While Little Stub-Tail successfully rescues Little Weaver, Little Stub-Tail’s own foot slips into the closing gap and gets stuck instead. The other tribemates desperately attempt to pull Little Stub-Tail free, but alas they are too late. With sad dismay, Little Stub-Tail watches as something strange begins to creep across their foot before quickly spreading up their leg.
Little Stub-Tail realizes their cruel fate and explains that they their entire body will soon become petrified, which will kill them once the process is complete. As Little Stub-tail has always been more concerned with others over themself, they urge the others to leave them behind so that the tribe can instead use their remaining energy to continue their escape.
In Little Stub-Tail’s remaining moments, they mention how happy they are to have been able to save Little Weaver. With no regrets, the dying sergal accepts their fate, content with giving their life to protect the tribe.
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Hexnose Forest Petrification
To explain what is happening to poor Little Stub-Tail, we must first look back to the article, “The relation between Sieg and meals“. In the article, it is explained that some species of Talyxian organisms, whether delayed or immediate, can infect the Eltus body and cause permanent or even lethal changes in their form. These Talyxian infections can change cells from inside an Eltus person’s body without anyone noticing, including the victim themself. But sometimes it may occur rapidly with clearly observable impact such as what is happening to Little Stub-Tail.
In this particular situation, the trees are turning Little Stub-Tail’s body into a stone-like material. The horrific phenomenon demonstrated in this forest is brought on by Hexnose trees which have a very alien and strange nature to them. Due to the trees’ metabolism activating during movement, what is normally a static and benign nature becomes aggressive instead. The rapid movement of the trees also triggers a side-function, which fills any gaps and binds the trees together.
Unfortunately for Little Stub-Tail, when their body was wedged amongst the activated trees, the sergal’s flesh was recognized as an extra gap and the gap-filling function was triggered. This resulted in the poor sergal being rapidly eroded from within by the tree and being converted into the same material as the tree and its surroundings.
While these facts further highlight the dangers present in the Hexnose Forest, it is entirely possible that this is not limited to only this particular forest. It is said that other species of Talyxian trees might also show a similar nature to the Hexnose trees under similar conditions. Thus, extreme caution and vigilance must be exercised at all times when trespassing through any Talyxian forest, as even the trees themselves can inflict an untimely demise.