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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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--Once upon a time, the god (V, tentei) opened the world, and created twelve kingdoms. People are choosen to be placed on the throne. They are the emperors, and those who choose the emperors according to godfs will are the kirins.

Every kingdom has one kirin, and the kirins are heavenly beasts with very powerful mystical powers. They receive godfs will and choose the emperors.

Kirins are born at Mt. Hou (HR, Houzan), the eastmost of the five mountains at the center of the world. Those who regard themselves suitable to be emperors climb Mt Hou and meet the kirin. This act of meeting the kirin and requesting godfs will is called eSyouzanf (R, lit. to climb up a mountain.)

--Why, Itan yelled as he threw the population records hard onto the thronefs stage.

gWhy does it take fourteen years for you to be enthroned? Kirins can choose the emperor in six years. Because of you dillydallying and not doing eSyouzanf, eight years had been wasted! These are the population records of Kankyuu in the past eight years. Open your eyes and see just how many people died during these eight years!h

The place, which was in the merry mood because of the coronation, fell into a moment of silence.

Itan looked at the emperor on the stage. The emperor only sized Itan and the population records thrown onto the stage with an interested expression.

Itan might be throwing tantrums to the innocent, but he just wanted to let the emperor see how poor En had become. It was desolation beyond belief. The palace, where the throne was at, might be shining brightly, but at the ground below death and desolation rampaged. Hope would be heaped onto whoever received the throne, but Itan never believed that this kingdom can be rebuilt.

How rude, the emperor would say and punish him with death penalty. Itan was prepared for such a consequence, but he was not eager to die. He had survived through the tyranny of Kyou-ou with the feeling of walking on a tightrope. He didnft disobey the emperor. He didnft disregard the truth. He didnft entertain the interest of the emperor. He didnft go against his conscience.

All officials said that when the new emperor was enthroned, everything would be fine. However, the emperor cannot nullify what had already happened. He cannot bring back the lives lost. Itan hated those officials who got intoxicated by the joy and forgot this. He also hated the emperor, who must have been overjoyed by his coronation.

Therefore, even if Itan died, the emperor could never forget this unhappy incident happened in such a joyful situation. Those intoxicated officials, after seeing the newly enthroned emperor beheading his official immediately, would recall Kyou-oufs tyranny, and would settle down from their joy. If Itanfs death became an unpleasant lump within the hearts of those who spread joy without proof, his death would be worthy.

Itan looked at the new emperor. The new emperor looked at Itan. For some time, even the air stopped to flow. Among the people who got frozen, the new emperor was the first to move. Ha! The emperor laughed as he stood up from the throne and picked up the population records, without being bogged down by the rude interruption. He brushed of the dust lightly and smiled at Itan.

gIfll look through it.h

Itan stared at the man dumbfounded for some time. He was dragged out of the place by the guards, and was fired off his duty by the chikantyou daishitou (nik, the Minister of State Affairs) at that time. He returned home obediently, and was confined to his home to wait for punishment. Itan didnft want to escape, and he couldnft to begin with, because soldiers guarded the front doors.

He was confined for five days. At last, the imperial messenger knocked on his door and brought with him the imperial order. He was sentenced to return to his post as chief of land affairs. Itan, astonished, entered the palace to offer his gratitude to the emperor. gWhat a straight-forward fellow,h the emperor laughed, and granted him the other name Tyototsu, which was used up to this day.

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