Before she knew it, Princess Iris, who not only believed she was the strongest fighter in her kingdom, but needed to believe it, was beaten. Mundane Mann’s sword lingered at her throat. He could have taken her life ay any moment, and she knew it. Not taking her life, showing mercy, isn’t what enrages Iris.
It’s when Mann lowers his sword, without even asking if she yields, because something else has gotten his attention. He thinks so little of her as his opponent he can not only turn away, but leave the battlefield. Of course, it’s so Cid can stop Rose from getting herself killed, then face off against an even stronger opponent in Beatrix.
Cid and Beatrix cross blades so quickly as they guide through the rainy sky, they almost look like fireworks. But soon the two-person dance gains a third partner. Iris isn’t done with Shadow; not by a long shot. Unfortunately for her and Beatrix, he is simply in another league when it comes to speed, strength, and precision. He even fights them with his beloved crowbars!
Meanwhile, Rose is free, but asks herself in a dark alley, what now? Alpha appears to give her two options: try to save her kingdom by going it alone, which will almost surely end in failure and death…or join Shadow Garden and prove both she and Oriana are worth saving.
Of all the women Cid has dueled with, Annerose definitely gets off the easiest; she’s a picture of tranquility as Iris and Beatrix throw everything they have at Shadow in the background. Bon Voyage, Annerose!
It takes some sustained futility for Iris and Beatrix to finally agree to work together, which consists of Iris using one of her flashier fire attacks with her enchanted mithril sword—the use of which she earlier agreed is underhanded, but she has no choice.
She aims to stop Shadow even if it costs her her life, but even her best attack doesn’t even hit, nor does Beatrix’s, which she executes after charging up with a cool display of whirling geometric shapes. Iris ends up face down on the ground, and Beatrix soon joins her, Shadow stomping them both into submission.
When Iris tells Shadow that their attack has only been stalling for time, the entire Knight’s Order has mustered, and there’s nowhere for him to run, Cid breaks out his loudest, most drawn-out, supervillainous (excuse me: supereminancious) laugh yet. Run? Run where? Why?
No, Shadow is staying right where he is, because playtime is over. Cid really chews into the clichés here, and just generally has an absolute blast—literally, as he covers the capital in an eerie purple dome, then unleashes I AM ATOMIC as the ultimate battle-ending coup-de-grace.
But—and this is key—this I AM ATOMIC is totally benign; just a glorified puff of smoke that allows him to withdraw of his own accord. When Beatrix and Iris come to, the rain is gone, the sky is clear and blue, and a rainbow arches over them. Beatrix is her usual stoic self, but Iris starts blubbering like a child. I’ll say this for Shadow, she brings out a side of Iris no one else can!
Speaking of women he negatively affected, remember Sherry Barnett? I do! And she makes a quick cameo in the ending minutes of the episode that serve as an epilogue. She’s itching to fight and kill him, while Asshat get scolded by his Cult superior, trying to frame his failure as a positive since it resulted in the destabilization of Oriana.
As for Cid Kagenou, he continues to not be killed by his sister, and is back on the train to the temporary buildings where dark knight academy classes take place until Gamma’s conglomerate rebuilds the academy. The Seven Shades are hard at work both in the shadows and in broad daylight, doing what must be done.
Rose wisely decides to join Shadow Garden, but learns that it won’t be a picnic. After walking dozens of miles, she and Alpha reach the Garden’s secluded headquarters, ancient city of Alexandria, which gives off some serious Nazarick vibes.
There, Alpha hands Rose of to Lambda, who tells her her life and identity up to that point are over and meaningless. With one swipe, Rose’s clothes—and more distressingly, her beloved burger wrapper—are torn to shreds. But before long, “Number 666”, as she has been re-named, will likely have a sleek slime suit of her own—and renewed purpose.
The Eminence in Shadow appropriately and perfectly concludes with its namesake character, once again playing Moonlight Sonata in a dark, dramaticaly lit room filled with drifting feathers. It is only the latest of many carefully-orchestrated “set pieces” Cid is not only fond of, but lives for.
With his army and background influence growing and his enemies sharpening their swords, there’s a ton that could be done in a theoretical second season. If and when that season becomes a reality, I’ll be right there, parked in my comfy Ikea chair, ready to watch Cid act like a endearing goofball and a breathless badass simultaneously. But for now, Eminence goes out on the highest of notes.