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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" No matter how much of a hassle the situation might be, it should not take till spring to take care of everything. Gyousou-sama, do you regard our abilities as low as that?"

" I am not holding you all in contempt. However, we should have the preparation that we might need to spend the winter here."

" If you believe it would be such a hassle, why not call the provincial army back and let that cowardly bunch handle everything? We might in fact be just pulling their legs here!"

" I am not asking the provincial army's help. The provincial army is to evacuate townsmen of surrounding towns. However many granaries we open, we cannot feed all the nearby citizens. We cannot fill ourselves full while starving townsmen lie on their stomach. We also cannot cut our soldiers' food supply. This relates to the lives of many, and the morale of our soldiers."

" Then, why can't we quickly defeat Tetsui? It would only take three days to burn down the city from four sides. It takes half of month for the provincial army, but such a listless bunch can at least be our shield."

" Eisyou, why are we here?"
" To suppress the traitors."
" Why are they traitors?"
Gyousou asked, and Eisyou couldn't come up with an answer. In any way, there is no doubt they are traitors. To draw one's blade against the emperor's imperial command is enough to make one a traitor. -- However.

" Tetsui suffered a bitter-cold summer. From now on Bun Province is going to meet a harsh winter, but they have little resources to sustain them through the winter. If they contribute everything inside the granary to follow the emperor's command, the people can only starve to death. So they rebelled. Agreed?"

Eisyou lifted his head.
" His majesty sent us to suppress the traitors. Because the emperor termed them traitors, we will treat them as traitors. The Imperial Army is a troop like that."

I got it, Gyousou gave a faint smile.
" --So you are his majestyfs dog. Then may I ask: what in fact is an emperor?"
Eisyou was silent.

" If the people of Tetsui were harming people in other places, we were ready to eliminate them for all people's sake. If the people of Tetsui refuse to pay taxes and duties, such loss in revenue will be shifted to other towns and cities. So we are ready to release Tetsui and force open the public granary. -- However, is any action above that necessary?"

Silence fell in the camp.
" With the imperial command, we will release Tetsui and force open the public granary. --However, we must never harm a single citizen in Tetsui."
Gyousou declared.


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