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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" Everyone in Kimpa Palace... They seem very easy-going towards Kei-ou."
" It seems the atmosphere has turned entirely so. The lack of dignified manners is to the extent of being shocking, I guess?h
" Well..."
" Tai-ou was said to be a very distinguished person. ... Now he has disappeared, I heard. You must be very worried."
Yes, Risai nodded.

" Tai's people must be suffering a lot. And not to mention the harsh winter in Tai..."
" You know of Tai?"
No, Syoukei shook her head.
" But I came from Hou (F). Hou's winter is also very harsh. Everything that goes astray would take its toll in winter, and together roll into a life-or-death issue. Tai is said to be much harsher in winter than Hou."
" Yes... That's true."

" Hou's throne is now still empty, but it is a different story from Tai. The deceased emperor of Hou was the one who devastated the kingdom..."
Syoukei showed a somehow lonely smile.
" Therefore it might be a life-saver to the people when the throne is empty. However, Tai-ou is said to be highly admired by many. What a loss that he had disappeared!"
" Yes..."

" I heard it was a rebellion. ... At the beginning of any dynasty, there must be some villainous officials who rebelled upon worries that everything they have snatched up to that day would be lost."
" ...I doubt."
Risai mumbled, and Syoukei tilted her head.

" It is true that such things occur at the beginning of a dynasty. Those who exploited using the empty throne are the ones most bothered by the new emperor's coronation. However, I cannot convince myself this is the reason behind the rebellion."
" --? Then?"

I have no idea, Risai answered. Risai and others had acknowledged the possibility of such worried officials' uprisings, and had taken full alert against that.

"Why... has everything turned like this?"


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