The Tower of Druaga ~the Aegis of Uruk~ – 10
Jil and company are able to make their way through an icy landscape inside the Shrine of Diamond thanks to Kaaya’s cold protection magic. As they trek towards the Shrine of Sky, Jil suddenly sees Ki, and she warns him to be careful. The next step he takes causes the ground in front of him to crumble, but luckily no one gets hurt. Kelb and Ethana have also survived to this point, and though the number of men they have with them is now severely diminished, Kelb wants to try to defeat Druaga so that they can at least gather information for the next group. Neeba and Fatina meanwhile are kept warm by Fatina’s fire magic. She still hasn’t gotten over Kally’s death and questions if they can really defeat Druaga. When Fatina then brings up the idea of giving up, Neeba kisses her and says that he needs her. The Succubus appears afterwards and pities Fatina because she doesn’t know Neeba’s true goal. Like Fatina, she asks if Neeba thinks he can defeat Druaga, but Neeba knows that the real Druaga died 80 years ago and that the problem lies in what’s after Druaga. Before disappearing, the Succubus informs Neeba that the Summer of Anu will end soon.
By this point, Kaaya’s too exhausted to continue her magical protection, so Jil’s group is forced to do without it as they climb up a steep cliff. When they pause on a ledge, Jil tries to get everyone to think about fun things and asks what the others will do once they get the Blue Crystal Rod. This turns out to be a bad topic because, as Melt reveals, only one person can actually get their wish granted. Most people want money, and that can be split evenly, but in their group, everyone is after something different. Having said that, Melt feels that they don’t need to worry about it yet because only the last survivor needs to think about it, assuming one of them even survives. The group then takes refuge in a small ice cavern, and Jil hears Ki’s voice asking him what he wants. When he admits that he doesn’t need the Rod’s power and would be fine with just defeating Druaga, Ki concludes that he merely wants to be a hero in order to to clear away his father’s dishonor. She feels that he can’t defeat the true Druaga with just those feelings and warns that there’s no guarantee that he’d be happy afterwards. Upon hearing her mention Gilgamesh’s name in that context, Jil questions who she is, so Ki reveals that she’s the ghost of the Tower who’s been waiting for the one she loves. She then warns Jil that his brother is in trouble before disappearing again.
Neeba is in fact currently under attack by Pazuz, and after seeing this in the distance, Jil wants Kaaya to use a lightweight spell on him so that he can go help. Before agreeing to it though, Kaaya questions what Jil wants to do after this and after he gets the Blue Crystal Rod. Jil doesn’t know and urges her to just use the magic, and though Kaaya does, she’s not happy about it. Meanwhile, Neeba is engaging in a high-altitude fight with rocket boots-equipped Pazuz, but Pazuz has the advantage and tries to drive a dagger through Neeba’s throat. Jil arrives just in time to save Neeba and injure Pazuz’s left eye, forcing the assassin to retreat. In the aftermath, Jil carries Neeba to the top of the cliff and meets up with the rest of the group. Neeba, however, feels that Jil shouldn’t have saved him, and he refuses Jil’s proposal to combine their two groups. He knows that there’s nothing Jil truly wants and that Jil is satisfied just to play hero, and this is different from his own ambitious self. Neeba also warns that Jil’s half-hearted attitude and reliance on luck will get his friends killed, and he gets angry when Jil tries to assert that he’ll protect everyone. Jil is thus pissed off when he returns to his group, and Kaaya decides not to press him about what she asked him earlier.
Jil’s group then enters the Shrine of Sky, but they find it strange that there are no monsters inside. As the members of the other groups – including Pazuz’s and Kelb’s – also reach the Shrine and head in, the Succubus and Ki keep count and eventually reach the point where they unleash something powerful. It causes the entire Tower to shake, and the ice pillars around the Shrine start to break away. What’s more, a sea of monsters suddenly appears below, and both Neeba and Kaaya realize that the Summer of Anu has ended. Ki and the Succubus know that this means that there’s no more turning back and that the groups will have to fight the god with their limited numbers.
Well we’re nearing the end of the series, but I’m still not sure what’s really going on in the story (is the tower itself the blue crystal rod?) or what the characters are after (Ki and the Succubus in particular). I sure hope there’s enough time in the final two episodes to explain everything since they’ve done a remarkable job of keeping things mysterious up to now. What I am beginning to suspect though is that, since only one person can have the wish, what comes after Druaga is the adventurers themselves as they fight over who gets the wish. I also get the feeling that Neeba’s true desire is related to either his father or to Jil, and that Jil’s idealism will win out in the end, though all of that is just pure speculation on my part. In any case, this episode overall managed to be fairly exciting and did a decent job building up for whatever is going to happen at the end. I’m a little disappointed that the preview seems to indicate that Druaga might really just be a huge monster (as opposed to something more sinister or surprising), but we’ll have to see what happens.