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Valhayle asked like he was talking to himself.
“Can you do it.”
Zelle nodded her head violently.
I can do it! I can do it!!
Sir Luke sighed.
“I guess we could send it but…it looks…Um, not so… well.”
Zelle started flapping her wings to show that she was ready for the mission.
Sir Luke frowned and spoke.
“We could be wasting the bird’s life in vain. Also, there is a risk of our enemies getting their hands on the confidential message if that happens.”
Valhayle fell silent with a serious face.
Zelle was starting to get anxious at how the conversation was flowing.
‘Hey, you! I am the princess of this country! And I’m saying I want to go! Send me there, Send me!! Arghhhhh!!!’
“Go bring the soldier in charge of this bird. He should be outside filling a bucket.”
Sir Luke left the tent.
When it was only the two of them, Zelle turned to Valhayle and glared.
Valhayle also glared back at Zelle.
“Why are you so angry?”
Zelle’s eyes widened.
Oh yes, I’m angry.
Zelle clenched her beak and spread her foot and extended her talon.
Then she drew a circle on the ground.
Valhayle’s eyes harbored doubt.
Zelle traced the circle again.
Again and again and again.
After tracing the circle multiple times now, the end of her feet was hurting but the circle on the ground was marked clearly.
Valhayle furrowed his brows.
“Are you trying to say you can do it?”
He then shook his head.
“No, how can a bird express itself.”
Zelle pushed herself up in the air and pointed the map with her foot.
And she came back to the circle she drew and traced it again.
Valhayle’s exhausted eyes contained a mix of complex feelings.
Sir Luke and the soldier walked into the tent.
Valhayle’s eyes hesitantly remained on the bird then it became cold again.
He glanced at the soldier and asked directly.
“Is it possible to convince a bird to make a detour halfway?”
If a normal person heard this, they would question if he was in his right mind but…
The soldier standing in front of his superior, who is also the only highest superior currently of a defeated country, had to answer this without question.
“I don’t believe it’s possible.”
Valhayle frowned at his answer.
“Unless there is an obstacle mid-way, birds will return to the camp in a straight, fastest route.”
Valhayle ran his hand across his hair. Then he looked back at the bird.
The small brown-spotted bird was plopped on the floor. It changed its determined face to a blank-minded face when the two walked in.
Also, it was sitting exactly on top of the circle it drew.
Zelle felt Valhayle staring and started picking through her feathers.
Valhayle wondered for a split second if what happened just now was a dream.
But he was a rational person.
There was too much evidence like the circle it drew to deny what he just saw.
Valhayle spoke to the soldier.
“Alright. You are dismissed.”
The soldier hesitated and spoke with all his courage.
“Commander-in-chief, are you perhaps…planning to…send the bird somewhere?”
Valhayle lifted his head.
The soldier then hurriedly added.
“I, if you give me just a few more days I can train it to avoid green flags…”
“That’s not necessary.”
The soldier looked at Zelle with concern.
Now it was certain that Valhayle was going to send the bird on a mission.
This bird will most likely not return like the other birds.
The soldier felt a little sentimental that this could be the last time he’ll see the bird.
When Valhayle saw the pity in the soldier’s eyes, he glared at the soldier.
“Shouldn’t you go to the injured bird now?”
His eyes were saying ‘Get out’, so the soldier hurriedly dismissed himself.
“Yes, sir. I, I’ll get going now.”
The soldier left the tent and sighed.
He was going to remove one tally of the bird count when he got back to the messenger bird tent.
Another bird was bound to die so he had to at least save the one that came back.
The soldier walked faster.
‘It was a good idea that I acted like a bird.’
Zelle smiled with pride.
While observing the situation so far, Zelle realized that it was only Valhayle that understood what she was trying to communicate.
Everyone else just thought she was a crazy weird bird.
It was a relieving thing that the only person that understood her was the commander-in-chief.
It meant that…
Zelle stopped organizing her feathers and smirked.
…He makes all the decisions here.
And Zelle had all the intention to do whatever she needed to do in front of Valhayle to be of help to her country, Roymonde.
When she came back to the tent after cleaning herself in the bucket the soldier prepared behind the tent, Sir Luke was leaving.
When she flew inside, Valhayle approached Zelle.
He removed the rope around Zelle’s foot.
He rolled the rope and talked to Zelle hesitantly.
“I’ll tell you where you have to go.”
Zelle screamed internally.
She sprang up to the air and landed on Valhayle’s table beside the map.
And she looked at him with sparkling eyes.
Valhayle frowned a little and pulled the map closer.
“I don’t know if you know this but.”
He placed a yellow stone on one point and a yellow stone on the other point and drew a straight line.
“If you go straight, you will die.”
He drew a > shape.
“So you should go straight until here and turn.”
Zelle pecked on the turning point to show him that she understood.
“When you see the yellow flag go to the tent in the middle and when they tie you with something, you should come back like this, < this time.” Yes, yes. So I go like this > and come back like this <, so the route is different.
Zelle nodded her beak up and down. Valhayle looked at Zelle and asked.
“Did you really understand this?”
Zelle was on the verge of getting annoyed with him but she decided to be patient.
She drew a small circle on the table.
Is that good enough?
Zelle held her chin up.
Valhayle stared at the circle on the table and turned to get a small paper and letter case.
A confidential message.
Vahayle tied the letter tightly around Zelle’s leg.
He held her up and spoke.
“If we lose you, we won’t have any useful messenger birds anymore.”
Zelle didn’t avoid his hands and waited for him to finish.
Her heart stung a little now that she was finally about to leave for a mission that could kill her.
Valhayle brought her outside.
He said in a low voice.
“Come back alive.”
Zelle focused on that word.
She felt a lump on her throat.
No one had told her that when she was a human.
It didn’t matter if she was a bird right now since this was the first time anyone had ever told Zelle to stay alive.
Zelle sent that word to her human body.
‘Must. You must be alive.’
Valhayle lifted his arm and threw Zelle up to the air. Zelle flapped her wings and dashed upward.
She circled around Valhayle for 2~3 times.
Zelle dashed to the west.
The scenery changed in a split second.
She could understand why people always admired the bird’s wings now that she was up here.
Zelle recalled the destination.
The Lopecce camp.
If it was the past she wouldn’t even go near them but.
Now she wanted to be there more than anything.
Zelle clenched her beak.
When she breathed in, she felt light.
But at the same time, the letter tied on to her leg felt heavy.
Zelle continued flying without delay.
Valhayle stared at Zelle as she flew out of his sight.
He clenched his fist.
Please be delivered safely.
Valhayle pushed his forehead on his palm.
“Please be alive.”
Wherever they are, at least one person.
As she flew over the endless green fields and woods of Roymonde, Zelle was deep in her thoughts.
She had struggled to find out if her siblings and her real self was alive this whole time.
But for the first time as she flew for her country, she thought about her oldest sister.
Linbessy, the 1st princess.
She was the oldest among the eleven siblings.
She was also the only descendant that had the support of the nobles supporters, queen supporters, and king supporters.
She was to succeed the throne after this war ended.
‘She has to be alive.’
Zelle thought about her virtuous and hearty sister.
If she was alive, rebuilding the country would be much easier.
And most of all…
The three militaries.
Lopecce, Roheneim, and Voymont.
All of them would come under one name.
Zelle thought about the circle in the center of Roymonde’s flag.
Roymonde’s flag was yellow.
And inside the yellow background, there was a circle.
And the circle was divided into blue, faded green, and dark brown sections.
They each represented the central region, the east and the west of Roymonde and also represented the three militaries that protect them.
The 1st princess gained her power starting from the Lopecce military of the west.
She was the child of the 1st official consort so she had the perfect condition of noble heritage the noble supporters preferred. She was a girl so the queen supporters were positive towards her. And she earned the support of the king supporters by fighting in the Chewridge War.
And as for Zelle…
She was afraid of the 1st princess her whole life.
Excluding the 1st princess and 2nd princess, she was the only one born from an official wife.
They were beared by the 1st official consort and Zelle was beared by the 2nd official consort.
The two consorts were no longer alive but they did leave the noble heritage to their children so the noble supporters and the queen supporters treated them relatively well.
But Zelle didn’t make any point of contact or relationship with them.
It was all to survive.
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