2 v) “Filthy tall ones like yourselves”

“Filthy tall ones like yourselves,” rasps the grey creatures’ leader.

“I am afraid that gives us little to go on,” Cang replies.

“Village,” it says, pointing east. “They swarm and hunt and take.”

Fassn belches, then woozily sits down on the ground. Now the creatures are taller than him, and some move tentatively closer. A particularly brave creature reaches out to pet his greying curly hair. Its mates chitter at the courage.

“Hey,” Shyan murmurs. “Stay away from him.” But she’s too far and her movements too sluggish. The creatures alight and scamper away before she can do much more than stir.

Abia and Cang exchange a glance. “You are certain you have enough antidote for both of our compatriots?”

The leader grins, mouth full of tight little shark’s teeth.

Abia nods, and Cang says, “To the village, then.”

The creatures’ chittering rises to an excited, bubbling pitch.

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