Kun grins at her sister – “Yoooooou went on a date with Cael didn’t ya?”

“huh? What?”

Kun griiiiiiiiiiins s’more. “How’s things going with Cael, huh?”

“They’re… not. Why do you look like… No way. Nuh-uh.” Petal pulls her blanket over her head. “go ‘way.”

“Nuh uh. I want her and you to be happy and you guys were over there for a while. I think you can make it work.” Kun pokes the blanket and grins. “Just play it cool, ok? Given how she is…just ask her out for tea or something. Let her know how you feel but like not OUTRIGHT say it.”

The blanket pokes back. Eyes come out of hiding. “we had lunch. I showed her a little of the sword dance. We talked for a long time. It was nice.”

Kun hrmphs and tugs on a pair of ears under the blanket.

“ow!” The poking gets a little more.. Uh. Sluggy. Petal emerges, rubbing at her ear. “Nothing happened. We’re friends. It was -nice-.” She shrugs. “you know I don’t have a chance.”

“OKAY SO.” Kun hrmphs and then hugs her sister tight. “Don’t ever say you don’t have a chance. You care about her. You want her to be happy. You’re gentle and sweet and kind and the only reason she wouldn’t be into it is if she’s straight but who knows? That doesn’t mean you’re not worthy.” Weird. For a moment there Kun’s voice has a very odd tone. Almost… Big. Echoey. She doesn’t even realize it. “You are worthy.” Blinks and then hugs her sister again. It’s over that quickly. “So buck up and tell me you’ve got a chance.”

Petal definitely catches that, but is, at the moment, too busy being hugged to do anything about it beyond hugging back. “I don’t. And that’s okay. It really is. No matter what, she’s my friend.” A beat, then two, then conspiratorially, quietly, she adds- “she held my hand?”

“Seriously will you not be like that. If I say you’re worthy you are…oh my gods. Really?” Kun is busy giving her sister a noogie and gets thoughtful. “Cael doesn’t touch anybody sis. Like ever. And she held your hand. I think that means she must like you a lot. And it means she trusts you better then any one else. That’s some serious liking, you goof.”

Petal acks. Swats ineffectually at paws and noogies and her sister. “leggo! Not my haaaaiiirrrr!”

“Cael held your haaaaaaaaaaaand! She liiiiikes you! My sister is the best!” Kun laughs and keeps at it. “I’m always riiiiiight!”

“Aaugh!” This is when the biting starts, since the failing didn’t work. “… no you’re /not/.”

“Ow! Hey! I’m trying to be nice and you bite me!” Kun tackles her sister, giggling and biting back. “Cael really does liiiiiike you and you’re aweeeeeesome.”

Petal finally dissolves into helpless giggles, which doesn’t help her straits, really, but seems to release something in her. “… damnit, Kun.” It all turns into a huge, fierce, hug. “Fine. You win. I’m totally awesome and you’re even more awesome, so there.”

“Fiiiiiiine.” Kun sits on her sister and grins. “So. You’re going to be a sweet lil thing and ask her out again and it’ll all be good.”

“It’ll be a while.” Petal oofs, and shoves at Kun – not that it does much. “We have a thing. You and me.”

“Whateverrrrrrr.” Kun tumbles and does a graceful flip, landing on her feet and grinning hugely. “You still gonna go ask her.”

“FINE.” Petal can’t hide the grin, though. “I /am/ going to pack your stuff. We gotta get on a ship soon.”

“Nooooooo.” Kun pouts and folds her arms. “I dunwanna talk to the yaoguai again.”

“You know we have to. I have to. And.. I can’t do this alone.” Petal sighs, and drags herself out of bed. “and you won’t leave me alone with him, will you?”

“No of course not!” Kun wrapped her arms around her sister again. “Never ever. I’m just whining.”

“good. ’cause the first chance we have to steal that box and run? We’re taking it. I want to know why he’s so smug about it first, but seriously. To fel with him.”

Kun smiles and hugs her tighter. “Okay.” She pauses and frowns. “…I think I need to have a talk with uncle first.”

“… Get packed and we’ll go. Now, if you want.” Petal takes a deep breath. “I can open a Way.”

Kun nods. “I’m good to go. I….I need to talk to him.”

Petal does take a moment to get ready- she gathers her staff and sword, gets actually dressed, even snags her belt and pouches. For her, the Chi comes easy- with noticeably less effort than the portals have cost in the past. “Got everything?”

Kun grabs a few things too. A pouch of coin, her special daggers in their usual hiding place. And…yes, after a moment’s thought, some local sweet pastries. She was intending them for herself and Petal, but…well, Uncle does enjoy his food. And he might…yeah. He might appreciate foreign sweets. She wasn’t sure WHAT she thought about seeing him again, knowing what had gone on, but…”Okay. I’m ready.”

The Way drops the pair right at the temple gates on a clear, cold day- as children, it was the kind of day when they’d have snuck out and headed for the village below just to get away from the snow that had been piling up all winter.

The Temple never changed. Today was no exception, even down to Master Cho sweeping off the cobbles and the smell of fish soup on the air.

Petal, being Petal, smiles, wipes at her eyes.

Kun sniffles too, looking down at her feet and shuffling them. She nods akwardly at Master Cho. “Hi. Um. You know where Uncle is?”

“Sky flower!” That. That would be a hug. A huge, rib-creaking, massive, fuzzy hug that picks Kun up and has her spinning. “you are too skinny! Those outlanders don’t know how to cook. We’ll fix that!”

Petal just giggles. No help at all.

Kun eeeeeeeeps and squeaks and feels her bones crack a little. She smiles, just a bit, and hugs Master Cho back, happily, even. “I’d really like that, Master Cho. I’ve missed good home cooking.”

“Then, it you will have.” He does put her down (after one more squeeze). “Don’t mind the young ones- go on in. He’s in the library, like usual. He hasn’t left it much these weeks. “

“Is he okay? I know the invasions were pretty bad.” Kun frowns, worrying despite herself. Shuffles her feet again. She had been angry at him, but now…

“I don’t know. Most of the younglings he sent home when winter set in, and even a few masters. The traders have been by more than usual- the stables are packed. He seems distracted.” Cho frowns- “but you know how he is. And, since the yaoguai? It’s been… Tense. Some of the other masters are… Well. It doesn’t matter. He’ll love seeing you.”

Kun Yi frowns again, shuffling her feet. She nods, giving Petal a brief, worried look. Keeps a tight hold on her box of sweets. “Well, maybe this’ll cheer him up. I guess everyone’s worried with a war going on.”

“worried. Angry. Your sister-” He smiles fondly across to Petal – “hasn’t been very welcome. How are you, dear one?”

Petal offers, gently, “Eating. Kun keeps shoving sweets at me.”

“there’s change on the wind, sky flower. Don’t forget what I taught you. “

“Hasn’t been very welcome. Huh? Change?” Kun’s ears flicker, and she shifts her weight.

“Many of the others blame her for the theft, that’s all. They have opinions and short sight. And yes, change. I don’t know what, but I can smell it.” He taps his nose. “and dinner.”

Looking down, Petal winces.

Kun narrows her eyes. Her ears lay flat at the news, and she politely nods to Master Cho, because he’s dear and sweet and is giving them food.

“I hear ya, Master Cho. I might talk to Uncle first tho, and bring him these sweets.” She has to repress a low growl of anger. Stupid, stupid, mean spirited people! How DARE they! About her sister! Who tried so hard! It wasn’t right, no, not…not fair, not justice.

“didn’t help that I.. Brought Cael here.” Petal murmurs that, softly, just for Kun. “She was so… caught up in hurting. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to take her just to get away.” She shrugs slightly as she follows Kun through the gate. “I don’t think it helped that I sort of… Put her up in my room, either.”

“Screw them.” Kun’s ears are still flat, and she’s simmering. “You did right. This is a place of healing and acceptness and they need to bloody well stop being jerks.”

“I love you too, sis. They don’t know what we know. Don’t punch anyone too hard?” Petal sighs. “I don’t regret anything. And they’re not wrong. I let him get away.”

“You did NOT. There wasn’t…it…it wasn’t your fault, ok? I mean, you’re not a killer or anything. And we can get the box back. Maybe that will shut those poops up.” Kun mutters words under her breath, a hint of gold in her eyes. “Where’s Uncle, anyways?”

Petal lets that go, and just leads the way to the library, up through the temple doors.

Without the younglings present, the Masters still practice and this temple has always had more than its share. The whispers from several are.. Unkind. The sisters are definitely watched. More importantly, the atmosphere is somehow electric, worried. Unsettled. There’s not much tranquility in the air, none of the usual sense of timelessness.

The library, with its racks of scrolls, looks… ransacked. Uncle pores through some kind of list, checking through the rack in front of him. “hello, dear ones.” nope. Not even a glance, just his warm smile.

Kun glares angrily at anyone who dares to give her sister a second, unkind glance. And gives them a few back, then snaps her eyes to Uncle and takes a deep breath. Suddenly…she doesn’t know. Her emotions kind of come to a tumbled up pile as if they hit a wall, and she looks down at the ground again, clutching her box of sweets. “Hello, Uncle…”

He turns, eyes like a cloudless sky, smile softening. “hello Sky flower.” and… He holds out his arms. “Give us a moment, dear Petal?”

Kun hesitates, for a moment, then tears appear in her eyes. “I’m….” She rushes into his arms, sniffling. Her temper’s hot but it can never last very long. “I missed you, Uncle.”

Uncle hugs her, warmly – he still smells like old ink and sunlight. He laughs, warm and rich – “I miss you always.” Teasing, merry – “No one is stealing the apples anymore. They’re piling up faster than the cooks can make pies. It’s terrible.”

“Uncle….” Kun wriggles a bit and then holds up her box. “I brought human sweets. And then maybe we can talk over tea or something?”

Uncle takes the box with a certain gravitas, but there’s something merry in his eyes. “Absolutely. There is I think enough time for that.” A beat, then – “Is he cute? You always bring me sweets when you either want to talk about the newest one… or something very serious. Is it wrong that I hope for the former?” And he waves her over, heading for his small worktable – where there /is/ a pot of tea, and he can scrounge a pair of small cups. “Have you met him yet, I wonder? Or her.” He hmm. “No, Him. That’s usually the way of things, I think.”

“Uncle. I like girls too. And the last one WAS a girl, and I DID meet her, and no, it didn’t work out. I’m kind of giving up on relationships right now.” She flumps on a spare seat. “There’s just a lot going on.”

“oh!” He blinks, frowns. “hmm. That one likely wasn’t the right one yet. I should have guessed yours would not be as easy as Petal’s. You have quite a bit more fire.” Uncle smiles, pours tea. “There is. So very much. There never seems to be time anymore. You’ve kept up with your practice?”

Kun wriggles and blushes a bit. She nods, slowly, watching him. “Awww, Uncle, c’mon… I mean, yeah, Petal’s got this real sweet girl. You should try and buck her up a bit, she’s always saying she’s not good enough which is totally WRONG.” She huffs a bit for her sister. “But. I’m nothing all that special…I mean, what practice?” She looks guilty.

“Your knives. Your chi. Your filching.” Uncle grins, rogueish. “You never did get my purse, for all of your trying.” He settles in his own chair, with his small cup, inhaling the scent of jasmine and green tea leaves. “She is water and air – you are fire and earth. It always has been that way, ever since you were small and kept pulling her hair when she was being too serious.” He raises a brow. “The two of you balance each other. Every time you say she needs someone to tell her how special she is? In the same breath, you always insist on how ordinary you are. How can she be special if you aren’t?”

Kun wraps her paws around her cup and looks down into the steaming, swirling water, sighing. “Oh, Uncle, you’re such a poet…I mean….yeah, I guess. I don’t get down on myself, though, not like she does. I’ve been trying to bring her back up. I mean, sure I got skills, but she does too and they’re way more complicated and powerful than the stuff I do.” She sips her tea and wriggles again. “I’ve….yeah, been practicing with the knives and stuff. Um. And filching. Dunno ’bout chi though.” Just a little hint of guilt in that tail twitch.

“Kun Yi? ” His voice is gentle – “You need to keep your skills. Learn all you can – nothing is too small. There may come a time when the tiniest thing can keep you safe. Everything is changing. And you, dear one, need to keep your eyes and ears open.”

Kun blinks, looking up and looking worried. “Well, yeah, Uncle, there’s a war on…” She hesitates a moment. “Are you guys okay, here? Like you sleeping well and stuff?”

“I sleep as well as I always have.. if a little less peacefully now that I’m worried about my two blossoms.” Uncle’s eyes stay gentle. “Someone will come into your life that you’ll need to learn from, Sky flower. It may not be who you expect. You need to watch for them.”

He leans forward, looking down into his own tea. “Everything on the horizon that I can see is clouded. All of it is caught up in green fire and angry faces.”

Kun watches him, still worried. She can’t be angry at him, not really, as much as she still wants to ask the questions. She puts a paw on his, trying to reassure him. “We’ll be okay, Uncle. I promise. I’m really good at keeping us safe. Besides, I think we’ll totally beat all them demons. For sure.” There’s a brightness and a firmness to her voice that wasn’t there before, unaware as she is off it.

He smiles oddly, head tilting, ears forward. His heavy paw comes to rest on her own. “Interesting.” He squeezes once. “I will still worry, you realize. That is the nature of loving someone who grows up. You always worry.” Uncle leans in, conspiratorial. “now. Ask what you need to ask, sky flower. While you still have time.”

Kun looks down. Her ears droop a bit. “Why, Uncle?” Just a whisper. Why does she feel so bad about this now? “Why did you let the yaoguai escape? It hurt Petal. A lot. He made her cry, and she feels bad, and everyone hates her now or think it’s all her fault. Why did you let some no good thieving outsider take our sacred artifact?”

“this isn’t the first time it was stolen.” He sips at his tea. “the first time was during the time of the Emperor, in the days before the mists shrouded the land. A great war was on the horizon, where our old allies, the hidden elves, went to war against themselves for the soul of the world. A night elf came to the temple, begging for the Weapon so that a great evil could be defeated. The master of the temple declined. “

” the elf stole the box, and the temple sent its guardians to retrieve it. They were there when the world exploded, and when the Enemy was turned back. The box returned to us with a note from a priestess with a story. “

Uncle sips at his tea, thoughtful. ” it was stolen again by the Emperor himself, and again the guardians went to reclaim it. When they returned to the temple, they spoke of troll wars and the Sha beneath the world. And now? It is stolen again. “

Kun looks down, frowning. So much of this goes right over her head. “Well….ok? So every time it’s stolen it’s actually something good? Why don’t we just let people take it then?” She looks up, scowling a little. Still a bit outraged. “Why didn’t he just ask? And since he didn’t, and he did steal it, why can’t you just let people know so Petal doesn’t get picked on and feel bad?”

Uncle raises a brow. “What makes you think they’d listen?” He smiles – not ungently – “Even you, dear one, only bothered to hear half the story. It is the way of things. Everyone sees what they wish to see, not necessarily what is true or right. Yes, I could have stopped him.” He leans forward to touch her cheek. “But then what?” There is such… unashamed love in his expression. “I have so much I want to tell you, sky flower. But… right now, I cannot. You have to find your answers… or not, as you choose. I have so much faith in you, and who you will be, and who you are. Your heart is very great – more even than your sister’s. I don’t know where you’ll go, or what you’ll see – but I know that everywhere you go you’ll bring the Crane’s blessing with you. I am so very proud of you. I am sorry I have not said it more.”

Kun’s eyes well up and she sniffles, loud and obviously. “Then just tell me, Uncle. I wanna know it all. I don’t wanna be a dummy or not know stuff that’ll help. I’m not as smart as Petal. I don’t get all this mystical stuff and I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, Kun Yi.” He leans in, setting his forehead on hers. “Just trust your heart. Love all that you can. I … have tried to teach you everything, but I’m afraid that, in the end, I am not a terribly good teacher. Your real teacher is out there, Kun. Look for whoever it is – /learn/. The darkest hours are coming, and I won’t be there to help you. Others are going to take my place, for a while. Who knows?” He grins, eyes crinkling – “You might even teach me a thing or two someday soon.”

“Naw, Uncle….” Kun is sniffling and sniffling now. At her heart, she probably is squishier then her sister, and hides it that much harder. “You were the best teacher. I mean I did learn lots and I’m so thick and…” Sniffle sob. “Everything with this stupid yaoguai just sucks.”

“You’re not, you know. You compare yourself to Petal so much that you’ve forgotten what makes you special.” Uncle pulls her in close, stealing a rather engulfing hug. “Yes, she reads more than you. Her mind is very quick – but /you/, Kun, are brave and filled with joy. You love, you laugh – you can outfight her three ways from last week.” He actually laughs, fondly – “You are the best of us, even when you were throwing beans at Master Qi during lessons.” He adds, in a stage-whisper. “Yes, I thought it was funny too.” More seriously –

“Never think you are somehow ‘lesser’ than her, dear one. I love you both, and I am unashamed to say it. You must realize your own worth.”

“Okay, Uncle.” Kun buries herself in his hug, still sniffling. “I’ll try. I am really fast. I think that’s cool and fun.” Sniffles into his fur some more. “I…I dunno about being the best though. I’ve done some awful things. I…I stole stuff, Uncle, even though I knew it was wrong. I was really mad at the yaoguai and I stole…I stole these daggers ’cause I thought they were important to him.” Such a guilty, guilty look as the words slip out. She never ever could hide anything from him, as quick as she was. Not literally or figuratively.

Uncle blinks. Twice. “… well.” He … laughs, soft and warm. “Awful is likely relative. Do you regret doing it?” It’s not accusatory – it seems genuinely curious, that question.

“I….yes, now.” Kun sniffles. “As soon as I thought what you would say. Deep down I knew it was kinda wrong, mostly ’cause I’m being a hypocrite, mostly ’cause it’s one thing to steal from some rich guy and help poor people, and it’s another to steal just to hurt someone’s feelings.” Her ears droop low. “And now I can’t believe I was so dumb for thinking it was a good idea to get back at him.”

“If that’s how you feel, sky flower.. then you really don’t need me to tell you what you need to do, do you?” Uncle raises a brow.

“No Uncle…” Kun droops some more. “I need to give them back…well… I mean…they didn’t really belong to him. I think…I’m not sure, but I think they’re important to his people. Dunno how. That’s just what my informants told me. I didn’t really look into it.” Suuuuuuch a guilty look, worse than when she broke into the dragon shed to make out with a trainer and ended up releasing them and setting the outbuildings on fire. And that was an accident.

Uncle keeps her close, in that hug – “Do me one service, dear one? If you need to do this- do this in person. To him. Own your truth.” He nuzzles at her head, “Don’t worry. Things have a strange way of coming out as they should.”

Kun cries again, hugging him close. “O-o-okay, Uncle, I’m sorry…” Sniffles. “I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know if I should be mad at him anymore. He’s such…it seems so wrong that he just took from us without asking but I’ma hypocrite and… and now I don’t know anymore.”

“No one can tell you how you should feel – but it is not in your heart to be angry for too long.” Uncle whuffs a small chuckle. “Talk to him, and decide if you should be. Perhaps you can demand pies. I hear the humans make very good ones.”

“Okay, Uncle.” Kun sniffs and tries to smile a little bit. “You should try the pastries I bought. The humans are really good at them. They use something called whipped cream.” She takes a deep breath and leeeeans into him again. “You are the wisest and best panda, Uncle.”

“I’m just an old fool, sky flower – but I do love you.” He chuffs, amused…

…. and that’s when the explosion happens. The temple – the entire temple – rocks, shifting; the teapot, the one Uncle has had forever, shatters on the stone floor as the mirror-pool ripples and scrolls fall from their spots on the wall. Within moments, the temple’s great bells bong, echoing hollowly through the space beyond.

“Oh no! The teapot!” Kun is honestly more devasted, in the moment, about the pot, before she spins around, daggers in hand. “PETAL!”

Uncle moves smoothly himself, with an oddly sad… and knowing – sigh. “I thought there would be more time.”

Petal – with two of the brothers from the training yard – burst in through the main doors; the two Masters with her take up positions on either side of the door, while the mage turns – raising her hands, purple eye-twisting not-light somehow warping around them. “Kun! Felguard in the courtyard – ” Her pandaren is curt, worried – “One of those… flying buildings is /here/.”

“WHAT?!” Kun is satisfied, then, with her sister safe and Uncle beside them. Uncle was so strong and wise and could manage himself very very well… Probably better then she realized. Her fists clenched. She scowled. Anger replaced fear, along with out rage. “How dare they. HOW FUCKING DARE THEY!!” Light prickles in her eyes and crackles along her fur as she strides towards the doors. “I’ma cut those bastards good!”

“Kun – ” Petal starts to say something, when a heavy paw lands on both their shoulders.

Uncle chuckles, softly – “No, dear ones. You have /another/ battle, don’t you? We do have our own skills.” He.. pulls them both close, into a fierce hug. “Do not forget how much I love you. Be good. Be strong.”

Outside, the gutteral sounds of demonic can be heard – as can the Masters. The Temple was never really about training the young, after all – and the raw power on display in the courtyard is astounding. There, the chef with cleaver and knife, dancing over and through a Felguard’s clumsy swipe, taking its head with a wide grin. Here? The stable-sisters, flicking chain whips at oncoming demons, there, Master Qi shows exactly what a sword-dancer can do, flitting from one demon to the next and leaving only falling parts in his wake.

Green fire burns on the ramparts, but Chi burns gold and jade in the courtyard.

“Uncle don’t say stuff like that! It’s stupid and melodramatic and and and SILLY!” Kun shouts, trying to stamp her foot even as she’s dragged into the hug. She clings to him, fiercely. “We can help fight! We have to. This is our home. Our home. Our sacred place. What can we do but help defend it?”

“Go defend the world.” He grins, boops Kun’s nose, ruffles Petal’s hair.. and stands. To his full height – all nine feet of it. A slow breath in, and out… and the air around the older Pandaren seems to /vibrate/. With a soft laugh, he steps forward – “I think you should let me have /one/ temple, don’t you? You can have everything else.” He winks at Kun – and steps out into the courtyard.

Almost immediately, Uncle comes under attack – a pair of Wrathguard with their blades singing and trailing felfire fall on him with a shout and a snarl and screams in the harsh language of Demons. But Uncle’s expression of amusement never changes, as he somehow avoids strike after strike, -catching- one of those blades and eying it, with a certain curiosity. A twist of his heavy paw and the blade shatters with an almost bell-like ring. “… hmm. Interesting. Do they often do that to you?” The Wrathguard aren’t much more durable than their blades, interestingly enough.

Petal watches, eyes wide. How could she not? “… wow.” She huffs. “… he told me I beat him fair and square last time we sparred.”

Kun’s fists clench again around her daggers as she vibrates with anger, with fear, with worry, even as she sees her Uncle stride out in all his power. Somewhere there, wonder too, at how strong and awesome he is. She wants to rush forward, every part of her suddenly cries out to join the battle, to fight the felflame… howdaretheyhowdaretheyHOWDARETHEY! … but she can’t. Uncle said not to. “What do we DO!?”

Petal focuses on her hands – and sends a ripple out into the courtyard that somehow… -twists- into a pair of imps throwing balls of felflame into the growing melee. Space around them seems to implode, then stretch, doing its best to rip them apart. It’s surprisingly effective, really. “I don’t -know-.” Her jade eyes are hard – “More of them are coming, Kun – I can feel… they’re going to use portals.”

The two brothers near the door – identical – grin at each other, then Petal.. and launch themselves, with a whoop, down into the growing fight.

“Then let’s find ’em that’re going to cast portals.” Kun’s eyes are glowing dangerously now, and she, with slow, methodical calm, chilling, almost, begins to take out a special little pouch from the bag she left by the door. Opens it. Carefully takes out a broadnecked, but barely full, glass bottle. Sticks her daggers in and begins to swirl them around, coating them with whatever’s inside. “Are there summoners out there casting portals, or are the portals just appearing?”

“Dunno. I can feel the Fel – and I know that feeling. It’s like.. remember Westfall? When they’d just… pop in?” Petal looks over at Kun – “I know they’re coming, but I can’t … it’s just – out there.” She waves a paw.

Kun narrows her eyes and looks upward, shielding them from the flickering glare of fel fire. Storms and fire and lightning overhead, as if it was the worst of the summer storms. “Is there a mage floating out there…or was it a ship… dammit!” She spat on the ground and cursed, growing angrier and more desperate as the battle raged on before them. “I can’t see what you can see sis. Do you think there’s…I don’t know how to make these things go away!”

“… I don’t know.” Petal stares out at the courtyard – “I can see – “

And with that, another dozen felguard materialize in the courtyard… along with a pair of Shivarran. They fling themselves into the melee … while the Pandaren masters give as good (actually, much better) than they get. At the moment, it’s a complete stalemate.

Petal totters, a bit – hand touching her temple. “.. ugh. That /never/ feels better. Okay. There’s no portal. I don’t know how to get -up- to the building thing. It’s just.. shoving them down here.”

A voice, booming and hollow, fills the sky, “COME, PANDAREN – YOUR LIVES MEAN SO LITTLE? GIVE US WHAT WE SEEK, AND YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LITTLE MOUNTAIN.”

“HEY YOU! FUCK YOU!?” Kun screams at the sky, filling the air with the vilest curses she can think of. She shakes her fist and her daggers at the direction of the sound, and something just…big, so big, fills her. She feels that weird, overwhelming, prickly feeling from before. When she saw the giant golden lady in the cave. Awe. Wonder. Rage. She can’t… it doesn’t translate. So she screams again, expelling the feeling as best she can.

In front of the doorway… somehow. There’s a ripple… and a flare of something golden and bright, bursting from the doorway out into the courtyard beyond. The shivarran and the last few felguard somehow… dissolve, soundlessly, in an explosion of Light. Kun’s daggers, in her fists? They shudder and glow; her fur stands on end, crackling and alight…

All for only the briefest of moments.

Petal … stares. “Kun…” Awe indeed – the older sister’s eyes are wide, and wondering, and a little shocked.

And then Uncle is there, heavy paws coming to rest on Kun’s shoulders, speaking just for her – “/not yet/, sky flower. This isn’t the time.” Gentle – “You have to go. now. Petal!” It is a command – his voice deep and serious and brooking no argument. “Take her back. Now.”

More quietly – “This isn’t the battle. Not yet. Do you understand, dear flower?”

Kun is wobbling on her feet, her fur still cackling with static. Drained. “Bwuh?” She looks up at Uncle, suddenly worried and a little lost. “Uncle…. please stay safe…”

“Of course, sky flower – you’ll need to scold me later, don’t you think?” He winks at her.

Behind them both – Petal makes the curious gestures that open a Way, the portal coalescing to show Dalaran, with the felstorm above.

Uncle hugs Kun fiercely – “Don’t be afraid, sky flower. Fear is silly, and does no one any good.” .. And then he nudges her toward the portal.

“Yes, Uncle….” Kun is sobbing now and she doesn’t know why, trying to cling to his paw as she’s shoved through the portal. And stumbles through, and falls on her rump, and sobs some more.

Through the shimmery surface of the portal, Kun can see Uncle and Petal.. the former hugging the latter fiercely, briefly, and Petal giving him a quick kiss on the top of his head before she, too, steps through the surface.

As the Way collapses – as they do – both Pandaren can see Uncle turning, and -flickering- into the melee beyond, his massive face split in a wide grin.

One way or another, he seems to be enjoying himself immensely. 

Author Aunne
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