“Do you see it? The entrance to the nest is straight ahead.”
It was impossible not to see it. On the slope was a hole big enough for an elephant to go through. There were traces of the huge trees used for camouflage that had been dug up.
“But aren’t there multiple exits on the other side? Can’t the queen escape from a hidden route?”
Kiroumaru smiled, “There’s no need to worry. We first seal all the other exits and force the queen to come out this way. The queen will try to run, not fearing the power of the gods. And to begin with, where the queen lives is considered a sacred place and doesn’t have a lot of tunnels running through it.”
“So, where is the queen now?”
“In a room in the deepest part of the nest.”
A large number of Giant Hornet soldiers came flooding out of the nest. Some of them carried something carefully in their arms.
“Those are…?” I realized before I finished asking.
“There are many nurseries within the nest. These nestlings were all birthed by the Ground Spider queen.”
The satisfied look on Kiroumaru’s face was almost repulsive. “These are treasured spoils of war. They are the workforce that will serve our colony in the future.”
One of the soldiers brought a nestling to Kiroumaru. It hadn’t yet opened its eyes and was reaching out with its front paws as if trying to touch something. Its pink skin made it look much more like a rat than its adult counterpart.
I remembered what Squealer had said.
“The queen is executed and the rest of the members become slaves. As long as they live they are treated as less than scum, and when they die they are left out to rot and fertilize the fields.”
The nestlings had only a dismal future ahead of them. Although they were almost as intelligent as humans, queerats were still more like ants in nature. Why did such warped animals exist? That was a question I asked myself over and over last night.