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I’ll wait. But first, I’ll climb a tree. My vision increases when I climb up. If I climb to the very top of the largest tree, I should be able to see over the other trees, see the prey’s camp. If I’m lucky, they’ll be obtaining sustenance. If I’m not lucky, I’ll have to wait. Until the sun rises to its highest point, I’ll watch the prey. After that, I can’t afford to waste any more time. I can delay the hunger with marrow. But only up to that point. If the prey seem too hard to hunt, I’ll run. But I don’t believe it. I have two hundred others. Even if they all die, they have to kill one prey, minimum. I can take its brains and run.

The tree isn’t hard to climb. The straps of the bag are useful. They’re very tight. The bag is stuck to my back, my two weapons wedged between, freeing my hands. But these branches that appear higher up. They’re very annoying, slowing me a lot. I have to release my hands, bring it over the branch, hug the trunk again, then do the same for my legs. I should’ve went back to the fire, brought the tree-cutting tool. But I was distracted, too preoccupied with the armored clothes and dome. And if I go back for it, there might not be time to find more prey. But it shouldn’t matter. The prey here should have a tool to cut trees. They’re smarter, more prepared than the other prey.

Near the top of the tree, there’s another branch, angled up. It’s a nice spot to sit, pointed towards the prey’s camp. Can it support me? It should. I used a wooden stick to break others’ bones. Wood is strong. But this branch is really small, creaking too. I’ll tie myself to the trunk as a precaution. I haven’t seen any others fall from this high up. But the ending won’t be good if I fall. I might break something. Others twisted their legs when they fell into the trap pits. Those weren’t deep compared to this drop. Is this dangerous? I think so. But I’m already up here.

The prey’s camp, it’s not well lit. There’s a fire. But it’s not very big compared to the previous camp. There aren’t any cabins here either. Just one big building. There’s faint letters: Ranger … something. It’s hard to see in the dark. The walls look like they’re made of logs. Easy to set on fire. There’s a fence very close to the building. It has spikes pointing out of it, lining the whole fence. Like pointed antlers. The others will impale themselves on it if they’re not careful. Or if they’re tricked into walking towards them. Even others can’t be that dumb. They won’t walk into something that can kill them. There’s a gap in the fence, with no spikes, no fence, just a gap. But it’s a small gap, very similar to the doorway of the metal hunk. One other can enter at a time. Like I thought, compared to the last prey, they’re smart. The others won’t walk into the spikes; searching for a different way in, they’ll funnel into that gap, the trap the prey set up. How troublesome.

But where’s the food? How do the prey survive? Maybe it’s inside the building. Yes. There’s a fire inside, lights streaming out the windows. Or maybe those are lights that the prey bottle in cylinders. Having a fire inside seems dangerous. But if there really is a fire in there, it’ll be difficult to burn down the building. The prey are confident in putting out flames if they’re keeping one inside. I’m too far away to see inside the building. And I can’t see behind it. But there’s a pair of doors, the way in. More doors, more singular entrances. Will two hundred others really be enough? How can I catch prey when they’re defending themselves so efficiently? It’s a shame the walls aren’t made of glass either. I can’t see what they’re doing inside. If they keep their food in there, I’ll have to enter to observe.

There aren’t many trees close to the building either, a large clearing separating it from all directions. But what are those shiny things? Some things in the clearing are giving off light, bits and sparkles, nothing major. I can’t tell. It’s too far. When I get closer, I’ll see. Too bad the trees aren’t closer to the building. If the prey take arrow shooters to the roof, they’ll have the higher vantage point. The others can’t take shelter behind anything in an open field like that. Not like they know the concept of taking shelter from arrows. But there’s no chance of them getting lucky, an arrow hitting a tree instead. At least I can hide behind the others, using them as shields. But I really don’t want to approach the building. I’ll be funneled in by myself. If I’m too close to the front, I’ll die. If I’m in the back, it’s safer, but the others will make a mess inside, maybe ruining things I could learn from.

But do I have to go inside? Why can’t I wait for the prey to come out? Instead of attacking something from such a disadvantageous position, isn’t it better to wait for the prey to give up their position? I don’t know how long it’ll take. And I’m limited by time. Marrow rots slowly compared to everything else. But it rots really quick. It’s annoying. The sooner I learn how to preserve food from the prey, the sooner I’ll tame my hunger. Without the fear of it eating my brain, I can hunt at a slower pace, more deliberately. I can observe prey for longer periods of time. There’s so much I’ll be able to do.

I already decided to wait and observe until the sun reached its peak. The night is still long. The others are restless. But with their noises plugged, their vision hampered, a few knocks of my metal stick against the tree trunk is enough to keep their attention. There shouldn’t be anything else making sound. I’ve gathered all the others in the vicinity. And prey are sluggish at night. They wouldn’t wander around. They’re too smart to do that. So now, I wait. It’d be nice if the prey left the building, leaving their defenses behind. Maybe I’ll ask God for help. He brought prey back to life when they asked. But I can’t speak; my voice comes out as groans. What a shame.

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Virlyce

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