2 i) Shyan and Fassn are still quivering

Shyan and Fassn are still quivering from the slowly-acting neurotoxin they’ve taken in from contact with the vines. Their palsied hands pull and pluck the sharpened wooden darts from their clothes. Cang uses one to pick his teeth.

“Maybe our friends above have gone to bed,” Fassn says.

The sun is drifting past evening — long shadows stretch out from the trees and the stakes strung with vines along the riverbank. A gentle breeze toussles the canopy of beech and elm. Shyan fancies she hears the chittering below the pleasant sound. Her face twitches into a scowl and tingles.

“I think I need a doctor,” she murmurs.

“Come along, then,” Cang says. “Certain to be a medical professional in this dark wood.”

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