For all that went wrong, for all that felt wrong, it was at the very least a peaceful night's slumber. It was only nearing sunrise that a commotion rang out from the rest of the hub, stirring Shroomsworth from his rest. Groggily, he eased himself up to sit at the side and rubbed his half-lidded eyes. Like he'd done many times before, he reached to the side without looking to grasp his monocle, but had to adjust his reach somewhat to account for the different room and thus, different furniture. With ease, he attached it and settled it upon his face, only to have it nearly startled off of him as he heard shouting.
“Let me go!” a familiar, youthful voice rang out.
“Look at that bag of goods he's already pilfered. What a little sneak! Planning to take some Shroomish eggs next, hm?” another voice followed. Another familiar one.
Whatever it was, it required his attention. Shroomsworth reared back from his seat and hastily sprung to his feet. Once upright, he noticed that he had left the light cover off. It hadn't interrupted his sleep at all, after how utterly exhausted he was, but he still remembered to slide it closed on his way out into the hub.
Within that large room, many of the Shroomish had awakened already. That wasn't so odd. Early to bed, early to rise, and all that rot. The Serperior in the middle of the room throttling his coils around a Sneasel? That was odd. The Shroomish were gathered around the occurrence. Some were frightened, others almost seemed happy, likely thinking the act was deserved. There was also a strange sack near the two. It was easy to infer that it must have been carried by the Sneasel.
As the smaller Sneasel struggled in the Serperior's grip, the green snake wore a righteous scowl. “What do you say, kids? Send him back featherless and with a mouthful of soap instead of eggs?” he suggested in a playful, yet grim manner. It was met with several of the Shroomish around the room cheering aloud.
The Sneasel, clad in a green scarf, shook his head briskly and pleaded up at the snake, “I'm not here to steal anything! Please, let go!”
“Ginko! Let that boy go!” Shroomsworth intervened, marching right up to the scene. Everyone regarded him with some degree of surprise, except for Sporegard.
“Shroomsworth?!” the Serperior responded in kind, though he kept his captive in his grasp. His eyes darted back to the captive Sneasel with confusion, then to Shroomsworth again. “Are you sure? You know what they've done before!”
With a sigh, Shroomsworth rested his face in one of his claws. “Yes, he is one of mine from the guild,” he explained. That was enough to convince his friend to release the Sneasel, who he promptly approached to place his claw upon his shoulder. He appeared somewhat distraught; understandably so, given what had just happened to him. “Rhodes, dear boy, are you alright?”
“Yeah...” Rhodes answered, sputtering a minor cough in the process. He turned and crouched to pick up the simple sack he had dropped before, looking up at Shroomsworth and offering it to him in his claws. “Miss PK told me to bring you your stuff. Like... mostly tea stuff. I was real careful 'til now, but I don't think I heard 'em break!” he added, throwing in an optimistic smile at the end.
“Eugh...” Ginko chimed in, worrying at his own mistake, “... uh, sorry about that, little guy... I'm supposed to be looking out for these
little guys.” He extended a grassy vine from just under his gold-adorned neck area, gesturing to the many Shroomish in the room. They were varying degrees of confused and perhaps still worried over the presence of a Sneasel.
The apology grabbed Rhodes's attention as Shroomsworth accepted the belongings from him. He turned to the larger snake, still a little tense after their run-in. “... It's okay...” he forgave, though his averted gaze and unsure tone were quite apparent.
Part 4 of "Successor" by