Eventually the tributes stop coming and hunger pricks him forth from the laybrinth’s comforting coils. Pushing through a thick bramble, Asterion blinks weak eyes in confusion at the ruins above. What has become of the city he barely remembers? The palace court that towered above his infant head? The people that recoiled in fear and holy dread when he passed? Roots have riven the stones of the road, each from the other, flowering shrubs have colonized the roofs, attics resound with the untroubled burbling of pigeons.
He is alone with the grass and wild beasts and the sound of the waves. He is used to being alone, used to wandering in places that refuse familiarity; this is no worse than that, but still he wonders.
Days and weeks of privation have worn his body hollow, and when he stumbles upon a group of giant rabbits, two feet long and a foot high, who stare utterly unconcerned into his eyes, his fingers twitch for a second with old habits. But the sun is high and warm and no one is screaming, no one is fleeing, there is nothing he has to do in the moment.
Asterion of Minos crouches down, curves his back, his neck to brush the earth with his lips, and takes his first bite of grass. Unwatered wine was never so sweet.