Now I was starting to worry. Could pushing his body and mind past their limits leave lasting damage on his brain? On top of that, there could also be side effects from the haphazard hypnosis I used on Satoru to help him regain his cantus.
Satoru let out a quiet groan. I couldn’t see him clearly, but he seemed to be grimacing with pain.
I leaned in and kissed him softly. His face relaxed into a slight smile. There was a glimmer as his eyes caught the light. Although this wasn’t a prince’s kiss, it seemed to have the same effect.
“Saki…how long have I been here?” he asked hoarsely.
“I don’t know. It’s already dark outside.”
Satoru sat up slowly. “Is there something to eat?”
I passed the bowl to him. “How did you know?”
He put his finger to my lips. So the prince didn’t wake from the princess’s kiss, but from the lingering aroma of food. Satoru must have been hungry, since he finished the bowl even faster than I did. He looked like he wanted to lick the bowl when he was done, but noticed me looking at him.
“Hey, do you think we’re still in danger?” I asked the question that had been bothering me the most.
“Yeah,” he said without hesitation.
“But what danger? The Ground Spiders have been wiped out…”
Satoru put his finger to my lips again. Though for a different reason than before. “Isn’t there a guard outside?”
To be honest, I had not thought of that. We had been sleeping like logs inside one of the rooms of the Giant Hornet camp. It was a simple shelter with a thatched bamboo roof. The only entrance was covered with a hanging straw mat.
I crawled slowly over to the entrance and peeked outside. There they were. Two armored queerats standing guard. Silently, I crawled back.
Hearing this, Satoru pulled me closer and whispered in my ear. “If they’re low level soldiers, they probably won’t understand much Japanese. But let’s talk like this just to be safe.”
His breath tickled my ear. I put my lips to his ear.
“But why do we have to be so cautious? The Giant Hornet colony is…”
Before I had fallen asleep, I had thought of the same question.
“You’re right. They’re the most loyal to humans,” he whispered. “But that doesn’t mean they’re loyal to us. Kiroumaru and them are only unswervingly obedient to the adults, right?”
“So in the end, their priority is what the Ethics Committee says,” he stopped abruptly.
“You don’t think the Ethics Committee wants to do something to us?”
His hand tightened on my shoulder. “We met the false minoshiro and learned things we’re not supposed to know about.”
“Sh. You’re being loud,” Satoru was silent for a moment, his attention on the door. “Let’s assume what the false minoshiro said is true. It’s disgusting to imagine, but if humans really could attack each other with cantus, our society would be destroyed in an instant. So wouldn’t they use any method possible to prevent that, no matter how frightening?”
“But are they really going to do something to us?”
“Don’t people always say that they remove potential problem children before anything actually happens? In other words, they’re disposed of.”
“Disposed…it can’t be. Don’t say something so ridiculous. That can’t happen!”
“Think about it. In Harmony School and Sage Academy, students disappear every year, don’t they? It’s weird no matter how you think about it. If they’re not disposed of, where do they go?”