|Episode 193 (Manga)|
|Banner of the Flying Sword|
|Romaji||Hiken no ohata|
|Volume||23 Winter Journey|
|Date Released||July 5, 2002 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← The War Demons
Wings of Light and Darkness →
|Volumes and Chapters|
Mule and his soldiers are shocked to see that the Band of the Hawk has returned after vanishing two years previously. He orders his men forward once more, intending to help the Hawks, but commands them to stop just as suddenly. Without looking up or hearing anything, Mule becomes mysteriously aware of several arrows flying his way, and he's just prevented his soldiers from walking right into their flight paths. They land point-first on the ground just a few feet ahead of him.
Mule is confused at his own premonition, and his first instinct after seeing the arrows bury themselves in the ground before him is to turn his head right, whereupon he notices several horsemen a short distance away acting as guards for a young girl, who looks at Mule knowingly. She then turns her attention to the battlefield. The hill she stands on provides a good vantage point to see everything that's happening; when she looks at the men of the Band of the Hawk and the Kushan forces, she can perceive the underlying tactics with which they move and the likely paths they will take.
Griffith leads a charge of cavalrymen through the Kushan forces, who are able to rally and form a barrier between the White Hawk and their general. It's for naught; Griffith's horse jumps high in the air, avoiding the wall of Kushan soldiers entirely, and continues his lone charge directly at the Kushan general. Before the general even realizes what is happening, Griffith draws his sword severs the general's head.
Griffith opens the visor of his helmet and announces the death of the Kushan general. This both motivates his own men and demoralizes the surviving Kushan, who attempt a retreat. While Griffith's soldiers begin slaughtering the survivors, Griffith himself seems to have had enough fighting and removes his helmet. He locks eyes with the distant - and surprised - Mule Wolflame.
The few remaining Kushan have retreated into a dark forest of leafless trees. The leader among them understands that the Band of the Hawk is capable of turning the tide of the Kushan invasion, so he intends to hurry back to the Kushan invasion force's headquarters to inform his superiors about Griffith's reappearance.
He suddenly notices several dark figures deeper in the forest, as does every other Kushan. Their horses become skittish and stop moving, and now the Kushan notice yet more figures standing in the tree branches above them.
The dark figures that surround the Kushan are the part of the Band of the Hawk that did not take part in the main battle, and they are led by Rakshas. The Hawks have an inhuman quality about them, and they begin to massacre the final few Kushan of the convoy.
Later in the evening, the Hawks have set up camp and have allowed Mule and his soldiers to stay with them. As Mule observes the mercenary band busy themselves around him, he can hardly believe they're mercenaries at all: small children play with each other and run around the camps freely, and women and elderly people are living with the Hawks. Mule notes that the camp is more like a village with real inhabitants rather than a nomadic mercenary band.
Mule's thoughts are interrupted by the young girl from before, who explains that the Hawks are only so happy because they are being led by Griffith. Mule momentarily wonders if the young girl had read his mind, as she has just answered a question he had not asked aloud.
The girl introduces herself as Sonia and welcomes Mule to the Band of the Hawk. She admits that, besides Griffith, none of the Hawks' members were also in the original Band of the Hawk which made itself famous years ago. She then decides to lead Mule away from camp, intending to introduce the young rebel to Griffith.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|