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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


Silence fell within the bedroom. Risai closed her hand tight around the marble in her hand.
" After that, I have learnt nothing about his majesty's news... or Taiho's"

" Risai, if you feel unwell... "
Youko would like to stop the conversation, but Risai closed her eyes and shook her head.

" The palace became extremely chaotic. It could not organize any search teams for his majesty or Taiho..."
Risai's breath turned heavy. Youko hurriedly held Risai's hand.

"--Are you all right?"
I'm fine, Risai replied to Youko's care, but her voice hardly squeezed through her restless panting. The wind still sounded. The sound -- of ears ringing. In the wind, there was Kaei's voice: No!

" ... Alright. Let this be it for today. No matter--"

Risai extended her hand towards the voice's direction. -- She extended, and again realized. Risai had lost her sword-wielding arm. Risai had lost that much of everything. Soon, agony filled her chest.

" ... Please help us."
Risai released her marble-holding hand and extended it. A warm hand grasped hers.
" ... I beg you. Tai--"
" I know."

The noise of the doctor rushing in from the neighboring room could be heard. Stop it there, the doctor said. Risai could only hear the voice from within the deepening darkness and sense of guilt.


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