Koezaru wa Akai Hana: Nalan’s Route

This follows the Common Route of Slen and Nalan. Nalan is Slen’s faithful follower and looks up to Slen a lot, especially since he’s his saviour. He happily attends to all of Naala’s needs but it eventually becomes evident that something pains him a lot. This is only unlocked after Slen’s route and there’s some overlaps so it’s best to read that first. R-18 game! But I will not post any R-18 CGs in my reviews and there will be spoilers.

A last reminder that our Halloween Special Event three posts below will be ending soon! You get to request a drawing (from Chromite) and/or an otoge review (from me)! Read the post for the specifics and feel free to enter~

This follows the start of Slen’s Bad end, Broken bird. However, Naala starts to wonder “what if Nalan was her husband instead of Slen” and with that she realises her feelings for Nalan. That’s the reason why she feels lonely without him, and can be honest around him. But of course even if she realises that she loves him she can’t bring herself to say it since she’s Slen’s wife, no matter how forced the circumstances was she agreed to it. Naala repeatedly apologises to Nalan and without realising she’s crying. Seeing this, Nalan takes it as a rejection and apologises instead as he kisses her tears away. Even though he wanted to be someone who could stop her tears, he’s making her cry instead. But Naala denies this, saying that he had always supported her. Nalan continues to apologise for liking her and he ends up crying too as he hugs her tightly. Afterwards Naala decides to go see Slen after all and Nalan tells her to forgot all that he said. All he wants is her happiness so he didn’t mean to trouble her. In response, Naala answers that she’ll try to, though inside of her heart she knows that she probably can’t. But if that’s what is best for Nalan then she’ll do so.

The same events happen in Slen’s room as in Broken bird. When Naala goes outside to fetch him some water, Nalan’s confession continues to ring in her ears even though she just told herself that she’ll forget everything.

Sworn friends

Same events just that when Nalan passes Naala the alcohol for Slen, they freeze as their fingers touch. Nalan worries over whether she has a fever as she feels hot, and Naala denies this while switching the topic over to him – since he has been a lot busier having to help Slen out now. Nalan reassures her that he’s alright, and he’ll work as hard as he has to for both Slen and her. When Naala goes back to Slen’s room, the same conversation happens as in Broken bird – just that Naala hesitates when he asks her if she has someone else she likes. She can’t bring herself to lie to him and only apologises over and over. She knows that despite how they got together, Slen treated her as a proper wife and she feels sorry towards him. Hearing her response, Slen knows that she probably won’t fall for him anymore. He asks if she stills see him as a despicable enemy and Naala denies this. She saw how he protected the Rusu women, and how he treated her so she feels grateful towards him. Though she hated him at first she doesn’t see him as an enemy anymore – but as a sworn friend.

But Naala herself decided to marry him so she won’t ask him to divorce her, not at least until he says so himself. Slen apologises as he can’t bring himself to let her go, even though he knows that it may be better to do so. Naala is surprised to hear his apology and he admits that he had to since she came clean with him. They shake hands and as of now they’ve become sworn friends.

Your calibre

The same events happen as in “Choice” (Slen’s route). When both Naala and Nalan go out after her talk with Sarana, Naala thinks how ironic it is for her to both want him to forget for the better of things, and to not forget about her. As Nalan decides to split up to buy groceries, he sees someone in a corner and directs Naala’s attention to another store instead. After they’re done, they walk around for a bit and Naala spots a purple cloth very similar to Slen’s headscarf. Nalan explains that it’s a traditional craft from a Southern island so it’s no wonder, especially since Slen’s mother was from there. That would explain Slen’s appearance and Nalan admits that in the past he would often sunbathe so that he could become dark like Slen lol. Naala naturally cracks up at the thought of this, and tells Nalan that he has his own qualities. Nalan isn’t so sure of this though, as ever since Slen saved him he had been “chasing” after him. But recently Slen told him that it’s about time he starts to search for something only he possesses. Nalan wonders if he doesn’t have Slen as his target, whether he’ll just become an empty person.

Naala thinks otherwise, and that Slen probably wants him to be able to walk on his own path and to realise his own strength. If Nalan really were an empty person he wouldn’t have said that. Nalan is a bit envious as she understands Slen really well, but Naala says that it’s just ‘cos his admiration for Slen is a lot so it can be hard to see certain things. But Nalan remains unconvinced as he recalls that he once asked Slen to let him have the headscarf once he becomes a full-fledged man and Slen laughed saying that it’ll take him years. Naala thinks that he’s taking Slen’s reply too literally, and that Slen trusts him – if not he wouldn’t have let Nalan attend to her. After they became sworn friends, Naala has grown to understand Slen more and realises that he’s actually really old-fashioned, such as his concepts of what a wife is. So surely he let Nalan take care of her ‘cos he trusts him a lot. Nalan grows envious when he sees how well she knows Slen though, and touches her face. Naala can clearly see the jealously in his eyes and is secretly happy. He gives the excuse that there’s dust on her and Naala allows him to take his time.

They’re interrupted by a random merchant who mistakes them as a married couple, and pushes one of his rings onto Naala saying that it suits her. Naala tries to wriggle out of a forced purchase but Nalan sees that the red stone ring indeed suits her and he gladly pays for it. He tells her that it’s his repayment for always being under her care and even if she doesn’t wear it, he’s happy as long as she keeps it. Seeing his serious eyes, Naala can only give in. Nalan is unconscious of this though, as he weakly laughs that he’s trying hard to suppress himself but he must be an idiot so he’s only hurting her. But Naala feels that she’s the worst as while she’s rejecting him, she selfishly doesn’t want him to be someone else’s. Nalan then says that she can take what he’s going to say next as a joke, though his eyes clearly say a different story – he strongly wishes that they could continue to be mistaken as a couple. He then tells her to forget it but of course his eyes betray him. But he’s happy to be with the two people he loves the most. Naala thinks that he should consider his own happiness though, to marry and have a family of his own. But Nalan sadly says that he won’t marry, since there’s no way anyone can be happy with such a law. This makes Naala curious and he promises to tell her about it back at home.

Back at home, Nalan tells her about the law that women have to marry another man once they’ve given birth. But she’s excluded from the law as Slen would become a noble. Slen didn’t want the Rusu women to know this as he’s sure that they would be shaken and more would attempt to escape. Many of the men in this First district are nobles so the opposite case hasn’t happened as of yet. But he heard that Toya would go tell the women individually before they marry if they fall in love with someone who isn’t a noble. He doesn’t mind if Naala really tells the rest of the women. Though it may cause trouble for Slen, he thinks that the law is wrong. And ‘cos of this law he doesn’t want to marry anyone, since he can’t imagine separating from the one he loves. Toya probably wants to change this law, but as long as women aren’t in sufficient numbers and with fear of the disease it’ll be hard to gain agreement. Naala decides to keep quiet, as Slen’s concern make sense plus if Toya really talks to the women then it would leave the ultimate decision to them anyway.

She then asks Nalan for his opinion on the whole situation, including on the kidnapping of women. He answers that he finds it all odd, and is sure that the rest feel the same but they close one eye since if they object Nasula’s situation will slowly worsen. But he feels that now isn’t the time for countries to fight. Just like how he and Naala are on talking terms now, he think that if they negotiate with each other another solution may be found. That’s his honest thoughts as he admits that he doesn’t understand much about politics. But his words resound in Naala as the simplest way may be the best sometimes. If people refuse to understand each other, they won’t treat each other as important and only act on what is in their best interest. Naala remarks that if he’s king, she’s sure the world will be a peaceful place. Nalan laughs as he rejects the idea, since a king is too restrained for his liking. But if he really had the power, he’d build a world where people can be with the one they love for life. Nalan firmly says that he’ll guide her to such a world, no matter how long it takes. He feels that it’s their duty since they hurt the Rusu women. It would be impressive of him to say that he thought this way from the beginning. But he admits that it was only after he thought of Naala as important (liked her).

He’s not as tolerant (lit. the phrase is your vessel/calibre is big) as Slen and only focuses on what’s before him though. But Naala remarks that that is the hardest thing to do – ‘cos it’s right before you you would find it troublesome, scary, and want to run away so facing up to it takes a lot of courage. So she doesn’t feel that his calibre is “small” and he has a beautiful one of his own, and perhaps this was what Slen wanted Nalan to notice. While thinking this, Naala can see the future in Nalan.

A selfish love

After that talk with Nalan, Naala also hardens her resolution to try and bridge the gap between the two countries. She concludes that the fastest way is to help finish the cure after all and decides to try talking to the Rusu women to cooperate with Toya, since Rusu has lesser cases than Nasula and there might be a reason behind it. But just then Nalan comes rushing over, followed by a servant whom she doesn’t recognise. The servant asks her to go to the residence with the other Rusu women and Nalan opposes since if Slen opposes there’s no need to pay heed to what the ministers say. But Slen’s currently away so the servant uses the excuse that he has yet to oppose, as for Toya he’s currently in the middle of a meeting. Naala sees that they’re using the chance of when both Toya and Slen are busy, to possibly put the Rusu women in a dangerous situation. Naala guesses that this has to do with the rule of putting them in groups of three – in other words it’s very likely that Sharu is involved. Though worried about her, she’s more worried about the rest.

Naala agrees to go (but with Nalan) and in the little time they’re given to prepare to leave, Nalan informs her that it appears that Sharu has disappeared, and advises her not to say anything. He’s sure that they’ll use this to form a reason to object and rid of the “decision” rule. Plus Sharu has become a topic of rumour recently so denying that she escaped wouldn’t be convincing. He was told by Slen not to say anything to her though, a few days after Slen had that accident. Hearing this, Naala can’t help but form a link between the two and can only pray that she’s wrong. Nalan then suggests that if she’s not going to keep quiet, she should try accusing the ministers instead before they accuse her. And indeed later, Naala does so by questioning whether they hid Sharu and are now using this as an excuse. They manage to stall time as Toya and Slen return earlier than expected. The ministers try to seek agreement from Slen as in the first place, Slen wasn’t all for the decision rule either. Realising this Naala gets worried and her eyes meet Slen’s. To everyone’s surprise, he remarks that it’s troublesome for the army but they should only decide on whether she really escaped after they find her.

Annoyed that things didn’t go as planned, the ministers leave the room and even Toya remarks that he didn’t expect that from Slen. Slen merely tells him to mobilise his subordinates too and Toya agrees to have them ask the women for more details. As everyone soon filters out of the room, only Slen, Naala and Nalan are left behind. Naala asks why he helped her since he could’ve made use of this opportunity to keep her away. Slen admits that as a husband he would’ve wanted to keep his wife away from troublesome matters – but as a warrior he merely wanted to protect his sworn friend. However, things are probably going to complicate so he’d like for her to remain in the house till everything settles down. Before he leaves the room, Naala then asks why he didn’t reveal the truth about Sharu’s involvement in his accident. Slen feigns ignorance though and touched by his kindness, Naala thanks him for being such a reassuring sworn friend. He then whispers in her ear that they really suit each other in how they’re both so foolishly honest, before disappearing.

As Naala is left wondering what he meant, Nalan feels that he really wasn’t of much help in the end. Naala tries to tell him otherwise since he suggested a good idea to stall time and his presence was reassuring – but he then exclaims that that is all he can do. Realising that he’d unintentionally raised his voice, Nalan apologises and remarks that they looked really compatible and loving – but that’s to be expected. He apologises again and goes out to cool his head. But Naala thinks that her selfish love for him is way worse and she tries to recollect her thoughts. As she worries about Sharu, she can only hope that nothing bad happens – not that she would’ve expected things to really turn out the way it did.

A certain military commander’s battlefield

This is told in Slen’s POV. News of Rusu’s army sneaking pass the borders arrives and Toya has decided to prepare for battle. Slen decides to mobilise his whole army too, guessing that Rusu is for real as he doesn’t think that Oli would only be motivated for revenge. Moreover his army should be still recovering from the loss so he’s sure there’s some catch. He asks Nalan to remain to look after Naala and to not let her know anything – since if word leaks out to the other Rusu women she’ll get involved too. But Nalan insists of going together with him and Slen can see that he’s treating him as a love rival. Slen questions if it’s for his own sake and Nalan goes quiet. Slen smiles to himself, as he thinks that he might’ve been overprotective of Nalan too. But his unwavering eyes and foolishly honest personality never changed since he first met him. When involved in the bloodshed of war Slen’s heart was almost stagnated but Nalan’s clear eyes of admiration seemed to motivate him and before he realised it, Slen himself had always been saved by Nalan. He doesn’t want to lose Nalan and wants him to remain to protect Naala lest anything happens to him.

Of course Nalan doesn’t even want to imagine that outcome and says that both he and Naala wouldn’t be able to live without him. Slen merely chuckles as he tells Nalan that it’s about time to “graduate” from him – he trusts Nalan the most and he’s the one who will decide whether he truly has any worth or not. Slen guesses that Nalan will soon say it and remains silent. True enough, Nalan confesses that he betrayed Slen – he stopped Naala when she wanted to go see him immediately that night, lied ‘cos he thought that Naala would fall for Slen if she knew how much Slen loved her, and purposely hid the vegetables so that he could go out with Naala. But Slen knew this all along, having known Nalan for so many years. Even he isn’t sure why though. By right if someone wanted to steal his wife he would’ve killed without any hesitation, but he just can’t hate Nalan. Plus Naala told him the other day that she can’t love him as a man so he has also given up. In fact, Slen envies Nalan at times for his frankness – and that takes much more courage. On the other hand, he’s afraid of rejection and hence never outright said “I love you”. Slen believes that Nalan would be able to protect Naala with that strength which he himself doesn’t possess. He tells Nalan that he enjoys seeing her smile in front of Nalan from afar, and doesn’t want to break that. But he sees that Nalan is too slow to realise that Naala loves him, as Nalan insists that she loves Slen. Seeing that he’s holding the same determination as he did when asking to become Slen’s disciple, Slen agrees for Nalan to come along in the end.

Toya’s army guards the capital from the front while Slen’s army protects the back and it should’ve been perfect but – it appears as though Rusu’s army knows the grounds all too well. So Slen’s army is suffering a great defeat in the forest right now and he guesses that it’s all thanks to Sharu, whom he heard has been sneaking around the higher-ups. It appears as though he underestimated her and before he knows it only he and Nalan are left. Nalan begs for Slen to escape while he holds the enemy up, saying that he can’t be a replacement for Slen. Slen agrees silently, but that’s ‘cos Naala sees her as a friend while she likes Nalan. He agrees to Nalan’s request on the surface, but knocks him unconscious instead. As Nalan’s knocked out, Slen remarks that Nalan should be the one to return to Naala and not him, who has only given her pain. He places Nalan on his horse and ties his headscarf on Nalan. As the horse heads in the direction of where Toya is, Slen faces the incoming enemies and realises that he forgot to say one last thing – how he’d always be thinking “I love you” when he calls Naala’s name.

The days which can’t return

This returns to Naala’s POV. Naala only heard where Slen and Nalan went off to when she threatened to kill herself before the servants. The ruby necklace she got from Slen the other day breaks and she quickly picks it up – it’s not an auspicious sign at all. She takes the ruby ring from Nalan too. Though she feels conflicted, there’s no question that both of them are no irreplaceable people to her and she can only pray for their safety. She hopes that Oli will withdraw safely so that there’s still a chance of an alliance. But the next day she’s informed that Slen’s army suffered heavy losses. (Bad End: Broken ruby, branches off from here) Toya’s army has just returned to the First district and she quickly runs outside to check. Naala’s relieved to see Nalan safe, as he remains unconscious – but Slen’s headscarf is found on him. Toya tells her that apparently the attack on his side was a diversion and so Slen’s army faced attack after attack, almost as if they had inside information. He finally tells her that Slen passed away and shaken by the news, she unwittingly starts crying. She sarcastically remarks that Slen remained a cruel person till the end – at first she detested him but at the end her heart is twisted by such sadness.

When Nalan wakes up later, he is unable to accept Slen’s death. He cries as he felt that he should’ve died instead and that everything must be a lie. As Naala listens to his cries, she can only look back on the days which can never return now.

A person whom is of no match

Ever since then, Nalan refuses to eat and sits on the bed like a broken doll. Worried that he’ll die at this rate, Naala wonders what Slen would’ve said to comfort him. Truth be told she’s shaken too, but before her there’s a person way more hurt than herself. She tells herself to buck up and recalls what Slen did to her when she didn’t eat. So she takes some soup in her mouth and feeds Nalan mouth-to-mouth. If he refuses to eat she’ll continue to do this, and so Nalan agrees to eat by himself. He wonders why Naala doesn’t hate him, and she feels that if it weren’t for him Slen would’ve died much earlier. Plus Slen wanted him to live on and she’s thankful that he returned alive, so she can’t condemn him. Just then, Toya asks to see them and though he was hesitant on whether to talk about this, after Slen’s death he and the other ministers had to decide on what Naala is to do. Since he didn’t have any kids, he’s not a noble so according to the law, 3 months after she mourns for his death she has to choose a new husband. If she doesn’t choose anyone, Toya plans to protect here and that’s why he came here too.

For the first time since Slen’s death, Nalan gets agitated and questions if Toya is going to marry Naala then. Toya admits that he didn’t have any intentions to marry anyone but he was requested by Slen while he was still alive. Toya’s also here to pass Slen’s deed of transfer to Nalan and on it, it’s written that Nalan will inherit all of Slen’s possessions after he dies. Though Nalan rejects this at first, Toya says that if this is passed to the wife instead, that means everything will go to her new husband aka Toya aka everything will be confiscated by the country. Plus Slen must’ve been worried for Nalan so rejecting this means that he’s rejecting Slen’s will. Anyone will come and go. What matters is the process of it, not how one was born. He can think of the possessions as part of the duty he has to uphold, and go live an appropriate life. Isn’t it precisely ‘cos of the process that both Nalan and himself want to be by Naala’s side? By hating and blaming himself, he’s running away from reality and that’s Nalan’s weakness. Human life is fragile and if he keeps regretting the past, he will lose what’s important and right before his eyes.

After Toya leaves, Nalan asks to be alone. As Naala exits the room, she recalls Toya’s words and thinks that it’s very true. Human life can burn out like a fire so quickly, that’s why while it’s still burning it burns brightly. She tells herself to buck up too and to not run away from what’s before her. No matter how sad or painful it may be, she has to keep moving forward as long as she’s alive. The following night, Naala complains to the full moon hanging in the sky, saying how he decided everything on his own. Since it’s sad that deceased souls go there it’s almost like talking to Slen. She knows that both her and Nalan should move forward but asks for a bit more time for their hearts to rest. As she heads to check on Nalan, she’s taken aback when she sees him holding a sword towards himself. Just before she could raise her voice, the wind blows Slen’s headscarf onto him, as if Slen himself was telling Nalan off for choosing death. Nalan breaks down and outside, so does Naala.  She realises that neither of them have properly cried over Slen’s death and both of them let all of their tears out that night.

The next morning, Nalan appears better as for once in a long time he greets Naala back. He has set on his own resolution and apologises for giving her trouble all this time. Just then, an order from the tailor’s arrive and apparently Slen had ordered for a new scarf to be made before he left for war – ‘cos he was going to give the one he had now so someone who had become a full-fledged man already. Naala asks Nalan if she could have this new one as a memento, since he has Slen’s old one. Slen has long approved of Nalan and Naala pats him as he cries silently. Nalan remarks with a smile that in the end, he’s no match for Slen after all.

A wish that won’t come true

After that Nalan recovered from his injuries quickly and every morning he would be practising with his sword. He then removes some soot off Naala, guessing that she must’ve been in the kitchen just now. Naala gets self-conscious, and can’t help but feel disappointed and ashamed of herself when he doesn’t touch her like the other day. Flustered, she trips by accident and Nalan catches her in time. But he’s quick to let go again and soon heads off. Naala notices that he has been touching her less than before, and wonders if he no longer likes her. But it’s not like she can ask aloud since she’s still a widow in mourning, and a wife once. Naala did not expect Nalan to propose to her that night though, but in quite a different way. Nalan asks her to marry him in name till she finds someone else, to avoid being forced to marry someone after 3 months. Naala guesses that Nalan is doing this as an atonement towards Slen, and wonders how can she switch her feelings so swiftly as Nalan is doing so now.

Nalan still hasn’t given up on their dream, to form an alliance with Rusu. He admits that after Slen’s death, he didn’t know what to do and even hated Rusu. But surely there must be people like him on Rusu’s end too. No matter what cause you may say the war is for, he feels that it’s all the work of humans and there’s only sadness. Naala finds it admirable that even after he lost someone important, he isn’t blinded by anger and is much stronger than she is. But Nalan denies this, saying that Slen died ‘cos he was weak. But he’d like her to support him. He’ll have to start in the lower ranks of the army, but no matter how many years it takes he won’t give up till he fulfills their dream. As much as Naala is happy to receive a proposal from him, it’s not really as a husband and wife but as a comrade. But she tells him that she can’t let him walk alone on a difficult path of thorns and takes his hand in order to realise the same dream as him. As Nalan holds her hand, he asks if he can call her by her name from now on then. Though slightly taken aback, Naala agrees and as Nalan repeatedly says her name and kisses her hand, she feels herself heating up.

And so her second marriage life begins. It’s been a few days since then and Nalan has entered the army as he said he would. But in order to help settle the confused situation after Slen’s death, Nalan who had always been assisting Slen is also helping out with many other tasks. The servants working in the household are almost all from the army too, so Nalan told them that they could leave after Slen’s death but they refused too as they would like to protect the two people Slen thought of as important. Naala also supports him in her own way and though he felt apologetic at first, the words of apology slowly became words of gratitude. In a different way, she feels that Nalan has his own charisma and the most important thing Slen left behind to him is probably his bonds with other people. Just then, a servant comes to inform them that an inspector wishes to eat with them. Nalan immediately looks disagreeable, as he tells Naala that the inspector comes to check that the marriage isn’t fake (aka they’re doing it at night) – if so they will force a divorce. He won’t allow him into the bedroom though and plans to convince him over dinner. Seeing how calm he is, Naala feels that he’s become more like an adult and more reliable.

That night, the inspector keeps throwing provoking remarks as he implies how lucky Nalan is to have inherited so much and even marry. Though Naala slowly gets irritated, Nalan merely smiles back in agreement. Naala starts to see him becoming more like Slen and caught up in her thoughts, she accidentally spills the alcohol. She quickly cleans up and Nalan takes this chance to act lovey-dovey before the inspector, even biting on her ear which just makes things worse for Naala. The inspector finally clears his throat and remarks that he doesn’t have to worry about their night life, and Nalan agrees that they go at it every night lol. But after that the inspector kinda got drunk so they couldn’t send him away and let him stay the night. To avoid any suspicion they still have to sleep in the same room and even though Nalan is reluctant at first, Naala tells him to sleep beside her. He gives in but also remarks that she’s too defenceless and purposely calls her “Nee-san“. Naala tries to hide her disappointment and Nalan suddenly hugs her, while telling her again that if a man gets serious he’d do this. But Naala holds herself back from hugging him back and as when he wishes “Nee-san” good night, she wishes her husband good night. Though she’s half-joking, the other half is a wish that will never come true.

Melting words

Naala rushes her sewing as she’s been getting busier recently. Now she frequents the residence where the Rusu women are as there’s a lot of uneasiness after the war ended as even – even men are coming to her for consultation as rumours have spread about her being experienced in love since she was the war hero’s wife and married twice. But she’s caught up in her thoughts and doesn’t notice Nalan in the room. As he laughs at how he had to wait around long enough to grow jealous of the needle, Naala has begun to see a different charm in his smile. Nalan invites her out as today the market is full of flower stores. Nalan remarks that she’s the prettiest flower though, and her smell always calms him down. Though Naala always felt at ease with him, now she would always feel self-conscious around him. He brings her to a store where he picks out a bouquet for her and places one stalk in her hair – it’s a type of lily. Nalan recalls that Slen liked this flower too, and once he bought it for Nalan which made him really embarrassed. But Slen said that when he finds someone he likes too he should buy it for the person. He received Slen’s headscarf, and the desire to protect someone too – in order to return the favour to Slen Nalan feels that he should protect Naala. This gives Naala the impression that he married her for atonement. She tells Nalan that she doesn’t want to just be protected, and wants to protect him just as much and she’ll be his sword to cut away the thorns in the difficult path that lies ahead.

She wonders if their “likes” are different already, but still can’t give up on him. She quickly switches the topic as she wants to buy some snacks for the Rusu women. Worrying if she’s being selfish, Naala apologises but Nalan is happy to hear her selfish requests anyway. Naala answers that just having Nalan himself is sufficient and though he’s happy to hear this, he remarks that he’ll misunderstand her. Naala doesn’t understand what he means though so he dismisses it. They return home after visiting the Rusu women, and Naala observes how he’s so popular among everyone. She hesitantly asks if he has anyone he likes and is secretly relieved when he answers that he doesn’t. But she knows that he’ll leave her someday. When Nalan asks if she had fun and she answers positively, he playfully asks for a reward – to use his arm as a pillow. Though Naala tries to avoid the request at first, he pushes her down and she ends up lying on his arm anyway. Naala gets nervous and wonders how long she has to remain like this. Nalan answers that she’d always do this with Slen anyway, and Naala accidentally hurts him when she remarks that he’s different from Slen.

Before Naala can clear up the misunderstanding, Nalan abruptly gets up and leaves the room. Naala can only cry out to no one in particular, that it’s ‘cos she likes Nalan, and her words melt into the air. She is unable to sleep much that night and decides to apologise to him. Naala finds him doing his sword practice as usual that morning, and they end up apologising to each other. But Nalan also says that he has to leave early and can only late that night and quickly leaves her. And days after that he continues to avoid her, even though it’s also true that he’s busy. Naala can’t help but feel lonely, and decides to seek solace in drinking one night. She gets pretty drunk and when she tries to get up to open the window for some fresh air, she overturns the dishes instead. Nalan suddenly comes in after hearing the noise, and sits her down on the chair as he doesn’t want to risk her hurting herself.

Thankful that he’s finally by her side, Naala apologises for the other day and says that she feels painful being unable to talk to him. Nalan apologises in return, and kisses her hand. Naala realises that she got alcohol on herself, and unwittingly wants to undress herself. Nalan gets flustered and stands up to leave the room, but she automatically clings onto him. She knows that she shouldn’t trouble him, but yet she wants to. She should leave him, but she can’t. Seeing that she’s rather drunk, Nalan carries her in order to bring her to the bathroom to wash herself. Once he’s brought her over, Nalan gets up to leave but she clings onto him again and Nalan agrees to remain with his back turned while she bathes. But Naala is still rather light in the head and even hugs him from behind while naked lol. She starts to feels sleepy as she closes her eyes so Nalan tells himself that he’s only taking care of her while washing her. Probably affected by the alcohol, Naala acts even bolder and touches him but Nalan refuses her, feeling that he isn’t worthy of her yet as he’s Slen’s important person. But he also strongly denies that he married her out of duty and apologises for raising his voice. Well we all know where this is going anyway as a drunk Naala continues to push herself and Nalan eventually loses his resistance. Nalan doesn’t do it all the way, though he admits that he’d always dreamed of touching her like this.

Naala passes out at the end and wakes up the next morning with a splitting headache. But she slowly pieces together what happened last night and worries over how to face him later.

A pair

But Nalan never returned home that afternoon and Naala is left waiting and worrying. She goes out to get some water and sees a full moon that night. Wanting to heal her tiredness, she goes out to the courtyard and sees Nalan standing there. They act as per normal and seeing Naala acting hesitant, Nalan tells her that there’s no need to apologise as a couple help each other out. But Naala still apologises for troubling him and promises that she won’t act like that again. Still she’s disappointed and asks if he thought nothing of last night. Nalan answers that it’s ‘cos he did that he’s here like this today. As he looks up to the moon, he remarks that the moon spirit has long golden hair that covers the moon, that’s why the moon is golden. Nalan recalls that when he first saw her he thought that a spirit had descended and that he needed to protect her. But after he saw her laugh and cry after coming here, he realised that she was just a girl. But he saw her strength in her tears – her tears mean that she hasn’t given up. Those who have given up wouldn’t cry, and would only adapt as accordingly. But she never once complained about her forced situation and no matter how painful things got she didn’t give up and cried – perhaps that was when he first fell in love with her. He wanted to both protect her, and also respected her. But Nalan says that those feelings are now a thing of the past, which disappoints Naala since it’s like saying that he no longer likes her.

Naala changes the topic to conceal her feelings and remarks that he knows a lot about the spiritual beliefs. But Nalan reveals that it was his real oldest brother that was – he actually lived with his parents and three older brothers in a town near the sea. But they were all killed by invaders. When they attacked, his oldest brother carried him away to escape. Nalan then saw how both his parents were killed, followed by his second brother, and then his third who protected him from an incoming fire arrow. In the end his oldest brother was also killed. As he prepared himself for death, Slen appeared – but he didn’t kill the enemy completely. Frustrated, the young Nalan shouted at Slen to kill the enemy. In response, Slen told him to take his own revenge and even passed the sword to him. As Nalan kinda lost it and swung the sword around, the enemy eventually fell. Slen asked if he was satisfied and though Nalan agreed so at first, he didn’t feel happy at all and instead felt empty. He exclaimed that he can’t possibly be satisfied and if only Slen had arrived earlier. In response, Slen told him to become strong then so that he could protect his important ones before losing them. With that, Nalan’s goal switched, to wanting to become like Slen. He’d wanted to be able to protect Slen but in the end he couldn’t either. That’s why he wants to protect her, Slen’s important person, in place of Slen himself – even if that love is to become a thing of the past.

Hearing his words, Naala sadly asks if he has killed off his feelings. Nalan confirms that there’s no longer any love and what he wants now is to protect her until the time comes when she can make her own decision. Naala is his most important person now, even more so than his own life. She and her dream has become his reason for existence. Naala’s happy to hear how important she means to him, but also finds herself tearing up. Nalan offers to be her shield and she recalls the day when she offered to be his sword. Naala jokes that they can’t separate from each other since losing one would mean defeat for the other. Nalan agrees, and says that they’ll fight together until the day their dream is fulfilled. As they shake hands, Naala agrees to be his sword. She tells herself that they’ll continue to be a set until the day he finds his real partner. (Bad End: Until that day, branches off from here)

Best End

Epilogue: A distant future

Naala has already turned 25 years old, but she still sees herself as an immature girl and wonders why so many men still come to her for love advice. It has also been in the rumours that her room is called the clinic for the heart lol. The rumours have even reached the courts and last year she was marked out for “inciting thoughts”. But Naala feels that even without her around, everyone will soon realise what the true enemy is. There was once she was even captured by the ministers for their suspicions but she was saved thanks to Toya, the Rusu women and even the army command officers – apparently they’d consulted her 7 years ago when they were still in the lower ranks and got married thanks to her. In the end the ministers gave up as many of the people in power were in her favour. There’s only the occasional assassin attack but other than that it’s been peaceful. As a full moon hangs in the night sky, Naala is reminded of their promise to each other and she feels both happy and sad to have walked down this path with the one she loves. As Nalan said he would, he worked hard and last year when invaders attacked Nasula, he gained huge credit for chasing them away – almost like how Slen did in the past war.

Nalan returns that night as he thinks that it’s about time, having kinda set himself a goal. He informs Naala that he had been made military commander today and finally asks Naala to be his true wife. If it’s the him now, she can always be with him even if they have a kid. Naala is taken aback, since she thought that he didn’t like her anymore, and realises that he held himself back for that reason (to become a noble). Nalan admits that he had set his resolution but never imagined how painful these 7 years would be plus his feelings can no longer be expressed that simply – he loves her more than anyone and suppressed himself all along as he truly wanted all of her. Naala is in awe at his stubbornness, and thinks that even Slen wouldn’t have been able to go all the way through like he did. Apparently if she were to choose another guy for her own happiness, Nalan would’ve let her go. But if not he wanted to properly propose to her just like now. It’s ‘cos he wanted her so much that he came to this day, and asks her for a reward for having been this patient. So the couple finally have their sexy time and since they’re young (or so Nalan claims) and have been holding back for so long, they are sure to go at it multiple times lol. Naala paints the future in her head, as they have their child and one day their child will become someone else’s hope.

Bad End 1: Until that day

Basically the best end epilogue doesn’t happen. It can be assumed that they remain as comrades fighting alongside each other.

Bad End 2: Broken ruby

Naala hears that both Slen and Nalan were killed in the war and everything goes black before her as she’s unable to accept this.

Overall

Nalan what incredible willpower you have lol. Jokes aside, I’m kinda tired so I don’t really have much to say. But I guess we can see that Slen really treats both of them importantly, and I think Nalan does the same too after Slen’s death but the two of them just choose to express them differently. I liked what he said about Naala’s tears as it gives a different perspective, as with Toya’s words on how fragile life is. Anyway, I can’t believe I’m already 2/3 into the game when just earlier this week I was still stuck in Toya’s route. I should be doing Noor’s route next.

10 thoughts on “Koezaru wa Akai Hana: Nalan’s Route

  1. Sena says:

    I admit he was pretty funny at the end, especially with his quick recovery time (I guess that’s a result of 7 years of pent-up…uh….feelings?) and how Naala’s like “are you for real?” in response to his casual remark of how busy they’ll be that night. I actually liked the way he looked in the sexy time CGs more than his sprite (this has nothing to do with his state of dress or undress). He looks a little different to me. Like, he looks more boyish in his sprites, which isn’t bad, but I just preferred the way he looked in the ending CGs more.

  2. Sena says:

    OMG, Slen whyyyyyy. I can’t say I wasn’t expecting him to die in some way, but it was still depressing. He really showed what he was made out of in the end. It’s so depressing because even though she didn’t love him, Naala was on good terms with Slen too in this route. I like Nalan, but you can tell I’m pretty biased because I was so sad that Slen died. I suppose a warrior prefers dying on the battlefield valiantly, or so the saying goes, but still Q.Q It was also probably influenced by the way he died and how he saved Nalan by doing so, choosing to sacrifice himself instead because he knew Naala liked Nalan. I almost want to know what it would’ve been like if it were switched where Nalan protects Slen and Slen ends up being the one returning.

    And then I felt bad again because I kinda stared at Toya a little longer than I should have because his battle outfit looks nice on him when he was relaying the news to Naala about Slen’s passing.

    What was nice about this route was that I was able to see what I was kinda upset about in other routes; how the perception of Slen really wasn’t that good in any route except his own. Even though Nalan’s route branches off of Slen’s, it was nice to see their deep connection to each other and you get to see all Slen’s good points. That reminds me of how I said the same thing for Toya in Luji’s route. I wonder if the creators did that on purpose?

    I wonder how long after their ‘marriage’ that the inspector came. It seems it was really soon after and I wasn’t quite sure how long into the 3 months of mourning it was when Nalan and Naala got married, so I don’t really get the timeline as well as I should. I probably clicked something too quickly and missed it. Or maybe that part wasn’t explicitly mentioned. I was having a hard time trying to piece the time together, but I supposed in the long run it doesn’t really matter and it’s just me looking into something that’s not super important in terms of the story.

    I hate to say it, but it does seem like the only way Naala could progress with either of the guys is if the other dies (Nalan being killed off in Slen’s route and then Slen being killed off in Nalan’s). Slen got closer to Naala in his route from the incident and like Slen’s comment about Nalan needing to “graduate from him,” Nalan seemed like he was able to grow more without Slen there. You could see the small changes in his personality.

    Completely not relevant to just Nalan’s route, but Naala seems a bit clumsy sometimes. She seems to fall all the time, which I find interesting because she’s actually supposed to be good at fighting. I don’t know if that’s really a stereotype, but I feel like to be good at fighting you need to be a bit athletic and at least have a good sense of your body, but she doesn’t seem to have that at times.

    I don’t know why I thought of this either, but I find it interesting that Nalan uses “Ore” for himself versus other pronouns because he doesn’t seem like an “ore” user, but I suppose if I thought about it more, it makes sense because he wants to be the type of person who’d be associated with the image. Just as a first impression though, I didn’t think it matched.

    And the bath looked heavenly. I would totally want to bathe in a bath like that. It looked like a mini pool. I don’t know if it was just me, but I actually thought it was kind of funny that she passed out at the end.

    I really liked the line Nalan said about how her tears showed her strength because people who gave up wouldn’t have cried (or something like that. I can’t remember it verbatim but that was the general meaning). And his family story was sad, although it was kind of strange to hear Nalan say “Slen-sama” even though it was apparent why he did so.

    I guess it’s interesting that Luji got the rape bad end and Nalan got the death bad end. All the main guys got both, but they, as secondary guys, got one each and it’s interesting to note which they got because it makes Nalan’s route seem the least bad since his bad end isn’t as bad as others. It was sad but a bit underwhelming because Naala just didn’t want to accept their deaths and then it was the end so it doesn’t really add much. It’s like a sad end just to have a bad one. And the normal end was just kinda blah because all it does is not give them the happy end. It just felt like the best end was the only one really worth playing because I didn’t get anything out of the other ones.

    Overall, I liked Nalan, but I didn’t get too much from his route. I feel like I ended up liking Slen more, but how I felt about Nalan didn’t change all that much. It went by a little too fast even though I felt like nothing really happened. Although I think it’s pretty impressive that he tried that hard for so long until he got to his rank in order to properly be together with Naala. That also made me wonder if that law was still in effect, though, because that would mean the other Rusu women would still need to worry about being married off to another guy. I guess it was interesting in the sense that he had to go against his true nature of being completely blunt and honest and hide his true feelings, but yeah. I might be too harsh, but I didn’t get as much out of Nalan’s route as I would’ve liked.

    • Yume says:

      I think it was at least a month till they got married since Nalan had to recover his injuries, train to regain his regular physical movements etc. And right? It really seems that one of them has to die for the other route to progress, which is quite sad tbh since the three of them together are cute. As in you can imagine that they’d get along together pretty well if they didn’t have to consider all these other outside factors.

      Yeah for Nalan’s route, only the good end is worth playing. The rest of the ends were kinda meh.

      Nalan is a minor bias of mine so I can’t really give an objective opinion of his route haha. :’3

      • Sena says:

        That would make sense. And it’s terrible sad that either Slen or Nalan needed to die. The three of them together, as limited as it was, was really cute. I almost wish they would like…make AU versions of Nalan’s and Slen’s routes where there’s a good way of ending Slen’s route without Nalan dying and vice versa. Of course, in this AU world, both of them probably wouldn’t be able to love her at the same time, because that’s really what the problem was.

        I’m fine with bad ends if they have meaning, but yeah…Nalan’s bad ends didn’t really have that. As short as it was, even Luji’s bad end had something to it.

        Haha, you’re so funny. I get what you mean though. I mean, minor biases still hold weight🙂

        • Yume says:

          Yeah, it’s sad that the three of them can’t all be together – as much as I find them a nice OT3 haha. Maybe the PSP port will have some happy changes? As much as I doubt so but haha, who knows.

          • Sena says:

            I’m really curious just how much they’re changing and how much they’re going to try and keep the same. This is the first time I’m actively trying to wait for a PC to PSP port. I mean, when I first got into the game, I was a little weary of the R-18 aspect, but like you said, it’s really integrated into the story and plot, so it makes me wonder how they’re going to accommodate the rating shift. I suppose it might have a lot of implied intimacy instead which might still get the same points across. I guess we’ll just have to wait patiently and see, haha.

            • Yume says:

              Yeah, I’m thinking that it’ll be implied with all the suggestive lines and fade-out-to-black scenes. But we’ll see. I imagine that they should be incorporating more non-R-18 scenes to make up for that too.

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