24 iv) Shyan shrugs and gestures for the rest to follow the glowing sphere

Shyan shrugs and gestures for the rest to follow the glowing sphere. They do so, and Shyan falls in behind. She makes a fighting retreat, scooping up stones and pinecones to launch at their pursuers. When bone darts start slamming into tree trunks all around her, she drops her missiles and sprints after her companions.

They reach a dark thicket of leafy branches and Shyan signals for silence. The gang slows its collective breathing, and soon the only sounds are morning doves, insects, and the soft buzz of the glowing sphere. Somewhere beyond, the gang hears tentative steps of sentries.

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