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I decided to wait. If I started the hunt now, I’d learn less. The others would eat all the prey. What would I learn then? For now, I can watch, see what the prey do, study them more. The more I know, the less dangerous they’ll be. I didn’t know they could fight back; I almost died. I didn’t know they could command metal hunks; I almost died. I didn’t know they could set traps; I almost died. Hunting them is dangerous. But rewarding. I learn more with every hunt. But now, I can learn without hunting. Just by watching, I learn what they do. I can’t see much, just the space between the fence and cabins. It’s filled with tents.

Why do prey stay in tents? What do they do in there? I want to check. But I can’t, not yet. I’ll be killed. It’s a shame. I really want to know while they’re still alive. But I can piece it together after they’re dead. Maybe. And the cabins. I want to know what’s behind them. Where are the gray plumes coming from? Why? Once again, I’ll have to see after they’re dead. It’s dangerous to observe them up close if they’re alive.

A prey is leaving its tent. The tents open at the front, a flap. It’s short, barely enough space to stand inside. Maybe they sit or lie down. It makes sense. Being closer to the ground is easier. They can’t fall down, can’t trip. The tent is small too, not only short. Maybe four crouching prey can fit inside. It’s too far to see the insides of the tent. The prey closed it after leaving too. The tent. Is it like my bag? A bag for prey? It opens and closes and stores things inside. But it’s not portable. It looks too big, too heavy. Unless prey can carry things larger than themselves. But that’s impossible. If prey can do it, others can too—others were prey once. But the others can’t.

The prey made its way through the tents, to the fence. A small, isolated spot. No tents around. But there was a tool, a wooden rod with a metal end. The prey grabbed it and stabbed it into the ground. What was it doing? A portion of the ground rose. Then it separated. The prey turned it over, made space, then stabbed the tool into the ground again. It repeated its actions three more times. A hole appeared. A small hole but still a hole. Like the traps. Is that how they were made? With those tools? So they didn’t use their hands.

The prey leaned the tool against the fence. It fiddled with its clothes, its pants dropping down to its knees. It squatted above the hole, staring outside the fence, watching for something. What was it looking for? I tried to see. There wasn’t anything in that direction. Just trees. And an other that wandered away from me. But the prey didn’t react, just stared. Was it going to do something? The prey leaned forward and grabbed something. A piece of fabric. Is that why they took others’ clothes after killing them? It moved the fabric behind itself before standing up. It put the fabric down and grabbed the wooden tool with the metal end. The overturned earth was flipped back into the hole. When the hole was filled, the prey leaned the tool against the fence again. It stared again outside the fence, at the other. Then it turned around and left, going back to its tent. Odd. What was that about? Did it hear the other walking around and come out to check? I couldn’t hear the prey. Could it have heard the others? But they’re quiet. Only soft groans.

Would the prey alert the other prey? It didn’t seem like it. The other was left alone. Even when it left the woods. It went towards the isolated spot and stumbled into the fence, clawing at the air. How long would it take for a prey to notice? They didn’t seem to care. One tent opened, and a prey stepped out. It stared at the isolated spot. Then it bent over, picking up a spike. It walked to the other and stabbed it, pushing so the other fell back. Instead of retrieving the body, the prey put the spike down and grabbed the tool with the metal head. It dug a hole and copied the previous prey, fiddling with its clothes and crouching. A different fabric was taken. The prey stood up and fixed its clothes, putting the tool away. It stared at the dead other and walked back to the tents. A moment later, more prey came out. Three of them, all from one tent. They went to the isolated area, opening the fence by removing the beam. Instead of pushing, they lifted, the fence rising into the air. Not all parts of the fence acted the same. I see.

And the amount of prey. It’s a lot. There’s fifteen tents. Fifteen prey if there’s one per tent. But there isn’t. Three came out of one. It’s possible only one or two tents only had one prey inside. If the rest had three…, that’s over thirty prey. I calculated it by counting. There are more others than there are prey. Bur prey are smart. It takes many others to bring down one prey. Is this hopeless? There might be more prey. I can’t see their whole territory, only a portion. It’s dangerous. But it’s good. Over thirty prey. If I figure out a way to keep a few alive, tie them up or … I think I know how. The others that fell into the traps. They were alive. But they couldn’t move. The spikes in their arms and legs wouldn’t let them. I can prevent the prey from moving. And if I stop the others from eating. Yes. It’s doable. The hunger will be suppressed for a long time. Thirty prey. That’s thirty days. No matter how dangerous it is. I have to hunt. I have to survive.

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Virlyce

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