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    Shadowless Night

    Chapter 34


    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Iris Sakura


     

    The eagle groomed its wing feathers with its beak while Rosaline stroked the wings with her hand. It was tight, smooth, and felt like solid armor.

     

    “Hunters with hawks wear gloves and arm guards because their claws are sharp.”

     

    The eagle raised one of its feet and shook it. It had sharp claws like awls. Rosaline had seen that the guide had all kinds of animal hide. Perhaps she could ask for some to be cut and used.

    [E/N: Awl- a small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather.]

     

    “You must not speak in front of other people.”

     

    Even with the head of a bird, the eagle made an absurd expression. It seemed to be saying, ‘Am I you?’ In any case, one person and one animal were very satisfied with finding the perfect animal that would not be strange even if it was carried by a human.

     

    ***

     

    Dawn passed, and morning came. The barracks went into a riot. It was because of the large animal that attacked the place where the delegation was early in the morning. The hunters tried to fire their bows, but Rosaline rushed in and stopped them.

     

    They assumed that it had come to attack the humans who invaded its territory, but the eagle sat quietly on Rosaline’s arm. It was an eagle whose body was so large that it could be considered a beast. Rosaline did not feel that it was too heavy, and she was holding up the weight well. Ricardis squeezed his temples and asked her a question. He looked a little tired.

     

    “… That… What is this again, Sir Rosaline?”

     

    Ricardis somehow remembered the event yesterday. When he asked her what it was he meant, ‘How the hell did you catch the rabbits’, and her expression when she answered, ‘They’re rabbits…’

     

    “It’s an eagle.”

     

    Ricardis frowned. He had expected this, but he was still annoyed.

     

    “Why is the eagle with you, sir? How did it suddenly appear?”

     

    The eagle and Rosaline were secretly perplexed. They heard that hunters carry hawks and thought that hawks and eagles are similar, so they didn’t think it would be strange. Why is everyone looking at them with those eyes?

     

    Ricardis urged her to answer.

     

    “Sir?”

     

    Rosaline looked at the eagle and replied, “I know this eagle.”

     

    Ricardis’ eyes narrowed. He couldn’t figure out what she was saying. Meanwhile, the eagle rubbed the flat part of its beak against Rosaline’s head as if to prove her words. Ricardis, though, still looked fierce. Rosaline was forced to use the magic words she had previously learned from Calyx again. ‘I don’t know anything. I don’t remember.’

     

    “I can’t remember exactly.”

     

    Ricardis gave up understanding her. ‘Yes, you may have at least one eagle you know in your lifetime. The eagle’s enormous size or that it suddenly popped up in Balta’s land after not seeing a single monkey in Illavenia might not be of much concern.’ 

     

    Ricardis eventually said, “Is that so… ” as he didn’t know what else to say. He didn’t want to dig any deeper.

     

    Fellow knights were skeptical of this situation at first, but they were not wary of it, knowing that the chances of an eagle being a spy or an assassin was very low. Everyone slowly approached Rosaline’s side to touch the wings of the eagle and admire its size.

     

    The hunter knew how dangerous the eagle was, so he couldn’t approach it and just watched from afar. But soon realizing that the eagle was gentle and not a threat, he approached Rosaline cautiously.

     

    “It’s huge, and it has a strong beak. That’s a pretty cool eagle. When did you start raising it, Sir Rosaline?”

     

    ‘We just met yesterday.’

     

    “… Recently.”

     

    “How old is it?”

     

    ‘It’s exact age should be… a few hundreds years old.’

     

    “I don’t know.”

     

    “What’s its name?”

     

    ‘Ah, name.’ The eagle and Rosaline exchanged glances. She couldn’t tell anything else, but she should at least know the name. Rosaline thought for a moment.

     

    She didn’t know the real name, so she should give it a proper name. At that moment, she heard the sound of someone stepping on the crisp, dry leaves. Rosaline’s consciousness flowed without her even realizing it. It was her favorite crispy food.

     

    “Macaron.”

     

    “Pardon?”

     

    “Its name is Macaron.”

     

    The eagle looked like it was trying to figure out what a Macaron was. ‘Is it a bad name because the hunter’s face turned a little weird?’ It thought about it, but Rosaline looked proud somehow. The hunter finds the name ‘Macaron’ too sweet and too cute to be given to an eagle.

     

    She then thought, ‘Oh well, it must be because the owner is weird,’ and let the matter pass just like that.

     

    After Macaron tried macarons, it became very pleased with her name, but that came a little later.

     

    ***

     

    The journey was smooth. There were no assassins or traps to be found, and the weather was good. The party had frequent battles with various beasts within the territory of Illavenia, but as they entered Balta, they became more relaxed. They couldn’t even find a single beast, as if someone had already dealt with it. It was almost boring being so idle in the country where danger supposedly lurked.

     

    On one occasion, small fox-like beasts attacked the barracks, but they were defeated by Macaron, who descended from the sky swiftly. The knights began to call Macaron ‘Sir Macaron’ in honor, as it proved to be a better guard than them. Rosaline said that ‘sir’ means knight, and a knight defined as ‘a high-status human who protects the weak, knows honor, and has strong beliefs’. From then on, whenever the knights called it ‘Sir Macaron’, Macaron looked down at them and smiled. It was a very overbearing attitude. But because it was using an animal body, it was not visible.

     

    After a series of bustling movements, in less than half a day, they finally reached the capital city of Balta, Livita. Balta’s palace looked very different from Illavenia’s pure white appearance. Colorful and gold patterns were mixed in harmony to cover the palace.

     

    The delegation group entered the outer wall. Inside the open gate, a large number of guards were standing. They were men with brown skin like red earth. Rosaline was amazed that Baltans all had black hair. They were very different from the people of Illavenia, who had white skin and various hair colors. They were mainly wearing protective gear made from tanned leather, not armor. In Balta, which is surrounded by lush forests, swamps, and rugged terrain, having free movement was more important. Wearing heavy equipment such as armor would slow down one’s movement, and thus it would be easier to die from arrows.

     

    After facing the guards, the atmosphere of the Knights of the White Night became sharper. The senior knights stood closer to Ricardis’ carriage. A strange air current circulated between the white and black groups. But only for a while. Soon, the Baltan guards split to the sides, and from the center, a fat man dressed in splendorous gold appeared. Isserion had met him on a visit to Illavenia a few years ago. It was Balta’s prime minister, Attilak. Attilak knelt on both knees and greeted them in the Baltic manner. Many of the guards followed him and politely knelt.

     

    “Oh, it’s an honor to meet the distinguished guests of Illavenia. I am Attilak, a faithful servant of Hiksala Adon.”

     

    Attilak’s greeting relieved the tension between the people. Knight Commander Starz, who judged that there was no immediate danger, opened the carriage door. Ricardis got out of the carriage while arranging his long silver hair with his hand. As it was a sunny day, the light reflected from his hair was also more dazzling than usual. Attilak was momentarily at a loss for words at the sight of something like a halo forming behind the 2nd Prince of Illavenia. ‘How divine and beautiful it is to see the sunlight shining brilliantly behind him.’

     

    “It’s been a while, Prime Minister.”

     

    When Ricardis addressed him, the prime minister started chattering, saying that Ricardis had worked hard to come a long way, asking whether he felt hot, whether he was tired, and whether he was hungry. Some people even thought that he was Ricardis’ servant instead of Hiksala’s, the king of Balta.

     

    The delegation and party were soon led into the palace. Armed guards moved around the Knights of the White Night. As the capital of a country, there were many tall and splendid buildings. The slum was located in the invisible back while the road to the palace was thoroughly polished. However, not a single one of them paused to appreciate the scenery. As they had set foot in the country of their sworn enemy, everyone became wary even if it was not immediately dangerous. Rosaline also drove her horse closer to Ricardis’ carriage, becoming alert of her surroundings.

     

    “Where’s Sir Macaron?” Raymond looked at an alley and asked. 

     

    The disappearance of the giant eagle who always flew close to them left quite an immense void. Rosaline looked up to the sky for a moment, then looked down at her chest and hesitated.

     

    “It’s close.”

     

    Following her words, Raymond looked up at the vast sky. After some time, the blue sky was without a single cloud or an eagle. Soon after, the palace was upon them, and Raymond went on alert once more.

     

    Rosaline, who was looking at Raymond, lowered her eyes. When she said that Macaron was close, to be exact, it was very close. It was currently a creature small enough to fit between Rosaline’s uniform and chest armor. A gray-furred rat was dangling with its paws that were the size of grains of rice. The reason Macaron had changed was because it was not suitable for large creatures like eagles to be brought into the palace. Before entering Livita, Macaron pretended to fly high in the sky and immediately turned into a rat and returned to her. Macaron found her pocket and went in before it squeaked.

     


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    Wook's notes:

    The way Ricardis just... brushes it off... Ah, are you guys starting to like Ricardis, even just a little bit, now? XD

    Wook

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