“Ioki sacrificed his own troop. They were surrounded by the enemy, but Ioki and six of his comrades fought bravely until, as he predicted, they were killed. Drunk on their victory, the enemy tried to turn on the rest of the troops only to realize that their group had been divided in two, cutting off all communications. They were trapped in their own vantage point and all their escape routes were lost. For half the troop, the supply line was cut off so they would die under siege. The Mayfly colony achieved a glorious victory.”
We were mesmerized by Squealer’s story. It felt like we were listening to the False Minoshiro telling us about history, even though the two of them sounded nothing alike.
“However, before they even had time to savor the intoxicating taste of victory, the Mayfly colony was destroyed,” Squealer said sadly, lamenting the colony that had disappeared off the stage of history leaving only a fleeting glow. “Since it was such a small colony, once the Mayfly colony lost Ioki as its trump card, it quickly became fodder for the neighboring groups. Even so, if the old ways of war had not changed, they might have been able to hold out just defending themselves. Ironically, it was through Ioki’s own strategy that the Mayfly colony was starved to the point that they had no alternative but to surrender unconditionally.”
“What happens to the queerats of the losing colony?” I asked.
It couldn’t be that they would all be massacred?
“The queen is executed and the rest of the members become slaves. As long as they live they are treated as less than scum, and when they die they are left out to rot and fertilize the fields.”
We were silent. When I think about it now, this too was probably part of Squealer’s plan. Satoru mouthed something silently. It looked like he was saying, “Ants…”
Of course, ants. On one side, queerats show a disposition similar to humans, but on the other, they also have the cruelty of social insects. The purpose for their wars on other colonies was the same as the amazon ants’ invasion of other anthills–to acquire laborers.