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.”
“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.
“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…”