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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


" I will send Taiho to Ren Kingdom () in the near future."
Gyousou gathered his close subordinates and said.
" A round trip to Ren takes around a month, and at that time we will have our winter hunt (~, Tousyu)."

Risai at first took the words at face value. Few important administrative tasks remains around the New Year Day. He must be suggesting a large scale hunting in this period. It was true that the government was already in place, but Risai was surprised that Gyousou had such a carefree side. Probably having the same thoughts, the confused ambience flowed among the gathered people. The one who broke such ambience was Asen, the general of the imperial right army. Asen asked in a mysteriously low voice.

"--And the prey is?"
" The wolves."
Risai was dumbfounded by such a short sudden answer.

" We must dispose of those villainous officials that served the administration system for their own purposes, and maximized their exploitation under the previous emperor's feet. We must not leniently release them to the wild. Otherwise, their resent towards their punishment will very probably become fire sparkles. Also, Tai from now on needs the private treasures that the bunch slipped into their own pockets by hook or by crook."

Risai shuddered upon recognition that Gyousou was talking about a government cleanup. The room was filled with mourns, sighs and confused commotions as everyone was affected by the same deep emotion.

" After the ceremony, we will be just left with receiving the new year. So we appoint ambassadors to Ren. If the generals in charge of the imperial army and the provincial army of Zui accompany the group, the bunch would most probably loosen their alert. Then we can catch them all in one blow for disposal."

"--And we are sending Taiho out of the kingdom during all these?"
Gyousou nodded at Asen's inquiry.
" It would do Kouri (䗢, Taikifs granted name from Gyousou) good not to see these."
" However, won't he catch wind of these later?"
" Make such news not reach him. From now on everything said here must never be known by any unrelated persons, not to mention Kouri.h

" So we will dispose them internally...? "
What? Risai would like to raise her voice. She acknowledged the importance of purging the evildoers. However, unless the punishement was publicly announced to demonstrate the crimes involved, it would be just lynching.


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