Kasyo no Yume -- Toei
<The Dreams of Kasyo -- Prosperity in Winter>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


= z Hakuyou =


Taiki gave a big nod. The palace is at the middle of the sea, floating like an island. It is possible to see the scenery at the lower world through the crystal-clear sea of clouds that surrounds the palace. However, that becomes impossible after winter comes; the clouds below the sea of clouds block the view.

Seirai laughed and extended his hand. Taiki grabbed the warm hand and looked up at his Fusyou.
gIf we donft hurry, the clouds might appear again.h

Seirai smiled understandingly.
gOkay, why not take the shortcut?h

Taiki nodded with joy. Taiki loved the shortcut mentioned by his Fusyou. Using the small trails and paths that only the lower officials used, he could sometimes sneak pass closed palace wings or gardens of government offices. He was deeply interested by the rare discoveries that gsuch a place exists in the palace,h and he also enjoyed hiding in the shadow every time people came, so as not to surprise the lower officials.

This day, led by Seiraifs hand, Taiki took the shortcut, and tiptoed as he passed a corner of a government office. As they sneaked underneath the balcony of a tower and left the inner garden, they coincidentally bumped into several people that left a nearby building with their kijyuu (Rb, lit. rides).

Someone stopped their steps and spoke in surprise. Hiding in a hurry, Taiki and Seirai looked at each other in the shadows.

gSeems that we are caught.h
gJust walk out obediently. Seems that we cannot but get scolded.h

Laughing together, Taiki and Seirai showed themselves from the shrubs. At the stone steps right next to them, a few people with armor stood waiting for them. There were the imperial guard generals Gantyou () and Asen (I), together with their kijyuu. The only armor-clad female among them was Risai (), the army general at the province of Zui, with her kijyuu. Together with them was Senkaku (p) the Daishito (ik, Minister of State Affairs), which implies it should not be a military meeting. Then, at the back of the pack, there was the smiling master of Taiki. His grayish white hair and sapphire-like eyes exuded a remarkably unique glow.

gTaiho always appears and disappears mysteriously.h
Right in front of Taiki, Risai bent her knees and sent her greetings with a smile.


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