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Story 04 – The Unexpected (Part 1)

Slowly but surely, the hot air balloon made by Toyu and friends is rising slowly. Then, before they knew it, they had left the ground of Toyu Land.

“Whoa! Look at that, everyone! This view is just like from Hana’s window!”Toyu was the most enthusiastic, and that is really understandable. The sight of something new is always enticing for Toyu, because he would not want anything else but adventures.

Before long, they could no longer see the place where they have lived and played for a long period of time. As they start seeing clouds around them, the Toyu Land they knew and love has turned into a tiny and cute landscape.

No longer can they see the green hills extending to their backyard. No longer can they see the lush forest that used to surround them. From this point onwards, they are venturing into the unknown.

“Now that we actually left Toyu Land, I am a little bit scared, hahaha.” Ryu was the first one to break. Her hands and feet are shaking violently.

“Hey hey, you do not have to worry about that, Ryu.” Hana tries to console her by patting her back. “I will be protecting you guys, okay?”

“That is correct, Ryu… With Jun’s knowledge, we will all be fine…” Ken adds as he gets closer and hugs both Ryu and Hana.

“It is normal to be afraid, especially into the unknown. I am a little bit scared now. We all are.” Jun said calmly, trying to defuse the situation. “… Well, everyone except Toyu, maybe…”

Compared to the others, Toyu is still happily jumping around lightly–so light it does not affect the balloon’s weight–every single time he sees something new. They saw a thick cloud that they had never seen in Toyu Land? Toyu would shout and lightly jump. A volcanic mountain enters his field of view? He jumps and tugs on Jun’s hand.

“How are you not afraid, Toyu?” Ryu asked, full of curiosity.

“Huh? You said it yourself, Ryu. Our journey will be full of many things we did not know. I mean, how can you not be excited for that?” Toyu answered with a blank expression, as if it is the natural thing to do.

And upon hearing Toyu’s answer, everyone starts to laugh. That is really a Toyu-like thing to say, they all thought.

“Hey I was serious!” Toyu pout as everyone laughed at his answer. “Come over here! See what I have been seeing!”

Despite cowering in fear, everyone was very curious to see what made Toyu so excited ever since they got up so high in the air. And it only takes them a glance, not more than 10 seconds, to change the fear they have been feeling into that of awe.

“W-wow………” Hana gasped. For Hana, the view from her treehouse was the best view she could ever have. But now, a few meters above the ground, she is seeing something that left her speechless.

“S-something this beautiful exists……?” Jun spoke. For Jun, he always knew there was something else outside of Toyu Land. However, the view he is actually seeing right now was never mentioned or shown in any of his books.

“Beautiful………” Ken can only let out one word. Ken might not go out that much, but he always loved the beauty of Toyu Land, especially the hills he could see behind his backyard. And now, he is seeing that beauty amplified a thousand times.

“Wow……… You were right, Toyu………” Ryu was the last to see the view, and she finally agreed to what Toyu had said.

While Ryu was so headstrong about their journey, the fact that they are leaving Toyu Land, a land where everything is safe, makes her afraid. What if someone got hurt, she thought. What if we got lost, she thought.

However, all those doubts and fears cleared themselves as she gazes upon the ever-expanding horizon laying themselves bare in front of her.

“Right? Just like you had said, Ryu.” Toyu replied and showed her a very sincere smile.