Sly Great Nailsage Sly

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All's fair in a world made of Geo.
-Sly
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Sly is a Merchant in Hollow Knight. He sells many wares at his shop in Dirtmouth for Geo but drives a hard bargain. Sly also appears as a boss as the Godmaster Icon.png Great Nailsage Sly.

Lore

Sly used to be the Great Nailsage.[3] During his previous occupation, he trained some disciples in the Nail Arts: Oro, Mato, and Sheo.[4]

Eventually, Sly abandoned his occupation as Nailsage. He became convinced of the strength of accumulating Geo over honing one's nail.[5] He thus turned to the simple life of a merchant, finding and selling wares from his shop in Dirtmouth.[6] He did not, however, forget his mastery and respect of the nail and those who practice its arts. [7] He keeps his greatnail in the basement of his shop and still remembers his pupils.[8]

At some point, a dream led him to wander off into the caverns below Dirtmouth.[9] He also lost his Shopkeeper's Key which ended up in a room in Crystal Peak.[10]

In-game events

Sly can be found in a hovel in the abandoned village at the bottom of the Forgotten Crossroads, past the Gruz Mother. The shopkeeper has been slowly succumbing to the Infection, but approaching him breaks him out of his daze, saving him. After which, Sly returns to Dirtmouth to open his shop, without any recollection of how he fell into that predicament.

Back in Dirtmouth, Sly sells various wares: from Charms to adventuring gear, even Mask Shards and Vessel Fragments. His backstock, however, remains locked until he is returned his Shopkeeper's Key, lost in the Crystal Peak.

Sly notes when the Knight has honed their Nail, and also when they start learning Nail Arts.[11] After they learn all three Nail Arts from the Nailmasters, Sly can be found in his basement, where he reveals himself as the legendary Nailsage. To honour the rites of passage of Nailmasters, he gifts the Knight the Nailmaster's Glory Charm.[3] He then address the Knight as a Nailmaster from this point on.[12]

Godmaster Icon.png Godmaster Content

As part of the Godseeker's ritual, Sly's mind is summoned to Godhome. There he takes his original mantle of Great Nailsage and fights the Knight, his thoughts focused solely on his days past.[13] Upon defeat, Sly bows respectfully to the Knight. He is fought at the peak of the Pantheon of the Sage and later within the Pantheon of Hallownest.

Goods

Icon Name and Description Cost and Condition
Simple Key.png
Simple Key

Simply, a simple key. It will fit a variety of locks, which is useful if you like to poke around in places you don't belong.

Geo.png950
No conditions.
Rancid Egg.png
Rancid Egg

I found this under the counter. Some creature must have laid it here while I was stuck down in the ruins.
I suppose you could buy it? I won't miss its sour odour.

Geo.png60
No conditions.
Lumafly Lantern.png
Lumafly Lantern

What's more important? A light to guide your way, or a friend who'll stay by your side?
Why not both? Take this bright little fellow as your companion and he'll light your way through the thickest darkness.

Geo.png1800
No conditions.
Gathering Swarm.png
Gathering Swarm

Do you find yourself leaving a lot of Geo behind as you hurry through the caverns?
This charm will make sure that any loose change finds its way back to you.

Geo.png300
No conditions.
Stalwart Shell.png
Stalwart Shell

Life in Hallownest can be tough, always taking hits and getting knocked around. This charm grants you more time to recover after taking damage. Useful if you need to escape from a tight spot.

Geo.png200
No conditions.
Heavy Blow.png
Heavy Blow

You enjoy smacking about foes with that nail of yours, right? With this charm equipped, you'll be able to send them flying further with every hit!

Geo.png350
Requires Shopkeeper's Key
Elegant Key.png
Elegant Key

An explorer found this fancy key floating in the waterways of the city far below us. I've not cleaned it.

Geo.png800
Requires Shopkeeper's Key
Mask Shard.png
Mask Shard

This old thing? Merely a fragment of something larger. Still, maybe you can make some use of it.

Geo.png150
No conditions.
Mask Shard.png
Mask Shard

I found another of these. If you look closely, there's some nice engraving work on them.
I suspect I undercharged last time, and this is the only one left. It's gonna cost you!

Geo.png500
Requires purchasing previous Mask Shard
Mask Shard.png
Mask Shard

You're collecting these, aren't you? Well you're in luck, I found another in my storeroom.
This is the last one though, so it's priced accordingly.

Geo.png800
Requires Shopkeeper's Key and purchasing previous Mask Shard
Mask Shard.png
Mask Shard

As it turns out, I do actually have one more of these shards left. Very last one!
I feel bad charging you so much for the previous shards, especially because it means I have to charge even more for this one.

Geo.png1500
Requires Shopkeeper's Key and purchasing previous Mask Shard
Vessel Fragment.png
Vessel Fragment

A piece of a Soul Vessel. You know, those ghastly looking orb things?
I don't really like the aura about it, but it's quite rare so I'll have to charge you a high price.

Geo.png550
No conditions.
Vessel Fragment.png
Vessel Fragment

I dug out another of these. Turns out I had a complete set. If they didn't give me the creeps, I'd put the pieces together myself.

Geo.png900
Requires Shopkeeper's Key and purchasing previous Vessel Fragment
Sprintmaster.png
Grimm Troupe Icon.png Sprintmaster

You like it? It's a recent addition to my collection. Handsome thing, isn't it?
Holding it lets you run around quickly and tirelessly, as though you were young again! Or, erm, so I'm told.

Geo.png400
Requires Shopkeeper's Key

Dialogue

First encounter in the abandoned village ...ugghh, Oro you oaf.... You wield your nail... like a club...

...Esmy... how much deeper do we have to go...
Oh! What?! Who are you?!
...I see. This old village. What a strange dream, to have led me down here! If you hadn't found me, I don't think I would've ever woken.
I'm Sly. Usually, I live an uneventful life up in Dirtmouth. The air in these ruins doesn't agree with me, so I'd best be getting back.
If you return above, come and see me. I'm probably the friendliest face left there, and I can thank you properly for your good deed.

Listening again You're exploring then? Very brave! Plenty of courageous wanderers have been lost to the hunger of these old caverns.

You have your nail though, and I can tell just by looking that you know how to wield it.

Dream Nailed in the abandoned village ...Geo. Geo. All the world is Geo. No nail can withstand its might...
First entering shop in Dirtmouth Ah, hello! I knew we'd meet again. How do you like my cosy little store? I've made myself pretty comfortable here, selling old trinkets to travellers like yourself.

If you're planning a trip below, I've several items that may improve your chance of survival.

Nothing to sell before acquiring the Shopkeeper's Key Ah, still looking for something to buy? Is your Geo weighing you down? Unfortunately, you seem to have cleared out everything I'd be willing to part with. Nothing left at all!

I think there might be a few old trinkets down in my storeroom, but I lost the key a while ago.
So, no more business between us I'm afraid! For now at least. Get out of here and let me spend some quality time with all the Geo you've gifted me.

After acquiring the Shopkeeper's Key What do you have there? Why, that's the key to my storeroom! I thought I'd lost it for good.

Hmm? Did you find it in those old mines perhaps? Very curious. I've no idea how it ended up in such a remote place.
Very honest of you to return it to me, yes. Very kind. And now that I can open my old storeroom up, I can sell you some of the rare stock that's been gathering dust in there.
These items may be a little time-worn, but they still retain their full market value. Very precious stuff! Take a look...

Nothing left to sell Back again? You know I haven't any stock left, yes? You've cleaned me out.

Or were you hoping to sneak a peek at my mountain of Geo? Well it's mine now! And fairly traded.

Dream Nailed in his shop ...Wherever you are... Whatever it is you do now... I hope you three are looking after yourselves...

Listening while standing on his right side Pockets feeling empty? If you need some more Geo, take a trip into the ruins below us and hunt around. Just take care not to fall into a haze. I won't be coming down to rescue you.
After Iselda opens shop I see they've opened that mapping shop across the way. I suppose a little competition is healthy.

Perhaps I should start to sell maps as well... or is that a little aggressive? Heh. All's fair in a world made of Geo.

After learning a Nail Art Hmm, you seem a little different. Something has changed in your bearing.

Ah! The way you hold your nail! So you've learnt a Nail Art...
Very interesting. I wonder, do you have the passion to continue your training?

After upgrading the Nail You've found a new nail, then? It looks like a much finer weapon than the last.

Hmm? Oh, this is the same nail... but it's been honed! By someone extremely skilled...
A nail is an extension of ourselves, it is the instrument by which we shape the world around us. It's a sacred duty to keep its edges sharp.
...Heh, sorry. I shouldn't ramble on like that. Let's talk Geo instead.

After learning all Nail Arts, in the basement ...So, another would join our group.

I have a gift for you, warrior. As a shopkeeper, I admit parting with it for free is rather difficult.
But as the Great Nailsage I must recognise your skill. You have mastered the arts of my remaining pupils. Now tradition decrees you too may hold the symbol.
Wear it proudly, Nailmaster. You shall be the last to receive its like.

Listening again, in the basement Off you go Nailmaster. I've nothing more to give you...

Nothing for free at least. I'll be up briefly and eager take your Geo in trade for my precious wares.

Dream Nailed in the basement ...These refined weapons...The battles of Geo are much deadlier...
Listening in the shop afterwards How are your travels, Nailmaster? As time goes by, I'm sure you'll only grow stronger.

If you see your fellow Nailmasters again, tell them I carry them in my thoughts always. And that they should come and buy something from their old teacher as a mark of respect.

Grimm Troupe Icon.png While the Grimm Troupe is in Dirtmouth I've been hearing about the strangers that have come to town. They're strange indeed from what's been told.

What interest does this tired little place hold for them? I'm thinking you may know the answer to that.
None of my business of course, but I'd be wary of their deals and promises. Keep your nail half-drawn, if you understand me.

Grimm Troupe Icon.png When Nymm is in Dirtmouth Another bug's arrived. And quite a racket he's making in the square. Worse, he's not a Geo to his name! Only that blasted, squealing instrument.

Why is it always the poor that decide to stay?

Location

Sly first appears in an abandoned house in the southeast region of the Forgotten Crossroads. After listening to him, he can next be found in Dirtmouth.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Sly being more than he seems is repeatedly foreshadowed. For instance, his very first line, "Oro, you oaf... you wield your nail... like a club..." refers to Nailmaster Oro, and he comments on the Knight’s Nail several times.
  • According to a livestream Q&A, the development team originally planned for Sly to be a difficult boss who wielded a nail approximately the size of the other Nailmasters'. This idea was later reused for the Godmaster Icon.png Godmaster content pack.
  • Sly mentions a character named "Esmy" in one of his lines of dialogue. This character is never seen in the game nor mentioned again. In a Reddit AMA it is stated that Esmy is someone that still lingers in Sly's dreams.

Great Nailsage Sly without Nail.png

  • As the Godmaster Icon.png Great Nailsage, Sly's cape is a pinkish colour as opposed to blue.
  • Sly mentions owning a full set of Vessel Fragments, although he only sells two out of three; this is possibly attributed to Soul Vessels being comprised of only two Vessel Fragments at one point before being changed by release.[14]
    • The Ferocious Foes trailer also shows Sly selling half of a Soul Vessel.
  • Although removed from the game, two white crystal rings can be seen on a shelf in Sly's shop.
  • Sly had a different voice actor in the Hollow Knight Beta.

References

  1. Nailmaster Sheo: "But no, I should stay on my current path and keep working at my art. If the Great Nailsage ever comes by, I want to show him how far I've come."
  2. Discord message by Graig.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sly: "I have a gift for you, warrior. As a shopkeeper, I admit parting with it for free is rather difficult. But as the Great Nailsage I must recognise your skill. You have mastered the arts of my remaining pupils. Now tradition decrees you too may hold the symbol."
  4. Sly: "If you see your fellow Nailmasters again, tell them I carry them in my thoughts always. And that they should come and buy something from their old teacher as a mark of respect."
  5. Sly Dream Nail dialogue: "...Geo. Geo. All the world is Geo. No nail can withstand its might... "
  6. Sly: "How do you like my cosy little store? I've made myself pretty comfortable here, selling old trinkets to travellers like yourself."
  7. Sly: "But as the Great Nailsage I must recognise your skill. You have mastered the arts of my remaining pupils. Now tradition decrees you too may hold the symbol."
  8. Sly Dream Nail dialogue: "...Wherever you are... Whatever it is you do now... I hope you three are looking after yourselves..."
  9. Sly: "This old village. What a strange dream, to have led me down here!"
  10. Sly: "I think there might be a few old trinkets down in my storeroom, but I lost the key a while ago." "Did you find it in those old mines perhaps? Very curious. I've no idea how it ended up in such a remote place."
  11. Sly: "Something has changed in your bearing. Ah! The way you hold your nail! So you've learnt a Nail Art..." "You've found a new nail, then? It looks like a much finer weapon than the last. Hmm? Oh, this is the same nail... but it's been honed! By someone extremely skilled..."
  12. Sly: "How are your travels, Nailmaster? As time goes by, I'm sure you'll only grow stronger."
  13. Godmaster Icon.png Great Nailsage Sly Dream Nail dialogue: "Remember... you are brothers..."
  14. Cut Vessel fragment sprite.
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