|Episode 126 (Manga)|
|Date Released||April 5, 1999 (tankōbon format)|
← Morning of Truth
|List of Volumes|
In their sleep, many people have the same dream of a kingdom that is annihilated by a combination of a plague that ravages the land and attacks from enemy soldiers who ride giant monsters. The cities, towns and villages of the kingdom are ravaged by earthquakes and floods, and the smoke caused by the destruction hides the sun entirely. Corpses of countless people who were once all friends with each other are strewn about. At night, there are no stars or moon, just complete and utter blackness. Amidst all the chaos, the dreamers catch sight of a single being: a glowing white hawk, a symbol of hope, a symbol of the absolute desire of those dreamers.Midland has been plunged into such chaos. Laban sits on his horse in Midland's western reaches, the landscape around him dreadful. The soldier next to him explains that the trees were cut down to provide wood for weapons and the stones quarried to build forts to aid in the One Hundred Year War. The result is the desolate landscape around them. Together, Laban and the soldier lead a force of men to a nearby town. Laban is on his guard as the entire town's populace are passes him, walking in the opposite direction.The regiment comes across an obstacle in their path created by a landslide. Noticing bodies in the rubble, Laban dismounts his horse and wades into the soft mud to help the victims, ordering his men to do the same. He makes his way over to a trapped child, but when he turns it over, he finds that it is on the brink of death, afflicted by illness with a runny nose and drooling, eyes staring into the air in front of it.Once all the survivors are extracted from the shifted earth, Laban orders them to be put in wagons and given blankets before mounting his horse and going off alone towards the nearby town. Upon arriving, he finds the streets completely deserted but for rats, confirming that the plague has swept through. He makes his way to the chapel and arrives to the grisly sight of dead bodies strewn about in piles, killed by the plague. An old man who remained behind shoos the enormous rats away as they feed on the corpses. Apparently, the rodents are the source of the plague.
Laban wanders through the streets, wondering if the plague and resulting famine were caused by the aftermath of the One Hundred Years War, though the idea conflicts with the logic that, after a war, kingdoms focus on rebuilding. The King of Midland has dispatched the majority of Midland's forces to search for Griffith, the search having never relented over the past two years. Laban imagines the King's face, which has aged considerably, and whose eyes belie his insanity.
Laban then reflects on the white hawk that appeared in the dreams of Midland's subjects, and is the symbol of the Holy See. He realizes that the hawk was, perhaps not coincidentally, also the symbol of famed general Griffith. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of his second-in-command, who informs Laban that the King's life has been claimed by illness. They leave together to continue their trek across the kingdom. The rats in the plaza all swarm to a large pile of bodies, covering it completely. The rats are arranged in such a way over the corpses that they form the face of Conrad of the God Hand. Conrad spits out some spirits before dissolving as the rats scatter.