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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


In the new year, there was a large-scale clean-up operation in Tai, which not only expelled villainous officials but also lay down preliminaries to lure out gangs that were waiting for opportunities under the villains. After the notorious provincial lord of Bun Province was replaced, gangs would spring onto their feet upon relaxation of control. Such a situation was already well predicted at the beginning of operation.

" If we were too bordered by prudence, those bastards will literally lick this kingdom away! That can never be allowed! Go as soon as possible to kick their ass, and let them taste the fear from the imperial army! "

" Of course, we must keep the gangs under control, but is it really a good idea to act as soon as possible? We should consider the timing. If we let the situation go off a little now, gangs from every part of Bun Province will snatch the opportunity to rebel. If we go after them then, we can catch them all in one blow, and it gives a more effective impression that the government is watching. However, if we let the opportunity escape, the wild fire will spread. If we burn our hands while putting out the fire, this kingdom's dignity will fall."

Gantyou looked at Haboku in surprise.
" An old guy with no blood or tears as usual. Those gangs are putting their hands on towns near the city, you know! Think about those townsmen, won't you?"
" Why? How can I be a military official or a subordinate if I hold a drop of blood or tear?"
" You have a point," Gantyou said as he shook his huge body and laughed in dumbfound surprise.

" If we are to suppress, we should act fast."
Interrupting coolly was Eisyou (p). Assigned as general of the Imperial Middle Army, Eisyou had been a subordinate of Gyousou before, just like Gantyou. There are quite a few famous subordinates under Gyousou's army, but Eisyou was the youngest among them.

" I am the same type of person without blood or tears, just like your honorable eldery, but I would recommend to strike fast."
Eisyou said with a hint of satire, and frowned with a face as if he really has no blood or tears.

" It would be troublesome if the snow melts. It not only slows down our pace, but also creates escape routes in mountains as the surrounding snow melts away. The mountains of Bun Province are born with holes from freshwater spring channels. If every hole hides somebody the situation would turn to our disadvantage."

Very true, voices of agreement were raised. Risai also thought so as reasonable in her heart. If the gangs escape to the channels, pursuing them becomes difficult. Also, in order to control the gangs in Bun Province from now on, they must never extend the battles into long guerilla fights. Gangs will be under control if suppression is fast and the kingdom's dignity is demonstrated. Otherwise, there is no point to go through all the trouble of sending the imperial army.

Everyone in the scene directed his glance onto Gyousou for his opinion.
"... I will leave this to Eisyou. Lead the Middle Army to suppress the riots."
Gantyou and Haboku were about to voice their opposition, but Gyousou stopped them with his glance.


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