|Episode 188 (Manga)|
|Winter Journey (2)|
|Romaji||Fuyu no tabiji (2)|
|Volume||23 Winter Journey|
|Date Released||July 5, 2002 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← Winter Journey (1)
Scattered Time →
|Volumes and Chapters|
It is night again, and Guts is working hard to protect Casca and himself from malicious spirits. Casca and Puck are hiding in a gap between two large round stones while Guts fights just a few feet away. Puck senses that dawn is only a few moments away. He also senses that Guts is fighting with an atypical fury and that his thoughts are elsewhere.
Indeed, Guts' thoughts dwell on the nightmare he had of the Beast of Darkness and how it bit Casca's throat and killed her. He has not spoken of it to anyone else. As he busies himself with fighting, Casca notices a large rat scurry along beside her. Intrigued, she follows it outside of her hiding place, and Puck calls out to Guts, alerting him to the situation. The Black Swordsman runs towards Casca, trying to slice through all the spirits which are now flying towards the defenseless Casca. He is not able to kill them all, and shields her from the attacks of the remaining few with his own body.
He is instantly possessed. He has an internal struggle for a brief instant before giving into the influence of the Beast of Darkness of his dream, whose persuasive power is enhanced by the spirits. Guts places his hand on Casca's throat. He squeezes tightly, trying to kill her like the beast had instructed the previous night. Guts stares down as he chokes the life out of his own lover. A wave of fear washes over Puck, who can do nothing to stop it.
Before it is too late, however, Guts manages to retake control of his body. Through sheer force of will, he dispels the influence of the Beast of Darkness and sends the spirits flying away from his body into the morning sunlight, causing them to disappear. He falls to his knees, shocked at what he's just done. He then suddenly remembers Casca, who lays near him and isn't breathing. He cradles her in his arms until she begins to cough and take ragged breaths. The first thing she sees upon opening her eyes is Guts, and she screams in fright and recoils from him.
Casca stands up and tries to run from Guts, her would-be killer. He gives chase and grabs her by the arm in an attempt to stop and calm her, but she struggles to free herself.
In the end, Guts decides to let her walk on her own a fair way ahead of him, though never letting her out of his sight. Puck laments that the trust Casca had managed to place in Guts is now shattered, but he does not blame Guts. He says that Guts shouldn't blame himself, since he was possessed by spirits at the time.
Guts isn't so sure. He stares at his hand and thinks of the Beast of Darkness, which had long before been compelling him to kill Casca. After a moment of silent reflection, he looks up to watch Casca again. Though the day isn't over yet, Guts realizes that he cannot let Casca wander so far ahead of him when dusk arrives, so he decides to fashion a kind of leash for Casca using a length of rope which binds her hands. Though neither Guts nor Puck enjoy this way of transporting Casca, they both agree that it is the easiest and safest way to keep her in check.
Puck tells Guts that binding Casca will only make her resent him more, but Guts doesn't care, simply saying that getting Casca to a safe place is top priority.
Night comes once more, and Guts decides to set up camp beneath a small bridge. Though he stands guard, he begins to nod off due to weariness. The bound Casca takes the opportunity to reach for his dagger, which is still strapped to his body. Feeling someone trying to steal his weapon, Guts reflexively lashes out, swatting Casca away and slightly injuring her. She grows ever more hostile towards him as a result. The trust she had put in him since the beginning of their journey is now gone, and she remains distant despite being so close.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|