Part 25: Silver PhoenixEpisode 23: Silver Phoenix
Last time, we spent most of our time going through the wonderful flyer missions Jade Empire has to offer. We also met with the Lotus Assassin Inquisitor, who wants us to make sure Judge Fang does not get Minister Sheng's report on what happened in Tien's Landing, as that might cause problems for the Assassins. Judge Fang (who actually opposes the Lotus Assassins, but is such a horrible person that nobody listens to him unless he gets some solid proof on the Assassins' activities) spends his time watching fights at the Imperial Arena, so we're going to start our investigation there.
Looks like a couple of gentlemen are having a bit of an argument atop the stairs there, let's find out what's going on with them.
Despite appearances, I did not skip a line of dialog here. I thought I did as well, but I went back to check the recording and this really is the first line Lucky Cho (the guy with the headband and beard) says in this scene. We don't know why his men brought this other person to him. Maybe we'll find out.
Don't even try to make this better. You should have won that fight, Zhang, but you suddenly developed that blind spot, didn't you? Did the glint of silver get in your eye?
Well, that is one way to settle a dispute. Apparently, Lucky Cho here didn't find this fighter's performance satisfactory, so he ended up knocking the guy down the stairs. A bit harsh if you ask me, but I guess that's how things work around here.
I see everything is going well behind the scenes at the Arena.
At least Zhang somehow managed to avoid breaking his neck.
You couldn't see for yourself? I was just "retired" from the Imperial Arena. Guess my spot in the roster is yours if you want it. Go find Qui the Promoter if you think you can fill my shoes. Hes always upstairs in the third room over or so, and looking for new blood. I'm taking what I have left from my winnings and leaving.
All right, looks like we can join the ranks of the fighters if we want to. I'm pretty sure they'd accept someone of our skill even if their roster was full, though.
This scroll lists some of the recent arena champions. Raging Ox and Kai Lan the Serpent (not Kai Leng, thankfully) seem to have retired from active competition, and while this doesn't explicitly mention it we can assume "The Ravager" is the current champ.
This guy looks like a merchant, hopefully they've got something useful for us.
Marvelous. Let's see the wares.
That's all I need for now.
Unfortunately, Taoran's got nothing we'd need, just a bunch of (presumably overpriced and low quality) merchandise, so we'll just bid farewell to him. We could ask him about the arena, but I assure you we will find out everything there is to know about the arena over the next couple of updates.
Spoiler: The Ravager does not wear a hood.
That's enough shoddy merchandise for now, we have a job to do here. Two jobs, actually, since we're going to do the job for the Inquisitors as well as fight in the arena. We don't need to do both to progress the plot, but surely you don't expect me to say no to all that wonderful EXP and silver, as well as bonus items?
Oh, hello there. This must be the Executioner.
Seriously, all these guys have fucked up faces. I always thought there was something odd about the Executioner here that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but then I realized he is the only Lotus Assassin with a full head of hair (aside from Grand Inquisitor Jia, I suppose).
Well yes, they are, but I'm sure the Lotus Assassins could teach us all kinds of fun new tricks.
I will be here if you wish to petition me further, but I don't acknowledge anything less than the best. Return when you are worthy, and no sooner.
Does every fighter who wants to join the Lotus Assassins have to become the Silver Division champ at the arena before they're accepted into the Executioners? If so, does that mean every champion of the Silver Division since who knows when had to forfeit their title when they joined the Lotus Assassins? I'm guessing the Iron Soldier wasn't one of the Assassin hopefuls, since he's still here.
If we're going to fight, we should update our quick styles to include some more variety. Now, I'm still playing on a controller so I only have four styles available for quick select (there is a tactical pause option which may let you use other styles, but I forgot that existed until after I recorded this session so I don't know if it actually lets you do that. It may just give you the opportunity to switch styles without the danger of getting punched while doing so), but since I do have the keyboard handy I might as well assign some of these styles to the hotkeys. You can switch between the controller and the keyboard on the fly, so we can use all these styles just fine.
Really, you'd think the tavern would be busy all the time. Wonder what's going on there.
I bet this gentleman named "Lustful Lao" has incredibly engaging stuff to say.
Why am I picking this option? I shouldn't be picking this option.
Good lord, this guy is creepy. The stuff he says is dumb but generally harmless, but that wandering eye of his is kind of freaking me out here. It's probably just a glitch because we've seen a few NPCs with a similar problem, but it's still rather unpleasant.
Screw this, we're out of here.
Oh, his eye seems to have fixed itself. Good for him!
Why is everyone at this arena a weirdo, an asshole or both?
Speaking of which, let's see if we can convince these guards to let us have a chat with Judge Fang. We can just about see him in the background between the guards.
Yes, I can see how that might ruin someone's day.
Seems like a wonderful person. I see only the best and brightest of the Empire are allowed to become judges.
Yeah, let's just leave him be for now and see if there's anyone else around here we could talk to. In hindsight, I should have told them that Fang sounds like a sick and twisted man, because they would've said that'd be an insult to folks who are actually sick and twisted and Fang is so much worse.
They also bring up some poor woman named Breezes who has to put up with all kinds of horrible shit from Judge Fang, and obviously this would be her.
Unless you're into something twisted. Then he might want to watch. Fang's always looking for some new perversion to make his little soldier stand at attention.
Err... I just wanted to ask some questions, that's all. Gentle Breezes is obviously a courtesan, currently on Judge Fang's payroll, and the good judge is clearly into some weird shit. That's great to know and all, but is it going to help us with our assignment?
Fang's my... benefactor, if you know what I mean. I do all the things that make him happy. Filthy, nasty things. But at least that sick bastard pays well.
This is entirely too much information, but... hm. Maybe Breezes here could actually help us deal with Fang.
Removing him sounds good. The Inquisitors aren't common thugs, so killing the man might not be the greatest of plans even though he does seem like quite a piece of work.
But as much as I want to see his bloated corpse floating in the gutter... Fang is a dangerous man and he keeps my pockets lined with silver. I hope Fang gets what he deserves, but you'll have to do it without my help.
Oh no, we're not giving up that easily. Getting rid of Fang seems like something that should be done for the sake of everything decent. If we can gain the favor of the Inquisitors in the process, that's just a bonus. I'm sure our persuasion skills are up to the task.
Well, dammit. Convincing her requires at least 71 Intuition, and while we have a lot we don't have quite that much. Maybe I could've boosted the stat to a high enough level with gems, but it's too late now because you only have one chance to pass the Intuition check.
Still, we have other ways to persuade people to do things for us. Maybe a bit of silver will bring her around to our way of thinking.
I'll help you. You wanted Fang dead, right?
No! Does nobody ever listen to a word we're saying?
Oh for... was Silk Fox not listening either? We very clearly said that all we want to do is remove Fang from office, the only one talking about murdering the man and leaving his body in the gutter was Breezes herself. I guess this exchange is here to really drive home the point that killing Fang will ruin your chances of impressing the Inquisitors, just in case you weren't paying attention earlier. Because it really will fuck up your chances.
It'd be easier to kill him. Fang's reputation is already as dirty as it can get. As long as it doesn't get in the way of his job, everybody just turns a blind eye.
There's got to be some way to bring him down.
Well, every document Judge Fang approves has to be stamped with his Imperial Ring. Losing the ring is a major offense. And if it was revealed he lost the ring during one of his sexual escapades... even Fang wouldn't want that to come out.
Well then, let's see how this goes. I'm sure Gentle Breezes can find a way to get the ring without actually having to go through any terrible shit, because otherwise this will get very uncomfortable very soon. As long as Fang loses the ring to a courtesan, his reputation should be shot even if...
...oh, I guess she's going to go all out with the plan.
Ugh. This is rather unpleasant.
I do not want to know what happens during that fade to black.
I remembered that you could convince Breezes to steal the ring, but I totally forgot she had to do horrible, horrible things with this hideous goblin of a man to get it. At least she won't have to put up with that anymore once we're done here.
Show the ring to his guards, and they'll let you through. I better disappear for a while, but make sure you tell him where you got it. He'll be sorry he ever touched me!
I guess you could call that a success. We got the ring, and now we can use it to blackmail Judge Fang to resign his post. Mission accomplished, right? Well, yes, I suppose so, but somehow this doesn't exactly feel like our proudest moment. I guess that's just what working for the Lotus Assassin Inquisitors must be like.
Let's just show this thing to the guards so we can get this over with.
How did you get... no, forget it. I don't want to know. You better go talk to Fang about that ring.
Yeah, we don't want any part of this.
Or are you here to offer your services for later? Normally I prefer women who reek of the gutter, but I'm willing to branch out... if you beg me.
Breezes said she wanted us to tell Fang exactly how we got the ring, so let's honor that wish. Hopefully it doesn't mean Fang will go after her.
Well, it seems you have me in an awkward position. I can't let it be known that I was foolish enough to let a whore steal my ring... I would lose my position. So, what is it you want from me? Silver? An Imperial posting? What?
A cushy Imperial job would be great, but we'll settle for relieving Fang of his.
I should have known something like this would happen. They tried to bend me to their will, but I am not easily broken... or so I thought. Are you proud of yourself? Bowing and scraping at the feet of your Lotus Assassin masters? Helping them to bring me down?
Well, getting him out of office is a good thing, even if the Lotus Assassins put us up to it. The fact he opposes the Lotus Assassins is seemingly the only redeeming quality Fang has.
The Lotus Assassins destroyed me. But now that I am gone, I wonder where their attention will turn next? Keep a close watch over your shoulder... *friend.* My resignation is on the table. Take it and stamp it with my Imperial Ring yourself!
This should be enough to get our foot in the door with the Inquisitors, so technically speaking we are done here. But as I said, we're still going to do the arena fights because it'd be a terrible shame not to. Besides, impressing the Executioners along with the Inquisitors won't exactly hurt our chances.
Well then, time to go see what the arena has in store for us. This seems to be where the fighters hang out.
Lucky Cho is at it again. Since he called this other fellow "Qui", we can assume this is Qui the Promoter, who sets up all the fights and... well, promotes them, I suppose.
Enough. Find a solution, and leave me alone.
From the interactions we've seen between Lucky Cho and Qui the Promoter, it's obvious who actually pulls the strings around here. Maybe we can find out more if we go bother Qui.
Wait a moment. You... you have the look of a fighter about you! Those hands, that stance... even your eyes. I'd know that look anywhere! You must be here to join the most glorious contest in the Empire! Isn't it fortunate that Lucky Cho and I were just discussing how this place needs an emfusion of new blood!
You may have noticed that Qui the Promoter has a tendency to mangle various words, so don't be alarmed when you see odd spelling mistakes in transcripts of his dialog. Those are in the game.
Silk Fox acting as a tour guide to the Imperial City here, not that we exactly need it right now. We're quite well aware of the purpose of the arena.
I like the reaction here.
I'll bet. If you call Qui a moron for butchering the language, he actually tells you everything he says is perfectly cromulent and also recommends you embiggen your vocabulary.
So, how about those fights, then?
Frankly, it's weirder when he doesn't mess up any words.
I may not have heard your name before, but you walk like one who has seen many battles. You are indeed mysterious, stranger.
Yes, thanks, BioWare, I did the arena fights in KotOR so I get your little reference. It's not particularly funny or clever, but I get it. (If you don't, "Mysterious Stranger" is the terrible ring name the promoter gives you in that game)
That's what we have been trying to do for the last five minutes, and if we could just stop droning on about all this nonsense we could get out there and start fighting already.
Using our real name isn't necessarily the greatest idea since it might be connected to our exploits back in Tien's Landing, so we'll need to come up with something else. I'm sure someone at BioWare thought that comedy option at the bottom was the most hilarious thing ever, but I think they were trying just a tad too hard there.
Think of something that would sound engaging ringing from the rafters. Thats how we'll bill you!
Not exactly the most exciting selection of names, but at least they're an improvement over Mysterious Stranger. Silver Phoenix is the one I like the most, as Raging Dragon sounds too angry and Tiger Lifts the Mountain seems like a better fit for a powerhouse character. Silver Phoenix sounds more stylish and graceful.
We can still change our mind if we want to at this point, but we've made our choice. The Silver Phoenix is ready to fly.
Since you're new, you'll start in the qualifying rounds. The money's small at that level, but it's there. Any other questions?
That's all I need to know?
One other thing. You should talk to the other fighters now and then. They will be watching you. and you should get to know them, as well.
Seems like a good plan. Knowing your opponents is always helpful.
Great. Let's see if Qui can tell us something about the champion of the division we're starting in.
I like Hapless Han, personally. He never quits trying. Reminds me of a young me trying to clamor my way up from the streets. He'll go far, you rest assured.
Tell me about my next fight.
Let's get this show on the road.
Even our great champions start out against the ogre. Take Raging Ox, who danced around the beast singing drunkenly to earn the crowd's favor, or the Ravager, who defeated him in a single blow.
An ogre, you say? Hmm. A slow opponent, weak to weapon styles. I believe I have just the thing to handle such a creature. Maybe not the most graceful or stylish thing, but we'll have plenty of time for that.
Yes, please explain the procedures here.
I like to keep things simple and organized. Any other way, and things get more convultated than the Celestial Court on the Emperor's birthday. When you're ready for your match, ask me about it, and I'll give you a quick summary of your opponent. I'll be setting up your matches, of course. Various enchantments woven in this place keep the fights from being deadly, but they're no less real. You'll feel the pain if you don't keep your defense up. Are you ready to get started?
I decided to send Silk Fox home and bring The Black Whirlwind to the arena, because I bet he likes watching some good old-fashioned bloodsport.
Excellent. Follow me and we'll get you ready for your next match.
Here is our first look at our new Dragon Sword, which as you can probably see has those rings attached to the blade. That seems like it'd make the blade completely useless, but when I took a closer look at the animations I noticed you actually hit opponents with the other edge of the sword, the one without the rings. All of this is academic, though, because we will not be using the Dragon Sword in this bout.
EDIT: Bloodly has informed me that the Dragon Sword is actually based on a real blade!
It's a real weapon. Look up 'Nine Rings Broadsword'. No one seems to be exactly sure what the nine rings were actually for. Some say ornamental, some say sound to cause fear, some say to catch weapons. None agree.
I don't know very much about weapons.
Instead of using our sword, we'll find out what Sir Roderick's "strange firework" can do.
VIDEO: Mirabelle vs. Ogre
Your movement is severely compromised while using Mirabelle. Aiming it and reloading after a shot take ages, and you can't move at all while doing either so you generally don't want to use Mirabelle against fast-moving enemies. This ogre, though, is the perfect opponent to test her on. Now, I have not upgraded Mirabelle at all, but one quick (A button) shot already takes off about a third of the ogre's health.
Since it knocks the already sluggish beast down, we don't need to worry about reloading too much.
Some purists might consider it cheating to show up in a fighting competition with a firearm, but I doubt the crowd at the arena has ever seen anything like Mirabelle so we'll let it slide this time.
Three shots. The last one was a power (X button) attack, which takes even longer to aim but does even more damage than the normal shot. Not that we really needed that, because the third shot probably would've dropped the ogre regardless.
A shrug is the perfect way to cap off this match. Well, technically that's just one of the starting frames of the bow animation you do after every fight, but we shall ignore that minor detail in this case.
You've caught the eyes of the other fighters, as well. Go ask them if you don't believe me.
Iron Soldier is just jealous he doesn't have a blunderbuss.
One fight does not make a champion, though! There are many more opponents ahead of you. Let's move on, shall we?
Indeed, many strong men (and women, and beasts) await us. Next time, we shall find out what kind of shenanigans the arena has in store for us as the Silver Phoenix begins her rise up the ranks.