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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


Risai smilingly looked at Kaei.
" If you ask whether we also come to the same decision in the beginning, I would say no. Matters got confused with matters, and as we struggle we lose time creating our swamp, don't we? This is the place where people like us cannot compare."

" Then, don't you feel any anxiety, Risai?"
Risai hesitated a little before answering, but Kaei seemed to have ignored it.
" ... There is nothing like anxiety. I was shocked by such a quick blow to end all things, though. His majesty had to have a firm belief to give such a decision without hesitation. With that firm belief alone, it is never bad to remove all past sins in one blow. After all, the earlier the government gets tidied up, the faster the people will benefit."

" That... Yes, I understand."
Kaei lowered her head.
" However, that firm belief... I cannot see myself be able to hold such a steadfast belief no matter how. That definitely does not mean that I do not believe in his majesty..."
" Kaei, how long have you been with his majesty?"
" Never before. We have never had any relations. I only had heard rumors of him."

Kaei finally gave a smile.
" Therefore you can imagine my surprise when I receive the imperial order to become the Head of Judicial Department (Syuukanchou, H). What a surprise that his majesty would recognize the existence of a humble person like me --"
" His majesty is an emperor like this."
" Risai, have you been his subordinate before?"
" In wonder if I can be called his subordinate."

Risai first encountered Gyousou at Mt. Hou (HR). Conducting syousan (R) like Gyousou, Risai finally met the rumored General Saku () for the first time there. Those who enter the Yellow Sea (Ou-kai, C) for syousan mostly gathered and crossed the Yellow Sea as a troop. However, Gyousou was not in the troop. He entered the Yellow Sea with his men only, and headed towards Mt. Hou on his own.

" So I saw his majesty for the first time after I arrived at Mt. Hou."
" I see... However, isn't it dangerous to leave the troop and head towards the Yellow Sea alone?"
" It is really dangerous. However, it seemed never a big deal to his majesty. I heard afterwards that during the reign of Kyou-ou (遉), his majesty had given up his sage title (senseki, ) for three years and left the Imperial Army. After that he entered the Yellow Sea. In the Yellow Sea there are people who earn their living by catching kijyuu (Rb), and his majesty became their apprentice."

" ... Apprentice? An Imperial Army General..."
Kaei's eye widened with amazement, and Risai chuckled.


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