In Episode Four, Nike learns that Livius has received a message from the Ministry of the Priesthood, saying they don’t accept Nike as his future wife due to being of a foreign ethnic group. Weddings in the royal family must have approval from the Ministry of the Priesthood. However, if they insist on having Nike accepted, she has to agree to undergo the Rite of Illumination, which is a special ritual where Nike would have to retrieve a special ring to be used in the Exchanging of Suns which is consecrated in an underground temple. However, this is no easy task, and Livius doesn’t want her doing it, and he says that he will protect her.

However, Nike doesn’t want to be a burden, so she disguises herself and enters the eastern temple, where the Ministry of the Priesthood is located. When she gets inside, she sees that one of the priests is about to attack a young woman for making a mistake and she takes it upon herself to interfere. This reveals her identity, and a priest who has a vendetta against Livius explains he disapproves of Nike and says that Livius doesn’t deserve to be on the throne, much less have ever been born.

The young girl Nike saved takes her to a building that houses refugees and people of other ethnicities. She learns that Livius has come to visit this establishment a bit since meeting Nike, and how he talks highly of her there. After this visit, Nike decides to go through the Rite of Illumination. Livius objects at first, but when Nike makes it clear she’s going through with it, Livius gives her a ring that his mother had given to him and says that he believes the ring will protect her.

Nike begins the Rite of Illumination near the end of Episode Four, and something surprising happens to create a cliffhanger.

This episode focuses a lot on the politics going on in regards to Livius and his engagement to Nike. While it had been hinted at previously that Livius has enemies, especially with the assassination attempt that happened earlier in the series, this is the first time it truly also involved Nike and the engagement. And it turns out this foe is someone rather high up in an administrative body that Livius has no control over. It was also interesting to see the focus on the prejudice that other ethnicities are receiving, especially within the Ministry of the Priesthood.

This episode also makes it clear that Livius and Nike have started developing a stronger relationship. While I wouldn’t call it love yet, they have come to care about what happens to the other. And with the cliffhanger that happens at the end of this episode, whatever happens in Episode Five to progress the story past the cliffhanger could play an important role in how Livius progresses as a character.

The World is Still Beautiful continues to be an enjoyable series to watch, and I’m looking forward to watching Episode Five in order to find out what happens next.

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