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~


Syukou walked along the palace paths against the wind, as he retreated from the inner palace.

The Kingdom of En is the northeastern kingdom among Shisyuu (lB the four corner kingdoms), and is a cold country. In winter it is exposed to the dry, cold seasonal wind from the northeast, and in summer it is exposed to the cold wind from the Black Sea (C Kotsukai). The season now was at the end of summer, as fall was sneaking up. The wind from the Black Sea got weaker and weaker, and the sun warmed up the land, which in turn warmed up the air as well. The summer is cool and without rain, which is not suitable for vegetation growth. However, the fall is long. The air is always warm and crisp, until the northeast monsoon wind begins blowing, making the weather suddenly become cold.

The palace is at the sky above, so it is not affected by the climate at the ground. Nevertheless, the wind now should be of little difference from the wind at the ground. From now onwards, fall would descend on the Kingdom of En, and end before a one-month rainy season. After the rain, the monsoon wind would blow, bringing the dry, shivering cold air from the Kingdom of Tai.

gRokusui ()... It would be nice if we can make it in time...h
Syukou looked far out to the west of the sea of clouds. Would the flood control be finished at Rokusui by the time the rainy season comes?

Rokusui is a big river flowing from Seisyuu (B), the province where Kankyuu (֋|) is located, to Gensyuu (B), the province adjacent to the Black Sea. Gensyuu has a lot of rich flatlands, made by the repeating seasonal floods of Rokusui. The place became inhabitable when Kyou-ou, the previous emperor, destroyed the dams facing the Black Sea. However, people who were finally granted their wish to return to their homeland settled at the place, and now it is reported that a couple of villages have sprung up. The provincial lord of Gensyuu couldnft handle the matter, and he had only the title but no real power to conduct flood control. The provincial lord who the previous emperor had designated for flood control didnft take care of the matter even now, and thus all his real powers were now taken back.

Giving out a light sigh, Syukou walked along, and chanced upon Itan who was walking up.

gHow was it?h
Syukou asked with a smile. Itan lifted his head.

gI picked him up at the neck, and took him back. He is now changing his clothes at the inner palace.h

Itan could have reached the inner palace through the forbidden gate and have had the conversation over there, but he took the trouble to return to the inner palace through the main gate. There is only one gate, the forbidden gate, to directly enter or leave Genei Palace that floats on the sea of clouds. There is another palace gate at the mountain foot of Kankyuu, in front of an uphill path to the palace. That is the main gate. Originally, the forbidden gate can only be used by the emperor or the Saihou, but Itan was granted the privilege to use the forbidden gate as well. Even so, Itan always stuck to formalities in this issue only.

gThen maybe I should return as well. I must give my advice to your majesty.h

gJust give him a harsh lesson! ...Where do you think your majesty has gone?h

gI have no clue.h


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