iii) “Safe to eat?” Abia asks

“Safe to eat?” Abia asks, plucking one of the puffballs from the marshy ground. Its flat white exterior seems to shine in her dark fingers.

Fassn, from his place on the ground amidst the mushrooms, murmurs, “My teeth feel funny.”

“Sure,” says Mr. Jashenzizok. “But that’s one less gold coin for you and your lot. Once you get the dipyetrodranhar, of course.”

“Once we get it?” Shyan asks. She runs a hand across her dirt-streaked brow. “Look, Mr. Mushroom, this has been a long day already,” she begins, but Mr. Jashenzizok casually cuts in.

“A long day for us all, indeed,” he says. “I needn’t take any more of your time.” He offers a dismissive wave and turns to Burbaloo. She snaps to attention. “Burbaloo,” he says, “If you want your reward–” here he gestures expansively to the puffballs poking up amidst the crabgrass, “then I’ll need the dipyetrodranhar, to transmute our fungal friends to fungible currency.”

Burbaloo begins to raise an objection but Mr. Jashenzizok carries on. “Yes, yes, you’ve done fine work, freeing me from my captivity, but alas, without dipyetrodranhar as the central catalyst, I’m unable to work my alchemical wonders on your behalf. You’re welcome to take the mushrooms as they are.”

Shyan says, “How about we take the mushroom that’s growing from your neck?”

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