Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994
~ Chapter Two~
Leaving the emperor, Itan and others, Rokuta entered the patio. The sun had set, and the sea of clouds was dim. At the east, a thin crescent moon was about to rise.
Undoubtedly there would be a war. Those provincial lords and officials who have their plots underneath their skin would gather, and it would be a miracle that a civil war could be avoided.
Rokuta walked in the garden as the gory premonition was spread by the wind. His heart sank, because he hated war and bloodshed from birth.
-- Leave it to me, Syouryuu once said. However, Rokuta hated war. Many soldiers died, and innocent people got dragged into the mess.
Rokuta came to the side of a small wing, and pushed open the doors. The doors opened with a small squeak. There was a standby booth for the door guards, but there was no sight of anybody. The post was supposed to be for guards to keep vigil, but there were few people in the palace. Kyou-ou killed off nearly all the people. Also, no new officers were employed, so the palace seemed quite and deserted.
Passing the front garden, Rokuta entered the building located deep within. There was a small middle garden. At the middle of the white sand stood a silver tree. Branches drooped low from the tree, shining as if they were made of real silver.
--People are born from this tree.
Couples who want children pray under this tree. If the prayers reach heaven, fruits called ranka (ส, lit. egg fruit) would bear on the branches. Babies are sealed within the fruit. It takes ten months to hatch the babies, but there are rankas that get swept away before they are hatched.
Rokuta was swept away like that. So was Syouryuu. In a catastrophe called Syoku (I, lit. erosion) this world and the other world got mingled, and rankas were swept away to the other world. Those rankas were implanted to womenfs body at the other world, and were born from the mother, covered by a flesh shell similar to the appearance of the parents. The children that were born this way were called taika (ูส, lit. fetus fruit).
Rokuta was swept away like that to a city at Hourai at the other side of the Empty Sea. He had a father, a mother, grandparents and siblings. At first, Rokuta never imagined that he was a boy who should not have existed.