Three days. Three nights. I’m still waiting in the same spot. I have to check on the fire, make sure it’s still smoking. I don’t think it is. Salting is enough to preserve food. Smoking it on top of salting is an extra mean of preservation. The meat should be fine. If I leave now to check on the fire, what if a wheeled thing passes by in that time? I’ll have wasted three whole days and nights sitting here. As long as I wait, catch a wheeled thing, my time wouldn’t be wasted. But will one even pass by? What if all the prey with wheeled things in the region to the left of here already left? What if those two I heard that day were the last ones? What if the prey have a method to check the road ahead, already discovered me waiting for them?

Maybe I should go back. I’m wasting time. No more wheeled things are going to come. The longer I wait, the more time I’ll waste. That’s right. I’m going to go now. Really. For real. But this nagging sensation, if I wait a little longer, prey will surely come. Why am I so conflicted? Is it because I’m too smart? The others don’t have a problem waiting. They’re standing in place. They haven’t moved. One even fell over when a strong wind blew. That drew the others’ attentions for a moment before they went back to thinking about nothing. Sometimes, it’s not good to be too smart. It’d be nice if I could wait patiently, without having these doubts.

What was that? Is there rumbling? There’s rumbling in the distance, coming from the right. It’s here, finally. The wheeled thing has appeared again. Could it be the same two from last time, coming back to the place they started at? I hope it’s a wheeled thing. If it’s a metal hunk, my rope might not work. I can’t see very far through the trees. But I should be able to see what’s passing through the road with enough time to lift the rope after verifying. The rumbling is growing louder; the others are stirring. They’re groaning, moving. The one that fell is climbing back up.

It’s the wheeled thing. Two of them, traveling side by side. Pull. The rope rose up. There was a short shout, then, it felt like my arms were being torn off. The rope in my hands pulled me through the air to the left. I crashed into a tree. I think some of the bones in my chest broke. It’s a good thing I was wearing my dome. If my head hit, I would’ve died. That was dangerous. Next time, I’ll tie the rope to an other. When I need it to pull, I’ll have it chase after a piece of meat. Doing it myself is stupid. But I can’t be blamed; I didn’t know the impact would send me flying through the rope.

Let’s see what happened, the results of my efforts. There’s two prey on the ground on the road. Their wheeled things continued forward at an angle, stopping after hitting trees. They stopped rumbling. The only sounds are coming from the prey. They seem to be stunned. I’m sure the rope hit their heads, maybe their necks. If they felt anything like I did, they should be worse off than me. I’m not afraid of them even though there’re two. The others are already swarming towards them. One seems to be less dazed than the other. It’s getting up. The prey both have bags on their backs. I don’t know if they had those before. I don’t know if they’re the same prey that passed by three days ago. But I do know they don’t have weapons: no spears, no metal sticks, no bows. At most, they have knives.

I’ve already learned that the hole-digging tool is one of the more effective ways to injure armored prey. It bleeds them through their armor. While the standing prey fights the horde, I’ll go around, bring my tool to the other side, raise it up into the air, slam it down onto the prey. The prey screamed. I guess it wasn’t dazed, just unable to move. The other prey noticed me. But it couldn’t do anything. There were four others reaching for it, two already dead by its feet. It only had one knife. It was letting others bite its arm to steady their heads before stabbing them through the eye. Smart. But it doesn’t matter if there’s too many others.

The prey below me rolled over onto its stomach. It reached forward with its arm, grabbing the ground. It pulled, lifting one leg, not up but to the side. It kicked at the ground. Crawling away, it was trying to escape. I raised the hole-digging tool, slammed it down onto its right arm. It screamed again. Once, twice, three times. Then I aimed for its right leg. With only one working arm, one working leg, the prey can’t do anything to harm me. It can’t do anything to leave, waiting for death. After four hits to the leg, the prey stopped screaming. It might’ve died already. Or it might’ve been sent into a daze.

The other prey, it was good. There was a whole circle of others lying on the ground, dead. Their blood was seeping out of their heads. I grabbed the prey below me, pulled it away. I didn’t want its flesh to come in contact with the others’ blood. There were still half the others left, ten of them. But they were stumbling over the corpses, weakened, easier for the prey to kill. It bent down to stab an other that bit its leg. Its teeth couldn’t bite through its armor. But that didn’t mean the prey wasn’t injured. The spikes that I tied to the others’ arms. They were stabbing at the prey. There were little holes, little tiny tears. With enough others tearing at the armor, an opening would appear for one to bite. But I’m not going to wait around. I’m not going to approach a dangerous prey either. That’s why, I’ll step back, take out my bow, load an arrow, shoot the prey from a safe place. Being in danger to hunt for food, that’s dumb. It’s a good thing I’m smart.


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