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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" No, I do not mean that... It's just that it is easy to be an invincible general, if one shoves responsibility to his peers in apparently losing wars, and get out only in wars that are sure to win. When we praise a general as undefeatable or invincible, our thoughts will presumably be entrenched in the idea that the general must be a great, outstanding genius."
" That... might be the case..."

" However, evaluations are only afterthoughts, don't you think? Calling General Saku -- or Tai-ou a genius is just an evaluation towards Tai-ou's results, instead of towards Tai-ou's real self. Putting it the other way, we cannot say Tai-ou has become not a genius when Tai becomes barren. ... Whichever the case, it is of no use to compare oneself with others. What does such comparison yield except comparing in futile one's real self against the target's attached evaluations?"

I see, Youko gave a bitter smile.
"... Well, even without comparison, your majesty is a great empress."
" Pardon?"
" What I would like to say is that a empress who does not diappear without a trace and stay still on the throne, and employs half beasts (b, hanjyuu) is a great empress."

Yes, the half beast general primly concluded, and Youko laughed. After that,
" Kantai, ... let's say you are sent to Tai. Can you defeat the false emperor (gi-ou)?"
" You must be joking!"
Kantai shook his hand in a fluster.

" Is our Imperial Army really that weak?"
" That is not the problem. Kei can spare no more to send troops out from the very beginning. Sending armies is a huge task. A gun (R, a military unit) has 12500 people. And those are only soldiers; if the army is sent, it includes administrative subordinates, horses and kijyuu. Can you imagine how much food such a large group will consume?"

Youko was too shocked to answer.
" Oh, food..."
Let's say 13000 people, Youko thought. Assuming one go (, a unit for food) to be the minimum amount of rice a person eat in one meal, as estimated in her home country. Three meals means three go, and if there are 13000 people, 39000 go is needed in minimum for a day.

" That is just unbelievable. Even if one hamburger makes a meal, one day needs 39000 hamburgers..."
" Pardon?"
Nothing, Youko smiled bitterly.


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