“I don’t believe that Maria is dead. I don’t want to believe it. I love her. …but she saved us tonight. Remember? When we were about to go to the square, I saw a younger version of her. And in chasing after her, we avoided the queerats’ surprise attack. If we had gone to the square, we might have been shot and killed. …like Hiromi Torigai. I hated her. After all, she wanted to kill us like we were just disposable lab rats. Wanted to kill us with those terrible impure cats. But now I understand. She was just afraid. She felt she had a duty to prevent the horrible events that happened tonight. …but that doesn’t mean I’m about to forgive her for what she did to Maria. And not just that. Even the things she did to our friend, the faceless boy.”
My chest hurt so much I could barely get the words out.
“I loved him. Loved him from the bottom of my heart. It kills me that I can’t remember his name. …I love you too, Satoru. But I still can’t deal with my feelings about him. And as long as I can’t figure that out, I can’t move forward. So…”
Satoru looked at me. “I feel the same way, Saki. It’s embarrassing to admit this as an adult, but I can’t get over my feelings for him because my memories were taken from me.”
“That’s why we can’t die here. …we might not be able to defeat the fiend, but I think we can trick it and get away.”
This was the ray of hope I had so desperately hoped for. Satoru explained his plan.
“…the problem is how to get ashore. It’ll be hard once we enter the wider canal. We have to find a spot before that. A place where the waterway narrows.”
I perked up. “…no, the wider canal works better! The fiend wouldn’t be suspicious if we went ashore there.”
Satoru smiled as he listened to my reasoning.
“Alright. Let’s do that. I’ve never levitated a person before, but I think I can manage it. We’ll do it right when we enter the canal.”