v) Mr. Jashenzizok

Mr. Jashenzizok, the mushroom man, struggles in his fungoid form, but most of his body is still enveloped by spongy puffball. He clears his throat and adopts a moderately more conciliatory tone. “Let’s just take a look at what you’ve brought me, hmm?”

“Not so fast,” Shyan says. She steps up to Mr. Jashenzizok to square her eyes with his.

“Have you goods or coin to exchange for these wares?” Cang asks. “We do not accept spores.”

The mushroom man laughs. “Fear not, foolish child. I possess many riches.”

“Do not call me child, mushrump.”

Fassn lays at the base of the puffball, idly poking his pitted, yellow teeth. “Not feeling so great, you guys,” he says.

“Enough. We have chemicals and compounds such that surely a cure for your condition can be found,” Shyan says. “Show us the loot.”

Burbaloo, the alchemist, looks at Shyan in awe. “We’re splitting it five ways, right?”

iv) “A debt!” the mushroom man exclaims

“A debt!” the mushroom man exclaims. “Burbaloo, explain yourself!”

“You see, Mr. Jashenzizok, these four wei–” here the alchemist, Burbaloo, catches herself. She takes in the glares of the gang and continues. “These four people were transporting crates of tonics and tinctures, which I bought for a fair price.”

Groans of protest go up from all but Abia, who watches impassively.

“Then these hoodlums caught up to me, tied me up, and forced me to bring them here.”

Mr. Jashenzizok the mushroom wizard blinks his freshly-cut eyes. “You, there, winged one. Consumed you one of the tinctures?”

Fassn slumps to the ground at the base of the mushroom, patting his swollen belly. “Yeah,” he says.

“And there are yet more crates in your wagon?”

“Perhaps so,” Cang says. “If you have money to buy.”

“Look at me, peasant!” Mr. Jashenzizok shouts. “I’m a forsaken fungus. Bring me the antidote and you’ll have your reward.”

“Heard that one before,” Burbaloo mutters.