Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora
<The Shore in Twilight, the Sky in Daybreak>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Starting Chapter ~


Sanshi cried at the top of her voice due to a forceful impact. Sanshi was stepping on a snow-covered field. With Bun Province in sight, she was on her way of climbing up a small hill to check the location.

What is this pain? Horrifying pain surged through and numbed her whole body. Sanshi mourned, and as soon as she overcame the impact, her body melted and seeped into the soil. She did that by imagining the shape of gselfh underneath the ground.

There was a road beneath the ground, Sanshi knew well. Propelling herself along the road without a concrete shape, she dashed along the empty road. No, the term gdashh might not be accurate. The space was pitch-dark like the bottom of the deep sea, and everything was chaotic within the haze. There existed only a pressure that enveloped her body. Move forth, Sanshi urged herself with strong will, and headed towards the clear bright golden color at the far end.

Pushing forward along the land vein (n, chimyaku)*, Sanshi emerged from a dragon cave (, Ryuketsu)* as if she surfaced from the sea, and rode on a wind vein (, Fuumyaku)*. Jumping high while flying out, Sanshi propelled herself forward in such great speed that the landscape faded and all shapes were distorted behind her. The golden glow became stronger. Growing sharper and sharper while glittering fiercely, the glow soon covered every inch of Sanshifs view, as if it were to light up everything in her sight.

The golden glow of twilight. The moment Sanshi were to plunge into the faintly dull golden darkness, she was forcefully rejected.

--Taikifs shadow.
That was Taikifs mana (C, Kimyaku, lit. spiritual vein)*. It was horridly twisted, as if forcefully wrenched by the mana of this world.
Sanshifs hair stood. It looked so similar to that golden fruit that was picked from the silver white branch, back in the distant past.

It was lost again.
Despair struck Sanshi before discomfort.
Sanshi jumped out of the mana. In front of her was the twisted atmosphere that ripped the roof tiles of Hakkei Palace like waves. At the other side she saw a piece of gloomy sky.

--The alternate world.
It was a shoku (I, lit. eclipse/corrosion), a meishoku (I, lit. crying eclipse) to be exact. A minuscule shoku invoked by a kirinfs moarn.


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Translator's Note:

Here comes a couple of terms that I have never seen before in the Juuni Kokki novels I have ever read. I am hesitant of translating them, but in the end, I tried my best, and put the Japanese pronounciation behind them as reference. The very abstract descriptions in these few pages are also hard to reconstruct in English. I hope that the novel will explain the terms later. If so, I might need to change the translation accordingly.

As for the present moment, let me offer my best guess and explanations here:

The various veins and caves resemble Fung-Shui () terms in China. In Fung-Shui, all natural powers and spiritual powers of humans are described as chi (C) -- roughly translated as "spirit" or "force" in English. Behaving like fluid, chi circulates around the universe, the earth and any body, and the paths of circulation are called myaku () -- "veins" in English, like blood veins carrying blood. Wind has wind veins, water has water veins, land has land veins, and spirit has spiritual veins. Here I translated spritual veins as the more readily comprehensible English term "mana."

The study of Fung-shui believes that there are certain spots where veins converge and chi is the strongest -- like lakes accumulating water. Ryuketsu (Dragon Cave) is one type of such spots. One objective of Fung-shui study is to locate such spots for rejuvenation and good luck. This can be achieved by living at such spots or artifically creating such spots through delicate arrangement of natural objects -- called jin (w, arrangement).

Veins can be enhanced, blocked or destroyed. If a spiritual vein is blocked, the person will become ill or even die, due to difficulty in circulating chi smoothly.