|Episode 229 (Manga)|
|Departure of Flame|
|Romaji||Honō no tabidachi|
|Volume||27 The Sound of the Sea|
|Date Released||August 5, 2004 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← The Depths of Hellfire
Demon City →
|Volumes and Chapters|
Schierke is alone with the fiery wisp, the void around them calm thanks to the talisman drawn by Flora on the Berserker Armor. The young witch recognizes the fire as Guts' ego, which remains intact thanks to the talisman. However, Schierke notices that Guts' ego is not at peace; it mutters dark words that invoke negative emotions. Schierke begs him to regain control of his own mind, but the fiery figure only states that it wouldn't matter if he became sane and increases the volume of his voice, still speaking negative words. Schierke pleads with him again and decides to use her staff to open a window into the physical world, allowing Guts to see what is happening there: Serpico and Isidro struggling to fight against Apostles and Farnese and Casca waiting on the outskirts of Flora's domain.
Upon seeing Casca, Guts' ego suddenly calms, saying that it knows her. Schierke confirms this, first telling Guts' ego Casca's name, and then his own. Schierke uses Casca and Guts' relationship to her advantage by telling Guts that he is protecting her. As Schierke speaks, the weak wisp of fire slowly increases in size and intensity until it is easily recognizable as Guts, free of the Beast of Darkness' influence.
Guts' physical body suddenly becomes aware of itself, his mind having returned. He turns to see Serpico and Isidro struggling against two Apostles. Before he can move towards them, Grunbeld speaks, drawing Guts' attention. Grunbeld announces that he will breathe fire on Guts, then promptly does so. Guts leaps through the plume of flame, sparing Grunbeld only a single look before turning his attention to the Apostles accosting Serpico and Isidro. Guts throws the Dragonslayer, beheading one of the Apostles and getting stuck in the next one's head. The shocked Isidro and Serpico can barely see Guts leap over the still-standing corpse of the dead Apostle, grab the Dragonslayer and fully decapitate the second Apostle, and then run off, away from the mansion.
Farnese and Casca are also being attacked by a single Apostle. Before it can close in and kill them, the enormous blade of the Dragonslayer is driven through the back of its head and out its mouth, killing it. It falls, revealing the heavily-armored man behind it. Farnese, not knowing that the man is Guts, inquires as to the man's identity. In response, the man straightens and, without prompting, his wolf's head-shaped helmet folds backward, receding into the cape of the armor.
Guts' face is revealed to the two girls. He is nearly completely covered in blood, but most shocking is his hair: the patch directly over his right eye has turned pure white, a result of over-exerting himself with the Berserker Armor. Farnese's discomfort is obvious, but Guts instead looks at Casca, who is hidden behind Farnese and growling at him. Guts only stares back at her.
Guts' attention is drawn by a noise behind him; Isidro and Serpico (with Schierke on Serpico's back) are running to meet with Guts, Grunbeld close behind them. The Apostle prepares to release another breath of flame, but before he can do so, a giant wall of flame forms between him and his opponents. The wall slowly dies out until only a humanoid figure remains. Schierke recognizes the figure as Flora.
Flora is not covered in flame, but instead entirely composed of flame, her only discernible feature being her face, which reverts in age until she appears youthful. She stands imposingly before Grunbeld but addresses her disciple, saying that Schierke must escape before the forest burns down, and that she is proud of her.
Flora turns to Schierke, saying that once the former dies, the latter must find her own way. Their conversation ends when Flora says that the days she spent with Schierke were some of the best of her life. A burning branch falls above Schierke, forcing Guts to save her in the nick of time. Along with Serpico, Isidro, Farnese and Casca, Guts runs away from the burning forest with Schierke tucked under his arm. Grunbeld calls after them, but finds he cannot manipulate Flora's fire like he can with regular fire.
As Guts runs away, Schierke looks back towards Flora's mansion. Flora herself wishes Schierke luck on her forthcoming journey, and both women's final thoughts are of a peaceful picnic they once had in the shade under a tree.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|