I have no clue what it’s saying. But I saw something that looked like tattoos on their foreheads.
“We’re saved! It’s a colony that obeys humans!” I said, my knees going weak with relief.
Satoru still looked doubtful, but approached the queerats resolutely, if somewhat nervously, stopping about three meters away and looking at their tattoos.
“‘Salt 604’, huh. Does that mean ‘Robber Fly’ colony?1”
“Kikikikiki…Robber☆Flyy! Robber☆Flyy!” the queerat who could somewhat speak replied to Satoru’s words, nodding exaggeratedly like a longheaded locust. “Gro☆Spider★…danger…Ground Spider★danger!”
We learned later that at that time, the Department of Health had already acknowledged the existence of the foreign colony and had named it “Ground Spider”. But compared to another foreign colony that had come over from the peninsula, called “Millipede”, the Ground Spiders were considered a mild group and not much trouble. This turned out to be an underestimation.
Incidentally, during the Yamato period in ancient Japan (different from the New Yamato period during the Holy Cherry Blossom Empire), “ground spider” was a derogatory term that referred to the indigenous Jomon people. After all this time, the fact that it’s now used as a name for a queerat colony, and a foreign colony at that, speaks to the ironic nature of history.
Anyway, we were led through the dark forest by the six queerats from the Robber Fly colony.
“We’re in a bad situation again,” Satoru sighed, looking grave.
“How come? We’ve been rescued. And these guys definitely won’t take us captive.”
“True, but I’m talking about now.”
Satoru gave me a pitiful look, “Why do you think queerats worship humans as gods? Isn’t it because we have cantus? They’re only being subservient right now because they believe we have that power, but what do you think they’ll do if they find out we’ve lost it?”