With Shirayuki and Kazuki safe, their entourage heads back to the Lions of the Mountains’ village. Shirayuki notices that something is a little off with Obi, but is not sure what to say to him. When their group arrives safe at the village they are given a warm welcome. A feast is being prepared, and everyone is excited to celebrate the safe return of their chief.
While the festivities get started, Zen, Shirayuki, Kazuki and Shirayuki’s father Mukaze sit down in a quiet spot for a little chit chat. Mukaze explains who he is, and recalls a little about their family from when Shirayuki was little. As his story goes, Shirayuki’s mom was originally supposed to be married to Mukaze’s uncle, but Mukaze stole her away and married her instead. Shirayuki was born in the Lions of the Mountains’ village, the same one they’re all sitting in right then, and she was initially raised there. After his wife died however, Mukaze says he didn’t want Shirayuki to be brought up around outcasts, and so he left Shirayuki with her grandparents in Tanbarun so they could raise her in safety. Kazuki jumps in with the rest of the story – after Shirayuki left Tanbarun, word got back to her father and Kazuki, who’d been newly rescued by Mukaze at that point, wanted to do something to show his gratitude. So he took off to find Shirayuki, intending to bring her back to the Lions’ village in the mountains so they could keep her safe. As we know though, events unfolded differently.
The icing on the cake is when Kazuki suggests that Shirayuki stay in the village to live with her father and him. Shirayuki is quick to thank him for his offer, but insists she wants to return to Clarines. Zen says nothing during this exchange, merely watching Shirayuki’s response. Afterwards the four return to the party which has been going on without them. But before she can join the others, Shirayuki knows there’s some business to take care of.
She runs out to the edge of the forest to find Obi, who solemnly apologizes to her for what happened. He was supposed to protect her and he failed, and he’s obviously being extremely hard on himself. Even Shirayuki telling him that it’s not his fault does nothing to ease his guilt, and so seeing this, she instead asks for him to be her guard again the next time she leaves for Tanbarun. Shirayuki being Shirayuki, she is all smiles and kind words; there are no hard feelings on her part. This obviously catches Obi off-guard because her name is halfway out of his mouth before he catches himself. (If there are any fans of Saiunkoku Monogatari reading this, does anyone else see parallels between Seiran & Shuurei, and Shirayuki & Obi? Even right down to Shirayuki/Shuurei being called “Ojou-san”, ne?)
Shirayuki and Obi join the celebrations, where drinks are drunk and everyone is having a good time. As the evening wears on, Zen slips away and encounters Shirayuki’s father. Meanwhile down below in what looks like the village centre, Shirayuki is with Kazuki listening to his story until he gets called away to help Itoya with something, after which she decides to head to bed. Kiki, Mitsuhide and Obi have all been trying to drink each other under the table, so it’s left to Shirayuki to tell Zen she’s going to sleep for the night. However her timing is a little off because she arrives just in time to hear Zen tell Mukaze that he loves her. When Zen discovers that Shirayuki overheard his confession, they both turn beet red and it’s fucking adorable. Ugh these two are just so precious.
Zen is about to leave Shirayuki after saying goodnight, but she hugs from him behind and asks that he stay with her for a little longer. So they sit in her room and talk until she falls asleep against his shoulder. Zen puts Shirayuki to bed, and then gives her their second kiss (which she’s not awake for </3 ).
In the morning, Kazuki, Mukaze and the other members of the Lions of the Mountains gather to send off Shirayuki and the others. Mukaze tells her that he’s happy she’s found a place where she “could smile and choose for herself,” and that he’s proud of her. Awww, Daddy!Mukaze is so cute.
At Tanbarun Castle, Prince Raj is very excited and relieved to see Shirayuki return safely. That night the ball which had previously been cancelled takes place. Couples from all over the kingdom attend, and Obi is once again Shirayuki’s escort. Prince Eugenia and Princess Rona even try to intervene, but Prince Raj quickly puts them in their place. He says that if Shirayuki were with him all the time she’d become boring.
At the ball, Prince Raj has the orchestra play the music he composed for her, and together they dance alone in the middle of the ballroom floor. Zen, Mitsuhide and Kiki are watching from a balcony above the ballroom, and it’s hard not to giggle at Zen as he’s scowling at Prince Raj. At the end of their dance, Prince Raj asks Shirayuki to return to Tanbarun to show him her hair once it has grown out, and she encourages him to visit her in Clarines.
The following day, Shirayuki, Zen and the others leave for home.
My thoughts: This episode wasn’t quite as shippy as I thought it might be, but I still got my Obi x Shirayuki scene so I’m happy. It looks like the next episode might have some moments of reflection for some of the characters, which I always look forward to because there’s usually some character growth which results from such quiet interludes.
This was overall a really nice in-between episode. We got to see more of Papa Mukaze, some shippy moments with Obi and Zen, and even a really sweet reunion with Prince Raj. Speaking of whom, I am just so proud of how much he has changed during this season. When he and Shirayuki part on good terms at the end of this episode, they can finally call each other a friend. How far they have come from the beginning of the season!