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    “Ah, ah, ahh!”

    Stars flickered before my eyes as my entire body trembled violently. Then Gazelle released his fingers that were teasing my chest, holding my body firmly in his arms.

    “Whoops… what’s this, you’re already done? That was quicker than usual. Guess your body is more sensitive now,” he mused.

    “Ha… ha, ahh…”

    “Really, you’ve become so cute. Everything is soft and squishy. And this part has become pretty adorable too.”

    At Gazelle’s words, I glanced briefly at my own member. It was currently erect, its head raised slightly, despite having not reached my climax. My body, aroused by Gazelle’s caresses, had reached its peak, but without climaxing, the heat inside my body remained smoldering more than ever. Feeling an unbearable warmth in my lower body, I involuntarily rubbed my inner thighs together, even while still sitting on Gazelle’s lap. Gazelle, noticing my actions, gently brought his lips close to my ear.

    “What’s wrong, Takumi? You seem unsatisfied, hmm?”

    “! N-No, it’s not like that.”

    “Is that so?”

    He laughed as if seeing right through me. Gazelle’s laughter was sending his warm breath tickling my ear. However, somewhat hesitant, I avoided turning around to face him. I looked down instead, gazing at my smaller body.

    “Do you… prefer me like this, Gazelle?”

    “Hmm?”

    “No, it’s nothing important. But… the Countess called me cute in this form, and now you’re saying my body is sensitive and cute… so, I wonder…”

    Maybe everyone prefereds “me” like this. After all, the original me was just an average guy with uncommon black hair and eyes. So, maybe this form has more charm. But this appearance is temporary. According to the head of the lab, the effects of the magic potion will wear off in ten days, returning me to my original form…

    Lost in these thoughts, I continued to look down when I felt Gazelle’s arms tighten around me.

    “Gazelle?”

    “Don’t be stupid, of course not. If I had my way, I’d want you to return to your original form right now.”

    Shocked by Gazelle’s unexpected words, I opened my eyes wide. Gazelle then continued, holding me tightly in his embrace.

    “I’ve said it before… you’re certainly tiny and cute now. But because of that, I have to be careful not to break you by accident,” Gazelle remarked.

    “…And yet, I feel like I was treated rather roughly just a moment ago…”

    “What are you talking about? I held back quite a bit, you know? To be honest, I wanted to make you climax a couple more times, make you cry out, and then thrust myself into you to drive you wild. But I’m restraining myself because you’re so small right now.”

    “I’d appreciate it if you could exercise the same restraint even when I’m back to my original form.”

    Well, yeah, now that I think about it, Gazelle was indeed more restrained compared to his usual self. Usually, he wouldn’t stop at making me climax just once. He would make me climax two or three times first… No, let’s not go there right now! It’s not good for my mental health!

    “Anyway, let’s set aside the topic of restraint. More importantly, I…”

    Gazelle stopped mid-sentence. I lifted my face a little and, feeling apprehensive, turned to look behind me. Gazelle’s face was closer than I expected. His golden eyes narrowed, a smile on his lips, and he planted a quick kiss on my cheek with a soft “Chu.”

    “Hmm… Gazelle?”

    “The Takumi I fell in love with is kind-hearted but somewhat reckless, dignified yet sometimes clueless… That’s the kind of man he is. You are adorable now, but the one I find the most ‘cute’ is the original Takumi.”

    Saying that, Gazelle gently pressed his lips to mine. I instinctively closed my eyes and accepted his tender kiss.

    …So, that’s how it is. It’s a bit embarrassing, but Gazelle’s feelings make me incredibly happy. Today, the Countess of Alpharetta called me ‘cute,’ and Gazelle said the same, so I wondered if it might be better to stay in this body. But hearing Gazelle say this, I feel greatly relieved. As always, Gazelle’s words give me courage and comfort… It’s amazing how such a handsome soul chose to be my lover. Just as Gazelle treasures me… I’ll cherish him too. Yeah.

    “Phew…”

    After getting out of the bath, in the dressing room, Gazelle squatted down to my eye level and gently, carefully dried my body and hair with a bath towel.

    It’s kind of scary how, being taken care of so attentively like this, I feel like my mental age is regressing to match my appearance. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but… the way Gazelle dries my hair is so gentle. It feels so comforting that I can’t help but relax and let my head fall forward.

    “Whoa, what’s this, Takumi? You’re being awfully docile.”

    “…Maybe it’s because of how I look now. In this body, it doesn’t feel as embarrassing to be spoiled by Gazelle.”

    “Ah… even though we’ve been officially married for quite some time, you still get shy, huh?”

    Gazelle removed the towel from my head and touched my hair with his fingers to check if it’s dry. His bony, rugged fingers slowly combed through my damp hair, and it felt nice.

    “But, like I said earlier… I fell for the original you. You’re adorable now, but for me, I’d be happiest if the original you would be just as affectionate. Remember that, okay?”

    With that, Gazelle leaned in and playfully licked my lips with the tip of his tongue. His golden eyes were gentle, filled with a warm light, looking straight at me. His words and expressions was making my face burn hot.

    “I-I’ll try my best… That’s good to hear. I’m looking forward to it.”

    Gazelle laughed as if amused, then stood up and handed me my underwear and pajamas. I hastily took them, putting some distance between us as I put them on. But even then, my blushing face was clearly visible to Gazelle.

    “By the way, once you’re dressed, go to Felix’s room. I promised him earlier.”

    “Alright. …But why did you make such a promise?”

    “Well, it wouldn’t be fair to Felix if I monopolized little Takumi, right? You said, ‘Since it’s a rare opportunity, I want you to enjoy this version of me to your heart’s content,’ didn’t you?”

    “I definitely didn’t say it like that!”

    As I protested – or rather, retorted – Gazelle laughed happily and affectionately ruffled my hair.

    “Well, that’s half-joking, but also half-serious. Felix is just as worried about this whole situation as I am.”

    “…Is that so?”

    “Yeah. So, if it’s okay with you, Takumi, could you reassure him? Just like earlier, if he feels reassured, he’ll be able to enjoy the trip starting tomorrow.”

    Faced with that, I can’t say no. If Felix is truly troubled deep down, thinking this situation is his fault, I want to alleviate those feelings. To reiterate, neither Gazelle nor Felix is to blame for what happened. Besides, as Gazelle said, we have a fun trip planned from tomorrow! Before that, I want to ease Felix’s mind.

    “Understood. If that’s the case, I’ll go talk to Felix. Thanks, I’m counting on you.”

    Gazelle then knelt down on the floor one last time and kissed my cheek. It was a goodnight kiss. Since Gazelle, Felix, and I officially registered our marriage and started living together in this mansion, such physical affection has increased. It’s somewhat foreign, or rather, a sensation not common among Japanese. Though it was embarrassing, I reciprocated with a kiss on his cheek.

    “Then, I’ll leave Felix to you.”

    “Yeah. Goodnight, Gazelle.”

    I then left the dressing room, walked straight down the hallway, and headed upstairs to Felix’s room. Gazelle headed to the opposite side, towards the living room.

    He might still have preparations for tomorrow or maybe he’s off to enjoy a nightcap. Now, Felix’s room is one of the six rooms on the second floor, located in the middle on the east side. It’s next to mine, while Gazelle’s room is directly opposite mine.

    “Felix, can I come in?”

    I knocked on Felix’s door and called out. Then, without any delay, the door opened with a click. I hadn’t opened it, and it was not an automatic door. Someone inside the room did.

    “Takumi, I’ve been waiting for you.”

    Felix greeted me with a warm smile, his expression blossoming like a rosebud opening in unison. Despite wearing only a dark-colored nightgown, his princely aura remained undiminished.

    Wow, this is what they call the power of a handsome man. Seriously incredible.

    “Please, come in.”

    He gently took my hand and led me to the sofa in the center of the room.

    Felix’s private room is decorated predominantly in dark brown, with the sofa, curtains, and the desk near the wall all matching in color. The walls are white, which might make the room seem bland, but the dark green floral arabesque-patterned carpet and cushions add a touch of playful elegance. It’s a room that truly showcases Felix’s excellent taste.

    As I sat down on the central sofa, Felix took a seat right next to me, still holding my hand.

    “…Your hand has become so small, Takumi.”

    Felix muttered softly while gently squeezing my hand, his tone tinged with sadness. Remembering what Gazelle told me, I hurriedly spoke up.

    “Felix. I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again. This situation isn’t Gazelle’s or your fault, so neither of you should feel responsible or guilty.”

    “Takumi…”

    “I’m not bothered by what happened at all. If you’re worried about it, I want you to know that I’m fine. Everyone has these kinds of experiences at least once in their life.”

    “…Most people go through life without experiencing anything like this, but… no, thank you. You’re trying to cheer me up, aren’t you?”

    Felix smiled slightly and gripped my hand tightly again.

    “That’s right. We have our honeymoon trip starting tomorrow, and it would be a waste to be gloomy the whole time. I don’t want to worry you… I think I’ll try to change my mindset.”

    “Yeah. Well, this appearance isn’t so bad. I can be more carefree on the trip, and as a child, I won’t attract too much attention… And the Countess of Alpharetta seemed pleased with me, too.”

    Suddenly, I could feel Felix’s grip loosening. Looking up, I saw his cheeks tinged with a hint of pink.

    “That time… my mother really troubled you…”

    “No, no, it’s fine. Actually, I was grateful to borrow clothes from her.”

    After all, clothes aren’t free, and it would be wasteful to buy new ones. Once the effects of the magic potion wear off, I won’t be able to wear them anymore. I would consider buying them for a day or two, but for ten days… Oh, but I did buy new underwear! So, I was really relieved to borrow so many clothes from Countess Alpharetta. In fact, there were so many clothes, I wondered if they were really just for ten days!

    “Umm, while we’re on the subject of embarrassing family matters, there’s something I’d like to ask you, Takumi, if that’s okay?”

    “Me? What is it, Felix?”

    Felix cleared his throat and then looked intently at my face. His serious expression made me sit up straighter and pay close attention. What could Felix possibly want to ask me? My heart pounded as I gazed back at him. After a moment of silence, Felix slowly opened his lips.

    “…Takumi.”

    Hearing my name called with such gravity, I instinctively swallowed hard. What kind of serious conversation is about to start…!?

    “When we return to Ritzheim City after our trip… I was thinking of inviting a portrait painter to draw your current appearance. Would that be alright?”

    “…Excuse me?”

    Did I mishear? A portrait… like those paintings of Beethoven or Mozart that hang in elementary school music rooms? That’s the image I have in my mind.

    “A portrait, as in… a painting? Of me?”

    “Yes, that’s right.”

    “Uh… why would you want to…?”

    His unexpected and completely out-of-the-blue request was filling my mind with question marks. Meanwhile, Felix was gazing straight back at me, his expression as serious as before. It seems he’s not joking.

    “Of course, I want to preserve your adorable appearance. While this situation occurred accidentally… seeing you like this has been an incredibly fortunate event in my life. So, before the effects of the magic potion wear off, I want to keep a portrait of you as you are now.”

    “…What will you do with such a thing? Keep it somewhere?”

    “Rest assured. There are still empty rooms in this house. We can dedicate one of them to display your portrait. Oh, and don’t worry about the portrait artist. I plan to invite the painter from the Alpharetta household. I assure you, nothing will be done to diminish your charm.”

    “Uh, okay.”

    Plans seem to be steadily forming!? Wait a minute, Felix! I still don’t quite understand what you’re talking about!?

    “Felix, sorry, but let me get this straight. First off, why did you even think of getting a portrait painted of me in my current state?”

    “――? Once the effect of the magic potion wears off, we won’t be able to see Takumi in this form ever again, right? So, I thought of preserving your current appearance in a tangible form.”

    “…Um… but why do you want to preserve my current appearance? I mean, I’ve shrunk in height, but it’s not something worth keeping, is it?”

    Hearing this, Felix blinked. Then, he gripped my hand tighter, holding it between both of his.

    “Ah… I forgot. You’re someone who’s oblivious to their own charm.”

    “Oblivious?”

    “Yes. Your current form is very adorable. The original you had an air of a cool summer breeze, but now you have the loveliness of young leaves sprouting in spring warmth.”

    “…”

    Felix, he really knows how to deliver such lines effortlessly… I’m not used to being praised, so this kind of thing always makes me super embarrassed, even now!

    “I want to preserve your precious appearance now, at least within a painting. Of course, even the best portrait artist in Ritzheim might struggle to fully capture your charm, but I want to retain at least a hint of it.”

    …Is Felix really talking about me? His praise is so excessive, I’m starting to worry he’s talking about someone else with the same name!

    “Uh, well… I understand your feelings, Felix, and I appreciate them, but isn’t a portrait a bit too much?”

    As I said this, I cautiously glanced at Felix’s expression.

    I don’t want to dismiss Felix’s feelings, but… a portrait is embarrassingly grand. And just like with Gazelle, it feels complex to hear Felix call “this version of me” cute and adorable… Wait, what? Could this feeling be jealousy? Whoa… I didn’t realize it before, but am I actually jealous of myself…? Damn, that’s embarrassing to realize! Did Gazelle become super gentle in the bath earlier because he noticed I was feeling jealous of myself…? Oh no…! How am I going to face Gazelle tomorrow…?

    As I was holding my temples, overwhelmed by my realization, Felix’s embarrassed voice came from above.

    “To tell you the truth… I’ve been imagining it for a long time.”

    “Imagining?”

    “Yes. It’s been over a year since Takumi and I met… but I’ve often wondered, if we had met earlier—say, when I was a teenager… what kind of child were you, what was your boyhood like?”

    “…If I had met Felix earlier…”

    Hearing that, I couldn’t help but wonder too.

    What was Felix like before he joined the Black Wing Knights, or Gazelle when he fled from the countryside to the royal capital…

    “Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit, but I often fantasized about your past. It might be better to call it daydreaming rather than imagining.”

    As he said this, Felix extended his left hand and gently stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. 

    His hand was white and well-shaped, but upon closer inspection, there were calluses and scars from sword training. It was the hand of the Vice-Commander of the Black-Winged Knights, who has wielded his sword countless times up to this day.

    But these hands weren’t always like this.

    I know very little about Felix before he became the Vice-Commander of the Black-winged Knights.

    That’s why…

    “That’s why I’m happy. I never thought I’d actually get to see what you looked like before we met. I know it’s a bit inappropriate to say… but…”

    “Felix…”

    Felix’s words made my heart quiver.

    I never imagined he thought about me in that way.

    Right… In this world, there’s no technology for photography.

    It might be developed in the future, but for now, it doesn’t exist.

    So, if I want to know what Gazelle and Felix looked like when they were young or as children, there’s no way to find out.

    That makes me think, a portrait here is essentially a substitute for a photograph.

    I was initially shocked when Felix suggested having a portrait painted… but getting a portrait done in this world might not be as uncommon as I thought.

    It’s like having a commemorative photo taken for Shichi-Go-San in my original world.

    “Okay, I understand. So, when we return from the trip, let’s have it painted.”

    “! Really, is that okay?”

    “Yeah. But rather than just me alone, I’d like a portrait of Gazelle, Felix, and myself together.”

    I get that a portrait is like a commemorative photo, but still, it’s embarrassing to be the only one.

    And don’t you have to sit still for about an hour as a model for a painting? I’d probably get bored on my own.

    Plus, it’d be nicer to have all three of us in it!

    …I’m just a bit worried I might blend into the background with Gazelle and Felix’s aura…

    “Me and Gazelle too?”

    Felix looked puzzled at my suggestion.

    Apparently, he had only planned for a portrait of me alone, as he murmured uncertainly, “Well… since we’re doing it, wouldn’t just Takumi be enough…?”

    “…Is that not okay?”

    I tilted my head and looked up at him, hoping he would understand that I feel embarrassed doing it all alone and would prefer all three of us.

    Felix then hesitated, caught off guard.

    “That… that face is cheating, Takumi…”

    “Eh?”

    “Well, if you insist. Then, let’s have all three of us in the portrait. …Oh, and maybe we should have another one painted when you return to your original form.”

    That would mean two portraits: one of me in this smaller version and another in my original form.

    “…But then, only my age will have changed significantly between the two portraits, while Gazelle and Felix will look the same, right?”

    “Yes, that’s right.”

    “Comparing the two will make for quite a unique set of paintings.”

    “Hehe, that would be interesting in its own way. Then, it’s a promise, Takumi.”

    Felix chuckled and extended his arms towards me.

    Before I knew it, he wrapped his arms around me and lifted me up from the sofa. Startled, I quickly wrapped my arms around his neck.

    “Whoa! Felix… warn me before you pick me up.”

    “Ah, my apologies. I didn’t intend to at first… but you were so light, I just ended up lifting you.”

    Wow.

    …Even though I’ve reverted to a younger body, I still weigh over forty kilograms… for Felix to call that ‘light’ just shows how strong he really is. He’s truly the Vice-Commander of the Black-Winged Knights.

    Ah, but now that I think about it, even when I was in my original form, Felix used to carry me princess-style with ease.

    “Thanks to you, Takumi, I can go on the trip tomorrow without any worries, in a peaceful state of mind. Thank you for tonight.”

    “No, I’m glad I could understand your feelings, Felix.”

    Felix walked gracefully while still holding me in his arms.

    “The departure is early tomorrow, so we should probably go to sleep soon.”

    “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

    I smiled back at Felix and nodded.

    I’ve already finished all the trip preparations and even brushed my teeth before coming to Felix’s room!

    Now, all that’s left is to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow.

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