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‘Aahh, hey! My head aches, put me down!!’
Zelle screamed internally.
But Zelle decided to appreciate the current situation that at least she wasn’t getting choked anymore.
She didn’t want her neck to end up in those beastly strong hands again.
Zelle glanced at the man while hanging upside down.
‘Why did I even dash towards the man in charge?’
She blamed her bad luck.
Based on what she heard just now, he was some kind of a commander.
Well, an army with this size would definitely have a commander.
A commander? Could he be the commander-in-chief?
Zelle was shocked at the fact that the ‘commander in chief’ of Roymonde was in the allied camp she flew into.
That meant this was…Roymonde’s Black Defense Wall.
They are the army of the Queen and the strongest of the three military branches of Roymonde, the Roheneim.
It was the concord that the commander of Roheneim would become the commander-in-chief of the three militaries during wartime.
Zelle slowly lifted her head and met eyes with the man coldly looking down at her.
So he is…
Zelle had never met him before.
But Zelle decided to act sick like how she acted sick to avoid the 2nd princess’s wrath.
Except for this time, she pushed it further to…
Even when Zelle was all out of strength, the man did not release any force from his hands. He just lifted her once to check on her.
Evidently, that wasn’t enough for him and he grabbed her wings again.
“Sir. Reporting from the commander of the 3rd order of Knights summon. What is……”
The soldier who ran all the way stopped talking when he saw Zelle in the man’s hands.
The man asked in a coercive tone.
“This bird. Are you certain it’s the bird that escaped from our camp?”
The man handed Zelle over to the soldier like she was some unpleasant package.
The soldier flipped her upside down again and checked Zelle’s ankle area.
Zelle started to worry if she had any markings of the army on her.
The soldier spoke hesitantly after checking her tail feather.
“It’s the bird that escaped our camp a few hours ago. It was screeching and acting weird since the morning so I brought it out to take a closer look but it escaped.”
Zelle narrowed her eyes and looked at the soldier’s hands.
He was the soldier she scratched earlier.
“We already don’t have enough messenger birds, you should be careful.”
The man sighed softly.
The soldier pointed at Zelle who was still acting dead and asked cautiously.
“Uh….Chief Commander. Do you perhaps know….why it is behaving like that?”
“That’s what I want to ask too. Why is it like that?”
“What happened, sir?”
“That bird dashed towards me out of nowhere. It seemed like it was aiming for my neck or perhaps my heart. I didn’t get injured because I caught it right before it could hit me but it was definitely a threatening act. Do birds do that usually?”
“No, sir. Birds have a natural instinct to dodge anything in their way during flight.”
The man frowned.
“Is there a way for the enemy to train this bird to attack me?”
The soldier jumped.
“Sir? No, that’s not possible. In my opinion… I think it’s because this bird is not skilled yet.”
“Yes, sir. This lil guy is not fully mature yet.”
The man spoke in a dissatisfied tone.
“It was flying just fine though.”
“It can fly just fine. It’s just that its training is not complete yet so it’s not skilled enough to be dispatched for mission. This is probably its first time flying outside the camp. It’s remarkable that it even managed to come back here.”
“…So it’s an accident that it attacked me.”
“It seems so.”
“Alright. You are dismissed.”
The soldier carefully grabbed Zelle and turned away.
Just as Zelle was releasing a sigh of relief, the man spoke.
“Leave the bird here.”
“That bird delivered the messenger soldier’s confidential message. I need to read it so leave it here.”
“But I’m concerned that it doesn’t look so well.”
“Is it dead?”
“It’s not dead.”
Eesh. I can’t fake it after all.
Zelle glared at the soldier who declared she was ‘not dead’ despite her effort on trying to look dead.
Then she caught eyes with the man.
The man spoke coldly.
“Not dead, huh. Tie it up in front of my tent so it won’t escape again.”
The man watched Zelle getting tied up and went inside the tent.
And that’s how Zelle became a captive in her country’s allied camp.
The knight from earlier came back.
Zelle was a little excited to see the knight who saved her life.
The knight looked at Zelle calmly tied up in front of the tent and made a confused face. Then he walked into the tent.
“Sir Valhayle. There’s no message received by the hive. It’s already later than when it’s supposed to be delivered. Something must have happened.”
“If it was disrupted by the enemy, why did the message that’s supposed to be delivered to the hive, delivered by a bird to me? It’s not like an untrained bird can tell which is an ally and which is an enemy.”
“Perhaps the messenger soldier of the 4th order of Knights found the bird and delivered the message through it.”
“But that seems too…..”
“Sir. Are you suspecting something?”
“It could be a false confidential message. It could be that the enemy captured our messenger solider, tortured him to find out about its format, and faked it.”
“Have you read the confidential message yet?”
“I did. But there was no rescue request. If he was too wounded to deliver it himself, he would have drawn the rescue signal on it and put coordinates on the outer side of the message.”
“It could really be from our messenger soldier, though.”
“Then we are back to the start. How did the confidential message that’s supposed to be delivered by our messenger soldier, get delivered by an untrained bird, directly to me? It’s too far-fetched to consider it all a coincidence.”
“Then what will…..”
“Gwechh–!! Gweck! Gweck! Gweckkkk–!!”
Zelle listened to their conversation and screeched.
The knight came out with a confused and dubious expression and picked Zelle up.
Then Zelle went silent.
The knight blinked his eyes in confusion.
Zelle immediately started miming.
She remained still, then acted dead.
It seemed like he didn’t understand so Zelle jumped out of the knight’s hands and landed on the floor and reenacted the whole thing.
She walked normally, then fell to the ground.
When she repeated that about five times, the knight’s eyes lit up.
He ran inside calling for the commander in chief.
“What’s going on.”
‘Yes, report to him what I just showed you! Tell him about the injured messenger soldier! We can’t lose another ally soldier.”
Zelle thrillingly waited for the knight to speak up.
“I was watching that bird for a while now…..”
“Is it sick?”
“No, I don’t think so…..”
The knight spoke with much confidence.
“It’s gone mad.”
Zelle’s soul just left her body at that moment out of shock.
The man went silent for a minute then asked.
“Yes. It’s repeating the same silly thing like it’s trying to say something. It must be crazy.”
The man did not even scoff at the knight saying a bird had gone mad.
Zelle wanted to peck his stone-like face with her newly acquired beak.
But saving the messenger soldier was more urgent.
Zelle started fluttering again and screeched.
This time the man came out instead of the knight.
Zelle abruptly halted her screams and glared at the man.
The man also frowned a little.
Zelle didn’t care and started her mime again.
She fell to the ground. Again. And again. And again.
It was embarrassing for her as a princess to be doing this but the messenger soldier’s weak pulse made her forget about all the shame.
‘It’s a matter of life-and-death right now.’
Zelle held back her tears and continued her mime.
The man slowly scanned Zelle from head to toe.
The knight came out of the tent too and pointed at Zelle.
“Look at that. I’ve never seen a bird do this before.”
“It must be crazy, right?”
“Sir Luke. Arrange a search mission for the messenger soldier. But don’t go too far away from the camp.”
“Search for him.”
When the puzzled knight walked away, Zelle stopped miming.
Zelle flapped her wings in joy.
And she turned to the man who understood her and made a satisfied face.
‘Good job, commander!!!’
When Zelle shook her tail feathers to compliment the man, the man’s face stiffened. And he softly mumbled.
“It’s definitely… not normal.”
He went back into the tent.
Zelle stood there with her beak opened.
Then she stomped her foot once on the ground and rolled on the ground.
The rope around her ankle was bothering her.
Zelle trembled at her overflowing dissatisfaction.
‘I delivered the message just to be called crazy?’
He could at least untie this if he wants to call me crazy!!
Zelle pressed her surge of anger.
If she went wild right now she could be chased out.
She didn’t know how to get food and she barely made it to the Allied Camp so she couldn’t risk getting chased out of here.
And even she knew she would look crazier if she did anything more.
I can’t even process the fact that I’m a bird yet.
There’s nothing beneficial about going crazy right now.
Zelle decided to stop thinking at all in this moment of tragedy.
There was one thing good about being a bird though. Birds didn’t have a wide spectrum of facial expressions.
That meant she would have more freedom expressing herself as a bird than as a princess.
Zelle grumpily sat down on the ground. Now that she was a bird, sitting with her stomach touching the ground was quite comfortable.
Zelle then started dozing off.
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