On their way to a cave Evonni knows, the party encounters a strange disturbance, which Evonni hears as whispering and Siegfried experiences as a faint melody. Suddenly, nearby trees and shrubs come to life and attack, lashing the party with the branches. Though their first impulse is to fight back, the party is ill-equipped to fight trees and (obviously) outnumbered, and so they flee the scene, easily outdistancing the trees who seem to have relatively little ambulation. Most escape with scratches, but Evonni is knocked out by a swipe from the largest tree and has to be carried to safety.
The party reaches the cave, which seems to have been used as a camp before, and turns in for the night. In the morning, Siegfried and Kotadi discuss how the townsfolk will react to their new appearances, and they decide that that the elf-like party members can hide their ears with long hair and their cloaks, relying on peoples' tendency to see what they expect to see to help obfuscate the more subtle changes. Siegfried reveals that he has also worked out how to disguise himself with a magic glamour, as he is the one most likely to draw direct face-to-face attention.
The party sets off for Pilzstadt, on the way encountering Snail Farmer Lukas headed out of town to search for a lost giant snail. Knowing that the part of the forest he is headed to is dangerous (having recently encountered angry trees and goat men there) they dissuade him, with Evonni promising to search for the snail instead. Fortunately for Lukas' health, he is agreeable to any course of action that lets him go have a drink at the inn instead of bushwacking through the Eisenwald, and so he agrees, turning back to Pilzstadt, where the party follows after a quick detour at Evonni's forest camp to resupply and obtain some stored healing herbs.
They approach the town and Ugo wants to immediately go home to greet his mother, but Siegfried convinces him they need to meet with the mayor first to explain the goings on. They find that the ferry is missing, so they cross via the mill bridge instead, where Siegfried's parents normally run the mill. Inside, they find the mill deserted and in uncharacteristically poor repair. Heading to the Inn, they find the mayor swamped by a mob of townsfolk inside. Inquiring with her mother (who runs the Inn with her father), Evonni discovers that the town has been plagued with strange misfortunes, including the mysterious accelerated rotting and sinking of the ferry virtually overnight, and the sudden breakdown or decay of many of the mill's components, along with a plethora of missing stock, soured milk, mysteriously assaulted lumberjacks, etc.
Mr. Wolf is nowhere to be found, and in the absence of his charismatic leadership, the mayor is having trouble calming the townsfolk on her own. They blame a mysterious stranger (a purported associate or guest of Mr. Wolf) for the misfortunes, and demand he answer their charges. Currently, the mayor has sequestered the stranger in her house guarded by a few of the more level-headed townsmen to prevent the mob from seizing or lynching him, but the situation is becoming dire as the town's mood sours.
With their benefactor currently absent, Siegfried declares that it's up to them to stop the people from rioting, and as they prepare to do so the story pauses.