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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001
(C)¬–ì•s—R”üEu’kŽÐ@‚Q‚O‚O‚P

 


~ Chapter Three ~

(1)

That day, returning to the Inner Hall (naiden, “à“a) from the morning administrative meeting, Youko (—zŽq) found a bird waiting for her in her room. Called Ran (êa, pronounced like grhythmh with the gmh replaced by an gnh), the bird is similar to Seityou (Â’¹) that transfers messages among government departments. Seityou transfers documents, but Ran transfers words directly by remembering the sender's voice. Ran can only be found in Godou Palace (Godou-kyuu, Œæ‹Ë‹{) with other birds like Hou (–P), Ou (™€) and Hakuchi (”’è³), and can only be used when the emperor is either the sender or the receiver. Ran is equivalent to the imperial letter. From Ran's tail feathers, it can be distinguished which kingdom the Ran is from.

Youko looked at the Ran, opened her eyes wide for a moment, and then gave the bird a silver grain. In a bright tone of a man, the Ran only said, "Open the Forbidden Gate (Kinmon, ‹Ö–å) at noon," and closed its beak. Youko gave a bitter smile, and descended to the Forbidden Gate punctually at noon. Waiting at the gate, Youko found as informed two Suugu (騶‹ñ) flying towards her.

"...Thank you for the unexpected visit from afar."
Welcoming the two guests who got down from their rides with a bitter laugh, the taller man raised his eyebrows lightly.
" I though the messenger from Kei told us to inform you when we caught wind of anything."
" It would be beyond even our Prime Minster (Tyousai, ™nÉ)'s expectation that En-ou (‰„‰¤) himself gave a report. Thanks to you, the receptionists are now running about in a frenzy."

Youko laughed, and turned to the other guest, a youth with golden hair.
" En-taiho (‰„‘ä•ã), it has been long since we last met."
Yup, Enki (‰„êi) Rokuta (˜Z‘¾) laughed, and was already stepping towards the Forbidden Gate.
"... So, what about that general from Tai (‘Õ)? Can she speak now?"
" A little."

Leading the two guests to the palace, Youko answered questions about how Risai (—›Ö) crashed into the palace, and explained to them Risai was now still unable to move, and was propped up on a temporary ward bed at a corner of Seishin (³Q).

" The doctor said she can move a little for now, so we are going to transfer her to a place where we can better take care of her. When she was awake, she could talk, but I am dubious whether she can engage in long conversations. Just like yesterday, she grew unwell in the midst of conversation."
" Then we still don't know the situation in Tai?"
" I do have the most basic information from her. -- Oh, Koukan (_ŠË)."

At the Inner Hall's entrance stood Koukan awaiting. Behind him Keiki (Œiêi) and Taishi (‘¾Žt) Enho (‰“•á) could also be seen. The welcoming group together moved towards Sekisuidai (Ï‰‘ä), a corner of the study.

" According to Risai, Tai-ou (‘׉¤) and Taiki (‘×êi) have both disappeared."
Seems so, En-ou Syouryuu (®—²) settled on a seat as he nodded.

 

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