Hello all! Sorry this recap is so late – it’s a long arc, and I actually finished the summaries quite awhile back but never got around to getting the screenshots, haha. Anyway, a lovely arc full of backstory and touching moments… all the characters (except Leez) are showing multiple sides of themselves. Enjoy!
- Chapter 12 – The Sorrow of Loss (1)
- Chapter 13 – The Sorrow of Loss (2)
- Chapter 14 – The Sorrow of Loss (3)
- Chapter 15 – The Sorrow of Loss (4)
- Chapter 16 – The Sorrow of Loss (5)
- Chapter 17 – The Sorrow of Loss (6)
- Chapter 18 – The Sorrow of Loss (7)
- Chapter 19 – The Sorrow of Loss (8)
- Chapter 20 – The Sorrow of Loss (9)
Chapter 12 – The Sorrow of Loss (1)
Gandharva and Maruna are outside the city of Atera. Maruna tells Gandharva to give up as the city is impenetrable with turrets protecting the outside and a god inside the barrier. Gandharva says that he is not scared of the gods. We see a flashback of Gandharva in his sura form rivaling a god (Agni?), and he muses that he is much more weakened now than back then, though he still has no fear of them. He asks Maruna how to enter the city, and Maruna says that they have to go through the procedure at the checkpoint or else the turrets will activate.
Just then, they see a group of half-hunters with some captive Garuda halfs passing through, discussing selling the halfs or killing them for body parts. Their conversation reveals that halfs have no rights and the half-rights bill will likely never get passed because so many magicians have grudges against halfs. Maruna, who is from the Garuda clan, is extremely upset as the halfs are from his clan and he witnesses everything with his excellent Garuda vision. Gandharva tells him to hold off on killing them as he has some questions to ask, and the two show themselves to the travelers.
The half-hunters see Maruna’s wings and mistake him for a priceless half with wings, since they believe superior sura can’t be in the human realm. They begin taunting Maruna, who can’t speak (he’s a superior sura, but has not achieved nastika form which will allow him to speak like a human). Maruna struggles to keep his temper in check and loses it when they start questioning Gandharva’s skin color, killing them all. He tells Gandharva in sura speech that they can just question the halfs instead. Gandharva heals the halfs and Maruna drops them off at a nearby half village after learning that they can use the humans’ magic license to get in the city. Gandharva retrieves the license, stabs out his problematic right eye, and transforms into human form in preparation to enter the city. Maruna is shocked, and Gandharva muses that perhaps he’s going so far because he misses the righteous Babo Kim after losing everything to sneaky bastards.
Chapter 13 – The Sorrow of Loss (2)
Meanwhile, Ruche (the green-haired girl who has a crush on Asha) unhappily teleports Lorraine towards the site of the red-sky incident while quibbling, but stops when Lorraine threatens to suggest someone else for her position of branch president of the magic guild. They begin the investigation, but strangely Lorraine’s device shows that there were 0 casualties. Meanwhile, a purple-haired girl at the checkpoint is moping that she missed Asha’s entrance when Gandharva shows up. A flashback to the halfs indicate that checkpoint procedures are complex, but it’s easy to get in with a magician’s license. The girl is initially hesitant because Gandharva looks completely different from the picture on the ID, but he uses some seductive charm and also somehow clears all the sura sensors (nastika power?), so the girl figures he’s harmless and lets him in.
Back at Leez’s village, Lorraine concludes that her device must be broken. Ruche wants to hurry back immediately, but Lorraine has them stay and investigate some more of the nearby villages first. Meanwhile, Gandharva is surprised that Agni hasn’t shown up despite Gandharva’s presence in the city. He detects Agni with his sura powers and decides to head over instead. Little does he know, Agni is currently heartbroken at the top of the building with the red forest and moping over Brilith’s recent tirade, thinking of all sorts of dumb ways to appease her and anything, you know, other than comforting her seriously or telling her honestly how he feels and thinks about everything (sigh you dumb god). Gandharva appears and asks how he is doing, and Agni is rendered speechless.
Chapter 14 – The Sorrow of Loss (3)
Future Brilith reflects that she spent all those years treating Agni like a fool, when she was the real fool for not knowing his reasons. We have a flashback to the year of N8 (Brilith age 14). It’s rainy, and a child-sized Agni (Agni is a fire god so understandably he hates rain) is inside reading about a new flavor of soda (you guessed it – curry flavor!). Meanwhile, Brilith is reading about the color of stars and is surprised to find out that a red star is the coolest and a blue star is the hottest. Agni says that’s the correct color order which he gets angry in as well, and that he likes sleeping on white stars. Brilith doesn’t believe him, and Agni is about to show her the color of true white, but stops himself to keep Brilith from getting hurt (she is linked to him).
Back in the present, Agni tries to masquerade as Babo Kim to no avail. Frustrated, he tells Gandharva to go away while he’s on his sneak vacation in the human realm. Gandharva is surprised that he doesn’t kill a nastika who’s so weakened and easy to kill, and Agni says of course he wouldn’t lower himself to that level and they can have a fair fight in the sura realm later. Gandharva expected this reaction, but is still surprised at how honest Agni is for a god. He flashes back to a fight with Agni in the past (presumably in the sura realm) when someone suggested Agni take his wife and child as hostage, and Agni completely rejects the idea, and tells Gandharva to come back for a fair fight when he doesn’t have his baggage with him.
Gandharva feels briefly bad for what he’s about to do, betraying Agni’s kindness, but then goes ahead and does it anyway. He tells Agni that back then, he was the one who killed Agni’s beloved girl right when Agni finally found her. He adds in details of how she kept calling his name. Hearing this, Agni loses it and turns flaming white. In the temple, Brilith starts coughing up blood. A gigantic white explosion occurs. In the magic guild, Asha turns as she senses the magic.
Chapter 15 – The Sorrow of Loss (4)
Flashback to Gandharva and Maruna. Gandharva informs Maruna that a summoned god only has as much power as the summoner, and if the god uses more power than the summoner can handle, it will burn out their lifespan. He says that no summoner can handle Agni’s white flame, so he just has to make Agni angry, which he can do because he knows Agni’s weak point. Once the summoner’s lifespan burns out, the summoner will die and Agni will be forced to return to the god’s realm. Maruna is skeptical about whether or not Gandharva can handle a god in his weakened state, accidentally saying he’ll end up like Shakuntala. Gandharva cuts him off, insisting that Shakuntala is alive, and says he will not die to Agni as his specialty is putting out fires.
Flashback to the past. Gandharva is training a young Maruna. The landscape was too hot, and Gandharva changed it to icy cold in the blink of an eye. Back to the present, Maruna thinks that if Gandharva had half the power he did back then, he would not be so worried. He watches as a giant white explosion of Agni’s wrath erupts within the city.
A sleepy Asha wakes up to magicians trying to put out fire in the building, to no avail. She’s sleepy and cranky and knocks on Leez’s door, breaking in by force when there’s no response. She’s irked to find Leez sleeping on the floor, and is about to kick her awake when Leez sleeptalks, pleading the mother in her dream not to go even though she knows none of her dream is real. Seeing this, Asha relents.
Outside, the magicians are panicking and asking if anyone is left on the fifth floor when Asha appears in the window with a (still sleeping) Leez. Leez is still mumbling in her sleep, thinking Asha is a new bedsheet, and Asha soothes her in a moment of rare gentleness (but without Leez’s knowlege). She mutters that Leez ought to enjoy her dreams while she can because she will soon have to wake. She then begins walking on air with Leez in tow, using Bhavati vayu.
Chapter 16 – The Sorrow of Loss (5)
The temple magicians seek out Brilith and are shocked when they find her collapsed in a pool of blood. Agni calms from his anger back down to red, and realizes what he’s done. The city is in devastation, merchants are selling fire suits, and the people are panicking and trying to evacuate to the temple. Leez wakes up on Asha’s shoulder and panics, telling her to put her down, whereupon Asha throws her roughly to the ground. They continue on, bickering.
Meanwhile, Agni is standing in a mountain of ice. He has just realized that he turned white, and the surge in power must have critically affected Brilith. He wants to teleport to her but Brilith is so weak that he doesn’t have enough power to do so. Rather upset, he asks Gandharva what he wants. Gandharva reveals that he cooled the flames somewhat so the city isn’t as damaged, and shows his surprise that the summoner (Brilith) survived. Agni is terrified that Gandharva will go after Brilith, and tries to bluff by showing that he doesn’t care about her. Unfortunately, it looks like Gandharva sees right through the bluff, and he jokes lightly back that then he won’t feel any guilt for killing her. Agni tries to stay calm so he doesn’t affect Brilith, and threatens Gandharva that if he does anything to anger Agni, he could kill off all of his kind. However, this doesn’t affect Gandharva as his entire clan has already been wiped out, and he only smiles sadly. Agni feels uneasy as Gandharva is a nastika and he can’t read his intentions (they are covered in shadows), but then sees something that surprises him. Before we find out what it is, Gandharva announces that he will kill the summoner and have his revenge.
Meanwhile, the city is still burning. Leez and Asha are heading towards the temple. Leez asks if they are evacuating, but Asha says that they are going to the temple to help restore the barrier. She reveals that the priestess of this city, Brilith, did not do well in the magician but somehow always maintained a perfect barrier, so that other oracle candidates eventually all left in search of work elsewhere, and there is no backup to re-activate the barrier. Asha, however, can synchronize with the defense system, and they are rushing there because the sura can attack at any moment.
Chapter 17 – The Sorrow of Loss (6)
Flashback. Child-Brilith and child-Agni are chatting about a summoner’s lifespan, and child-Brilith says she thought Agni could stay a long time because she still has a long time to live. Agni replies cryptically that this is because he’s stupid. Meanwhile, the real Agni and Gandharva are still going at it. Agni lets some of Gandharva’s ice creep onto his arm, and then evaporates it all by raising the temperature. Asha detects what’s going on and tells Leez to wait. Leez begins to quarrel, then stops mid-complaint as she turns around and sees large flash of flames and evaporated steam caused by Agni and Gandharva.
Agni calculates that raising the temperature should be OK for Brilith, but he knows he can’t beat Gandharva by temperature alone because Gandharva blocked his white flame before. Gandharva hides in the vapor and cuts off one of Agni’s arms with an attack, announcing that he’s changed his plans and will now kill Agni instead of the summoner. Gods are immortal, but it takes them a long time to reincarnate. He asks Agni how he wants to die, but Agni merely says he is glad to hear that he is no longer targeting the summoner. Hearing those words, Gandharva recalls a memory of Shakuntala telling him that not all gods are bad, and begging him to please not fight with Agni, of all the gods, because he saved their lives. Caught up in his emotions, he releases the attack and looks as though he is about to cry.
Meanwhile, Maruna is trying hard to see what’s going on, but even with his Garuda vision he can’t because of all the vapor. He’s not sure what to do, and thinks that if he interferes, Gandharva will likely nag him, but then thinks that if he doesn’t, Gandharva might also nag him. Frustrated, he decides that he better do something, and changes to his sura form, a giant red bird.
Chapter 18 – The Sorrow of Loss (7)
Leez wakes up on a bed of red leaves to Asha’s face, looking worried, which immediately changes to a face of irritation and coldness. Asha brusquely informs Leez that they are now in the temple, and Leez has no idea how they got there. Asha is about to reveal it, then decides not to say anything, and Leez is left with the impression that Asha brought them there. However, outside the temple walls, a guard tries to tell the other guards that Leez actually carried Asha piggyback style and then jumped over the temple wall, but nobody believes him.
Meanwhile, Gandharva is moping, and Agni is trapped within Gandharva’s ice and really wants to leave. He can’t leave by force because his spells will damage Brilith, so he is stuck freezing with Gandharva. He asks why Gandharva is starting a fight when he never has before because his daughter Shakuntala would always stop him. He guesses that Shakuntala is dead, whereupon the temperature drops even lower (horror to a fire god!). Just as he’s about to beg for mercy, Gandharva asks him who he should rely on, when he is the king of his clan and cannot have faith in anyone, even for his daughter’s safety, unlike humans who can have hope in the gods. Agni thinks to himself who then should the gods rely on, but instead of saying that tells Gandharva to rely in him instead. The tension eases a bit, and Gandharva rejects his proposition.
Right then Agni detects the presence of Maruna above the city and realizes he needs to get to Brilith ASAP, but Gandharva freezes him solid with ice. He apologizes for Brilith, but says that his daughter is ultimately more important, though the thought of him working together with Agni made him smile.
Chapter 19 – The Sorrow of Loss (8)
Future Brilith reveals that at first, she wanted to be an oracle to be like her mother, but that now she will continue to be the oracle even if no one knows what she’s going through. Back in the present, the three magicians are panicking because they can’t figure out what’s wrong with a comatose Brilith and what to do about the barrier without Lorraine when Asha and Leez show up. She checks Brilith’s condition and realizes it’s severe, and asks the magicians what they have been doing this whole time while the priestess is in critical condition. The magicians putter and quibble, and Asha tells them to lead her to the barrier room so she can restore the barrier. The magicians tell Asha she can’t because her birth attributes don’t match, but Asha tells them that she has another way.
Back in the city, the fires have gone out and people are handing out emergency rations and trying to figure out what is going on, when someone spots the giant bird figure of Maruna. They start panicking as some people recognize it to be a superior sura and realize that the barrier must be down, and Maruna begins his preparations to destroy everyone in the city except Gandharva. Meanwhile, the magicians are trying to convince Asha not to try her hand at the barrier because the non-matching birth attributes may lead to her death. They say the situation isn’t critical, and Asha points out coldly that they are under a red sky. Leez is stunned, remembering her village. The nervous magicians agree to lead Asha to the barrier stone.
The magicians, unaware of Agni’s presence, are puzzled as to why the barrier stone still seems half functional when it should be off completely. Leez volunteers to do it with her triple attributes, but Asha rejects her offer of help and also warns her not to mention her name or village around anyone she meets. Leez is locked outside, and Asha takes hold of the barrier stone, the heat crawling up her arms at the same time that Maruna launches his attack.
Chapter 20 – The Sorrow of Loss (9)
Asha explains her ability to use the barrier stone – she is incompatible with its current attributes, but she can just change the attributes. She successfully reinstates the barrier and blocks Maruna’s attack, puzzling Gandharva. Back at the red trees, Agni thaws himself out and complains about how awful it is to freeze.
Gandharva swipes at him, then remembers Shakuntala’s plea not to fight with Agni and begins tearing up. Agni is shocked to see, and tries his best to comfort Gandharva, who tells him it’s not time to worry about others as his oracle is about to die. However, Agni deduces from the fact that Gandharva keeps changing targets that he must be after someone in the city. He asks if this is related to the other red-sky incidents. Gandharva panics because he has been seen through, but Agni assures him that he won’t tell the other gods and offers him a deal – that Agni will not accept another summoner’s call after Brilith, as long as Gandharva guarantees Brilith’s safety.
Gandharva is distrustful of the gods but believes he can trust Agni. He asks Agni why he is willing to go so far for a human, and Agni reveals that Brilith doesn’t know about his “insight,” and that he thought revealing it to her would put too much pressure on her as she would have to watch her feelings around him as well as her actions. The reason he was willing to do that is the same reason he is willing to go so far, but right when Agni says it, his words are masked by the loud explosions from Maruna’s attack. The two share a moment of mutual understanding. Gandharva accepts his offer, and advises Agni not to get too close to mortals as an immortal, since he will be the only one in pain in the end.
Back at the temple, Brilith wakes up and regrets her actions towards Agni, wishing that he got mad at her once in awhile so things didn’t come to this. She thinks he must have returned to the god’s world. Meanwhile, Leez was watching all of Maruna’s attacks get blocked by something blue and wonders if that’s the doings of a barrier. When she is finally allowed in the barrier room she sees Asha collapsed and begins panicking until Asha tells her to shut up. Relieved, the two begin to argue again as per usual.
Damnnnn that was one amazing arc. A lot of action, and a lot of insights into Gandharva and Agni’s past. We are also seeing the soft side of Gandharva – he wants to be the bad guy, but at his core it’s really not who he is. He’s not a cold-blooded murderer.
We are also seeing the more human aspects of Gandharva and Maruna, who were initially casted as the villains, and how Maruna cares for Gandharva and the halfs from his own clan. The fact that there is no clear villain and everyone has their own story is one of the strongest points of Kubera, and it’s beginning to show, as well as just how deep and complex the mysteries are.
The only thing that bothers me is that throughout all these wonderful, emotional moments. We get nothing about Leez. We learn more of Asha’s capabilities and see her conflicted side through moments of hidden tenderness towards Leez, we get glimpses of Brilith’s past through Agni’s flashbacks, which definitely helps us warm up to her and see more clearly how she and Agni basically grew up together… Heck, in the last arc we even learned about the temple magicians’ past. Yet we learn nothing about Leez other than that she is reliant on/does care about Asha which we already knew.
This is IMO one big failing of Kubera. I don’t know if it’s because the author wants to focus on Leez’s present story, but I really wish there was more exposition on Leez’s past, her village life, everything that shaped her to be who she is today. It would help readers understand why certain things affect her the way they do and make Leez into a true protagonist instead of a one-dimensional cardboard cutout. The author does an amazing job with pretty much every other character except Leez, which I find very sad.
At any rate, despite its flaws, Kubera’s story, many other well-developed characters, world, and all of the mysteries surrounding it still make it a more than worthwhile read. Enjoy and see you next time!
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