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Sir Evon spoke with surprise.
“It was normal just a few moments ago.”
The soldier that stood beside Sir Evon approached Zelle and lifted her wings.
“It doesn’t look so well. We have a few messenger birds in our camp so I suggest we keep this bird with us until it recovers and send another bird instead now.”
That was when Zelle got her head straight.
‘No! I can’t be stuck here.’
Zelle hurriedly tried to flap her wings.
The soldier stretched his arm out to grab Zelle.
Zelle cried and soared up to the sky, away from his reach.
She circled around Sir Evon to show him that she was alright.
“It looks fine now.”
Sir Evon said, and gestured.
Zelle flew out of the tent.
She had to return to Roheneim.
‘Pull yourself together, Zelleine.’
Zelle chided herself.
You have something to do on the way.
You also have something to do back in Roheneim.
And most of all…
The confidential message on your leg.
You have to read it to find out if you are alive or not.
To do that, you must go back alive.
Zelle focused and increased her speed.
She had planned to go across the Granoir camp on the way back as well.
That meant she had to risk her life again.
Zelle headed downstream of the Vishen River.
To the place where most Granoir soldiers were stationed.
Zelle didn’t want to die.
Although she had decided to take a more dangerous route, she really had no intentions of dying.
Zelle raised her altitude to a level that an arrow couldn’t reach based on her past experience with their archers.
She could go higher but if she did, she would have difficulties breathing and that would slow her down.
Flying at the altitude she was at right now was dangerous, but Zelle was confident she wouldn’t die.
But that was a misjudgment.
Zelle was flying quite slow but she didn’t fly on a straight course.
She had a sort of plan.
But the threat to her life came unexpectedly and when her instinct caught it, it was already too late.
There was something Zelle overlooked.
It was because she was a royal descendant that knew nothing about war and the enemy’s battle tactics.
She had overlooked Granoir’s archery troop that defeated Voymont.
They had a mechanic bow that enabled them to shoot further than a standard bow.
And when a Granoir soldier found her, he used that very bow to shoot Zelle.
The first arrow shot past her eye.
Zelle was frightened and changed direction.
Before she could even think how an arrow could reach this height, a second arrow flew over.
‘What do I do?’
She couldn’t increase the altitude any higher.
Without much thought, Zelle started flying in a zig-zag pattern. However, this method was not very effective.
It only enabled her to barely dodge the arrows.
‘I have to get out of their range.’
Zelle spread her wings with strength.
Perhaps it would be more beneficial for me to lower the altitude and fly faster…
Another arrow was shot.
It hit Zelle’s leg.
A scream escaped from her mouth.
The pain was so excruciating that she wondered if her leg was even still there.
No, the word ‘hurt’ can’t capture all of this pain.
I think I’m going to die.
But if I fall from here, it’s a definite death.
Zelle clenched her beak and tried to open her fuzzy eyes.
But the pain was causing her to fly slower.
Arrows continued to fly toward her from behind.
She strained herself and increased the altitude with every ounce of strength to compensate for her slow speed and thought.
Is this how I die?
She had no more strength left to go higher so she would immediately die if she took another shot.
Zelle shut her eyes from the fear of the impending death.
‘Is this how I die?’
The wait for her impending death was awfully long.
In the meantime, Zelle reflected on her life.
She had no ability to attack someone or to defend herself.
The only ability she had was her ability to barely survive.
When Zelle was 11, there was bloodshed in the palace.
It was inevitable since there were many royal consorts from powerful families.
The 1st consort who had no children but had the 1st and 2nd princess behind her fought against the 3rd and 5th consorts who wanted to give power to their children.
But in the end, none of them won and they had to cease their battle.
Back then, the 1st consort attempted to kill Zelleine.
It was to strengthen the 1st and 2nd princess’s position in the royal family.
Zelle was absolutely terrified.
If her grown-up sisters and the 1st consort wanted to kill her, no one could stop them.
Except, of course, the king.
So Zelle would often hide in the king’s office.
She used to make paper animals from the king’s extremely confidential documents without knowing any better.
When the king found out, she was reprimanded for it.
‘What did you see.’
Terrified, Zelle listed out all the things she had read.
The king had no choice but to lock her up in his detached castle until what she had read was no longer a secret.
That was how Zelle saved herself from the 1st consort’s assassination attempt.
This was how Zelle continued to live her whole life.
Like she was surviving, not living…
Zelle shot her eyes up. A realization struck her like a lightning bolt.
‘My talent is to survive. So, I will survive this too.’
Her mind started to clear up.
When does a hawk fly at its fastest speed?
Think, Zelleine, think.
Zelle recalled the memories from the hawk hunting she saw when she was a little child.
She ran out of breath to the point her head was spinning and she was getting slower than she already was.
Come on, remember!
She closed her eyes from fear.
I don’t want to die!!
Then something in her body or memory spoke.
‘Spread your wings and fly downwards.’
Just like how a hawk found its prey in the air and plunged down to catch it.
Zelle immediately spread her wings and shot downwards.
Zelle set a steep angle and increased her speed.
The archers started floundering at her unexpected flight.
The straight downward angle made her fly faster without much effort.
Then the murderous intent started to fade.
Zelle closed her eyes and maintained her position.
His body soon caught on an air current and lifted.
I didn’t get caught.
Zelle flapped her wings slowly and set her direction toward the Roheneim camp.
Now that she had escaped the danger, the pain in her leg started flooding her mind.
Zelle tried to endure it and increased her speed but she grew dizzy from the blood loss.
It’s still a long way to go.
I have to fly further from the Black Defense Wall.
Her consciousness started to become dim. Zelle relied on the air current to fly.
She could see the Black Defense Wall in a distance like an illusion.
And the yellow flags in each flagstone of the long wall.
The contrast between the black wall and the yellow flag made it very visible.
So it’s true that you’ll see what you wanted to see the most before dying.
‘The thing I wanted to see the most is…’
Her body was heading in that direction not because of her will, but because of the flow of the air current.
She was losing her consciousness.
And she finally lost it when she hit something soft.
When she opened her eyes again, she was wrapped in cloth.
Was I captured after all?
When she tried to move, she felt excruciating pain in her leg.
When she screamed from pain, the cloth that was over her was lifted.
Zelle screamed again when she recognized Valhayle’s face.
I thought I was dead! Why did you put that cloth over me!
She screeched shortly and panted.
“The soldier told me to wrap you in cloth to keep your temperature from dropping.”
Zelle then noticed that she was wrapped in good-quality cloth.
Just as she was about to be relieved… She realized something.
How am I in the Roheneim camp?
I still had to go more to reach here, though?
Zelle peeked out of the cloth.
Valhayle was looking down at her with cold eyes.
“You managed to fly over the Black Defense Wall in that state.”
Zelle was surprised.
‘The Black Defense Wall I saw in a distance was not an illusion?’
Valhayle eyed the cloth she was wrapped in.
“You ran into the flag so you weren’t as hurt when you fell.”
He spoke in a dissatisfied tone.
“It’s just that… You ran into the central flag.”
Zelle shook her head to get a hold of herself and looked down at the cloth wrapped around her.
It was a bold yellow color.
It was the central flag that was specially made so that it wouldn’t tear easily.
She flew into the central flag that each camp had for the commander’s tent. There was only one in each camp..
Zelle closed her eyes after realizing what she had done.
When she was losing her consciousness, she was bleeding a lot.
So if she flew into the flag in that state, the flag must have been soaked from her blood.
It was custom that a damaged or dirtied flag would not be hung again.
It was because washing it could fade or ruin the pattern on the dyed cloth.
So that meant she ruined the only central flag in camp.
Valhayle spoke with gritted teeth.
“You should be grateful that you are using the central flag as your blanket.”
Guessing by the situation, they must have decided to use the flag to wrap Zelle instead of burning it right away.
She couldn’t blame anyone for doing that since it was difficult to find extra pieces of cloth during wartime but…
She couldn’t forgive herself for ruining the flag that should be flying mighty in the center of the camp.
‘Why did I run into this one out of all the other flags…?’
As she was regretting the unintended consequence, Valhayle spoke.
˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖
TL/N: I know the cliffhanger in the last chapter was EVIL so the next chapter will be up within 24 hours!
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