Satoru licked his lips. “If the queerats are lying in wait and we keep going, we’ll be in range of their arrows,” he explained calmly. “No matter how much power that priest has, he’s still only human. He’s still vulnerable to preemptive strikes by the enemy, so it’s best be proceed with caution in a situation like this.”
Even with the omnipotent power of cantus, you’d still die if you were shot. It was a sobering thought.
Still, if things were going to turn out like this, I would rather our canti not have been sealed. I’m sure Rijin was regretting it too. I hoped that he would decide to unseal our powers, but unfortunately we had no such luck.
“Mamoru Itou,” Rijin looked up at the lotus seat. “Listen up. Are there any queerats? Take a good look. Don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my cantus. Not a single one of their arrows will touch you.”
Mamoru’s face blanched as he realized what was about to happen.
The rest of us held our breaths as the lotus seat drifted ahead to where we thought the queerats might be hiding and stopped. The seat spun around once or twice. We waited anxiously, but nothing happened. Finally, Rijin brought the lotus seat back, and fixed Mamoru with a hard look.
“Well? Were there are queerats?”
“I don’t know.” Mamoru’s face was completely bloodless and he trembled like a tiny, frightened animal. “I didn’t…see anything.”
“Didn’t you say that something moved”
“But I didn’t see anything just now. I was probably wrong earlier.”
Rijin nodded, but did not set off again immediately. He was not only a skilled cantus user, but astute as well. After deliberating for a while, he looked up again.
“You said you saw movement somewhere around there,” Rijin pointed.
Mamoru nodded silently.
“Sterilization it is, then.”
There was a rumbling sound and the ground a ways ahead of us started moving. The trees fell one by one. The earth churned like a giant, writhing snake as rocks and dirt came crashing down.
In less than five minutes the grove of beautiful green trees was buried under a mountain of soil.
We would never know whether queerats were really hiding there, but I guess it didn’t really matter anymore.
From now on, our progress would be even slower.
Needless to say, we were a bit wary of the area Rijin had just “sterilized”. Looking back, it was as if the Destroyer Shiva had ridden through on his juggernaut, ravaging the peaceful scenery, leaving behind a procession of death and fear. Now, no matter how belligerent these foreign queerats were, they would be stupid to even think about attacking us head on.