The red lone wolf, with a fully relaxed posture, lies prone in the pile of leaves.
Darkness falls, the ochre leaves flutter, and remarkably, her eye-catching red jacket, like the black knapsack she has on hand, blends into her surroundings.
Kal'tsit said the prey will pass through here tonight; all you need do is stay calm and wait.
She listens to what Kal'tsit says. She's here, waiting.
The sound of boots treading on leaves.
The lone wolf patiently waits, until the prey has moved to the other side of her vision. Then like an apparition, she flits behind them, a cold glint in her hand.
In the next instant, the lone wolf's figure fades back into the night.
The visitor warily watches around, inspects their pocket, feels what they should between their fingers. They relax with a sigh, continue on, but are oblivious that the chip in their pocket has already changed homes.
Even the counterfeit they feel now will, in a few short minutes, slip from their pocket, to disappear into the eddy of the woods' falling leaves.
After all other breaths vanish, the lone wolf's figure emerges from the pile of withered leaves.
The true prey, the chip, securely lies deep in her knapsack.
Mission complete, the lone wolf sets back on foot, but her mood is by no means restful.
Disconnected from her mission already, she's enveloped by the scent of the deserted overgrowth, and remembers Siracusa's wilds.
She walks alone, the past on her mind.
The wilds were drenched in blood. Grandma taught her how to get out of them, then straight away threw her into their midst.
She got out.
She exhausted a whole life's worth of possibilities at once, soaked in blood from head to toe, and finally got out.
Grandma was very pleased, but as she expected, Grandma was no more than that either.
She got out of the wilds, and came headfirst into the maze, life's maze, far vaster than the wilds ever were.
The maze had uncountably many ways through, and Grandma never taught her a single one.
So she didn't know life's meaning, and she didn't want to either. She had no desire in her to learn, or to give it any trial and error. She just wanted the simplest way out of this whole maze–
Without Kal'tsit, she would be gone by now.
Kal'tsit said if you don't know where you can go, then stopping where you are, giving thought to the way forward, isn't necessarily a bad idea; during that time, she would be given shelter.
She listens to what Kal'tsit says.
For now, she stopped at a crossroads called Rhodes Island, and got food, a place to stay, and a salary she doesn't know the use of. She even got a small fluffy ball, stuffed in her knapsack, that she can hold in her hand when there's no Lupo's tail to stroke, letting her feel fur brushing past her fingertips.
But how long is she going to stay here?
Kal'tsit didn't say.
But she's ultimately unable to adapt to this tremendous maze, and the wilds stopped needing her long ago.
So, is she going to leave?
She doesn't know.
The dagger she knows lies deep in her knapsack, letting out a minute hum, just like a whimper.