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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


Kaei was originally the advisor (syuusai, B) of Ran () Province, and was famed for her mercy and rationality. On encountering Kaei a couple of times, Risai held the first impression that she is really a merciful, caring and calm person who have an emphasis on courtesy, a mind of deep thoughts and a keen eye on every detail. Gyousou had already given permission on promoting her as one of the Six Ministers (Rokkan, Z), but the doubt had never left Risai's ears: Is she really working as a Daishikou (i) with such qualities? The job of judicial officials (Syuukan, H) is to uphold the law, to judge on crimes, and to build up peace in the society. Foreign affairs are also within their duties, but there were definite voices of opposition against Kaei, doubting whether she was too merciful to be a judicial officer.

A judicial officer is often said to be fall frost and the blazing sun (Syuusou-Retsujitsu, H). Such an official is strict on punishment, orders and conduct, and are comparable to frost in the fall or the blasing sunshine that withers plants. The female sitting in front of Risai looked unreliable like a lost child, to be honest, and Risai could not feel strictness or ferocity anywhere on her.

" My job has always been to govern the land and providing welfare to the people. I am not accustomed to sentencing punishment to people. I fully understand that it is not a matter of accustoming. If I am in the post, I need to deliver my duties -- however, as I am entirely unfitting to be a judicial officer, I had thought that nobody would possibly appoint me as a judicial officer."

However, Kaei spit as her glance dropped. Again, her shaking fingers wandered around the cup edge.
" From now on, a large number of officers need to be judged. Moreover, this needs to be done in one blow for a short period of time. I am scared. Even if they are criminals, I wonder if it is appropriate to judge a person that hurriedly..."

Risai smiled.
" Please, help yourself with some wine. It will warm up your body a bit."
Risai watched Kaei, who nodded on Risai's invitation and brought her cup to her lips.
" It is perhaps never unreasonable for Kaei to be upset. The government is truly changing with astounding speed. Judging sins of the past is a part of a new dynasty's duties, but it is unprecedented that such is done in one blow like now. His majesty is truly with amazing determination."

Upon Risai's bitter smile, Kaei's lips curled into a slight smile.
" We military people value timing. Our thinking is when it is time for a judgment of 'this is it,' we must do it swiftly without hesitation. Many times in battles, there is no spare time to ponder prudently before a decision. Therefore, I agree with his majesty's decision. It is in fact good timing, and we know that it is time for us to act."


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