Episode Nine plays off of Shirayuki getting drunk back in Episode Eight when the chief herbalist had her drink some liquor in the guise of tasting something medicinal for reference. It turns out that Shirayuki can’t hold her liquor well, and collapses. When Shirayuki awakens, she’s still drunk, so the chief herbalist tells Obi to watch over her.

It was kind of amusing to see a drunk Shirayuki, since she was acting in ways the audience wouldn’t normally expect her to. However, even in her drunken state, she was still cognizant enough to know what she needed for the secret trip she was planning to undertake to check on Fort Laxdo. But during all of this, Obi and Shirayuki have a great scene together. Their personalities seem to complement each other, and it seems the two of them start getting a little closer during this exchange. And thanks to a task that Zen had sent Obi on prior to becoming Shirayuki’s bodyguard, Obi is able to tell Shirayuki he’s already checked on the fort and brought back the information she would have been gathering there. At least Obi was able to stop her from doing something that could have gotten her into trouble.

Unfortunately, Shirayuki stumbles after a while, and Obi catches her. Obi comments here that it’s interesting watching Zen and Shirayuki and tries to reinforce that he’s simply a spectator. However, by the way he acts and with some of the reactions he’s had to Shirayuki, I suspect he’s either lying to himself or he hasn’t quite come to the realization that he’s started to have feelings toward Shirayuki.

Zen receives some focus in Episode Nine as well, although it’s not as much as Shirayuki. He is the subject of a flashback that Mitsuhide has about what happened after the betrayal of Atri, the boy who Zen thought had been his friend. That entire backstory is there to establish that Zen had tried to get close to someone once and had been burned. During the flashback, Mitsuhide says he will stay by Zen’s side. Mitsuhide also tells Zen there will definitely be someone he can trust among the people he meets. Knowing that Mitsuhide is still standing by Zen’s side now adds some weight to what was shown in the flashback sequence.

In the present, Zen reveals that he has made Obi the Messenger for Clarines’ Second Prince. In addition to serving as a messenger, Obi is also expected to keep watch over Shirayuki and protect her. Obi had saved Shirayuki from someone who had been following her and sending notes about her to whoever hired them, so he proved that he’s capable for that task.

And now that Obi is officially going to be protecting Shirayuki, it means that he’ll be around her a lot more. I expect that as Obi spends more time around her and gets to know her, he’ll find that he’s fallen for her. Since there’s going to be a second cour of the series that starts in January 2016, I’m wondering if this first cour is going to work at setting up a love triangle between Shirayuki, Zen, and Obi, and then the second half will be driven by said love triangle. And during this episode, it seems that Zen and Obi have also started getting closer, so this potential love triangle could affect Zen and his ability to trust others. After seeing Episode Nine, I believe that this is a potential direction that the series could go on. It’ll be interesting to see if I’m right.

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