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    “Then…”

    A deep furrow formed between Karhan’s brows. Liras had just said that if it was too little or too much, problems would arise. So it seemed that the large quantity that had entered was the issue… Just what kind of problem was it that- His hand stroking Cheep’s head unconsciously applied more force.

    “To give you an analogy for better understanding, imagine a container with a set capacity, and you put things into it. A lot of things. And when you press down and close the lid tightly, the container can’t endure it and starts to crack. That’s the state this child is in right now.”

    On the verge of breaking. Liras stretched out his finger and pointed at the sleeping Cheep.

    “Especially during Athlena’s 3 Days, which are called the blessing of nature. It’s when a lot of mana descends. Such days are nothing short of poison for this child. If it continues, it will go beyond cracks in the container and shatter into pieces.”

    In short, it meant that if this condition persisted, he would die. Although he used the analogy of a container, a broken container could perhaps be glued back together and used for a while. But it was different for living beings. The vessel that holds life can never be put back together.

    Karhan unconsciously clenched his fists tightly. Thick veins prominently appeared on the back of his hands, which looked strong.

    Liras’ explanation was kind. But the underlying meaning was by no means kind. It conveyed that Athlena’s 3 Days were like poison to Cheep, and if it continued, he wouldn’t live long.

    He turned his head and gazed at the long eyelashes stretched beneath his thin eyelids. He was the first animal he had given his heart to. Although he now had the appearance of a human, not a beast, the weight of his feelings remained the same.

    Having the one you’ve given your heart to leave is always a difficult thing. Perhaps it was because he was the first non-human he had given his heart to, or maybe because it had been a long time since he had given his heart to someone. A corner of his heart felt uncomfortably sore. Karhan raised his head and looked at Liras.

    “Is there no way?”

    “There is one way, but… Given his personality, I don’t think he’ll help.”

    Liras stroked his chin with an ambiguous expression. It seemed there wasn’t no way, so Karhan looked at him with a glimmer of hope.

    “Please tell me.”

    “Well…”

    Seeing the look in Karhan’s eyes, Liras hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth.

    “The blood of an Arma is needed.”

    “Then, my blood too-“

    “No. A pure-blooded Arma who caused this is needed.”

    At those words, Karhan’s expression crumpled as much as it could. Liras let out a small chuckle. Seeing him express his feelings without hiding them, unlike his usual self, it seemed he disliked it quite a bit. But there was no other way. The blood of an Arma born from nature was no different from a panacea for those suffering from mana-related issues.

    Karhan, who had been stubbornly keeping his mouth shut, moved his lips.

    “If you, Lord Liras, could provide assistance…”

    “I can speak to him, but I can’t force him. Even though he committed wrongdoings, I can’t suppress him.”

    Karhan inwardly sighed. It felt as if a black lump was growing inside him, gnawing at his life. He raised his hand and rubbed his face in distress. Then, suddenly, his eyes flickered through his fingers. The thought of somehow inflicting a wound and obtaining blood crossed his mind. Watching him, Liras narrowed his eyes and spoke.

    “You can’t forcibly obtain it either. It has to be extracted and administered during Athlena’s 3 Days, precisely this period.”

    Upon hearing that, Karhan released the strength from his straight back and leaned against the chair. It seemed as if there was no way.

    Liras quietly looked at Karhan, who kept his mouth tightly shut. From what he saw, Karhan seemed to have given quite a lot of affection to the silver-white bird. He moved his fingers, organizing his thoughts. He deliberately opened his mouth, pretending to have no particular intention.

    “Why don’t you bring in a new one and raise it instead?”

    As if he had been thinking unpleasant thoughts, Karhan, who had been glaring at the chandelier with his head raised, flinched. Then, he slowly lowered his gaze and looked at Cheep. The sight of his sleeping peacefully, unaware of anything, tugged at his heart. After a long silence, Karhan parted his lips.

    “I’m not sure.”

    I don’t know. No, I don’t know anything. If it had been a trivial feeling, he wouldn’t have hastily brought his here. Compared to the time he had lived, the time spent with Cheep was like a fleeting moment. It was special, but if he tried hard to forget and raise another bird, he could probably do it. However, strangely, that choice didn’t appeal to him.

    Seeing Karhan sitting still without answering, Liras smiled with a knowing look in his eyes.

    “I’ll try talking to him. But don’t get your hopes up.”

    Karhan, who couldn’t see Liras’ expression, nodded. He didn’t have much hope anyway.

    They had only met face to face once, but his personality didn’t seem very pleasant. Even if he agreed to help, he probably wouldn’t do it easily. If he could turn back time… That day, he shouldn’t have let Cheep go with Doel. A futile regret disturbed his heart.

    “Since you seem to be in a hurry, I’ll prepare a temporary measure for you.”

    For a moment, he thought he might have been mistaken, but he felt like he saw a slightly wicked smile.

    Not long after, he realized why the smile he had seen seemed wicked. Karhan had a large amount of blood drawn by Liras. When he received the blood, he made a somewhat suspicious expression, but he tried hard to deny it and turned his head away. Liras was a dragon with a unique playfulness, so if he showed interest, it would only tire him out.

    Are all long-lived beings like that? He feared the future, thinking that if he lived a little longer, he might become like that too.

    Karhan, carrying the medicine prepared by Liras, returned to the ducal residence with Cheep. Liras, the only dragon in this world, handed over the medicine and said that for this Athlena’s 3 Days, he could endure with the medicine he had made. He explained that from the next time, they should have his drink the blood right after inflicting a wound on Asmil.

    He lowered his head and looked down at Cheep, who was holding warmth in his arms. He was sleeping soundly, exhaling soft breaths with a relaxed face. He would probably sleep deeply for a few days like this and wake up.

    Karhan placed Cheep on the bed in his room. He had considered taking his to the room assigned to him, but worried that Asmil fellow might come looking for his again, he had no choice but to lay his on his own bed.

    The sight of his sleeping and exhaling steady breaths, unaware of anything, was both pitiful and adorable. He carefully reached out his hand, trying not to wake his from his sleep, and brushed aside the strands of hair tickling his face. The silver-white hair reflected the moonlight, shining beautifully.

    After gazing at his fair face without any particular thoughts, he raised his head and looked out the window. Athlena’s 3 Days. The full moon was brightly illuminating the world in place of the sun. Suddenly, something that had happened a few hours ago crossed his mind.

    “Right. Come to think of it, he said his name was Seol.”

    Karhan slightly raised his eyebrows and put on a bitter smile.

    “The name Seol, meaning the sun, suits you perfectly.”

    🐤 

    After sleeping for 5 days straight, I ate, slept, and took care of everything in Karhan’s room. The bed was so large that even with me, in human form, lying next to Karhan, there was plenty of space.

    When I first woke up, my heart oddly fluttered at the thought of sleeping with someone else. But I calmed my pounding heart, remembering that I often slept in the same bed when I was in bird form.

    Perhaps worried about me being alone, Karhan didn’t send me back to the room I had originally stayed in. And strangely, during the time we spent together, the next room was noisy, and then Claude suddenly appeared, saying that the room I would be staying in from now on was all prepared, and guided me to the room right next door. It was so close that I could know by knocking on the wall.

    I exercised diligently for the 5 days I slept through Athlena’s 3 Days. For several days, I opened my mouth like a baby bird and ate whatever was offered, whether it was vegetables or anything else.

    If I eat well like this, I won’t get sick later, right? Although I couldn’t go to the festival this time because I was sleeping, I firmly resolved to fly around a lot next time, including what I missed this time, and nodded my head.

    I had been sitting on the bed, but I carefully stretched out my legs and placed them on the ground. Then, I put strength into my arms and stood up. I gently lifted my right foot and took a step forward. Then, I lifted my left foot and took another step. Unlike when I had stuck my bottom out behind me, my posture was upright.

    As I walked slowly for a few steps, I gained courage and placed my feet a bit faster. The pain and awkwardness had almost completely disappeared. With the thought that I had finally done it, I opened my mouth wide and smiled. Karhan must be working in his office by now, right? I thought about secretly going to surprise him.

    He had been eating with me and even went to a stranger’s house with me when I was sick, all for my sake when I couldn’t even move around, so as a companion animal, I thought it would be okay to do an event like this for him.

    I took a cape from the coat hanger next to the door to hide the wings on my back and wrapped it around my body. Then, I reached out my hand, grabbed the door handle, and opened it slightly, showing only my face. Then, I saw the dedicated attendant standing right in front of the door.

    “Excuse me…”

    When I called out cautiously, the attendant who heard my voice turned around. Seeing me through the open gap of the door, he slightly widened his eyes. He must have been surprised to see me come out, as I had always stayed cooped up in my room and never opened the door. Unable to hide my satisfaction, I curled up the corners of my mouth and smiled.

    “I can go out, right?”

    I said with a bright smile. I flung the door wide open, which I had opened slightly, and jumped out. I couldn’t step heavily, but I walked lightly. I felt the attendant who had been looking after me hurriedly following. My steps weren’t fast yet, so he caught up with me quickly.

    “Wh-where are you going?”

    “Hmm…”

    If I told him I was going to Karhan, would he go ahead and tell him? I looked at the attendant with slightly suspicious eyes. The attendant standing in front of me gulped and made a perplexed expression. Still, thinking I shouldn’t cause trouble, I opened my mouth.

    “It’s a secret, but I’m going to Karhan!”

    “Pardon? To His Grace the Duke? I wonder if it’s okay now…”

    The attendant spoke in a worried voice. Seeing signs that he would immediately inform Karhan, I shook my head in advance. A surprise like this should be done secretly. How surprised would he be to know that I walked all the way there myself? I inwardly chuckled and walked away.

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