Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora
Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001
~ Chapter Three ~
"But... No, once when Taiho was going to Ren (ø), Gyousou sent Asen along to be the vice ambassador. If Gyousou was holding doubts, why would he do that?"
"However, Sougen (ģ) was with them, right? Sougen, Seirai (ģ) and Taiho's bodyguard (Daiboku) Tansui (āK) were in the group. Everyone brought along one subordinate with them, which made a total of eight servants. Even if Asen and his subordinate planned on anything vicious, they could not put it easily into action, could they? Nevertheless, because of joining the ambassador group, Asen missed the Winter Hunt in New Year. In other words, Asen was not let known of the Hunt's details. Wouldn't it be possible His Majesty sent Asen along so as not to let him learn about the details?"
Risai sank into deep silence. Kaei's words could not be received in whole. Risai did not believe it all, but there was something that pulled Risai's attention. The apparent situation that Gyousou had to head towards Tetsui (QÍ), because rebellion broke out at Bun Province and dragged Tetsui in. The apparent situation to send Taiki to Ren and Asen as vice ambassador, so as not to let them know about the cleansing's details. The two incidents bore exactly the same odor. Natural to the point of ackward -- it might be described as so.
Within the whirl, everything looked very natural and reasonable. However, if one took a second look, it looked like acts faking to be natural -- it gave one the impression as so. Disharmony that might be considered as merely imagination, but is strangely difficult to be dismissed. Such a feeling is extremely similar between the two incidents.
Then, there was a saying some time ago: Gyousou and Asen are similar even in their strategies.
Maybe, just maybe... Risai could not but swallow hard. Beyond Risai's knowledge or anyone's radar, below the water surface, two similar characters were pulling each other's legs and continuing a fierce competition. On the water surface, though, ripples of whether it really exists spread.
Most of the people had overlooked, but there were a few who spotted. Sometimes Kaei felt a sense of disharmony. Sometimes Risai felt her attention drawn. -- In the same way, hadn't a lot of people here and there smelt the faint scent of risk, and developed those amazingly intricate rumors?
Risai could not but find herself shivering from chills. Two days later before dawn, she was to depart from Kouki and head towards Jyou Province. Of all things, rebellions broke out in Jyou Province at exactly this time. The remaining generals' expressions told that they regarded Risai's move to Jyou Province as yet another natural incident. -- But...
"Risai... Don't bother; we might just be fretting over nothing.
No, I really hope that everything was just some wicked conjectures from
my cowardy heart..."
Two days later before dawn, Risai departed from Kouki. Her heart remained gripped by pitch dark unsettlement.
--That turned out to be Risai's last look at Kouki.