Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994
~ Chapter Three~
As usual, Kouya rode on the youmafs back to the continent, and hunted animals by throwing stones. The youmafs hunger could not be satiated by just one or two rabbits, so Kouya left the eating youmafs side, and continued his search for the next prey. His wrist was wounded by a stray arrow some time ago. It hurt so much even when Kouya was asleep, but Kouya could not fail to deliver to the youma its food. Suddenly arrows came raining on him.
Kouya yelled and escaped into the woods. Though Kouya had been struck by arrows or wounded by spearheads countless number of times, it was impossible for him to say he had grown used to the wound that now screamed pain in his brain.
He crashed into the woods, and hid himself in the bushes. The rain of arrows stopped dead.
g--Come out, boy!h
Kouya didnft understand human conversations at all, but he mysteriously
understood what that man was saying. Feeling that the voice was not threatening
or desperate, Kouya poked his head slightly out of the bushes.
gWhatfs wrong? You donft want to come out?h
Kouya, upon seeing that they put away their weapons, poked his head out a little more, and met glances with the man. The man with a big smile had red hair just like the youmafs, except the lock of white hair at his right temple. Kouya somehow put his guards down and stood up upon seeing the man.
gCome out! We wonft do a thing.h
Then, a voice stopped Kouya from being lured out of the bushes. Come on! The cry seemed more like a roar. After loud flaps of wings as though rocks went tumbling in, the youma landed right in front, and threatened the men with a loud roar. Then the youma extended its hind legs and lowered its back, urging Kouya to climb on its back.
The men who had lowered their bows once again got in position with their
bows up, but the man who had kneeled down stopped them.
The man turned back to the subordinates who were bewildered whether to
lower their bows. Give me the deer, he ordered.