"Elder brother! You're safe!"
A familiar figure was coming from a distance. Of course, being familiar never meant being on good terms. He had murky gold hair and yellowish-brown eyes that gave off a slacker look.
Although he could see the man running in a flustered manner while raising his sharp and crafty eyes, Karmeut's expression didn't change.
No, it would be more accurate to say that he momentarily frowned and then changed to an expressionless expression.
"-It's been a while, Luwellin."
"Haah- Don't you know that I'm worried, brother? Do you know how surprised I was to hear that you went missing while hunting? It would be dangerous for someone who didn't awaken."
Hearing those words, the first prince smiled.
If it was before, I would have been furious at the words that scratched my nerves, saying openly that I couldn't wake up. But now, it's different.
Now that I've gained the power, such provocations are only cute.
"I'm sorry about this, Luwellin. I've made you worry. As an older brother, I have to accept my younger brother's jokes, but I made you worry with your own 'little' joke. You've shown an unsightly side to your older brother."
Looking at Luwellin's face, Karmeut laughed inwardly.
-I can't believe you're shaken just by such words. One who reigned over others shouldn't be shaken so easily. Also,
This guy's not gonna make it.
Even Karmeut, who just recently woke up, tried hard to hide his 'spirit' until he reach the port.
Of course, for him, it was not the time to reveal that he had awakened, so it was natural for him to try to hide it, however, thinking about it for a bit, trying to hide his 'spirit' was not an option, but a necessity.
Isn't it a situation where we don't know when and how an awakened person will come out of the royal family?
And even if I didn't awaken... If there is no awakened person in this generation, even a non-awakened person can become the next emperor.
Karmeut did not assassinate Luwellin for one reason. He judged that he didn't have enough influence and nobles’ support that were enough to make up for the situation after the assassination.
-You've done this without knowing the situation, and you've got such an immature attitude.
On top of that, no matter how much he hid his 'spirit', this guy who had awakened a long time ago didn't feel the signs of a man who had just awakened.
That's why he couldn't completely take over the right of succession from me who haven't awakened before.
His golden eyes curved, skillfully hiding the words that he would spit out to this face in front of him one day.
"I'll try my best to accept my brother's mischief from now on. I appreciate your effort to set up the search party, and I'm sorry to have wasted your time on that. -I have to see Father now, so I'll talk to you again next time I get a chance."
Karmeut walked past Luwellin while saying that. Karmeut saw him tremble with his fist clenched. After laughing inside, the first prince turned his thoughts from the troublesome 3rd prince to the emperor.
This meeting with him was not worth remembering.
The Imperial Palace was very wide, perhaps to preserve the dignity of the empire.
Karmeut, who was walking along the wide hallway with servants and attendants, opened his mouth to talk to the door guards when he arrived at his destination.
"Could you tell the Emperor that the First Prince has arrived?"
After one of the guards nodded his head, he announced in a loud voice that the First Prince had come. When a quiet but certain permission to come in was given, the guards opened the door.
"It is an honor to see your Majesty the Emperor."
"Cough, cough…, yes, I heard you were missing. It's good to see you're safe."
The emperor sighed in relief and responded to Karmeut's greeting. He had a pale complexion that seemed to be sick, but his eyes were sharp.
Even lying in bed like this, he skillfully took over the atmosphere like he was the most honorable and dignified person in the empire.
"How are you feeling?"
"It's neither good nor bad. There's no change. At least the prince's worries won't happen, so why don't you cease your unorthodox greetings?"
Despite being in the position to see polite human beings the most, the emperor dismissed the greeting, but he had eyes that were sharp and dignified.
"Are you finally breaking your eggshell? You're so incompetent, that's how you get stabbed in the back by your younger brother."
Despite the emperor's attitude that seemed like he knew everything, Karmeutt's expression did not change. No, rather, he smiled a little. The emperor's eyebrows twitched, perhaps not expecting that expression. Then, the prince opened his mouth.
"Thanks to being hit in the back of the head, I broke the eggshell and came out."
"I can just try not to be foolish now, right?"
Their eyes met. It looked like there was a spark.
They were staring at each other with fierce gazes, and the son opened his mouth first.
"Put your mind at ease. I will firmly grab the right of succession that has been dragged on so far."
"Hoo-----. You will push the brainless Luwellin?"
"Yes, Isn't that what children do?"
The emperor's eyes narrowed at the prince's attitude, referring to his childish morality.
The feeling of intimidation grew stronger, but Karmeut showed a smile on his lips.
"Once the right of succession is decided, Your Majesty will go to see Queen Mother, whom you miss so much."
The emperor's expression hardened terribly. No matter how much he was a prince, he would know that he could die if he offended the emperor, but he kept smiling. No, rather, he concluded their conversation with a deeper smile.
"So please stay as you have been. Until one of us survives."
"When was there ever a time when I wasn't?"
Karmeut rose from his seat. His golden eyes, which did not avoid the emperor's glare, were slightly subdued.
"-If, Queen Mother... if Mom hadn't died of illness, you might have dealt with the right of succession in a slightly more moderate way."
"Now, please excuse me."
The emperor didn't say anything much about the prince's plan of action. He knew because he was the emperor who ruled the great empire and because he had been through that too. Those who contend for the right to succession bite each other and see blood until just one of them was left, and because of that, of course, they didn't shower much affection on their children, who they didn't know who was going to die.
"…Yes, you should have that kind of ambition. You impertinent thing."
His mouth unintentionally formed a smile, and the emperor leaned his back on the bed.
A wolf spends its entire life with only one companion. And if one loses their partner due to an unexpected event, that individual will die after suffering as if following their partner.
The emperor half-closed his eyes, thinking that he would soon be able to see her longing smile after living meaninglessly with just a sense of duty.
This thought came to the emperor's mind,
'I wonder what kind of expression you would make if you heard that---'
Perhaps because Karmeut said something close to a threat, the servant was carefully moving the cage. But I could see it clearly. Apart from moving it carefully, there was the gaze that was close to fear and disgust.
--Uh-huh, yes. I am an ominous, unlucky bird that symbolizes death and disease. Yeah, this reaction is normal. But why do I feel like crying...?
Woo, I'm cleaner than you think! I tidy my feathers and take a bath every day! I don't eat bugs! I don't even eat corpses' eyeballs!
It felt like my heart was going to explode from the injustice, but I shut my beaks because I knew very well that only caws would come out when I shouted like that.
Sob, Karmeut said that I could get hurt if I make a lot of noise here! Why? That's right. There are many rare animals and plants in the Imperial Palace!
As an unlucky bird, if I make a mistake and injure an animal or plant dear to the family, I'll be beaten to death on the spot! I'm going to die!
Even if I'm Karmeut's favorite crow, -no one knows this yet. Of course, right? Because Karmeut had just arrived at the Imperial Palace!
So if I don't behave, I might really die! I looked around while balancing my body by folding my wings tightly and grasped the perch with all my strength.
It was really hard to hold back in this place full of golden lights because the crow's instinct to love glittering things kept coming up.
Want... I want it! I want to play with that! The shiny one! The pretty one!
...Hah! No, my soul is that of a human! An intelligent(?) person! Get a hold of yourself, me! You have to wait patiently until Karmeut comes, and then you'll be comforted in his arms!
I waited eagerly for Karmeut to arrive, while the servant moved quietly. When we passed through the large hallway and entered the seemingly uselessly large door, I saw a room that was so gorgeous that my eyes widened.
Is, is this.. Karmeut's room?
There were so many luxurious and precious things that I had a feeling that was difficult to describe.
I feel full just by looking at it with my eyes. When you go on a foreign trip and enter the splendidly decorated palace as a tourist course, nothing comes to mind except for the 'wow' exclamation. I think it felt like that?
I suddenly heard a clattering sound, so I turned my head and looked at where the sound came from. And I froze.
--I thought the servant would feed me to 'not treat me recklessly'. But, but, but this, this!
White and plump things were dilly-dallying in the bowl. These things were very, very, very tangling each other! My eyes were destroyed by the lethal visuals!
Argh!! My eyes!
"--Birds like worms, so it should be this."
It was a miracle that I still had a consciousness to hear the servant's mutter, but I wanted to grab her by the collar and shook her hard.
Yeah! I can’t deny it! Birds eat bugs and worms and even steal eggs from other birds' nests if given the chance!! I know that there are a lot of kids who like to give mealworms to parrots they keep at home, too!
But, No! I don't!
I! I don't like worms and bugs!
I wanted to run wild, but my body was frozen and I couldn't move. If I move a little bit, I think that the bugs in the bowl will charge me.
I can't do this. Ugh. Ugh----!
Uh, uh...! I'm scared!
I'm not hungry, but I'm scared! I'm scared before my instincts! Someone, please know that it's visual and mental terrorism when the long, unpleasant things are crawling!!
Although I am known as a corpse and eye-eating bird, I'm very delicate at heart! My mind is that of a person! I was also a woman who fainted when someone dropped a worm on my desk to tease me when I was in elementary school!!
As I feel tears coming out a little, I prayed that Karmeut would come quickly.
Hurry up and come! Hurry up and take the worm bowl! Whaaaaaaaaaaaah! Karmeut didn't come!
The feeling of betrayal has risen! And there was a bigger problem, which was...
She took away the cookies! Ahhhh! I'm hungry!!
Birds digested their food right away! If I don't eat often, I will be hungry! Starving for a day is the same as starving for three days for humans. How cruel! How could you treat me like this?! You're being so thoughtless!
While sniffling, I prayed earnestly for Karmeut to come quickly, but my wings dropped as I looked at the door which had no sign of being opened. Maybe he was late.
My stomach was rumbling
I glanced at the bowl that contained worms. The wriggling things gave me a lot of eye terror and psychological shock, but......uh...ummm what...
They, they look delicious...
--Hah! No!! That's not delicious, you ass!
Let's bury that instinct inside! No matter how much crows like bugs and worms, you're not! Look at those things crawling! If you eat it, they'll wriggle in your stomach!
Hiih! I got goosebumps all over my body just by imagining it! I hate it, I hate it! It won't taste any good! If you eat it, you'll get a stomachache!
So that never looks delicious!
That's not tasty. You can't eat that.
I closed my eyes tightly as I repeated them to myself.
I wanted to go to the very corner of the cage, but I thought the worms that escaped from the bowl would crawl to me, so I held my tears and never come down from the perch!
My stomach kept making sounds. Ugh------, I'm thirsty----, I'm hungry--
Even if I wanted to drink water, the worm bowl was next to the water bowl, so I didn't dare to go. Sobs...
...Should I just close my eyes, pick up a worm, and eat it?
I was startled at the sudden thought, but when I thought about it again, it didn't seem like a bad idea.
Isn't, isn't that right? My mind is of a human, but my body is a crow's, right?
When you were in the woods and helped Karmeut, you relied on the crow's instinct the most, you know?
I, I've seen on the news that bugs and even worms are future food, and they're trying various things, and I've heard that they're high in protein, and, uh, they're... I mean...
Just one bite?
Ahh!! If I ate that, I'd be wriggling in my stomach! If I had teeth... if I had teeth, they would burst in my mouth, and their body fluids would be all over my mouth... Hiiiii! No! I absolutely hate it!!!