9 ii) Old Mossy’s control of the mushrooms is smooth

Old Mossy’s control of the mushrooms is smooth, precise, uncompromising. He bends his fingers to keep the knife blade at his knuckles, careful not to pierce his own grey flesh. The phosphorescent mushrooms peel away in thin strips but maintain their shape, now apart but still somehow whole. He signals to Abia to start a pot of boiling water, and as she does so, begins rummaging a small, sturdy cupboard that Cang would not be surprised to learn he built himself. Within, a number of small, canvas bags, from which he pinches a few coarse powders. He puts the powders into his cupped hand and stirs them with his finger as he moves. When the water is ready, he throws the powders into it and the rubbles erupt, roaring past the cauldron’s lip. Old Mossy slides the mushrooms into the water and it calms, landing at a simmer. Satisfied, he turns to Shyan and Fassn. “Now, it’s your turn.”

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