˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖
If becoming a pet is the best option for my survival, I will become a pet.
And if I must…
Zelle’s eyes met with Valhayle’s mid-air.
‘I shall be your pet!!’
Aside from survival, there was another reason why Zelle couldn’t leave Valhayle’s tent yet.
‘Well, if not to keep you as a pet bird, he would return you to me after you are all healed.’
Like the soldier had said, Valhayle could send her back to the messenger bird tent if her foot was healed.
She would be moved from the tent full of military secrets to a common bird cage.
Zelle knew this was a very serious thing.
She had to stick beside Valhayle to hear about the current situation in the war and find out about her human body. If she were to be sent away, she would obtain little to no information.
‘I can’t leave this tent.’
I must stay here at whatever cost.
That was how Zelle arrived at that conclusion.
Yes. If that is the only way I’ll be kept here…
‘I’ll become a pet!’
Plus, staying beside Valhayle increased the chances of her getting her body back since he was in charge of finding the 8th princess.
‘Also, you are the only one that remembers that I only eat cooked meat.’
After making that decision, Zelle burrowed into Valhayle’s hands.
Zelle made a pleasant sound and rubbed her head against his hands.
She felt like her dignity just dropped a little but she risked it for the bigger picture.
How’s that! I’m cute, aren’t I!!
Valhayle stopped wrapping the dressing and stared.
Then he tied the remaining dressing and uttered.
“Are you sick.”
Ah, this prick.
Zelle was offended. Nevertheless, she suppressed her anger and readopted her soft, cute attitude.
‘Come on, make me your pet, huh?’
Valhayle’s face stiffened further.
After a long moment of silence, a wave of embarrassment came over her.
You are making me embarrassed, Chief Commander.
At least show me some response…
I’m a princess—well, a human—to begin with. Kgh.
She felt sorry for herself for becoming a bird and having to act like this to become a pet.
Zelle decided to move away, thinking positively that it was a good sign that Valhayle didn’t push her away.
Well, at least it doesn’t seem like he hates me that much.
When she pulled away from his hands…
Valhayle’s hands went over her head.
And briefly, once, patted.
….W-What just happened?
Zelle was at a loss for words from the shock.
As if he was answering her, Valhayle spoke.
For the first time, he smiled softly.
Zelle’s mind went blank. She could only stare at Valhayle. She didn’t expect to see a smile on his cold and emotionless face.
‘So… He does smile.’
But the glimpse of warmth was short-lived.
He was back to his usual cold self and walked back to his desk.
The first time Zelle noticed that there was going to be an oncoming battle was through the food distributions.
Valhayle always chased her out before the meeting so she didn’t have the chance to eavesdrop on the strategic meeting.
All she gathered was that they would continue to move forward and that they would bring some machines(?) with them.
This gave off enough hints for Zelle to pick up on.
‘There will be a battle soon.’
The most glaring proof for that was the improvement in the soldier’s meals.
She actually hadn’t noticed that it had changed at first.
It was because Valhayle always had a similar diet.
A small portion of bread, meat, and a few vegetables.
He only ate enough to not feel hungry and to maintain his physique so Zelle just assumed that all soldiers ate like he did.
But now that the knight commanders ate in Valhayle’s tent, she could see the difference.
Zelle held the boar meat Sir Luke had given her and cocked her head.
I didn’t see this type of food on Valhayle’s plate though?
Sir Luke winked and smiled.
“Eat up. You won’t be able to eat these types of food in here.”
Valhayle said coldly.
Zelle looked at Sir Luke and Valhayle and realized her state.
If I live with a frugal man like him, I will only get scraps of whatever frugal food he eats!
While Zelle lamented her state, Sir Luke commented delightedly.
“Meat for 4 days straight. It doesn’t feel like wartime.”
Valhayle replied bluntly.
“If the meat is relaxing you too much, I will order them to remove it from your meals.”
Sir Luke hurriedly crammed another piece of meat in his mouth.
“N, no, sir.”
Zelle mulled over Sir Luke’s words.
Meat for 4 days straight.
Guessing by what Sir Luke implied, it meant that that was uncommon.
That meant something special had happened or was going to happen…
It didn’t take long for Zelle’s speculation to arrive at ‘battle’.
It was another day, another lunch time.
Sir Luke raised his hand whilst eating.
“Ah, I have some useful information.”
It seemed like he had something to say to everyone gathered in the tent. Valhayle glanced over at Zelle.
After a short moment of contemplation…
He allowed Sir Luke to continue.
Zelle widened her eyes.
It was the first time that Valhayle included her in important discussions.
She stared at Sir Luke with excitement and thrill.
“Like you ordered me to, I spread word in the Granoir troops about our manpower. It’s a little exaggerated, but it should be effective enough to daunt them since they still have wounded soldiers.”
“I see. Good job.”
“It was your idea to begin with, sir.”
“But you executed it. If Granoir is intimidated by that, we will be able to recapture the downstream area with lesser loss of blood.”
Blood. And recapture.
‘So, there will be a battle soon after all.’
Another knight commander spoke up.
“They will most likely think we are in a hurry to the point we have become reckless since the Vishen River is still flooded.”
Sir Luke took a big bite off his bread and added.
“If that’s what they think, it’s beneficial for us.”
Valhayle glanced over at Zelle again.
“Everyone who has contributed to our victory will be rewarded. I will remember this.”
It sounded like he wanted to end the discussion now because he didn’t want it to continue in front of Zelle.
He probably allowed her to stay in here because he knew there wouldn’t be a lot of crucial information said.
After all, Valhayle never told her about their tactics or battle plans even when he explained the situation to her.
But what he said, could it….
Zelle studied Valhayle’s face slowly.
Could it be referring to me too?
Is he saying that if the information I gathered for him contributes to Roymonde’s victory, he will remember it?
No, that’s… Presumptuous of me.
What right does a bird have to be acknowledged of its deed?
Being included in the Chief Commander’s records is already more than I could wish.
And what use would an award be as a bird?
I can’t use the money nor buy a house, nor be titled.
While Zelle was lost in her thoughts, Valhayle spoke.
“We arrive in 2 days.”
The atmosphere in the tent immediately became heavy.
“Make sure there are no mistakes in everything.”
Everyone in the tent answered simultaneously in a strict voice.
After hearing their answers, Valhayle, as usual, left the tent first.
The next evening.
Valhayle dismissed the knight commanders and remained alone in the tent.
Technically, he wasn’t alone.
There was a bird in the tent too, demanding to be released from the birdcage.
He had locked it up to keep it safe from the battle tomorrow, but it didn’t seem to like that plan.
Valhayle spoke patiently.
The bird stared at him silently. It seemed like it was assessing whether he was angry or not.
He had many thoughts running around in his mind but now this bird was distracting him.
Valhayle walked over to the bird cage and flung the door open.
“I opened it so behave yourself.”
The bird cried as if it understood.
He returned to his seat and pressed his temples.
Zelle left the birdcage and approached Valhayle.
He sat still and looked down at the thin paper on the desk that was covered with drawings and words.
Zelle glanced at one of the drawings.
That is… a catapult.
It was shaped like a crossbow, but way larger, so it was mostly used in sieges.
Zelle only read about it in books. She had never actually seen one.
‘But this battle doesn’t seem like a siege.’
She looked at Valhayle’s troubled face.
She felt a hint of compassion for him.
He ordered everyone to rest early for the battle tomorrow, but he himself couldn’t even rest.
It was probably because of his other duties, but also mostly because of the pressure.
Zelle hopped onto his shoulder and pushed his fingers away from his temples.
Valhayle blocked her beak with his hands.
“Don’t play around now.”
She shook her head.
No, I’m not asking you to play with me.
Zelle pushed her head against his temples. She could feel his heart beating.
Zelle wished her intentions would be delivered to him as she rubbed her head against his temples.
Hey, you should rest too. You need energy to fight tomorrow.
Valhayle looked at Zelle with a strange look.
“Are you worried about me?”
˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖
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