Juuni Kokuki — 十二国記
(The Twelve Kingdoms)
Rakushō no Goku — 落照の獄
(A jail of the declining Light)
Translated by o6asan
Two days later, Eiko(瑛庚) and the two went down from the palace, headed for the military camp in the west Shiso(芝草).
Usually, when they interrogate a prisoner, they summon him/her to Shiho-fu(司法府) — the department court pertains to the palace. By some rare accident, if Shudatsu(狩獺) can flee, it is a serious matter, and if the people get this information, they might attack him on his way. So, Eiko(瑛庚) and the two decided to head for the prison after consultation with the officials in charge.
The criminal who is punished by imprisonment with work is sent to a jail, but the place of the jail is not fixed because imprisonment with work makes a convict work for public works construction and so. Therefore, they are moved as required. On the other hand, prisoners awaiting trial and imprisonment are locked up together in a prison of the military camp.
Eiko(瑛庚) and the two went through the military camp to the inner area and got past the prison which was severely watched by soldiers and arrived at the interrogation room. The building was not so large, had very few opening sections and small standee windows. The room was so dim inevitably and separated to two parts by thick iron bars. Eiko(瑛庚) and the two sat on the bench upon a dais in one of two parts. After a while, a prison officer(掌囚) and soldiers brought a man to the other side of the iron bars.
— This is Shudatsu(狩獺).
Eiko(瑛庚) had strange feelings. Shudatsu(狩獺) was a man who had no outstanding characteristic. Before this interrogation, he knew Shudatsu(狩獺) was a thin and medium height man, but, this is more than he could have thought of. He didn’t look like a danger man. His eyes had no strength. Eiko(瑛庚) did not feel his power, and saw a look of depressed, tired and sickness cross his face. But he did not look like pathological figure. He did not look like a monster at least. He looked a very ordinary man.
“This is Kashu(何趣), sir.”
The prison officer(掌囚) said, and let Shudatsu(狩獺) sit on a chair which was locked on the floor, and joined handcuffs’ chain to the iron ring attached the floor. The prison officer(掌囚) bowed himself out of the room. The soldiers stayed for the guard, they stood silent at the Shudatsu(狩獺)’s side of the two parts, and they said nothing and did not changed their facial expression since then. Even if they heard the interrogation details, they must not listen to them. Not to hear them is their duty.
Shudatsu(狩獺) lowered his eyes and was put in chain quietly. His sitting figure looked very wearily, but he didn’t show to pretend to be too strong and had no rebellious mood.
After looking at him for a while, Eiko(瑛庚) opened the bill of complaint.
“You are charged in 16 cases. Do you have something to file against them?”
Eiko(瑛庚) asking, but Shudatsu(狩獺) answered nothing. He was looking at a complete different direction in silence.
“Looking at your own situation, whatever kinds, don’t you have something to say?”
Eiko(瑛庚) asking again, and Shudatsu(狩獺) answered nothing again. Eiko(瑛庚) was confused by his attitude, for the time being, questioned his each motive about 16 cases, and asked the background of the crimes once again. But Shudatsu(狩獺) was almost in silence, just nodded if necessary, raised the voice such as ‘Yes’ or ‘Oh’ in his mouth, he seemed not to make any explanation in details.
At last, Eiko(瑛庚) gave up the interrogation, and Sotsuyu(率由) took his place. Beforehand, Sotsuyu(率由) said he want to know Shudatsu(狩獺)’s inner feelings. Sotsuyu(率由) questioned Shudatsu(狩獺) about his parents, his hometown, his growing up, and what he was thinking or having thought, but Shudatsu(狩獺) seemed to have no mind to answer. He looked away and almost answered nothing.
Shudatsu(狩獺) refused Eiko(瑛庚) and the two completely. Though he sat there reluctantly because he was summoned, he did not want to talk and had no mind to beg his own life nor anything. He averted his eyes from them and had the nerve to keep silence.
Not being able to put up with his attitude, Jokyu(如翕) put a word in them after a while.
“You don’t change your attitude?”
Jokyu(如翕) saying impatiently, his attitude was probably the same when their earlier meeting. Shudatsu(狩獺) glanced Jokyu(如翕). He curled his lip and derided slightly — as if despising.
“You don’t look you repent the crimes you committed.”
Sotsuyu(率由) said so eventually.
“Even children and baby are included in the victims you murdered selfishly. You do not repent about it, either?”
Shudatsu(狩獺) did not even look at Sotsuyu(率由), muttering “don’t care” between his teeth.
“You do not repent for have done cruel things?”
“You do not seem to write only a letter of apology for the bereaved, which is not going to pay for your crimes?”
For Sotsuyu(率由)’s sever question, Shudatsu(狩獺) finally gazed back at Sotsuyu(率由) by cold eyes.
“Pay for? How?”
“If I apologize for them, the victims cannot rise from the dead. The families can forgive me only by the victims rising from the dead. Therefore, the thinking to pay for is nothing.”
Eiko(瑛庚) stopped Sotsuyu(率由) who was going to say something further.
“– You understand you did the irrevocable things, do you? You understand the victims’ family sufferring by them.”
“When did you be aware of it? Did you know about it before committing the first crime or first realize it after being arrested?”
“That’s before, maybe.”
“Why did it if you had understood?”
Shudatsu(狩獺) laughed with the wry cheek.
“A scum, like me, still carries on living. I have a tattoo on my face and I have no job and no house. I have no choice for eating and sleeping.”
“…… Do you think yourself a scum?”
For Eiko(瑛庚)’s asking, Shudatsu(狩獺) ridiculed him.
“Not me, but you think so? This, means like me, is a scum and a monster has no mercy.”
He said so derisively.
“I am an eyesore to you. Your beautiful world doesn’t need me. I am a piece of glue for you. I am worthless for you, so you want me dead quickly?”
After that, Shudatsu(狩獺) looked forlornly towards light to come in through a standee window.
“– I hope you kill me if you want it. I don’t want to imprisonment or something. I want to be killed at once and I’ll feel relieved.”
At the moment, Eiko(瑛庚) had a hatred for him. This man is so cunning. He knew his own crimes very well, in spite of that, he made Eiko(瑛庚) and others assailants and himself become one of victims.
“……You remembered Shunryo(駿良)? The boy you murdered in Shiso(芝草) last Summer. You strangled him and took 12 sen(銭).”
Shudatsu(狩獺) nodded in silence.
“……Why did you kill him?”
“No special reason.”
“There must be something. Why did you need to murder the child?”
When he asked strongly, Shudatsu(狩獺) finally released his breath and said.
“I thought it’s troublesome when he made noise.”
“It was a eight-year-old boy. It’s enough just to threaten him? Or to obtain money by force?”
“If the kid cried by threatened, his neighbors would have come to help him. If I took his money by force and he ran away, all hell would have broken loose.”
“So you killed and took? Only 12 sen(銭)?”
“Why? You had enough money at that moment. Why did you need the Shunryo(駿良)’s money, 12 sen(銭)?”
“I did not particularly want it.”
“Just a feeling.”
“Just only that? I cannot believe what you say. Do you have something to say why you robbed and murdered the boy?”
Shudatsu(狩獺) saw Eiko(瑛庚) in disgust.
“What are you doing after listening to me? All of you don’t think I get converted. There is something useful? You ask such a thing for a man killed quickly?”
“I need to know.”
Enga(淵雅) said that there should be any reason for Shudatsu(狩獺) to murder the boy. He said if they knew the reason they could help people like Shudatsu(狩獺). And the father of Shunryo(駿良) cried out, “Why should my son been killed?”. Eiko(瑛庚) had the responsibility to get at least either of these two answers.
Shudatsu(狩獺) muttered listlessly.
“…… But to mention one, I think I wanted to drink.”
“If so, you should’ve bought it by your money.”
“I didn’t want to drink that far.”
Eiko(瑛庚) got lost for words because he could not understand Shudatsu(狩獺), and Shudatsu(狩獺) said.
“So, I heard the kid have 12 sen(銭) when happening to pass. He talked to his mother. Before that, I walked along the small liquor shop, and saw a glass 12 sen(銭). For a moment I wanted to drink a little, but I thought it was not worth paying 12 sen(銭). And passing their side, I knew the kid had just 12 sen(銭).”
“I guessed ‘just’. Just 12 sen(銭).”
Eiko(瑛庚) was shocked, and both Jokyu(如翕) and Sotsuyu(率由) opened their eyes wide in amazement.
“…… That’s all? I do not think so.”
Sotsuyu(率由) just panicked and said, but Shudatsu(狩獺) answered unenthusiastically.
“That’s all. …… Well, the kid was in wrong place, wrong time.”
He said with nonchalance as if he had nothing to do with it.
Eiko(瑛庚) had a deep feeling of resignation that this man never regretted what he had done. Shudatsu(狩獺) never had a conscious sense of guilt, for which he never reflected on himself. He viewed himself to be ‘a scum’ and stayed with his own view forever. Not only no words can persuade the man, but also nothing can injure him.
Eiko(瑛庚) was profoundly depressed. The reason why Eiko(瑛庚) and the three hesitated very much is they have the biological reflex rebelling against murder. — But, this man does not have such feelings.
Eiko(瑛庚) and the three became separated from Shudatsu(狩獺) by a strong bulkhead like the iron bars in front of them. They were difficult to overcome it and Shudatsu(狩獺) wasn’t simply going to do so. Eiko(瑛庚) and the three hated Shudatsu(狩獺) who was in the other side of the iron bars, and Shudatsu(狩獺), also, looked down upon and hated them in the other side of the iron bars, too.
— Some people who never repent.
Eiko(瑛庚) felt shame and confirmed his thought once again. At the same time, he thought what he would expect the man. His crimes and his past acts, which showed Shudatsu(狩獺) did not intend to be indoctrinated. Shudatsu(狩獺) had a rage and a hatred. The same as Keishi(恵施), to revolt the indoctrination is probably Shudatsu(狩獺)’s revenge for something.
By a huge amount of interrogation records, it was clear. Why did Eiko(瑛庚) and the three want to see Shudatsu(狩獺) and why did they try to confirm whether Shudatsu(狩獺) can be indoctrinated or not? As if their last hope.
When Eiko(瑛庚) thought about it, Sotsuyu(率由) said in a low voice.
“…… So, the cases are not Sanshi(三刺). Neither San’yu(三宥) nor Sansha(三赦).”
Normally, the judiciary never said their decision in front of the person in question. — But.
“I, Shishi(司刺), cannot find the reason by which I should forgive this man.”
His tone as if he spit out a bitter thing. Sotsuyu(率由) might have wanted to injure Shudatsu(狩獺) by telling this to him in the front.
Jokyu(如翕) nodded. His face showed the same pain as Sotsuyu(率由)’s.
“I, Tenkei(典刑), judge this man deserves Shushi(殊死), sir.”
“I uphold his decision, sir.”
Tenkei(典刑) and Shishi(司刺) had a consensus of opinion. — Eiko(瑛庚) must decide.
Shudatsu(狩獺) glared at them with his insulting eyes. He showed no signs of being daunted for his own fate now decided. His ridiculing smile said, “You guys will kill me, anyway.” After all, you say you will never forgive me. The monster you cannot understand and cannot empathize with is just an eyesore, so you hope I will die. — Is that your honest feeling?
Eiko(瑛庚) gave a deep sigh.
“Shudatsu(狩獺)’s guilt is clear and other people will have difficulty understanding his acts. But, unacceptable his acts, and kill him. — It is not good that the death penalty is used such too aggressive way. I know your uneasy feelings that are against the bereaved’s feelings for the revenge, the people’s indignation and an existence of the criminal beyond understanding, though, we should never apply criminal punishment in such lower level thoughts……”
Sotsuyu(率由) shrunk slightly and lowered his eyes.
“Shujō(主上) decided to avoid Taiheki(大辟), because the country’s ideals are Keiso(刑措). If we are swayed by our personal feelings and use the death penalty lightly, it serves as a precedent. It means a virtual capital punishment revival, which might lead to the capital punishment overuse in view of the situation in our country. I know to stop it is also our responsibility, but I have no confidence about stopping it because to make the precedent by our personal feelings and to precipitate an overuse by the country situation.”
However, Eiko(瑛庚) lowered his voice.
“The reason we fear the death penalty in that way is from cowardice to hate murder. The death penalty for a murder — this is neither taught nor learnt but reflex, and it is also reflex that people hate a murder.”
Therefore, Eiko(瑛庚) and the three had wanted to see Shudatsu(狩獺). If they can find the possibility of his regeneration, they need not execute him.
“Both of them are more instinct than reason. Personal feelings are nothing more than personal feelings. But these basic reflections are two sides of the same coin, which exist in the basis of the law. In Laws of God(天綱) ‘You shall not murder.’ and ‘You shall not oppress your people.’ and in the penal code the death penalty exists. That can maybe explain this.”
Jokyu(如翕) nodded with a puzzled look.
“The penal code itself contradicts. One says not to kill and the other says to kill. Tenkei(典刑) counts the number of crimes and Shishi(司刺) exempts it. Normally, the penal code is fluid. The providence itself that the gods established is contradictory. We have no choice that we seek the proper place in each case while shaking among both.”
“…… The providence.”
Sotsuyu(率由) murmured. Eiko(瑛庚) nodded.
“To revive the death penalty or to continue avoiding, both have a point, so we concluded not to be able to decide. And we considered the reflex as executing and the reflex as fear have the same weight. The only thing that remains the possibility of Shudatsu(狩獺)’s reform–”
When Eiko(瑛庚) hesitated to say, Shudatsu(狩獺) suddenly broke into him.
“I never reform myself.”
Eiko(瑛庚) perked up and saw Shudatsu(狩獺)’s face contorted. The prisoner had a dark smile which made fun of them.
……I see. Eiko(瑛庚) nodded.
“It is really regrettable……”
Eiko(瑛庚) said and looked at Tenkei(典刑) and Shikei(司刺).
“–I judge we can’t be helped to avoid the death penalty.”
As soon as he said, Shudatsu(狩獺) doubled up with laughter. He laughed as if a winner. At the same time, Eiko(瑛庚) was overwhelmed by a strong sense of defeat. This was totally alien to them. If they denied all of this existence and eliminated it from the world, they can reject unpalatable realness. They tried to amend their world by discarding Shudatsu(狩獺).
Eiko(瑛庚) and the two dropped their head as if they were losers. All of them, losers and winner, covered with red like blood. Before they were aware, they got the blinding afternoon sun in the room. The sun slanted through the standee window made the black shadow of the thick iron bars which cut all of the room into little pieces.
–As a sign of something.
Eiko(瑛庚) and the two denied the existence of Shudatsu(狩獺). Shudatsu(狩獺) would be eliminated, once the world would be amended as if it has no alien. –But, this is just beginning. The country is going to declining. Like Yoma(妖魔) appearing in the declining country, a lot of world cracks appearing here and there. To paper over the fact that the cracks exist, people will cut themselves from valuable things.
All will collapse……the country and the people.
Eiko(瑛庚) rose from his seat with dropping his head. So did Jokyu(如翕) and Sotsuyu(率由).
They left the seat while dragging heavy feet and lowered their eyes as if they turned their eyes away, and the prisoner, roared with laughter, stayed at the other side of the iron bars.
chapter1 chapter2 chapter3 chapter4 chapter5 chapter6 chapter7 chapter8
amputation of one or both feet 刖
cutting off of the nose 劓
District Court 郡司法
five punishments 五刑
High Court 州司法
Ho(芳国) or (芳)
judicial officer 士師
Laws of God 天綱
prison officer 掌囚
Ryu(柳国) or (柳)
Slow slicing 凌遅
Supreme court 国司法
tattooing the face or forehead 黥
Tenkei of State(州典刑)
the county 県
the king of gods 天帝
the prefecture 郡
The Ruler of Ryu(劉王)