Content Warning: Severe child injury
The fungal forest had been well-documented to be filled with many different kinds of mushrooms. This, of course, was no real surprise to anyone with half a braincell, considering it's name. Usually, the "fungal" in the fungal forest would refer to the towering mushrooms above- but those were not what [[Mermaid's scale]], [[Preserve]], and [[Depart]] were here for today.
Preserve had gotten permission from Bloo to start up the herb field in a small field just over the river. Now all he had needed were seeds. The young Belemoid, clearly underestimating his own knowledge, had asked Scale to come along looking for the right mushrooms and other plants to retrieve the seeds to start up the garden. It had been a complete coincidence that Roam had asked her to look after Depart, one of the older whelps, today. The whelp was quite a bit older than the rest of the bunch and the activities planned for today would leave him bored, was the explanation the caretaker provided.
Preserve had been disappointed when he found out Scale would be busy that day, but when the Physician pointed out that the whelp should be old enough to tag along he had seemed thrilled at the opportunity to not only gather some seeds, but also teach the whelp about the place they called home.
The Fungal Forest was never Scale's favourite place to be, but now, with some of the giant mushrooms starting to rot for seemingly no reason, she had even less of a good time. Preserve had promised her that they wouldn't head into the direction of the contaminated area but still she found herself worrying. 
She was silently trailing after Preserve, occasionally herding young Depart around when the young Tsabhua got distracted by the rootscrapers in the rivers. The whelp had seemed especially excited about the fish- fondly making Scale think that one day he might make a great researcher.
Preserve stopped suddenly, frowning while fetching the map out of his bag. "Must've taken a wrong turn somewhere..." Scale frowned, not really liking the tone of that. "There is some interesting plants here that we should collect though." she suggested, to which Preserve looking at her strangely "Well, yea, but if I remember correctly this is the area Gideon and Seymore have been warning us about." 
Scale's mouth formed an "o" as she looked around, trying to see where Depart had darted off to this time. The whelp should really be old enough by now to know better than to run off, after all. She frowned realizing that she couldn't see the kid anywhere.
"Where is Depart?" she voiced to Preserve, who was fumbling trying to fold the map back up in order to put it back in the bag. He looked up, startled, "I- thought he was with you?" the belemoid offered hesitantly, eyes wide. Both knew that Roam and Fawn, not to mention literally everyone else in the colony, would be appalled at the two loosing the whelp, especially if he'd get injured because of it.
"Depart!" Scale called out, as loud as she could. The area was quiet for a bit, even the nearby birds quieting for a few seconds before their chirping picked up again. Scale was starting to panic now, if the whelp didn't hear her he must've gotten pretty far away by now, after all.
Preserve picked up on his companion's panic "How about you check ahead, and I check around the water? He's been looking at the fish this whole time, maybe he found some more and just got distracted." Scale didn't have the heart to mention that the whelp being near water, with the whelp's questionable swimming skills and predators nearby, was not a comforting though, but nodded along regardless.
Scale didn't have much time to focus on her fear of the mushrooms anymore, now having bigger worries as she wandered around the place she had last seen the whelp. She had tried finding footprints, but the forest floor was too wet and spongey to really have any traces of anything. Her concern only grew as she wandered around, having to head deeper into the rotting parts of the forest. Preserve had re-joined her after a while, worriedly confirming that there was no trace of the whelp near the water.
Luckily, it didn't take too long for the two to see something in the distance A small brown blob was throwing himself against one of the smaller giant mushrooms, seemingly trying to climb up it, falling down every time. Instantly, anger overtook Scale. The little shit had ran off just to play around! 
"Depart!" she called out, startling the whelp. "What?" the kid called back rolling his eyes, making Scale seethe even more. The audacity. "Get back here!" the whelp sighed, pinning his ears back. "I'm not a newborn! I'm *fine*! Stop fussing already!" Scale growled softly. She was sure that Roam and Fawn would disagree with Depart's definition of "fussing" here, and that the whelp was bound to find that out when they got back. 
"We gotta head back, Depart." Preserve added, in a tone that was more annoyance than anger. Scale had always been impressed with his patience, but also now wasn't really the time for patience. Depart better make his way back to them or else- 
(Scale really wasn't sure what the "or else" would be in this scenario, but still! Something would happen!)
Time seemed to slow down as the whelped rolled his eyes, and then started dashing back at them. 
Scale nor Preserve had taken the time to look around before. If they had they would've noticed they were in what could be described as the epicentre of the withering in the forest. Chunks of mushroom- some twice as large as Scale- were splattered on the ground around them, having fallen off of the giant fungi.
Had Scale realized this, she probably wouldn't have gone to fetch the whelp, leading him back to safety under her watchful eye. But as she hadn't, there was nothing she could've done to stop what happened.
Depart, clumsy on his still-growing paws, slammed his side into a young Fungi tree. None of the Xunari could really process what happened next until a few days later, but for a moment everything stilled- and then the Fungal forest erupted into chaos as Preserve and Scale rushed over to lift a huge piece of mushroom cap off of Depart.
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C1.B4 - B

In Chapter One ・ By LostInProgres ・ 0 Favourites ・ 0 Comments

Not entirely happy with the last bit of the story- honestly it's entirely out of my comfort zone, so that was expected TBH. Proud that I finished it nonetheless, though. Tried to play with like- the reader's perception of time a little bit in the last section, by making it be a longer text for a relatively short period of time. Not sure how well I pulled that off, but eh. Never gonna improve if you never try something experimental, I suppose.

In case anyone didn't catch on to what actually happened in that last bit of the scene-

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Depart trips over his paws, which dislodges part of the cap of a rotting mushroom. It falls on top of him, which is a certified "not good" moment.

The aftermath isn't really described here- honestly mostly because I didn't feel like writing it (1000 words is already pretty far over my usual wordcount, to be honest, so writing this was starting to get really tiring.) but I think his masterlist art shows the aftermath pretty well- lmao. 

Yapping aside- overall quite proud of this- 

Submitted By LostInProgres for C1.B4 - BLocation: Fungal Forest (L'Hatzif)
Submitted 1 month ago Last Updated 1 month ago
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[C1.B4 - B by LostInProgres (Literature) ・ **Content Warning:** Severe child injury](


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