Look at me go, in the Western Plaguelands at 35! The situation is much friendlier than before, with the undead now sharing Andorhal with the Alliance, and all of the wildlife agreeing to drop 15 levels solely to make it easier to reach the Scarlet Monastery.
The Scourge pushed back somewhat, plantlife is free to grow, and the Cenarian Circle are looking after a couple of farms that were once blighted. And this is now apparently a training ground for young druids, Adrine Towhide of the Circle asking me to take care of a troll recruit as I cull sick animals and destroy bad corn around Menders' Stead.
I remember there being a similar request elsewhere, in the Zul'Drak region of Northrend. A servant of the Ebon Blade follows you around, aggresses mobs unnecessarily, and generally makes himself a nuisance until you can't wait to get rid of the quest. As such, I am not looking forwards to babysitting this troll.
In fact, whereas I was going to head back to Stormwind, I decide to get this quest out of the way quickly, and press on so that I can forget about it. As I wander away from the camp, the troll Zen'Kiki follows me around, even helping to attack the bears, wolves, and spiders that I am collecting samples from. He isn't getting in the way at all.
On top of that, he is cheering me up! This troll isn't some dour adventurer with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he's an enthusiastic shapeshifting druid, happy to be out making a difference, and experiencing his new-found powers. He shifts in to the form of a cat and 'Leap! Pounce! Rawr!', he shouts, bouncing around with gay abandon, and even 'come back here!' as he realises his energetic bouncing has thrown him in every direction but towards the target.
But he's not limited to kitty form, and he tries out his other animal shapes. Zen'Kiki shows me his unique form of tanking, not quite understanding that taunting is more than insulting the enemy, as he turns in to a bear. 'No, hit me!', he demands of the mob, desperately wanting to put his growl to good use.
It doesn't quite work out too well—which isn't particularly effective in the first place—when he shifts in to his aquatic form. 'Shapeshift!', he announces, 'try to swim away now!', before floundering on his back. 'I seem to be stuck.' Well, yes, we never were in the water. And he doesn't quite learn after the first attempt, a little later changing again to his aquatic form, opining 'oh no, not again!'
And it's not just the shapeshifting powers that confuse Zen'Kiki. He is able to assume the form the moonkin with little trouble, but there is still trouble in assuming the power that comes with it. 'Shapeshift! Here comes the moonfire!' Boom, boom, boom! The moonfire spam is like a machine gun, but all he manages to target is himself. 'Oof! Yowch! It burns like the moon!' Poor Zen'Kiki.
I thought this was going to be a tedious quest that sees me dragging a useless weight behind me, and probably having to return to the camp to get a replacement more often than I want. Instead, I get a fabulous companion, one brimming with unbridled enthusiasm and happy to chat about it! I complete my quest easily, but continue with my troll friend for a bit longer, not wanting to go back and have to say goodbye. This is just too much fun!
But eventually I have to move on. I can only encourage his youthful exuberance for so long. It is with a little regret that I return to hand in the best quest I have picked up for as long as I can remember, and a quest that was essentially to kill 10 rats. What a difference Zen'Kiki makes to otherwise mundane adventuring.
I return to the Cenarian Circle druid and let her know that Zen'Kiki was a great companion. 'It looks like he is still having a bit of trouble shapeshifting.' No kidding. Help him out with that, but don't kill his spirit. This is one companion I would really like to encounter again, my new favourite druid.