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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" It would become increasingly difficult to halt the judgments and punishments. They will gradually be heated up, like a stone rolling down a slope. Nevertheless, for now we must do it. Therefore I believed that her apparent misfit as a judicial official would turn out to be a perfect match..."
"... I see... You have a point..."

"However, Kaei looked so pained. I could never withstand seeing such an able official being crushed like this. If I were to persuade Kaei myself it is alright to leave the post, Kaei would definitely reprimand me. So I think, Risai, I will let you the close friend of Kaei deliver the message for me first, before I discuss with her."

Risai felt like a boulder was lifted off her shoulder. She drew in and out a deep breath.

"...Would it be possible to slow down a little bit? Kaei is not a military man. It is actually her responsibility to put things on hold, to proceed with caution. If so is done, Kaei herself would also be a little more settled."

" For now, before Kouri (䗢, Taiki's given name from Gyousou) returns, she must make some approximate judgments. The messenger bird (Seityou, ’) has arrived, saying that Kouri has left Ren. We have only half a month left."

" But is it a must to do these only when Taiho is absent?"
" That is my idea."
" However -- would rumors not reach Taiho's ears after he returns? As long as cleanup is the reality, we cannot stop rumors from coming. If Taiho got heard of it afterwards, wouldn't the rumors hurt him even more? Would it not be better if he learns of the truth beforehand?"

Gyousou gave a bitter smile.
" Kirins are the manifestation of the peoplefs opinion. -- Then, to hide something from the people, shouldn't we also hide it from our kirin?"

" I have my doubts. ... True, this is something Taiho would not want to see or hear. But is it something to hide from the people? Upon knowing the cleanup, people would fear for sure, but it is essential to punish those who exploited people right under Kyou-ou's eyes. The people would like to know those exploiters being punished, and that is exactly why they are raising complaints now about what the judicial officials are doing. At the very least, if we do not let the people learn of the truth, how can we stop their complaints?"

There is an end to every kingdom -- the moment the emperor passes away. However, there is no end to the people's sufferings. There is no clear-cut border that signals the end. A fallen kingdom inflicts pain on its people. After the emperor passes away, the administration let the officials loose to exploit. Even when a new emperor is enthroned, at first the administration is full of chaos. The people's suffering do not disappear after the coronation ceremony. For the sake of winning people's hearts, there is a need to draw the border that the dark age is over. The most suitable chance to deliver such a message is at the very beginning of the new dynasty, just after the coronation. The new emperor has come, and the previous dynasty's sickness is out. These two ideas combines, delivering the unmistakable message that the people's hard times are over, and the time has come when everything falls back to its right place.


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