Listening carefully, I could hear the cries of thousands of bats. It seemed like they were returning. I had to leave now and find a place to hide.
As quietly as I could, I chipped away at the crack in the wall.
Two or three minutes later, I had made a hole big enough to slip through. I ducked and crawled through.
The faint starlight revealed a world that was as barren as the one I had just left.
Of the few ruined buildings that were left, none were more than two or three stories tall. The metal structures had rotted away long ago, and the super long-lasting concrete was just barely able to hold up what was left of the buildings.
The collapsed ruins of the buildings had been weathered into nothing more than grey boulders that had then been dissolved and reformed into karst columns. Here and there, stripes that resembled black rivers ran along the ground. The fake false minoshiro said that they were paved roads that had lost their shape due to long periods of exposure to ultraviolet rays.
There were few plants apart from weeds. The trees were stunted and twisted due to being blasted by the fierce winter winds of the Kanto plain. The soil at the surface was too porous to hold water so the trees had no choice but to use all their energy to grow roots to search for water down below.
The sky was obscured by fluttering bats. If it took them the same amount of time to return as it did for them to leave yesterday, I had one, or two hours, tops. In that time, I had to find the cliff where I had parted with Satoru.
I walked from the shadow of one building to the next, following the fake false minoshiro’s directions.
The enemy might not only be watching the sky. There might be troops on the ground nearby as well.
Jogging in the predawn darkness, I felt a strange shift in my consciousness.
What was this feeling? Deja-vu? I was certain I had never been to this place before. Yet, my surroundings felt familiar, like I had seen them a long time ago.