“What was it?” Satoru leaned forward in anticipation.
“I only caught a glimpse of it before it melted away into the shadows. It was an unbelievably huge, white cat. There were bloodstains on the floor. It might have been hurt by the tornado.”
We were silent.
“Yesterday, I wanted to wait for Mamoru to finish his supplementary classes, but the Sun Prince told me to go home because it would take too long.” Anger flared in Maria’s eyes. “They were planning to isolate and kill him right from the start…”
“Wait. Why do they want to get rid of Mamoru? His cantus is average, and there’s nothing wrong with his personality. He’s quiet and cooperative…”
“How would I know? He saw a copycat. Twice! How can you still doubt him?”
As Satoru and Maria argued, a prickling unease began to grow in my mind.
Based on the stories Tomiko told me, there wasn’t anything strange about wanting to eliminate Mamoru. When he was being stalked by the impure cats, he had used his cantus in a dangerous way toward an unseen attacker. It showed that he might be reckless enough to attack other people if he were frightened. This involuntary confession posed another issue. His cantus couldn’t be properly controlled on a conscious level, which meant that he was at risk for becoming a karma demon in the future…
It scared me that I had unconsciously been thinking about it from the Board of Education’s point of view.
“I remembered something when I saw the copycat,” Mamoru said quietly. “I’d seen it before.”
“What are you talking about?” Satoru asked dumbly.