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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter One ~


" When Taiki returned, the imperial flag (, kouki) was raised, Syousan started, and not long afterwards Tai-ou was enthroned. The records of that time remains even in Kei. The phoenix (P, hou) had its first cry (ꐺ, issei) to Tai Kingdom, signaling the coronation of the new emperor. According to records, Taiho visited Tai for informal congratulation."
Youko looked back with a shock, and Keiki affirmed in silence.

" So, we had diplomatic relations with Tai..."
I would not use the term diplomatic relations, Keiki mumbled.
" I was at Mt Hou when Taiki was still a ranka there. When the shoku that consumed Taiki started, I was also at Mt Hou. Afterwards, when Taiki returned to Mt Hou, I also went there and paid a visit to Taiki. ... Those are our encounters."

Wow, Youko mumbled unbelievably.
-- The boy in my dream has once met the kirin in front of me now.

" Then has the lady -- Risai visited Kei before, asking help from Taikifs acquaintance Keiki?"
This question made even Keiki cock his head.
" Well... I wonder. I have never met General Ryou before."
" What about Tai-ou?"
" I have met him. My impression is also that he is no ordinary man."

Koukan also cocked his head slightly.
" Except the two times Taiho paid personal visits, there has been nothing that can be regarded as diplomatic relations. In fact, after that Kei fell into some chaos, so Taiho did not even attend Tai-oufs coronation ceremony. There is also no evidence that there are discussions on whether to send ambassadors for congratulation in the level of government officials. We can conclude that there has never been diplomatic relations that involves official ambassadorial exchange."
Keiki nodded in agreement.

" Anyway, the new emperor was enthroned. -- Then half a year later, Tai sent messengers to Kei, claiming that Tai-ou had deceased."
" Messengers? ... What about the phoenix? If an emperor descends from the throne, the phoenix should give the last cry (, matsu-sei), I assume?"

" You are right. When an emperor is enthroned, the phoenix gives the first cry. When an emperor descends from the throne, the phoenix gives the last cry. The phoenix should cry in this way to deliver the messages, but this time the phoenix didnft cry at all. Up to the present moment, the phoenix didnft give the last cry to Tai Kingdom. In other words, no matter how I think about it, I cannot come to the conclusion that the emperor abdicated or was deceased."


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