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The "promise" made by Zaroff is that Rainsford will be allowed to leave the island if he manages to evade Zaroff in the hunt for three days; however, the reader is left to make a judgment call as to whether he is to be trusted or not. Please do keep in mind that this is the same man who hunts people for fun; in the end, we are left, once again, to make a decision. What does Rainsford do with Zaroff in the end, once he has him at his mercy in Zaroff's bedroom? Do you release a master hunter back into the jungle and give him the opportunity to hunt you down again, or do you become a killer yourself and sleep at peace?
If Rainsford wins, Zaroff promises him to let him go free from the island to continue his pursuits as a hunter. He makes Rainsford promise not to tell anyone about their hunt- should he survive. In the end, Rainsford wins and he sends Zaroff out into his own deathly island- not originally part of the deal, but a just ending.
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