The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

Part 9: Wu the Lotus Blossom's Kitchen Nightmares

Episode 08: Wu the Lotus Blossom's Kitchen Nightmares

Last time, we arrived in Tien's Landing and met Hui the Brave, a former soldier under Sun Li's command who was ordered by Master Li to wait here for his best pupil. Now that we're finally here after fifteen years, she has told us a piece of the Dragon Amulet is located somewhere in the ruins of old Tien's Landing. Unfortunately, the Lotus Assassins are also on the lookout for the amulet piece, so we should hurry.

We're not actually in any hurry whatsoever, so before we head out to look for the amulet piece we can take our time exploring Tien's Landing. Might as well start by checking out the rest of this teahouse.

MUSIC: The Tea House

I can only assume this guy smells like a brewery.

Meet Ru the Boatswain. Ru here has apparently decided to be the one to close the dam and earn the adoration of everyone in Tien's Landing, but before he gets to that he has to build up some courage. He's clearly been building it up for quite some time now.

Yeah, I think at this point he might not be in any condition to go out there.

That is probably a good assumption to make. Of course, we're supposed to be closing the dam instead of opening it. Maybe he could close the dam by passing out and blocking the floodgates?

We leave the good boatswain to his binge-drinking. Also, this waitress doesn't seem to be too fond of the rowdy sailors hanging around the teahouse.

Speak of the devil. These guys probably saw how we beat the everliving shit out of their buddies a few minutes ago, so they don't try anything funny with us. Looks like their captain is having some problems keeping them in check.

Classy bunch of fellows.

This guy doesn't look like a sailor. Let's see if he has anything interesting for us.

Uh, okay then. Guess he doesn't fancy a chat at the moment.

Might as well be polite, though.

Unfortunately, this town presents scant opportunity for a suitable match. Seamstresses, barmaids, peasants... I may as well marry the harlots selling themselves in the street!

Well, I'm sure a gentleman with such a winning personality will have no trouble whatsoever finding himself a wife.

Let's just back away slowly before he starts hitting on us. If you call him an ass, which I should have done, his reply is "Your jibes can nary prick the armor of my pride; they are blunted barbs forged by the sputtering flames of your lesser intellect".

I certainly hope not.

Let's go talk to someone more pleasant, like this ogre. Uh... hold on, why is there an ogre in this teahouse?

No! Zhong not want to go home. Zhong doesn't want to see ox.

And so we learn that ogres aren't always the kind of mindless brutes we fought in the cave earlier.

Zhong here obviously works at this old man's farm, but there's been an incident involving an ox and now things aren't going so well.

Despite acting civil for the most part, Zhong is still an ogre and smashing things is what ogres tend to do best.

Maybe the farmer will tell us what's going on.

I am Dong Ping, Zhong's employer. Zhong works on my farm. but the other day, he accidentally killed one of my oxen, and since then he has refused to come back. Some of the patrons here are unnerved by his size. I'm worried that if he doesn't leave with me soon, the owners may take matters into their own hands. If he gets hurt... or worse, I'll be ruined. I can't run the farm without him. But I don't know what else to do. He won’t listen to me.

I guess we kinda implied Zhong was his slave there. Didn't mean to, it was just an awkward turn of phrase. Maybe we can at least help him out, hopefully without anyone getting smashed up.

You... will? I must warn you... Zhong is... well, he's very strong willed, and very strong. I am grateful for your help, but please be careful. Zhong the Ox Carrier came by his name honestly. I would hate to see him hurt you, or anybody else, for that matter. Speak softly to him, and you should be okay.

Well, here goes nothing.

Zhong is voiced by none other than Mark Meer, who did a lot of voices for various creatures in BioWare games even after he was cast as the male Commander Shepard. Dude's got some pretty impressive range, although here he's just doing the kind of "strong but dumb" voice you might expect from someone like Zhong.

Speak softly and you should be okay, he said. Let's hope that works out.


Ox was Zhong's friend. Zhong killed a friend, and now Zhong is bad.

If you don‘t go back. your master will starve.

Master have other ox. Master won't starve... master better off without Zhong.

This might work.

You have been nice to Zhong. Zhong like you. Zhong hope you have good day.


Come Zhong, let's go home.

With that, Dong Ping and Zhong leave the teahouse.

The owner of this place seems to have noticed our little discussion with Zhong. I can definitely see why an ogre in the middle of a teahouse might give some customers pause, even if he's as relatively harmless as Zhong.

The owner hands us 300 silver and walks off. We'll talk to him again soon enough, but first we have more of the teahouse to explore.

Let's see what this rather rotund gentleman is up to.

Okay. I generally try not to be a dick in these conversations, but there is no way I'm not picking this option.

It's too bad that people outside my home of Shangdang county cannot seem to stomach the delicacies that I prepare. They truly don't know what they're missing. l was recently at the Imperial City, and not one person there could eat so much as two of my dishes. Such weak constitutions, all of them.

Fortunately, Chai Jin can take a joke, but it doesn't seem like most people can take his dishes.

For example, this dish of roasted cow heart sautéed with bile of leopard has a particularly nasty effect on one's constitution. Other dishes like my monkey's brain stew can have a negative effect on the workings of the mind. Still others can deplete one's spirit. It can be quite dangerous if you eat too much of one type of food... or if you are particularly weak in certain areas of your character.

Okay, I think I understand the problem.

This is the best idea ever.

Give me 300 silver to cover my expenses. If you can eat all three dishes in a row and stay on your feet, I'll give you back your money, and you'll leave none the poorer, but well fed!

Remember though, these dishes tend to take a little out of you. I will describe the dishes that affect constitution first, followed by those that affect mind, and then spirit.

I can't see how anything could possibly go wrong here.

Well, if it's fresh shark, then there's no problem whatsoever! This is kind of a puzzle, but not really as the correct course (heh) of action is quite obvious if you've paid any attention to Chai Jin. Basically all we need to do is eat one of each type of food.

The roasted bear heart seems like the least offensive of these dishes, so we'll go with that.

Now, the next three dishes are a bit more potent. Be careful what you choose. We have pickled haunch of deer served with brown beetle paste, cold eagle eye soup, and jellied eels stuffed with fermented seaweed. Take your pick.

I'm pretty sure that is an actual delicacy somewhere in Asia. Hell, I've seen Ashens try more horrifying things than that in his international food specials.

And so we move on to the last dishes. These are some of the most notorious recipes in Shangdang county. Choose carefully. We have boiled ox testicles smothered in a succulent cream sauce, curdled porcupine bladder in clabbered rat's milk, and raw alligator eggs served in warmed goat's gall.

Since we already ate one of Body and Spirit dishes, let's finish off with a Mind one.

I couldn't possibly keep your silver after such an excellent display of digestive fortitude. I will gladly give back your 300 silver... or we could make this interesting. If you are really daring, I have one last dish that I haven't even had the nerve to try myself. I'm sure it's safe... I think. Well, there's no telling how it might affect us.

Sure thing, what's a little death by poison among friends? It's not like we can taste anything ever again.

The ingredients are very rare and it costs me quite a bit to procure them. especially while I'm stuck in this... quaint village. I'll need another 300 silver from you. Of course, if you survive this final dish, I will gladly reimburse all your silver. I may even have a few treasures that I could part with.

I totally forgot he got the recipe from the "loud, annoying foreign man"! We'll be meeting him later and someone in the thread already mentioned that the only foreigner in this game is voiced by John Cleese, so basically this whole sidequest is a setup to a joke about British cuisine.

This treasure had better be worth it.

Okay, that fade to black isn't very promising.

Well, how did it taste? What did it do to you?

We're totally fine, it takes more than a bit of horrible food to take us down.

We had more than enough points in every attribute to easily pass this challenge. Now, if we were to lie and say "nope, it's totally safe", Chai Jin will in fact drop dead the instant he eats... whatever this was.

Please, take your silver, and take this. It's a small trinket that belonged to my family. I have no use for it, and you've certainly earned it. If you'll excuse me. I must go in search of new ingredients, for it seems you have eaten everything I have. Good fortune to you.

Wow, that did some damage all right. Our spirit took by far the smallest hit. Our reward for doing all this is a chunk of EXP and the Bronze Tongue gem (Charm +4, Intimidation +4, Intuition +4), and of course we get our money back. Quite worthwhile in the end, although we could also have had Chai Jin eat that last dish and then looted the gem and our money off his corpse.

Over in this corner, we have an old man staring at the wall. He's a named NPC, so he probably has something for us.

Hey, that's not very kindly at all.

Sorry doesn't count for much. Sorry can't erase our mistakes. Sorry can't change the past.

Who are you?

I'm nobody important... nobody at all. And I have nothing to say to you.

What are you talking about?

Nothing. It's not important. Not anymore.

Well, that was not what I expected from someone named Kindly Yushan. There's clearly a story behind all this, but right now we don't get anything more out of him.

That is everyone on the second floor, let's head back downstairs and talk to the rest of the folks.

Mother Kwan seems like a nice old lady.

Yes, yes. I owned the teahouse for many, many years. At least, I thought I did. But then Master Dutong came to town with that Imperial Writ. Oh my. wasn't that a shock!

We, of course, met Master Dutong when he handed us our reward for convincing Zhong to leave.

He was nice enough to let me stay on here as a helper. I steep the tea, Yanwan takes the orders, and Master Dutong... well, he mostly just drinks his wine.

That sounds a bit odd.

It's totally possible that Dutong's writ was legit, but that guy seemed a bit dodgy in general so maybe we should make sure.

Oh dear. Yeah, we should check out that writ. It might be real, but Mother Kwan really should've known better than to give the teahouse to Dutong without even checking the writ.

All this talk is just the rambling of an old woman. Put it out of your head and enjoy yourself. It may not be mine anymore, but this is still a fine teahouse.

If Master Dutong really has a legitimate claim to the place, I'm sure he won't mind us looking into this.

Before we go talk to Dutong, let's see if the steeper has any information we can use.

I'm sorry about that. I still can't get the hang of this new position. Sometimes I wish Old Mother Kwan still owned the teahouse so things could go back to the way they were.

Right. About that...

Okay, I have to hear this advice before we do anything else.

That's... very profound.

Okay then. Here are the other pearls of wisdom Yanru has been told to memorize:

- The wise man will always remember that falling leaves spiral downwards, but only until they rest on the earth.
- If you drop a rock in a well, you'll hear a splash--but if you drop a feather in a fire, you'll hear something very different.
- If you must sleep on the same bed, at least try to dream different dreams.
- When one's foot knows what one's hand is doing, one is dangerous; but if the belly button has not been consulted, havoc will ensue.

We're not here for questionable proverbs, though, so let's get down to business.

Oh for heaven's... did none of you consider fetching Minister Sheng (or if he wasn't around yet, getting the closest thing to an authority in this town) and asking him to check the writ?

This is maybe a bit too much to assume when we haven't even talked to Dutong about the writ yet. If the line was "It's possible the writ might have been a forgery" or something to that effect it wouldn't sound quite so silly.

Problem is, Dutong's already shown everyone the writ, and now he's got it locked away. If you're right, he'd never bring it out again. There's no way to prove he cheated Mother Kwan.

Again, we're assuming quite a lot here. We need more to go on.

If we go ask Dutong about the writ now he's like "do you morons actually think I'd show my Imperial Writ to every random person who asks?"

Usually I mix it with water so he doesn't get too drunk too fast, but I could start sending it to him unmixed.

Don't worry about that. He never passes out, no matter how much he drinks. Actually, he usually goes through three stages of drunkenness. Dutong gets very friendly when he starts to drink. You might get a confession out of him then, but I doubt it. He's not really all that drunk at that stage. Usually after about seven bowls. he slips into depression and sorrow. He complains about how his life is worthless and what a bad and sinful man he is. Not a pretty sight.

Seven bowls seems like it might be the sweet spot if we're going to get something out of Dutong.

I think there was a sidequest in KotOR where you had to interrogate a prisoner using these same mechanics.

The restorative tastes pretty foul, but it does the job. Works instantly and makes a man sober as an Imperial Judge. Dutong's guard keeps a vial handy at all times, just in case. The guard gave me a few vials so I could slip them into Dutong‘s wine when he starts to get paranoid. Keeps him from getting out of hand.

Let's send Dutong some drinks.

All right, let's get to it.

The Imperial seasoned spirits are a lot stronger. One bowl of that is worth three bowls of peasants' wine. And if Dutong gets too drunk, I have the restorative to sober him up.

Got it. So we start off with some peasants' wine and then send him two bowls of Imperial seasoned spirits. That should get him talking.


When you see this cutscene of Dutong getting up and staggering around, you know you've given him the correct amount of booze.

Right, time to see what Dutong has to say about the writ.

Something is definitely up if he's reacting like that when we mention the writ.

Go ahead. We'll listen.

Oh, I'm a deshpicable pershon! A bad, bad man. The writ... it'sh a fake! A forgery. I made it all up!

And there we have it. Dutong's writ was indeed a fake, probably made up by him so he could take over this teahouse and get all the wine he could drink for free.

The animation for the guard giving Dutong the restorative potion is a bit... lacking.

And now I have the strangest memory... as if I... oh no. Did I... did I say anything to you, stranger? Anything about, oh, I don't know... an Imperial Writ?

What? No! I never said any such thing!

I heard what you said, Dutong! I knew you cheated Mother Kwan out of this place, and now we have proof! You can't get out of this now!

Ah. I see what you're after! Oh yes. Three Sheets Dutong was not born yesterday--or the day before that! Indeed, we are speaking the language of commerce. I will give you a great deal of silver to keep this little secret from getting out. Lots of silver for both of you, if you keep quiet about this.

Sure! Or we could break his face, that sounds even better.

He does apparently give you a pretty decent amount of silver if you agree to keep quiet, but we're not having any of that shit.

That's the last we'll be seeing of Three Sheets Dutong.

I'll get right on that.

Dawn Star approves as well, as she tends to when we do stuff like this. Let's go tell Mother Kwan the good news right now.

Dutong's writ was a forgery.

A... a forgery? Are you certain?

Dutong confessed. The teahouse is yours again.

That... that scoundrel! No wonder he left here so fast! Cheating an old woman out of her hard-earned living... the very nerve!

You've given me back the only thing I ever cared about... and you've done a service for this town, too. I'm going to turn this place back into a respectable, quality teahouse!

It was nothing. I was glad to help.

I don't have much; the only reward I can offer is my humble thanks. That, and a promise that you will always be welcome here at Old Mother Kwan's.

That's all the reward we need.

Next time, we'll explore the rest of Tien's Landing and dick around doing more sidequests instead of following the plot missions!