When I opened my eyes, all I saw was darkness. The soft sound of shoes trudging through the soil greeted me when I raised my ears.
I stretched out my foot and tapped the wall in front of me. The rough feeling of woven straw greeted the soles of my feet.
“No way, am I in a basket right now?’
Seeing as my body would shake even whilst staying still, it seemed as if I was in the basket that I used to when I occasionally went out.
I wonder where they’re taking me. As if to answer my question, a voice that I had never heard before suddenly spoke.
“If we walk a little further, we’ll be in the black panther’s territory.”
“Let’s deal with it quickly. By the way, how come she hasn’t even turned into a human after she had her coming of age ceremony? Is that even possible?”
“The priest already said that it was a curse from Sooshin. …it must be uncomfortable.”
I, who had keen hearing, quickly found out that I was the subject of their conversation.
Right, it’s truly mysterious. I’m definitely a legitimate shapeshifter, but why haven’t I changed my appearance, which was that of a baby rabbit yet?
Every time my mother saw me, she was always irritated and angry. With her fine brows knitted tightly together, ‘Just why have you not turned into a human being yet? Your sibling, Kylie, has already become a full-fledged shapeshifter. Everyone else turns into a human within three years from birth, why are you…!’
She screamed loudly enough for my ears to ring. Sometimes, if she was outraged, she would punish me by not allowing me to step out of my room.
It was a struggle to even open the door on my own without a maid in the first place.
I couldn’t go out without being punished. My mother and father were ashamed of me.
The Levian Household.
My family, the Levian household, was a distinguished noble family in the rabbit territory.
My mother is Eivan Levian, my father’s third wife, and the eldest was me, who was frustrated at how I couldn’t turn into a human being.
Thankfully, my younger brother, Kylie, had already succeeded in turning into a human in less than three years after he was born. At that time, although I was already five, I still remained in the form of a baby rabbit.
Shapeshifters, on average, achieves their human form before their third birthdays, why was I still…?
Although everyone wondered, frustratingly, no one knew the reason.
I’ll be able to shift tomorrow, I’ll be able to shift the next day, I’ll be able to shift after a week. Time flew by in the face of my empty expectations.
Eventually, last month, despite the passing of my coming of age ceremony, I still did not succeed in shifting.
When I went to the temple reluctantly with my mother, the priest shouted that this was a curse from the Animal God. His voice was so loud that my heart had started pounding.
“Hey, isn’t this a bit too far from the territory’s border?”
“There’s no choice but to go this deep into the forest. …After all, the order was for her to die at the hands of the black panthers.”
“Take the grass over there and take it back for proof. It’s a poisonous weed that’s only grown on the black panther’s territory.”
Whilst listening to the conversation, I immediately realised that I had been abandoned. I had a feeling that I would be.
After coming back from the temple, the way my parents looked at me had changed from irritation to contempt. I also heard them murmuring about how it was embarrassing for them to kill me.
“Hey look, I’m pretty sure we’ve gone too deep. If we cross the border, we’ll no longer receive the protection of the territory.”
I could feel the basket touch the floor with the man’s anxious urging.
“Calm down, I was thinking of leaving it somewhere around here, anyways.”
Since this was the black panther’s territory, it was clear that this was a forest that was bordering the rabbit’s territory. A place which was most likely crawling with black panthers.
No, please don’t leave me in a place like this. I’ll try my best to become a good shapeshifter, so don’t leave me here!
I clawed at the straw desperately to no end, but I couldn’t even reach the lid. My vision was blurred due to my tears and my eyes became swollen.
Suddenly, at that moment, I heard a loud scream that nearly made me faint. I stopped scratching the basket and instinctively held my breath.
My whole body was on edge. If this was really the territory of the Black Panthers, then the shapeshifters who moved me might have already been hunted by the Black Panthers. Should I pretend to be dead?
Soon after, the basket began to shake and the lid opened. A bright light suddenly spilled in as I closed my eyes.
Before I knew anything, I was caught by the nape of my neck and lifted into the air.
“A baby rabbit?”
Somewhere, a slow voice rang. It was a clear yet nice-sounding, low-pitched voice.
When I opened my eyes, there was a surprisingly pretty man in front of me.
He had silver hair that looked like silver thread pouring in front of his face. After adjusting to the brightness for a moment, I began to struggle desperately in order to survive.
The black panther clan. I’ve only imagined it, but the tooth in front of me must have been a puk leopard.
‘Didn’t their red eyes make you feel uneasy?’
‘They did. I saw a family of black panthers in the city last time, and their eyes were just creepy.’
When the servants had kicked up a fuss, they had said that most of the Black Panther clan had red eyes.
The man had distinct red eyes as well as shining fangs that peaked out from between his lips.
Since this was the Black Panther’s territory, there was a higher possibility that the men belonged to the Black Panther clan.
‘Let me go, I said let me go!’
As I shook my front foot desperately, I suddenly stopped moving when I felt the chilly mood. The expression of the uninterested man gave off a cold feeling.
“He might capture me and eat me.’
Looking at me as I was frozen still, he smiled, his eyes folding into a half moon shape. Somehow, it looked like a smile of satisfaction.
“Are you crying?”
Is this your first time seeing someone cry? I probably started when I first came to my senses in the basket.
I wanted to pretend like nothing happened, but I felt stuffy, as if something was stuck in my throat.
But at the man’s next words, I couldn’t help but stop crying.
Oh my god, this guy must be crazy!
[ / / / ]
Afterwards, the man stuffed me in his pocket like a thug and moved somewhere else.
While he was moving, I was stunned by his rough handling.
When I came to my senses, I saw a dazzling bedroom which I had never seen before in the Levian mansion.
‘…Where am I?’
Running around on the fluffy bedding, I felt despair and hopelessness.
I didn’t have enough courage to jump off the bed. But I had to escape from here.
Before I came to my senses, just before I was stuffed into the man’s pocket, I saw something I shouldn’t have seen.
A scene where my head would roll onto the floor.
And on the other hand, the state of the man with a sword covered in red blood.
It was obvious that he was the culprit who had killed the two men moving me.
The maids of the Levian family had said that the Black Panthers of the territory next to us were all impatient and vicious.
Why did that man bring me here when I should have died on the spot?
Wracking my small brain, I could only reach one terrible conclusion. My appearance of a baby rabbit was not even emergency food, but an emergency snack.
I screamed and struck the bed with my front foot.
No, no way. I refuse to think about ending up on a plate in a strange place like this.
“Now’s the only time I can escape.’
With my eyes glistening, I began to bounce back on my hind legs. I had to jump off, even if I had to suffer a broken bone.
‘…Here I go!’
I’m jumping! I’m really going to jump!
I, who had leaped off the bed with a determined expression, was momentarily caught in someone’s hand.
Please don’t tell me you’re the black panther from the woods. As I shifted my gaze stiffly, a man with dark black hair looked at me anxiously.
“That could have been a disaster. I can’t believe you’re being so reckless.”
Fortunately or unfortunately, the owner of the snatching hand was not the rude black panther from before.
The strange thing was that, contrary to his neat impression and speech, his facial expression and voice were both rather monotonous.
As soon as I was relaxed by that odd irony, I swallowed a wary sigh again.
Don’t let your guard down. Every time this man talks, his fangs are so distinct that my whole body starts to tremble again.
Moreover, it was true that the most black panthers had red eyes, and this guy’s pupils were also tinged with red.
“Master Ahin too, really. Throwing this little rabbit onto the bed. Anyways, this is the first time I’ve seen you before. Where did you come from?”
There was no way I could have answered, even if you asked. I’m from the rabbit territory! I said rabbit territory! Unfortunately, my inner cry did not reach the man.
“I see, you can’t speak…”
That’s not something you should say with such surprise. You’re a bit slow, aren’t you? Let go! I swore acrimoniously inside, but the man didn’t seem to have any intention of letting me down.
“The floor would be safer than the bed.”
After walking to the sofa in the room, he picked up a fluffy cushion and put it on the floor.
“Ms Rabbit, whilst you’re here, you shouldn’t hurt yourself carelessly. After all, you’re Master Ahin’s possession now.”
The man who laid me down carefully onto the cushion explained seriously with a flick of his finger.
‘Please explain in detail.’
What’s with the weird title of ‘Ms Rabbit’? And what do you mean by his ‘possession’? I patted the cushion with my front foot.
He managed to understand me, but just stroked my head gently with his index finger.
“Also, you must maintain a clean body at all times.”
Cleanliness? I gazed up at him, puzzled.
Still, I had obtained some information from the man’s actions and words.
The man in front of me was a servant of the black panther who had carried me in his pocket, and the repeated title of Ahin seemed to be his name.
‘Tell me more.’
The more information, the better.
In my eyes, the lips of the man who had patted my head with a friendly touch opened.
“Since Master Ahin brought Ms Rabbit into the bedroom himself, I think you’re special!”
“As an emergency food supply, perhaps.”
…Indeed, it’s just as you’ve said. A gurgle left my mouth again as I fell into a dead faint.
 Sooshin: the Animal God
yAWLLLL AHHH im so excited i love this novel so much, both the fl and ml must be protected asSDFLKDFSJK
n e who,,, i sort of wish the author had made the ml with black hair bc i feel like it would have suited him more than silver? they made the manhwa rlly well tho sdlfkjdfj