(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
To indulge indolence was my strong point since a long time ago. One year had passed while I remained still like a fool.
At that time, I was practicing to stand and to walk. I thought that it should be easy to stand and to walk, but it was unreliable since my legs lose its energy since I was a person who was bedridden for about half a year. In addition, the weight of the head was too much, and that made it very difficult to balance. Somehow, I had become a creature that couldn’t walk even though I wanted to walk.
Apparently, this family had a habit of celebrating birthdays. I wasn’t so sure since I didn’t count the number of days, but they were having celebration like a birthday celebration when a new season started.
However, I couldn’t eat the feast. Since the dishes were the same as usual, I didn’t really get the feeling that a party was held. Even so, it was obvious that I was the protagonist. I guessed it was probably my birthday.
As I analyzed while observing the everyday life, I found that that this family had a stoic life. They seemed not going out as a family for the most time. There were a few visitors though.
This was somewhat an unusual household. My father went out early in the morning and came back at night, but once in a while, he didn’t come back for days.
My mother was always at home. Since I was a baby who still couldn’t stand up, I would be in trouble if she went somewhere.
As for Mother, she talked to me with a language that I didn’t understand. However, I was still making progress on the language learning. I had gotten a feeling to call them Papa and Mama, so I quickly learned. They were surprised when I used chopsticks which I had learned before, but since the learning would be delayed even if they were reluctant to teach, I was OK with that.
Three years had passed while I was spending such a warm and ordinary life.
After various things happening, I celebrated my third birthday. The next day after my third birthday, I went to the workplace in a forest where father was working.
According to the information I learned for three years, my father was called Rook and my mother was called Suzuya. The name of Rook was a name taken from the name of a piece of a board game of this world, and the Suzuya name was taken from the name of a place.
There seemed to be a scenic land called Suzu valley where a lot of Suzu grass grew, and it looked like I was named Yuri.
The day after the third birthday, Rook brought me to a place that was beyond the small hill behind my house.
To go there, I went aboard a large non-flying bird called the Galloping Bird, and sat in between Luke’s crotch. Its head was as big as the ostrich head, and from the neck to the head, it was covered with feathers. (TLN: 駆鳥 or Kakedori.)
When I thought about it, there was no such a bird on Earth. I would say that it was an ostrich, but since it has quite cool silhouette compared to the ostrich, this bird would have been brought into the zoo if it existed on earth. As I expected, it felt strange because I didn’t know the bird.
It was also strange at the time when there were human beings with hair on the ears. I guess I came to another planet which wasn’t Earth.
The Galloping Bird was an excellent riding bird. I considered that its riding comfort was better than a horse. It ran with two legs shaped like inverted joints. As the feet absorbed the shock like suspension, its body didn’t shake up and down.
Rook’s workplace where I was taken was a place like a ranch. Even if it was called a ranch, it didn’t have the atmosphere of domesticated animals being raised.
There was something like a barn in a spacious area. There was also a place like a horse riding ground where the course was made with fences, and the open air area looked like grassland.
“This is my work place.” (Rook)
As Rook said that, he got off from the Galloping Bird, and hugged me who still held on the saddle.
“This is amazing.” (Yuri)
I gave out that impression honestly.
A ranch, which was located in the open area of a forest of needle-leaved evergreen tree, had an idyllic and relaxing atmosphere. The wooden barn was somewhat worn out, but it seemed to be well maintained.
Normally, wooden boards that were rotting left holes on the wall. Such things didn’t exist here as the walls had been repaired properly, and there was no hole.
It was a fairly good ranch. Even the lighting gave a feeling of being in Japan.
“Do you understand why this ranch was built here?” (Rook)
“Is this a farm that Father made from scratch?” (Yuri)
I was certainly wondering whether I would succeed this ranch of family business. This ranch wasn’t really big, and it seemed to be a few hectares.
“Yes. I made it.” (Rook)
“You’re amazing.” (Yuri)
I meant that he was really amazing. That young man made it from the scratch. It wasn’t only considerable to be able to do that.
“Don’t worry about it, just answer my question.” (Rook)
Nonetheless, Rook had a face that didn’t seem unlikely to be praised by a child. No, I really thought that was a big deal about how he built the ranch from the scratch.
Although his age was similar as mine in the previous life, the wife wasn’t married into the family because he had only a small house that was inherited from parents. He had to take care of the wife, to have a child, to provide a house. On top of those, he built a ranch in his age.
He was too amazing.
“Yeah, even if the livestock make a loud noise, it won’t cause troubles to the surrounding people, right?” (Yuri)
I said so as I recalled my classmate at high school. He lived near a ranch of pigs or cows, and he couldn’t sleep at night because the livestock’s crying at night. It wasn’t possible to study for a test. When he failed in the exam, these livestock were to blame. He was complaining.
“…You are thinking something interesting. Indeed. It may be troublesome and annoying if people live nearby.” (Rook)
From the nuance, it seemed he was expecting different reply.
For some reason, Rook was staring at my face as if he was admiring something.
Was it a strange reply?
“But, the people around this neighborhood usually have livestock in their home, so they probably don’t mind about it.” (Rook)
‘Aah… Is that so? They also raise livestock in their home. Such household aren’t common in Japan.’
“That is a correct interpretation, right?” (Yuri)
“Look, this place is sandwiched between mountains.” (Rook)
When I looked at far distant, I could see hills that could be called as mountains. This place was indeed in between the mountains. The hills were enclosing in four different directions, and the view was limited.
‘Aah, is that what he meant? This is like a basin.’
“The wind doesn’t come here because it passes through the top of the mountains. Birds don’t grow well on the land where the wind blows.” (Rook)
‘Indeed. That is a professional and convincing reason.’
However, Rook still looked young. I supposed he started cleared up the land for the ranch when he was much younger, but from that time on, he probably searched for suitable farm land with that thought in mind. Once he found a place that he could agree with, he probably cleared the land and succeeded in managing it.
It was easy to talk about eat, but it wasn’t a simple thing to do.
He was surely an amazing person. Since he was unexpectedly to be a successful person, I wonder if he considered the place naturally.
“Father, are you the head of this ranch?” (Yuri)
And when I asked that…
“Well, that’s about it.” (Rook)
He answered so.
I had the presumption due to the conversations back at home, and they were running a ranch as I expected.
“Are you managing all these alone?” (Yuri)
“No, I’m hiring people. They should have already come.” (Rook)
After Rook held the reign to move the Galloping Bird and tied it to a horse stopper, he pulled my hand walked into the barn.
(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
When I looked inside the barn, there were Galloping Birds lining side by side in exchange of horses. The space for each bird was spacious and not cramped. Somehow, this hut was luxuriously done.
There were two people and they were wearing farmer work clothes. They were working on both sides of a wheeled vehicle that looked like a rear car which was located in the middle of the aisle way. From a carrier loaded with feed, it was transferred the Galloping Bird’s basket feed.
When I looked at the technology of this world, I didn’t think that the bearing was used on an axle, so I wonder how they structured the undercarriage. I was somewhat curious.
“I see, the feed is hays.” (Yuri)
I had no knowledge of the Galloping Bird’s ecology.
“It will lose weight if they are feed with hays only, so the feed is mixed with cereals, nuts and beans.” (Rook)
It seemed to be herbivorous. The feed was almost the same as horse.
“Wild Galloping Birds live by eating grass and fallen tree fruit, but they hunt small animals to eat during winter since there are lacks of food. Even the Galloping Bird here, they also hunt rabbit when they go out grazing.” (Rook)
That was far from being herbivorous. Horses didn’t eat rabbit. I guessed the Galloping Bird was an omnivorous animal.
However, when I looked at their speed and its sturdy beak, their appearance of running through forests and grasslands hunting for rats and rabbits was quite familiar.
“Don’t you feed them with meat?” (Yuri)
“I’m not letting them eating it. Their body will get stronger, but once they remembered the taste of meat, its temperance will become wild.” (Rook)
“Is that so?” (Yuri)
Was that because they remembered the taste of blood? I supposed it wasn’t essential for them to eat meat.
It was just that the scientific progress was slow, it might be necessary to eat meat. After being analyzed by Japanese animal fattening scholars, it could be said that calcium or sodium was hopelessly lacking in such feed. Perhaps, it might be good to mix the feed with meat and bone, or put lump of rock salt in the barn. I wondered what the actual situation was.
“Some people prefer it that way. If there is a special order, we will raise the birds while hunting the rats by installing the rat guards on the fence. But it’s hard work to train them.” (Rook)
There seemed to be some people who liked out of control horses.
“Why do people ask for out-of-control Galloping Bird?” (Yuri)
“There are people among warriors who like such birds. Even if they can buy it, there are more people who can’t obtain it. But, if people can handle them well, the manner of rampaging after entering the battlefield will be completely different. It will rampage, kick and kill everyone.” (Rook)
Was it raging because it craved for blood? From the conversation, this bird seemed to be a kind of military animal.
Even if I would be able to ride the Galloping Bird in the future (which I was thrilled to have a real ride), I wanted to handle such a rough bird. If the legs were put on saddles, the head would be crushed immediately if kicked by them. I could easily imagine such a situation.
“By the way, I am mostly leaving the Galloping Birds to other people. I will accompany them for their last training. I mainly take care the Eagle King.” (Rook)
“The Eagle King?” (Yuri)
Although it appeared in some of the books I read, it was one of the term that I didn’t understand about animals.
“It is a bird that can fly into the sky.” (Rook)
I wondered if they were breeding hawks for hawk hunting.
“Follow me.” (Rook)
I was prompted and I was taken to another barn.
That barn was different from the Galloping Birds’ barn. The shape was like a three story building. It had many windows and all of them were opened. On the inner side of the window plate, there were something like iron grill. I supposed it was to keep the bird here.
Speaking of the facilities that raised the birds, I didn’t know anything other than wire netting cage and bird baskets with the exception of chicken. However, if this three story building removed its floor partition, the area seemed to be very large.
When we reached the building, Rook opened the door.
“Come in.” (Rook)
While my back was gently pushed, I came inside.
I was surprised to the point almost falling down.
In the inner part of the door, there was a huge space created by removing any other things, and there were birds staying there.
The birds were abnormal. Its size was abnormal.
If it was measured from the head to the tail, it was probably three to four meters. The beak was big, the nails were sharp and there were brown feathers with stripes on its body. The eyes were sharp like birds of prey.
It was such an eagle. It was a tremendously huge eagle.
My mouth opened reflexively.
“Were you surprised?” (Rook)
Rook was asking while grinning.
“That is… yes.” (Yuri)
“Well, of course.” (Rook)
“Yes, it is… amazing.” (Yuri)
The hawk called Eagle King was huge, and it was awesome. It wasn’t short and stout, and its silhouette was slender.
There were five Eagle Kings. It felt less as there were only five birds in this whole building, but it seemed reasonable when thinking about its size.
I was wondering if the building was a building with only walls and roofs, but when I entered inside, there were a lot of thick pillars standing as if large pruned tree were already there to become the support pillar of the building. From the pillar, there were many thick beams extended and they were connected to the walls. It seemed the Eagle Kings preferred to stay on that beams. They frequently flied and moved from a beam to another beam.
Occasionally, they jumped and flapped their feathers. It stopped by grasping the beam with a momentum, and it seemed the beam would be broken unless it was a very thick beam.
The wings of the Eagle King were full with brown feathers with stripes. The part from the chest to the belly had uneven color with white mixed with gray, and that part stood out. The legs were brilliant yellow and its feet shined with modest hue. It was beautiful.
“Amazing… there is really such a creature.” (Yuri)
“That’s right. It is my most favorite bird. It is very smart, and it’s very friendly once it is tamed.” (Rook)
“Can it be tamed?” (Yuri)
“Well, of course. If it’s not, it would be dangerous to ride it.” (Rook)
“What do you mean by that?” (Yuri)
“Were you thinking something like a heavenly knight coming out from a legend?” (Rook)
Rook was saying something strange. That story was surely come out, but it was only recognition that it was a remarkable knight whose role wasn’t understood.
“You also can’t help wanting to ride it, right?” (Rook)
He was saying something that I couldn’t understand.
“Can you ride it and fly into the sky?” (Yuri)
“Even if you aren’t scared, you will definitely fly together with me, so there will be no problem. Riding the Eagle King at three years old is like our Hou household tradition. I also had done this when I was three.” (Rook)
‘I’m not saying that.’
Somehow, I was planned to ride and fly together. Based on the talk, it seemed the flow of event was to fly by coaxing a child who was scared.
“Is it an animal that can fly with people?” (Yuri)
“Yes, of course. That’s why I raise it.” (Rook)
He looked serious when saying that.
“It’s alright. I’m the best Eagle King rider in the world.” (Rook)
What he said was a mere consolation of a father.
To be honest, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared. The part that governed the common sense in my head sounded an alarm when it was about flying on an animal like this.
However, from the way he spoke, he seemed to have a lot of experience from his father, and since he was already used to it, it didn’t feel dangerous. Perhaps I should say that there was no sense of danger coming from Rook.
“I got it. I have made up my mind.” (Yuri)
“Alright, that’s my son.” (Rook)
When Rook blew a wooden whistle he had under his neck, an Eagle King came down. I wondered if the bird dropped down because of the sound of the whistle. Since only one out of five of them came down, would he choose that one?
When I showed a resolute face, Rook took a saddle, which had a different appearance compared to the one used for the Galloping Bird, from a wall. First, he attached the rein from the tip of its beak. He, then, put the saddle on its back, and a band of leather was rotated and fixed on its belly.
The saddle wasn’t only smooth, but it felt like a camel saddle, rather than horse’s saddle. It was the same as the one that straddled, but it was a bit higher like a chair.
Rook took the rein extended from both side of the Eagle King. He pulled and led the bird. The Eagle King didn’t appear to resist, and it was smoothly pulled. Just as it was, he opened the door that was fastened from the inside, and went outside.
Then, Rook tapped the head of the eagle twice in the grassy place away from the building. The Eagle King gently crouched down. It quietly held steady as if it was a well-trained dog which was told to [Sit].
“Raise both of your hands a little.” (Rook)
I did so when he said that. Then, Rook wrapped a metal ring on my waist. It hurt when I was strapped tightly. It was held on my stomach, and I was lifted up next.
I was put on the saddle as if he was placing a figurine.
After that, Rook also rolled a similar belt, and came up above the saddle. I could barely stand on the saddle because of my height, but Rook was sitting on it with his legs folded. It looked a bit cramped.
In other words, unlike a horse that was straddle, there were no stirrups, and it felt like we were sitting in a tatami room similar to how girl sat. Since my waist was throbbing, the saddle was slightly higher so that I could sit.
Rook connected the leather band to the belt wrapped on the waist, and the body was secured. This seemed to be a safety belt.
When it was over, I was sitting between his legs and I was wearing a band on my belt. The waist and the saddle were secured so we absolutely wouldn’t fall. Then, Rook controlled the rein.
The Eagle King flapped its wings vigorously, and when it was on the verge of flying, Rook opened his mouth as if he remembered something.
“Listen, don’t open your mouth while we’re flying.” (Rook)
After feeling the G-force that I had never belt before, the body of the eagle floated fluffy. Unlike the jumbo jet, there was no sense of constant acceleration. A wave-like acceleration enveloped each time the wings were flapping,
After floating, the Eagle King vigorously flapped his wings several time, and the speed was steadily rising. Then, it changed to the usual flying.
The scenery under my eyes changes rapidly. In the meantime, we crossed a hill, went over a brook, flew passed the tip of the pointed coniferous tree, and rushed through the walls of air.
As I was wondering why it stroke its wings, it went to the zenith direction so that it could soar further in the sky. Once it reached the height of a skyscraper, the field of vision which was obstructed by tall trees and the round earth opened up, and the world expanded.
The clean air, that was similar to wiping away the moisture with clouds, was transparent everywhere, it clearly reflected the distant scenery to the eyes.
‘How beautiful it is.’
It was different than the world that I could see through a small window of an airplane or from the observation deck at the top of the mountain. The dynamic panorama wasn’t obstructed. It was refreshing everywhere, and it made the world looked beautiful.
After circling for a while, the rein was controlled, and the eagle moved onto a leisurely three-dimensional maneuver while drawing an elegant movement. It flipped in the air, and the world turned upside down.
I felt my weight was leaving the saddle, but the body was secured by the safety belt on the waist. Immediately after that, I lost the weight from the safety belt, and I fell into a free fall. The field of view was neither the sky nor the horizon, but it was filled with the earth surface. Primitive fear crossed my head, and panic filled my mind.
However, the free fall ended in a few seconds. When the eagle changed the angle of the wings and caught the wind again, it gradually shifted to a level flight.
After completely turned to the level flight, there was still plenty of room for the altitude from the ground surface.
We were flying for about 20 minutes. Then, I saw a familiar building. It was the ranch. I didn’t know where exactly I was, but it seemed Rook remembered it firmly.
The eagle descended to the ground with a momentum as to think that it would crash. Before descending, Rook fluttered its feathers several times. It made a sudden braking, and made a soft landing.
As I let out a breath with that in mind, Rook untied the safety belt. It made a clattering sound. Rook took a minute to untie his belt. Immediately after that, he untied mine.
After he got off the Eagle King, he told me to jump since he would catch me. It was a bit daunting, but I still jumped off from the top of the saddle. Rook properly caught me as he said, and put me on the ground.
“How was it?” (Rook)
Rook looked at me with anticipation.
“It was amazing. I mean really.” (Yuri)
I gave my honest opinion.
“Good, good. You seem to be alright.” (Rook)
Rook said while looking relieved.
“What do you mean?” (Yuri)
“Well, it’s an Eagle King. There are people who can’t get used to the Eagle King no matter what. They are no good unless their feet are on the ground.” (Rook)
‘Aah, to do this at three years old is to know whether I can do it or not, huh?’
Even if they weren’t fear of heights, it would be impossible for if they were scared. It didn’t mean that I underestimated timid people, but once they were scared, they could no longer do anything about it.
It was something like those people who didn’t want to enter expressway even though they could drive, or those who didn’t want to go out to the sea because the feet couldn’t reach the ground. This would be impossible for such people.
“I am fine. But I’m not sure if I can ride it.” (Yuri)
“It’s alright. Judging from that, I can see you have a lot of talents. I have no doubt since I say that.” (Rook)
“Is that so?” (Yuri)
When I was told that by my own family, I didn’t think that it suited my age, but I felt like I was happy and embarrassed. When I was alive in Japan, my parents weren’t the type of people who praised the children like this. After they passed away, I became someone who had no relatives.
Somehow, I felt like my mental age was regressing since I was pulled into this body. Since my heart became sentimental and the tear gland appeared to be loosened, I flusteredly endure it.
“Come to think of it, does everyone start training since they are young?” (Yuri)
“Aah, don’t you like it?” (Rook)
“No, I don’t dislike it at all. It’s just that I thought everyone was doing it.” (Yuri)
“Well, doing this since three years old is like our tradition, but everyone is doing it since they are young. If you can’t ride alone when your body gets older, you will not be able to become a heavenly knight.” (Rook)
“Why is that? Can you do that after you become an adult?” (Yuri)
This felt like enjoying playing light airplane as a hobby.
“By the way, the Eagle King can’t be ride by two adults. It’s too heavy.” (Rook)
‘Really? Apparently, there is a strict weight limit.’
“Eh, so how about fat people?” (Yuri)
“There are no fat people among heavenly knights.” (Rook)
Rook was smiling as he said so.
Certainly, even in the world of horse riding, there wasn’t single fat professional jockey. As for the King Eagle, a slender and muscular body like Rook would be ideal.
“Like you say, there are also people who want to ride the Eagle King after becoming an adult. For example, the merchants who become old but have money. However, it usually doesn’t end well. It’s because they may die if they fall during training.” (Rook)
“Well, you are also not allowed to ride it on your own until you get the permission, alright.” (Rook)
Rook’s expression changed from someone who excitedly talked about his hobby to a parent who worried about his child.
“I got it. I’ll keep that in mind.” (Yuri)
On that day, I left the ranch and went home by riding the Galloping. In the meantime, I was vaguely thinking about the Eagle King.
(Please consider supporting at https://www.patreon.com/bayabuscotranslation)