Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 33
It was hours after the meeting had ended that a terrific noise was heard, followed by an earthquake and a rumbling of the ground.
Jack, clad in protective gear, and the priestesses and several armed men were on their knees outside the shelter. A cloud of smoke and a column of water was billowing up from the ground. Then black liquid poured down from the sky in torrents.
In front of the shelter, there was a large hole in the middle of the river contaminated with black water. After a delay, a rush of water flooded into the hole, and the river, which had changed its flow vector, overflowed to the side. Drenched knee-deep in the water, Jack gritted his teeth and stared up at the huge “thing” enshrined in the middle of the river.
“Hey, hey, hey…”
Within the helmet of his protective suit, a cold sweat streamed down his cheeks.
“You must be kidding…”
What descended from the sky was a distorted mannequin-like object, swollen like a caterpillar. The caterpillar-like body stretched out horizontally and had several female legs attached to it, which moved with a crunching motion.
The body alone was probably more than ten meters long. At the center of the body, like a tower, was attached to the upper half of an awfully thin mannequin doll. That too was enormous. The head was far above… the ground, more than five meters away, and the Noppera-bō mouth was split wide open, with countless thorns peeking out from within.
“… The White Queen…”
The priestess who had been holding the gun behind Jack muttered quietly and began to tremble. The monster known as the White Queen opened her mouth wide and screeched. The tip of her body ripped open with a buzzing sound, and from within crept out measuring worm-like creatures armed with a helmet, sword, and shield. One after another, the measuring worm crawled out like bugs and formed a line with their swords at their posts, producing a squeaky, metal-scratching sound.
“What… is that…?”
In a daze, Jack mumbled and stiffened.
He knew that was what he was seeing. Part of it was that his mind couldn’t accept the scene he was witnessing. But there was more to it than that.
A sense of discomfort was welling up from deep within his chest.
Yes, that is.
Something that shouldn’t even exist.
Something in Jack, an instinctive part of him, raised an alarm.
Someone said in the back of his mind.
Flee from here, what are you doing?
You’ll die, you’ll die.
They’re going to kill you.
They’re going to dismember you, squeeze your blood out of you, and brutally slaughter you.
Run, run, run.
You have to run.
Jack’s legs began to shake as the measuring worm soldiers started to step forth.
Alice was… Alice and the others were…
They have been fighting these things all along.
I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t want to believe it.
There’s no way I can kill this thing.
His heart trembled with despair.
I must escape quickly.
I will die… and be killed.
I don’t want to die.
As soon as he thought to that extent like an electric shock, Jack was startled by a shout in his ears.
“Master Jack! Watch out!”
When he realized it, Jack had taken a few steps back with his Dáinsleif ready to go. He was a beat too late to be shocked by that action of his.
What was I about to do just now?
It couldn’t be…
Was I attempting to escape…?
Gnashing his teeth, he positioned his heavy double-edged sword in the mid-section.
I will kill them, the Nightmare.
By these hands…!
“Avoid looking at the Nightmare from the front whenever possible. They will instill fear in you!”
Philrain yelled loud enough for the priestesses to hear. Some of them were already shuddering from the loss of will to fight.
As Jack glared at the measuring worm-like soldiers approaching with a squeaky sound of bugs, a high-pitched, hysterical laugh came from the White Queen. It gradually turned into a shrill scream, and the White Queen began to bellow, waving her long, blade-like claws.
“Bring out Alice! Alice! Bring her out! Get her out! Right here! Get her out!”
That thing had lost all rationality. It was a pure monster.
Jack maintained his Dáinsleif in place and shared a glance with Philrain. The White Queen halted as if she had seen the small human… Jack across the river, Dáinsleif by his side. The measuring worm soldiers came rushing in swarms, squealing and moving with a speed that was inconceivable from their sluggish appearance.
“Dáinsleif…? Why would a human carry it…! You human! Why!”
Drawing a deep breath, Jack concentrated his strength on the hand gripping the sword.
“The White Knight! His Dáinsleif! Why do you possess it!”
With her arms outstretched, the White Queen’s massive body began to act. The water of the river started to flood even more.
With the huge monster before him, Jack saw the black water rushing in and the deformed shapes that resembled measuring worms. He stared at the approaching monster… the White Queen, and then closed his eyes silently. The priestesses and the men stepped back from the sight of Jack.
“Sever all… sever all… sever all…!”
Muttering in a low voice, he opened his eyes with a snap right as one of the measuring worm soldiers was about to swing its sword down on his head.
Screaming with disdain, Jack swung the Dáinsleif wide to the side. Heeeeeeyin…! And there was a strange sound of space ripping apart. Jack’s sword sliced through the space, cleaving through the bodies of dozens of measuring worm soldiers who were charging at him like an avalanche, and even splitting the black water that had become like a tsunami, piercing the White Queen.
As he swung his sword out, Jack stabbed Dáinsleif into the ground and fell to his knees. With a gobble, he spat out a clot of blood against the inside of his helmet, smearing his clear visor in bright red.
A beat later, the first thing that happened was that some of the measuring worm soldiers blew up in a spray of black blood. The tsunami slashed sideways. As if the water had been cleaved by a shock wave, it flowed back towards the White Queen. The remaining measuring worm soldiers were caught up in it and began to flow backwards. Following that, a crack appeared in the body of the White Queen.
With her startled voice, a waterfall of black blood began to splash down from there.
Jack coughed up blood, but clenched his teeth, grasping the Dáinsleif, and rose to his feet again.
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