|Episode C0 (Manga)|
|Guardians of Desire (1)|
|Romaji||Yokubō no shugotenshi (1)|
|Volume||1 The Black Swordsman|
|Date Released||December 1, 1990 (tankōbon format)|
|Arc||Black Swordsman Arc|
← The Brand
Guardians of Desire 2→
|List of Volumes|
Guardians of Desire (1) (欲望の守護天使(1) Yokubō no shugotenshi (1)?) is the 3rd nonnumerical episode of the Berserk manga series, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. This episode is also the third of sixteen episodes that do not go by conventional episode labeling.
On a scaffold, a man called Dahl proclaims, in front of a crowd of people, that the woman next to him is accused of heresy. Despite her cries and pleas, she is executed by beheading. Dahl returns to his superior, the Count, who sits on a covered throne next to the scaffold. He privately asks the Count whether they are executing too many people, but the Count replies that he executes heretics for the benefit of the rest of his subjects.
Guts is among the crowd of onlookers, and he picks up the head of the executed girl, which has rolled off the scaffold. A nearby guard approaches after having antagonized a child, the brother of the executed woman. He demands that Guts hand over the girl's head. Guts spits in his face, which shocks both the guard and all nearby peasants. Guts then throws the head at the Count, who catches it with one hand. The guard moves to attack Guts, but he receives a metal hand to the face, which kills him. The Count stares at the woman's head and shows fear upon realizing that a Brand of Sacrifice was drawn on her forehead using blood. The Count then shifts his gaze to Guts, who uses the blood trickling from his Brand of Sacrifice to draw a straight line across his own throat and walks away. The Count accepts this action for what it is -- a declaration of war -- just before crushing the woman's head in his bare hands.
Guts runs through the town but is eventually cornered by several guards. However, he easily defeats many of them, using his massive sword to slice right through their plate armor and cut them in half. Two crossbowmen on a nearby scaffold take aim at Guts, but Puck flies towards them and unleashes a blast of light, blinding them. Guts destroys the scaffold's legs, sending the crossbowmen falling to their deaths.
The guards' captain, Zondark, appears. He is a hulking, fully armored man who wields a giant hammer. Zondark attacks, but Guts easily dodges, and Zondark mistakenly kills several of his own unwitting soldiers. Nevertheless, he continues to attack. Eventually, Zondark manages to trap Guts between himself and a brick wall. He swings his hammer to deal the final blow, but Guts intercepts it with a strike from his giant sword. Guts' weapon proves the stronger; the shaft of Zondark's hammer is bent and the head is reduced to shrapnel that flies into Zondark's face. Zondark falls on the ground in pain and receives a kick to the face from Guts.
However, the stream of oncoming soldiers seems endless, and Guts has no plan of escape. Suddenly, two smoke bombs land and explode between the Black Swordsman and the soldiers. Now hidden from the soldiers' view, the small, bandaged and cloaked man who threw the bombs calls out to Guts and gestures for him to enter a small barred culvert. Guts complies. When the smoke clears, none of the soldiers know where he's gone.
Guts follows the bandaged man to his hidden laboratory, which is full of oddities such as skeletons of unknown animals and jars containing things like intestines and, to Puck's horror, dead elves. The bandaged man explains that his collection of oddities stems from his prior profession as a physician. Guts demands to know the man's identity. Instead, the man in question reveals that he saw Guts' actions at the execution earlier in the day; he suspects that Guts has a personal vendetta against the Count. In response, Guts kicks the man's walking stick away and he falls face-first on the ground.
Though at first Puck is appalled at Guts' apparent cruelty, his expression soon changes to that of fear when he looks at the bandaged man's face: the bandages have fallen off, revealing that half of his face is missing. In addition, the man's legs are both prosthetic. As he struggles to his feet, the maimed man pleads with Guts to murder the Count, who he claims to be a demon. Readjusting his bandages, the man then bids Guts and Puck to come with him to a secret room. He activates a disguised lever, lowering a portion of the laboratory's back wall.
The hidden room is empty but for a pedestal on which lies an egg-shaped object that bears human facial features scattered around its surface. Guts realizes with shock that it is a Behelit.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
- Dahl (First appearance)
- Count (First appearance)
- Vargas (First appearance)
- Zondark (First appearance)
|Black Swordsman Arc|