Ji secured a cart ride to the Temple of Five Dawns, and Shu and Wu Guo were happy enough to float along behind, periodically darting off to chase each other playfully. Weipon half-dozed while Ji chatted with the farmer driving the cart.
All too soon, she was being shaken awake by Ji, as they had reached the base of the Temple, already having taken the farmer well out of his way. He set off with a nod of his head, adding, "Anything to help out friends of Master Shang!"
The spirits beat them inside and were already twirling delightedly around the monks in the temple when Ji and Weipon arrived. Master Shang waved them over with a smile.
"Well done, you two. I'm pleased that you're working together so well. And even better, Aysa has located Da Feng and is on the way to wake him!"
Ji grinned widely, looking between the Master and Weipon. "Great! What can we do?"
"I'm afraid you can't take a cart, but you need to travel to Morning Breeze Village. Da Feng is rumored to be hiding in his temple." He turned behind him, gesturing to a staircase. "I'm afraid the access to the Dawning Span is on the top floor-" before he could continue, Huo darted by, whisking Ji and Weipon up in his fiery wake.
They were swept up and away, past the central statue and the multiple floors circling it, past gaping monks going about their daily activities, and finally deposited on the top floor.
Weipon carefully straightened her clothes. Ji whooped in excitement. "What a rush!" he exclaimed. Huo giggled and darted back inside the temple.
The pair set off, alternating between jogging and walking to hurry along to their destination.
"So, Ms. Silkbrush, how are you liking your first assignments as a full-fledged monk?" Ji panted, not slowing.
Weipon struggled to keep up with his pace. "It's a challenge! Do you frequently not get enough sleep?" she asked, only half joking.
"Ahh, it is a busy life," the other pandaren replied. "Aysa seems to roll with everything. I get a little grumpier when I haven't had my beauty sleep," he winked.
"How long have you known Aysa?" Weipon paused for breath, then quickly added, "If you don't mind my asking?"
Ji exhaled loudly. "Let's see...I think we met on the second or third day of training? I've always admired her. I know she thinks I'm too hasty, but I've given plenty of consideration to how I feel about her."
Weipon chewed her lip, suddenly uncomfortable. What could she possibly say in response to that? Perhaps recognizing his awkward slip, Ji also fell silent. They slowed to walk for one hundred paces, then resumed running.
Finally they passed through the outskirts of the village. Hozen destruction was evident on the decorative pillars and scrolls, although someone had attempted to clean up the worst of it. As they picked their way through the remnants of torn, defiled scrolls, Weipon stopped to pick up an abandoned calligraphy brush. The bristles were broken, sticking out at messy angles, and the entire thing was covered in dried ink. She grimaced, feeling personally offended by the undignified treatment of such a tool.
At the edge of the village, they ran into Aysa speaking with an older pandaren that Weipon vaguely remembered from earlier competitions. Aysa gave them a businesslike nod and continued her conversation. Finally, the other pandaren - Weipon finally remembered him as Elder Shaopai - turned to address them.
"Ji, good to see you again. And you as well, Weipon." He evidently had a knack for names, considering how many students he must have taught. "Aysa has come up with a very neat plan to rescue Da Feng, who has been frightened away by the trickster Zhao Ren. I think if you, Weipon, go with her to help, we can be on our way very shortly. Ji, I have another task for you. Walk with me." Elder Shaopai turned away, followed closely by Ji, and the pair walked further into the village.
"We're going to get Da Feng to leave his temple long enough to see us get rid of Zhao Ren. I think that will be enough to convince him he can come back to the temple!" Aysa took off, knowing that Weipon would follow her.
They continued through more Hozen-defiled areas, and both women wore matching frowns. Finally, they came to the entrance of Da Feng's temple, which was built back into the mountainside. Weipon eagerly ran forward just as a violent wind picked up, tugging her inside.
Aysa's hands on her forearm were the only thing that kept her from being swept inside and dashed against the stone walls. With a strangled grunt, Aysa threw herself backward, pulling Weipon down and away from the doorway. They huddled against the doorframe until the gale subsided, leaving a mess of leaves and dust trailing into the temple.
Abruptly, Aysa released Weipon and stood, stalking into the temple. "If you had just taken a moment to think before charging in..." she muttered in irritation. Cowed, Weipon followed meekly behind.
Inside, they found Da Feng restlessly circling the innermost chamber. He didn't approach them for some time, although Weipon didn't know if it was because of Aysa's gentle tone or how long they waited that he finally deemed them not a threat.
"Da Feng," Aysa said kindly, "Would you like us to make mean Zhao Ren go away?"
At this, the spirit was evidently delighted, and Aysa convinced him to come as far as the entrance to the temple before he drew back, peering nervously at the sky. As if on cue, Zhao Ren's sinuous shadow darkened the courtyard. The trio watched him circle above.
"Don't worry," Aysa said confidently. She stepped outside.
Weipon followed, adding, "Just leave it to us!"
They stood on the steps to the temple, contemplating the dragon twining through the clouds overhead.
"How, um." Weipon started. "How do we get him to come down?"
"I'm thinking about it," Aysa replied crossly.
An awkward silence fell. Weipon set herself to thinking about how she might get a dragon's attention. Neither spoke for some time, and Weipon was wondering if Da Feng would simply give up and wander off when a familiar voice called out,
"Hey! Did I miss the good part?" Ji jogged over to them, then set down several bundles at their feet. "Elder Shaopai had me get some of our stolen stuff back from the Hozen, but I thought I'd swing by here first and see if you needed anything!"
Aysa sighed. "I'm just thinking of a way to get Zhao Ren down so we can attack him!"
"Oh, I might have just the thing!" Ji rummaged in one of the bags while Aysa watched doubtfully. "Look," he said triumphantly. "Fireworks!"
"Ji, I don't think-" Aysa began, but Ji was already striking out into the middle of the field to set up a stand.
"No, it's fine! We just light these bad boys..." A stream of smoke shot into the air, followed by an impressive explosion.
"Ji!" Aysa admonished furiously, but was ignored. Another spark went up, this time exploding close enough that Zhao Ren turned and began to descend.
Ji laughed. "Woah, that got his attention! Just one more..." With a final crack, striking Zhao Ren squarely in the belly, he got the dragon's full attention. "Incoming!"
Weipon rushed out to help him attack the dragon. Aysa followed soon after, still spluttering about half-made plans. Soon, their quarry was dead, and Da Feng came hesitatingly out into the open. Aysa and Ji immediately began to argue about the merits of action versus consideration, so Weipon was left to silently usher them and the wind spirit back to the village.