But this outcome was disadvantageous for everyone involved. The queerats had their path blocked off, so we wouldn’t be susceptible to a direct attack, but this had also been the quickest way for us to reach the Temple of Purity before sundown.
Needless to say, the only reason we were even in a hurry in the first place was due to the appearance of the foreign queerats. The cause and consequence were the same, going round and round like an ouroboros.
When we had climbed halfway up the newly-formed hill, we saw the first rows of the queerats’ defensive formation.
“Ah! What’s that?” Shun said from the head of the line.
As we crested the hill, hundreds of silhouettes suddenly came into view. The silhouettes were all beating weapons, gongs and other metallic objects, creating an earthshaking battle cry.
“It looks like they’re getting ready to charge this way,” Maria’s voice twisted into a shriek.
“You have no place in the three realms; it is only through Buddha’s grace that you can exist as beasts. And yet you insist on foolishly challenging me,” Rijin said gravely. “Very well, I shall exorcise you.”
No, I thought. They didn’t actually want to fight us.
If the queerats truly intended to attack us, they would’ve rushed us from behind. But they didn’t; instead they redirected their route this way in hopes of avoiding conflict. As I listened, their war cry sounded more like a painful supplication than a call to battle.
A gust of wind swept past my cheeks.
Looking up, I saw Rijin creating what looked like a giant tornado.
As if in response, the queerats’ war cry grew.
In the next instant, all the debris from the tornado was flung down the hill. Flying logs and boulders mowed down the rows of queerats in no time.
There was a second’s pause, then with scream of fear and rage, a barrage of arrows came raining down on us.
But the arrows were no match for the wind, which sent them spinning away wildly.