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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


" Youko is?"
" Yeah, she would like to see Risai, but is it all right if we let her come in?"
Koshou looked at Risai questioningly.
" Of course... Please."
Koshou and Keikei noddingly retreated, and five guests stepped into the room. Kei-ou led the pack, after whom were Keiki and Prime Minister (Tyousai), whom Risai met along with Kei-ou the day before. There were also a man Risai had never seen before, and a child with golden hair.

" May I introduce En-ou and En Taiho, from En Kingdom."
" The ruler of En... why?"
" Let's put it that they had some relations with Tai-ou and Tai Taiho before. --Other than that, Risai, I would like to pick up where we left yesterday. Now, in what situation is Tai in reality?"
Risai put her remaining hand on her chest.
" Extremely serious. Above all, our emperor and Taiho are missing."

Risai replied, and Kei-ou's jasper-colored eyes looked straight into Risai.
" There are Tai refugees that claimed Tai-ou and Taiho had been assassinated. And they said the culpit was the general of Zui () Province Army..."
Risai's eyes opened wide.
" This is a mistake -- a misunderstanding!"
" We just would like to confirm. Please calm down."
Risai was about to jump out of bed, and Youko pressed her to stop.

" It is a mistake. It is true that I was pursued in charge of many accusations of treason. However, there is no way, absolutely no way that I..."
"... We understand."
Kei-ou's eyes were gleaming with concern. Risai gave a sigh. Maybe it was tension, or maybe it was relief; a strong wave of numbing tiredness swept in.
"... There were many orders to arrest me, accusing me of assassination, or being manipulated by some others. However, they are all mistaken..."


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