"Suzerain of the Religious Domain" is episode 258 of the Berserk manga.
Guts swings the Dragon Slayer down on its flat side, this achieving three purposes: the first being that it protects him from the falling stones, the second being that it blocks Serpico's attack, and the final being that it strikes Serpico's head full force, sending him crashing down to the ground, stunning him, and creating a wound that bleeds profusely.
Schierke rushes to Serpico's side and is relieved to see that he is still alive and conscious. Once he collects himself, Serpico asks if Guts purposely intended to block and strike all at once, but Guts admits that his move was simply lucky improvisation. Serpico then turns to Schierke, who has begun to cry. Having telepathically seen what Serpico fears Guts will do to Farnese while going berserk, she vows never to let it come to pass.
Serpico then asks Guts what he intends to do when he sees Farnese, but once again Guts admits that he is leaving everything to chance, having no current plan. He instructs his party to keep advancing into the banquet hall when he is stopped by Isidro, who asks whether or not Guts and Serpico were fighting to their utmost. Guts' sincere response, "yes", leaves Isidro feeling uneasy, and Guts says that fighting all-out is the norm for the life of a swordsman.
Guts leaves, only for Serpico to step forward to tell Isidro of a few things Guts neglected to mention: as combatants, Guts and Serpico came to a wordless agreement. For one, Guts agreed to fight in a location where Serpico had the clear advantage, and he also never used his projectile weapons (cannon, repeater crossbow or throwing knives) during the battle. Most importantly, Guts did not use the full power of his Berserker Armor.
Guts reiterates his previous suggestion of continuing to move into the banquet hall, and says that the creature that has already infiltrated it can only mean bad things are to come. Schierke explains the situation to the unknowing Serpico, who recalls killing the four harashada on the beach that were controlling the pishacha. Guts predicts that Vritannis will soon be embroiled in conflict, and this makes Schierke recall Sonia's words about leaving Vritannis as soon as possible. Guts determines that if the creature is being controlled by the Kushan, then it will undoubtedly be targeting the most important guests of the ball, this including Farnese. Visibly worried, Serpico says that he will guide Guts to the ballroom, and for this he is presented with the sylph cloak and sword by Schierke, both of which flutter into Serpico's arms. Schierke realizes that the sylphs have taken a liking to Serpico.
Federico de Vandimion III makes his appearance in the ballroom, attracting all the guests' attention. The guests, in hushed whispers, discuss the fact that Federico is one of the most powerful men in the Holy See's domain due to him being the organisation's sole benefactor. While Magnifico scoffs and Roderick marvels at how easily Federico steals the spotlight, Farnese makes the sudden realization that Serpico has disappeared.
Federico steps atop a dais, from which he addresses all the ball's guests. He thanks the various lords which make up the Holy See's armies for accepting the invitation to the ball, despite it being the eve of the armies' mobilization against the Kushan. Federico ends his speech with a toast to victory, and Magnifico makes his move: he attracts the attention of all the guests to make the announcement that the two people standing behind him are engaged. However, when he turns around, he comically sees Roderick standing there alone, Farnese having disappeared.
Farnese is searching the crowd of guests for Serpico. While Magnifico attempts to save face, neither he nor the rest of the ball's guests are aware that the demonic creature is prowling just outside the banquet hall's windows.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|