Sunrise came in it’s usual silent wave over the eastern mountain range. Flooding rooftops, rooftop gardens with an eastern view, seeping down into the alleys below over time, filling the streets with more life than before.

Munching on her breakfast Phyllis enjoyed the morning on the eastern rooftop. Watching in silence Ghanus sat at her table, his thoughts ran a thousand errands. Like his new master he too had seen and heard a scenery from the site of the great fungus, just with different people populating his version of the dream. “What do you think the whispering voice is?” he didn’t turn his attention from the sight before him.

The light drenched roofs of the capital, the elongated shadows thrown by them, the plants on the rooftop. “Why, after tonight’s dream, I guess it is fairly obvious!” she exclaimed sighingly, offering him a piece of bread, which he gladly took. “The great fungus?” he bit into the soft and moist bread.

“The great fungus.” she nodded sternly, although happy to have had the whispered contact again, she was worried. “But what to make of the other imagery?” Ghanus swallowed his bite of bread. As a reply Phyllis shook her head, she had to investigate some matters before she could reply.

Instead of replying to her apprentice she opened a paper she had found in her pocket after returning from the market.

 

Dear Phyllis, your efforts were a true success, events are now unfolding that will thwart the freethinkers movement. Take care, they are everywhere! The longer I spend with these “People”, the more I get paranoid. Please master, don’t trust anyone! Yours truly, Crysallis.

 

Glancing to the happily munching Ghanos, Phyllis pondered over Crysallis words for a moment. “Say,” she put the letter down, “what are your thoughts on the freethinkers movement?”

Without losing any breath Ghanus kept eating. “Hate that scum, undermining the natural order of things. If they hate the empire so much, why don’t they kill themselves?” knowing her suspected offspring might have studied the reply, Phyllis was only partly satisfied. “However, I have to investigate several things, I want you to study the scrolls that I have left for you in the training room.” she got up from the table, heading for the doors that lead inside the citadel she glanced upwards to the southern rooftop garden. A shadow of concern crossed her face.

Ghanus had reacted to the mounted and mutilated Florals, much like she herself had, whilst there was clearly compassion, or at least disdain for their treatment in Crysallis’ reaction.

 

“An attack at the fungus was repelled by the troops we had sent on your behalf.” Phyllis stared at the reports filed by soldiers and conjurers. The time of day matched the time of day she had heard the whispering while awake. “Good, we should keep the forces there.” she raised her eyebrows studying other reports. Reports on the treatment the great fungus received. Conjurers, growth experts and healers tried their best to restore it, and to counter act the poison the Albin had pumped into it. “Has it ever been tried to feed Mana into the tear?” the poison made tge fungus collapse under it’s own weight, when the cap leaned over to one side the stem tore open. Medication of all sorts was poured into that opening. Even ethereal energy was channeled into that gaping wound. “Yes, but it had little to effect.” the man to her right replied. A glance at the face of the woman to Phyllis’ left told her that she pondered the same thing she was pondering. “Have you ever tried to supply him with obe of the sources of the nectar?” a shocked expression appeared on the mans face. “It was denied.” the woman exclaimed immediately. “We were told that the Florals were much too valuable in the upcoming conflict.”

Again Phyllis raised her eyebrows, looked back on the reports. “I guess that concludes my questions.” she stacked the reportsin the same order they had been in, before she had started reading them. Fluently she turned to leave the military administration office, leaving a group of bewildered officers behind.

Her thoughts meanwhile ran amok, how could the administration deem the risk of losing one Floral as a possibility of reviving the great fungus as to high? Infuriated she marched over the streets, preparations for winter were made all around her. What little the maret stands had to offer for sale was sold at a prize, while the mandatory rations were handed out at the provision stands and stores.

Decorations for the autumn festivities were put up.

The autumn festivities! During the rule if the fungus there were no festivities! Everyone was equal, and equally treated and connected to the fungal mind. She grunted at the prospect of having to endure another festivity. Although she saw the validity of that festival, after all the peoe needed something to uphold their fighting spirit, but she hated them.

It was with great relief that she not only had crossed the gates of the citadel but also had left the entrance hall, also in the process of being decorated. “Spook-mushroom pie?” Ghanus awaited her in their study corner of the library, he had already worked through the scrolls she had instructed him to read. “In the afternoon? Thanks but no.” she looked at the pie with disgust.

“What did you learn?” Phyllis eyed her apprentice carefully after he asked, still the paranoid letter from Crysallis spooked through her mind. “Nothing much really.” sighing she sat down. “The day we met, the day we heard the great fungus while awake, was the day the freethinkers had launched an attack that was then thwarted.” she observed Ghanus reactions. The amused smirk on his lips as she told him of the thwarted attack told her that he more trustworthy than she had feared him to be. “He was reaching out to us! Trying to get us to help him!” he grinned victoriously, jumping from his seat in excitement almost spilling his pie. Phyllis couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming joy from Ghanus herself, but calmed the young Conjurer.

“What is that noise?” the two turned to the side to find Gajus. Clearly disturbed by the outcry of joy. Astonished to find Phyllis with a new apprentice he raised his eyebrow. “May I introduce?” Phyllis pointed at Ghanus, “Ghanus of the spook hills, my new apprentice. This man,” she turned hand to point at the man she once loved “is Gajus of the Fungi caverns. My own origin.” Ghanus bowed respectfully while Gajus froze for a moment in his polite smile. Shaking off his momentary shock he too bowed respectfully, but then asked Phyllis to come with him.

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