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meowcats734 t1_ithpjea wrote


The moonlight here was deadly, but we'd come prepared. As we stepped out of the safety of the dark and ancient cave, the five of us unfurled umbrellas as black as midnight to enhance our layers of heavy, lightproof clothing.

Something that had once been grass squelched and splashed under my thick boots, and I scowled. The pale, moontouched flesh of the grass beneath me reminded me all too well of the last time I'd stepped in eldritch effluvium, and the deadly disease it had struck me and my friends with.

"Are you sure about this?" Jiaola asked, the old man hesitating before the sea of molten grass.

I shrugged. "You're welcome to stay in the cave if you want. But it's not like there are a ton of talented medics down there, and... well, you heard what Svette said. It's the only lead we've found so far on curing our cancers before they eat us from the inside out. It's our best shot."

"For the record, I still think this is a terrible idea," Lucet muttered, one hand flexing as if stretching a phantom bowstring.

"Yeah, well, the two aren't mutually exclusive. Come on. Svette said that all we had to do was find Zhytln."

Zhytln. Zhytln. Zhytln. Zhytln. The name echoed off thin air, bouncing strangely in the too-pale moonlight. Reflexively, the five of us twitched, facing outwards in a circle to catch any new threats.

"...Maybe we should avoid using her name," Sansen muttered.

"Agreed," Meloai said. "This place gives me the creeps."

"You don't have to come with me, if you don't want to." I glanced at my four companions. "I'm doing this because I don't have any other choice. But—"

"You think I'm going to let you run off and get eaten by some eldritch abomination?" Lucet punched me lightly on the shoulder, taking care not to disturb the layers of protective clothing I had on. "Nah. I'm with you to the end."

A chorus of agreement rose from the rest of my friends. I nodded and turned back towards the pale plains.

"Then let's get moving," I said, and forged onwards through the grass-turned-flesh.


Considering writing a part 2; let me know if that's something you'd like to see.

This story is part of Soulmage, a serial written in response to writing prompts. Check out the rest here, or r/bubblewriters for more.