The Story of Thresholds: A Promise Lost is a fairy tale-esque story about the Four Great Dukedoms that acts as one of the chapters from Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Volume 3. Its focus is drawn on the characters from 100 years prior to the plot.
In an excerpt from a book called Recollections of Black and Gold, published by someone known as "Evil B." is presented - detailing that a final battle was about to begin between the pitch-black knight, Caudwell and the golden knight, Walter.
As the sun, appearing similarly to a ripened fruit fell beyond the horizon, Caudwell and Walter readied their swords without taking their eyes off of their opponent. Knowing that he may not have another chance to speak, Caudwell asks Walter to listen to the voice of the winds, which demands that he set the people free from these archaic times. Amused, Walter tells Caudwell that the wind is better off just shaking the leaves on the trees throughout the forest, as he's the one who stands charge of their vast land. Caudwell and Walter confront one another over the battlefield littered with the corpses of fallen warriors. With the weight of countless souls bearing down on their shoulders, neither Caudwell nor Walter could draw back their swords. And so, the two who'd hated each other more than anyone else, yet who understood their opponent best, no longer had any compromises. Though Caudwell was trying to revolutionize the age and Walter was trying to stop him, it was their swords which would decide which path would be left in the end. As the sun sank, the question arises of who'd uttered the final words, stating that he'd believed that the two of them could have been friends.
Levi was astonished when Jack asked what Oswald's weaknesses were one day when they'd gone to visit Lacie in The Tower together. Embarrassed, Jack states that he'd thought that if Levi knew of any of Oswald's weaknesses, that he might be inclined to divulge what they are to him. As Jack had been determined to challenge Oswald to a fair fight continuously over the past three days, which had recently resulted in the need to have gauze applied to his cheek, a compress stuck to the top of his right hand, his left hand wrapped in bandages and his body covered in bruises. Noting the state that Jack's in, Levi mentions that Jack's gotten quite a lot of wear on his body. Agreeing, Jack argues that the scars he's received have brought him to the understanding that he can never win in a fair fight against Oswald - shocking Levi and Lacie, as they'd assumed that such a thing would be obvious.
Placing a hand on Jack's shoulder, Levi admits that the idea of taking advantage of Oswald's weaknesses had merit, but both he and Lacie waver as they try to decide what to say. Interrupting, Jack sighs as he asks if he's right to assume that Oswald doesn't have any weaknesses - claiming that he doesn't look like the kind of person who would. Confused, both Levi and Lacie ask why Jack would assume that, as the real reason for their hesitation is that Oswald has too many weaknesses for them to decide which one would be best to tell Jack.
Firstly, Levi notes that one of Oswald's weaknesses is his napping habits, as he can sleep anywhere. In fact, right at that moment, Oswald's sleeping under the shade of a tree in the forest nearby. To say that he's never realized this means that Jack must have terrible timing. Once again confused, Jack asks if - Oswald being such a talented man - he wouldn't sense Jack beforehand and immediately wake up should he draw his sword near Oswald. However, Lacie denied that it would be something to cause Oswald to wake up over, expressing how Oswald would carry on sleeping even if the forest caught fire - only to later ask if the scenery had changed since he'd fallen asleep. Levi burst out laughing because of Lacie's accuracy, and while Jack accepted this as Oswald's weakness, he didn't seem to think it was enough.
Continuing, Lacie grew deviously cheerful as she divulged another of Oswald's weaknesses, which was none other than cherry tomatoes. Lacie mentions that Oswald is horrible when it comes to eating cherry tomatoes, which surprises and confuses Jack further - prompting Levi to carry on by saying that the moment that Oswald bit into the flesh of a cherry tomato, he'd spit it out immediately, said it was repulsive and refused to eat anymore. One time, Oswald even bit into a cherry tomato accidentally and went rigid as a result. While Oswald stayed like this for a while, his facial expression remained the same, so the server didn't even notice, causing quite the stir on the estate. Astonished by how disgusted Oswald was by cherry tomatoes, Jack accepted yet another one of Oswald's weaknesses, though it wasn't one he could use in battle.
Finally, Lacie mentioned that the person that Oswald cares for the most has also become a weakness of his - something which Jack had figured. Levi claims that Oswald is the kind of person who'd end up decapitated in his sleep because of his unreasonable naïvety - making Levi sound both comedic and harsh toward Oswald. Correcting her master, Lacie states that Oswald is abnormally kind. Nodding to Lacie, Jack mentions that this makes sense given that the one Oswald cares about the most is Lacie. Though at the same time, Lacie said Oswald cared for Jack the most, while Levi said that Oswald cared for him the most. Stunned, Jack and Lacie stare doubtfully at Levi, prompting Levi to stand up straight and thrust his thumb into his chest stating that it has to be him because when everything is all said and done, he's still Oswald's master. Lacie abruptly shook off Levi's remark as Jack smiled and said that the one Oswald cares about most would have to be either herself or Levi, as Oswald would never have reason to care so much about him - something which Lacie was unsure about.
Though Jack was satisfied with Oswald's three weaknesses, Lacie told him that there was still more that she could divulge. However, Jack was more than satisfied with the information he'd received. Levi wishes Jack luck as he marches up beside Lacie and puts his arm around her, stating that she's looking forward to being able to leave The Tower again. As Lacie pushes Levi off of her, she confirms his assumption - reminding him that she'd missed out on her last opportunity to do so because of the event Levi threw for Arthur Barma 2 months ago. Hearing this, Jack's face lights up as he promised to take Lacie outside the estate soon enough. Noting the connection between Lacie and Jack through their "unspoken words" Levi tells Jack that he "really is something" with a cold smile.
As Jack left The Tower alone, he was met by Oswald just outside; who asked what Jack had discussed with Levi. Though Jack was about to answer, he instead made a theatrical gesture to repel Oswald, claiming that he couldn't tell Oswald. Oswald shook it off, not particularly interested, instead falling silent and watching Jack. As Jack awkwardly attempted to leave, Oswald told him that his sword was warped; elaborating that Jack's basic form isn't bad, however his balance between offense and defence is off. Furthermore, Oswald states that with Jack's skills, even against the likes of him, he shouldn't get so injured; ultimately asking Jack why he uses his sword solely for offense rather than for defending. In response, Jack smiles and states that getting wounded is not a condition of his defeat, so why would he need to defend? When Oswald doesn't respond, simply glaring at Jack, Jack takes his leave, with Oswald watching him intently.
A day later, Jack's attempts began again, as he raced through the forest to The Tower, scouring the area for Oswald, whom he found sleeping underneath a nearby tree with a bird perched on his shoulder. As Jack crept toward Oswald with his hand on the hilt of his sword he attempted to remain as silent as possible - that is until he stepped on a fallen dry branch. The snapping sound startled the bird, which sang loud in distress as a result - prompting Jack to yell out unknowingly to attempt to stop it; only to quickly clasp his hand over his mouth. Despite Jack believing that there was no way Oswald wouldn't have heard the ruckus, Oswald remained asleep. As Jack stood before Oswald - his shadow casting across Oswald's face - he lifted his sword in the air and brought it down against Oswald. Shockingly, Oswald caught the blade in his right hand, but as Jack attempted to explain himself, he learned that Oswald was still half asleep. Jack then eased his sword from Oswald's grip and once again attempted to strike Oswald - aiming for his torso without holding back - only to have Oswald catch the blade in his left hand. With this Jack accepted that Oswald actually was awake and had merely been pretending the whole time, as Oswald tugs on Jack's sword to disarm him and strikes Jack in the side of his face; knocking Jack unconscious and allowing Oswald to return to sleep. Later Oswald awoke and saw Jack's unconscious body - speaking to it as if he didn't remember anything that had happened - informing Jack that he'd catch a cold if he slept there.
The next day, Jack met Oswald on the first floor of The Tower, concealing a cherry tomato in his hand while keeping a hand on his sword. Jack blocked Oswald's path as he prepared to ascend the staircase - believing that Levi may have summoned him - to which Oswald asked if there was something that Jack wanted. Jack simply greeted Oswald and mentioned the beautiful weather they'd been having recently - prompting Oswald to look outside at the thickly clouded sky and agree with a sense of pity for Jack. Oswald asked that Jack move if he didn't need anything, as Levi had summoned him, but instead Jack remained n place. Oswald attempted to go around Jack, but Jack continued to block his path, intent on somehow getting the cherry tomato he held in his hand into Oswald's mouth so that he'd freeze up and be unable to return to normal for a while - though he had no idea how to execute such a plan.
As Jack attempted to figure out what action to take, Oswald stated that if Jack needed something then he needed to tell him, as he couldn't know unless Jack did so. With that, Jack simply asked Oswald to open his mouth. Shaking his head, Oswald admitted that he didn't know what Jack was trying to say - thus Jack elaborated that he just wanted Oswald to open his mouth and say "aah" - though when the suspicious Oswald asked why Jack would want him to do such a thing, Jack just said that it wasn't important. Though Jack hadn't answered Oswald's basic question, Oswald did as Jack asked anyway, allowing Jack to hurl the cherry tomato toward Oswald's mouth. While Oswald appeared defenseless, in an instant his sword left his hip and struck down the cherry tomato - sending it to the ground cut in two. Jack was surprised that Oswald carried a sharp-edged sword at the time, as they had been using mock swords up until that point. Oswald wiped off his sword and sheathed it, asking if that was all Jack needed - which Jack confirmed, moving out of the way to allow Oswald to ascend The Tower. Partway up however, Oswald looked back down to Jack with a stare that might have suggested he was angry - but all Oswald said was that he is not fond of "those" and that, in the future, Jack be careful. As Oswald left Jack alone, resolved that because sleep and cherry tomatoes didn't work against Oswald, all that remained were to use those Oswald cared for most against him.
From her room in The Tower, Lacie noteed how hard Jack seemed to be working - though Levi agreed, he mentioned how it didn't appear to be presenting him with any results, even after they'd provided him with Oswald's weaknesses too. To this, Lacie questioned why Levi was having Jack do it, confusing Levi, though Lacie reminded him that before she'd asked that same question and whether or not Levi was doing it in order to waste time; which he denied, though he still hadn't given her a proper answer yet. Though Levi attempted to dissuade Lacie with banter, she wasn't having any of it, prompting Levi to reveal that the purpose was for a reference for a novel he was writing, which was a tale of chivalry modeled by Oswald and Jack. In the final scene the two characters duel, which is why he'd brought up the idea to Jack, so that he could use it as a reference, however Jack had been providing some as-of-yet disinteresting material. Lacie asked if Levi had finished the novel already - but Levi admits that he had given up on it and was instead writing a new novel; prompting Lacie to suggest that there was no point to what Levi was having Jack do anymore. Levi admits this much to be true, instead explaining that his new novel is a detective novel involving a great detective living in an old part of town and a mysterious killer; something Lacie considered to be cliched.
However, Levi argued that authors who snubbed the classic approaches were often the first to die, causing Lacie to sarcastically wonder aloud who'd come up with that - knowing well that it had been Levi himself. Levi asked if that made Lacie want to read the novel - which Lacie denied, not wanting to have any part in content written with such a tasteless penname like "Evil B" ("Evil" being an anagram of Levi, and "B" standing for Baskerville). Even so, Levi claimed that art should be tasteless. Catching Lacie's attention, Lacie asked Levi if, once again, he was using Oswald and Jack as models for his detective novel as well - to which Levi claimed not to know. Levi then went on to explain his story - stating that the detective and murderer appear to be completely disconnected, though they are in fact connected, as the detective had given the murderer a gift long ago - but while the detective had long forgotten it, the murderer still remembers. Lacie remarked that it was a common story, to which Levi replied that it was something the giver didn't pay much attention to and had forgotten - yet the recipient treasures - mirroring the situation between Jack and Lacie where Lacie had given Jack one of her earrings eight years prior.
Though Lacie had never told Levi about it, Levi assumed as much, as he'd noticed that Jack wore the earring that was made Lacie's pair. As Levi touched Lacie's earlobe where the earring Jack had should have been, he laughed as he agreed that it was indeed a common story. Levi had been successful in avoiding Lacie's question about the models for his story, instead changing the subject as he asked what Lacie thought Jack would do now, since the napping and cherry tomatoes had not worked; though Lacie couldn't say.
Jack asked that Oswald meet him on the roof of The Tower, and upon arriving, Oswald asked if this was where they were going to be fighting. Confirming this, Jack asked if Oswald liked it, though Oswald stated that it didn't matter; telling Jack to do as he pleased. Standing on the center of the roof close enough that their swords would just touch one another when drawn, Jack said t hat he liked it up there, as he'd never been on the roof before. Turning his attention to The Tower door to the stairs, Jack called out to Lacie, asking if she came up there often. Lacie, having followed Oswald and Jack to the roof, explained that she only came up to the roof on rare occasion, as the wind was strong up there; which Jack agreed with. Oswald then went on to say that Levi had summoned him after their duel, and so he would like to put this trivial matter to rest as soon as possible. Slightly offended, Jack admitted that he was serious about the duel, turning his back to Oswald and instigating the beginning of the duel.
While Oswald drew his sword, Jack kept his hand on the hilt of his sword - stating that he was ready when Oswald was. Though both Oswald and Lacie were confused, Oswald leapt for the attack; only for Jack to quickly leap backward to dodge it. Jack continued to do so without unsheathing his sword until he came to the edge of the roof - with Oswald asking what Jack was playing at and whether or not Jack intended on ending this without even unsheathing his sword. Instead of answering Oswald, Jack smiled and stated that Lacie had told him something, stating that he would draw and he leapt backward, off of The Tower roof.
Wasting no time, Oswald threw down his sword and dropped to his knees at the roof's edge, catching Jack by his wrist as he plummeted. Thinking of how Lacie had told him that he was Oswald's greatest weakness, Jack explained that even though Oswald was strong and his sword would never reach him, Jack decided that now was the time and used his free hand to draw his sword, which he swung at Oswald's neck.
Even from such an awkward position, Oswald managed to dodge Jack's attack - however it caused him to let go of Jack's wrist; though he quickly scrambled to catch Jack's hand. While Jack voiced his amazement at Oswald's ability, Oswald reprimanded him, asking what he was doing - being the first time he'd ever seen Oswald lose his temper. Oswald ordered Jack to hold tight and grab his hand as he hauled Jack back onto the roof. Before Oswald could voice his anger, Lacie made her way between him and Jack, who apologized to her. Suddenly, Lacie forcefully slapped Jack across the face, calling him a fool and telling him that he made her sick before walking off on her own. Lacie's reaction and Jack's shock took the edge off of Oswald's anger, asking instead what Jack was trying to pull with that stunt. Though Jack is confused, Oswald elaborated that he was asking why Jack had drawn his sword against him time and time again. Still confused, Jack asked Oswald if Levi had really told him nothing - to which Oswald revealed that Levi had simply told him that if Jack attacked him, to act as his opponent with a toy sword.
As Jack came to terms with what he'd been told, Oswald raised his sword against him - explaining how Levi had instructed him not to lose and how he couldn't go against his orders. Oswald fixed his eyes on Jack and told him that he really was disgusting, before launching his attack; with Jack barely managing to defend himself with his own sword. Jack narrowly managed to deflect Oswald's second attack as well, but when Oswald struck for a third time he sent Jack flying through the air, landing on his back just like the first time he'd fought Oswald. As Oswald told Jack that it was over, raising his sword to bring about the final strike against Oswald, Jack brought Oswald's attention to his sword, which he had thrown into the air, gliding past Oswald's head and grazing Jack's ear as it embedded itself within the stone flags. Jack then caught a single hair, which the sword had cut from Oswald's head as it skimmed past. Jack mentioned that it was only a scratch, but that a scratch counted as an attack, shocking Oswald as he realized that Jack had done that intentionally. Oswald proclaimed Jack to be the victor before leaving Jack alone on the roof, stunned by what had happened and clutching Oswald's hair like an amulet.
Lacie questioned when it had happened, the black haze in her heart which she had barely noticed at first, however whenever she saw Jack, and every time she spent more time with him, the haze grew more and more within her. Though it wasn't painful, Lacie found herself unable to ignore it, as it occasionally would assert itself and catch her off guard - feeling as though her heart was being squeezed; it was a sensation which she did not understand. She hadn't slapped Jack because she worried about him, but because she was angry at having her emotions disturbed. Not being able to understand it made her restless - Lacie had even been able to accept her own destruction in the not-too-distant future, yet this was unpleasant. Everytime she saw or thought about Jack, the haze expanded.
Jack later came to Lacie with his trophy, Oswald's hair, to prove his victory - only for Lacie to explain that she had changed her mind and that she didn't want to be taken out any longer; which Jack casually accepted. Lacie then looked to Jack with pity before shooing him away, claiming that she was tired and wanted to rest. As Jack bid Lacie farewell and left The Tower, Lacie wondered to herself about what the haze really was anyway.
When Levi had said that he'd told Jack it was all right for him to take Lacie away from the Baskerville estate for an outing, and when Jack had told her that he would, Lacie had thought that it'd be all right; thinking it to be a decent way to kill time and that it sounded like fun. At the same time, she'd felt the black haze within her grow, and as she asked herself what it was, Lacie looked back to the door where Jack had gone - though it did not reopen, she continued watching
It had been decided that Lacie would vanish from the world - and in time, she would come to discover the identity of the black haze, the feeling which had taken root inside of her heart for the first time, the feeling of loneliness.
Lacie then shifted the blame for how she felt to Oswald, blaming him for losing to Jack...
The next morning, Oswald sat down for breakfast alone, only to come face-to-face with a large dish of cherry tomatoes. When Oswald asked why he had been served only cherry tomatoes, the server explained nervously that Levi had ordered it for Oswald, as Lacie had asked him to - or so he'd been told. Levi had asked that they serve Oswald all the cherry tomatoes they had, and though the servers knew that Oswald detested cherry tomatoes, they couldn't disobey Levi. Understanding, Oswald dismissed the server, staring at the dish alone and wondering if he'd done something to anger Lacie.
A Side Episode of A Promise Broken
Oswald sits alone, angrily staring at a bowl full of cherry tomatoes. He thought to himself, deciding that he should analyze the situation. Oswald thought of how, despite not recalling doing so, he must have angered Lacie in some way and she must have given him the mound of wolf peaches (cherry tomatoes) in retaliation. Cupping his face in the palms of his face, Oswald thought of how he'd managed three of the tiny tomatoes, but he couldn't handle eating anymore. However, Oswald was unwilling to waste food in such quantity - having had a rough life and being unwilling to waste food.
While Oswald tried to determine what he should do, Jack came in through the window - having stopped by for a visit, only to be surprised by the sullen Oswald set before the cherry tomatoes. Laughing, Jack made note of how he'd thought Oswald looked rather grim, asking if that's all it was - though when Oswald seemed unimpressed with Jack not taking the situation seriously, Jack apologized; knowing that it was a big deal for Oswald.
Oswald began to ask Jack something, but opts not to instead - only for Jack to pry - though Oswald didn't want to involve Jack as it was his problem to deal with. Smiling, Jack assured Oswald that he wasn't pulling him into anything, as he was glad to have Oswald ask a favor of him. Accepting this, Oswald clenched his fist and asked Jack if he could help him consume the cherry tomatoes - making Jack laugh, as he'd believed that it was something more serious. However, Jack apologized to Oswald, as Lacie asked him not to do a thing about the tomatoes. Jack admitted that it was too bad that he couldn't help, but that Oswald had his full support, bidding Oswald fair well as he went off to visit Lacie. Left alone, Oswald sat alone in silence until a Baskerville came in and asked whether Oswald had finished his breakfast yet. Slamming his fist into the table, Oswald asked that the Baskerville line up every single person in the estate immediately.
Later, when Levi happened across the line of Baskervilles, he asked what was going on, only for one of the Baskervilles to explain that - though they didn't know the reason why - Oswald had been distributing something (the cherry tomatoes) by force - causing Levi to breakout in hysterical laughter. Jack would later apologize to Oswald, citing the whole ordeal as his fault.
- The alternate title of The Story Thresholds: A Promise Lost is -Pure Desire-
- Unlike the other stories in Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Volume 3, The Story of Thresholds: A Promise Lost appears to take place after Jack is introduced to the Baskervilles, but before Oswald inherits the title of Glen Baskerville from Levi.
|Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Chapters|
|Volume 1||Golden Drops • Black Widow • White Kitty • Pink Curse|
|Volume 2||Blue Rose • Hello Baby • Lucky Day • Cradle Song|
|Volume 3||A Promise Lost • Adoration • An Ordinary Date|