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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


"In other words, maybe everything is his majesty's plan. His majesty, for some reason, would like the palace to be unguarded. However, there are no good excuse to leave the palace just after the administration has settled. Therefore, his majesty used Tetsui. This scenario is not impossible, is it?"

"I could understand that it is not unnatural for his majesty to leave the palace when Tetsui is in trouble. However why is it necessary for the palace to be unguarded, in such a period like you said?"
"Isn't it... the continuation of the winter hunt?"
Kaei pressed her voice.

"No way," Risai smiled. "With his majesty heading to suppress riots during this period -- yes, I also can envision the traitors may take action when the palace is left unguarded. But I have never heard of such a plan."
"Me neither... Therefore, isn't this a test for all of us here? In the worst case, this might be for persecuting us."
"No way," Risai raised her voice. "That can't be."

At least for Risai, not a single trace of betrayal did she feel towards Gyousou. She was careful not to do anything that gives a misinterpretation of betrayal. Risai had so far done a good job to get along with Gyousou's subordinates, with Gyousou, and -- above all, with Taiki.

Kaei curled her body closer, and her face twitched.
"I would love to think so. But when I looked at the remaining people..."
"The remaining people?"

"In the Imperial Army there are two, Gantyou () and Asen (I). In the Provincial Army of Zui (), there are Gashin (M) and you. Among them, Gantyou and Gashin worked in his majesty's army as generals. In contrast, Asen led the Imperial Right Army in Kyou-ou's reign, and you were the general of Jyou () Provincial Army. There are two troops under the lead of two former subordinates, and two troops which are not. Among all troops, his majesty cuts a half out of Asen's troop, and took them to Bun Province. In other words, Asen's influence is reduced by half--"
"That is an unfair conjecture, isn't it?"

"The people who are most deeply related to riot suppression are first from the Military Affairs Department (Kakan, Ċ), then the Production and Treasury Affairs (Toukan, ~), who prepare the weapons. The Military Affairs Minster (Daishiba, in) is Haboku (mn), and the Production and Treasury Affairs Minister (Daishikuu, i) is Rousan (W). Both were actually former subordinates of his majesty. If his majesty leaves the palace, Taiho would be left alone in the palace. But serving right besides Taiho are Vice Provincial Lord (Reiin, ߛ) of Zui, Seirai (), and Imperial Affairs Minister (Taisai, ), Kaihaku (F). Both of them are former subordinates. Outsiders like me from Judicial Affairs (Shuukan, H), Tyouun (^) from Religious Affairs (Shunkan, t), and Senkaku (p) from State Affairs (Chikan, n) have no role in riot suppression. We are told of no details, and neither are we expected to..."

"There is the Prime Minister (Tyousai, n) though. It is impossible to exclude the Prime Minister while sending armies, but Prime Minster Eityuu (r) is not a former subordinate. He is formerly the Provincial Lord of Sui ()..."


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