an English translation of the novel

Page 432-433

No. It can’t be. What are you saying? That’s so cruel…

I tried to protest, but no words came out.

“Saki. Saki!”

A voice was calling me.

I suddenly awoke.

“Saki, were you having a nightmare?”

I opened my eyes and saw Satoru’s worried face peering into mine.

“…yeah, kind of.”

I was drenched in sweat. I tried to smile, but it probably just looked like an unnatural grimace.

“We’re here. We’ll have to use our skis from here on out.” He looked concerned. “Do you want to wait here? I think I’ll be alright by myself.”

I shook my head firmly. “I’ll come too.”

“…okay. Got it.”

He seemed to realize it was pointless to try to talk me out of it.

Our tracks were still clearly visible around the area where the snow huts had been. This was the place we had set out from yesterday. All we had accomplished in the past day was to circle back right where we had started.

No, it was even worse than that. The day before, we had known we were in for a difficult journey, but we also felt certain that we would be able to find Maria. Now, there was nothing to go on.

Still, we strapped on our skis and pushed off, hoping for a stroke of good luck.


The second search yielded no results.

Maria and Mamoru seemed to have managed to unearth the sled and take it with them. But even after scouring the area within a ten-meter radius, we couldn’t find a single sled track. Maria probably anticipated that the town would search the immediate area and levitated it out. Once they were a good distance away, she could set it down and erase its tracks in the snow as they traveled.

Page 434-435

As I watched the sun sink behind the mountains to the west, quiet despair and resignation welled up inside me.

“Saki.” Satoru put his arms around me from behind. “Don’t cry. …we did all we could.”

That was when I realized I was crying. Somehow, I hadn’t even noticed the warmth of my tears as they rolled down my cheeks.

“We still have time tomorrow before the deadline. Once it’s light out, let’s go northwest. Maybe we’ll find some trace of their tracks there.”

I knew he was just trying to console me, but unless we were the three princes of Serendip1, we’d never find them.

Still, his words were comforting.

We prepared to spend the night out in the snow-covered fields. Although we had brought tents with us in the boat, we decided to take a leaf out of Squonk’s book and build a snow hut.

We piled the snow around us into a hard, compact dome then hollowed out the inside. Since we had cantus, I thought we’d do a better job at it than Squonk had, but it was surprisingly difficult. Packing snow was actually easier with a shovel than with cantus. But the real problem was that neither of us were really focused on building the hut.

Once we had shelter, it was time to make dinner. I had no appetite, but we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so I had to force myself to eat no matter what.

Satoru carved a nice stone pot, filled it with snow, and put it over the fire. He added miso and rice to make gruel.

We ate in silence.

Satoru tried to draw me into a conversation, but I just couldn’t find the energy to answer. He continued talking anyway.

“…so I want to capture a false minoshiro and see exactly how much of what the book says is accurate.”

I wasn’t trying to ignore him on purpose, but only parts of his sentences made their way into my mind.

Page 436-437

“…isn’t it obvious that something as powerful as cantus can’t be powered by the tiny amount of energy released when glucose is metabolized? So the author proposed two hypotheses about where the energy comes from. The first was that all cantus used in the solar system drew its energy from the sun. I don’t understand how exactly the sun’s energy is harnessed, but by this theory, you wouldn’t be able to use cantus if you were outside the solar system. Or at the very least, the method of activating your power would be completely different. Isn’t that interesting? Though of course, since it’s impossible to prove or disprove this hypothesis, he could just be making it all up.”

“…so using psychokinesis, cantus in other words, steals energy from the sun and decreases its entropy, making it age faster. The sun’s lifetime is supposed to be around five hundred thousand years, but if we keep using our cantus, its death might come much sooner.”

“…the second theory is even harder to understand. In quantum mechanics, the observer effect states that simply observing a phenomenon alters it. This occurs on everything from the microscopic to macroscopic scale. It’s like the false minoshiro said, the existence of cantus was first proven in an experiment by that one scientist.”

“…in short, time, space, physical substances, were all reduced to information. Cantus has the unbelievable power to rewrite the very information that creates the universe. So if you take this idea all the way, it’s possible to completely change the universe. That’s a huge, circular notion. First the building blocks of the universe are created, starting from quarks and building up to the elements, organic matter, and life itself. Then species evolve and develop a complex brain with which they use to transform the universe…”

“…the most fascinating thing is that psychological mechanisms behind cantus are almost exactly the same as those used in shamanism in undeveloped societies. A social anthropologist named Frazer put magic in two categories, contagious magic and sympathetic magic. The latter one is especially…”

“Hey, Satoru,” I interrupted. “Will we forget about Maria and Mamoru too?”

His expression hardened. “Not even if I’m dead.”

“But what if the Board of Education alters our…”

Page 438-439

“I won’t let them do it again,” he said. “They’re dead wrong if they think they can control my thoughts and memories forever. If they try to force something on us again, we’ll just leave town.”


“You’re coming with me, aren’t you?” He looked a little worried.

I smiled. “It’s the other way around.”


will leave the town. And you’ll follow me.”

Satoru looked dumbstruck for a few moments, then finally smiled in defeat.

“Fine. That works too.”

“Hey, if we do leave, let’s look for Maria and Mamoru and live with them.”

“Yeah, of course. Four are better than two.”

“Exactly! And when we find them…” I stopped. I couldn’t speak, as if something were stuck in my throat. My body began to shake, and I burst into tears.

When I finally found my voice, all I could do was wail.

Satoru held me as I cried.


That night we slept together in the snow hut.

It was my first time being penetrated, and more painful than I had imagined. Maria and I had experimented with each other quite a bit, but intercourse between male and female was totally different, and it hurt.

“Are you okay? Does it hurt?” Satoru asked, stopping in mid-motion.

“Mhmm. Wait a little. I’ll get used to it soon,” I answered through gritted teeth.

Page 440-442

Why was life so unfair to women? I complained mentally. In addition to the inconvenience of forty weeks of pregnancy, we also have to go through pain that a man could never endure in order to give birth. So why does sex have to hurt too?

“Don’t push yourself.”

“It’s fine. …doesn’t it hurt for you?”

“Not at all.”

I suddenly realized that although Satoru knew full well I was in pain, he was too aroused to stop. And far from empathizing with me, he was probably getting off on it. What an asshole.

But soon the pain disappeared. I felt myself growing wet. Instead of feeling like I was being forced into something unpleasant, pleasure began to take hold.

I moaned and Satoru asked, “Does it feel good?”

“You idiot.”

It was an unneeded question. Instead of answering, I raked his back hungrily.

So I was no longer a virgin. And now I was forced to think about how I would pass our next physical exam. Once again, it was the woman who had to deal with it.

Satoru’s movements grew more intense. Even as I felt my pleasure mounting, I had a moment of panic. If I got pregnant, things would get really complicated.

But before I could stop him, Satoru froze.

I thought he had finally realized the problem, but that wasn’t it.

He was looking down at me with an expression of such love and tenderness, I thought he was about to cry.

I had a sudden realization. His look wasn’t directed at me. I wasn’t sure how, but he seemed to see in me the shadow of the boy he had never stopped loving.

At the same time, I felt from the bottom of my heart a longing for the same boy.

Satoru started moving again, faster this time.

I was quickly reaching my climax. When I orgasmed, the face I saw was no longer Satoru’s, but another boy’s.

Both of us were using each other to make love to someone who was no longer in this world. It might be extremely abnormal, and you might even say we were cheating on each other, but we both knew and wanted it.

After I orgasmed, Satoru pulled out and came on the wall of the hut.

For a while, we simply lay panting.

Even in the pleasant afterglow of sex, the words the faceless boy had said in my dream went around and around in my mind.

Why did he tell me what he did?

He told me not to aid Maria’s escape.

And that she had to die.