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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter One ~


Saying that, Daiboku approached the woman. Threading his way through the soldiers that gave way with puzzled expressions, Toshin sneaked up by the womanfs side and took back the spear away that the womanfs hand let go. At the same time, he stole a peak, and immediately knew the truth.

--It was no lie or ploy.

The soiled, worn-out clothes were stuck in a ackward way on the woman's body, unmistakably by dried blood. It should be pretty long ago when the blood got on the clothes; the blood had turned rust brown. The armorfs remains that barely clang over the bloodstained clothes had a strap tightly tied at the unmovable upper right arm, and the arm that protruded from under the torn sleeve was stiff and darkened. --The arm was decaying.

This woman is no human. If she were not a Sen (, sage), she could not be alive.

"...It will be all good if he is here."
Toshin quietly spoke to the woman. The woman who lay on the stone pavement looked up to Toshin through her ruffled hair.
gHe is very close to your majesty, thatfs why.h
The woman nodded gratefully. She struggled up in mourns, and turned to face Daiboku. Konjin was yelling something all along, but Daiboku paid no attention, and knelt on the stone pavement.

" You... what the heck happened to you?"
" I had no excuse for my intrusive manners. While I would apologize to the confusion I caused on your side however times I need, I beg your understanding that I do not mean any harm."
Daiboku nodded at her words. The woman slowed down her pace in relief, and bowed her head low.
" I am the general of the provincial army at Zui Province (B) Tai Kingdom () , named Risai Ryu () --"

Daiboku opened his mouth wide in amazement, and Risai looked at him sincerely.
" I came for a piece of matter that I would like Kei-ou (i) to lend her ears to. While deeply acknowledging my discourtesy, I beg for Kei-oufs grant to meet with me."
Risai kowtowed as she spoke.
" I humbly lower myself to voice my wish. ...Please, let me meet Kei-ou."

Daiboku gazed at Risai, and then nodded firmly. He turned to Toshin.
" Anyway, come here and lend your shoulders. Let her rest somewhere around here --"
Risai immediately stopped Daibokufs command midway.
" There is no time to rest!"
" I do not mean to arrest you. You direly need rest and treatment."
Daiboku laughed.
" I am Daiboku, named Koshou (՚). -- I take responsibility of your plead here and now. Please rest for this moment. I am calling the doctor straight away."

You are not, Konjin raised his voice.


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