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A knight, who was following Eli, the Commander of the knight group at the head, whispered in a serious voice.
“Something is off, Sire.”
Eli nodded his head slightly, affirming the knight’s words. He was also feeling something was off.
“Wyverns are overly contracted. The number of them has decreased significantly.”
On the first day, they were so busy dealing with the swarming Wyverns that they didn’t notice. From some point on, the number of Wyverns attacking them had noticeably reduced. The Wyverns would run away helplessly when they saw knights wielding their swords several times. Thanks to this, the knights could easily remove the eggs from Wyverns’ nest. It seemed that the subjugation could be completed sooner than expected due to their speed of efficiency.
It was obviously a positive situation, but the knights were not happy. The flow of the works couldn’t change so easily. If the tide changes, it must be because a huge event is going to happen soon. Such tremendous events have had a great impact on human life as well as plants and animals. If that’s a positive effect, it’s fortunate, but most of the time, it were the opposite.
When the ecosystem of a forest is shaken, human lives also become unstable. The same was true for the ecosystem of the Black Forest. The fact that Wyvern’s behaviour changed overnight was evidence that something huge has happened or was about to happen.
Everyone walked through the forest with nervous faces. Suddenly, a knight came running with an anxious face. It was the scout sent to locate the nest of the Wyverns where the eggs were stored.
“Sire, I found something like this near an empty nest.”
He stuck out a piece of meat the size of a child’s head. Although the shape was not intact, it could be seen that it was a part of Wyvern’s body. The knights opened their mouths seeing the Wyvern’s body, which had been completely slaughtered. Everyone must be thinking the same thing, but they couldn’t bring themselves to say it.
Wyvern, a creature they can barely overcome by joining forces. But a mysterious predator slaughtered a Wyvern like this. The mere thought of it was terrible.
“If this being comes down after humans, after Erelle estate…….”
It was a situation they didn’t even want to imagine. If thay have to deal with a predator who slaughtered a Wyvern like this, they have to fight with the expense of their lives. Everyone’s face turned white. But Eli Roytz, the captain of the Knights, only looked at the meat in the knight’s hand with a calm face.
‘There’s a sign of fire.’
Then it couldn’t be an animal that doesn’t have a rational mind. Only beings with a rational mind can deal with fire.
Either it’s a human or another creature with a rational mind.
Then he could have a conversation. Are they a friend or a foe? He could be sure of that, too.
‘If it’s a foe..….’
There was only one conclusion. Eli’s hand, holding the sword, became tense.
* * *
Every night, I sneaked out of the mansion and headed for the Black Forest. It was for the ‘war’ that Harry wanted so much. Of course, the object of the war was not human. Wyvern, the magical creature living in the Black Forest, were the offerings to soothe Harry’s desire to kill.
Wyverns are stronger than humans. It was hard to fight with them, therefore, they were enough to satisfy Harry’ thirst to kill. Not only that, the population was so large that he could fight until he got sick of it.
‘And if the number of Wyverns decreases, won’t the knights from the capital that came for the expedition and staying in the mansion go back quickly?’
I could satisfy Harry’s desire and send Catherine’s troublesome fishes away. There was no better way to kill two birds with one stone.
‘The more I think about it, the better it is.’
I sat on the rock with pride and looked at Harry excitedly. At his light gesture, the giant Wyvern fell to the ground like paper. Wyvern, whose territory had been invaded, desperately opposed Harry, but even to me, who was not familiar with it, it seemed that it couldn’t beat Harry. It was actually a one-sided slaughter. Harry was the slaughterer of course.
Wyvern’s ability to keep Harry’s feet tied for a while was possible because he didn’t fight with all his might. Dozens of Wyverns rushed to him at once but failed to even put a scratch on Harry. Harry fought relaxdaily and enjoyed himself against Wyverns for a long time. When he lost interest, he called out the Blue Flame and burned the Wyverns without a trace.
‘Wow, his personality is so violent.’
I realised once again that Harry was a demon when I saw him smiling with joy at the scene of slaughter. Theo Harris, an infinitely cruel demon. That was the real Harry.
‘I’ve called out a great being.’
With Harry’s power, I thought I could easily blow up a castle.
‘Did I really ask that kind of guy to light a fire in the fireplace?’
It was like hiring Bill Gates to fix the laptop because it didn’t work.
And Bill Gates will fix the laptop and say, ‘My annual salary is $1 million, so pay for it.’
While thinking about it blankly, one of Wyvern’s wings that Harry blew fell in front of me. The scene was like straight from a horror movie when the wings of the Wyvern shattered and the bleeding monster rolled under my foot.
‘I don’t have a hobby of watching bloody things like this.’
I wanted to send Harry to the Black Forest, but I couldn’t tell how wild he would be. If anything happened, I had to be around to control him.
Due to the restriction that I had to go with him, our moving time was naturally limited to deep nights. He swept away Wyverns on a dark night to avoid people’s eyes, and repeated his life of quietly returning to his room as if nothing had happened before sunrise.
Meanwhile, Wyverns’ population has steadily shrunk. At first, there were so many Wyvern that I couldn’t count with my eyes, but now I can count the numbers.
I checked the time with my watch and quietly called Harry. It was a small sound, but he heard my voice and burned the Wyvern he was playing with. Harry’s face, which was approaching me after finishing his play, was filled with regret.
“It’s already dawn? I don’t think it’s been long, but time flew so quickly.”
“It hasn’t been long. Think of the number of Wyverns you’ve killed. You’ve killed so much that I think you shouldn’t be complaining for years.”
“Oh, what are you talking about? I’ve only killed about 50 of them. This won’t last even a few months.”
Wow, he has killed 50 of them but it could control him only for a few months.
‘Even if the cost-effectiveness is bad, how could it be this bad?’
Now he’s passing his time killing Wyvern. However, after Wyverns’ eggs are destroyed, we had to search for another sacrifice.
“Can’t you stay still at least a year? I heard that the Royal Knights that came for the expedition would throw a party after the expedition. It’s their luck that they were able to destroy so many Wyvern eggs. Usually, they can’t kill them and just push them back so that they can break the eggs.”
It was said that catching a Wyvern takes a few years. Even after the start of this subjugation, there was no news that any Wyvern had been caught. Considering that, isn’t the name of ‘Egg breaking’ more suitable than the ‘Wyvern subjugation’? They only break the eggs so that the population does not increase and wait for the adult Wyvern to die of old age.
Harry, who knew the reality better than I, snorted. His response meant that it was funny to compare him to a knight that came for the expedition.
“Will you stop comparing me to those weak knights? It hurts my pride a lot.”
Normally, I would have criticized Harry for being condescending, but I had nothing to say because I had watched his overwhelming power right in front of my eyes. Also, I didn’t even feel like praising Harry. So, I just decided to keep quiet. Harry tilted his head as if wondering at my ensuing silence.
“Why aren’t you doing it?”
“Why don’t you refute?”
“Do you want me to refute?”
“No, it’s not that, you’re acting different from usual…….”
Harry mumbled lowly. I looked at Harry wondering what the hell he was going to say, but he just sat next to me as if he had been waiting.
“Hey, are you scared of me? You are scared of me, right? Now you realize what a demon’s power is?”
“Yes. Harry is very strong. You must have been very bored because all you were doing was lighting a fireplace next to me with such great power.”
“Well, I wasn’t that bored. Just letting you know, you’re a funny person. It’s kind of fun to watch you from the side.”
I frowned at Harry, who was suddenly speaking gibberish.
“What on earth do you want to say?”
“I mean, it wasn’t completely boring to watch you.…. It was a pity that I couldn’t use my power completely, so…….”
“I don’t know what you’re saying, old man. Would you say that again in the language of young people?”
“Uh, I told you not to call me an old man! I’m a young man with a bright future!”
“Oh, I understand that just now. It’s good to speak so clearly, isn’t it?”
“Oh, my God! Do you have no brain? You can at least pretend to understand!”
“Why should I take the trouble to pretend to understand another person’s words? They should try to speak clearly if they want me to understand.”
Perhaps because he was speechless, Harry sprang to his feet.
“No matter what you say. I won’t tell you.”
‘He doesn’t want to say it, so I can’t help it.’
I didn’t have a hobby of prying and listening to the other people who didn’t want to say.
“If you want to say it, you’ll say it someday.”
Harry stamped his foot in wonder as I nodded in understanding.
“Hey, don’t you usually ask me what I want to do? Shouldn’t you do that at least once or twice? Why are you giving up so easily?”
“My strength is that I give up quickly.”
“……In general, I don’t think giving up is strength.”
“Why? It’s best to give up quickly on things that can’t be done. I’ll just ask them once and ignore them if I don’t understand what they meant. What’s the point of me clinging on to a person who doesn’t want to say anything? It’s better to just give up and wait for them to speak up.”
“Whew, so this is what you mean by that……”
Harry, who was about to shake his hand with a snort, rolled his eyes from side to side as if he realized something.
“……Hey. I think that makes sense.”
The moment Harry murmured blankly, a strong wind blew over his head. It was such a strong wind that the whole Black Forest shook. I couldn’t control my body in the strong wind and shook around. I felt like I was going to fall on the floor because I couldn’t balance myself properly, but Harry grabbed my shoulder and held it firmly.
“Wow. The wind was so strong, but you didn’t shake at all.”
As I was admiring him, Harry’s eyes turned to the sky, from where the wind came.
“What, why is he here?”
Harry’s face crumpled as he looked at the figure looming over to the sky.
‘What the hell did he see to have that reaction?’
I followed Harry’s gaze and raised my head to the sky. Then, at the end of his gaze, I caught a Wyvern that caused the tremendous wind. It wasn’t just an average Wyvern. It was twice as big as the Wyverns that Harry played with and killed. I knew why it was so big even though no one told me.
He was the leader of the pack.
At the same time as I thought so, the huge Wyvern landed on the ground. The wind that had been made by his flapping wings also stopped.
I looked at Wyvern, tidying up my hair, which was messed up by the wind. Looking closer, the size was more enormous than I thought. Just raising my head to look at it fully made my neck hurt. But the most surprising thing happened when the Wyvern opened his mouth wide. I thought he was going to attack us, so I closed my eyes reflectively, but something completely unexpected happened.
“I. Wyvern. Leader.”
“I say hello. Human. Demon. To you.”
The Wyvern spoke.
‘It can talk?’
I was so surprised that my mouth opened on its own. It was impossible for an animal like this to talk by my standards, no, maybe that’s common sense for most people.
“……How can a Wyvern speak?”
I panicked and pointed to Wyvern asking like a fool. The Wyvern slowly closed and opened his eyes at the finger pointing at him, which was considered rude.
“Words. Learned. From man.”
It learned from someone? Who was the crazy person who thought of teaching a Wyvern to talk? Numerous questions were circulating in my head.
“Harry, is this normal?”
I finally came to my senses and whispered to Harry. Maybe Wyvern could speak according to the settings in this world that I haven’t fully grasped yet.
“That’s impossible. A Wyvern speaking, do you think that makes sense?”
Harry looked at me with pathetic eyes as if I was talking nonsense. But isn’t the Wyvern in front of us talking just fine? I pointed to Wyvern, who was looking proudly at us and exclaimed.
“But that kind of Wyvern is right in front of you!”
“That’s why this guy is unique. It’s a creature that has lived longer than me. Since it has lived that long, learning to talk isn’t surprising.”
Harry shrugged his shoulders and stepped forward.
“Why did you come here?”
He spoke to the huge Wyvern in a very familiar manner.
“You used to stay away from the pack like a freak and stayed only in the South.”
“Dead. Friends. A lot. I don’t know why. All of a sudden. Why? I need. Reason.”
“Do you need a reason? There’s no reason for demons to kill. We just do it.”
“But. Contractor. Human. Different. It is necessary. Reason.”
Wyvern’s gaze, which was speaking looking at Harry, turned to me. Wyvern’s words were not very fluent, but it was easy to understand the contents. He must be asking why Harry was killing Wyvern all of a sudden.
‘I didn’t expect Wyvern to question me about the reason for the massacre.’
If I knew this would happen, I wouldn’t have said let’s kill Wyvern to satisfy our needs. I’m not a great animal lover, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty that I killed a creature with enough intelligence to talk to. Feeling awkward I scratched my cheek.
“Demons need to kill to relieve their desire. But I can’t tell a demon to kill people, nor can I tell him to endure it recklessly. He even tried to eat me……. I’ve been looking for a way, and Wyvern was close by, so…….”
I began to make excuses in front of a big Wyvern. I didn’t give an excuse to Catherine’s fishes who were nagging at me constantly for trying to harm their beloved.
But this was a different case. It was a real accident caused by me, so I have to deal with it.
‘If I don’t accept what I’ve done wrong, I’ll be trash.’
As I thought so, I felt embarrassed to talk with the Wyvern. The Wyvern looked at Harry, leaving me awkwardly continuing to talk.
“Absorption of desire. There is. Another way. Demon. You didn’t. Describe. Why?”
He stamped his foot in a rather excited voice. The ground thumped, and hot air left his big nose. Despite the quite violent reaction, Harry only waved his hand as if it were very annoying.
“You old man has lived longer than me so you don’t know. You’re telling me to do that with this grain of sand? Don’t you Wyverns think protecting the young ones of your clan is as important as our demons?”
Wyvern turned his head again to look at me after Harry’s explanation. The gaze that stared at me with piercing eyes was quite burdensome. After a long period of observation, Wyvern once again breathed heavily.
“Yes, human. A child. Such an idea. Shameless. I will. Reflect.”
The tail, which had risen above, drooped down. I could tell that he was depressed even if he didn’t say it. Harry also shrugged his shoulders elatedly when he saw his depressed mood.
“Well, of course you should.”
“But. It is difficult. They’re dead. A lot. Extinction. Possible.”
“What can I do? I’m facing a problem too. My contractor wants me to kill Wyverns only, not humans.”
“How come? Wyvern?”
The Wyvern looked at me in a voice full of resentment. The tail drooped helplessly, there were also signs of gloom on the face. The Wyvern’s facial expression was the same as a human being who had faced injustice. Thanks to this, guilt ate me the more I talked.
“It’s… They say that Wyverns block trade routes, prevent logging or transporting, and damage the lives of the people of the territory. So I thought it would be nice to help the knights subjugate them. I didn’t know that you were intelligent enough to talk like this…….”
“I can do it. Control. Trade routes. Logging. Transportation. Let go. I promise.”
“Uh…… If you say so…….”
‘I have a terrible conscience…….’
Harry quickly interrupted the conversation, perhaps feeling the guilt in my voice.
“He’s the only one who can communicate. Other young Wyverns don’t have much intelligence, they’re similar to cows and pigs. Do you feel guilty when you eat meat? Think it’s similar to that. You shouldn’t care if I kill them.”
“Well, kill. Cow or pig. Why? Wyvern?”
“They’re weak, so it’s not fun.”
“That is. Your problem. We. Why? Can’t. Understand.”
“Who wants you to understand? You don’t have the intelligence to understand anyway.”
“There is. We do. Emotions. Thinking. That’s rude. You. No manners. The end. Patience.”
“I have no manners from the beginning. Don’t you think it’s funny to find courtesy in this world?”
“Bad. Unmannered. You’re a fool. a white starfish. An ugly starfish.”
I think there’s a strange word mixed in the disparaging words.
“Did you learn words wrong?”
Maybe starfish is a terrible curse in the demon’s language. But Harry was frowning with confusion, too. As if he had heard something strange.
“Starfish? What does that mean?”
“Old man, calling. Without honorifics. End of patience. As expected. Starfish! a white starfish. Very. White starfish!”
“White starfish? What the hell does that mean?”
“A starfish! A white starfish! Wet starfish! Flat starfish! A tasteless starfish!”
‘……a variety of starfish.’
Harry gruffly swept up his hair as he watched Wyvern, who listed all kinds of starfish.
“I don’t know what you mean, but I feel like I’ve been cursed very badly. I can’t believe you thought I’ll feel bad being called a starfish.”
“Starfish. Doesn’t listen. Words. Young lady. Words. You. Conversation?”
The Wyvern snorted and bowed to me. It felt quite threatening as the big face came close. When I stepped back without realising it, the Wyvern opened his mouth and smiled as if trying to relieve me.
‘No, that’s scarier.’
“Family. Dead. Sympathize them. You are. Compassionate.”
Wyvern’s face was grimly distorted. Even the big eyes were watery as if tears were about to fall.
“Young lady. Starfish. He’s killing. Wyvern. He. Doesn’t listen. Request. Request. Pity. Dead. A lot. Lost a lot. Family.”
“Contractor. You can’t listen to him. How do I relieve my desires if you do as he says?”
“Little Wyvern. Lost it. Mother. Cried. A lot. Alone.”
The leader of Wyvern began to appeal to my sympathy in earnest. Harry shouted loudly next to me without fail, but my heart was inevitably shaken.
‘Uh. It’s not good to kill someone you can communicate with.’
Nevertheless, I was also an ordinary human with consciousness. If it was an opponent who I couldn’t communicate with, I could have ignored it. But I couldn’t order Harry to slaughter by ignoring the words of the opponent who cried and appealed for my sympathy. The conclusion had been set since the Wyvern began to speak.
Then the question was how to relieve Harry’s instincts. Perhaps we would find a way if we think enough? Just as a method called Wyvern suddenly appeared one day.
‘It might seem like there’s no solution, but what if there is?’
It wasn’t a problem that could be answered even if I thought about it.
‘I just hope not to be eaten by a cannibal before that.’
I don’t know…. I sighed and said to Wyvern.
“Okay. I’ll stop killing Wyvern.”
Harry exclaimed in astonishment. The Wyvern smiled brightly, swaying his drooping tail from side to side.
“As expected, Young Lady. Different. I promise. I’ll pay you back. Family benefactor. Young human being.”
The Wyvern, who said so, took a scale from his body and held it out to me. I took the scales he handed me with a dazed expression. Perhaps because of his large body, a single scale was as big as my face.
“The scales of the leader. Recognize. Families. Loyalty. Follow. Young human being. Your words.”
“Wyverns will recognize this and follow me?”
“Do you all understand human words?”
“Understand. Human words. Can’t. Can’t talk.”
“They understand, but can’t talk, right?”
“That’s right. Smart. A young human being. Blue squirrel.”
“Yes, Young Lady. A blue squirrel. A twinkling, glowing squirrel.”
The Wyvern opened his mouth and laughed as he shouted out the word ‘squirrel’ several times. The words were subtle, but it seemed to be a compliment nevertheless.
“……that’s a good thing, right? Thank you.”
“Of course. No need. Gratitude.”
The Wyvern fluttered its wings and flew up into the sky. Before I knew it, the sun was rising from the end of the sky.
“Time to leave. We must go. To the South. Far. Know. Where. Starfish. Call me. Anytime. I’ll come. With pleasure.”
The Wyvern disappeared to the far end of the sky with his last greeting. Harry’s angry voice stuck to me, who was staring blankly at the sky.
“Contractor! How could you do this to me?”
“You killed a lot anyway. Can’t you sit still for a while?”
“You’re saying because it’s not your business, right? I’m the best dryer ever! How could you treat me like this! You are the starfish!”
“Harry, you don’t even know what starfish means.”
“I’m sure it means something bad, you are a starfish!”
Harry stomped his feet, calling me starfish. He had a really happy face when he was fighting Wyvern. The pleasure was taken away from him in an instant, so of course he wouldn’t like the situation now.
‘How can I soothe this annoying demon?
I took a deep breath with that thought, but suddenly I heard a rustling sound not far away. At the faint sound, Harry hurriedly turned into a dog. I looked around, searching for where the sound came from.
‘Where did the sound come from?’
I know the sound came from somewhere nearby, but it was hard to find out exactly which way it was. However, Harry, who noticed it before me, stared at the place where the sound came from with his mouth closed. Perhaps that was the epicenter of the sound.
I turned my head after Harry. I thought a small animal must be passing away, but unfortunately, a person was standing there. A very annoying person on top of that.
A knight who came out of a nearby bush tripped over a tree root. Just by looking at his clumsy attitude, I could guess the identity of the knight.
‘There must be only one such clumsy knight in the whole kingdom. No, he must be the only one in the whole world.’
If there were two such people, we have no choice but to doubt the strength of the knights of the kingdom.
“Sir Lionel, what are you doing here?”
I reached out to Lionel, who couldn’t get up properly and was floundering with his limbs. After a moment of hesitation, he took my hand and finally stood up.
“Why are you here, Miss? A vicious monster is roaming in the forest now. Both the Royal Knights and the Frost Knights are searching it as an emergency.”
“Yes. There is a monster who tortured and completely killed an adult Wyvern. It’s more dangerous to be in the forest because we haven’t clearly identified the monster yet.”
‘I think I know the monster’s identity.’
I smiled awkwardly and looked at Harry, who was acting as an innocent dog. Harry looked away as our eyes met.
“Then Lord Lionel is searching for the monster in the woods? What about the search party?”
If a search party had been set up to find a strong beast who slaughtered Wyverns, several knights would have been moving in groups. A very strong knight may move alone, but Lionel was far from that. I looked at the back of Lionel to see if there was another knight, but there was no sign.
“I was moving with the search party but saw the lady and followed her. You can’t go around this dangerous place alone!”
“But you’re alone too.”
“What were you going to do if you met the monster while you were chasing me?”
“Uh…… I don’t know? What if I did? I just know it’s a very strong monster.”
Lionel opened his eyes wide with a blank face that said, ‘I didn’t think of that.’ As he was looking around anxiously, I understood that he had just grasped the situation.
‘This man, how did he really become a knight?’
Leaving me alone in bewilderment, Lionel became solemn. He drew out his sword with his trembling hands and began to be wary of his surroundings.
“Well, I’ll protect you with the honour of a knight. Don’t worry, don’t worry!”
“That’s very… reliable.”
“Of course! Lionel is a member of the Frost Knights! I’ll protect you at the cost of my life……”
I think I heard a bird flapping as if to laugh at Lionel’s solemn determination. When I looked up at the sky, I saw a huge number of Wyverns flying toward us.
The knight, who became weak at the tremendous scenery, screamed in surprise and fell flat to the floor. He fainted.
[Looks like he has lost it.]
As Harry kicked his tongue at the fallen Lionel, the diligently flying Wyvern landed around me. The pressure was great as the giant Wyverns surrounded me. They were smaller than the leader of Wyverns, but many times bigger than me, an ordinary human. The Wyverns watched me with golden eyes, folded their huge wings and bowed their heads in unison. It seemed to be because of the scale that the leader of Wyvern gave me. My conscience was poked by the large eyes staring at me.
“Uh…… I’m sorry. for killing too many of your kind. I didn’t know that we could communicate like this.”
The Wyverns’ eyes turned sad as my words reminded them of their dead relatives. Thanks to that, my guilt rose vertically. One Wyvern, the biggest one of the group, lowered himself to me as I had my head bowed at the immeasurable guilt. Its head met my eye level. The Wyvern blinked slowly as if telling me it was okay. It was a gesture of reconciliation. I hesitantly reached out and stroked its head. When my hand slowly touched its skin, the Wyvern grumbled in a low voice. It seemed it liked my touch.
“Are you there?”
Then a group of knights appeared, walking through the bushes. Perhaps they were the knights who were searching the forest in groups with Lionel.
“If you always disappear like this..… Oh my god.”
The knights, who were grumbling and chasing Lionel’s trail, froze when they saw the Wyverns filling the opening in the forest. Even if they fight with a group against one Wyvern, they couldn’t guarantee a victory, but dozens of Wyvern were blinking their eyes at him. It was obviously surprising.
“What is this….”
Surprised knights fixed the sword and examined the situation.
“Lionel? And…… Miss?”
The knights who found me became more astonished when they saw Lionel fainted on the ground.
“Get away from them now! We’ll distract them somehow, so run away in the meantime!”
The knight’s eyes shouting with a stern face were fierce.
‘Fortunately, unlike Lionel, he’s a proper knight.’
If I were a real lady in danger, they would have been very reliable.
“I’ll give you a signal! I’ll attack them on the count of three, so run straight! Do you understand, Miss?”
When the knight winked at his colleagues behind him, they also fixed their weapons with solemnity.
“One, two, three!”
The knights shouted and rushed toward the Wyvern in front of me. Of course I didn’t run away and stayed in place. The knights wielded their swords at Wyvern. But the Wyvern in front of me only swung its tail lightly to subdue their attack. They were shocked when they saw me still standing in front of the Wyvern.
“Why didn’t you run away, Miss?”
“I never said I’d run away.”
I shrugged and stroked the Wyvern’s head again. As the Wyvern grunted pleasantly and rubbed its face against my hand, the faces of the desperate knights became blank.
“It acted cute…….”
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