*˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖*
“It’s as if you can understand me.”
Usually, she would be annoyed at Valhayle by now but right now, she was relieved.
It was because Valhayle was at least considering that she could understand him.
Valhayle grabbed something from the basket on the desk.
Zelle stared at the object in Valhayle’s hands.
Ah, I know what that is.
It was a military biscuit.
It was dried to the point it was rock hard for preservation and was very sweet for calories.
Valhayle crushed the biscuit with his bare hands.
Zelle looked at him break that rock-hard biscuit into crumbles and shivered.
…So I was choked in those hands, huh.
Valhayle brushed his hands and nodded to Zelle.
Zelle blinked in confusion.
Did he just break the biscuit for me to eat?
Even at this moment, Valhayle was thinking she was a strange bird for not eating food when it was right in front of her.
Zelle started pecking at the crumbles on the desk to avoid his judgy eyes.
Oh, this is better than it looks.
Valhayle watched her eat and closed the basket.
“I’ve asked them to feed you cooked meat. Did you get to eat it?”
Why is he asking so many questions?
Obviously, he would know that he won’t be able to get an answer from a bird. It’s almost like he is mocking me knowing that I can understand him but can’t speak.
But hold on.
What did he just say?
Did he just say that he asked them to get me cooked meat??
He managed to write that in that tiny confidential message?!
Ah, thinking about it… All the food I had at the Lopecce camp was cooked.
Zelle almost choked on the crumble.
What a useless attention to detail.
But if he hadn’t told them to give her cooked meat, she would have starved the whole time she was there.
If she hadn’t eaten, she wouldn’t have enough energy to come back, and if she hadn’t come back… Valhayle would not have gotten the confidential message back.
Chills ran down Zelle’s back.
Zelle glanced at Valhayle.
‘He is smarter and more meticulous than I thought?’
For the first time, Zelle thought it was a relief that he was an ally.
While she was frantically pecking at the crumbles, Valhayle spoke.
“If you had no wounds, I wouldn’t have trusted you.”
And he continued.
“I would have killed you on the spot.”
Zelle shot her face up at him at the unexpected execution confession.
Valhayle spoke coldly.
“An animal would not risk anything that could injure itself. Since it only has survival instincts. But you are wounded so that means…”
He spoke as if he was dissatisfyingly.
“You were attacked. Which, in no doubt, by Granoir.”
Zelle stared into his eyes.
Valhayle continued slowly.
“A Granoir troop has been circling around the area since a week ago.”
‘Since a week ago?’
She was sent to the Lopecce camp 4 days ago.
So that means…
Zelle glared at Valhayle.
‘He knew that there was an enemy reconnaissance troop and still didn’t tell me?’
Valhayle completely ignored Zelle’s furious eyes and continued.
“If Granoir knew you, they wouldn’t have attacked you. But they did attack you. So, that’s why I withdrew my suspicion I had of you since the first time you came back with a confidential message. I made a judgment that you are not our enemy’s bird.”
Zelle shivered at the feeling of betrayal.
‘You risked my life just for your judgment?!’
Valhayle spoke in a cold voice.
“The message you delivered to Lopecce was nothing important. But from now on, it will be. Since you successfully made a detour around the Granoir camp and came back alive…”
“And since there is evidence that you are not on Granoir’s side.”
Zelle shook her head and brushed off the crumbs on her face.
‘I was too careless this time.’
She felt threatened by Valhayle.
She trusted him too much just because he was an ally.
Danger. Danger. Danger.
I must escape.
Zelle tugged on the rope around her leg. Valhayle raised his eyebrows as he watched.
And before Zelle could even push herself upwards, he grabbed her.
She shut her eyes out of fear.
Valhayle’s deep voice started flowing into her ears.
“If you can express your thoughts to me, that means you can also express yourself to the enemy. Hundreds and thousands of lives are at risk in a single confidential message. You thought I would trust you that easily?”
He clenched his jaw and spoke.
“Especially if it’s about the royal descendants?”
When Zelle stopped struggling, Valhayle slowly released her.
He rubbed his face and sighed.
“Why did I… do such a pointless…”
Zelle barely let out a breath.
Valhayle mumbled with an exhausted face.
“Why did I believe that a bird could actually understand me.”
Valhayle stretched his hands toward Zelle again.
Zelle jumped backward unconsciously.
He grabbed her gently and put her back into the birdcage.
“The decisions made in the meeting today will be the next message you deliver.”
Valhayle walked back to his desk and started glaring at the map.
Days have passed.
Zelleine’s birdcage was still in Valhayle’s tent.
She still hasn’t figured out why her name was mentioned in the meeting last time.
But assuming from what she heard the past few days while she was getting her wounds treated…
Zelle felt the impression that the 1st princess and the 2nd princess could be alive.
Obviously, Roheneim was searching for any surviving royal descendants that can succeed on the throne.
It was also a logical decision that their priorities are the 1st princess and the 2nd princess since they were most likely to be crowned before the war in the first place.
If Roheneim was in the capital when Granoir took over, they would have evacuated the 1st princess and the 2nd princess themselves.
But the one in charge of that duty at the time was Lopecce.
The two princesses escaped the castle with the help of the Lopecce army and lost contact with the main military.
Zelle breathed in and breathed out.
‘Looking back… I also escaped with Lopecce soldiers.’
Unfortunately, they failed in protecting Zelle so they could have failed in protecting her older sisters as well.
Even so, Roheneim was hopeful.
Zelle remained hopeful too.
And there was a reason why she had hope.
Granoir would have publicly executed the 1st princess if they had her since she was the most rightful heir to the throne.
And assuming by Granoir’s history of war, they definitely would have executed her publicly but that didn’t happen.
There was also no news that the 2nd princess was dead.
It was quite notable that the 2nd princess’s news hasn’t been received by Roheneim. That was because the 2nd princess was officially engaged to Roheneim.
That meant, if Demiera died within Roymonde territory, Roheneim would definitely know about it.
But there are discouraged sides to this anticipation.
If the 1st princess and the 2nd princess did successfully escape and are alive, they would have attempted to contact Lopecce or Roheneim.
But neither Lopecce nor Roheneim received news.
Based on Zelle’s analysis of the situation, there was more than a 50% chance that they were alive.
And she betted her hope on their survival.
If they are alive, Roymonde still had a chance.
Hoot Hoot. An owl hooted.
It was already late at night.
A breeze of cold air pierced through the tent cloth.
On this starry night where only the sound of wind against tent cloth was heard.
Valhayle was still investigating the Granoir army’s movement.
The lamplight shone on Valhayle’s face.
The light drew a shadow on his sharp nose, jawline, and the dimple under his lips.
The sharp contrast revealed the agony and handsomeness on his face.
Zelle sat on her birdcage and studied his face.
Pitch black hair and dark gray eyes.
The gray in his eyes was like moonlight reflected on a lake at night.
As she stared into his eyes, Zelle thought of her second eldest sister.
The 2nd princess of Roymonde and the one that was nearly married to that chief commander Valhayle.
Zelleine wondered what Valhayle felt, not knowing if his fiance was alive or not.
‘How would it feel like?’
Anxious? Sad? Or…
Zelle brushed the heavy atmosphere off her body.
Would he feel nothing like me?
Wishing for her survival not for personal attachments but only for the wellbeing of this country?
The engagement between Demiera and Valhayle was discussed over years.
It was a political engagement so they were basically considered as a wedded couple already.
After the 1st princess Linbessy married the son of Lopecce’s leader, Demiera was engaged to Roheneim by Linbessy’s will.
By engagement to ‘Roheneim’, it means engagement to one of the sons of the prominent families in charge of Roheneim.
And since it was a political engagement, the engagement was usually made to the son of the leader.
And the leading family of Roheneim was in no doubt, the Lumares.
Valhayle of Lumares.
Ever since he was engaged to Demiera, his name was fear itself to Zelle.
If she was involved with him in any way, it was death for her.
Zelle always reminded herself of that fact.
Even though Valhayle and Demiera weren’t definitely engaged, no one had doubts about their eventual marriage.
Zelle drew a red line across Valhayle’s name in her mind and tried to avoid him.
But that wasn’t easy.
To avoid him, she had to know him. To even avoid coincidentally meeting him.
Zelle made note of his usual schedule and route.
Most of the time, Valhayle remained in the Black Defense Wall as Roheneim’s commander even when there was no war.
He was only back in the capital for 2~3 months in a year.
The main reason he came back was to deal with political matters as Roheneim’s leader and if he remained for longer than a week, it was because he absolutely had to attend major social events.
In these recent years, Valhayle always escorted Demiera in social events.
Anyway, because of Zelle’s desperate effort in avoiding him, she successfully avoided him to the point that she barely knew how he looked like and Valhayle probably didn’t know her too.
When she was a human, it was a relief but…
After the way things have turned out, Zelle wished she had made at least one connection to the outside world who would try to find her.
*˖:✧ ⑅•.⋅༻♔༺•⑅ ✧:˖*
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TL/N: Hiya readers~ It’s been a long time ;-; Missed y’all! A lil’ notice to be made is that the update schedule has been changed to be every Sunday!! Thanks for the long wait!! Also I now have an editor so the quality will get better!