Risai (李斎) drew a deep breath, and gripped
tight the marble in her hand.
"--I could not but head towards Jyou Province
(承州). Leaving Kouki, I took half a month to travel from Zui
Province (瑞州) to Jyou Province. A few days after crossing the province
boundary, a subordinate tumbled into my tent."
"I beg for your assistance! I would get killed!"
The man in rags was trembling as he spoke. He was clad in a noragi (袍子)
common for the lowly peasants, was covered in mud and dirt, and gave no
hint of being an official. Probably he took such appearance to mix into
the refugees (fumin, 浮民), and to escape his pursuers' eyes.
"I was in the Imperial Affairs Department under Daiboku
(大卜). I worked in Nisei Palace (二声宮)."
The man took out his cordon (jyuu, 綬). A cordon is a knoting pattern three
fingers wide, and its length and color varies according to department
and rank. The cordon the man took out from his boro
(褐衣)'s breast pocket was definitely the property of Niseishi
(二声氏), under Daiboku of Imperial Affairs. Niseishi, as the name
suggests, works in Nisei Palace to take care of Hakuchi
"The general! ... Definitely the Imperial Army General! Imperial
"Yes! Definitely it was General Jyou (丈, Asen's
family name)! It was that day -- that day of big catastrophe. That
night, he stormed into Nisei Palace with his subordinates! 'Any damage?
Any harm to the officials?' he asked. In the first place, we do not open
the door to anyone without Daiboku's approval. But you know what the situation
was, so we let him in."
"You mean Asen?"
"Yes. Then General Jyou -- He stormed into the palace, and began
slashing Hakuchi. However, Asen's sword could not cut into Hakuchi. The
sword just passed through Hakuchi like cutting air. Realizing that, Asen
commanded my colleague to bring in a hen. You know, those hens used for
ceremonies, taken care of by Keijin (鶏人, lit. the
chicken guy). Sandwiched by soldiers and threatened by swords,
my colleague headed towards the Keijin's place, and brought back a hen.
Asen then killed the hen, cut of the hen's foot, stuffed Hakuchi into
The man covered his face.
"--and killed off all the officials in the place..."
The man barely escaped from the scene. It was fortunate that half the
palace had collapsed due to the Meishoku (鳴蝕).
"The moment Asen stormed in, I had a bad gut feeling. There was
a rumor that His Majesty was scared by a certain general, and headed towards
Bun Province (文州) in order to escape from
dogging assassins sent by that general..."
"There was such a rumor...?"
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