51 Trust and Doub
A faint rustle reached my ears as yet another gust of wind went by the entrance of the abandoned burrow I had taken refuge in. The night had brought an unbearable coldness with it, one even the soft fur of mine could never protect me against. Without this gift of heaven some random animal had dug into a hillside, I would be somewhere out there, in the forest and shivering under some scrubs.
I had learned it the hard way. When the sun set many hours after my headless flight I had still thought I could somehow manage as I had gained quite some strength by killing all of those slimes, but as the night approached I came to realize that my worst enemy didn't come in the form of wolves, bears or goblins.
It had been cold out there, far too cold. I had hidden under a brush, thinking the leaves and my fur would protect me somehow, but that hope was cruelly crushed by icy winds. Making myself as little as possible and snuggling my sensitive nose under my bushy tail had helped somewhat, but not enough for me to even dream about falling asleep.
Even if I would have found sleep somehow, there would still have been the voices and calls of numerous animals and monsters nearby, sounds I couldn't even guess who or what they belonged to.
It was in the past. I was safe now, thanks to the unknown animal that had dug this burrow. There was no smell in here, nothing that indicated at something having lived here days ago. The former owner of my new 'home' had probably fallen prey to some random goblin or a monster.
I couldn't care less. Thanks to its death, I was safe for now. I had even found food in the near surroundings. It was only berries and a few fruits that looked like apples, but it was still better than nothing - at least those which had not given me stomach aches.
Sadly, my tiny body thought otherwise. It had protested against these meals, giving me stomach aches and nausea, but I had little chance to give it the meat it demanded instead.
It went without saying that I had tried to hunt. Not only for rabbits and birds but even for fish, though until now I had never been lucky enough to catch a single one of them. Even if I had, how could I eat them raw? I couldn't even think of forcing my teeth into the still warm and bloody flesh, of the feathers or the fur sticking to my tongue and the smell of their intestines reaching my nose.
It had been three days since I ran away, three days and nights of starving and freezing, yet I still felt unable to make this one step further away from being a human and becoming more of an animal than I already was.
By now, the sky outside of the burrow was already lighting up. A new day was beginning, a new day of me trying to survive out here or at least find the courage to face the mistakes I had done.
Ofris probably still searched for me. He probably felt even more guilty than I, even though it was my fault entirely.
«I should never have played with his feelings like that...»
It was thoughts like this that made it impossible for me to find my peace. When I couldn't sleep I was thinking of him and when I slept, I woke up from dreaming about him and all the little sins I probably had committed.
I was unable to even think straight and logical for more than a few minutes, damned to always return to the spiraling thoughts surrounding that gentle man who had tried nothing but welcome me in his life and home.
«What have I done?!»
「I can tell you~」
There it was, the cursed voice that had made my misery even more unbearable. Shiro had been silent for most of the time, especially in the nights when I was already busy enough to fight with myself. Naturally I was more than thankful for this.
A part of me hoped that the goddess finally grew into a decent being able to feel responsibility and guilt but I couldn't even imagine her changing. Compared to the time I had first met her she had indeed changed, but all of that were slight differences. It wasn't anything noteworthy. And she hadn't suddenly turned likable but pitiful at most.
I knew she felt lonely and I long since guessed that all her pranks were signs of that, but it was still hard to forgive her. Even after telling her that it was all good, that I understood her, in my heart she was still half of a demoness – a pitiful one.
«Good morning,» I greeted her.
「How are you feeling today? Does your stomach still hurt?」
「You need something better to eat than berries and shrooms!」
«Food doesn't fall from the sky!»
「You can still go hunt.」
«Didn't we went through this before? How am I supposed to hunt.»
「Use your teeth. Or your claws!」
«They aren't even sharp! They couldn't hurt anyone!»
「They look cute, though~」
«They are useless! Why do I have all those magic spells that I cannot use?! What's up with that? Do you really want me to die? What are you going to do if something attacks me?»
「I would save you, dummy. You are my little Rika, after all~」
«Save me? How? You are little more than a voice in my head!»
「I saved you from the goblins back then. You don't remember?」
Yes, I remembered it. How couldn't I? All those balls of fire springing forth out of thin air, shooting towards the goblins and setting their most precious parts on fire. I would never forget.
«Lets never talk about that magic again.»
「Don't worry~」 Shiro's voice turned rather playful. 「Your magic is strong enough to fight for real. Just trust me!」
「First we will find you food. Anything will do!」
«I want meat!»
「Okay, okay! Meat it is~!」
「Now gets out of here! It is already day!」
«Something tells me to just continue sleeping and not listen to you...»
Even though I said that I knew I had to use this chance. As cruel the goddess could be at times, she had never tried to hurt me for real. And she certainly wouldn't allow anyone or anything to kill me.
A faint sigh left my lips or what had remained of them. «I will trust you this last time...»
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Shiro: What did you dream about?
Shiro: But didn't you say before you had a nightmare?
Rika: There was no such thing.
Shiro: Was it about Ofri-
Rika: WE WILL NOT TALK ABOUT THE DREAM!
Shiro: ... you had fun?
Rika: THAT WASN'T ME!
Shiro: Yes~ yes~
Rika: IT WASN'T!