|Warning: This page contains spoilers. Continue at your own risk!|
|Rōmaji||dai 4 wa|
|Page Count||37 Pages|
|Volume Number||Volume 01|
|List of Akagami no Shirayukihime Chapters|
Zen and Mitsuhide examine a notice hanging on the wall inside the castle about the upcoming exam for "Royal Court Pharmacist Apprenticeship". The time for the applicants to take their test has come. Zen acts surprised that today is the day, but Mitsuhide quickly points out how Zen has been noticeably on edge for some time. Flustered, Zen changes the subject to Kiki's absence.
Kiki arrives in the garden below accompanied by Shirayuki who is carrying a large bag. Zen jumps down from the open upper floor and questions about the exam. Shirayuki is indeed taking the test but wanted to see Zen first. Zen asks her if she is nervous, to which she replies not much and then grabs his hand. After holding onto Zens hand for a moment, she jerks her hand into a fist, pumped as though he has given her the confidence to tackle the challenge.
The Chief Pharmacist of Wistal Castle, Garrack, welcomes the newcomers to the castle. She explains the road to becoming a Court Pharmacist begins with apprenticeship and from there will become more difficult until they are fully fledged. Applicants will each look after one of the herb gardens on the castle grounds for three days.
Shirayuki is surprised that they will not be mixing medicines for their exam but seems fine with the test's task. She enters the Third Herb Garden, where she is assigned, and is taken aback by it's size and number of plants. She also seems fascinated by the aqueduct which she has heard of but never seen in person.
Zen goes for a walk that evening only to find himself wandering towards the garden anyway. From the door he peers in to watch Shirayuki work, not wanting to disturb her. She is taking notes on the plants and notices one needs more soil. The lights were on but he was surprised to see her there because morning is about to break. She has been there all night.
A rustle comes from the bushes startling Zen. He jumps right inside the door and peers out into the night gaining Shirayuki's attention. As she goes to greet him the door slams shut and they cannot get out of the greenhouse. they have been locked in. Zen immediately asks if she has already made enemies within the applicants. She assures him she hasn't and adds that she is in the exam right now. Shocked, Zen realizes that by locking him inside, Shirayuki could be blamed for cheating when they are found by the chief pharmacist in the morning. Shiriyuki, however, is more curious why Zen is there at all. He tells her his feet are to blame for bringing him there.
Changing the subject, he asks if she has been sleeping since she has clearly been in the garden all night. She lies and says yes. Excitedly she reveals she hasn't exactly been working for the test but taking advantage of the opportunity to see many new herbs and plants not available in her homeland. There are certain flowers that can only be seen at night within this garden as well. She goes to show him one but realized something is wrong with the plant. The flowers are facing the wrong direction.Everything seems ok within the plant's environment, she then tastes the water running underneath it, finding it to be sweet. Confused she runs to taste another channels water, which is normal. She mentions that the water is poisoned, which Zen reacts terrified to and grabs her shoulder in concern, as she just drank it. Shirayuki clarifies that it is not poisonous to people but only to other plants, so Zen relaxes and sits down. He scolds her for scaring him like that.
After examining the plants she realizes her own mistake has poisoned the water. After raising a plant incorrectly, as if it were a similar plant, it released poison into the lower aqueduct. All the plants will die if they continue to be supplied with the contaminated water and soil. Quickly realizing what must be done she informs Zen that all the plants must be moved. He expresses his concern that she may be disqualified if he helps but she assures him that is not the issue at hand. She then tells him how he has given her strength up until now and they share a momentary lock of eyes before Zen agrees to help.
Together they work though the rest of the night, to be found exhausted and covered in dirt by Garrack in the morning. Surprised to find the prince and seeing the mess, Garrack begins asking about what possibly could have happened here last night. After Shirayuki explained, Garrack is impressed to see that they moved everything to new soil in only one night. However, she asks critically if Zen assisted her. Shirayuki, calmly explains how the plants that would have died without his help may save lives within the palace someday.Both Zen and Garrack are shocked by this answer but Garrack accepts it.It is revealed that another applicant had indeed tried to narrow the competition by locking another person inside with Shirayuki. Garrack asks to address the situation personally, because the applicant may faint when they find out they locked up the prince. Zen describes the stranger to her, and steps away from the matter.
Garrack sternly warns Shirayuki about using her friendship with the prince. Zen steps in and informs her it was he who came of his own will, not Shirayuki who asked him to come. Garrack asks Zen why he doesn't just ask for Shirayuki to be within the Court Pharmacy, because they could not decline his request. He explains if he did that, Shirayuki would never come to the palace again and he doesn't want her to hate him. Shirayuki is strong and self dependent, and wishes to do thing on her own merit. Garrack loses it with this answer, cracking up as she leaves the two behind. Her assistant, Yatsufusa mentions how she is scary when she laughs. Garrack had planned this complication but had not expected Shirayuki to go so far to remedy the situation. She is clearly impressed by the rumored red haired girl.
Later Mistuhide and Kiki heckle Zen and tell him he will hopefully be accepted as an apprentice as well. Flustered he tries to explain again that it wasn't his fault he spent the night there but they continue to give him a hard time. Once they leave, Zen asks Shirayuki about the flowers that didn't bloom on the poison plant. She tells him they are an interesting red, to which he replies "I already know an extraordinary red."