21st Century Archmage - Chapter 33
Chapter 33: Forbidden Night Flight
‘Mm?’ Night was deepening in the covert. Finished with patrols and training, the wyverns had returned to their individual hangars. The covert was dimly lit by magic lamps placed here and there.
Someone called me from the side of a building shrouded in darkness. “Over here, over here…”
‘Holy! It’s Igis!’
As a member of Great Bajran’s imperial bloodline, Igis was escorted by Imperial Knights in the covert as well. She was looking around and gesturing at me from within the darkness like a thieving cat.
“Oh, Imperial Princess…”
“Shh! Be quiet. I ditched the Imperial Knights and came out here.” The ladylike, refined Igis made a shushing motion at her lips while looking all around with a tense expression.
‘Heh, how cute.’
This cautious appearance of hers was a rare sight. It was really adorable.
“Come with me.”
‘Regular clothes?’ Instead of the imperial training outfit embroidered with gold thread, Igis was wearing a normal airplate like me. I quietly moved into the shadowy side road.
‘Why is she looking for me so late at night?’ If we had a romantic relationship, I could understand her looking for me to share a lovey-dovey moment in a dark place, but we weren’t in that kind of relationship at all. Igis didn’t let down her guard and scurried to take the lead.
‘I didn’t even eat though…’
The covert was still full of places to sightsee. The more I saw, the more questions I had about various things. As a result, time flew by and I hadn’t even had dinner yet.
‘But what’s with this sense of danger I feel?’
The Imperial Princess wouldn’t do anything bad, but I had a bad feeling. Moreover, Igis had ditched her guards and had clearly waited for me. Something was definitely up.
‘Eh, this is—!’
After walking in silence with Igis for a while, we arrived at a very familiar place. It was the cursed hangar where Bebeto was staying.
Igis opened the creaking hangar side door and stepped in first.
‘Why here?’ Various thoughts were popping up in my mind. ‘It’s fishy… I have a bad feeling.’
The noble Imperial Princess of Bajran had dragged me over to Bebeto’s hangar like a thieving cat. Shaking my head in puzzlement, I followed her inside.
* * *
‘Ah~! What’s this?’ A portable magic lantern was filling Bebeto’s hangar with a dim light. ‘Why is there a saddle here?’
Inside the hangar was a necessary item for riding a wyvern, a two-seater saddle.
“Bebeto, I have to return to the palace tomorrow. This time, I don’t know when I can come back. I want to gift the sky to you before I go.”
‘Return? Gift?’ I failed to understand this puzzling situation.
‘She’s even got a key!’ Igis unlocked the steel shackles on Bebeto’s ankles with a key she got from who knows where.
“Erm, Your Highness. What are you doing now…?”
“Kyre-nim, I beseech you. Please… please help Bebeto see the sky.”
‘Why does she look like she’s about to cry?’
It was said that a woman’s greatest weapon was their tears. Tears were pooling in Igis’ large eyes. This wasn’t the confident Imperial Princess I knew.
“Haha. Please don’t worry. Bebeto isn’t a stranger.”
“Thank you. I believed that you would understand me, Kyre-nim.” As she spoke, a gentle smile appeared on Princess Igis’ lips.
‘Oh! Gods above!’
I don’t know what karma I accumulated in my last life, but these days, my surroundings were filled with incredible beauties. Happiness surged inside my chest.
“Should I put on the saddle?”
The sight of the Princess’ happiness completely transformed me into a willing servant. I hefted the two-seater saddle and stood in front of Bebeto.
“You heard that, right? Tonight, we’re going for a ride!”
From the moment he heard what was happening, Bebeto’s eyes had been flashing with excitement. He didn’t say anything.
‘It would be easier if I used Levitation.’ Levitation magic was perfect for putting on the saddle, but it was only a fanciful thought. I didn’t want to reveal that I was a mage right now, even if it was the Imperial Princess.
Having already seen the process a few times, I took the 10+ kilogram saddle and clambered up Bebeto’s leg. As I did so, I marveled at the feeling of Bebeto’s warm fur. Atop his sturdy hide, which was wrapped tightly around his whole body, were golden fur stripes that were truly striking against the black. The quality of the fur coat my mom occasionally wore could not even compare.
‘But will he be able to fly well?’
Bebeto had definitely been locked up here since the day he was born. I couldn’t help but worry that he wouldn’t be able to fly with his heavy body and us on his back.
‘Well, he’s still a wyvern in name.’
In the end, he was no chicken, but a wyvern. And Bebeto was a hybrid that was stronger than other wyverns at that. I believed in him. Rather, the deeply-rooted feeling of intimacy I had towards Bebeto turned to belief.
“It’s all done. Now… you’re free.”
After covering his horns with a round leather net and attaching leather straps to his neck and both wingpits, the two-seater saddle was fully equipped. At some point, Igis had also finished unlocking the shackles.
Gruuuuuuuu. The shackles had fallen from his feet, but Bebeto couldn’t even think of moving. He made a throaty sound and just blinked his eyes, as if he didn’t believe what was happening.
“Try moving, Bebeto.”
Igis petted Bebeto’s leg with gentle strokes of her hand. After putting on the saddle, I had returned to the Princess’ side, and from there, I could see Igis’ sincere heart full of care for this wyvern.
Guuuu. As if emboldened by Igis’ words, Bebeto let out a trembling cry. Then he slowly moved his foot.
It was just one step, but the ground shook from the heavy movement.
‘Why is my heart trembling like this?’
The thought of seeing this wyvern, who was ostracized by all of wyvernkind, free and in flight made my heart thump.
Suddenly, the Princess grabbed my hand. I wasn’t just imagining it– Igis was watching Bebeto’s movement with joyful eyes and then grabbed my hand without notice. Her hand, which was as smooth as silk, made my heart thump like crazy.
‘Thank you, Bebeto!’ If not for Bebeto, how would I, a mere almost-knight, get a chance to hold the Princess’ hand?
‘Wait a second, the saddle is a two seater!!’ This sudden arrangement made me want to shut my eyes tight. I didn’t expect things with Princess Igis to progress(?) this quickly. ‘That’s right! If I’m going to become a Skyknight, I should fly with a beautiful princess like this once!’
Whether it was because I was already stupidly reckless or because I was born to do great things, but my thoughts quickly adjusted from disbelief to ‘it’s a matter of course.’
I was determined… to not scream like a baby like when I had my first flight with Irene.
“Y-yes?” My eyes were filled with the lovely sight of Igis. Her voice flowed into my ear like honey.
“The door…” Unable to extricate her hand from mine, Igis just pointed at the door with a flushing face.
“As you command!” Crying out like an Imperial Knight, I ran towards the hangar door.
‘I won’t wash this hand for a few days! UHEHEHE!’
The warm feeling of Igis on my right hand got written right away into my mental hard disk.
* * *
“Your Highness the Crown Prince! Princess Igis has disappeared!”
“What? Igis did!?”
Despite being the Crown Prince, Poltviran was forced to follow the tradition of the Imperial Family and complete wyvern flight training for a number of days. He was drinking a glass of wine while thinking about the tedious flight training that was finally over when an Imperial Knight ran over and informed him that Igis had disappeared.
‘This pain-in-the-ass bitch!’
Igis and Razcion were children from the legitimate Empress, unlike him, who was the child of the Queen. If something happened to Igis, who was deeply loved by the Emperor, the flames would most certainly affect him, Poltviran, as well.
“Issue an emergency warning and find the Princess at once!”
“As you command!”
The covert’s top chain of command was the Vice-Captain of the Imperial Skyknights, Marquis Mermos, but when it came to an issue concerning the imperial family, the Crown Prince had supreme command. The knights gathered in front of the Crown Prince’s door shouted in response to his order.
“Y–Your Highness! A message came from the lookout tower. They have discovered the Imperial Princess!”
“Y-yes. They say she has gone for a nightflight on a wyvern. But…” The reporting knight trailed off.
“Speak at once!” shouted the Crown Prince forcefully, noticing there was something unusual at foot.
“S–She took off on the cursed wyvern.”
“W-what? The cursed wyvern?!”
The Crown Prince was not an easily surprised man, but this news made him reveal a shocked expression. It was, after all, the hybrid wyvern that was said to curse you even by looking at it. Poltviran knew there was one in the covert, but he had never seen it. But now there was a report that the noble Imperial Princess herself had flown off on the cursed wyvern.
‘You stupid bitch. Kuku.’
His surprise was short-lived. Crown Prince Poltviran smiled inwardly at the evil thought that passed through his mind.
“They also said… she wasn’t alone.” Everyone’s faces went stiff. “They say she has taken flight with a male cadet wearing an airplate distributed to the cadets.”
“… With a male cadet?”
“Yes. Your Highness. It is unmistakable information confirmed by mana scopes from each lookout tower.”
There were around ten lookout towers in the area around the covert. Each one was manned by mages that could use communication magic and mana scopes.
“Sortie every Skyknight at once!”
The Crown Prince’s face hardened. The moment the situation changed from the Princess’ arbitrary flight to a kidnapping, he knew that the Emperor’s wrath would pierce the heavens.
‘You unlucky bitch…’
Crown Prince Poltviran ground his teeth.
The moment he became emperor, he would make everything happen as his mother wished. On his name as the Crown Prince, he would definitely kick out the Empress and send off the Imperial Princess to become a concubine in a lowly kingdom!
* * *
Join our Discord for updates: https://discord.gg/sb2jqkv
* * *
The silver moon hung in the sky amidst a bejeweled field of stars. The wyvern who was experiencing his first taste of freedom ever was flapping his huge wings as he cut through the air.
I breathed deeply and exhaled to calm the surging emotions in my chest. Otherwise, I would have probably cried.
The night sky was incredibly beautiful. Even the clouds had gone to sleep, leaving only the joy of someone invited to a playground of stars. The cold night air brought my spirit to a state of utter wakefulness, and the sea of pale stars was beautiful enough to make my heart stop.
I felt Bebeto’s taut nerves through the reins in my hands. Just leaving the hangar had been difficult for him, but the moment his gaze was transported to the sky above, Bebeto had excitedly flapped his huge wings. Igis and I had been forced to quickly jump onto his back.
Then, we took to the skies. In the confusion of the moment, I had taken the front seat and become the Skyknight controlling Bebeto.
Groooaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! In order to fly, Bebeto flew perfectly into the sky without a single mistake, like a truly outstanding wyvern. He let out a scream that seemed to shake the night sky. This blessed night had finally come, as if compensating for his many years of hell. His wings flapped like crazy.
In our sudden departure, I had left without equipping my helmet. Unlike the airplates, the helmets were a nuisance. Once training was over, I would ram the thing into the ground one day. It was so much better to take in the wind with a bare face.
‘Fly! Fly as much as you want!’
Quite a lot of time had already passed. But Bebeto didn’t show a hint of exhaustion and flew energetically through the mountains and fields. The golden stripes on his black body gleamed in the silver moonlight.
“A little bit… slower… It’s hard.”
Igis’ voice came from behind me. It was hard to hear because of the wind, but thanks to using mana, I still understood her clearly. She seemed exhausted. A Skyknight she may be, but there was nothing she could do about her lower physical endurance. Because of Bebeto’s wild, aggressive, direction-less flight, she was expending a lot of strength to grab onto my waist. Moreover, Igis could only hold onto my belt because of our airplates. She had reached her limit.
“Bebeto~! Fly a bit slower now! The Imperial Princess says it’s hard for her!”
I was holding onto the control reins, but I didn’t know how to control him, and Bebeto didn’t react to my direction either. Therefore, I just yelled loudly with mana.
‘He understands words very well. Despite being a monster.’
Bebeto was a smart fellow. The crazy flapping of his wings slowed and he pulled back his speed.
As soon as the speed went down, Igis was able to let out a long breath and loosen her grip on my belt.
‘Damn, it’s a shame.’
I couldn’t experience Igis’ hug to the full extent because of the stupid armor, but that electrifying sensation of a beautiful woman hugging my waist had still been very nice. I thought I could understand the feelings of my friends who were determined to take their motorcycles to the road even if they could die.
‘You brat, are you happy now?’
Bebeto stretched out his long horns and drew deep breaths with his enormous set of lungs. I could feel the dynamic movement of his breathing vividly through the saddle and reins.
‘So this is why they say a Skyknight and his wyvern are one body.’
We could feel each other’s breaths. If a regular flight was like this, I was sure that even more intense affinity would be required for a battle where life and death were at stake. That must be why even arrogant nobles were sincere towards their wyverns.
“I-it’s beautiful…” Igis said once Bebeto grasped the atmosphere and flew at a much more relaxed pace. “It’s my first time flying at night. I had always imagined this, but…”
Imperial Princess or not, a girl was a girl. Moreover, unlike those rude noble kids, Igis was made of better stuff. For a girl worrying about Bebeto with such a tender and kind spirit, this moment was probably heavenly.
“Thank you. If not for you, sir Kyre, I wouldn’t have even been able to dream of this.”
‘If you’re really thankful, don’t just say it, grab my hand or give me a kiss~!’
“Haha, it’s nothing so grand. Of course a knight should listen to the beautiful and noble lady’s request.”
The chivalrous words from my mouth were very different from my thoughts. Even I had to admit it was extremely cheesy.
“I will never forget… this night flight with you, sir Kyre.”
The flying girl’s warm confession was music to the ears.
‘I will never forget it either~!’ If not for the Kallian Continent, how could a regular high school student from Korea fly like this with a noble princess?
‘I wonder if Aramis is doing well.’
Aramis, a priestess-in-training, had also told me she yearned for a flight through the night sky like this. At that time, I didn’t have a wyvern, so I could only show her a little taste of flight using Fly magic.
‘Even I think that I, Kang Hyuk, am a bad guy.’ Even while taking a world-class beauty, the Imperial Princess, on a ride, I was thinking about another woman… It was truly deplorable. But what could I do? This was the heartiness of youth.
‘Hm? This feeling is—!’
The moon and stars were shining, but it was still harder to check my surroundings than in daylight. However, thanks to my well-developed mana, I was able to detect it: something was flying towards us from far away.
Guoooo! Bebeto seemed to have sensed it as well, because he let out a low cry.
‘Wyverns!’ And they weren’t just normal gray wyverns, but ones I recognized at first sight. ‘Skyknights of the Imperial Guard! Fuck.’
Of course our unauthorized flight wouldn’t end well. In a perfect world, we would have enjoyed a cozy flight and quietly returned to Bebeto’s hangar, but that was a pipe dream. There were lookout towers everywhere keeping a close eye on wyvern take-offs and landings, so a secret flight was impossible. However, I didn’t know they would go as far as to deploy Black Wyverns.
‘Nothing is free in the world, I’m telling you.’
The night flight I had enjoyed with Igis was coming to an end.
‘Oi oi oi, they’re in total battle mode.’
Within moments, the Black Wyverns closed the distance. Around 20 wyverns with their masters wielding Blessed Spears surrounded us in no time at all.
“Princess Igis, I believe it’s time to go home now?”
“Skyknights of the Imperial Guard have come to escort you back.”
“Ah…” exclaimed Igis in a voice full of regret.
The next moment, a warning came at us full of mana. “This is a warning! Control your wyvern in the direction we show you at once!”
‘They’re ready to fight.’ The spears must be ready to fire, because they were glowing. 20 of those charged Blessed Spears were pointed towards Bebeto and me.
Guoo! Bebeto spat out a cry of irritation. His moment of freedom had lasted only for a moment. He was hostile towards those who threatened him.
‘I guess a very warm welcome is waiting for us.’
If it was bad enough for Black Wyverns to make an entrance, the situation was already critical. As if confirming my judgement, more wyverns appeared from the distance. I was sure that the problem wasn’t Bebeto, but the Imperial Princess, Igis.
“Bebeto… let’s go.”
The situation had quickly turned sour for us. I soothed Bebeto and prepared to return.
‘If need be, I’ll fight you all!’
In my heart, I was fully ready to bare my teeth if things came down to it.