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    Loves Error

    Even though self-blame weighed heavily on his chest, there was no change in what he needed to do. Protecting him from the clutches of the Count means when the opportunity arises, he has to send him to someone who can raise him well. So that he can safely grow into an adult. That was Liev’s plan and goal. When the time for parting came, Renard would undoubtedly suffer a bit from the separation from his imprinted partner, but it was an instinctive reaction that shouldn’t be mistaken for genuine feelings. 

    “It wouldn’t matter who the imprinted target was, as long as it was someone.” 

    So, there was no need to attach too much meaning to it. Whether it was an animal or a person, there was no reason to dislike someone who fed them and took care of them. There were one or two instances where a wild animal was too aggressive to be treated but eventually became attached to humans and was difficult to release back into the wild. 

    Even after years of interning at the rescue center, Liev, too, could not help but develop affection for a being that grew and flourished under his care. There have been countless animals that have passed through his hands. But no living creature had ever spoken to him, sought warmth tirelessly and never took a break from trying to not leave his side. 

    Anyway, it was not betrayal or deception but merely a process. Liev stroked Renard’s shining black scales while making a promise to himself. 

    “I don’t hate you. Don’t worry about strange things.” 

    Then, Renard purred softly, making a gentle, growling sound and rubbing his cheek against Liev’s hand. It was a behavior similar to that of cats, marking something as their own by adding their scent. 

    “Don’t go anywhere? Stay with me, okay?” 

    Without responding, Liev continued to stroke Renard’s forehead, smiling with a bitter smile. 

    As endearing as Renard was, he clung so much that it became so cute that it caused a heartache. There was a limit to how long he could pamper him. Once Renard grew to a certain extent, Liev had to carry out the plan to entrust him to the dragon Mahatra. 

    To enter the mountain where Mahatra lived, one had to break through the barrier that prevents humans from entering. If you stepped into the barrier without preparing in advance, the barrier would lead to hallucinatory effects, and you would wander into the snowy mountains until you died. Although Mahartra was generally friendly to all good beings, he did not particularly like humans themselves. Given that humans would gather every day at the Dragon’s Lair to steal treasures, he took precautions to be prepared. 

    However, it was understandable that this ordinary body could not simply withstand the barrier. 

    Then, I’ll have to use the method the main characters used.

    In the original work, the protagonist and his group consumed herbs that helped maintain their mental strength to prevent falling into hallucinations. These herbs are more expensive than most precious metals, drinking a cup could sustain an ordinary adult male for about six hours. 

    The problem was that these herbs were closer to those of a poisonous herb than a medicinal herb. While an adult male could drink enough to endure for six hours, it was difficult for Liev, who currently had the body of a young child. 

    If he consumed enough to endure until the arrival of the Dragon’s Lair, the toxicity of the herbs would likely cause him to collapse. The safest approach was to grow his body as old as possible and slowly take it to sustain the effects, even though it would eventually strain his body in the end.

    Still, that’s the only method I know of.

    Even if it meant going through such lengths, Liev was willing to endure if it could save this guy from becoming a monster fated to destroy the world. He needed to gather escape funds until the moment he couldn’t protect Renard from the Count. And prepare for how he would live in the future. 

    What can I do in this world?

    Since he mainly specializes in animals and has knowledge of medical practices involving humans, this might prove useful in this world. He had no intention of becoming a specialist, but leaving Renard didn’t mean the end of his second life. So his thoughts became complicated in many ways. 

    Perhaps Renard sensed Liev’s troubled mind, his small body snuggled into Liev’s arms. 

    Well, right now, that’s not important. 

    Right now, his priority is to nurture Renard in in a way that he can survive without Liev’s guidance and protection. 

    “Wait a moment, Renard. Your horn hurts a bit, so I’ll go get a blanket.” 

    As cute as it was, it still hurts. Liev gently put Renard down, feeling the sensation of cold skin against his warm flesh. For a while, they might have to sleep separately or wrap up Lenet in a blanket. 

    “Liev! Quickly! Hurry!” 

    Behind him. Renard suddenly started fussing. What is Renard up up to now? While Renard generally followed him well, accidents were not uncommon. Anxious, Liev quickly turned around to check the bed where Renard was supposed to be. What caught Liev’s eye at that moment was… 

    “Liev! I’m all squishy now too!” 

    A human child seemed to be around two or three years old with jet-black hair and bright-red irises, peach-colored cheeks, lovely curly hair, and even chubby yet soft hands and feet. 

    Anyone who laid eyes on this appearance, resembling a wingless angel descending, would doubt whether it was a reality. Liev, astonished and unable to speak, watched as Renard moved his little legs, jumping out of bed with a strength that was not typical of a child. 

    “Touch it quickly! It’s squishy! Same as Liev!” 

    Startled, Liev embraced Renard with his entire body and asked, 

    “Wait, wait! What did you just do?” 

    It was an unbelievable scene, even when seen with one’s own eyes. Liev wondered why he hadn’t thought of this before. Just like many fantasy novels, the original work featured a transformation magic known as polymorph, which dragons could use. Though aware of such a setting, Liev hadn’t considered it, as no dragon had ever appeared in the original work in human form. 

    Some ancient dragons occasionally transformed into human appearances for amusement. 

    Moreover, the dragon that appeared most prominently in the original work, Kevades, was consistently depicted as a monstrous creature with a body the size of a castle. Even the next frequently mentioned dragon, Mahatra, was described as a moving mountain made of rocks. 

    How could such a transformation occur? Liev’s eyes sparkled momentarily with curiosity and a desire to investigate, but he soon realized it was not something to be delighted about. 

    Oh.

    Yes, I was wondering how on earth they could inject poison into that hard body. It was done using polymorph. With Renard’s soft and tender skin, needles could easily be inserted. Liev felt a pang in his heart. Renard, unaware of Liev’s feelings, continued to nuzzle into his arms. 

    “Now, can we sleep together? Can we keep sleeping together?” 

    Renard was proud of having solved the problem on his own. Renard’s face glowed brightly. However, Liev couldn’t confidently meet his gaze. Unhappy with Liev’s reaction, Renard pouted and puffed out his cheeks, then muttered with a face full of worry. 

    “What? What’s the matter? Did I do something wrong again?” 

    The sight of Renard immediately blaming himself and not Liev was so pitiful that it was hard to brush it off. 

    “N-no, I’ll go back to how I was! I, uh, made a mistake!” 

    With that, Renard swiftly transformed back into his original, small-sized dragon self that could easily fit in his arms. How can I not love this small, delicate being who stutters and looks at me out of fear of hurting my feelings? Liev comforted Renard by hugging him with his whole body, no matter whether his horns or scales pricked his body or not. 

    “No, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s okay, don’t worry.” 

    Liev made sure this remained a secret from the Count for as long as possible. The longer the full-scale experiment could be delayed, the more time Renard would have to grow without any hindrance to his growth. 

    “Instead, you have to only show me that you changed to this, okay? It’s a secret from Lady Priscilla and the Count, okay?” 

    “Yes…! I got it!” 

    I knew it was a secret that wouldn’t last long. Still, I might be able to buy a little more time. Liev gently stroked Renard’s eagerly nodding head again. 

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