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A note from Virlyce

Scheduled chapter release didn't work. Sorry for the delay.

One arrow isn’t enough. How many more can I get from the prey before it stops? If I put the dome back on, will it continue shooting? I’ll try. There really is a big difference in my vision with the dome. But it’s for safety. Now, is the prey aiming at me? Yes. But it’s not shooting. Is it really the dome? What if I prod the impaled prey again? There’s no reaction. Getting food in front of the prey is enough to make them want to kill me. But if they can’t kill me, they won’t try. I’ll take off the dome, try again.

Thwip.

I didn’t poke the food. Yet the prey shot at me. I almost didn’t duck in time. It timed its shot with the removal of my dome. How sneaky. Now there’s two arrows for me to use. But that’s not enough. I need five. My accuracy increased. But five is a reassuring number. Five arrows have never failed me. I stood up.

Thwip.

And crouched down again. I didn’t get the chance to fully extend my knees. After baiting me into spending my arrows, not giving me more, why is the prey so aggressive? I think I understand. Other than tending to their wounds, the prey had me spend my arrows to attack me safely. Since I have no arrows, I can’t shoot back. If I stand to retrieve the arrows in the wall, the prey will shoot me. If I stand—

Thwip.

—it shoots. How is its accuracy so high? If I copy its posture, my aim increases. But I’m not confident in shooting a head that briefly appears for a moment. Yet the prey is. Can I trick the prey? I’ll take down an other in the back of the herd, stab its legs with my spear to bring it down, drag it over to my spot while crouching. Now I’ll prop it up, place my hand under its arms, help it rise off the ground.

Thwip.

There was a squelching sound. A tiny bit of blood splashed out of the other’s eye. Not a lot. The arrow embedded in its head was blocking most of it from coming out. I let the other fall, pulled out the arrow once it hit the ground. Now, I wonder if the prey thinks it killed me. The previous four arrows it shot were still stuck to the wall. But this fifth arrow, it’s in my hands now. The prey think I don’t have arrows, think I’m dead. I’ll wait a bit. As long as the others keep trying to push down the fence, I’ll know the prey are there. Most of them are reaching for the impaled prey. But there’s a few watching the prey in the distance.

Since the prey think I’m dead, they’ll think they’re safe. One of the prey is severely injured, a hole in its torso. No doubt, the prey are patching its injury right now. There’s the injury to the big one’s foot too. How long will it take for them to finish? It took a bit of time to fix the bow-using prey’s hip. Since the prey with the box that had the cloth was injured, doesn’t that leave the prey with the bow to tend to their wounds? It didn’t seem like the prey with the box could do anything. It couldn’t even stand after being shot.

A minute passed. I’ll peak over the fence, see if the prey with the bow is still watching me. It isn’t. It and the big one are leaning over the fallen prey. It looks like they’re butchering it. But I can’t see too clearly from this far away. They’re not paying attention. So I’ll take the arrows off the wall first. That makes five. Enough to get one hit off. I’ll put my dome back on too. Safety first.

The prey are still focused on the fallen prey. Their hands on its torso. I really want to know what they’re doing. But the distance is too far. I won’t learn anything. Unless I put a hole through the bow-using prey’s stomach too. Twice the chance to observe. While they aren’t paying attention, I’ll ready the bow. Aim. Release.

Twang!

The prey didn’t dodge. They reacted by turning towards me. The bow-using prey yelled. The big one curled up, shrinking as much as possible. The prey on the ground didn’t react. The arrow grazed the bow-using prey’s hand, landing far behind it. I missed. It’s a small target, far away, crouching. Should I abandon the safety of the fence, climb over it to increase my accuracy? The closer I am, the easier it’ll be to hit. No, that’s dangerous. I haven’t tried climbing over the fence from the other side. But it looks like it’ll take a while. In that time, the prey can shoot me. Or run up to me.

But I’ve already made up my mind. I waited for five arrows to shoot five times. There’s still four arrows left. One of them has to hit.

Twang!

Hit the ground in front of the prey.

Twang!

Hit the ground behind the prey.

Twang!

The prey used its bag as a shield. The big one’s using the dead prey as a shield too. I have one arrow left. But it can’t hit through shields. A shame. Only one arrow out of four managed to graze the prey. It was the first one too. The other three were a waste. But the first arrow was taken from the other I used as bait. Its blood was smeared over it. Will the prey turn into an other? Or does it have to be dead first? Meat exposed to others’ blood turns black, rotten. Unless there’s something different about the flesh of a dead prey, a live prey’s flesh should rot too. I never had a live prey to test before. No, I did. But I didn’t think to test on it at the time. Then I’ll see now. See if this prey becomes an other.

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Virlyce

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