- Mangaka : Toma, Rei
- Publisher : VIZ
- Genre : Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Published : February 2013
Reimei no Arcana (Dawn of the Arcana) Vol. 8 Introduction
Even after Nakaba and the group came face to face with the murderous thieves plaguing Lithuanel, they have nothing to show for it. The pressure continues to mount for Nakaba to find a way to apprehend the thieves in order to ensure the safety of Senan. As things become less clear for the red-haired princess, Caesar sees before him a difficult yet clear path and must leave Nakaba’s side. Prince Azhal’s rival, Prince Batal, seems ever closer to succeeding the throne and unless Nakaba can escape his treachery, she may not be able to protect anyone.
Despite the group’s best efforts to remain undetected, news of Prince Cain’s murder reaches Belquat. The King, as usual, seems terribly removed from the horrible things going on and is as lazily cruel as ever. Despite having loved Cain’s mother so much, the King doesn’t even look sad at his passing.
Despite their being far away in Lithuanel, things aren’t looking good for our protagonists. Caesar knows that the court of Belquat must be up in arms, and Prince Cain is no longer there to bring any sort of peace of mind to Belquat. Caesar resigns himself to become a man worthy of being called the Prince of Belquat and face his father so that no one else will face the King’s wrath. He tries to distance himself from Nakaba, hoping she will forget him and start a new life where she won’t be under either Belquat or Senan’s threats, but to no avail. Nakaba is indignant that Caesar would belittle her feelings like that and vows to forever be his wife, crumbling his resolve. The two almost share a passionate night together before separating but Caesar can’t follow through due to nerves. Probably the stress of impending war and complicated political issues also didn’t help. Before he can get himself together, the couple is interrupted by news that there has been a new attack by the bandits.
For the first time, we see Nakaba really struggling with the burden of responsibility placed upon her. Things are changing incredibly quickly for her and she’s forced to deal with consequences that don’t affect just her safety. Just as she was suddenly bothered by being teased in Sedan because it would affect Caesar, Nakaba is nearly paralyzed to inaction now that it’s more than just her life at risk. Seeing her so distressed over being separated from Caesar is heartbreaking, but the two hold fast to their resolve to do whatever they personally can to create a lasting peace, even if they must do so separately.
Prince Batal tactically blames Prince Azhal for letting the bandits escape instead of praising his interference in their attack. It’s clear he’s a cunning and devious enemy and why Akhil would be worried about such a man ascending the throne. He even goes as far as to kidnap Nakaba, threaten her, and hurt her in order to learn her true identity. Nakaba desperately calls upon the Arcana to show her something useful that might help her and her friends but is shown part of Loki’s sordid past. Loki had allowed himself to be a noblewoman’s plaything so that he might provide Nakaba any extra bit of happiness. After the woman threatened to have Nakaba killed so that Loki would be hers, Loki immediately kills her and disposes of her. His heart is heavy that he can do nothing to help his poor, unlucky princess, but Nakaba truly only cares about being by his side. Still trapped in her own Arcana with only visions of a painful past, Nakaba cries.
1. It Becomes More Clear Why Loki is so Secretive with Nakaba
Trapped in an endless hallway with many locked doors while using her Arcana, Nakaba is shown a segment of the past when Loki shows both incredible cruelty and loyalty all for her sake. He allows himself to be Lady Bella’s boy-toy in exchange for small favors or treats to make Nakaba’s life just a little less depressing. When Lady Bella demands he cut off another Ajin servant’s tail to stay with Nakaba, Loki was willing to do so. When she makes the mistake of deciding to kill Nakaba herself, Loki kills her instead. When Loki returns to Nakaba empty-handed but Nakaba greets him with a smile anyway, he’s brought to tears. He’s convinced that one day, Nakaba will hate him for the awful things he’s done for her sake, which explains why Loki is so adamant in keeping his secrets from her but wanting her to know he’s on her side.
1. Lots of Setup, Little Plot Development
In this volume, we see Belquat discussing Cain’s murder, Caesar making preparations to return home, and Nakaba lost in the endless hallway of doors shown to her by the Arcana. Any of these points could have made for a good, fleshed-out story but instead, we are only shown the beginnings of each. We’re not sure how anything is going to end!
Many stories about royalty focus on the extravagance of palace life but for our heroes, that is far from their minds. In this volume, like those previously, they are more treated like runaways with acquaintances in high places. Privileged beyond measure and cursed without reason, Nakaba and Caesar want to use their power for good but find themselves fighting against an unforgiving system. There are many questions left unanswered with volume 8 so we can’t wait to see what volume 9 has in store!