an English translation of the novel

Page 314-315

“Saki…!” Satoru rushed toward me, but another queerat stuck out its spear and tripped him.

“I’m fine. Don’t move,” I shouted.

Of course, I didn’t believe that we would be left unharmed if we followed their orders. Rather, at this point I was already halfway resigned to the fact that we were going to be killed.

The queerat in front of me started shouting again in its piercing voice. And for the first time, I got a good look at its face.

Beneath the black helmet glowed cruel, red eyes, and its piglike snout was the same as the queerats we had met at the canal as well as the one Rijin had killed earlier. But there was one clear difference. Its entire face, from forehead to chin, was covered in scales, like a pinecone.

Although scaly mammals, like pangolins, do exist, they are unheard of in rodents. In addition it was strange to see individuals with and individuals without scales in the same species.

The thought disappeared from my mind as I felt something cold and metallic on my cheek. The spear was pointed at me, moonlight glinting off its head.

Was this the end? As I thought this, the spear was retracted. I was going to be skewered.

The pinecone-faced leader let out a battle cry that sounded like a dying pig. I closed my eyes.

A few seconds later, I opened them again.

Nothing happened. Captain Pinecone was moving toward Satoru, who was being held back by a pair of queerats.

Before I had time to react, Captain Pinecone was thrusting his spear toward Satoru’s face. But it suddenly stopped, the point a hair’s breadth away from Satoru. It thrust the spear a second time, a third time.

Satoru tried hard to appear unafraid, but his knees gave out and he slumped against the queerats holding his arms. The next instant, the spear grazed his forehead.



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