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"The owner's dead!" A Sun-shroom came squeaking out of the owner's back door - though what he'd been doing inside the house, Cactus didn't know. The young shroom looked panicked enough as it was. "The owner's dead!"

There was a murmuring among the other plants - mostly shrooms and pool plants - that were still planted in the back. The Scaredy-shrooms ducked, even though there was no enemy in sight, much less near them. Or at least there were no enemies as far as Cactus could tell. There were two Magnet-shrooms on each yard that would have picked up helmets if some of the Digger Zombies had come. The front yard hadn't called to warn them of any attacks on their end.

"I'll check it out," Cactus said, seeing Doom-shroom about to volunteer. "I'll be right back." She hopped towards the back door of the residence. It wasn't exactly a long way; she'd been planted at the back. She paused at the back door, not knowing what to make of the room she saw inside. Still, it was only a momentary pause; someone needed to go inside, and she couldn't inflict the reality of what had happened to the owner on any other plant, front back or roof. The first room was empty, so she headed into the next room she found.

It took her a few tries to find the owner. She really should have asked the scared Sun-shroom, but she wasn't about to make him go through that trauma again. She poked the human with an arm, but in the dim light she couldn't really tell anything other than the owner wasn't moving. Cactus sighed and went back to the backyard. "Can you come with me?" she asked the Sun-shroom, even though she didn't want to. She should be protecting, not scaring.

The Sun-shroom nodded cautiously, lighting the way as best he could. The light was a little better with Sun-shroom's presence, but not really enough. "I've heard of these things called 'lights'," the Sun-shroom said in almost a whisper. "Maybe you should look for one of those? They're like the Planterns."

It was too bad that the owner had disdained Planterns, or she would have asked for that instead of waiting for the Sun-shroom to spit out sun. She had no idea what a light was, either, unless it was that glowy thing on the porch.

"Let's go and see if there are any Planterns in the front," she suggested. The front door was probably open, just like the back door was. At least the owner's head didn't look gnawed.

The Sun-shroom grumbled a little, but headed to the front with her. She peeked out; no Planterns there.

"How can I help you, friend?" a Sunflower from the next-to-last-row asked.

"Something's wrong with the owner. Any Planterns?"

The sunflower shook her head. "Nope."

"I'm trying to figure out how to turn on something called a 'light'."

"I don't know what that is, but... you're from the back, right?"

"Yes. This Sun-shroom here went in the house and found the owner like this. I'm built to fight, I don't know what to do...."

"Howdy!" Crazy Dave popped out from the bushes. "What's this about something wrong?"

"Hi!! This cactus has something to tell you." The sunflower motioned with her petals towards Cactus.

"Please come. There is something wrong with the owner and I don't know how to turn on lights."

There was something behind her, and she turned to see Doom-shroom. "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE BRING ME ALONG?" he boomed.

Thankfully, he didn't literally boom. The owner was already in bad shape and didn't need a Doom-shroom causing more havoc.

"I didn't want anyone to worry," Cactus admitted.

"Hey, I'll turn on the lights for you," Crazy Dave said. He took a bite out of a taco, finishing it.

Cactus stepped out of the way, and to her relief, so did Doom-shroom. Crazy Dave entered the house, and Doom-shroom followed after, and she followed after Doom-shroom. "The owner is this way," she said, and hopped down towards where the Sun-shroom had found the owner.

"'kay." He let her lead, and Doom-shroom grumbled quietly. The owner was still where they'd left her.

Crazy Dave stepped into the room, doing something with his hand. Suddenly, there was light, and the Sun-shroom cheered. Probably because he didn't have to emit any more sun. Then he moved to where the owner was, letting the three of them into the room.

After a moment, he touched the owner's neck. Cactus craned her neck, rising up, to see what was going on. "Fuck. She's dead," Crazy Dave said solemnly.

"WHO DID THIS? I WILL OBLITERATE THEM!" Doom-shroom looked remotely like he was going to blow up, taking Crazy Dave, the owner's body, and both of them with him.

"Don't do it with us STANDING RIGHT HERE!" the Sun-shroom told him.

"Yeah, I'd say that rigor mortis has set in." Crazy Dave turned around and regarded the three of them. "Not eaten by zombies... probably it's a side effect." He started staring at the walls.

"A side effect of what?" Cactus asked.

"I WILL OBLITERATE WHAT CAUSED THE OWNER'S DEATH!" Doom-shroom said, looking around and ignoring the question.

"Dunno. Could be food poisoning. Yeah, that's more likely. Ate bad food because she didn't have a choice. Better than than worrying about her turning zombie." Crazy Dave tapped his chin. "We should take her outside, Doom-shroom here could make her ashes. Better that than insta-zombie."

The fact that their owner could become what they fought against chilled Cactus. Crazy Dave was already picking up the body.

"But what do we do if the owner is gone?" Cactus asked.

"There'll be other folks... other owners. I'm sure there'll be someone out there that can be there for you." He was walking towards the front, she was sure. She followed, as did the Sun-shroom and the Doom-shroom.

"I don't wanna see this," Sun-shroom said. "I'm going back."

Maybe she should, as well. Knowing that the owner was gone, there was still a backyard to defend, and she didn't want to see what Doom-shroom would do.

"Please, take care of our owner."

Crazy Dave turned around. "Will do." He went around the fence, and she felt at a loss. She was aware of all the front yard plants staring at her.

"There might be an invasion," she said. "But the owner is gone. We might have new people to defend soon, though."

"Hold defensive positions!" A Peashooter called, and the rest of the front yard snapped to attention.

Cactus saluted, and then went back into the house. The backyard would have to be told, and the roof defenders, and she had a lot to think about herself.