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~


Rokuta is in fact not human. He can return to his real appearance as a kirin using his willpower. In his kirin appearance he has a horn at his forehead, and that horn is thought to be the source of his mystical power. When in the form of human his horn becomes a spot on his forehead, and he feels uncomfortable when people touch that spot. When the horn is sealed, so are his mystic powers. He cannot even summon his shirei.

gI really feel sick! It is not just sickening; I hate it so much!h
gIn fact youma seem to have the same Achillesf heel. ... Come on.h

Rokuta reluctantly lifted his face. A chill ran through his body from the spot that screams pain whatever touches it, as if his nerve ends are exposed from his skin at the spot. It taxed every ounce of his willpower just to suppress his body that instinctively would like to escape.

g...Ouch! I feel so sick, and I need to throw up.h
gHold it.h
Kouya tied a piece of red thread around his head to hold the stone in place, and put a spell on the knot. Suddenly the pain receded. In exchange, Rokuta felt as if a blackhole was formed inside his body.

gStill feeling sick?h
gMuch better. But some weird feelings.h
gDonft summon your shirei. You cannot transform into a kirin, so you cannot fly. Please donft carelessly fly up to high places.h

Kouya smiled, turned to the youma and lightly tapped on its beak to tell the youma to open it. On his flame-red tongue lay the baby, and Kouya tied a piece of string lightly around the babyfs head. Kouya then cast a spell on the thread, after which the leftover thread fell off from the knot. After that, Kouya coiled the thread with care, and stuffed the ball of thread into his inner pocket.

gThis is called the Sekisakujyou (ԍ, lit. crimson binding thread) If you cut the thread, you cut off the babyfs head as well.h
gWhy all the hassle? I wonft escape anyway.h
gI have said before. You should know that you have become a hostage.h
Kouya turned his glances onto Ribi.
gYour thread is connected to her thread as well.h

Rokuta looked, and found the same red thread going around Ribifs forehead, stringing the same white stone. All officials wonft age because they had entered sagehood (, senseki). When one becomes a sage (), a third eye opens at his forehead. Even though the third eye cannot be seen from the outside, at that spot on his forehead some organ is formed. Sealing the third eye means losing all mystic powers, a situation comparable to that of Rokutafs horn.


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