Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 18- Papa Don’t Preach


Spoilers ahead! Need to catch up? Visit the archive for prior installments of this manga read along.

When we last left off, Yuri had just received word that the Egyptians were on their way to Ugarit, a kingdom on the Hittite border that they believed was their ally. Rusafa informs Yuri that they need reinforcements to hold off an enemy army the size of the one coming at them. The Egyptians arrive in two days. It will take five to get more men from the nearest Hittite fortress town. Yuri is deeply worried because with Ramses acting as general, he will see through any cheap trick she uses to buy time.

Yuri and Rusafa run around the castle as the King of Ugarit shouts insults at them, trying to convince all civilians to flee the area. A group of prostitutes refuse to leave. They count soldiers as their best customers and plan to stick around no matter what so they can work in the aftermath of the battle. As Yuri speaks with their leader, she has moment were she realizes that she was very lucky to meet Kail. If she hadn’t, she might have had to turn tricks to keep herself fed.

Later as they chew over tactics to use to slow the Egyptian advance, the prostitutes interrupt the meeting to offer to help them. They will put out a call to every ‘ho within fifty miles to descend on the Egyptian camp and distract them with the mother of all orgies. Yuri wants to disguise herself as one of the prostitutes and go undercover in their camp. Her plan is to release their horses during the night so they are forced to travel on foot. This is probably the worst plan she could have dreamed up considering that Ramses has given the order to have captured alive for his…uh… personal gratification. Not to mention as the Gal Meshedi and the king’s concubine, she is a valuable hostage the Egyptians can use against the Hittites.

Ugh! I can tell this going to be one of those volumes were Yuri’s intelligence swings like a pendulum. For every moment of brilliant, there is an equal yet opposite moment of shear bone-headed stupidity.

When the Hittites arrive in the town of Beida, Yuri and prostitutes are waiting. They descend on the soldiers and a ton of naughty stuff starts happening off screen. All we get a bunch of sound effects rising off the city.

Yuri, the sisters and Rusafa use the distraction to go to the pens were they’re keeping their horses. They open the gates and let them run off. Yuri splits away from the group so they can work faster and hit more pens scattered around the town.

Ramses notices that this town has a staggering number of prostitutes. There seems to be a woman for every one of his soldiers. He suspects a trap and goes to check on the supplies, fearing sabotage. That’s when he runs, quite literally, into Yuri. She’s wrapped up in a cloak but he recognizes her voice. She tries to run but she doesn’t get far. He catches her and tears the cloak off. He complements the fine dress she’s wearing beneath it before forcibly kissing her. After binding her up with her own cloak so she can’t move, he carries her off.

Ramses tells her that if she’ll be his wife, he won’t attack Ugarit. He isn’t interested a remote little kingdom when he believes Yuri is the key to winning the Egyptian throne. He believes she has queenly qualities and is the perfect woman to rule at his side when he claims the title of Pharaoh. Rusafa and the sisters appear with swords drawn to rescue their mistress. Rusafa loses his head when he sees Ramses manhandling her and duels with him.

Ramses raises the alarm and marshals the Egyptians against them. Yuri orders Hadi to grab Rusafa and force him to retreat with them before the soldiers pin them in. She believes that she will not be killed as long as she’s in Ramses’s custody. Sure enough, as soon as he drags her back to his tent he tries to rape her for the second time.

Ramses really has no redeeming qualities and from this point onward we start to see more and more of him. He is insensitive, arrogant and doesn’t give a flying fig about Yuri’s desires or boundaries. He is a villain but I kind of get the impression that Shinohara doesn’t fully believe that. He isn’t a potential rival for Yuri in that bad boy I-shouldn’t-want-this-but-I-do or a someone who plans to use Yuri for his own purposes only to fall for her in earnest. If he was either of those things he might be a more tolerable character. He’s just a walking rape-threat that refuses to go away. Even Prince Mattiwaza, the other rapist villain who tried to physically separate Yuri and Kail, was a more complex and sympathetic character.

Yuri resists but Ramses interprets her shudders of disgust as sexual response and taunts her that since she must have given it up to Kail, she’s become a little nympho. The exact line is, “Your body has become more sensitive hasn’t it? I guess I had that scoundrel King Mursili to thank for that.” What a vile pig. Two sentences and you could write a dissertation on the ugly assumptions packed in within. The thought that we will be seeing Ramses a lot in this section of the story makes me ill. It also makes Yuri sick and he stops tearing her dress off when she rolls over to barf.

The puke totally kills his boner. When Yuri says that she’s been retching up a lot and food tastes weird to her, Ramses tells her that she’s pregnant. Yuri seems totally shocked by this. Aside from her fainting on Kail in the last volume, this is the first we’ve seen her acting like her rabbit died. But you’d think that the possibility would have constantly weighed on her mind as a thing that was bound to happen. If ye olde timey birth control was even an option for her, Yuri never made any mention of it.

Kail shows up in Ugarit with the rest of the army. He is eager to see Yuri only to be greeted with the news that Yuri went out on a mission that went horribly wrong. When Rusafa breaks the news that Ramses has her, Kail gets furious like he’s never been.

Yuri is hopeful that Ramses will release her now that she’s got a bun in her oven. He’s not moved in the slightest. He promises he will be a good father to her and Kail’s child and all of her babies after that will be his. Ramses orders to troops to withdrawal. He is taking Yuri back to Egypt.

Luckily, Kail guesses his moves and orders the Hittites to keep the Egyptians from reaching the Nile with Yuri. They catch the Egyptians by surprise and Kail manages to steal Yuri back. He knows that he should retreat once he has Yuri but he has the perfect opportunity to fight Ramses as he is alone. The two men draw sword and prepare to fight. But before they can, a chariot rolls up and Ramses jumps in just as Kail’s men show up to back him up. Kail decides it is too dangerous to keep pursuing Ramses when they had met their objective and the Hittites retreat.

Back at the Hittite command post, Yuri frets over what to tell Kail about the baby. She has no idea how he’ll react but she suspects her may not be happy about it. She couldn’t be pregnant at a worse time since she won’t be able to fulfill her duties as Gal Meshedi. If she can’t met the terms the Senate set before her, she won’t become queen. She stutters and stammers about needing time away from the army and Kail guesses before she says it outright that she’s with child.

Kail couldn’t be happier. He instantly becomes uncharacteristically overprotective and orders that Rusafa take her place as head general. Then he call for his servants to bring all the special pregnant lady food they can find that is high in nutrients since Yuri’s eating for two. Yuri and Kail’s crew congratulate them on their first child, but Kail tells them to keep it a secret. Nakia will be hot to harm Yuri and their baby because a son and heir could make it more difficult for her to install Juda as king.

They make arrangements to send Yuri far from the front lines so she will be safe from the fighting and Nakia’s henchmen. Kail becomes almost comically obsessed with her health, fretting every time she lifts her luggage. Hadi tells him to cool it. Slowly, Kail begins cutting her off from military matters by not telling her about how the campaign fairs so she doesn’t fret and worry about anything but the baby.

Yuri confesses that while she wants nothing more to have this baby, she feels guilty that they couldn’t fulfill the deal they made with the Senate. Kail is hopeful that they can marry once the baby is born. He thinks that after he puts the Egyptians down, he can pressure the Senate to let their marriage go forward. He will have a stronger hand to play once Yuri provides him an heir to secure the throne.

Meanwhile, the twins go to a temple to offer prayers that Yuri has a safe pregnancy and an easy delivery. They don’t reveal the name of their mistress to the priest, but they don’t have to. The priest who accepts their sacrificial offerings is Urhi in disguise and he knows the twins are Yuri’s shadows. He spreads the word. Kail finds out the jig is up when nobles and ambassadors start bringing gifts to the palace. Since everyone will know soon and Yuri is beloved by the masses, he allows her to hold a reception before she leaves the city.

People cram into the city from the nearby villages. They are all eager to express their joy to their Ishtar. Yuri waves at them from the balcony. Urhi plans to use the crowds as cover to try to harm her before she gets out the city. When her litter is carried through the streets, his henchmen attack it. But when they knock it over, they find it was full of rocks. Kail thought it was a possibility so he used it as decoy. Yuri is actually preparing to sail out town on a ship as Urhi discovers the ruse.

As her ship casts off, Rusafa jumps onto the deck, giving up his chance to fight alongside Kail so he can accompany his mistress. Kail isn’t too angry as he knows Rusafa will guard her with his life. Unfortunately, they didn’t really outwit Urhi. He lurks about the docks, watching the boat get further down the river and ominously implies that an assassin is on board with her.


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