Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 19 – Castaway

Spoilers, Spoilers! There are spoilers ahead. Want earlier summaries? Visit the archive and catch up.

In the last volume Yuri found out she was pregnant and had to give up her military duties. Kail sent her away on a ship thinking he was getting her out of harm’s way, but Urhi gloated that they were playing right into his hands. As the volume begins, news makes it back to the capital that Yuri has a bun in her oven and it sets the kingdom into a tizzy of joy. Everyone except Nakia is glad that they may finally have an heir to the throne. She goes berserk and breaks all the stuff in her room. Only a letter from Urhi telling her that he’s got the Yuri situation covered calms her down.

Sure enough, Urhi has an assassin on board. He blackmailed one of the sailors to arrange for a little ‘accident at sea’ to befall Ishtar’s ship. The sailor cuts the lines of the sails in the middle of the night but gets caught in the act by the captain. They struggle on deck and knock over a lantern, setting the ship ablaze. As the ship sinks, Yuri falls into the water. She tries to swim up the surface but she experiences a lancing pain in her stomach.

The rest of the ships in the fleet try to rescue Yuri and the other survivors, but while they recover most of the crew, she gets swept away by the current. Rusafa desperately keeps up the search and eventually finds her clinging to a floating bit of cargo. She begs him to help her as she thinks she’s losing the baby. But before Rusafa can call to the over ships, the current drags them further out to sea.

While this is happening, Kail gets wind that Urhi was behind the row at Yuri’s reception and fears that she may not be safe. However, the Egyptians are attacking again, getting dangerously close to Hittite territory, and he has no choice but to go into battle against Ramses once more. In the middle of the battle, he gets word that Yuri’s ship sank and she was lost at sea. Grief rocks him to the core and he is unable to issue any commands as the Hittite ranks start to break up in front of the advancing Egyptians. He recovers enough to order them to shore up their defenses, but the hesitation costs him the battle.

Kail has to order the troops to retreat in utter defeat to try to set up a new defensive line before the enemy reaches Ugarit. Prince Mali stays behind to try to slow the Egyptians down. He challenges Ramses to a duel and it doesn’t go well. He ends up getting stabbed in the gut. He gets sent back to Kail, barely clinging to life, and Mali promises him that Yuri will find her way back to Kail as he will prevent her from entering the underworld. His younger brother’s death is another crushing emotional blow and he is unable to continue the battle.

As Yuri and Rusafa float on the waves, Rusafa starts to worry that Yuri’s life may also be in danger. Just as things start to look grim, a ship passes by. He flags it down and they are taken on board. Unfortunately, it is an Egyptian ship. To protect their identities, Rusafa claims that he is a merchant from Ugarit and Yuri is his sister. He begs they take them back to Ugarit to find her doctor, but the Egyptians refuse. They are heading to Byblos on important business. Rusafa is leery of letting them take them into the heart of enemy territory but Byblos is closer than Ugarit so he can’t protest.

Yuri’s pain just gets worse as does her fear for her child. The ship is able to see Byblos in the distance when she starts bleeding. They get her to a doctor but the prognosis is grim. The doctor says he can’t do much, but recommends trying to find an Egyptian field medic by asking the military commander for help. It’s Ramses. After sending Kail away with his tail between his legs, Ramses came to town. Rusafa is in a bad situation. He thinks that Ramses would save Yuri, but it would also mean delivering her into his hands all by wrapped up like a birthday present. Yuri cries out in pain and Rusafa makes his decision. He goes to the Egyptian camp and begs to see Ramses.

The soldiers refuse to let him see the General and Rusafa has to endure heckling and hand over every valuable he has in bribes including his iron sword and Yuri’s distinctive necklace. They make him beg on his hands and knees. But after all that abuse, they refuse to take his message to Ramses. The Egyptians inspect their loot as they try to gauge how much they can get by selling the sword and jewelry. Once they see that the sword is made of iron, they realize Rusafa is a Hittite and take the valuables to Ramses. They come clean about the message they were supposed to deliver about Yuri’s miscarriage. Ramses storms off to find Yuri after threatening to kill them if she dies because they delayed aid.

Ramses bursts into Yuri’s sickroom with a gaggle of Egypt’s best doctors. Rusafa and Ramses wait outside the cottage and Ramses gives Rusafa a chance to beat the stuffing out of one of the soldiers that tormented him back at camp. But when the doctors emerge from the sickroom, the news is bad. Yuri lost the baby.

Yuri, who has been delirious for most of the volume, has a hallucination of blond baby boy crawling away from her. She tries to chase after him, but the baby is picked up by the ghosts of Zannanza and Ursula. Yuri wants to follow them into the land of the dead, but the ghost of Prince Mali appears and tells her to turn back to the land of the living. She regains consciousness. Her sadness over the lost child is dwarfed by her guilt. She fears that Kail may be unable to forgive her for losing it.

Ramses tells Rusafa that he will take Yuri with him back to his home in Egypt. As soon she is well enough to travel, they put her on a ship. Rusafa is allowed to accompany her so he can tend to her and promises that he will find a way to send her back to Kail. Yuri is so despondent that she doesn’t care what happens to her. She feels like she can’t return to Hattusa because then she’d have to face Kail.

This really is one of the stupidest of her stupid moments. Everything in this series (aside from that quickly forgotten garbage back in volume 12) has established that Kail loves Yuri totally and completely. There is no way that he’d blame her for any of this. The man is so messed up by her disappearance he can hardly function and considering how unflappable he’s been, that’s saying something. I think the reason Yuri is worried she might lose his love over the miscarriage to give Ramses an opening to be a potential rival for Kail. Ramses is a total pig so this idea is not very smart. But as the volume ends just as they make port, that is a complaint for the next volume.

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