— How long had it been since he had left the safety of the Valhalla boundary? How long had it been since he had gone away in the night, choosing stupidly not to tell anyone where he was going? ... How much trouble was he going to be in with Kukiko? Probably a lot. More than a lot. And he deserved it. He was stupid to think that he would be able to find them again. That somehow he would find his parents and reunite with them after so many months apart. That was what had spurred him to action; the deep longing in his soul to see his biological family again. That was why, in the shadow of night, Aslan had disappeared without a trace. That was why the others likely awoke the next morning to a place where the selectively mute lion cub was quite obviously missing. And it had all been a fool's errand, because they weren't there. He had followed his memory back to the place he had grown up, on the hills, and they were gone. Their scents had faded, implying that perhaps they had left soon after they had left him in Valhalla. Perhaps, then, they had not wanted to be found after all. What an idiot he had been. And so now, after a month of traveling and being eaten away by guilt, the young Valhallan came returning to the border. He doubted anyone would find him here. Maybe he'd be able to slip back in unnoticed. But what he was truly not looking forward to was the earful he would receive from Kukiko. She wasn't the understanding type. Still barely speaking, the lion silently strode to the border and, after a moment's hesitation, stepped within and started walking back in the direction of the main camp.