Saiunkoku Monogatari Episode 34
Episode Title: Fight Poison With Poison
Refers To: Seiran and Sakujun facing off against each other in a twisted drinking game, each introducing their own type of poison in a Russian roulette-type twist.
The episode opens with Shūrei and Shunki hearing a scream from the dungeon as they descend down the dark stairway. When they reach Kokujun’s cell they are shocked to find a bloodied sword on the floor and the body of the older man who’d been sharing his cell lying still on the floor.
Kokujun is in such a trance that even hearing Shunki cry his name repeatedly doesn’t awaken him. It is only when she momentarily sets aside her feelings to slap him across his face that he seems to snap back to reality. So if Kokujun was that detached from reality, could he really have killed the mysterious stranger whom he is calling his father? And Kokujun killed Chūshō too apparently?
Thankfully Shunki has her lover’s back. She points out to him that if he couldn’t even break a flower’s stem (cue flashback to a past memory), how could he take a human life? But if that’s true, then who killed these two men and made Kokujun think he was the one who committed the slayings? Shunki says that if Kokujun really wants to “start over” as he claimed, then he should rise up and become head of the Sa clan. She doesn’t let Kokujun wallow in his confusion and self-pity. A leader is someone who does what must be done, even when times are difficult.
Shunki goes on to say that if Kokujun really can’t find it within himself to become the Sa clan leader, then she will do it herself. She reveals Enjun Sa’s gold ring, the one which had been missing and which had been brought to Sa Province by Advisor Sho. Shunki found the ring outside, seemingly not too far from where Chūshō’s body was lying. How did the ring get out there? Hmm…
Shunki starts to slide the ring onto her finger but is stopped at the last moment by Kokujun. Watching his beloved move to atone for everyone else’s crimes has spurred him into action. Kokujun slides his ring onto his own finger instead and vows to forever remember both that day’s events and the guilt arising from his lack of action.
As Shunki and Kokujun hold hands together, Enjun’s spirit arises from the ring and speaks to them both (with Shūrei watching shocked in the background, lol). Enjun tells Kokujun that it’s ok to show emotion and to fall down and cry, as long as he gets back up and keeps moving forward. He needs to protect the people important to him, no matter how “stained in blood” he becomes. Enjun urges Kokujun to become a kind and strong man, and in return Shunki will stand by his side like Lady Eiki did for him. With those parting words, Enjun’s spirit fades away into the darkness.
Here Shūrei steps forward to formally acknowledge Kokujun’s decision to become the clan head. Yeah there’s a meeting going on regarding that same topic not too far awau, but Kokujun has THE ring which allows him to fill that position.
Kokujun carries his father’s body to the outside world, Shunki close by his side. Together they will hopefully achieve many great things for the Sa clan, as Enjun and Lady Eiki once did.
Speaking of Lady Eiki, she’s the next person who must be found. After doing whatever with his father’s body, Kokujun goes to see Lady Eiki. She sees him wearing Enjun’s ring and asks him if he’s ready to walk in Enjun’s shoes, and Kokujun replies that he is but he could still use some help and support. Lady Eiki smiles when she hears this and reassures Kokujun that because he knows what his weaknesses are, he can become strong. I think that’s as close to a seal of approval as you’re going to get Kokujun, so you better take it!
Elsewhere Ensei and Eigetsu have arrived at the building where the clan head meeting is being held, but neither Sakujun nor Kokujun have arrived yet. Food and drinks are finally served, but as people start moving around the room Ensei notices that the floors and walls seem hollow.
As soon as Shō arrives to give a report to Ensei, 2 things happen back to back. The first is that Ensei reveals his suspicions: the building the meeting is being held in is very poorly constructed. It’s slanted to one side, causing there to be flaws in the building’s center of gravity. If someone steps or moves the wrong way, the building will collapse and kill everyone inside. Shō also tells everyone that Chūshō is dead.
As this conversation is taking place, Yūshun Tei has finally arrived with a bunch of military soldiers, who quickly surround the Sa military thugs who are guarding the building where the meeting is taking place. Hey wait a minute, doesn’t Yūshun Tei look a little familiar?!
The second thing to happen is that Eigetsu, as co-governor, tells the Sa clan members that there is enough evidence of crimes being committed that a full legal investigation is going to be opened into their actions. Naturally, this announcement does not go over with the clan members who are corrupt and so used to getting their way all the time. These clan members try to bargain with Eigetsu and ask to be allowed to have a half day to decide whom they want to be the next clan leader. Probably to give themselves time to escape, I imagine.
Just then Shunki, Kokujun, Shūrei and Lady Eiki arrive at the building. Kokujun announces that because he has Enjun Sa’s gold ring, he is now the new clan leader. Furthermore Lady Eiki will be his advisor.
As Lieutenant Governor of Sa Province, Ensei directs the military soldiers to quickly (but carefully) arrest all of the Sa clan members in the dilapidated building.
As the night drags on, the Sa clan’s affairs are finally starting to be put in order. Back in the dungeon, a young Advisor Sho visits the bloodstain of Kokujun’s father and speaks to Enjun about how he only brought Enjun back to Sa Province in order to show him the new beginning his clan was about to undertake. Enjun tells Advisor Sho that Kokujun didn’t kill anyone, which apparently the Advisor Sho already knew. The two former friends and adversaries say their goodbyes before Enjun’s spirit fades away for the final time. ;~;
Meanwhile, it turns out that Seiran was heading for Sakujun’s location all along. Sakujun has been waiting for Shūrei to arrive, but Seiran beat her to Saukjun’s location. Seiran has brought with him the vial of poison he got from Shō. Seiran and Sakujun are going to play some kind of Russian roulette game where Shūrei’s heart (affections) will be the prize. Seiran says he also wants to talk to Sakujun, presumably about his time in this Murderous Blades is my guess.
The game will be simple: they will take turns taking shots. Or in this case, small bowls of sake. 36 in total, and 6 are laced with poison. (Seiran’s poison has been poured into one container while Sakujun’s poison has been added to 5 more bowls.) A 1/6 chance of consuming something lethal with each bowl they drink. With every turn, each man will roll 2 dice and their numbers will determine which bowl of sake the player drinks. So tense!! O_o
Shūrei must hurry or else something might happen to Seiran if she’s too late! How will Seiran’s drinking game of death with Sakujun end?!
Ahhhh we’re so close to the end, only 5 more episodes to go!