Big Beginnings

A planet rolled and moved through the emptiness of space, it basked in the golden glow of the nearby sun as it turned gently. Above the world a deity stared down at the planet with excitement in their eyes, in their hands they held a large rock that a soft green powder was floating out of. With a malicious grin they waved their hand, and all the powder flowed back into the rock. With everything contained they threw the rock down at the planet. The humans of the planet were unaware of what was to come, they looked up at the sky as this enormous asteroid broke through the atmosphere, the green powder poured out, catching in the wind tunnels that surrounded the planet it covered the world in a fine green mist. As it descended upon the planet the air was filled with green, and small shiny flakes from the metals in the asteroid, it was beautiful. People stood outside with their phones, calling to one another to look at the spectacle, some people saw this as a sign of the end times, and retreated down into doomsday bunkers, sheltering themselves from the green powder, while half of the planet slept, and was unaware that they were breathing their last breaths. The green powder invaded the lungs of everything with lungs, taking root it spread a fungal bloom of mycelium through the intricate aspects of the lungs, their expansive root systems bound the lungs until they were unable to move, suffocating the host. In less than twenty-four hours, almost all mammalian life forms were suffocated, and left to rot where they lay. Then what happened next removed the humans as the top civilisation, overtaken but what the powder did to the fungal, and insect population of the planet Excress. Down on the surface of the planet, down by where the feet of the humans would have tread, down where their rubbish laid, there is more trash than ever before as the buildings holding everything owned collapsed, letting their goods loose upon the world. Where once they would have been seen as a burden, now they are seen as safety, shelter, even a home. As one civilisation fell, another has grown from their trash, and their bones. After leaving to find others, the deity returns with a collection of others, they all floated down to the surface of the planet, invisible to any prying eyes from mortal creatures they observed the new civilisations that had started since their departure. The original deity grinned ear to ear, while the others sighed, rolling their eyes at their comrades’ excitement. But despite their desire to bring others to see their creations, as soon as they found what they were looking for, it was almost impossible for anyone to get their attention. Beneath the deities eyes was a small, humanoid mushroom creature, running through the tall grass, where their very life was held in the combat of their own will, versus the will of the things chasing them. The mushroom leapt and slid its way through the difficult terrain, the heavy pounding of many legs behind them. They could hear the plant life behind them being crushed, and pushed aside where they had just had to volt through it all. It was not long until the mushroom tripped, sliding into the dirt the foot falls surrounded them as two comparatively enormous tarantulas stood either side of him. Under the mushroom man was its pouch, where inside was a small book with strange runes carved into the cover. “Oh my, look what I just found,” the mushroom said in a bad acting voice. “This looks like one of the books from the great tarantula library, why isn’t it fortunate you two happened to be here at this moment.” The mushroom humanoid raised the book above their head, keeping his face pressed down into the dirt. The spiders chittered at one another before one of them reached out, taking the book from the mushrooms hand. The Tarantula who took the book wandered off as the other moved around the head of the mushroom, letting it look at the side of his face where once his cap obscured it. Its voice was low, and spoke with a rumble that shook the mushroom to the core. “You live, not by anything less than the fact that you were able to acknowledge when you should have been eaten.” The spiders many eyes lit up with a green energy, telekinetically lifting the mushroom man to his feet the tarantula forced the mushroom to stare into the tarantula’s eyes. “If your ilk come through our domain again, we will bind you, you will be dragged through your city walls as we march upon your kind, and you shall watch as we destroy everything you call home, and after mangling you, we shall leave you to those that value your flesh.” The green glow in the spiders’ eyes faded, leaving nothing but black voids for the mushroom to stare into, they swallowed heavily, grasping their bag they nodded slowly, whispering under their breath they replied in the voice of a scorned child. “Understood.” The tarantula stepped away from the mushroom man, flicking dirt back on every foot fall, covering the mushroom man in a thin veil of loose dirt. The mushroom man stood very still, their body was tense, and shaking. They dared not move until the destructive sounds of the tarantulas disappeared into the distance. They took a deep breath as they realised, they had not been breathing since the tarantula stood them, the breath breaking their tense stance the loose dirt fell from them as they collapsed to their knees crying. Weeping loudly, they made no effort to be aware of their surroundings, their body still shaking as struggled to manage their breathing, their head spun, as their breaths became shallower, and the ability to hold their eyes open became even harder. But just as they could feel their consciousness slipping, they managed to bring their breathing under control, and slowly the black patches in their vision shrunk, and slowly over many minutes they became stable. They wiped the drool and snot from their face as they let out a long sigh, breathing in heavily through the breathing holes on their face, and out of their mouth. “I can’t believe I am not dead. I can’t believe they didn’t notice.” They said looking back at the groove that the spiders made through the undergrowth. “I need to keep moving, they will be back at their library soon.” The mushroom man stood back on weakened legs as they began to march away from the spider’s library. The further they moved, the sturdier their knees became, their breath became more strategic, and their purpose drove them. They ran till their body ached, and the sun began to set, painting the sky red. As they passed through the tall grasses, they passed over branch, stone, and bottle caps, and an increasing pile of human refuse until eventually the tall grasses rapidly fell away and they were looking upon a city made of human garbage. The walls were made from a collection of natural woods, and refined ice-block sticks, and chopsticks. The buildings were painted plastic takeaway plastic containers, and the city was lit with a collection of solar powered fairy lights. The inhabitants were a wide variety of fungus that walked around like people, there were some insects that walked among them as equals, and other insects and fungus that had not developed as much that had the mind of animals, and were kept as pets, or pack animals. There were even some bio-luminescent fungi that were still inert like the fungus on Earth, they were dotted around the streets to bring light on the ground level, while all the fairy lights hung far above, illuminating the high-rise buildings. The mushroom man moved through the entrance of the city with their head lowered, using the large crowds to hide their visage. Their tattered clothes were unassuming, and contributed to him blending into the mix of fungal and insectoid hubbub. “What are you doing back here Morr?” A voice called out from behind Morr. He paused for a moment, grasping at his satchel he slowly turned around. “Hey Amon, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Morr replied, keeping his eyes aimed at the ground. Morr is a plain brown looking fungal humanoid, while Morr peacocked his vibrant red, and white colours as he approached Morr. “You didn’t expect to see me in my city? Don’t make me laugh Morr, there are a lot of critters here that want you dead, or bleeding. Why have you come back?” Morr did not respond, forcing Amon to look over them, spying the tight grasp on the satchel he snapped his fingers, from behind Amon a large locust stomped over, ripping the satchel from Morr’s hands. Morr’s arms outstretched with it until the bag was lifted beyond his grasp. “Now why do you want to hold onto this so bad ae friend?” Amon was passed the bag, and he delved his fist inside, pulling out a single piece of paper with a myriad of runes, and minor incantations. Amon’s face scrunched up as he tried to understand what he had, his eyes opened wide as he realised what he was holding. He pushed the paper back onto Morr, but Morr did not take it. “Take it back, take it back and get out of here.” The Locust behind Morr squatted down, leaping into the air their wings started vibrating, allowing the Locust to fly off at speed, the sound of their wings fading as the sounds of stomping came from the other direction. Amon let go of the paper and it fell to the ground. “I am sorry, but whose city is this Amon?” Morr asked as he grinned. Amon’s eyes filled with fear as he started to run to the far side of the city, pushing through the crowds that have heard the commotion beyond the walls, but have not yet acted as they try to figure out what is happening. Morr picked up the piece of paper out of the dirt as the front gate guards called out. “SPIDERS!” The front gate was struck by an unstoppable force, pushing it flat in an instance as a tarantula stood upon it. The guards on the top of the wall moved to get to position, but were struck down by jumping spiders that leapt from the far side. “Where is what belongs to us?” The tarantula screamed through psychic powers. The city dwellers screamed, turning tail and running to the back of the city, only to find that the spiders had already surrounded the city, pouring over the walls like a wave of limbs and fangs. The tarantula eyes started to glow, and the city started to fall. The same-coloured glow from their eyes illuminated the city structures, causing them to crumble. The screams of the civilians were competing with the psychic enraged screams that emanated from the minds of the powerful spider psychers. “Where is the script, where is the page?” One of the spiders screamed as its eyes darted around the city, trying its best to find Morr. The guards of the city did their best to hold back the torrent of spiders, but despite their best efforts, the most they could do was slow it down. Morr was in a dark alley, hiding from the cacophony that he brought down upon the city, and while in the muck and grime of the city he started to recite the words that were written, their voice resonating as the magic bound to it. The runes on the page lifted from it, surrounding Morr with light, and strange coloured particles. One of the tarantula’s spotted the familiar glow and charged with everything they had at the faint light leaking from the alley way. They stomped their way …

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The Small Rock Excress

Among the stars there was a small rock, named Excres. Upon its surface was a collection of ape like creatures that ruled every facet of the terrain. But greed and war consumed them, first their hearts, then their souls. Bodies limp, their structures laid in ruins, and a strange dust falling from the sky lead to a new society to develop within the ruins of the old. The strange dust killed most of the fauna that it touched, a caustic substance that burnt flesh, and caused infection. But when it landed upon the smaller life forms on the planet, it changed them in fantastical ways. Insects’ intelligence grew, plants grew stronger, and fungus began to walk like the apes kind that fell before them. The powder had transformed them into the new life of the world, with a humanoid shape, and a desire to collaborate, they soon developed a society in the trash left behind by the apes that died not so long ago. They made cities, developed their own technologies, and sought to know what they wanted to seek. A whole new sentient species rising over night, they struggled to survive in the new world, but now that they are established, and safe, they want to know what is out there, what there is to find. One small mushroom named, Mercol was out on his own adventure, seeking crystals to master the arcane arts of the world, magic through language, and powered by the strange gem gemstones that form all across the land, they are assumed to have come down the day they all awoke, and are the source of all life on the planet. The wisest of the Myconids formed a runic system to interact with the gems, and have since harnessed their powers to create magic, as math was discovered and used to create a great many things. Mercol was frustrated as he marched from the large tower he was just in, stomping down his feet he stashed his spell book into his satchel and made his way off the towers grounds. Moving from curated paths and trimmed moss lawns he stepped out onto the hard dirt of the surrounding grass jungle. He turned back to the wizard tower, it was an old dead tree that was carved out by transfixed termites that the wizards used spells to tame, getting them to prepare huge logs into spaces for research, and the pursuit of magical power. “Kick me out of your stupid tower, I’ll show you who is the real mage. None of you can handle my spells, you are all…” He took a deep breath and shouted at the top of his lungs. “Cowards!” The sound of insects filled the air, and no one inside the tower seemed to stir, completely unphased by the screams of Mercol. He dropped his arms down, and kicked a small pebble before turning face and walking away, not only from the tower, but the small town that resided behind it. “I don’t need them, I don’t need any of them, not even that stupid town. I will go out, I will find my own crystals, and I won’t be told by no council that I am not allowed it due to concerns of magical intent.” Trudging along the tough, sun cracked dirt he pushed deeper into the yellowed blades of grass, disappearing from society and adventuring into the wilds unknown. In Mercol’s left hand he had a staff, with a very specific looking head to it, one designed to hold gemstones of power, but it was empty, just like his stomach. Up the staff was an eclectic mix of runes carved deep into the wood, then burned so they kept their form, creating great, big, black, ornate runes all over the staff. Visually it was stunning, and the craftmanship was impeccable. He strode off with confidence, and with a fire in his heart. Nearly four days later and Mercol was sprinting with a limp, his satchel was gone, he was covered in dirt, and small cuts, and his hands gripped desperately to his staff as he moved. He breathed deep, each inhalation was if it was fuelling a fire in his lungs, burning his throat as he desperately continued forward, despite his worsening state. He would occasionally look back over his shoulder at the screeching behind him, screaming and using the image of his pursuer to motivate him. The rapid footsteps it made inspired fear into him, his failing legs filled him with an impending dread he had never felt before. He knew he no longer had the protection of his order, or that the town guards were not just around the corner, ready and waiting to make a daring save. Instead, he was left with the knowledge that the next step may be his last as he could feel the hulking beast behind him coming closer, and closer. The roar of the beetle behind him was enough for him to give up, slowing his feet he was ready to stop and collapse, but before he could he found himself sinking deep into the ground, into a hole that was not there a second before. Mercol looked up to watch as the enormous beetle ran over the hole, and stormed deeper into the unknown. Meanwhile Mercol was stuck in a thin hole, after some wriggling he managed to turn his head to the side so his was no longer pushing hard against the hole’s sides, and after just a little more he managed to find a small crawl space at the bottom of the hole. He laid down for a moment, catching his breath, his legs thankful that they were finally able to rest. It was a long while before he was willing to move on, taking solace in the dark, and quiet hole that he had found himself in. Knowing that he would not be able to climb up the narrow hole he fell down, he was making sure that he had the energy to crawl through the hole at the bottom of his fall. His eyes sluggishly opened at first, then rapidly when he realised that he had fallen asleep, what had intended to be a short rest become sleep of an unknown duration. He wriggled his legs, and felt them brace against the walls of the hole with a strength he did not have when he had landed in the hole, his arms gripped dirt with the same renewed strength, but as he crawled, he felt the wide rim of his head cap scrape against the wall, and warp against the uneven surface. While his arms and legs had rested, he could now feel the discomfort that laid within his cap from being bent, and twisted as he slept. Hand landed over hand, soil was disrupted, and his wide feet carved small grooves as he pushed his way through. His head ached with every movement, only getting worse as he went, until, a sudden sensation of freedom happened from around his head as he found himself in a small chamber. His head was finally free of the confines of the narrow passage, and for the first time in the last few days he laid down free of contortion, and actually feeling as though he had, had some rest. He breath started heavy, but quickly slowed as he took the moment to calm himself, a calm that was interrupted by the intense pains that appeared in his stomach. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” He muttered to himself. He stared up to the ceiling of the small cave and felt everything his body had to tell him, despite the restful position, and the fact he had just slept, he could feel all the aches of everything that had happened over the last couple of days, tears fell from his eyes as he remembered the life he had not so long ago, how he let his ego get in the way of safety within community, and the potential to gain much knowledge within the arcane arts, but instead he was destined to return the earth that once fed him, and now, his tomb. His eyes closed once again, and he let exhaustion take him once again. This time when his eyes opened, he found himself laying in comfort. He patted his body, and where there were wounds, now bandages. His body still ached, but it felt as if it had been numbed, now just a shadow of what it had once been. His arm drooped from his side to make no purchase with the ground, Mercol looked to his side to find himself laying in a bed that was raised off the ground. The room itself had dirt walls, ceiling, and floor, but all the furniture within the room was made wood and stone. There was a small fire located in one of the walls, all the smoke disappearing up a tube from the old world, letting it loose to the sky above, keeping the cave fresh. Mercol felt safe, like he was home in his old town. He smiled softly and let himself be comfortable enough to let himself slowly fall asleep. His sleep was deep as Mercol’s body healed itself, so deep that he was incapable of dreaming, and it wasn’t until several hours had passed before the incessant chatter coming from the nearby chamber woke him. He slowly sat up, groaning through the aches, and stabbing pains. The air was filled with the noise of the muttering of others talking. Spying his staff, he used it as a walking stick to navigate his new environment, the ground was pressed flat, while not as good as where he had come from, it was tenfold better than the wilds he had been traversing. None of the rooms he passed had doors, not even hanging moss to cover what was within. The longer he walked the louder the voices became, and the more he was able to make out, Mercol walked into the room the voices were coming from, and inside there was two mushrooms running around a kitchen, one tall and thin, and the other short and round. “Uhum,” Mercol cleared his throat purposefully. “Excuse me, but where am I?” The two other mushrooms turned to see Mercol leant up against his staff with a gentle sway. “Oh you, look at you. The weird one is up.” The short one said. “Up and about, like a regular ol walk-y-do.” The tall one added. Mercol was confused, and made no effort to hide it, while the conversation already felt alien, he could not help but comment on the strange heads that these other mushrooms had. “I am so confused, are you fungus?” “Of course, we are, have you never seen one of our kind before?” The short one asked. “Not all of us have those wide brimmed heads, some of us have these much more compact taller heads, makes digging tunnels much easier, without having to worry the width of a cap.” “I don’t understand.” Mercol said as they adjusted their stance. “Oh friend please sit down,” the tall one said as they pulled out a chair. “We can answer any questions you may have, but you need to rest.” Mercol sat down, realising in that moment how much stress his body was under just standing. “Who are you two, and where are we?” The two Morel mushrooms looked to another and giggled slightly. “Well, I am Larce,” the tall one said as she pointed to her chest. “I am Hekaras,” the short on said. “As for where we are, you are in our wee little home. The others are not home, they are out doing the outside things. But they will be back shortly right Larce?” “Oh who knows, the others are wild, always out and about, who knows when they will be back.” “But where is your home, is it apart of a …

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A New World

Anodyne sat in a hall of other deities, he leant against the table with one arm, while with his other he spawned a variety of insects to fight one another. His face remained still as the fights failed to raise his spirits. “Are you even listening?” A voice called out towards Anodyne. He looked up to see the head of the table staring at him with a glare. “What a weird way to start a conversation, Fleton. You need to work on your social skills, especially if you are to lead this whole… Urgh.” Anodyne pursed his lips together and squinted as he erred to himself. “You have no idea why we are here do you?” Fleton asked as he looked to Anodyne with a failing patience. “Not really.” Anodyne laughed. “I see a table of eight deities, nine including myself. But I don’t see us doing anything but talk.” “Sometimes we need to talk, there are many plans that need to be made if we are to compete with the other gods of the Eternaverse. Why are you here if you are not going to participate?” “You know what, good point.” Anodyne stood and started to head towards the door. “Wait, you can’t just leave. If you want to be a part of this…” “I don’t.” Anodyne interrupted. “I came under false pretences, I am looking at you Light. Sick of your lies, I am out.” Light shrugged as they reclined in their seat, grinning as their eyes changed colour rapidly. “Then what are you going to do if not this?” Fleton asked, his anger boiling to the top. “I don’t know, probably fuck around.” Anodyne called out as he walked from the room. “Now.” He said to himself. “What to do?” Anodyne wandered around the Eternaverse bored, cycling through his universes he sighed with boredom. “I need a new world, a new place to have some fun. But I need something more…Unique.” Anodyne thought to himself for a long while before cracking his fingers. He dove his hands into the fabric of the universe he was in and split it, creating a new universe to play in. He strolled through many planets, creating life, then destroying the planet when he became frustrated. “I still can’t make sentient life? This is absolute shit.” Anodyne waited in the universe until life developed, and it started its own civilisation. Towns started to form, and technology advanced, with electricity, religion, nations, and most importantly, war. Anodyne whispered into the ears of all who needed it until the wars consumed the planet, all the sentient species fell, first to the war, then the failing living conditions snuffed the life of those who survived the initial onslaught. “Perfect, an empty planet, with ruins that scatter across the landscapes. Now it is time to have some fun. I have been wanting to use this ever since I got it.” Anodyne imbued a nearby small cluster of asteroids with a strange powder from a vial that read. ‘From the centre of Quorn.’  The green powder clung to the stone in the asteroids as soon as they made contact. Anodyne made sure his vial was empty before nudging the asteroids towards the planet, they broke up in the atmosphere, and covered the planet with the strange green powder. Anodyne struggled to hide his excitement as he waited for the powder to take effect. He scoured the planet, crawling through the mud until he finally found what he was looking for. “Yes, that is right. Come forward new life.” Anodyne laid on his belly as he watched a small piece of fungus had arms split from the body, legs spurted out, and eyes developed on the stem, just below the cap of the mushroom. “Oh my gosh, this is perfect. Goodbye things I am supposed to be doing, this mushroom is now my life.” Anodyne said as he stared with awe. He quickly shrunk himself to the same size, and turned himself invisible so he could follow his newest intrigue without disturbing them. The mushroom flexed the ends of his arms until three, thick, fingers, and a thumb emerged. He was a pale, creamy, white, with a brown cap. He coughed, and chunks of mushroom flesh fell out. He fell to his knees until he stopped vomiting, at that point he was finally able to speak. “Oh I hurt, why can I move, what am I?” He asked himself as he spat the last few chunks of flesh from his mouth. He looked up from his low position, a sea of grass surrounded him, trees towered high into the sky in the distance, and the thrum of the outside world vibrated in his new little ear holes. The sensation of sentient life overwhelmed him. He covered his ear holes and shut his eyes as he fell to the ground, and rolled in the mud. He curled up into a ball and squeaked until he fell unconscious. When he came to it was night, and his senses had calmed down. Blinking quickly, he adjusted to the bright light of the moon. He sat up and took everything in, now no longer suffering from sensory overload. “How strange, I have never been able to move before, or speak.” His eyes locked onto the spot he used to reside, a slight divot remained from where he once stood. “Oh, I can’t feel my roots.” He touched where he once stood. “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.” The now sentient mushroom patted the ground passively as he looked around. He spun his head to look towards every noise that emerged from his surroundings. “I guess I could go for a walk.” He said, giggling to himself. Jumping to his feet he started to wander off through the tall blades of grass that curled at the top. He bumped into the blades and small droplets of water fell over him like rain. His head bent as the heavier drops came down with force, knocking his head around. Each time he was pushed around he would smile, shifting himself back to an upright position as quickly as he could, then when there were no large drops, he would smack the grass so the heavier droplets would fall. The grass blades above him would dart side to side as they were smacked, creating a path of dry blades of grass through the dew-covered morning. His attention was pulled from the grass, and falling water when a small cluster of pill bugs shuffled through the base of the grass. Nearly a full dozen of them navigated the forest of grass that housed them. A couple of the larger ones approached the mushroom man, their antenna tapping around his legs. The mushroom laughed as the antenna tickled him, but as soon as they were interested in him they were gone. He looked down after his giggling fit with a soft sadness as he watched the tail end of them disappearing through the grass. He was going to follow them when something coming from the side they came from caught his eye. He turned his head to see another large pill bug walking much slower than the others. This one was different, unlike the dark browns of the others, this one had a green sheen on its shiny chitin. His armour plates glinted every time the moonlight broke through the grass. He shuffled quietly, his antenna were dancing along the ground until it found a small piece of dead wood. It picked it up with its mouth and began to chew. The mushroom lowered himself onto all fours and crawled over to the bug, fascinated by it. The bug was unaware of the mushrooms slow approach. The mushroom’s mouth opened slightly with fascination as he reached out and touch the pill bug, scaring it into a ball. His mouth opened even wider as he audibly gasped. He ran his hand over the smooth shelled exterior of the pill bug. He picked it up and rolled it around in his hands, twisting it to catch the moonlight, showing off the swirls of green that mixed through its carapace. “You are so pretty, I love being able to see, so much.” He said while tears started to appear at the corner of his dark eyes. “I will leave you alone now. Good bye little ball bug.” He pushed himself up to his feet and wandered deeper into the grass. Glancing back, he watched as the bug unrolled itself and continued his chew on the dead wood. The mushroom grinned as he enjoyed watching the little bug snacking on the wood. “I like being able to move and see, it has made my life so much better.” The mushroom leaped from rocks, and jumped over sticks. He grabbed a short twig and used it as a sword to smack the long grass blades out of his way, making exaggerated grunting noises as he went. “What is that?” He turned his head to a soft red glow that was glowing nearby, small sparks lifting high into the air before becoming dull and falling to the ground as a speak of ash. He stopped swinging his stick and walked with curiosity as he felt a warmth coming from behind a particularly thick grouping of grass. Strange noises came from beyond the wall of grass and the mushroom man stuck his stick through the wall in front of him, parting each piece he forced his way through. When he passed out the other side there were two mushrooms on the other side, they were talking in hushed tones and spun to face him as soon as he emerged. “Oh, there are more of me. That is fire, isn’t it?” The other two mushrooms looked to one another with pity. “Hey there, my name is Ushma, and this is Moro. You must have only just woken up, didn’t realise that was still possible.” Ushma said as he patted next to himself. “Come join us, we can answer any questions you have.” The mushroom lit up with delight, he sat next to the other two, still with a stick in hand. “I don’t have a name. Do I need one?” Moro sighed lightly. “Uh, yes. Everyone needs one, so it makes talking to you easy. You can choose anything. But it is best to not change it too much, or you will confuse others.” The mushroom hummed. “I want to be called…Penny.” Ushma and Moro both nodded as they looked at the still perfect form that Penny had. “It is perfect.” Moro said “It feels soft, just like how you look.” Ushma added. They looked to Penny, jealous of the fact that he was still in perfect condition. Subconsciously they felt to the parts of them that were missing, longing for the days where they were whole. “Thank you, so why are we all talking and moving, what happened?” “Well, no one knows. We started moving, some other things stopped moving, and others seem to get smarter.” Moro said as he looked to Ushma, who was still feeling at a chunk that was missing from his cap. “Yeah, us mushrooms all started moving, some of the bigger animals seem to all be dead, and now there are insects all over, they seem to have gotten smarter, and much more dangerous.” “Strange, I picked up a little ball bug earlier, he seemed lovely.” “That is just a small bug, they like eating dead things, so not much trouble to us. But there are others out there that are not so forgiving, some that just want to eat us. Some that hurt.” Ushma grabbed at the large gash in his cap. “The creature didn’t even want to eat me, she was just mad.” Penny grabbed at his cap and squished it in between his fingers, squinting at the uncomfortable sensation it created. “I have been having a lot of fun wandering around. Are you telling …

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