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    Would it be cozy over there? But I’m a bit curious. Gazing at the gleaming, smooth head, I flapped my wings without hesitation. Then, capturing everyone’s attention at once, I settled on the silky-smooth spot. As I bent my legs and lowered my bottom, I felt a sensation on my bottom that I couldn’t normally experience.

    It was warm yet not warm. I tilted my head quizzically. It was a feeling I had experienced many times somewhere before. I turned my head and surveyed the office. It’s similar to that. Like a globe or something. With a sudden surge of curiosity, I flapped my wings, thinking I should compare them. Flying over without anyone’s interference, I perched on the center of the round globe-like object next to the desk.

    “Peep.”

    It was similar, except this one was rounder and more unstable. However, I still preferred the human head. The bottom should be warm. Flapping my wings again, I settled on the silky-smooth spot. Although it didn’t feel cozy due to the lack of hair, I liked it because it was different.

    I made myself comfortable there and closed my eyes. I planned to stay there until the meeting ended.

    As I kept my eyes closed obediently, I could hear the muffled voices of the people conducting the meeting. Using those murmuring sounds as ASMR, I embarked on a journey to dreamland.

    🐤

    The duke couldn’t figure out how to explain this situation. It was a time when they were receiving reports from each other to ensure that the mansion’s affairs were running smoothly and diligently. Suddenly, Peep flew in between them and settled on top of an attendant’s head. Then, as he had done to the duke before, he began building a nest.

    The dumbfounded attendant stopped mid-report and hesitantly raised his hand, filled with uncertainty. He carefully tried to grab the bird, but his attempt failed as Peep swatted him with his wings. Despite repeating the attempt several times, unfortunately, he was no match for the small Peep. In the end, his well-groomed hair became the bird’s nest.

    Peep seemed to like it there, as he remained settled for a while before raising his head to observe the people. The way he made eye contact with each person, one by one, had a sharpness reminiscent of inspecting goods, causing the duke to suppress a wry smile. He wondered what mischief the bird was up to this time.

    A subtle tension lingered in the office. Everyone discreetly averted their gazes and focused solely on the documents. And soon, the sound of the bird flapping its wings resounded throughout the room. Someone could be heard gulping. The bird slowly took off and settled on top of another person’s head.

    “…”

    Everyone kept their heads down and looked at the documents without saying a word. Then, they busied themselves with exchanging opinions in hushed tones, much more actively than before. It was as if they had all made a promise not to mention the current situation.

    As they gave their reports with clouded eyes, the bird flew off somewhere. Everyone listened attentively, wondering if it would land on someone else’s head, but after circling around in the distance, it perched on the globe engraved with a world map.

    However, it seemed dissatisfied with something. After tilting its head for a moment, it took flight again and landed on top of the bald attendant.

    “Pfft!”

    Someone finally burst into laughter. The duke, observing the unusual scene in the office, lowered his gaze to review the documents. Although he usually didn’t know what Peep was thinking with that small head of his, this time, he had a hunch.

    The meeting, for which the agenda had already been organized, ended quickly without dragging on. Even though the duke declared the meeting adjourned, Peep remained asleep on that person’s head, not getting up. In the end, while the duke personally picked him up, the attendants had to make every effort to suppress their laughter.

    As soon as they were given permission to leave, the attendants, their faces flushed, swiftly exited the office. The sound of laughter could be heard from behind the closed door. Against the backdrop of that laughter, the duke looked down at his small bird.

    The bird, settled in his palm, was moving its beak as if eating meat in its dreams. Whether it was still a baby or animals naturally slept a lot, the duke wasn’t sure, but it quickly fell asleep at the slightest boredom. Since he couldn’t allocate enough time due to work, he considered that fortunate.

    He carefully placed the bird on the cushion to avoid waking it up. After gazing at its deeply sleeping form for a moment, he returned to his desk. He thought it would wake up later when it was time for a meal. However, as hours passed, Peep remained fast asleep, as if in a deep slumber.

    In the end, Peep only opened its eyes at dawn and woke the duke, who was sleeping peacefully, to demand food.

    ***

    Arc 2

    While nestled between the cushions, spending lazy days as usual, I felt a different atmosphere filling the office, unlike the usual. For the first time since arriving here, curiosity arose in the strangely unsettled office. I peeked my head out and observed the two who were busy.

    “Peep.”

    Claude and the duke seemed to be preparing to go somewhere. Those clothes are new. Instead of the high-quality clothes he usually wore, the duke was dressed in somewhat worn-out, plain attire. The duke and Claude engaged in whispered conversations. Wondering what they were discussing, I tilted my ears like a spy sneaking in.

    “You mentioned there was a guild, right?”

    “Yes. Just in case, I sent a letter in advance.”

    “I see.”

    The duke replied absentmindedly while buttoning his sleeves with one hand. Standing in front of a large mirror, he tilted his head and brushed back his stray hair. Claude, who had been watching the duke, slightly moved his lips. It seemed like he had something to say. After a brief hesitation, he spoke.

    “As per your instructions, Your Grace, I didn’t have the attendants prepare separately, but… wouldn’t it be better to bring at least one person along? They can be ready right away.”

    “It won’t take many days if we go by horse. It’s better to go alone.”

    Faced with the duke’s unyielding attitude, like a large mountain, Claude let out a groan. From their conversation, it seemed that the duke was going to a place called the Sabon region today. Watching them while flattened by the plump cushion, I twisted my body and escaped from my spot. Spreading my short wings wide, I flapped them vigorously and climbed onto the desk.

    They were either too preoccupied with their preparations or uninterested in me, as they didn’t even spare a glance. The duke was busy checking his appearance in the mirror, and Claude never paid much attention to me unless I caused a major incident.

    “Cheep.”

    Climbing onto the desk without their knowledge, I discovered a limp bag lying there. I hopped over to the bag. I poked it with my beak and even nibbled on it. Hmm, sniff. A slightly musty smell emanated from the gray bag. It must have been a long time since it was washed.

    While sniffing, I noticed a slightly open gap in the bag. Oh. What could be inside? Curiosity piqued, I poked my head into the pitch-black interior where the end was not visible. As the sunlight was blocked, I couldn’t see anything. The sound was also appropriately muffled, providing a strange sense of tranquility. Wanting to experience this comfort a bit more, I put my body in and stepped on something. Inside, there seemed to be clothes or something, as it was soft and fluffy.

    “Peep.”

    Great. Should I take a deep sleep here?

    Secretly hiding in a place no one knew about, I gently picked up the fabric with my beak and began creating a cozy spot. The darkness and quietness were perfect for deep sleep.

    While building my nest, I carefully picked up the hard objects with my beak and placed them in the corner, while gathering only the soft fabrics and piling them around me like a fortress. Having created a safe place, I closed my eyes in the pitch-black darkness. Using the appropriately muffled noise as a lullaby, I fell asleep without anyone knowing.

    Why did I do that…?

    Not long after I had fallen into a refreshing sleep in a comfortable sleeping spot, something woke me up.

    What is it? Who’s disturbing my sleep?

    “Cheep.”

    A fierce bird doesn’t hold back its anger.

    I opened my eyes wide to find something that had interrupted my sleep. The surroundings were still pitch-black, and soft clothes filled the space. The location hadn’t changed. There was only one thing that had changed. The bag I had entered was continuously and vigorously shaking. Having just woken up, I rolled around without a chance to gather my senses.

    “Cheep, cheep! Peep!”

    Eek! Eek!

    It was as if someone had picked up the bag and was passionately shaking it like a disco party. Save the bird! Save the bird! Oh my, I’m dying! I tumbled and rolled around inside the bag. When the bag tilted to one side, I rolled in that direction, and when I encountered a dead end, I bumped my bean-shaped head and hurriedly rolled to the opposite side.

    At this rate, I’m going to die!

    Tears welled up at the thought of possibly dying from the constant rolling of my round body. Someone was tormenting me. Could they have a grudge against me? I couldn’t control my body as it continued to roll. I thought that if I didn’t stop rolling here, I might die from dizziness. Using all my strength, I flapped my short legs and wings, trying to grab onto the bag.

    Please get caught. Get caught on my scary and fierce claws.

    Although my legs were short and thin, I had sharp claws. As I vigorously shook, the bag got caught in the chaos. I put strength into my toes, lifted my body, and opened my beak wide to bite the bag. I used all my might to avoid letting go of what I had finally grabbed. It would be great if I could get out of the bag, but I couldn’t see the small gap I had entered through.

    “Cheep…”

    How did this happen?

    Since being adopted into the duke’s household, I had been doing nothing and just receiving fancy steak, so could this ordeal be a result of that? Was God giving me this punishment for living too idly without working? I promise I’ll live diligently from now on.

    In the chaotic mess where objects were flying around, I tightly closed my eyes and prayed. Please stop this intense disco pang.

    🐤

    The duke finished his preparations for his trip to the Sabon region and picked up his bag. The bag contained clothes needed for the duration of the trip, small tools, a small amount of money, and other essentials. After gathering all the necessary items and turning his back to leave the room, he paused. It would be good to bring that too.

    He turned around and reached into the desk drawer. Inside the carefully opened drawer were small stones the size of a handful. What had been hidden in the darkness sparkled in various colors such as purple and green when exposed to light. Without hesitation, he picked up two of them.

    “Your Grace, if anything happens, please send a letter immediately. I will dispatch the knights without delay.”

    Unless they were in the same neighborhood, to communicate, they had to write a letter and send it to the communication tower located at the border of each territory. The communication tower that received the letter would assign an urgency level and quickly send the highest priority ones first. Especially if it was a letter from a nobleman, it would automatically be given higher priority than those of commoners.

    The duke smiled invisibly at Claude’s worried demeanor as he departed.

    “Don’t worry. Despite my appearance, keep in mind that I’m several times older than you.”

    Claude’s family had been serving the Barthes ducal family for generations as butlers. As a mixed-blood of different races, the duke, who lived much longer than ordinary humans, had watched Claude since he was a baby.

    Having finished his preparations, the duke surveyed the room one last time and left. He considered seeing Peep one last time, but thinking the bird would be sleeping soundly in some corner again, he departed as is. He didn’t want to disturb the slumber of the ill-tempered bird.

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