Throne Room (Return)
Imperial Palace Throne Room (Return)

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The sealed door outside of the throne room doesn't lead to the tombs of the Jade Empire's former emperors, as Sun Hai would have his daughter believe. Instead, the tombs have been gutted to allow the flow of water from an incomprehensible source. The crime you're about to stumble upon will either strengthen your resolve to punish Sun Li for what he has done or it will tempt you into consuming the strength of a god so that you might assume the role of Emperor yourself.

1 - Arrival

Having descended the platform within the Imperial Palace, you're now able to reach the area beyond the sealed tomb door you walked past during your last visit to the palace. A quick visit by the Water Dragon confirms that the worst atrocity committed by the Brothers Sun lies beyond the double doors ahead of you.

2 - The Crime Revealed

Sun Hai and his brothers have done the unspeakable. In an attempt to alleviate the drought in the Jade Empire, they've cut open the Water Dragon's body and have been draining her life waters for twenty years. As you take in the scene, the god's spirit will appear once more and insist that you punish those responsible. In fact, you get to start immediately by wiping out the three Lotus Elites and Lotus Elite Wizard guarding this very chamber.

When these first four Lotus Assassins have been slain, the Water Dragon will begin to describe the agony she is in while her body continues to bleed. As long as her body is forced to feed the Jade Empire, she cannot be reborn. Your other followers will show up during this conversation, most of whom find themselves outraged by the horror they now witness.

The most important decision in the game must be made at this juncture. Do you destroy the machinery sustaining the Water Dragon so that her spirit can be freed and her body reborn? Or do you instead taint the Water Dragon's body with human blood (from one of your very own followers!) so that you can weaken Sun Li and absorb the god's power for yourself? The weight of this decision is so great that choosing one or the other will automatically shift your alignment toward the Open Palm or Closed Fist, respectively, even if you had devoted yourself to the opposite ideology throughout the entire game.

If you decide to pursue the Open Palm route, your character will destroy the machinery with the toss of a spear and you'll receive The Open Palm essence gem as a reward for putting an end to the desecration. If you decide to pursue the Closed Fist route, Dawn Star, Silk Fox, Sky, and Henpecked Hou will attempt to stop you with force. With The Black Whirlwind, Chai Ka, and Death's Hand (if you bound him) at your side, you'll be forced to slay your former companions. The only exception to this is if you had previously romanced one of your followers. In that case, your romantic interest will fight by your side. When the massacre concludes, your character will pour a bowl of human blood into the flowing waters. Such a despicable act earns you The Closed Fist essence gem.

And so it is done. All that's left is to defeat Sun Li in battle.

3 - Headstone

Prop open this headstone to find a Scintillating Gem of Power.

4 - To the Throne Room

Once you've decided the Water Dragon's fate, you can proceed directly to the southwest section of the throne room (area #5) through this door. Excluding the follower you've selected to fight at your side, all of your companions stay behind to fend off the remaining Lotus Assassins.

5 - From the Water Dragon

Continuing through the door at area #4 will immediately bring you to the southwest section of the throne room.

6 - Ceramic Urn

The Heaven Mantra technique is contained within this urn.

7 - Ceramic Urn

Ransacking this urn will earn you the Gem of Unyielding Strength essence gem.

8 - Sun Li the Glorious Strategist

Your former Master steps forward to meet you on this first platform. When he's done gloating about his former exploits and his lofty plans for the Jade Empire, he summons two Bull Constructs and two Elephant Constructs from the earth to finish you off.

These four demon constructs are formidable foes, so use the large open space around you to single them out. Don't be afraid to use up all of your Chi and Focus during the battle, as all of your stamina will be replenished before your final confrontation with Li.

9 - Sun Li the Glorious Strategist, Again

Li's annoyance grows. Having defeated his demon constructs, he decides to present you with "a direction application" of his power. A cutscene begins, showing Li conjuring a shell of stone around your body. He has encased you in doubt, forcing your will into a mental battlefield very similar to the one you may have visited earlier while fighting Chai Ka or Ya Zhen.

In essence, The Glorious Strategist has pitted you against two groups of four Sun brother dopplegangers, each of which is simply labeled "Doubt." What he hasn't anticipated, however, is the devotion of your followers. Any followers that are still loyal to you (which depends on your decision at area #2) will appear and charge into battle. For every follower that lends their strength to you, one "Doubt" is removed from the respective battle. Depending on your previous actions, this could leave as few as two or as many as six "Doubt" entities for you to battle against.

When all eight "Doubt" entities have been destroyed, you are free to approach the barrier that keeps you trapped within this battlefield. As Li scoffs at your attempt to escape his grasp, the spirit of Sagacious Zu will appear. In a single, focused blow, he destroys the barrier and, as a result, the stone encasing your body back in the palace shatters into dust.

Sun Li continues to be amazed at your power as a Spirit Monk. Casting aside the raw energy that has failed him twice in a row, he attempts to persuade you to listen to "reason." If you listen to what he has to say, he offers you the opportunity to sacrifice yourself with the guarantee that your name will live in the heart of each and every citizen in the Jade Empire. If you actually believe that he will indeed achieve "eternal stability" during his time as Emperor, then by all means hand your life and everything you've worked for over to him. It's the easiest way to a quick (and unrewarding) ending.

Should you wish to pass final judgment on your former Master, though, pass on his ridiculous offer and instead challenge him to battle. Skill versus skill. Master versus student.

The Glorious Strategist is highly proficient with virtually every combat style in the game. He also has access to the same Focus ability that you do, so be ready to counter his Focus ability with your own to avoid getting subjected to a flurry of attacks while you're stuck in slow motion. Otherwise, the same tactics you've used for the game's other major fights pretty much hold true with Sun Li as well. As usual, the Jade Golem transformation style makes an excellent choice, though I've also found that Tang's Vengeance can be quite effective as well if you have enough points allocated in it and are attacking with your Chi enhancement activated. Use whatever tactics you're most comfortable with and Li will eventually fall.

Depending on your decision at area #2, one of two cutscenes will trigger with Sun Li's death. Open Palm characters will witness the Water Dragon's power flowing out of the Imperial Palace, filling the citizens of the Imperial City with hope. The Water Dragon's spirit will acknowledge your victory and disappear, after which you and your followers will be welcomed by a cheering crowd on the land far below. Closed Fist characters will watch as they claim the Water Dragon's power and assume their place as the Jade Empire's new Emperor. The entire Lotus Assassin army will bow before you in allegiance. Either way, you'll get a chance to learn what became of each of your followers afterward.

Congratulations on finishing Jade Empire!