|Episode 202 (Manga)|
|Volume||24 Mansion of the Spirit Tree|
|Date Released||December 24, 2002 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← The Astral World
|Volumes and Chapters|
After dinner, Farnese and Puck bring Casca to the mansion's bathhouse, where they bathe together. Isidro stands just outside the door (which leads to a balcony outside the giant tree), intending to use his status as a boy barely out of childhood to innocently walk in on and peek at the two naked women. Schierke catches him before he can do so and uses her staff to whack him on the head.
Meanwhile, on an adjacent balcony, Guts finds Flora sitting on a makeshift bench. He has come with the Behelit he retrieved from the Count and asks her what exactly it is, leaving out the details of how he acquired it. Flora explains that Behelits act as doorways from the physical world to the deeper levels of the Astral realm, where the God Hand reside. Schierke is able to hear Guts and Flora's conversation from the bathhouse balcony and is shocked by what she hears.
Next, Guts demands to know how to use the Behelit to summon the God Hand. After a moment, Flora acknowledges that Guts wants to summon the God Hand to exact his revenge, and not become an Apostle. At this moment, Casca bursts out of the bathhouse completely naked, followed closely by Farnese, who is draped in a towel. Farnese leads Casca back into the bath. The sight of Casca allows Flora to deduce that Guts' current goal is to bring Casca to Elfhelm, Puck's home. Flora notes the irony in that the fire in Guts which burns for revenge also threatens to incinerate Casca.
Flora sadly tells Guts that a Behelit cannot be activated on a whim. Due to it being an object from deep within the Astral realm which was sent to the physical world, it can only be freely controlled by a being of a higher power. The same higher power ensures that, at the time of the Behelit's activation, it is in the hands of the person who is destined to own it. This, Flora explains, means that if Guts is not the Behelit's true owner, then it will eventually leave his ownership somehow. If he is its true owner, then it will always find a way back to him, even if the odds of it doing so are astronomical. Flora returns the Behelit to Guts, wishing that it eventually will leave his grasp if its only purpose is to facilitate Guts' revenge.
Guts then asks Flora about the nature of the God Hand. Though she doesn't know much, Flora is aware that all five members of the God Hand were once human beings, that the place that they reside in is deep within the Astral realm, and that they collectively serve a superior being than themselves, a being that resides in a layer of the world so deep that humans cannot venture into it and maintain their ego.
By this point, Flora's words have begun to overwhelm Guts. He decides that, for now, he is satisfied with earning the talisman from Flora. As he leaves the old woman and heads for the bathhouse so that he may bathe himself, Guts comes across Schierke, who'd listened to his and Flora's entire conversation. He tells her to do her best the following day when the time to help Enoch Village comes, but she is dissatisfied with leaving their conversation at that. She has noticed Guts' Brand of Sacrifice, and identifies it as a mark that signifies Guts' status as an offering to the God Hand. She asks if Guts really does intend to defy the will of beings of much higher power than himself, beings who can govern fate. He replies that he will, and he leaves for the bathhouse.
Schierke dismisses Guts' answer as foolish due to the fact that he doesn't seem to grasp just how powerful his opponents are. She then approaches Flora, to whom she recounts what she felt when she saw Griffith in Midland while inhabiting the body of a bird. Though Griffith appears human, he radiates an inhuman aura which seems to goad people into helping him fulfill his every desire. Flora reveals to her young apprentice that Griffith is the man responsible from Branding Guts in the first place, and tells her not to rely on what she's learned in her magic studies as a basis for predicting the future; Guts has gone up against fate once before and managed to escape with his life.
Flora asks Schierke to cherish her upcoming journey with Guts, as it may yield experiences that will be of great value to the young witch.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|