Guts encounters and kills a party of Kushan scouts, saving the life of Isidro who follows him out of admiration. Meanwhile, catching some starving refugees attacking a food wagon, Mozgus brings a refugee and her baby to the abbey; although her baby is cared for, Mozgus tortures her for her blasphemy. In the refugee's camp, Luca keeps Casca disguised as her bandaged sister "Elaine" and shares her payment from clients including the knight Jerome with her fellow prostitutes. One of them, Nina, worries about her disease while fetching water with Casca, not noticing the spirits stalking them. Isidro catches up with Guts, when they are attacked by more possessed corpses.
In an abandoned village, the red-haired youth, named Isidro, finds himself in trouble when a group of Kushan scouts slaughter the bandits whom he was stealing food from. One of the scouts was about to kill Isidro when Guts arrives and the scouts end up being massacred by him while Puck advises the boy to hide until the carnage was over. After the dust clears, Puck attempts to convince Isidro to give him and Guts his food as recompense for having his life saved, though the youth was more focused on Guts. As a vexed Guts resumes his journey towards Albion, though speechless, Isidro resolves to follow Guts this time. Nearby, an old opponent of Guts' named Silat advises his Tapasa bodyguards to not engage Guts as they have a mission to find "that place."
In the city of Albion, the clocked skin of a Holy See priest mounted on a barren tree among on the outskirts, the Holy Iron Chain Knights find tattered-clothed people unable to enter are forced take shelter in tents and live in extremely poor living conditions to the point of starvation while their dead are carted out in droves. When the beggars learn that the knights have brought food to take to the Tower of Conviction for rations, many of the beggars swarm the cart to steal some food. But they are captured by Farnese, who becomes conflicted as one of the refugees stole to feed her infant child. Mozgus, claiming to understand the beggars' plight, invites them into the city to be justly rewarded within the tower while the infant is tended to.
While the rest of the beggars are escorted elsewhere, Mozgus leads Farnese, Serpico, Azan, and the mother to the abbey where a doctor tends to the child's well-being with assurance the infant will recover. The mother expresses upmost gratitude to Mozgus as he assures her that he acts on God's will before leading her and Farnese's group to the torture chamber where the other beggars are being tortured. Explaining that many of the refugees are naturally sinners and deserve punishment, Mozgus orders Farnese to bear witness as he hands the now horrified mother to his disciples so she would be subjected to hot coals placed on her naked body. Soon after, Farnese carries out the task to bring any accused criminal to the tower despite one such person telling her that none who return ever come out.
In the refugee camp, Luca was in the middle of her sexual service to a Iron Chain Knight named Jerome when her "diseased sister" peeked into the tent. Jerome decides to end their session prematurely and pays Luca with a pearl necklace while vowing to take her and her "sister" into his care. After Jerome leaves, Luca is greeted by her "apprentice harlots", Pepe, Fouquet, Lucie, and the much less outgoing Nina. Luca divvies up her earnings among the others, explaining that they need to stick together and look out for one another. While musing that she had the others become prostitutes, calling her "Elaine" as she does not know her actual name, Luca could not bring herself to subject Casca to perform sexual favors. Furthermore, creating the ruse that she suffers from syphilis, Luca covered Casca's body in bandages out of fear that the mark on her chest might brand her as a witch.
When another of her clients enters the tent, Luca entrusts Casca's caretaking to Nina as she leaves to fetch water after receiving medicine. Along the way, Nina witnesses a man imprisoned in stocks being stoned by some refugees and then a pagan worshiper of the Goddess of the Flame preaching the Falcon of Light shall unite all nations. Once at the river, Nina leaves Casca to play with stones on the shore to fetch water while troubled of her own disease along being in Albion. But Nina is unaware that Casca's brand attracted unclean spirits that have entered corpses of dead refugees, or being witnessed by an mysterious figure.
Back in the wilderness, Isidro catches up to Guts by sunset and finds him resting on a tree stump, deciding to test himself by picking up the Dragon Slayer with Puck giving him advice. Guts wakes up and takes back his blade while asking Isidro why he is following him, but the boy is too starstruck to answer. When Isidro responds to Puck's comment that he wants to be Guts' apprentice, Guts advises the youth to stop following him but to no avail. But as Isidro refuses, Guts finds himself facing the spirits of the dead that have possessed the still wheel-bound rebels that Mozgus had executed days ago.
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Guts and Puck stare in shock as something reveals itself in a shroud of green mist. Guts then remarks that he doesn't give a damn about shadows and karma. Meanwhile, Nina and a young man look upon a group of heretics dancing naked around a bonfire. The young man asks if this is "joy" before switching to the Tower of Conviction. There, The Bird removes his mask to reveal his human appearance underneath. He remarks to Farnese that she has some impressive faith. Returning back to Guts, the figure in the mist reveals itself to be the Skull Knight, who comments on Guts' good health. In the Tower, Mozgus raises his hands to the heavens, proclaiming that everything is for God alone.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
Manga/Anime Differences Edit
|The Golden Age Arc Trilogy|