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A letter arrived from Lopecce.
A bird flew in through the window. It was the male cavier falcon that was here before.
The male cavier falcon circled the room instead of going straight to Valhayle and approached Zelle.
The male cavier falcon gently laid what it was holding in its talons in front of Zelle.
What is this… A mouse?!!
Zelle’s eyes widened.
She had seen plenty of mice by this point so dead mice didn’t surprise her anymore. In fact, she felt her appetite improve when she saw a mouse’s juicy butt.
Thinking about that made her depressed.
Wow, I’m an absolute bird now.
But why a mouse all of a sudden??
Zelle looked at the male cavier falcon with surprise and it started making a very proud expression.
What. Is it expecting a compliment or something?
Back when she lived in the palace, she heard before that her 3rd eldest sister’s cat used to lay mice or bugs by the people’s bed.
The cat apparently repeated that behavior when people complimented it…
As Zelle was contemplating on how she should react, Valhayle scowled.
“It won’t eat those kinds of foods.”
He spoke to the male cavier falcon with a slightly condescending tone. That was when Zelle realized that the male cavier falcon brought the mouse as a gift.
‘Ah, is this for me to eat?’
Zelle stared at the dead mouse for a while and pushed it away slightly.
I appreciate it, but no thanks.
The male cavier falcon’s eyes widened.
Valhayle tore a piece of his roasted sparrow and handed it to Zelle. And Zelle ate her favorite food with satisfaction.
Valhayle watched her eat and looked down at the male cavier falcon coldly.
It was like he was saying ‘You see that?’ with his eyes.
The male cavier falcon cried miserably.
Valhayle threw the mouse away and opened the letter around its leg.
Zelle was more interested in the letter than the sparrow meat so she immediately flew over to Valhayle’s shoulder.
Sir Luke, who was going through a huge pile of papers per Valhayle’s orders, looked up.
“If you keep bothering Sir Valhayle just because you earned his liking, you will be punished by him.”
Zelle merely considered his sarcastic remark to be a way for him to relieve his boredom from the work and decided to ignore it.
She started pestering Valhayle to show her the letter.
She pressed her talons into his shoulders softly for him to notice.
Valhayle frowned a little.
He spread the letter open and Zelle rejoiced when she saw the words.
There are limits to using military codes so not all documents were encrypted. So there were some letters and confidential messages that were written in Roymondean.
Zelle joyously read the letter.
[Evon of Lopecce.
Last night, Granoir set an empty town on fire…
…few towns in the entrance of the West were captured. The people are…]
As soon as she finished the letter, her lightened mood quickly changed. Today’s letter was sad news.
For some unknown reason, Granoir started pouring all their manpower in the West.
The Western regions were not plainous so they experienced difficulty capturing the area; even still, Lopecce couldn’t fight them off alone.
However, Roheneim couldn’t go assist them right now, since they didn’t have absolute control over the Central region.
Roheneim was going fast but recapturing and aiding at the same time slowed them down.
The Central region where there were still a few Granoir troops left and the Western region where they were all heading towards. The Central Western area continued to be unstable.
After Valhayle and Zelle were done with the letter, Sir Luke read the letter. Zelle hopped off from Valhayle’s shoulders with a heavy heart.
The male cavier falcon slowly started approaching Zelle. Judging by how it was glaring at Valhayle, it must be unhappy that Valhayle threw the mouse away.
Then Zelle’s eyes met with the male cavier falcon’s. Its fierce eyes immediately softened.
It came closer and started pecking lightly on Zelle’s neck and arranging her feathers.
Zelle’s shoulders rose as she was startled.
Oh my my. W-why is it doing this??
Valhayle looked at the bird with displeasure.
“Sir Luke. Put that bird in a cage.”
Sir Luke looked up from the letter. The Valhayle he knew wasn’t the type of person to interrupt when someone was reading a letter.
When he asked again for clarification, Valhayle commanded abruptly again.
“I said, put that bird in a cage.”
Sir Luke then looked at the two birds sitting next to each other.
[Those birds flying high, their love fills the sky.]
The two birds reminded him of a poem immediately. Also, he realized why his superior couldn’t stand that sight.
[Lonely is me, who am I to fly high with?]
However, as Valhayle’s good old friend, he suppressed his laughter and spoke seriously.
“Sir. This is why I told you to marry as soon as possible.”
“What are you talking about. I told you to put that bird somewhere else.”
Sir Luke continued softly.
“Sir. It’s only natural that a male is attracted to a female in nature. It’s totally natural. That mouse earlier is the sign of it for example.”
Valhayle’s frown deepened when he heard that…
And Zelle’s beak dropped.
‘This bird…Is attracted to me?’
Like how a male is attracted to a female? And that mouse was a sign of it?!
Zelle shoved the bird that was grooming her feathers away and flew up.
Hey, I’m a human!!
The male cavier falcon started flying after Zelle. Zelle flew away from it, circling the room. However, she couldn’t get it to give up so she flew into Valhayle’s chest.
Valhayle covered her and spoke coldly.
“She doesn’t like it. Put it away.”
Sir Luke started arguing.
“Ey, sir. Animals usually have a… Rough mating. It looks like they dislike it and are attacking each other but in the end… ahem, um. They end up in this and that.”
Sir Luke tried to describe the ‘this and that’ with his hands but soon gave up.
“Why would you stop it when we actually need more messenger birds?”
Valhayle fell silent for a short while as he glowered at the male cavier falcon.
“So animals don’t have the right to reject now?”
Sir Luke made a dumbfounded expression.
“I mean, how do you even know if that’s a rejection or not?”
Valhayle ignored his question and continued.
“Anyway, I don’t approve of this male bird. Put it away. It’s an order.”
Wow, he ordered it. He even used the word ‘order’ in this situation.
But when the superior says it’s an order, I have no other choice but to comply.
Sir Luke complained internally and placed the male bird inside a cage.
Zelle sighed in relief. She almost had to reproduce as a bird.
She never even met a man’s eyes, to say nothing of how she hadn’t ever gotten engaged, so she couldn’t have baby birds yet. Zelle burrowed deeper into Valhayle’s arms seeking comfort.
After locking the cage, Sir Luke questioned.
“But sir. Are you being jealous?”
Valhayle looked at Sir Luke with a look of pure disgust. Sir Luke withdrew immediately and saluted.
“S—sorry sir! I just never saw you like this so… Haha, I’m done with the letter so I’ll get going now…”
Valhayle called for Sir Luke threateningly.
Damn it, my cursed tongue.
Sir Luke regarded his tongue with contempt for not knowing its limits and turned to face Valhayle.
Valhayle tipped his chin towards the male cavier falcon.
“Take it out of my sight.”
Valhayle’s eyes narrowed.
“Do I need to repeat this again too?”
Sir Luke grabbed the bird cage swiftly.
“I’ll get going now.”
Zelle peeked at the male cavier falcon and Sir Luke as they left.
Before the door closed, the male cavier falcon squawked for the last time.
It contained frustration.
A few days later.
The enemy messenger soldier, holding a green flag, visited. It was immediately after one of the major towns of the Central region was recaptured.
Roheneim had left the recaptured castle and proceeded while moving in tents.
Before the enemy messenger soldier entered Valhayle’s tent, Valhayle hid Zelle in the tent.
“Do not make any sound.”
Shortly afterwards, Valhayle added.
“There could be people trying to harm you.”
Zelle immediately conceded.
There was a rumor that she was Valhayle’s other physical form so there were even absurd rumors going around that killing Zelle would kill Valhayle.
It would be easier to kill a bird than to kill Valhayle so there could be an assassin after her life.
Obviously, Valhayle wouldn’t die just because Zelle was dead; however, if there were news that Valhayle lost his ‘eye in the sky’, it would increase the enemies’ morale. After all, Zelle was more symbolic to the enemies than to the allies.
Yet… Zelle still couldn’t understand.
‘If he meant to hide me, isn’t it better to hide me in another tent…?’
Is he doing this so I can hear them? She wondered but there was no time to find out.
Valhayle opened the basket a crack so she could breathe and went over to his desk. Zelle peeked through the gap.
“Let him in.”
At his command, the messenger soldier who was completely disarmed by the Roheneim soldiers was brought inside. The people in the tent looked at the messenger soldier frigidly.
The knights in this room were high-ranked knights who were at least vice commander-in-chiefs.
The messenger soldier spoke in terribly amateuristic Roymondean.
“Greetings, tribe’s leader, sends. I come here, discussion, for negotiation.”
And he started reading the letter he brought. The knights in the tent frowned at the crassness of his behavior.
The conquerist country, Granoir.
They were a united country composed of diverse tribes so their union was always unstable.
For that reason, Granoir’s leaders diverted the conflict within their tribes to an outside force to avoid war.
It was a clever way to rule over the tribes that cooperated surprisingly well when there was a shared enemy.
The purpose of their wars was not to ‘rule’ but to ‘conquer’. As a result, they didn’t learn any other language than theirs. So it was normal that the messenger soldier was not fluent in Roymondean.
However, during negotiations with a foreign country, having someone who could barely communicate in that foreign country’s language was disrespectful.
It was a metaphoric insult to the foreign country that:
1. the foreign country’s representative should be fluent in their language in order to negotiate;
2. there was no point in learning a language of a country that was already conquered by them.
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