an English translation of the novel

Page 151-152

“The two of you should go,” Okano said quietly. “I’ll hide here with her. Please come back for us later.”

Her voice was calm, as if she had already accepted death.

“No way. I could never!”

“There’s no other choice. Plus, fleeing by boat could be more dangerous. After all, he wouldn’t expect anyone to stay here. …now hurry!”

“Saki! Let’s go.”

Satoru grabbed my arm again and started dragging me away.

“I’m sorry…” I said to Okano, tears flowing down my face.

I turned my back on her and ran as hard as I could toward the boat.

We passed a charred, blackened corpse. It was still smoking. Then Fujita came into view, his limbs twisted in all the wrong directions. I tried to shove my emotions aside, but that didn’t stop me from shaking uncontrollably.

Satoru cast off the moment we got into the boat. He slowly turned the boat around and pushed off. We laid down below the gunwhale to keep out of sight.

Against the dark sky, all I could see were ghostly images of the hospital. I kept thinking that the fiend would appear at any moment. My entire body was limp with fear.

Satoru deftly maneuvered the boat through the narrow waterway away from the hospital. How was he controlling the boat when he couldn’t see where he was going? I looked over at him and saw that he was using the starlight reflecting off of a small mirror to guide him.

Eventually, the boat rounded a large bend.

“…we’re safe now. He can’t see us from the hospital anymore,” Satoru whispered.

“Then hurry, go as fast as you can!” I said.

Satoru shook his head. “We should stay quiet for a little longer. Even if the fiend isn’t here, there still might be queerats around. We’re too close to the banks; we won’t be able to escape if they fire at us. There’s a wider canal ahead. We’ll go full speed from there.”


Page 153-154

We peeked timidly over the side of the boat. There was only the quiet whisper of the boat moving through the water.

“I wonder if Okano is okay…”

Satoru didn’t answer. He probably knew there was nothing he could say to give me any real peace of mind.

“Was that really a fiend?”

Satoru cocked his head, thinking.

“I don’t know what else it could be.”

“But…where did it come from? There aren’t any abnormal people in the district. The Board of Eduction has been watching everyone with eagle eyes.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know anything right now. There’s only one thing that’s clear.”

“What?”

“The reason Kiroumaru’s army was annihilated. No matter how skilled his warriors were, they were no match for a fiend.”

“That makes sense…”

“And one more thing. Why did Yakomaru start the war? I don’t know for sure what connection the fiend has with the queerats, but if it’s what I think it is…”

He went quiet.

“What’s wrong?”

“Quiet… Don’t make any sudden movements. Just keep talking normally.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t change the pitch of your voice.”

“Alright. Like this? Tell me. What’s going on?” I said, trying to keep my voice steady.

“There’s a boat following us about a hundred meters behind us.”

“Huh? …no way.”

I felt the blood drain from my body.

“It’s the boat we used as a decoy. The fiend’s on it, I’m positive.”

I looked around slowly and saw, by the starlight reflecting off the water, the silhouette of the other boat.

“What do we do…? Why isn’t it attacking? And…”


Page 155-156

“Don’t raise your voice. The second it realizes we’ve noticed him, we’re done for. …as for why it hasn’t attacked, it’s probably letting us lead it to where all the townspeople are.”

This was the worst situation possible. If we kept going, we’d invite the murderer right into our midst. But I couldn’t think of a way to get it off our tail either. I racked my brain desperately, but fear had numbed my mind and I couldn’t come up with anything.

“If we go as fast as we can…can we escape into the canal?”

“No, we won’t make it,” Satoru said shortly. “The canal is a straight line, there’s nowhere to hide. Even if we went as fast as we could, it would capture us with cantus in a second.”

We couldn’t stop its boat, or hinder it in any way either. The fiend would attack the second it saw any sort of opposition from us. As long as we were in its line of sight, it held all the power.

“Then…wait. Are you saying we have no chance?”

“Hold on. I’m thinking. Just keep talking.”

All I could rely on now was Satoru’s steady calmness. I kept talking about whatever came to mind.

“I never thought we’d be in a situation like this. I still can’t believe everything that’s happened tonight. It’s the Summer Festival too. A lot of people died. Some right in front of my eyes. No one saved them. …and not just that. We abandoned Okano and the others…no, we left them to die. Why did it come to that? What in the world went wrong?”

Tears spilled down my cheeks.

“I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to die not knowing anything. It’d be like a bug that got stepped on out of the blue. At the very least, I want to know why I have to die. I can’t just die and leave things the way they are.”

Satoru was still thinking with single-minded concentration.


Page 157-158

“I don’t believe that Maria is dead. I don’t want to believe it. I love her. …but she saved us tonight. Remember? When we were about to go to the square, I saw a younger version of her. And in chasing after her, we avoided the queerats’ surprise attack. If we had gone to the square, we might have been shot and killed. …like Hiromi Torigai. I hated her. After all, she wanted to kill us like we were just disposable lab rats. Wanted to kill us with those terrible impure cats. But now I understand. She was just afraid. She felt she had a duty to prevent the horrible events that happened tonight. …but that doesn’t mean I’m about to forgive her for what she did to Maria. And not just that. Even the things she did to our friend, the faceless boy.”

My chest hurt so much I could barely get the words out.

“I loved him. Loved him from the bottom of my heart. It kills me that I can’t remember his name. …I love you too, Satoru. But I still can’t deal with my feelings about him. And as long as I can’t figure that out, I can’t move forward. So…”

Satoru looked at me. “I feel the same way, Saki. It’s embarrassing to admit this as an adult, but I can’t get over my feelings for him because my memories were taken from me.”

“Satoru…”

“That’s why we can’t die here. …we might not be able to defeat the fiend, but I think we can trick it and get away.”

“How?”

This was the ray of hope I had so desperately hoped for. Satoru explained his plan.

“…the problem is how to get ashore. It’ll be hard once we enter the wider canal. We have to find a spot before that. A place where the waterway narrows.”

I perked up. “…no, the wider canal works better! The fiend wouldn’t be suspicious if we went ashore there.”

Satoru smiled as he listened to my reasoning.

“Alright. Let’s do that. I’ve never levitated a person before, but I think I can manage it. We’ll do it right when we enter the canal.”


Page 159-160

“Got it.”

I went over the plan in my head. Although much of it depended on Satoru executing two techniques at the same time, it was up to me to make sure everything went well. If I failed, it would all be for nothing. We only had one chance.

The boat continued at the same slow pace, wearing down my patience bit by bit. If we sped up, it would attract suspicion, so all I could do was wait.

Finally, the way ahead of us was open. The narrow waterway would soon join the canal.

I realized that my vision was becoming clearer. Not because my eyes were adjusting to the dark, but because dawn was approaching.

Our trick would work much better in the dark, but apparently we didn’t have that luxury anymore.

Satoru kept checking over his shoulder, measuring the distance between our boats. The fiend was about a hundred meters back, still following intently.

Our boat entered the intersection of the waterway and the canal and went left. The canal was dozens of meters wide, almost the same as the Tone River. The fiend was still in the waterway and had an unobstructed view of our boat.

Timing the moment carefully, Satoru waited for the moment the fiend’s boat entered the canal and conjured a mirror behind our boat. It was probably larger than any mirror that had ever been created, spanning the entire width of the canal.

Just like that, we had doubled the distance between us to two hundred meters. The fiend was still traveling toward us, but it was now following its own reflection instead of our boat.

“Ready? I’m sending you over.”

“Okay…!”

My body lifted off the boat and flew over the side. I skimmed over the water with the speed of a falcon.

We couldn’t float freely through the air like Maria, but we could manage to move each other a fair distance.

In a few moments, I was far away from the boat. A pillow of air slowed me down and I fell onto the bank of the canal.