iii) “The many magical properties or urine notwithstanding, no, my toothless friend.”

“The many magical properties of urine notwithstanding, no, my toothless friend. With the reagents you have brought me, together, we shall make this pot of soup a pot of gold.”

Fassn, despite his joy, winces at the pain in his gums. The short stalks on his shoulder blades — all that’s left of his gauzy wings — twitch involuntarily.

“Well get too it already,” Shyan says.

“Yes,” Cang adds. “I have many debts.”

Mr. Jashenzizok signals Burbaloo, who with a start scoops a spoonful of simmering liquid from the cookpot and holds it to his lips. Eyes closed, he tastes it, tongue smacking. “Alas, new friends,” he says. “The soup is not yet hot enough! Quickly, to the underbrush. Gather up kindling, go!”

Burbaloo shoots Mr. Jashenzizok a questioning glance. Shyan, Cang, Abia, and Fassn all stare daggers at him. Shyan conspicuously folds her arms.

“Or, er, perhaps I can do it,” he continues, chest deflated.

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