The queerats were thrown into disarray. The fire ignited everything it touched and pillars of thick black smoke rose toward the sky.
“Now’s our chance. Let’s climb up.”
We left the shelter of the rock and wasted no time running up the hill. The queerats who spotted us as we neared the top let out warning cries, but the next moment fell in a burst of white flames.
“Is that what they use to make the gas?” I pointed at a strange clay structure shaped like a mosquito fumigator.1
Five or six of them had protrusions like elephant trunks pointed down the hill.
The nearest one exploded into a million pieces. The ones beside it followed. A troop of queerats were hit with the shards and went down instantly.
“Are you playing with them?”
The queerats hesitated when the saw their comrades fall. When the corpses rose like puppets on a string and started toward them, the troops scattered.
It turns out the only thing needed to crush the spirits of the belligerent queerats was to exploit their fear of the supernatural.
“I see…instead of using brute force, controlling them through fear is much more effective.”
Satoru put his newfound knowledge to use immediately. He started raising dead bodies left, right, and center. Queerats who were thought to have no human emotions lost their minds with fear and started attacking each other.
The ones who lost their will to fight and were trying to escape found themselves being choked to death by an invisible hand. In the end, the obliteration of an entire troop took no more than five or six minutes.
“It’s too dangerous to go straight through the field. We’re totally exposed to the rest of the forest where Ground Spider archers might be lurking,” Squealer reported to Satoru.
He was as polite as before, but his words were tinged awe. No doubt he now understood the terrible power of cantus.