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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter One ~


Koshou showed a somehow apologetic expression.
" Regrettably we cannot save your right arm... It is already a miracle to keep your life. Though it must be harsh, donft be disappointed."

Risai nodded. She lost her right arm. Suffering from deep wounds inflicted by youmas, she tied up her arm to stop the bleeding, but the arm decayed. -- Of course, she knew her arm could not still be there. When she arrived at Gyouten, her arm was as if it would drop off from her shoulder upon touching. The arm must have dropped off like that, or it must have been amputated in order to treat the wounds.

However, her heart was not moved much. She could not possibly continue to be a general after she had lost her sword-wielding arm, but what was the point of a title if she could not even protect her masters? No, she didnft need it anymore.

Koshou put his hand under Risai's neck, and lightly lifted her head up. The girl scooped soup to Risai's mouth. Something managed to flow into Risai's mouth. At first, Risai thought she had never tasted such sweet and fragranced fluid in her life, but when her tongue quickly got used to the fluid, Risai sensed that it was just water.

Taking the soup away, the man smiled.
" Looks like you are all good. Good job!"
" ... I..."
" I know well why you have gone through all such sufferings. You said it before you collapsed. Youko has been dropping by often."
" Kei-ou ?"
" We will bring you to her as soon as the doctor permits."

Risai nodded. Koshou retracted his hand and stood up.
" Suzu (), Ifll leave her to you. I am calling the doctor, and telling Youko about it along the way."
" Okay. Move it then."

Risai looked at Koshou as he left the bedside, and then looked up at the room's ceiling.
" How much time... have I wasted?"
" Please donft say that. You need plenty of sleep. -- It has been three days since you last opened your eyes, and ten days since you have collapsed."
" ... Really..."
I just wanted to close my eyes, but it turns out that I have slept for so long instead? I have wasted so much time, havenft I?


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