The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

Part 8: The Brave

Episode 07: The Brave

Last time, our heroes crashed their flyer outside the town of Tien's Landing, eventually reaching the town itself despite getting attacked by ghostly convicts and a mysterious warrior known as Silk Fox. Next order of business for us is to explore Tien's Landing and see if we can find 1) a new flyer, 2) a wind map so we don't crash that flyer, and 3) another piece of the Dragon Amulet, which is supposed to be around here.

Making it to Tien's Landing also gives us a new main menu background, at least on the rare occasions the game actually bothers to show it instead of the default one. This one looks quite nice, although the stretched logos bother me more than they probably should. I've looked for a proper widescreen patch that would fix these and the FMVs, but apparently there isn't one.

Here we are, at the lookout point next to our camp. We could stand here enjoying the sunset for a while longer, but we have more important things to do so let's get on with it. This and the next couple of updates are going to be very talky as we explore the town and chat up all the people.

Tien's Landing is one of the best-looking areas in the game, which is kind of a good thing because we're gonna be here for a while.

These women, on the other hand, look like they're leaving the place.

Huh. Well, that's not really the kind of thing we wanted to hear as soon as we arrived.

About that... you do know the way out of town is crawling with ghosts and bandits, right?

It's sure to be more exciting than this dead place.

Though impulsive, my daughter Fuyao speaks truly. The Great Dam down river has opened, the river is too low and treacherous for anyone to navigate. We are cut off from the Empire. The people are starving and pirates terrorize the town. Our leader Minister Sheng seems powerless to do anything. So, we choose to try our luck in the wilderness.

Things do sound quite bad around here, but at least your town is still standing and your friends haven't been murdered by the Lotus Assassins. And did I mention there were bandits and ghosts all over the wilderness? We were just there, you know.

You don't know the whole story. Minister Sheng would probably pay someone to close the dam, but nobody is brave enough to make the journey. There are dark things up there. Some claim it is ghosts, trying to torment us. Some think it is pirates. I don't know. All I know is that there seems to be no way to get the Great Dam closed again.

I thank you for your concern. Most people only look out for themselves in days such as these. I have heard of the dangers: wild animals and worse men. Pirates and slavers who swoop down in their flyers on unwary travelers.

Yeah, you know what they say about swooping. Still, we might be able to... liberate one of those flyers.

I brought Zu along for this first trip to town, as he has some interesting dialog a bit later.

Some believe there are even worse things in the wilderness: ghosts that torment the living. Still, it's better than sitting in Tien's Landing waiting to die.

As much as I'd like to have an "yeah, about those ghosts... I just fought a dozen of them right outside the town so it's really not a good idea to leave" dialog option, there isn't one.

The dam is down river from us. When it was closed, the water backed up and drained very slowly, causing the level of the river to rise. Now that it is open, the water is flowing too fast and low where it flows at all. Most ships cannot weather it. The town is cut off. That is why we are leaving.

Why did the Great Dam open?

I don't know... Minister Sheng doesn't know. Nobody knows! But the town is dying, and I would rather try my luck out in the wilderness than stay here.

I will let you be on your way.

That is a great and in no way suicidal plan. I swear, if I end up having to free these two from slavers in a couple of hours...

If we ask about Fuyao's dad, Yifong implies he died and doesn't go into specifics.

Yifong and Fuyao head out to the wilderness, and we continue on towards the nearest large building. It seems there's some kind of commotion going on outside.

Wanna bet? Of course, he's not talking to us right now and is addressing the older lady in front of him.

This lady here, who doesn't have the time or patience for any of this nonsense.

I hate this town already.

All right, enough of that. These idiots are going down. For some reason, you get the option to just stand back and watch as they attack this lady. I'm not sure why you'd pick that, but you can if that is your thing.

Sure. Good luck with that!

These guys turn out to be sailors, and there's quite a few of them hanging around town. I'll try my best not to make too many Shenmue jokes when interacting with them, but I'm not promising anything.

They don't put up much of a fight.

And this is why I brought Zu along. It turns out he and Hui here are old acquaintances.

I know. After we spoke, I followed you. I... I wanted to be sure she was given a good home. You did well, Hui.

Hui and I knew each other long ago. She was a soldier, and I... I needed her help. There was a child... an orpham. I knew Hui could find a good home for her.

Nah, I don't think they're talking about Wu here, despite the top option assuming that to be the case. Not everything revolves around the player! Well, I guess it kinda does since we're the only ones who can fix the world. In any event, it might be better to just ask them who that kid was.

Where is this child now?

She's... safe. That's all you need to know; she doesn't concern you. Besides, we don't have time to worry about something that happened almost twenty years ago.

Yes, those are old worries. Thank you for your actions today, even if these men were no real threat. Just simple sailors frustrated at the shallow river that holds them there. There *are* pirates in the area, and they pose a far greater danger. You will likely encounter them... especially if you are the one I am waiting for. As Sagacious Zu mentioned, my name is Hui. Tell me, young woman. What is your master's name?

We don't really know what's going on with Hui, and it might not be the best of ideas to blab about Master Li's true identity to everyone we meet, so let's just keep things simple.

So much for not worrying about things that happened twenty years ago, I guess!

Hui's word is also enough to convince Zu that we were telling the truth about Master Li being the Glorious Strategist. Maybe we can get something useful out of him next time we have a chat.

The Glorious Strategist was certain the path to the Imperial City would bring you here. He was also very specific about how I present my information to you. You must be ready.

Of course the Glorious Strategist would expect his past to catch up to him one day, and he'd prepare accordingly for that situation.

I served under Sun Li and was one of the soldiers he trusted enough to contact after Dirge fell. Li knew the events there would have great consequences. He told me of the weeks-long siege, and how the Spirit Monks were slaughtered so his brother could take their temple. It was madness... the Emperor killed the Water Dragon itself!

The Water Dragon... the Shepherd of the Dead, a goddess of rebirth. To try and steal her power; to even think it could be attempted... has any mortal ever shown such arrogance?

How did he even manage to pull off something like that?

There are many beings that exist beyond our experience. The heavens are governed by a Celestial Bureaucracy. Each facet of existence is managed by a specialized attendant. Most appear to have little influence, but some, like the Water Dragon, have a portfolio that grants exceptional status. She was said to have governance over the Great Wheel. She was not a maker, but all life that ended passed her gaze before returning to the earth in another form. Sun Hai sought rebirth for his Empire at the cost of the natural order. Her body was taken to the palace as a grim trophy of the power that ended the Long Drought. All the while, the people hailed the Emperor as a hero, ignorant of the price.

We've touched on a lot of this stuff before, but this is the first time we really get an idea of what happened to the Water Dragon. This is also the first mention of the Celestial Bureaucracy, the pantheon of gods and spirits that govern all existence and presumably do a whole lot of paperwork.

Even a god is not invincible. They have their place, and it can be challenged. Sun Li could not stop the slaughter of the Spirit Monks. He fled the battle with you in his arms. Most believe Sun Li fell at Dirge... a lie spread by the Emperor. A handful of us knew that he lived, and we also learned the terrible price of his rebellion.

I don't think he ever mentioned that last part of the story.


In case you didn't yet figure out Death's Hand was really fucking evil, here you go! He murders babies, or at least orders his goons to do that for him.

He probably didn't think his family would be harmed, but even had he known, he might still have saved you. Li knows you have a destiny to fulfill. You're the last of your kind.

So because Wu is special and apparently the only one who may be able to fix this entire mess, Master Li would've sacrificed his own wife and child for... the sake of the greater good, I guess? Whether or not that is the case, I'm sure thinking about it will make her feel just great about herself.

It is time to continue your training, and I am honored to add to the basics that Sun Li instilled. A brief description should reinforce the style you saw me use.

Actually, I was too busy beating up those sailors to pay attention to what Hui was doing alongside us, but never mind that.

I'm guessing she's going to teach us something useful. If Master Li specifically told her to teach us whatever this style is, it can't be a complete waste of our time.

Magic and weapons tire you. Draw on them too much and you could be left defenseless. Spirit Thief restores your chi, prolonging your ability to fight or ignore wounds. It is especially useful when enemies are immune to basic martial attacks, when you *must* use magic or weapons. It can even immobilize a foe, allowing time to recover even more. This short lesson should be enough for now. Come, speak with me in the teahouse. We will talk of your master... and more.

I don't know why she kept mentioning weapons because those use focus instead of chi, and Spirit Thief doesn't restore focus. She's not completely wrong though, Spirit Thief can be a lifesaver in certain situations.

We might as well put it in our quick style menu right now to replace Heavenly Wave. Unfortunately, we can only have four styles mapped to quick slots when using a controller whereas the keyboard lets you map up to ten styles to the number keys. I can't play this game on a keyboard at all, so I'm stuck with four quick slots.

Before we go inside, we'll take a look at a few things. First of all, we've got another bookstand. This one mentions an inn somewhere in the Great Southern Forest, as well as some kind of a shadow in the trees that keeps following people around.

We've also got some townspeople to talk to, so let's do that.

We're definitely planning to leave this town as soon as possible, but turning around is not an option. Sorry.

Why do you wish that?

Everything in Tien's Landing is falling apart. Sheng, the local minister, is helpless to deal with all our troubles. You should get out while you can.


This minister sounds rather useless.

Well, technically we don't live anywhere because our home was just burned down.

Good to know!

We saw this woman in the background while we were talking to Hui outside the teahouse. She seems to be having some problems, as indicated by the sobbing and that large yellow quest marker over her head.

It's my fiance, Baker Bei. Every day a group of thugs attacks him and beats him up. He tries to avoid them, but they find him wherever he goes.

...why? What did he do?

Seriously. I doubt they're going around beating this guy up just for fun. There has to be some reason for it.

I'll take care of those thugs for you.

I knew you'd understand, being a woman. Thank you, my lady! If our firstborn is a girl, she shall have your name.

I don't remember what Lan says here if you play one of the male characters.

Despite what she tells us about hurrying, you're not on a timer or anything like that and can spend just as much time as you want tooling around Tien's Landing. Which is good, because that is exactly what we're gonna be doing for the next while. Bei is not in any danger until we actually go meet him.

Behind the fence, we've got a pretty nice view as well as a couple of bamboo casks to loot.


Well, that's new. Seems like a quest item, so let's take a look at what the menu blurb has to say.

First off, though, let's look at the silk strings we picked up last time. They're for a musical instrument, perhaps a zither of some sort.

Obviously, this will be used for building something later.

Behind the teahouse is a kitchen area, and we can have a chat with the workers.

The, uh, door was open?

Speaking of stepping back, I do believe we were meant to meet someone inside this fine teahouse. Maybe we should get on that...

As much as I'd love to beat this guy to death with his own arms, I think it would reflect poorly on us if we brutalized an employee of this teahouse.

I want to ask something about you.

Such as "how can a person be so incredibly unpleasant?"

No. No, I am quite certain that the problem is with the customers. If you wish to keep your position, Mister Wong, you will smile and nod.

You are very harsh with your assistant.

Mister Wong is here to cut the vegetables and heft the rice bags. His job does not include criticizing the menu. I am the head chef. He is nothing.

With encouragement like that, the kid will surely go places.

There is a small chance he could become slightly more than nothing, but I have seen no sign of it as of yet. Some people are heroes; some merely clap as heroes walk by.

Right. And some get stabbed by disgruntled employees or customers. I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.

I'm not sure why we can ask this guy about the spirit world, he doesn't seem like the type to know anything about such matters. Let's just go away before he starts talking again.

I don't know if I want to eat what he's making.

Ah, he's one of those cooks.

There's some underwhelming loot back here. The Greater Warrior's Gem of Fate makes health pickups drop more often, but I don't like to waste one of my precious gem slots on that. This is a "greater" gem, so it should fetch a decent price when we sell it.

Now that we're done out here, let's finally go inside and talk to Hui.

Before we can continue our conversation, the sailors we beat up outside the teahouse come back for seconds. Would be a terrible shame to disappoint them.

Hui is great.

VIDEO: Oh no, we have more useless mooks incoming.

They've got a cool entrance and everything!

For whatever reason, this last guy decides to smash one of the tables on the landing.

"Yeah, check out how badass we are"

Smashed tables also means improvised weapons for us. We can pick up a couple of table legs and go to town on these morons.

Like so. Improvised weapons have limited durability and these chunks of wood are quite slow to swing around, but they're also very powerful. Not that it particularly matters here, because I didn't pick them up until there were only two guys left and they both were almost dead anyway.

We can get back to business. Sun Li gave me instructions to await you if... if anything should happen. I have prepared for this day for well over a decade.

The full extent of what the Glorious Strategist knows is beyond my mind to comprehend; he is without peer. All I know is that I had instructions to wait for you. Sun Li asked me to seek a piece of a special amulet he wanted you, his prize pupil, to have. It was broken apart and scattered when the Spirit Monk temple fell. He intended to--and I assume he did--give the main piece to you. Rumor placed a smaller part with a fleeing apprentice monk, but it had been some years, and the trail was cold.

So you searched for the rest of the amulet?

I eventually learned the monk had fled to old Tien's Landing. He was there a year or so, but died of lingering injuries and was buried with his possessions unsorted.

Ah, so that's what became of the monk. Kinda figured as much.

Now the Lotus Assassins have drained the lake and exposed the ruins of old Tien's Landing. It seems they are searching for this piece of the Spirit Monk amulet too.

Yes, Sun Li intended you to find it; I was to tell you about it if anything happened to him. It was the last order he gave me, and I have waited years to fulfill my duty.

I choose to believe that my service was valuable and vital. You would have come here eventually. The amulet would draw you, at least.

How long have you been waiting for me?

It is coming on fifteen years now. As I said, I learned the location of the amulet after the monk died in old Tien's. It has been difficult, serving and waiting in silence.

Can you tell me more about the amulet?

I only know that I had to find the piece I was tracking. I did so; it is in the ruins. You must find it before the Lotus Assassins do. You will need it to help your Master.

How do I get to the ruins?

The gates leading to the ruins are locked, but Minister SHeng can give you the key. You can find him in the town square, the highest point in Tien's Landing. I suspect the Minister is eager to have someone investigate the opening of the Great Dam. You can use this as an excuse to get the key and explore the ruins.

Looks like we'll go talk to Minister Sheng, then. First off, though, let's see if Hui could help us find a replacement for our flyer.

You can find Sheng near his still-smoldering office in the center of town. I'm sure he will welcome your assistance, even if your reasons are your own.

"Still-smoldering office"? Now that sounds promising, either Minister Sheng is so hated that someone burned down his office or he's so incompetent his office somehow burned down by accident. Just the kind of guy we need to help us. Speaking of help, though, let's ask Hui a couple of questions about herself.

There is little to tell. I served him years ago in the Imperial Army. I was a tracker and soldier. I was not at Dirge when it fell, but I heard the tale of Sun Li's death. But I refused to believe he was dead. In time, my faith was confirmed. He sought me out and told me what really happened. I swore my loyalty to him on the spot. I revere him as a teacher and... I revere him. Even when he ordered me to distant lands, my loyalty never wavered. But I am tired. I long for an end to my service.

You sound regretful.

I regret nothing but I do long for an end to this update, because jesus christ there is so much text to transcribe in this part of the game. Of course there's no game script available to make this easier. Technically I could copy text directly from the dialog.tlk file, but it's not exactly organized so that would be more trouble than it's worth. Oh well, we're almost done with this conversation and then I'll call it.

We who serve him are sometimes forgotten; left to toil in obscurity until the time to act is thrust upon us. So it was with me, waiting for you.

Remember: Go to the ruins and claim the amulet before the Lotus Assassins do. You will need it to survive the trials that lie ahead.

Despite what Hui says, we don't actually have to go look for the amulet yet if we'd rather look for the new flyer or the wind map first. Finding the amulet does feel like the most urgent one of our current tasks, so we'll start with it. Not next time, though, because we have a town full of sidequests open to us and there's plenty of things to be found in this very teahouse!