i) Shyan grits her teeth


Shyan grits her teeth. A vein pulses in her forehead. She tightens her grip on the pommel of her weapon. Mr. Jashenzizok stares her down.

Cang clears his throat. “Shyan, we must not abandon our purpose. There was nothing in the dome. The Jiko were penniless. We have to get paid.”

“This whole expedition,” Shyan says, lowering her blade as though fighting with herself, struggling to release her pent-up rage. “Has been a disaster.” She wheels on Burbaloo. “You stole from us. We had at least a dozen silver marks between us. Empty your pockets.”

Burbaloo, face sweating, throws her hands up in submission. She glances at Mr. Jashenzizok, who wears a patient, unthreatened expression. He nods. Burbaloo slowly withdraws a handful of coins from her robes and lets them fall to the ground. Cang darts in to scoop them up.

“Abia, I don’t feel so good,” Fassn says. “Look at this.” He holds up a grimy palm, with a mottled yellow tooth at its centre. “I think it was the mushroom man.” He sniffs at the tooth, then swallows it whole, as one would a medicine capsule.

Shyan sighs, slides her weapon into is scabbard. “Okay, mushroom man,” she says. “Where’s the ugobok?”


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