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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" It is turning snowy."
Kaei said as she was led into the guestroom in Risai's official residence, and Risai gave a bow.
" You must be cold."
Risai showed Kaei a chair beside a brazier.

" It was always an honor that you come all the way to this humble house."
The pleasure is mine, Kaei shook her head facing Risai.
" I should be the one to apologize for my sudden intrusion. I have long desired a long conversation with Risai. My request was without manners and out of the blue, but I appreciate Risai's quick approval."

It is my honor, Risai smiled, and invited her to the wine and food that her servants had prepared. Kaei was as if her heart was wondering in the clouds. Her pale face showed a helpless expression and signs of being cold. Kaei looked like she was in her late forties, and was older than Risai in both appearance and in real age. However, at that moment, Kaei looked like a lost child. It was in any way unperceivable that Kaei paid a visit just to befriend with Risai.

" Pardon my rudeness, but Kaei, what is your reason behind this visit?"

Kaei looked at Risai as if she had just woke up from some meditation.
" Oh... Well, there is nothing like a purpose. I just really hope to have a long conversation with you."
Kaei claimed, but she was not speaking much from the very beginning. Probably noticing this herself, Kaei shamefully lowered her head.
" No one will force herself into another's residence, even after being kindly spared some time -- How rude I am..."

Risai looked into Kaei.
" Please don't regard me as a blunt fellow -- but Kaei, is it that you have some worries inside you?"
Kaei looked up as if she was hit on the chest, and suddenly her face twitched as if to cry.
" Pardon me if I have said something rude. I am always unacquainted with beating around the bush."
No, Kaei shook her head.


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