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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 6

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries - Part 6

Welcome back to my Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Diaries, a collection of sequential articles where I describe the many varieties of ways that I've tried and failed to defeat just about anyone. Last time, I had finally made my way into the heart of the Hirata Estate, only to find that it was just as on fire as the rest of the place, if not more. With the rest of the area behind me, I was only a few steps away from getting to the ending of this memory…

From the Sculptor's Idol, I made my way between the burning buildings, searching for a way forward. Around one corner, I came face-to-face with an archer holding flaming arrows. I wasn't sure, but I thought I was starting to sense a theme. Thankfully, he didn't seem to expect to see me any more than I had expected to find him. I was able to get over my surprise first and send blow after blow his way until I could snuff him out.

Up ahead, there seemed to be more soldiers, but there was also a roof I could grapple to. Sticking the landing, I was surprised to find that there was still so much space to run up there without finding myself engulfed in flames. Even so, I couldn't avoid the heat entirely; the fire left me only two ways forward: run around the front edges of the buildings on the right or jump down to the roughly five soldiers milling about next to a large pond. Thankfully, the water itself wasn't lit ablaze. Noting that a fair few members of the group had the same flaming arrows as the archer I'd ran into, I decided to attempt sneaking across the top level. Even with my brand new healing ability that would activate upon each successful Deathblow, I wasn't confident that I could make it through them unscathed.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Running on Rooftops

Before making my move, however, I spied two soldiers approaching my side of the clearing and decided that I might as well thin the herd before exploring. As they grew nearer, I took my chance and leapt down, skewering one and making quick work of the other. A moment later, I was back on the roof, crouching as I inched forward. But before I could even make my way across the next few roofs, one of the archers caught sight of me and prepared to fire an arrow.

Unwilling to get hit, I landed on the group, getting a few hits in on the soldier that spotted me before high-tailing it back behind the bend where I'd fought my first archer in the area. I waited for someone to pursue me, but once the remaining soldiers calmed down and went back to patrolling the area, I moved around the building once more, rushing the archer and felling him with my blade before he could get a chance to retaliate.

Then there were two: one firing from his bow and the other slashing towards me with a blade of his own. The fight was on. I zig-zagged across the ground, dodging this way and that out of the arrows' way and dancing over to my fellow swordsman. But in a duel between the two of us, there was no question as to who was superior, even with the incendiary arrows coming my way. With one soldier remaining, I dashed to the archer, doing my best to continue dodging. However, it seemed he'd gotten used to my erratic movements, and I took a couple of arrows in the chest for my trouble.

This area was safe for now, but the path was long and narrow, bordered by the building and the pond. I didn’t see anyone obvious ahead, but with my reduced health bar, I would have to be careful. Once more, I took to the rooftops, carefully sneaking around to the other end. I didn’t see a single person along the way, so I dropped down at the end of the makeshift path, landing behind a tree. There I noticed a crawl space below the building, right under the porch. I crouched and snuck underneath, winding along the edge of the building as I made my way back around, keeping an eye out for anyone I’d missed. I soon found that this was completely unnecessary, as the coast was clear. I made my way inside the building, picking up some items, when I heard a crash around the corner. Ready for a fight, I soon found a hidden soldier and made short work of him. Once he was down, I noticed the nearby rustling of another soldier that had heard our fight. Soon he was down too, and I could finish looting the area.

With this stretch of land covered, I crossed into the pond, finding a small island in the middle and three possible exits. At my far right there was this strange little pocket of land and water completely surrounded by fire. I made an effort to jump inside, thinking that there might have been some item to collect or a hidden foe to fight, but the small area held nothing of importance. Thankfully my jumps were skilful enough to avoid setting myself on fire as I made my way back to the pond proper.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Juzou from Afar

The middle of the three exits held a tall man by the name of Nogami Gensai, standing there looking into the courtyard. The area ahead was filled with a group of soldiers guarding a large gate into another building. At the centre of these soldiers was a massive man with a huge supply of alcohol — Juzou the Drunkard, my next miniboss. There seemed to be no easy way to sneak up on any of them.

At the left exit from the pond, there was a small building that contained an open room with a soldier waiting around inside and looking into a hallway that led further in, likely leading toward the same open area I’d seen with Juzou. I easily snuck up on the man and ran him through, but it turned out that what he’d been staring longingly at was another soldier standing guard inside the hallway facing back out in the room I was now in. Thankfully, with a little bit of extra effort, I was able to overcome my surprise and take him out too without getting hit myself.

I crept forward until the hallway turned to the right, facing the miniboss and his goons as they guarded the wide doorway, unaware as to my presence. But even then, it didn’t seem like I could get a clear kill shot at any of the enemies. Ideally, I would pick off each of them one by one, but it appeared I would have to fight them all in the open field.

Hoping I could find another way to defeat the group — or at least a bit more perspective on the upcoming fight — I doubled back and checked in with the man that had been watching the field, Nogami Gensai. He mentioned he was here to save the young master, much like me. It sounded like he was willing to assist me in fighting the group. That was a bit of a relief, to be honest! It would be almost like a summon sign in Dark Souls. But, since the area was wide open and hopefully wouldn’t block me from running back over to this man, I could likely try to take out most of the enemies and then get a stealth attack on my main foe before getting Nogami’s assistance with Juzou’s last health bar.

Nogami Declares

And then he charged forward, right as he finished his little speech. I suppose he wasn’t too big on stealth. Clearly, my plan would not work this time. I fought alongside him, thinning the group with some carefully placed backstabs, but soon I was noticed as well. However, by the time all of the normal enemies perished, so too had my new friend. I was injured, but Juzou had hardly taken any sort of beating. After a handful of test strikes, I realised that I was not at all ready and ran away all the way back to the Sculptor’s Idol. That had not gone to plan, and I wasn’t going to stumble through two health bars when there was still a chance that I could reduce that to one with a well-placed sneak attack.

After refreshing the area, I rushed through the near side of the pond, cutting through to the structure at Juzou’s left before anyone could catch me. That was a risky gambit for sure, but I didn’t want to get out of my boss-planning headspace. Again, I took out the two soldiers in the structure and moved down the hallway. Sneaking down the steps at the end, I attempted to get behind someone, anyone. However, I had just walked into the middle of the group, so that wasn’t happening. I began running around in circles, slowly picking off one enemy at a time while also keeping myself away from Juzou. I dodged low swings and blasts of what seemed to be poisonous gas, but I was able to slowly whittle them down to the miniboss and one man with a shield.

But before I could take down the shielded soldier, my new friend from before jumped into the fray. Once more, the fight didn’t go so well. He died before we could cut through the Drunkard’s first health bar, and I made another hasty retreat with half of my own health bar remaining. However, with the other side of the pond still filled with soldiers, I didn’t get very far before I was pelted with arrow after arrow. Thankfully, I made it to the first archer of the area, the last obstacle before I could reset the fight. He would be easy pickings once more indeed, but it wasn’t him I should have watched out for. Instead, it was the building itself that did me in. I dodged around the archer and wound up against the wall. It seemed like I was only there for a moment, not even really close enough to catch alight. I was wrong. A few seconds of confusion passed as Sekiro steadily lost health and fell over.

Thoroughly convinced that someone was going to have to put these fires out eventually, I resurrected myself and rested once more at the Sculptor’s Idol. In my next attempt, I once more took out all of the soldiers on this side of the pond. If I was going to need to run again, I’d be safer this way. Thankfully, I didn’t lose much health. Just like before, I snuck into the open hallway on the left, stealthily dealing with the two soldiers. Moving a bit more slowly, I made my way down the hall, looking around for any other way to get at the Drunkard. There was an area to the left of the structure that I could get to with a small amount of acrobatics, but it was separated from the rest of the field. A good place to hide but not a great option to strike from. But as I approached the end of the hall once more, looking down the few steps leading me to Juzou’s arena of choice, I finally spotted something that should have been obvious in retrospect: the hallway continued, veering off to the left.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Juzou seen from Stealth

Delivering my face into my palm, I crouched along this new path, winding up right beside the double doors leading further into the Hirata Estate. What’s more, I was right behind the two guards standing by, behind the rest of Juzou’s forces. Like a flash, the one closest to me was down, but I wasn’t about to give the rest of the group any time to react. I darted forward, slicing through another soldier on my way to flee the premises. I ran in circles around the field, slipping in and out of the hallway and a handful of hiding places as I dropped soldier after soldier. I may have gotten a tad sloppy here and there, making a few loops without killing anyone or taking a few more hits than necessary, but that didn’t stop me from culling the soldiers one by one. With each victory, I managed to deal a Deathblow, recovering some of my own lost health and improving my odds of actually defeating the Drunkard. Once Juzou was left alone — likely enraged by my numerous murders — I performed my most reliable technique: running away again. I hid to the left of the hallway in that odd area I’d found not too long ago and waited until Juzou gave up on searching for me, lumbering over to a position where he could watch over the area and keep an eye out for any would-be attackers. Thankfully, I managed to get a quick backstab on the Drunkard before he could settle in, reigniting the battle with only one health bar for Juzou. It was down to him and me. And also Nogami Gensai.

While Juzou was still reeling from the backstab, I rushed over to Nogami, triggering his interruption of the battle. He charged in with vim and vigour, drawing the Drunkard’s attention and allowing me to repeatedly get the drop on Juzou with strike after strike. Juzou gave as good as he got, but with the two of us against him, he wasn’t able to focus on either one of us long enough to take us out. Even so, when I dug my blade into Juzou’s body one last time, Nogami had only a small bit of health left.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Juzous Last Stab

For our victory, I received a bottle of Unrefined Sake, described as “a drink meant for sharing,” and another Prayer Bead, getting me one-fourth of the way to another increase to my health and posture. Nogami only got a sense of satisfaction and pride, but that seemed to be enough for him.

Moving ahead alone, I walked through the double doors, finding myself in what appeared to be a small maze of hallways. Somewhat relaxed after my big win, I walked around, picking up some Dousing Powder that could heal my burns and a couple of health-recovering Pellets. At the same time, I began hearing the sound of soldiers walking by and braced myself. This was not as safe as I had thought! I attempted to escape and regroup, but the soldiers — a duo, it turned out — soon noticed me. Still on edge from the prior miniboss fight and disoriented by the close quarters of the hallways, I was unable to escape from the two with my life. Giving myself a quick resurrection, I rebounded against them, taking both out. However, I was left without a lot of health.

I more carefully made my way around the insides of the building, but I didn’t come across any more soldiers, picking up some Oil along the way. Soon, I found an odd section of the wall known as a Shinobi Door that allowed me to pass through when I hugged my back up against it. Inside I snagged a Mibu Balloon of Wealth, a Coin Purse, a few pieces of Divine Confetti, and yet another Prayer Bead. All of these were very nice, but I was particularly pleased by the Divine Confetti, which would be a great resource if I ever wanted to give a decent shot to the mysterious, ghostly monster that I’d had to skip over back in Ashina Outskirts. Or would that be in the future in Ashina Outskirts because my experiences in the Hirata Estate were technically taking place in the past?

In any case, I made my way back through the Shinobi Door and explored for a little more, eventually finding the Hirata Audience Chamber Sculptor’s Idol and an elderly woman nearby that seemed almost familiar…

Erin McAllister

Erin McAllister

Staff Writer

Erin is a massive fan of mustard, writes articles that are too long, and is a little bit sorry about the second thing.

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