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My journey through the Wandering Isle continued in the Dawning Valley!
Chased the water blob that Shu had created all across the region's grassy hills and wooded thickets. The little guy stayed one step ahead of me, but I didn't mind. That time of year, the valley was beautiful and full of fascinating plants and animals, such as the amberleaf scamps, tricky forest sprites who love to play pranks and cause mischief. I've always liked them. But my favorite things in that part of the isle are the bright red puzhu trees. There's something magical about them. Their petals keep their color for months even after you pick them.
The Lorewalkers say that Liu Lang planted different saplings and seeds across the isle years and years ago. Does that mean the same types of plants and flowers are in Pandaria? If so, maybe the folks there use puzhu petals for medicines and festival decorations like we do.
Anyway, I lost the trail of Shu's water somewhere in Wu-Song Village, north of the Dawning Valley. To make matters worse, no one in the settlement had spotted it! How can you miss a living blob of water dancing through your streets? I guess I can't really blame the villagers. They seemed busy doing chores and practicing martial arts. Many of the isle's best monks are born and raised in Wu-Song, partly because of how close it is to the Shang Xi Training Grounds.
The grounds sit atop a towering hill just east of the village. All day the sounds of bare fists and weapons smacking against training dummies echo across the valley below. As I headed toward the grounds, I ran into two of the wisest pandaren around: Aysa Cloudsinger, a master of the Tushui way of thought, and Ji Firepaw, a master of the Huojin way.
Both of these philosophies are pretty popular, but each has its own distinct flavor. Tushui above all else teaches that you should defend what is right. There is only one correct path in life, and it must always be followed. On the other paw, Huojin is all about passion and taking direct action. The students of this school believe that as long as they're working for the greater good, they can be more flexible about how they get the job done.
Being a follower of the Wanderer's Way, I couldn't pass up the rare chance to bug Aysa and Ji with questions, so I asked them what I should do to find the water blob.
"Sit, watch, and wait, young one," Aysa said. "Shu is an ancient being, and he will not always answer your call. If his water wishes to find you, it will. In time."
Ji's approach was a bit different. "You'll find the water only if you're thorough, little Stormstout. Search every tree and riverbank. Leave no stone unturned!"
I ended up trying both ways. First, I settled down at Fu's Pond, a tranquil area south of the training grounds. I sat there and meditated for what seemed like hours, but Shu's water blob never showed up. Then I tried Ji's advice and went digging through every shrub I could find. Eventually, I realized that it was all kind of pointless. My mission was to explore. If Shu led me there for a reason, maybe it was to help me take the first step in my journey.
After heading back to the Temple of Five Dawns, I crossed paths with a cart driver named Lun and his big yak. He'd just delivered some supplies for the temple and was getting ready to return to the Dai-Lo Farmstead. That part of the isle seemed as good a place as any to visit next. I managed to talk Lun into giving me a ride on his cart.
But I got the feeling he was in a bad mood. He had this sour look on his face, like the kind you get when you bite into a sweet red-bean bun only to find that someone has filled it with rancid yak cheese. (This has happened to me.) After a round of questions, I pried the truth from him: hozen thieves had pillaged his food stores!
Sure, I felt bad for Lun, but to be honest, I was also pretty excited. Exploring Dai-Lo was one thing, but exploring it and investigating hozen thievery sounded like a dream come true.
The next leg of my journey was shaping up to be quite the adventure!