A wet wind blew over Hans’ tent. He woke up and looked around to see that Kasha was gone. Gusts of wind were broken only by the pines. An overcast sky greeted the Landser when he stepped out of his tent and folded it up. Kasha must have been in quite a rush to get away from the ‘Grimeskins,’ whatever those were. If Kasha was right, then this region was no place to call home.
In silence he marched, or just trudged, his way out of Balaton woods and back to the rabbit huts which squeezed together on the glade. No one was outside today, and the door was shut.
“Oh, who is it?”
The old woman’s familiar voice barked out.
“Ah, it’s just me. Hans.”
The elderly lapine opened the door and scowled at him.
“What is it this time?”
“Um. May I come in? It’s quite cold today.”
“Yes, yes. So what of the wolves in Balaton?”
Hans entered and sat down on the wooden floor. The boy again emerged from the room, staring at Hans, but this time the young lapine came out when he saw the human.
“I spoke to one wolf. They are only fleeing through Balaton because their homelands were occupied by some ‘Green Skins.’”
“Hmm. So why did you come back?”
“To warn you. The wolf told me about the terrible things Greenskins do. They’re coming this way and will be here soon, too.”
“Well, let them come.”
“We’ve had invaders before. We’ll have them again. They’ll come, they’ll go, we’ll stay. Though you should probably leave. There’s no space for you if these ‘Greenskins’ come.”
He sat there looked up at the old lady. She was right, of course, and that was exactly what he intended to do anyway. The lapines were nice enough to help him, so the least he could do was warn them.
“Here.” The woman got up, opened a cupbord and gave Hans a scrolled parchment.
“We won’t be needing this. And I can tell you’re one of the travelers from the other world, too. Most humans here aren’t like you.”
Hans unfurled the scroll and stared transfixed at it.
“What’s the matter with it?” The lapine asked, but Hans barely registered the woman’s speech.