The chapter opens in the moments after Florian has shot the Russian soldier who tried to attack Emilia. Florian goes through the man’s pockets, taking cigarettes, food, and gun. The Russian has watches taken as trophies, which Florian leaves. Florian puts his pilfered goods in his pack. Also in his pack is a mysterious small box. He wonders, “How could something so small hold such power?” He continues, “Was I really willing to die for it?”
Florian clearly feels some compassion for Emilia, even though he ignores her after he saves her. His disregard for the Soviet’s watches reveals that he is not interested in the spoils of war, he is only interested in survival. Florian believes the box, whose contents are revealed later in the novel, carries a curse, which has ensured he will have bad luck on his journey.
Florian prepares to leave, but pauses when Emilia sits up from where she had collapsed on the ground. Florian points his gun at her, but hesitates when she speaks to him in Polish.
Nazi Germany has declared all ethnically Polish people to be “undesirable,” so anyone aligned with the Nazis would be more likely to shoot Emilia after discovering her Polish identity. Florian’s allegiances remain a mystery to the reader, but his hesitation reveals a certain amount of sympathy for oppressed groups.