Akane, Shimon and Yorihisa go to visit Ran.
Akane: I hope she won’t mind us dropping in to visit her.
Shimon: It should be the highlight of her day. After all, we had completely forgotten about her for a few episodes.
Yorihisa: If Ran remembers her time with the demons, it could help us in some vague and unspecified way.
(Akane: The last thing I want is for her to remember- she’ll get angry about me being the main character again!)
Kotengu is discovered in the basket of fruits Akane was bringing to Ran.
Kotengu: I’m coming with you to Abe no Seimei’s house! It’s the only way to get Yasuaki to change me back to my original form.
Yorihisa: Are you still going on about that? You do know that you’re just a chibi sidekick now.
Akane: Although it’s been plainly obvious for a while now, I’ve only just noticed that Kotengu has eaten all the fruits! Everyone chase after him!
Kotengu flies into a garden to hide, but meets a girl who looks a lot like Akane.
Kotengu: Oh no, how did you have time to change your clothes, dye your hair, and still be waiting here for me?
The real Akane catches up with Kotengu and sees her not-quite double, also called Akane. Later, she relates this tale to Ran, and they giggle pointlessly.
(Ran: I’m sure there is an important reason for me to be here, but until I remember it, I won’t have any screen time.)
That evening, Akane discusses the second Akane with Fuji.
Fuji: Hmm, it looks like we’ll all be forgetting about the main plot for a week in order to focus on two previously unmentioned side characters that no one can possibly care about.
Generic woman: I just happen to know that Akane II is a tragic girl, forced to live with her cruel uncle and break up with her lover.
Tomomasa: Conveniently, I have been talking with her lover.
Akane: Perhaps, as main characters, we can help them.
The next day, Akane, Yorihisa, Shimon, Inori and Tenma visit Akane II. Her evil uncle comes outside.
Uncle: Akane II, I am a cruel and harsh uncle, who is also a drunkard. Go and get me some random medicinal herbs before I turn you out of the house.
Akane II and the main characters gather medicinal herbs.
Akane: It’s a shame you have to put up with this, Akane II.
Akane II: What can I do? I’m just a weak female who can’t live on her own.
Tenma: That’s what REAL MEN are for. Just get your lover to protect you whilst you stay at home.
Yorihisa notices that Akane II’s lover is hanging around close by.
Yorihisa: Come on, everyone, let’s give up our screen time so that these two random characters can have a meaningful chat.
Lover chases after Akane II, who runs away.
Akane II: Don’t come after me! You see, I really do love you, but now I must pretend that I don’t love you and actually want to marry a priest.
Lover: A priest? But everyone knows that all priests in anime are either evil, perverts, or both!
Akane: This is awful! We must help these characters.
Lover wanders into town, crying. Inori approaches.
Inori: Look, you’ve made so much of a fuss that we main characters are now going to use our precious screen time to help you.
Lover is dragged off to meet the Hachiyou.
Tomomasa: The eight of us are supposed to be saving the world, but we’ve decided that that’s trivial enough to put on the backburner whilst we help you.
Akane: I’ve come up with this extremely clever plan where we pose as thieves, steal Akane II, and help you two run away. As part of the plan, I will pretend to be Akane II.
Tenma: Akane, you can’t! You have to stay at home where it’s safe and you can’t get taken by other men.
Eisen: He’s right, Akane-dono. Perhaps one of us should dress as a woman…in fact, I already have experience at that.
Whilst Akane and the others put the plan in place, the priest comes to visit Akane II.
Priest: Gwakaka, I am a lecherous priest who has come to pick my wife up in the middle of the night. Audience, feel no sympathy for me, for I am obstructing the course of true love!
The priest takes Akane II away in his carriage whilst she cries and indulges in budget-saving flashbacks of her lover. In short order, however, Yorihisa attacks the carriage and rescues her.
Priest: Akane II! Could my lecherous days have ended even before they even began? Generic underlings, go and recover her whilst I sit here!
The generics run after Yorihisa, but a masked Shimon is waiting for them.
Generics: He must be a demon, and not that well-known loli shota from the OP!
Meanwhile, Akane II has been transferred to a horse ridden by an oddly familiar masked man. She rips his mask off to confirm his identity.
Akane II: I didn’t recognise you with that mask covering the lower half of your face, but now I see that you are indeed my beloved, the person I consider myself closest to in the entire world.
Somehow, the priest gathers many generics, and reaches the house where Tenma and Eisen are posing as Akane II and Lover.
Priest: This woman is just as beautiful as Akane II- I think I’ll take her instead.
Tenma: Get your hands off- he’s mine!
Inori leads Akane II and Lover through a grassy field.
Lover: I’m not entirely sure how this plan helps in the long run, but I’ll go back to my parents and make them accept my love. It’s bound to work, even though it didn’t before this episode.
Over some budget-saving stills, Akane relates how no one cared that Akane II had gone missing.
Some time later, Lover’s parents call on Yasuaki.
Father: Ever since his first lover suddenly went missing, our son immediately fell for a mysterious princess who randomly appeared from nowhere. It’s clear that this is a completely different woman, and we want to know if we should approve the marriage.
Yasuaki waves his beads about in a fake and meaningless fashion.
Yasuaki: My all-knowing beads say that you should let your son marry her, for then all will end well, and we can get back to the main storyline.
Akane and the others congratulate themselves on a job well done.
Tomomasa: Eisen, I bet the emperor would love to see you dressed as a woman.
Eisen: …Uh, he already has.
Elsewhere, Akane II and Lover are finally together.
Lover: So just who were those Hachiyou?
Akane II: Who knows? We’re the main characters of this series, aren’t we?
The series will be getting back to what passes for a plot next episode…if you’re lucky.