I felt all my hairs stand on end. Although listening to what the false minoshiro said had been frightening, at the time I only half-believed it, so I didn’t think too much. But now I felt more terrified than I had been all last night.
“But…but, no one knows that we met the false minoshiro.”
Rijin was the only witness, but he had been killed by the blowdog explosion.
“There’s proof though,” Satoru said chillingly. “We had our cantus sealed, right? They wouldn’t do that unless we had broken a serious rule.”
“…so they’re not going to help us?”
If the town decided to get rid of us, it meant that we had no place to return to. Tears welled up in my eyes.
“No, there’s still hope. It should be possible to at least go back to the village. Our parents will help us somehow. Especially your mom, isn’t she the head librarian?”
“Y-yes, but,” my mind was spinning. “Then what exactly are you worried about?”
Seeing that I still didn’t understand, Satoru let out a sigh. “Kiroumaru will probably include us in his report about the Ground Spiders. If they find out that you can’t use your cantus, they’ll know that something happened. And if they decide to deal with us right here, they’ll command Kiroumaru to do it.
I felt that he was over-thinking it. “Getting rid of us…even though they have no proof for anything?”
“It’ll be too late once we get back,” his voice shook. “If we tell even one person about what we learned, the information will spread in an instant.”
“And if what the false minoshiro said about death feedback is true, then no one in the village can kill us. If they do, they’ll die too. That means that they usually go outside the Holy Barrier to get rid of problem children. …I think they use queerats.”
I was speechless. Would they really do something that terrifying?
Cold sweat ran down my back. Did the initiation at the temple take place outside the Holy Barrier for the same reason?
“Kiroumaru probably sends his reports by carrier pigeon since that’s the fastest. If the pigeon is quick enough, it can get to the village before sundown. Then the committee will discuss and send back a response by the next morning at the earliest.”
“Then we have to get out of here now!”
“Yeah. It’s obvious they’ll send someone after us, but if we can make it to where the canoes are hidden, we may have a chance.”
Soon after, the worst possible situation became reality.
Although Satoru had recovered a bit after sleeping, he was still far from being able to use his cantus like he usually could. Just concentrating on a target made his head hurt, so it was as if his powers were still sealed.
So how should we deal with the two guards outside? This situation was completely different from when we were trapped by the Ground Spiders.
We left the hut as nonchalantly as possible. The two guards bowed deeply and sent us off.
“Slowly. Don’t act alarmed,” Satoru hissed. “If we just look around like this, it’ll look like we’re taking a post-meal walk.”
“It’s not like we ate enough to need this though.”
The camp was made of twenty to thirty small huts. Of course, the entire troop would fit in the huts, so most of them probably spent the night underground. The path between the huts were lit with braziers, around which fluttered enormous moths.