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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" Are we confined? Are those guards?"
Sanshi noticed with a shock upon Gouran's words -- Maybe that is the case.
" Who could have imagined the enemies have planned this far?"
Knowing that Taiki would escape to this place, the enemies had taken Taiki's surrogate parents hostage beforehand. -- Can that be?

" But I don't sense that they are actively harming Taiki."
" Filth is filling up, though."
" There is no sign of enemies anywhere. Maybe they simply fear Taiki's power, and decide to suppress it."
Probable, Gouran agreed from the bottom of the darkness.
" Then if we stay low and still, they will not take Taiki's life, I presume?"
" Maybe Taiki would be handed over to the enemies if we struggle."
Perheps, Gouran mumbled.

Sanshi was completely lost. Should they accept becoming prisoners, or shall they strike down the guards and set Taiki free? If they did so, however, Sanshi and Gouran would cut a big portion out of Taiki's power. Even without escaping, Taiki had lost his horn, and the mana absorbed was just a trickle. It might be wise to stay still in here and save energy to cope with enemies that might appear any minute. Even if they could escape from the guards' hands, to nowhere else could Taiki escape. At least Sanshi didn't know anywhere safe in this world. Of course, Tai was now too dangerous for Taiki to return. The only safe place was Mt. Hou the center of the world, but Taiki could not invoke shoku once again, and neither could Sanshi or Gouran. To invoke a shoku means to complete deplete Taiki's already vanishing power. As long as they could not return, Sanshi had no idea where Taiki could escape to. If they were to search for such a place, and suffered two or three attacks along the way, Sanshi had no confidence that they could survive the attacks. Even if they could survive, Sanshi and Gouran would have consumed so much power that Taiki would be harmed beyond help.

If they kept a low profile as prisoners, they might escape from suffering attacks. If the poison was not life-threatening, maybe they were better off ignoring it.

"... Protection from this world is essential to Taiki."
Gouran said from far away.
" Even if it is protection within a jail, it is much better off than losing even the guards' protection. See the chaos some time ago?"

Sanshi nodded. Those who encaged Taiki. They teased him psychologically. Even physically, Taiki was tortured using strangely shaped tools, in the name of physical examination. If Taiki could be separated from that bunch called the police or doctors, maybe they should just withstand imprisonment. -- Yes, it is true that such protection is better than no protection.

" Just bear with it the best we can... We must never drop our guards until we know the enemies' exact location."
Whispering secretly, Gouran seemed to turn back to sleep.


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