Another door banged open, and they were in an echoing hall; from the mass-produced chairs and wooden podium, probably somewhere meant for upper management to lecture the techs who kept things running.
…If those waving tentacles were the techs, she needed to send management a strongly worded memo. Delivered by flamethrower.
“Akuma,” Yaone managed, trying to scrabble backward as Kou put himself between his sister and monsters. “Only they’re not even humanoid, oh god-”
Doku glanced behind her, blanched, and yanked her back around into the room. “Incoming!”
They look like Kou, Yaone thought, in that instant of terrified clarity. Maybe we can talk–
“Eat lead!” Dokugakuji snarled, opening up on the snarling horde with everything he had left.
Yaone stumbled, almost running into Kou’s back as he tensed, staring down… whatever passed for eyes on the writhing creatures slithering forward. His claws clenched and loosened, obvious threat; his tentacles were spread in front of both of them like a razor-hooked barrier.
The tentacle-nests halted. Shifting, as if judging their chances.
Behind them, Doku jammed in another magazine. “There’s too many of them!”
“I know,” Kou said softly. “I won’t let them take you.”
Yaone tried not to whimper. She didn’t want to die. But the thought of becoming one of those – things….
“Nii-san!” Lirin’s voice was shaking. “Lirin wants to go home!”
“I want to go home, too-” Kou drew in a quick breath, backing up to wrap a tentacle around them both. “Doku! Grab onto me!”
Doku picked off another shot, teeth gritted as some of his last targets started getting back up. “Love you too, brother, but now’s not the time-”
Kou was backing closer, teeth bared in a manic researcher’s smile. “Relax! I might just kill us.”