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『A long time ago, there lived a man with a blood of gold.
His blood had the power to protect the lives of this land.
He lived by the blue Vishen River and died in the Vishen River. Yes, the Vishen River flowing in front of the town.
Legends say, the blood of gold still remains in the water, the Vishen River still producing gold. 』
— The Founding Legend of Roymonde
When Zelle woke up, she was above a perch.
She just woke up yet she was starving.
It was a strange hunger. It was a hunger that was stronger and more animalistic than normal hunger. And that feeling was very unpleasant.
Zelle raised her brows.
‘How long have I been asleep? No, how long have I lost consciousness?’
Her last memories were when she was dragged somewhere and thrown to the floor, blindfolded.
But the situation seemingly got better.
She was in a place where green fields unfolded in front of her eyes and fresh air flowed beside her….
Am I in prison?!
Zelle widened her eyes.
She was trapped behind iron bars.
No wonder. Where would a princess captured by the enemy stay? She would be imprisoned if not killed.
But a prison in the outdoors seemed way too strange.
To find out where she was, she glared outside the bars.
She had no idea where it was. But it seemed like a forest.
‘Which forest is this?’
Forests were everywhere so she couldn’t tell exactly where and which one she was in.
‘Ah, please. Don’t be somewhere outside our border. It will be difficult for the allies to rescue me then.’
Anyway, guessing by how clear her eyesight was, her eyesight must have gotten better while she lost her consciousness.
She could even see every single leaf swaying far, far away.
Just as she was mesmerized, her legs wavered.
When she finally got her balance back, she realized where she was sleeping on.
Her feet were huddled on a thin stick-like thing.
She was so surprised at the fact that she fell asleep on this thing and started rubbing her eyes.
No, she tried to rub her eyes.
But she had no hands to rub.
There was a…..wing instead of a hand.
Surprised was not enough to describe how she felt.
Zelle was so frightened that she fell off the perch.
She instinctively tried to regain her balance but only flappings could be heard.
She fell on the floor. She couldn’t do anything even after she fell.
No. This is a dream. It’s a dream right? It would make more sense if I was dead.
What….are these wings…..?
Zelle tried to wake from the dream.
She tried to slap herself but it was impossible with these wings,
So she decided to bite the wings.
It was very painful.
Zelle teared up and felt her mouth.
Unbelievable. Instead of teeth…
There was a beak.
Zelle was surprised again and started fluttering. Two feathers fell and floated around in the bird cage.
Zelle struggled inside the small bird cage.
‘A bird. Am I dead?’
If she was dead, it was already depressing enough that she did not have a peaceful death but becoming a bird was even more depressing.
A bird? Then this prison…
Zelle looked around slowly from the floor to the ceiling.
The iron bars she believed was a prison were….
A bird cage.
A strange scream echoed from her throat.
What is this? What is this beastly noise?
Zelle tried to speak the language of the people.
Zelle screamed again .
and lost her consciousness.
II. The Bird and the Human
Zelle woke up because she was thirsty.
As soon as she woke up she rushed towards the water in the dirty container.
She tried gulping the water but none of the water entered her mouth.
Only her hard beak tapped on the bottom of the container.
She was already in the worst mood she could be in because of the hunger but now she was about to die because of the burning thirst. And she was about to go crazy because now that she didn’t even know how to drink water.
She had no time to sulk about her being a bird anymore.
Zelle made every effort to remember how birds drank water.
I have to live. I have to live.
….Dang. Did my brain become a bird’s too now that I became a bird?
She couldn’t remember.
Zelle took her chances and opened her beak and used the bottom part of the beak to scoop up the water. Then she set her head upright.
Was this how they did it?
She tried to imitate it. She shook her head up and down to send the water down her throat.
Ooh, it’s working.
Her mind got clearer now that her thirst was cleared.
Zelle shook her head like crazy to drink the water.
It was too refreshing for her to be ashamed of the way she was drinking.
‘Yea, at least I lived.’
At least I…lived?
Zelle thought for a moment about the meaning of ‘living’.
In this context, ‘living’ did not apply to her.
It applied to…this ‘bird’.
‘I may be already dead.’
Zelle swung her wings and raged.
She screamed at the overflowing anger.
Give me my life back!!
Then, her wings were grabbed by something.
She couldn’t get out of it by force so she could only dangle her feet.
Zelle turned her face to glare at the thing that grabbed her.
Eeeeck! A person?
Zelle started pushing again at the surprise of seeing a human.
The person grabbed her wings more tightly and mumbled.
“Is it sick?”
Zelle immediately acted like she was dead.
Now that she was a bird, it was not a good thing that she was caught by a human. Who knew what kind of a person caught her?
Zelle did not know well about other things but she did know well about how cruel people could be.
As soon as she pretended like she was dead, the hands grabbing her wings loosened.
It seemed like the person was confused at the suddenly powerless bird.
‘Seems like I’m not his bird.’
Zelle searched the surrounding.
It was a little scratch on her ego that she eventually admitted she was a bird but right now she had to get out of this situation.
But can I fly? I should fly to escape or whatever.
Zelle twisted her wings.
When the powerless bird started twitching its wings again, the hands completely loosened. It seemed like he was trying to look at her more carefully.
Zelle quickly scratched the human’s hands.
While the person was crouching from the pain, Zelle used his shoulders to push herself towards the sky. And she flapped her wings with all she got.
Huh? Something is…
She felt the ground growing further away from her.
‘The wings… seem too big for my body size?’
Zelle kept flapping.
Soon she was further away from both the man she scratched and the ground.
‘Ah, I succeeded in escaping.’
Suddenly she felt very proud of herself.
How was that huh!! How was my scratch!!
After laughing out of pride, she somehow felt like crying.
‘Hey, I’m a human. sob.’
She was a human, but with no such thing as hands to wipe away her tears.
Zelle landed on a nearby branch to rest her throbbing wings after flying for a long time.
She landed like how the birds used their feet to grab the branch…
But the branch broke too easily.
Zelle crashed to the ground with a short screech and frowned from the pain.
Then a squirrel scurried up the tree Zelle just fell from.
That coiled up tail swaying here and there felt like it was teasing her so she glared at it.
The squirrel looked back and froze when it met eyes with Zelle.
‘Whoa, won’t you look at that? So I’m stronger than a squirrel, huh?’
Zelle lifted herself up and the squirrel ran off at an impressive speed.
If she still had human eyesight, she wouldn’t have been able to see it so clearly but she had a bird’s exceptional eyesight.
She could see the motion of the squirrel trying to run away so clearly.
Zelle flapped her wings again and landed on a thicker branch.
She carefully lifted one foot up and looked down to observe her talon.
It was shaped like a hook and was sharp….and there were one, two, three, four…..
Zelle shot her head up.
Wait! Is this….
‘Is this a bird of prey?’
Zelle thought about the relatively huge wings compared to her body and the pain she felt when she bit her wings and trembled.
A mirror, a mirror.
She tried to look for a mirror in her pocket but soon sighed.
‘Right, I am not wearing anything right now.’
Zelle sprung up to the sky to look for a puddle or something to see her reflection.
When she was at an altitude that was high enough, she could see the whole forest.
She was in awe.
A bird’s eye view.
It was an amazing thing to look down at earth as a bird.
The autumn forest with hints of gold between the lush green scenery filled her eyes.
The trees below her swayed like silk.
Everything was so clear and defined.
And in that splendid sight, something caught her eyes.
There was a flag of Roymonde, where she was a princess of.
She did not even have to think twice to fly towards the flag.
It was a confusing situation right now where she didn’t even know where she was in the forest but that familiar flag felt so much like home.
Her heart beat faster.
It seemed like she was not so far from her Kingdom.
˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖
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TL/N: Zelle is short for Zelleine.