Mulberry was perched upon a thick tree branch, wide enough for two grown men to walk abreast without fear of falling down. It was more than a hundred feet to the ground from here; not something most people can live to tell a tale of. The trees in this forest were ancient. No, perhaps the word ancient wasn't sufficient to paint a correct picture of their true age. Whatever world this place came from, Mulberry had a feeling these primordial trees had existed as long as the earth and the sky. Their colossal size alone were worthy of worship.
Connected to their thick trunks were constructs that certainly weren't natural. Houses, made by people. Wooden planks were hammered into each tree trunk, forming ring platforms to support several buildings. Mulberry could spot at least eight of them each attached to a different tree, connected by long rope bridges. The denizens of this settlement could be seen mulling around the place, oblivious to how they stood out like a sore thumb in this pristine jungle. She didn't like them, but they were infinitely preferable to the humans she used to know. If she didn't have a reason to visit Kelethin, she wouldn't never have bothered climbing all the way up here.
Something was brewing in this place, and what little magic capabilities she still had told her it wasn't something good. All the local fauna had begun to keep their distance from Kelethin, shunning it like it was cursed. Mulberry could tell something was wrong, but it was nothing more than a gut feeling, like a constant oppressive pressure that pushed out upon her spirits. She would have to go nearer to investigate the source.
She slunk down the tree trunk, her limbs ending in sharp digits that allowed her to grasp firmly onto the bark. The jelly-like creature, originally a leaf green tone, rippled into the deep colors of the rough bark as she moved, a seamless transition that would have drawn no attention. From afar, her camouflage was almost perfect. She leaped onto the first roof she came upon, and noticing a small skylight, she proceeded to enter the building. It was impossible for a creature her size to fit through the small rectangular aperture, but she grabbed the ledge with her arms and shoved her face at the window. Her head squeezed through with almost no resistance, deforming like a soft rubber ball. She slid through the skylight and landed inside.
Mulberry found herself in a dark attic. Sensing no immediate danger, Mulberry dropped her camouflage. Instead of brown, she was now a vibrant, bright pink color, a shade that would be impossible to miss even in a giant crowd. Her hair sways unnaturally as she stretched her neck- a mass of wide tentacles that reach past her ears that mimic the appearance of human hair. There was an uncomfortable feeling on her limbs.
"Urgh, dust!" she cried out in disgust. Dust adheres to her moist skin easily, and was difficult to remove without a water source. The feeling was also very uncomfortable.
The overwhelming silence inside the house led Mulberry to think that the house was empty. Nevertheless, she carefully poked her head out of the attic door before creeping out in silence. The top floor appeared to be empty too, but a familiar smell told her something was up. It was blood. Going down a flight of stairs, she found out what happened to the occupant.
A dead person lay sprawled on the floor, with one foot propped on the staircase. Her long, blonde hair spread out in messy tangles on the floor, parts of it steeped in blood. She had dark blue skin and light golden irises, eyes still wide open in a frozen expression of shock. Mulberry had no idea what species she belonged to. A gash across her chest appeared to be her cause of death. It must have penetrated her lungs and heart, killing her within moments. She had no defense wounds and her clothing was still intact, indicating she didn't even put up a fight before her death. Most likely a surprise attack, or the victim wasn't expecting the culprit to attack.
Mulberry crouched over her body for a few moments, taking in all this information. She was sure blatant murder wasn't a common event amongst the creatures that lived in Kelethin. There was nothing to suggest a connection, but Mulberry couldn't help but think of the possibility that the brewing darkness in town was related to this murder. If it was, she was extremely fortunate to have stumbled upon a clue immediately after entering the town. The forest spirits must be smiling upon her.
There wasn't much more she could discern from the corpse, so she proceeded to explore the house instead. The lady had to have some food lying around somewhere, and if she didn't, Mulberry supposed she wouldn't mind what happens to her body after she's dead.
Mulberry sneaks into Kelethin, finding a murdered woman in a house.