Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
<The Sea God in the East, the Vast Sea in the West>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994


~ Chapter One~


-- It is described as gSetsu-sanh (܎R, Mountain-crumbling)

The desolation was so serious that even the Sky-Pillar Mountain (_R Ryouun-san), the huge mountain that penetrates the sky, would crumble.

Rokuta (Z) looked over the land dumbfounded. When he saw this country last time, it seemed that this country couldnft be even more barren. But what about this even more serious devastation before him?

The sky was high, with some thin clouds hovering. Under this cruelly bright sky, the land had not even a trace of green or red, even though summer was coming. The farmlands were as barren as deserts. At this time, the wheat fields should be a sea of green, but now, there was not even overgrown grass anywhere. Only sparse, unattended, withered grass rustled on this cracked land. The land and the grass must have dried up long before; now they had lost even their warm yellow color.

The field roads had crumbled. At where the huts once stood remain only the stones that surrounded the lot. The stones had crumbled here and there, burnt to charcoal black, got eroded by wind and rain, and exposed to the cruel sunlight, leaving only a dull, shabby color.

At the foot of the mountain stood a town. The town walls were already destroyed, and the houses inside had all turned to rumbles. There was not even a tree to protect the huts or the town. Only the Riboku () stood deep inside the town, roasted by fire into the color of oxidized silver. At its root a few people sat like stones without moving an inch.

Above the Riboku, a few birds and many bird-like youma (d,monsters) were circling. The Riboku didnft grow flowers or leaves. With only the sparse white branches in the way, there was no way the people below couldnft see the birds above keeping an eye on them. However, nobody looked up. No beasts or youma attack living things under the Riboku. Maybe that was the reason why the people could be oblivious. In other words, those people were too exhausted to even be able to feel afraid of youma.

The mountains were burnt off their green, and the rivers all flooded. Those that were huts or towns were burnt down to ash. There was no land on which people could hope for a harvest, and nobody even bothered to hoe up the barren soil. The people were too tired to work and anticipate next yearfs harvest. Even if they wanted to lift the hoe, their starved hands had no power, not to mention a supporting body to cooperate with the hands.

Those youma circling above also had cringing wings. They were also starving. In front of Rokuta, one of the youma fell from the sky. This land was so desolate that even the magical beings were struggling from starvation.

gSetsuzan no Kou, Boukoku no Kaih (܎R̍rAS̉)
(The desolation that crumbles a mountain, the destruction that exterminates a nation.)

It was as though this Kingdom of En had finished.


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