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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter Three ~


Rosuan still remained in the Office. It took a while after Risai had requested her visit to a subordinate before she was welcomed to the main hall. Over there, Rousan was buried by piles of books and documents.

"Find a place to sit for yourself, okay?"
Rousan waved her hand without even looking up from her book. She looked like a eighteen or nineteen-year-old teenager, an appearance that didn't seem to fit as one of the Six Ministers. However her astounding breath of knowledge definitely deemed her as the best candidate as Daishikuu (i), Head of Production and Treasury. A Production and Treasury officer is said to master a hundred forms of artistry. Under Daishikuu are three posts -- Syoushi (t), Genshi (t) and Gishi (Zt), who produce goods, manufacture Jyugu (, lit. spell-enchanted tools) and research new technology. Each of the three posts consists of innumerable craftsmen, but it was said that whoever craftsman who spoke to Rousan would never find difficulty in communicating their ideas across.

"...Why did you tell such a thing to Taiho?"
Risai questioned, and Rousan finally lifted her face. Why, that? Her face read.
"Because I believe he should be listening to this."
"That is nothing but ungrounded rumors. Telling that..."
"Telling that to Taiki is just to sadden him out of mere play! You are trying to say so, aren't you? But isn't it the truth that Mister Gyousou may be plotted against?"

"This is just a possibility."
"So you agree that it is a possible case! Then that is a serious issue that should be informed at once to Saiho!"
Risai blurted, but Rousan shut her book with a frown on her face. She sat with one knee raised above the chair, and put her chin on the knee.

"Let me tell you, you guys are just playing too kind to your kirin-san. I know you all would like to pamper, but this issue is related to the whole kingdom, so there is a limit to everything, please! This might not be sheer local riots, but hideous treason! What are you all thinking about, hiding this from the kirin of this kingdom! Saiho has his duties as a Saiho. That has nothing to do with his age. Saiho's approval is necessary before moving the provincial army, that's the rule."

"That... but"
"I am not threatening you to see such fear on your face. I am just telling the obvious logic. You are the one who is bending the logic."
Risai turned silent. Rousan's words was of no doubt the truth.

"Now let's say something happened to His Majesty. What are you to do? Taiho is small all right, but he is not useless or powerless. This is just an example; pitying Taiho and hiding him from all harm is equivalent to disgracing him, don't you think? If His Majesty met danger, and there is something Taiho is capable to do to save him, let Taiho do it! It is just too cruel to chain him up, not allowing him to do anything."

Taiki's seriously discouraged look replayed in Risai's mind.
"You are right."
A bright smile showed on Rousan's face.
"Great, it took you just a second to get it. Wonderful. Splendid."


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