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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


Now that she was saying it, Risai herself also began to notice that it might be too much an effort. She had never doubted that Gyousou led the army himself exactly because it was Tetsui, but when she put it into words, she also sensed something astray there.

Kaei nodded alone in consent. A grim expression clouded her face.

"It has already been anticipated that problems will sprout, taking advantage of the confusion caused by the New Year winter hunt. The gangs in Bun Province are the toughest problem among them, and it is of no surprise that riots broke out right afterwards in reality. However, considering that Tetsui got involved among all cities, even the unsurprising occurrence of riots in Bun Province became a little too natural, to the point of suspicion."

"Now that you are saying it, it really sounds so. That is Bun Province, within which is Tetsui, so his majesty will sure show up -- that we have never suspected at all. Saying it the other way, Tetsui in Bun Province is the natural choice to pull his majesty out."

Somebody is deliberately luring Gyousou out-- Risai thought, and looked back at Kaei's unsettled expression.

"Oh no... This might be part of the treason plot against his majesty."
"This is a possible conclusion right? But there are opinions that it is the opposite."
"The opposite? What do you exactly mean--"
"Let me see if I can explain this clearly..."
Kaei took a few minutes to search for the right words.

"Let's suppose there is somebody who wants to betray his majesty. However, it is next to impossible to harm his majesty while he is in the palace. What if his majesty is taken out of the palace, and put into a chaotic place like the battlefield? This presents unprecedented chances. Therefore, he is to incite a riot, and lure his majesty out. However, such a sudden riot will only attract suspicion from his majesty. Moreover, just because there is a riot doesn't mean that his majesty would come out himself. That is why he utilizes the gangs in Bun Province. The reason is that it is just a matter of time riots will break out in Bun Province. Added, Tetsui is in Bun Province. It can be expected with confidence that his majesty will give his personal assistance when whatever happens in Tetsui, considering his majesty's strong relationship of trust with the city. Therefore that usurper will definitely utilize Bun Province, and utilize Tetsui."
"That looks very reasonable."

"However, there is an opposite way to see this. It is highly probable His Majesty will be out if it is Tetsui. -- In reverse, It is not surprising at all that when something happens in Tetsui, His Majesty will leave the palace unguarded."
I wonder, Risai would like to say, but Kaei cut in midway.


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