Hyōhaku #5

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

chapter1 chapter2 chapter3 chapter4 chapter5 chapter6 chapter7 chapter8


   The plain below is a dazzling golden color.
   On the 5th day since they had had the talk, Rokuta got shrewdly away from Mt. Kankyū after doing a magnificent day-long game of tag using Gen’ei-kyū as a background.
   It is only revenge that the day was one of Tenkan-fu’s conference days. As he left Tora’s reins to his Shirei and ran all night, Gen’ei-kyū is the other side of the world, though Itan might be surely angry. He thinks such a thing is a trivial matter when seeing this spectacle in his presence, though he might have difficulties if returning.
   When he gets over the mountainous district covered with heavy green, he reaches vast plains. Tora flies at high speed in the air, so Rokuta can see an expanse of farmland from Tora’s back. It is just before the harvest, as the rainy season will be soon, the farmland looks a very shiny golden color. The wind makes ripples of the golden sea’s surface. You can see the blue ocean beyond lapping waves. On the borderline between the sea and the sky, it is a ridge-line of the Kongō Mountains which rises like very thin purple-blue illusion around the Yellow Sea.
   Areas along the inland sea of En project like dividing into parts the Black Sea and the Blue Sea. The division of the Black Sea and the Blue Sea is the Northeast Seagate, and this side is the State Tei, the opposite bank is called the county Gon that is a detached territory of the State Sei where the capital exists.
   “I like this sea better.”
   Rokuta says to himself. He is alone in the air as far as he can see and resembles to Gen’ei-kyū that is left behind in the sea. Rokuta glances up. The clear blue sky’s looking high and the water of the Sea of Clouds there can’t be seen. If you rise up to the higher sky, you occasionally see the bottom of the Sea of Clouds like a board of crystal if looked at from different angles, but usually you cannot recognize the sea there. However, even if not seen by any eyes, the sea is there and separates the clouds from the lower world. ―They are clearly separated.
   “…Was Shōryū able to get out?”
   With a laugh he recalls the commotion in Gen’ei-kyū and thinks Shōryū must have made it up because he knows Shōryū. Well, he doesn’t care about it. Because he is in the air of the lower world.
   Tora goes over fields and mountains which are colored richly, and reaches the sea. The mountains ahead, is the Kongō Mountains. Going across the sea, there is a land like a sandbar that projects to the foot of the Kongō Mountains, Gon. One of the Four Gates to enter the Yellow Sea is there, the Great Gate of Northeast.
   Passing through fields and mountains which cover a small extent of Gon, Rokuta goes in deeply and lands on a town at Gon when the sun is going down. Though the county Gon is a detached territory of the State Sei that is Rokuta’s domain, nobody here might recognize his face. He goes to Jinmon on the southwest of the town, dismounting from Tora and pulling its reins calmly.
   Beyond the building next to Jinmon, you can see the surface of the Kongō Mountains as if it towers precipitously. Although it is not the closing time, Jinmon is already shut. Outside of Jinmon, there is only the Great Gate of Northeast. Jinmon opens only on the day of winter solstices because the Great Gate of Northeast opens only on that day. This winter solstice is still far away. So, Gon’s town in front of the gate is very quiet.
   “You were born on the other side of the gate… Do you remember?”
   They pause in the square in front of the gate and when he talks drawing Tora’s neck to his face, his sūgu barks as if saying yes.
   “Do you want to return?”
   Against Rokuta’s question, Tora only purrs as if wanting to say ‘I don’t know.’
   Rokuta himself wants to go to the other side. Four years passed from changing the name of the era, and the 5th year will begin soon. ―Yes, he really understands the meaning of jeopardizing his own life. He wants to go, but cannot. It’s even more difficult since he saw the burnt ground had been covered with the splendid golden sea.
   He breathes deeply, pulling Tora’s reins he approaches to the building nearby the gate, and there stands a high bulletin board aside. This is the other side of En as a contact point between the Yellow Sea and En. The board is exactly the same as it was when it was put up four years ago. It is enclosed by the wall and the roof like a long and slender hut and defended from wind and rain. A keeper stands idly next to the board.
   Rokuta looks up the board. It is called ‘the edict of conveyance animals and poultry’ or ‘the edict of four rides and seven animals’. ―It reads ‘add Yōma to conveyance animals and poultry’. When Shōryū put out this edict, Itan, Shukō, and Seishō were amazed. Only Rokuta knows the meaning.
   The young keeper looks into Rokuta’s face because he looks hard at it.
   “What’s your name?”
   Rokuta looks up the keeper’s face.
   “My name? Why?”
   “Ah ―Well, O.K. You don’t even look 15.”
   Rokuta nods. ―Rokuta knows why he is asked his name. Because Rokuta himself has the power of a state marquis of the State Sei and ordered it.
   “Are you looking for someone? A wanted person?”
   The keeper waves to him as if saying no and Rokuta is slightly relieved. It is the same old story that a ‘Missing person’ becomes a ‘Wanted person’ before one is aware.
   “There are great people looking for a person named Kōya, around 15.”
   The promise was accomplished. However, he is out of contact until now. They can know Kōya is still alive because his name doesn’t disappear from Senseki.
   The keeper laughs.
   “Do they owe thanks to him? ―They told us to take him to the county castle respectfully when the person named Kōya shows up. If he refuses,”
   Rokuta opens his eyes wide and sees the keeper’s face. Rokuta doesn’t order ‘if’, though he gave instructions to guide Kōya to the county castle and to report.
   “they also ordered me to tell him there’s a grave in Mt.Shō.”
   “Mt.Shō? ―A grave? Whose?”
   The keeper looks doubtful.
   “I was not given the details. ―There is an imperial demesne named Hekishō close to the border with the State Gen. Ryōunzan existing in Hekishō is an imperial park, and its name is Mt.Shō.”
   “An imperial park…”
   “In Mt.Shō, might they have a connection with the Ruler ―both the person in the grave and Kōya.”

chapter1 chapter2 chapter3 chapter4 chapter5 chapter6 chapter7 chapter8