Yo! I’m actually writing this on Saturday down here in Latvia, because I’m trying out the scheduled publishing thing. As I said I’m going to London for a almost a week starting from the 22nd June and I won’t have any access to a PC, so if this works out I’m gonna put the next part on automatic upload before I leave, because hell knows leaving you on a long cliffhanger after this part would be cruel *wink, wink*
While he listened to Kouki ordering Eishun, Sekka was pierced by a freezing gaze to the point he could make even the smallest movement.
Tensei was chirping.
Mixed in the jaunty chirping there were sometimes the words Sekka and the maids had taught to him. Sekka smiled broadly at the lovable behavior of the little bird
When he inserted his finger in the gap in the birdcage, Tensei snuggled up to it. Though he was comforted by the softness and warmth, it was not so easy for his sunken heart to surface.
“Till this case is resolved, you are without exception not allowed to leave Seika palace.”
At the gazebo Kishoh had come running to, Sekka had been commanded by him to a house arrest. Even now outside of the living room door there were eunuchs ordered by Kishoh keeping watch. Their duty was not to escort Sekka, but to guard him.
Because lately aside from visiting Meiju palace where Eishoh lived he had restrained himself from strolling around, he did not feel much inconvenienced by not being able to leave the palace building. Nevertheless, the constantly observing figures of the eunuchs did not give him a pleasant feeling. “Isn’t this treating Sekka-sama as if he was a criminal?” Baigyoku had resentfully expressed.
After that incident Sekka had been escorted home by Eishun’s people and received medical treatment from the doctor. His neck was bandaged, but since it was quite a shallow wound it had already stopped bleeding. Probably it won’t leave a scar either.
He and Kishoh had not exchanged any words, he’d just been arbitrarily commanded to a house arrest by him. The reasons for that were Kouki and Eishun being there, as well as the still shaking figure of Sekka himself. But even so the only thing he knew was that the always calm, cool and collected man was burning in anger.
It would have been better to have at least offered one excuse at that time. But what would he have had to make excuses about?
It was true that it had been stupid of him to believe the words of the eunuch who was pretending to summon him in Kouki’s name. He was intrigued by the secret talks, but he also had expectations that Kouki would know something about Kishoh’s mother’s death.
“Unless you wish to be killed like our mother.”
At that time the facial expression of that man was hidden in the shadows of the candlelight and hard to understand, but he thought it showed signs of self-deprecation and regret. In that calm, ruthless, arrogant man who did not care about other people’s feelings.
Therefore he had been strangely bothered by it, but now he found the foolish him who tried to probe into Kishoh’s mother’s case detestable. Of course, he felt guilty about prying into the past without Kishoh’s permission. He should have stopped at the time he asked Eishun about it.
He wondered what Kishoh is planning to do with him. Was he treated to house arrest this time because he thought it was Sekka’s own fault? He could not imagine what Kishoh was going to do now.
He was successfully caught up in the eunuch’s evil designs. If the man was disgusted at his foolishness and he was expelled from the Inner Palace, wouldn’t it mean everything working out as desired?
In the worst case it was likely he would be granted death. But even in that case, his remains would probably not be exposed. Kishoh would only lose face, if it became public that the person he had conferred the Honorable Consort title to was not a princess but a prince and furthermore had an unusual body.
Not managing to compose himself, Sekka spent his time in his private room. Trying to console Sekka even a little bit, Shohen strummed a zither while Baigyoku danced in addition to that. Both the musical composition and the dance were things that had been handed down in Ka.
It reminded him of Shungetsu’s figure dancing to this piece being played by maids once before in Ka’s Royal Palace. At that time his mother too had for once been dancing merrily.
His chest tightened due to nostalgia. His mother and sister were no longer here. Although since then not even a year had passed, just about everything had changed.
Those days would already never return. Enduring the welling up of tears, Sekka clapped hands in time with the nostalgic composition and hummed.
Time passed crawling sluggishly and the day came to an end. There was no sort of verdict from Kishoh. He was anxious about how the investigation of Sai and the eunuchs was going on, but Sekka had no way of knowing.
Supper time had come, but the eunuchs on guard duty remained standing in the corners of the room. His even at the best of times lacking appetite became even worse.
As one would expect their vigilance did not follow into the bathroom and Sekka could take a rest when he entered the bath. Sekka had said it was no longer necessary, but Shohen and Baigyoku had admonished him to not take his injury lightly and exchanged the bandage on his neck for a new one.
Like always after partaking in some fruit tea he entered his bedroom. Obviously there were eunuchs standing in front of it. If he strained his ears, he could catch a hint of their presence.
Even though he had lain down on the bed, the events of the day came to his mind and he could not sleep. Although it had been his own blunder, wasn’t putting him on house arrest like a criminal very absurd behavior? During this late hour his anger surged.
The cause for all the various harassments was Kishoh’s actions that disregarded usual customs. If we assume that the matter with Sai came about because of a concubine’s directions, the trigger for that was probably Eishoh becoming his adopted child.
When he met that man, he was going to protest.
Nevertheless, even Sekka’s chance to meet him was dependent upon Kishoh. Even though he had been granted the highest tittle next to the empresses’ and he was praised as the most favored concubine within the Inner Palace, the fact that Kishoh held life-and-death power over him had not changed.
He completely realized the fact that he was in a harsh, unsure situation. It was like the time his country was overthrown. Just as he had turned around in his sleep for who knows which time, it suddenly became noisy outside of his door.
“You can’t do this.”
“The Honorable Consort has already gone to sleep.”
In response to Shohen and Baigyoku, Sekka could hear Eishun saying: “I’ve been ordered to urgently bring her.” Somehow or the other, it appeared this was a summoning from Kishoh.
“Excuse me, Honorable Consort.”
Shaking off the restraining maids, Eishun’s greeting came from the direction of the door. As expected he did not dare to enter the bedroom.
Sekka wanted to let him pass pretending to be asleep…, but he rose from the bed with a sigh. This was definitely Kishoh’s order. He understood it keenly from his experience up till now.
He called out to open the door. There he found a prostrating Eishun and both maids with expressions of anger and bafflement on their faces.
“His Majesty is calling you. We must immediately proceed to Shibi palace.”
“In that case, I need to dress…”
Like always he tried to gain time this way, but Eishun objected by shaking his head apologetically.
“Your current state is no problem. We must go in haste.”
Even if he made trouble, it would only put Eishun on the spot. Sekka put on the usual white veil while still reluctantly clad in his night clothes and rode in the prepared palanquin.
Was he being summoned to attend to Kishoh, or was the man going to demand an explanation from him about the matter with Sai and the other eunuchs?
By all rights, it was unlikely he was being summoned for attending to the man at this kind of hour. The attending partner of that day was decided beforehand and a notice was sent to the concubine’s place. Moreover even the time of the act was decided and told.
The emperor’s life was arranged strictly according to conventions and traditions. There was some truth in Kishoh complaining that the emperor’s life was an inconvenient one. However, here was Kishoh who was completely disregarding such common knowledge and historical customs.
Leaving his maids in the antechamber, he went towards Kishoh’s bedroom with heavy steps. No matter how many times he’s been called, his tension would rise and his heartbeat would become faster.
When Eishun closed the doors there remained only the two of them, Kishoh and Sekka, within the room.
The figure of Kishoh clad in official robes was facing the table and writing documents. He had probably noticed Sekka’s arrival, but he did not raise his head to give an indication of it. Sekka himself also remained standing near the door, not caring about meeting him halfway.
“What is it? Do you plan to stand there all night?”
Kishoh was the one who broke the strained silence. Using a sarcastic tone, he took a dig at Sekka standing stock still without greeting him.
Calling him so late at night, what the hell do you think of people! He did not wish to lose his cool and retort, so he contained his sarcastic response.
“I did not think I would be awakened from the first stages of sleep and called here. No doubt, you have something important you wish to talk about, right?”
It looked like Kishoh had finished writing his letter, and he put the brush down. Finally he raised his head and commanded him with his chin: “Come here.” He truly was a haughty man.
In the rising candlelight Kishoh’s face was expressionless. There was no anger peeking through like it did in the noon, but the severe atmosphere had not changed.
“The noon incident is being investigated. Currently the caught eunuchs are being thoroughly examined.”
Because Kishoh said as such, he was sure there was a strict examination occurring. And it probably used every possible mean that did not cause them death directly.
“We heard that they had called you using Kouki’s name.”
The sharpness increased in Kishoh’s slightly scrutinizing eyes. Sensing something turbulent in the man’s expression, Sekka involuntarily gulped.
“They lured me to the gazebo saying that His Lordship had something confidential he wished to speak to me about.”
It was thoughtless, but not something to be guilty about, so it was fine if he was brazen. Though it was true he did feel guilty about trying to probe into the truth about Kishoh’s mother’s death.
“Did you not think it was an invitation for a lover’s tryst?”
Kishoh snorted, his tone of voice oozed irritation and reproach aimed towards Sekka.
As Kishoh said something he could not even comprehend, Sekka’s eyes opened wide in blank amazement. He could not believe it, but it seemed Kishoh was suspicious of him and Kouki having a relationship.
A gorgeous appearance and witty conversation coupled with a sociable personality made Kouki’s popularity high among the ladies. He also had no wife, so Sekka had heard he had earned a reputation as a philanderer. But there was no reason to think that a person like Kouki would take notice of one such as Sekka.
As for Sekka whether it was Kouki or whoever, he had no plans to keep up intimate relations with anybody. If only because the fact he was not a woman would be discovered if he slept with someone.
Even now Sekka was still ashamed of his abnormal body and shunned it. Even though it could not be helped that Kishoh knew of it, he wanted to avoid anybody else learning of his secret.
“Are you speaking seriously?”
Responding in an extremely flabbergasted tone, Sekka turned a surly gaze towards Kishoh.
“The High Steward is not that sort of person. You should know it very well.”
“You seem to have a very high opinion of Kouki.”
Reflected in the candlelight, Kishoh’s pair of eyes shined dangerously. Just with that, it created the illusion that the temperature around him had dropped.
It seemed he had provoked the Emperor’s displeasure. “Damn it,” he thought, he felt as if he’d become frozen and could not move.
“This is a good opportunity. We will at least teach you to whom you belong.”
Sekka watched with bated breath as Kishoh rose from the chair with a dreadful smile on his face.
So…I’m pretty sure everybody is aware of what we’re in for next time~ hehe
On a side note, observant people probably have noticed I’ve been putting up the summaries for my other novels slowly, there are about 3 more left. After that I’ll figure out a way to make a poll so that you guys can vote for which book you want me to translate next. I have not read through any of the books, but I’ve skimmed parts of them and I’ve scanned the artwork for all of them, so they all are ready to be translated.
That aside, till next week~