Hyōhaku #2

Juuni Kokuki’s side story — 十二国記外伝
(The Twelve Kingdoms)

(Drifting Ship)

By Ono Fuyumi — 小野不由美

Translated by o6asan
  First edition released on 2010.Jan.23
  Second edition released on 2013.May.29
  Third edition released on 2014.Feb.2 : Current

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   A cool morning sun shines into the wide courtyard of the inner palace. The sky above is clear blue, the sound of the waves of the Sea of Clouds, and the wind that slightly contains a fresh saltiness blows.
   Rokuta goes over to the outer palace while reproachfully seeing the scenery that becomes really autumn-like. Entering the outer palace he is already very tired in spite of only being early morning, and he meets his master who looks as tired as him. That is the Ruler of En, Ruler En, Shōryū.
   “We run into each other again this morning.”
   Shōryū who is bored to death replies, he is dignified only in appearance, but there is not any of the dignity of the Ruler even on his voice or his face.
   “Today for sure I keenly considered not meeting you.”
   Rokuta says and distances himself from his attendants casually. He lowers his voice standing next to Shōryū.
   “…Hey, can’t you do something about this fuss?”
   “Don’t look at me.”
   The Ruler’s voice is low and deeply-troubled.
   “You are the greatest man in this country, aren’t you? Do something by Imperial order.”
   “Don’t you know who the greatest in this country is?”
   Rokuta mutters, and the master and his man sigh all together.
   “It is because you did unnecessary things.”
   The Ruler En, Shōryū, ascended the throne and more than 100 years passed. The domestic affairs got on the right track, the name of the era was changed at the Taigen and 4 years passed, and Shōryū suggested the senior official’s reshuffle.
   “You did agree, too.”
   For years, if the same official seizes the same duty, politics will be biased by all means. Even if a person in question isn’t planning to do, politics itself tends to have a habit which is accumulated for a long time, it cannot be avoided. The bias must be suppressed and the rigidity must be excluded, at the same time official’s view must be expanded, for this, Shōryū asserted they needed official’s reshuffle regularly with or without them deserving it. And then he had a point there certainly.
   “…Yeah, you’re right. But, why is Itan of all others Taisai?”
   “We had no other choice. He himself said he wanted it by all means.”
   Shōryū recommended Itan for Chōsai, the head of Rikukan. However, Itan himself insisted to be appointed Taisai and not wanting any other posts. Saying it was a threat rather than a wish might be more accurate to the fact, because if not he said he would return Senseki and retire.
   “You also said to let him have his own way.”
   “I never thought he had such big plans…”
   Taisai, the head of Tenkan, rules everything regarding the court. The domestic affairs were given priority anyway, so they had no time to care about things inside the palace. As both humans and buildings in the court remained being ruined because of the longtime abandonment, it seemed that to improve the moral fiber of the court was also necessary. ―And at first Itan decided to devote himself to make the Ruler and the Saiho have better attitudes.
   “Why am I woken up at the crack of dawn? Why should I copy The Classic of History from early morning and look over the drafts and the reports to the Ruler?”
   “Don’t ask me.”
   “Recently, I wake up before dawn. To wait timidly for the bell ring already or about to ring are too terrible for my heart.”
   “Definitely. Besides, if I get up before the time, I am pushed back to the bed by the attendant running up.”
   “Absolutely not. I, seem to become Shitsudō…”
   When Rokuta sighs, they arrive at the entrance of the conference room.
   “I hear an unlucky talk from early morning.”
   Three men wait in front of the great door. The person who says happily at the center of them is Itan, the head of Tenkan, who is much talked about.
   “I would have to take issue with Shitsudō.”
   “This is major if it is true, we must request Shujō reforms his conduct.”
   Having said from right and left of Itan are Seishō who is the head of Kakan Daishiba, and Shukō who is the head of Shunkan Daisōhaku. Tenkan rules everything of the court, Kakan takes charge of their personal protection, and Shunkan rules ceremonials and etiquette. When these three sections cooperate, Rokuta and Shōryū never can deal with them. Because it is impossible not to have people of these three sections around them at any time.
   Shōryū murmurs.
   “I think they were conspiring.”
   Rokuta nods sickly.
   “I thought it was strange that Seishō wanted to be Shiba……”
   To begin with Seishō was a general who kept Left Division of Ruler’s Army. Seishō is not a civil servant but originally a military officer even though he belongs to Kakan similarly. Itan previously managed the land, the people, and the treasury as the head of Chikan Daishito. As he likes to command the site and to be ardent to yield practical benefit, Tenkan that has no practical gain unfits his personality at all.
   “We relaxed our guard because Shukō’s desiring to be Shunkan was so suitable.”
   “I agree. ―We, might actually…”
   When Rokuta sighs, Shōryū nods looking reproachful.
   “…We were trapped by these guys.”

chapter1 chapter2 chapter3 chapter4 chapter5 chapter6 chapter7 chapter8