Chapter 2:

The Flowers Are No Longer in Bloom - Part Three

My Fantasy is Just a Mirror

Every punch felt like an earthquake which shot him out of his lethargy. His world once again shaking and falling apart at the seams, his apathy was involuntarily replaced with an entirely new emotion…

And that emotion, rising up from his wishes and desires, erased those feelings for him entirely.

Writhing on the cobbled ground…

Wishing for nothing, nothing else in the entire world, than to be able to return…

Those spinning stars watched him, yet which were constellations and which were flashes in his retinas he had no idea…

As he wished, with everything he had, to be able to return to the Abyss… Just to the Abyss… Just to be alone…

Throughout the perilous journey he had taken here out of necessity—understanding and becoming well-acquainted with the realization that there’s nothing left for him, he knew he would inevitably be faced with a situation like this.

They had him surrounded. Only three punches had brought Cobalt to his knees. A kick had brought him to the ground. And the rest…

He was scared his bones would crack under the pressure. But his eyes, rising to meet the gang which had surrounded him, surely lit up the dark corner of unlighted street in a fiery sense of rage.

That’s right…

Ragethat’s what this is.

“That creep’s still starin’ at us!!”

“What a bitch!”

Another kick lashed at his temple, throwing him against the cobblestone.

A whole new world…

He felt the searing pain of whips taking the shape of limbs.

A fantasy for me and me alone…

Unable to breathe… Unable to cough… The blood escaped his lips as drops of spittle.

And this is the shit I get.

“Th’ hell’s he got on ‘im?!”

“Never seen nothin’ like it… Little bottle, first ‘f all…” Cobalt heard a light rattle between splits of sound that went in and out of both ears sporadically. “Magic items or somethin’?!”

Do these assholes seriously not know what antibiotics are?

“—Ah?! This ‘ere looks like a clock ’r somethin’. Th’way it moves oughtta be magic too, but… The time’s definitely off.”

Not a wristwatch, either?

All Cobalt could do was grit his teeth as the thugs picked apart his possessions.

Bugs crawled under his nose, sticking to his dark blood like parasites.

Then around his fingers, as well… But of course, the thugs paid no mind.

He wanted to crush the muggers like insects… But even those insects under his nose… Even they could easily evade Cobalt in a state like this.

Within just a few minutes, Cobalt’s world was spun upside down. Parts of his body screamed at him in pain, and gritting his teeth against the cobbles, his own eyes reflected that pain. He scrunched his face into a sour expression. This world, unlike the last, had sought to bring him hope. He could escape the war he was made to fight. He could make things right and start again. He could find a reason to want to live.

Those were things Cobalt told himself. But no matter how many times he echoed those desires in his mind, he knew none of those ideals were true.

Cobalt lamented to himself, all alone in this world.

Bismuth was gone. The Abyss was gone. And his home, Istheria, was gone.

If Cobalt couldn’t have his hope…

Then he was better off dead.


“Th’ hell was that?!”

In an instant, the mood was flipped once more as attention was drawn completely away from Cobalt. The lonely, dying boy no longer became the centerpiece of their torment.


“You really aren’t done yet, are you?”

He became the centerpiece…

For someone new.

“Get lost y’frail lookin’ runt! Piss off!!”

The thugs were right about one thing - this newcomer had a frail appearance—well, at first glance.

However, something in that appearance showed Cobalt a much different interpretation entirely.

“I’m not talking to these lowlives here. I’m talking to you.”

“Tch- you!”

Cobalt could but lift his face. The blood, still sticking to the cobble, stuck to his face as well. If Cobalt had a mirror, he would see it for himself.

The blood and snot that strung itself to the ground. The black and red lashes on his face. The rips in his clothing.

In this moment… Cobalt had never been this close to the ground.

It almost seemed like Cobalt was a part of the ground.

But even still…

He lifted his head.

“Hmm… Oui. That’s the spirit.”

His smile seemed endearing. But picking apart the facial expressions of this newcomer seemed extremely difficult. To decipher what the young man was feeling, truly… Cobalt could only guess.

But instead—the atmosphere shifted the opposite way. That young man was interested in one thing and one thing only. Deciphering the feelings of Cobalt.

“Didn’t ya hear me, shit for brains?! ‘Said piss off!!”

But what followed from that taunt… Was a simple chortle.

As if trying to be polite, the young man held a hand in front of his chuckling face.

T’es chiant… Forgive my intrusion but in situations like this it’s quite hard to contain my excitement… The look in your eyes, put simply, well…”

Was the man referring to Cobalt’s eyes?

“The rest of these men… Extremely vulgar, and brutish… There’s no emotion to them… You see that as well, do you not?”

Cobalt had no words to say. His teeth still clenched themselves in anger. And his eyes still showed what little fire he had left within him. Be it anger or fear, he was uncertain. But this man seemed to know the answer to that.

They aren’t what matters here. They aren’t what is important to us at all. I know you see that as well… I can see it in your eyes. Someone who lives not by the monotonous. Someone who bounds themselves not by the world.”

This man… Was he still talking to Cobalt?

“Th’ hell’s your problem, douchebag. This lil’ runt was jus’ waitin’ t’be knocked down. Tha’s how shit goes. Don’t pretend y’don’t get it.”

Hmm? Tu m'énerves… For I don’t believe that I was talking to you.”

Two men on his left. Three men on his right. And one directly in front of him.

That man, the one directly in front of him, wore an ambiance that was different from the entire setting they were in. From the dark jungle of cobble and clay and moss and vines making up the medieval style alleyway, the setting directly in the middle of Cobalt’s vision shook the fabric of the prosaic.

This new setting was one of vast whiteness and ivory. Like a sparkling snow which fell in the form of dust against the street lamp. This man, wearing a suit of white. This man, wearing the hair of white. This man, wearing the skin of white. Everything about him sought to distinguish him from the world around him, as if he and he alone were superior to it. But feeling the presence of that otherworldly snow, it felt as if in this very moment, he sought to expand that with which he distinguished himself. In that moment, he was not the only one who rose above the dull world around them.

The man made a face in time with Cobalt’s thoughts. The face looked as if he were judging the six men before him. But one of the men included in that appraisal was treated to a different degree.

Turning those scornful eyes away from the dreary and boring men around him, those small emerald irises fell upon Cobalt. And he said but one word.


“!!!” Cobalt laid in silence.

However, that request would not be taken with silence by all the ears who heard it.

“Like hell! Stay out of it, ya bitch! I swear to God if ya don’t turn tail’n come back where ya came from, I’ll bash your thick skull in! Y’piece a lowly shit!

“...Lowly?” The man turned to him, feeling unfulfilled. “You judge but I to be lowly, and not yourselves? Your frame of reference… You find it not skewed?”

“What’s gonna be skewed is ya neck if y’don’t fuck off!” The largest of the men, the one which had hit Cobalt first, now approached a new target. The strange, white-haired, frail-appearing man who had showed up unannounced. “ I’ve had it with this shit!” And with a snap of his fingers…

That target became the focal point of all five.

Oh mon…”

Oh my’s right, ya little bitch! Kick his ass even worse than the first little runt!!”

Charging at him all at once…

Chains in hand… Now a switchblade in the hands of another. The thuggish army which had taken Cobalt down mere moments ago… Now threatened the life of Cobalt’s “savior”.

He wanted to say something. He wanted to shout towards the man to run. Being beaten down so quickly… Cobalt couldn’t bear to watch someone else get treated as badly as he had been.

Flesh… That’s all men like Cobalt and this newcomer are to brutes like that… Just flesh… Flesh… Flesh…

The sound of chains disappeared into the hollow night air. As did the footsteps. As did the grunts. As did the wind itself.

At the word “flesh” crossed his mind, Cobalt saw his own thoughts be granted into that chilling cold air.

In the shape of a hand.

Dismembered and floating through the air like a slice of human life taken in a single instance such as a photograph, he watched the flesh fly above him.

Blood hurled through that breathless air in frozen orbs of crimson. The bone, taken clean off with a flawless slice, floated leisurely attached, along for the ride. A shred of clothing remained intact. That sleeve, stained with the crimson which had supplied its adrenaline, was black.

Splattering against the ground with an unsettlingly wet slap, the dismembered limb concluded its flight, never to soar through the air again.


Two white sleeves, contrasted with the exposed and butchered black sleeve which lay defeated on the cobblestone, spread themselves out in contempt. However, these slowly outstretching arms welcomed the rest of them in, as if to play. Whether this was an embracing gesture, or an indifferent shrug, Cobalt was unsure.

AAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!” And in tandem, the man who had been tormenting the both of them screamed out in pain. That scream, piercing the chilly night sky, echoed the strange slice which had pierced through it just seconds prior.

This man… This frail man cloaked in white…

Had he done this?

There was no blade in his outstretched hands. There was no emotion nor compassion in his emerald eyes. Instead, his unconcerned expression showed nothing but disdain.

“I believe I had made myself clear,” those eyes, sparkling in reflection to the high-contrast alleyway lights, as well as the blood-boiling scene in front of them, spoke fiercely and cleanly, like a knife. “That you lot were not the focal point of my intent. This whole mise-en-scene, it... does nothing but bore me. Your dull eyes serve nothing at all for me. No beauté . No resolve.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in the atmosphere, and looking up towards the glimmer of light the background street lamp provided him with. “In fact…” He stretched his neck, seeming ascending away from the thugs in the lowly world around.

“It would be much better if they all just dropped dead! Wouldn’t you agree?!”

The question by the fanatically white man was posed to Cobalt, but still reeling from shock, he could formulate no answer.

But none would need to be given…

Surrendering his hand to the cobblestones, the leader of thugs turned tail and ran.

As did the others; they all ran away like squirming rats. The strange man here felt the obvious inferiority among them, however Cobalt, lying motionless on the ground, could not possibly be so sanctimonious.

The men all fled, but the man in white paid them no space in his mind, nor attention from his eyes. For those green irises rested solely on Cobalt.

Feeling silence between them for the first time since they laid eyes on each other…

The eyes of a man in white, gleaming with dauntless aspirations of excitement…

And the eyes of a man of darkened blue cloaked in red, gleaming with flames that echoed that excitement, as well as hatred.

Repeating the words he had said to Cobalt, the man requested of him once again…


It was a simple request. Cobalt felt as though he was being tested with it.

I know you see that as well… I can see it in your eyes.

Cobalt’s eyes?

For the last six months, the only emotion he had held within his eyes was a lack thereof. He felt completely soulless. Like there was nothing left for him in his old world…

His old world…

He had made a promise to himself.

A promise to leave that hell behind.

To carve it into the deepest parts of his memory, never to be visited again.

Initially, he had made that promise to someone else.

A mutual promise to escape and experience life. To experience truth. To experience a reason to live.

That was truly, honestly his aspiration.

But when cast that question, he could only now bite his tongue remembering the cruel response to the lively young woman’s proposal.

After being thrown away by both worlds now, he was unsure of the look the man in white saw within his eyes.

His eyes which had been soulless and monotonous all this time.

Although feeling the stings of being thrown away like trash, he returned that hatred for the world tenfold.

For if Cobalt had a mirror, in this very moment…

He would see his eyes glowing with a fierce fire of hatred.

He winced against the change in movement at first.

However, swallowing that down within him, he allowed himself to accept the change in course.

The strings of blood snapped at the tension, falling to the cobble.

And what rose simultaneously was an entity which had been thrown away time and time again.

Rising against the dual worlds’ absurdity, there was no reason for this sudden stance.

There was no reason to stand up again. No reason to feel pain. No reason to wake up. No reason to keep trying.

But amidst that meaninglessness, he threw all of that away just as those worlds had done to him.

And so, he stood.

Seeing Cobalt rise against the scratches, and the bruises, and the gnashes, and the dripping blood, a sudden smile appeared across the man in white’s face.

A smile that read nothing but sheer amusement.


A short chortle escaped his nostrils.

“It’s quite obvious you’re not used to taking beatings like that,” his voice had risen from his previous boredom, and within that excitement showed the true colors of his inflections. The rhythm of his voice, which sought out excitement.

“So why did you stand? Your raison d'etre if you will.”

It was difficult to put a read on that voice. It seemed somewhat untrustworthy, teeming with ambiguity and uncertainty. It almost seemed like the voice of a wild animal, yet also charming in a charismatic sort of way. There were multiple impressions to be drawn on at once. Many red flags, yet many beacons of hope.

Yet despite all of those mixed signals…

“I don’t have a reason.”

Not a single ounce of him cared one bit.

“There’s no reason to try, and no reason not to try.”


The man in white was taken aback by that response, and began thinking to himself.

Were those the words he was looking for?

Regardless of ideality, those words were the truth.

And the man in white understood that as well.

“What’s your name?”

Finally, a question that didn’t require Cobalt to think.

Finally, he didn’t have to exhaust himself on the questions he didn’t know the answers to.


A simple reply. But still in partial shock from the head blows, it’s not like Cobalt Aspire had the energy for smalltalk.

This man… Cobalt didn’t feel indebted to him. He wouldn’t call him his “savior”. He didn’t know what to think.

Je vois…”

Somehow, the unhinged and irrational nature of the darkened boy matched with the man in white’s flawlessly.

That look of purposelessness and apathy…

That look of hatred and defiance…

“Then in that case…”

Standing at about the same level as Cobalt, just a couple meters apart in a gruesome, high-contrast, grainy alleyway lit by the sole street lamp in the distance, the man in white smiled. A smile reserved for himself or for the beaten and bruised young man, that much was uncertain…

But among the meaninglessness the two felt. Among the absurdity. Among the undependable and dishonorable world between the two, he spoke…

Moi c'est Irvelle.”

His eyes shared in his flames of solitary defiance.

"And it is truly nice to meet you... Cobalt."

And thus formed the crossroads between purposelessness and the desire to seek it out. Within both worlds, Cobalt was adrift, no hope nor aspirations. However, the vacuum that made up the world he knew may be able to blossom into the type of goal he could cling towards. The reason and purpose he needed to finally start enjoying life.

Or maybe…

That cruel world would never be so kind as to allow Cobalt to possess that sort of resolve.