「ソーレナの孫娘」 (Sourena no magomusume)
I swear I like Zero more and more as the weeks wear on. We may have not received the inevitable Zero-mercenary reunion this episode—no worries, it’s still coming—but that little moment of happiness was easily made up for by the reveals. And what reveals they were: Albus’ true origins, the importance of our wolfman, and the mercenary’s search for an excuse to return to Zero. Ok, the last reveal may be obvious, but it’s still heartwarming to see.
As fully expected a while back, Albus is indeed Sorena’s granddaughter. This twist I feel was apparent enough given all the previous hints, but it is to Zero’s credit that the reveal remained largely ambiguous up to our wolf Holdem’s backstory. The blonde baby hair here was more than enough to give it away, but it was particularly ironic that Albus was actually discovered through the sense of smell. Pretty funny witches can be smelled out in contradiction to Zero’s earlier claim, albeit only like any other person. Plus we have an explanation for why Holdem wanted Zero so badly in the first place and chased after the mercenary. While our wolfman may have redeemed himself with his guardianship and rescue, I do not think it entirely makes up for his previous actions yet. The guy still enslaved concubines for the hell of it (apparently) and walked the earth as though he was its sole master. Yeah the noble background and lackadaisical womanizing explains the attitude, but for a man sworn to protect someone you would think he would exercise some restraint, especially after Albus ran off. Protector or not, Holdem has some work ahead of him, but we should see it soon given he looks set to join the party.
Story-wise also saw some intriguing developments, particularly concerning the Sorcerers of Zero. While it’s currently a wolf’s hearsay, Him causing Sorena’s death does make some sense when you consider the guy also raided a cave for Zero’s grimoire. Thirteen is his own barrel of fun, but it’s increasingly looking like the Sorcerers’ leader is the key enemy of this story. Although seemingly simple, we don’t entirely know what is meant here by giving magic to the masses, or how Him’s method differs from that of Sorena. Is it just spreading previously forbidden knowledge, or inculcating a new political order? Is the objective eliminating the barriers between man and witch, or forging new ones? Thirteen evidently believes the worst considering his actions, and it’s not unlikely he envisions Albus as a counterweight to Him’s ambitions. Alive or dead, Albus remains the blood of Sorena, and thus a useful pawn to divide and conquer the witches. It would certainly explain why Thirteen wants Albus and friends captured alive after all, besides the risk to Zero it’s always better having a tool that can do the convincing for you.
With Zero still under Thirteen’s tender loving care and the mercenary and Albus reunited though, I’m guessing we are looking towards a renewed and slightly different search for the grimoire. The mercenary wants the book as his atonement to Zero, while Albus and Holdem will probably desire getting it out of Him’s hands to keep Sorena’s dream alive. All paths are quickly leading to our magical Prometheus, although it’s likely Thirteen will have to be dealt with before we see who this guy really is. With assassins inbound and some Albus-related catharsis to experience, Zero’s next episode definitely won’t be disappointing.