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The Golden Way isn't as important as the Imperial City's other two districts, but you will at least be passing through it a few times to reach the Scholars' Garden and The Necropolis. You'll also be coming here if you've decided to follow Henpecked Hou's advice of swapping Judge Fang's gift with Turtle Eggs, though this is only one of two ways you can handle the Lotus Inquisitor's mission.
1 - Arrival
After passing through the large doors in the southeast section of the Market District, you'll arrive in the Golden Way district.
2 - Incisive Chorus the Playwright
Incisive Chorus needs help from someone who is unaffected by the politics within the Imperial City. Apparently one of his productions has been touring the countryside and he's been asked to bring it to the Imperial City. However, someone has changed a key piece of his play, transforming it into a satire of the Empire. Incisive Chorus is worried that such a change could cause him embarassment and get him into trouble with the Lotus Assassins.
To make sure the play is performed properly, Incisive Chorus asks you to play the part of Lady Fourteen Flowers and read the original lines instead of what's penned in the "edited pile of dung." He then hands you Incisive Chorus' Original Script and tells you to go see First-Degree Thespian Fong near the pagoda on the eastern side of the Golden Way (area #14).
If you decided to follow the original script as Incisive Chorus instructed (and hit your lines correctly), he'll be ecstatic about your performance. You'll receive another 1500 silver pieces (in addition to what Phong gave you) and 1000 experience points. However, if you decided to read from the edited script (and hit your lines correctly), then Incisive Chrous will be angry with your "mangled" performance. No reward for you.
In the event that you read any lines incorrectly, then your overall reward will be diminished and you will most likely not receive any sort of alignment shift.
3 - Necropolis Guard
This guard will stop you before you can proceed into the Necropolis. He tells you that there are a lot of restless spirits within and that the Lotus Assassins want everyone kept away. I wonder why...
4 - Exit
Continue down this tunnel to reach The Necropolis.
5 - Jar
Smash this jar to uncover a random essence gem (such as an Inferior Warrior Gem or an Intimidation Gem).
6 - Beggar Song
This well-clothed beggar will ask if you can spare some silver. If you ask why he looks and acts like a noble, he'll admit that he's from a very wealthy family and that he's begging to maintain his "certain lifestyle" of parties, female admirers, and lots of wine. He'll then go on to explain why begging provides him with the time to reach true wisdom, while participating in manual labor would not. Maybe he's on to something?
Hand him a silver piece and be on your way.
7 - Jar
A small pile of silver can be gained by smashing this jar.
8 - Insulting Encounter
As you walk through the center of the Golden Way, a man will begin insulting you. When you've finally heard enough,
9 - Chandler Ling
If you brought the Forged Slaver Documents to Prefect Jitong in the Market District, then Chandler Ling will have gone free and Scholar Songtao will be executed for crimes he didn't commit. However, you can now find Chandler Ling here in the Golden Way, where he's set up shop and is willing to sell you some of his finest essence gems (he also gives you 500 silver pieces as a reward for helping him out). Some of the more notable gems he's selling includes a Superior Charm Gem, a Superior Intuition Gem, and the Lucky Hand gem.
10 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled Music and the Arts.
11 - Bamboo Cask
Grab the silver from inside this bamboo cask and then continue on your way.
12 - Jar
100 silver pieces have been stashed away inside this jar.
13 - Ministry Hostel
The Ministry Hostel cannot be entered until you've met with the Lotus Inquisitor recruiter near your follower campsite in the Market District. Even then, you don't technically ever have to enter the hostel as there is an alternate route to perform the Lotus Inquisitor's mission in the Imperial Arena. There's a configuration for Lord Lao's Furnace inside, though, so you should probably go in even if you don't want to pursue Henpecked Hou's suggestion of disgracing Minister Sheng.
After arriving from Tien's Landing, Sheng seems to be in good spirits. His report for Judge Fang is almost ready and he's prepared an honor gift for the occasion. If you want to earn some Closed Fist points, you can offer to guard his honor gift. Once he accepts, you will automatically walk over to his cabinet and swap the gift with your Turtle Eggs.
When Judge Fang arrives, he's not too happy to see the eggs. He banishes Minister Sheng to another decade or two of service in Tien's Landing, then leaves without reading the report. This will also earn you 800 silver pieces, which is presumbly the value of whatever gift was inside the cabinet originally. Of course, Sheng isn't happy with you for more-or-less ruining his life's ambitions.
If you'd rather earn Open Palm points, then simply tell Minister Sheng that the Lotus Assassins don't want the report reaching Judge Fang. Sheng doesn't want to get involved with anything involving the Lotus Assassins, so he suggests that you head over to the Imperial Arena and disgrace Fang instead.
Whatever you decide, make sure you check the chest along the central wall before leaving the hostel. It contains the Configuration of the Horse.
14 - First-Degree Thespian Phong
If you agree to perform in Incisive Chorus' play at area #2, then you'll find Phong standing here in front of the pagoda. Tell him you're the replacement actor and he'll start making preparations to get you fitted for a dress. He'll also ask if you've read the script, which will lead to him giving you the Edited Script.
A pair of Lotus Assassins have been tipped off that the play may contain traitorous lines and will be watching closely when the production begins. If you want to pursue an Open Palm route, then you should read your lines from Incisive Chorus' Original Script. If you want to pursue a Closed Fist route, then you should read your lines from the Edited Script. To make either of these options work, though, you need to read the correct lines. Here's a quick rundown:
If the Open Palm lines are read, the Lotus Assassins watching the performance detect no treason and leave to make their informant "suffer for a lifetime." If the Closed Fist lines are read, the Lotus Assassins haul Phong and the other traitors off to "the Wall." Either way, you'll wind up with 1000 silver pieces from Phong and a 1000 experience point reward if you read all your lines correctly.
- Scene 1: "White banners fly." (Open Palm and Closed Fist)
- Scene 2: "Was it reached, or did the heavens guide it to him? Either way, the dusk was slipping into night." (Open Palm)
- Scene 2: "Tien's decision was made over the mid-day meal. The Flower Guardians would allow nothing else." (Closed Fist)
- Scene 3: "He stood at the edge of a vast plain, the ground covered in snow." (Open Palm and Closed Fist)
- Scene 4: "Heaven's reach is wide. Weather is not the same in all places, Puzzle." (Open Palm)
- Scene 4: "The flower guardians may blossom but the warmth of spring can hide an icy heart." (Closed Fist)
- Scene 5: "He turned to the heavens themselves, as they had already turned to him." (Open Palm and Closed Fist)
- Scene 6: "A shooting star traced the border of our lands." (Open Palm and Closed Fist)
15 - Exit
Ascend these stairs to reach the Scholars' Garden.