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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


--What is that?
Shocked, Risai fell onto her bottom at the spot. What is this abnormal sky behind the cloud of dust? The land was still wriggling. There was no rocking anymore, but her hands that were placed on the floor could still feel shivers, as if something under the ground is turning its body.

"--A shoku!"
A mournful cry could be heard nearby. Looking back, Risai saw a dust covered Senkaku lying on the stone steps of Romon looking up at her.

What? Why? Risai's thought was filled with these two questions. It was the first time for Risai to encounter a shoku. Also, from what Risai had heard, shoku does not occur above the Sea of Clouds.

Senkaku supported himself up. The rubble of roof tiles surged down to his feet. If they had not stepped their two or three steps forward, they would have been under the rubble now.

" Risai, where is Taiho?!"
Hearing the voice of Senkaku who was driven to wit's end, Risai jumped onto her feet. Noise could still be heard from the ground. Within the collapsed surroundings quite a number of people were mourning and crying, but Risai had no time to care about that.

Where is Taiki? The time was a little too early for him to attend the afternoon administrative affairs section. It was long after he left the outer Hall (Oa, Gaiden), but there should not be enough time for him to return to his room at the main Hall (a, Seiden). Is he at Jinjyuu Hall (mda)?

"Don't worry. Daiboku (l, head body guard) is at Taiho's side."
Risai assured, but Senkaku's hand grabbed Risai's arm. His soiled face turned ghost white.

" Risai, donft you know!? Shoku doesnft suppose to happen above the Sea of Clouds. If there is one, it can only be meishoku (I) -- one that is invoked by Taiho"

Risai dashed off.
" Risai!"
" Senkaku, take care of the injured!"

Risai yelled to her back, jumped right above the pile of rubble in one leap, and ran towards Roushin (HQ). Risai also knew. Kirin can invoke a small shoku. That is called meishoku. -- However, does Taiki, who was raised in Hourai, really know how to invoke a meishoku?

Risai met Taiki at Mt. Hou (HR). To tell the truth, when Gyousou did Syousan (R), Risai also did Syousan herself. At that time she met Taiki, who then couldn't transform (], tenpen) -- returning to his kirin form -- or keep a shirei (g, lit. servant). The time such instinctive powers were awaken, Taiki must have been driven to a corner. So something must have happened.


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