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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


= og Syusshi =


Jyuurei (d), like Kouki (), sprawled from the foot of Mt. Ryou-un (_R, the tall mountain in every kingdom where the palace is located). It was mid-winter, but people were everywhere, and the whole city was enveloped by free ambience. How strange, Taiki thought.

That was so different from Kouki. Houses in Kouki were covered by snow, and people lived on with the warmth kept within the thick walls. The outside was covered with only snow, and people could not leave livestock outside, let alone anticipating any fruits. No one would be willing to get out unless strictly necessary. Even when they did, they wore wadded kimono, pulled up their collars, covered their heads with cloth or fur, and shrugged their shoulders as they hurried forward. It was just like they were using all their efforts to stuff everything inside themselves. -- This was the kingdom of Tai ().

Ren () was the opposite. Even in the midst of winter, many things threw themselves open, Taiki mused. One could see the interior of buildings through their open windows, and a great number of citizens buzzed among shops with wide open doors. People stood in the streets talking, childrens ran around playing, and livestock wandered around resting farmlands, eating withering grass that grew everywhere on the ground.

gWhat a sightch
Taiki murmured under his breath. gYes, definitely,h Asen replied with a slightly bitter smile.
gTaifs people would be leading a totally different life if Taifs winter could be half as mild as this.h

Very true, Taiki thought. The kingdom didnft look affluent; Kyou () and Han () were much richer. Nevertheless, everyone in the city looked somehow very relaxed. Ren should still be in civil war not so long ago, but no tension could be sensed anywhere in the country. Tai was nothing like that. Even in cities like Kouki there were people who died from starvation. Some towns had their residents died because of depletion of resources. Other residents abandoned the towns, lined up and trudged their way across deep snow to nearby towns, knowing full well the dangers that lay ahead.

The harvest from the lands were basically enough for the people to live, and abundance was in the form of precious stones, gold or silver. Such abundance was scraped up completely by the previous emperor, and the people of Tai had long been tolerating their meager lives. Even now, after the new king was enthroned, there were not much improvements.

gIt would be great if God could make Tai warmer.h
Taiki said, and Sougen gave a smile.

gTentei (V, i.e. God) instead granted Tai a new emperor.h
Yes, Sougen trailed off his voice, and lowered his glance.
gA good emperor joins hands with the people and the country, and they overcome any ordeals together. There is no heavenly gift bigger than that, isn't there?h

gIs anything bothering you?h
No, Taiki only shook his head, unable to give a answer. Escaping the shocked gaze of Sougen, Taiki turned his glance to the boundless green, where people were working relaxingly with hoes and plows.


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