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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994


~ Chapter Two~


Rokuta sat straddling Rikaku(p). Rikaku is a youma that serves Rokuta as a servant. Only kirins can control a youma... or so should it be.

Riding on Rikakufs back as they dashed through the sky like a gust of wind, Rokuta was wandering around the Province of Gen, as he passed somebody. To be exact, he passed a child who was riding a youma.

It was nothing surprising. It was a huge wolf with wings and a beak. It must be a type of youma called tenken (V, lit. sky dog). At its back sat a child, traveling like a gust of wind. The moment the two passed each other is no doubt an unplanned encounter.

gTurn back! Follow them!h
Rokuta immediately ordered its shirei (g, lit. servant).

gTaiho, it is a youma.h

Rokuta nodded at Rikakufs warning.
gI know. Thatfs why we are turning back. It is natural if the youma is a shirei of a kirin, but why does a youma allow a human to sit on it? That is plain unreasonable!

Searching on the sea, Rokuta met his target who was straddling on a youma with red hair. The boy, finding out that Rokuta was chasing after him, curled his body in fright. However, when the youma gave out a unique yell and exuded murderous intention, the boy hugged the youmafs huge neck and calmed it down.
gNo. Donft.h

The child looked a little younger than Rokuta. He was a boy with a slander stature, a pale complexion, and black hair with a light shade of blue. Kirinsf hair was golden, like Rokutafs. This is the natural color of kirinsf mane.

Hey! Rokuta said, and the boy was shocked. Realizing that the boy was frightened, Rokuta tried his best to wear an attractive smile on his face.
gWho are you?h

The child shook his pale face. Strong cold wind blew wildly over the sea. The boy wrapped himself in only a few pieces of worn-out cloth.

gI am Rokuta. What a strange encounter to meet you here. It is my first time to meet somebody in the sky.h

The boy nodded slightly and uttered a faint gUm.h Maybe he wanted to say that it was the first time he met somebody in the sky as well.

gWhere are you going? Are you on a hurried trip?h

The boy answered again by only shaking his head. Rokuta gave a gentle smile.
gI am thinking of eating lunch somewhere. Why donft we eat together?h

The boy opened his eyes and gave a blank look.
g... Together?h

Rokuta nodded with a smile. He pointed to a shore below. Rokuta wanted to hold out his hand, but he held himself back. Anything he unintentionally did might end up scaring off the child.

gWhat do you think?h
Rokuta asked, and the boy looked back at the youmafs face. Cocking his head as he peered into the youmafs eyes, the boy nodded slightly.


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