One of the travelers is about to die, and the only way to keep that from happening is to make a deal with Yuuko the witch. The price has lasting repercussions for the others—one must be responsible for the saved life while another is sent out into the inhospitable ruins of Tokyo on a quest… alone.
It’s not a surprise that when CLAMP does shounen, they don’t do it like everyone else. In most shounen series I’ve read, characters aren’t allowed to undergo such fundamental changes as have occurred in these last couple of volumes of Tsubasa. There’s also lots of rather subtle character growth and interaction, too, especially between Fai and Kurogane. I love every scene where these two are together—okay, part of it may be “squee, they’re so in love!” but there’s a lot more to it than that. Fai’s struggle to stay remote and unconnected is particularly fascinating to me.
There’s not a whole lot of focus on what’s going on with Syaoran, since there were more immediate things to deal with, like wishes and their prices. Sakura, however, gets a lot of attention. Upset by how often people are getting hurt on her account, she decides to pay the price of one of the wishes on her own, and exhibits some surprising toughness. I’m a little unsure of where this grit came from, honestly, but the chapters focusing on her quest are pretty neat. I’m impressed by how well the story was conveyed in a 99% nonverbal fashion.
The ending is super sweet, and ties back in to Fai’s issues in an understated way. Again, I urge people not to judge this series based on its early volumes—I think it’s starting to become one of my favorites by CLAMP.