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Zelle flew past the raggy flag and landed on a nearby branch.
‘Oh my goodness, I almost flew into it.’
She misjudged the direction so she barely dodged the tree in front of her.
The branch she landed on was way off from where she initially decided to land too.
It must be because she was not used to flying yet.
Zelle hurriedly looked around the flag.
There was someone around it.
Zelle stared at the still person and cocked her head.
This person was sitting, leaning on a tree while holding a flag post in one hand.
The flag pole was pushed into the ground like the person was trying to stand up with it.
But there was no movement.
Zelle started to get really worried if this soldier holding her country’s flag was dead or not.
She knew that Roymonde was totally defeated in the Chewridge War.
The capital and the Kingdom were conquered.
She didn’t want to admit but her highly regarded Kingdom lost.
It was the result of Zelle’s father, Lespelle the 1st’s greed.
Zelle recalled the day she and her siblings escaped and scattered away from the Kingdom.
There were a total of eleven descendants of the royal family including Zelle.
To promise a better future, there had to be as many royal offspring alive.
It was because even if half of them were killed, one should live and rebuild the Kingdom.
They were never on good terms with each other but no one objected to the plan.
And in that newly formed bond of blood, Zelle withdrew her suspicions of one of her siblings betraying the Kingdom.
The older siblings, as in the ones who received the royal successor education, were more prioritized than the younger siblings since they were the preferred ones to survive and rebuild the Kingdom, so the younger siblings had to sacrifice.
The younger ones had to be the ones distracting the enemy by becoming a bait.
And Zelle was one of the younger siblings.
She was the fourth daughter but among the eleven descendants, she was the eighth child.
Zelle and her three younger brothers each escaped first on horseback.
Some of the enemies that were targeting the descendants obviously went after them.
The younger ones were half-forced to sacrifice themselves but Zelle genuinely wanted to live. But getting caught meant death.
Zelle only looked forward and rode for her life.
The soldiers guarding beside her fell one by one.
Arrows shot past her with murderous intent behind her.
Zelle wanted to close her eyes in fear but she forced herself to open them wider.
There was only one thing on her mind.
‘I have to live.’
But the chase was persistent.
Zelle felt the heart of the horse she was holding tightly onto was beating as fast as hers.
She could also feel that this chase would end soon.
When the arrow hit the horse, the horse jumped.
Zelle fell off her horse and fell onto the ground. And without time to even process the pain, she lifted herself up.
She tried to run but she was roughly pulled by someone.
It was the enemy soldier.
As soon as she identified that he was an enemy, she was bagged inside a sack.
Zelle knew she would be on the scaffold soon enough.
Killing the royal family on a scaffold for the public to see was the most humiliating thing for the conquering country to do to the defeated country.
It was how the defeated country’s hope was stripped away and how the conquering country completely put them under submission.
Zelle despaired in the sack.
She wanted to live.
Among the sisters and brothers who all had different mothers, she prolonged her life just by being careful not to provoke them in any way.
She was furious about how she would die in vain like this for them.
But Zelle didn’t go straight to the scaffold.
She was in a sack so she didn’t know exactly where she was but guessing by the musty smell, she must be in someplace underground like a cellar.
Zelle was thrown in there like an object.
She lost her consciousness from the collision.
As her consciousness was fading away, she smiled a little, seeing that there were no other sacks beside her.
It meant her three younger brothers were not caught.
They didn’t even have the same mothers and she didn’t have any feeling of love for them but she did feel compassionate towards them, who similar to her, had to blend into the background to avoid provoking the older siblings who were as old to be their aunts and uncles.
On top of that, she didn’t want those children to cause any trouble.
All of their mothers were still alive so who knew what harm their mothers would do to her country to save their children’s lives?
Zelle’s mother was already dead.
So there wouldn’t be anyone who would trade anything valuable to the Kingdom for her life.
Zelle was a little relieved and then lost her consciousness fully.
Then she opened her eyes in the body of a bird.
She couldn’t comprehend how she ended up in this state.
Anyway, Zelle flew over to the soldier to look at him more carefully.
He didn’t move even after when she landed on his shoulders, so he must be dead.
Zelle felt both relief and sorrow.
The soldier holding this flag would be a messenger soldier. And if he was, he would have been returning to the…
Zelle turned her head.
Does the Allied Camp still exist?
Zelle had to know what happened to her home country Roymonde. She also had to know what happened to her body.
To do that first, she had to search this messenger soldier’s pockets for the message.
Zelle pushed her beak into his clothes.
She couldn’t feel anything on her beak.
Zelle pushed in more deeply, her whole head inside his clothes.
Zelle pulled her head out with a scrolled paper on her beak.
His heart…..is still beating.
The soldier whom she thought was dead was still alive. Even though he is unconscious at the moment.
Zelle was now on the tip of her mind.
Judging by his state, this soldier was terribly injured.
If she left him like this, he would either be killed by the enemy or would eventually die from the wound.
Zelle decided to find the Allied Camp first instead of reading the message.
If it even still exists….
Plus, the stamped mark on the paper meant the letter was confidential.
If the allies saw any signs of opening on the paper, they would not treat it like it’s confidential anymore and would destroy it. If that happens, it could be disadvantageous to Roymonde.
How many troops of Roymonde would still be alive, now that the royal castle is conquered too?
Zelle flapped her wings in haste.
I have to think ahead. There is no way I would not recognize that yellow flag I saw my whole 20 years of life.
Since I am the princess of Roymonde.
Zelle carefully searched the surroundings as she flew.
And soon enough, she found the Allied Camp not far from where she was.
Hundreds of yellow flags.
Zelle widened her eyes to the point it started throbbing as soon as she saw the yellow field of flags.
‘Aah, it’s still here.’
She was tearing up.
Roymonde’s army was still standing.
There are still survivors.
Zelle spread her wings and made a sharp descend.
Her heart was overflowing with a sense of duty that she had to deliver this message and locate the injured messenger soldier to them.
Zelle rushed to the most noticeable man she saw.
‘I don’t know how to stop while flying downwards..’
Sharp wind rushed beside her.
The man was getting closer.
Zelle didn’t know how to stop so she could only move her toes.
At this rate, she was going to crash into that man.
‘It’s already too late.’
Zelle felt sorry for the man who was going to be soon attacked by a bird of prey and closed her eyes to prepare for the crash.
And her neck was grabbed.
She couldn’t breathe.
She thought her neck was going to break. The power from the fast descend added to the pain.
Zelle struggled to breathe.
But the hand grabbed her neck even tighter.
She looked up to the owner of the hand that was choking her.
It was the man she was about to crash into.
And there was wrath in his eyes.
That was when Zelle knew something was not right.
The man growled as he put in more force into his grip.
“Does Granoir…..use animals as assassins too?”
Zelle floundered harder.
‘Let go of me!!!”
Her sight was fading now that she couldn’t breathe.
Zelle could feel death approaching her closer than ever.
She was dumbfounded and despaired by the fact that she was going to die in the Allied Camp just because she was in the form of a bird, not a princess.
Zelle didn’t give up and continued struggling.
But the hand pressing on her neck did not seem to have any intention to show mercy to the small life in his hands.
“Sir! Sir Valhayle!! Please wait!”
The hand loosened and air rushed into her throat.
Zelle breathed in for her life.
A voice that could not possibly be any colder than it already was vibrated through the hands grabbing her neck.
“What is it?”
The knight who called for the man ran towards him and spoke.
“This cavier falcon is our camp’s bird, sir.”
“This bird tried to attack me.”
The knight looked over to Zelle with startled eyes.
He seemed to be in more shock that the bird attacked ‘the man’ rather than that the bird attacked an ally.
But at this moment, Zelle realized something important.
She was…. a cavier falcon.
A cavier falcon was a small bird of prey about 20-28cm long that had a brown streak on its tail.
It was a common bird that lived in relatively cold regions like Roymonde. It was also a bird commonly seen when the nobles hunted for hawks.
‘So…I am a cavier falcon?’
Well in this situation she was a cavier falcon that was about to die soon.
“Uh…..I have no idea why it would behave that way. But there was a report that one of the messenger birds escaped, and I think it just returned to camp.”
Zelle was suddenly up-side-down.
The man had aggressively grabbed her wings and turned her upside down with the other hand.
The man spoke.
“…….It’s the camp’s bird. But it was definitely charging towards me. If I didn’t catch it, its beak would have pierced my neck.”
“…..Sir Valhayle. Is this……..”
The knight pointed at the confidential document Zelle was holding with her talons.
The man’s eyebrows twitched.
He opened Zelle’s talons and pulled the message out.
Zelle was still coughing from the choking earlier.
“It’s a confidential message. Sir Luke, Check if there was any message received by the hive of the 4th lane. And send the man responsible for the messenger birds to me.”
After the knight left, the only ones left were the man who was still grabbing Zelle by her wings and Zelle who was hanging upside down by his hand.
˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖
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Cavier Falcon does not exist IRL; it is a fantastical bird created by the author.