Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 31

Episode Title: A Diamond in the Rough
Refers to: Shūrei and Shunki are diamonds, while the men around them are the rough. Women are often braver and stronger than men, like diamonds.

 

Shūrei confirms for the rest of her group that yes, she’s going to go meet with Sakujun. He did send her an invitation after all. /eyeroll

Thankfully she doesn’t have to wait long because Sakujun mysteriously appears in front of Shūrei and says that he has come to collect her. Predictably, Seiran makes a fuss and tries to prevent Shūrei from leaving but Ensei stops him.

The episode then spends some time with Yōshun, who has safely arrived in Kinka and met up with the Jun Yu, the “important man” he and Shōrin were supposed to meet with. The group spends some time gabbing about Ryūren helping them, as Yōshun seems to idolize the eccentric young man, while Jun Yu and Kōrin know that there is not a lot to admire about Ryūren. ^^;;  We are not privy as to what Yōshun and Jun Yu talk about, but I’m sure we’ll find out. Jun Yu reveals that he too is headed to Koren and asks Yōshun if he would accompany him, to which the energetic young man agrees.

Over at Koren, sure enough, Shōrin and Shunki are able to easily pass through the blockaded front gate. Shōrin spots an unusual pattern of hoof prints on the ground and magically deems them to have been made by Ensei (for only Ensei would have done something to make the horses gallop like that), so he decides to follow the tracks. Sure enough, the tracks lead straight to Ensei and the others at Rin’s house. Although poor Shōrin almost gets his head chopped off by an aggravated Seiran (we’ll blame that mood on Ensei  ;D ).

Now safe with Ensei and the other men, Shunki draws a map of the entire Sa family estate! It’s very elaborate and detailed, and everyone’s impressed with Shunki’s incredible memory. Ensei tasks Shōrin with finding Shūrei at the estate. Ensei points out that Shūrei will likely be playing the erhu so she’ll be easy to find, but he must be absolutely quiet so no one will spot him except Shūrei.

What else… ah, poor Kokujun is thrown into a dungeon cell as ordered by his grandfather Chūshō. He finds a withered older man with long red hair already in his cell, and he is shocked to realize that this might be his father. But as the man is not speaking, Kokujun is essentially alone as he cries and laments in his cell how he wasn’t able to help save the Sa clan. He pleads to his other grandfather, Enjun Sa, about what to do next.

Later in the episode the dungeon appears to be filled with smoke – maybe this is the same smoke Enjun used that could knock people out? Kokujun’s sanity appears to be slipping as he talks about being able to see some kind of vision that Enjun showed him which depicted him killing the other heirs as a last resort. Kokujun says that maybe because the family is so rotten, he’ll have to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and take the same measures. However, Kokujun’s father approaches him – but for what? And then the candle burns out! o_o

Meanwhile, still locked away, Lady Eiki can see (using her mysterious psychic abilities) that her granddaughter Shunki has started to make her move. Lady Eiki doesn’t think much of Kokujun, calling him unreliable before we see her scolding him in a flashback, but at the end of the day she loves her granddaughter and will respect her choice of life partner, even if it’s Kokujun. Which is exactly how it should be.

Over at the Sa family estate, Sakujun and Shūrei are having a little chat. Sakujun flat out admits that while it’s his grandfather’s goal for them to marry, Sakujun honestly couldn’t care less about having a wife or getting married. He just wants Shūrei to liven up the boredom he experiences daily… but when she can no longer do that, it is implied that he’ll have her killed.

Sakujun also reveals that their wedding is supposed to be on the same day as when the Sa clan picks their new family head. And Sakujun refuses to give Shūrei her flower bud hairpin back before then!

Sakujun appears to be planning to keep Shūrei on this separate piece of Sa family estate until the day of the Sa family ceremony. Shūrei inquires about Kokujun’s well-being and announces her intentions of searching the estate for him, but can tell by Sakujun’s flippant attitude that he’s being kept somewhere Shūrei wouldn’t be able to find him.

Sakujun shows Shūrei her room, which follows Saiunkoku’s trend of having wealthy families have huge rooms with barely any furniture in them. However, despite mentioning earlier his intention of having his way with her intimately, Sakujun invites Shūrei to his room so she can just make him some tea and play the erhu for him. Maybe if Shūrei’s lucky the creep will fall asleep and she’ll be able to sneak back to her room safely.

Sure enough, dawn breaks and Shūrei appears to be unharmed. What will this new day bring?

 

8 episodes left until the end of season 1!

 

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