Joining the Imperial Army
Turn around when you get control and open the three chests in this area – a Dark Shard (1/13), Ether (2/13), and Mythril Shard (3/13). There is a Save Point and Moogle Shop if you need to use them. Head to the Encampment where you will start a scene and a battle.
Kupo’s Moogle Shop
Monster - Nightwalker
Nightwalkers hover in midair and use ghost-fire for long range attacks. It has three primary attacks at close range which involve a two-handed clawing attack, an aerial charge to a tailspin, and a low spinning slash attack. These can all be guarded against so its not difficult to avoid taking damage, though if you do get it hit it’s going to hurt more than a typical enemy. You’ll fight this Heartless only in the Land of Dragons and in quite a number so get used to taking them down without getting countered.
Monster - Assault Rider
Assault Riders are one of the toughest Heartless around and can really take a chunk out of Sora’s HP and out of the Morale Gauge during some missions. You’ll want to constantly Guard to gain an opportunity to counter so you can avoid its many hard-hitting attacks. It has a large slash, a lengthy jab, a windmill, a charging assault, and a frontal explosion that you will need to be ready for. The easiest to defend is the thrust and it leaves the Assault Rider open for attack. The windmill often catches you if you try to jump straight at the Assault Rider, so don’t do that. In a worst case scenario, use Valor Form and just let him have it.
After the battle you receive the Encampment Area Map and are tasked with a few missions. The "Suprise Attack" isn’t too difficult, just some Nightwalkers and Shadows. "The Ambush" is a little more lengthy and features the Assault Rider, so stay active. "The Search" can be difficult since only one enemy comes up at a time and you have to hunt it down. Stay strong through it because the end has three Nightwalkers and you can gain a lot of Morale back or lose a bunch easily. For completing all three missions you receive an AP Boost .
Through the Mountain Trail
Before heading north to the Checkpoint, jump atop the tower in the southeast and claim the Heart #10 puzzle piece. At the Checkpoint you can find two chests in the corners – a Mythril Shard (5/13) and a Hi-Potion (4/13). Head to the Mountain Trail and you’ll want to go through it quickly. Clear out the Heartless and use the Rockshatter command; you must hit it twice to knock down the wall. Don’t worry about claiming the treasure with the Morale Gauge ticking, you can come back in a second to get them. At the end of the trail you’ll find two Assault Riders, just blast them with magic and break through to the Village. You receive the Village Area Map once you regain control.
From the beginning of the Mountain Trail, Checkpoint side: Go up the trail to a chest with a Lightning Shard (6/13) then head up the steps to the right for another chest containing a Mythril Shard (9/13). In the northwest you’ll find two chests – a Recovery Recipe (7/13) and an Ether (8/13). There is a puzzle piece, but you can’t get it yet. Back in the Village, jump atop the house on the west side to claim Heart #11 . You should also visit the Moogle to drop off Synthesis items and your new recipe.
Head into the cave and open the first two chests along the path for a Dark Shard (11/13) and an AP Boost (10/13). Head into the dead end to trigger a scene then a battle. Initially the fight is just an Assault Rider and a large quantity of Shadows. Take out the Assault Rider first then clean up the Shadows. Two more Assault Riders spawn afterwards but you can quickly take one out with magic.
- Slide Dash (Sora)
- HP +15 (Ping)
- Hyper Healing (Ping)
Monster - Rapid Thruster
Rapid Thrusters fly around then dive bomb Sora but it’s easy to Guard or parry this attack. There isn’t much to the Rapid Thruster except it is a good Heartless for farming Lightning Shards and experience at this point in the game. Use the Speed Trap and Aero Blade Reaction Commands to quickly defeat a bunch of these.
Later in the game you can enter the Peak at the Pride Lands and easily destroy a large number of Rapid Thrusters quickly using Magnega to group them up. You can use the Gull Wing Keyblade and the Experience Boost ability then drop down to critical health. This will boost your gain in experience quite a bit. You can also somewhat do this later in the Land of Dragons, but the Pride Lands is better.
Head back to the Village then up to the Ridge. You’ll be fighting a new enemy, the Rapid Thruster, in this section. You can also enter the swirling winds and "Ride the Wind" to launch yourself high in the air. Grab the Awakening #11 puzzle piece at the start and launch yourself into the air to grab Awakening #8 at the opposite end. You’ll also want to open the two chests for a Frost Shard (12/13) and an AP Boost (13/13). Head up into the next area when you are ready.
Monster - Bolt Tower
The Bolt Tower has a few attacks that can hurt. The head butt is easy to avoid because it’s telegraphed but the shockwave and catch laser are a bit harder to dodge. You have to hit the little head at the bottom of the tower in order to do damage and this Heartless is immune to Thunder. It does present the Reaction Command called Bolt Reversal. Successfullybcounter by rapidly pressing Triangle and the ball of lightning is thrown back at the Bolt Tower hitting any Heartless in its path.
You are given 1 minute to defeat as many Rapid Thrusters and Bolt Towers as you can. Use Reaction Commands to get the most out of it since you don’t have the best tools for the job at the moment. After a series of events, Ping goes back to being Mulan and learns a bunch of new abilities.
Showdown with Shan-Yu
On your way back through the Village grab the Awakening #12 puzzle piece at the southeast corner. Continue back to the Checkpoint and go east to reach the Imperial Square. After the scene you’ll have to fight off some Nightwalkers and Bolt Towers, leave the latter for last. Proceed to the Palace Gates for the battle with Shan-Yu and his pet Hayabusa.
BOSS - Shan-Yu and Hayabusa
Start off by going into Valor Mode and just rip into Shan-Yu. If you leveled it up the extended Drive Gauge will really help. Don’t get careless and let the Heartless break down the door though. Defeating the Heartless will drop orbs that reinforce the door, so do this as necessary. You can always use Mulan’s Red Rocket Limit to quickly defeat a bunch of them.
Rewards: HP +5 (Sora), Aerial Sweep (Sora), HP +4 (Donald), Goofy Turbo (Goofy), HP +20 (Mulan)
After the battle you’ll receive the Hidden Dragon Keyblade. With The Land of Dragons wrapped up, head through Stardust Sweep to reach Beast’s Castle.