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17. How to Confidently Improvise

I had absolutely no idea where I was going.

Once, long ago, I had the map of the University of Toronto memorized. I had been absolutely obsessed with the place, my heart set on attending the school after I graduated. I had spent hours upon hours studying maps of the building and surrounding grounds, intent on committing it to memory so I wouldn’t need to rely on anybody or anything to show me around.

That had been seven years ago. A lot can change in seven years.

I stopped moving, taking a moment to think. Where the hell am I?

When the pack took over the campus, they obviously made some changes to the place. For one, I don’t remember there ever being a prison in the middle of the school. Then again, there hadn’t been werewolves running around.

Plus, I didn’t even know if the layout is even the same. For all I knew, they could have knocked down the separate buildings to craft one massive home. My mental map might be completely useless.

Stop being so pessimistic.

My inner voice had returned.

Welcome back to the land of the living, I thought.

What a great mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Reese.

I know, I threw the voice a mental sarcastic smile. Hey, I could use some of those great Hunter instincts right about now...

That is to say, my mental supernatural being-detector. When I was in full-on Hunter mode, I was always on my guard, always ready for a fight, and never caught by surprise. Regular Reese? She’s been quite the mess lately and is rather unhelpful at the moment.

Though, the Hunter part of me wasn’t jumping to assist me either. My inner voice stayed silent, and I muttered under my breath as I continued trekking through the hall - which wasn’t an easy task. Every wall, every door, every light looked exactly the same. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I was walking around in circles.

Hmmm... maybe if I turn left here... and then right... wait, this kind of resembles the layout of the Department of Psychology... if I turn right here, then turn right again, then another left, that should lead to outside...

Turning left around the final corner, I found myself at a dead-end.

Or not. A wall’s good too.

Sighing in annoyance, I leaned against the wall, gathering my thoughts. Where was I even going? I didn’t even know the layout of this place anymore. How was I supposed to find the Alpha? Maybe I should have intimidated the watchdog into escorting me there, instead of locking him in my cell.

But then you’d be denied the pleasure of making a grand entrance.

Good point.

I turned around to inspect the wall. Maybe there was a hidden passage somewhere, one that would lead me to safety. While it wouldn’t exactly be useful now, having a secret tunnel on standby would be a good way to escape when I inevitably grew tired of this place. I examined every piece of wall, running my hands along its hard form, searching for something, anything...


Along the edge, where the two walls adjoined, was a crack. Upon closer look, I discovered that it ran the entire length of the wall - and along the floor and ceiling too, and the opposite wall. Almost as if the wall hadn’t always been there...

So the werewolves did renovate this place! My mental map had been correct - but was outdated. There used to be a door here, but it clearly wasn’t anymore.

So where did they move the door to?

I had to think logically about this. If I were an evil werewolf intent on imprisoning helpless humans - and murderous Hunters - where would I put the door?

The answer occurred immediately.

I wouldn’t put the door somewhere else. I’d block off the entire section from the outside world, so prisoners wouldn’t be able to escape easily. There would be no doors leading outside in this area, and no windows, either - hell, there wasn’t even a decently-sized vent for me to squeeze through.

No, there would be only one way out of here. And it looks like I’d have to wander around until I found it.

Update: I found it.

After wandering around blindly for another fifteen minutes, I can across a long corridor, at the end of which was a set of double doors. There was also a werewolf standing guard, completely motionless.

She couldn’t see me. Yet. Currently, I was hiding around the corner, planning out my next move.

Okay, so escaping unnoticed was out of the question. Unless she was both blind and deaf, the werewolf would definitely notice me stroll out of the prison like I belonged here - which I did not, and it was obvious, even to a werewolf. I had no scent, no uniform, and had an uncanny resemblance to the Hunter - oh wait, that’s because she’s me.

Or... I could do what I do best and improvise my next move. I do work better while improvising, of course. I mean, I planned out my entire escape out of Toronto, and look how that turned out? I was here, stuck in the werewolf’s packhouse, trying to find out how to get closer to the Alpha - which was the complete opposite of what I usually try to do.

Now, my prison break? That was entirely improvised. And it worked flawlessly... somewhat.

Screw it. I’m improvising. It’s more fun anyway.

I should write a four-step instruction manual on how to improvise a plan.

Step one: Act like you know what you’re doing.

I rolled my shoulders back, lifted my chin, and strode around the corner, heading right for the werewolf.

She looked up sharply, seeing the sudden movement. Her eyes narrowed.

I waggled my fingers.

Surprised darkened her gaze. Her mouth very nearly fell open.

“The Hunter?” she gasped. I leaned against the wall, a few feet away from her, and grinned slyly.

Step two: Conversation. Be sure to pack the words with as much sarcasm as you can muster.

“That would be I,” I agreed. “How can I help you?”

“How... how did you get out?”

I gestured around vaguely. “Oh... I have my ways.”

She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again. Changing her mind, she opened it to speak... then closed it again. This series of actions repeated thrice more.

“You know, when you do that, you kind of resemble a goldfish gasping for air,” I winked. “Just so you know.”

Her eyes widened further, if that was even possible. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they popped out of her head. “But... you escaped. You can’t escape from these cells. It’s just not possible.”

Step three: Start manipulation procedures. This will ensure you get what you want.

I allowed a smirk to creep across my face. “Well, it seems that it is possible, isn’t it? I escaped quite easily, too. Your security system is sorely lacking,” I leaned forward conspiratorially. “Does your Alpha know about this? It would be really inconvenient for him if there was a massive prison break. Though I imagine it wouldn’t look good for you, either.”

“Are you... blackmailing me?”

I blinked innocently. “Blackmail? Of course not! I’m hardly the blackmailing type. I’m just saying that the Alpha should probably know about the bad security in here. His most dangerous prisoner running around loose? How horrendous!” I snapped my fingers. “You know what? Let’s go tell him together!”

I moved to go around her. In a flash, she regained her composure, mirroring my steps.

“No way, Hunter. Do you think I’m stupid? I’m not just going to let you waltz out of here!”

“Actually, I didn’t think you were stupid, but now I think I need to re-evaluate my opinion,” I sighed. “I’m a single human, in a packhouse full of werewolves. It’s been confirmed that I can’t take on more than three at a time, and I imagine there are far more than three running around here. I’m unarmed - which reminds me, do you know where my stakes and dagger are?” at her blank look, I shook my head. “Never mind, I’ll find them later. My point is, am I really as dangerous as everybody thinks?”

She frowned. “No... I suppose not...”

“Plus, as I said, I’m the Alpha’s most dangerous prisoner. Shouldn’t you take me to him to be punished for going back on my word and attempting to escape?”

She straightened. “Yes, you’re right,” she grabbed my arm. “Come, Hunter.”

Step four: Never tell anybody that your brilliantly-executed plan was completely improvised.

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