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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Two ~


"No -- not at all."
Asked whether he could sit, Risai gave a light bow in silence.
" Isn't it cold?"
" ... It is getting cold."
She felt terrifyingly cold in her heart. Even the frost on the table could not be quite as cold, compared to her emotions.

" I heard Risai and Kaei has become friends recently."
Gyousou brought up the topic, and Risai felt like escaping from the scene. There should be some complaints towards Kaei. However, now he didnft feel like telling Risai about them.
" And you two are on very friendly terms."
" ... Yes."
" Then, Risai, why don't you ask her once for me? -- To try leaving her post for a little while."

"That... doesn't mean she is fired, does it?"
Risai fixed her gaze upon Gyousou. That is not it, Gyousou gave a bitter smile.
" It is not that I am unsatisfied about her work, but I seem to have pushed upon her too big a burden."
"... I do not believe Kaei considers it as a burden. That is her duty."
Risai said so, because to be removed from the position of Daishikou means that Kaei would be ousted from Gyousou's administration. That would be a difficult defeat to bear for any officers.

"She is trying to manage her duty with all her wits... There are voices of criticism, but apparently, Kaei was not cut to be a Judicial officer in the first place."
I guess, Gyousou said. Risai convulsed, not because of coldness but indignation.
" ... If that is your understanding, why did you appoint Kaei to a Judicial officer post?"
" ... Daishikou is said to be very lenient to criminals."
" Yes. That is why she is unsuitable..."
" That is exactly why I think she is suited for the job."

Risai's spirits suddenly deflated, and she lost her words.
" If we have Kaei who is lenient towards criminals, she would serve as a great counterweight in our administration. However, standing in Kaei's shoes, it must be unbearable. If it is too tough, I don't mind if she gives up her post. At the Religious Affairs or the State Affairs --I will prepare a post around there for her, so please assure her that."

Then, Risai thought. Gyousou was fully aware that he was pushing his reforms too hurriedly.


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