an English translation of the novel

Page 49-50

The mood at the Security Council was oppressively gloomy.

“Does anyone have any questions about Satoru Asahina’s testimony?” The head of the council, Shisei Kaburagi, asked in a low voice.

A short silence followed.

This time, every important official in the district was present. Tomiko from the Committee of Ethics. Head of the Board of Education, Hiromi Torigai. Kofuu Hino from the Occupations Council. My mother, Head Librarian Mizuho Watanabe. My father, Mayor Takashi Sugiura. And Hiroshi Kaneko from the Department of Health, as well as the all of his staff. Head Priest Mushin, who was now over a hundred years old, from the Temple of Purity was absent, but two monks were there to represent him.

My father spoke first.

“Asahina-kun. I’d like to hear your theory about how the Giant Hornet colony was killed.”

Satoru licked his lips. “I really have no idea. Based on the sheer number corpses at the scene, all Giant Hornet soldiers, all I got was the impression of a one-sided massacre.”

“What was the main cause of death?”

“I don’t know that either. Many were pierced with arrows, but the majority were mutilated beyond recognition.”

“What sort of mutilation?”

“Many were cut to pieces, or shot full of holes as if they had been used for target practice.”

“What did you learn from the surviving soldier?”

“He only knew a couple of phrases, so things like, ‘Giant Hornets, killed’, ‘Massacre’, ‘Only Kiroumaru escaped’. I tried to ask what happened, but he started hyperventilating and screaming in his own language.”

“You couldn’t tell him to translate?”

“No. He died soon after that.”

Silence once again.


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