“‘Devil’s Hand’. You’ve heard of it, right?”
Actually I hadn’t. I pinched a spike with the tip of my finger; it felt as thin as paper.
“Be careful, the edges are really sharp.”
The Devil’s Hand had veins coming from its core that gave it elasticity. And as Shun said, it was sharp, with barbs poking out along the edges.
“It’s usually folded up inside the egg, but when it shell is broken it comes bursting out.”
Satoru answered from behind me, “If a rat snake or rosary snake eats it, the egg will explode it its stomach. And when it tries to cough it back up, the barbs will just dig deeper into the stomach and eventually tear it open. Then the poison inside the black smelly part will leak into the snake’s body.”
How gruesome. Rosary snakes have evolved to eat eggs exclusively, raiding nests and eating all the eggs at once, digesting them later on. Their name comes from the way they look after they have gorged themselves on eggs. If one managed to eat multiple fake eggs, I can only imagine how terrible the aftermath would be.
The eggs did not bring life, but certain death.
I took out my notebook and made a quick sketch of the fake egg.
“There are a lot of fake warbler eggs in Pinewind, but this is the first time I’ve seen a fake bittern egg,” Satoru said wonderingly, holding the fake egg up to the sun.
“To lay an egg of this size, the bird must be pretty big, right?”
“Nope. It’s the same size as a haythatcher,” Shun said.
“How do you know?” Satoru looked at him.
Shun jerked his chin at something in front of us. What we saw surprised us.
There was a tiny face peeking out at us from the thicket of reeds. It looked just like a heron’s, with a beak-full of dried grass. But its eyes were red and lidless, scales covered its face, and the black lines running from the corner of its eyes made it obvious that it was not a bird.