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 got the real punishment to attend the administrative meeting, staying still behind Syouryuu and stifling yawns as he listened to the six ministersf reports. Finally, he was set free. But as he stepped out of the hall, a person called him to stop.

Rokuta stopped and turned back. A minister kneeled before him.
gI am afraid somebody would like to request a meeting with Taihou.h
gWith me? ? A minister?h

No, the minister answered.
gThere is a person at Kokufu({) who called Taihoufs name and asked for a meeting. He claimed the person he would like to meet works in the palace, but dubiously there is no one working in the palace who has the same name as Taihoufs. So I believed it would be best to notify Taihou anyway.h

Rokuta opened his eyes wide, and took one step forward.
gDid the person give his name?h
gYes. He said the person will understand if I say Kouya.h

I canft believe it, Rokuta thought to himself. He thought that they would never meet again. In fact, Rokuta doubted whether the boy had survived.

gI am going right away. -- He is at Kokufu, right?h
gHe said he would wait at the gate of Chimon(賖).h
gI am going right away, so never let him go. Understood?h

Understood, the minister replied as he bowed. Rokuta hurriedly turned back, while Syouryuu and others stopped midway and looked at the sight.

g--Ifm surprised. You had acquaintances at the world below.h
gI have many friends, unlike Syouryuu.h
gYes. ? Because of that, Ifll take my leave.h

gWhat about the government affairs in the afternoon?h
Ahem, Rokuta cleared his throat and straightened up.

gMaybe it is a premonition of some looming catastrophe, or maybe it is a punishment of my lack of virtue, but I have somehow caught some sudden illness, and would like to request for sick leave for the rest of the day.h

Syouryuu chuckled.
gWow that is very serious. Letfs call Koui (, lit. yellow doctor, as yellow is the color of kirins and royalty)h
Koui is the family doctor of kirins.

gI sincerely appreciate your concerns, but you need not go that far. Ifll retreat to my residence and have a sleep. -- Something like that.h

Seisyou, who stood next to Syouryuu, called a subordinate standing straight by his side.
gEkishin(M), accompany him.h
gNo need, Seisyou. Itfs not such a big deal. The guy is truly my friend.h
Rokuta said as he ran off. However, Seisyou gave an urging look to Ekishin. Ekishin bowed and followed Rokuta.


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