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The following article/section is from the Pahua Moua continuity under Rick Riordan Presents and not the Riordanverse canon.

I have some physical skills, and knowing how to travel between realms is basic information any shaman warrior would have. I told you- fighting is what I’m good at. The other stuff doesn’t come naturally to me. I should be several levels into learning shaman magic without spiritual tools, but I’m not. I couldn’t even make a spiritual shield, which my sister mastered in her first year.

–Zhong to Pahua about her struggle with spiritual energy and comparing herself with her older sister in Pahua and the Soul Stealer.

Zhong Vang (pronounced Zhawng) is a young shaman in training.


Zhong was born as the second daughter to a Hmong couple. Her father, aunt, grandparents, and older sister also had a connection to spiritual energy, something rare for a family. She trained at the School for Shamanic Arts and Spiritual Mastery in Minnesota under Master Bo. Her older sister also attended the school with her parents visiting her sister. In her third year at the school, she was tasked with looking into a Bridge Spirit in Merdel, Wisconsin.

Pahua Moua series

Pahua and the Soul Stealer

When investigating a Bridge Spirit in Merdel, Wisconsin. She comes across a girl being attacked by a Poj Ntxoog and takes it out. As it disintegrates, she berates the girl for her poor skill in dealing with the Poj Ntxoog. The girl introduces herself as Pahua Moua. Zhong explains that she was sent to look into the Bridge Spirit who has been sent to the Spirit Realm. When Pahua says her brother is unresponsive and has a fever, Zhong says his soul was taken to the Spirit Realm. Pahua is shocked by this, fearing Matt could become a Poj Ntxoog as Zhong recruits Pahua to help her.

After stopping at Pahua's apartment to drop off the gong and leave a note that she would be at school getting something, the girls head into town as Zhong leads Pahua to an elephant statue. She explains that the statue acts as a gateway they will use to talk to Shao, a traveling shaman, as she take out a qeej and plays a melody before saying a passcode and the statue speaks. Zhong says they are their for business and a door opens up and Pahua sees a city with in the door. She enters as Pahua reluctantly follows. As they glide through the sky she says they are in The Echo, one of the realms, and tells Pahua about her school, the School for Shamanic Arts and Spiritual Mastery in Minnesota. Pahua says her aunt is a shaman as Zhong says not all shamans have the spiritual energy to become warriors. When they land, she notices a spirit and offers to send him away, but Pahua refuses as Miv threatens to attack her. They walk on as she explains that Shao is a shaman who was given immortality, the ability to see the future, and trapped in The Echo for reaching the home of the gods. Pahua is surprised that the Hmong have gods and she says many of their stories were lost or not passed on through the generations. Zhong also explains how the Echo mimics the mortal realm as it changes. Zhong leads them to the Bamboo Nursery where Shao resides, however they find a large clothing store in its place. Zhong leads them inside to search for the garden as Pahua inspects the clothes and the girls get into a small argument over her always ridiculing Pahua for her lack of Hmong knowledge as Zhong realizes the store is for demons. The three are soon surrounded by poj ntxoog and she and Miv fight while Pahua looks for an opportunity to retreat. Pahua finds an exit that she thinks leads to the bamboo nursery and pulls Zhong with her. Zhong opens the door as a poj ntxoog grabs Pahua. However Pahua spin kicks it away and goes into the door.

After landing in the nursery, she hoists Pahua up and demands to know where she learned to fight, believing she is lying. Pahua says she never fought like that before and Miv backs her up. Zhong says the store was a trap and someone is after Pahua, not believing her, She says Shao will see the truth and she leads them there and warns Pahua not to fall asleep. As they walk Pahua stumbles into a statue half buried in the foliage and realizes it is a sleeping man. To keep each other awake, she tells Pahua about the Hmong gods in the council. They reach Shao's house and find him asleep at the table. Zhong fiddles with a radio close to Shao to wake him up, when she finds the right station he jolts awake. She addresses Shao with respect as Pahua asks him about her brother. Shao asks for a lighter and a vial from the drawer as he tells them about Shee Yee, the first shaman. As he talks, he says the vial contains oil and traps the girls in a cage of fire. Pahua asks her to put it out, but she has not learned about shamanic fire yet. They tell him to release them, but be says only Pahua can do that. Suddenly, a spiral appears on Pahua's wrist and a storm appears outside. Rain destroys the cage. As the girls berate Shao, he tells them that when Shee Yee died, his soul was bound to a tree to prevent it from being reincarnated. However it was freed somehow and Shee Yee was reborn as Pahua, shocking both girls. He says the gods will be after her and to be careful as he falls asleep. Before he does, Pahua demands he tell her how to save her brother. Shao says that only she can save Matt and tells her to avoid the Ivory Gate. He falls asleep and the girls fail to wake him. They step outside to find Miv resting under a statue. The girls fall asleep and statu, waking up before her, .

Pahhers Zhong's feet and drags her out of the Nursery. When they get out, Zhong awakens and complains about the dirt on her clothes and her missing pins. But Zhong then apologizes to Pahua and reveals she is still in training, angering Pahua. Zhong says getting the Bridge Spirit to pass on is her only chance to become a shaman warrior, as she will be expelled if she fails. Pahua begrudgingly accepts her apology as they realize the Hmong word for thread is Hox, the name of the god of destruction. They realize he set a trap to get revenge on Shee Yee for defeating him. They believe that if they find Shee Yee's thunder axe then they can take him on and Miv reveals it is in the Tree of Souls in the Spirit Realm. Zhong says she has a spirit friend who can get the Spirit Realm as Pahua suggests they use her bedroom.

They exit through the same portal as they entered, but no one takes notice of them. Pahua's phone vibrates and she finds that her mother has been trying to contact her to say that Matt has been hospitalized. She says they should head to the apartment, but Pahua insists they head to the hospital and they walk. As they walk, Pahua notices She is barley covered in frost as she is drenched. Zhong says their is a spell to counter this, or a protective charm can be used, such as a bracelet she is wearing. She also describes the school she goes to and how she will become a full fledged shaman in another four if she succeeds in this quest, being expelled if she fails. Pahua asks Miv, who is resting on her shoulder, if he heard of the school and Zhong freaks out when she realizes this. The girls clean up in the bathroom of a gas station before reaching the hospital. She waits outside as Pahua and Miv enter Matt's room and overhears the nurses talking about five other kids coming in with mysterious comas and they questions if the spirit is behind those as well. She tells this to Pahua before rushing the the apartment. They reach the apartment to find it trashed and Pahua sees the spirits restraining a dragon. The dragon says he has been sent to take Pahua with him, but she can tell he feels arresting her is beneath him. A fight breaks out and Pahua does not deliver a finishing blow and the dragon escapes. She berates Pahua for letting the dragon live as he would most likely return. A neighbor checks in on them and Pahua fears she will get her family evicted. As Pahua tidies up, she is imprised at Pahua's ability to see all spirits all the time, sometimes even the greatest shamans cannot due. When Pahua finishes, she says entering the Crossroads with be impossible with the gods after her and suggests they go physically. She says she will show Pahua how as Miv suggests Pahua wear a disguise. Pahua changes and Zhong demonstrates how to enter the crossroads, the world starts to slow and grow quiet. Soon they enter the Crossroads.

They arrive at an interaction of rainbow flowers and various stands maned by humanoid animals. Miv explains that they are spirits who can shift between human and beast forms by use of a cloak. As Pahua walks around amazed, she bumps into a man who the horns and nose of a bull. A woman next to him tells them the man, Choj, usually looks angry and introduces herself as Aunt Chan and offers them sticky rice. Miv declines as Aunt Chan says she uses transmutation to get the food, a difficult feat to accomplish. Pahua asks Aunt Chan about the Ivory Gates, causing her to cringe, and Choj tells them it is Xov's prison. As they get closer to the guards, Aunt Chan finds it strange that they are unaccompanied minors and the girls say their parents let them travel on their own for the first time. When they reach the guard. They are asked for permits, something they and company does it have. Pahua lies that she lost it and says her uncle in the Spirit Realm wanted them to visit. Aunt Chan distracts the guard by offering him rice and Pahua, Miv, and Zhong sneak past him and onto a boat bound for the Spirit Realm. However as they sail away, an eagle spirit senses stowaways and the girls ready for a fight. The eagle reveals its nine tongues and shrieks three times and Pahua realizes they are slowly turning to stone. They fight back as best they can with her hitting the eagle with an arrow and Pahua slicing off two tongues as it shrieks a fourth time. The eagle demands it’s tongues as Pahua demands it unpetrifies them. It reluctantly agrees and Pahua returns the tongues. The eagle warns them there are far worse things them itself as they journey on.

As they set sail, She complements Pahua on her quick thinking, but feels that killing would have been preferable. Pahua says violence is not always the answer as She says fighting it her best skill. They stop arguing and Zhong agrees to help Pahua focus her spiritual energy. Miv tells the girls to put on masks as they approach a waterfall. They see a girl on a big elephant and Miv tells them to stay quiet as they enter the waterfall. Zhong leans in close and Pahua, without the latter noticing her bracelet is vibrating and grabs her wrist with a gloved hand to keep it intact. They emerge on the other side of the waterfall covered in frost and reach a field with some trees and Miv says they are in the Spirit Realm's waiting room. They get off the boat and slowly follow the line up a hill to a pond. A frog sucks up the water and reveals a tunnel on the bottom, and becomes bloated in the process. Miv says it is funny but she warns them not to laugh as the frog was punished by Nhia Ngao Zhua Pa, a shapeshifting goddess, for ruining a prank show was pulled on a mortal man. Miv guides the girls, as they cannot see with their masks. However Pahua takes off her mask and laughs as the frog releases the water right on the three and are washed into a cave, pulls Pahua out of the the water. Pahua starts to squeeze the water out of her clothes and thanks Her . Miv says they cannot exit way they entered and have to find another way. As they walk, Pahua asks her about the school again and she reveals her old sister also attends with her parents visiting her sister and says father being a part-time shaman. Eventually they come to a forked tunnel. Miv says to go right but the girls insist on going left because it is bigger. As they walk, they trigger a trap and the girls draw their weapons. Pahua senses the Bridge Spirit is there, and has grown stronger. Pahua wants to fight but the others say they need the axe first. They eventually find the exit and come across a six horned water buffalo spirit and Miv says to get by quietly. However Pahua sneezes, alerting the spirit and angering her companions, and they run. She tries to create a barrier, but Pahua tackles her before she could do it. Miv tells them to run into a nearby forest and climb into a tree. Soon the water buffalo spirit gives up and returns to its heard. They wait a little before climbing down and wander into the forest. As they walk away, Zhong says she wants trying to use shaman magic to protect them, but she says it is not her best skill. They walk until she decides to make camp and gets materials for a fire while nature spirits attack her. After starting a fire a nature spirit comes over to them and introduces herself as Nplooj, the queen of the nature spirits, and offers assistance as thanks for dealing with the water buffalo spirit. As they eat, she complements Pahua on her bravery and says not all older siblings will do what she is doing. Eventually they fall asleep.

Zhong wakes up last and Miv, who has been scouting ahead, tells them they are near the main road, but they have to cross a mountain range and back in two days. As Pahua questions their next move, she reveals she has a spirit horse that can take them to the tree in no time. They head into a village where she finds a place to contact her horse. The horse spirit manning the stand, Suad Nag, refuses to summon the spirit at first, but does so when Pahua bribes him. A second later Zhong's horse spirit, Spike, appears and agrees to take the three to the Tree of Souls after learning of Pahua's brother. The three mount Spike and the spirit horse zooms across the mountains. After a while they stop so Spike can rest and she agrees to teach Pahua some of what she knows. Pahua manages to channel some energy into her sword, which glows bright before she drops it. She then teaches Pahua some combat skills. Zhong disarms her a few times, but Shee Yee's instincts kick in and Pahua disarms her, angering her. Zhong reveals her older sister is a prodigy at shamanism and is nearly a full fledged warrior, even going on missions on her own. She also reveals her father’s sister and paternal grandparents are shamans as well, leaving her with a lot to pressure and expectations to live up to. Pahua says she gets it and reveals her feelings about her father leaving them. After a while the girls are chummy again and Spike returns to take them to the Tree of Souls. Souls.

Spike refuses to go any further and the three move in. As they do, the caretaker mdream, and notices them. Believing she would not harm them, Pahua walks up to her and introduces herself as Shee Yee's reincarnation. The caretaker, Yeng, says she knows and tells Zhong and Miv to leave. Zhong says she is on a mission for her school and momentarily hesitates when asked if she wants to be a shaman warrior. Pahua asks for the ax, but Yeng says she must find it herself. A new soul arrives as Yeng switches it out for another away. Pahua is given locket with the trees only leaf to find the ax and heads into the trherth Zhong and Miv. They come to two doors, one depicting branching and another roots. As they decide which door to take, Pahua chooses the door with the roots and they enter. They find different rooms before finding a library. When they enter, the books start to attack them and spurt out various facts. They eventually find a book on Shee Yee and grab it. The books stop attacking and they read. They ask the book about Shee Yee and Xov and it shows them visions of Shee Yee saving a child from a demon and him fighting and imprisoning Xov with his list remaining child forced to guard him. Zhong is awe at seeing her idol. The book says Xov's prison is guarded by a curse and recites it as the try to fugue out what it means. As the leave the room, Pahua wonders how much time they have left as the floor shifts and a crack in the wall opens up and swallows Pahua before closing. She and Miv have visions of their worst memories before reuniting with Pahua and finding the thunder ax. As Pahua goes to take the ax, they subdued by a group of dragons, Miv is placed in a bubble as the girls are restrained. The dragons say they want to give the ax to Xiav, a dragon who became the deity of thunder when Xov was locked away, so that Xov can remain imprisoned. Pahua says that as Shee Yee's reincarnation, she is the niece of their king, as Zhongshan frees herself. A dragon goes to take the ax, he is vaporized. Another dragon holds a sword to her chest and threatens to kill her if Pahua does not retrieve the ax. As Pahua is freed, a group of Poj Ntxoog arrive to take the ax and a three way fight breaks out. Zhong fights both dragons and poj ntxoog and Pahua tries to find Miv before she tells her to get the ax. As Pahua grabs it, the rooms collapses in on itself. The poj xtxoog and dragons flee as Pahua searches for Miv before she drags her out. The girls flee up a stairway and end up outside the tree.

Pahua tries to get back inside, but the tree seals itself. The girls find Yeng, who comments on the damage Pahua made, and ask her where Miv is as she notices Spike is missing. Yeng says cat spirits have no place in the tree and tells her Spike was scared off by the dragons due to a rivalry between the two species. Pahua begs Yeng to tell her where Miv is but the arborist refuses. After Pahua yells at Yeng, the arborist says they can get to Matt if they pay a price and tells the girls that she was once mortal and was cursed to tend to the tree after exposing a trick Nhia Ngao Zhua Pa was pulling on her girlfriend. Pahua returns the leaf as Yeng goes back inside. As she laments that she should have called her teacher, the girls see a poj ntxoog and go after it, Zhong fires an arrow into its leg to subdue it. Pahua recognizes it from the store trap as the demon says the tree was calling to it. She finds it hard to believe as poj ntxoog have no memory of their mortal lives. Pahua asks where Miv is and it says he was taken to their camp. Wanting to save her oldest friend, Pahua agrees to give it her hair clip if it can take them to the camp. It agrees and says it’s name is Hluas as Yeng arrives as Pahua removes the arrow to shit can trust them. Yeng offers to have wind spirits help them if it would get them off her mountain faster. The three mount Hluas's storm spirit and go to save Miv.

They make it to the outskirts of the encampment and Hluas demands to hair clip for bringing them there and threatens to alert the others. The girls give Hluas the hair clip and it leaves leaves just as the others discover them. The girls draw their weapons as Pahua demands Miv, they say he was delivered to Xov and they go in to eat Pahua and Zhong, after failing to talk their way out, a fight breaks out. Pahua resists the urge to use the ax, but unleashes it’s power after she is hurt. A flash of light erupts from the ax and vaporizes the poj ntxoog along with most of the forest. Pahua is horrified as she helped an injured and equally shocked Zhong. The nature spirits tell the girls to leave as she says Pahua only used the ax to defend her. Soon the queen, Nyom, arrives and Pahua apologizes to her. Realizing she still has the leaf Yeng gave her, Pahua gifts it to the nature spirits and they accept her apology. After planting it, Nyom reveals she knows what Pahua is and that she has a tight deadline. After Pahua questions herself, Zhong says she would be a great shaman warrior. Pahua bandages her as Nyom turns the thunder ax into a comb for Pahua to manage easier. Pahua decides to go after her brother as Xov would use Miv to lure her in. Nyom offers her a short cut as a door into the ground opens and wishes the girls luck. They emerge from a bush near their campsite, meaning they are close to the tunnel. As she winces in pain and refuses Pahua's help, Nplooj arrives, saying Nyom told her they would arrive, and gives the girls fruit that heals their injuries and rejuvenates them. Pahua tells her one of her pins looks like something her aunt gave her mother and Zhong things she may have attended the school. As they are about to cross the field, they see the water buffalo spirits and she looks for something to get past when the remaining dragons arrive to take the girls to Xiav. After the leader says Xiav has spies among the nature spirits, Pahua gets an idea and starts insulting the dragons, much to her shock. The dragons get angry and, as Pahua planned, the water buffalo spirits attack the dragons and the girls use the opportunity to slip into the cave. As they retrace their steps, Zhong notices Pahua is thinking of something and tells her their is no one she would rather go on a quest with. As the girls get closer, Pahua turns her comb into an ax and they stumble across the bridge spirit. Pahua sees Matt, along with a dozen other children, starting to turn into poj ntxoog and fears she is to late. Pahua yells at the bridge spirit to get away from her brother and notices Miv is caged on tusks. Pahua goes for Miv as Zhong takes care of the spirit children, placing paper talismans on them to subdue them, including Matt. However she is soon overwhelmed and the spirits try to take her soul. Pahua is able to save her. She watches as Pahua charges at the bridge spirit, but is stunned when Pahua embraces the ghost. Zhong watches as the bridge spirit heads to the Tree of Souls and the children return to their bodies. However the cavern starts to collapse and she, Pahua, and Miv run to get out.

They run into the nature spirits again, the girls being given fruit to heal their injuries, and return to the town to find Spike waiting for them. As they head back to the Mortal Realm, Miv explains how he released Shee Yee's soul to please his father, but decided not to turn her over to him after seeing the love her family displayed each other and expresses remorse for his actions. She is shocked and appealed by this but Pahua forgives him. As they cross realms, Spike drops them off at the hospital, where they learn they were only gone for six hours, and they clean themselves off before heading to Matt. She asks Pahua if she wants to attend her school, saying the staff could help her fix the Ivory gates, which she considers and she gives Pahua a pin her mother gave her. She waits outside as Pahua enters the room and Pahua asks her to help her clean the apartment when she emerges. Zhong agrees as she points out a piece of jasmine on Pahua's shirt.


Zhong is a short eleven year old girl of Hmong decent with short tanned skin, black hair and dark eyes. She wears a demin jacket with various buttons on it.


Zhong is a strong and determined girl who takes matters involving spirits very seriously. She is untrusting of those she has just met, but will agree to work with them for the greater good.

However, she is insecure about her inability to use shaman magic, struggling to perform most spells. She feels the pressure of coming from a family of shaman warriors is something she must live up to.


  • Prowess in Battle: Zhong is able to hold her own in battle, being skilled in various forms of armed and unarmed combat.
  • Camping Skills: Zhong has some camping skills, being able to start a fire.
  • Mystiokinesis: Zhong has been train on how to use shaman magic, however she is weak in the matter.


  • Backpack: Zhong has a backpack that is larger on the inside and contains a number of materials and weapons.
  • Crossbow: Zhong uses a crossbow in combat.
  • Sword: Zhong uses a sword in combat.



Zhong respects her father, but feels he and her mother favor her sister over her. She does everything she can to live up to their family legacy, resulting in pressure.

Zhong respects her mother, but feels she and her father favor her sister over her. Her mother gave her pins when ever her parents come to visit.

Being the sister of a prodigy, Zhong feels a lot of pressure living up to the expectations her sister’s skill puts on her.


Pahua Moua, a girl she befriended during her quest.

Zhong first met Pahua after saving the other girl from a Poj Ntxoog soon after arriving in Merdel. She is annoyed that Pahua got in her way, and reluctantly allows her to join her in dealing with the bridge spirit. At first they argued a lot, but it changed when she learned Pahua was the reincarnation of Shee Yee, her idol.

After that the two slowly learn to get along with Zhong training Pahua in using shamanic energy and telling her about the pressure she feels coming from a family of shamans. At the end they two are friends with Zhong asking Pahua if she wants to attend her school.

Miv, a cat spirit she befriended after earlier unease.

At first, Zhong was uncertain of Miv, questioning how a cat spirit could stay in the Mortal Realm for years. However she grew to trust him as the quest went on. After learning he is a son of Xov, she briefly falls back to her original opinion of him.


  • Zhong is a derived from hav zoov, a Hmong word meaning forest.
  • Vang is a surname of Hmong origin.


  • Zhong is the fifth member of her family to practice being a shaman warrior, something that is rare.
Pahua Moua series
Books: Pahua and the Soul Stealer | Pahua and the Dragon's Secret
Main Characters: Pahua Moua | Miv | Zhong Vang
Secondary Characters: Mrs. Moua | Yeng | Bridge Spirit | Matt Moua
Minor Characters: Hailey Jones | Jocelyn | June | Shao | Shee Yee | Mr. Taylor | Mr. Moua | Spike | Suad Nag | Cag | Hluas
Hmong Gods: Ntuj | Xov
Mythical Creatures: Ghost | Poj Ntxoog | Dragon | Spirit Eagle
Related Content: Lori M. Lee | Rick Riordan Presents