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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994


~ Chapter Three~


The castle for the provincial lord of Gen Province was, like Kankyuu, located at the peak of a Sky-Pillar Mountain (_R, Ryouun-yama) called Mt. Ganboko (pR). The crew landed at a rocky area at Mt. Ganbokufs hillside, and took Rokuta with them up to the Sea of Clouds (_C, Unkai). There was the Gen Province Castle.

Upon entering a huge hall, a man could be seen waiting among several other officials. The man looked young, and his hair was dark brown to the extent of red.

Rokutafs wrists were grasped by two men at his sides, and Kouya and the youma followed behind. The youma still had the baby contained in its beak. Short stints of cries sounded from within the loosely closed beak.

Atsuyu was the son of Gen Provincefs lord. He worked in the title of Reiin (ߛ), which helped the lord administer the provincial departments, and was ranked keihaku. And now, this keihaku received Rokuta while sitting on the provincial lordfs seat.

gGreat job, Kouya.h
Atsuyu thanked Kouya warmly, and stood up from his seat. He stepped down the stairs, helped Rokuta up the stairs, stepped down again, bent his knees and kowtowed deeply.

gMay I apologize for my behavior, Taiho ().h
Rokuta was already a hostage, and Rokuta had prepared to accept a hostagefs fate, but he was quite taken aback by Atsuyufs sudden bowing.
g...Atsuyu, right?h
Rokuta asked, and Atsuyu looked up.

gPlease forgive the rudeness of this Reiin daring to show my humble self in front of your honor, as the lord is now resting from his ailment. I acknowledge how deceitful and outrageous my way of inviting your honor has turned, and I prepared no excuse. But please, your honor, please show your mercy.h
g...What are you planning? What do you want?h
gFor now, may I bring up the issue of Rokusui ().h

Rokuta twitched his eyebrows.
gRokusui is the big river that penetrates Gen Province. Since Kyou-ou () cut the dam, the many Ken (, administrative region unit) downstream had been mourning about floods occurring every rain season. Fortunately, the towns at the basin were spared from total destruction, but it is doubtful how long this fortune would continue. Having a large-scale flood control plan is of top priority, but your majesty has still granted no permission. Even though Gen Province would like to carry out plans, the emperor has already seized power of flood control from provincial lords.h

Rokuta bit his lips. --Serves him right! Syouryou and others must be stirred and upset right now, but they just taste the consequences of their own actions.

gIt should always be within the sovereignty of the provincial lord in each province. I thoroughly understand that Kyou-ou regarded the provincial lords he dubbed as an eyesore, but I wonder whether it is wise to even seize power from them. To rule a kingdom simply means that the rulerfs eyes cannot reach to every corner of the kingdom. In fact, the rain season is coming, but Rokusui is still dry.

Atsuyu looked up at Rokuta as he remained kneeling.
gMy repeated reports had not been heeded. I could not but take such measures as last resort. I recognize your every reason to be angered, but please, Taiho, lend your ears to my plea.h


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