Though the raven is far away, looping and diving, glorious and exultant in its freedom, the beggar continues to play with the prospect of its cleansing in his mind. Constantly thinking of what could lie underneath, what had he covered with his delusional paintings? He spent many hours pondering on this. But even more than the cleansing of its feathers, he wonders what the true feathers hold underneath, wishing that he could reveal them and see the true glories within. In the beggar's world of orangey sand, the stranger's presence is more constant, imposing on the beggar's sense of security and safety, small though that may be. His mind in turmoil, the beggar returns to his constant speculation, hypothesising. He smiles a little now, for his mind tickles, a sign of the presence of the raven. He smiles, a small chuckling bubble of laughter forces its way up to his mouth, but there it is met by an onslaught of reality from his mind, and promptly quashed without the merest feeling of remorse. It sweeps down, its beating wings no more noticeable than its beating heart. It's there, and he wants to reach out and take hold of it, take some more of his paint off. It is almost within his clutching, grasping fingers' reach when it makes a sudden wrench away. His fingers close on nothing, but in its desperate bid for freedom, its ruffled feathers shed their glowing brilliance. At least a half of the beauty it so endlessly ports on its frail, perfect frame is gone, not tarnished, but stripped bare, to show the glittering, dark green beneath. It spins, almost dashed to the ground, but it is the work of a moment for it to recover. It pauses, just a few meters away from him, peers back and inexplicably whispers some choice words to him. What it whispers makes him cringe in fear and hopelessness. He shuffles back into his corner, willing the orangey sand to enshroud him once more. The raven swoops away, and he knows that it has gone elsewhere, not to its usual grounds of infinite freedom, but it is now with another, illuminating their pitiful existence with its glowing light, only visible to him, for it was he who painted it on. In betrayal, he is battered and bruised, he huddles deep in the protection, pathetic though that may be, that his mind affords him.