Taka explains to the PC’s that the tiger is a spirit animal of Ren Jing forest and that the forest, the spirits, and its denizens, are in peril. The PC’s ask Taka where have they landed and Taka says that they are in the province of Pyanping, in the kingdom of Ping along the east coast within the Shenyue Empire. The PC’s agree to help if they can also get guidance to the capital city of the province, also called Pyanping. Taka says they should first head to his home village of Senxia Gu within Ren Jing forest.
The PC’s and Taka travel along the edge of Ren Jing forest, come upon a statue of Hou Yi, the Hunter, god of wilderness and hunting, and follow a friendly forest sprite who leads them to a dead blackened tree. Surrounded by forest sprites, the tiger reappears perched on a rock and begins to talk to the PC’s. She introduces herself as Anyanka, and explains to the PC’s that Ren Jing forest is home to a great forest deity named Hamaterasu. Anyanka says that the forest and deity are one, and both are in danger, as witnessed by the blackened tree. She believes that the yuan-ti have infiltrated her forest and have systematically begun capturing and killing the spirits of Ren Jing, as they tried with her. Before she can explain further, the party is attacked by bullywugs and Anyanka disappears.
The PC’s manage to kill the bullywugs and travel onwards. They come upon a rotund merchant screaming for help as he is sinking in quicksand. After a skirmish with more bullywugs and a giant toad, they PC’s help the merchant. He introduces himself as Fan, a silk merchant who was heading to the capital city of Pyanping with his donkey and cart full of goods. He entreats the PC’s to escort him at least to Senxia Gu, the PC’s agree to help him.
After a night’s rest, the party travels deeper into Ren Jing forest. On the trail to Senxia Gu, they are suddenly ambushed by band of bandits who proclaim themselves as members of The Shadow Rebellion. They demand a donation, eyeing the silk goods on Fan’s cart. Although masked, one of the bandits recognizes Taka. His name is Lo, a childhood friend of Taka’s also from Senxia Gu. Lo tells Taka that he can still leave safely, but Taka refuses. Despite a clever attempt to parlay utilizing a “magical” crowbar, the party routes the bandits, with Lo escaping.
Finally, the small adventuring party find what looks like a wall of very densely packed tall trees. They realize it is actually the wall enclosure of the village of Senxia Gu and they enter in.