an English translation of the novel

Page 324-325

I tried to bide my time by running my hands over Satoru’s inner legs, squeezing his butt, but he grabbed my hand and put it on his genitals.

I undid the button and unzipped his jeans. He was so hard that it looked like his boxers were about to rip.

Once again I caressed his most sensitive part. This time, I could see its size and shape much more clearly through the thin material of his boxers. I thought it was interesting that it looked almost alive, reacting to my touch like a little pet.

Suddenly, the false minoshiro’s words echoed in my ears.

“When stress among members of a group arise, bonobos will relieve it through intimate sexual contact. Mature males and females engage in sexual intercourse, and immature individuals or individuals of the same sex will rub their genitals together in an imitation of intercourse. This prevents conflicts and maintains order within the group…”

No. We’re not monkeys.

I shook my head, trying to drive away unneeded thoughts.

But. There were strict rules in the Code of Ethics regarding sexual acts between boys and girls, almost to the point of being forbidden. But something just one step away from it, that is, contact between two people of the same sex, was allowed, even encouraged. Why is that?

“The first step was to have frequent physical contact. Hand holding, hugging, and cheek-kissing. The second step was to encourage contact between opposite and same sexes from childhood to puberty. The idea was to make it a habit to use sexual play, and the ensuing orgasms, to dispel tensions between people. And the third step was to encourage free sex among mature humans.”

If what the false minoshiro said was true, then all of this was just something created to protect our society…

“What’s wrong?” Satoru asked, because I had suddenly stopped moving.

“Nothing, sorry.”

“This time, let me do it,” he said, groping me.


Satoru probably thought he was being gentle, but he was actually tickling me. I squirmed and threw my head back. Then I felt a pair of eyes drilling into me. The sentry. It stared unblinkingly at us.

Page 326-327

No one, adult or children, wants to be watched when they’re having an intimate moment with their partner. So when an outsider happens upon a situation like this, the proper thing to do would be to look away and leave as soon as possible.

But then, when the third party isn’t human, there isn’t such an expectation. Once when Maria and I were spending time together on the Hamasaki sand dunes, Shun’s bulldog Subaru was there as well, though I don’t remember how that came to happen.

In this case though, the queerat’s gaze was different from Subaru’s, and felt extremely unpleasant. It obviously didn’t understand the meaning of our actions; all its primitive brain could imagine were obscene  acts as it looked lewdly at us with, saliva dripping from its mouth.

Since I had stopped moving again, Satoru opened his eyes.

“What now? Stop teasing.”

“I’m not. …look,” I flicked my eyes in the direction of the sentry.

Satoru tsked. “Just ignore it.”

“I can’t.”

His fun spoiled, Satoru glared menacingly at the queerat.

“Damn it. That bastard. I’ll deal with it.”

“Without your cantus?”

Sensing mockery in my words, Satoru’s face became sullen. “Even without cantus, humans still have knowledge.”

I decided to keep my scathing retort to myself. “…but there’s nothing you can do. You can’t get out of the cage, and you can’t talk to it since it doesn’t speak our language.”

Satoru thought for a while, then his eyes lit up. I had a bad feeling about this, but kept silent for now. Satoru started rummaging through his backpack.

“What are you looking for?”

“This,” he said proudly, pulling out a white bird’s egg, no, a haythatcher’s fake egg.

“What are you going to do with it?”

When the fake egg is struck, it explodes and what’s called a “devil’s hand” springs out, emitting a foul smell and covering two to three meters of the surrounding area in feces. Be that as it may, the force of the blast isn’t enough to kill. At the most it’ll just enrage your enemy.

Page 328-329

“Well, just watch.”

Satoru shuffled toward the entrance of the cage on his knees, holding out the fake egg to the queerat. This was the first time we had tried to communicate with it, and it appeared extremely wary, waving its spear at us with unnecessary force.

“Hey, don’t be so angry. You’ve been on your feet for a while, so you must be hungry, right? This bittern’s egg is really delicious,” Satoru coaxed, rolling the egg toward the entrance.

The sentry turned its head, following the egg’s path. It hesitated for a moment, then stuck out a paw and caught it.

“Are you stupid? Even queerats know about the fake eggs.”

“Really? I don’t think so,” Satoru sounded nervous and expectant, but also surprisingly confident. “These guys just came over from the mainland, right? Haythatchers seem to be endemic to Kanto, so they might not recognize it.”

“Still, it’s just going to get covered in poop and be really pissed off. Because, unless it swallows it whole like a snake…”

Satoru gave a small shout of surprise. I turned to see the queerat open its mouth and drop the egg in.

What happened next was cruel and hard to watch.

I was just about to scold Satoru that he shouldn’t have done such a horrible thing, but saw that he appeared even more shocked than I was, so I decided not to say anything.

The sentry was no longer moving. It was probably dead. It didn’t even have a chance to cry out, so our crime would remain undiscovered for now.

“What now?” I asked softly.

{Because of my indecisiveness, it looks like I’m always asking other people for answers.} This time, I just wanted Satoru to say something, anything.

Page 330-331

“…have to run away,” Satoru whispered. “Once they realize we killed this guy, there’s no way they’re gonna let us live.”

“But how do we get out?” I grabbed a rose stem, but jerked my hand back as a thorn pierced my finger.

We would be scratched bloody if we tried to force our way out.

“That’s it!” Satoru pointed at the spear lying near the dead sentry.

His arm just barely fit in the gaps between the stems on the cage door. Satoru emptied out his backpack and used one of the shoulder straps to try to lasso the spear. He wasn’t very good at it, but eventually managed to get the strap looped around the handle and dragged the spear a little closer.

“Let’s switch,” I said, seeing the cuts on his arm, but Satoru shook his head, not wanting to give up.

“Got it!”

Though he finally managed to get the spear, his arm was now covered in blood.

Mimicking the queerats, he used the spear as a lever to try to separate the bars of the cage, but just one wasn’t enough. He needed two spears to get the opening wide enough.

“I guess we’ll have to cut through it.”

As he hacked away at the stems, I realized that the spearhead was made of stone, whereas Captain Pinecone’s spearhead was made of metal.

“Hurry up, or we’ll be found out!” I said anxiously.

“Just a bit more,” Satoru said, sawing as quickly as he could without a word of complaint.

He was usually a show-off, sarcastic, and snapped at the smallest criticism, so I was struck by how different he was right now.

Page 332-333

Thankfully, the obsidian, or whatever it was that the spearhead was made of, was surprisingly sharp. But it still took Satoru two or three minutes to cut through the stems. We couldn’t afford to lose any more time. Satoru twisted the trailing stems around the handle of the spear and pushed them up.

“Hurry! Get out from here.”

There was just enough space between the stems, so I got down on all fours and crawled through.

Handing his backpack to me, Satoru got ready. It was hard to hold back the stems and get out of the cage at the same time, but he managed. He was a bit bigger than me though, so the thorns caught him in a few places. At this point, he was covered in wounds. It would probably affect him in the long run.

Crouched low to the ground, we peeked through the trees and saw a large group of queerats tracking Shun’s group, but upon straightening up, realized there were only two or three of them. The rest were going in and out of the nest.

“Okay, let’s go.”

We walked quickly and quietly away from the nest, away from where our canoes were hidden on the beach of Kasumaga Inlet, but we would not be able to escape otherwise. After a couple of meters, we broke into a run.

“Which way are we going?”

“Just keep going straight.”

How long has it been since we were captured? The moon was already setting toward the mountains in the distance.

We ran desperately through the dark mountain paths. If we were caught again, I had no doubt that only death would await us.

“Shouldn’t you get rid of that?” I asked, panting.

Satoru was still holding on to the spear as if it were the most precious thing in the world.

“It might come in handy again,” he answered shortly.

I couldn’t help but think about all the bad situations in which a spear would be handy. Especially for two kids who had just lost their cantus and only had this lousy spear for a weapon.

The next forty or fifty minutes passed without event. Even though we were exhausted, we somehow managed to keep going. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like anyone was chasing us, but that just made us more nervous.