Misty Mountain Hop

Two paths have opened up after defeating the Clubman, one north and one east. Take the northern route, and head past the Rockmen and Centipede. You can fight the Centipede if you want... it drops extra Rocks if you're running low, and the third Centipede drops a tip. Head all the way to the east, and then south, into this hut. Accept the offer to take the Letter. This item won't show up in your inventory, but it's vital later, so don't forget it. One of the other huts here sells food, which restores some life, but is generally a waste of money. The other will let you rest to fully restore HP and some MP, but for even more money. Feel free to head right one more screen if you want another tip, but it's not vital.
From where you picked up the Letter, head north a couple of screens, and you should encounter a rock tombstone and some Bowlers. There are Bowlers in this screen and the screen immediately to the right. If you defeat 16 of them, they will drop the Ax, an impressive-sounding, but ultimately pretty useless weapon. Get it if you want, although most enemies are immune to it. Anyway, from the tombstone, head right, and then down and visit the hut, where you will receive the Temusa Spell. This spell allows you to shatter tombstones and explore the cellars beneath them. Like the Herb, you must equip it and use it with the Shift Key. Each use of the spell costs 3 MP.
Head back to the tombstone you just passed. You can shatter it and explore inside, but it's dark in there, and you won't be able to see where you're going, so you might want to hold off for a while. Head one more screen to the left and you'll encounter Thickskins, which are tougher versions of Bucklers you fought earlier. Like the Bucklers, you have to attack them from behind, and they can also drop 10G bags of Gold. You'll want to defeat the Thickskins, and they're pretty tough, so Stones are useful for attacking while keeping your distance. Your prize appears when all on-screen Thickskins are defeated, as they will drop the Whirl Spell, which, for a mere 1 MP, can be used to turn your weapon into a spinning implement of destruction, although it doesn't work for projectile weapons, for obvious reasons.
Now that you have the Whirl Spell, it's time to backtrack a little. Return to where you defeated the Clubman, and this time, take the eastern path. Continue past the Stickmen to encounter another Centipede. Again, kill it if you need Stones, or kill it 3 times for a tip. Just past the Centipede is a beach with Sealice. This is a pretty decent spot to pick up extra Herbs, since they continually respawn, and every time you kill 16, you get an Herb. You'll probably want enough Herbs to restore your HP at the very least, because just to the right is the next boss battle. Make sure your HP is full (or at least high enough to take a few hits), equip the Whirl Spell and the Knife, and get right in Red F. Man's grill, and wail away with the Whirl Spell. If you get right on top of him, it should only take a few whirls to take him down. If you're not strong enough to take a few hits, you might want to level up a bit first. After defeating the Red F. Man, he drops Kong's Claw, which is the most powerful conventional weapon in the game.
Now that you have both the Whirl Spell and Kong's Claw, you're ready to take on the dreaded Red Spider. Its location? The screen just the left of where you got the Whirl Spell from the Thickskins. You'll need Kong's Claw equipped for this battle, and the Whirl Spell helps too. Whirl away until the arachnid's had enough, and a new path opens to the Marsh. We don't care about that yet, though, but we do care about the Papyrus it drops, so pick that up and be on your way.
You're about ready to head to the forest, but before you do, make sure you have at least 5 Herbs. If you don't, fight either Ratts or Sealice until you do. You'll need to have 5 Herbs in your inventory soon, so don't use them up. Also, you'll need some Gold... 350G to be exact, so return to the pond near the beginning of the game and kill PoisnFrogs until you do.
From the aforementioned pond, head south, then west to encounter a hairy, scary bear. Remember when I said the Ax was mostly useless? Well, against the Bear, it's not. If you have the Ax, just equip it and Whirl Spell the bear to death easily. If not, you'll have to use Stones, and it's a bit trickier. Either way, defeat the bear to open up a path into the deep, dark forest.

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