Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
The rabbits did not harm Rio, who was near naked, but swirled around him and dressed him in a blink of an eye. They used a stepladder and did a great job. Rio resisted a little at first, but after that it was all he could do to stand up straight so as not to disturb them. The soft hairs that occasionally touched him tickled him, and he almost screamed and cowered, but somehow, he managed to endure.
(At this age, I had them help me change my clothes. Moreover, they’re rabbits.)
The brown rabbit brought a big mirror in front of Rio, who was still a little stunned after getting dressed by them. Rio was surprised when the thing he was looking for was presented to him in an unexpected way. It was probably prepared for him to check his clothes, but Rio first checked his face rather than his clothes.
(Oh, it’s me.)
The person in the frame was unmistakably Rio. His face was white and lifeless, his bangs were long enough to cover his eyes, his eyes were dark, his lips were red like a woman’s, and his cheeks were easily colored due to his thin skin. Normally, he didn’t like to look at his own face; it didn’t make him happy in any way. But now he couldn’t help but feel relieved. There was no doubt that what he saw in the mirror was the same face he had seen for decades.
Rio checked his face with his hand a few times just to make sure and then let out a sigh of relief.
The rabbits exchanged glances as Rio touched his face, then twitched their noses at each other. The rabbits flicked their ears and bowed in place when Rio turned his head. Then they carefully packed up the clothes Rio had just worn and the stepladder they had brought with them onto the cart and pushed it out as they left the room.
Rio just looked away. Maybe he should have said something to them, but he didn’t know what to say when he couldn’t communicate with them.
Rio was left alone in the large room.
Outside the window, the dim light of the day was falling. That’s right, he had no idea what time it was, but the colors outside indicated that night had arrived.
Rio slumped down on the large sofa. He wanted to move, but he was too hungry and weak to do so.
The tiger reappeared shortly after. It bowed politely and spoke to Rio in that intriguing language.
Rio tried to listen carefully, but he still couldn’t understand anything. It still sounded like a strange mixture of human speech and a beast’s growl.
He shook his head in response, just as he had done in the morning. Then the tiger gracefully bowed and smoothly retreated out the door. This exchange happened twice, once during the day and once at night. He said a few words to him in the evening, but Rio could only shake his head.
The rabbits that he had seen earlier that morning came back and made him change his clothes. It was that dress he was wearing when he woke up. He was meticulously wiped down with a warm, steaming towel when they changed his clothes. It had to be because he hadn’t taken a bath. Wasn’t there a normal bath with hot water? He had a few questions he wanted to ask, but Rio ended up remaining still and silent as the rabbits did their thing.
If the dress was a nightgown, then it must be time for bed. Rio let out a sigh as he looked out the darkened window.
During the day, he took a closer look around the room.
He assumed there was only one door in the room, but there was actually another in the back; it was hidden so well that he didn’t see it at first glance.
When he opened the door and took a peek, he saw that there was a narrow passage in the back, and after a short walk, he found what looked like a toilet. So, he had no trouble doing his business. There was no clock, but he could tell what time it was by the light of the sun. He discovered a luxurious jug of water in a small cabinet and drank some to rehydrate himself.
What Rio was having trouble with now was food.
By noon, the fruit on his desk had been eaten. Because there wasn’t much of it, it was gone in an instant. He didn’t mind not eating for a few hours, but it was difficult to do from morning to night.
However, the hunger made him realize that this was not a “dream.” It seemed that Rio had really moved overnight to some unknown room, though he didn’t know how.
In addition, there was a tiger and even two rabbits that walked and talked. It was like something out of a fairy tale.
(Maybe my life really did get switched…)
He was torn between doubting that it could be true and strongly denying that it couldn’t be.
It may seem impossible to switch lives, but the fact that tigers and rabbits were walking around in the first place was an impossible story for Rio, until now.
(What should I do…)
In any case, he remained quiet in his room today. Tomorrow, he’ll leave the room.
He was afraid he would going to pass out if he didn’t get something in his stomach soon.
Rio drank a glass of water from the jug and got up from the sofa. He lay down on the much-too-large bed.
(When I wake up, I’ll probably be back in my room…)
Wishing for tomorrow was something Rio had no affinity for. He knew that no matter how much he wished and prayed, there would be nothing but the same old days waiting for him.
But just for today, he prayed in his heart. He hoped that things would be different tomorrow.
He hoped that tomorrow would be better.
“How’s that thing doing?”
Alvaro, the young lion king of the Beastman Kingdom of Huckins, walked down the corridor and asked Guirus, the tiger-beast butler who was in charge of all matters concerning the king’s private residence.
Guirus answered Alvaro’s question without moving an eyebrow.
“He is still confined to his room. When I asked him if he wanted to eat, he just shook his head. Even so, he ate some of the fruit that was available in his room.”
“I told him to take a bath to cleanse himself, as His Majesty might come, but he still refused.”
Alvaro chuckled at Guirus’ words, his sharp fangs peeking out from his mouth.
“If we take advantage of them, they will take advantage of us as much as they can. As expected of human royalty. I admire the spirit of the man who came to this country as tribute without a single attendant, but even human royalty such as the youngest prince of a small country should not be underestimated.”
Alvaro growled deeply, his shapely teeth clenched into a gritty clench.
Guirus walked behind Alvaro and continued to speak. “Just,” he said, unusually a little choked up.
“Your Highness, I was wondering if it’s possible that he doesn’t understand the language of this country.”
“Language? …I don’t think that’s possible. It’s not likely that he would’ve originally learned the language of this country, but he was a prince and a first-class magician in the magical nation of Dirahangyen. You can easily use magic to learn the language. Why do you say that?”
“No, it’s just the attendants who took care of his personal affairs said that His Royal Highness did not seem to understand the language of the country.”
Andy and Laru, the rabbit beast attendants, took the trouble to visit Guirus and report back to him. They said that they had told him to change his clothes, but for some reason he hadn’t moved at all, that he had even tried to take his clothes away from them, and that he had resisted slightly when they had changed him.
Guirus inwardly bit his lip as he thought of the beautiful man who had become the resident of the white room.
It was only yesterday that Liore, the 15th prince of the Dirahangyen Kingdom, came to this palace.
When he was brought into the palace, he gave some orders that Guirus didn’t understand, such as “the minimum amount of care is fine” and “don’t disturb him when he’s in his room,” so Guirus and the others hardly had any contact with him yet.
This morning, when he woke up, he went into Rio’s room to greet him and ask him if he wanted to eat, but he just looked at Guirus and didn’t reply. He just shook his head as if to deny everything and as if it was the only way to express his intentions.
Just like the many, many pieces of jewelry that were presented at the wedding, the human queen, Liore, was treated as an object and married into the Beastman Kingdom of Huckins. He was a prince of a small kingdom, offered as a tribute to Alvaro, who had just been crowned king and did not have a single consort.
From a global perspective, the beast nations had only just risen to prominence. In this predominantly human-surrounded environment, even though it was a small country, it was not possible to welcome the prince of one country as a concubine, so he accepted Rio as his queen. However, in terms of national power, Alvaro’s Kingdom of Huckins was much stronger and larger. And yet, the fact that he couldn’t even refuse the offer of marriage frustrated Alvaro.
On top of that, this wedding had been led by the Dirahangyen Kingdom in every way, even in the manner of taking care of the bride. Instead of adapting to the bride-to-be’s needs, the queen followed his own selfishness. In addition, even the wedding night, which was usually held on the day of the wedding, was requested in advance to be held the day after the wedding.
Alvaro’s rage was understandable, if not justified, but it could not be helped.
“I’m doing everything according to what he says. And now he is pretending that he doesn’t understand our language? It’s a sign that he doesn’t want to speak or hear our language. That’s how much he taunts the nation of Huckins and me.”
Alvaro’s mane swayed in his anger. Alvaro snarled from his throat and spat out vehement arguments, causing Guirus to stumble over his words. Guirus’ question appeared to have fueled Alvaro’s rage even more.
“…Fine. I’ll let him do what he wants for a while. I’ll go to his room tomorrow. Make sure you tell him that.”
With a wave of his hand, Alvaro motioned for Guirus to step back. They had just arrived in front of Alvaro’s private quarters, which were flanked by soldiers on guard.
“The beauty that was called the Black Jewel of Dirahangyen. Tomorrow night, I’ll get to see it for myself.”
Beyond the window that Alvaro was staring at was the palace for the queen, where Rio was staying. Although it was quite far away, Alvaro’s eyes were able to see Rio himself.
A dark flame was burning quietly in his eyes.