Episode Title: No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk
Refers to: There is no point in Chūshō lamenting over what happened in the past with his brother and his family. What’s done is done.
Shūrei and Shōrin touch base one more time before the evening when the Sa clan ceremony is set to begin. Shūrei thinks she knows where the entrance to the dungeon in the basement is located, and asks Shōrin to take a look if he is able. While there are guards protecting the entrance, once the Sa clan ceremony starts, theoretically they might leave the entrance unguarded. Unfortunately, Shōrin is too busy that evening to help Shūrei – he’s already accepted another assignment. Who could it be from? Ensei? Maybe Seiran?? Unfortunately this means Shūrei is going to be her usual stubborn self and instead of leaving her plan alone until she can have someone help her, she decides to take action on her own.
Shūrei goes to meet Sakujun to go with him to the ceremony, but to her frustration he is only sitting and drinking something! And leisurely at that! He asks Shūrei to make him some tea and put up his hair one last time, since after the ceremony he will be clan head and she will be released (if she can escape the marriage planned for her. I know Shūrei already formally rejected Sakujun in front of Chūshō, but I still have my doubts that the Sa family won’t try to pull something sneaky at the last minute).
Sakujun tries to trick Shūrei into making Gan Lu tea for him, but she continues to refuse. The tea has a strong emotional connection for her (Seiran, her parents) and she absolutely WILL NOT make it for anyone she doesn’t care for. Even when she gives Sakujun only a cup of hot water, and he asks again for Shūrei to make him some Gan Lu tea, she rejects his idea.
Sakujun continues to act very strangely around Shūrei. He makes a few references to “the last day,” and even goes so far as to bully Shūrei into making Gan Lu tea for him by saying that if she doesn’t, he will die! What’s going on?! Thankfully, Shūrei does finally cave and moves to make Sakujun some Gan Lu tea, but we don’t actually get to see him drink it before the next scene starts.
That evening, crowds start to gather at the Sa family household as they prepare for the family head selection ceremony. Seiran’s been tasked to guard Shunki, while Ensei, Shō and Eigetsu will walk in through the front door. They do have an official invitation from Sakujun, after all.
Once Seiran is on Sa family territory, his sword Kansho starts to glow and vibrate! Back at Kiyo, Ryūki’s sword Bakuya starts to glow and vibrate as well! We get a brief flashback and see both Ryūki and Seiran as children. Seiran gives Bakuya to Ryūki and explains that the swords were made by the Hyo clan, and they get upset when they are forcibly separated from each other. Since Lady Eiki is from the Hyo clan, and Shunki is therefore related to that family as well since she is Lady Eiki’s granddaughter, could her presence be why Kansho is reacting the way that it is?
Kansho does eventually quiet down and Seiran tries to give the sword to Shunki. However, she refuses the sword and instead blocks Seiran’s ears with cotton. As the duo are suddenly surrounded by guards, Shunki steps out into their torchlight and awakens her magic. The spell seems to affect anyone who hears it, so Seiran having the cotton in his ears protects him from Shunki’s magic. With a quick nod to Seiran, Shunki runs off into the darkness. Seiran, too, turns and runs in the opposite direction. Shunki’s on her own now.
Shūrei has kept true to her word and as Seiran and Shunki are running around in the woods, she is traveling to the edge of the Sa family’s property to scope out the entrance to the dungeon herself.
Shūrei approaches the guards, whom she thought would have left their post, and tries to push her way in. They decline to move out of her way and just when it seems Shūrei could really be in a lot of trouble, Shunki steps out from the woods and uses her magic to both command Shūrei to cover her ears (thus protecting her) and to make the guards unconscious.
Once the situation is diffused, Shunki introduces herself properly to Shūrei. It turns out that despite Lady Eiki supposedly sealing Shunki’s voice in the past, Shunki could actually speak all along and just chose not to. Her voice carries the ability to command people to do whatever she wants, which is of course a very dangerous ability. If she pretended she couldn’t speak due to one reason or another, Shunki reduced the risk to herself.
Suddenly, footsteps can be heard coming up from the depths of the dungeon, so Shūrei drags Shunki back into the woods to hide. I thought it would be Kokujun coming up from below, but it’s actually Chūshō. And he’s hurt!
Chūshō meets with Shō, who has come to deliver the gold family ring Chūshō had ordered. But the box is empty – why?! Shō explains that while it is a merchant’s job to deliver exactly what their customer is asking for, in this case Shō simply couldn’t bring himself to fulfill the order. The Sa clan has forced its tyranny upon Sa province for many generations, and Shō felt that filling Chūshō’s order would be continuing that cycle. So his refusal to make the ring is his official stand against the Sa clan.
Unfortunately Chūshō’s reply to Shō upsets Shūrei so much that she stands up and accidentally reveals her location! So now what??
Chūshō reveals that he had planned to kill everyone in attendance at the Sa clan ceremony. His way of “cleaning house,” just like his older brother Enjun had done so many years before. Many people in the Sa family are concerned with the family bloodline and other insignificant issues, and Chūshō had had enough. But if this is indeed his plan, then Ensei and Eigetsu are at risk!
Before Shō, Shūrei and Shunki rush back to the main household though, Shūrei stops to press a cloth against the old bastard’s very serious injury. She tells him to wait right there and she will send a doctor to him. And once she finds out exactly which crimes he has committed, Shūrei will be the one to arrest him. It sounds like a plan, but do you really think a man like Chūshō will sit quietly and wait for his punishment to come to him??
Well, Chūshō might have no choice as his wound is really that serious. As he clings to the tree, slowly dying, a young Advisor Sho reveals himself. Advisor Sho tells Chūshō that Enjun cannot be with him anymore, and it is because of that reason that he asked Advisor Sho to come witness his last moments alive. Advisor Sho coaxes Chūshō to remember the night that Enjun killed all of the other contenders for the family head position, and what Lady Eiki said to her husband Enjun as she discovered the massacre:
“It’s not your fault! None of this is your fault! Why is it necessary for you to carry everything upon your shoulders alone?! Enjun!” – Lady Eiki
With a final utterance of his older brother’s name, Chūshō dies in that forest, cold and nearly alone (with only Advisor Sho at his side… and we all know that doesn’t count for much).
Time is running out, so Shūrei shares with Shō her next plan of action: she and Shunki will go on alone into the dungeon to find Kokujun. Shūrei asks Shō to attend the family head selection ceremony in her stead, which he agrees to do. Shō gives Shūrei the official government seal that Yūshun Tei had asked him to hold onto. With the seal in her hand, Shūrei is officially one of the new co-governors of Sa Province! Not quite how everyone would have liked it to happen, of course, but it is what it is. ^^;;
I should note here that by the time Chūshō dies, Shūrei and Shunki have already moved on ahead to enter the dungeon and Shō has already left for the ceremony. So the corrupt bastard really is alone, aside from the series’ other old bastard (Advisor Sho) watching his life force fade away.
By the end of the episode, everyone is running along their own paths: Shunki and Shūrei to Kokujun, Seiran to Shūrei (maybe??), and Ensei, Eigetsu and Shō to the family head ceremony. This season’s coming to a close pretty quick so we can all look forward to a big ending!
Only 6 episodes left to go until the end of the first season!