|Episode 142 (Manga)|
|Spirit Road (2)|
|Volume||18 Tower of Shadow|
|Date Released||October 5, 1999 (tankōbon format)|
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Pillar of Flame→
|List of Volumes|
Guts runs all through the night, refusing to stop and rest. Puck wonders what happened to Isidro since they deserted him earlier in the day, and notices the similarities the boy has with Guts, something which annoys the Black Swordsman.
Guts comes to a sudden halt when he sees a large imposing silhouette directly ahead of him. Puck thinks it's another monster Guts needs to fight, but the latter recognizes the person before him: the Skull Knight. The two greet each other; the Skull Knight with sincerity, Guts with thinly-veiled hostility. The Skull Knight notices Puck whizzing around Guts' head and is amused by the fact that Guts is traveling with an elf.
The Skull Knight explains the reason for his appearance: he's headed towards a place where not just Apostles are, but in fact the God Hand themselves may be. He then says that his own destination happens to coincide with Guts', shocking the latter. The Skull Knight continues, saying that the Tower of Conviction is the ideal draw for the God Hand, as it is right now the place where there is an immense concentration of negative emotions. The Skull Knight explains that, when the emotions reach critical mass every thousand years, an incarnation ceremony occurs, allowing one of the God Hand to take a permanent form in the mortal realm.
The Skull Knight then asks Guts whether he'd seen the Hawk of Light in his dream. Apparently, nearly every human in the world has seen the same vision, but only the Skull Knight has been able to correctly decipher its meaning: a person with the hawk as his symbol will return to the world.
The Skull Knight asks about Casca's whereabouts and correctly guesses that she is currently at the Tower of Conviction. He says that causality has manipulated the flow of events to draw humans who desire the Hawk of Light to a single point within the world. Casca is there, and she is acting as a beacon to draw Guts to the same place; a "festival" will occur, one which mirrors the events of the Eclipse.
Skull Knight ends his monologue by saying that this incarnation ceremony cannot be stopped because it has been ordained by fate. Guts is skeptical, however. He says that both Zodd and the Skull Knight himself both predicted Guts' death at the Eclipse, but he and Casca ultimately survived the event. Guts plans on reusing the same miracle, this time saving Casca by his own strength, and then moving on to kill Griffith.
The Skull Knight is impressed by Guts' words, and decides that together, they may be able to change the course of events. He turns and leaves on his horse, leaving Guts with yet another prophecy: whether Guts focuses on rescuing Casca or fighting his enemies, she will remain alone.
While Guts and Puck watch the enigmatic horseman leave, Puck comically adds that Guts should have asked the Skull Knight for a ride to the Tower of Conviction. He then attempts to say something, but restrains himself. His thoughts reveal that he felt an elf-like presence from the Skull Knight, but he elects not to tell Guts.
Guts vows to save Casca no matter what, and continues to run to St. Albion. Not far behind, Isidro is still following him diligently.