As the Great Forest of Gagal Kasakan goes up in flames, from each side the “lazy” and “unsleeping” generals are wondering about their respective foe. Both recognize that they have an enemy who is a skilled tactician and strategist, they just know nothing about the other.
As the fires start to burn down, Ikta decides that their platoons should take this chance to attack the La Saia Alderamin troops. He mentions that there is a small route the enemy could take which would lead them around to the back of the Empire’s army, and so Ikta wants to attack them so that their enemy’s attention will be on them and not on backdooring their troops.
The enemy decides to take the back route anyways once the fires are just about out, but Jean Alkiniks decides that their forces should wait a little before attacking. This delay allows Ikta’s troops enough time to build a wall blocking access to the back route. Their troops will wait in hiding until the Alderan army is close enough, and then Ikta and the others will attack.
As night falls and everyone waits for the Alderan army, Ikta fights with his self-doubts. He worries that their small platoons, which are already vastly outnumbered by the Alderan army, will be crushed.
Finally the Alderan army arrives and the battle begins between Ikta’s forces and the first Alderan platoon. The remaining Alderan forces, including Jean, wait a little further back for a signal from the first battalion.
As the first wave of Alderan troops prepare for the second wave behind them, Nanaku and Yatori head out onto the battlefield with some other troops to fight the Alderan soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. The enemy withdraws, only to fire air rifles at Yatori and the others.
As Suya, Ikta and the others watch, more Alderan troops arrive with escalades. Ikta weighs what to do next – he can withdraw and abandon the soldiers on the field to die, or he can rush the battlefield to help defend them. Memories flash before Ikta’s eyes, and he berates himself for having to even weigh the decision. Ikta immediately rushes the battlefield and he and Yatori command their troops to defend their injured Sinack allies. Together everyone is able to retreat behind their wooden wall, and Captain Sazaluf gives the order for the barrier to be burned, preventing the La Saia Alderamin army from following too closely behind them.
In the aftermath of the battle, while Ikta’s platoon managed to kill many Alderan soldiers, they also lost 11 of their own troops. Two of the dead were important people to Suya, and she struggles to cope with the reality of their deaths. She and Haroma find Ikta on the edge of the camp with Nanaku Daru, where Suya unloads her pain, anger and grief on Ikta. Suya blames Ikta for their deaths, saying that the loss was not worth the value of the lives of the Sinack whom they saved.
Then Yatori shows up and gently puts Suya in her place. Her actions are what triggered Ikta’s decision to save the Sinack, so Yatori takes full responsibility for that decision. She also points out that the Sinack are officially their allies now, and when Suya protests that it’s too sudden a switch for their troops to go from thinking of the Sinack as enemies to allies in the span of a day, Yatori tells her that soldiers are aware that they must obey orders even if they conflict with their own personal opinions or values. Suya is unable to handle this realization and she runs off crying.
Elsewhere in the camp, Matthew, Torway and Captain Sazaluf are discussing the battle and the men troops who died. Matthew sustained an injury to his shoulder but it was close to being a fatal wound, and this close call has really prompted Matthew to examine his own mortality. Up until this point he’s been wanting to get as much recognition for his skills as Ikta does for him, but now that he’s been in a battle where his side was not the clear winner, Matthew is realizing that war isn’t about glory or recognition: it’s about killing and dying. That’s it. There’s nothing glamorous about death.
The next day, the Kala Karm get word that their allies (the La Saia Alderamin army) are delayed at the base of the mountain, so they move out so as to provide support. Oh boy.
My thoughts: What’s really interesting about the confrontation between Ikta, Suya and Yatori is that we finally get some hints about what binds Ikta and Yatori together so closely. We know that Ikta has a medal and that this ties him to Yatori somehow, and now in this episode we get a reference to Yatori theoretically being given an order to kill Ikta. It sounds like their families have been bound together by some kind of duty for several hundred years…?
We can tell that if she’s ever given such an order, it will literally mentally and psychologically destroy Yatori to have to kill Ikta. They care a great deal for each other, maybe even love each other, and so for Yatori to kill Ikta she says she will have to destroy her being and erase her soul until only the uncaring “Igsem” part of her is left. It is that part of her nature, the part programmed to follow her familial duties, which would kill Ikta. Ikta then replies that until the day when Yatori arrives to kill him, he will think of how he “lost her.”
Is he referring to their friendship when they were younger? Did something happen as they grew up that erected some kind of invisible barrier between them, something that they cannot cross no matter how much they care about each other?
Now there are two episodes left, and I can’t imagine what will happen next. Will both Yatori and Ikta make it out in one piece? Will Suya?