༺ Only Bad Owners ༻
Humans were mammals that used tools and had the ability to create tools and weapons from the the materials they found.
Before I went to get Azzy, I roughly sewed some tattered cloth I had found into a ball. It was a crude ball that probably wouldn’t have been used in a real game of baseball, but it was plenty to play fetch with a dog. I spun it around in my palm, and Azzy orbited around me as I walked.
Her body moved up and down, her eyes glued to the ball. While keeping her attention, I was able to bring her to an open part of the field.
「While I hide myself under this veil of darkness, I’ll make sure to find out every dirty plan you have.」
Resisting the urge to glance back, I continued to walk to the field with a strange being following me.
‘How troublesome. Why is she following me around? Doesn’t she have anything to do? What did I do this time?’
All I wanted to do was to train the Dog King using the ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ method.
They said that the carrot and stick method was the best way to domesticate an animal. There was nothing weird about it. However, now that the regressor was stalking me, there was a limit to what I could do.
「The Dog King is one of the few Beast Kings that are friendly towards humanity. If the Dog King goes against humans like last time, we would be in a disadvantageous position in future battles. If he tries to do something to her… I’ll need to take him down. I don’t know how strong he is, but it must be done.」
After reading her mind, I shoved the Military-Grade whip I had brought deep into my pocket. Shei probably wouldn’t like me using the whip.
The fundamental concept of training involved alternating positive and negative stimulation. A reward was given for listening to orders, and a punishment if they went against it. By imprinting feedback in specific actions, I could train her in my favor.
I was planning to use the ball and meat as the ‘carrot’, and the whip as the ‘stick’. However…
「If he tries to torture her or put her on a leash… I’ll give it my all to kill him.」
I could feel the bloodlust from three meters away.
‘No whipping today, I guess. The lack of negative stimulation reduces the efficiency of training, but it’s better than me losing my head. Let’s stick with carrots today.’
After arriving at the field, I raised the ball high and shouted.
As soon as I got into a throwing position, Azzy lowered her body to the ground, taking a stance to catch the ball. Her tail spun round and round like a propeller.
At first, I let the ball roll on the ground. Azzy dashed and drew a smooth curve as she retrieved the ball. Despite having human legs, she had no problem running on all fours.
I feigned excitement at Azzy as she returned.
“Good job! Azzy, hand!”
“Alright, left hand!”
‘Okay, so this doesn work yet. It’s fine. Don’t show disappointment. A dog doesn’t need to differentiate their left hand from their right.’
I pulled out another piece of meat I had cut off earlier.
“Alright! You can differentiate hands and feet! You’re the best Azzy!”
“Woof! I’m the best! Woof, woof!”
“Good dogs deserve a prize. Have a treat!”
I grabbed the piece of meat in my hand and held it out. Azzy shoved her nose into my hand as she tried to frantically dig into the meat. Almost as if she were searching for treasure, she kept sticking out her tongue into the obscured meat between my fingers.
I kept pushing her to the edge as I shifted my fingers, barely keeping her away from the meat. Just as she was about to get frustrated and force her way in, I opened my palm wide and exposed the meat. Seizing the opportunity, Azzy quickly snatched the meat away.
She seemed to have thought of it as another game, so she satisfyingly yipped as she rubbed her chin into my hand.
「I guess… he’s just playing with her…」
It was a beautiful sight, as if out of a painting. An interaction between dog and man. A Beast King—a symbol of nature—was interacting with a human.
‘What do you think of that, regressor? It’s a perfect scene, right?’
「It’s almost like… he’s training an ordinary dog…」
‘What’s wrong with her this time?’
「The Dog King may be a dog, but they look like a regular dog-girl on the outside. Treating someone who looks human like a dog so easily… I better watch out.」
I had never been more frustrated in my life. She had an issue with everything.
‘It’s normal to treat a dog like a dog. It’s strange to treat a dog like a human, treating a human like a dog is for weird perverts. Besides, if you treat another being as a human, they’ll try to take advantage of you. I’m speaking from experience. So the only thing that is right to do in the world is to treat dogs like dogs. I’m just doing the right thing here.’
I continued to feed Azzy treats and toss the ball. Shei watched my every move.
Repeated routines caused laziness. But Azzy was still focused on playing with the ball, rather than training. I needed to start using the whip soon, but the regressor wasn’t leaving.
‘Just how long does she plan to watch? If she’s done observing, I wish she’d leave. If you treat a dog too well, even the Dog King might become spoiled.’
No. I changed my mind.
Fate needed to be carved by my own hands. I couldn’t just wait for her to go away, that’s too passive. I could just chase her away.
Not by force, obviously, but I had other ways.
I shook the ball again. Azzy excitedly prepared herself to pounce on the ball.
“Let’s go again!”
She jumped up and down. I let her retrieve the ball a couple times, and then, I tossed the ball straight towards where Shei was.
‘I can’t even see her. I don’t know how she’s hiding, but even though I know where she is, I still can’t see her. But as long as I know her general direction…’
「I-I don’t need to dodge. It missed, but…」
‘…I can keep her on her toes.’
Weirdos who used stuff like stealth or cloaking abilities were all stalking creeps. Their greatest fear was their existence being revealed.
‘You want to relax in that little veil of yours? Not a chance. Let’s give you a taste of your own medicine.’
“Good job. One more time!”
Each time I threw the ball, Azzy happily dashed towards it. Shei flinched with anxiety each time the ball left my hand.
Azzy was completely unpredictable, flopping around everywhere as she ran. On the other hand, Shei had her hands full trying to move out of her way. She was too busy to worry about monitoring me.
As always, messing with people who weren’t the brightest was always enjoyable.
The ball flew straight at the regressor this time. She stared at the speeding ball as she thought about her options.
「Shit! If I make any sudden movements, the ‘Veil of Darkness’ will dissipate!」
Sudden movements would end stealthing abilities. Shei, clenched her teeth, crouched down and quickly rolled on the ground. The ball swept past her head, and Azzy skipped her way towards it. The regressor let out a sigh of relief as she slowly stood back up.
「Phew, made it… but it’s getting dangerous.」
‘Alright. My plan was a success. She’s slowly backing away.’
「Urk. I’ll have to leave for now. If he finds me here, he might become wary of me…」
I still couldn’t see her, but her thoughts began to fade away. It meant she had traveled a large distance away from me.
‘Phew. Now I’ll be able to train Azzy without interruption.’
「It’s fine. As long as I don’t get caught, I have plenty of opportunities to spy on him.」
I heard a disturbing thought as the regressor walked away.
‘She’s going to try to spy on me again? Is that all she’s learned from her thirteen deaths?’
I wanted to run up to her and shout that I had seen through her stealth, but I resisted. It was better to hide the extent of my powers for now.
And just like that, the regressor vanished.
She probably had other things to do elsewhere.
My only company now was Azzy, who was running back to me with the ball.
Getting impatient that I wasn’t throwing the ball again, she rolled the toy to my feet. She was urging me to keep throwing. I picked up the ball and directed a stone-cold glare at her.
“You like playing fetch so much?”
“Woof! Woof! I love it! I love it!”
Yeah? Well my shoulder feels like it’s about to fall off. And you’re just having fun, huh?
‘Nobody’s watching now. All that’s left between us is the law of nature. I’m a human, and Azzy is a dog. I am completely her superior. Just as oil rises above water and smoke floats to the sky, this was a natural occurrence. It’s called knowing one’s place.’
I pulled out the Military-Grade whip from my pocket.
“The fun ends here, mutt.”
I put the ball back in my pocket. Azzy’s eyes widened in complete disbelief, she appeared to be shocked that I no longer wanted to play with her.
I clearly drew a line.
“The fun’s over. You don’t get any more treats. Go back to your doghouse before I chuck you into the oven.”
“Bark! Bark! Bark!”
She began barking, wanting me to keep playing with her. I caught a slight sense of frustration in her howls.
‘I knew it. Dogs don’t know any better, they only wanted to indulge in pleasure forever. Words can’t persuade them, so humans came to use whips.’
I cracked the whip into the air. A small crack erupted where it struck the ground.
“Here’s the thing. Do you actually expect me to play with you all day?”
“Wow. You act so entitled to it already.”
I raised the whip high. Today was the day the Dog King would be properly disciplined.
“I’ll change your way of thinking.”
Soon after, I swung the whip towards Azzy’s back.
The whip was not made by me. It was a Military-Grade whip, engineered by the State themselves. The State was notorious for making bad things, but the whip was one of their best weapons. It was a luxurious item that had steel plates woven into the hard leather and was a weapon that could be used in real battle.
The crack of the whip incited fear, and the steel plates brought forth pain. If used well, it was perfect for inflicting only pain without any serious internal damage.
‘Know your place with your new scars, and witness the greatness of humanity…’
Then, Azzy moved.
Her head turned faster than the tip of the whip. She was so fast that I could only trace her movements as if I were watching a movie with a low frame rate. She looked directly at the approaching whip and chomped down the exact moment it was about to hit her. She tore through the whip with her teeth.
Her canines tore through the whip made from hardened leather and plated steel that could have easily been used as a real weapon in war.
After chewing on it like bubble gum, she soon spat it out.
I looked at what was left of the whip in disbelief.
Whips couldn’t be blocked with the body. When flicked, the tip of a whip surpassed the speed of sound, causing that signature crack. It would tear through one’s flesh if they tried to catch it recklessly.
However, the Dog King perfectly bit down on the tip of the whip headed towards her and bit it off.
If she could break off hardened leather and steel with the turn of her head…
‘Oh. She’s a dog, but she’s still the Dog King. Hm.’
I naturally put the whip back in my pocket and took the ball out again.
“…Normally, I’d stop playing here. But since it’s the first day, we can play a little more.”
Azzy perked up again as she went after the ball.
‘Alright. Let’s leave that part for later. I’ll play with her till she’s satisfied.’
I didn’t lose here. I was simply having so much fun with my dog that I decided to extend the playtime.
I’m showing generosity as a human by continuing to play with this dog.
‘Ah, what a great day.’
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