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    Unlike Heeseong’s worries, Yoon Chi-young was having a pleasant time.

    “So? What did the puppy say?”

    Leaning sideways against a display cabinet, Yoon Chi-young asked in an expectant voice. In the dimly lit reception room, with only mood lights on in the distance, he stood with his back to the light. However, his excited gray eyes, like those of a child, were clearly visible, and behind him, the organization members who followed the Watcher stood in the darkness. It was a fearsome situation where a werewolf who knew the Watcher’s duties would hardly guarantee their life.

    Then, the man who was sitting crumpled on the reception room sofa spoke haltingly,

    “Wh-when I said, I, I would ne-never sleep with you… He didn’t even make eye contact and… fr-frowned.”

    It was Yang Hye-chan. He was trembling severely and couldn’t raise his head. With a pale face and stuttering speech, he looked pitiful. At least if the Clan Leader hadn’t been beside him, he wouldn’t have been able to speak like this.

    In front of him, Yoon Chi-young asked with his palm on his mouth, like an excited boy.

    “Was it jealousy after all? Did it seem like jealousy?”

    “Ugh…”

    “It must be jealousy. You told him first that you had briefly met me, right?”

    Yoon Chi-young treated him with an attitude full of anticipation, as if talking about a lover with an old friend.

    However, Yang Hye-chan was in no state to have a proper conversation. For him, Yoon Chi-young’s existence was trauma itself. The memory of the pitch-black beast tearing off his right arm like a cotton doll in the past was so terrible that he constantly suffered from nightmares.

    Yang Hye-chan trembled helplessly. Before he knew it, he had reverted to his half-beast state, revealing wolf ears on his blond hair, and his long tail below his waist tightly wrapped around his thigh.

    “So? What did the puppy say while throwing a drink at you?”

    “…Th-that, since he’s your guardian… n-not to touch you….”

    “Guardian… He said guardian. Kuk kuk kuk. The shabby puppy says he’ll be my guardian.”

    Yoon Chi-young laughed as if ticklish, lowering his head. Unable to hide his happiness, he repeated the word “guardian” while shyly covering his cheeks. He didn’t even pay attention to Yang Hye-chan, who was waiting for his disposal with a pale face.

    Unable to bear it any longer, another voice intervened from the side.

    “Yoon Chi-young. That’s enough.”

    “……”

    It was Yoon Geon-young, who had been holding Yang Hye-chan’s hand the whole time. The corners of Yoon Chi-young’s mouth, which had been wearing a delightful smile, slowly sank.

    This time, Yoon Chi-young’s gaze turned to the Clan Leader. His smile had turned cold.

    “Sis… Did you forget?”

    He warned, tilting his head insensitively.

    “The Clan Leader cannot interfere with the Watcher’s affairs without a valid reason.”

    “What you’re doing now is not the Watcher’s job.”

    “Why not? It’s related to my guardian, whom Yang Hye-chan tried to kill.”

    It was an attitude that made it unclear whether he was being sarcastic or joking. The Clan Leader just kept her seat expressionlessly without answering. She already knew that Yang Hye-chan was guilty. It was clearly an unfavorable situation for the Clan Leader. If she made a mistake, even the Clan Leader could be interrogated by the Watcher.

    However, the Clan Leader did not leave Yang Hye-chan’s side.

    “Interrogate me instead.”

    Rather, as if protecting Yang Hye-chan, she confronted the Watcher with a stern face.

    “What the…”

    Seeing that, Yoon Chi-young stared at her with eyes devoid of any particular emotion, then smiled and asked as if it were a novelty.

    “Sis… You two have been sticking together so much, have you really developed feelings for each other?”

    “…Don’t speak recklessly.”

    “You’re really protecting him. Ah… I’m sick and tired of always being the villain.”

    With just a few words, Yoon Chi-young grasped his sister’s true feelings. If his calculating sister, obsessed with the position of Clan Leader, acted so irrationally, there could only be an emotional reason.

    It was both pleasing and strange. All his life, Yoon Chi-young thought his sister, unlike him, was upright and wise, which was why she had become the Clan Leader. But as expected of siblings, they had something in common. His sister, like him, was also willing to break the rules to protect her lover.

    Yoon Chi-young spoke teasingly with a smile.

    “Come to think of it… Yang Hye-chan did listen well to you, right? I heard you even put a collar on him in bed now. I guess it’s true?”

    “Rolling around with a mongrel…”

    The Clan Leader spoke sternly, baring her teeth. However, Yoon Chi-young just laughed as if he found it quite fun.

    Until now, the Clan Leader and Yang Hye-chan had been nothing more than a cooperative relationship to Yoon Chi-young. They both hated him and were desperate to kill him.

    In the past, Yoon Chi-young had dethroned the previous Clan Leader, his father, from his position. For his sister, who respected their father, that alone was enough to hold a grudge against him. Moreover, Yoon Chi-young was too powerful as a Watcher. He was bound to be a thorn in her side.

    To Yang Hye-chan, he was the enemy who had ruined the life of his only brother. That’s why when his calculating sister said she was meeting Yang Hye-chan, Yoon Chi-young had long noticed that their purpose was his life.

    Knowing the reasons they were after his life, Yoon Chi-young was fine with them threatening him. Even if they developed real feelings for each other and got married in the process, he didn’t care.

    However, he absolutely could not forgive them for trying to touch the innocent puppy.

    Yoon Chi-young took out a cell phone from his pocket and said,

    “With evidence, will it be okay? The risk will be high.”

    “……”

    Seeing the evidence, the Clan Leader’s face noticeably hardened. It was a rare sight.

    The cell phone was Yang Hye-chan’s, nothing more than an ordinary prepaid phone. However, if Yang Hye-chan, who had clumsily committed a crime, had used it, it was a different story. It had become a piece of evidence on which someone’s life depended.

    Yoon Chi-young carefully examined the cell phone with a smiling face.

    “But fortunately…”

    Yoon Chi-young muttered while swiping his hair back and touching the phone screen.

    “He didn’t try to feed poison to our puppy… didn’t get him drunk and push him off the railing. Didn’t try to lure him to bed and stab him with a knife.”

    “……”

    “Our puppy kind of hates knives, you know. He’s been quite afraid of them since getting stabbed once.”

    Yoon Chi-young rambled nonchalantly about the things he had almost experienced, only worrying about the puppy. In the past, Heeseong had been stabbed in the thigh with a knife, so he was afraid of sharp knives. Once, he saw a blade larger than his puppy body and froze, unable to eat for a while.

    Anyway, there was no direct threat to Heeseong’s life, so Yoon Chi-young was going to let it slide that Yang Hye-chan had simply picked a fight with Heeseong.

    That was before he discovered his contact with the puppy casino.

    “This is also the puppy casino. Casino… I think he underestimated the puppy too much….”

    Yoon Chi-young muttered while checking the cell phone. It had taken quite some time to find, but since the places Yang Hye-chan could hide it were all the same, he just needed an opportunity.

    There wasn’t much content. Just a text message notifying that Yang Hye-chan had made a deposit. Checking the account, the amount was paltry. Yoon Chi-young sighed and dropped the cell phone with a thud.

    “Our puppy’s life was only worth 10 million won?”

    He stared at Yang Hye-chan, muttering dejectedly. Yang Hye-chan hid his bitten right hand in his arms and kept breathing unstably. He knew what would happen to him next. The Watcher might bite off his heart this time.

    Even seeing his fear, Yoon Chi-young just recited as if he found it quite disappointing.

    “That’s too much… Even though you know he’s a precious existence to me.”

    “……”

    “What… Did you want to experience the same pain, thinking of doing it with such a sloppy idea?”

    Asking, Yoon Chi-young giggled as if he found it funny. His nasty personality of deliberately cornering and insulting Yang Hye-chan was quite despicable. However, if Heeseong had been even slightly hurt, Yoon Chi-young would have killed Yang Hye-chan without any such playfulness.

    But then, at that blatant ridicule, Yang Hye-chan finally showed a reaction.

    He raised his head, trembling lean. It was a delicate face that seemed to have lived a life without doing any rough work. Even being shocked by such words, his trembling appearance only seemed immature to Yoon Chi-young.

    “You, now…”

    Yang Hye-chan glared at Yoon Chi-young with trembling eyes. As much as he wanted to kill Yoon Chi-young, although he was pale with fear, his eyes were filled with hatred.

    “Do you think what you did to drive my brother crazy… is the same as that?”

    “……”

    “You…!”

    Yang Hye-chan swallowed his words with a gasp, as if he was out of breath. It was a pitiful sight. Yoon Chi-young stared at Yang Hye-chan with a face devoid of any particular emotion, standing askew. He now spoke through gritted teeth with a face a mess with tears.

    “How can you liken the acts of ruining my brother’s life to being the same as that mongrel?”

    “Ah…”

    Yoon Chi-young let out a quiet exclamation, furrowing his beautiful brows. He sighed regretfully, tilting his head, and tossed the cell phone he had been holding onto the nearby sofa.

    “A mere mongrel?”

    Yoon Chi-young repeated it, thinking it was an absurd phrase. How could Heeseong be defined with such words? That fist-sized existence was now his everything.

    Staring blankly into the air with gray eyes, Yoon Chi-young smiled casually. Suddenly, he understood with what kind of feelings Yang Hye-chan had hated him and wanted to kill him.

    Just as the puppy was the only existence for him, for Yang Hye-chan, it was only his brother. Thinking about that, it made sense for him to say such stupid things. That didn’t mean he regretted nearly killing his brother in the past, though.

    As Yoon Chi-young showed no particular reaction, Yang Hye-chan spoke haltingly with hatred.

    “If, if you hadn’t eaten my, my brother’s limbs… At least my brother could have lived without becoming a cr-cripple.”

    “……”

    “If it weren’t for you… my brother could have become the Watcher.”

    “Hmm…”

    Yoon Chi-young slowly nodded, letting out a quiet exclamation. It wasn’t that he was tormented by guilt or anything; his attitude was rather nonchalant, as if he had even forgotten that memory.

    He now understood Yang Hye-chan’s feelings.

    However, even so, Yoon Chi-young had never regretted the past. Because from the beginning, he had no choice.

    “I know. If it weren’t for me, your brother really would have become the Watcher. Then it would have been easier for you to act as the Clan Leader….”

    Belatedly, Yoon Chi-young smiled as if it couldn’t be helped, gazing into the distance.

    He lifted his back from the display cabinet he had been leaning against and quickly glanced at his wristwatch. Time had been delayed more than expected while talking about Yang Hye-chan and the puppy. It was about time to return to the puppy, who would be falling asleep alone. He, too, was getting hotter as he failed to restrain his pheromones.

    Having sorted out his leisurely thoughts, Yoon Chi-young spoke casually.

    “But what can we do? He got eaten by me because he did something stupid.”

    “You…!”

    “You also ended up like this because you did something stupid… Anyway, it’s true that it was done out of simple grudge.”

    As he spoke, Yoon Chi-young received something from the organization member standing in the darkness. It was a knife. The eerie gray blade flashed.

    “Let’s finish this quickly. Our puppy might cry if he wakes up and sees I’m not there.”

    Yoon Chi-young gripped the knife, speaking of trivial worries. He skillfully twirled the sharp blade in his hand as he moved towards the target.

    “St-stay away… Get lost, aaargh, aaaah!”

    Yang Hye-chan screamed as if having a seizure. The boiling screams pierced the ears even though nothing had been done yet.

    With his senses already heightened due to the accumulated pheromones, Yoon Chi-young frowned and tightly gripped the knife. He thought he should deal with it quickly, if only because of those screams.

    Yoon Geon-young stood in front of Yoon Chi-young as if pushing him away.

    “Yoon Chi-young. Don’t go too far.”

    “Too far?”

    Yoon Chi-young was no longer smiling. With bloodshot and reddened eyes, his gaze was beastly. Having already reverted to his half-beast state, he gritted his fangs and spoke to his sister who blocked him, as if in warning.

    “Yang Hye-chan tried to kill an innocent puppy. If someone tries to kill, they should at least be prepared to die, shouldn’t they?”

    “I, I….”

    As if he had something he wanted to say, Yang Hye-chan stammered and opened his mouth. However, when his eyes met Yoon Chi-young’s, his mouth stiffened and he couldn’t utter a word. In the end, Yoon Geon-young spoke in a calm yet firm tone, keeping Yang Hye-chan behind her.

    “…Let’s negotiate.”

    “We are negotiating. I just need Yang Hye-chan’s life.”

    “I’ll offer a different price.”

    Yoon Geon-young looked calmer than ever. She held Yang Hye-chan’s hand behind her back until the end. However, Yoon Chi-young knew how much his upright sister had lowered herself and come forward just by mentioning a price to him now.

    Yoon Geon-young spoke, unable to hide the tension in her trembling gray eyes.

    “If you let this matter go and marry that puppy… I will never confront you as the Clan Leader again.”

    “……”

    It was a shocking statement. The Clan Leader saying she wouldn’t confront the Watcher meant she would hand over control of the clan to some extent.

    Moreover, his proud sister was suggesting a negotiation to Yoon Chi-young for the first time. It was an unimaginable sight just a few years ago.

    However, the condition his sister presented was ridiculous. Marriage with another race. Yoon Chi-young let out a hollow laugh.

    “Haha….”

    Although it was clearly a bright laughter, it echoed spine-chillingly in the dim space. Yoon Chi-young loosened his grip on the knife-wielding hand and casually wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Yoon Geon-young stared at the Watcher, whom she couldn’t control at all, with expressionless and sharp eyes.

    At the end of his laughter, Yoon Chi-young spoke softly.

    “Sis… Is that a negotiation? You proposed it thinking I would become docile if you married me off to another race….”

    The Clan Leader stood with a stiff face even after having her intentions seen through. That meant she was unusually tense.

    Now Yoon Chi-young couldn’t understand why the Clan Leader was protecting Yang Hye-chan, who had nothing but a weak and specious appearance, to this extent. Not confronting him as the Clan Leader. It was quite a good condition for him too. It was a statement that discarded all of the Clan Leader’s pride.

    However, it was never a condition equal to Heeseong’s life. Yoon Chi-young laughed long as if he would die of joy.

    “I’m sparing a life here. Then you should have at least stated a condition our puppy would find acceptable.”

    At the casual question, cracks formed on the Clan Leader’s hardened face. Her sharp and keen gaze crumbled, and her brows fiercely furrowed. As the tension loosened in dismay, hatred even swirled in her eyes looking at her brother, perhaps because anger had risen.

    “Are you opposing me this much just because of that one puppy?”

    “Then what other reason would there be?”

    Yoon Chi-young asked back as if he couldn’t understand at all.

    For him, killing Yang Hye-chan was a natural thing to do, and the sight of the Clan Leader even putting forth a negotiation because of that was simply absurd.

    However, that attitude enraged the Clan Leader.

    “No matter how I look at it, you are unfit to be the Watcher.”

    The Clan Leader instantly twisted Yoon Chi-young’s arm holding the knife upward and pushed him away.

    “Even when you dethroned Father from the position of Clan Leader, you didn’t act for the sake of our clan because of your own grudge.”

    At the surprise attack, Yoon Chi-young’s body was roughly pushed against the wall. Yoon Chi-young had his back slammed against the smooth marble and even had the knife taken away by the Clan Leader. It was a perfect suppression technique. It was possible because the Clan Leader, like Yoon Chi-young, had grown up receiving rigorous training.

    “Step down from the position of Watcher.”

    “……”

    A tense atmosphere hung in the reception room. Yoon Chi-young’s organization members tried to close the distance but couldn’t recklessly intervene. The knife was pointed at Yoon Chi-young’s throat.

    The sharp tip of the knife touched his neck, causing blood to flow thinly. Even so, Yoon Chi-young maintained an expressionless face rather than showing any tension. He just found it curious that his sister had come at him like this. She attacked first even though she was at a disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat.

    However, the side that acted without fear always tended to gain the upper hand over the wise one.

    “Sis….”

    Yoon Chi-young, who called out her name with a sigh, grabbed the blade of the knife Yoon Geon-young was holding.

    Yoon Geon-young’s eyes widened in surprise at the action. Blood flowing from Yoon Chi-young’s hand trickled down his wrist and stained even Yoon Geon-young’s hand red.

    “How can I step down from the position of Watcher?”

    Yoon Chi-young spoke in a calm but lowly cracked voice. The unwavering gaze within his tired-looking face seemed decadent. He simply spoke sarcastically, unable to understand his sister who had taken the position of Clan Leader he had dreamed of. For Yoon Chi-young, who had been robbed of an ordinary life since childhood, the position of Watcher was now an irreversible past and regret.

    “If I were going to do that, I wouldn’t have killed anyone or engaged in cannibalism.”

    “Ugh…!”

    Yoon Chi-young tripped the Clan Leader’s leg.

    Mounting the body of the Clan Leader lying on the ground with her back down, Yoon Chi-young pointed the knife at his sister in reverse.

    He had managed to point the knife again, but the situation wasn’t good. The bleeding from Yoon Chi-young’s palm was getting severe. The blood that flowed and dripped from his hand gradually stained Yoon Geon-young’s neck red. The blood looked as if it was flowing from his sister’s neck. At the fishy smell of blood, even Yoon Geon-young breathed roughly, unable to hide her tension.

    However, Yoon Chi-young asked without even paying attention to his own injury.

    “Shall we go over the terms of the contract we mentioned earlier?”

    But he couldn’t continue speaking for long. He felt Yang Hye-chan’s gaze, who had been crouching frightened on the side, turning somewhere else.

    Yoon Chi-young had keen senses. Sensing something, he looked towards the reception room entrance with hardened eyes.

    “……”

    As Yoon Chi-young turned around, he saw someone wearing a thick coat.

    Although he was hiding in the shadows, Yoon Chi-young’s keen eyes could see the man’s shocked gaze, his white ears laid back, and his steps faltering backward.

    “Puppy….”

    “……”

    It was Heeseong.

    When on earth had he come? The expression disappeared for the first time from Yoon Chi-young’s face, which had been leisurely all along.

    “Ah….”

    Yoon Chi-young lowered his gaze, finely trembling his pupils. The terrible sight Heeseong had just witnessed came into view.

    Himself pointing a knife at his sister.

    The blood flowing from his hand drenched Yoon Geon-young’s neck, making it look as if he had tried to kill his family. Next to that, even Yang Hye-chan, trembling in fear as if having a seizure, seemed like his own karma.

    Yoon Chi-young felt as if the world was turning white before his eyes. He had shown Heeseong the appearance he should never have been caught in.

    “Puppy… I, I. I mean.”

    “……”

    Plop.

    Yoon Chi-young dropped the knife to the floor and stood facing Heeseong, forgetting the situation he was in. He turned his back on the Clan Leader. He tried to smile awkwardly and defuse the situation, but Heeseong’s large, black pupils were already trembling finely, filled with fear.

    Until now, Yoon Chi-young had already shown Heeseong many of his cruel aspects. But the puppy hadn’t even blinked an eye.

    There was one thing that Heeseong couldn’t accept. It was internecine strife.

    Last time, when Yoon Chi-young had dealt with his relatives and came back reeking of blood, the puppy had been so shocked that he couldn’t even make eye contact and hiccuped. Knowing that Heeseong had already been betrayed and hurt by his brother who was like family, Yoon Chi-young had tried to hide at least that cruel appearance.

    But he had shown himself pointing a knife at his sister in the same way.

    “It’s not the situation you think, puppy. I, I was trying to negotiate….”

    “…Yoon Chi-young.”

    Heeseong raised his head with a stiff face. Although he was much smaller in stature and could have felt threatened in this situation, his gaze seemed much firmer than before. As if he had made up his mind about something.

    Yoon Chi-young knew that although Heeseong had grown up as a fighting dog, he had an upright heart. He also knew that Heeseong greatly abhorred those who committed cowardly crimes.

    “You don’t need to… make excuses to me.”

    “……”

    At the resolute words, Yoon Chi-young’s face became hurt. It was completely different from how he treated Yang Hye-chan. Yoon Chi-young’s diluted gaze was crumbling as if he would cry.

    “…Why?”

    Blood kept flowing from his clenched fist. Perhaps because he had lost too much blood, Yoon Chi-young’s body staggered as he approached Heeseong. Heeseong watched Yoon Chi-young without even backing away, his eyes hardened.

    Soon, Heeseong spoke in a weakly trembling voice, looking at the floor somewhere.

    “I’m going to… anyway.”

    Before he could finish his words.

    “You have to pay the price too.”

    An angry voice intervened from behind. At the same time, Yoon Chi-young, his eyes hardening, hastily pulled Heeseong into his arms.

    Squelch.

    A knife plunged into Yoon Chi-young’s shoulder. Yang Hye-chan seemed surprised that he had stabbed Yoon Chi-young, trembling and staggering backward. Heeseong looked at the knife stuck in Yoon Chi-young’s shoulder as if it were unreal.

    “You…!”

    Heeseong supported Yoon Chi-young’s staggering body with wide-open eyes in surprise. The hot blood flowed and wet Heeseong’s hands that wrapped around his back. To Heeseong, who somehow held his body, Yoon Chi-young asked in a hurt, trembling voice,

    “Do I really… not need to make excuses?”

    Without even waiting for an answer, Yoon Chi-young felt a change in his body. The beastman’s body couldn’t endure the injury.

    Gradually, long fangs protruded in his mouth. They were long and sharp beast’s teeth that pierced Yoon Chi-young’s lips. Along with the blackly growing claws, Yoon Chi-young felt his vision turning red and his reason dimming.

    The pheromone shock was coming.

    His body was turning into a black wolf, losing its reason. The situation was dangerous. With his breath already rough and black claws growing long, Yoon Chi-young spoke to the organization members as he handed Heeseong over.

    “Take… Heeseong away right now.”

    “Yoon Chi-young, get a hold of yourself!”

    Heeseong spoke desperately, trying to stop the bleeding. However, the organization members quickly left the scene, forcibly taking Heeseong away as per Yoon Chi-young’s orders. Under the dim lighting, Heeseong could be seen gritting his teeth with a face that looked like he would cry. Yoon Chi-young took in that expression of Heeseong’s beyond his dizzy vision. Hoping the puppy would be safe when he woke up again.

    ***

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