During a lengthy meeting with the “Spirit Faithful” whose favor she must gain to be an effective queen, Princess Anisphia is praised for finally “growing up” from the carefree tomboy and dedicating herself to the kingdom. She is also treated like a heretic (for her magicology) and like a womb to be filled as soon as possible by someone of their choosing. I’m not surprised Anis has to vomit after the ordeal. But then, despite all evidence to the contrary all over her face, she looks at herself in the mirror and says “I’m perfectly fine.” Like hell, girl!
No, Anis is in a very bad emotional state, caught as she is between the responsibility now on her shoulders, the guilt of having pushed it upon Algard and all that wrought, and the fact that becoming the queen means ceasing to be who she is and who she’s always been…and even then the nobles might revolt if she puts a toe out of line. She’s wearier still when Euphie tells her she wants to meet with her, the king and queen, Ilia, and Lainie (now a maid-in-training) to tell her she now knows what it is she needs to do.
Before this meeting even began, and before I knew the true extent of who Lumi is and what that entails, I already knew it would fail. Because as much as Euphie loves Anis and wants to protect her, becoming an immortal spirit contractor who forgets all of her memories and feelings for others and becomes an ethereal husk of a person is definitely not what Anis would want! Indeed, by the time Lumi is done describing something akin to when Elrond told Arwen what would become of loving a mortal, suddenly becoming a queen doesn’t sound so bad!
Euphie is coming at this from a position of deep love and caring for Anis, but she badly miscalculates how she’d react to her requesting that the king adopt her after she enters into a spirit contract so she can take the throne instead of Anis. Nevermind losing Euphie forever; to have her birthright taken away feels, to Anis at this moment, like Euphie would be taking away the last bit of value she had. The challenges are immaterial to Anis: she is the goddamn Crown Princess, and she will be queen…or she’ll be nothing.
When Euphie offers a hand of comfort, Anis slaps it away—doing so for the very first time—and runs off in tears. She’s sulking in an alley in the pouring rain when Tilty finds her and takes her to her house to warm herself by the fire. At first Tilty goes with her usual aloof schtick but when she realizes how wounded Anis is, she too warms up, gives Anis a shoulder to cry on. She also gives her an alternative life: the two of them could travel the world plying their unique trade, free as birds. It’s sounds fun, but the bottom line is Anis can’t throw away her throne.
When Euphie arrives, Tilty gives them the room. Once again Anis slaps her hand away, and Euphie smiles softly and sadly, noting Anis has never expressed anger towards her before. Euphie worries that the nobles will never accept her. Anis tells her it doesn’t matter who accepts her, it’s her duty. She begs Euphie not to make her “somebody no one needs”, and tells her, with another face that insists otherwise, that she’s “perfectly fine.”
The two remain incredibly dedicated to one another, but neither will budge on their position. Euphie doesn’t want Anis to sacrifice herself to the throne, and Anis doesn’t want to sacrifice her so she can remain herself. However important Anis’ dream of magic is, it can’t begin to compare to Euphie’s life.
Anis is resigned to the fact neither of them will be able to convince the other with words…so she proposes a duel between them. Presumably, whoever wins will get their way…but considering both choices kind of suck, I still hope that after dueling it out these two can put their heads together and find a third way.