9. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Part 7: Fountainhead PalaceUpdate notes

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Follow the rope path to the bottom and commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol. Look into the next area to see a bridge with trees on either side. This will be the battle with the true Corrupted Monk (VIDEO), a boss that requires three deathblows to defeat.

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You can perform a stealth deathblow on the second phase and stunlock the third phase with firecrackers and fistfuls of ash, but you need to defeat the first phase normally. She has a wide variety of slash attacks that can be deflected, but the timing of them can be erratic. Mikiri Counter her perilous thrust and jump over her perilous sweep (be careful not to jump into a perilous double sweep). After dealing the first deathblow, quickly grapple up onto the branch above the bridge, look down, and once she appears below you, jump towards her and perform the second deathblow (GIF).

After the second deathblow, there will be a brief animation and the third phase will begin. Use an Ako's Sugar during the animation and be ready to stun her with a firecracker as soon as she is susceptible to damage. Attack three times, use another firecracker, and repeat. Should you run out of spirit emblems, switch to Fistful of Ash to stun her and continue the process until you can deal the third deathblow, then the Shinobi Execution, after which a trophy will unlock:

You will then receive Memory: True Monk and the Dragon's Tally Board (which expands vendor stock). Rest at the new Sculptor's Idol and enhance attack power with Memory: True Monk to permanently increase your attack power (from 9 to 10). Head through the nearby doors for a gorgeous view of Fountainhead palace, the game's final area.

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The immediate goal is to make your way through the buildings below around the left side of the lake to get to the big tree in the middle and kill an enemy who shoots lightning, preventing you from swimming in the water. Start by following the path to the right, grappling to a branch, then dropping to the ground below. From here, enter the nearby building to encounter a Palace Noble that will attempt to drain your life force via a line of sight ranged attack that builds up a meter on your screen (much like Terror or Poison). Should this meter fill up, you will become "Enfeebled," which leaves you almost completely helpless and unable to use a resurrection. If you become Enfeebled, you will almost certainly die but the effect will wear off on its own after about 20 seconds OR if you manage to kill the Palace Noble that caused it. These enemies are otherwise very weak and best killed by charging directly at them (just try to keep something between you to avoid Enfeeblement build up if they see you from a distance).

Kill the other two Palace Nobles in this building, then continue forward, Grapple onto the roof of the next building and carefully stealth kill the three guards. You can drop down on the lakeside and kill the enemy on the small bridge- with stealth if possible or directly if you want to see how their attacks work. Just don't go into the water or the mini-boss on the tree will certainly kill you with his lightning attack. Grapple back onto the first level roof of the previous building and make your way around the right side to stealth kill another enemy. There are two enemies patrolling the path next to the building on the waterfall side and a Palace Noble inside but there's no real reason to bother with them.

Grapple onto the roof that is overlooking the next area.

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There are several dogs here and a Palace Noble in the room on the left. These dogs can shoot lightning at you, giving you the opportunity to do a lightning reversal as explained on the wall in the Ashina Castle dojo. If you take lightning damage while airborne, you can press cn_R1 to launch it back, preventing you from taking any damage provided you do so before landing. The best way to deal with the enemies in this area is to first kill the nearby dogs in the water with shuriken, charge in the room on the left and kill the Palace Noble, then run back out and grapple back to safety. You can take out any other aggro'd dogs with shuriken, then make your way through the building and take out the rest of the dogs the same way. Enter the open door to the next building and commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol.

This next stretch is extremely dangerous as there are several Palace Nobles to contend with. Hug the wall at the start of the first hallway and the first Palace Noble will come right to you for a stealth deathblow (GIF). There is another in an area to the left but if you crouch to go through this hall, he will not see you. An old woman just ahead will warn you of the Palace Nobles in this area. Look left and you'll see one on a bridge on the distance and in the watery area behind the woman are two more. Hug the left wall so the screens block your line of sight from the two behind the old woman. Run into the next room and quickly turn left to kill one, then get into the nearby opening to get out of the line of sight of the other Palace Noble and wait for him to lose aggro. Then run over and kill him. Be careful if you enter the room with a seated enemy in the back left as there is another palace noble around the corner left of him that you need to deal with first. Once you're ready, follow the back wall to the right and you'll see a grapple point in the ceiling.

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Be careful, though, as three enemies are patrolling this area including a Palace Noble. Try to get a view of their location, then when it's safe, drop behind them and take all three out with Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu. Then grapple back up and drop through a hole on the other side to kill a stationary palace noble.

Once everyone in this immediate vicinity is dead, follow the perimeter path to an item in the back corner, then looking ahead you'll see two enemies in the distance. There is another palace noble to their left and on three more palace nobles on the other side of the building to their right. And there are three more enemies inside the building which is accessible from the right side. Make your way to the wall near the two enemies on the left of the building, then quickly jump over the rail and charge the Palace Noble, then charge left and kill the other Palace Noble. You can then contend with the remaining enemy. With these enemies dead, backtrack to a small opening in the ground that you can dive into to reach the inside of a building where you will find three treasure carp scales and a chest with Water of the Palace. This item can be given to the strange NPC in the house with the rotating door in Mibu Village in order to get 5 more treasure carp scales should you need them later. Head back to where you killed the last enemies and go through the nearby door to commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol (feel free to go back and try to kill the remaining enemies in the area but it's honestly not worth it).

As you walk onto the nearby bridge, a giant carp will jump out of the water and destroy it (GIF). Before continuing forward, go left behind the pagoda to find a Divine Confetti, then grapple onto the roof of the building you just came through. Follow a straight path on the left side of the rooftops and you can circle behind the first enemy for a deathblow. Sneak around to deathblow the far enemy, then do the same with the remaining one. Drop off in the back and circle around behind the Sakura Bull of the Palace (VIDEO). When you get close it will sense you and start to turn around. When it is facing the wall, use a firecracker and it will rear up on its back legs. After it lands, it will charge forward and as soon as it does, use another firecracker and it will smash into the wall and knock itself out, allowing for an immediate deathblow. If this doesn't work you can run back to the idol to try again or just engage it normally- get some distance so it charges you, deflect it, then run up and attack its head a few times before running away and repeating. After defeating it you will receive a Prayer Bead (35/40) and the Beast's Karma passive skill. Loot the nearby items and head back to the Flower Viewing Stage idol.

Run onto the broken bridge and grapple across to a tree branch. There are numerous enemies around this area, many of which can attack you with ranged attacks. Start by jumping down to the far side of the broken bridge and heading around the left side of the nearby building. Grapple onto the first level roof and circle around to the back, then grapple over to a branch, then up to the ledge near an enemy standing above a waterfall who somehow does not notice you.

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Get behind him for a deathblow, then jump onto the roof of the building on the right to stealth kill the enemy up there. From this roof, you can see two enemies on a platform ahead to the left overlooking a lower platform with some more enemies. Head back to the left and you'll see a grapple point at the end of a walkway- grapple to it and look ahead to see two enemies. Hug the left walk and sneak up on them, doing a stealth kill on the far enemy as he is the tougher of the two. From here you can kill the two enemies on the connected platform- run up to stealth kill the first, then quickly charge and kill the second. Fall back before you get spotted by enemies below. You can grapple up to a roof on the left and get a better view of the area. There are four enemies on a large platform below but there's no real reason to hassle with them. There are some dogs in the pool of a waterfall behind you. Drop down and kill them, then climb the rocks on the right to find another waterfall pool with more dogs. Climb back on the rocks you were just on and look up to see a grapple point.

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Use it to reach an elevated platform, then climb up to the next level and grapple two more times to reach an upper area. The nearby door is locked but look left and go to a platform on the other side of the waterfall. If you position yourself just right you can see a grapple point on the wall off to the left. Run and jump towards it, then grapple to it to reach a cave. Continue through (kill lizards with shuriken) and you can jump and grapple to the roof of a building once back outside, then drop off the far side to reach a Sculptor's Idol. Commune and rest if needed, then talk to the NPC in the nearby barrel. You need to eventually purchase both Lapis Lazuli from him (the final and rarest Prosthetic Tool upgrade material), requiring 12 treasure carp scales. I had 10 at this point and there are plenty more to obtain. Travel to the Ashina Depths - Water Mill idol and take the Water of the Palace to the strange NPC in the last house in Mibu Village to receive a Dragonspring Sake, then rest at an idol and return to kill him and he will drop 5 treasure carp Scales. Head back to the Near Pot Noble idol in Fountainhead Palace and buy both Lapis Lazuli from the Pot Noble.

He will then have a "Talk" option, so talk to him a few times and "Listen to his secret" to receive the Truly Precious Bait. Loot the Divine Confetti to his left before backtracking through the cave to the locked door.

From here you need to head down the stairs and kill the two enemies in the room at the bottom. Once they are dead, head to the end to see a platform below with five enemies.

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Behind them to the left is another platform with a Sculptor's Idol. From there you can jump to the tree to get to the enemy at the end of the branch that prevents you from getting into the water. The ideal plan of attack is to quickly sneak up on the four enemies with their backs to you and do a backstab on one of the spear wielders, using Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu, then backstab the other spear wielder and Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu again. Then get behind the purple enemy and backstab him (backstab Ninjutsu again if you can), after which you should sprint to the Sculptor's Idol to quickly commune and rest.

From here you can see Okami Leader Shizu out on the tree branch. Grapple across and charge him. If he does a lightning attack, try to do a lightning reversal, then just run up and kill him to receive a Prayer Bead (36/40). Use the homeward idol to return to the previous idol, then redeem four prayer beads for the Ninth Prayer Necklace. You can now safely jump into the water below and explore. It's a rather large area with several fish enemies and a few Treasure Carp. There are items scattered about on the floor, the most important of which is a Prayer Bead (37/40) in a chest at the bottom of a deep hole near a Headless mini-boss and a large fish skeleton. Be careful near the Headless as he can inflict terror with his ranged attack. Killing him is not necessary so try to find the chest, get the prayer bead, and get away (hold cn_L1 and tap cn_S to swim upward quickly).

As you explore to the left side of the lake, the giant carp will appear and swim into an opening. Once you've explored the lake fully, head into this hole and get into the enclosed tunnel structure on the right. Be careful as the carp patrols the area around here and will attack you if he sees you, so try to avoid detection. Swim through this enclosed structure and you'll see a building at the far end of the area with a hole in the front (it's hard to see from a distance). Try to wait for the carp to look away and quickly swim towards the building and into the hole. The carp will likely see you and kill you, so resurrect and immediately swim the rest of the way and you should make it.

Once you make it into the building, continue through and then swim up to the surface. Grapple up a few times to reach a platform with a Sculptor's Idol.

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Commune and rest, then enter the building ahead. There are a few weak noble enemies inside, so kill them, open the door on the left, then head right and find a Gourd Seed (9/9) in a treasure chest. Open the door in the back, then run back to the idol to travel to the Dilapidated Temple. Have Emma reinforce your Healing Gourd and a trophy will unlock:

Travel back to the Palace Grounds idol in Fountainhead Palace. Head through the building (you'll see an NPC woman getting her revenge) and out the back door, then turn right and go around the side of the building. Grapple onto the roof and go forward to the end. Look left to see a grapple point that you need to do a running jump to be able to grapple to.

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From here, look down to see a grapple point on a roof below. Be careful of the enemy on the roof across to the left. Run, jump, and grapple across to him and take him out. Look down from the edge of this roof to see an area below with two similar huts- make your way down there and commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol. Ring the nearby bell and the giant carp will swim to the surface.

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Choose "Select truly precious bait" and then "Pot Noble Koremori's Bait" to feed the carp, after which he swims away. You can talk to the nearby NPC to receive a Treasure carp scale then travel to the Guardian Ape's Watering Hole idol in Sunken Valley. Here you will find the giant carp... dead- pick up the Great White Whisker nearby and a trophy will unlock:

Travel back to the Near Pot Noble idol in Fountainhead Palace to find another Lapiz Lazuli by the pot. Look down into the water below to see that the Pot Noble is now a carp and continues to sell items for treasure carp scales, including the inventory from the Pot Noble in Hirata Estate (remember: you eventually need the Floating Passage Text but that can wait for a subsequent playthrough).

With three Lapis Lazuli, you technically have the means to make a final Prosthetic Tool Upgrade, but it's unlikely that you've unlocked enough prerequisite upgrades yet (or have sufficient resources/sen). I suggest following this unlock pathing as it crosses over the two most useful upgrades on the way to a final upgrade- Phoenix's Lilac Umbrella and Malcontent. You may not have the resources for the final upgrade until playthrough 2, but once you do finally unlock an upgrade in the last column, a trophy will unlock:

Travel back to the Palace Grounds idol and head through the building again. Grapple across the three branches to get to a platform on the other side, then follow the path up and then around to the left.

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This linear path leads to a Sculptor's Idol but there are three potentially tough enemies along the way so it's up to you whether you want to fight them or just run past. If you grapple up the ledges on the right you can take out the one up there with repeated attacks and hopefully the two below will not notice. Commune/rest at he idol, then follow the path into a cave. Pray next to the woman and a cutscene will occur, after which the Divine Dragon encounter will begin (VIDEO).

The first phase requires that you kill a dozen or so Old Dragons of the Tree. These slow-moving enemies provide little threat, just beware the poison gas they emit so you don't get poisoned. Trees will occasionally burst out of the ground- run away once you notice this happening so you don't take damage from them. Grapple onto one, then do a plunging deathblow onto an enemy and you will spin it in a wide arc, killing anything else close by. More trees will burst from the ground and darker enemies will start to appear. Once you kill all of the white enemies, the second phase will begin.

The Divine Dragon will appear and send you flying backward. Your goal now is to grapple onto the trees, specifically onto one once a lightning charge appears on it. When you do, you'll absorb the charge and launch into the air. Lock onto the Divine Dragon, then press cn_R1 to launch the lightning at it. You'll need to try to avoid the dragon's attacks while you repeat this process- an overhead slam that can be dodged to the side and a horizontal slash that can be jumped over. The dragon will also occasionally send you flying backward and if you're holding a lightning charge when this happens, you'll take lethal damage when you land on the ground. Once you've dealt enough damage, you will be knocked back and the trees will disappear. The dragon will then bombard you with a barrage of attacks that you need to avoid- vertical slashes by running/dodging to the side and perilous sweeps by jumping over. Eventually, he will stop and the trees will reappear- absorb another lightning charge, throw it at the dragon, and an animation will occur which ends with the dragon collapsing to the ground. Run up its sword and perform a deathblow to unlock a trophy:

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