The Tower of Druaga ~the Aegis of Uruk~ – 09
At a bridge crossway, Pazuz watches as several parties below him are battling a seemingly never ending stream of monsters. When the monsters explode en masse, the members of Jil’s and Neeba’s parties get thrown off the bridge, and this leads to them becoming separated into different smaller groups. Jil and Fatina make up one such group, and Fatina wants to immediately search for Neeba. Utu, Kally, and Coopa make up another, as do Ahmey and Kelb, Ethana and Melt, and Kaaya and Neeba. Melt and Ethana in particular start talking about each others motivations for going after the Blue Crystal Rod, and Melt reveals that he wants to triumph over the mages who exiled him from the royal palace. Ethana, on the other hand, claims to be motivated by her loyalty to the army and King Gilgamesh, and when Melt calls that boring, she explains that she has fun on her travels with Kelb. Around this same time, Kelb and Ahmey are reminiscing about when Ahmey had been a spearman in the army. She had gotten proposed to by a guy who subsequently died in battle, and so Ahmey had never gotten to answer him. Her reason for getting the Blue Crystal Rod is so that she can bring him back and give him her answer.
Jil and Fatina meanwhile decide to head for the settlement of Baragesi and arrive there before anyone else does, but they find the place literally turned on its side and abandoned. While they’re waiting for the others, the two start talking about how Fatina wants the Blue Crystal Rod so that she can become rich. Unlike her, Jil cares mainly about bringing peace by defeating Druaga, and this causes Fatina to say that she hates hardheaded people because they always desert in the face of the enemy. Jil takes this statement very seriously because the same had been said about his father when his father died. Elsewhere, Utu, Kally, and Coopa come across a casket that had been dropped by one of Pazuz’s servants during the earlier battle, and when Kally opens it, he gets attacked by Pazuz himself. Utu and Coopa manage to get away during the ensuing fight, but Pazuz kills Kally because he saw what was inside. Neeba and Kaaya are later alerted to the fact that something is up when a shadowy reflection of Kally attacks them. Neeba defeats it, and the pair then arrive at Baragesi. Given the chance, Kaaya asks Neeba what he plans to wish for if he gets the Blue Crystal Rod, but Neeba wonders if it even exists. When Neeba asks her back why she’s climbing the Tower, Kaaya answers that it’s because she’s the only one who can purify the Tower. She remains confident in Jil’s ability to help her, but Neeba thinks that Jil can’t do it because Jil doesn’t know the truth that comes after defeating Druaga.
Moments after Neeba parts ways with Kaaya, Jil finds her and leads her to the rest of the group. Along the way, he vows to bring her to the top of the Tower and to protect her, however he nearly takes Kaaya right over a cliff and then disappears. Kaaya realizes afterwards that this Jil was only a shadowy reflection. Standing right at the edge, she is suddenly paid a visit by the Succubus who suggests that Kaaya turn back because she’s going to betray her friends. The Succubus disappears as quickly as she appeared when Melt and the others find Kaaya. Kaaya thus gets reunited with the real Jil, and though he vows to protect her and bring her to the top of the Tower just like his fake reflection had said, she takes his hand anyway. Fatina meanwhile gets reunited with Utu and Neeba, and the two barely give her any time to react to the news of Kally’s death before they continue pushing forward.
Wow, Kally’s death this week was really abrupt and unexpected. He wasn’t exactly a major character, but I can’t help but feel that the only purpose of his death was to show that Pazuz really doesn’t want people to find out what he’s planning to do with those caskets. Since the writers could have accomplished that with any random character, I wonder if there’s something more to it than that. In any case, the majority of this episode was focused on the different-from-usual pairings, and it was really obvious to me that they were just using these pairings as an excuse to talk about everyone’s motivations for climbing the Tower. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, and in this case, I was actually quite intrigued by some of the stuff that came up. Ahmey’s past is one of those, but bigger perhaps is the whole betrayal aspect that came up again. The fact that the Succubus seems so sure Kaaya is going to betray her friends, combined with what Neeba already seems to know about the truth after defeating Druaga, makes me think that these events are all part of some never-ending cycle that needs to be broken. For me, this shows again that the series is doing a good job of keeping the story mysterious and interesting.