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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter One ~


"Koshou, why didnft you let her rest?"
The female said, and threw Risaifs barely remaining right arm over her shoulder.
gI am Youko (zq) , Kei-ou (i).h
Risai looked astound at the girl beside her upon hearing the crisp voice.
" I will definitely hear about what happened to you. So please take your rest now."

Power was drained out of Risaifs arms. Risai collapsed onto the ground, and struggled to a kowtow right on the spot.
" I come for a piece of matter that I would like to request to Kei-ou."
" --Oh no, not now."
Kei-ou kneeled down beside Risai, and Risai looked up at her.
gPlease. --Please. I beg you. Please save the Kingdom of Tai!h

Surprised green pupils were landed on Risaifs face.
" I deeply understand that it is an unreasonable request to you the emperor of Kei. But we are nearly --"
Risaifs words trailed off.

The Kingdom of Tai was isolated in the midst of the Empty Sea (C, Kyokai) at the northeast of the continent. It was an extremely chilly land on which everything was frozen in winter. This was where the people of Tai were abandoned. Six years ago -- barely a year after the new emperor was enthroned, Tai lost its emperor.
Losing the shelter by the emperor and the favor from the Heavens, this land had turned into hell, trampled by catastrophes and youma (d).

"The people of Tai have no way to rescue themselves. Youma swarm around the costal area, and the people cannot even escape from Tai, nor can they survive for long if they stay."

Indignation and pain. The emotions that Risai sealed long within her chest were released once and for all, taking even her breath away. A hard cold lump was frozen in her throat.

"Tai-ou was driven out of the palace by usurpersf rebellions. Taiho disappeared with Tai-ou, without a trace and without a reason. --Nevertheless..."
Risai suddenly threw her body onto the bed, hit her forehead onto the bed and yelled.
" Hakuchi () still hasnft fallen dead!"

The emperor was not deceased. Taifs fate was not sealed in doom.

"Please, --"

Her breathing stopped. Risai would like to breath in, but her throat only sounded in contrary to her commands, and refused to let air pass. Ominous faint spots developed in her sight, swelled and ate everything in sight into darkness. The only thing Risai could hear was a sharp ring from within the ears.

Lend your power, Risai would like to say, but was her thought eventually turned into audible voice?


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