an English translation of the novel

Page 412-413

“You have my heartfelt thanks! I am overwhelmed with gratitude, for you saved the lives of my soldiers!” Yakomaru bowed deeply. “But as you can see, the Goat Moths are a colony of godless heathens. I will advise them to respond to our summons once more, but if they continue to ignore it, more forceful methods may be necessary.”

Without waiting for us to respond, Yakomaru positioned the megaphone soldier at the front of the troop again. I still couldn’t understand the words, but its tone of voice was even more overbearing and malicious than before. I didn’t think it was a simple message of ceasefire and parley. No doubt it was some sort of ultimatum.

The Goat Moths seemed to be struggling to respond to this unexpected situation. But just as I expected, the Robber Fly’s message had provoked some of the soldiers. A single arrow came flying toward the megaphone soldier.

This time, Satoru and I did not synchronize our movements as well. We both tried to stop the arrow. Space seemed to warp and in the shimmering light, a strange rainbow appeared. It was the interference pattern of two cantus coming in contact. The result of such contact could be unimaginably devastating. We both stopped immediately. The arrow vanished along with the light.

It was an exaggerated defense against a single arrow, but to the Goat Moths, it probably appeared to be a deliberate show of force.

“Gods! The Goat Moths have fired an arrow knowing you are among us. It is blasphemy! Please bring down divine punishment upon them.”

“…but it was just a single arrow. Maybe it was an accident.” I was reluctant to do as Yakomaru said.

“Just one arrow is enough! Just drawing a bow on a god is a crime serious enough to bring annihilation to the entire colony. …furthermore, we have reached a stalemate. If the Goat Moths will not listen to us, we have no way of finding your friends.”

“All right, I understand.” Satoru came to a decision first.


Page 414-415

“Don’t be too  harsh.” I said to Satoru.

After all, Squonk had rescued Mamoru. To deal his colony a killing blow would be poor repayment for the deed.

“I know.” Satoru turned to face the stronghold and muttered his cantus.

The pine tree growing at the mouth of the cave gave a dry snap and fell away.

The soldier hiding behind it stood petrified.

Then, with a deep boom, the stone cracked as if punched by a giant fist. Shards of stone went flying. Another punch. …and another. The stone around arrowslits crumbled and giant hole opened.

“That’s enough! Stop it!” I shouted.

As I looked around, high pitched shouting came from above us. Although it sounded the same as the megaphone soldier’s screams, these were somehow more piteous.

The megaphone soldier responded harshly. The a couple of queerats appeared at the mouth of the cave. Over half of them wore scale armor, and I assumed they were high ranking officers. The one in the center wore a cape. I later learned that he was the regent of the Goat Moth colony, Quichy. The other queerats lowered a rope to the ground.

Glancing to the side, I noticed Yakomaru standing silently with a strange expression on his face. It seemed to be anger mixed with uncontainable joy.

 

There’s probably no point writing down every detail of Yakomaru and Quichy’s meeting. Basically, Yakomaru treated him just as a victor lords over the loser. I couldn’t understand their conversation, but Yakomaru appeared to be making a number of one-sided demands. No matter how unreasonable the demands were, Quichy was in no position to refuse.

Growing impatient, Satoru interrupted their talk and, finally, was able to ask about Maria and Mamoru’s whereabouts. At Quichy’s command, Squonk was brought before us.

Squonk cringed as he came, but seemed to perk up a little when he saw us.


Page 416-417

“Squonk, do you remember us?”

“Kikikiki… yes, gods.”

“Where did Maria and Mamoru go?” Satoru got right to the point.

“I do’t know, gods.”

“You don’t know? Weren’t you with them?”

“Yes. But they went far away.”

I closed my eyes, unable to resist the despair flooding my heart.

“Far away? Where?”

“I do’t know.”

“Don’t you at least know the direction?”

“I do’t know. K-gods. But I have a ledder.”

From inside his tattered shirt, Squonk took out an envelope and handed it to me. I opened the envelope quickly. The letter inside was written in Maria’s handwriting.

 

To Saki, my love.

 

By the time you read this letter, Mamoru and I are probably somewhere very far away.

I never would have thought I’d have to write such a farewell letter to my dearest friend and lover. I’m really, really sorry.

Please don’t look for us.

Writing this makes me strangely sad. I remember we were so angry when Mamoru left us a letter with these very same words. But I’m afraid I’m not eloquent enough to say it any other way.

I’m really happy that you are so worried about us. And I understand how you feel. If our places had been reversed, I would be worried as well. However, there is no other way.


Page 418-419

We can’t live in Kamisu 66 any longer. The town would not allow it. If it were just me, that might have been alright, but Mamoru has already been branded as one unfit to live. There’s no turning back once you’re branded. Don’t you think we’re treated more like objects to be disposed of if found defective than like human beings? Once the kiln is opened and the pottery examined, all that are found to be warped or cracked are fated to be smashed. If all that awaited us was destruction, then we decided we would rather run away in hopes of finding a different future. 

 

To be honest, I wanted to go with you. That’s the absolute truth. But you’re different from us. I’ve told you before, that you’re an incredibly strong person. I don’t mean physically, or in terms of will or spirit. Rather, you’re easily moved to tears and quickly discouraged. I loved that part about you too. But no matter what difficulties you face, even if every fiber of your being is consumed by grief, you always recover. You don’t break easily.

I’m certain you can continue to live and become a valuable member of the community.

The same doesn’t go for Mamoru. And if I let him out of my sight, he will not live long. Please understand.

 

Once I left town, one thing became clear to me.

The towns are twisted.

Don’t you think so? Can towns that kill their children to maintain peace and order be considered a normal human society? According to the false minoshiro, our history is one filled with bloodshed. However, I don’t think our current society is any better than the dark ages of the past. Looking back on what happened in the towns, I am beginning to see what it is that warps it.

It is the adults’ deep fear of all children. 

Perhaps this has always been this case. It’s obvious that seeing the next generation tear down everything you have struggled to build is difficult to accept, especially if it’s your own children. 


Page 420-421

The way the adults of Kamisu 66 look upon their children is different, however. It’s as if they are watching a row of eggs hatching, waiting anxiously to see if it is an angel, or, in a one in a million chance, a demon. 

Based on intuition and premonition, hundreds upon thousands of eggs are smashed and discarded, and I refuse to be one of them.

When I decided that I had to leave the home I was born and raised in, I was overcome by sadness and loneliness. But when I thought about how everyone else would feel, it gave me pause. If I were to be eliminated by the town, my parents would be devastated at first, but forget about me in time. Just as your parents did with your sister.  

I believe that our relationship is different. If I were to be disposed of, I’m sure you wouldn’t leave me to die. If you were in danger, Satoru or I would do anything to save you.

We had another friend. One whose name we aren’t even allowed to remember. He, X, would have come to our aid too, right?

That’s why I have to help Mamoru now.

But being separated from you and Satoru is so incredibly painful. 

 

Luckily, we have our cantus, a powerful tool that will probably help us survive even if we are cast out into the wilderness. That is the one thing for which I am deeply grateful to the town and to Sage Academy. 

From now on, Mamoru and I will create a new life together. 

To that end, I have a request. If the town asks about us, I want you to tell them that we have died. We are planning to go far away to escape the eye of the townspeople, but if they could forget about us, it would help me sleep much better at night. 

I hope from the bottom of my heart that there will come a day when we will meet again.

 

With love, Maria