The huge golden castle near the northwest corner of the map is Pridemoor Keep, and is ruled by the King Knight. It's a great place to kick off the real adventure, after you've stocked up on supplies at the Village.
From the entrance, head right along the castle wall. You can break through some sand blocks and destroy some beetles as you go, until you find a pile of soil you can dig for gems. To the right, there's a horse enemy with a lance. As you get near, he'll charge. You can leap his charge and he'll run up against a wall, which proves a fatal error on his part. You don't even have to lift a finger.
Continue right, and watch for lava that is dumped regularly from cauldrons positioned along the ceiling ahead. There's another of the horse lancers, as well. Lure him into a charge, then hit him from above with a downward shovel thrust. Then proceed carefully past the cauldrons and into the next screen.
Here, you'll need to avoid lava as you leap right to a higher ledge, then back left to a platform, then right again. Past that, kill a beetle and dig more soil for gems, then climb a ladder.
In the room overhead, start left and watch for floating rat enemies. You can hit them with your shovel to dispatch them quite easily. Beyond those enemies, there are two more cauldrons. To get through, you should wait for the first one to dump its contents. Then quickly break a block and scurry under it. Let the second cauldron spill its lava, then run under that and climb the ladder to the next chamber.
This room introduces a new enemy: a magician who tosses a fireball periodically. When you climb onto the upper level, wait for him to toss a fireball over your head. Then quickly run toward him and jump, pulling out your shovel to point down at him so you can hit him from above. You can bounce on him a few times in that manner, until he drops off the screen. Then you should hit the wall behind him to reveal a hidden gem. After that, climb the overhead ladder.
That ladder leads to that stage's first checkpoint. You can knock the helmet off a suit of armor positioned on a ledge to the right, if you want. Or you can head along the lower level to the right, where you'll find armor that's a bit more capable of defending itself. This guy is easiest to hit from above, at first, but after a blow has landed, he'll raise his shield. Let yourself land to his side, then, and quickly slash him with a regular strike before reverting to your initial tactic. You can keep switching off in this manner until you have hit him a few times. Then continue right.
There are two more lance knights here. Let the first one charge right past you. Bounce from the second one up to the overhead ledge and collect a gem, then go right yet again.
In the next screen, you'll find that you've already reached another checkpoint. Past there, you'll find a few weak enemies and also some chandeliers. As you pass beneath them (or even as your foes do), they will shake briefly and then drop. Don't let them catch you by surprise. You can jump onto the far right chandelier, near the end of the hall, and from there quickly hop again to reach a high ledge and some gems. Then you should descend the ladder below it.
This is a special room. You can obviously head right and ascend a ladder, but things get more interesting if you look left. There, a series of ledges head quickly right and then drop out of sight. You can leap left along these ledges while avoiding the lava that drops from the overhead cauldron. If you safely reach the far left of that gap, you can line up your knight so that he fits within the silhouette shaped like him. That will cause the wall to flip and you will be warped to a room to the right, with treasure. Now you can leap along some chandeliers to reach a treasure chest on a ledge to the right. Open it to meet up with Chester. He will sell you the Flare Wand
for 1000 gold. Go ahead and buy it if you can.
Now return to the main area that you were exploring before the detour for the chest. Head right and up the ladder along the room's far right side. It leads to a room full of more of the magicians. Take them out, and then you have a choice. You can either climb a ladder or head left.
Start by heading left, through the opening. You'll see a ladder to the upper left that you can climb to reach a room with a low ceiling. A magician is to the right, so rush over to him and take care of him before he makes things too rough on you. Overhead, the ceiling has a weak point along its right side. Hack it to reveal an opening that leads a short distance left. Grab that loot, then hack left again to open up the rest of the passage and reveal a chest. Open the chest for the rest of your bounty. Then head right. You're on a ceiling, and you can use the shovel to bash through a sand block and reach the area below, where there's a checkpoint stand.
Head right from there, through another checkpoint, and you'll face a mini-boss (it appears to be a gryphon). Watch out for its jets of flame, which could hit you as you're trying to cross a pit. If you make that leap safely, move in close and repeatedly jump and slash at the creature's chest until it is vanquished. Then continue to the right, activating yet another checkpoint in the process.
Here, you can defeat a bunch more of the flying rat enemies. Then as you get near the far right, you want to be careful. You can bounce along the enemies, using them as makeshift ledges, to reach the ceiling. If you hop onto the ceiling and travel to the right, you'll be able to enter a secret treasure room to the right. You can negotiate these ledges, avoiding fireballs tossed by magicians and checking behind the curtains to find openings or blocks you can destroy, to reach the far right side and open a treasure chest with a large gem. There's a weak spot in the ceiling overhead, as well, that contains still more gems. Fill up on wealth and then head back left.
Back in the area with the flying rats, head to the lower right side and dig through a sand-blocked hole to reach the chamber below you. There is a chandelier here, and you can jump from it and left, then hit the wall with your shovel to reveal a hidden passage. Or you can jump right for some loot on that ledge. Either way, you'll likely kill the lance knights beneath you. Then you can drop down and through another opening.
In that next chamber, you'll find another of the golden knights. Defeat him as usual, and make sure you hit the wall near the lower right side of the room to reveal a hidden gem. Then drop through the opening near the room's far left side.
Below, you'll activate another checkpoint. To the right, there's a large bouncing book. Before you head toward it, look left and hack at the wall. You'll reveal a new passage. Run left along it and you'll find a room with circling, floating l edges. Hop on one and ride it left to claim a Music Note
, but be careful not to let any rats knock you back and into the pit as you grab the prize. Then return right to the bouncing book.
You can jump toward the book and use a downward thrust with your shovel to temporarily open it, which produces ledges to your right. Quickly leap along them and pass through the opening to find another room with ledges and a patrolling beetle. There's a book nearby, and cauldrons along the ceiling to your right. You can hit the book with a downward slash to produce ledges that let you proceed quickly to the right, between lava batches.
The area to the right is quite dangerous until you're familiar with it. As you head right, you'll need to keep moving from book to book, but there's a flying rat along the way. You need to jump toward it and use your downward thrust to bounce from its back and keep moving to the next. You can pause at that book, bounding vertically until the timing feels right to pass under the next group fo cauldrons. You'll need to pause ahead of the last two, let them dump their contents, then quickly leap to a ladder and climb to reach the overhead area.
You can go left here to gather goodies from the serving dishes (though one of them will sometims contain a bomb, so be ready to steer clear of its blast) and from behind the curtains overhead. Then head right and you'll need to battle another gryphon. Past that creature, there's a hallway with the stage's final checkpoint and then you're at the boss.
This shouldn't be much of a fight if you take advantage of opportunities to land several strikes at once, even though your opponent is capable of moving quickly and has a longer life meter than you do.
As the battle begins, the King Knight will leap from his throne and shed his cape. You can jump up and then use a downward strike to possibly bounce from his shoulders, rather than taking damage. He likes to use a few different attacks, including a charge move that carries him across the screen. He also will sometimes summon trumpets that appear from the sides and then rain down confetti.
While he is performing the latter move, you can sometimes move in and bounce from his shoulders a few times, quickly racking up some nice damage. It works especially well if he starts the move while he is standing against a wall, because then you don't even have to worry about fallign confetti.
Otherwise, lure him into charges and then bounce off his head. Standard slashes are a risky business, but he'll fall very quickly if you employ your shovel as a makeshift pogo stick.
When you win, that's another area of the map cleared. You'll reveal a path leading to the east, though you're not actually able to enter just yet because it is still partially blocked (assuming that you haven't already cleared The Lich Yard, which is where you should otherwise head next).
NEXT: The Lich Yard