an English translation of the novel

Page 118-119

At that time, all our practical courses at Sage Academy were based on each student’s aptitude. Although the general technique for using cantus was the same, there were hundreds of levels of difficulty, from simple force exchange to something as advanced as cold fusion. Most of the class was somewhere in the middle, though there were some students who were able to tackle much harder techniques.

Shun’s progress was far ahead of the group. He was working on hatching a chick from its egg in under two hours, an incredibly difficult task since it normally takes an egg twenty-one days to hatch. In other words, he had to use his cantus to speed up the development of something he couldn’t even see by a factor of 250.

To be given permission to use cantus directly on a living being requires not only technical skill, but also recognition of outstanding character. In other words, there were incredibly high expectations for Shun in the future.

Unexpectedly, Satoru was also part of the advanced group. His talent was in reflecting and manipulating light, and his task to create a mirror out of thin air was one of the most difficult skills behind Shun’s. I’ve mentioned this before, but creating a lens out of a vacuum to magnify a distant image was something on the level of Shisei Kaburagi. Satoru’s technique of using water vapor in the air to create a wall to reflect light was considerably easier than that though.

On the other hand, the skill I was working on was reasonably difficult, but much more boring. I had to fuse together a broken glass vase. Maria was working on full-body levitation, making her the center of everyone’s attention. Mamoru was…actually I can’t really remember what he was doing.

“Saki, check it out.”

I looked up and saw an amorphous silver mirror floating a meter in front of me, reflecting my expression of intense concentration.

“Isn’t it kind of distorted?” I said shortly.

Satoru, who had been expecting me to praise him, gave me a sulky look. “No way, it’s perfectly flat.”

“My face isn’t that sunken in.”

“What? Isn’t it your heart that’s distorted here?”

With that snide remark, Satoru retreated. The mirror melted into thin air. After that, every time I wanted to talk to Satoru, I noticed him sneaking closer to Shun, watching him from behind.

Page 120-121

I thought Satoru was still blindly in love with Shun, but it seemed that he at least understood that there was no chance of them repairing their relationship. He shook his head sadly and walked toward Rei, a short boy from team five, who smiled flirtatiously at him. Rei had liked Satoru for a while, but never made a move because of Shun. Satoru created another mirror and Rei, the class narcissist, began admiring his own reflection and making cute faces like a girl.

During all this, Shun concentrated on his project, ignoring his chattering classmates. In front of him was a simple egg stand with a single chicken egg on it. Everyone knew about the difficulty of his assignment and gave him a wide berth.

Someone came in from the back entrance of the classroom. When I glanced over casually (let me say first that I’m not actually that easily distracted), I was shocked. It was Shisei Kaburagi. His eyes were covered with goggle-like sunglasses, but his thin nose and chin plus his smooth skin gave the impression of a very young man.

The Sun Prince, who was supervising our practice, approached him confusedly. They talked too quietly for me to hear, but it seemed that Shisei Kaburagi was here to observe the students.

The two of them started walking around the classroom. Suddenly, the entire class became extremely nervous. If everyone had been concentrating this much from the beginning, they probably would have finished their assignments already.

Shisei Kaburagi came closer to us. I thought maybe he would show interest in what I was working on and started trying to fuse my vase in earnest. I fit the broken pieces together and imagined the cracks disappearing like ice refreezing.

I peeked at him to observe his reaction, and saw him walking right past me.

That was disappointing. I  knew this assignment was too boring to catch anyone’s interest.

Page 122-123

Shisei Kaburagi stopped in front of Maria and gazed up at her for a good amount of time. There wasn’t anything particularly interesting about her technique, so maybe he was just admiring her beauty and youthful body. Although he looked young, he was around our parent’s age. No matter how powerful he is, I couldn’t help feeling a little disgusted by the way he looked at her.

He also spent a long time evaluating Satoru’s mirror and giving him advice. Satoru looked completely blown away by the attention and turned bright red.

Finally, Shisei Kaburagi slowly approached Shun, who was still staring fixedly at the chicken egg.

Everyone was waiting for an historic encounter. Shun was the one expected to inherit Shisei Kaburagi’s mantle in the future. This could be the first time he receives advice from him.

But Shisei Kaburagi’s steps suddenly halted.

What was wrong? He took one, two steps backwards, then turned on his heel and quickly left the classroom as everyone watched in a daze.

Shun looked up at his retreating figure. The expression on his face scared me.

I still don’t know exactly what I saw. Something like a cold smile, but much more dreadful, without hope of salvation. Almost like the insane smile of someone who had been cast into a pit of endless despair.

The Sun Prince, who had chased frantically after Shisei Kaburagi, returned.

“Umm…due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ll end today’s practice here. Please put away your materials and return to your classrooms.”

He was smiling as usual, but his voice was hoarse and there was a sheen of sweat on his nose.

“Saki,” Satoru caught up with me.

“Hey, what in the world happened?”

He didn’t answer, but jerked his head toward Shun, who was still sitting in front of the egg.

“Satoru, let’s go,” Rei hugged Satoru’s arm and tried to lead him away.

“Go on ahead. I’ll catch up,” he said gently, giving Rei a pat on the butt and pushing him toward the exit.

Page 124-126

“Hurry and clean up, you guys,” the Sun Prince clapped his hands at us.

I put the broken vase back in its box.

“Shun, aren’t you coming?” Maria asked.

Mamoru stood closely behind her. Everyone else had left, leaving only the Sun Prince and the five members of team one.

“Yeah,” Shun stood. He looked pale, and there was still a trace of that twisted smile on his face.

“That,” Maria pointed at the egg stand.

As he reached out to pick it up, Shun suddenly lost his footing. His hands jerked and the egg fell from its stand.

Everyone expected him to stop the egg before it hit the ground. After so much practice, all of us were able to mentally compress and chant our mantra in a split second. Of course Shun would be able to make it in time.

But the egg fell to the floor, and broke.

What happened? Was he sick? We all stared at him. I was the only one who paid any attention to the broken egg.

No, there might have been another person who noticed.

“Now now, hurry along, you guys. I’ll clean up the rest,” the Sun Prince forced his way between us with alarming speed, pushing Shun and Maria by the shoulders. The next second, we found ourselves herded out of the practice room.

“Shun, are you okay?” Satoru asked worriedly, apparently forgetting that he had been dumped.

“Yeah,” he replied, not meeting Satoru’s gaze. “It’s nothing…I’m just a bit tired.”

“I think we should head home early today,” Maria said uncertainly, brows furrowed.

I was more worried about Shun than anyone else, but I didn’t say anything. No, I couldn’t say anything.

What I had just seen come out of the egg was burned into my retinas.

The thing, covered in a layer of mucus, was not a chick, or anything even remotely similar to a chick. It was a monster.