A second before he took off, Luke spoke as if remembering something.
“Listen carefully, never open your mouth while flying!”
Swish – after feeling the gravity that he had never felt before, the King Eagle’s body flew lightly.
Unlike the plane, there was no sense of stability in the acceleration, and every time it lifted its wings, it felt the acceleration of the waves. After floating, the King Eagle kept swinging its wings harder and harder, increasing its speed and starting to fly for real.
The landscape was changing in a dizzying way. In the blink of an eye, we were flying over hills, over small rivers, over the sharp tops of coniferous trees and into walls of air. On the way, when I thought the king eagle’s wings had flipped over, it soared higher in the air towards the zenith.
After climbing in one breath to the height of a skyscraper, the world expanded as the view, obscured by tall trees and a round earth, unfolded. The clear air, like clouds wiping away moisture, was transparent, and the distant landscape was clear to the eye.
It was beautiful.
Unlike the world seen through the small windows of a passenger plane, or the view from the observation deck at the top of a mountain, the vivid vastness of the unobstructed landscape was new and made the world look beautiful.
We hovered like this for some time before the reins were once again manipulated and the King Eagle depicted graceful movements and shifted to a slow three-dimensional manoeuvre. It reverses in the air and the world turns upside down. The weight is released from the saddle and the harness is felt around the waist to support the body.
The weight also immediately detaches itself from the harness and shifts into a free fall. Instead of the sky and the horizon, the ground fills the field of vision.
Falling, if we keep going like this we will hit the ground. Such a primal fear flashed through my mind and my thoughts were filled with panic.
However, the free fall was only over in a matter of seconds. The King Eagle changed the angle of its wings, caught the wind again and shifted to a gentle horizontal flight. There was still plenty of space between us and the ground when we shifted completely to horizontal flight.
We flew like this for about twenty minutes.
We began to see familiar buildings in the background.
It was the ranch where we had been.
I didn’t know where I was anymore, but Luke seemed to remember it well.
The King Eagle came down to the ground as if it was going to fall. It beats its wings, brakes sharply before landing gently and gently.
Luke exhaled over my head and unbuckled his seat belt.
There was a click-click-click sound.
Within a minute, Luke had unbuckled his own seatbelt and immediately unbuckled mine. He said to me as he jumped off the King Eagle first.
“Daddy will catch you, jump off.”
Although a little scared, I jumped gently from the bird’s saddle. Luke did catch me, just as he said he would, and put me on the ground.
“How was it?”
Luke looked at me with expectant eyes.
“It was great, it was a great experience. It was really good.”
I said honestly.
“Great, Yuri seems to be okay,” Luke said reassuringly.
“Nothing, it’s just the eagle thing. Some people can’t ride a king eagle no matter what, they just keep their feet on the ground.”
Oh, when he said that growing up to three years old …… was a test for that.
That’s right, people who are afraid of heights shouldn’t be able to ride a king eagle.
“I don’t seem to have a problem, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to ride king eagle properly.”
“Don’t worry, as far as I’m concerned, Yuri is very talented. I’ve said that, so I’m sure I’m right.”
“Is that so?”
When I heard my family say that, I felt happy and shy, even though I didn’t think I was too old for it.
In my life in Japan, my parents were not the kind of people to praise their son in this way, and soon one of them disappeared and the other …… had never contacted me since they broke off their relationship.
The age of my mind seems to have deteriorated along with my body. My heart was shaken and touched my tear ducts, so I hastened to hold back.
“Then again, does everyone start training at such a young age?”
“Yeah, don’t you like it?”
“No, I didn’t hate it at all. But I wonder if that’s how everyone is.”
“Well, three-years old is like a rule in our family, but everyone starts at a young age. Because if you don’t learn to ride alone before your body grows up, you can’t become a sky rider.”
You can’t become a king vulture rider unless you start training at young age?
That’s really sad. This king eagle should also be a very expensive animal, probably a carnivore, so it should be much more expensive than a cow or a horse. If you have to start training at young age, there is no way to ride it except for those who come from special families.
“Why? Why not just grow up and try to become a sky rider?”
It’s like enjoying a small plane based on a hobby.
“Oh, two adults can’t ride a King Eagle together because it’s too heavy.”
Is that so?
There seems to be a strict weight limit.
“Huh? What about the fat ones?”
“Ha ha! There are no fat people in Sky Riders.”
If you’re fat, you can’t ride an eagle? A tough, strong body like Luke’s would be ideal.
“As Yuri said, there are people who want to ride a king eagle when they grow up, such as merchants who become rich all of a sudden. But it seems …… well, that didn’t go too well.”
He seemed to be weighing his words so as not to scare me, but in short, it’s just falling down and dying, I guess.
“Yuri too, you should never ride alone until you get permission.”
The look on Luke’s face as he warned me changed from that of a man telling me how he liked it so far to that of a parent worried about his child.
“I know, I’ll take it to heart.”
That was the end of the day and he took me back home on the bird drive.
In the meantime, I was still thinking blankly about the king eagle.