The Twelve Kingdoms
Sea of the Wind, Shore of the Maze
by Ono Fuyumi
translated by Cheng Jianrong and Mina
and then translated again by Retrooo
©ONO FUYUMI, KODANSHA LTD.
last modified, 10.18.2005
"After his majesty sits on the throne, you kowtow to him again. The entire process is just like this." The Spring Minister continuously reminded Taiki, who then nodded.
The coronation ceremony had finally arrived.
The stage was the main hall of the government, at the foot of Kouki Mountain in the capital city of Kouki.
In front of the main hall there was an expansive square, which was filled with people. The purpose of the coronation ceremony was to announce to the other kingdoms and to the people that a new ruler was ascending to the throne.
After the ceremony started, one could hear cheers coming from the outside. There was no one who wasn't joyous about the enthronement of a new ruler.
The day before, Taiki had left Hakkei Palace for the first time and gone down to the streets of Kouki. He encountered the attendants whom Gyousou had parted with at Mt. Hou, and who had returned by land route, and of course, he saw Keito, with whom he had traveled with. Other than that, he also met up with Risai, who had come to Kouki for a visit as an aide to the Shukou of Jou Province for the coronation ceremony, as well as Hien.
Risai and Gyousou also took a quick trip around Zui Province.
Taiki was astonished to discover that Kouki Mountain was even taller than he had imagined. He avoided the eyes and ears of the people to wander the streets and saw things as amazing as the waters of the gem springs. From start to finish, everything was completely new to Taiki, as he looked at everything wide-eyed.
"Did you sleep well last night?" asked Gyousou of Taiki, as Taiki's court ladies were helping him straighten out his clothes.
"Yes, because I was so tired, I fell asleep right when I hit the bed."
"I might have been sleeping too well. I've pretty much forgotten all those words of congratulations that I had memorized before..." Taiki said this very candidly, which made Gyousou laugh.
"In any case, I will be the only one who can hear you."
"Or perhaps even Lord Gyousou won't be able to hear me."
Taiki tilted his head to listen to the noise coming from outside. Gyousou did the same, and smiled as he did so.
"You have a point."
He didn't know why, but Taiki couldn't sit calmly in his seat. Thus, he was pacing endlessly in his antechamber, all the while reciting the words the Spring Minister had taught him. He suddenly heard someone calling him.
Taiki quickly turned his head. "En Taiho!"
The nearby court ladies rushed to bow to Enki. Enki gently waved his hand to stop them.
"I'm here to see my good neighbor."
Gyousou smiled wryly and responded, "Thank you for coming. I am sorry for the inconvenience."
"Yes, thank you, En Taiho. Where's King En?"
"At the banquet for honored guests. He's almost drunk... Are you nervous?"
"A little..." Taiki replied honestly.
Enki's face seemed to say, 'Oh, well!' as he smiled and said, "You really are timid! And you're so small, too."
Gyousou didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Kouri is still only ten years old."
Enki knitted his brow. "I was curious about this before. Your name is very interesting."
Taiki blushed a little. "Actually, my name is Kouri, without the grass radical."
"Oh, that's right! I heard that En Taiho was also born in Hourai. What was your name?"
"Rokuta. I don't have a surname, because my status was not high enough."
Taiki tilted his head. It seemed like it had been a long time since everyone had a surname. Could it be that the Kirin of En has lived a long while? "When were you born?"
Enki glanced at the ceiling. "500 years before you!"
In the capital, flags fluttered about. To the common people, who were already weary of the extravagance of the previous king, the simple coronation ceremony was even more favorable.
Beside the throne stood a child. His hair color was hard to come by, but because of where he was, it would not be wrong to assume that he was the kirin.
A wise elder explained that Taiki was a black kirin. Though he wasn't clear on what sort of special characteristics a black kirin possessed, he had heard that they were very rare creatures. The people of the square were all filled with pride.
From on top of the platform, Taiki looked down at the thunderous multitude. He was a little bit afraid, and yet there was no feeling of guilt as they gazed upon him, and this made him happy.
Under such great and eager anticipation, Gyousou stepped onto the platform. The square boiled over with cheering and applause.
Gyousou calmly sat upon the throne. Taiki walked towards him and kneeled down.
Without any difficulty, Taiki bowed his head, and pressed his forehead onto Gyousou's shoes. The thing he wasn't able to do with King En was now exceptionally easy. He didn't feel any sort of discomfort as he carried out his duty. His heart filled with joy.
The tightly packed crowd of people once more rose up in thunderous applause.
--Taiou sokui! King Tai has ascended to the throne!
In Taikyokukoku, the Far Kingdom of Tai, a new dynasty has begun!
In the spring of the twenty-second year of Wagen, the Saiho suffered Shitsudou and thereafter died. Within a month, the king passed away and was posthumously called Kyouou, the Extravagant King. The Taiou had reigned for one-hundred and twenty-four years, and was interred at Souryou upon Tappisan.
In the first month of the same year, the Ranka of Tai appeared on Houzan. Within a few days, a shoku struck Gozan. The Taika was separated from its branch and disappeared. A hundred shin and a thousand sen searched everywhere for it.
In the first month of the thirty-second year, the Kokki returned to Houzan. Yellow flags fluttered across the world. In the summer, Saku Gyousou entered Koukai by way of the Reikonmon, climbed Houzan, and accepted the oath of Taiki. He was entered into the Shinseki and was then called Taiou.
Gyousou, original surname Boku, given name Sou, was a man of Garyou. He achieved the rank of Kingun Shougun, and was stationed in Sakuken of Zuishu. He received the Will of the Heavens and ascended to the throne. The era of Koushi was proclaimed. The dynasty of the Sakuou began.
--Taishi Sakusho (The History of Tai, Book of Saku)
afterword to volume two
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