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    Finally, the moment they entered a neatly maintained room compared to before, Suhyuk was sure where this was. 

    “Is he the only one who succeeded?” 

    A huge egg, the size of a human head, occupied one side of the room. Can it be described as an egg? Its shell was so hard and smooth, as if carved from obsidian, absorbing even the surrounding shadows. 

    “Yes. Lord Fernando.” 

    Count Vasil Pask Fernando. Suhyuk had heard that name before. Of course, in fiction, not reality. Suhyuk had to accept that his assumption, was not an assumption but the truth. 

    How did I end up here?

    If Suhyuk remembers correctly, this place was a popular fantasy novel that Suhyuk read when he was in high school. At the time, Suhyk and his friends were frequenting the rental store. Vasil, the Count, was the final boss in the novel. 

    Well actually… He is killed by the dragon he imprisoned and tortured to make him go berserk, and instead of the Count, the crazy dragon becomes the final boss that the main characters must defeat.

    Afraid of looking suspicious or strange, Suhyuk lowered his head as much as possible and glanced around with the corners of his eyes. And at the edge of Suhyuk’s gaze, the egg that had caught his eye since he entered the room came into view. 

    That must be the egg “Kevades.”?

    It looked unusual with its hard and smooth exterior.

    Kevades. In the ancient language of this world, it meant disaster. It was also the name of the dragon, the final boss in the novel. Thicker and harder scales than steel armor covered its entire body, and sinister red eyes burned like flames. Just reading the descriptions in the novel made Suhyuk’s heart tremble, and when it appeared in the illustration included only in the paperback book, he wanted to buy it tens and hundreds of times. 

    How can an egg be covered in such a shiny material? Is it made of the same material as his scales?

    Ever since he was young. Suhyuk had loved reptiles so much that he couldn’t resist.

    Growing up, he promised himself that when he became an adult, he would raise a beautiful, jet-black snake or lizard at home. However, even after becoming an adult and interning at an animal shelter after entering veterinary school, taking care of abandoned and injured animals was too overwhelming, and he was unable to achieve that dream. 

    After getting a job at a large animal hospital and becoming a veterinarian specializing in special animals, he still hadn’t fully settled into a stable position, harboring a long-standing wish deep in his heart. But now, that dream was unexpectedly coming true in a direction he had never imagined. 

    “Hmm, make it usable. If things go wrong, just throw it away.” 

    If Suhyuk’s predictions were correct, this place was a laboratory conducting experiments to train and strengthen the dragon Kevades. Even though it was called a laboratory, it was quite barbaric and unhygienic, unlike what a modern person would imagine. 

    In the novel, dragon eggs were basically lumps of magic power. In the setting of the novel, where magicians and wizards existed, the energy of all things was called magic, which had a total of six attributes: ice, fire, wind, earth, light, and darkness. Basically, it was a world view that slightly modified the elemental system commonly found in mass-produced fantasy works. 

    For this reason, only someone born with the darkness attribute could touch Kevades’s egg, which was like a giant darkness attribute core, without becoming critically ill due to rejection. 

    Even adults whose “vessels” had completely solidified, having already accepted and expelled magic, easily became addicted to the magic core and died even if they had the same attribute. 

    It meant that only a child born with the darkness attribute could stay near the egg and be unharmed. 

    Hmm…

    Suhyuk took a moment to accept the situation. Now, let’s organize my current situation from start to finish. Suhyuk is now sold off as if he were a disposable item from his family. Even if he were to escape from here, there was no way to survive with this weak and young body. It was better to accept the fate of being sold off than to rebel and be beaten. 

    Unless he was completely mistaken and remembered the contents of the novel he had read dozens of times incorrectly, the reason why Suhyuk was brought here was very clear. 

    They probably want me to take care of the Kevades egg until it hatches.

    Having reached that certainty, Suhyuk thought. 

    Isn’t this a huge gain?

    When else in my life would I have the opportunity to hatch a dragon? If a baby dragon were to come out after breaking through the thick eggshell, looking up at Suhyuk with eyes not yet dry, how touching would that be? It had been a scene he had imagined countless times in his mind, but it was something he had never experienced before. 

    According to the novel, Kevades, awakened from the egg, goes on a rampage and destroys the entire laboratory. So, until then… Anyway, I won’t die, as long as I don’t do anything strange to provoke the dragon’s wrath. 

    In the original story, it was mentioned that in the early days, when they didn’t know how to handle dragon eggs, only children died handling the eggs. 

    But for Suhyuk, it wasn’t a big problem. He only read the parts of the original where dragons appeared, and not only that. 

    [Author, what should I use to clean the dragon’s scales?] 

    [Do you need to manage the claws and teeth separately?] 

    [How can you prevent being poisoned by the dragon’s core?] 

    At that time, I used to bombard the author’s publicly available email address with obsessive questions. The kind author always responded with thoughtful replies. It was thanks to the author, who willingly provided information, that Suhyuk had a head full of knowledge, not just about the dragons. 

    Thinking about it again, isn’t this like an award for me?

    Suhyuk lowered his head, pretending to be scared, trying to suppress the light in his eyes that almost sparkled for a moment. Seeing Suhyuk like that, the Count sighed and tilted his head. 

    “First, take him and get him cleaned up. Assign him a place to stay. Even that would be better than nothing.” 

    With those words, Suhyuk was dragged somewhere again. 

    The solemn-looking woman took Suhyuk to a dark and damp bathroom. Calling it a bathroom was a stretch, it was just a wooden tub filled with water, without a faucet, warm water or soft and clean towels. 

    “That round thing over there is soap. You’ve probably never used it in your life. If you soak it in water like this, it’ll produce foam. Wash until the foam doesn’t come out like dirty ditch water.” 

    She gestured with her chin as if looking at something dirty. She pointed to a crude soap that seemed to have been roughly made by solidifying waste oil. 

    Have I ever tried just using soap? I tried using body wash, shower gel, or even the shower cologne my sister bought. I was surprised at how much that cost.

    Suhyuk nodded and began to take off his tattered clothes, then glared up at the woman. Although he was now a tiny child, it was a bit uncomfortable to bathe in front of a woman who was not his mother. He knew it wasn’t the time to bring that up after suddenly being murdered and waking up in a novel, but he couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable. 

    “What are you doing? Hurry up and wash.” 

    In response to the fiery command, Suhyuk flinched, crouched down, and thought to himself, “I’m just six years old now. It’s an age where I shouldn’t have any thoughts like this.” While saying to himself like he was being brainwashed, he obediently washed his body. It was a rather painful experience, but thanks to the woman who left him alone after seeing that Suhyuk was washing properly, the final rinse with water felt a bit refreshing. 

    After washing, there were slightly oversized shirts and pants placed in front of the door. The ragged clothes that Suhyuk had been wearing until now had disappeared without a trace. 

    She must have brought these for me to wear.

    Putting his arms through the loose-fitting clothes that felt like wings compared to what he had on earlier, Suhyuk couldn’t help but notice how baggy they were. However, they weren’t so oversized that he couldn’t wear them at all. So, with the sleeves dragging on the ground, he stepped outside, only to hear the woman clicking her tongue. 

    “Don’t drag the sleeves like that. Fold them up and wear them properly. What are you going to do dressed like that?” 

    Well, I didn’t exactly choose to come here willingly in the first place, did I? Silently thinking to himself, Suhyuk followed the woman as she took him to another room. It was an attic with a small wooden desk, a bookshelf, and a rough bed. 

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