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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


Risai shook her head as she pointed out.
"Please -- don't come to a biased conclusion. His majesty was once a general, and the ones he trusted were from his own troops. Therefore the closer one is related to his majesty, the closer one is to the military matters. Isn't it just natural to think about the whole matter this way? Those appointed to suppress riots are all former subordinates, and those not appointed are from the outside... This is not because of a plot, but the coincidental result of allocating people to suitable jobs. We should think this way."

"Should ... Should I really believe so?"
Kaei anxiously pressed her figures against her forehead.
"Listening to someone who had caught the rumors, I was shaken to the core... To be honest, I had my doubts before."

"No, I am not saying I had treacherous ideas. It is just that I was not accustomed to his majesty's logics at the beginning. I had the impression his majesty was hasty in every decision, and I was unsettled. I also felt left out. I felt helpless and unsettled. ... I had even rushed to your place to cry myself out."
Risai nodded.

"Now I got it. I think he is impetuous, but not exceedingly so. The anxiety has also disappeared. It is because there is enough reason behind all his majesty's actions to put my trust on. However, definitely I had been anxious before, and people around should have noticed it. There is nothing I can do even if my behavior was regarded as criticism, or even disapproval, towards his majesty. It is not unreasonable to be misunderstood this way -- and when I think of that..."

" Religious Affairs Minister Tyouun is so as well. Before, he had raised criticism towards his majesty quite often. Prime Minister Eityuu is also known to be very unsettled before. Besides them are Asen and Gantyou, and ... you, Risai. There are especially more rumors about you."
"Rumors... about me?"

Yes, Kaei's pale lips trembled.
"Asen, together with his majesty, was regarded as the two pillars in Kyou-ou's Imperial Army. Now one is emperor and one is subordinate. That is a little uninteresting, or so it is said."
"No way! -- And I am also rumored as so?"

"Exactly. I am afraid such rumors would pain your ears. Risai, you conducted Syousan (R) alongside his majesty, didn't you? The fact that his majesty got chosen in the end must not be pleasant for Risai, the rumor says. Gantyou was originally under his majesty, but he has always been highly regarded in the Imperial Army. When the Imperial Army General post was open, it was expected Gantyou would be the first candidate. When the appointment was announced, however, his majesty was selected in unprecedented young age. Gantyou had always been Gyousou's subordinate, but rumor has it whether there are any hidden stories..."

"Outrageous! -- Going along such biased conjectures, anyone in this world can be a criminal."
"I agree... That is sheer malice."


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