Episode Title: Bolt Out of the Blue
Refers to: Seiran being caught off guard when he and Ensei first heard the rumor about Shuurei’s impending marriage to Sakujun in the town of Rosen.
It’s in this episode we meet Kokujun, the third son of the Sa family. Unfortunately because he knew Korin before she left to go work in the Imperial Palace as assistant to Shuurei, Kokujun knows she’s not really Shuurei. Meaning if he doesn’t agree to help them, or at least keep their secret to himself, Eigetsu and the others could be in a lot of trouble.
Shuurei meanwhile is still traveling with a good-looking young man named Senya Rin, but they’ve been held up in Sairi for several days for reasons Shuurei is not aware of. She’s looking after Senya as best she can, but she’s getting impatient and frustrated. What if Seiran and the others make it to Kinka before she can?
Back at the Imperial Palace, Ryuuki and Sou-Taifu have a bit of a chat. How frustrating for Ryuuki to learn that not only did Advisor Sho keep the location and existence of Advisor Sa’s gold ring from him, but Sou-Taifu knew as well and said nothing! What the hell?!
Sou-Taifu tips Ryuuki off to the possible existence of a “monster” within the Sa clan but has no more information for the young king. Enjun Sa had mentioned this monster briefly many years before after returning from Sa province, though at the time he didn’t expand upon his statement. Sou-Taifu cautions Ryuuki that if a monster does exist, then that person must be regarded as extremely dangerous. Who could this person be??
I really like the episodes with Senya in them because we get to hear more of Shuurei’s beautiful erhu playing than usual. Senya is always asking Shuurei to play for him. Also, he’s a very hedonistic person, and he’s always encouraging Shuurei to consider her potential (ie wearing nicer clothes could make her look beautiful instead of just cute, although there’s nothing wrong with the latter of course). Those hooded, lustful eyes must really do a number of most women; on Shuurei though… well, they’re kinda wasted. xD
It seems Kokujun has decided to help Ensei and Seiran after all. He breaks them out of jail and gives them their weapons back, and updates them on Kourin’s health (she’s feeling better after a week of resting). However Ensei and Seiran have no plans to help Eigetsu and Kourin escape from their captors, something which upsets Kokujun. Ensei wastes no time telling him that he shouldn’t always be waiting for someone stronger like himself to rescue those who are weaker, Shunki included. Eigetsu and Kourin can stay captured so then there’s no risk of them being re-captured; Ensei will likely come up with another plan later on, or Eigetsu might come up with something himself. Either way they are not Ensei’s responsibility to save. Which is fair. As he and Seiran sneak out of the jail, Ensei thanks Kokujun for the help he did provide and the risks he did take… although to me it all just sounds like a bit of a backhanded compliment. ^^;;
Unfortunately with Seiran and Ensei gone, life has gotten a bit more difficult for Eigetsu and Kourin. Eigetsu taunts Soujun and has his life threatened by the first son of the Sa clan, though Kourin steps in to save his life. Kokujun shows up shortly thereafter and offers to take Eigetsu and Kourin to Kinka instead of Soujun, as a way of trying to “restore his honor” within the Sa clan. Soujun also mentions that his older brother Sakujun is still stuck in Kinka. But we haven’t met Sakujun yet. Right? Soujun accepts Kokujun’s offer and allows him to take Eigetsu and Kourin to Kinka. So that’s 4 down, with only Shuurei not on her way. It will take one month for Eigetsu, Kourin and Kokujun to get from Sairi to Kinka.
Meanwhile Shuurei’s about at the end of her rope with Mr. Senya. They still haven’t left for Kinka yet, he teases her about how she dresses and how she wears her hair, and now he’s asking her to style his hair too. But while Shuurei scolds him, he does appear to take her words to heart. So he’s decided they’re going to leave for Kinka that day. Huzzah! Senya also fills Shuurei in on Ensei and Seiran’s escape so she knows they’re on their way as well. Finally, the 5 of them are on their way to Kinka.
Before she and Senya leave at noon, Shuurei heads for the market and buys all of the Gan Lu tea she can find. She charges it to Mr. Senya, of course. xD
There’s a time skip and about 20 days later, Shuurei and Senya have reached the small town of Rosen. Word of a mysteriius bandit-hunting duo has reached the town, and the sketches show that the pair are indeed Seiran and Ensei (well, Seiran anyways. The other one looks like a bit of a bear!). We learn that Shuurei is leaving breadcrumbs for Seiran and Ensei to follow; by buying all of the Gan Lu tea in a town, they know that she is telling them where she is without having to leave a note or something else that would risk everyone’s safety.
Senya’s an interesting character. He’s very self-centered and thinks mostly only of himself, but he appears to be very taken with Shuurei. He even suggests that they marry! He’s also jealous when she mentions that she has people in her life who are important to her, implying that he does not. Given what we know of the Sa clan and their backstabbing ways this is not overly surprising, but it could mean red flags for his character. If someone cannot show empathy or consideration for others, then what kind of person are they really?
Also, this episode brings to the table some interesting parallels between Senya and Ryuuki, of all people. Senya tells Shuurei that he wants her to stop seeing him as the “young master of the Rin family” and instead just himself as a person. This causes Shuurei to flash back to more than a year prior when she was getting to know Ryuuki and he asked her to see him for who he was, not the king. Senya also mentions to Shuurei the rumor of the new female co-governor who’s supposed to get married to the second son of the Sa family, Sakujun, news which shocks Shuurei because that would mean *she* is supposed to get married to this Sakujun person but no one’s told her jack all about it!
Seiran’s also heard this news apparently, as has Ensei. Seiran is Not Happy At All (because he wants to be getting married to Shuurei, haha). Sakujun is apparently about 29 years old, slightly older than Seiran and Ensei, which means there would be a 12 year age gap between him and Shuurei! [ *makes a face* ] Seiran isn’t worried though because he knows the proposal would never be accepted – Reishin’s assassins would kill Sakujun before any such marriage could take place. (I lol’d) But no one ever asks Shuurei her opinion, they just make plans involving her without consulting her first because in the world of Saiunkoku, women have little important other than to be used as brides and made into mothers. :/
If you think about it, it really sucks to be Shuurei. Because of her important place in the Kou family (plus being the only young woman in her family available for marriage), and the Kou clan’s high standing in Saiunkoku, everyone has plans to marry her off. Her uncle Kuro wants to marry her to Kouyuu; the Sa clan wants her to marry Sakujun; and of course Ryuuki wants her to marry him. The irony is that Shuurei doesn’t want to marry at all, she only wants to life her life as an official.
At the very end of the episode, Meisho finally decides to show his face to Seiran and Ensei after they take down yet another group of his bandits. Will there be a big showdown between them?!