|Episode 174 (Manga)|
|Volume||21 Bestial Priest|
|Date Released||June 5, 2001 (tankōbon format)|
← The Sky Fall
|List of Volumes|
The horrors of St, Albion are all but gone. The spirits have vanished. The night has passed, and the comforting sun rises on the horizon. The only survivors of the collapse of the Tower of Conviction appear to be Guts, Casca, Isidro, Jerome, Farnese, Serpico and Puck. The refugees inside the Tower died during its collapse.
Casca shivers in the cold morning air, and Guts wraps his cloak around her, finally having a moment of peace with his old lover.
Nina has also survived the collapse, having been safely ensconced in her barrel the entire time. The lid pops off the barrel, and she catches sight of Isidro and Jerome. She crawls out of her hiding place and begs the two men to search for Luca, who Nina fears died in the commotion of the night. Fearing that she'll never see her mentor again, Nina begins to break down and cry. Suddenly, she hears a voice and peers down the well from which it emanates; Luca has taken shelter inside the well to avoid all the destruction as is stranded in the waist-high water. She is soon helped out of her watery prison by the group.
Nina begins to cry and hugs Luca tightly. The nice moment is interrupted by many javelins which pelt the ground around the group's feet. As they peer through the remnants of the destruction around them, they catch sight of the large number of Kushan scouts who have recently arrived. They are led by Silat, who is still in the company of his four muscly Bakiraka guards, the Tapasa. The Kushan warrior is searching for a particular person under orders from an unknown superior, and was told by an oracle that the person he seeks would be at St. Albion. Silat judges by the sight of the collapsed Tower of Conviction that the oracle was right.
Silat orders the Kushan scouts to attack the group. Guts is the first to charge against these new opponents, ordering Luca, Nina, Casca, Isidro and Farnese to stay back while he, Serpico and Jerome fend off the scouts. Not one to be told what to do, Isidro joins the fight by throwing rocks at the scouts, saving Jerome from certain death.
Guts is worried about his allies. On top of the fact that they must protect the women behind them, he realizes that they have just spent an entire night fighting monsters they did not know existed the day previous. His fears are realized when two scouts manage to get around him and throw ropes over the women of the group. They are saved by the timely appearance of Azan, who also survived the Tower's collapse. The Holy Iron Chain Knights' commander joins Guts and his group in the fight against the Kushan in an uneasy alliance.
Before either Guts' group or the Kushan can move, the ground begins to rumble. Isidro suspects that the rubble created by the Tower of Conviction's collapse is crumbling, but he is soon proven wrong: from behind a wall near to the Kushan, one of the few intact pieces of the Tower left, Nosferatu Zodd emerges. The transformed Apostle crashes through the wall and stands in the middle of the group of scouts. Their surprise upon seeing the monster signifies that they are not allied with him.
Guts glances up at the top of the wall Zodd crashed through, where he notices the Skull Knight sitting atop his horse. The skeletal warrior neither speaks nor even looks at Guts. Instead, he simply points at something in the distance, at something Guts is shocked to see.