|Episode 246 (Manga)|
|The Kite and the Owl of the Wharf|
|Romaji||Sanbashi no tonbi to fukurō|
|Date Released||March 5, 2005 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
← City of Humans
|List of Volumes|
Mule asks Isidro for the whereabouts of the witch the latter spoke of. Isidro demands that Mule dismount his horse to address him, and Mule politely acquiesces, surprising the boy. Now with nothing else to speak of besides the witch, Isidro is forced to remain on that topic of conversation, lest he appear suspicious for once again changing the subject.
Isidro feigns shock as he pretends to know what Mule is up to; he accuses the latter of wanting to capture the witch to present her to the Holy See and earn himself a promotion. Before Mule can explain his true intentions, Isidro leaps from the raised walkway they both stand on and makes his escape, confusing Mule. In the commotion, Mule is able to perceive Puck, unlike most other religious inhabitants of Vritannis.
Isidro continues to run even after leaving Mule's line of sight, fearing that if Mule finds the witch first, she'll be burned at the stake. The witch herself, Schierke, is still in Vritannis' harbor, communing with nature (meditating and allowing seagulls to land on and around her). Schierke comes out of her meditation, but remains in low spirits. Worried about her friend, Ivalera suggests that they find where Guts and the rest of the group have lodged, but Schierke ignores her.
Ivalera suddenly sees another girl approaching and alerts Schierke to her presence. To Schierke's slight surprise, this girl openly proclaims that she is amazed to see a real witch before her. This new girl is Sonia, but like Isidro and Mule, the two girls have never met. Sonia straightforwardly asks Schierke if she is a witch. Taken aback, Schierke attempts to sidestep the question, but Sonia points out several things that make it glaringly obvious: Schierke's hat, her wand, and most notably Ivalera, an elf, sitting on her shoulder. What's more, Sonia admits to having watched Schierke cremate the bodies of the Kushan slaves and saw the spirits that were released from their bodies.
Sonia praises Schierke's ability to hypnotize the two guards into helping her with the cremation, making Schierke blush in embarrassment. Sonia recognizes that Schierke feels like an outcast amongst the humans of Vritannis, and admits to feeling the same way. Sonia dives into an allegorical story about an ugly duckling, a story which Ivalera has heard. However, when the elf reveals that the ugly duckling was really a juvenile swan, Sonia claims this is the wrong ending and continues telling her own variation of the story: the ugly duckling was really a kite.
In the story, a murder of crows invaded the ducks' pond, taking the ducks, along with the kite, captive. Eventually, the kite was freed and taught to fly by a heroic white hawk who unleashed his own army of dragons on the crows, and that only the kite could fly at the same altitude as the hawk. One day, the hawk rescued a duck princess who was held captive by the crows. The other ducks wanted the princess duck to mate with the hawk so as to form an alliance with it. The kite became jealous of the hawk and the duck's relationship, knowing that the duck could never soar to the same heights as the hawk or the kite.
Sonia continues her story, and in doing so reveals that the kite in the story is herself. The kite met a lonely owl (Schierke) and felt that they were similar, and thought that they could be friends.
Isidro, meanwhile, finally finds a man who's seen Schierke. The man reveals that Schierke was headed for the harbor, but warns that the place becomes dangerous a night due to the presence of pirates looking to kidnap people and sell them into slavery. Isidro sprints full speed towards the harbor, intent on collecting Schierke before sunset.
Sonia asks Schierke if any of her traveling companions truly understand her. Schierke's answer is vague, saying only that none of them are magic users. However, Schierke's thoughts drift to Guts, and the time alone they shared on the beach. She blushes as she remembers, and Sonia accuses her of being in love. Schierke explains that the man she's thinking of was one of the few adults who paid attention to her, which is what elicited the blushing.
After a moment of silence, Sonia decides to call it a day, saying that both she and Schierke have people they must return to. Schierke echos her sentiment, ready to return to the rest of her group. However, before they even make to leave, Schierke and Sonia hear the cries of many children on the harbor's wharf: dozens of Kushan children are attempting to flee from their pirate captors. Suddenly in a bad mood, Schierke steps forward with Sonia and demands that the pirates leave the children alone.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|