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    “Renard” 

    Once again, I called out loudly, but it remained silent. Now, what should I do? Where should I go? What do I need to do to escape from here? Desperately, I tried running in any direction, but no matter how far I ran, nothing changed. The fear that I had been holding back now raises its head again. 

    Up until now, I changed the original story without knowing the reasons for being here. However, what if I continue to be left alone in this state? A fundamental fear began to take root firmly in my heart. 

    “Renard! Is anyone there!?” 

    Since I wasn’t assigned any role or mission by some system or author, there was nothing I could be certain of. Why am I here? Apart from the novel set in this world, I’ve read countless other works. I’ve seen webtoons and watched movies too. Why did I end up here? Whether the problem lies in the reason and origin, or if the issue is entering this novel itself, everything unknown was bound to be feared.  

    When Suhyuk became Liev for the first time, he was convinced that he had already died. The instinctive intuition, triggered by the sound of something heavy and dull hitting his head, bones crunching, and blood flowing as if forming a river, led him to judge that even if he were transported to the operating room right away, it would be difficult for him to survive on the way to the operating room.  

    Thanks to that, whatever happens from now on is something experienced after he already experienced death. It was better than becoming cosmic dust scattered throughout the universe. 

    After living more than a decade as Liev, he became greedy without realizing it. Although his life as Suhyuk had ended, under the misconception that his life as Liev had just started, he decided that it was better than simply dying. 

    Just as he was lost in such thoughts, the sound of someone approaching was heard as Liev looked down at his hands again. He heard someone walking across from him. 

    “….!!” 

    In the silence, a sound as if someone were walking barefoot on the grass continued, and soon someone revealed themselves in the darkness. 

    “….!!” 

    Liev couldn’t help but doubt his eyes again. Standing tall, even taller than himself, with an expressionless face, was no one other than himself. It was not Liev, but the appearance of Suhyuk. 

    “What the heck?” 

    Feeling as if I had seen a ghost, I looked at another version of myself strangely. Oddly, the face didn’t appear clear. It was as if I were looking at a blurry-faced ghost, even though I was sure it was definitely me. It was unclear what I looked like. What was going on? Is it still a dream? At the moment when Liev was about to step back, the faceless version of himself asked.

    “Who are you?” 

    Who am I? I’m me. Liev, for a moment, hesitated to answer himself as ‘Liev’ and then replied.

    I am me, who else?” 

    Then the faceless version of himself responded.

    “You are Liev. You don’t have a last name, you made it up yourself.” 

    “No, I’m not Liev, but Suhyuk.” 

    However, there was no strength in the words. Not Liev, but Suhyuk? Am I living as Liev now? The attempt to clarify that I am Liev and Suhyuk at the same time became confusing for a moment. 

    How old was I? Who was the last friend I met? Where did I go to work in the morning? Where did I live? The memories as Suhyuk were a mess with holes in them, and I couldn’t remember where I lived, even though I remembered losing my bag at school 20 years ago, but I couldn’t remember which apartment I lived in. Even before falling asleep, I thought my face looked similar to the previous me, but now, even the features of my eyes, nose, and mouth didn’t come to mind. 

    Ah, so I couldn’t even recognize my own face. Along with the heart-squeezing fear, a loud noise was heard, as if a building were collapsing. When I regained consciousness, Renard, who had become confused and frightened, was looking down at me in a dark cave. 

    “L-Liev, are you okay!? It seemed like you were having a nightmare. I tried to wake you up, but… Oh, you didn’t get up.” 

    Seeing Renard crying and fidgeting, who was sobbing without knowing what to do, I felt relieved. It wasn’t over yet. I could still be here. With a vague sense of relief, I hugged Renard with my whole body. 

    “Liev…?” 

    Seeing my unusual behavior, Renard hiccupped, making a noisy sound, and looked at Liev with a puzzled expression. Taking a deep breath for a moment, Liev calmed his still-pounding chest and patted Renard on the back. 

    “Yeah, I’m okay. I had a scary dream for a moment. Now I’m fine.” 

    That statement was not a lie. It was the truth. Strange. The reason for this anxiety is that I was suddenly dropped into this absurd world, but I felt relieved to see this guy at the center of the commotion. 

    …Yeah. For now, this should be enough.

    Regardless of the reason for being in this world, Liev had no regrets about rescuing Renard from the insane Count’s laboratory. The little guy squirming in Liev’s arms would, at the very least, lead an ordinary life, free from being the final boss. 

    As I was hugging Renard as if comforting myself, my pale face began to regain color little by little. Indeed, even with different races, body temperature proved helpful in driving out fear. There was still a long way to go before reaching Mahatra, so Liev knew he had to stand firm until then, no matter what happened. The chill that lingered in his fingertips when he woke up from the dream just a while ago was quickly replaced by newfound courage.  

    “Are you really okay?” 

    Renard tilted his head and looked at Liev again. Liev smiled and ruffled Renard’s hair. Renard protested being treated like a child, but it felt like Liev had fully returned to his normal self.  

    “Has the rain stopped?’ 

    Even though it had rained quite a bit, the cool weather didn’t pose any significant hindrance to flying. Renard, too, seemed to have fully recovered. After a while, as they prepared to take the flight again, Renard, with a worried look, asked.  

    “You don’t have to push yourself too hard. I really liked that place earlier!”  

    Despite Renard’s solid words and somewhat awkward pronunciation, as he spoke with a suddenly mature sentence, Liev felt proud of his effort. However, there was no intention to delay their departure. Time should be saved when it can be saved, so as not to suffer later. After reassuring Renard several times that everything was okay, they soared back into the night sky, and the landscape below grew increasingly distant. 

    Flying through the darkness, relying entirely on Renard’s animalistic intuition for direction, the ground below felt chilly. However, Liev was not alone now. As he lay flat, hugging Renard’s back, he still felt the warmth beyond the sturdy scales. Even though memories of his nearly thirty years of life as Suhyuk are now fading into oblivion, this moment seems etched in memory forever. It seemed unlikely that an extra, without any abilities, would easily forget the time he spent with Renard, feeling like the main character on an adventure. 

    Would it be the same for you? Liev looked at Renard and thought indifferently, then shook his head to himself. No, it shouldn’t be. Renard had a special fate waiting for him. There was no place for the extras to be involved in those special events, reserved only for people with extraordinary abilities, like the main character and his companions. 

    Whether Liev was lost in bitter thoughts or not, Renard, soaring through the dark night sky, was slowly getting closer to the lair of Mahatra. 

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