The sky was just beginning to brighten when I awoke.
The guest house was made of bamboo posts covered by animal skin, more like a tent than an actual house, so once the sun came up, light started filtering in through the skin.
Satoru was already up and getting dressed.
“‘Morning,” I said.
Satoru nodded. “Can you be ready soon? It looks like they’re all prepared to go. I’ve been hearing them moving around for a while now.”
Sure enough, a large number of queerats were bustling around busily outside.
I rushed around getting ready. It took less than two minutes for me to put on my winter clothes, lace up my boots, and check my backpack to make sure everything was there.
I stepped outside to clear skies and the sun just barely peeking over the horizon.
Looking down, I saw a queerat taking down what looked like dried food hanging from a nearby tree. It was white, about a meter long, too big to be a fish. I looked closer and saw that it was a dried minoshiro.
Satoru and I glanced at each other.
“I can’t believe they eat minoshiro.”
Minoshiro are considered sacred creatures in Kamisu 66, and it gave me an unspeakably ominous feeling to see them being used as food.
“…minoshiro should be hibernating now. The queerats probably dug them out intentionally to turn them into jerky.”
Satoru looked like he had swallowed something sour. I decided not to tell him that the unknown dried thing we had for dinner last night might have been minoshiro.