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The Demon King

Chapter Text

It is said that mushrooms cannot be killed, not in any way that matters. What can be seen rising from the ground are only the sprouts of an infinitely larger growth that stretches its myriad pale fingers through the soil. If one mushroom is plucked, others will just as quickly spring forth from the vast mycelial web lurking just underground.

Many types of fungus are not content to remain in the soil and seek richer nourishment from the remains of fallen trees. If some intrepid species have made an additional leap from rotting logs to living plants, it is not illogical to think that others would seek even more fertile grounds.

Deep in the foothills on the starward side of the western mountains lies a forest that none dare to enter. At the height of summer and in the depths of winter the leaves of its trees are golden and crimson with the lingering touch of autumn. It is an enchanted place, but it sits in eerie silence. If there are birds that alight on the boughs of the trees or deer that enter in search of shelter and forage, they do not call to one another, and their voices are never heard again.

The only growth that thrives in these woods are mushrooms, which bloom with earthy hues from the scattered piles of fallen leaves, yet the forest remains as pleasant and inviting as a painting of a perfect fall day. Those who dwell in the surrounding woods whisper that the trees are cared for by the silent shepherds who have made their home in the forest frozen in time. Whatever curses lies on the land does not affect them, for they are creatures who can spin webs to rival even a mushroom.