As for the first part, I have seen it before, quite unexpectedly. It was during early summer the year before we graduated from Harmony School.
“Saki, look over there!” Maria called quietly.
“What is it?”
We were on a little clearing hidden by thickets overlooking the beach. The two of us often went there after class if the weather was good.
“A minoshiro got caught by a tiger crab…”
I stuck my head out over the bushes and caught a whiff of the salt air. The beach was deserted. Looking at where Maria was pointing, I saw a single minoshiro on the sand about twenty or thirty meters away from the ocean. It was writhing as if it wanted to go toward the water but was being rooted to the spot.
Looking carefully, we saw that its legs were clamped between dark green pincers.
“We have to help it,” I jumped up, but Maria pulled me back down.
“What are you doing, stupid! What if someone sees you?”
“There’s no one here.”
“You don’t know when someone will, right? That’s the spot where the boys go fishing.”
Admittedly, running naked across the beach wasn’t something you normally do, so we threw on our clothes and dashed down the hill. As we approached, the camouflaged body of the tiger crab revealed itself. It had the minoshiro’s legs in one pincer, quills in the other, and was looking at it as if contemplating how it should go about eating it.
I faltered. Even though it was just a crab, tiger crabs were known to take on grown bears and kill them. It was said that they don’t attack humans, but for a two kids without their canti yet, it was still impossible for us to do anything.
Until then, I hadn’t prayed that someone would show up to help us. Dear god, if not Shun, then at least Satoru…
“What now? We could try throwing sand at it?”
I was about to have a nervous breakdown, but Maria was appraising the situation calmly.