Back in the Mansion of the Spirit Tree, Flora finishes chiseling a rune into the breastplate of a piece of armor, commenting that her task had taken longer than anticipated. She is in the company of the Skull Knight, who asks if Flora realizes the immense danger associated with the use of the armor. She does, but has decided that the benefits of using the armor could outweigh the costs. The Skull Knight comments that the new intended user of the armor may make the same mistakes the Skull Knight himself made in the past, but Flora responds by saying that the choices she and the Skull Knight had made in the past are not necessarily doomed to be repeated.
Suddenly, both the Skull Knight and Flora become aware of hostile intruders in Flora's domain. They step out onto Flora's balcony, from which the Skull Knight leaps, landing on his horse. A surprised Flora asks if he intends to defend her from the intruders, which he confirms, saying that her death will be easier if it is not at the hands of enemies.
As Guts' group makes its way back to the Spirit Mansion, Schierke is continuously praised by Ivalera, Serpico and particularly Farnese for the abilities she displayed on her troll-hunting mission. Schierke herself is reluctant to accept their praise, feeling that she merely unleashed power greater than herself into the world without having the means to control it. Suddenly, Guts, who had been wandering at the back of the group, collapses. Schierke removes the bandages that held his heavily damaged torso together to see that the wounds inflicted by Slan (though she isn't aware of this) on Guts have worsened, despite them having nearly physically healed in Enoch Village's church. Schierke realizes that while Guts' physical body has healed, his ethereal body is still wounded.
Guts forces himself to stand, dismissing his severe wounds as simple dizziness. Schierke isn't convinced, knowing that Guts' wounds could not have been inflicted by mere trolls. She then noticed that the talisman she drew over Guts' Brand of Sacrifice has disappeared. Guts turns back to look at the concerned Schierke, telepathically telling her that he fought against a "monster who pretends to be an angel"; Schierke deduces that Guts met one of the God Hand in the troll cave. She wonders how a mere human like Guts could leave a confrontation against the God Hand alive. The first answer she comes up with herself: the Dragonslayer is capable of harming the God Hand due to it having been used to kill Apostles and other Astral beings. The second comes when she remembers Flora's parting words: Guts may be a mere human, but he puts himself against impossible odds and always comes out alive, despite all logic claiming that the opposite should be true.
Schierke suddenly senses that the barrier placed around Flora's domain has vanished. Casca clutches at her chest in pain. Guts orders her, along with Farnese, to stay behind, knowing that the forest mansion is being attacked by something worse than trolls. The three men of the group and Schierke complete the journey to the mansion, only to find it engulfed in flame.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|