“Satoru!” I started toward him without thinking, only to be stopped by a queerat’s spear.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” Satoru said.
His forehead was bleeding. The wound looked painful, but shallow. I sighed, relieved that it wasn’t a serious injury.
The other queerats under Captain Pinecone looked relieved too. But probably not because of Satoru’s wound. It seemed like they hadn’t been absolutely certain that we couldn’t use our cantus. So they did this as a way to be sure before they took us back to their colony.
Once again, we set off through the forest.
“Does it hurt?” I asked.
Satoru shook his head silently. The bleeding hadn’t stopped, so Satoru’s face was covered in dark streaks of blood.
“What’s going to happen to us?”
“We probably won’t be killed immediately,” he said quietly.
“How do you know?”
“They would’ve done it a long time ago.”
“Are you sure that’s not just wishful thinking?”
“Not just that. Before they came into the forest, they shot that whistling arrow, remember? That was probably a warning for us to stop. If they were going to kill us from the start, they wouldn’t have done that.”
“So why did they capture us?”
“Who knows. But, if today was the first time they were exposed to cantus, then despite being scared they’re probably interested in learning more about it, right? We’re the only source of information they have, so they won’t kill us carelessly.”
Satoru’s reasoning was probably right. For the time being, we weren’t in any danger.
We left the forest, and started up the hill once again. Our fatigue had peaked a long time ago, but the spears pointed at our backs forced us to keep going.