“It’s dangerous to keep going like this. We might end up falling from that rock too,” Satoru said as he rubbed his numb fingers together.
“We should be okay if we go slowly.”
“That’ll take too long. And no matter how slowly we go, if we fall, we fall.”
We looked at one another. Each of us hoped that the other had a secret plan, but of course it wasn’t that easy. To make things worse, the snow was coming down harder and thicker than before, and the wind was picking up. The bare hill provided no shelter and we suddenly realized how cold it was. Skiing up the hill, though largely cantus-assisted, had kept us warm. But I hadn’t eaten since morning, and all the energy I had burned made me lightheaded.
“The important thing is to just avoid the rock, right? Even without taking the exact same route, we’ll still be able to find the next part of the path.”
I could still clearly remember the animal trail in the bushes higher up on the hill.
“Sure, but how are you going to do that?”
“Make a path with our cantus?”
“I see…yeah. That’ll work.”
I wonder if our judgement had been impaired by fatigue and anxiety. The plan was just as reckless as Mamoru hauling a child’s sled up a steep hill. We cleared a path in front of us using the image of a giant shovel. The path that cut through the snow looked much safer than the slippery road we had been using.
“Alright, let’s go.”
We went single-file along the narrow path. The cleared path was only about forty or fifty meters, so when we reached the end, we had to stop and remove more snow.
Then, there was an unpleasant creaking sound.
“Shit. An avalanche…!”
We stood, petrified. Come to think of it, we had cleared a horizontal path right in the middle of a steep hill. I’d have been surprised if there wasn’t an avalanche.