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~


gTaiho, are you hurt?h
Ribi asked, and Rokuta squeezed a smile.
gItfs alright, itfs alright. --This is quite a room. Our reception is much better than I thought.h

Rokuta looked around the room. It is hard to say what this room is built for. One would not say the room is big, but one would hesitate to say it is a prison cell. It was as if the room is chipped from a big piece of white boulder. The inside was neat, and there were beds. There was another bed at one corner of the room, separated from the remaining room space by a screen. At another corner there is a water fountain. A set of furniture had been prepared. Looking up, one can find a big skylight cut at the fearfully high ceiling. During the day sunlight should be able to reach the room.

gSo? Ribi knows how to take care of a child?h
Rokuta smiled to himself, and Ribifs face turned quite red.
gI hope I can... but I am quite nervous.h
gYou donft have any children?h
gA long time ago I have a husband and children, but we parted when I was appointed as an official. It was during the pervious emperorfs reign, so you can imagine how old I have become.h
gWhy didnft your husband become a sage along with you?h
gHe said he didnft like it.h

High-ranked officials must become sages, so their appointments often accompany separation. An appointed officialfs other half, parents and children can automatically become sages, but brothers, sisters and other blood-related relatives cannot. Blood-related relatives have priority in being appointed as officials, but there are many people who lose such opportunity even with such priority.


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