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. It did not
breathe again. Its neck was broken.
Feeling weak with hunger and exertion, he pulled him-
self atop the beast once more, sat there long enough to let
his muscles stop trembling, then raised himself above it,
feet braced against rock faces on either side. He began
prying the cat loose from the grip of the stone. When fi-
nally the huge body was free, he dragged it back to
where there was a little space, rolled it onto its back, got
out the wrapped shard of rock and set about dressing and
skinning the body.
He had almost completed the task when a voice behind
him said, "Take the tenderloin. Best part of a cat."
He turned, crouching. The person who stood there, a
few yards away, was nearly his own height, but slighter
of build. He was beardless, though the great mane of his
hair had been caught up in leather wraps at one side and
was looped around his neck like a fur collar. He leaned
casually on a staff with a fork at its end, and gazed sar-
donically at the skinned beast on the ground. "I don't be-
lieve I ever saw a body go to so much trouble for his
supper," he said. "You are a mess. Blood all over you, and
I expect some of it's yours."
The newcomer was looking him over unabashedly,
and Chane glared back. "A kender," he growled