“Did you assume Florals in this forest?” he broke the silence that they seemed to have agreed upon, at least during the barely lit day. “Yes and no, we did not think to find any women here, but resistance fighters like you. Instead we found,” she stopped. Tophan stopped right next to her, they both stared at the dead body that Sujela had told him to remember, No trace of the branch or the disturbed soil where they had dug in during the night. “this.” she ended her sentence. Wearily she sat down on the naked soil. Distraught Tophan walked a few paces and looked around, he could not believe what he saw. “This is different soil, I feel it! No one has stomped the earth to cover up our tracks, this is different soil!” his voice indicated that he was on the verge of panicking.

Quickly Sujela rose to her feet and slapped him, tearing him out of his fit. “Pull yourself together, what if there were not eerie trees but ten of my kind around? Would you panic or fight?” she shook him by his shoulders. “Fight!” he hissed angrily. Smirking Sujela let go of him. “Good.” she exhaled, looking around. The tree from where the bird had come to them was the same, the traces it had left with it’s claws were still there.

“Now, the bird didn’t cone with us and the trees.” she remarked, all the time in the forest had a severe impact on her determination. Resignation was eating away on her spirit, but having to straighten up the Floral beside her gave her spirit some ground.

“The ancestral burial grounds.” Tophan hissed listening to the mourning sounds around them. Interested in what he had to say Sujela turned to him again, her eye rows raised, as to tell him he ought to continue. “The valley of the ancestral burial grounds!” he snapped his fingers, explaining to her the custom of the tree of the dead.

 

Spooked by Tophans story the two directed their steps much more carefully through the impenetrable wilderness around them. Mourning and moaning sounds around them sent chills down their spines even more. “Is it possible that it is just a story?” Sujela looked around the thick darkness with unease, after they had left the deceased fungal guard at the base of the tree a third time in a day, keeping a route straight ahead, or what the two thought was a straight line.

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