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Even without Uncle Chen around to help me, it was easy finding the Krasarang Wilds. But slogging my way through the gloomy coastal swamp was quite the challenge. The thick forest canopy blocked out the sun, making it almost impossible to get a sense of direction. When I wasn't tripping over gnarled roots, I was getting tangled in the big stupid vines that hung down from the trees. And then there was the wildlife. Saurok, giant hissing wasps, and other types of angry critters prowled around everywhere.
It was just as exciting as I'd hoped!
But it bothered me that I couldn't find the spot where Liu Lang had set off from atop Shen-zin Su. After days of searching through the wilds with nothing to show for it, I crossed paths with an angler named Ryshan, the first pandaren I'd seen in a while. He'd just delivered a shipment of fish to Zhu's Watch, an outpost in northeastern Krasarang, built to keep nasties like the saurok from attacking travelers destined for the coast.
Friends must be rare in Krasarang, because Ryshan treated me like family even though we'd just met. When I explained what I was doing in the wilds, he told me that the place where Liu Lang had left Pandaria from was very close to his village, the Anglers Wharf. He was nice enough to invite me back to his settlement to stock up on supplies before I made my trek to the site. Finally, my luck was picking up.
On the way to the village, Ryshan filled me in on Krasarang's history. Few pandaren trod those forests. "Only anglers and madmen, if there's any difference," he said, beaming with pride. We passed a bunch of crumbling old ruins that he said had once belonged to the mogu. Before their empire fell long ago, some of the big brutes had lived in Krasarang. More recently, the mogu had returned to claim their former territories, but heroes like the ones who'd helped Uncle Chen and me at the family brewery had stopped them.
It was near dusk by the time we approached the Anglers Wharf. The ramshackle little village had been built just off Krasarang's shore, meaning Ryshan and I had to take a boat to get there. Not a big deal, right? Well, after we'd set sail, the angler suddenly started screaming bloody murder and leapt to his feet, swinging one of the boat's oars through the air. What could rattle a bold angler like him? Crocolisks? Saurok? I was fearing for my life until I saw what had spooked him: a bandicoon.
These furry little guys were master thieves, and they loved snacking on fish. In other words, they were the bane of anglers. The bandicoon in our boat was fierce. He didn't flinch when Ryshan began smashing his oar onto the deck. In fact, the critter fought back, hissing and swiping at the angler with his claws.
Bandicoons normally keep to the Valley of the Four Winds, but this one had come all the way into Krasarang. I calmed Ryshan down by promising to take care of the furball and make sure he didn't get his paws on any fish. It was the least I could do. After all, this bandicoon was a fellow explorer. Oddly, the critter reminded me of my older brother, Shisai. Maybe it was his chubby face and bushy ears. Or maybe it was the way he picked tiny bits of old food out of his fur and ate them, not caring how disgusting it made him look. Whatever the reason, I decided to name the bandicoon after my big brother. As hard as it was to believe, I actually missed Shisai. Well... a little bit.
At the Anglers Wharf, Ryshan and his pals roasted up some of the day's catches and told me their best fishing stories. When I said I'd come from the Wandering Isle, they took it as a challenge to tell better stories, and began spinning some yarn about a baby kraken they'd fished up years ago.
Only anglers and madmen. Yeah. That sounded about right.
One of the most interesting things the anglers talked about was the Temple of the Red Crane. The massive complex, located in central Krasarang, was built in honor of the celestial Chi-Ji, known as the Red Crane. Ryshan mentioned that this powerful and benevolent creature was also called the spirit of hope. Not long ago, something dangerous had escaped from the depths of the Red Crane's temple: sha. The strange evils were later defeated, but not before a shadow of despair had fallen across the wilds.
I'd heard about the sha during the mantid attack on Stoneplow back in the Valley of the Four Winds. Why were these weird things suddenly popping up all over the place? Was it happening everywhere in Pandaria? Just thinking about the sha made my skin crawl. It was hard to sleep that night.
The next morning, I was getting ready to continue my search for the Wandering Isle's birthplace when a giant hot-air balloon landed at the Anglers Wharf! The pilot, a soft-spoken pandaren named Shin Whispercloud, had come from the northern region of Kun-Lai Summit to pick up a shipment of fish. Apparently, he was making a delivery to a sacred place high in the mountains: the Temple of the White Tiger. The fish in Krasarang must be some of the best in Pandaria; otherwise why would Shin come so far south?
The more Shin talked about Kun-Lai, the more I wanted to see it. The balloon pilot said I was welcome to join him as long as I helped load the fish. How could I say no? Sure, I still hadn't found the spot where Liu Lang and the Great Turtle had begun their journey across the seas, but at least I'd figured out the general area it was in. Uncle Chen and I could always come back some other time. But when would I get another chance to go to Kun-Lai? With my uncle holed up in the brewery, it could be weeks—or even months—before we finally visited the distant corners of Pandaria. Or maybe we never would. I imagined Uncle Chen sitting around in the brewery, drinking barrels and barrels of ale and growing fatter than Shin's balloon—too big even to fit through the building's doors!
There was only one thing to do: I rolled up my sleeves, held my breath, and started loading barrels of fish into the large basket hanging from the balloon. I probably smelled like a true angler after the work was done, but it was a small price to pay for a free trip to somewhere as mysterious and exciting as Kun-Lai.
After saying my good-byes to the anglers, I tucked Shisai into my travel bag and hopped aboard Shin's balloon. Pretty soon we were rising above the Krasarang Wilds higher and higher and higher! The wind carried us north, over the Jade Forest, and then on toward Kun-Lai's majestic mountains. Through openings in the white fluffy clouds, I began to make out my destination.
When I told Shin how beautiful Kun-Lai seemed from afar, he became sad. "Funny how everything looks so perfect from the sky," he said. "Kun-Lai is a wondrous place, as you say. But these days, not all is well there. A storm is gathering over the region, little one."
Shin went on to explain that war had come to parts of Kun-Lai. He told me not to worry; the area he was taking me to was safe, but I still wondered if joining him had been a mistake.
Then I reminded myself that Uncle Chen and every other great explorer needed to travel dangerous lands and peaceful ones. It was all part of being a wanderer. I took a deep breath and stared ahead, ready to face any challenge that was waiting for me in the snowy mountains of Kun-Lai Summit!