Quest for Pandaria

Part 2 of 4

"You made this, didn't you, Dad?" The realization dawned on Catelyn.

Ansirem cleared his throat, appearing somewhat embarrassed. "Yes. Well, as I said, it didn't help. Cheaters never prosper, and all. I had to learn magecraft the hard way."

In the exact same manner as her father had a moment before, Catelyn rolled her eyes.

"Is it even actually enchanted?"

"Oh, it is. Just not particularly well. It only works about half the time." Ansirem paused. "I suggest you leave that bit out when you sell it."

Still chuckling, Modera piped up, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Ansirem heaved an exaggerated sigh, then placed his hands on his daughter's shoulders.

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"I won't pretend that I don't wish you'd choose a more... typical line of work," he said. His face softened. "But no matter what, you are my daughter, and I'll never forget that."

"Could you be any more sentimental?" Catelyn huffed, but she smiled.

Ansirem stepped back from Catelyn and began to cast a spell. With a final wave for his daughter, he and the other magi teleported away, and were gone.

***

Docked once more in Booty Bay, Li Li and Chen sat across from Catelyn in her quarters aboard the Neptulon's Bride. Catelyn pulled a box from a cabinet and held it out to Li Li.

"I believe this is yours. I'm sorry for—" Catelyn cut herself off and shook her head. "Damn. There's my old man getting to me." She sighed. "Well, I don't need it to pay my debt, so you can have it back."

Li Li coughed, and Chen crossed his arms.

"Okay, okay, I shouldn't have taken it in the first place. Good grief."

"That's better," Li Li said cheerfully, grabbing the box. She peeked inside, and the pearl shone quietly, cradled in velvet. Satisfied, Li Li placed it within her knapsack, where it belonged.

Catelyn looked mildly uncomfortable. "As repayment for me taking your pearl, and as thanks for helping me and my crew battle the Bloodsail Buccaneers, I have an offer for you.

"I know you two wish to travel south. The attack here at Booty Bay left things pretty disorganized, and it will be some time before private ships are available for charter again. I have to go to Gadgetzan to meet with a cartel representative to pay off my debt, and if you desire, I will take you with me free of charge. I have some connections there, and I could help you find someone willing to guide you."

"Not bad, not bad!" Li Li said. "Guess you really do feel guilty for swiping our stuff, huh?"

"Don't push it," Catelyn said flatly. "Well?"

"Sounds good to me," Li Li said. "I've never been to Gadgetzan. What do you think, Uncle Chen?"

"It's been a while since I've taken a ride on a pirate ship," said Chen. "I think I could stand for it again."

"The repairs should be finished in a day or two," Catelyn said. She stood, offering her hand to Li Li, who took it.

"See you then," Li Li said.

***

Once under way, the journey to Gadgetzan proved remarkably uneventful. Li Li found herself somewhat restless to be at sea again, though life aboard the ship was very different from life on Shen-zin Su. Her mind kept drifting back to the scene she had witnessed between Ansirem Runeweaver and his estranged daughter. Li Li turned it over in her head continuously, her thoughts refusing to settle. It was enough to keep her distracted until Tanaris's sandy, desolate shore came to view.

As their destination drew ever nearer, Li Li made her way toward the ship's helm, where Catelyn had lashed the wheel in place, holding a steady course to Gadgetzan.

"We should be there by nightfall," Catelyn said as Li Li approached.

Li Li nodded. "Hey," she said. She hesitated, then continued. "I want to ask you something."

Catelyn looked at her curiously. "What?"

Li Li set her pack down and pulled the pearl from inside. "Hold this for a moment. Focus on it, and tell me what you see."

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