There were no wheels reinvented in this chapter of Otoyomegatari (though axles are another matter). It’s Mori-sensei staying very much in her comfort zone of late, focusing entirely on Pariya and Umar as they make their way back from their supposedly routine errand. In this time and place things didn’t always go according to plan, of course, as Mori has taken pains to remind us over the course of 58 chapters.
Is Otoyomegatari in danger of spinning its wheels a bit with this storyline? Perhaps, since the die has been pretty much cast with these two for quite some time and we’re really not learning anything new about either of them. Don’t get me wrong – this kind of running in place is no more pleasant anywhere than it is with Otoyomegatari, because it’s always so beautiful to look at and few authors can write everyday life with as much wit and familiar warmth as Mori can. But at this point I think it’s just about time for these two to either get married (which based on the last chapter we know is unlikely to happen for some time) or take a little break from the narrative.
What we do know, because Mori-sensei keeps reminding us, is that Pariya and Umar are a good match. He’s steady and solid, and finds her barely-contained explosiveness attractive. When Pariya reminds Umar she’s “tough” he’s not threatened by that, and he laughs at her dumb but harmless attempts at humor. I do think it’s silly that embarrassment was enough to get the two of them to walk all the way home rather than ride the horse (they did just kiss, after all), but I guess allowances must be made for both their ages and their upbringing.