Far away... Do not fear—dash and fly!
Sadly I need to take my pet
Getting to the Key Cavern requires completing several side quests and trekking all the way to the far side of the map. First up is making my way to Ukuku Prairie and Richard's Villa, wherein Richard tells me of a castle that he used to live in but was forced to flee. But he's willing to give me the key to the next dungeon if only I sneak into the castle and collect five golden leaves? Fine, whatever, fetch quest time it is!
But before getting into the castle, I need a bridge, and to get this bridge built I need to give a monkey some bananas? Okay, time for completing some more of the trading sequence which means trekking all the way back to the other side of the map. I'm beginning to notice an awful lot of back-in-forth in this game. Anyway, after yet more backtracking eventually I traded the bananas for a... stick? Presumably I'll find someone to give it to.
Kanalet Castle itself is fairly straightforward - defeat enemies, collect shinies. The enemies here are slightly tougher than the average Moblin, but I've got a few more heart pieces and am getting to grips with the control timing in here. One of the enemies was sneakily hidden in a bombable wall, and as with all good mini-dungeons there's a mini-boss. Here it's a superior Darknut wielding a ball and chain. That had more HP than I was expecting and it's giant spiked ball does far too much damage for my liking. At least it's not as awkward as the one in Twilight Princess was (there you have to fight a very well-armoured one in a narrow corridor).
With those all collected it's back to Richard, who lets me into his garden which is a maze of hidden potholes. And at the end of the maze, a key for the Key Cavern! Which, yes, is itself laid out like a key. How have I not noticed these map layouts while playing?
The Key Cavern itself was a looong dungeon filled with annoying enemies. There's the Stalfos, which jump out of the way of my sword swings, but at least they go down to a well-timed spin attack. Then there's the shrouded variant which doesn't jump but throws spears at me while backing away. But they've got nothing on the Link's Awakening version of Dodongos - in Ocarina of Time, you only have to feed them one bomb or alternatively hit their tails a couple of times - even King Dondogo (the boss of the Goron Cavern) goes down in three hits. Here, the Dondogos are completely sword proof, and need to be fed a lot of bombs. And they're very picky and will actually look at a bomb I've just placed in front of them, shake their head, and ignore it.
The nightmare itself was alright once I worked out how to deal with it - half-remembered snippets of the original gameboy version threw me off my stride at first (I mixed this up with a later nightmare that hides in the floor - this one is a giant slime that hides in the ceiling). With it dispatched it's on to collect the the third instrument collected - the Sea Lily's Bell - and time to head onwards.
Oh, and there was a use for the stick: I traded it for a piece of honeycomb (and by "trade", I mean "gave it to Tarin who knocked down a beehive and got attacked by angry bees". Eh, no-one said the trading sequences were sensible).
It is hidden in the waterfall...