As we climbed the hill, the terrible scene of the queerats’ demise came into view. Ravaged corpses, severed heads, and shredded limbs were piled high all around us. Rust-colored blood soaked into every surface, dying the ground black, the smell stinging my eyes and nose. Flies that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere were already starting to feast on the remains.
Ahead of us, Shun and Maria faltered before the huge swarm of flies.
Rijin could tell that we all hoped he would get rid of the flies. But the priest simply stood there with no signs of moving.
“What’s going on?” Satoru asked quietly.
The silhouettes, I thought instinctively. From a distance, didn’t the silhouette of a queerat look a lot like a human’s? Since Rijin was already under the false minoshiro’s curse, when he killed the queerats with the wind scythe, his subconscious probably interpreted it as him attacking more humans. If that was true, death feedback might really get him this time.
“Rijin, are you alright?” Shun asked.
“…yes. Don’t worry,” Rijin replied after a pause. His eyes seemed vacant and his words sounded strange.
All our attention was on Rijin, so we didn’t notice that something was crawling among the corpses, hidden by the curtain of flies.
“W-What’s that?” Maria gasped as she turned around.
A strange animal.
It was the size of a dog, covered in long black fur. In contrast to its stout body, the head was abnormally small and so low that it almost touched the ground as it slunk toward us.
“…a blowdog!” Mamoru cried in a strangled voice.
“What are you talking about? They’re not real,” Satoru said bluntly, completely disregarding the fact that he had just recently been seriously trying to convince us of the existence of blowdogs.
“But no matter how you look at it, that’s what it is,” Mamoru said, standing up for his own views for once.
“So you’re saying it’s going to inflate itself to the size of a balloon? Something so stupid…”
As if in response to Satoru’s words, the animal, the blowdog, suddenly swelled to twice its original size.
“Woah. It really puffed up.”
I thought it was simply sucking in air to make itself look bigger, but as the blowdog glared at us, it swelled even more.
“Everyone, get back!”
At Shun’s words, we all started running, putting as much distance between us and the blowdog as possible.
“What’s going to happen?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Shun seemed fascinated. “But so far it’s acting just as Satoru said it would. It might just keep swelling up until it explodes.”