Hilyan tipped one of the wooden bowls taken from Palluck and Maldore's supplies, the last drops of the mushroom base quickly lapped up by the newborn female. Setting teh container aside, she shook her head. Above, night had fallen, the air beginning to chill slightly. Only the light of the stars allowed them to see one another's outlines.
"Now I'm glad Mother forced me to learn this skill. I'd hate to need it and not have it."
Palluck brushed his younger sister's head fur gingerly. "Thank you. She'll be alright with this stuff, won't she?"
Hilyan nodded. "For a while. Eventually she'll need her mother. Maldore, was it?"
The elder of the Namican brothers nodded without turning, his gaze watching the surrounding overhead ledges. "What?"
"Where is that odd friend of yours?"
Maldore snorted. "He could be anywhere."
The Traveler's voice cut through the darkness. "I'm never anywhere that isn't useful. If you had half my abilities, you'd be able to assist me instead of jabbering about things you know nothing about."
Maldore turned his head this way and that. "Then what are you doing?"
The Traveler materialized beside him suddenly. "Piecing together what happened here. It looks like everyone that came in here left on their own paws."
Palluck stood. "I thought the berries in the food put them to sleep?"
The Traveler shook his head. "I dunno. But whoever took them all did a thorough job of cleaning up. No crumbs or dishes remain. It seems no one touched the cakes with the julmba in it, there's no way for them to just walk out."
Hilyan shook her head. "But I saw them! I only managed to get one of the last cakes. Everyone else was eating them!"
Maldore grimaced. "Could someone have chased them out and then they passed out elsewhere?"
The Traveler shrugged. "Chased, maybe. But the pawtracks looked like it was nice and slow pacing. They would have been chased by a giant slug that left no trace."
Maldore grunted. "You have any other insights about what happened, or are you going to waste valuable time mocking us?"
"I have one. Aside from our tracks, there is only one set that isn't stumbling."
Palluck perked his ears. "What do you mean?"
"Everyone who left shows signs that they couldn't walk straight. Except for one pair that is too large to belong to any one of us."
Maldore shook his head. "Which means what?"
"We can look at it again in the morning with a fresh set of eyes. Between my head injury, chasing Hilyan down, and all this nighttime searching, I'm too tired to function properly."