“The queen’s body has been found,” Kiroumaru said after the soldier had made his report.
He had been seriously wounded in the blast and the bandages around his back and shoulder were stained red with blood. The air was full of flies buzzing around the mountain of excavated corpses and they hovered annoyingly around Kiroumaru as well.
“I will go inspect it.”
He looked down at the ragged body at his feet. If it weren’t for the remaining shreds of the cloak, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was Hammerhead. He had intended to take Kiroumaru down along with himself. Kiroumaru stomped derisively on the corpse and continued on his way. It obviously hurt to walk. But more than that, the pain of anger and regret at the sacrifices of his troops caused by his own negligence was hard to bear.
I looked at the unconscious Satoru. He didn’t seem to be hurt and his breathing was regular. He’d probably be okay if I left for a few minutes.
“Can I see too?”
For the first time since the explosion, Kiroumaru showed his disconcerting smile. “…I don’t really recommend it.”
“Please take me with you as well,” Squealer followed, ignoring Kiroumaru’s warning.
He seemed relatively unharmed from the explosion.
A large part of the nest had collapsed from the shockwave. We stood over the deepest crack and looked down. I gasped.
“Is that really the queen?” I asked.
Kiroumaru nodded. “Since the queen needs to give birth to so many nestling, her body is necessarily much larger. That said, I don’t think there’s ever been one this big in our country.”
It seemed impossible to lift her up out onto level ground.
However I looked at it, she was about as big as a mid-sized whale. Most of her bulk appeared to be her uterus. Her head was incongruously small in comparison.