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The four prey approached the chokepoint. I readied my spear. I didn’t have any traps prepared. Using my own strength, I have to fight prey. But I’m smaller than them. My strength is weaker. But that’s what weapons are for. The spear gives me reach, the ability to kill without getting hurt. It’s a shame the prey have spears too. A direct confrontation is the worst. But it’s my only option. It could be worse. At least the chokepoint exists. The prey are hesitating, not entering the doorway.

“What are you waiting for? Go.”

“Shut up. How about we switch? I’ll stab, you block.”

“There’s no space for you to stab if I go first.”

“And you want me to go?”

“You’re skinnier than me. Look at how fat I am. There’s literally no way for you to stab around me if I walk into that doorway.”

“Stop wasting time.”

“Then you go.”

They’re arguing with each other. Are they scared of me? Like me, they don’t want to die. If one of them kills me, that’ll be perfect for them. They won’t be in any danger if that happens. That’s why they can’t decide who goes first. If I was the one outside hunting the prey inside, I’d let the others go first. But the prey can’t do that since none of them are dumb. Too bad I can’t do anything to them while they’re hesitating. The bow takes too long to ready. Is there something I can throw? Nothing that can kill.

“Just go up there and stab it!”

“Chill. It has a knife. The first person definitely needs to have a shield.”

“Alright, how about this? You take the shield and charge in. Don’t even give it a chance to react, just bulldoze over it.”

“Why me?”

“You said it yourself, you’re the largest. There’s no way it’ll be able to stop you. Just run up there, bash into it with the shield and hit it against the wall. Then, while it’s stunned, we’ll take care of it.”

It seems like the prey have a plan. It’s not a bad one. If one of them rushes in, pushes me away from the door, my chokepoint disappears. They’ll all come inside. Then I’ll be dead for sure.

“Alright. Fine. Give me that.”

The prey swapped its spear for the other prey’s shield. The shield wasn’t that large, not enough to cover its whole body. It should be easy enough to stop. If the prey protects its head, I’ll stab its legs, stop it from running. If it protects its legs, I’ll stab its neck. The prey raised its shield up above its neck, below its eyes. The visor on its dome was clear, letting me see its face. Then, it ran towards me.

Instead of waiting for it to get close, I lunged forward as well, stabbing towards its leg. The prey brought its shield down. But it didn’t react in time. The spear plunged into its thigh. Then the shield slammed down on the spear. I let go. The spear’s shaft lowered. But the head was still in the prey’s leg. It howled, its face contorted, before it stumbled forward. I took that chance to take my knife out of my bag, stepping to the side to avoid the prey crashing into me. Its neck was in plain view, unguarded. With a simple plunge, the knife sank into and through the prey’s neck. Its scream turned into a gurgle, its hand pressing against the injury.

“Shit! Toby!”

The three prey hadn’t followed the first one. They were still outside, a few steps away from the doorway. It didn’t look like they were going to attack me. And the first prey was still alive. While the prey were dazed, I stabbed the first prey a few more times, aiming for its arms, its legs. It would’ve taken too much time to take off its dome. Disabling its movements is quicker. Now, with the first prey in the way, the prey outside can’t attempt another charge. The first prey is too bulky to run past. Maybe they can run on top of it. But prey are squishy. The footing isn’t firm.

“Fuck. What do we do?”

“Why didn’t you follow Toby? It was your plan.”

“None of you moved either!”

The prey were still arguing. While they’re busy, I’ll retrieve my spear from the prey’s leg. And I’ll stab the prey some more since they’re not done. Were prey originally this weak? Not all of them can be like Big Other. If they were, I don’t think any others would’ve existed in the first place. Now that I think about it, the majority of others aren’t special. The only thing separating prey from others is their intelligence. But if you take that away, aren’t prey just weaker others? They panic easily. They flinch when injured. When they try to escape, they show openings to attack. Disregarding the fact others are easy to kill because they’re dumb, prey aren’t much better. They have weapons. But so do I. They can think. So can I. Killing sixty prey, it’s not impossible.

“Shit, where’s the bows? Let’s just shoot it.”

“I’ll get them. You two keep an eye on it.”

One prey turned around, jogged away. The other two prey grouped up, the one with the shield standing slightly in the front. They gave up on fighting me up close. I put my spear down, took out my bow. I expected them to charge at me, readying myself to drop the bow at any moment.

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

But the prey didn’t react. They just crouched down instead, making themselves a smaller target, hiding behind the shield. They seemed to be struggling against each other too. Were they dumb?

“Let me hide behind you!”

“Get your own shield!”

Why would I aim for the prey with the shield in the first place? The prey that left to get the bows, its back is defenseless. It’s a moving target. But its moving in a straight line. It probably wasn’t expecting me to use a bow, thinking the two prey it left behind would stop me. But why would they? Prey only care about themselves. They’re unreliable. Any prey should know that, being prey themselves. I don’t know why this one forgot. My arrow flew through the air, striking the prey in the back. I was aiming for its shoulder. But I missed. I hit its heart instead. Darn. But it didn’t matter. The prey collapsed anyway.

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Virlyce

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