Golden Age (4) (黄金時代(4),Ōgon jidai (4)?) is the 12th nonnumerical episode of the Berserk manga series, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. This episode is also the twelfth of sixteen episodes that do not go by conventional episode labeling.
After Guts had killed Bazuso, the mercenaries are able to overrun the castle. A group of mercenaries, the castle's defenders who arrived late in the siege, had witnessed the duel between Guts and Bazuso. The group wonder amongst themselves if Guts is as strong as their leader Griffith before they fall back. In the aftermath of the battle, Guts collects the reward for both the raid and the defeat of Bazuso from his employers. The employer who pays him asks Guts to consider working for him full time with a promise of squire-ship. But Guts refuses and ignores the man who grabs him by the shoulder. Guts reacts violently, and orders the man never to touch him.
In a field a good distance from the from the castle, the band of mercenaries who witnessed Guts' duel with Bazuso have removed their armor and are relaxing comfortably in the grass. They notice Guts walking alone on a nearby path, and a man among them, Corkus, takes a group of mercenaries to kill Guts and take his earnings. However, Corkus finds himself in trouble when Guts notices his group and successfully defends himself while killing the
Dante, the first attacker, and then crippling the second. At Griffith's behest, his second-in-command Casca is given orders to intervene and intercepts Guts with a bolt to the arm as he was about to go after Corkus. When Guts refuses to comply in standing down, Casca proceeds to rush him on horseback. The two battle until Guts knocks Casca to the ground by mortally wounding her horse; he is shocked to find his opponent to be a woman.
Though Casca is the more skilled of the two, Guts has the upper hand to the onlookers' surprise as she is knocked down to the ground. Before Guts deals the killing blow, the fight is interrupted by a spear thrown by Griffith, which lands between Guts and Casca. The soldiers all take comfort in the fact that Guts' loss is now assured as Griffith requests that Guts lay his sword down. But Guts refuses and finds himself stabbed in the shoulder by Griffith's rapier. Everyone cheers and are very impressed when Griffith is able to defeat Guts in one stroke. Guts forces himself to stand to attack Griffith again, only to collapse with the last thing he sees being Griffith removing his helmet and looking down on Guts with his long white hair cascading over his shoulders.