Episode Title: There Are No Demons in This World
Refers to: The people in Shuurei and Eigetsu’s lives who are supporting them from afar, in whatever ways they can.
Shuurei’s not happy that Ryuuki’s still watching over herself and Eigetsu, and doesn’t hesitate to let him know her unhappiness. Ryuuki in turn gives Shuurei a bit of a reality check – in the worst case scenario, their lives could be at risk. She’s the first woman to ever take the National Exams and Eigetsu is the youngest ever examinee. Given the harsh treatment they’ve already faced from their male peers and superiors, is it really that far of a stretch to consider that someone may want to actually harm them? (Also I love the side eye Ryuuki gives Seiran for watching over Shuurei anyways, even though he’s not supposed to be there because he actually has a job now.)
It turns out Eigetsu is also at risk because he has turned down multiple marriage proposals from noble families. His rejection of their offers has resulted in negative feelings which have stewed to the point of resentment.
Speaking of marriage proposals. xD It seems Kouyuu has been receiving a few of those himself, despite repeatedly insisting that he hates women. You’d think that detail would be more well-known amongst the nobles since he’s so vocal about it. Kouyuu tells Shuuei that he receives proposals usually with the family offering their female family member up to him insisting that they will give him a promotion.
Shuuei reports to Kouyuu that Ensei is returning to Kiyo along with Kourin, so Kourin can personally report on what’s been going on with the Sa family, and also so she can see Shuurei. Shuurei of course had no idea why Kourin left in the first place so to hear the truth for the first time, and from a child no less, will likely be very shocking for her.
Meanwhile Official Wa of the Department of Protocol has been giving Shuurei and Eigetsu a difficult time. This lazy bastard is deliberately going out of his way to make life for Shuurei and Eigetsu harder! Thankfully they have people watching over them, including Shouka who tries to show his support by offering to make his “daddy tea” for them, and then insists on having “unfinished work” to do which places him in the Royal Archives. xD (Although Shuurei shoots his idea of tea down immediately, much to his disappointment.)
The harsh treatment of Shuurei and Eigetsu continues though, despite those who try to help them. Shuurei becomes the target of physical bullying from some male officials, subordinates of Secretary Sai, whom apparently had been told by Official Ro to throw mud at Shuurei. She’s made to clean up the mess on her own, an unfair task she realizes she has to put up with because she chose this path for herself. Kouyuu warned her that she was going to get no support and could not ask for help or a break from others. If she was told to do something unfairly, she must do it anyways or risk failing at achieving her dream. So when Seiran sees her cleaning up the mess alone and opens his mouth to perhaps offer support, Shuurei tells him to go away.
This scene with her and Seiran was particularly hard to watch, and although I’ll be spoiling what is subtly implied later in the series, I’ll mention it here. [SPOILER WARNING, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW] Seiran and Shuurei have grown up together and despite their age gap, plus knowing that this show is a reverse harem, it becomes pretty obvious (to me anyways!) that Seiran has more than just familial feelings for Shuurei. Shuurei, being the way she is, is completely oblivious to how he feels about her. But the sadness and regret that is all over Seiran’s face as Shuurei pushes him away for what is probably the first time ever almost had me in tears. Seiran loves her (romantically) and wants to support her, and he can’t. His job in the Outer Court won’t allow it and now Shuurei is not allowing him, and this denial really hurts. His parting words to her about coming to see him if she can’t bear the burden of the abuse anymore, for his sake if not for hers, hints at this need to support and protect her above all else. This is my favourite ship in the series and goddamn does it hurt to see it denied. ;~; Especially since moments with this kind of sharp emotional longing and honesty are few and far in between in Saiunkoku (being that the main pairing is Shuurei x Ryuuki).
Anyways, moments later the scene’s angst is replaced by comedy as Shuuei is shown to be physically restraining Ryuuki (in disguise of course) from rushing over to Seiran and Shuurei. Shuuei again points out that Ryuuki can’t help her; Shuurei must bear this abuse alone or she will never be acknowledged as a proper official. It’s sexist and misogynistic and BULLSHIT, but she has to find a way to cope. Thankfully Shuurei holds tight to her happiness at having realized her dream, and that helps her push through the crap she has to deal with.
Later on, Hakumei Heki interrupts a group meeting with Official Ro to insist that Shuurei and Eigetsu be allowed to rest, as they have finished ALL of their work (much to everyone’s surprise, although by this point I really don’t know why :/ ). Hakumei will suck up having to clean toilets and shine shoes for a day so that Shuurei and Eigetsu can resume those chores once they’re rested. Hakumei’s a jackass but he’s not totally stupid.
Elsewhere, we get some hints as to what this arc is going to involve: a replicant ring, and a plot to kick Shuurei out of the Outer Court? Thankfully Ryuuki, Kouyuu and Shuuei seem to be aware of the counterfeit issue, but don’t have enough evidence to conclusively point the finger at the Department of Protocol. Ryuuki reluctantly decides that they will bide their time for now, albeit only a little longer.
Later in the evening, Shuurei and Eigetsu notice some discrepancies in some paperwork and decide to add it to their report for Official Ro. Then Hakumei shows up and insists on helping them with their workload, again claiming that if they collapse it will only make more work for everyone else. We learn that Hakumei absolutely idolizes Kouyuu, holding the young man up on a very high pedestal. Of course Eigetsu and Shuurei know Kouyuu’s other side, such as his distaste for women and his ability to get lost at the drop of a hat, but they don’t say anything to Hakumei lest they tarnish his idol in his eyes. Plus really, do you think Hakumei would listen anyways?
Throughout the episode we see someone has been leaving tea and buns for Shuurei and Eigetsu as they work late into the evening or overnight. Someone is watching the two young officials closely enough that they have now also left tea and a bun for Hakumei as well, but the Mystery Snack Delivery Person’s identity is not yet revealed at this point in the story. Any guesses as to who it might be?
The next day is Shuurei and Eigetsu’s day off, and they have mail. Shuurei receives happy news – Kochou wants her to visit! But Eigetsu’s letter is less joyful as it’s revealed the money he sent home with a courier from the Department of Protocol never arrived. Hmmmm, there’s that same department cropping up again. What’s going on?!
At the end of the episode, Reishin is taken into custody under suspicion of having interfered with the exam results to allow Shuurei to achieve the position of Tanka. And when Shuurei, Eigetsu and Seiran reach Kougaro, they are approached by a bunch of thugs with weapons? Two betrayals at once?! What the hell is going on!! And why has Shouka’s younger brother Kuro come to pay him a visit out of the blue?
akogare to ka suki to ka kirai dato ka
sou iu kimochi da to wa dokoka chigau n da keredo
Longing, liking, or dislike –
Though saying my feelings for you are of those seems somewhat wrong,