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    ‘He finally fell asleep….’

    Lying on his side, Yoon Chi-young carefully stroked the puppy curled up on the pillow with his fingertips. Heeseong had been so annoyingly fussy for a while that he had completely woken up.

    Yoon Chi-young smiled a tired smile, recalling the sensation of Heeseong hitting his head and the sound of him growling. The fist-sized puppy said he hated him, and honestly, while he felt sorry, he also felt sad. He was happy that Heeseong, who had been so reluctant to open his heart, was now even jealous of him, but he hadn’t expected to be hated so much for bringing Hodu.

    ‘Still, it’s a bit unfair…’

    Yoon Chi-young had no choice but to suddenly bring Hodu. Rather, he had hidden Hodu’s identity for Heeseong’s sake.

    For now, Yoon Chi-young carefully laid the white puppy in the middle of the spacious bed. He didn’t forget to cover him with his favorite microfiber blanket. The option of laying Heeseong next to Hodu was not even considered due to childish jealousy. Yoon Chi-young was a shameless guy who could be brazen even to a young child.

    Exiting the bedroom, Yoon Chi-young headed to the study. There was something he needed to check.

    In the dimly lit study with only the lamp on, Yoon Chi-young leaned back on the recliner sofa and called someone. While the ringtone continued, he rummaged through his pocket, wanting to smoke, but then he remembered the puppy who would nag him if he smelled the cigarette smoke, so he gave up with an annoying laugh. Due to his injury, Yoon Chi-young was being overprotected by the white puppy.

    Just then, the call connected, and a familiar voice was heard.

    • …Yes. Director.

    It was Ji Young-bae. Yoon Chi-young brushed his black hair back over his forehead with a sleepy face. His smooth nose ridge stood out, and a languid, hoarse voice flowed out.

    “What’s the situation?”

    • We almost caught him again today but let him escape.

    “Did you leave his body intact?”

    • We broke one of his arms.

    “Ah… Nice.”

    Yoon Chi-young burst into a pleasant laugh. He always handled such matters when Heeseong was not around. It was because even if the puppy didn’t show it, he would subtly keep his distance when he saw Yoon Chi-young’s cruel side.

    However, this news seemed like something the puppy would like, so he felt proud. It was about Park Geon-tae.

    • Shall we catch and release him one more time?

    “Just keep pretending to track him. That way, our dog will be stuck in a place easy for him to catch.”

    Yoon Chi-young spoke leisurely while looking at his long fingers.

    Park Geon-tae had already been fully tracked so that he could be caught at any time. However, Yoon Chi-young had caught and released Park Geon-tae a few times precariously, causing the forces following him to disperse.

    As expected, during the tracking process, Park Geon-tae took only the large sum of money he had stolen from the casino and abandoned his followers one by one. In the end, he even left behind his girlfriend, whom he had promised to marry, after being beaten up in the parking lot, showing how desperate he had become.

    Now, Park Geon-tae was completely alone, holed up in an abandoned house with barely any electricity. All that was left was to find him and finish it off whenever they wanted. The process so far was similar to preparing a big shrimp for the puppy to eat.

    However, one troublesome problem had also arisen. As Heeseong had advised, Park Geon-tae was indeed crafty.

    “Preparations for going into hiding?”

    • All preparations are complete. We plan to go in starting tomorrow morning.

    Ji Young-bae answered monotonously. For the next three days, Ji Young-bae had to hide his body somewhere no one knew. The reason was because of Park Geon-tae.

    “I didn’t know Park Geon-tae could use his brain like that…”

    Yoon Chi-young muttered tiredly as if it was bothersome. Still, as the casino manager, Park Geon-tae had quite good information power. He had discovered a serious crime Ji Young-bae had committed in the past and tipped off some reporters and the police.

    The past Ji Young-bae had unintentionally committed a crime while trying to protect his wife. It was an incident where he had killed a wolf clan that Yoon Chi-young had been trying to deal with. If Yoon Chi-young hadn’t accepted him as a member of the organization, he would have gone to prison long ago.

    While the reporters could be blocked with money, the police were chasing Ji Young-bae for results, so he had to go into hiding. In the process, his identity would be forged.

    • I… Thank you. Director.

    Ji Young-bae implied his gratitude. Yoon Chi-young rubbed his sleepy eyes and just smiled slowly. It felt new to hear one of the hardest words to hear from the very taciturn Ji Young-bae. Indeed, it seemed that anyone changed when they had someone precious, just like himself.

    • By the way, how is Hyeon…?

    “You mean Hodu?”

    • …Yes.

    It seemed like Ji Young-bae was about to ask, and their words overlapped. Yoon Chi-young nodded his head as if he had expected it.

    Hodu was the son of Ji Young-bae, a single father who cherished him dearly. However, as Ji Young-bae was being chased by the police, he had to leave his son in a safe place separately. He was too young to be on the run and needed care.

    Ji Young-bae had also worried the most about where to leave his son, but Yoon Chi-young had offered to take care of him personally. As Yoon Chi-young’s arms were the safest and most reassuring place, Ji Young-bae willingly entrusted his son to him.

    Yoon Chi-young spoke in a friendly manner.

    “Hodu is doing well. He cried a lot as soon as he arrived… But when the puppy personally took care of him, he ate well and played together on the carpet.”

    As he spoke, Yoon Chi-young turned to look at the mirror on the side. He could see his earlobe that the puppy had bitten.

    Perhaps because Heeseong had bitten it earnestly, there was a small bite mark the size of a baby fingernail on his earlobe. Yoon Chi-young couldn’t help but laugh. The puppy was the problem. No matter what he did, he was cute, and even when he did something bad, he only looked cute and sexy.

    Ji Young-bae asked gently.

    • Does Heeseong-nim know that Hyeon is my son?

    “I didn’t tell him. So he keeps suspecting if it’s my child. Earlier, he was hitting me while I was sleeping….”

    Yoon Chi-young spoke sullenly while rubbing his ear. At first, he really thought Heeseong had kissed him and woke up, but when he looked at the sleeping puppy again, he saw tears welling up in his eyes and realized that he had done it because he was really upset. Realizing Heeseong’s feelings to some extent, he felt like his heart was crumbling.

    Still, Yoon Chi-young and Ji Young-bae thought it was better to hide Hodu’s identity.

    • Anyway… It’s probably better to keep it a secret. If the information accidentally spreads, you might get involved in this matter….

    “Hmm…”

    Yoon Chi-young nodded slightly, frowning. Concern was evident on his expressionless face with deepened shadows.

    If Heeseong had known about this backstory from the beginning, he would have been deeply upset, thinking that Ji Young-bae had gotten involved in a dangerous situation because of him. In that case, it was better for Yoon Chi-young to be the bad guy.

    Yoon Chi-young said with a sigh.

    “Anyway, things have gotten a bit troublesome. Are you okay with that?”

    • It doesn’t matter. It’s something I had to do someday anyway.

    Ji Young-bae spoke indifferently. He even said it was better to deal with it while his son was young.

    For Yoon Chi-young, hiding it was also the way to make Heeseong live without worries for now. Yoon Chi-young’s top priority was to make the puppy with a deep inner self live without worry.

    With that, Yoon Chi-young received a few more reports and ended the call. After checking the situation on his tablet, he returned to the bedroom. Looking out the window, he could see the sun gradually rising. As Yoon Chi-young and Heeseong woke up and started their day in the afternoon, now was the time to sleep well.

    Returning to the bed, Yoon Chi-young checked on the sleeping puppies.

    ‘Hodu’s sleeping habit is much more well-behaved…’

    Hodu was still sleeping flat on his back like a passed-out cushion, while the white puppy was sleeping on his side in the corner of the bed. He had definitely laid him well in the middle of the bed before leaving, but in that short time, he had rolled and tumbled to the corner.

    Yoon Chi-young suspected if the bed was tilted, and carefully laid the puppy back in the middle of the bed. The sight of him sticking his tongue out a little while sleeping was lovely, and even his sleeping habit of hugging and biting Yoon Chi-young’s fingers with his front paws when Yoon Chi-young gently touched him was endearing.

    “Puppy… Don’t hate me too much.”

    Yoon Chi-young, who had placed the puppy in the middle of the bed, curled his tall body in the corner and whispered. Then, lying on his side, he gently stroked the puppy’s chin.

    “I’ll feed you a huge shrimp soon.”

    “……”

    “A very delicious shrimp.”

    As he spoke with a subtle smile, Heeseong twitched his snout. Whether he reacted to the word shrimp or was dreaming about eating shrimp, he lightly bit Yoon Chi-young’s finger and licked it a few times.

    At that cute sleeping habit, Yoon Chi-young buried his face in the pillow and held back his laughter for a long time. He looked forward to Heeseong’s reaction when he fed him a giant shrimp.

    ***

    Chapter 6

    On the third day since Hodu came to the house, a small problem arose.

    Arrr….

    Hodu, who had seen Yoon Chi-young’s original form, began to be wary of him.

    However, his appearance was a little pitiful. Even though the huge wolf didn’t even enter the room, Hodu was startled and bared his teeth, and if Yoon Chi-young moved even slightly, Hodu would tremble with his tail curled up.

    In the end, Heeseong had no choice but to stay by Hodu’s side and comfort him.

    “He played well with Yoon Chi-young until yesterday….”

    Yoon Chi-young, who had transformed into his wolf form, was lying dejectedly outside the bedroom door with his front legs crossed. The elegant wolf lay down as if guarding the door, leaving no room to pass.

    Even though Hodu was afraid, Yoon Chi-young had no choice but to transform into a wolf today. It was due to the doctor’s recommendation.

    Originally, he should have naturally stayed in his original form due to the injury, but Yoon Chi-young had arbitrarily remained in a half-beast state. Although Heeseong tried to stop him several times, Yoon Chi-young stubbornly refused to transform into his original form. Seeing that, Heeseong realized that Yoon Chi-young still disliked his own original appearance.

    As a result, it had a negative impact on Yoon Chi-young’s body.

    〈As your pheromone levels have spiked again, you must spend the next two days in your original form. If your physical condition deteriorates like this, pheromone shock can occur more easily.〉

    It was a warning given by the drug-addicted doctor while trembling in front of the pitch-black wolf. That’s how much Yoon Chi-young needed to have a recovery period. No matter how fast he healed, an injured beastman had to return to their original form and rest.

    Heeseong didn’t mind Yoon Chi-young staying in his original form, so he brushed it off, but the problem was Hodu.

    Whimper, whimper….

    Hodu, who had seen the huge wolf, clung to Heeseong and wouldn’t let go. He even growled as if protecting Heeseong, and if Heeseong tried to leave the bedroom even slightly, Hodu would cry as if he would collapse and cling to Heeseong’s wrist with his whole body.

    “That wolf is not scary. You played together yesterday too.”

    Even when Heeseong tried hard to comfort him, Hodu wouldn’t leave Heeseong’s side. Heeseong’s face was filled with an adoring smile at that cute appearance.

    “Why? Are you afraid I’ll get hurt too?”

    Hodu bit Heeseong’s collar with teary eyes and pulled him inward as if protecting him. To Heeseong, that alone made Hodu seem brave and admirable. It was natural to instinctively try to hide when seeing something unfamiliar at his age, but his attempt to protect his fellow species looked courageous. That alone was proof that he was born with the qualities of a bold dog beastman.

    ‘What breed is Hodu exactly?’

    Heeseong knew that distinguishing beastman breeds was a discriminatory perspective, but he couldn’t help but be curious. Since wolf beastmen were greatly influenced by their bloodline, their personality and instincts differed according to their parents’ breeds.

    Out of curiosity, Heeseong picked up the tablet on Yoon Chi-young’s desk.

    Then he carefully looked at Hodu. A puppy with rice cake-colored fur and elegantly upright ears. Heeseong thought about what breed Hodu might be and first searched for the candidates that came to mind. From yellow Jindo dogs to Pomeranians, and even foxes just in case, he showed Hodu the photos one by one.

    “Hodu, look at this.”

    Heeseong comforted Hodu in his arms and flipped through the photos one by one. Perhaps because he was still young, when his attention was diverted elsewhere, Hodu quickly focused on the photos with teary eyes. Heeseong found Hodu adorable, and it also reminded him of his younger brother, who was bigger than him even at a young age, making him feel even more affectionate.

    The black wolf outside couldn’t hide his dissatisfaction at that affectionate sight. With eyes that showed not only anxiety but also loneliness, he tried to draw Heeseong’s attention.

    Grrr….

    “Shh. You, be quiet.”

    “……”

    Heeseong spoke curtly without even looking at him. As if that attitude was lonely, there was a sound of the wolf roughly tearing something thin. Surprised, Heeseong looked to the side, and fortunately, it was a towel that could be torn. Heeseong turned his attention away from the wolf again and carefully showed the photos to Hodu.

    Just then, there was a photo that Hodu reacted to by slightly raising his tail.

    ‘Mommy! Mommy!’

    “Wow… So you’re a Retriever.”

    With his mother being a Retriever, Hodu was truly the son of an aristocratic dog beastman family. Heeseong was curious about why such a child had met a father with upright ears and how he had come to this place… But there was no way the wolf-transformed Yoon Chi-young would answer.

    ‘He’s so sulky, how could he even answer….’

    Now Yoon Chi-young had turned his head away, sulking and lying down. He wouldn’t even make eye contact when called, but in fact, his whole body showed signs of wanting attention.

    When a beastman returned to their original form, they sought their pack more. It couldn’t be helped. In a state where they couldn’t use their hands and feet, the help of the pack became essential. Heeseong also knew that desperation, so even if Yoon Chi-young sulked, he left him alone for now without saying much.

    The problem was that the wolf also had separation anxiety.

    Awooo…!

    Suddenly, the eerie howling of the wolf echoed throughout the house.

    Even Heeseong’s tail stood on end at the low howling. Surprised, with his ears completely flattened, he looked outside the bedroom with a doubtful feeling, and the pitch-black wolf was standing there, wagging his tail slowly as if asking for attention.

    “Wh-what’s with the sudden howl? You startled me….”

    Heeseong stuttered, unable to hide his surprise. Although he had occasionally heard wolf howls, it was the first time he had heard Yoon Chi-young’s howl. It was a low and deep sound that one would expect to hear on a night with a full moon.

    Heeseong stroked his pounding chest and first wrapped Hodu in his arms to comfort him. Fortunately, as Heeseong was a fighting dog, he was only startled to this extent, but Hodu couldn’t even make a sound and was frozen, having an accident on Heeseong’s body. Seeing the traces, Heeseong snapped angrily at Yoon Chi-young.

    “You scared the kid!”

    “……”

    “I’ll have to wash Hodu with me….”

    Heeseong grumbled and roughly cleaned up the accident with tissues before heading to the shower room.

    Then the black wolf looked at Heeseong sullenly. Yet, for some reason, he was dissatisfied and scratched the carpet threateningly, walking around the surroundings roughly while growling.

    Heeseong, who now knew Yoon Chi-young better than anyone else, could clearly see his inner thoughts.

    ‘Is he angry just because the kid accidentally marked a little?’

    Sighing, Heeseong thought and took a shower first. While at it, he filled the bathtub with warm water and took a half-body bath. He wanted to soak his body a bit due to the fatigue caused by Yoon Chi-young. He put Hodu in the sink with an appropriate amount of water, just as Yoon Chi-young usually did for him. Fortunately, Hodu’s tension was also relieved by the half-body bath, and he was busy playing with a rubber duck.

    Finding a moment of peace, Heeseong leaned back comfortably in the bathtub.

    Outside, the wolf seemed to be still throwing a fit, as the sound of objects being dropped could be heard. Heeseong found Yoon Chi-young childish and pathetic. What was he trying to do by being jealous of a young puppy? It was not only childish but also….

    ‘Huh…?’

    Heeseong suddenly froze, staring into the air while thinking.

    ‘…That’s what I’ve been doing until now.’

    Being jealous of a young puppy and unable to hide it, showing it with his whole body. It was all what he had been doing.

    ‘I didn’t know it looked so trivial….’

    Seeing Yoon Chi-young being jealous, Heeseong realized how childishly he had been acting and felt embarrassed. There was no need to be jealous or anxious in the first place.

    Heeseong sank into the bathtub and became lost in thought while washing his puppy ears.

    ‘We’re lovers anyway, so there’s no need to be jealous of such things….’

    Perhaps because their positions were reversed, Heeseong found the jealousy he had felt trivial and insignificant. It didn’t mean Yoon Chi-young’s hateful deeds disappeared, but after hearing the wolf’s howl for the first time, his thoughts changed.

    The wolf was clearly calling out to him, feeling lonely. Even Hodu, whom he had taken care of with all his heart, didn’t recognize him and was only afraid, and now the wolf was alone, unable to even live properly without Heeseong. Heeseong also knew from experience how much the presence of a fellow species was needed and how lonely it felt when returning to the original form. Belatedly recalling his own curt behavior, he felt sorry towards Yoon Chi-young.

    ‘…Today, I should put Hodu to sleep and stay with Yoon Chi-young.’

    Heeseong, who had finished washing his white ears, thought.

    Now that his ears were clean, it was time to act like a mature puppy. Heeseong was the worst at being affectionate, but he vowed to do at least half of what Yoon Chi-young had done for him. Thinking that way, many things became easier.

    ***

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