Jil’s group has been on the run for three straight days without sleep because they’re being followed closely by a swarm of Mocomoco monsters. Things look bad when they run into a field of mushrooms that release a sleep-inducing pollen, but right as the Mocomocos are about to attack the group, they are scared off by one of Neeba’s arrows. The two groups thus join camps temporarily, and Jil learns that the Uruk army is just ahead of them facing off against a one-winged dragon. Jil thinks that everyone should work together to slay the dragon, but Neeba questions if Jil wants to involve his friends in a fight with a dragon that cannot be defeated. Neeba’s own plan is to wait until the dragon is exhausted from fighting the Uruk army before killing it. Refusing to let a lot of the army people die in the process, Jil decides to go talk with their leader Kelb. He presents himself in front of Kelb to ask that the Uruk army join with the Tower climbers to defeat the dragon, but Kelb ignores him and heads off to personally fight the dragon. His subordinate Ethana, however, gives Jil a bag of gold pieces to gather as many people as he can with.
Despite his best efforts, Jil has a hard time convincing any of the Tower climbers who have reached this point to join in the fight since he’s only offering one gold piece per person. Coopa and the others see him trying so hard and decide to help him, so they get to work using a combination of Kaaya’s sex appeal, Ahmey’s gambling, and Coopa’s get-rich-quick pitch to get people to join. Coopa’s approach is particularly successful in attracting people, and soon Jil has a small army of Tower climbers with him. Kelb’s forces meanwhile have been forced to retreat to a bridge where Kelb personally makes a stand against the dragon, and he’s able to hold it back with sheer strength until Jil and the Tower climbers join the fight. They manage to flip the dragon onto it’s back, but the dragon then counterattacks. Right as it is about to breathe fire onto Jil and Kelb, Neeba shows up and fires an arrow in front of the dragon to interrupt it, and this gives him enough time to tell Jil to aim for the flame sacs situated on the dragon’s chest. Armed with this information, Jil and Kelb both charge and pierce the dragon’s flame sacs, and the dragon subsequently loses it’s footing and falls off the bridge into the dark ravine below.
In the aftermath, Jil is cheered as a hero, and even Kelb finally takes notice of him. As Neeba watches the celebration from afar, the Succubus appears and suggests that he’s jealous since his old party had been annihilated by that very dragon. She then draws the distinction of how Neeba lost his friends whereas Jil saved a lot of people, and she thinks that Jil will get even stronger. As she disappears, the Succubus warns that Jil will sooner or later be beyond Neeba’s reach.
Well the dragon story wasn’t too bad – a little weak in the middle where everyone was helping Jil rally the forces (they all seemed to agree to risk their lives a bit too conveniently), but otherwise a decent episode. I think episodes with Neeba just tend to be stronger because his involvement always seems to point to something in the overall story other than just progressing through the Tower. This week, it was
C.C.the Succubus re-raising the idea that Neeba has always been jealous of Jil and suggesting that Jil will become quite powerful. Neither of those statements is particularly shocking, but they show that the story is developing to be more than just Tower-challenge-of-the-week. Plus I just enjoy hearing Yukana in that kind of playful and mysterious role. As for next week, it looks to be focused on one of the other characters I really like in this series, Kaaya, and I’m hoping it’ll reveal a bit more about her past.