|Episode 204 (Manga)|
|Volume||24 Mansion of the Spirit Tree|
|Date Released||December 24, 2002 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
Ambition and Reflection →
|Volumes and Chapters|
In Enoch Village, the women and children hide in their homes while the male villagers surround the entrance of a barn, armed with farm tools. Just inside the barn is a troll eating the body of a man, Ted, whose wife Hannah is among the men standing around the barn. Ted is revealed to be alive when he weakly calls out to his wife. Distressed, she throws a rock that hits the troll's snout, drawing its attention to her.
It charges and destroys her weapon with its axe. Directly on top of her, the troll tears Hannah's clothes off, and she notices its erect penis only instants before it begins to rape her. Hannah's brother Horace steps forward and, after a moment's hesitation, rams the teeth of his pitchfork through the troll's nose. It dismounts from Hannah and runs back into the barn. Horace rushes forward to bring his sister back to safety, but he notices dozens of other trolls all waiting inside the dark barn.
A short time later, the inhabitants of Enoch Village all surround the newest residents of the village's cemetery. Two coffins are being buried. The funeral is interrupted by the newly-arrived Morgan, who explains to the relieved villagers that his party was attacked by trolls in the forest while searching for the witch. The villagers in turn explain that the coffins' occupants are Ted and Horace and that Hannah was raped and abducted by trolls.
Morgan announces that he's arrived with help for the troll problem. The villagers are unsure of what to make of this new group; while some of the group's members, like Guts, are imposing and muscular, other members, like Isidro, are but children. The appearance of the elves Puck and Ivalera surprise the villagers, who assume that either Farnese or Casca is the witch who can help them. This misconception is cleared up when Schierke steps out from behind Guts and shyly introduces herself. The villagers are unwilling to believe that the young girl is the powerful witch, and Isidro's suggestion of using flashy magic to prove herself is rejected by Schierke, who refuses to use magic for vanity's sake.
The next person to speak is Enoch's priest of the Holy See, who chastises the villagers for having placed their hopes of being saved in a legend. He dismisses Schierke and the rest of the party as traveling performers and urges them not to get involved. The priest believes that the trolls are a test of Enoch Village's faith in God and refuses to listen to the villagers' saying that, if nothing, the large Guts may be useful.
Farnese steps forward, intending to use her once-high standing in the Holy See as leverage against the priest, but is held back by Serpico. He cannot allow Farnese to speak lest she be captured and questioned by the Holy See in light of the events at St. Albion.
The priest urges Schierke not to dress like she does, not realizing that she is a real witch. A few moments after claiming that witches represent only "apostasy and wickedness" (greatly offending Schierke), Casca accidentally falls into the grave of Ted and Horace, destroying the lid of one of their coffins. Guts apologizes on Casca's behalf and lifts her out of the hole, but she recoils at his touch and runs to Farnese.
Guts decides to fabricate a story in which Casca is a wandering pilgrim who prays for the restoration of her sanity in order to have the priest let them spend a night in Enoch Village. As Guts passes through the crowd of villagers, they are amazed at the sheer size of the sword he carries.
Schierke follows close behind Guts, recalling Flora's words about how Guts entering her life will affect Schierke in a big way.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|