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The following article/section is from the Pandava Quintet continuity under Rick Riordan Presents and not the Riordanverse canon.

You are a child of the gods, stand up straight!

–Aru Shah and the End of Time

Subala, or Boo as called by Aru Shah, was her pigeon master who is thousand of years old. It was later revealed that Boo's real name was Shakhuni ("SHA-koo-nee"), who was a deceiving sorcerer and one of the main reasons of the Mahabharata War.

Since his death at the end of Aru Shah and the City of Gold, he has been reincarnated into the form of another, phoenix-like bird.


In Mahabharata, Shakhuni was the son of King Subala ,who ruled the kingdom of Gandhara, and the brother of the blind queen, Gandhari. Shakhuni deeply loved his sister and felt she had been insulted when she was forced to marry blind king Dhritrashtra. The one who suggested this proposal was Bhishma, who also killed Shakuni's father and brothers. For that, he swore destruction on Aru Shah's ancestors.

Upon the suggestion of his nephew, Duryodhana,orchestrated the infamous and cursed game of dice between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, he succeeded due to Yudhistira's gambling addiction. The eldest Pandava brother was led astray and the Pandavas were forced to exile from the entire kingdom twelve years and then, ultimately, the Kurekshetra war.

Near the end of the war, Shakhuni fought Sahadeva with swords on chariots. Sahadeva swore to kill him when Draupadi was humiliated at the dice game. He succeeded by cutting Shakuni's forehead with an ax.

Rick Riordan Presents

Pandava Quintet

Due to his actions in his previous life, Shakhuni was cursed to be reborn as a pigeon and he changed his name to Subala, the name of his father. He turned over a new leaf over the years and even became member of the Council of Guardians who helped other incarnations of the Pandavas. Although, he was eventually kicked off.

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Boo is first seen by Aru Shah on her elephant statue's trunk after she ran away from her frozen mom and friends. He is the one who leads the Pandava who lit the lamp and released the Sleeper to stop the monster before he wakes Shiva to do the cosmic dance and end all time. He comments that Aru is young and a girl, and thinks of her as beneath him. He says that she is a bundle of hormones and incompetence and that they might as well let the world end.

When Aru asks the bird's name, he says that an illustrious name should not be uttered by a child, so he could call him Subala. Aru commented that his name was too many syllables and thinking he was a she, Aru called him Sue. Boo said it was a girl's name and Aru said that there was a country song called a 'Boy Named Sue'. Aru thought if he wouldn't he be called Sue, it was to be Boo.

Boo leads Aru to her Pandava sibling, Mini, but becomes rather upset upon realizing that Mini and Aru are not great heroes, but instead children. Despite this, he leads Mini and Aru to the Court of the Sky  to meet the Council. While at the Court of the Sky, Aru realizes that Boo had been a member of the council once, but had since been ousted. After Aru and Mini are confirmed to be Pandavas and given gifts from their godly parents, Mini and Aru are given a quest: To find the three keys that will allow them into the Kingdom of Death, where they must retrieve their celestial weapons, the trio is sent to a shopping mall. After Mini and Aru recover the first key, the Sprig of Youth, the three are ambushed by the Sleeper. Aru distracts the Sleeper using her gift of a magic ping-pong ball, and the three escape. Boo informs the girls that in order to travel to their next location, the Night Bazaar, they will need protection. Boo takes them to the sage Valmiki, who gives them a mantra that will allow them passage. 

Boo then leads the girls to a Costco filled with otherworldly patrons, and instructs Mini to read the contents of the frozen food aisle aloud. As Mini's focus drifts, the Costco turns into the Night Bazaar. The three are scanned through security, which has increased due to the Sleeper's release. Boo tells the Raksha guard something Aru cannot hear before proceeding through the scanner. The three then decide to go to the Court of the Ritus, the six seasons. After the Seasons present Mini and Aru with magic gifts, the trio makes their way to a massive library to find the second key, a Bite of Adulthood. Before they can get it, the Sleeper ambushes them. Mini uses Winter's gift to freeze him long enough for Aru to get the key, but the Sleeper escapes. Boo then attacks the Sleeper, who grabs him. However, after getting a good look at Boo, the Sleeper laughs, pleasantly surprised. He reveals that Subala is not Boo's name, but his former kingdom, and that Boo's true identity is Shakhuni, one to the Pandava's greatest enemies. However, Boo maintained that guarding the Pandava sisters is his honor, and refuses to betray them. Angry, the Sleeper throws Boo across the room, knocking him unconscious. He then grabs the unconscious Boo, and tells Mini and Aru that he will hurt their loved ones if they do not summon him before the full moon and give him the celestial weapons. The Sleeper then disappears, taking Boo with him, and leaving Mini and Aru on their own.

After retrieving the celestial weapons, Mini and Aru summon the Sleeper, who is holding Boo in a birdcage. Boo tells the girls to run, and is promptly ignored. The Sleeper restrains Mini and Aru with shadows, but Mini, using her celestial weapon, summons an illusion of Aru's mother, Krithika Shah, the Sleeper's former lover. Shocked, the Sleeper drops Boo's cage, allowing Boo to escape. Boo pecks at the shadows pinning Aru and Mini, allowing Aru to pry herself free. The Sleeper tries to attack the illusion, but lands right in the center of Aru and Mini's trap: a circle of celestial mounts who do not particularly like the Sleeper. As the Sleeper's demons and the gods' mounts fight, Boo compliments Aru on her trap, but informs her that it lacks sophistication, as ambushes are 'so bourgeois.' Aru informs him that the middle of a battle is not the best time for constructive criticism. The mounts defeat the Sleeper's demons, but inform Aru that the demons they battled today are only a fraction of the Sleeper's army. The mounts and demons disappear, but before Aru can finish the Sleeper, he takes Mini and Boo hostage. Aru drops Vajra, her celestial weapon, and the Sleeper releases Boo and Mini, unconscious but alive. Aru is unable to kill the Sleeper, and he gets away. Aru is ashamed, but Boo assures her that she did well, especially considering she and Mini were alone.

Aru and Mini are told that the Council will naturally wish to train them, as they are Pandavas. Boo tells them that he will train the two girls, if they will let him, knowing who he is. Aru decides that Boo is not the same as he once was, and is trustworthy. Honored, Boo swears his troth, pledging loyalty to the Pandavas. Along with the rest of the Council, Boo tutors the sisters. Some time later, lessons are cut short due to an emergency. Boo, Mini, and Aru go back to the Shah home, where they spy a shape-shifting girl holding a golden bow. Boo, amused, informs the girls that the shapeshifter is also a Pandava sister, and informs the two that they are to catch her and recover the bow.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death

In the Night Bazaar, chasing the thief/new Pandava, Aru and Mini face an unexpected hurdle: zombies. While the sisters are able to face them one-on-two, the girls quickly become outnumbered ten-to-one. Boo deploys a vial of smoke, distracting the zombies and allowing the girls to follow the thief to a training arena, where she is fighting an Aru doppelganger who appears to be controlling the zombies. The doppelganger escapes and sets the arena on fire. Hanuman arrives with three other council members. Boo orders the girls to shield each other, and Hanuman douses the fires. The third girl is claimed by Vayu, the god of wind, as the reincarnated Bhima . She is gifted a wind mace as her celestial weapon, and immediately uses it to try and fight Mini and Aru. However, before any permanent damage can be done, all parties involved are summoned to the Court of the Sky.

In the Court of the Sky, Boo argues against Queen Uloopi of the Nagini in Mini and Aru's defense. Uloopi believes the three Pandavas are the thieves who stole the bow and arrow of Kamadeva, the god of love, from the naga treasury. Uloopi declares that the Pandava sisters will, in ten days, return Kamadeva's bow and arrow to Uloopi, or be banished from the Otherworld forever. Brynne, the third Pandava, wishes to go on the quest alone, but Mini and Aru insist otherwise. Boo then tells them he cannot assist them, as he is a suspect as well. He is imprisoned,  to be let out if and when the sisters return the bow.

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes

While Aru, Mini, Brynne, Aiden and Rudy go on an unofficial mission to find the real Kalpavriksha, Boo stays in Amaravati with the twin Pandavas, Nikita and Sheela Jagan It is said that Nikita treated him as a mannequin for her clothes when they were there. But after sometime, Boo strikes a deal with the Sleeper, allowing him to kidnap Sheela after making a bargain with him. He does this so that he can retrieve his former glory and help protect the Pandavas. He also appears, when all of them are fighting Garuda, and saves them. He is shown to be disapproving of Rudy at first, when he introduces himself as 'Pandava-adjacent-adjacent'. He also decided on their group name, the Potatoes.


Boo is crotchety, as people who've seen way too much can sometimes be. While he is dismissive of twelve-year-old Aru at first, he soon becomes fiercely loyal to her, and that makes him extra crotchety.


  • In some versions, Shakhuni used magic dice that would make him win.
  • Boo's role as a guide is similar to Grover Underwood and other satyrs.
  • Subala means 'Son of Subal'. In the Mahabhrata, Shakuni was the sun of the king Subal, and has been referenced to as 'Saubala' many times.
  • Shakuni was blessed to win any game of dice that he wanted to.
Pandava Quintet
Books: Aru Shah and the End of Time | Aru Shah and the Song of Death | Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes | Aru Shah and the City of Gold | Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality
Main Characters: Aru Shah | Mini | Brynne Rao | Nikita | Sheela | Kara | Aiden Acharya | Sleeper | Meenakshi | Takshaka | Rudy
Council of Guardians: Boo | Urvashi | Hanuman | Jambavan | Uloopi | Kubera | Surasa
Secondary Characters: Krithika P. Shah | Palace of Illusions | Durvasa | Navdeep | Hira | Opal | Ravana
Minor Characters: Pandavas | Arielle Reddy | Poppy Lopez | Burton Prater | Brahmasura | Valmiki | Shukra | Gandhari | Shakuntula | Rambha | Jaya and Vijaya | Rahuketu | Garuda | Kadru | Uttanka | Shikhandi
Devas: Indra | Dharma Raja | Vayu | Ashvins | Vishnu (Mohini, Narasimha, Rama, and Krishna) | Shiva | Chitrigupta | Ganesh | Lakshmi | Ritus | Kamadeva | Varuni | Varuna | Ratri | Ushas | Agni | Brahma | Maruts | Aranyani | Vishwakarma | Surya | Yamuna | Chandra | Rohini | Shani | Saranyu | Chhaya
Creatures: Makara | Asura | Chakora | Naga | Rakshasa | Vahanas | Ek and Do | Timingala | Time | Wish | Zombie | Apsara | Yaksha | Yali | Vanara
Related Content: Roshani Chokshi | The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes | Rick Riordan Presents