“Who cares about that! Let’s get in there,” Kuramochi said, rising from the boat.
“Wait. We have no idea what’s in there.”
Kuramochi brushed Fujita aside and stepped out of the boat.
We watched him go in mute amazement. We weren’t Kaburagi Shisei. The queerats would have no problem springing a surprise attack on us.
But the darkness around us remained undisturbed. Everything was silent. Kuramochi strode toward the entrance and peeked into the hole.
“…no one. Just splintered wood everywhere. Like some giant ball smashed the door in.” His voice echoed out into the night.
“Saki, isn’t this kind of strange?” Satoru whispered nervously into my ear.
“It’s too quiet.”
“I guess so…”
I paused. It was weird that there wasn’t even the hum of insects. And not just that; at this time of year, the rice paddies should have been filled with croaking frogs.
“…could the queerats be hiding nearby?”
“Yeah. A lot of them, I think.”
“What do we do?”
Satoru beckoned for Fujita and Okano to come closer, and explained the situation.
“…they’re waiting for all of us to disembark. They probably want to strike when we’re least prepared.”
“S-so should we attack first then?”
“Yes. But if we do it now, they would target Kuramochi.”
“We have to call him back,” Okano whispered, her voice trembling.
“No, that would give away that we know what they’re planning. And if they start shooting blindly at us, that would be dangerous too. Kuramochi may not be able to make it back safely.