Nin laid in a recovery ward, tended by the white rabbit and the black rabbit. His battle with the warlord had left him scarred and broken.

All that he was had been stripped from him. The bright tail he’d once stolen from a fox was gone. His hawk mark was lost, now one of many scars across his back. His paws, which had once dug with the speed of a mole, were stiff and inflexible.

Nin felt a profound sense of loss. All the things that had defined him were gone. What had he been reduced to now? A plain, normal, everyday regular rabbit? No, worse than that—an invalid.

Doubt swirled in his mind. How old was he? How long had he been searching? Nin could hardly recall his life before his pilgrimage, before he’d became a seeker.

Before that day in the fog.

He felt as if he’d run a thousand miles on a treadmill—tired and worn out, but he hadn’t moved an inch.

And now, these two—the black rabbit and this white rabbit—they appeared before him and they had both obtained what he himself could not. This was profoundly unfair. If it wasn’t for him—had he not spurred them on? Where would they be today, if not for him? They owed it all to him!

He tried to hate them, but found he no longer had the strength. No, it was himself he hated.

Nin crawled to the shade of a nearby tree and cried, “Leave me. Abandon me. I give up. Nothing works. I will not go on. I will remain here. I will not search. I will not hop. If there is truth out there, I refuse to look for it. I’m done. It must come to me instead.”

He laid a paw on the ground beneath the tree with heart-shaped leaves and proclaimed to all of heaven and earth: “I will not move from this spot until I have discovered a method for the cessation of suffering!”

A great resolve came over Nin. “I will find it, or I will die.”