Ki Kouki (葵 皇毅 Ki Kōki) is the Chief of the Censorate, and later Prime Minister of Saiunkoku.
Kouki is very austere and always has a sour look on his face. Shuurei describes him to be a person with a face like a 'kyonshi' (Zombie).
Personality & CharacteristicsEdit
Infamous for his ruthlessness, Kouki acts coldly towards nearly everyone and even Ryuuki, as the Emperor, finds it difficult to speak to him without flinching. Only a handful of people have been able to tolerate his personality, notably Ryou Anju , Ou Ki, Riku Seiga, Kou Shuurei and Shin Suou. He along with Anju and Tei Yuushun is Ou Ki's successor who follow his exact ideals.
Although he always has a cold demeanor, he does possess a dry sense of humour which he sometimes reveal to Shuurei notably when he ordered her to make pickled eggs for him and later teased her for ruining his clothing. She happens to be the only one to whom he shows this side to.
He is the sole survivor of the infamous Ki clan, a noble family which was purged during the previous emperor's reign because of a false testimony.
When Shuurei risks losing her position as a government official after she is removed from her post as a co-governor of Sa Province, Kouki accepts Shuurei as a censorate official at Yuushun's request. He intends to make usenof her superior connections for his works. After becoming an official, her first assignment was to investigate the ghost of the prison case. However, once Kouki found out the actual person pulling the strings (Ou Ki) he immediately ceased the investigation and threatened Shuurei to not push the matter any further. However, Shuurei started constantly badgering him each and everyday in order to gain his permission to go to the Ran Province to investigate the Ran Clan's connection to Shun. She however was suspiscious about Kouki's partiality to this case and accused him of being involved in the recent political conspiracies. Kouki is uncharacteristically shocked at her statement. Smiling sarcastically, he invited her to challenge hima at will and mentioned that he was better at covering his tracks then herself.
He reluctantly decides to let Shuurei go to the Ran province once he reached the limit of his patience. As a dry joke he even added that she didn't have to return at all unless she managed to get the indigo duck eggs and monkey head mushrooms of the Ran province. Shuurei became rather perplexed at his odd conditions however, he strictly forbade her to enter the Nine Colored Cove no matter what and threatened to fire her if she did. After Shuurei returns from the Ran Province, he informs her that he recieved a report from Suou who said that she had in fact entered the cove even though she was forbidden to do so. He then mentions that for insubordination she would be fired. However, sharp as she is, Shuurei immediately asked what Suou had said at the end of his report. Smirking at her question, he replied that Suou had requested to have himself fired in her stead as it was common for subordinates to take blames to cover their superiors. Shuurei immediately runs off to find Suou who was in fact, promoted to a Censor by Kouki and assigned to a mission in countryside instead of being fired.
Once Kouyuu's case began, Kouki was assigned to be the judge and decide whether Kou Reishin and Kouyuu should be deposed or not depending on the Censorate's investigations. Kouki's two key subordinates, Shuurei and Seiga face off against each other in this case, Seiga working to depose them while Shuurei trying to save them. In order to save Kouyuu's position, Shuurei makes him petition against Reishin and accuse him for ignoring Civil Administration's affairs thus requesting to depose him. This action redeemed Kouyuu's crime for cleaning up Reishin's mess instead of deposing him sooner to some degree. Therefore, Kouyuu was reduced to a Joukan instead of being dismissed while Reishin was removed from court. Shuurei's decision to sacrifice Reishin to save Kouyuu greatly impressed Kouki who noted that by saving Kouyuu, she managed outdo Seiga this time around. After this case was over, the Kou Clan starts an embargo to protest Reishin's dismissal. During this time, in order to save the emperor's relationship with the Kou Clan, Anju proposes that Ryuuki should take the eldest princess of the Kou Clan namely Shuurei as his empress. When Ryuuki orders Shuurei to resign, Shuurei calmly consents and leaves.
When he learns that Shuurei has chosen to resign as an official to become Ryuuki's consort, Kouki confronts her at the Censorate and calls her decision foolish. When Shuurei begins to cry and hugs him, Kouki believes that the Emperor is a fool for shattering Shuurei's determination and the way she easily yields to the Emperor's words is a stark contrast to how hard she works to push past Kouki's threats and insults. After teasing Shuurei for ruining her superior's clothing, he gives Shuurei her final assignment: to be the imperial messenger for Kou Province. When Shuurei asks him what sort of souvenir she should bring back to him, Kouki tells her he wants nothing and only wants her to return safely adding that she was under his command until she returned. However, she never returned after that even though her mission was reported to have been accomplished.
The emperor later summoned him to find out about her whereabouts only to get criticized by him as he stated if he was giving her special treatments because she would become his consort and informed him she was still an official. However, he was stopped by Kou Shouka as he stated it was an official's failure not being able to report back after completing their task and Shuurei will take full responsibility for going missing during a mission. He also stated his daughter doesn't need any special treatment as she is an official and Kouki did not press the issue any further. He acknowledged Shouka as a better clan head than Kou Reishin.
He, along with Kei Yuuri, succeeded Tei Yuushun as co-Prime Ministers after he passed away.
Skills & TalentsEdit
The novels mentions that he plays the flute exceptionally well. After Shuurei had played her erhu for Suou, he played the same song on his flute from distance with the complete opposite vibe which surprised Shuurei. He normally doesn't play his flute often especially in front of others but he only played the flute twice in front of Shuurei, first time when he confronted her during her time as a joukan, the second time after she declared her intention of resigning as an official.
Keen Intellect Edit
Being the chief censor, Kouki has a very sharp mind. He was clever enough to cover the fact that he has been in league with Ou Ki though he is supposed to be impartial. However, he does have a tendency of sometimes accidentally letting something slip as he had once told Shuurei that he wasn't working for the sake of his honour (implying he was working for someone else) unlike her when she tried to press the case of the vice minister of defense further. Luckily for him, Shuurei failed to notice. Another time, Kou Shouka managed to get an information out of him without him noticing regarding his daughter's disappearance.
Ou Ki is the man who took Kouki in after his family was purged by the previous emperor. He has remained loyal to him all his life and followed his footsteps. He highly regards Ou Ki's ideals and his devotion to him led him to become Ou Ki's successor as the chief of the Censorate.
He is childhood friends with Anju although he doesn't really show any friendship towards him. They both came to know each other because of Ou Ki. Anju always loves to tease Kouki and Kouki mostly finds him annoying. However, he acknowledges him as a dangerous individual and warns Shuurei to keep her distance from him.
Along with Anju and Kouki, Yuushun was also taken in by Ou Ki. So, Kouki and Yuushun are on friendly terms and they both strive to realize Ou Ki's dreams. Kouki is shown to be frequently worried about Yuushun due to his poor health. After Yuushun's death, Kouki along with Kei Yuuri, succeeds him as dual prime ministers.
Kouki is initially harsh towards her, frequently describing her as useless and threatening to dismiss her as an official, and disapproves of Shuurei's idealistic but unrealistic approach to politics. However, her work ethic and developing sense of pragmatism eventually impresses him, and he indirectly expresses his support of her by burning letters from her detractors demanding that she be removed from her post. Despite his cold nature, he develops a soft spot for Shuurei, which Anju notices and unsuccessfully tries to tease Kouki about.
Ensei previously worked for and helped one of his undercover officials by delivering messages to Kouki from Sa province. Kouki greatly trusts him and even offered to make him a censor though he declined saying he wishes to work under Shuurei alone.
He greatly trusts Seiga as he is an extremely talented young official and favors him for his ruthlessness in cutting down the corrupt officials. After he was assigned as the prime minister, he named Seiga as the next chief of the Censorate.
He thinks of him as a sharp individual as he is good at fooling people with his stupid behaviour in spite of being extremely perceptive. He makes him Shuurei's assistant first in order to sharpen her up and later promotes him to a Censor.
In the 15th novel, it is hinted at by Yuushun that he may have been in love with Princess Hien, Ou Ki's daughter.