an English translation of the novel

Page 367-368

But I was too sleepy to care anymore.

We were shown to a plain dirt room. It was a little chilly inside, but the ground was spread with dry straw that was unexpectedly comfortable. We lay down inside and fell asleep in a second.

My eyes snapped open.

I couldn’t tell what time it was since everything was pitch black, but I couldn’t have been asleep for more than an hour.

My body still felt heavy with fatigue. But I had a feeling that I should get up. Some strange warning in the back of my mind.

“Satoru…Satoru!”

I shook him, but he showed no signs of waking up. I guess that’s understandable. When I touched Satoru’s face, I could still feel the dried blood caked on his skin. There hadn’t been time to clean it properly before we fell asleep.

“Satoru! Wake up!”

Although I felt sorry for him, there wasn’t time for me to wake him up gently. I covered his mouth and nose with my hands.

Satoru started squirming and flailing, grabbing at my hands to stop me from suffocating him.

“What do you want…let me sleep.”

“No. Get up now. Understand? There’s danger.”

Satoru opened his eyes reluctantly, but still seemed half asleep. He made no move to get up.

“What danger…?”

“Just a feeling. Something bad is coming.”

“What’s bad?”

I didn’t answer. Satoru looked confused. After a moment of silence, he turned around with a “goodnight” and went back to sleep.

“Satoru. I know you’re tired, but if you don’t get up now, you might never get up again.”


Page 369-370

Satoru rubbed his head, “What are you talking about? Did you have a nightmare?”

“It’s not a nightmare. Or a premonition. Your mind processes the things that happen during the day while you sleep. And now, mine is saying that something dangerous is coming.”

“Fine, then let’s hear what kind of danger it is. It’s all organized and clear, right?”

I crossed my arms and thought. I felt like I was on the brink of understanding. Something was off. We were all overlooking some unexpected hazard.

“…we believed Squealer’s story too easily, I think.”

“You mean he’s lying about something?” Satoru finally looked like he was starting to wake up.

“Not really. Of course, he might not have been completely honest, but I think most of what he said was true. Squealer himself probably doesn’t realize it either. That’s what I think. But that’s probably the most dangerous thing.”

As I spoke, the warning in my head began to take on a solid form.

“An attack. I’m sure of it. Tonight. Probably right before dawn, when our forces are weakest, the Ground Spiders are going to attack.”

“It can’t be. Remember what Squealer said? Queerat wars follow the rules of Go.”

“That’s their assumption. Think about it. The Ground Spiders are wild and foreign. Why would they follow Ioki’s military strategies?”

“But if they raid the tunnels to capture us, they would be following the same tactics as ours.”

“Sure, that sort of maneuver is probably universal among queerats. But the Ground spiders might come up with another strategy.”

“I guess that’s not impossible…” Satoru sighed, as if he wanted to say that I was just being overly anxious and that there was nothing concrete to base my theory on.

“That’s it!” I shouted, “I finally figured out that strange feeling I couldn’t put my finger on.”


Page 371-372

“Before you say anything, remember that time when Rijin killed the Ground Spiders. They weren’t fighting underground, right? They met us aboveground,” Satoru said quickly. He was finally fully awake now.

“That’s because he buried them alive earlier. They must have realized that it was useless to hide underground.”

“But that was their first time dealing with cantus, right? How did they come up with a new strategy so quickly?”

“They knew they had a disadvantage, so they tried to drive us off with sheer numbers.”

“That’s what I think too. But once the fighting actually started, shouldn’t they have tried to hide underground? But instead they fired a shot right at us. Because that’s the way they fight.”

“But capturing an underground colony by attacking from above…”

“There has to be another way. One that’s faster than establishing a base and sealing off your opponent.” Satoru fell silent. “…if what you say is right, now that they know about cantus, they must have realized that they have no other option but to launch a surprise attack.”

Even in the darkness, I could sense him shake his head despondently.

“That’s not all. Even if the Robber Fly colony has powerful humans on their side, the Ground Spiders would have learned from the fight with Rijin that it’s still possible to kill humans with a surprise attack. .”

An ominous chill was creeping up my back, becoming stronger by the second.

There might not be much time left.