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If you're looking to test your mettle in combat, there's no better place than the Imperial Arena. There are some nice rewards to be gained by fighting your way through the arena's many combatants and the Heart of the Empire Tavern on the second floor has several side quests for you to participate in. You'll also have the option to join the Lotus Assassins if you make it through the arena's silver division, so there's a lot at stake here.
1 - Arrival
When you first arrive at the arena's entrance, you'll watch as someone named Cho knocks one of the fighters (Warrior Zhang) down the stairs. Zhang will then approach you and recommend that, should you choose to become a fighter in the arena, you should do what you're told. He'll also direct you to Qui the Promoter upstairs if you're interested in taking his spot on the roster.
2 - Bet Taker
This guy handles all of the betting that goes on here at the Imperial Arena, but you won't ever get to use his services. If you haven't signed up to fight, he tells you that there is no fight to bet on. If you've already signed up to fight, then he tells you that you're no longer elligible. Nice.
3 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled Imperial Champions.
4 - Thunderous Taoran
This guys is apparently a merchant, but he doesn't sell anything that a warrior such as yourself would be interested in.
5 - Spirit Font
Meditating at a Spirit Font will restore all of your character's Health and Chi.
6 - Focus Shrine
Meditating at a Focus Shrine will restore all of your character's Focus.
7 - Lotus Executioner
Once you've added Silk Fox to your list of followers in the Scholars' Garden, a Lotus Executioner recruiter will be waiting for you at the entrance to the second floor. He already knows of your interest to join the Lotus Assassins, but will not let you join their ranks until you've beaten Iron Soldier and conquered the arena's Silver Division. When you meet that requirement, he'll pay you a visit near Qui the Promoter.
8 - Tavern Keeper
The keeper of the Heart of the Empire Tavern stands at his post here, serving the many patrons. Unfortunately, he won't serve you any drinks since some burly man is already running up a tab under your name. Too bad you can't just kick The Black Whirlwind from your party.
9 - Lustful Lao
This "conqueroer of the female kingdom" won't have much to say to you if you're playing a male character. If you're playing a female character, expect to be badgered by his pathetic sexual invitations.
10 - Gambler Daoshen
If you're feeling lucky, then you might want to pay a visit to Daoshen's corner. This guy hosts a simple dice game of High/Low, and you'll be able to bet either one or five silver pieces per roll when you first arrive in the Imperial Arena.
Once you've gained access to Lucky Cho and Sweet Poison Lyn's back room (by winning the third battle in the Bronze Division), Daoshen will ask you for a favor. He wants you to talk with Sweet Poison Lyn on his behalf and convince her to allow him to expand his business and accept larger bets. There's a fee (500 silver pieces) to win the Guild's support and Daoshen promises to repay you after you've delivered the message.
At this point, you have a couple of options. If you want to pursue an Open Palm route, then you can just pay the 500 silver pieces to Sweet Poison Lyn and then return to Daoshen. Turn down his offer to reimburse you and he'll instead reward you with a Superior Warrior Gem. With the payment secured, Daoshen can now allow you to bet 10 or 25 silver pieces on each roll of the dice. It's still not much, but it's a sure way for you to earn a sizeable amount of silver relatively quick with some strategic saving and loading.
If you'd rather pursue a Closed Fist route, you can ask Daoshen to give you the cash necessary to pay off Sweet Poison Lyn. With a successful dialogue check, he'll give you a Winnings Purse containing the appropriate amount of silver. If you take the purse to Sweet Poison Lyn and tell her that you won the entire thing off of one dice roll, she'll have his operation shut down and you'll be able to keep the 500 silver pieces inside the purse. She also promises you a 10% discount on all of her goods for helping the Guild. Keep in mind that you'll never be able to use Daoshen's gambling services ever again if you choose this route.
I haven't actually tried it myself, but according to the "Game Secrets" section on the official Jade Empire website, winning 5000 silver pieces from Daoshen will cause him to deny you any further gambling. If you happen to win twenty dice rolls in a row (by saving after each win), Daoshen will apparently explode out of frustration. Messy.
11 - Zi Bao
Zi Bao is the last person that Chandler Ling was seen speaking to before his arrest for slave trading (check our Market District walkthrough for more information on this side quest). If you confront him about this and ask that he let you see the slave traders, he'll deny any affiliation with the organization.
At this point, you have a few options available to get an audience with the slave traders. If you have more money than you know what to do with, you can simply pay Zi Bao 2000 silver pieces and he'll bring you. With a successful Charm check, this amount can be reduced to 1000 silver pieces. If you try offering only 500 silver pieces, Zi Bao will scoff at such a small amount and leave. This gets you the option to follow him straight to the slave traders, which doesn't cost you a single silver piece. Finally, you can threaten to snap his neck. This tactic will work if you make a successful Intimidation check, but it will earn you some Closed Fist points. Regardless of which route you chose, you'll end up in the Creature Pens for a meeting with the slave traders.
12 - Bamboo Cask
A fistful of silver is yours when you search this cask.
13 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled Cannibal Cookbook, Volume 1.
14 - Gentle Breezes
Gentle Breezes is a prostitute currently on Judge Fang's payroll. She tells you that he's a sick bastard when it comes to his sexual desires, but unfortunately she can't leave him because he has the wealth and power necessary to track her down if she tries leaving.
If you've accepted the Lotus Inquisitor's mission to keep Judge Fang from seeing Minister Sheng's report, then you can ask for Gentle Breezes' help to get rid of Fang. At this point, you have the option to either come up with a plan to ruin his career or just kill him outright. Killing him is worth Closed Fist points, but it will cause you to fail the Inquisitor's mission and therefore you probably don't want to pursue that route. If you still want to go through with the murder, then you can have Gentle Breezes lure him down to the Creature Pens for an ambush.
If you just want to ruin his career, you're going to have to convince Gentle Breezes to help you with a successful Intuition, Charm, or Intimidation (Closed Fist) check. If you don't have the dialogue skills necessary to recruit her help, you can also offer her 900 silver pieces to ensure her cooperation. Once she's willing to help, she tells you that all of Judge Fang's documents have to be stamped with his Imperial Ring. If he were to lose his ring during one of their sexual escapades, it would be a major offense.
Obviously you can use this bit of information to your advantage. Ask Breezes to acquire the ring for you and she'll take Fang upstairs for a quick fling. Shortly thereafter, she'll return and hand you Judge Fang's Ring. Once you have the ring, Breezes leaves and never returns.
15 - Fang Guards
These guards know all about Fang's twisted nature, but they work for him anyway and won't let you through without an appointment. If you were able to acquire Judge Fang's Ring through Gentle Breezes, though, you can show it to the guards and they'll immediately grant you an audience with him.
16 - Judge Fang
The only way to come face-to-face with the sick bastard himself is by acquiring Judge Fang's Ring through Gentle Breezes and then showing it to his guards so they let you pass through. When you finally get to speak with him, he'll offer a sexual proposition regardless of your gender. Let him know that you're here to have him resign his post and he'll shrug it off until he sees that you have his Imperial Ring. With no way around your blackmail, he reluctantly hands you Fang's Resignation. You can now report your success to the Lotus Inquisitor recruiter in the Market District.
17 - Iron Soldier and Pretty Li-Li
Pretty Li-Li will talk about her position as Soldier's training partner and how she keeps a close eye on Kai Lan and Lucky Cho, but Iron Soldier typically doesn't have much to say himself.
However, if you accepted Lucky Cho's offer to have Crimson Khana poisoned at the end of the Bronze Division, then Iron Soldier will have more to say to you. He'll ask you to meet him down in the Creature Pens, where you'll learn the full details of what he has planned.
18 - Hapless Han
Hapless Han is the top contender in the Qualifying Division. Once you've defeated him, you can speak to him about Kai Lan the Serpent and the Guild, among other things.
19 - Crimson Khana
Crimson Khana is a skilled swordswoman that currently holds the top rank in the Bronze Division. She's spoken out against the Guild's tactics here in the Imperial Arena and has therefore become a target for "removal."
Before you do battle with her, the Guild will offer you the option to play a role in her assassination. If you refuse to dishonor yourself in such a manner and tell Khana about the plot, she'll teach you the Crimson Tears combat style after you've defeated her. If you don't tell her about the assassination plot, then she'll instead teach you the Eyes of the Dragon combat style when you've taken her spot at the top of the Bronze Division.
20 - Qui the Promoter
Qui is responsible for setting up every fight here in the Imperial Arena, though he doesn't have much of a backbone and ends up being influenced from time to time as a result. He also jumbles many of the larger words in his vocabulary, which speaks volumes for his intelligence. After sizing you up, he'll ask you to join as a participant in the arena. Unless you're working with the Lotus Inquisitor in the Market District, you're going to have to accept his offer so you can attempt to impress the Lotus Assassins enough to join their ranks.
Once you've joined, Qui will ask you to choose a title (Raging Dragon, Silver Phoenix, or Tiger Lifts the Mountain) and then gets you started in the qualifying rounds. For a full list of fights, check out our Creature Pens walkthrough.
When you've defeated Hapless Han and completed the Qualifying Division, Lucky Cho will show up and let you know that Kai Lan the Serpent has been watching your progress and is interested in seeing how you fare in the Bronze Division. You'll also receive a visit from The Black Whirlwind, which will reveal that he's spent quite a bit of time here in the Imperial Arena previously. After that, you can talk to Qui and learn more about the Guild before moving on to the Bronze Division.
After you've won the third match of the Bronze Division (the Toad Demon that Kai Lan inserts into your list of battles), you'll be told to speak with Lucky Cho and will therefore be given access to the previously inaccessible room directly to your southeast. Regardless of whether or not you accept Lucky Cho's offer, you will be entering the ring with Crimson Khana next for a chance at the Bronze Division champion title.
When you've taken down the Elephant Demon in the Silver Division's first battle, Qui will tell you that Kai Lan the Serpent wants to speak with you personally. You're told to visit him alone too, which means your usual follower won't be listening in on the conversation. See below for the details of that particular conversation.
Later, when you've become the Silver Division champion, you will be approached by the Lotus Executioner recruiter from area #7. He deems you "a master of the arena" and, after a short bit of conversation about one of your followers potentially being disloyal, hands you the Lotus Executioner Seal needed to gain access to the Lotus Assassin Fortress at the far end of The Necropolis.
Once you've dealt with the long-banned Phoenix Unity style, the Sung brothers, and the Imperial Engagement, you'll finally be deemed worthy to face The Ravager. This masked beast wields a pair of nasty axes and will use his area attack the minute you get in a couple of well-placed blows. Expect a difficult and lengthy fight. When he finally goes down, his true identity will be revealed and Kai Lan the Serpent will invoke the "right of challenge" to face you himself.
The final arena battle against Kai Lan can be played with either your primary character or as The Black Whirlwind. The Serpent is actually tougher than The Ravager was (expect him to fully heal himself during the battle, as well as channel two Horse Demons to fight for him), but luckily you've gained one of the most powerful styles in the game from your championship fight - Tang's Vengeance. If you allocate a few points into this new weapon style, you'll find that the battle with Kai Lan is considerably easier since you can attack with a greater range.
With a little skill (and luck), you'll beat Kai Lan and become the Imperial Arena Champion. After a quick congratulations from Qui, Sweet Poison Lyn will approach you and ask for a truce with the Guild. You basically have to accept the truce, but you can demand some silver in return with a successful dialogue check. If you achieved a perfect record through all seventeen of the arena's battles, then Sweet Poison Lyn will award you with an ancient technique called The Perfected Warrior. In addition, those of you who are playing the PC version of Jade Empire will receive the Iron Palm - The Fire plot item. If you helped Fuyao back on the Lower Pirate Island, then this will be the last of the three doctrines you needed to collect for the Iron Palm combat style. If you didn't come to Fuyao's aid, then this doctrine really does you no good and you'll instead be working toward the final Viper doctrine in the Lotus Assassin Fortress.
21 - Sung Bu, Sung Bo, and Sung Sui
You'll eventually face all three of the Sung brothers during the arena's Gold Division. They're apparently allowed to fight as a team as a sort of final obstacle before a combatant is allowed to challenge the Ravager. If you speak to Sung Bo, you'll have the opportunity to learn a bit more about The Black Whirlwind's past here in the arena, Kai Lan the Serpent, the Guild, and the other combatants.
22 - Exit
This set of stairs leads down to the Creature Pens.
23 - Dr. An
Dr. An may be blind, but she's still able to sense "the energy within your meridians." A master of acupuncture, Dr. An is an important component to the arena and its combatants. She also sells various techniques (Cleansed Body and Mind, Vigorous Body, Clear Mind, and Porcelain Skin) and a few essence gems (an Inferior Intuition Gem, an Intuition Gem, and a Superior Intuition Gem), so she's well worth speaking to.
Dr. An also plays a part in one of the side quests within The Necropolis. If you'd like, you can return here and recruit her to help transfer Wen Zhi's liver to his daughter. When she's finished, Dr. An will bring Wen Si Wei here to the Imperial Arena and take care of her as her own.
24 - Lucky Cho
Lucky Cho is the Guild's primary thug here in the Imperial Arena. When you've defeated the Bronze Division's third battle (the Toad Demon), you'll be asked to come speak with Cho. The shady fellow wants to "help" you defeat Crimson Khana so that you can progress to the Silver Division (and because Kai Lan has a vested interest in your progression here in the arena).
After introducing you to Sweet Poison Lyn, you'll be offered a proposition. A slow-acting, deadly poison can be placed into Crimson Khana's drink before the match. This will ensure your victory and result in the permanent removal of Khana from the Imperial Arena. As usual, this presents you with a variety of options.
If you want to assume an Open Palm role, simply turn down Lucky Cho's offer and fight Crimson Khana fairly. For even more Open Palm points, you can tell Khana about the Guild's assassination plot. As a reward for your honesty, she will teach you the Crimson Tears combat style after the battle is over. If you don't tell her about the assassination plot, then she'll instead teach you the Eyes of the Dragon combat style.
If you want to assume a Closed Fist role, then you should accept Cho's offer. This will cost you half of your prize winnings (or a quarter, if you make a successful dialogue check), but your success is practically guaranteed. Should you carry through with the assassination plan, you'll eventually be approached by Iron Soldier for an opportunity to have him throw the match when you attempt to become the Silver Division champion.
25 - Sweet Poison Lyn
Sweet Poison Lyn is a "master of the toxicant arts" and the Guild's primary merchant. She will offer to sell you a selection of essence gems (including a Superior Intimidation Gem) and the Thousand Cuts combat style. She's also involved with Gambler Daoshen's side quest and will offer her poisonous services to aid you against Crimson Khana at the end of the arena's Bronze Division.
26 - Happy Endings the Courtesan
Don't get your hopes up. Happy Endings is on exclusive retainer to Kai Lan the Serpent, so you won't be spending any quality time with her yourself.
27 - Kai Lan the Serpent
After defeating the Elephant Demon in the first round of the Silver Division, Qui sends you to speak with Kai Lan in his private chamber. The snake offers you a small share of his betting proceeds for winning, then goes on to tell you that he intends on replacing Gao the Greater now that he's dead. This leads to a discussion about The Black Whirlwind, where Kai reveals that your follower once competed in this very arena. He was later thrown out, though, for "displays of rage and drunkenness" and even "defecating in public."
However, his brother, Raging Ox, stayed in the arena and eventually went on to become its champion. Kai Lan is about to propose a solution to eventually make you its champion when The Black Whirlwind bursts through the door and puts a stop to your discussion. He then leads you down into the Creature Pens in an attempt to dissuade you from aligning your goals with Kai Lan's.
28 - Kai Lan's Stash
Once you've defeated Kai Lan the Serpent in the arena's seventeenth battle, you'll have free reign to plunder the four chests at the back of his room. The center chest is the most rewarding, as it contains 5000 silver pieces, the Scales of the Serpent technique, and an Absolute Dedication essence gem. The other three chests are all trapped and contain about 100-150 silver pieces each. You may find that a couple of these last chests contain randomly placed essence gems (such as an Inferior Warrior Gem or Superior Intimidation Gem), as well.