Part 28: Golden PhoenixEpisode 26: Golden Phoenix
Last time, we won the Silver Division championship at the Imperial Arena and earned the favor of the Lotus Assassin Executioners. That means we have done more than enough to progress the main plot, but obviously we're not leaving the arena until we become the grand champion. That means working our way through the Gold Division, so let's get on with it.
Well, first we're gonna have to talk to Whirlwind some more. Maybe he's got more to say about his brother Raging Ox who, as you may remember, joined up with Kai Lan the Serpent many years ago and died via Whirlwind's axes (seemingly by accident, as Whirlwind was aiming for the Serpent and Raging Ox was protecting his boss).
Whirlwind doesn't have anything more to say on that subject, but instead he'll regale us with more tales of his exploits. Since this one is about clearing rats from a monastery, I expect at least sixty people died in the process somehow.
I convinced the monks to give me some of their sacred wine, and I filled the sacred pools. I figured if I could get the rats drunk they'd be so much easier to catch.
Seems like a solid enough plan thus far, at least for Whirlwind.
It was just the rats. The poor furry buggers were just trying to get warm near the monk's fires after their swim in the wine! Not a good combination!
I mentioned there being some facial expressions that are only seen a few times, and here's one of them. Appropriately enough, your character usually makes this face while listening to Whirlwind's stories.
Right. I suppose that was surprisingly tame by Whirlwind's usual standards. We'll come back to him later, but I think at this point we should go meet up with Iron Soldier and ask him how it feels to be a former champion.
Yep! I'm glad he noticed!
Don't think that I'm going to forget that *you* were the one to take my division from me.
Can't wait. Maybe next time he can even get a couple of hits in.
Do you actually need anything or are you just there to flap your gums?
Nope, I'm good.
We only taunt our opponents after we've won, and even then it's only if they're assholes like Soldier. That said, having a chat with our next opponent might be a good plan, so we'll go see what the three guys in the other corner have to say.
Err, okay then.
You have come far in a short time. We have been watching you with keen interest.
These gentlemen are the brothers Sung. We could ask them to tell us more about themselves, but it's not that important since Qui the Promoter can give us the short version. Let's just leave them for now and go ask Qui about the champion of this division.
I want to hear your thoughts on the Sung brothers.
They're an odd triptuplet if you ask me. They were three of the best individual fighters to participate in the arena, but things changed after they fought together against the Ravager and lost. They're sort of a buffer: If the three of them together couldn't match the Ravager, only someone who can face all three will stand a chance against him. It cuts down on the number of injuries at the Ravager's hands. If you want to know more about them, you can ask the brothers themselves.
Tell me about the Ravager.
The crowd loves to hate him. He's vicious, he never talks, and he has no interest in the fans, but when he fights he's unstoppable. Right now, almost no one will face him, so it's rare that the Ravager steps into the ring. It's for the better I think. He tends to cripple people, despite the protective magic of this place.
That's something to look forward to, then. I'd really like to know how these protective enchantments actually work, because they can't neutralize poison nor do they seem to stop the Ravager from causing serious injuries. So even though you don't die instantly when the Ravager crushes every bone in your body, you'll still feel the effects.
Your first match will be a rare challenge. There is a style that was banned from the tournament combat five centuries ago. You will face the Phoenix Unity style.
What's so special about this style?
That is something best discovered for yourself. Sufﬁce it to say that if you stand against it, the battle will be memorable.
If the style was banned, why am I facing it?
I do not believe in outdated prohabitations. As you may see, this style is not "fair" for single combat, but it is a fair test of a master warriors abilities.
I thought Kai Lan the Serpent was the only one setting up dubious matches for us, but between this and the aptly named Pit of Pain I'm starting to wonder if Qui is all that much better. To be quite honest, I doubt this will be nearly as unpleasant as the Pit of Pain.
Time to see what this Phoenix Unity is all about.
So far I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary, just some lady who fights with dual swords and Viper.
As you might expect, we make quick work of her. Surely there must be more to this?
Oh. Oh. Now I'm starting to get what the big deal is.
She probably shouldn't be standing at this point, but whatever.
Welp, time for round 2. This is not a Zelda miniboss fight, so there is no special trick to it. We don't need to find the "real" Phoenix Assassin and beat her, all six of them are equally real as far as the game is concerned and we need to take all of them out.
Fortunately for us, they like to make it quite easy by clustering together, meaning that we can do serious damage to several Assassins at the same time when we swing our sword.
Still want to be careful not to get surrounded, because the Phoenix Assassins can hurt us quite badly if they gang up on us. We have plenty of health and chi so we'll be able to take some hits, but obviously we'd rather avoid that situation.
Once a couple of the Assassins go down, the rest is a breeze.
So much for the Phoenix Unity style. Silver Phoenix needs none of your shadow clones.
That was exactly how I wanted your Gold Division matches to start. You need the people on your side before you can face the Ravager. I was going to do something different, but I've had a request from the Sung brothers. They said that there has been, ah... an affluence of the fates and a... a remergence of the planets.
I hate when that happens. So?
Well, that works out for us.
Because he can't let us fight the Ravager unless he knows we can beat all three of these guys! Pay attention, dammit
Well, at least not before the gong stops ringing, at any rate. The brothers are ready if you are.
Seriously, we went over this five minutes ago. Well, whatever. Time to fight the Sung brothers and see what they're made of.
We've got one brother with dual swords, another with Dire Flame and... I don't know what style the middle one is using. Never seen that before.
According to the wiki, Sung Bo's fighting style is called Monkey Paw. All the information on that wiki page seems to be sourced from the Jade Empire in Style mod, so I'm not sure if the style is actually called that in the game. It's obviously based on monkey-style kung fu (not that you can tell from the screenshots), so Monkey Paw is as good a name as any.
Sung Bo is the first one we take out, because he's the fastest of the three and can do a lot of damage with his monkey style. Sung Bu and his swords are just kind of there, and Sung Sui's fireballs are more a nuisance than anything else.
I don't think Sung Bu is going to appreciate his brother's Dire Flame skills very much after that. Getting enemies to hit each other with friendly fire is always fun.
Sung Bu doesn't last long after that fireball to the face, so now it's time for a magical duel with Sung Sui.
Or he could switch to a spear, that works too. Meanwhile, I decided to try out Stone Immortal, which hasn't been upgraded but is still fairly powerful. It does eat up a lot of chi at this point, though, and having chi strikes active doesn't really help.
I mentioned this when we first learned Stone Immortal, but the basic attack is more or less just throwing rocks at the opponent and it's not very exciting.
But of course, we can now do the same thing as those elephant demons!
Not that it helps us here, because opponents at the arena seem to automatically dodge this area attack every single time.
Better do this the old-fashioned way, then.
Defeating their combinated might has impressed the crowd immensely.
If the crowd loved it so much, I think we deserve a raise. Surely this time he'll agree.
Can't break the rules to give us a bit of extra cash, but booking us in matches against opponents using banned styles is totally fine?
Well, up yours then, Qui.
To be fair, 1250 silver from that fight isn't that bad. Let's hear from our opponents and find out what they thought of that last match.
While the match invited the toothless donkey of unhappiness to our stable, we still praise your skills.
We don't have a stable! That donkey's going to get cold!
I'm sure the donkey will be fine, brother, or, at least, justifiably unhappy instead of randomly petulant.
I think Sung Bu may have taken a few too many knocks to the head over his career. Well, never mind that. Qui, what have you got for us?
I'm going to hold an event so huge that it will rock the reaches of the Empire: the Imperial Engagement. The arena turns upon you.
What, like the Pit of Pain?
You must stand against them all, and when you do, your right to challenge the Ravager will be indisputable.
Oh, well, that's not so terrible. Bring it on.
Soldier thinks he might have a chance against us when he's got a bunch of other folks helping him. He still won't, of course, but I can see why he'd think that way.
How does this fight work?
The concept is simple enough. If you can defeat your foe with exceptious alacricity, then you have a moment to collect yourself. If you tarry, then you will be swamped.
How many opponents will I have to face?
You will be facing all the champions you have dealt with already, and more.
Well, all the champions aside from Crimson Khana, because depending on your choices she either went back home or is extremely dead.
Are you ready for me to finish the arrangements? If so, we'll get everyone set up.
This should be interesting.
Another ogre? Well, they're easing us into this, I guess.
Here's how the Imperial Engagement works, then. We start off against this ogre, and we've got ten seconds until the next opponent comes in. Opponents will enter every ten seconds until we've gone through the whole roster. Since we obviously don't have much time to mess around here, I'm not going to do anything silly with Mirabelle or anything like that, I'll just use my most powerful style which is the Dragon Sword.
Down goes the ogre, and we have five seconds to spare. Not too bad of a start, although beating the ogre in that time isn't really that much of an accomplishment.
Hapless Han is the next to enter, and he manages to last the full ten seconds.
Okay then, now we're getting something a bit more challenging. We can handle the toad demon just fine, but doing it in ten seconds might not be the easiest feat and we should make sure we don't waste too much chi or focus on him.
We defeat the toad demon just as Iron Soldier enters. There is a few seconds between the timer running out and the next opponent actually showing up, so it's more like 15 seconds or so between opponents.
Soldier is easily dispatched and is nice enough to drop a chi pickup. Let's see who's next in line for a beating.
Well, this is going to suck.
I dodged that! Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure I've never tried to block an area attack. I rarely block in general unless I'm fighting Lost Spirits. My extensive research (30 seconds on Google) indicates area attacks can in fact be blocked and I just never thought to do so because blocking is so slow and useless 99% of the time.
will you please stop doing that
Eventually, the elephant demon falls and blocks our view of the next opponent. Let's find out who it is!
Right, it's Sung Bo and his weird glowy monkey style. We're getting a bit low on chi and focus thanks to our pachyderm pal over there, but we defeated the Sung brothers once already and we can do it again.
Sung Bo does a ton of damage if you give him the chance. That chunk from our health meter disappeared in about a second, as he got one combo in.
He also tries to heal on occasion, but we're not having any of that. Sung Bo goes down while we're waiting for the next opponent to make his entrance, and it's obviously going to be one of the remaining Sung brothers unless the arena throws us a real curveball.
It's Sung Bu, the dumb brute of the trio. I find him to be the least dangerous of the brothers, as he doesn't have any special tricks up his sleeve and just prefers to go full with his swords. Obviously, we still don't want him to hit us with those things.
Down he goes, and Sung Sui hasn't even entered yet. Should be smooth sailing from here on out, one Sung brother does not pose much of a threat to us at this stage. We are still kinda low on focus and chi, but we'll manage.
Sung Bu was courteous enough to drop a small focus pickup, which makes our job just a bit easier. His brother starts off with Dire Flame, as before.
Let's fight fire with, uh, fire then, at least until we start to get low on chi.
The Dire Flame area attack is incredibly easy to dodge when we have this much open space to work with, and Sung Sui leaves himself open for our strong fireball in the process.
I decide to leave the rest of our chi for healing in case we need it, so we'll finish this fight with Leaping Tiger.
Huh, that's it? I kinda expected them to roll out some enemies we haven't seen before, but the Imperial Engagement really is just a gauntlet match against most of the arena opponents we've already fought.
The crowd loves you, and you have proven yourself enough in my eyes. No other fighter stands a chance against the Ravager. But you must think of your safety. The Ravager strikes with such power that even the wards of this arena may not be enough to save you.
No one knows. His strength is almost inhuman, but we are sure he's no demon. Your match could end in death. It almost happened when Sung Bu faced him alone, and he was the last opponent to tackle the champion alone. The Ravager grows more fierce with each fight, as if time were making him stronger. If you face him, we may not be able to end the match in time.
If we're strong enough to beat the arena's entire roster of fighters and a bunch of demons, I think we might have a shot against the Ravager. Let's go.
He's always ready.
Since this is the big championship match, we get the elaborate main event entrance again. It's the same as before, except of course our opponent is different.
Welp, here's the man himself. We saw him earlier, of course, in Kai Lan's office.
That is an accident waiting to happen.
The Ravager is still taking things rather calmly. If I didn't know better, I'd think he doesn't even know what's going on around him. Meanwhile, Kai Lan is being his usual smug self in the Ravager's corner.
Oh, what is it now?
Well then, I guess we're no longer Kai Lan's favorite prospect.
I thought the Ravager was always ready for a fight, but Kai Lan apparently doesn't agree and wants to call off the match since we're not worthy.
Crowd: Phoenix. Phoenix. Phoenix.
This chant, by the way, is hilarious. It sounds like they got about six guys chanting whatever ring name you picked, and it's the most unenthusiastic thing ever. Sure, the crowd here isn't exactly in the thousands, but the chant still shouldn't be that wimpy.
Kai Lan still isn't impressed. Can't really blame him in this case.
Crowd: Phoenix. Phoenix.
You have spoken, and I have heard. Your will be done! I give you... THE RAVAGER!
Here he is, in all his yellow and orange glory. Let's just take things slow at first and see what the Ravager can do.
Well, first off, he fights with dual axes. This is very similar to the style used by the Black Whirlwind, but is actually a different one.
That was a bit close. Getting hit by those axes of his is probably best avoided.
The Ravager is also surprisingly agile for such a big guy.
He also really likes using area attacks. Since we clearly don't want to get close to this jerk, let's give Dire Flame a shot.
Qui lied to us! He said the Ravager is not a demon! Yet, the Ravager is immune to magic styles, which means he's 100% a demon! Only demons are immune to magic. Well, I guess clay golems are too, but I don't think he's one of those.
Well, fine. Let's just use our sword, then. The Ravager has a ton of health, as you might expect from such an opponent.
There's an attack we're definitely going to want to avoid.
Even his regular attacks aren't exactly weak, that axe combo of his does a whole bunch of damage. Still, that is something we should be able to manage without too much trouble. This fight is incredibly annoying for a whole other reason.
When I said the Ravager really likes area attacks, I meant he really, REALLY likes them. He uses them every time you get anywhere near him. I had 17 screenshots of the Ravager doing an area attack in this fight, and I'm pretty sure there was at least one more in the video footage. Now, like I found out while putting together this update, area attacks can be blocked, but with the Ravager they come out so quickly that you probably don't have the opportunity to block anyway.
Oh, and he heals himself when he knocks you down. Not every time, thankfully, but even once is enough for me.
Naturally, the Ravager is immune to our area attacks (doesn't even need to block) and retaliates with yet another one of his own when I try one on him. At least they don't do any damage.
There we go, he's almost finished. Just a couple more hits should...
Okay, now he's done.
As soon as we land the finishing blow, the game fades to black.
We managed to knock the Ravager's mask off to reveal... uh... a guy with a mustache and a terribly receding hairline? If you've been paying attention, you can probably figure out who this is, but we've never seen his face before now.
Kai Lan the Serpent and Qui the Promoter show up to, hopefully, crown us the Gold Division champion, although I doubt Kai Lan's going to hand us the title that easily.
Finally, Whirlwind hops the barricade and runs to... not us or Kai Lan, but the Ravager.
If the Ravager's fighting style or Whirlwind's behavior in that cutscene weren't big enough clues, there it is. The Ravager is Raging Ox, the Black Whirlwind's brother.
And so the Ravager was born. The perfect, unquestioning enforcer of my will, and I owe it all to you, Whirlwind.
Kai Lan somehow used his sorcery to reanimate Raging Ox and turn him into his undead enforcer. How exactly he pulled that off is not clear, but there it is.
The Ravager is still down from the fight, but is starting to come to. Of course, it's doubtful he has any of his senses left at this point. He's no longer Raging Ox, just a mindless thrall doing the Serpent's bidding.
Whirlwind cuts down what was once his brother, possibly letting his spirit pass on (I guess the protective enchantments were disabled after the fight). At the very least, Raging Ox is no longer bound to Kai Lan.
For a brief moment, we can see an expression of sorrow and, most likely, regret on the face of the Black Whirlwind.
It almost immediately turns into anger.
I invoke the right of challenge! As an ex-champion, I will return and stake my claim upon this place. Tradition supports my right to this!
Of course, Kai Lan doesn't know when to quit. He is still desperate to stop Wu from becoming the champion, and will do anything to achieve that goal.
So, stripling, what do you say? Are you prepared to suffer at my hands, or will you walk away and die the tenfold deaths of the coward?
Well, if he insists, we can take him down just like we did his enforcer.
All you are, magician, is MINE!
I don't think anyone asked for Kai Lan's opinion.
I mean, this is true, but we'll still let Whirlwind do his thing.
Then Black Whirlwind will have his vengeance.
Preposterous. This oaf can't fight for you.
They do have the right, Serpent. You substituted the demon in place of one of your Guild men. You set the precedent yourself.
Let's get this over with as soon as we can.
Do you know how many rules and regulations that breaks? It's a mockery of the entire arena, and Kai Lan and his thugs are to blame! But you... you can stop him. I need you to see this through to the end. I need that man stopped before he destroys a thousand years of tradification!
Did none of you guys ever begin to wonder why your champion fought exactly like Raging Ox and looked like his reanimated corpse wearing a mask? I know necromancy isn't exactly a commonly used form of magic around here, but you'd think someone at some point might have gotten curious even if you couldn't really ask anybody about this kind of thing with Kai Lan around. The reason we're glowing in this screenshot is that we learned a new style from the Ravager fight.
That is, we can now use his axes. Tang's Vengeance (named after Tang the Merciless, who tried to become Emperor after the previous one died without an heir, but was betrayed by his father who thought Tang was too violent to rule the Jade Empire. To prove dear old dad wrong, Tang used these axes to cut off the old man's head) is, apparently, often regarded as one of the best weapon styles in Jade Empire, as it has excellent damage output and reach. I don't remember if I've ever actually used these things myself, but I'll show them off once I've added those extra skill points in the editor.
You'd think we'd have won the championship by defeating the Ravager. That isn't the case, though, because as we saw we won't be recognized as the arena champion unless we beat up Kai Lan first. Of course, Kai Lan does actually run the joint, so if he says we're not the champion we will not be the champion until we do something about him.
All right then, let's see what the Black Whirlwind can do now that he is being controlled by a terrible player instead of terrible AI.
The Black Whirlwind's dual axe style is called "The Twins" and I remembered it being... not that great, but it actually is rather powerful and surprisingly fast too. I slightly dreaded playing as Whirlwind in general because he doesn't have a huge amount of chi to work with and has no focus whatsoever, but it turns out you can get surprisingly far by just spamming his basic A button combo.
Kai Lan is not a massively difficult opponent. He uses Viper and a couple of magic styles, and is also immune to area attacks because of course he is.
He likes to use area attacks of his own, but thankfully doesn't spam them quite as much as the Ravager did. I'm not sure which style's area attack this is.
Once Kai Lan's health gets low enough, he switches tactics and enters Channeling status to summon two horse demons. Kai Lan is invulnerable while channeling, so all we can do at the moment is take out the demons.
These are just standard horse demons, so the usual tactics apply.
Of course, they also explode on death just as before.
Now that the horse demons have been put down, it's time to fight the man himself once more. He's healed himself to full, which is a bit annoying but nothing a couple of axe swings to the face won't fix.
Spamming Whirlwind's combo fast enough will stunlock Kai Lan.
Eventually, we manage to whittle away Kai Lan's health.
Kai Lan's got no more dirty tricks up his sleeve, so down goes the Serpent. The Black Whirlwind has his vengeance, and Wu is now the grand champion.
I wish that I had another dozen fighters who could rise through the ranks with your alacricity! I will not dishonor you with a pairing to those who cannot match your skill. In time someone will come along, but I suspect your equal will not be manifestering any time soon.
Should anyone appear to challenge you, I will let you know, but until then rest yourself. You've earned it!
Spoiler: Nobody will appear to challenge us, so we are officially done with the arena fights. The Superior Warrior Gem seems like a rather disappointing reward for all of that work because we already have two of these things, but it's actually not the real reward. That'll come next, as Sweet Poison Lyn shows up to extend her congratulations on behalf of the Guild.
His power ran deep. He would have taken our organization even further down Gao the Greater's path had word of a new contestant not reached us.
That top dialog option is incredibly dumb. Kai Lan was an evil asshole and we're better off without him, and if he had lived he'd ended up in charge of the Guild and made them worse. Sure, they are still a criminal organization and a major one at that, but right now they're just kinda there and don't bother us except when some jerk like Gao or Kai Lan decides to act on his own. That alliance with the Lotus Assassins was all Gao's doing.
Let us just say that cooler heads prevail. The current sentiment in the Guild is that the Lotus Assassins have become more trouble than our alliance with them is worth. Thus we propose a truce. Your feud, or whatever it was, with Kai Lan died with him. The Guild will not trouble you or this place if you will not trouble us.
We don't particularly care for the Guild, but we also don't want them pissed off at us so we'll just agree to the truce. We could demand payment, but Sweet Poison Lyn has something much better to offer us.
In observing Kai Lan, I had no choice but to watch the fights of Silver Phoenix. It was the most enjoyable aspect of the assignment. Your skills are amazing. We will *not* speak of this again. Consider me nothing more than Sweet Poison Lyn from this point on.
This is what we get for never losing a fight at the arena. If you do lose a round at some point, you'll still receive a technique from Sweet Poison Lyn but it's obviously not as good.
We also get the last Iron Palm scroll and learn the style. I can't say I'm a big fan of Iron Palm, so even though I will show it off soon enough I won't be actually using it that much.
Oh, and here's what The Perfected Warrior does. +15 to Health and Focus is a solid upgrade.
Before we leave, we can chat with our fellow fighters one last time and bask in their admiration. Oh, and rub our victory in Iron Soldier's face just because.
No, your skills will just waste away with no challenges. I wonder if it'll be me, the Sung brothers, or some other upstart who brings you down.
We have plenty of challenges ahead of us so we really won't have time to get rusty, no matter how much Iron Soldier might wish for that. Oh yeah, at this point we can also access Kai Lan's office and ransack it, but I forgot to do that until a bit later.
And with that, we are out of here. We're not quite finished with the Imperial City sidequests, though, so we'll take care of all that business before we head to the Lotus Assassins' fortress.