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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


It took him some time to grasp what had happened to himself.

Plainly put, he had been spirited away. Told off and shunned out at the backyard by his grandmother, he suddenly vanished without a trace. What had happened during his disappearance was not known even to himself. After some ambiguous interval like a drowse, he returned home. More than a year had passed, but to him such time did not exist, and it was impossible to explain the content of something nonexistent.

The police was called, and so were doctors. After that he went in and out of the child counselor's office. The adults were trying to their wits' end to bridge his lost time, but he could not remember a single thing.

For him, there was no gap. Between the snowy backyard and the front gate on the day of his grandmother's burial, sure there was something awkward, but to him everything was connected fine. It was the world that had a gap. His grandmother passed away, and his brother suddenly grew taller. His classmates in the same grade became one grade above him, and his one-year-younger brother turned into his classmate. -- However, for the people surrounding him, there was no gap in the world. He was the gap. This became a definite fault line between him and the people around. Something fundamental fell through, and could no longer fit together.

And so started his loss, unknown to other people and even to himself. He didn't realize every single day he lived in this world meant another day lost at another world. Not only that, he could not notice his very self in this world, along with his beast identity that got sealed tightly within him, was marred deeper with every passing day. Taiki's body had used up all his vitality for the shoku and his immediate wound treatment. However, even so, the healing should have shown progress. Give a long time, even regrowing his horn was not impossible. In theory.


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