an English translation of the novel

Page 103-104

Even so, her clumsiness was astounding. When it looked like she finally got the cards to stand up, it would collapse and she would have to start all over again.

“It’s so bad it’s almost funny,” Satoru shook his head and turned back to his own cards. “As long as she’s here we’ll never win.”

“So what? Reiko’s a good person, she just hasn’t had a breakthrough yet.” Even as I said that, I knew it was a lie. Reiko Amano couldn’t use her cantus well. No matter what task we were given, her results were always different from the dictated goals.

Earlier, we were playing a game similar to telephone in order to hone our image replication skills. Each group sits in a line and the first person is given an oil painting to look at. They then reproduce the picture as a sand drawing using their cantus and show it to the next person in line. That person only has a few seconds to look at the drawing before they have to reproduce it as accurately as possible. The team whose final drawing is the most faithful to the original wins.

For us, team one, I thought our image construction and transmission techniques were exceptional. Shun especially stood out from the rest of us. His pictures were so good they looked like photographs. The next best was Maria. Unfortunately, I was not as skilled as she is in producing accurate and artistic images.

If Satoru were first, he might not be able to do it, but he was great at copying sand drawings. I was the exact opposite; I was able to create sand drawings based on the originals. Mamoru was quite artistic and could produce beautiful pictures, but they weren’t always accurate.

Out of the six of us, Reiko was always the one messing up. If I were to be perfectly honest, her sand drawings looked like marks in the sand left by the torturous struggles of a dying crab. No matter how closely I looked at her pictures, I had no idea what she was drawing. No matter what position she was placed in line, her drawings never looked like anything other than random scratches.

In the house of cards competition too, her slowness was a deciding factor in our loss. The team with the highest number of cumulative layers wins, but before that, each member must build at least seven stories.


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