This page of the IGN Hollow Knight Wiki Guide includes instructions on how to find and navigate the City of Tears, the fourth major area in Hollow Knight.
For information on other sections, be sure to check out the rest of our Walkthrough. To learn how to obtain the various Collectibles Hollow Knight has to offer, visit our pages on Charms, Spells, Mask Shards, and more.
Whether you defeated the Mantis Lords and now have the Mark of Pride, or whether you simply acquired the Mantis Claw, you are now prepared to enter the City of Tears. From Mantis Village, head up through the top of the village, through the next area with the purple fungus. Take the top right exit into the next area, then climb until you reach the sign where Hornet was last sighted.
Follow the path to the right, then use the Mantis Claw and Mothwing Cloak to wall-jump and dash through the thorny platforming section. Drop down at the halfway point and hit the lever to raise the first section of the bridge, then proceed through the next thorny section, dropping down at the end to raise the second section of the bridge.
Move forward and place the City Crest you obtained from False Knight into the slot in the statue and the gate to the City of Tears will open.
Once you enter the City of Tears, proceed right. Dodge the dive-bombing Belfly, then take the exit at the end of the corridor and descend until you reach the first area Bench. Rest up, then continue down until you reach the elevator to the base level of the City.
Once you reach the bottom, head left and you’ll soon arrive at the Nailsmith. Although you’ll need Pale Ore to upgrade your Nail to the heights of its strength, your first power boost costs just 250 Geo, so hand your nail to the Nailsmith and wait for him to upgrade your Old Nail to the Sharpened Nail, then leave his shop and continue right.
After returning to the lift, climb aboard and hit the lever, then jump off and dash when you see a platform to the right. Take out the flying enemies and follow the platforms to the top to acquire a Hallownest Seal, then follow the platforms to the right until you reach an elevated exit. Hop through, dispatch the large charging enemy, then hop down a level and hit the lever to unlock the gate to the lower level.
After unlocking the gate, head right and you’ll meet Relic Seeker Lemm, Hollow Knight’s first item buyer. Lemm buys Wanderer’s Journals, Hallownest Seals, King’s Idols, and Arcane Eggs, awarding the player an amount of Geo which scales with the rarity of those items.
Now that you’ve met Lemm, head back up to the previous area and take the elevator up one stop. Follow the path to the left, then ascend through the area and move to the next screen. Wall-jump and dash as you progress through the next screen until you reach a lever. Use it to unlock a gate immediately below it, then head through the open gate and go down, dropping into the next area.
You’ll land next to another lever. Hit it to open another gate, this one on the other side of the elevator shaft. Dash across the empty elevator shaft and head down to reach another lever. Hit this one and you’ll open another gate to the elevator shaft, and a shortcut back to bottom of the screen.
Head back to the top and go through the top exit on the right side and proceed to the next area. When you arrive, you’ll see a sign indicating an area Bench is nearby, so follow the sign up and take the elevator up two stops, then head left.
You’ll enter an arena where you’ll need to dispatch a Heavy Sentry. Once you’ve killed them, a Lance Sentry and Winged Sentry will appear. Kill them both to open the gates and continue on your way. Head through the left side of the arena, then wall-jump up into the next area, where you’ll hear the tell-tale humming of our old friend, Cornifer.
Buy his area map for 90 Geo, then pay the 150 Geo to gain access to the second area Bench and rest up, then jump up and dash to the left exit.
Continue along the path all the way left until you reach another lever. This one unlocks the gate to the very beginning of the City of Tears, so unlock it, then head up along the platforms, dispatching the Winged Sentries. Head to the top right, dash through the doorway and collect the Simple Key, then hop across the platforms and take the top left exit into the next area.
When you reach the next screen, head left until you reach the next area. Once you arrive, pay the 150 Geo toll to activate the lift and create a quick pathway between the City of Tears and the Forgotten Crossroads. Once you pay the toll, head back to the previous area, this time heading to the upper right side. Take the right side exit and you’ll find a new Bench and the 200 Geo Stagway.
After you unlock the new Stagway station, head back down to where you met Cornifer. Rest at the Bench, then head down into the area with the Heavy Sentry, then take the exit on the right and, as you attempt to leave, you’ll be trapped in an arena with the new Soul Twister enemy. This enemy will float and teleport around the room casting spells at the Knight, providing a preview for the upcoming boss encounter. Dispatch it and take the elevated platforms up into the next area; the Soul Sanctum.
As soon as you enter the Soul Sanctum, head left and take the exit to the next screen. You’ll soon hear the telltale humming of our favorite cartographer. Take the elevator up and swing your Nail at the damaged wall on the left side of the elevator shaft as you pass. Keep riding the elevator and slashing at the middle section of the wall and it will soon break, unlocking a shortcut between the Bench and the Soul Sanctum.
Head back to the right and into the Soul Sanctum, this time hugging the right side of the area as you ascend, defeating the floating Soul Twisters and the crawling Mistakes until you reach a lever. Hit it to unlock a gate above you, then descend until the path diverges left, then take the left elevator to reach the now open gate.
Enter through the gate and you’ll encounter the Soul Warrior miniboss. The Soul Warrior will teleport frequently, utilize dash attacks, cast spells, and use an aerial attack, very similar to those used by the Mantis Lords. With both Hornet and the Mantis Lords under your belt, the Soul Warrior should be easy pickings, so dodge and counter your way to victory, then continue along the path to the right.
Once you enter the next area, descend to the bottom and take the left exit to find another lever which unlocks a shortcut to the bottom. Hit it, then return to the right and ascend as far as you can, hitting the next lever you encounter before taking the right-side elevator to the top. Continue along the path and take the top left exit into the next area.
Follow the path down and to the left until you reach a series of small elevated platforms. Follow them to the top, hit the lever to unlock the shortcut, then take the slightly hidden exit at the top of the screen. In this area, you’ll be swarmed by Mistakes, so use this as an opportunity to collect Soul and heal up. Then head right into the small alcove and pick up the powerful Spell Twister Charm, which reduces the cost of your spells.
Head back to the Bench to equip this potent charm if you like, or head back down and left to encounter the next boss, Soul Master.
Up Next: Soul Master
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