Princess Chamille is pissed. Lt. General Safida fled ahead of his troops, revealing himself to be the coward he is. He has a poor excuse for his actions, although Princess Chamille doesn’t let him entirely off the hook. She’s still worried for Ikta, whom she knows is still fighting alongside his friends.
At base camp, Ikta lays out their plan for retreat, and says that all future events from that point onward depend on what the enemy does.
Meanwhile Jean Alkiniks consults with his assistant, whose brother is the leader of Kala Karm. He passes on information to Jean, including the tidbit that Yatori is in the Empire’s army. Jean wonders if she is the reason why their forces are being delayed by the fire.
Suya looks in on the dead bodies, and Nanaku Daru apologizes, offering the loss of her arms as punishment. Suys freaks out, saying she didn’t fully realize the duties undertaken by a soldier, and she blames herself for the loss of her comrades. Captain Sazaluf shows up then and says it’s not her fault and they died but his, because he’s the commanding officer.
Everyone piles into a tent to watch Ikta sleep. Just then a messenger arrives with news that the enemy is on the move – a unit of about 500+ soldiers has split off from their main force and is taking the bypass on the right. Ikta doesn’t want to give the enemy the chance to split up their forces, so he suggests that they send a platoon to intercept the enemy. Ikta volunteers himself and Torway, and Yatori suggests that she can always go with Torway. Captain Sazaluf merely laughs and says that he is going, because he knows that his first officers are more competent than he is, and they should be the ones to guard the base camp. Captain Sazaluf asks for permission to go, which Ikta grants, on the condition that he also take Torway and his air rifle platoon.
Haroma notices that the Aldera Army is also using an air balloon, and we see Jean is using it to get a good view of what Ikta and his men are up to. The higher officers aren’t happy with his actions, but they also acknowledge that sometimes reckless or unusual actions are warranted.
Ikta convinces his men to not worry too much about the blimp. He tells his soldiers that they need to stall for at least 7 days to help support their army’s retreat. He figures the enemy will break through the burnt-out portions of the forest, so they need to restart the fires and then keep repelling the enemy.
Matthew’s platoon gets the fires restarted, but has to pull his men back when the Aldera Army attacks. Ikta commands that Yatori’s platoon take over so Matthew’s team can rest. There are more sightings of the blimp, but Ikta can’t figure out why it’s taking the path it’s taking, or what its purpose could be.
At the Western Fortress, Captain Sazaluf and his men stand on watch for the Aldera Army’s forces. Torway asks for permission to deploy his air rifle platoon to the rear of the fortress, where Ikta has told him Kala Karm will likely attack from. Naturally Ikta is right. Kala Karm is about to attack but Torway’s platoon is one step ahead, and the members of Kala Karm are picked off one by one. They try to retreat but Torway’s men are waiting for them, and almost all of the Kala Karm’s troops are killed.
The death of Kala Karm means that the Aldera Army’s hand is forced. The platoon which has been camping out and watching the Western Fortress decides to attack. Ikta’s notified of this battle and he sends word to Captain Sazaluf that they should defend the fortress for 3 more days before retreating.
Yatori comes to give Ikta a report and she’s brought him some food, so they take a break to eat a meal together next to the fire. Both Ikta and Yatori are impressed with how well Torway was able to deal with Kala Karm. Yatori muses whether the age of the sword has passed, and Ikta comments that Yatori has too many burdens to carry. He tells her that everything he’s done since his joined the military was for Yatori, so she would have less stress and worries to carry. They make more references to a time when Yatori might have to kill Ikta (at least that’s what it sounds like to me), but they don’t delve into the idea in detail. Ikta reassures Yatori that he will continue to support her until that time comes.
In the morning, there’s a troubling report. A small platoon of Aldera Army soliders have managed to sneak around a path to the east, sneaking past all of Ikta’s allies. Ikta realizes that’s where the blimp was flying. The messenger is commanded to find out what large items the Aldera Army is carrying with them; they’re revealed to be explosive cannons. They use the compressed solar energy to fire the shells further and more effectively. Ikta remarks that they are also a prohibited item for the Aldera Army, much like blimps are supposed to be, but apparently that doesn’t matter to them anymore.
As the cannons are attacking, troops are also jumping through the fire barricades on horseback. Ikta has a horrible realization: the blimp was helping to train the Aldera Army! The blimps was able to see the routes and locations of the fire walls, and Jean used his vantagepoint to train the Aldera troops on how to jump through the flames and which route to take the explosive cannons on. Basically Ikta’s forces are fucked, and it’s essentially his fault for not putting the pieces together sooner. And he knows it.
Now that Jean and his men have broken through the fire barricades and destroyed some of the Imperial Army’s defenses with their cannons, they continue their travels west.
My thoughts: One more episode to go! Will Jean or Ikta make the ultimate sacrifice? Will we learn more about the relationship between Ikta and Yatori? Will Yatori and Jean have some kind of swordfight to the death?