1 iv) In contact with the vine, her body buzzes

In contact with the vine, her body buzzes. Shyan’s eyes roll up ’til only the whites of her sclera are showing. Her progress is immediately arrested. The chittering voices above rise in intensity.

Cang mutters a curse and turns back to her. With his own shoulder, he knocks her in the back of the knee, upsetting her balance and sending her sprawling.

Just then, a dozen or more sharp sticks, hand-length, come shooting from the canopy. The hand-fashioned darts hit their targets with a quiet zip, hard enough to stand up. They land in the trees, the ground, a few in the vine-strung stakes — and one in the back of Shyan’s shoulder. She cries out as red blood drips.

Stunned and weary, the gang sprints for the treeline to get cover as another wave of sharp sticks rains.

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