an English translation of the novel

Page 108-109

“Alright, we’re gonna go for a bit…Mamoru you should take a break.”

Mamoru looked miserable at the prospect of Maria and I going off alone.

“Thank you, it’s beautiful. I love it,” Maria said, taking a quick look at the painting.

Mamoru’s face lit up with joy for a second. He was always dead silent in front of me. Maybe he was embarrassed to let other girls see how devoted he was to Maria. Since he was always so quiet, I had gotten into the bad habit of completely forgetting his existence around Maria.

We walked to a small boat anchored on the river. It was one of the town’s communal boats, painted with a blue dolphin on the side, which anyone could use as long as they returned it to one of the designated docks when they were done.

I pushed off with my cantus. As we glided over the water, Maria untied her hair and let it fan out in the breeze.

She put her arms around my neck and whispered, “What’s wrong?”

Her gentle voice nearly brought me to tears.

“Nothing, really. I just wanted to see you.”

She knew it was a lie, but didn’t press further. Maria ran her fingers through my hair, untangling all my worries along with it.

We were heading for a little hill overlooking the Hamasaki sand dunes that was surrounded by bushes and provided perfect secrecy. In Harmony School we would often spend the afternoons there when the weather was nice. Back then, I was the first to suggest taking off our clothes, but Maria was the one who bravely stole a kiss from me as we lay naked together.

After docking, we raced up the dunes. I was worried that someone may have discovered our hiding spot since we hadn’t gone there for a while, but thankfully it looked untouched.

Although I knew for sure that we were completely hidden from view, we still made a check of our surroundings before taking off our clothes. At first I felt a little embarrassed, but our laughter as we slowly undressed each other made me feel like I had returned to my innocent childhood days.


Page 110-111

It wasn’t quite yet summer, so the air was a little chilly. We rubbed the goosebumps on each other’s arms.

“Saki, your breasts have gotten bigger,” Maria suddenly grabbed me from behind.

“…that tickles,” I squirmed away.

She chased after me, putting her hands all over my body. At some point, she managed to take off my bra.

“Ugh, stop,” I couldn’t stand the feeling and crouched on the ground, arms around my knees.

“What are you talking about? Isn’t this what you want? That’s why you came to me, right?”

I laughed, shook, and writhed under her relentless attacks. It was a fine line between happiness and suffering, loving caresses and torture.

“Well. Since I haven’t seen you for a while, I need to inspect your body properly. What’s changed since the last time? Have you fully developed?”

“Enough. You don’t have to…!”

As I was talking, Maria ran her soft fingers up and down my body. Her fingers were so nimble it felt as if there were a thousand hands touching me.

“Hm. Such a beautiful body. Not an extra ounce of fat anywhere, and so soft.”

“U-uh. Are you done? It’s your turn now…”

“Mm, I’ll let you look as much as you like later. But I still need to check your sensitivity.”

She went on like this for thirty minutes. I laughed and begged her to stop until I was completely out of breath.

“Amaaazing. You actually enjoy all this teasing don’t you. Your entire body is responding to the pleasure.”

I couldn’t even come up with words to deny it. I glared accusingly at her through bleary eyes.


Page 112-113

“Heh, how cute,” Maria smiled at me, her face only a hair’s breadth from mine.

She slowly pressed her lips against mine. Aah. How do I describe this softness? Until then, I had kissed a number of boys and girls, but never felt anything like this before. For many people, their mouths tense up if they’re nervous or if they’re consciously trying to control it, but Maria’s lips were like marshmallows, slowly enveloping my own. Just this was enough to melt me, but then she parted my lips and slipped her tongue in my mouth. This raw sensation always gave me goosebumps. She explored my mouth, running her tongue over the backs of my teeth, the insides of my cheeks, and finally, my tongue. Our senses melded together, touch with touch, taste with taste.

I gave myself up to her completely; all I wanted was to remember the sensation of her tongue. Maria’s every move was an expression of her own desires, and soon I would be expected to reciprocate.

The two of us lay entwined, knees bumping against knees, hardened nipples pressed against each other.

She slid her hand below my stomach, lightly stroking the soft hair, then moved down farther. I was embarrassed that she would feel how wet I was and tried to pull away. It was a fruitless attempt, of course.

“Oh? Why are you so excited?” Maria asked innocently, as if she didn’t know that it was entirely her fault.

“U….uun,” I tried to protest, but no words came out.

Without waiting for an answer, she reached a finger into me. Into every girl’s most sensitive area, a little bump no bigger than a pearl. She teased it with gentle circular motions, and my mind went blank. I had melted to the very core of my body.

Time passed, flowing thickly like honey. Maria and I forgot about the rest of the world, lost in our intense lovemaking. For the second half, I took charge, rendering Maria speechless, tears flowing down her face as she writhed with pleasure.


Page 114-115

Our actions were not considered taboo, but one thing that was strictly prohibited was penetration. At the end of every term, the school nurse would check to make sure that all the girls were still virgins. If the hymen was discovered to be broken, the student would be questioned, and if the reason was that it was caused by impure heterosexual intercourse, she would be expelled.

At that time, there wasn’t anyone around us who had been forced to leave school for this reason. There was only a rumor that it had happened to a girl about seven years ago. It was said that she was never seen again after that incident, but like many of Satoru’s stories, there was no source for the legend, so its legitimacy was questionable.

After we were done, Maria and I lay back on the sand, covered in sweat. I suddenly remembered something the false minoshiro had said. In order to rid the society of violence, we had decided to change the structure of our society to one based on love, like the bonobos…

 

Since that summer, many of the things central to our lives started to go slightly awry. But these warnings were ignored as we were busy struggling with all the changes in our bodies caused by puberty.

What exactly was the first sign? I can’t remember, but there seemed to be a general feeling of unease and unexplained irritation. Maria was plagued with frequent headaches, and I often felt nauseous when I was tired. Everyone else also had some sort of physical discomfort though we all thought they were nothing more than growing pains.

Meanwhile, one relationship was the first to meet its demise.

I found out when I happened to come across two people in town.

Shun was walking quickly along the path next to the canal with Satoru chasing after him. What caught my attention was Shun’s attitude. It was considerably more distant than the last time I had seen him with Satoru.

“Hey, give me another chance,” Satoru touched Shun’s shoulder but was brushed away coldly. “Shun, what’s wrong?” his voice carried clearly on the wind. He sounded almost embarrassingly flustered.


Page 116-117

“Nothing. I just want to be alone for a while,” he said flatly.

“I know it’s my fault. Please…” Satoru grasped Shun’s shoulders.

“Your fault? For what?” Shun smiled coldly.

“I…”

Poor Satoru looked totally lost. This was the first time in my life I actually sympathized with him and felt slightly revolted by Shun.

“Satoru, isn’t it time to end this farce of a romance? I’ve had enough of being your doll.”

Satoru looked dumbstruck. “O-oh. I understand. From now on…”

“You don’t understand anything. Having you follow me around the clock is suffocating. I want to be alone. So we should go our separate ways from now on. Goodbye,” Shun said quickly, pushing Satoru aside and coming in this direction.

The expression on his face shocked me. The cold smile was gone and replaced with a look of agony that twisted his features. The next second, he became aware of my presence. All emotions drained from his face as he hurried past, pretending not to see me.

Satoru was still frozen to the spot. I wanted to call out to him, but decided not to.

Why? Questions whirled around in my head. Why did Shun have to act so cruelly? He was always the kindest and most considerate one in our group. And from what I had accidentally seen, he still was. He was obviously suffering.

But when I saw Shun at school the next day, he didn’t look particularly disturbed. On the other hand, Satoru was visibly hurt. Anyone could tell just by looking that he had been dumped. But once in a while, he still snuck hopeful glances at Shun. It was painful to watch.

A few days later, another bad omen appeared.