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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


Kaei (ԉe)'s question was met by the others' complete silence. Of course nobody knew the answer to Kaei's question, but there was also nobody who had the authority to answer it in the first place. It is the Tyousai (n)'s responsibility to fill the gap when the emperor is absent, but Eityuu (r) the Tyousai was now seriously injured in the meisyoku, rendering him unable to be awake or to speak. Saiho (ɕ), the emperor's advisor, was now also missing, and nobody in the government is able to conclude the suggestions from all officers and deliver the final decision.

"What is the proper thing to do in this situation? Who is to command the officials..."
"The custom is to let the Imperial Affairs Minister (V, Tenkantyou) take over Tyousai's duty to lead the Six Ministers."

Everyone in the room turned silent at Haboku's words. At the time meisyoku, Kaihaku (F) the Imperial Affairs Minister was identified to be at Sankoufu (O{, Sankou's Office) near Jinjyuu Hall. The office of Sankou (O), who were the emperor's advisors and counsellors, had collapsed under severe structural damage. Among the three Sankou and their three assistants, Sanko (O), two were verified dead and one was seriously injured. The remaining three, together with Kaihaku, were still missing.

"In such a rare case, there is no choice but to entrust the duties to the State Affairs Minister (n, Chikantyou), the next in line after Imperial Affairs."

Haboku said, and Senkaku (p) the State Affairs Minister shook his head.

"That is impossible. My capability is unfortunately not enough."

Senkaku's adamant declination was not met with any opposition. Sankaku was a young, mild and earnest clergy, selected from Zui () Province with no relations to Gyousou's camp. He was honest but inexperienced, and was certainly unsuitable during this time as he knew nothing about military affairs. Apart from that, the current government was one with swift decisions, and the remaining officials mostly originated from Gyousou's camp. Taking this into consideration, only a person from Gyousou's camp, or at least a militaryman, would be desirable to win everyone's support in the government.

"How about Seirai?"

Senkaku suggested, but he won no support. Seirai suffered some injury and was resting for the moment, but his injury didn't seem serious. There was no problem to Seirai's physical condition, and he was originally a subordinate from Gyousou's camp and a clergy himself. In this sense he was the most suitable person to lead the officials, and everyone in the room acknowledged that. Nevertheless, there was no voice to second Seirai's nomination.

"... As to who is leading the government before His Majesty's return, I have no objection with choosing Seirai. However, this is not the problem now."

Everyone nodded at Haboku's statement. It is not a matter of who should be the officers' representative. If that were the only problem, whoever could be elected -- no matter whether it is Seirai, Haboku, Senkaku or Risai. The problem is not even at this level. The core of the problem is: Tai () now has no emperor.


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