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    Considering its size, it seemed more like a spring than a lake. Liev hushed Renard and approached the spring quietly. As they got closer, a shadow swayed over the crystal-clear spring, allowing them to see through to the bottom. 

    “Hmm.” 

    Could it be a person? There’s no way the Count’s pursuit team could catch up so quickly. Just as Liev was surprised and tense, a growling sound came from behind him. 

    “Renard?” 

    It was the sound Renard usually made when on guard against the Count. When Liev turned around in surprise, Renard was fiercely glaring at something on the opposite side. 

    “What’s wrong? What’s happening?” 

    Is it a person? I can’t see anything with my eyes. In that moment of contemplation about whether to jump on Renard’s back and fly away, a thud came from the distance. Simultaneously, Renard, with his eyes gleaming, pulled on Liev’s sleeve. 

    “Liev! Can I eat that?” 

    “Huh…?” 

    What are you going to eat? Rubbing his eyes, Liev checked the direction Renard pointed in. In the direction where the sound was heard, a large stag was sitting. Seeing the creature, unable to escape and frozen, shivering all over, a sense of pity and sympathy arose in Liev. At the same time, he truly felt that Renard was a real predator. 

    Even when dealing with his sharp teeth, enormous size, and tough scales like armor, he hadn’t realized it until now. In an instant, it dawned on him that Renard had captured the large stag with nothing but momentum. 

    “Huh? I’m hungry. I think I can fly faster if I eat something.” 

    Until now, Renard had consumed, almost daily, a monster that was the adult size of a cow. Most of them were processed, making it difficult to recognize their shapes. Despite feeding him by my own hand all this time, it never felt so strongly that Renard was a carnivorous predator. Moreover, except when eating, he always stayed by Liev’s side, pretending to be a normal child, so other than breathing fire or being injected with poison, he often seemed like a normal child throwing a tantrum. Liev nodded with a bitter taste in his mouth, realizing that he had been living very peacefully. 

    “Yeah. But don’t leave any traces. If there are traces, we might be tracked.” 

    Of course, it would be better to leave here before the pursuit team catches up with them, but just in case, he didn’t want to leave any possibility. Warning in case Renard wanted to leave something, Liev nodded cheerfully. 

    “Okay!” 

    Then, quickly discarding the robe Liev had put on him, Renard touched the ground with all four feet, and in an instant, he transformed back to his original form. However, the small and cute child was nowhere to be seen, in his place stood a majestic and towering figure. Liev couldn’t help but feel a shiver down his spine. 

    Renard’s large and sturdy body, as he proudly boasted, shone with a dazzling luster even though he was not yet in his adult form. Thump, thump. With each heavy step, he approached the deer, and at last, in a swift motion, he swallowed the deer whole. At that moment, Liev closed his eyes tightly, repeating the same words in his mind. 

    “It’s the order of nature. It’s the order of nature. It’s the order of nature…”  

    However, soon after, the eerie sound of bones breaking between the dragon’s sharp teeth made Liev shudder once again, as if his entire body were covered in goosebumps. 

    It’s the order of nature!!! 

    When the unsettling sound of Renard’s meal finally stopped, Liev let out a sigh of relief and opened his eyes. However, what he saw in front of him was not only Renard, who had satisfactorily finished his meal, but also a certain “form” oozing with fresh blood. 

    Despite having completed anatomy classes and having experience handling damaged corpses due to his profession, he never imagined he would witness a deer being crushed in such a manner.

    If it had been in good condition, it would have been just a matter learned from photos, but seeing it in front of his eyes, the figure was so disfigured that it was scary. I couldn’t help but let out a scream and catch it in my throat. 

    “Liev, do you want to try this? It has the most delicious smell. I can afford to give it to Liev!”  

    Then, with his eyes shining like a cat proudly bringing a killed mouse to its guardian’s bedside. Renard’s eyes sparkled. Liev nearly fainted, he never once thought of himself having a weak stomach, but this guy was truly the one to test his limits until the end. 

    “No, no. I’m full, so Renard can enjoy it!”  

    Closing his eyes tightly again and shaking his head in disgust, Renard seemed to be expressing, Why won’t you eat this delicious food? Tilting his head as if he didn’t understand, he swallowed in one mouthful what he had been pushing toward him just a moment ago.

    Liev managed to keep his spirits up and scooped up water from the spring with both hands and swallowed it to come to his senses.  

    After the painful meal (?), Liev once again rode on Renard’s back to start today’s journey. Flying up high into the sky to see the surrounding terrain at a glance. It would take about 10 minutes to reach the nearest town from here. He considered asking Renard to stay at an inn for a comfortable rest, but he couldn’t afford it. 

    Thanks to Renard being able to carry him and fly, they had gained quite a lot of distance. So, he decided it would be better to hide in a village and rest as planned, after reaching the halfway point as originally planned. 

    “We’re going in this direction again. If I tell you to stop, slow down, and don’t approach the village too close.” 

    “Okay!” 

    Anyway, he always speaks well. The probability of him unexpectedly jumping out on his own was fifty-fifty, and the probability of obediently following what Liev said was the other half. With a sigh, Liev tightly hugged Renard’s body once again. After about two hours, as expected, Liev landed in a deserted forest with a completely exhausted Renard. 

    “Is there a decent place to hide here? 

    It’s a bit worrying to wander around since the sun hasn’t set yet. Let’s explore the forest as inconspicuous as possible in human form with Renard, who has turned back into a human, and fortunately, a large cave came into view. 

    “Oh…? 

    If he encountered something like this in the forest while living as a modern person, he might have worried if there was a suspicious fugitive hiding or if wild animals were lurking and might attack. But now, by Liev’s side, the so-called top predator on earth was standing next to me. 

    “Growl… Grgrgrgr…” 

    As the howls of a beast, presumably a demonic beast, echoed from inside the dark cave, Renard’s eyes glowed at the same time. Liev couldn’t help but gaze at Renard, who looked at him like a cat expecting him to understand, eyes wide open and tail swaying like a cat expecting its guardian’s permission, just before it pounced forward, but now was not the time to stop it.  

    “Liev, can I eat that too?” 

    Liev nodded his head with a dim look in his eyes.  

    “You can eat it all without leaving anything for me.” 

    Soon after, Renard finished his meal in an instant, without saying a word. 

    It’s the order of nature… 

    Safety was assured as soon as he entered the cave. Renard, with a satisfied expression, revealed a cozy interior. They could endure until dawn tomorrow. After collecting dry branches and fallen leaves to start a fire, Renard, with a full belly, snuggled up into his arms with a happy expression. Then, Renard started getting ready to sleep, his attitude was so confident and natural that Liev couldn’t resist and soon gave in, embracing Renard. The half-asleep Renard, with a satisfied smile, mumbled softly. 

    “Yeah, Liev. I’m really happy now. I don’t have to talk to the Count anymore, I can fly freely. I’m so, so happy.” 

    Liev’s feelings were not much different either. Just the two of them, without any interference from others. The thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to run away and live in peace without doing anything that he thought of as unpleasant or painful didn’t seem like a bad idea. 

    But…

    It shouldn’t be like that. Renard was a dragon. Not just a small lizard that could live contentedly in a glass cage.

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