“Hmph, Shun’s unconsciously looking down on us. Don’t you think so, Saki?”
To tell the truth, I agreed with Satoru, but I didn’t say that.
“Don’t lump me in with you. You’re the only one being looked down on.”
“What? No I’m not,” Satoru grumbled, then suddenly fell silent.
“What’s wrong?” Maria asked.
Satoru pointed to an area of the canal six or seven meters ahead of us. “Look at that.”
There were two humanoid shapes shrouded in dirt-colored robes.
“…queerats?” Maria whispered, twisting a lock of red hair between her fingers.
“Yeah. What are they doing?”
Shun was fascinated, as was I. This was the first time I had ever been this close to a queerat.
“We shouldn’t stare,” Mamoru warned. His curly hair always made it look like his head was exploding. “In Friendship, if we saw queerats,we were told not to stare or get close. Didn’t they ever tell you in Harmony School?”
Of course we had been, but it’s human nature to want to do things you’ve been told are forbidden. We advanced slowly, keeping an eye on their movements.
I remembered what my father had told me when I was younger. As we got closer, we saw that the queerats were in the process of cleaning the trash that collected in the bends in the canal where the water flowed slower. They were diligently scooping up leaves and twigs with nets on bamboo poles.
Something like this could be done in an instant with cantus, but no doubt humans find it too boring to be worth their time.
“They’re working pretty hard.”