|Episode 149 (Manga)|
|Volume||19 Blood Flow of the Dead|
|Date Released||April 5, 2000 (tankōbon format)|
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The Cliff →
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The goat-man charges once more, this time at Guts and not Casca. Guts fires his repeating crossbow multiple times, but the monster's superior agility allows it to dodge them all, not slowing its advance. It gets dangerously close to Guts as he busies himself with reloading, and only when the monster's horns are inches from his face does Guts evade to the side, narrowly avoiding harm.
Guts continues to fire his crossbow repeatedly, but to no avail; the monster is literally jumping off the floor, walls and ceiling of the cave to avoid the shots. Guts sees only one solution: using Rickert's new invention. He extracts one from his satchel; they are small balls adorned with studs, with a small fuse protruding from its surface. Guts lights it using his metal arm before throwing it at the charging monster.
The throw is perfectly timed: just as the goat-man is about to hit Guts once more, the tiny ball explodes next to its face, tearing holes through its skin. It falls to its knees, and Guts uses the opportunity to finish it off with one mighty swing of the Dragonslayer, removing its head. The mysterious being watches as Guts contemplates his newly-discovered useful weapons and leaves the cave after Isidro.
Outside the cave, Guts discovers that Isidro's escape route is quite perilous: it is a narrow jutting ledge on the sheer face of a cliff, where one misstep could mean death. Guts notices a man standing on the path ahead of him: Serpico. Guts raises his crossbow and fires a few bolts at the boy, who uses a curve in the path to hide behind the cliff face. Now unable to see him, Guts uses another of his throwable explosives, sending directly between the hiding Serpico's feet, where it explodes.
Guts cautiously approaches the area where Serpico is hiding, but finds nothing there. His confusion only lasts a second, because a glint to his left alerts him to the point of a sword rising from the pathway's edge - Serpico had hung from the edge to protect himself from the explosion.
Further along the path, Isidro leads Nina and Casca away from the cave and towards, he hopes, more solid ground. His plans are ruined, however, when the path seems to simply end, leaving him, Nina and Casca nowhere to go except back towards the heretic cave. Nina notices something on the cliff face nearby: a small metal hoop has been attached to the rock face, and a length of rope descends to the bottom of the chasm. Isidro tells her that he could lower her to the bottom, but he is at a loss of what to do with Casca, who will likely struggle should he attempt to lower her as well
Serpico has managed to climb back safely onto the narrow path. Guts raises his crossbow, but Serpico thrusts his sword next to its crank, preventing Guts from grabbing it. Guts reaches for his sheathed Dragonslayer, but Serpico prevents him from drawing it. Guts quickly realizes the full horror of the situation: the much smaller Serpico uses a rapier, which is suited to thrusting. Guts, who is much larger, must swing the Dragonslayer, which isn't possible thanks to the narrow path and the cliff face rubbing against his shoulder. What's more, Guts' good hand is pinned next to the wall, and the sun is shining in his eyes from behind Serpico's head.
Serpico acknowledges that while Guts would easily have the advantage on more solid ground even if he were vastly outnumbered, Serpico has the clear advantage on the cliff face. He gives Guts a cut on the cheek as the latter realizes just how skilled and strategic a fighter Serpico truly is.
Meanwhile, after lowering Nina to the foot of the cliff, Isidro gets to work tying the rope around Casca's waist and lowering her down as well. He is watched by the hidden mysterious being.