Episode Title: It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn                         
Refers to: The situation is always at its worst before it gets better.

The episode opens with an introduction to a new character, a lowly-looking official named Jun Yu from Koren. He’s arrived at Kinka to help Shuurei and Eigetsu get the city of Kinka stabilized now that the Murderous Blades have been defeated. First task? A mountain of paperwork to be sorted through and stamped with their shiny governor’s seal. Ensei and Jun are doing the bulk of the actual work; Shuurei and Eigetsu mostly just have to read and stamp, read and stamp.

While the quartet are working hard inside, Seiran is quietly guarding Shuurei and Eigetsu from outside. Kokujun finds him and they chat briefly before Seiran excuses himself and returns to work.

This episode also “officially” introduces us to Shuunki for the first time. She’s been watched over and cared for by 2 kids who are tied to Ensei somehow. Since Shuunki cannot speak she communicates by gestures and facial expressions. We don’t know much about her right now, aside from the need to keep her hidden from the rest of the Sa clan until it’s deemed safe for her to return.

During a break in their work, Shuurei and the others break for tea and manjuu. We see the beginnings of something new forming between Eigetsu and Kourin, a “difference in affection” shown visibly for the first time.  ;D   Shuurei also asks Ensei to fill them in on the situation in Koren as she and Eigetsu are very worried about Yuushun Tei’s safety. Ensei reassures them both that Yuushun is safe and not to worry about him. Ensei also asks Shuurei and Eigetsu to be patient with him for just a little longer, as he is waiting on the latest news about Koren from Sho Sai. Once they receive this news, then they can depart for Koren depending on what Koren’s situation is.

Sure enough, Sho arrives and his news is not great. As of 4 days prior, the city of Koren has indeed been sealed off from the public. The reason given for this is that the two new co-governors have already reached the city and the move is to protect them until the Assignment Ceremony in 20 days. Except, of course, Shuurei and Eigetsu haven’t actually arrived yet. Also, rumors are spreading saying that Shuurei and Eigetsu are under the Sa clan’s control, and so their popularity is quickly declining amongst members of the public.  Having heard this news, Ensei decides that they will leave early the next morning.

Ensei later comes to Shuurei that evening and asks her to have a heart-to-heart with Seiran. Remember last episode when he was watching Seiran be upset after the confrontation with Sakujun? He knows something is up with his friend.

So despite the fact that she should be sleeping, Shuurei makes some tea and manjuu for herself and Seiran. The whole scene is very awkward and Shuurei ends up blurting out that Seiran is her second favourite person… which is of course upsetting for Seiran to hear because he wants to be her #1 man. ^_~v  But Shuurei allows Seiran to ask her anything he wants before they leave in the morning. The trip would be uncomfortable if they were both walking on eggshells around each other, no?  So, Seiran asks her who her favourite person is (it’s Shouka, which makes sense why Seiran is #2 to her)… and then he asks her about Sakujun, which somehow Shuurei wasn’t expecting?? *facepalm*

Shuurei answers that she honestly doesn’t know what Sakujun means to her. Her parents had a great relationship and her mother was pretty amazing, and it’s perhaps because of her mother’s death that Shuurei hasn’t pursued a romantic relationship with anyone. She does admit that Sakujun’s good looks made her heart pound, and that he was very adept at taking advantage of that weak spot in Shuurei’s mental armor. Shuurei also offhandedly tells Seiran that she thinks he’s handsome, which makes him happy and seems to life his spirits because it means she was thinking about him (and acknowledging his good looks).

Finally out of energy, Shuurei falls asleep at the dinner table. She mutters something about her hairpin as she falls asleep, but is unconscious before Seiran can ask her about it in detail. Shuurei being asleep allows Ensei to come out of hiding. He teases Seiran about Shuurei before updating Seiran about what’s going on with his family’s clan. Apparently the Kou family is not going to act against Sakujun, meaning that Sakujun might give up his quest to be head of the Sa clan if Shuurei proves to be less important to the Kou family after all.

As the sun peeks up over the horizon in the morning, Eigetsu and Kokujun meet just as the latter is preparing to leave for Koren on his own. He tries to ask Eigetsu to look after Shuunki if anything happens to him, but Eigetsu tells him to have more confidence in himself and to not treat death so casually. This strengthens Kokujun’s resolve and he leaves for Koren more confident than ever.



This is a bit of an in-between episode as nothing major occurs. It’s more just to fill in background information before what will likely be a big showdown upcoming sometime in the next episode or two.

I like and appreciate that Shuurei and Seiran were able to have a few minutes together to clear the awkwardness between them. 

I also liked getting to see a flashback of little Shuurei and her mother, and that we got some clarity about the mysterious illness Shuurei lived with prior to her mother’s death. I found it interesting that Shokun was able to make some kind of medicine for Shuurei that allowed her daughter to live normally for a period of time until her illness returned. (I also giggled when I learned that Seiran’s first words spoken to the Kou family were out of concern for Shuurei.)