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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~

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The last emperor was remembered as Kyou-ou (). After coronation, he had governed the kingdom very well for a long time. Some time afterwards, however, his heart was occupied by evil. He turned to abuse his people, and took joy by hearing shrieks of pain. He put soldiers at all corners of all towns as secret police. Any person who voiced complaint about the Emperor was instantly arrested, and was executed at the streets along with his whole family and people related to him. If there were uprisings, he sank the whole town under water by opening the flood gates, or shot fire arrows after flooding the whole town with oil, killing everybody inside, including even babies.

There were nine provincial lords in the Kingdom. Those who had hearts were exterminated by the Emperor, and from then on, no one dared to stop the Emperor.

Saihou (ɕ) was so pained to see such deeds that he collapsed with incurable fatal disease. The Emperor then arrogantly claimed that he had fulfilled his mission from God, and ordered an enormous royal tomb to be built for him. Labor was scraped up to build two layers of long, deep moats. The soil dug up and the brutally killed workers piled up to a high hill, but the tomb was so big that one still need to look up even if they stand of the hill. The concubines entombed and the girls killed to serve the Emperor after death was said to amount more than one hundred and thirty thousand.

Kyou-ou was dead just when the tomb was finished. The nation was already barren at that time, and the people who were gasping for breath within all the tortures roared shouts of joy when they heard the Emperorfs death. So loud were the shouts that they were said to reach all other kingdoms.

The peoplefs anticipations fell on the next emperor, but the next emperor didnft get enthroned. In this world, emperors are selected by kirins (i). Kirins, the heavenly beast, received the revelation from heaven and selected emperors according to heavenfs wish. After selecting the emperor, the kirin will step down to become the emperorfs servant, and stay at the emperorfs side, working under the title Saihou. However, that Saihou finally died at his thirties without choosing an emperor. This was the eighth catastrophe after Kaibyaku (J, the Creation).

The Emperor governs the land and balances the nationfs nature. Once the Emperor is absent from his throne, the nationfs nature topples, and catastrophes rampage. This land that had turned barren by Kyou-ou was made even more barren by this catastrophe. At the end, the people didnft even have the power to mourn for their misfortune.

-- So there comes this desolation.

***

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