“Gods, hide yourselves! It’s the Ground Spiders!” Squealer cried.
“In the trees…the decoy, they fell for it!”
The queerat I appointed to dress as Satoru was lying on the ground. I had chosen the biggest in the troop, but from far away he still didn’t look humanoid, so I had him wear two hats and a cape as disguise. There were now three arrows sticking out of him. The strange thing was that the arrows had no feathers on them, but were instead wrapped with string.
“Blowguns! Poison darts…watch out!”
Squealer had reached the same conclusion and shouted a warning. Where in the world were the enemies hiding? I scanned the trees but didn’t see any shapes that resembled queerats. I wondered if the shooters could see us as well, but it seemed like they were shooting the darts willy nilly.
There was a rustling in a big oak tree. I couldn’t see anything, but I was sure that something was there.
“Satoru! Shake that tree!”
There were four queerats lying on top of him as a living shield. Ignoring Squealer’s orders, he slipped out under them. As if blown by a storm, the tree swayed and bent. Leaves fell like snow and branches snapped loudly.
Something heavy fell out. At once, the queerat soldiers seized it.
“What is it?” I asked, looking at the thing.
What would be the best way to describe it? It looked like those stick insects from the south, or a relative of the sea horse called the leafy sea dragon.
It was about a meter in length and resembled a normal queerat. Looking carefully, its head and limbs were also like a queerat’s. The difference was that it was abnormally thin and had skin the color of the oak tree and green leafy protrusions growing from its body. It, the Ground Spider’s forest fighter, looked toward the sky and gave a birdlike cry. The Robber Fly soldiers stabbed it with their spears, killing it instantly.