Quest for Pandaria

Part 2 of 4

"This is your fault."

Chon Po brandished Li Li's letter in front of Chen's face like a dagger, eyes red with fury. Chen shifted from foot to foot.

"All her life, it's been 'Uncle Chen' this and 'Uncle Chen' that and 'Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful to see the world with Uncle Chen?'" Chon Po paced the floorboards, rage pouring out of his very posture. "And nothing could sway her delusion. Oh no, Li Li only ever saw the romance. Thanks in no small part to your letters, Brother."

Chen took a deep breath. Chon Po was beyond reason, so Chen silently let him rant with complete abandon, wondering how much of the tirade was meant for his daughter, and how much was meant for his brother.

"… irresponsibly filling her head with false hopes. What does she possibly think she can find out there that we don't already have here?"

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***

Decent brewing seasonings, for one, Chen found himself thinking, staring off at the far wall above his brother's head. He nearly cracked a grin. Suddenly Chon Po's furious face filled his vision, startling him.

"Don't you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Chon Po, I'm not sure what I can say. I didn't tell Li Li to go off anywhere."

"You may as well have!" Chon Po shouted. "You've been telling her just as much for years and years, if not in person! She idolizes you, and now she's gone on this damn foolhardy quest for whatever 'great mystery' she was talking about. It's your responsibility to bring her back from this"—he checked Li Li's letter again—"this Ironforge place."

Truth be told, Chen indeed worried for his niece. She was awfully young to be out on her own, and if his memory served, this "great mystery" they had once discussed was to find Pandaria itself, something he wasn't even sure was possible. Furthermore, she had taken the pearl, and a naga had already tried to hunt her down for that very item. The danger did seem palpable. Also, Stormwind pumpkins made for a fantastic ale.

Furthermore, she had taken the pearl, and a naga had already tried to hunt her down for that very item. The danger did seem palpable. Also, Stormwind pumpkins made for a fantastic ale.

"All right, Po, I'll go find her," Chen agreed. "But she's her own person. I'm not going to force her to come back."

Chon Po snorted. "She's a child, Chen."

Chen shook his head.

"Less so every day, Po. I'll be on my way as soon as possible."

"The quicker, the better." Chon Po crossed his arms. "Who knows what kind of trouble she's getting herself into this time?"

"I have no doubt about it at all," Chen said.

Tears spilled down Li Li's face as Chen hugged her close, leaving wet rivulets in the fur on her cheeks.

"Thanks, Uncle Chen," she whispered.

"Your father loves you like nothing else," Chen said. "I would bet my life on it."

Li Li nodded and buried her face in her uncle's shoulder as night fell softly across Gadgetzan and the desert of Tanaris.

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