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Episode 186 (Manga)

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Episode 186 (Manga)
Chapter 186
Of Snow and Flames/Final Act
Kanji 雪と炎と/後篇
Romaji Yuki to honō to/kōhen
Information
Volume 22 War Cry of the Wind
Chapter 186
Pages 20
Date Released December 24, 2001 (tankōbon format)
Arc Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc
Previous
Of Snow and Flames/First Act
Next
Winter Journey (1)
Volumes and Chapters

Of Snow and Flames/Final Act (雪と炎と/後篇 Yuki to honō to/kōhen?) is the 186th chapter of the Berserk manga series, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura.

Summary

Serpico continues to reminisce about his younger days with Farnese.

As they grew older together, Farnese grew more attractive and was given official representative duties as a member of the Vandimion family. She was often invited to balls and parties, but refused to dance with all the men who asked, whose ultimate goal was to marry into the wealthy Vandimion family. Instead, Farnese would command Serpico to dance with her until the other jealous men (who knew of Serpico's status as a commoner who was raised to nobility) challenged him to duels.

Serpico would accept their challenges and win handily, but Farnese could sense that he did not take the duels seriously, often getting injured during them. As punishment, she would whip him frequently and admire the scars he received from previous duels. When she asked her servant why he did not try his best in the duels, he would simply say that she held him in too high regard and expected too much of him. At that moment, Farnese leaned down and bit deeply into Serpico's bicep, tasting his blood. Serpico knew that she had developed feelings for him beyond being his master. She was, and remains, unaware of their status as half-siblings.

Serpico's mother's condition steadily worsened over the years, to the point where Serpico could no longer care for her on his own and sent her to a sanitarium. Her delirium was such that she saw Serpico's father's face whenever she looked at her son, and believed that he would often come to visit after many years of abandonment. In reality, the father of her child had not come to visit her even once.

After several years of being away for business, Farnese and Serpico's father returned to the mansion with the news that he had arranged a marriage for Farnese, who became a lady at age sixteen. He seemingly had no regard for her personal feelings, and had arranged the marriage to maintain the high status of the house Vandimion. She accepted his decision obediently, but had obvious misgivings.

Farnese+Serpico

Farnese looked to Serpico for comfort, but her advances were rebuffed.

The night after hearing the news, Serpico wandered to Farnese's crematorium, where he found her naked. He approached her, concerned, and she threw herself onto him, saying that she would never be able to live anywhere other than the mansion she called home. She begged Serpico, who in her mind was a part of the mansion, to run away with her. He said nothing, and they stood pressed together with their fingers intertwined for a moment before Serpico pushed her away. She promptly gathered her clothes and ran back to the mansion, distraught and heartbroken.

Only a few moments later, the sound of the mansion's servants screaming in terror drew Serpico's attention. He ran into the estate to find Farnese in her nightgown and using candles to light the house aflame, laughing as she did so. Seeing that a chandelier could fall on her at any moment, Serpico tackled her to the ground, saving her life when it fell.

Though most of the estate remained intact after this incident, Farnese's father was very displeased and called off her wedding, worried that news of her behavior would spread. He had her sent off to a monastery where he would no longer need to watch over her. He also commanded Serpico to go with her, in part to familiarize himself with the world and in part to watch over Farnese. Serpico came to realize the irony in that Farnese's wish to run away with him had come true, but her feelings for him had vanished, and she once again began to treat him like a simple servant.

After some time living in the monastery, Farnese was chosen to become the leader of the prestigious Holy Iron Chain Knights, who by tradition always have a female leader. Farnese took to her new role without much enthusiasm, but for one aspect: when it came to locating and burning heretics, Farnese would suddenly take her position very seriously and would dutifully hunt down all those who did not see eye to eye with the Holy See. This earned her great admiration from the higher-ups of the Order. Serpico noticed that she finally seemed happy with her position in life, especially as she watched the heretics burn.

It turned out that those deemed heretical by the Holy See were nothing more than a small sect that preached of sharing wealth, rather than hoarding it as the Holy See does. For this, the Holy See ordered Farnese to capture all of the sect's members and burn them at the stake. Her dedication to the task was such that she was able to put not only the heretics on trial, but also their entire families, regardless of their involvement in the sect itself. Serpico noticed a trend: all those who were deemed heretics seemed to be of low class, just like he used to be.

Serpico managed to keep his emotions in check amidst the chaos Farnese put him through until the fateful night when his own mother was deemed a heretic. Farnese had identified the sanitarium in which she lived as the headquarters of the sect. Serpico was overheard by the Holy Iron Chain Knights calling out to his mother, and Farnese suddenly faced a dilemma; she could not understand how the relative of a Holy Iron Chain Knight could be a heretic.

BurningSerpicosMother

Serpico was ordered by Farnese to burn his own mother.

Serpico approached his mother, but she did not recognize him, seeing only his father. She spoke as though she and her old lover had just met after a long time apart, unaware of her current predicament as an alleged heretic. Farnese walked up to Serpico and handed him a torch, ordering him to burn the woman standing before them so as to prove she was not his mother. Serpico and Farnese held the torch together, her ready to throw it, him wanting nothing more than to extinguish it.

Three years after this incident, Serpico finds himself in the present. The night has passed, and he and Farnese continue on their journey to find the elusive Black Swordsman.

Characters in Order of Appearance

Arc Navigation

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