Volume 5 of The King’s Beast is starting to build up all the tensions; Rangetsu realizes she likes her Prince when he thinks she’s a guy body-guard, she finds out that the attendant Taihaku knows what she is but might be willing to help her keep the secret until she can avenge her brother’s murder, there’s a strong hint who may have been responsible although it’s really not that surprising, one of the other Princes may be onto Rangetsu as well, and Prince Tenyou is starting to realize something’s up with or about Rangetsu except he seems to take it more like feeling left out of something.
Usually, this kind of sentimental hand-wringing gets on my nerves, but Rangetsu actually has kind of a breakthrough in dealing with her feelings, both about Tenyou as well as realizing the weight that keeping the secret was having on her once she realizes Taihaku knows and she can confide in him a little. The hint about who might have been responsible for Rangetsu’s twin’s murder is not that surprising and it’s kind of nice that the character hasn’t been all that likeable what little we’ve gotten to see of them, so I’m kind of looking for the public downfall, whenever that gets to happen.
I do feel a little for Taihaku though; he seems to want to do right by everyone, but that’s getting much trickier by the second since he has to balance Rangetsu’s secret with Tenyou’s ignorance but not get his master in trouble or cause him distress, since Tenyou definitely is getting worked up about wanting to make Rangetsu happy but probably not realizing exactly why, and then getting sentimental about finding out that she’s her brother’s twin (he knew they had been family, but not necessarily that close). It’s also going to be interesting to see what happens on Tenyou at least starts to catch on what Rangetsu’s secret might be; his reaction is one of few things that are not totally predictable based on current information.
I’m honestly a little surprised I haven’t gotten tired of the romance that’s been pretty much central since the start; the world, the other characters, and even the main pair are interesting and complex enough that for the time being. It’s working.