Hi guys! Sorry for the long delay, I got distracted with other stuff. But I finally have some time to get back into Kubera again, so here we go~ This arc is a bit longer than the last one, so I’ve split it into two posts.
Also one important change – I find it a bit tedious to summarize and then add a separate “Thoughts” section at the end of each chapter, so I’m going to just incorporate my thoughts with the summaries from now on, and add overall comments at the end.
Chapter 6 – The Queen and the Bum (1)
Brilith reflects on how magicians once borrowed the power of both the sura and the gods, but cut their ties with sura after disagreements. However, after the Cataclysm, the gods retaining ties to humanity was reduced to only 11 gods, and the links were greatly weakened to the point that summoning them risks the magician’s life. Her mother was one such exalted magician, who summoned a god for the greater good, suffered behind the scenes, and eventually died from it. Brilith is rather bitter about this, and despite multiple aches, pains, and exhaustion, appears before the city for 15 minutes smiling angelically to soothe the people and inspire them.
Afterwards, we are faced with the truth. Say hello to my favorite Kubera character, Agni!! Instead of maintaining the barrier like other priests/priestesses, Brilith has successfully summoned Agni, the god of fire, so she just has to keep him summoned while he maintains the barrier for her. However, Agni requests that his summoning be kept a secret and appears in all other respects to be a retard, which poor serious Brilith has no idea how to deal with. This day as well there is trouble – first Agni is showing off his 6-packs in god form and Brilith has to force him to change back into human form, then he quips about running around naked and Brilith almost faints, then he is spotted by the guards in his human form. Agni quickly masquerades as a bum named Babo Kim (basically “Retard Kim” in English) who wants an autograph, which Brilith graciously grants.
Brilith then asks the guards why they are off schedule and learns that there has been yet another “red-sky” incident where a village has been annihilated. We learn that the Garuda clan’s transcedentals can cause the sky to change color, which means a superior sura must be in the human realm. Brilith, thinking aloud, asks Agni if he knows anything, but Agni acts like a brainless dolt and a fed up Brilith leaves to take care of the problem herself. As soon as she is gone, Agni turns somber, his true thoughts revealing a much darker wrath at the sura for causing more worries to his priestess.
Chapter 7 – The Queen and the Bum (2)
Meanwhile, Leez and Asha are still traveling, and Asha chews Leez out for complaining and being so happy in the face of tragedy. Leez begins to argue back, then stops and has a self-doubt/negativity moment, remembering Asha’s tragic story from earlier. Internal monologue reveals that they would not get any rest that day. The two pass through the checkpoint. Leez is surprised to find out that Asha graduated university at the age of 16, is an A++ magic rank, and apparently a celebrity.
Meanwhile, Agni is moping because Brilith made him burn her autograph. He’s also really bored, and decides to take off to investigate the red sky culprit.
Back to Leez and Asha. Leez is astounded by all the people and houses in the city and can’t stop looking around. She spies a mushroom stand and unconsciously becomes glued to it, drooling. To her surprise, Asha gives Leez a gold coin to buy the mushrooms with and whatever else she wants. Future-Leez makes an internal monologue comment on how money and power are both important deciding factors in life, and at that time she had none while Asha had both. The present Leez, though mesmerized by the coin, chides Asha for acting superior and says she doesn’t need it. Asha puts on a show of throwing the coin away, and Leez’s inner thrifty senses cause her to end up taking it. Asha makes a snooty remark and tells Leez to wait at the stand for her, but Leez is too distracted by the first comment to hear and by the time she comes back to her senses Asha has already vanished into the crowd. Deciding that food is more important, Leez turns to buy the mushroom skewer, but a cloaked figure (Agni) beats her to the chase and Leez’s face turns ugly in shock.
Chapter 8 – The Queen and the Bum (3)
The shopkeeper banters with “Babo Kim” (Agni), who is apparently a regular at the shop, and gives him some discounts on the skewer along with some sandwiches. Agni begins to offer payment if the “young lady in line” (Leez) is still undecided, when he notices Leez is on the verge of tears. At this point future-Leez cuts in and reveals that she fights on neither for revenge nor family, but to protect her name. We see a vision of her walking into darkness in a black cloak, looking formidable and very much alone. This is possibly what Agni is also seeing with his powers of foresight.
Back in the present, Leez is still moping about the mushrooms and asks Agni if she can’t have just the skewer. Agni agrees easily, to her surprise, and asks why she is crying. Leez contests that she wouldn’t cry over mushrooms and asks for the skewer, but the shopkeeper tells her she has to pay two gold coins (she only has one) because she broke the shop front earlier when she was clinging to it and salivating over the mushrooms. Leez is depressed, but Agni, being the sweetheart that he is, offers to fix the shop AND requests 10 extra mushroom skewers for Leez. The shopkeeper and Leez now think he is a magician, and watch in awe as he fixes the shop front. He attempts to use a spell by Visnu at first but remembers that Visnu is gone and uses Hoti Asvins instead. He does a perfect job (of course), but the shopkeeper is perplexed as to why the spell had flames in it, and Agni makes up some BS about how he’s wearing a suit with special flame effects. The two unsuspecting idiots completely believe him, and Leez thinks about how much nicer he is than Asha.
Meanwhile, Asha is at the magic guild requesting two A-grade rooms from a green-haired girl that keeps flirting with her and sparkling. The girl gets very excited when she hears that Asha is traveling with a companion, and wants to know if it’s a hottie. She’s very let down after learning it’s a girl, and drops her polite face once Asha is gone and stomps away.
Back at the market, Leez has eaten all 10 skewers and Agni is drinking some curry soda (OK, currygom, we get it. you like curry). She and Agni make casual talk about how much they can eat, and Agni asks again why she was crying, looking extremely handsome while Leez looks very short (lol). Leez chokes badly and drinks all of the curry soda, after which she tries to protest again that she’s not crying, but Agni sees right through her (c’mon girl you’re dealing with a god here). He tells her not to pretend and to let it all out, and Leez, remembering Asha’s coldness and her dream about her family, begins to seriously cry, although she keeps insisting to Agni that she’s not. Agni just listens kindly, and tells her that when she feels like crying she should do something so fun she forgets to be sad, and offers to take her to go play.
Asha returns to the mushroom stand in the evening to find Leez gone and a sad currygom looking at the stand (lol). Up at the temple, Brilith is sitting alone outside in the darkness, looking very depressed.
Chapter 9 – The Queen and the Bum (4)
Brilith is holding a meeting about the red-sky incident with the temple magicians, who are second-in-command to take over the city’s turrets in case anything happens to Brilith. She is frustrated because none of the magicians are willing to go investigate, and finally ends up using her power as the priestess to assign Lorraine, the highest ranked magician. The other magicians are visibly relieved, and Brilith flashes back to her youth, when all three magicians were powerful and fearless, and the people she respected most other than her mother. They saved her in a time of calamity, and were also a big influence in her later choice to try the god-summoning spell which summoned Agni.
Back to the present, the three fearless magicians from back then are all middle-aged and sedate now. Brilith thinks that she can understand where they are coming from – there’s much more at stake once you start a family, and have loved ones depending on you. She thinks to herself that she is all alone, so she will not have this problem (poor Brilith ;_;), and assures the magicians with a sweet smile that everything will be all right as long as she is around. Then we cut to the scene from last chapter, with Brilith sitting depressed out in the darkness. She thinks that the magicians shouldn’t be counting on her but Agni, whom she has trouble trusting herself, and wonders where the flighty god has gone once again.
Meanwhile, Agni has taken Leez to a red forest at the top of a building (the temple?), and is showing her some glowing bugs that are attracted to interesting things, such as magic. He draws a bunch of them to him with some fire magic, and gives it to Leez as a necklace to wear. However, they swarm all over her face and Agni is left helpless in laughter, saying he’s never seen anything like it and it must be nice to have an interesting face. Currygom also notes here that Leez is drawn with a beauty filter, implying that she’s uglier than she looks.
Leez punches Agni for teasing her, forgetting how strong she is. Agni magically recovers with the power of a god and uses his suit as an excuse, claiming it provides fake muscles as well as healing properties. Thankfully, Leez is very gullible and believes him. Agni becomes serious again and asks Leez how he can help her to stop crying on the inside, and for a moment we see clearly that he has lived for hundreds, millions of years… Leez sees it too and is about to talk when Agni reverts to Babo Kim mode. They introduce themselves to each other (Agni earning another punch when he says “Babo Kim”), and at the mention of Agni Leez thinks of the god of fire, who is cruel and merciless and throws people down to hell. She then looks at the idiot before her and concludes that he must be lying to hide his name, and the scene ends with lighthearted punching and teasing.
FYI, I think I mentioned this before, but for those who aren’t aware, “Kim” is the most common Korean last name and “Babo” means idiot. So the name “Babo Kim” is equivalent to an English speaker saying something like “My name is Retard Bob.” durrr.
Chapter 10 – The Queen and the Bum (5)
Agni is puzzled because Leez doesn’t believe that he’s the god Agni (lol those two dorks), and wonders if it’s because his image has changed. Leez says of course he’s nothing like Agni, and goes on in a moment of carelessness to add that if he’s the god, then she must be the god Kubera. She catches herself immediately, but the words are out. However, Agni merely states that she looks nothing like Kubera, and for the first time Leez senses something amiss as it seems like Agni knows Kubera personally. Agni describes Kubera as a tall, muscular man with an expressionless face as though he’s wearing a mask, and immense physical strength. Apparently he broke through the dimensional barrier during N0 chaos and jumped into the human world then, and neither gods nor humans know where he is now. (Okay, so Kubera is definitely up to something…)
Right then, Asha shows up and threatens to cut off one of Leez’s ears for not listening. Agni is wondering why Leez is so afraid of her, when he has a sudden flash of insight into Asha’s life, although all we see is a big red X. He is shocked by what he sees, and when he comes to he is gripping onto Asha, forehead almost touching hers. Asha and Leez mark him as a weirdo and leave, but Leez thanks him for all his help before she goes, promising to buy him something next time they meet. Agni senses that something is off about Asha, and mulls over whether or not to tell Leez that she’s dangerous. Halfway through his thoughts he suddenly remembers that Brilith is still waiting for him (haha this ADD god) and zips off back to the temple.
Asha notices the magic right away and senses that something is off because Agni didn’t say any incantations before using a spell. Leez suggests that he was speaking too quietly for them to hear, then remembers Agni using fire spells previously without any incantations as well. She writes it off as her bad memory, and she and Asha head towards the guild.
At the guild, the green-haired girl who let Asha in is gone. Asha finds out that she has gone with magician Lorraine to investigate the red-sky incident and see if there were any survivors. She requests the guy not to let Leez find out about any of this, presumably to keep Leez from the fact that there may be possible survivors…
Chapter 11 – The Queen and the Bum (6)
Flash back to Brilith’s past in the year of N5 (11 years old). Brilith, still a student, is crying because she failed to summon a god and knew that she could never be like her mother. She wonders how many years of her lifespan she’s lost, when Agni appears before her in full god-form and asks why she is crying. After that, we are shown Brilith growing up with Agni as her only companion, and Agni attempting to cheer her up in multiple silly ways. Brilith admits that because of Agni’s childish demeanor, she began to forget that he was a god, and because he never got angry at her, she started subconsciously looking down on him, which is what made her do something she never should have done that night.
Flash back to the present, Brilith is sitting depressed in the darkness. Agni appears out of thin air and cheerfully asks how the inspection went, and Brilith snaps and begins railing on him for never taking anything seriously, even though she’s always trying so hard. Agni begins to reveal the fact that he’s able to read her mind, but Brilith is seriously upset and tells him, lover’s-quarrel-fashion, not to make any excuses, and storms off crying. She regrets what she’s doing even as she’s doing it, but can’t seem to stop herself and never turns around.
Meanwhile, Leez is waiting for Asha in front of the two guild rooms. The door to Leez’s room, 512, is covered in blood and clearly booby-trapped by the jealous green-haired girl from before. Leez wonders about it but writes it off, and when Asha arrives she sees the look of the doors and switches rooms with Leez. Asha’s room turns out to be huge and nice, although Leez can’t get out once she’s in, either due to Asha’s magic or the green-haired girl (perhaps a ploy to trap Asha in?). Asha tosses a coin into Leez’s room before entering herself, and the coin sets off a variety of booby traps.
Thoughts – First Half of Arc
I am so, so, so happy to see Agni. He is my personal all-time favorite character of Kubera, and a big fan-favorite (c’mon, the group is called Babo Kim Scans). Hilarious and heart-warming at the same time. <3 Brilith by herself is a bit of a downer, what with all her mental/emotional issues, but put her and Agni together and it’s a perfect dynamic. She’s just far too serious to ever really mess around or be silly, and that makes her reactions to Agni’s teasing (I don’t think she even realizes he’s messing with her) that much more delightful.
We are also seeing more of Leez’s serious side, which I find a big relief. Slapstick comedy is just not my type of comedy. However, I still find it difficult to understand why she is so dishonest with her feelings. I have nothing against her being easily hurt, but it just seems like someone from such an open environment (loving mom, roughhousing friends, small village) wouldn’t think twice about expressing herself when hurt.
- Now that I reread, I am slowly realizing just how many obscure references to currygom (curry bear) himself that he’s slipped in. I am sure the author LOVES curry. And mushrooms.
- I am still completely flummoxed as to what Asha is really thinking (if you’ve caught up on the latest chapters, you know what I’m talking about). Super curious about her past and the Oracle… hopefully it’s all revealed soon!
Thoughts – Second Half of Arc
OK, so I absolutely loved the bits on Brilith’s past. She and Agni are just too cute. Also, she may not notice it, but they have definitely fallen into a couple’s routine – you don’t quarrel with someone like that unless you really, really want them to care. Girls, how many of you can sympathize? ;p Anticipating more angst incoming.
Also, I’m curious whether the fact that her name is Brilith Ruin has any significance… obviously the word “ruin” has bad connotations in English, and while the work was originally in Korean, “Brilith” sounds pretty Western, so I wonder if the author used “ruin” intentionally. But then again, names like “Leez” (??) and “Kubera” (hindi) are clearly not English, so who knows.
I am enjoying the Leez and Asha bits more, as well. A lot of the jokes here are more about the interactions between characters (e.g., green-haired girl’s vengeance on the room, Agni and Leez bouncing off each other’s idiocy) rather than Leez being totally ridiculous by herself (e.g. obsession with mushrooms, awkward solo declarations), which I find to be a lot more palatable.
One last thing I noticed is that a lot of Agni’s ways of cheering other people up are in some ways like a little boy. He may be a god of hell but it seems like he’s a bit unsure of how to deal with human emotions. Gandharva seems a bit similar as well. It’s adorable… and kind of terrifying at the same time when you realize that these are gods and nastika a.k.a. the most powerful beings of the Kubera universe who are acting like lost little children/out-of-control teenagers. Eep!