|Episode 221 (Manga)|
|Date Released||December 24, 2003 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← Whore Princess of the Uterine Sea
|List of Volumes|
Slan stares down at the Dragon Slayer that has been run through her body. After a moment, she begins to scream in ecstasy. Once her screams end, she bends down to kiss a shocked Guts on the lips, expresses her admiration at his tenacity, and explodes into troll intestines. Guts wonders whether he managed to kill her, but his hopes are dashed when he hears her disembodied voice say that she wants to meet him again. Suddenly, the skin of the ogres and trolls that surround Guts and the Skull Knight begins to melt, and their bodies form growths that take on the form of other ogres and trolls.
The troll leader that Isidro has just finished fighting has burst into flame, the result of being stabbed by Isidro's salamander dagger. Isidro comes out of his trance-like state to admire his handiwork, surprised that his improvised fighting tactic worked. However, he now finds himself sitting only a few feet from the horde of trolls with his back turned to them, completely defenseless. He is more concerned with what he sees before him: Schierke has managed to enlist the help of the swamp creature she met in the Astral world, the Rotting Root Lord. With Schierke's voice, it explains that it possesses power over rot and that it has agreed to exterminate the trolls which infest the cave. Schierke bends down and blows air against the ground. In response, the trolls behind Isidro begin to melt and disintegrate. This done, Schierke regains control of her body and telepathically urges Guts to escape the cave. He replies that he is currently too busy to do so.
Sure enough, Guts and the Skull Knight remain surrounded by mutated ogres and trolls, which the Skull Knight explains is derived from Slan forcibly entering and leaving the realm of the Qliphoth. Worried that the growths (which are separating from the ogres and trolls and crawl across the ceiling) will cause the cave's collapse, the Skull Knight decides to resort to his trump card: the Sword of Actuation. Drawing his regular sword, he opens the mouthpiece of his skull-shaped helmet and lowers his sword's blade into his mouth, up to the hilt. He then extracts it, revealing that the blade has been coated in what appears to be many melted Beherits, as the blade is now adorned with many eyes, noses and mouths. In addition, the vines which ordinarily surround the sword's hilt have grown to cover nearly half the blade. Guts' Beherit begins to vibrate and aligns its facial features in response to it.
The Skull Knight slashes the ground with his new sword, tearing open a portal to a different dimension. The Skull Knight then makes a dash towards the cave's exit, pulling Guts onto his horse as he runs along. The ogres, trolls and other Astral creatures in the room are forcibly sucked into the portal, which acts as a doorway to the vortex, the layer of the Astral world where Guts was brought during his battle with the Count. The familiar tentacles formed of human souls passes through the portal opened by the Skull Knight, intent on stealing both him and Guts and dragging them into the vortex. Before they do, however, the Skull Knight slashes the air in front of his horse, opening another portal.
The Rotting Root Lord exerts its full power in trying to rid the cave of trolls, with Schierke trying to mentally restrain it in an effort to buy Guts time to return before the cave collapses. Just as Schierke loses control of the Rotting Root Lord, Guts appears from within the depths of the cave, the Skull Knight directly behind him. The latter explains that, through the use of his sword, he opened a portal to pass through a different layer of the Astral realm, effectively allowing teleportation. With that, the Skull Knight disappears, leaving Guts to acknowledge that, once again, his life was saved by the Skull Knight. Schierke seems to recognize the Skull Knight as he leaves.
Together, Guts, Schierke, Isidro, Farnese, Casca and the women and children of Enoch Village begin the trek out of the Qliphoth, made obvious by the fact that the macabre trees of the Qliphoth begin to give way and be replaced by the trees of Enoch's forest. Once safely out of the Astral world, they finish their journey back safely, with Serpico greeting Farnese while the men of Enoch greet their women and children. As he watches the cheery scene before him, Guts has an epiphany: he now has companions like the ones he lost at the Eclipse.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|