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This is easy. Without having to do anything, prey come to me. In one day, I ate eight brains. Delicious. The others ate the meaty parts of the prey; I couldn’t isolate prey to preserve them, all of them eaten by the others. Too bad there isn’t a way to prevent the others from eating prey. If I remove their teeth, I can stop them from biting. But then they’ll be useless. Without biting, they can’t kill prey. If they bite prey, I can’t preserve them. There’s no good method. Even though I don’t have a room to preserve any meat in, I don’t want the others to eat my prey. They turn sluggish once they do. Before I even attacked the garrison, a hundred others are already useless. Twenty died to the eight prey. The other eighty aren’t moving after filling their stomachs.

But they’ll move again soon. I’m not worried. As long as I have this black box, I can locate prey easily. It seems like the prey in the garrison know I’m here. The prey on the other end of the box told the other prey to avoid me. But all I had to do was avoid myself, move to the region where prey were most likely to come from, a route without traps. The traps aren’t an issue; they’re holes in the ground with spikes, laced with scents that smell good. I filled the others’ nostrils with rotting flesh that came from an other that fell into a trap. I’ve already dealt with these before. They’re hidden. But walking by poking my spear at the ground before taking a step reveals them all. But the prey seem to have issues with the traps. Back at my first food-preservation room, the building, I placed traps on the way there. The prey fell for it, letting me hunt them with ease. Now, here, the prey not from the garrison avoid areas with traps set by different prey.

Is that how it is? Can I conquer the garrison with this knowledge? Most likely not. Traps have to be placed in advance. To set traps in the garrison, I have to go inside. To go inside without dying, I have to kill the prey guarding it—with the help of traps. Without doing one, I can’t do the other. That means I can’t do either. And I can’t place traps outside the garrison. The prey have already done that. The areas without traps, they’re roads. It’s not possible to dig holes through them. I can’t hide spikes underneath a disguise. How did the prey create these roads? If they can’t dig through them, how do they create unnaturally shaped structures out of their material? Maybe the roads have always existed, like trees. I already know prey can be incompetent. They’re smart compared to others; that’s certain. But prey aren’t necessarily smarter than me.

“The infected horde is migrating to the north. The last group of people who tried to come to the garrison made too much noise and attracted the horde’s attention. If you’re at the north side, come through the western region back to the south. There are less traps located along that route. Please, be as quiet as possible to avoid alerting the horde.”

The prey’s voice came from the black box. Actually, it’s been constantly coming out of it, saying the same thing repeatedly. But this time, the message is different. It’s important to me. It tells me where my next source of food will come from. Since the prey in the garrison think I’m leading the group away, I’ll bring them back to the south. If they tell the prey coming to the garrison that I’m at the south, I’ll follow whatever directions the garrison gives to them. It’s not difficult. And it works. The sun is rising; a new day is starting. How many brains will I eat today? Even if there isn’t any, I have plenty of marrow to eat before I’m forced to eat my preserved food.

As for the western region, it must be the route I took to get to the north. It makes sense that there’d be less traps there. I brought a group of almost a thousand others through it. But I wonder if I’ll encounter any prey there. The prey in the north, shouldn’t they have ran after hearing the screams from the last group? Prey are smart; they wouldn’t put themselves in danger unlike others. Others are attracted to screams. Prey are repelled. I’ll most likely find prey in the south, the region I was first in. But I’ll have to bring the others further out to the north, make a large loop back. I don’t want to alert the prey in the garrison. It’s difficult for a group of this many others to be quiet. They groan. They break fallen branches. Their footsteps are loud. Sound travels easily. I’ll have to bring them very far to avoid the prey’s notice. But I don’t mind. There’s no need to rush. Acting without thinking will only get me killed.

I walked to the north for two hours, away from the garrison. I didn’t have to bang my metal stick that often, the others following the others in front of them following me. This is far enough. It’s time to head back south in a loop large enough to avoid the prey in the garrison. If they notice, I’ll have spent two hours for nothing. No, it’ll be four hours including the next two hours it’ll take to travel the distance back. It’ll take longer to get back too; I have to make a big loop.

Another three hours passed. It’s easy to tell how much time has passed. I count the seconds. I shouldn’t be too far from the south where I was originally. The black box is still repeating the same message. The prey think I’m still in the north. As I thought, prey aren’t as smart as I am.

Thwip.

Thwip.

Thwip.

I ducked out of reflex. That sound, it shouldn’t be here. That’s the sound the prey’s bows make. Three arrows flew over my head, hitting the others behind me. Where did they come from? There. A group of prey are up ahead, in the trees. Were these prey waiting for me? Impossible. They must’ve heard the garrison’s message through a black box. But that’s not a problem. There’s three prey. There’s close to a thousand others. But others can’t climb trees. I have to hunt these prey myself.

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Virlyce

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