Chapter 2:

Requiem of the Butterflies

Teakettle Story

“No matter how you alter the story, you always end up as the man responsible for all the broken teapots back home.”

Weapon out of grasp, he’s held hostage now at gunpoint towards his forehead. He had never seen a small arm before, but he recognized it was a gun: one in the likeness of the ancient weapon installed on the moon. One click and he’ll spill his brains for the second time.

They don’t have a head, but they spoke clearly as though they had a mouth.

Downtrodden to the brink of collapse, their whole existence emanating the bottomless sense of limbo.

“Like a certain genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist once said,” they recounted, causal to him perking his ears to distinguish reference from popular culture. “You mess with time, it tends to mess back.”’

He knows, and headshot─!

Gasp once, and you find yourself in the peaceful layout of Pennsylvania.

You’re in the expanse of the Twilight Empire, situated in the sacred Twilightwood tree.

A remnant of the United States of America now remodeled into the new era four thousand years after mankind escaped the dying planet; and, three thousand and five hundred years when they returned alongside alien visitors. Same timeline, the sacred tree grew overnight in Philadelphia and miraculously fertilized the lands. After seven years of bliss, a religious organization worshiping the tree began to helm the government in lieu of the past system.

And since then, the only disruptions are concerned with improbable human errors not affecting nature and its resources.

When the people of the progressive era of peak fiction thought of a new beginning after the ruination, they were accrued for what they calculated.

As far as history lessons covered, everything went through a vicious cycle of creation and destruction.

And now, the cycle has found itself in a time protected by a colossal tree.

One doesn’t know of a life back in the past, but the retrospection told it wasn’t as desirable as now. Resources depleted and all─and without a true beacon of hope. So, if messing with time preserves Earth as a frontier to life, then it should have been unfair for time to mess back.

Huff a sigh, and hear yourself talk.

“It takes only a butterfly to unleash a hurricane on the other side of the planet.”

Butterflies flapped their wings in the verdant environment lavishly tattered in flowers no soul in their homestead sown nor tended. Cared by the tree itself, humanity couldn’t ask more for being spoiled in the extravaganza. From a forsaken timeline where growing a blade of grass is impossible, the weighted difference compares feather and gold.

As a human down to the last fiber, he opted for what valued.


Subtle in their steps, a twain of adolescent boys passed to a brim of sunlight peeking from the leaves of the sacred tree.

Colored in black and white, both children sporting the same school uniforms but nonetheless exhuming individual levels defiant towards the academic ideology. Crows share with the first man an impeccable resemblance; and, he who wore the white crown screamed of the feasible hero albeit whitewashed at the moment. Respectively abrasive and thriving personalities posing villain and hero. Yet, their levels of sleepiness don't stray far from each other.

And also, for a wrongness in more ways than one, they were friends.

Morning, both had yawned from the lack of sunlight.

Lamps do light the darkened cityscape underneath the massive structure, but they don’t help in sleep maintenance. Fireflies assist wholeheartedly for everyone’s welfare, but nothing compares to the sun.

Neckties yet crooked from uncaring personalities, though their legs quickened their momentum in comparison to the others. Light steps, faster steps, little of excitement were etched in their faces─each rushing to their morning routine.

Mister Harlequin, their local newspaper editor, couldn’t keep his yawn any shorter so they walked past him.

“Hello,” greeted one of them, which was returned with a subtle smile.

For an everyday situation in the empire’s proximity, everyone’s eyes drooped to the spell of shade.

When you live in the empire, there are times of the day where the tree’s shadow blocks all sunlight.

Twilightwood, the sacred tree, is situated at the center of Philadelphia as was mentioned before. Mathers being smacked in the middle northwest, even about nine miles away, the shadows yet sprawl to the lands. For the set radius of the sacred tree from west towards a portion of the northwest, the sunrise isn’t a phenomenon. Sunlight doesn’t reach them until ten in the morning, and the illumination is already bright when it comes.

Not only it’d have been too late to activate their rhythm, there’s none of the outlook at all to the intended romance of a striking sun.

Exposure to the environment easily destroys one’s circadian rhythm─which explains a traffic of lethargic people carrying themselves to school or work.

One other person walked before them, or at least one person per block to pass by, a student from their class and from the other. Sorbet Liege couldn’t focus on reading her booklet, Collin Coleslaw couldn’t help himself but be distracted by the cabbages in the lawn next to him.

If there was one incredible person during their walk, it was the gardener.

How the gardener noticed Coleslaw's distraction prompted a leer out of him.

Frightened of course, the child straightened his back and walked forwards. Nothing like a soft motivation from a simple cringe. One of the principal characters smirked as their sights aligned─the cabbage child asked to give him a slack.

And then, they walked onwards.

What resumed was their fast yet slow waltz in black and white.

Nothing too special if talked about in plain sight, only a slice to everyday life.

Breaking the exact point though, the white kind shot occasional glances towards the dark child. Irritated in a manner: curious and yet, the inability to speak his mind gnawed on his mind. So, he closed his eyes─and refreshed his demeanor to its supposed state.

“Hey,” he called. “Stop smiling and tell me what you’re about to say, like what was it again?”

Black perked his ears, affirmed of his late spoken randomness from earlier.

He tilted his head, effective with a hand under his chin. “You mean the butterflies… no, it was only a random thought,” he said, eyes slanted to mystical annoyance he incurred by himself, for himself.

And, cue to his natural dumbfoundedness, he deducted the claim right out of his apathetic brain, which forgot it mumbled something strange.

Albeit lagging in the short run, the white-haired imagination realized the exact turn of his friend’s mind.

“You’re always random, Gilgamesh.”

Gilgamesh Summers and Czeslaw Holland, a duet of middle school students on their morning stroll to school.

“Yeah, I was only thinking of something…” Gilgamesh said after a yawn. “Like, imagine being displaced to the other side, it only takes you one flap from a butterfly to find yourself back home to the empire.”

Czeslaw looked at the butterflies swirling in their lush environment.

Species ranging from small to relatively large, the frightening note left in the statement may have reached him senseless. Although, suppose each of the butterflies across the empire are conjuring hurricanes to the other side. Conclusively, there’s no way you’d find yourself on the other side at all; or, to thoroughly think about it, it’s more likely you’d be carried from the empire to the calamitous half of the planet deformed and dead as dictated by physics.

Czeslaw must not have thought so, but he’s comfortable thinking the white knight candidate would find it nonsensical.

“No, it’s a paradox,” and to put his mind at ease, his friend answered.

“You think so?”

“Yeah, and that's what I said.”

“Why does it feel like I heard the exact same banter before?”

“Hey, don’t stray away from the subject,” Czeslaw reprimanded. “Also, if you’re unleashing a deadly storm onto your homeland, then it’s practically not coming home at all.”

Gilgamesh thought for a minute.

“Unless you have what it takes to command the hurricane,” he processed out of a whimsical calculation.

Czeslaw winced, disdaining what he heard.

“That’s not right…Let’s see, if you can command the hurricane, then it’s no longer from the butterfly who flapped its wings,” he argued.

“No, imagine befriending the butterfly,” Gilgamesh began. “A companion to the protagonist, then they embark on a journey together. It’s the hook, or something like that… but I don’t know if it’s effective or not?”

Neuron clicked to realization, whence Czeslaw finally grasped the crow was on about.

“Uh-huh, makes sense,” Czeslaw huffed, and closed the introspection. “So, did you really think of that randomly or you’re on another mental block?”

Gilgamesh feigned silence─and smiled wryly.

On a certain factor, Czeslaw has hit the truth regarding his worries.

However, what sparked the conversation must have been an entirely different reason. “Must have been” for chaos, as random as he’s branded, the reasons are either linked to the butterflies flying around. Else, it would have been his nature as someone who leaped through time.

Second timeline: approximately nine years have already gone by after he found himself in the past.

Altercations, shifting events.

One look at his companion, he didn’t have the undesirable physique at the same time of his life. One bullet to the head and your classmate’s a pretty boy. He used to be a hunk; not to incur exaggeration, but his muscles are built at a young age. Practically, he was being shunned by the intellectual majority of the populace until he was scouted as a knight.

He couldn’t handle nerd talk then, and now he’s able to read the atmosphere without expending effort.

Why was he sizing Czeslaw in the moment, he didn’t truly understand; like how he’s determined to be random. Looking back, he didn’t configure a future where he’d be friends with the person he least expected. From the point he joked about Czeslaw and Luna being an item, he practically threw his childhood as lunch for the lion.

He did incur a domino effect entangling his life to people he didn’t care for in the past.

And it’s all but laughable reminiscing in the present.

A base for an effect supposed to be a mere thought; the breeze from when the butterfly flapped its wings.