*˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖*
The strategic meeting lasted for days as the army advanced forward.
Meanwhile, Zelle ate and rested well as she focused on recovering.
During the break, one of the knight commanders talked to Zelle after she just finished eating.
“Hey, birdie. What’s smudged all over your beak?”
Zelle glared up at him but soon pretended she didn’t hear anything.
Another knight commander spoke.
“Sir Luke. Shouldn’t this bird have a name too?”
“I don’t think Sir Valhayle would like that.”
“Have you ever seen Sir Valhayle attached to anything, much less put meaning into things like a bird?”
“Yeah, so don’t even think about it.”
“But this guy is cute.”
The knight commanders had been pent up in Valhayle’s tent for the meeting for so long that playing with Zelle had become their little source of entertainment.
“You want this?”
Zelle was getting bored of this eat-and-sleep routine so she played along with them but…
“Break is over.”
Valhayle seemed really unhappy with it.
He entered the tent and glared at the commander of the 3rd Order of Knights who was playing with Zelle.
‘If you are not happy with this, at least release this rope around my foot.’
Then, as if he heard Zelle, Valhayle approached and released her.
“It’s probably bad for a bird to stay indoors for so long.”
Zelle got chills when she sensed a hint of subtle spite in his eyes.
He held Zelle and brought her outside where there were no people.
“Bring me apple leaves from the orchard far east from our camp.”
Zelle wondered what that was for.
Valhayle raised his brows and spoke.
“If you don’t bring it, there’s no dinner for you.”
Then he entered the tent.
Hey, you asshole!!!
Zelle flapped her wings in anger.
I’m still a patient! I mean, my wings are totally fine now but it still hurts!
No matter how much of a fuss she made, Valhayle didn’t come back. Zelle was left with no choice but to fly over to the East.
Tch. It seemed like today’s meeting was going to be about something important.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been out so this is refreshing.
Zelle flew over the tents.
After the meeting was over and the commanders had left, Sir Luke called Valhayle.
Valhayle looked up from the written transcript of the meeting.
“Sir Toby had proposed giving that bird a name earlier. What do you think?”
“Is a bird’s name important in this time of war? Do you want to be punished together with Sir Toby?”
“No, of course not.”
Sir Luke immediately adopted a submissive attitude.
He studied Valhayle’s face and spoke hesitantly.
Valhayle looked at him.
“Why don’t you send that bird back to where it was? It’s quite troublesome to keep it in your tent. You have to treat it yourself too…”
“I have my own reasons.”
“And I don’t think you are keeping it here for us since you obviously do not enjoy us playing with it… Plus, some people have heard you speaking to the bird quite often….”
Valhayle gave Sir Luke a deadly glare.
When Sir Luke shut his mouth in defeat, Valhayle muttered softly.
“I said I have my own reasons.”
“Of course you do.”
Valhayle turned his focus to the documents.
Sir Luke blinked in confusion.
Valhayle spoke in an intimidating tone.
“You’re distracting me so if you are done, leave.”
Sir Luke realized that he was being chased out of this tent for the first time because of a bird.
Valhayle raised his brow as if asking why he hasn’t left yet.
Sir Luke internally lamented over his situation.
‘Yeah, what can I do. If the superior tells me to leave, I have to leave.”
“Yes sir. Rest well.”
After he left, Valhayle’s gaze moved from the document and over to the yellow flag puddle in the corner.
He had sent the bird away to stop it from eavesdropping in the meeting but… Honestly, it was quite a far distance for an injured bird to travel.
Why did I do that.
I could have just left it outside.
Speak of the devil. The brown patterned bird flew into the tent.
It was holding a branch with two leaves in its beak.
After circling around inside the tent, the bird spat out the branch before him.
She was evidently not happy.
Valhayle glared down at the bird quietly.
The bird landed on the desk and huffed.
“Looks like you’re too tired to chatter now, huh.”
He could see the bird’s eyes flare up in anger.
The bird started screaming like it was yelling.
Valhaye furrowed his brows and turned away to ignore it.
He realized how pathetic he is for trying to anger a bird and sighed.
Valhayle didn’t know why he was so spiteful whenever he saw that bird now.
He pressed his temples.
After that day when he ordered Zelle to bring apple tree leaves, Valhayle started dispatching Zelle on all sorts of trivial errands.
The orders were all suspiciously given right before the meeting time.
“Deliver this to the catering unit.”
Valhayle handed Zelle a small letter.
Zelle snorted to show her dissatisfaction.
He always does this whenever I try to gather some information from the meetings.
He trusted the information I brought him; I don’t understand why his guard is raised so high against me.
He’s going to do anything to stop me from eavesdropping in the meetings.
Zelle grumbled internally and flew towards the catering unit tent.
When she delivered the note to the man who looked like the commanding officer, he gave Zelle a piece of meat jerky.
Zelle made a pleasant sound to thank him and left the tent.
The meeting is probably not over yet so even if I go back, he’ll just order me to do another useless thing…
Zelle started circling around the camp to waste some time.
Then she heard a familiar voice.
Zelle looked down and saw a soldier waving towards her.
‘Oh, he is…’
Zelle slowly approached him and landed on his hands.
“You’re doing well aren’t ya?”
Zelle glanced at the soldier’s hands.
His scar had now turned into an ivory color.
He was the soldier in charge of messenger birds whom Zelle had hurt before.
He patted Zelle gently and made a warm smile.
“I was curious because I heard you live in the commander-in-chief’s tent. I heard you are being spoiled?”
Zelle furrowed her brows.
Hey man, don’t even get me started! I can list down over 20 evil things he did to me.
“You should consider yourself lucky. You are the only messenger bird left in our camp now.”
Zelle smoothened out her brows when she saw the soldier’s gloomy face.
Oh… The messenger bird that came back injured last time didn’t make it.
It was wartime right now so human or bird, death was no stranger.
Responsibility as a royalty of a defeated nation weighed down heavily on Zelle’s heart.
The soldier spoke again with spirit.
“You see, the commander-in-chief is not one to keep a bird in his tent. He only ever had messenger birds in for a few hours for missions. You are the first to ever stay this long.”
Zelle pushed the soldier’s finger as if she was embarrassed.
‘I mean, I’m pretty smart… No, exotic?’
The soldier continued.
“Looks like your wounds are being treated well. And, guessing by your hygiene and tummy, you were fed well too.”
Yeah, I have to agree with this one.
No matter how busy he was, Valhayle always treated her wounds and fed her well.
The soldier giggled as he spoke.
“Maybe the commander-in-chief is planning to keep you as a pet.”
Zelle’s head shot up.
Though we weren’t close when you were alive, look at my state now!
A pet bird as a princess! A pet birdddd!!
Zelle cried out with sorrow.
Even though I look nothing like a princess, a pet bird is too offensive!
Why can’t I be viewed as a free and independent bird!
But her sorrowful cries could not be understood by the soldier.
The soldier shrugged and mumbled to himself.
“Well, if not to keep you as a pet bird, he would return you to me after you are all healed.”
Then a voice from a distance called for the soldier.
“Huh? Oh, they’re calling for me. I should go now. Bye.”
After the soldier left for his comrades, Zelle circled around the camp a few more times in frustration before returning to Valhayle’s tent.
“You’re late. Slacking off already?”
However, Zelle was so preoccupied with her own thoughts that she didn’t reply to him.
After the frustration and shame of being called a pet bird simmered down, another feeling overcame her.
A pet bird, huh…
If she still couldn’t find her body after the war is over, she will most likely die as a bird.
Usually birds of prey like her only lived up to 10 years so assuming she was 1 years old based on the soldier’s description of her as ‘young’, she only had about… 9 years left to live.
And that was if she was healthy.
What happens to messenger birds after the war is over?
She wasn’t sure but they were probably released to the wild or… Sold to hunt hawks.
“Are you listening?”
Valhayle softly tapped Zelle.
Startled, Zelle jumped up to the air.
He frowned at her sudden flapping and stepped away.
“Calm down. I was just trying to change your dressing.”
Zelle went still after hearing the word ‘dressing’.
Valhayle placed her on his arm and walked towards the new bandage dressing.
Zelle watched him skillfully change her dressing and thought.
‘Thinking about it, other than him hiding confidential information and being cold, he’s not that bad?’
He treats me, cleans me often, and sometimes shares his food too…
I don’t want to admit but perhaps he is being a little nice to me…
Not telling her information regarding her home country was more than enough bad points about him.
Since that was her priority now.
‘But… If I fail to find my body…’
Zelle stared into Valhayle’s eyes.
He studied her, thinking that she was unusually quiet.
Zelle clenched her beak.
If becoming a pet is the best option for my survival…
I will become a pet!!
Continuing to stare into Valhayle’s dark gray eyes, Zelle smirked.
And if I must, I will be yours.
*˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖*
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