8 ii) The heat is stronger

The heat is stronger down the open passage. A heady warmth emanates past the cool rock. As the gang squints into the swirling blackness, Abia is first to spot a gentle greenish glow near the tunnel’s floor. She whispers, pointing out the light.

“The mushrooms glow,” Shyan says, and with one hand tracing her path on the wall, she moves toward it. The warmth grows as she nears it, and her quivering muscles seem to tremble with renewed fervour. “You feel that?” she asks Fassn, but all she gets back is a low, breathy exhalation, and assumes the answer is “yes.”

Soon the tunnel takes a downward turn, and the gang’s boots slide on the gravelly surface, struggling for purchase. Several meters down is a thick growth of glowing mushrooms with a thick, gooey warmth rushing off them.

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