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Welcome to the Jade Empire, student. Your journey starts here at Two Rivers with tutelage from the wizened Master Li, a little bandit trouble, and a few student trifles. After the optional battle tutorial, take a few moments to talk to the other students around the central ring, and you'll learn a bit of insight into the local atmosphere at Two Rivers, Master Li, and of the Jade Empire itself.
One thing to keep in mind. The map locations of the students and Master Li will vary slightly depending on where you are in Chapter 1, but you'll always find them in this vicinity.
1 - Sparring Ring
To get you affiliated with the combat system, the game starts you off in a sparring match against another Two Rivers student named Jing Woo. Once you've learned the basics of how to attack, block, heal, power attack, and evade, you'll find yourself pitted against the student until he's beaten.
When the fight ends, you'll notice Master Li watching the match and Jing Woo will mention that you should go speak with him at your earliest opportunity. This will trigger a new quest in your journal, which you'll want to get in the habit of checking frequently to keep a good understanding of what tasks you currently have ahead of you.
Before you speak with Li, take a moment to talk to the other students around the courtyard and read the various scrollstands in the immediate area (and down by the exit). Scrollstands and bookstands provide a lot of useful information, contain important items from time to time, and are an easy way to earn free experience points.
If you're playing the PC version of Jade Empire and have the pre-order bonus installed, then you will also automatically receive the Rhino Demon transformation style when the tutorial sparring match concludes.
2 - Scrollstand/Scroll Box
Just outside of Master Li's home, you'll discover a scrollstand containing text called The Long Drought. If you have the PC version of Jade Empire installed, then you'll also find a scroll box containing the Martial Styles plot item.
3 - Master Li
You will speak with Master Li in this first chapter three main times, each coming with a quest in your journal to see him. The first time is right after the tutorial battle (see "a" below). After getting back from the initial bandit attack, but before entering the spirit cave, this will be your only time to complete Smiling Mountain's sparring quest, which is related to Kia Min's wound (during the bandit attack). Therefore, after the battle with Gao the Lesser, you should speak to both of them.
After the initial tutorial...
After your chat with Li, a student will interrupt and explain that bandits have infiltrated the area. Li now instructs you to find Dawn Star and then head to the Two Rivers Village to get a weapon from Gujin the Weapon Master. Now is a good time to do so, as you'll have plenty of time to explore the area afterward. You can find Dawn Star at area #14 speaking with Gao the Lesser. After getting the weapon and defeating the bandits, you'll again come back to Li for the right to enter the Spirit Cave.
After receiving your weapon from Gujin and dealing with the bandits on the beach...
After you've been to the village and cleared the area of bandits, especially the beach area, you'll want to come back here to visit Master Li again. Before he has much to say, Gao the Lesser interrupts and challenges you to a duel for the right to enter the Spirit Cave. You'll have no choice but to accept, however the time that you fight is up to you. Take this opportunity to clear up all the side quests, including the Lion Statue at area #4, Kia Min's wound quest at #7, and Smiling Mountain's sparring quests at #8. When you're finally ready, speak with Li and accept Gao's challenge. You'll then find yourself in the sparring ring at area #1 for a somewhat difficult battle.
When Gao the Lesser has been dealt with, Master Li explains that he is Sun Li the Glorious Strategist, brother to Emperor Sun Hai. With the help of some cinematic footage, he will reveal how you were orphaned as a baby during the Emperor's attack on Dirge and that he has raised you ever since. He tells you that you are meant for great things and then opens up a doorway to the Spirit Cave, where your destiny and the corruption in the spirit realm will be made clear to you.
After the Spirit Cave...
Master Li is quite surprised that you've emerged from the Spirit Cave so early, as he expected you to be meditating on the amulet for at least another day. After a small amount of conversation about the Spirit Monks and Water Dragon, you'll again be interrupted by a messenger stating that Dawn Star is now missing. Li gives you 250 silver pieces and tells you that Fen Do in the Two Rivers Village will now be ready to sell you essence gems. This is your last opportunity to finish up the Lion Statue quest at area #4, but the Kia Min wound and Smiling Mountain sparring quests are no longer available.
4 - Lion Statue
Before you take a closer look at the statue, search the chest nearby to uncover a Red Lion Figurine, Yellow Lion Figurine, and a Blue Lion Figurine. With these three items in your possession, approach the statue and a glowing orb will appear.
This is a test, though it is broken into two separate parts. To start off, place the figurine of the same color as the glowing orb on the altar in front of the statue. Repeat this three times until are three figurines are on the altar and you'll receive a single silver piece and one experience point. It doesn't seem like much, but if you take the silver piece to the tomb at area #10 and place it in the offering bowl, you can obtain the Lion Head Token needed to reach the next test.
Now that you have the token, you'll have a new option when you approach the statue. Place the token in the lion's mouth and you'll be presented with a new test. This time around, the glowing orb will present you with colors that can only be achieved by combining two of your figurines. The first color is green, so you'll want to place the blue and yellow figurines on the altar. The next is orange, so remove the blue figurine and replace it with the red. The third and final color is purple, so remove the yellow figurine and replace it with the blue. At this point, the statue will "erupt in a loud burst of energy" and you'll gain the Gaze of the Lion technique.
If, for whatever reason, you decide that you'd rather not go through the trouble to gain the technique, you can always smash the altar. This nets you 25 silver pieces.
5 - Student Wen
Student Wen offers the first opportunity in the game to gain some Closed Fist points. The young student doubts that he is skilled enough to be training here in Two Rivers and looks to you for inspiration. If you try to convince him that he's inferior ("leave before you waste our Master's time"), you'll gain CF points.
6 - Gao the Lesser
After your initial tutorial battle, you'll find this young adversary on the steps up to Master Li's quarters. You will have several confrontations with Gao the Lesser during your time here at Two Rivers, which we've covered in the appropriate sections of the walkthrough.
7 - Kia Min
After you've dealt with the initial bandit attack at Two Rivers Village, you can speak to Kia Min here to learn that she sustained a serious wound during the bandit attack and to ask about Smiling Mountain's prize. In order to earn the prize, you must defeat Kia Min and three other students in a sparring match. Kia Min's wound keeps her from participating in such a match, but she'll tell you about a herb that may be able to heal the wound quick enough to get her battle ready. To acquire the herb, head to the Two Rivers Village and speak with Old Ming.
If you want to earn Open Palm points, purchase the Red Silk Grass Poultice from him and bring it back to Kia Min. If you choose to hand it over without requiring any sort of repayment, you'll earn additional points toward the Open Palm.
If you want to earn Closed Fist points, purchase the Bearded Tongue Grass Poultice from him and bring it back to Kia Min. If you then lie to her and tell her it cost you 50 silver (which she reimburses you for), you'll earn additional points toward the Closed Fist.
Whichever choice you make, you'll earn a small amount of experience and may now challenge her record by speaking with Smiling Mountain. The only difference is that the Closed Fist route will get Kia Min permanently injured during the match.
8 - Smiling Mountain
Smiling Mountain is a merchant that can sell you the Belly of Iron, Heart of Gold, and Mind of Steel techniques when you've saved up enough silver. He also has a sparring quest for you after you deal with the bandits and assassin ship in the Two Rivers Village. To participate in his quest, you must challenge Kia Min's record after her wound has been taken care of (see area #7). If you beat her record, Smiling Mountain will award you with the Alloyed Body technique.
9 - Training Area
If you ask for training from Smiling Mountain, then he will set you up to fight against one to three students in this grassy area. Later, if you decide to challenge Kia Min's record, this is where you'll face three students and Kia Min herself.
10 - Old Master's Tomb
After sparring (or refusing to spar) with the two students practicing behind Master Li's house, activate the tomb of "the Old Master". If you place a silver coin in the offering bowl, the lion image detaches from the gravestone atop the tomb. This earns you the Lion Head Token, which you can use for the second part of the Lion Statue test at area #4.
11 - Bookstand
The text on this bookstand is entitled The Old Tongue, Volume 1.
12 - Bookstand
The text on this bookstand is entitled Auspicious Portents.
13 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled Harmonic Combinations.
14 - Dawn Star
When you approach this area for the first time, you'll come across Gao the Lesser making "unsubtle advances" on Dawn Star. Interrupt their conversation purposely and Gao will begrudgingly walk away. After a small conversation about the impending attack by bandits, Dawn Star will become your first follower and will end up accompanying you through the entire game.
Dawn Star is an important follower in Jade Empire. She's one of three followers that can be romanced (by male or female characters), she shares a similar heritage to your own, and she's able to provide you with Chi regeneration during combat if you set her to support. Because she has solid attack and support tactics, you can easily keep her chosen as your only follower through most of the game if you so desire.
15 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled The Inner Self.
16 - Spirit Font
Meditating at a Spirit Font will restore all of your character's Health and Chi.
17 - Focus Shrine
Meditating at a Focus Shrine will restore all of your character's Focus.
18 - Exit
These double doors will bring you to the Two Rivers Village.