"Taliss is getting bored. Can't you tell? Soon she'll kill one of us just to have a change around here." Alisen's eyes were wide, and she was speaking as loudly as she dared, but Rudolph wasn't reacting.
Taliss, in the opposite corner of the cave, flicked her ears but did not give any indication she had heard.
"Rudolph! Listen to me!" said Alisen. "Snap out of it! Listen to my plan!"
"Alisen, there's no point. Anywhere we go, Taliss will reach us in no time. Besides, we can't get out of the cave. I want to get out as much as you do, but I just don't see it happening." Rudolph stared at the nearly-frantic girl, and she stared back, openmouthed.
"Rudolph, I don't understand... You want to get out, don't you. Well, if you're going to do it, now is the time. I have a plan to get us out of here."
Rudolph raised his voice enough for Taliss to hear and sat up. "Alisen, now is not the time. Now I'm going to go to bed."
Alisen, nearly in tears, turned away and curled up in a far corner of the cave. Taliss smiled and closed her eyes. Rudolph buried his head in his pillow, horrified at what he'd done to his new friend. But he'd had to.
The next morning, Alisen woke to an empty cave. Bootprints led to a fissure in the wall of the cave, now sealed. Near the opening, a piece of paper lay on the ground. It read:
Gone to fetch help. Wouldn't let you come because Taliss would kill you if she found you. The hunt for me should be enough to satisfy her boredom. You're safe staying here. I'll come back for you.