“I couldn’t see their faces, but I could tell from their voices that there were three of them. One was probably the Sun Prince. The other two were a man and a woman, and the woman sounded like the one that interviewed us after we came back from summer camp.”
I swallowed. “What did they talk about?”
“I could only hear bits of the conversation, but the man was saying that they needed to hurry and settle this before he was completely demonized. And if they failed, it would be a disaster, and stuff like that. I don’t know what he meant by demonize though.”
Part of me had been prepared for this. Still, it felt like I had been hit over the head with a metal bat. Demonize probably meant turning into a karma demon.
“…and after that?” I forced myself to speak.
“The woman said to send out the tainted cats immediately. And the Sun Prince asked if she meant the black and striped ones that they’ve been using.” Maria’s voice shook. “Then they opened them. The second and fourth rooms. And these big animals came out. I only caught a glimpse of them, but they looked as big as the lions in the old zoos and a lot skinnier.”
“The animals…the tainted cats, didn’t they sense you hiding there?”
“Yeah. But someone immediately restrained the cats with their cantus and transported them elsewhere, so we weren’t discovered. …but, this the most important thing! The Sun Prince let slip where the cats were being sent. He said it’s a pity for such a talented child.”
I already knew who it was.
“I heard it with my own ears! Shun Aonuma.”