—Upon exiting the cave, a strange scene awaited me.
With only his arms reasonably transformed into a dragon, Gard was dismantling the buffalo—buffadon that was as big as a truck and was covered in scales as if it had rock armor all over its body.
There were pelts hanging a short distance away. There was a puddle of blood and a lump of guts next to it. He probably drained its blood and processed it there. It was a remarkable feat.
I wondered if monsters would gather around it, but then… I remembered that in all my explorations with Gard, I had never seen any monsters in the area come near him.
I see. He’s a flying disaster.
“Oh. I was in the mood for some rare steak, so I went with Plan A. Heheh, I’ll roast some delicious sirloin for you.”
He showed me a refreshing smile when he saw me come out of the cave and wiped his hand with the handkerchief he took out of his pocket.
I wanted to retort a lot of things that I couldn’t say anything in return.
Gard skewered the meat into a branch, arranged it on the firewood I had prepared, and roasted it. He also hummed a tune.
“Just the fillet is fine.”
I gave up on what I wanted to say and requested a specific part of the meat instead. The sirloin was a bit heavy for my first meal of the day.
I decided not to pay too much attention to the potential of demons and sat next to Gard.
I crushed the peppercorns and sprinkled the powder. My only job now was to be the sprinkler.
Gard had been staring at the chunks of meat that he had just begun to cook when he saw my hand that was sprinkling the pepper and gasped.
“A~ah. You got hurt as soon as I took my eyes off you. The hell’re these?”
“Urgh. I’m not a child.”
He firmly grabbed me by the arm and glared at me, his eyes saying, you’re such a child!
“Bite marks, huh. It won’t stop bleeding… I didn’t even notice the smell because of the buffadon’s blood…”
“I was bitten by porcupines. But it didn’t hurt a bit.”
“Porcupines? Ah… You mean, a horncupine1Porcupine is “yamaarashi” in Japanese. In this world, they are called “tsunoarashi” with “tsuno” meaning horn.. I see—”
He was utterly amazed as if my story had struck a chord with him.
Well, how should I put this… Sorry.
He rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a handkerchief, but it was stained with the buffadon’s blood.
Gard went silent and stopped rummaging. Good call.
He was frowning for some time, but when he saw me looking disheartened and guilty, he pressed his lips on my wounded hand.
“Hm, I’m not fond of blood, but this is delicious… Nn,” Lick.
“…It’s ticklish, but… What are you doing?”
Gard began to lick my wounds. His slithery tongue crawled over the skin of my hand to tend to it.
When the horncupine drank from me, I didn’t feel as turned on as I did when Azel drank from me. So, I thought for sure they were harmless.
Gard looked at me with his lips on my hand, his slightly slanted eyes glancing upward.
“The horncupines have hemotoxins2toxins that destroy red blood cells, disrupt blood clotting, and/or cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage in their fangs. They have small mouths, so they can only drink in small amounts. Your wounds won’t heal even if they just bit you playfully.”
“O-Oh… So that’s how it is…”
“I’ll apply some blood clotting toxin. It’ll only take a second, so just let me lick them for a bit, ‘kay?”
Gard then pressed his lips against my hand and once again licked my hand carefully. Apparently, he could mix the toxins inside his body with his saliva and apply it with his tongue.
That was probably the situation we were in, but the image we convey was quite awful.
I looked like a pervert letting a handsome guy lick my hand, which was pretty distasteful.
I stared down at him as he thoughtfully licked with his slit eyes closed and had an indescribable look on his face. His long silver eyelashes cast shadows, and he looked beautiful despite what he was doing right now.
The sight of it gave me a sense of déjà vu.
The idea of my fingers being licked reminded me of Azel, who used to drink my blood every day with reservation.
He would glance at me from time to time, checking how I was doing, and touch me as if he was handling a fragile object. He called humans feeble beings and became overprotective of me, worrying about not hurting me more than necessary.
…I want to see him.
I felt my chest tighten.
“Mm. Aight, that’s it!”
“Oh, the bleeding has stopped. Thanks.”
“You can’t go around monsters you don’t know anymore, ‘kay?”
The warmth on my hand had gone away.
It felt a bit damp, but my hand wasn’t bleeding anymore. And, he still treated me like a child.
I wanted to talk back to him, but I knew that I held out my hand thoughtlessly, so I nodded, unable to pay anything.
Ugh… I’m so ashamed.