music changes, the sky turns blood red and I get even more scared. I am looking frantically all around me for this Phantom Ganon, but don’t see it. Or him. I run around looking down into the labyrinth from atop the walls, hoping to spot him and at least get an idea of what I’m up against, but there is no sign of it, and I am starting to get confused. I keep looking and looking, wandering about on the top of the maze for this missing (invisible?) boss, who I cannot find.

Finally after several minutes, the boss music fades out and the life bar disappears. What happened? Did some timer run out? Or did I walk too far away from the spawn point and trigger a de-spawn? Do I have to fight that hand gloom again? Or will it come back if I jump back down into the maze?

I have little to lose so I give it a try, but the hand monster doesn’t return, and neither does Phantom Ganon.

Eventually I lose my fear and resume looking for the heart of the maze, and eventually I manage to find it.

The final bit of puzzle to this area is that in order to get into the shrine, I have to build a fire to melt some large blocks of ice that are blocking its entrance. This is easy; flint, metal sword, firewood, done.

I receive a blessing from the shrine, just for opening it.

When I emerge, I discover a new Zonai activation spot, at the far end of the chamber from where the shrine is. I examine it, and it tells me that the Spirit of the Owl, who watches over this labyrinth, has unlocked some door in the maze in the sky above.

So these two mazes are linked in at least that way.

I wonder about the Phantom Ganon, and wonder how will I get to fight it, and if I do, what tactics will I employ to survive and prevail?

Oh, and there’s a chasm to the underworld in the shrine chamber of the ground level labyrinth, which is covered by a locked grate that I don’t know how to open. So that’s rather mysterious. I wonder if the underworld is a maze at this location, as well.

My next point of interest to check out is the other shrine. This one happens to be right near the Tanantha Stable, and it’s one of the more elaborate challenges I’ve faced so far. The name of the challenge is Courage to Fail. There’s a large double door that I have to open using Ultrahand, and then a series of laser beams that trigger a trapdoor in the floor behind the great doors. There’s no way past these beams, it seems at first, and given the name of the challenge I guess I’m meant to be brave and test them out… no, I just fall to my death. Upon respawning, I discover a side path that I can walk around the more obvious way in, and avoid the beams altogether. From here, I Ascend through an overhanging ceiling and climb a ladder, then duck under a low tunnel, and find myself in a room where I have to fight a few Zonai Constructs. They’re little challenge, but I do have to be a bit careful with them, as it’s two on one. Once they’re defeated, there’s another pair further on, and some more laser beam trap doors. I easily evade the beams on the second trapdoor area, and then am puzzled by a locked room with a ball. I’m obviously meant to extract this ball and use it, but I don’t know where the key is. It takes me some time to puzzle through this, but there’s a third trapdoor where it turns out that it’s the way forward, not a pit of death. I have to discover this by testing it by breaking the laser beam trigger with an object I manipulate with Ultrahand. I grab a fallen Construct’s weapon and use it to block the beam, the trap door opens, I look down into the pit and can see solid ground, and that’s the way.

I go through and find a chest with a small key, which unlocks the room above containing the ball. From there, I have to get the ball into two bowls to unlock gates. The first gate contains a Zonai wing with fans attached to it, which I have to put on a rail, and then glue the ball to it, and use it to fly down below to the second area where the bowl unlocks the Light of Blessing.

It’s a satisfying puzzle that isn’t immediately obvious and takes some careful examination to figure out.

I proceed out of the shrine, and in the snow off in the distance away from the Stables I spot a light. Using the telescope, I can see it’s a Korok who needs help finding his friend. I pick him up and take him, taking care to walk around a nasty cold Wizzorobe, my least favorite type. After reuniting the korok buddies, I notice they’re right in front of a cave, which I enter. It turns out this cave is the same one I explored earlier, the one directly beneath the Fairy Flower.

So I return back to the stable, and talk to everyone there. They warn me of the cold and tell me of the troubles at Rito Village, where it has been so cold that everyone there is starving and they need help. I guess that’s where I’m meant to go next.

I talk to a guy sitting by a cooking fire, who mentions a well in back, and yeah I guess it seems that there’s a well at pretty much every stable. So I go to check it out, and it’s frozen over. I stand on the ice and light a fire, and break through into a cave, which has a lot of mineral deposits, but the drops from them are mostly rock salt and flint, only one amber and one sapphire.

I guess this has been a pretty productive session; I’ve accomplishes more than a few things and made progress. So it’s time to take a rest.

TOTK Diary 33

It’s raining again in Farun, and it’s hard to see far due to the rain and the dense jungle, and it’s impossible to climb, and there’s not much around to see or do at the Dondon pen. I’m really curious about that Satori experience I just had, which led me here, and I want to go back and see if I can find the cherry blossom tree, which I should have marked on the map but understandably in my excitement I had forgotten to do.

I quick-travel back to the shrine near the horse stables that I had embarked from, hoping I’ll be able to retrace my steps. It turns out to be surprisingly simple — right from the shrine, I am able to see the tall pillars that I remembered climbing which started me out on the last adventure. I glide down to the nearest one and climb it, and find the korok that I found the last time still dangling from his pinwheel. I look down and the cherry blossom tree is very nearby, barely more than a stone’s throw away from the shrine and the stables. Wow. In my mind it had seemed like a much longer walk to get here the first time.

I mark the spot on the map, save, and then offer the statue in front of the tree another apple. The mystical blue lights appear again, marking the overworld like my pins on the map.

I have it in mind to try to mark as many of these points as I possibly can before the effect wears off. It seems most efficient to do so. I think, I’ll just look around with the Purah Scope, place pins directly onto the Satori lights, then switch to the Map view so I can replace the Pins with Stickers, so that I can keep re-using the Pins and mark many more than just six locations.

It’s a really good idea, but it doesn’t work out so well in practice. Most of the Satori spots are low lying, many of them cave entrances well concealed down at the bottom of hills, many of which are on the far side of the hill from where I stand. So it’s all but impossible to mark these locations with map pins, because in order to pin a location, you have to be able to place the pin on a physical, solid object, and the Satori light is not a physical object. I could put a pin close to the light, or shoot right through it and end up plotting a course that is way, way off the mark from the site that I was really trying to get to.

So this doesn’t work out so well. But the Satori lights do last a while, it seems about a full day, and it’s a lot of time if you want to move quickly, and I’m pretty capable of doing that.

I try to visit as many of the spots that have lit up as possible while I can. I find a few more Excavation Sites, and these generally have a physics puzzle that I have to solve in order to open a gate which gives access deeper into the cave, usually I find a treasure chest with some minor prize in it, and often a bubbul frog as well. I try to get as many bubbul frog gems as I can, still not know what they may be used for, and for all I know they’re just “achievement points” for how much of the game you’ve explored, and not useful in-game for anything. But I’d really like to know, because I’m putting a fair bit of time into trying to get them, and it’d be nice if it was worthwhile, beyond the enjoyment of just doing it for its own sake.

I get a bit turned around and end up, I think, visiting the same two excavation points and going back and forth between them, wasting time. But then I see one of the Satori spots is in the water of Lake Hylia, a raging whirlpool. I might have guessed that it was something interesting, but probably wouldn’t have chanced it before, fearing the danger and expecting that at some point a safe method of going into it would present itself. But now I’m feeling like this Satori light is a signpost telling me that it is safe to go to it.

I have to hike a bit to get close, and I try to glide as much of the way as possible. As I get close, it seems to me that I’ll need to glide from the top of the towers of Lake Hylia Bridge, and that’s a bit risky because Gleeok is guarding the bridge, and I don’t know what its range is, or what its powers are, exactly.

It turns out that Gleeok doesn’t see too well, or doesn’t care about people unless they get really close. And it’s hard to see, but maybe I’m somehow coming up from the back side of the direction Gleeok is facing, which probably doesn’t hurt my chances of avoiding its 3-headed gaze.

I come up to the bridge tower nearest the whirlpool, and climb it. At the top, I discover a korok puzzle, an easy one that involves running to the opposite tower before a countdown times out. I manage the feat and collect my seed. Then it’s time to save and glide down as close to the whirlpool as I can get.

It turns out I can get right up to it, and I glide over and drop down into it. I get sucked down, and fall into a cave. A cave which somehow is not full of water, but has water constantly pouring down it from the lake above. It’s a rather vast space, and in it I find some forage materials, a bubbul frog, and a shrine quest. It’s another gem quest. This time I’m at the shrine, and it’s telling me to find the gem at the other end of a green laser beam that’s projecting directly upward, vertically through the ceiling of the cave.

I suspect that this means I can just Ascend up through the cave ceiling, and somehow maybe I’ll end up in another space between this cave and the bottom of the lake. Or maybe I’ll even be in the lake on the floor, or who knows. But ceiling is too high for me to use Ascend, so that’s not it.

I puzzle over this for a bit, and surmise that this may mean that the gem on the other end of the laser beam may be up in the Sky Level. I look at the map to see if there are any Sky Islands directly above the lake, and it’s hard for me to tell because I don’t yet have this region’s map data. I do have a bit of the adjacent region though, because that’s the Sky Island where you start out the game. The Cave of Awakening and The Temple of Time are both right nearby, and are convenient fast-travel points.

I try teleporting up there to see if I can see a Sky Island with a laser beam flashing down out of it into the lake. But at the range I’m at, seeing a pencil thin beam of light is probably not possible. Still, I go to the edge of the Sky Island, making a beeline toward Lake Hylia’s whirlpool below, and using the scope, I can see some sky islands, far below the level I’m on, and a good ways out.

I’m not sure if I can make it by gliding, but I try. I have to try a few times, and it’s at the extreme end of my range, but I do have enough stamina upgrades to fly directly to it, and then Dive down, flare my paraglider at the last second, and make a safe landing.

Once I land, I find the sky island is pretty tiny, and populated only by birds and golden colored trees, with a stone building that looks like a temple in the center. I’m in the back of it, and when I walk around to the front, I find stairs leading up to an entrance room where I find the green glowing gem associated with the shrine in Lake Hylia Cave. Sweet! I figure it out.

I wonder about how I’m supposed to get the gem from here down to the shrine location thousands of feet below and beneath the lake floor. It seems like it would be all but impossible to line up a drop and throw the gem off the edge. Then I notice a square hole in the floor, leading to open air. I surmise this is the way, and I carry the gem to the hole, and then jump down.

As soon as I’m falling, I can’t hold onto the gem anymore, and it seems to fall slower than me, at first. But it catches up, and then accelerates past me, and I begin to worry that I’ll lose it, or cause it to despawn. I try the R button to dive in order to fall faster, and I’m not sure if it mattered or not, but I do end up splashing down in the Lake, and getting sucked down into the whirlpool immediately, and when I emerge on the other end of the waterfall in the cave, I find that the gem is there right next to me. All I have to do is pick it up and walk it over to the shrine’s spot, and complete the quest.

It was really satisfying to figure this out, follow the clues, and solve this puzzle. I like that it employed verticality that included all three world levels, and made them feel entirely connected, rather than three separate spaces.

I receive a Mighty Zonai Sword and a Light of Blessing from Rauru, and am feeling more enlightened than I did before I started this quest.