“Romantic comedy gold, right there. Besides, didn’t you say before that you wanted to try being in a rom-com anime?”
“...I didn’t mean as a main character, you idiot. I meant like as one of those quirky side characters who gets a huge fanbase and eventually becomes an Ensemble Darkhorse.”
- Matthew and Bobby, Act I: Chapter 10
Act I: A Mirror is the first Act of Silver Blizzard. It mainly serves as an introduction to the maji characters, along with a handful of mostly light-hearted, less serious conflict that leads into a darker turn.
Bobby Topalis reflects on the current and past happenings by writing them down in a story format. The majority of the story is actually a written record of what he experienced; he also has written down a few views in other characters' perspectives as well.
Though all of the following is written in present tense, it had actually been a past occurrence at the time of writing. Bobby was attempting to disguise the fact that it was a true story that applied to him in case someone stumbled upon it by accident; he did not want to plague anyone else with his thoughts.
*Note: Since this story's plans have not been finalized, details are subject to change.*
The story begins with a quick prologue, which consists of two unknown people discussing an inconsistency in time and its effect on their plans.
Part I: Transparent Edit
In what seems like an uneventful day, Bobby roughly wakes up Sherman Tendo; he and the Tendo twins bike to school and are greeted by their friends. After class begins, a transfer student named Yukitsuki Asaka is introduced to the class. Quite a few of the students are intrigued by Yukitsuki, and a group of them crowd around her to ask her questions after homeroom ends. Noticing Yukitsuki's overwhelmed state, Bobby goes to help but is beaten to the punch by Ethan Hsu, who encourages the others to back it down a notch and look at things from her perspective.
After passing period begins, Yukitsuki approaches Ethan and thanks him for what he did; Ethan says that it's nothing and introduces the rest of his friend group. He notices that Bobby is trying to distance himself from current events and wrap his head around other things, and wonders what could be going on.
The following day, Bobby heads to his usual lunch spot and finds Yukitsuki already there. The two of them chat for a bit before Ethan and Matthew Wang show up. Matthew makes saucy remarks towards Bobby but accidentally raises his voice so everyone at the table can hear him. Eventually, the others arrive as well; Yukitsuki notes that the group bears a similarity to her old friends. Bobby (and Ethan as well) notices a subtle bitterness inside her nostalgia.
After school, Bobby meets up with Sherman at the bike racks in the back of the school when the two of them notice Yukitsuki sitting on a bench nearby and call out to her. As it turns out, Yukitsuki had somehow twisted an ankle between lunch and the end of school and was trying to call a taxi. Sherman offers to bike back to the Topalis house, grab a car, and take her back.
While Sherman is gone, Bobby takes a seat on the bench. Yukitsuki explains to him that because she lives alone, she has no one else to call, and states that this was partially thanks to the apathy of Yukitsuki's parents, who pretty much provided her with the money and told her to figure it out herself.
Bobby tries to ask Yukitsuki about Japan, and she talks a little about it before promptly quieting down. Noticing how tired Yukitsuki looks, Bobby asks whether she is okay; Yukitsuki replies that she had been up early making her lunch.
Talking about her family makes Yukitsuki go quiet for a while. After a few minutes of awkwardness, Bobby realizes this and starts thinking; Yukitsuki notices that the expression on his face makes him look like he's trapped in a psychological minefield and asks if everything is okay. As before, Bobby states that he just has a lot on his mind, but Yukitsuki dismisses this statement, arguing that his expression is not one of thought, but of paranoia.
Sherman arrives; he packs Bobby's bike in the trunk of the car and drives Yukitsuki back to her house. On the way there, Yukitsuki falls asleep in the car. When she leaves, Bobby helps her walk back to her hotel room and offers to bring the rest of the group over someday to make her life a bit easier; she shoots him a quick smile and remarks that it might be a good idea.
Bobby and Sherman head back to the Topalis household. Once they return, the two of them are confronted by Andrew Topalis, who is quite upset by the fact that Sherman (and Sherman especially, since he's a bad driver) had gone and used the car without his permission. Somehow, the conversation gradually travels from the topic of the car to the two being prone to make stupid decisions that cost other people, and both of them receive a scathing talk.
Bobby retreats to his room with shattered self-esteem and a lingering sense of uselessness, trying to wrap his head around his father's words. Inside his head, what his father said frees a "demon" of doubts and self-loathing that torments him for the next few hours. He wonders why his father, and the demon, hold such an irrationally great impact in his emotions and why they can affect him psychologically to such an extent. After discussing the issue with Megumi Tendo, he ultimately decides to take a night walk after both his parents have gone asleep to clear his head.
Yukitsuki's words of concern flash through Bobby's mind as he walks, and he questions whether she is aware of the "demon" or not. As he thinks this, he suddenly realizes that he is standing outside of her hotel. Bobby glances up, noticing Yukitsuki standing on the hotel roof with an ice pack around her ankle; she spots him and heads down to the ground to talk to him.
After approaching him, Yukitsuki realizes that something had happened and invites him into her room to talk about it. As she brews some tea for the two of them, she offers to listen to his troubles, noting that talking about such things would often make one feel better about them. Bobby refuses to do so; however, Yukitsuki notices the conflict in his gaze and states that she'd be willing to listen whenever he'd be willing to talk.
Emotionally exhausted by everything, Bobby ends up involuntarily falling asleep on the couch. He wakes up early next morning and sneaks back to the Topalis household before his parents are awake; Megumi notices his return but does not comment on it.
Bobby and Sherman head to a nearby coffee joint and meet up with the others to study and hang out. Bobby reflects on how much these study sessions prop up his and Sherman's mediocre grades. The thuggish Howard Lewis is oddly absent, so only five of them are present.
When waiting in line to get coffee, Bobby and Sherman notice a tranquil purple-haired girl standing in ine in front of them, who promptly leaves after getting her coffee. After noticing Sherman's entrancement, Bobby makes a few teasing remarks; for the first time in a while, Sherman hesitates before responding. He then proceeds to ask Ella to check the school databases in an attempt to find the girl's identity; she has no luck and remarks that there is no trace of her in the directory.
While there, Sherman tells the others about what happened with Yukitsuki during the previous day. Bobby brings up the possibility of the entire group heading to Yukitsuki's apartment to help her out a bit, and Ethan supports the idea.
On Monday, another transfer student, Ayame Ootori, is introduced to the class; she quickly befriends Yukitsuki and some of the others. Sherman realizes that she was the girl that he saw at the coffee joint and tries to talk to her. Bobby, along with Ethan, notice that Ayame seems particularly interested in Yukitsuki; he wants to pursue the matter further, but Ethan warns him against it, suspecting that there is more to Ayame than meets the eye.
At lunch that day, Ayame takes Howard's spot due to his mysterious absence. Matthew explains that Howard's parents had pressured him into joining a competitive mathematics club that practically consumes all of his free time. Bobby points out the irony that Howard, the most stalwart and stiff of the group, can be molded like clay in the intimidating hands of his family.
Ayame talks a lot with Sherman, and Ella Walker, another member of the group, realizes that there is something off about her. She mentions this to Bobby and the twins at one point.
About a week later, Bobby, along with the rest of the group, hold an "initiation" night for Yukitsuki and Ayame.
Part II: Too High A Wall Edit
The story then skips ahead to a couple weeks later; specifically, the Friday before the school's "Senior Retreat" over the weekend. The group has lunch together as before, and Howard is missing as usual; Bobby heads to the cafeteria to grab a lunch for both himself and Yukitsuki (due to the crowded nature and hassle of the school cafeteria, the group had created a system where one person grabs lunches for themselves and one other friend). After obtaining the food, he accidentally bumps into Nick Collins, who asks him why he has two lunches. The nearby Sherman jumps in and explains everything to Nick; he begins to assume that Bobby is simply trying to woo/flirt with Yukitsuki, despite Bobby's insistence that this is not the case.
The group heads to the Senior Retreat at a secluded location in the wooded mountains nearby; after they arrive, the class spreads out for free time. Bobby decides to do a bit of exploration and discovers a pretty serene trail; he runs into Yukitsuki and the two of them start to walk together. Unbeknownst to him, Nick had spotted him walking off and began to silently follow them, remaining close enough to see them but far enough that he could not hear what they were saying.
Sherman happens to notice them walking down the path; being the trouble-maker that he is, he runs up ahead on the trail and reports his findings to Matthew, Ayame, and Ethan. Matthew decides to make it their mission to screw with Bobby and Yukitsuki as much as they can; Ethan is reluctant to do so, and remarks that he'd shut down their activities in an instant if they go too far.
As they continue down the trail, Matthew, Ayame, Sherman, and Ethan stumble upon a shallow creek with a miniature concrete "dam", about as wide as a foot. Matthew and Ethan scamper across the "dam" without any problems, but Ayame is concerned about the durability of the old-looking removable wooden middle piece in the dam. Sherman ends up carrying her through the creek, soaking his shoes.
The group hears Bobby and Yukitsuki coming along; Matthew quickly darts over the concrete dam and removes the middle piece for the sake of trolling, which gave them a larger gap to cross and raised their likelihood of falling into the creek.
When the two arrive at the creek, Sherman chucks a rock in the water in an attempt to splash them. When Bobby questions the missing piece in the dam, Matthew insists that they had found it that way and encourages them to cross and jump over the gap where the piece should've been. Bobby goes first and tries to carefully step over, but Sherman throws another rock, startling him enough to lose concentration and fall into the creek.
Somewhat unnerved by everything, Yukitsuki is a bit hesitant to cross; however, after Matthew points out the obvious alternative method of crossing the creek, she ultimately decides to cross over and uses Bobby's shoulder to keep herself from falling over like he did.
After the two cross, Ayame explains exactly what happened and starts to laugh. After taking in what happened, Bobby starts to chase Matthew around in search of "revenge", and the entire group ends up running down the trail.
Somewhere down the line, Sherman drops his wallet. Bobby finds it; in an act of light-hearted revenge, he and Yukitsuki decide to try and get back at Sherman through this. He gives the wallet to Samuel Beck, who, at dinnertime that day, calls Sherman up and tells him of a "punishment" he must do before the wallet is given back to him: kiss Ayame. He does so in front of the entire grade and slinks back embarrassedly.
Realizing that Bobby set the entire wallet ordeal up, Sherman decides to have some payback of his own. He convinces Matthew to hold a meeting near the "Bridge of Commitment", which... tba
When they get back from the retreat, Nick, having witnessed the entire creek exchange and convinced that Bobby had been lying before, openly challenges him to a series of "duels" for Yukitsuki's heart. Bobby tries to brush off Nick's actions as outrageous and stupid things done purely for drama and attention, but soon realizes that Nick legitimately loves Yukitsuki and is unwilling to change his belief that Bobby is a competitor in love.
During this time, Bobby continues to visit Yukitsuki whenever his father's words free his inner demon. After a period of time, he becomes more comfortable and more open to discussing the issue with her. In one of these sessions, Yukitsuki asks Bobby about Nick; he replies that the two of them have had a bit of a history, which was the main reason he isn't standing down from Nick's challenge.
The following day, Nick and Bobby meet up in the gym and, under the watchful eye of sword nerd Tristan Fiedler, have a first duel with wooden swords. Though Bobby is faster and more instinctive when it comes to dodging, Nick overpowers him and defeats him.
Despite Bobby's greater level of ease around Yukitsuki, he is still somewhat reluctant to fully delve into his past; realizing this, Yukitsuki asks Ethan about this. Ethan refuses to explain more, instead directing her to ask Bobby himself.
A little while later, a rich classmate, Rosalie Giovanello, along with her younger brother Terrence, hold a Halloween party at their mansion and invite the majority of the grade. Bobby initially plans to cosplay as Dosu Kinuta, but is eventually talked into dressing as Fang due to the others also dressing up in Fairy Fencer F-themed outfits. Simultaneously, Ayame miraculously convinces Yukitsuki to dress as Eryn.
When they arrive, a small bit of stupidity occurs. The party turns out to be a roleplay murder mystery in which every person present is given a role to act, a backstory, and an alibi. Nick notices Bobby's presence at the party and decides to make it their next duel, with the winner being whoever can identify the true "murderer" first.
After gathering clues, Nick comes to the conclusion that Yukitsuki was the "murderer", but frames it on Bobby and is deemed incorrect. Neither of them end up figuring out who the "murderer" is; Ayame beats both of them to the punch, correctly figuring out precisely what had happened and who was responsible.
Throughout this time, Bobby begins to feel like a burden to everyone around him, notably his father and Yukitsuki. During one night, a thunderstorm occurs nearby while he is walking to Yukitsuki's house; when he gets there, she refuses to open the door and asks for some time alone for uncertain reasons. Not wanting to be too aggressive, Bobby quickly leaves.
During this time, the twins notice Bobby walk off into the storm and decide to get Howard to talk to him about it. Howard calls Bobby while he is walking back home and invites him over to his house; there, he shows Bobby the BB gun and indoor shooting range he had created with the money he earned from the math competitions.
Bobby tries to voice his opinion to Howard, asking him if he is a burden to anyone else. In response, Howard asks him how he came to that conclusion; unsure that Howard would be able to understand and empathize, Bobby is hesitant to explain. Through subtle hints in his language, however, Howard figures out that it has to do with Bobby's dad and bluntly remarks that the possibility is definitely there. He reflects on his own parents, who remind him of his duty to continue the successes of his family line every time he screws up by denying him dinner for the night. When comparing what Howard has to go through with his own experiences, Bobby's doubts are further confirmed.
Due to the drama between Nick and Bobby, bad rumors begin to spread about them and Yukitsuki. Matthew and Ethan do their best to dispel the rumors, but have little results. This instance, along with the circumstances surrounding Yukitsuki, is eerily similar to Bobby's previous interaction with a former friend, Ava Dianthe, who started to date Bobby only to turn hostile and leave for uncertain reasons. These old guilts are unearthed in the shape of the demon, which reveals itself in the form of Ava in Bobby's mind.
During this time, Ayame confronts Yukitsuki and begs her to return to Japan. She tries to use Kazuha Tokimiya's plans and her future with Kyoichi Akikawa as a point of argument. Yukitsuki, however, refuses to leave, stating that she believes that atonement for her past actions lies in helping Bobby with his own problems. Realizing that Bobby had become a "key" to Yukitsuki's future, Ayame quickly contacted Kazuha and asked her to travel to the United States and assist.
Bobby tries to clear his head and spends the day writing, which causes him to forget about another important manner that his dad had asked him to take care of. When Andrew gets home and reminds him of it, he harshly chastises Bobby further about his priorities and tells him to stare at the bathroom mirror and reflect on himself and his choices.
As Bobby reflects on the recent happenings, he comes to the conclusion that he is ultimately responsible for the others' pains in almost every instance of their interaction. Empowered by these thoughts, the metaphorical demon bursts free and tries to latch itself onto his psyche by twisting his feelings for Yukitsuki into guilts and thoughts of burdening her. Enraged by its efforts, Bobby goes mentally berserk and savagely leaps onto the demon in his thoughts before mindlessly pounding it to a pulp.
After a few moments, the hatred drains out of him and is replaced by exhaustion and hopelessness. Taking advantage of this moment, the demon completely coats his skin with its ooze-like substance and seizes control of him, instilling an uncontrollable self-loathing inside his mind and convinces him that he needs to make up for how he weighed everyone down in the past through an equal burden on himself. Trapped by this hatred like a puppet, Bobby punches his reflection with all his might, shattering the mirror; he then runs off blindly into the night.
Part III: Shattered Glass Edit
The story then switches to the perspectives of the others; as they split up and search for Bobby, they voice their thoughts on the matter. Still suspicious of Ayame thanks to her interactions with Sherman, Ella blames her influence for this incident. But Sherman defends Ayame, much to Ella's surprise; he comments that Ayame is their greatest ally, and a part of a force that neither he nor anyone else in the group might understand.
As they search, Ayame meets up with Yukitsuki. Intrigued by her answer to the previous questions, Ayame asks her the reason why she feels that helping Bobby is a path to her redemption. Interestingly enough, Yukitsuki is not quite sure; she simply feels that that is the correct method of atonement.
Howard reflects on his own influence on Bobby and realizes that more often than not, especially in the past, he has been a bad influence. He confides this with Matthew, who tells him not to worry about it and move on.
Ethan tries to talk to Ella about her suspicious regarding Ayame; he details everything he's observed about her behavior and explains that while Ayame does seem to have an ulterior motive, it's not a negative thing against the group.
Sherman and Ayame meet up in the midst of everything; she remembers Kazuha telling her something about volatility and suicide and asks Sherman if Bobby would really be the type of person to commit suicide like that. Sherman thinks for a moment; he then replies that while Bobby is too afraid of pain to try and pull something like that, he honestly wouldn't count the possibility out, especially knowing his emotional tendencies. Hearing this almost makes Ayame break down; she reveals her true purpose and aims to him, along with info on Kazuha and another person. Sherman comes to the realization that a "guardian angel" had been looking over them this entire time, which refills him with hope.
After some time of searching, Sherman gets a text from Bobby on his phone. He asks if they were searching for him and apologizes for the wasted time; he then explains that he is on the rooftop of Yukitsuki's apartment building, contemplating life.
Yukitsuki is the first to approach him. She sees him sitting on the other side of the roof railing, staring aimlessly at the night sky. The wind on the roof is forceful and almost dangerous, and is enough to blow someone off the top if they are not careful.
Convinced by his demon that Yukitsuki was helping him out of pity or for a selfish reason, Bobby asks her exactly why she was helping him. She replies that while originally she had done so for such a reason – her atonement – over time she had grown more fond of him and legitimately wanted to help him.
After a slight conversation, Yukitsuki gets Bobby to listen to her; despite this, he is still hesitant to open up. At that moment, Sherman, Ayame, and Ethan arrive on the scene. Sherman steps over the railing and sits down beside Bobby; utilizing memories of the past, he slowly but surely combats the demon and releases Bobby from its control, re-restraining it in a psychological cage. Intriguingly enough, he counters Bobby's claim of worthlessness with the argument that Yukitsuki wouldn't be spending all of her time or emotions on a worthless person.
Finally back to his right mind, Bobby apologizes sincerely for the inconvenience he caused. Sherman turns around to step over the railing, but as he brings his leg over, he is suddenly hit by an enormous blast of wind and loses his balance. Bobby reflexively grabs his arm, but is too weak to pull him up fully; for a moment, he stares into Sherman's strangely satisfied face. Sherman expresses happiness at the fact that Bobby had found himself again; he then tells him to stop straining himself, just as Bobby's arm gives out.
Sherman's hand slips from his grasp and he starts to fall down. Unbeknownst to everyone on the rooftop, Kazuha is present at the scene; having only heard of Bobby and Sherman through Ayame's messages and therefore having never seen them in person, she mistakes the falling boy for Bobby and uses her gravity-manipulation device to soften his fall, effectively saving his life.
After seeing this, Bobby is seized by regret and grief. He runs down to the ground, where an ambulance has arrived; there, the paramedics inform him that while Sherman is miraculously alive, he suffered trauma to his head and is currently comatose. He skulks back to his house in the shadows, blaming himself for everything that happened.
The others accompany Sherman to the hospital and watch over his comatose form, but Bobby is hesitant to show his face, thinking that they blame him for the incident. Ayame and Kazuha meet up and exchange stories, and Kazuha realizes the full extent of the situation.
The next morning, Bobby purposefully avoids all of the others and tries to shut them out of his life. For the first time, he sits alone in the corner of the library for lunch, contemplating everything that has happened.
A girl who Bobby doesn't recognize shows up. Expressing some level of surprise to see him there, she asks him why he is sitting in a remote corner of the library all by himself like that. When Bobby expresses hesitation, the girl apologizes for trying to pry, sets down her notebook on the ground nearby, and starts to draw.
The two of them sit in silence for a while, until Bobby asks her what her name is. The girl introduces herself as Anna Kageshiro and expresses surprise that he doesn't recognize her, especially since they have a few classes together. When Bobby notices and comments on the fact that she is drawing a manga, Anna immediately opens up to him and starts to talk much more.
Bobby manages to avoid his other friends until he comes home, where Megumi confronts him about his behavior. She comments that she's still sorting out her emotions regarding everything, and is torn between blaming Bobby for Sherman's injury or blaming Sherman himself.
For the rest of the week, Bobby avoids his former friend group and hangs out with Anna (and Tristan as well; the two of them are childhood friends). Kazuha notices this; fearing the worst, she decides to confront Bobby about his total separation from Yukitsuki, but Ayame stops her and says that she would do it instead.
That night, Bobby is laying awake listening to Megumi cry herself to sleep when he hears something downstairs and decides to investigate. When he finds Ayame standing in his family's living room, he initially expresses surprise and asks her what she is doing there.
Ayame responds by coolly stating that they needed to talk. She informs him of her feelings for Sherman, making him feel even more responsible for the accident. Like Megumi, she expresses an extreme inner conflict over whether to blame Bobby or not for Sherman's incident. Her raw emotions, she explains, completely blame Bobby, especially thanks to Sherman's status as her love interest/boyfriend; however, because Bobby was practically a brother to Sherman, along with the fact that he had willingly risked his life to talk him out of suicide, tell her not to blame him for it.
Utilizing Kazuha's technology, Ayame sneaks Bobby into the hospital, where he sees Sherman's comatose form for the first time. Overwhelmed with emotion, he buries his head in Sherman's sheets and cries, and is soon joined by Ayame.
Chapter List Edit
- Act I:
- Chapter 1: A Mirror
- Chapter 2: A Lunch
- Chapter 3: A Favor
- Chapter 4: A Cycle
- Chapter 5: A Replacement
- Chapter 6: A Week
- Chapter 7: Nick Collins
- Chapter 8: Ship Sailors
- Chapter 9: Commitment
- Chapter 10: The Duel
- Chapter 11: Kyoichi
- Chapter 12: A Sprouting Seed
- Chapter 13: Romantic Comedy Gold
- Act II:
- Act III:
Characters Introduced: Edit
- In Act I: Chapter 1:
- In Act I: Chapter 2:
- In Act I: Chapter 3:
- In Act I: Chapter 4:
- In Act I: Chapter 7:
- In Act I: Chapter 8:
- Ava Dianthe (first mentioned by name, in a flashback)
- Samuel Beck
- Anna Kageshiro