Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Rio bent his arm to look at the gash on his elbow. In the end, he couldn’t get a good look it and let out a gloomy sigh, “Hah.”
The escape, which he had made with firm determination, ended in dismay. Rio was now sitting on the bed in the large white room, where he used to be.
That’s right. His plan to escape from this room had failed.
(Really, that was humiliating.)
Rio muttered in his mind and let out a deep sigh once more, “Hah.”
It was fine when he walked out of the room. He was able to run through the corridor without being noticed or coming into contact with anyone. Or, more accurately, no one was around. The vast corridor was deafeningly quiet, with no sign of anyone.
It was so quiet that it seemed as if no one but Rio was in this large building. Regardless, Rio was terrified. He was perplexed as to why, in such a large and spacious building, there was not a single person in the corridors.
He walked through the corridor, down a large staircase, through another corridor, down another staircase, through a large hall that seemed to be an entrance, and finally reached a large door. Rio looked around and attempted to turn the doorknob of the door, which was one or two times larger than the size of the white room’s. Rio’s shoulders slumped as he heard a metallic sound, as if something had been caught in the middle of the turn.
Then, after walking around the building for a while, he came across an outer corridor that seemed to lead to the garden.
He was quite exhausted by this point due to his hunger, but he managed to gather his energy and walked around the vast garden, keeping his head down low. Rio didn’t have time to stop and admire the beautiful blooming flowers or the expertly pruned trees; he just kept walking.
Finally, he came to a gate made of a shiny silver metal, which seemed to be the exit of this place.
However, everything happened very quickly after that.
When he tried to go through the gate, there were large dog-like or wolf-like beasts standing on both sides of the gate. One tried to speak loudly about something to Rio, who had foolishly tried to casually go past the gate.
Rio was startled by the voice because he hadn’t expected to see people (or beasts) outside the gate, and his heart jumped out of his chest, and he fell into a mild panic. Then he ran away with a pathetic forward slouch, as if he were playing tag with a demon.
But, in his haste, his feet got tangled. He fell and was easily caught by the dog beast within a few steps. It was no one else’s fault he scraped his elbow; he simply fell on his own.
Rio was brought back to his room after that; and despite his attempts to leave the mansion, he was treated fairly politely. The well-behaved tiger, who Rio was starting to become more familiar with, entered the room, told Rio something in a serious manner, and then left. There was a metallic clang not long after that.
Not having the energy to turn the doorknob to check, Rio flopped down on the bed.
It wasn’t that he thought he would succeed. He didn’t even know if he would be safe beyond the gate, so he couldn’t deny the fact that he was taking a gamble from the start.
Yet, he still felt depressed and gloomy when he was brought back to this room.
Having given up on looking at the wound on his elbow, Rio lay down in the middle of the bed and curled up. He felt like he should just go to sleep, since there was nothing he could do now that the only way out of the room has been blocked.
Again, his stomach churned.
The fruit bag he was carrying fell to the ground when he was captured and was still there. They had probably thrown it away by now.
Without the energy to drink any more water, Rio just curled into a small, round ball and wanted to disappear.
There was a terrifying sound, as if a beast was fighting and threatening something. It was echoed by the sound of wild footsteps and the screams of several people, or rather beasts.
Rio opened his eyes as the din reached his ears. The white room was completely dyed orange by the fading light of the afternoon.
(What’s that sound..?)
In a daze, he tried to figure out where the sound was coming from, but he couldn’t seem to get his head straight. His body was enveloped in a languid feeling, as if he had been dragged out of a nap.
A loud banging sound was heard. The room’s locked door swung open with great force, as if it had been struck.
Rio was startled and jolted up on the bed.
He cowered, but fearfully opened his eyes, which had been closed in surprise at the sound.
The room was filled with light from the hallway.
An unfamiliar voice. No, a sound that shook the entire room that sounded like a cross between a roar and a yell. Rio gradually uncurled his body and raised his upper body with a push of his arms.
He looked up and saw a large lion standing in front of him.
Even in the dim light, the figure was clearly visible to Rio.
It had a golden mane that was backlit in a halo of light, sharp golden-brown eyes that seemed to capture everything in its gaze, a black, moist, upturned nose, and a mouth with fangs even bigger than the tiger’s. That’s right. There was, without a doubt, a lion there.
Behind it, he caught a glimpse of a familiar tiger behind the door, but when the lion lifted its big, thick hand and made a show of waving it away, the tiger quickly retreated across the hall and the door was quickly closed.
Rio and the lion were the only ones left in the large room, and for some reason, they ended up facing each other head on.
Gaaaahhhh! The lion in front of him roared, baring its teeth. No, it was probably yelling something, but Rio had no idea what it was.
Rio was exposed to hostility for the first time ever since he came to this room.
Undoubtedly, this feeling from the lion was blatant hostility. It was a hostility laced with a clear anger that he had never felt from the tiger, rabbits, or dogs. It was the biggest lion he had ever seen, and it just made Rio shudder.
His hands, his legs, and his throat trembled.
Eventually, the trembling stimulated his tear glands to activate.
A single tear spilled from Rio’s eye.
First of all, it was simply terrifying.
In the dim light, a large lion opened its mouth and pointed its fangs at Rio. It would be impossible to tell him not to be scared. In addition, Rio’s heart was really on edge right now.
Confusion over the inexplicable and mysterious phenomenon that had been happening since yesterday, bewilderment over the unreasonable situation, confusion, anger, sadness, hunger, and disappointment that he had failed to escape earlier. It was all jumbled up in Rio’s mind, and he was trapped.
The lion’s roar cut the thread of Rio’s emotions, which had been trapped, worn down, and stretched to the breaking point.
The tears, which had only been a single streak, eventually overflowed like raindrops, over and over again.
For some reason, the lion spoke to him impatiently. But Rio couldn’t understand it. He just couldn’t figure it out.
Rio shook his head strongly, as if to shake off his tears. It was as if he was a child who was not trying hard enough.
The lion’s voice became slightly quieter.
Rio was no longer sobbing, but still shook his head.
(I don’t like it, I don’t like it anymore… Why did this happen, why…)
Rio rubbed his eyes with both hands and squirmed. When was the last time he had cried so much? Tears after tears came, and no matter how hard he tried to wipe them away with his hands, they never ceased.
For some reason, the lion just stood there and watched Rio shake his head and just shed tears.
It put its hairy arms around its neck and stroked the hair on the back of its head in an indescribably awkward way.
After hesitating there for a while, the lion slowly approached Rio.
It walked over to the bed and leaned up against it.
Rio reached out his hand to push the approaching lion’s body away. But his hand deviated from the target and brushed up against the soft mane around the side of the lion’s cheek instead.
Rio looked up at the lion, tears still streaming down his face at the unexpectedly gentle touch.
The lion looked at Rio with a surprised look on its face.
It looked as if it had never expected to be resisted by someone as small and weak as Rio.
Rio sniffed repeatedly and stretched his arm further.
The mane softly wrapped around Rio’s hand. The feeling was surprisingly comfortable, and Rio forgot about crying and moved his hand up and down again and again.
The lion watched Rio and it moved its body closer to him. Rio resisted, but couldn’t resist its touch, and before long, the lion had wrapped its entire body around him.
He was surrounded by the warm, large body of a lion. Its fluffy fur felt good to the touch, and finally, little by little, the tears began to subside.
The lion looked at Rio’s expression and growled, as if it was trying to talk to him about something again.
But of course, he didn’t understand those words, and Rio shook his head again.
And then. Rio’s empty stomach made a long, thin sound. The lion froze for a moment, as if it had heard the sound of his obvious hunger. Rio turned over in embarrassment.
After a few moments of silence, the lion asked him something again, but Rio, not understanding the meaning, still shook his head.
Seeing this, for some reason, the lion let out a breath that was like a big sigh.
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