Pitch was worried, he could tell. Rheugan might have been worried too, if he could just spare the energy to care. Everything he had, however, was currently going towards fending off the attacks from the Thing, which he now knew was a Sha.
Every time he set foot in Kun-Lai - hells, every time he went near the gates - he could feel it waiting for him. And each time it prodded at him, filling his mind with suggestions and urges that he had to fight back, before he lost control of himself. It was exhausting him.
He was able to avoid it by either staying in the Vale or taking a kite back to Halfhill, but Pitch seemed oblivious to his problem and often suggested they go hunting, usually in Kun-Lai. Not wanting his friend and mentor to worry, Rheugan invariably agreed.
Their hunting trips had become an ordeal, one that could only be eased by tracking down and eliminating every Sha-spawn he could find, with a single-mindedness that bordered on obsession. He kept hoping if he killed enough of them, the Sha would weaken or tire, and he would be left in peace. That plan hadn’t worked yet.
Rheugan found himself withdrawing, much like he had when he’d been brought back from the wild in Gilneas. His sleep was full of nightmares, and he began losing weight - not that he had much to spare to begin with. Pitch fussed over him, but Rheugan managed to put him off with half-hearted assurances that even he didn’t believe. It was enough to get Pitch to leave him alone, at least.
The cat was on edge. It wanted to help him, but this was beyond its experience, and all it could do was fret along with him.
It all finally got to be too much for him. He was only dimly aware of leaving the Summit behind, crossing back into blissfully familiar rain forest. When he came back to himself, he was standing before the Tian Monastery’s gates.
He had to ask one of the students for help, though fortunately the young pandaren was happy to comply. Laoden was overseeing a training session, but he left it immediately when he saw Rheugan. He came over and studied the druid, then reached toward him. Rheugan tried not to flinch as Laoden put a finger under his chin and tilted his face up. The pandaren stared into his eyes for a long moment, then released him with a sigh. Without a word, he turned and started off, gesturing for the Gilnean to follow.
Rheugan was only too happy to see his old quarters near the library. He fell onto the bed without bothering to undress. His sleep was still restless, but if he had any dreams they were forgotten by the time he awoke.