Orion Fletcher gave a heavy sigh, leaning on his makeshift walking stick, as he stared at the precipitous slope ahead of him. He'd been able to get this far with his truck and enough luck to find an old gravel road, but this was, it seemed, where Lady Fortuna turned her face away. Why he hadn't been issued at least a decent communication device or, as he'd originally hoped, a plane to survey the area was entirely beyond him. Though, of course, the government was offering pretty good pay-- five hundred just to try, one grand on top of that if he found conclusive proof, and ten grand if he delivered the animal alive to the research institutions. Very well worth his time. But for the last ten days, he'd been slowly and laboriously checking huge squares of wilderness, and he was beginning to think that this "Wood Fairy", as the press had nicknamed it, was nothing more than a rumor, just another mountain Sasquatch. No matter how rare or intelligent of an animal it was, it was still an animal; no way it would escape his notice if it existed. The traps he'd set up had been designed to catch humans, after all. If the Fairy was out there, he'd find it. Taking a deep breath, he began to move down the slope, determined. He didn't have many supplies left with him; soon, he'd be forced to admit defeat. If he didn't find the Fairy today, he'd have to head back tonight to ensure his own safety. This area was ten different kinds of wild and dangerous. But that wasn't the task at hand. Shaking his head, he began to angle to the west of the lake in the center of the valley. He'd set up a makeshift Burmese tiger pit, sans spikes, that should have been far too deep for any animal to escape. It was just west of the lake, near a convenient river of fresh meltwater, an excellent area for any animal to come for a drink. He'd judged that trap would have the highest probability of catching the Fairy, so that would come first.