We get another volume-length story, right after the one featured in vol. 3, and it’s a much better one too. Picking up right after the last-panel cliffhanger, the Quin Zaza isn’t able to avoid being clipped by the ship it crosses paths with. The damage is enough to ground the draking ship, and that has Vannie and Jiro flying off into town to bring back help. Before they can reach civilization, they encounter the ship again and the female draker jumps onto it to give its crew a piece of her mind. There she encounters Brno, the living incarnate of privilege, who is absolutely obsessed with learning all there is to know about dragons. Fortunately for the crew of the Quin Zaza, Vannie is able to leverage her knowledge of the Dragon Corridor as incentive for Brno to help her crew out. While neither crew much likes the other, they soon find themselves working together when they arrive in town and find that a bounty has been placed on the worst kind of dragon: A Ship Eater.
It isn’t just that we meet new characters and experience some new terminology with this volume. We also get a better sense of how the world of “Drifting Dragons” works thanks to Brno, his ambitions, and family connections. The character may be downright insufferable at first, but that feeling is tempered when it becomes clear that he’s really a conservationist and wildlife researcher. One who isn’t afraid to walk right up to danger if necessary. That said, Vannie is the real star of this volume and she makes for quite a capable protagonist. More focused than Mika, and more competent than Taki, she also has a confidence about her that draws you into her story. Something which is put to the test when things go bad for her towards the end as the two crews work to subdue the Ship Eater in some well-choreographed action scenes. Though it may have taken a little while, it’s good to finally see “Drifting Dragons” finally start to live up to its potential.