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While banging my metal stick and arrow shooter together, there was an other. It was lying on its stomach, one foot suspended in the air by a rope. It crawled towards me. But every time it lifted itself off the ground, it was pulled back by the rope, going nowhere. Why would someone tie an other to a tree? Prey don’t eat others. They kill others. Why would they keep it alive? It’s a very small tree, thin, not as tall as the other. It looks easy to untie. But others are dumb; they don’t know how ropes work. This was the work of a prey, or a smart other. I’m not sure if smart others exist. But if this really was an other, it’s still dumb. It should’ve tied it to a bigger tree. Even a simple tug can break this rope. Like this.

This tree is sturdier than I thought. It’s flexible, not brittle at all. Pressing causes it to bend, not break. When I stop, it straightens, mostly. It’s still bent from the other trying to crawl away. Interesting. Pressing and pulling, they’re the same. Both exert force. But pressing is much easier to do. Pulling requires rope. Or a good grip. It’s probably impossible to break glass by pulling, it’s too smooth, nothing to hook onto.

The rope is tied to the tree. It’s definitely tied, not a part of it, so why can’t I untie it? The jumbled bit is different from all the other ropes I’ve seen. It doesn’t untie the same way. But pushing on bits, pulling on other bits, I’ll figure it out. The design is interesting. Pushing this end enlarges the loop. Pulling it shrinks the loop. Most loops are like that; this loop is different. It’s a loop inside of a loop. It’s very easy to loosen the first loop; the second loop is fixed. It seems very useful. Instead of crouching by something to tie it, this premade loop can shrink or expand. Slip the premade loop over something. Pull. It’s tied.

I think I found a way to catch prey. I couldn’t tie prey before. They’d struggle too much, refusing to let me tie them. Hitting them makes them stop. But the others would interfere, eating the prey as I tied. If I slip this loop over the prey and tug, it doesn’t take much time. Then I could pull it away from the others, smear it with stink sauce to keep it alive. Could I pull the prey? If it’s bigger than me, it’ll be hard. I can’t push heavy things. If pushing and pulling are the same, this plan might not work. But it’s better than letting others eat the prey as I slowly tie it.

I still don’t know why prey tied this other to a tree. But if prey want something, it’s in my best interest to stop them. Anything a prey does is to survive. Tying this other must help it survive in some way, shape, or form. I’ll free it. Maybe nothing will come of it. But that doesn’t matter. An other is an other. And I need more others. Surprisingly, there weren’t many around. But there were a lot of traps with three to four dead others in each. These prey are on a different level from the unprepared prey. Traps. Armor. They should have arrow shooters too. Maybe even controllable metal hunks. With limited numbers, there’s no way I can win. Should I expand my search? Seek others from even further away? It might take too much time. But I might die if there’s not enough. Before, I thought there were too few prey. Now, I think there are too many. If there were less, I wouldn’t need a large number of others.

Maybe I should stop eating brains. Not completely. Just the brains that will rot anyway when I’m not hungry. I can eat three brains a day before a fourth seems unappealing. I can survive on just one too. But eating extra helps. It makes me feel stronger, more agile. But still not strong enough to push or pull large others. If I can’t preserve a prey, and the brains will go to waste, I should leave the brains untouched. Let the prey turn into others. I’ll have to leave their marrow too. Others can’t walk or move with broken bones. But leaving brains like that, it feels like a waste. There must be a way to preserve food. How do the prey do it? Are they constantly searching as well? Surviving is tough.

Prey might have it hard too. But I want to live. That’s why I’ll eat them. Even if I didn’t need to eat them to live, I still would. Their brains are delicious. I’d be happy if I could eat a brain every day. But the prey will run out. Where do prey come from? Others come from prey. Prey come from…? If I find out, I’ll have a never-ending source of brains. Yes, finding out where prey come from should be my top priority. It doesn’t matter how prey preserve food if I never have a need to preserve food. After that, finding God is next. I’m still curious about the memories I lost. How did I become an other? Why did he bring me back?

And why is this tree bent? Odd. It’s a small one, a little bigger than the one the other was tied to. Strange. It’s tied to the ground. No, that’s not right. It’s tied to a stick that’s on the ground. That’s not right either. It’s tied to a stick that’s hovering above the ground beneath another stick with a different stick pushing against it. Why are there so many sticks in the ground? And there’s the other end of the rope, lying on the ground in a big loop. What’s this thing on this stick? A nut? It feels crumbly.

Swish!

The sticks fell apart. The loose end of the rope wrapped around my wrist. The tree straightened, pulling me with it. How? What happened? Did the tree do this? It wasn’t a prey that tied the other? It was a tree? Then ropes grow on trees and prey harvest the ropes? It makes sense. But not all trees are aggressive. This is the first one I’ve seen. I know what to watch out for now: bent trees, ropes attached to sticks arranged in a strange manner. Those are the trees that ropes grow on. I’ll use this rope well.

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Virlyce

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