Returning to the inn, they met Seirai. Even after retiring to his room to prepare for the next day, that was all Taiki could think about.
If Tai was warm like Kyou or Han. Or blessed with the warm climate of Ren.
Since Gyousou had taken him beyond the Forbidden Gate, a small lump of ice had remained behind in his chest. The people of Tai lived within that cold. From what he heard from the ministers, the lot of the average person's life was not a good one. Word of people freezing to death or starving to death was a good as a thermometer.
So many people in such desperate circumstances. Amidst the pure white landscapes.
And yet he could do nothing.
Taiki was a kirin. Something made by Heaven to serve the people. Follow the Divine Will and listen to Divine Mandate. It was said he was a child of Tentei and Heaven's ambassador. But he had not been furnished with the power to save anybody, let alone change the weather.
The kirin chose the king. That was all. Taiki had chosen Gyousou and made him king. Taiki had a feeling that he had thus used up the last of his miracles.
I really am powerless.
Even what he ought to do he couldn't do. He had his duties as Saiho, as Province Lord, but not way to accomplish them until he grew older. In fact, Seirai and Gyousou did his job for him. He just did as he was told. It was up to Seirai and the others to explain why.
Having chosen the king, what did a kirin exist for?
He knew people had high expectations for him. He understood from observing Seirai and Asen and Sougen. They treated him deferentially, but as a child. As Seirai explained, nothing other than the respect owned such an irreplaceable object.
But what exactly was the nature of this irreplaceability? He perhaps had possessed it once. And in the future, Gyousou might stray from the Way and the time for a new king would come, and there it would be again. But Taiki now was nothing but a mere child of eleven. He could do nothing. He understood nothing. He was simply baggage.
Therein lay the source of his anxiety.
He knew what was expected of him. But had no idea how to fulfill those expectations. All he could do was stand and watch. He couldn't shake the feeling that his was a useless existence and otherwise in the way. Didn't everybody think that? Wasn't it an entirely obvious conclusion? Even Seirai? Even Gyousou?