- "As I mentioned, I am but a simple bun master, with a dear wife who has turned my life into a miserable cesspool devoid of humor and excitement. Bless her soul."
- –Henpecked Hou
|Support form:||Throws bottles to activate Drunken Master Style|
Life has not been too kind to Hou. In his youth he was a master of the rare martial style Drunken Master, which is only useful when large quantities of wine have been consumed. After becoming a top ranked arena fighter, the toll on his body soon left him destitute. He spent the next three years doing odd jobs including cleaning creature cages. One day a promoter offered him a generous contract. Instantly signing it, Hou managed to work his way back to the top, yet his celebration was short lived when the promoter revealed to him the small print of the contract - he must marry the promoter's niece.
She had plans for him herself, and repeatedly commanded Hou to stop fighting and drinking. Hou ignored her demands until his "duplicitous dove" spiked his wine prior to an important match. His loss was apparently both spectatular and severe since he was forced to submit to his wifes "tender ministrations". Upon his recovery Hou reluctantly agreed to give up his livelihood and instead become a Bun Master. Because as he notes, "It is a hard thankless job that keeps me busy, very, very busy."
Hou often personally delievered his own buns thus getting him away from his wife for extended periods of time and it was apperently on one such trip that he was waylaid by cannibals allied with The Mother and had taken over the Pilgrim's Rest Inn. Since he was too skinny to eat they decided to keep him around in an effort to make the Inn seem more 'normal' to the few individuals who made it to the Inn, where they were quickly taken and either transformed or eaten. Whilst traveling around the Jade Empire, Hou is repeatedly reminded of his wife, who he expects has destroyed the Imperial City looking for him. He also has collected some rare turtle eggs, an insulting gift in the Jade Empire, for his wife's coming anniversary, and offers them to the player in one variation of a story quest.
If the player kills the Water Dragon, then Hou will always agree to the decision. However, if the player poisons the Water Dragon, then he/she is forced to fight and kill Hou.
(His epilogue cannot be altered. It appears if you kill the Water Dragon, and it does not appear if you taint the Water Dragon.)
Henpecked Hou's wife finally tracked him down and brought him back home to settle back in to the simple bun master's life. A few years later, he became a father for the first time. Though having septuplets at his age was not unheard of, having seven daughters at once was a bit peculiar. Shortly thereafter, Hou became deathly ill after accidentally eating a bun he intended to give to his wife. Hou's wife invited her entire family to live with them while he was bedridden. Hou recovered more quickly than expected, but word of his poisonous bun made sure that his career as a bun master was over. Instead, Hou became a delivery man, delivering packages throughout the Empire. He has yet to return from his first delivery.
- During the end credits attentive players can hear Hou's wife ranting at him for his extended absence while he was following the player around.
- For some reason he will give out gems during his time working at the Pilgrim Inn. When you gain him as a follower the ones unbought are not added to your collection. Where they go is a mystery.
- Henpecked Hou may be partially inspired by the similarly-named character Henpecked Ho, from Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds. Aside from the name, both characters were unwillingly married to a politically powerful and domineering wife, and both of them were involved in forms of competitive combat (Hou the arena, and Ho the Sword Dance).
- Hou never talks to any of your followers ( Willingly anyway) except for Black Whirlwind.