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Creating a fire is difficult. The tiny box produces flames. But it’s not big enough to light trees on fire. It’s enough to set clothes on fire. And small twigs and leaves. Once a small fire is created, the big logs burn. And once the big log burns, the fire is strong enough to burn everything. It costs one shirt to create a big fire. But the price isn’t high; there are always others with clothes flocking to my sounds. And the smell of blood. Will this prey turn into an other? I removed its brain, climbed a tree to eat it to avoid fighting with the others. Trees are useful. I didn’t think they could be climbed. There’s no handholds, no gaps to place my foot in. But I saw how the prey tried to climb. It hugged the trunk with its arms and legs, inching upwards. Tightening its arms, moving its legs, tightening its legs, moving its arms. But it’s a method that only works with these clothes. They’re tough, not being scratched by the tree’s rough surface.

Along with the brains, I broke apart the prey’s body, storing the bones inside of my new bag. Carrying two bags, a metal stick, the arrow shooter. It was cumbersome. The others proved handy once again. One of them is carrying my old bag, with the soon-to-expire marrow. I kept the metal stick and arrow shooter on myself. The arrows fit nicely in the new bag too. As for the two flat metal sticks that the prey had, I tied them to my wrists, above my hand. The flat part is as long as my palm and fingers. Bending my wrist down lets the metal stick out, letting me pierce things without holding them. They might interfere with my movements if my hands move back. But there’s no reason to bend them that way.

As for the broken dome, I put it on the other with my old bag. The dome is broken. But the glass can still be useful, maybe save it from death. I tried wearing it myself. But the web of cracks I created with the arrow made it hard to see out of. Wearing it might bring about the opposite effect, killing me if I don’t see a trap in time. The dome also solves the problem of sluggishness. The others always stop moving around after they eat. With the visor blocking its way, this other won’t eat. It’ll always be active. But it still slows down in the sun. I don’t know why. I’ve tried covering it, reducing its exposure to the sun. But it threw off the clothes I put over it. The others don’t care if I poke them, prod them, pull them, kill them. But covering them with clothes triggers a reaction. Is the sun essential? Is it like food? The others are sluggish after eating. The others are sluggish in the sun. Could the sun be feeding the others? That’s impossible. I can’t eat the sun. I’m smarter than the others. If others could eat sunlight, I’d be the first to know.

Speaking of sunlight, it’s about to run out soon. There’s a plume of smoke in the distance, opposite the direction we came from. Which means there’s prey. It’s also the direction the prey ran towards when trying to escape from me. Prey seek safety in numbers; it knew other prey were located there. It could even be where the prey are speaking through the black box from. But I have to assume all prey are similar to the one that died: armored, smart, tricky. If they coordinate like the ones in the metal hunk did, they might kill all the others. Even the unarmored prey could’ve stopped the others if they had used the cabins as traps. And I don’t doubt the prey have more tricks that I haven’t seen yet. Every prey I’ve encountered has taught me something knew; it’ll be the same this time. How do I prepare for something I don’t know? It’s impossible. I can only send one or two others at a time, see how they’re taken care of. But even that doesn’t provide accurate information. Prey react differently when there’s only one or two others compared to when there’s dozens.

Knowing this, do I proceed? I can go away, find a separate place, start a fire there. It’ll attract prey. But for how long? It’s not sustainable. Once I eat all the prey in an area, the prey that escape will warn the others about me. Maybe the prey I just ate already did with its black box. I have to find a sustainable food source to keep the hunger at bay. Once I no longer have to worry about hunger, finding God will be much easier. Prey need to eat. But I haven’t figured out how the ones at the cabins survived. What did they live off of? Maybe it was there and I was too dumb to know. Like the tool used for cutting down trees that I thought was for digging holes. But there’s no way for me to find out now. It’s much easier to learn by watching prey. Deducing what prey leave behind is much more difficult. Commanding metal hunks, for one. I didn’t even know they moved until after that prey almost killed me with one.

This time, I’ll watch the prey more carefully. See how they make food to sustain themselves before attacking them. I have enough marrow to last a day. If prey are like others, they’ll have to eat within that day. But if the prey are armored, how do I go about attacking them? There’s only one answer I can think of. I need more others to follow me. If it takes a dozen others to kill one armored prey, I need tens of dozens of others to kill tens of prey. It’s not hard to gather others. I’ll make a big circle around the plume of smoke, attracting all others in the vicinity. Once there’s enough, I’ll bring them there. The others aren’t smart. They don’t have weapons. They don’t have armor. The only advantage they have over prey is their numbers. Increasing the number of followers I have is the only way to survive.

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Virlyce

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