A Rival challenges for Station,
And Ming's mellow is Harshed.
On a beautiful early afternoon in the outskirts of the Jade Empire, our hero stumbles out of bed!
Furious Ming: Ah! Another wonderful day in the idyllic Two Rivers School!
Student 1: Good morning, Ming!
Student 2: We love you, Ming!
Student 3: Isn't he astonishing?
Lin: He's astonishing in bed all right.
Well, of course I am. How you doin', Lin? Good walk of shame this morning?
The best, Ming.
I have to ask, where's Master Li? I'm his favorite student, you know.
We love you, Ming!
I saw him in his house.
Great, great, I'm sure he won't mind me dropping by...
Jing Woo: Hold on, Ming! First you and I need to discuss the path of mastery you want to take: focus, magic, and transformation styles. Some people can do one of those, but only you have the ability to do all of them.
It's hard being this awesome.
First, you could use intense Focus to speed up your perceptions, making your enemies appear like they're crawling!
Great, bullet time. I'll go with that.
Or, you could follow the path of magic!
Is there a way to use Focus to speed up dialogue?
Finally, you could utilize the transformation styles to become a number of powerful entities!
Well, you could be a frog, or a "Red Minister," or a flayed undead horse.
Why would I ever want to do that?
...these forms provide you with incredible powers!
You know what else provides me with incredible powers? *FLEX*
Look at those guns!
We love you, Ming!
Who needs styles!
I kissed his gun.
Anyway, thanks for the talk. Later!
Master Li: Ah, my greatest student. My masterpiece.
That's me. Listen, Master, I have great news!
Of course, my child. Ask that I may answer. But before you do, could you bring me that pitcher of water?
Of course, Master. Here it...Master? Did you only send me across the room to watch me go?
My child, are you suggesting that I put that pitcher across the room specifically to begin a sequence of events that would culminate with my watching your delightful rear in motion? That would be...a glorious strategy.
...right. Anyway, I have a question. Aren't we in fantasy China? Why does everyone sound—
Gao the Lesser: YEE-HAW! Master Li, Ah'm here for mah four o'clock lesson!
Your antics do not impress me, Gao! I will meet with you when I've finished speaking with my favored student and not a moment sooner!
Ah reckon Ah don't take kindly to bein' put off, Master Li...an' neither does my father.
I don't get why you keep him around, let alone antagonize him.
Are you suggesting that I keep Gao around for a purpose greater than teaching him discipline and the martial arts? That would be a—
Master Li! Master Li! Pirates are attacking the town! They've come back to prove that pirates are better than ninjas!
Ming! Now is the time for you to prove yourself. Defend the townsfolk and defeat the invaders! Take Dawn Star.
Seriously? It's hard enough to interrupt her conversations with Casper, let alone fight.
Are you suggesting that the only reason I've kept that freaky, ghost-conversing pariah around is so that I could throw the both of you into combat, forcing you to form a bond with her while laying a foundation of unchecked antagonism towards your enemies? That woul—
No! I wasn't suggesting that at all! I just...you know what? Whatever. I'm going to get Dawn Star.
Ming finds Dawn Star outside her home.
Well, of course he doesn't call anymore, Mrs. Lippenberg. You're dead, and it's simply impossible to afford the long-distance charges.
Hey, Dawn Star, pack up your crazy and let's go. We've gotta go prove that ninjas are more awesome than pirates.
Mrs. Lippenberg says that ninjas are Japanese.
All in a day's work for someone this awesome.
Lotus Assassin: Not just yet! You haven't seen the true extent of our power!
Ghost 1: We rise!
Ghost 2: Our torment and our wrath are eternal!
Oh, no! The pirates and zombies have formed an alliance against us!
Yeah, whatever, just give me a few—
No, my student!
Did he just punch out a boat?
Master Li? Sun Li? Are you kidding me?
I totally had that!
Events are moving quickly, my student. We must return to the school.
Back at the school, Ming listens as his master makes a startling revelation...
It's time I told you, my favored student: I am no ordinary kung fu master. I am...Sun Li, brother to the Emperor!
Okay, you know that Gao's hanging around outside. We saw him when we came in! And he's totally going to tell his dad that you're Chun-Li or whatever.
Are you sug—
Okay, fine, moving on.
Do you remember your origins?
You told me that you found me after a horrible massacre and raised me as your own.
That's true, but there is more. You see, I planned that battle, but realized—too late—that my brother's plans were evil. I resisted, but he had all your people put to the blade. I escaped with you, and a relic of your people.
Worse than you know. Anyway, I hid the fragment in the caves below the school. Go and claim it, and meditate on its importance. Uh...it will lead you to your destiny, so just sit there thinking about it. Don't come back for two days.
Finally, a quest! One that leads to my destiny!
Ming descends into the caverns below the school, and quickly finds the artifact.
Sweet, bling! This would go great with my polo shirts...if I wore polo shirts. Seriously, these abs.
Water Dragon: You...you're the last, best hope? Okay. Okay, it's not that bad. Listen up: You're the last Spirit Monk. It's your duty—
Is this the thing with my destiny?
Yes. It's your destiny or whatever to reset the balance and allow the dead to go on to the afterlife. That artifact is a Spirit Monk medallion, and only you can use its power properly. My own strength is greatly weakened, but I will impart some of it to you in order to aid you.
Awesome! Thanks, lady!
I'm teleporting you back to Two Rivers now.
Peace out! *TELEPORTS*
Back in Master Li's chambers...
AH! Where did you come from?
Dude, when I was down there I saw a glowing blue lady and she told me that it was my destiny to restore balance.
You must be careful when speaking with spirits. They can be deceitful. Don't listen to anyone but me.
You got it, Master.
Unfortunately, this spirit speaks some truth. When the empire was suffering under the Great Drought, your people resided in the temple of the Water Dragon at Dirge. We had hoped to commune with the Dragon to end the drought, but your people resisted and were killed for it. Ever since Dirge fell, the spirits have been restless. Something in the cycle is broken.
Master Li! Master Li! Dawn Star is missing, and it looks like there was a fight at her house. Plus, Gao is nowhere to be found!
I mean...you should go rescue her.
She probably just started breaking things because ghosts told her to.
Gao probably kidnapped her for nefarious purposes that he's subjecting her to even now.
...that ain't cool.
Exactly. Get moving. Don't come back for a day or two.
In the swamps, Ming comes across a striking scene...
Bandits: Get his money!
Sagacious Zu: GANK.
Nice job, man! I'm Furious Ming.
Hell yeah, brah. It's what my sweet back tats say.
...right. Listen, I'm just going to head out...
It's all cool, man. I'm gonna go rescue Dawn Star.
I mean...I should come with. To help you find her.
Glad for the help, man.
Farther on, Ming and Zu find a flier outside an ogre cave...
She's in there. I can smell her hair.
...kinda weird, brah.
Ah tried t' save the only worthwhile thing in that pisshole of a town, and this here is how you repay me! Talk to me!
Mr. Abernathy, I'm really quite busy at the moment. What's that? Yes, I understand that you've been waiting a long time to move on, but I have some problems in the real world right now.
TALK TO ME.
Hey, Gao. I'll talk to you. With my fists.
No matter what happens here, death is comin' for your crummy little school. Y'all oughta be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room fulla rockin' chairs.
I like how even you don't think you can beat me. GANK!
Guess some introductions are in order now that that's over with. Dawn Star, this is Zu. Zu, this is—
Dawn Star, I know.
Have we met before?
In my heart.
I mean, I live in the swamp, you know, and I think I've seen you a few times before when I came close to Two Rivers. And when you're sleeping.
Wow, this is really kinda a frying pan/fire thing for you, isn't it?
Let's focus on something else. Didn't Gao say that death was coming for Two Rivers?
And isn't that smoke coming from the direction of town?
We have to get back!
If what I think is happening is happening, we don't want to be anywhere near there.
And how the hell would you know all this? You live in a swamp!
Well...I used to be...a Lotus Assassin.
Oh, I've heard of those. Lots of people talk about them. Well, mostly dead people. And they usually say that Lotus Assassins are horrible.
Guilty as charged.
...but we really need to get back to Two Rivers. Won't you take us back in that flier? Pretty please?
For you, anything.
They take to the air in the flier, moving swiftly towards the column of smoke that marks Two Rivers...
...why are we suddenly playing Galaga?
This is sick, yo! I got, like, top score on xBox Live for this game!
...wow, he's good.
One quick flight later...
Two Rivers! No!
These were Gao the Greater's men, but it looks like most of the damage was done by...
Ming...is it really you? We were attacked by elite soldiers—
...led by an imposing man clad in armor—
...and an evil woman, her face hidden by a mask.
Jing Woo, where is Lin? Did she make it?
Oh...oh, Lin. You were always my favorite bullpen girl. I'll always treasure that thong you left next to my bed last time.
...looks like your room's on fire.
Master Li surrendered to them, but they attacked anyway. Avenge us, Ming. Avenge...us...ACK.
Damn you, Lotus Assassins! Damn you, Death's Hand! Damn you, Sub-Boss! I'm coming for you! I'm coming for you all!
If the Lotus Assassins are here, it's because the Emperor sent them. Do you want to face the entire Jade Empire?
I'm the best of the best of the best! Nothing can stop me! Get in the flier! We're Galaga-ing to the Imperial City right now!
All right, all right, you don't need to push.
The flier takes to the air, rocketing towards the Imperial City. A few miles into the trip, the wings begin to shred apart.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Woman in Black speaks of Death's Hand,
And Ming makes Friends.
...we fall out of the sky, crash into the ground, and I walk away unscathed. Damn, I'm awesome.
We're all right too, you know.
Damn, I'm awesome.
Do you ever think of anything other than yourself? Ever?
Shit. You're right, Dawn Star. I'm...I'm sorry.
Any super power that you have to share with Haley Joel Osment can't come close to my awesimitude. You could have died back there. And, when I think about it, that wouldn't be too cool. So, in case we crash again and you aren't so lucky, I just wanted to say...Dawn Star, even though you never put out, you're all right in my book.
We need a wind map and a new flyer to get to the Imperial City.
You didn't think having one of those would be important before?
I figured we'd just wing it. Anyway, I recognize the area: we're near Tien's Landing. I'm sure we can find whatever we need there—OW!
He's been knocked out by...bat-shaped boomerangs?
AHHH! Why am I upside down!?
Hold on, I'll cut you down...holy shit.
Silk Fox: I have questions for your friend. You're costing me valuable time. And protecting a lunatic.
Ming might be a stuck-up prick, but there's no way I'm going to let you—
From this position, there are nine different ways to take you down. Six of them kill you outright. All of them render your friend here unable to walk for the rest of his life. Think carefully.
Okay, let's do the talking one.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING FOR DEATH'S HAND?
WHERE IS HE ATTACKING NEXT?
I don't know, I swear! Who are you?
I am vengeance. I am the night.
Seriously, we're not working for Death's Hand! Ming and I used to live in Two Rivers, and we're hunting down Death's Hand for kidnapping Master Li and destroying Two Rivers!
It's the truth!
For pity's sake, let him down. He's peeing himself in fear, and that's no good when you're upside down.
Why should I take your word for any of this? You're wearing the mullet of dresses: business up top, party down below. I've seen whores show less leg than you!
GASP! They're called courtesans in this game!
Okay...okay, hold up. If you've got a problem with Death's Hand, we should team up, work together, 'cause, damn, we sure could use you on our team.
I work alone.
Can I at least get your number?
Damn, Dawn Star. Did you see that? She disappeared faster than a sorority sister's top on two-for-one Jell-O shots night. That's one hell of a woman.
Yeah...yeah, I noticed. Damn.
Once Zu is roused, the group continues toward Tien's Landing. Dawn Star stays behind to make camp, and Ming and Zu make their way into town...
Dawn Star's powers have always set her apart, but one wonders what has changed that spirits and ghosts are better able to communicate with her now.
Probably because she's a freak...in bed! Hey-o!
Do not try to high-five me.
Peasant Mother: Hello, strangers. It is odd to see new people coming to Tien's Landing. Since the river has dried up, there's been nothing but trouble.
Peasant Daughter: If only a brave, strong hero would open the dam and let the river flow again!
Yo, Zu, we gotta find this dam.
Sailor 1: Hey, old woman, you'd better get out of our way!
Hui: You're drunk, boys. Why don't you go sleep it off?
Sailor 2: Fat chance!
Thank you, stranger. The sailors have become more brash since they've been stranded... Zu? Is that you?
Hui? I never thought to see you again.
I did as you asked, Zu. I delivered the infant to Two Rivers safely.
I know. I...I followed you. I had to be sure. But perhaps we shouldn't discuss this in front of my companion.
It's cool, Zu. I know Hui helped Master Li bring me to Two Rivers as a baby.
...and how do you know that we're talking about you?
Dude. It's always about me.
You...are Master Li's student? The one I've waited for all this time?
...we need to talk.
Soon after, in the local tea house...
It used to be a nice mom-and-pop place, but then Starbucks showed up with the deed took over. Now the only tea they sell is chai.
That's just wrong. So, how do you know Master Li?
I served under him, at the Battle of Dirge. Have you heard of it?
Where the Emperor had all the Spirit Monks killed, except me. I'm the last Spirit Monk.
It's worse than that. The Emperor killed the Water Dragon itself. It ended the Great Drought, but it seems to have cast the spirit world into upheaval. When Master Li tried to intervene, the Emperor almost killed him, then ordered his family murdered!
I'd, uh, bet that order actually came from Death's Hand. But it's not like I'd know or anything.
Afterwards, Master Li asked me to stay here and wait for you, in order to direct you to the next piece of your amulet. I located it in Old Tien's Landing, but the Lotus Assassins are making like Nazis from Raiders of the Lost Ark and digging the whole place up looking for it. If you want that fragment, you'd better hurry.
So, I go find the amulet, then I open the dam, and then I acquaint busty peasant girl with the Ming Special.
I don't even want to know what that is.
We're tight, man, you can watch. I'm all for helping other people out and teaching.
Before you go, there's one other thing: your fighting style. When I saw you fight, it seemed like there was an opening in your movements, but when I looked for it, I could not find it.
Well, I am the best damn fighter this world has ever seen. It's only natural that you'd be confused by something so far above your level.
Ming and Zu continue into Tien's Landing, a town with a vigilant authority watching over it...
What do you think I should try with the peasant girl? I know Dawn Star's always talking about how chicks don't do butt stuff the first time out, but I figure she's going to be really appreciative and I'm only going to get one shot with her. Besides, it worked on Lin.
Ming, there is more to life than your sexual relationships. Have you ever tried finding love with a young girl?
Chris Hanson: So, you like loving young girls?
What the hell?
Why don't you have a seat over there.
You've spent the last several years sneaking around Dawn Star's backyard, spying on her. Why was that?
I risked my life so that she could live free, and I wanted to be sure she was safe.
Did you bring any condoms with you?
I think we're done here.
I think we are, too. Would you mind coming with these police officers?
Don't worry, bro, I'll totally get your bail when I finish the dam thing! And the peasant chick!
This is a big misunderstanding!
Undeterred, Ming makes his way to Old Tien's Landing...
Where's the woman you were traveling with?
AH! Where did you come from?
I am darkness.
I came to tell you that I scouted Gao the Greater's pirate stronghold upriver. The Lotus Assassins are camped there, with several fliers. Could be useful if you wish to reach the Imperial City.
Thanks, you've been a big...you disappeared again.
Ah! I mean...how you doin'?
You're hitting on me. That's cute. Listen, have you ever wondered what your master has been pushing you towards?
To be the best!
Right, but why?
It was worth a try. Listen, there are three fragments of your amulet. In the course of finding them, you will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
...Heavens help us all.
Man, my power is just un-freakin'-stoppable. Now, let's find this fragment and... Dude, what's a little kid doing out here? It's not safe, you can tell by the piles of...mangled...corpses surrounding her.
Wild Flower: MAIM! KILL! BURN!
Oh, what the hell.
MINION OF THE LOTUS ASSASSINS! YOU PRIED THE FRAGMENT FROM MY SAFE-KEEPING ONCE! I WILL REVENGE MYSELF FOR THAT HUMLIATION.
Seriously, I'm not a Lotus Assas—
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
Okay, knock it off! KER-PWN!
OW! YOU WILL SUFFER FOR ALL ETER—hey, mister! You met Chai Ka!
...girl, you need to do some explaining.
Chai Ka is a good demon who lives inside me! We were supposed to guard an amulet... Hey, that was for you!
You don't have it?
No, one of the Lotus Assassins stole it from Chai Ka!
I'll bet they took it to Gao's base up north. Damn!
Chai Ka says I should follow you! The Heavens sent us to aid you.
Sure, so long as you stay in front of me at all times. Just let me work these dam controls...
Gettin' some to-night. C'mon, little crazy girl.
Back at Tien's Landing, Ming reunites with his comrades...
Zu, good to see you back, man!
The police were very understanding once I explained the whole situation to them.
Aww, aren't you just an adorable little girl!
SANITY IS FOR THE WEAK.
She's actually pretty fun to be around.
I talked to the minister, and he said that he might be able to help us get a wind map if we solve the mystery of the sickening forest to the south.
Great! Dawn Star, let's go. Zu, you stay here with Wild Flower. ...Don't turn your back on her.
Do you feel that? There's a foul presence in this forest... Something evil is here.
Can't be, we left Wild Flower back at camp.
Lord Yun: Hello! You look like capable people. Something is wrong with Forest Shadow, and we don't know what.
We'll fix it in exchange for a copy of a wind map.
It would be dangerous to cross the Lotus Assassins by helping you like this...but no one likes them.
Great! We'll be back in no time.
Keep an eye out for Spear Catches Leaf! I sent him ahead on the same mission.
This is great, Dawn Star. We'll have the map in no time.
Right, I'm sure nothing could go wro—
Messenger: Oh, thank goodness! You must come quickly to the inn! We need help!
We're...we're under siege, by Forest Shadow and her minions! You must help us!
Ming, why don't you go with him and I'll head back and get the others?
NO! I mean...we really need both of you to help, right now.
Makes sense to me.
This is such a trap.
Great! The inn is back th—
Forest Shadow: *PETRIFIES*
Whoa, hang on now...
...shit. Okay, nice fox lady...good fox lady...
Looks like this fox spirit really is attacking the inn. We'd better get there and help.
Soon, at the Pilgrim's Rest Inn...
Innkeeper: Welcome! It's good to see two travelers with so much meat on their bones!
I trust you mean that positively.
Oh, I do. Please, make yourself at home. Visit our cook, Hou, if you need anything.
Sounds good! Maybe he has some brewskis.
Henpecked Hou: Hello there! How can I help you?
Got any Natty Ice?
Me? That's not the sort of thing the folks here drink. Can I offer you anything to eat? The rice balls are very popular among travelers.
...why are you talking funny?
For pity's sake, Ming, he's saying that this place is run by cannibals. Maybe Forest Shadow is on to something.
No way! These are upstanding people!
It's true. We've devoted ourselves to a demon called The Mother, and she grants us power.
So, you work for The Mother?
Which would make you her Children?
The parallels to Dragon Age: Awakenings aren't lost on us either, but Jade Empire did come first.
And you eat people?
That's the best part! In fact, we were all just getting a bit peckish...
Oh, thank goodness! They were only keeping me around to help lure travelers.
Why did you come here in the first place?
I was escaping my utter shrew of a wife! She badgers me constantly, I just had to get away. Unfortunately, this wasn't much better. You mentioned beer before, didn't you?
Well, you're in luck! You're speaking to one of the only Drunken Masters left in the Jade Empire!
What happened to the rest?
Cirrhosis of the liver. Anyway, I'd be happy to train you in this form.
Dawn Star, head back to camp and tell them we've found this revered master! He and I will solve the mystery of the sickened forest!
Ming and Hou travel deeper into the woods...
...the trick is to ride the line of blacking out. You don't feel the pain of being pummeled, and are intoxicated enough to be completely unpredictable!
Once you've mastered the basics, we'll move on to "Hair of the Dog" techniques... Do you hear screaming?
Black Whirlwind: You have evolved from worm to man, but much within you is still worm!
Spear Catches Leaf: Whirlwind, you don't have to kill them if they're running.
Hey, Lord Yun sent us to help you out. I'm Furious Ming—
Unpleasant, even dangerous, qualities can be found in every nation and every individual.
Hey, man, no need to get on my case...
Man is something that shall be overcome. RAAAGH!
Dude, what the hell is your problem?
Benefiting and hurting others are ways of exercising one's power upon others; that is all one desires in such cases.
You'll have to forgive my comrade. He's had a rough few months, and, well...
One must have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.
Right. Well, what's going on?
I was just figuring out this light puzzle, and it looks like it opens a portal to Heaven. Can you go in and talk to Forest Shadow?
No problem. I still need to show Forest Shadow who's in charge after she turned me into stone.
One has attained to mastery when one neither goes wrong nor hesitates in the performance.
...if you want to come along, that's cool, brah.
Ming and Black Whirlwind step through the portal, into a realm of sunlight and joy and...
Whoa. I think I'm in love, and I'm not entirely sure that's okay.
There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
You're not going to tell people I'm a furry, are you?
What are man's truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors.
Tell me about it.
Fox Spirit: Forest Shadow awaits you above.
...would you mind leading the way?
You've arrived. Are you prepared to play catspaw?
Not sure what you mean there.
The Mother is an ancient demon poisoning the forest. I must ask that you destroy her so that I may restore balance, though I don't expect you to truly understand how or why.
All troubles flow from entities acting outside their station. The Mother, and our true enemy. I fear that he needs you to succeed in order to prevail...and if he prevails, you will lose.
Does anyone ever talk to make sense?
Mother. Dead. Go.
Abruptly, Ming and Black Whirlwind find themselves back at the Pilgrim's Rest Inn, along with Hou.
The cannibals talked a lot about caves beneath the inn.
Safe bet the Mother's down there.
Yeah! Now it's just us versus...several dozen cannibals and...and...wow.
Is that the Mother? She's terrible!
Terribleness is part of greatness: let us not deceive ourselves.
Ain't nothin' greater than Ming!
The Mother: Raaagh!
She's really tough! Try knocking down the pillars around her!
No way, I can OW totally take her!
OW I've OW got OW this OW! ...okay, fine.
Oh, shit! This isn't the end of Dragon Age, it's the end of Neverwinter Nights 2! Run! Run!
Great job! With the Mother dead, Forest Shadow can start regrowing the forest. Here's your wind map!
Just so we're all clear: I took out the ceiling to make for a more dramatic fight, not 'cause I was losing or anything.
Soon after, Ming and Hou reach Gao's pirate camp up river...
Okay, I see pirates, more pirates, dead pirates, even more pirates...waitaminute.
Pirate: You there! Dashing rogue! Stop where you are!
Sky: Back, you terrible slaving fiend! Or else my new friends and I will kill you and your master, instead of just your master!
Pirates will never beat ninjas!
Not bad, man. You've got some pretty sweet moves there, but it was almost like there was some flaw I couldn't quite see.
Flawed? Me? No way. I'm Furious Ming. I'm out hunting for my master, and generally living the brohemian lifestyle.
Nice, man. I'm here to reap harsh vengeance against Gao, whose pirates murdered my daughter.
I remember you! We met on the road from Tien's Landing!
Yeah, you're the lady with the smokin' hot daughter! Where's she?
Gao's men took her to the slave breaker! They're going to sell her!
There is no bottom to Gao's depravity!
Dude. Slavery isn't cool at all. Let's go.
You go ahead. I need to find Gao.
Buyer: You've got quite a mouth on you, girl. They'll need to fix that before I pay money for you!
This is my big chance, Hou! Hit me with a case of Natty!
Slaver: You there! Show yourselves!
You guys...you guys are soooo done for.
I've never seen a man so drunk still standing!
Guards! Kill him!
Guard: We can't hit him! He's too drunkenly unpredictable!
I have money! Don't kill me!
Who's broken now, bitch?
Hic! You've got some great moves, girl. How about you and me go find a quiet corner?
You're the man we met on the road out of town!
Yup! Opened the dam n' everything. How do you feel about freaky stuff?
I do really like freaky stuff...but I save that for my husband. I'm married!
I'm going to find my mother! Thanks again!
Always the good ones, Hou...they're always taken.
Well, you can't win them all. Can I do anything for you?
Got any more Natty?
Staving off a hangover with yet more beer, Ming and Hou make their way farther up the complex...
Hold up, I hear voices in that building ahead.
Lim: What is thy bidding, my master?
Jia: Lim! Why have you failed to return to the Imperial City with the amulet fragment?
Gao has failed to provide me with a flier that can make the trip!
Gao the Greater: My inventor has failed to finish building it!
Kang the Mad: Nonsense! I finished it days ago. I've been spending all my time since then sabotaging it.
Whatever. Get out here by tomorrow, or else.
How dare you try to pin your shortcomings on me!
Whatever, your son's dead.
Yes, I will take that flier to the Imperial City, but there I will present the fragment to Death's Hand himself. Jia will look like a fool, and I will become the sub-boss!
Hey, asshole. I think that fragment's mine.
Ah, the thorn in my master's side. When I remove you—
You! Murderer of my son!
I can't believe I missed the chance to kill Gao! At least I can get his chief designer instead!
Hold on now! Look at my character portrait! I'm clearly a party member!
He's right, dude.
Now that Gao is dead, I can finally unveil my greatest invention: the Marvelous Dragonfly! It's my gift to you, assuming that you don't kill me. In that event you'd just be stealing.
Back to Tien's Landing!
With Kang's help, they fly through the entire gauntlet on a single quarter.
Are you sure we're all going to fit in that thing? There's, like, six of us.
Seven! I'll be coming, too!
And who are you?
I'm Kang! Kang the Mad, they call me. Technically, they're correct, though I would term myself 'perpetually perturbed.'
Never heard of you.
Ah, but I'm sure you've heard of my greatest invention: the Adjective Noun!
No way! That's you?
Mmm-hmm. The royalties alone have kept me living comfortably for twenty years!
You can't be making that much money just from things being named with a preceding descriptive word!
Furious Ming, Dawn Star, Sagacious Zu, Wild Flower, Black Whirlwind...
Why, this scene alone has made me five silver!
I'm glad to have you on board, Kang. All right people, listen up! We've got our flier, we've got our map! Let's head to the Imperial City and free Master Li!
Black Whirlwind would like to thank Friedrich Nietzsche.
Silk Fox reveals her Station,
And the Lotus Assassins prove that 'elite' is a relative term.
Aboard the Marvelous Dragonfly...
So, Ming, I wanted to talk to you about something.
It's about your back tattoos.
Aren't they hardcore? They say "Furious Ming" in Tho Fan over a wicked looking Chinese dragon. Chicks fuckin' dig them.
Right, but...can you read Tho Fan?
No way, dude. Like most of the people in this game, I only speak English. I can read the subtitles when other people speak Tho Fan though. Does that count?
It's just that your tattoos don't say what you think. It's not "furious," it's "frivolous."
...no way, brah.
I can't believe it! Those Tho Fan guys have been making fun of me this whole time!
I had thought maybe you were just being ironic.
Good news, everyone! We've almost reached the Imperial City, and I believe we might land without crashing!
The Dragonfly sets down, and Ming steps out into the Imperial City...
Guard 1: Hold it! By order of the Lotus Assassins, we're detaining everyone with your des...why are you wearing a polo shirt with a popped collar?
Look, it's just...my tattoos...I don't want to go into it.
Guard 2: It looks really douche-y.
Sun Lian: Gentlemen! What is this disturbance in the way of my afternoon walk?
Billionare socialite Princess Sun Lian! Please forgive us!
The Lotus Assassins instructed us to detain and question any men with dark hair in connection to the attack on Two Rivers!
Clearly this man is not the man you seek. Move along.
Wow, thanks a lot for getting rid of those guards. I'll totally get your back next time.
I don't know what you could offer a princess, but I think that from our previous meeting, you and I may still be able to help each other...
I'm pretty sure we haven't met before. I'd remember a rack like that. Seriously, we're talking a seven, maybe an eight.
Hey, Ming, we got the flier stowed away, but Black Whirlwind and Wild Flower started arguing about whether God is dead or just "sitting on the skull throne," and now Wild Flower's trying to gnaw the...oh, wow.
I see that one of your party knows how to properly show respect to one of my position.
Dawn Star, this is Sun Lian, princess of—
Look at her upside down.
What do you mean? Waitaminute...holy shit!
I see you remember our previous encounter now. Dawn Star, your gaze is lingering.
I'm going to make a quick change of clothing, then I think we should reconvene in the Scholar's Garden. We have much to discuss.
Yeah, sure. I'll catch you...later? Man, she moves fast even in formal clothes.
I am coming with you.
Okay, geez, you don't need to grab my arm like that.
Ming and Dawn Star enter the Imperial City proper and are shocked by the majesty of the ancient, venerable capital of the Jade Empire...
They've got all sorts of honeys here!
Ming, for pity's sake, we're in public. Un-pop your damn collar.
Lotus Assassin: All citizens are to be on the lookout for the Scourge of the South! This man and his companions have defied the will of the Emperor time and again! He was present at the destruction of Two Rivers! He has stolen several of the Empire's fliers! He is responsible for the murder of businessman Gao and his son!
Oh, shit, they're on to me!
He's six foot eight and weighs a ton! He kills for fun! He'll kick you apart! He killed his sensei in a duel and never said why!
I think you're all right.
He has, like, thirty goddamn...you know what? Forget it. I give up.
There's the garden there, but I don't see—
Looking for me?
We don't have much time. Death's Hand brought your Master Li to the Imperial Palace in chains. I fear that Death's Hand is tightening his grasp on the Empire, and that he has turned my father against his own best interests. Our goals coincide: in order to free your Master Li, we must kill Death's Hand. If we kill Death's Hand, your master goes free.
I would think you would have more concern for Master Li! He's Sun Li, brother to the Emperor and your uncle!
I didn't know that...but it would explain how my father treats him. Regardless, I'm impressed...few have the courage to stand up to me. That's the second time you have.
Are you blushing?
You must infiltrate the Lotus Assassins in order to get close to Death's Hand and your Master Li. You can join by catching the eye of the Lotus recruiter at the Imperial arena, and—
What the hell was that?
Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard: I'll bring civility to you slant-eyed barbarians if it's the last thing I do!
Where the hell did you come from?
A land of peace and civility. Where things are reasonable and make sense!
You know, he actually makes some things make sense.
I always thought the Jade Empire was a mash-up of Asian stereotypes, like BioWare either couldn't tell the cultures apart, or didn't think the differences mattered, so they just threw a bunch of stuff together and slapped a "mystic past" label on it.
My dear girl, what could that possibly have to do with anything?
You're the same way! You're dressed as a conquistador, but you're voiced by John freakin' Cleese. BioWare's staffed by a bunch of Canadians, and they can't tell you guys apart either! I don't know if they're racists, but they're definitely idiots!
I...I...your reasoning is unassailable. I must return to my home country—whether that's England or Spain, I'm no longer certain—to think about this. Here, girl: I leave Mirabelle as a gift to you.
Doesn't this thing explode people?
It's a truly civilized weapon.
...would you like to use it, Silk Fox?
I don't like guns.
Great. As I was saying, we need to get you noticed. Go to the arena and make a name for yourself!
Soon after, in the Imperial Arena...
Are you sure? You looked like you wanted to say something.
I guess a princess like you must have a really busy social calendar.
There's always someone seeking to curry favor with the Royal Court.
Lots of men competing for your hand, I bet.
Many who would try. For the moment, however, I'm a confirmed bachelorette.
But I fear that Death's Hand may attempt to place himself in the line of royal succession, either by violence, or worse...by marriage.
That would be horrible!
Hey, ladies! I talked to the promoter and he's totally on board with me coming in to the ring. Then I talked with the evil looking Lotus Assassin guy, and he said that he'd consider taking me on if I did really well.
Qui: You're up! We're putting you up against four students from a local school, do you think you can handle it?
...not a problem.
Student: Uh, guys? Is that a gun?
Three hours, several dozen headshots, and two division championships later...
Lotus Recruiter: Your skills are quite impressive. I feel that you could serve the Assassins well. Report to our fortress on the far side of the Necropolis.
Who the hell puts their base in a giant graveyard full of the undead?
People who believe that if you can't deal with some ghosts, you don't deserve to join up. If you don't die, we'll talk again.
Ming returns to camp, to offer the brave souls an opportunity to volunteer for the horrendously dangerous task of infiltrating the Lotus Assassin fortress...
EVEN A WARPED MIND CAN SEE THE ODDS STACKED AGAINST IT.
You guys are crazy! Come on, everything we've faced...how bad could it be?
Madness is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups.
The mountainous juggernaut of existential rage is right! Why, if the Lotus Assassins were to capture us, they would torture us relentlessly!
Actually, that's just what they'll do if we come in as recruits.
And just how do you know so much, "Sagacious" Zu?
It is true that there was a time when I worked for the Lotus Assassins, but...
How do we know you aren't working for them still?
It is no lie to say that the path ahead is fraught with peril. The Lotus Assassins are Death's Hand's beasts, and his is a power that cannot be understood or bested.
Which does little to refute my point! For all we know, you're reporting our movements to Death's Hand!
Hey, cut it out. Zu's fought alongside us, and I think we can trust him. At least he isn't afraid to show his face with us.
I travel with you at great risk to myself and my family! Not that I expect any of you orphan curs to understand devotion to one's relations!
That's just low, princess. Perhaps it is you who doesn't understand the bindings of loyalty and...friendship...and...that's odd. Something's missing.
Are you sensing something from the spirit world?
No, it's that...this is the first time in days I haven't felt someone watching me all the time. Where's Zu?
Of course. With his cover blown, he slinks back to his masters.
All right, we're moving out. This volunteering thing isn't working, so I'm just taking Silk Fox 'cause she's the bitchiest.
Ming and Silk Fox make their way through the necropolis to the Lotus Assassins' remarkably undefended fortress. In the catacombs below...
Watcher: Ah, the new recruit and his servant.
I am no one's ser—
Yup, that's me. Me and my servant are here to start as Lotus Assassins.
Don't get ahead of yourself. Right now you're barely an acolyte. The Assassins are becoming the major power in the Empire, and soon our armies of golems will secure our position!
Death's Hand seeks to overthrow my father with these soulless automatons!
What was that?
Uh...surely these soulless golems couldn't replace the feared Lotus Assassins?
'Soulless' isn't quite accurate. In the meantime, you will go to your new master, Gang. He's down the main hall, on the right. Get moving.
Dude, you are going to get us killed if you keep mouthing off. You're not a princess here and you're not Batman.
Fine, I'll just be Matches Malone. No one will notice me.
I'm not sure how those two things go together at all.
You know, I feel like we're wandering into a trope here. I mean, look at us. We're brazenly walking into the fortress of murderously evil bad guys by posing as recruits. Where have we seen this before?
I don't know what you do on your weekends, but I've never seen this before. Here's a room, Gang must be inside...
Lotus Acolyte: Yes, mistress!
Where does your strength come from?
Lotus Thug 1: Oh, look, a new recruit. As if it isn't bad enough that our position is lessened by the damned golems, now someone else seeks to compete for the scraps of recognition left?
Lotus Thug 2: Damn golems...takin' our jobs...takin' our women.
You didn't hear about Ling and the Jade Golem? Oh, never mind. I'm so depressed.
I could stand to hear a bit more.
Weren't you two engaged?
Gang: Recruit! Get over here.
Uh, yes, sir. What can I do for you? Sir?
If I'm stuck training you, I'm certainly going to put you to use. Production on the Jade Golem has fallen behind, but you're going to put it back on track. We need a soul to fuel the golem, and you're going to get it. I also have a less...official task for you. Were my master Shin to suffer a humiliating death...or just a death...I would advance. And I would favor any who aided me in that.
You want me to kill Shin?
Nothing so obvious. I want you to contrive a series of bizarre coincidences that lead to Shin's death in a way that can't be tied back to me. Now, get moving.
Okay, well, how should we do this? If we're going to assassinate Shin, we're going to need to get rid of his bodyguards first...find a whole bunch of ways to clear the hall of witnesses...prevent the coming shipment of slaves to lure Shin out...get rid of the guy guarding the golem press so we can use it to make our "accident," then get some sort of evil soul so we can make a corrupted soul shard.
I've got a better idea.
Ah! Where did you come from?
I know the ways of this fortress. Listen, why are you planning to help Gang?
Well...I mean, if I help him, he'll help us meet Inquisitor Jia the Sub-boss, and then we can kill her to get the last amulet fragment!
Are you forgetting who you are?
I'm Furious Ming!
Does Furious Ming take orders from Lotus Assassins?
Go show the Lotus Assassins who's boss!
Twenty minutes later, Ming and the Lotus Assassins have resolved their differences. Only Ming survives.
So what's the deal, Zu? No one leaves the Lotus Assassins, but here you are claiming to have done just that.
There was a time in the Lotus Assassins where there was...room for duty and justice. As Death's Hand grew in power, there was only loyalty to Death's Hand. I was ordered to murder Sun Li's family for his betrayal of the Emperor. It was not an order that I could...completely abide by.
How noble of you, to not completely abide the order to murder my uncle's family.
...would it help if I said I was sorry?
All right, the Assassins and golems here won't be any more trouble. Let's move on to...
What the hell?
I leave this place for a relaxing pedicure and just look at this!
We're here to stop Death's Hand from seizing power from the Emperor!
And to rescue Master Li.
Foolish girl. The Lotus Assassins exist to venerate the Emperor! That Death's Hand draws the attention of idiot adventures like you serves to protect the Emperor and further his goals.
You'll see the truth when Death's Hand brings you to the Emperor in chains.
Like hell! GANK!
My only regret...is that I have only one life...to give for my Emperor. ACK!
Hah! Nobody beats Furious Ming! And she's got the last piece of my amulet!
Death's Hand: PWN!
OW! Holy shit!
Silk Fox, take Ming and escape. You cannot hope to defeat Death's Hand.
What the hell are you going to do?
What I should have done long ago. Run! And tell Dawn Star...tell her that I am glad I could not completely abide that order.
Back at the flier, Ming and Silk Fox recount the events in the Lotus Assassin fortress...
So, Zu is...he's dead?
I tire of this useless discussion! These accusations against my father need to be addressed immediately! Kang, get the flier ready.
You treat everyone as tools! Our friend died to help you escape and you can't even take a moment to think of him!
I am a princess, peasant. The implication that my father is involved with Death's Hand rather than being undermined by him affects the entire Jade Empire! Kang, where is my flier?
Hey, who's the player character here, me or you?
Under new leadership, the flier lifts off, headed for a showdown at the Imperial Palace...
An Emperor is met in Battle,
And the Twist Occurs.
Marked by Silk Fox's royal banners, the Dragonfly reaches the Imperial Palace.
All right, there's going to be Lotus Assassins stationed between us and the Emperor. Let's get in there fast and hit them befo—urk!
This is my city. We do things my way.
Ming and Sky in front. Clear the path ahead but no killing. These are my servants. Dawn Star, Hou...try to keep Whirlwind and Wild Flower contained.
I hear voices up ahead!
Emperor Sun Hai: You're completely at my mercy, Li. I need the amulet to control the Water Dragon's power. Cease these delays!
I did exactly what you would have done had the situation been reversed...assuming you were smart enough.
You have nothing to gain by taunting me. Where is the amulet?
Your rain of terror is over, Emperor Sun!
What is this affront? Lian, who are these people? And I thought I told you not to wear that ridiculous costume in the house!
No buts! I didn't raise you to prance around in a Halloween costume!
You're going down, Emperor, for betraying your citizens in Two Rivers and kidnapping Master Li!
How could you ally with pirates, ghosts, and robots against ninjas? It's ninjas who made the Jade Empire what it is!
FOOLS! Your petty minds couldn't possibly understand. The Great Drought crippled the Empire! As Emperor I could not allow that to happen. I challenged the Gods themselves in order to save my Empire, and this is my thanks? I saved the Empire, and my legions of Lotus Assassins and golems will ensure our supremacy for the next thousand years!
It...it's true? You ordered the destruction of Dirge, and the slaying of the Water Dragon? The Lotus Assassins are your minions?
You judge me? NONE CAN JUDGE ME! I have supplanted the great Water Dragon! I am God-Emperor of the Jade Empire!
I would only believe in a God who knows how to dance!
And dance I shall...on your graves! PWN!
Your magic put everyone down but me! It's 'cause I'm too damn awesome.
It's because you're a spirit monk.
An awesome spirit monk.
You might want to pay attention to Sun Hai.
Whatever, I can take some old guy...
No...oh, no...my parents are dead!
FOOL! You need to learn your place in the order of things!
Big words coming from a guy who usurped a God! I'm going to finish you and let the spirits of the dead finally move on! PWN!
OW! Ah...I begin to understand. Genius, Li. That your machinations could be so far-reaching...
Save the monologue-ing. GANK!
Very good, my student. I knew I could trust you.
Master Li! It's been an incredible journey, just like those martial arts movies I watched in Two Rivers! I've traveled to so many places and learned so much! I got a bitchin' rifle! Stopped the evil Emperor and rescued my master! I can't tell you how many challenges I overcame to get here!
Ah, Ming. I knew you would be relentless in pursuing your goal. You have made me proud. And I'm glad to see that you have remembered even the most fundamental of my lessons...even the flaws.
Flaws? Ha, ha! Good one!
What—?! Master! ACK!
My rivals removed, my tools neatly put away, I finally claim the throne as Emperor Li. The plot initiated before the Fall of Dirge has finally come to fruition. It has been...a glorious strategy.
Our hero collapses next to the body of Emperor Sun as Master Li takes the throne. The screen fades to black. Game over, man! Game over!
True History is Revealed,
And Ming becomes more Powerful than you could Possibly Imagine.
Ming awakens in the bizarre land beyond death...
...well, I just did not see that coming at all.
Glad you could finally make it.
What the hell is going on? One minute I'm basking in my victory and the next Master Li hits me with the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique and I'm freakin' dead.
Okay. Do you remember when I told you that your enemy needed you to win in order for him to win? And that if he won, you'd lose?
Kinda, yeah...I figured you were just being a ghost. All cryptic-like.
And when I asked about why your master was pushing you?
To be the best! To over throw the Emperor! To...to...
Come on, you're so close...
Dude. Master Li set me up! He set this whole mess up!
How could he do that?! To me!
Today saw the culmination of more than twenty years of planning. It's true that Sun Hai ordered the assault on Dirge and the Spirit Monks, but Sun Li had no intention of allowing his brother to rule. So he plotted to use you, the last of the Spirit Monks, as an instrument to depose his brother, and along the way collect all the fragments of the amulet. Once he had that, he could steal my power far more efficiently than Sun Hai had. Even now he is well on his way to godhood.
So, we're fucked. You just used a lot of words to say that we're fucked.
There is hope yet, and as the last Spirit Monk you have a role to play. In the moments between Sun Hai's death and Sun Li's betrayal, I was able to steal back a measure of my power. If you can retake the temple of Dirge as it exists in the hereafter, I will be able to seize more power...and bring you to life.
Would you wake me up inside?
This is serious.
Sorry. Nobody likes Evanescence anyway.
Go find Abbot Song and restart the fountains. I will aid you as I can.
Ming travels deeper into the spirit world, while back in reality Dawn Star receives a very rude awakening...
Ugh...what hit me?
I did, my dear.
Indeed. You'll notice the rest of your rabble are rousing, too.
So, you wanted us to see our deaths coming, is that it?
Hardly. Even as we speak, I am carving a place for myself in the Celestial Order. A group of vagrants such as yourselves don't concern me in any way.
The throne is mine by right of succession, Li! This is an assault on the order of things!
The order of things wasn't working for me. I molded it to my will. Now, I am unto a God.
What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?
You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.
You think you are the only one familiar with German philosophers? Feh. I tire of you all. Flee now; count yourselves lucky to be leaving with your lives.
We'll be back. We will!
Dear niece, without your precious Spirit Monk you are of absolutely no concern to me.
The party makes haste away from the palace, eventually landing in Forest Shadow's great woods...
What the hell just happened?
From the looks of things, Ming beat the Emperor, and then his master killed him. Weren't we supposed to be rescuing his master?
It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world.
Master Li saw an opportunity for power and he seized it. But I never believed that he could be so vicious...!
This was hardly a spur of the moment decision! Look at how perfectly all the pieces he needed fell into his lap!
Princess? Are you...?
My parents are dead.
My PARENTS are DEAD!
...and she disappears. Great.
Look, we need a plan. We're hidden for now, but we need...we need to go to Dirge. I just know. Get the flier ready, I'll go look for Silk Fox.
In the hereafter, Ming finds Abbot Song...
Abbot Song: ...and so it was Sun Li's machinations that overcame the defenses of Dirge. But when his plan didn't work perfectly, he murdered your protector and stole you to launch another plan to overthrow his brother's rule.
Cool story, bro. All right, that's the last of the seals...
One step remains. You must remove the elemental evil from my temple.
But, mistress! I only have Fourth Edition characters prepared!
...nerd. Seriously, were all Spirit Monks like this?
There's not much else to do here in Dirge. Besides, it's not that different from your xBox.
Gentlemen. This evil is an aberration, caused by Sun Hai's disruption of the natural order.
What kind of aberration? An Umber hulk? A Beholder?
The kind that'll hit you in the damn brain if you don't shut up!
Abbot Song, why don't you go rally the Spirit Monk ghosts and prepare for Ming's success?
Thank you, my lady! I will do this. Ming, I offer you the traditional Spirit Monk blessing: May you always roll natural twenties.
...thanks, man. You, too. I think.
At the remains of the Lotus Assassin fortress...
The amulet grants me greater access to the Water Dragon's power that my idiot brother ever thought possible. Through its power, the Empire will become the model of efficiency it always should have been. But it is hardly efficient to leave useful tools behind. Death's Hand!
I have use for you.
Please...brother...let me free. If you truly have the Water Dragon's power, use it to send me to the hereafter.
And why would I do that, Sun Kin? You've always served me well, taking our brother's wrath while I escaped. Our brother bound you to that armor as punishment, and you've proved yourself too useful to be let go.
What...what would you have me do?
My former student is making a nuisance of himself. It is only a matter of time before he finds a way back to life, and from there he will come find me. He will re-emerge at Dirge. You will go back there with the Imperial Army behind you, and make certain that Ming's return to the living is as brief as possible.
It will be...as you command.
In the forest, Dawn Star follows the trail of broken pirates, bandits, and would-be muggers...
Silk Fox? Are you—
Can you really talk to the dead?
Ming treats you like you're crazy, but you believe. Can you speak with the dead?
Yes, I can.
I would ask that you speak to my father for me.
It's not like that; if the spirit isn't...isn't...yes, I hear you.
Is it him?
He followed us here.
Ask him why he did this. Why he brought the Empire to such corruption!
I don't think you want to hear it.
He says that he was looking ahead. That he knew the Empire would persist through his lifetime, but certainly not through yours. He...he sought to preserve your reign. To save you from the Drought. He also...
What? What did he say?
He also says that he misses his Lily.
...I miss you too, Daddy.
...he's moved on.
Thank you, Dawn Star. I...thank you.
I didn't know princesses were expected to thank their tools.
Perhaps you are helping me to understand the...what did you say? Bindings of loyalty. Of friendship. Of...
I have to go.
In the hereafter, Ming enters the Temple of the Water Dragon to the sound of evil laughter...
All right, what's it gonna be? Giant animal demons? Golems? Or just the classic horde of angry ghosts?
Fire: Nothing so mundane.
Melee: There's a certain irony in killing a man with his own possibilities.
Ice: You scoffed at idea of magic before, but now...now you'll understand true power.
We're better than you in every way.
What do you have, muscles and the ability to down an entire keg of cheap beer?
That won't help you here.
Wow. Three of you, and you've got all sorts of magic. All I've got here is my incredible martial arts skills, and...
Oh, right, a freakin' gun. GANK!
Is this some kind of commentary on how human achievement and innovation can defy even the most fundamental elements of the unive—ACK!
Oh, bother. ACK!
Even when I'm dead, I'm still the best.
Well done, Spirit Monk. My temple is cleansed, and I have regained part of my power. Sun Li is still draining what I have, however. You must destroy my mortal body and allow me to rejoin the cycle.
Shouldn't be a problem at all.
Then live. Live again, last of the Spirit Monks.
...please, just kill me.
The Water Dragon's last words are lost on Ming as the hereafter fades away around him...
Dirge is under Siege once more,
And Ming suffers a Sapphic miss.
Ming awakens on the cold floor of the Dirge Temple, humbled by his experiences...
AH! Where did you come from?
It's good to be back, people. We've got an empire to overthrow...again.
Good luck with that! The Imperial Army is bearing down on us, and I don't think Dirge will survive this siege any better than the last one!
Master Li moved quickly. He's gained command of the entire Empire! The Heavens reel at his continued abuse. That a man would step so far beyond his station...!
Master Li will get what's coming to him, I promise. In the meantime, we need to be ready to stop the army. Black Whirlwind, go pick a good spot to kill at. Kang, scout the army from your flier.
I'll scout ahead on foot!
Good idea! Everybody, get to it! ...Silk Fox? How are you doing? I mean...your dad...
It's been...it's been hard. Dawn Star...we consoled each other. She and I started talking. We got to know each other better.
We learned a few things, I think. About ourselves.
Waitaminute...are you...I mean...ladies, I'm glad you've come to me, 'cause there's no way any one woman can...can...
I never imagined that I would love someone like you.
Hey, wait, I'm over here.
Neither did I.
Your tent or mine?
Which is closest?
But...but...not only do I not get both, I don't get either?
The greatest weight. What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!" Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?
You know what? I'd be all right with that. Because...Dawn Star's happy. And in the end...I'm still Furious Ming. I'm still awesome.
Ming retires to his tent alone—and surprises himself with how chill he is about it—and soon falls into a fitful sleep...
...oh, shit, I'm back in Two Rivers.
Welcome, my student. Two Rivers is much as you left it: flaming, and littered with the corpses of dead students. Have you come to revisit the ashes of your failings?
My failing? It was your stupid plan that lured the Lotus Assassins to Two Rivers and got Lin killed! She was an angel, and we were going to spend the rest of our lives together as ridiculously handsome athlete and cheerleader!
Really? I needed someone to fill the role of "love interest to be put in a refrigerator in order to give you the motivation to go out and fight who I wanted you to," but it's quite a stretch to suggest that she was an angel.
You don't know her like I did!
Of course I did! Just like absolutely everything else in Two Rivers, I created her as something to help motivate you. You wouldn't have cared if an angel had died, because you only care about girls who like to do Jell-O shots until they're bisexual. So I bought a lot of Jell-O, and I made sure Lin found all of it. It was...a glorious strategy.
Then how is her death my fault?
She died to motivate you, my student. If you weren't around, that motivation wouldn't have been necessary.
You're awful quick to avoid responsibility for your actions.
Gods are not burdened with such trivialities. But you...you have an entire legion to worry about! Wake up, my student. Wake up and die.
Ming? You'd better get moving, the army is on the march.
I'm up, I'm up. Wake everyone else.
...I don't think I slept more than an hour.
Aren't you cold?
Bad news...the army is coming, and they're led by siege golems.
If there's a narrow spot on the path, perhaps we could blow it up and slow their advance!
Sounds good. Dawn Star, cover Kang while he sets up his explosives.
I'm going with.
Fine, whatever. Everyone else...spread out. Just because we stop them on the ground doesn't mean they won't come by air.
Our cause is righteous! They will not stand against our rage!
Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter. And axes!
The army crashes against the defenses of Dirge, and grinds to a halt as Kang destroys the main bridge.
Looks like Black Whirlwind and Wild Flower are mopping up the last of the airborne Lotus Assassins. ...Dawn Star, how's Silk Fox? Really?
She's still troubled by what happened in the palace. She...
MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!
Lotus Assassin: Please stop hitting me!
...mostly just keeps screaming and beating people up.
Could be worse. Why the hell is that bell gonging? I didn't order any gonging.
Okay, hear me out before you kick my ass.
This better be good.
Death's Hand caught me while I was scouting. He said he could resurrect my daughter if I helped him!
And you agreed?!
Hell, no! I can only imagine that any resurrection carried out by the Lotus Assassins would be horrible. But I played along to lure out Death's Hand.
And you didn't tell me because...?
What if someone else in the group had been turned?
Dude, our group is either too loyal or too psychotic to betray me.
It matters not. Emperor Sun Li has commanded your death, and so you will—
Most impressive, my student.
Are you only willing to talk to me while hiding behind dreams and images?
I'm busy bringing order to the Empire. But the spirit trapped in the Death's Hand's armor cannot be stopped. Arise!
You can't use spirits against me! I'm a Spirit Monk!
Yeah, that helped the last couple hundred Spirit Monks I killed. You are so short-sighted, my former student.
You were a perfectly crafted weapon. Why do you think I trained you to the pinnacle of martial ability and had you watch nothing but martial arts movies your entire life?
Because Bruce Lee is awesome!
Bruce Lee is awesome, but the point was that when I needed you to remove the Emperor for me, you already had the script in mind. Seriously! Your Master is kidnapped and your school, destroyed. What's the only thing you can possibly do?
Find my master! Seek vengeance!
And you did it so well. All told, it was...a glorious strategy.
You know what? I'm fucking sick of your glorious strategies. Death's Hand, what's your name? For real?
Great. You're sprung. See you in the afterlife.
Did you hear that? He said...'thank you.'
The golem army! They're falling to pieces!
You think you've won? I await you, my student. Come to the palace. Come and die.
You'll get yours!
Is everyone all right?
We're all right here. Well, except for Wild Flower. She's apparently trying to divine the future from the entrails of a Lotus Assassin. She is definitely not all right.
Ah, the Chaos Gods speak clearly now!
...I thought we knew Wild Flower was possessed by the demon when she was yelling. She's...she's talking normally now.
No, no, I think it's actually just the little girl who's playing jump rope with a man's large intestine.
This is it! We're heading back to the palace and I'm having a final confrontation with Master Li...for the last time.
A Master is finally Confronted,
And the Imperial City gains a Dynamic Duo.
The Dragonfly sets down at the Imperial Palace once again...
The entire palace must be filled with Lotus Assassins by now. No need to be nice, let's just get to the throne room and—
Hold, mortals. The power Sun Li has stolen must be denied him. You must understand the extent of what has gone on here.
I can take him—
For pity's sake, Ming, don't argue with a god.
Take the elevator to the lowest level and proceed down the tunnel. From there the truth is unavoidable.
The lowest level? But that area's been restricted as long as I've been alive!
Maybe there's a reason for that.
Kang, hit the switch. Let's go see what's on this lowest level.
We live in a world of cycles and rebirth. Emperor Sun was too proud to acknowledge that the Jade Empire must pass away so that something new can rise in its place. He fought the Drought by separating me from the great cycle. He let the waters flow.
Oh, no...this is...horrible. Twenty years like this, gutted and trapped between life and death?
To be dissected like this...
Ming? You...you're shaking.
...this ain't right. It just ain't right.
The water flowing from my body is the water that has sustained the Empire through its Drought. It hurts. It hurts more than you can imagine. I had to show you this...indignity, Ming. You must know the depth of the horror inflicted by Sun Li.
I hate to be the one to say it, but...if we do this, if we send the Water Dragon on and stop the flow of water...the drought will return. The Jade Empire will suffer again.
No empire is eternal. Yours will fade, Empress-to-be. Such is the way of things. The question is if you have the courage to meet this destiny with dignity...or with cowardice, as did your father and uncles. Kill me, please. Allow me to be reborn again. Bring me justice.
Master Li is mine, people. You make a mess of the Lotus Assassins. I'm going to end this.
In the throne room upstairs, Sun Li waits patiently for his student...
Ah, my student. I noticed that you have slain the Water Dragon...an inconsequential impediment to my gathering power. With the amulet, I continue to ascend.
I don't understand you, Li. I get that you wanted power more than anything, but about the people involved? What about Hui, who you left in Tien's Landing for twenty years? Or your family, who were killed because of your plotting? What about me? I worshiped you!
All of you were tools, little more. My family existed to further my goals in court politics. Hui existed to aid you in finding the amulet fragment, and you existed to eliminate my obstacles. You all performed your tasks marvelously and should be commended. I grow tired of your insolence, however. I've constructed a special corner of the realm of spirits just for you...ZAP.
Where...where am I? Bleak, ankle-deep water as far as the eye can see... Am I dead again? Is this hell? What did I do to deserve being sent to Waterworld? Any Costner movie would be better than this! Even The Postman!
It is here, in this pocket of reality, that you will remain encased in despair for the rest of your days. You've made quite a nuisance of yourself.
So alone...so horrible...
We believe in you, Ming!
You're the best ever, man! Come on!
Don't let this illusion get you down! You need to finish this guy off so you and me can get some brewskis!
Your companions are attempting to lend their spirits to bolster you? How pathetic. They will simply die here with you.
I guess I'm not as awesome as I thought...I'm sorry, guys...so sorry...
Remorse. Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second.
You're too awesome for such an undignified display!
Zu! But you're...but you're...
I lend to you my all. Break free of this malaise. I believe in you.
You freed yourself! Most unexpected. I see now that your intervention here is at the behest of the Celestial Bureaucracy, attempting to restore their order over mine. So be it. I will simply deal with you by more direct means.
I've learned a lot since you killed me.
But nothing of import. You've gone through this world without a rival. But in me, you face an opponent who holds a skill you've never countered.
Another 'glorious strategy'?
Endeth the lesson.
What now, indeed. No quips? No whitty rejoinders, 'brah'?
I've got nothing funny. We're down to brass tacks here. Simple truths. And do you want to know the simple truth?
What's that, child?
You can't spend as much time as I have playing Halo on the xBox without getting good at hitting speedfreaks.
...I'm proud of you.
It is done. Finally, it is done. Thank you, mortal.
If you want to thank me, how about you and me head back to my place and...and...no. Hold on.
Yes? Did you think of a more appropriate come-on for a deity?
You want to get coffee some time? I think that could be a lot of fun.
You do realize that the woman you see before you is only a projection? That my natural form is hundreds of feet long, and a dragon?
Yeah, well...if there's one thing I learned from the fox ladies in Heaven, it's that attraction goes beyond species. Yeah, I'm a furry.
Beaten, bruised, and weary, Ming emerges from the Imperial Palace to the cheers of the grateful citizens of the Jade Empire.
Hou's Wife: Hou! Where have you been all this time?!
Wait, this is your shrew of a wife? Hou, your wife is smoking!
I know! Isn't it horrible? Look at her beautiful face, hear her melodious voice! How could I possibly live up to these standards! I'm automatically the ugly one any time she's in the room!
It is not things, but opinions about things that have absolutely no existence which have so deranged mankind!
He's right! Sure your wife is hot, but that doesn't mean you're ugly. You have to like yourself before you can like someone else.
Hou...you're the most beautiful man I've ever known.
...oh, look, the common folk are learning to grow as people.
Oh, stop that.
What will you do now, Silk Fox?
I suppose that as Empress my time will be far more limited. If the Jade Empire truly is to begin its natural decline, I will have to work to make that decline as gentle as possible. I'm afraid I will have to...give up the Batman costume.
I don't know about that. Maybe I'll see if I can find a Robin costume, and we can spend some long, hot nights 'defending the Imperial City.'
You've certainly got the legs for it.
We're not talking about superheroing anymore, are we?
And what about you, Ming? I could use you as an advisor in my court.
Maybe someday. In the meantime, I've got a date with the Water Dragon. And after that...who knows. I go where ever the road takes me.
With that, Ming sets out from the Imperial City, looking to find—or, in the tradition of his former master, create—his destiny.