9 v) Abia carefully watches Old Mossy as he separates two piles of human detritus

Abia carefully watches Old Mossy as he separates two piles of human detritus: one for Shyan, the other for Fassn. He scoops the little Shyan mound of nail and hair into the palm of his hand. “Hold this one’s mouth open,” he says to Abia. She quickly wipes her hands on her robes and kneels beside her friend, prying open her lips. Shyan’s tongue darts in and out of her mouth like a snake’s tasting the air.

“Where are my wings?” Fassn asks the room at large.

“Three,” Old Mossy says.

“Three until what?” Cang asks.

“Two,” Old Mossy says.

Cang leans in to see what they’re doing. “Pardon me?”

“One!” Old Mossy jams the mound onto Shyan’s tongue and her eyes shoot open at once. Their wet rheum is quickly faded, and in its place, the gentle, phosphorescent glow of the mushrooms.

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