“Saki, I don’t know if I should tell you this but I think it’s for the best.”
“Remember the summer camp two years ago? We thought we managed to hide the fact that Rijin sealed our cantus. But we didn’t.”
“What?” I didn’t understand what he was trying to say.
“They probably knew everything. I don’t know why, but I think they simply decided to delay punishing us.”
“I don’t know where you’re going with this.”
“They’ve been watching this whole time. I just recently noticed.”
My body felt heavy, like a sinking ship. Cold sweat rolled down my body.
“There’s probably no need to warn you by now, but, Saki, watch out for the cats.”
“Cats? What cats? You mean copycats?”
Shun moved his head ambiguously, neither a nod nor a shake. “Oh yeah…here, take this.” He took off the choker he was wearing and threw it to me.
It was a lot heavier than I expected. The thick leather band was inlaid with metal rings that opened up on hinges. It looked like a neck cuff for prisoners.
“What is this?”
“A charm against cats. I made it.”
“Subaru has one too, doesn’t he?”
Actually it looked nothing like Subaru’s collar. He smiled briefly at my joke, but didn’t laugh.
He started to walk away, but stopped all of a sudden.
Some small white animal was coming toward us. Subaru. Running as fast as his little legs could carry him.
“Silly dog…I told you not to follow me,” he said quietly to himself.
Then he turned away from me, away from Subaru, and walked quickly down the hill.