But Feldspar was able to eat breakfast. Gypsum only wished he could. But there was nothing he could do about it, and he admitted that it was his own fault. He donned his armor and tested the air with his nose and ears but detected no nearby enemies. He emerged cautiously from the shallow cave and looked around. There was no sign of the residents of Old City.
He looked around to verify his route, then headed away from his sleeping place, and Old City, at a casual jog. He skirted the perimeter of the city and headed for the river. It would lengthen his return trip, but he needed water. And there was a chance he might find something to kill and eat.
Meanwhile, Feldspar, Topaz, and the rest of the concerned individuals resumed their vigil at the top of the hill, scanning the area for any sign of Gypsum. Topaz became more and more agitated as the hours passed and still her potential future mate made no appearance. Beryl tried to comfort her sister while also remaining close to Feldspar. The other two adult males remained passive.
After Gypsum reached the river he shed his armor and immersed himself in the cool water. He had maintained alertness and managed to snag a medium-sized fish. He ate it raw, reluctantly, but had no means to start a fire.
He looked back to the place he exited Old City. There was no real worry about pursuit. He moved his vision across the extent of the city. To his left the expanse of Old City obliterated New City and the hill that was, from this angle, to the right.
He had a sudden idea. It would be necessary to skirt the Old City anyway, and veer off to the right. Why not go a little farther and come up on his brother and the rest from behind? If they happen to see him before he got out of sight, he would not admit his intention. But if they did not see him, he could have a good laugh when he startled them from behind.
His decision made, he arranged his armor to be carried on his back and shoulders and set out to spring a surprise on, especially, Topaz.
He failed to consider what her reaction might be.
Live and learn.