I learned many things during my stay in Ash Lake because I got careless and greedy for the hard-to-reach items and eventually got cursed by two basilisks that greeted me when I entered one of the enclosed areas. What was interesting about Ash Lake was the way how the basilisk’s toxic black smoke turned into a crystal mist once the creature was out in the open area. You still can get cursed if you let the mist consume you, but the amount of time to get toxic was not as fast as the black smoke. I wonder if the effect had to do with my current stats, or if there was something very special about this holy ground.
And so, my progress in the game was stalled because I had to farm for Purging Stone, but I didn’t mind. The developer didn’t make it difficult to search for the stone because the Maneater Shells that dropped the item can be found nearby. On the plus side, the creature also dropped Twinkling Titanite, a precious stone for upgrade purposes. Having a lot of stones gives players the freedom to enhance weapons and test them. In my head, I am always thinking: “What weapon shall I use to kill my enemies?” The game sure knew how to respect the players’ time and give us that flexibility to make our own decision. Thanks, Darks Souls for not making it dull, but at the same time, not overwhelming me with choices.
The magical thing about games like Dark Souls is their ability to keep my mind focused and entertained while offering educational benefits. I naturally like to study. In the game, the symbolic meaning behind the Maneater Shells tickled my brain as soon as I understood what it meant. The moral lesson of the Maneater Shell is if you poke your head at every attractive clam you encounter, you might get your head chopped off. As you can tell from the picture below, there is a pile of skulls in its gaping mouth. To learn how to be a wise player because Dark Souls’ universe will punish you if you are careless.
Luckily, in the area, there were only two Maneater Shells. One was by the medusa Black Hydra. The placement of that Maneater Shell was meant to make it difficult to defeat the hydra upfront. So, the best solution was to shoot it down with arrows from afar. I found a place just for that. Unfortunately, I ran out of arrows so I couldn’t kill it. I’m making a mental note to visit the place again once I unlock the teleport ability.
For such a small area, I really enjoyed my time in Ash Lake. As I mentioned before, it’s an oasis. I was bullying the poor giant mushroom with my Poison Mist spell and watched the confused mushroom heading for the water. Eventually, I got killed by its punch. Obviously, it didn’t like me near it. So. then I collected my souls and headed back up to the big tree (The Great Hollow) and entered back into the swamp. The erected mushroom may be cute, but cuteness was also deadly, but more importantly not all enemies were hostile. They were merely just defending themselves. No need to kill everything that crossed your path. Lesson learned.
Back in the swamp, I realized I equipped the wrong armor because I was just too eager to try on any new armor I came across. Typically, I appreciate practical fashion that gives me good stats. The appropriate attire was Tattered Cloth Robe because of its high poison resistance. The armor was lighter as well–good for rolling. I must confess, I was getting rather annoyed changing armor in this area because peeping tom Giant Mosquitoes can’t control themselves and decided to pester. They can be such a pain. In real life, mosquitoes gently land on your skin, and rarely do you feel bitten. In this game, the mosquitoes were obnoxiously vicious; they will repeatedly try to poke you even when your shield was up. They can’t take “No” for an answer. Running away would only worsen the situation as the number of them increased. It’s best to blast it with fireballs and get rid of them once and for all. Confrontation was sometimes necessary. Lesson learned.
There are many reasons why I love Dark Souls. One of the big reasons is its depiction of the world. It is not all that different from our world even though it’s a fantasy. I love this type of storytelling because it tells stories without being outright offensive. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not entirely perfect. But I will mention my dislikes at a later time. For now, it’s time for me to stop fooling around and go defeat Quelaag. I just hope I won’t lose my sanity in the process and turn completely Hollow. Whatever humanity is left, I will fight for it.