Quest for PandariaPart 2 of 4
Chen glanced at her sideways. "I don't entirely trust some random magic pearl that Wanyo got from a murloc, but I do trust your judgment, Li Li."
"No doubts about it, Uncle Chen!"
"Okay. So, what are we going to do now?"
Li Li fidgeted in her seat. "Well, things didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, and I, uh, didn't really have a back-up plan."
Chen grinned. "You said the pearl grants visions, didn't you?"
The heel of Li Li's palm made a satisfying whack as she slammed it into her forehead. "Of course. Why didn't I think of that sooner?" She drained the last of her ale and jumped up. "Come on; the pearl's in the room I rented."
Li Li sat on the edge of her bed, holding the large gem between her hands and letting its soothing glow lull her into a trance. She blinked, closing her eyes to the pearl's pale sheen, then opening them to find herself standing on the edge of a dock, staring out at a bright blue sea. A large island rose from the middle of the natural harbor, a battered granite statue of a one-armed goblin on its crest. Li Li turned in a circle on the spot, taking in her surroundings. Ramshackle wooden jetties and houses were arranged in a U shape around the bay. In the spaces between the buildings, Li Li caught sight of deep green palm fronds and other dense jungle foliage.
"What did you see?"
Chen's voice returned Li Li to the physical reality of the Ironforge apartment. She set the pearl back in her travel sack next to the bed, carefully hiding it from view with folds of cloth.
"Booty Bay," she answered.
"What?" Chen sat down beside her. "Are you sure? Wouldn't it be easier to just travel out of Stormwind?"
"Yeah, it would, but I was clearly in Booty Bay." She groaned and flopped onto her back, flinging one arm across her face. "Booty Bay is forever away!"
Chen made clucking noises to himself, staring at the far wall. After a few moments, he clapped his hands together and jumped up.
"Come on, Li Li. Looks like we've got some walking to do. Life is an adventure, remember?"
Li Li lifted her arm just a smidgeon to peek at Chen. His eyes twinkled down at her impishly, and she had the sudden urge to kick his feet out from under him. Not that she had much hope of catching him unawares, but it was a momentarily satisfying thought.
"All right, all right." She sat up. "Let's get going."
They took the Deeprun Tram south to Stormwind City, the reverse trip of what Li Li had done with Bo on her first journey through Azeroth. She found herself unable to be quite as excited for the ride this time, feeling Bo's loss keenly as she revisited the places they'd been. On the tram, the two of them had battled a goblin who was later revealed to be working for the same naga-and-orc team that would be responsible for Bo's death. In hindsight, Li Li wished she had better recognized the danger posed to her and Bo. Maybe things would have turned out differently.
Li Li forced her mind away from those thoughts. There was no point dwelling on the things that couldn't be changed.
Stormwind, on the other hand, had changed, more than she ever could have anticipated. In addition to the new construction in the Dwarven District, where the tram arrived, she could see charred rooftops, burned-out buildings, and crumbled stone battlements along the tallest towers. Telltale signs of severe fire damage were all over the city. Chen pulled aside an idle merchant to ask about what had happened.
The merchant furrowed his brows at them.
"Deathwing," he said.
Chen pressed him for information. "Deathwing, the great dragon?"
"Yeah." The merchant shrugged. "I'd never heard of him, but I guess he'd been hiding. That's what the educated folk have been saying, at least. Anyway, he came back, burned up the Park, wrecked half the city." He shuddered at the memory. "Scariest day of my life, seeing that huge beast in the sky, raining fire on us. Thought the world was coming to an end."
"Thanks," Chen said. He bought a bauble, grateful for the merchant's time.
"I know you read about dragons in my journals, Li Li," Chen told her as the two of them walked away. "We had those horrible waves a while back on Shen-zin Su. That must have been around the time that Deathwing returned to the world." He looked up at the sky, and Li Li wondered if he half expected to see the legendary former Aspect pass overhead.
Li Li nodded. She did know a little bit about the dragons, but Chen clearly knew more, and the news of Deathwing seemed to worry him very much.