The cat returned, not moving back along the trails and paths he used to make his journey to the very edge of his territory. He didn’t think about that part of his decision to return to where the humans were putting together what he knew would be his large single meal for the day, unless he was lucky, or spent time either going into the ever colder waters of the river for raw fish or in chasing down smaller land prey. His hunting and survival skills were automatic. He never followed a predictable path, even it meant that he would have to take more time to travel through the forest.

The cat stopped suddenly and went to the bed of the forest, laying nearly instantly flat on his belly, with his muzzle resting upon the areas of his legs just behind his big paws. He’d seen nothing. He’d heard nothing. But he knew the scent that had wafted across in the light wind from the area where the river ran nearby, just a little beyond the range of his hearing. The scent was extremely faint, so faint that the cat wondered if he might have picked up the tiny, but pungent aroma, from the land above the cliff that lined the canyon on the far side of the river. But he would take no chances.

Almost unbidden, he moved, crawling forward, using the same silent talents he’d applied when following the warriors before he’d let them know he was behind them.