He is tortured by Lebreau Fermet Viralesque for an uncertain period of time. After escaping Fermet's grasp, Czeslaw starts developing explosives for the Runorata Family. On December 30, 1931, he boards the Flying Pussyfoot with a hidden cache of a new explosives prototype he's developed, intending to sell it to the Runoratas - and intending to devour Maiza Avaro and Begg Garott upon his arrival.
During the train ride, he is tortured by Claire Stanfield. After debarking the train, he reunites with Maiza (failing to devour him) and Isaac & Miria 'give' him to Ennis. He proceeds to live with Ennis and Firo Prochainezo in their apartment.
In the 1970s, Czes and Maiza go on a trip in order to find the surviving 1711 immortals and inform them of Szilard's death. In 2001, he and other immortals go to a certain artificial village in search of Elmer C. Albatross.
In August 2002, Czes accompanies Firo and Ennis on their honeymoon aboard the cruise liner Entrance, which is seajacked by The Mask Makers during transit to Japan. He is so horrified when Fermet reveals himself to him in Kyoto that all he can do is scream.
He is one of SAMPLE's "groom candidates."
Appearance EditCzesław appears to be around ten years old, although he is actually over two hundred years of age. His dark brown hair is parted on the left side of his head and is cleanly cut and combed. He dresses nicely, typically in a casual brown suit with a bow-tie.
Czes keeps an unusually long scalpel-like blade attached to a leather band around his arm, hidden under his sleeve. The blade is wrapped in cloth so that it doesn't accidentally cut him.
Czesław does not trust anyone, and willingly deceives others to his own ends. He is sharp and manipulative, and willing to use others for his own ends. Throughout the series, it is clear that he is greatly traumatized from the torture and betrayal he has experienced. Furthermore, he is paranoid that he will be devoured by his fellow immortals, though he begins to trust people more after his reunion with Maiza and adoption by Ennis in 1931. He appears to be more relaxed after the events of 2001.
Czesław is emotionally still a child despite his mature thought process. His feelings and responses to unexpected situations remain as frail and impulsive as those of a young boy - though it can be argued that they are also a result of the trauma he has experienced.He appears to be rather lonely on occasion, and is sometimes unaware about his emotional wants and needs.
With his facade of an innocent child conflicting with his years of experience and cunning, Czesław struggles to find the best in people. He can be rather well-mannered, shy, smart and even quite charming when the situation demands it. He tends to act timid and shy in front of new people (reminiscent of how he was when he was six years old), using his appearance to his advantage.
When he was a young child in the 1700s, he was a sweet boy - totally innocent and shy when confronted by new people.
Czesław comes from a line of alchemists that stretch back at least as far as his grandfather, who was the instructor of Begg Garott and Fermet. He was born around 1701 (he is six in 1707) in Lotto Valentino, and was orphaned after his father died in a carriage accident.
Though Czeslaw doesn't appear personally, Begg Garott reveals in a conversation to Maiza Avaro that his teacher's grandson was the sole survivor of an accident that took the lives of the boy's parents and grandparents. He was taken under the wings of Begg and Fermet, who continued to look after him on and after the Advena Avis.
Aboard the Advena Avis, Begg often played hide-and-seek with Czes.
Czes gains immortality aboard the Advena Avis along with the other passengers in 1711. Once they reach the colonies, Fermet and Begg depart the harbor town with Czes in tow. It is unknown when Begg separates from Fermet and Czes.
At some point during their time in the colonies, Fermet starts torturing Czesław. He claims that he does not enjoy torturing Czes, and that he only does so in order to tests the limits of immortality. Fermet only uses scientific tools at first, but as time passes he begins to violently beat him. Eventually, Czes finds it within him to devour Fermet (after Fermet pierces his eyes with a fire-hot poker, and before Fermet devours him) and ends his suffering. By this time he has come to believe that there is no love in the world - only deception, and that other immortals will eventually come to devour him. Such thoughts are only amplified with Fermet's memories. Now paranoid and unable to place his trust in people, he makes it his mission to devour other immortals before they can devour him.
By the 1930s, he has started developing explosives for monetary purposes. At some point after November 1930 (possibly in early 1931), he receives a letter from Maiza with the news that Szilard Quates has been devoured. Czes immediately writes back and tells Maiza that he will visit him in the wintertime and that he cannot wait to see him again. The two agree that Maiza will meet him when his train arrives in New York. Privately, Czeslaw plans to devour Maiza upon their reunion.
Czes also receives another letter from an old friend in New York. The letter is from Begg, who is interested in buying Czes' explosives. Czes suspects that Begg is involved with the Runorata Family in New York, and is delighted at having found a buyer who'll net him a huge amount of money (he originally considered selling it to the military, but since they'd realize he was using a pseudonym he could not). He agrees to sell Begg his new prototype "Strawberry Ice Pop" for $500,000 (almost $8 million as of October 2016) and makes plans to meet him after his arrival in New York. Secretly, Czes plans on also devouring Begg just like he plans to devour Maiza.
On the evening of December 30, 1931, he arrives at Chicago's Union Station. On the platform, he bumps into Jacuzzi Splot, and apologizes for not looking where he was going. He attempts to skirt past one of the conductors (Claire), but the conductor stops him and asks for his name. He gives his real name, and soon boards one of the First Class cabins aboard the Flying Pussyfoot headed for New York. He has secreted his new bomb prototypes in the freight hold, and intends to sell them to the Runoratas upon arrival.
Czeslaw shares his first class cabin with Natalie Beriam and her daughter Mary. Mary invites Czes to explore the train together, and Czes agrees in order to keep up his façade of an innocent little boy. The two run through the cars - they still do not know each other's names. They end up in the dining car, and Czes chases Mary down the aisle. He accidentally bumps into Jacuzzi Splot once again, causing him to choke on his food. Czes apologizes - though he isn't very sorry at all - and Jacuzzi (who is sitting on a barstool) asks if he and Mary are all right in turn.
Natalie catches up to the two and apologizes to Jacuzzi on behalf of her daughter. Jacuzzi and Mary both start apologizing, and Isaac and Miria (who are also sitting at the bar) comment on the exchange. Inwardly, Czes sneers at Jacuzzi for being quite the pushover despite his tattoo, and quips that people who rely on their looks won't go anywhere in life.
Next to Jacuzzi, Nice Holystone asks Natalie if she, Mary, and Czes are a family, and Natalie explains their circumstances, realizing that she does not know Czeslaw's name. Czes involuntarily introduces himself with his real name - Czeslaw Meyer - and pauses in alarm. He'd intended to use the false name 'Thomas,' not his real name. He realizes that there must be an immortal nearby.
Recovering, he adds that he is on his way to New York to see his family. Nice pats Czes' head, and recalls that he had bumped into Jacuzzi once before on the platform. Czes apologizes again, and Jacuzzi assures him that he did nothing wrong. During the conversation, Czes' thoughts are on his surroundings - he sees no familiar faces, and he wonders in fright if there are other immortals besides his fellow Advena Avis passengers. He resolves to devour the other immortal as soon as he can.
He is shaken out of his thoughts when Isaac loudly points out that if Czes had done something wrong then he would have been eaten by the Rail Tracer. At Jacuzzi's confusion, they launch into the legend of the Rail Racer; Czes decides to hear Isaac out in order to ease his own anxiety. Unlike Mary and Jacuzzi, Czes does not believe the story, though who is he to say the Rail Tracer doesn't exist when things like immortality and 'demons' do?
Silently, Czes reasons that if the monster really does eat bad children, then it'll probably come after him first since "by the world's standards, [he's] nothing but evil." After all, he is currently on his way to sell a huge load of explosives to the mafia - and innocents will definitely die if the explosives are used in the mafia's disputes. Furthermore, Czes constantly manipulates people with the persona of a child - sometimes for his inconvenience, other times out of pure misanthropy. Czes reminds himself that he does not care - he prefers the possibility of eternal solitude to someone else having his own cursed memories.
Jacuzzi ends up leaving the car to look for the conductor to learn how the story ends, with Nice in tow.
Later, the dining car is embroiled in a three-way holdup between three Lemures, Vicky, and Nick. Isaac and Miria make Czes and Mary duck and cover under the counter before they themselves get down on the ground, stick their hands in the air, and freeze. Natalie covers Czes and Mary protectively on the floor. Vicky is gunned down by the Lemures, and Nick makes a break for it. Moments later, Ladd Russo enters the car, and deals the Lemures with casual effortlessness before informing Natalie that he'll be back for her later. He and his friends leave the vicinity. During Ladd's beatdown, Czes muses that he can "use these guys" and begins plotting on how to use Ladd for his own ends.
A customer raises a stink, and is thrown out by the bartender and assistant cook. In the quiet aftermath, Natalie tells Czes and Mary to go and hide until their noon arrival tomorrow. She asks Czes to protect Mary and he nods, takes Mary's hand, and leads her out of the dining car. Privately, he would have preferred to find the white suits immediately, but he would have been foolish not to use the opportunity that Natalie had provided him. Still, Mary is an annoyance, and he has to get rid of her.
He could decide to hand her to the white suits or kill her on the spot, but the idea of doing to Mary the same thing that someone he'd trusted had done to him repulses him. Tricking her would make Czes as bad as Fermet. That being said, Czes has no qualms about killing a child - betrayal is a different matter. He wishes that his memories didn't haunt him so. The two enter one of the second-class carriages, and Czes hides Mary in a janitor's closet by the the washroom. He says that she should stay put while he looks around, and that he will be "right back." He actually does intend to come back for her - eventually - since he does not want to betray her.
Czes heads for one of the freight cars (hiding from the white suits along the way by ducking into cabins and washrooms), and upon entering one of the cargo holds he encounters the legless corpse of one of the Lemures. Sucking in a sharp breath, he considers the white suits as potential culprits, though he also considers the possibility that an immortal murdered the man. Unwillingly, he remembers the story of the Rail Tracer from before, but he uneasily dismisses it as an option. Finally, his thoughts turn to the explosives he's hidden in the car behind this one, and he wonders if they went off - except, if they had, the entire corpse would have been destroyed.
Losing interest in the corpse, Czes exits the hold and heads for the conductor's cabin, hoping to run into Ladd along the way. He finds the man in the second freight hold. Ladd testily asks him what he wants, and Czes grins and compliments him on his strength back in the dining car. He announces that he wants Ladd to do a favor for him, and asks him to step inside the hold since he doesn't want to talk about it in the open. Inside the hold, Czes sits on top of a crate, and Ladd warns him not to act all 'cute' around him - he (Ladd) is letting Czes live after all, and for all Czes knows he might die depending on what his request is.
Czes spells out his request: "Could you kill all the people in the dining car for me, sir?"
At Ladd's startled expression, Czes drops the "cutesy kid" act. With a much more calculating expression and tone, he explains that he's willing to compensate Ladd accordingly - and points out that if Ladd accepts his request, he'll be able to kill all the people he wants. Meanwhile, Czes' safety will be assured - though he requests that Ladd not inquire what Czes' definition of 'safe' is.
Ladd responds with, "you...you're no kid, are ya?"
Czes nods, and clarifies that he'll give Ladd two hundred thousand dollars if he kills all the passengers in the dining car. Ladd counters that that sum is no good - Czes hasn't taken into consideration the amount of people Ladd would have to kill to get through the dining car (then again, he says, they had been planning on slaughtering half of the passengers anyway), and besides, Ladd already has plans. He and his group could be looking at at least ten million dollars should the negotiations hold up. He points out that he doesn't even know if Czes plans on actually paying them the money he's promised, and Czeslaw smiles bitterly and offers biting commentary on Ladd's character.
Ladd gruffly tells Czes to stop narrating his own life, and Czes offers to help Ladd's negotiations. He reveals that he's currently embroiled in his own negotiations with the Runorata Family, and suggests that he put in a good world with them on Ladd's behalf. One of the white suits expresses doubt that the Runoratas would hide a mass murderer, and Czes dismisses his fears. He confesses that he has stowed away explosives on the train, and that he has loaded extra as contingency. He can set off the extra explosives after Ladd's group has taken care of the 'rabble' in the car. The explosion will stop the train, and the group can safely make their getaway - of course, they'd have to help Czes transport his cargo. He snickers over the imaginary headlines such an event would bring about.
(Unbeknownst to Czeslaw, his eyes are filled a little with madness - resembling Fermet's own gaze).
Czes continues detailing his grand plan, and he manages to raise Ladd's bloodlust levels to the max. Ladd raises his gun to Czes' forehead, and declares that Czes pegged him wrong. In the next moment, he fires the gun and blows Czes' head clear off his neck.
When Czes regenerates and opens his eyes, Ladd and his men are gone. Writing off Ladd as a "useless thug," Czes determines that he's probably been out for only twenty seconds, since he regained consciousness as soon as he regenerated fully. He remembers how Fermet always used to blow off Czes' head, how he threw it to the floor and walls with bludgeons and knives, and realizes that this is the first time his head was shot off.
About to step out of the hold, Czeslaw hears Isaac and Miria wailing for Jacuzzi to wake up in the hallway. He hides behind the cargo crates, and listens for their movements. The pair exclaim in surprise that nobody is here, and that they were sure they'd heard a group talking about having shot and killed someone around here after turning down that someone's offer. Czes wonders how they know all this, and escapes into the hallway as the two move into the back of the hold.
He enters a third-class carriage, walking past cabins occupied by passengers bound with ropes. He finally comes across an unoccupied cabin, and sits down on an uncushioned seat inside it (the third class cabins do not have beds). The hallways were notably empty of Lemures, which indicates to Czes that the white suits had been dealing with them. He decides to lay low in the cabin and see how events play out - it'll be easier to make his move if one of the factions wipes the other out. He closes his eyes, intending to rest for a little while (but not to sleep) - and immediately gets to his feet when he hears the door creak open.
The door creaks open slowly, and reveals a "mysterious man" (Claire) whose white suit is coated in blood, along with his face. Czes asks in a childlike tone if Claire is one of "Mr. Ladd's friends," and then "What is it? Who are you...mister?" when the man does not respond, fear blossoming inside his heart. Claire slams the door shut. Czes introduces himself as Thomas, and is relieved that the pseudonym works. His fear dissipates - he has nothing to fear from a mere human.
Claire tells Czes that he's been a naughty boy, and addresses him by his real name. Czes probes him in confusion, wondering how this can be (he does not realize that Claire is the conductor he talked to on the platform). Disturbed by Claire's eyes, Czes hesitantly utters the name "the...Rail Tracer?" out loud - much to Claire's pleasure. Claire confirms that he is the Rail Tracer, and that he knows Czes is not really a child. He supposes he'll just have to do the world a favor by "getting rid" of him, and Czes shrieks. He pushes up his sleeve, and withdraws a cloth-covered scalpel attached to a leather band around his arm. Discarding the cloth, Czes ducks and lunges at the conductor, intending to slit his throat.
Claire grabs Czes' arm, grabs the blade with his right hand, and with his left grabs Czes by the neck and rips off part of his flesh. Czes moans, and his blood runs down onto the floor - his carotid artery has been severed. If he were a human, he'd be dead. Staggering backwards, he collapses under the window. Moments later, his blood washes off Claire's hand and the floor and returns to his body.
As his wound heals, Czes whines "what was that for?" and jeers that for a second there Claire had scared him. Snickering, he announces that he's actually immortal; his previous terror is absent. He inwardly decides that the Rail Tracer is a perfect tool for his plan, since he'll likely have no trouble wiping out the dining car passengers. Intending to promise him immortality in exchange for a massacre, Czes starts speaking - "hey mister, there's something I want to ask you--" only for Claire to refuse before he can even finish the proposition.
Czes freezes. Claire continues - he already knows that Czes plans to ask him to murder the dining car patrons. Czes gapes. Claire finds it "interesting" that he is an immortal, and buries the scalpel into Czes' forehead. In spite of the excruciating pain, Czes manages to cling to consciousness and with trembling hands he pulls out the scalpel. He brags that such an injury is not enough to kill him - though nothing really is, at this point.
Claire advances towards Czes, cracking his neck. He reels off a few possible horrendous forms of torture and death he can put Czes through, and Czes nonchalantly says he's used to the level of pain such actions would bring him. He rattles of the most brutal tortures that Fermet put him through daily, and boldly states that nothing Claire can do can reach the kind of pain Czes is prepared for. Claire dismisses those tortures as "baby stuff," and counters with worse tortures, including shattering Czes' arm bones and carefully stripping the flesh off his limbs. Claire is acutely familiar with all sorts of ways to inflict pain.
Czes lets out a silent scream, swinging the scalpel at Claire. Claire snatches the scalpel with his teeth and bites off Czes' fingers. Czeslaw lets out a gurgling scream as Claire spits lumps of flesh and the scalpel onto the floor. Cradling Czes' head in his hands, he talks of the look in Czes' eyes when he first came face to face with the Rail Tracer, and declares that what Czes fears is the unknown. That is to say, he is afraid of the possibility that somewhere in this world there is a level of pain that he has never experienced. Since Czes is so used to pain, he must be all that more afraid of such things.
Czes sees his own terrified face reflected in Claire's eyes, and wonders momentarily if he is really an adult or a child. Paralyzed by fear, he starts shedding tears. Claire wipes his tears away, and says, "I will grant you a kind of pain you have never known. Until you forget how to come back to life."
Claire proceeds to inflict unimaginable pain upon Czes. He uses the scalpel to chisel away Czes' eye, he slices open Czes' artery and blows air into it - and then does the same with Czes' veins. Everything else, Czes forgets - he blacks out completely. At some point, unable to take any more, Czes attempts to throw himself out of the window. Claire grabs Czes just in time, and the two fall out and over the side of the train. Claire grabs the pipes between the wheels before they can hit the ground, and pushes Czes' limbs to the ground - his legs, and his right arm. Before he can push Czes' left arm to the ground, he hears a scream from a stowaway (Rachel) clinging to the underside of the train.
Claire takes out a thin rope from his pocket, and ties Czes into the space between the wheels before crawling away. Czes lies there, his consciousness faint and the flesh of his legs and right arm somewhere else, attempting to catch up with him as the trains speeds onward. Above him, he can hear two Lemures talking as they poke their heads out of the window of the cabin - they have spotted Czes' corpse.
Ignoring whatever is happening above him, Czes' thoughts swirl in a dze. He wonders if this is his punishment, retribution for wanting to kill the people in the dining car - or all the bad things he has done in the past. He does not care what the answer is - he just wants to be at peace. He concludes that this must be his punishment for defying the laws of nature and attaining immortality. Yes, this must be his retribution for devouring one of "our friends."
The noise above him increases, and he fears that the "red monster" has returned to inflict more agony upon him. He relaxes a little when no further pain comes, refusing to open his eyes. He fancies the idea that this is all a dream and that when he wakes up he will be on the Advena Avis. Szilard's massacre was just a nightmare, as was Fermet's torture.
Liquid droplets splash onto his cheek, and he pretends that it's the seawater. He's still a little boy and he's on the Advena Avis. When he opens his eyes, however, he comes face to face with Isaac, the "strange gunman" from the dining car. Isaac is profoundly relieved to find Czes alive - but Czes is more concerned with the blood dripping down Isaac's hands from a scratch. The droplets must have been Isaac's blood. Isaac assures Czes that he's here to save him, and Czes is completely flummoxed. He does not understand why Isaac would go so far for a stranger, not one bit.
Without warning, the blood droplets on Czes' face start to move. Czes is horrified when he realizes the blood is moving unnaturally. Isaac is an immortal. Miria might be too. He realizes that Isaac must not be here to save him, but to devour him. Isaac moves to untie Czes instead, and Czes silently calls him an idiot for not devouring him first. Czes will have to take advantage while he can - only - he then remembers that his right arm is no longer attached to his body, and despairs.
Isaac removes the last of the ropes. Supporting himself with his feet and left arm, and supporting Czes' body with his torso, he reaches out to take hold of Czes' body with his right hand. Czes screams for Isaac not to touch him, and slaps away Isaac's arm. The force of his movement slips him from Isaac's hold and sends him falling to the ground. Czes grins, thinking that now Isaac can't devour him; in the next moment his eyes widen in shock when Isaac throws himself into the air after him.
Czes is shocked that Isaac wants his knowledge that much. Isaac reaches his right hand out to Czes, and the boy shuts his eyes with the expectation that Isaac will devour him and see his cursed memories. He shrieks - but Isaac's hand does not touch his head. He hears Miria scream Isaac's name, and he opens his eyes to see that Isaac is holding him as best he can as he clings to the train with his left hand, his cowboy spurs dragging along the ground.
Isaac's fingers slip, and Miria grabs Isaac's hand - but she is not strong enough to support the two. Isaac and Miria embrace each other with Czes in between them, as if to shield him from harm. Isaac removes his right hand from Czes's body and attempts to lasso the train. He misses. Isaac and Miria slam against the ground and rise back up into the air - between them, Czes is little affected by the impact.
Rachel grabs the rope from underneath the train, and Isaac and Miria hit the ground once more - they are then dragged along the ground. Claire grabs the rope on the other end and takes it over to Donny, ordering him to pull as hard as he can (Czes is not aware of any of this). Donny pulls, and the trio are lifted up into the air, over the roof and onto the other side of the car. Isaac and Miria manage to pull themselves and Czes up onto the roof of the freight car, gasping in relief.
The two violently shake Czes, asking him if he is still with them. The shaking only worsens Czes' ability to stay conscious (blood loss), and the pair attempt CPR and heart massages on him to no avail. An explosion sounds off from the last car (Czes' explosions went off), and a second explosion follows moments later. Seconds later, Isaac and MIria see a mass of red flesh approaching them along the roof. Fearing that it is the Rail Tracer coming for Czes, they attempt to carry Czes and run to safety. The flesh does not stop, and the two throw themselves over Czes hoping to shield him from harm.
The flesh seeps in between them despite their efforts, and reforms as Czes' legs and right arms. Isaac and Miria notice that the "red stuff" is gone, and realize that all of Czes' limbs are now intact. Still barely conscious, Czes thinks that Isaac and Miria know nothing about immortals or immortality, and considering that the two are both free of wounds Miria must be an immortal as well. Furthermore, the two of them are completely defenseless. It would be absurdly simple for him to place his right hand on their heads and devour them. But at the sincerely happy tears in their eyes, he finds himself hesitating to do just that. If he were to devour them now and compare their thoughts with his own he would never be able to forgive himself. He would have to spend eternity with a burden more painful than anything the "red monster" could inflict upon him.
Isaac and Miria are overjoyed that Czes is fine, and Miria wonders how his arm and legs came back. Isaac confidently explains that the Rail Tracer only gobbles naughty children, and that after it ate Czes it must have realized that he is a good boy after all. Czes verbally denies that he is a good boy, and admits that he lied to everyone in the dining car. He's not actually going to see his family in New York, just someone that he knows. In fact, he's never even had a family. Before he can say "and I never will," the duo exclaim that he really is a good boy after all. He lied so that they wouldn't worry about him - but all the while he was the one suffering the most.
Miria calls him a "strong, sweet boy" and Isaac assures him that he can leave everything to "Uncle Isaac." Miria strokes Czes' face and says that he can smile now that Isaac will make everything better. Tears spring to Czes' eyes.
The trio return to the dining car, where they find the Beriams waiting for them. Mary embraces Czes, and Czes wonders why children are so quick to open their hearts to others. He figures that Isaac and Miria are just like children, and he lets out a sigh of relief - he is so grateful that he didn't kill anyone and that he didn't betray Mary. He apologizes to Mary anyway.
The Flying Pussyfoot stops along the way in order to switch all the passengers to a different train. Eventually, Czes and the others arrive in Pennsylvania Station at 2:00 PM on December 31, two hours late. Most of the passengers depart the train, and Czes waits inside while Isaac and Miria step out to greet the others. A few minutes later, Isaac and Miria fetch Czes off the train and present him to Ennis as her new younger brother.
Czes' eyes are only for Maiza though, and he inwardly calls Maiza a fool for not suspecting how much Czes has changed over the years. He summons his resolve to call Maiza and idiot and devour him - but he involuntarily calls out Maiza's name instead. Maiza pats him on the head, and inwardly Czes cries out for him not to, why is Maiza using his left hand instead of his right, he doesn't need Maiza's sympathy, and he tries again to summon his resolve to devour Maiza.
Instead, he says "I missed you." Silently, he curses himself and reminds himself that he cannot trust anyone, that Maiza is obviously planning on torturing and devouring him. He curses the red monster and the weird gunman for making him act this way, and laments that he's been lonely. All he has to do is reach out his right hand - and then he admits that all he's wanted is to see someone who knew him as the naïve kid he once was in the past. By tomorrow, he'll go back to his "selfish, evil self" but he will never even think about devouring Maiza again.
He starts sobbing as Maiza embraces him.
At some point, Czes excuses himself and heads for a bypass outside the train station. He finds Begg waiting for him, and the two have a long awaited reunion. Czes asks if Begg met with Maiza, and Begg nods, beaming. Czes prepares to explain what happened to his explosives, but Begg has already heard - the explosives appear to have been stolen (they were in fact stolen by Jacuzzi Splot's gang). Czes mutters that the explosives can't go public - they cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of the police.
Begg agrees. Czes anxiously asks if the Runorata family will hunt him, and Begg smiles and shakes his head. He says that Bartolo Runorata wasn't involved in the incident at all, and reveals that he (Begg himself) paid for "everything." Czes will not be punished.
The boy in question is a little surprised by this, and asks him why he would do such a thing. Begg replies that he heard about Czes' situation from the "information shop" and that he'd wanted to help him but couldn't send Czes the money directly.
Czes' face twists up, and he tearfully says that Begg is "such a good person" and that he hasn't changed at all. He thanks Begg, who says that Czes is too kind. He says that ever since he gave up being an alchemist, all he has is money and that the happiness he sought still has yet to be found. All that he can do now is try to make Czes smile.Sorrow enters Czes' eyes, and he says "that's plenty enough" and thanks Begg. The two embrace, and Begg strokes Czes' hair with his left hand. Czes thanks him again -- this time, for not eating him. Tears fall down Begg's face, and he murmurs that if Czes says something like that next time they meet he will be angry.
Czeslaw moves in with Firo Prochainezo and Ennis as their roommate. In January 1932, he is hanging around the speakeasy at The Alveare when a woman takes a seat next to him. She is Rachel, the stowaway from the Flying Pussyfoot. He meets her eyes, and asks her what the matter is. She blurts out "I saw you die on that train," and his eyes widen. He informs Ennis that he's stepping out, and sets his honey juice down on the table before heading for the exit. Rachel follows him, and several Martillo Family capos (including Randy and Pezzo) tease him as they walk past.
He stops in an alleyway next to the honey store, and checks to make sure they are alone. Satisfied, he asks if she witnessed his death when he was shot, or when he was ground into the train tracks. She is shocked into silence, and he tests her by introducing himself as "Thomas." She introduces herself numbly. He is extremely relieved that she is not an immortal, and says so out loud. He asks if she came to the Alveare by coincidence, and she admits that The President of the Daily Days told her where to find him.
Czes supposes that lying to her won't be of any use since she's with the Daily Days, and reintroduces himself with his real name. He spends the next thirty minutes explaining to her the nature of immortals; when he finishes, she calls him 'sir' and thanks him. He requests that she continue to treat him like a child, and she nods and thanks him for helping her come to a decision about her life.
A man calls out to them from the end of the alleyway, and they look at him in confusion. Walking towards them, he chatters on about how he came to see Firo and asks out loud how the two of them became so friendly with one another. Czes asks who he is, and the man says that's awful cold of him - though then again, he is clean of all the blood that he'd been coated with before. But it's cold nonetheless - after all, one would think that Czes would remember the voice of the man who tried to kill him. He assure Czes that he won't try to kill him anymore, since the train arrived safely.
Czes realizes that the man is the "red monster" from the train and screams, bolting off as fast as he can. He finds Isaac and Miria and sticks close to them by the honey shop, hiding in their shadows. They step into the shop. When Rachel emerges from the alleyway, Czes tentatively asks if "he" is gone. She nods, and he sighs in relief. She grins and remarks that immortals aren't so different from humans after all - they still experience all sorts of emotions. Czes scowls and disappears into the shop.
That summer, Czes watches Firo futilely interact with Isaac and Miria in the speakeasy, who have taken a keen interest in the serial killer Ice Pick Thompson who is currently terrorizing the streets. Firo is completely exasperated by the strange names the two are rattling off, and Czes comes to his rescue by identifying the named figures as part of Norse and Japanese mythology. He asks if he helped, and Firo shrugs and points out that none of that will help him do his job. He suggests that Cze learn something useful, and Czes answers "Right. Sorry, big brother."
Firo awkwardly tells him that he didn't have to apologize so seriously. Meanwhile, Isaac and Miria continue on with their nonsensical talk; Czes impishly joins in on their conversation. Firo eventually chases the duo out, and Czes watches his roommate stew in silence. He asks if Firo is worried about what Isaac and Miria said - if he's worried that he isn't a good person - and assures him that he shouldn't lose any sleep over it. He has eternity before him, and there isn't any point in "debating ethics and morality over trifles." He lectures Firo about how immortals should "reconcile their beliefs with the time they live in," something he was told by fellow immortal Elmer C. Albatross.
In September 1933, Czes is present at his apartment when Firo allows Christopher Shouldered, Hong Chi-Mei, and Adele to sleep at their flat for the night. The next morning he watches the three guests leave, and stops Firo before he can follow after them to the Mist Wall. Firo apologizes for the ruckus they made last night, and tells him not to be worried about Ennis. Czes replies that he's not worried about Ennis, he's worried about Firo's companions, and advises Firo to be careful around them. They give him the same sort of vibe as Ennis does.
Firo ruffles Czes' hair and asks him how he can compare Ennis to those "weirdos." He suggests to Czes that when he returns with Ennis tonight the three of them should all go out for dinner, his treat. After he departs, Czes sits alone and mulls the matter of Christopher and co's true nature over in his head. He thinks they're probably homunculi just like Ennis. Szilard is dead, so he cannot have created them, so the only one left is...a chill runs down his spine. Huey Laforet.
In November 1934, Isaac is arrested and taken away by officers in the Alveare. Firo is arrested one month later, and taken to Alcatraz. A week after Firo's arrest, Ennis and Czes sit somberly in the speakeasy-turned restaurant. Czes asks if Ennis is all right, and advises her not to be worried about Firo since he's immortal after all. They have all the time in the world to see each other again. Ennis smiles and comments that Czes would know, since it took him over two hundred years to have his reunion with Maiza.
Czes looks away. A commotion at the front door interrupts their conversation - a man is arguing with Seina, the honey shop owner. She informs him that the restaurant is not open yet, and he brings up Maiza, claiming that he and Maiza go way back. The man pushes his way past Seina and into the restaurant, and Czes and Ennis turn to look at him. Czes pales immediately, recognizing the man as Victor Talbot - an immortal from the Advena Avis.
Victor's face softens a fraction when he spots Czes, and he asks how long it has been since they ask saw each other. Around two hundred and twenty three years? Czes is fully on guard, and mutters the other's name defensively. Victor takes a seat and Czes' and Ennis' table, saying that it's good to see Czes is alright. Czes, meanwhile, is terrified that Victor is here. He sits on the edge of his seat, ready to flee at a moment's notice - he'd like to be as far away from Victor as possible. Or rather, his right hand.
He asks why Victor is here, and Victor vaguely replies that he wants to talk to Maiza. Czes cautiously asks if Victor knew that he (Czes) was here - and Victor replies "of course I did." Czes suppresses a shudder. It turns out that Victor has had "his people" watching Czes all along. Czes wants to know who these people are, and Victor deflects the question, complaining that Czes should be happy to see him. Czes isn't willing to let his question go, and Victor's smile slips off his face - he has something he'd like to ask Czes too. Czeslaw tenses.
Victor asks Czes what happened to Fermet and the question causes him to gasp out loud. He presses Czes relentlessly on Fermet, and at Czes' whimpers he stops and points out that isn't it clear now that everyone has something they don't want to be asked about? He'll drop the matter, and he suggests that Czes do the same about his men. He is smiling once more; Czes is not.
Maiza approaches the table and greets Victor. The two talk - it has been six or seven years since they last saw each other.
Time passes. Maiza, Ronny Schiatto and Czes sit at a bar in New York. Czes is a little restless, concerned about the bombing incidents that have taken place in Chicago - and that they might extend to New York. The two men notice his anxiousness and pinpoint the reason for his worries. Maiza does not think that New York will be in any real danger, considering how hard its inhabitants are to bother. Ronny quips that the people who talk the locals such fearlessness must not have any sense of danger either.
Speaking of people who are hard to bother...Maiza states that Elmer is definitely one such person, but that someone else who fits the bill is "her." Ronny asks if he means "Renee," and Czes silently wonders how Ronny knows Elmer - maybe it's just someone else with the same name? Who is Renee? Ronny launches into a dense analysis of Renee's character, and Czes snaps him out of his ramblings. Ronny claims he has had too much to drink, and Maiza jokes to Czes that Ronny is not drunk on wine - just his own words.
In February, (at the Alveare) Randy and Pezzo ask Czes what prank he plans to pull on Firo next. Czes grins and says that he's going to hide Firo's change of clothes when he takes a shower. As Firo looks for his clothes, Czes will have Ennis take a fresh set to him. Randy and Pezzo guffaw in approval at the plan.
Ronny appears at the entrance of the store, and Czes politely asks him where he's been. Ronny expressionlessly replies that he went to fix a mistake in "some documents." Czes remarks that it is unusual for Ronny to make mistakes, and Ronny muses that "anyone can make mistakes" - although he does not want to make any in the near future. Czes asks what he means, and Ronny ruffles Czes' hair with his left hand. Czes can only take his reply as a joke: "Well, even I can't turn back time. I was just hoping nobody will have to die."
When Ennis slips out to covertly follow Jacuzzi, Rail, Ronny, and the rest of Jacuzzi's company out of the Alveare, Czes follows in her footsteps and asks her what she's planning. At Ennis' stuttered reply, Czes raises his voice and clarifies that his question was for "both of [them]," and a girl emerges from the shadows. The girl is Annie, a waitress at the Alveare (and unbeknownst to Czes she's a vessel of Hilton) who has been acting strangely for the past month.
Annie notes that Firo's casino is up ahead, and asks Ennis what Firo is to her. Czes narrows his eyes, realizing that Annie has a crush on Firo and that her past behavior was a reflection of that. He listens to the two talk, and concludes that Annie is about to start a one-sided rivalry with a "girl so oblivious she didn't even know her own feelings."
The three arrive at the entrance to Firo's casino. Annie encourages Ennis to go in first, and during a lull in the encouragement a man dashes between the two and heads into the casino. In frustration, Annie fumes that Ennis and Firo "just don't care at all," much to Ennis' bewilderment. Czes interrupts them - he's pretty sure the man who went inside just now had a large gun...
Ennis hurries inside the casino, leaving Czes and Annie to wait outside. During their wait, Annie appears conflicted about going after Ennis, muttering strange things like "if I lose this vessel..." They hear smattering of gunfire, and soon after casino patrons spill out of the entrance and scatter every which way down the streets. Czes comments that the police will be here soon thanks to the gunshots, but Annie doesn't think so - the police are currently quite busy.
Before Czes can puzzle out what she means, a newcomer addresses them and says that he'd heard some loud firecrackers. He asks if they were from the casino. Czes turns around and sees a group of young men and one woman. He stiffens, recognizing their leader as Ladd. Ladd smiles and says that Czes looks familiar, and considers the boy in front of him for a few seconds. Unable to spare the time, he shrugs and turns towards the casino.
Noticing that Annie is glaring at him, Ladd pauses briefly to acknowledge her before he and his group head downstairs into the casino.
The noise in the casino eventually quiets down, and Annie prepares to head inside. Czes stops her, reasoning that although he would be highly amused to watch Firo suffer 'women troubles,' he'd rather do it somewhere safer.
A girl's voice breaks him out of his reverie. "Oh my goodness, Czes! ...Is that you, Czes?"
Czes turns, and sees a girl a little older than he is standing behind him. She is relieved that she wasn't mistaken, and Czes identifies her as Mary Beriam from the train over three years ago. She looks down at him, and innocently asks if Czes was always shorter than her. Sweating, he responds that he just hasn't hit his growth spurt yet.
Mary tells Czes how grateful she is for what he did for her back on the Flying Pussyfoot - if he hadn't given her so much courage she might have died on that train. She pulls him into a tight embrace, and he internally fears the prospect of them becoming friends - what if she founds out that he's immortal? He curses his fate at having run into her.
Behind Mary, someone asks if "this [is] the boy who saved [you] on that train," and Czes peers over Mary's shoulder to see a young teen around Mary's age standing a little ways away. He says that he and his group will go inside to visit Melvi, and that Mary should wait for them out here. Czes watches the boy (accompanied by twin bikers and others) head into the casino, and shivers upon the realization that they're likely mafia. He wonders what on earth Firo has gotten himself into.
After a couple of minutes, a man exits the casino and frantically flees down the street. Maiza arrives at the entrance soon after and greets Czes and Annie (he doesn't recognize Mary) and asks if they are all right. Czes greets him, and Annie informs Maiza of the loud noises coming from the casino. Maiza tells the three to leave the area and find shelter as soon as possible. He walks through the entrance way and disappears down the stairs.
A few seconds later, Melvi Dormentaire emerges onto the sidewalk, accompanied by Claire. Czes runs away as soon as he spots Claire, without even bothering to scream.
The evening of the next day finds Czes and Ennis alone at their apartment. Without any warning, an explosion rocks the flat and Czes is caught up in the blast. He watches, impotent, as Ennis is taken away by a group of strange men. As soon as he recovers, he races to the Alveare and rushes inside, his clothes in burnt tatters. Ignoring Maiza and Seina's calls, he runs straight for Firo (who is on the phone with Melvi) and apologizes over and over again, explaining what happened at the flat.
With their apartment in tatters, Czes temporarily moves in with Maiza. Over the next few days Czes visits his ruined apartment several times, and endures brief questioning from the police. On one of his visits he stands and contemplates the destroyed furniture. It worries him that he has not seen Ronny recently, but he can only assume that the capo is working something out in the shadows. Czes resumes pondering his situation - their neighbors in the building haven't hounded him for information about the explosion (probably thanks to the fact that the Martillos are in charge of the building).
Czes grouses that he owes Firo and Ennis for this, and grudgingly acknowledges that he's changed since coming to this city. Once again surveying the furniture, a voice greets him from behind. He turns to see a child (Rail) by the doorway - the same distinctly scarred child he'd seen in the gang Ennis had followed a few days prior. Out loud, he identifies Rail as the child he saw with Ronny at the casino, and directly asks if Rail is a boy or girl. Rail answers that either one is fine - they don't really care, and asks if Czes lives in the ruined apartment or if he's just a rubbernecker.
Czes awkwardly passes himself off as Firo's pseudo-younger brother, and Rail pauses and asks if he's Czeslaw Meyer. It turns out that Rail already knows Czes is an immortal, and Czes drops his childish ask and asks if Rail is one of Szilard's people. Rail denies that they are connected to anyone, though they admit that they are Christopher's friend. During their conversation, Rail reveals that they design explosives, and they pull out a tiny bottle filled with pink powder - an explosive that they bought in Hollywood. Czes immediately recognizes it as Strawberry Ice Pop, the explosive he'd designed back in 1931.
He admits to Rail that he's an alchemist, and that he was the one who made the explosive,
In the 1970s, Czes elects to join Maiza on a decades-long road trip around the world, no longer able to face his friends in the fear that he is evil while they are good. Their aim is to locate the surviving scattered immortals from the Advena Avis and inform them of Szilard's demise. It takes them considerable amount of time and effort just to find Sylvie and Nile. Struggling to find the last missing two (Elmer and Denkurō), Maiza is about to give up when he receives a tip from his information broker concerning the whereabouts of Elmer.
And so, Czes, Maiza, Sylvie and Nile head for a village in a certain European country, where they hope to find Elmer.
On December 23, 2001 they take a car through the forest surrounding the village: Maiza drives, Czes sits beside him in the passenger seat, Sylvie is in the back and Nile is sleeping in the trunk. On the way, they speculate about the village and the surrounding forest, which makes Czes uneasy. Maiza agrees that the woods are strange - the trees are growing impossible close to one another even though there isn't enough sunlight to support them.
Their way is soon blocked by a long-collapsed tunnel, which Maiza explains must have been the entrance to the private property ahead of them. Czes is confused - he thought that Elmer was in a village. Maiza clarifies that the village is inside the private property. Maiza promptly steps on the accelerator and they rev up and over the hill and down its steep incline to the other side, much to the discomfort of Nile.
After five kilometers or so, the group arrives at the village entrance. They park along the main path and survey the buildings, which seem to be a few centuries out of date, give or take. A lone girl stands in the middle of the road, and the group realizes that the villagers are watching them from the street shadows, the windows, from doorways. Czes suggests that they leave while they can, but Maiza is determined to find Elmer.
Maiza steps out of the vehicle to greet a man leading a group of men carrying clubs and old early 20th century rifles. The leader notes that Maiza is not the peddler and asks who he is; Czes and Sylvie take the opportunity to get out of the car as well. The leader - apparently the mayor, Dez Nibil - wants the group to leave. He strongly dislikes outsiders, and mentions a 'demon' before quickly shutting his mouth.
At Maiza's prodding, Dez snarls that there is a monster living in this village - one Elmer. C. Albatross - and he insists that they leave. Noticing the ugly atmosphere, Czes scrambles back into the car as Dez shouts for the villagers to grab them. A young man next to him fires his rifle; the bullet rips through Maiza's thick pants and heavily grazes his thigh, sending blood everywhere. The blood soon recedes back into Maiza's body, terrifying the villagers. They call him a demon, and a man grabs Sylvie with the intention of taking her hostage.
Nile reaches through one of the car windows and grabs the man, dragging him inside. The back door bursts open and he sends the man flying before emerging in resplendent glory. His appearance terrifies the villagers further, and the fact that he does not speak their language does not help.
The confrontation is brought to a halt when "the messengers' arrive -- three young girls in red, Santa-like attire each riding their own horse come down the road. One of them informs Dez that the group are "Master Elmer's guests" and that she is supposed to take them to the castle.
Maiza, Sylvie, and Nile pile back into the car, and the girls lead them to the castle. As Maiza drives (following the girls on their horses), he, Sylvie, and Czes discuss the girls and the villagers - Czes wonders if the villagers are cultists.
They arrive at the castle, which Czes notes is not in a north European style. Maiza drives through the gate, and parks in the courtyard. Everything is festooned with Christmas decorations - a sure sign that Elmer is here, says Czes. "Only Elmer would go to such lengths for something so worthless." Sylvie opens up the trunk and rouses Nile from his nap.
Maiza and Czes enter the great hall, and they hear a low chuckle all around them. The voice threatens them with theatrical lines and dramatic flair, but Czes and Maiza are not fooled and immediately identify the speaker as Elmer. The voice protests, but the speaker drops his hoarseness and speaks normally - it is Elmer indeed. Czes smirks that Elmer hasn't changed a bit. There is silence for a moment, and then Elmer shouts in surprise, "Hold on a second! Is that... Czes... and Maiza?!"
A moment later, a silhouetted figure drops from the ceiling and hits the floor. He scrambles upward and calls out loud for the shutters to be opened. The shutters are opened accordingly - though Czes and Maiza can't see who opened them - and Czes and Maiza get a good look at the figure, who is clothed entirely in black and wearing a black sack over his head with eyeholes cut into it. He pulls off the sack, and Maiza is delighted to see Elmer's face.
The three have a happy reunion, during which Czes and Maiza learn that Elmer actually had no idea they'd come to the village. There is a knock on the door, which Elmer opens to reveal Sylvie and Nile. Once again, there is a ridiculous reunion, filled with easy laughter. Czes stands a little to the side and watches them interact. He mutters quietly that Elmer and Sylvie haven't changed a bit, and "...maybe I'm the only one who's changed."
Elmer calms down, and Maiza catches him up on the fate of their fellow 1711 passengers, and explains how he and the others have been tracking down the surviving immortals. It turns out that Elmer knows all about what Denkurō has been up to recently. Elmer announces that he will smile, knowing now the trouble that Maiza and the others have gone to for him. No - he will laugh. Elmer proceeds to force himself to laugh, so hard that he chokes on his own stomach acid.
Czes crouches over Elmer (on the floor) and asks if he is alright, putting a hand to Elmer's cheek. Slowly, he moves his palm to Elmer's forehead, and is dissatisfied when Elmer fails to react in the slightest. Elmer thanks him, and Czes silently returns to brood in his own seat.
Maiza has plenty of questions he wants to ask Elmer. Elmer doesn't want to answer any of them - at least for now - and he quickly removes himself from the room with magician's flair. They hear his disembodied voice announce a game. He will hide from them over the next month while he continues his work: if they catch him, he'll tell them everything they want to know as a reward.
A girl enters the room carrying tea. She is not identical to the girls who'd been on horseback, but she is dressed the same and physically very, very similar. Czes adopts his child persona and asks what her relation is with Elmer. Her answer is blunt: she is a sacrifice.
That night, Czes climbs up to the roof of the watchtower, using the handholds by the window. There, he finds Elmer reclining on the steep slope of the roof and looking up at the stars. Elmer congratulates him on finding the handholds, and Czes remarks that the castle's design is a hodgepodge of different styles - very odd. He walks carefully towards Elmer, who springs to his feet (despite the slope) and declares that Czes can't catch him. Czes asks where Elmer plans to run.
Czes sits down on the roof and leans back against it, stating that he just wants to talk about something personal. Elmer steps closer, and Czes comments that Elmer still loves high places at night - recalling how the man used to spend every night up in the lookout platform to watch the stars back on the Advena Avis. Elmer is impressed that Czes worked out where he'd be from that alone; he had not expected to be found on the first day.
Elmer asks what Czes wants to talk about, and Czes gives him a fake smile. Elmer warns him not to force his smiles, and Czes's expression turns mature and sharp. Elmer asks him why he's suddenly acting like an adult, and Czes is confused - hadn't Elmer realized his child persona was just that - an act? Elmer hadn't. He apologizes, admitting that he probably should have thought it strange that Czes was still acting like a child after three hundred years.
Czes quietly responds that Maiza hasn't brought up his kid persona once in the seventy years they've been together now, and Sylvie and Nile don't appear to have noticed. He asks Elmer what he thinks of Czes and the other immortals, and Elmer replies, "companions." He then flounders for a better word, finally settling on "in cahoots" to describe their relationship.
In the ensuing dialogue, Elmer enthuses that Czes should take advantage of his eternal youth and smile like a child should. After all, he can do lots of things that adults can't, and besides, he can act like an adult when it suits him. If people see a child smile, they'll be happy. Czes retorts that he's never understood Elmer's predilection for smiles, and wonders how someone so illogical can be an alchemist.
Elmer rambles on for a while, and finally Czes asks him why he didn't ask the group who devoured Szilard. Why did he welcome them so easily when they could have been planning to attack him. Why didn't he react when Czes put his hand on Elmer's head. How can he be so blind to danger, how could he have possibly believed that none of them had changed over the centuries?
Elmer sheepishly admits that he completely forgot that immortals could devour each other. Czeslaw is flabbergasted, and accuses him of lying. Elmer insists that he didn't wander the world to avoid the other immortals, and even if he had remembered he would have welcomed them all the same. Czes furiously denies this, and Elmer grabs Czes' right hand and lays Czes' palm on his (Elmer's) forehead. Cold sweat runs down Czes' back, and he wrests his hand away from Elmer's forehead.
Elmer asks if Czes believes him now, and Czes looks away for a moment. He asks how Elmer could do something like that, how Maiza, Begg, Sylvie and the others welcomed Czes so sincerely and without fear. How can all the immortals be so open with each other now, how can they believe that nobody will try to eat the other? Czes launches into a rant about how people are fundamentally evil - a belief that he's started to doubt as of late. He confesses that he planned to eat Maiza upon their reunion, and that he's met a whole new batch of immortals in New York - and that every single one of them was a good person.
Without warning, Czes blurts that he devoured Fermet. He had believed everything Fermet told him even as the other immortal tortured him over and over, right up until Fermet tried to devour him. Czes describes the ensuing 'hell' he'd endured, of realizing from Fermet's memories that the person Czes had trusted most was full of malice...and of the torment he endured just by holding the memories of his torturer. And so, he despised the world, and so - he does not understand how everyone is so good to him. It feels as if he is the only "bad person" on Earth.
Elmer says that he envies Czes. He elaborates: if 99.9% of the people in the world are evil, Czes has had the good luck to meet the people from the remaining 1% ever since he boarded that train. Czes in turn envies Elmer's optimism, and asserts that he's the only one out the group who is changing. He's becoming worse and worse, and that makes him so furious he can't stand it.
So saying, he walks over to the handholds and prepares to descend. Elmer points out that if Czes worries so much about being a 'bad person,' then he can just become a good one. He says that Czes didn't change, he just "grew up" and came to see both the good and bad parts of the world. If he really believes that he changed drastically, then he can just change again. Czes asks why it matters to Elmer whether he (Czes) changes or not, and Elmer reminds him that he looks better when he smiles. If Czeslaw ever wants to smile, Elmer will help in anyway he can - as long as he doesn't have to kill anyone, or die himself.
Czes replies, "then if I told you to jump off the roof right now, would you? That wouldn't kill you."
With a "preposterously half-hearted" cry, Elmer jumps off the roof and plummets to the ground. He dies on impact. Below him, Czes can hear the voices of Maiza and the others (who came to investigate the noise) as they discover Elmer's corpse. Czes looks up at the stars, and mumbles that while he appreciates Elmer's effort, he still cannot bring himself to smile.
Czes wrestles with the matter of Elmer all throughout the night, wondering how Elmer could have acted the way he did to someone he hadn't seen in nearly three centuries.
The next day (Christmas Eve), Czes and the others sit at the long dining table in the dining hall. At the head of the table, Elmer is tied up hand and foot in the chair (courtesy of the other immortals). Czeslaw keeps his mouth shut about his and Elmer's conversation on the rooftops, and as the others talk he turns his thoughts back towards the matter of Elmer. He could dismiss Elmer as a simpleton, but in reality he knows that Elmer is "infinitely calculating. He wanted to make people smile [...] with a firm, scheming objective in mind." From his bound position, Elmer encourages Czes to not look so down.
Elmer finally relays the story of his first days in the village to the group, which involved him dying numerous times and eventually culminated in the villagers giving a young girl to him every year as a sacrifice (he'd requested live sacrifices), which is why he now has a troupe of young girls assisting him. The interrogation is cut short when Elmer sets off a smoke canister and dislocates his joints in order to escape the ropes. From somewhere in the ceiling, he calls down to them and assures them that everything will be revealed come February.
On December 26, in the castle's drawing room, Czes and Sylvie talk to Felt Nibil, who had been spying on Sylvie and Phil (the young girl[s]) earlier in the courtyard. During the conversation, Sylvie explains that she and Czes are immortals like Elmer, and are confused when Felt asks about the "monster" that inhabited the castle before Elmer arrived. At Felt's question, Sylvie explains how she and Czes became immortal, and why Sylvie became an alchemist. At Felt's prompting, she describes the outside world to him.
When night falls, Czes and Sylvie escort Felt to the castle gate. Felt wants to tell the villagers all about the immortals, but Czes warns him not to - the villagers might think that they possessed Felt if he suddenly starts spouting praise about them. After Felt leaves, Sylvie comments that it's not like Czes to give warnings to others. Czes brushes her off, but internally he doesn't want the immortals to accidentally start a witch hunt. What would happen to Phil? He is weak when it comes to children, and he can't help but recall the girl he'd met on the Flying Pussyfoot seventy years ago - Mary Beriam.
Czes muses that the village is an enclosed space just like that train had been, and he nervously reassures himself that there is no Rail Tracer in the village. He returns to the castle.
Later, he and the others concoct a plan to capture Elmer. He and Sylvie hide under the stairs, while Nile and Maiza hide by a doorway - meanwhile, Phil lies to Elmer and says that his friends are in the drawing room. When Elmer walks through the entrance, Maiza and Nile grab hold of his arms - and Sylvie and Czes emerge from the staircase. Elmer realizes that the immortals have figured out the peculiarity of Phil: Phil is all the same person. All the girls in the castle are controlled by a single consciousness - Phil. She's a hive-mind homunculus. Maiza explains how they came to this conclusion, and then demands that Elmer finally explain the village to them.
Elmer won't budge, and repeats once more that he'll tell them in February. After all, the Peddler arrives in February and he can explain it much better than Elmer can.
Over the next week, and presumably throughout January, Czes spends most of his time reading the books in the castle library.
When February finally arrives, Czes and the others gather at the castle gate at the sound of an engine. There is a colossal snowmobile parked outside the gate. Through the windshield, they can make out the driver - whose face is completely obscured by a facemask, goggles, and helmet. Elmer introduces him as the peddler. Waving at the man, he asks him to give "them" (the immortals) a ride on his way back.
The peddler turns the snowmobile around and roars down the mountain road. Elmer informs them that the peddler will be back in an hour, and he disappears back into the castle. When the peddler returns, Maiza, Elmer, and one of Phil's vessels climb into the snowmobile truck's storage container. They leave the premises.
Night approaches, and Maiza and Elmer have yet to return. Czes approaches Phil outside the castle gates, remarking that Maiza and Elmer are late. He asks her what's happening on their end, but she does not answer. He watches in disconcertion as her expression becomes terribly frightened, and she starts to cry. Czes assures her that "everything's going to be all right," though he doesn't understand what is going on.
Before she can answer him, a villager approaches Czes from behind and swings a heavy club down onto his head, knocking him out. A moment later, he does the same to Phil. When Czes regains consciousness, he finds that his arms are bound and that he is lying on the floor. People whisper around him; he elects to keep his eyes mostly shut and squints as discreetly as he can at his surroundings. He is in the hall of a house and from the warmth and crackling sound there must be a lit fireplace behind him.
Two other people are bound beside Czes, and he recognizes them as two of the five Phils - the one who'd been with Czes by the gate, and the other one who had been in the village. The villagers notice that Czes has woken up, and one of them viciously kicks Czes in the side. The villager accuses Czes and the girls of a botched attempt to poison the well, and of the murder of Mayor Dez when he tried to stop them. Czes has no idea what he is talking about. The villager kicks Phil in her stomach - but she remains unconscious. Czes instinctively shouts at the man to stop, and regrets it immediately.
The man kicks Czes several times more as punishment for the outburst. Adopting his child persona, Czes asks why the men kidnapped him. He points out that the man apparently only learned about the so-called poison after they brought Czes and the Phils here. The villager sneers and says that they know Czes is three hundred years old, so he should stop playing pretend. Czes sighs, assuming that Felt must have blabbed to the townsfolk after all.
He drops the act as ordered, and the man tries to play it off - though it is clear that he is shaken. Czes asks who kidnapped them and why. The man replies that Czes looked like the weakest of the 'monsters,' and that they plan to use him as a hostage against the others. Czes points out that he's immortal (so hostage tactics really only get them so far) and the man counters that they can drag him to the smithy, mix him into a vat of molten steel and then pour him into the well. Czes shrinks back at that, wondering if he'd be able to return to his original form after being mixed into a block of solidified steel.
The man pulls out a pair of pliers, reminding Czes that he should still be able to feel pain. Czes' face twists in fear, and sweat coats his palms. He asks again whose plan this was, expecting that the answer will be Dez. It was not. The man says that it was Felt's plan, and a shocked Czes curses himself for his own idiocy. He'd went and believed in Felt all because of one day's worth of conversation, and had believed in him right up until just now.
Czes sighs at how soft he has become, and out loud he admits that he really should have seen this coming. Of course, this doesn't even begin to compare to some of the betrayals he's experienced. He automatically reverts to talking like a child (despite the fact that his mind is colder than ever) and his 'innocent' voice he divulges that it had been so long since someone betrayed him he almost forgot what it felt like.
He meets the man's eyes, and concludes that the villagers are nothing like Fermet. Recalling Fermet's actions and comparing them to the villagers' actions, he concludes that he feels no fear towards these "cowards," and that the look in their eyes is the same fear that he'd seen in Fermet's eyes long ago. Czes starts cackling at this revelation, spluttering that they're all the same, Fermet, the villagers, everyone. Using his knees, he forces himself to his feet. Elmer was right, he says. Czes has been living in a blessed world all this time, completely ignorant of how lucky he's been. He's been throwing away the opportunity for a happy life all this time!
Having said that, Czes flings himself backwards straight into the roaring fireplace. Once the fire burns away the ropes, Czes stands up, fire wreathing his form. Half of his clothes have crumbled to ash, and the rest are "burning merrily" on his limbs. A good portion of the flesh on his face melts away, and he makes sure that the villagers get a look at how the flesh slides back up into place.
Paying the agony no heed, Czes steps out of the fireplace and orders the leading man to move. The man shrieks pathetically and disappears into the crowd. The bandages binding his silver scalpel to his arm flake into ash, and Czes uses the scalpel to cut the ropes binding the Phils on the floor. Despite the fact that parts of his flesh are still on fire, he smirks and orders the villagers to move again -- he has to see Elmer. He clutches his flaming clothes and rips them off his body as he advances towards them, stating that he has to go show Elmer the smile on his face; he has to make up for all the happiness he has missed until now.
He tosses the burning clothes to the far side of the room where the villagers are clustered, and they scream. Ignoring them, Czes focuses on not collapsing to the floor and urges the girls to escape with him. The three of them exit the building; in the doorway, they are forced to stop at the crowd of villagers blocking their way - some of them with rifles. As he ponders what to do next, he hears Nile roar out his name.
Nile barges through the villagers on horseback, and leaps down from his mount once he reaches Czeslaw. Czes cheers Nile's name despite himself, but the other immortal is not amused. He declares that he is consumed with rage, and swears merciless vengeance on those who would dare set his companions alight. Czes realizes that Nile thinks the villagers tried to burn him to death, but Nile hurls himself into the throng of villagers before Czes can correct him. A villager buries his hoe in Nile's body; Nile grabs the hoe and prepares to swing it down upon the villager in turn.
Czes shouts for him to stop before he commits murder. A car horn honks in the distance, and Nile pauses. The villagers turn to look at the source of the noise and immediately scatter in panic as the peddler's truck barrels towards them. Nile stands his ground, and raises his hand in greeting -- only the truck doesn't stop, and instead plows into him. The impact throws Nile back, and he lands next to Czes in a bloodied heap. As the blood reverses, Nile springs up and grabs Maiza by the collar in irritation. From inside the trunk, Elmer (with two other Phils inside) calls for them to get moving and they (along with Czes and the Phils) clamber back into the truck. Maiza slams his foot down on the accelerator and they speed down the road.
Eventually the truck runs out of gas, and the group are forced to walk up the mountain pass. Without his clothing, Czes passes out from the cold nearly immediately, and Nile carries his body on his back. The group arrives at the castle gates, and they have to talk Phil out of giving herself up to the villagers. One of the Phils starts shuddering, and delivers bad news: a monster has stolen away Miss Sylvie. Nile throws Czes' comatose body to Maiza, and he and Elmer bolt inside the castle.
Czes soon wakes up, having warmed up. Phil informs him and Maiza that Felt is attacking Nile and Elmer, and Czes and Maiza hurry to the graveyard. There, they find a huge mass of crimson flesh (Felt) has wrapped itself around Nile and Elmer, and is smashing their bodies against the ground over and over. It is unclear how much of the ensuing commotion Czes witnesses.
A week passes. and Elmer throws Phil's 'water' into the well. Once the villagers drink the tainted water, they experience Phil's memories - and the abuse they put her through.
Czes and Elmer travel to Bild Quates (the peddler's) laboratory outside the forest. Sitting on a sofa, Czes remarks that he didn't expect Elmer to have such a vindictive streak. Elmer figures that this is a good form of punishment for the villagers - they realize the brunt of their crimes, but they cannot beg Phil for her pardon. Elmer asks Czes when he'll smile for him - he heard that Czes was shouting something along those lines back when he escaped from the villagers. Czes gapes at him, and then curses Phil for snitching. Flushing, he adamantly refuses to ever smile in front of Elmer.
Czes and the immortals stay at Bild's laboratory for the next half year, working towards a solution to ensure that homunculi can survive outside the forest. When their research is concluded, Elmer asks what Maiza plans to do next. He replies that he wants to visit Japan and find Denkurō, but first he'll head home to the Family in New York. Czes decides that he will tag along. Elmer, Nile, and Sylvie elect to join them on their trip to Japan too, for their own reasons.
(Chronology of 2002-A and 2002-B to be added).
On the Advena Avis Czeslaw drank the Grand Panacea and obtained true immortality, meaning he cannot age, get sick, be injured, or die via conventional means.
It can be assumed that due to the constant torture Czes has received over the years, he is a quick healer - though the rate of his regenerative abilities is currently unmeasurable. It is telling that his blood was able to catch up with him on a speeding train. He also has a fairly high tolerance for pain, considering all that he has been through (an acid bath, red-hot pokers....to name a few methods).
Czes is highly intelligent, and easily manipulative. Quick-witted and surprisingly charismatic when the need arises, he nearly convinces Ladd Russo to go along with his scheme aboard the Flying Pussyfoot (but his supreme confidence in his survival leads to his death). He is a good actor, easily able to pass as his (apparent) age.
Though not as well versed as his family or Begg Garott in alchemy, Czes is an alchemist by trade and specializes in explosives; he was the one responsible for the creation of Strawberry Ice Pop (the explosives that Jacuzzi's gang had raided from the Flying Pussyfoot) and continues his alchemical pursuits for years.
Lebreau Fermet Viralesque - Fermet was an alchemic student of Czesław's grandfather, and served as his guardian after his father died in an accident when Czes was six years old. Fermet acted as a kind and concerned guardian to Czes during these years, often commenting on Czes' welfare. Czes trusted Fermet in turn, following his lead aboard the Advena Avis and sticking by his side upon their arrival.
This trust was broken after Fermet began torturing Czes. As a result of Fermet's torture, Czes is traumatized and paranoid - frankly, he is broken. He is terrified of Fermet, and when he 'reunites' with Fermet in 2002 he is utterly horrified.
Maiza Avaro - Maiza first met Czes in Lotto Valentino in 1711. Though the two rarely interacted, Maiza was always concerned for Czesław's safety before and after boarding the Advena Avis. After devouring Fermet and deciding to kill the other immortals before they can kill him, Czesław heads to New York on the Flying Pussyfoot with the goal of devouring Maiza. After meeting Isaac and Miria aboard the train and seeing their trust in him, Czes is unconditionally forgiven by Maiza, and the boy sobs into his coat. Maiza is one of the very few people that Czesław genuinely trusts, and the two are good friends.
Ennis - Realizing that neither have any family, Isaac and Miria present Czeslaw to Ennis as their "souvenir" from California after departing from the Flying Pussyfoot. Czes serves as her little brother, living with Ennis and Firo in their apartment. Though neither are formal members, both Ennis and Czesław frequent the Alveare together and treat each other like genuine siblings.
Mary Beriam - The two first meet on the Flying Pussyfoot and were playing together in the dining car. When Ladd Russo's White Suits and the Lemures hijack the train, Czes made his escape with Mary at her mother's request. He soon abandons her in a closet,thinking that she is a nuisance and that she will only end up in his way.
The two run into each other in 1935, and Mary notes that she has matured while Czes has remained the same. Czes admits to himself that he is glad she survived, and feels guilty about his mental attitude towards her in 1931.
Claire Stanfield - Czes is terrified of Claire - which is understandable, given that the man tortured him aboard a train. He is wary of Claire's great-grandchildren Claudia and Charon Walken as a result, though the two have personally never wronged him. Claudia's personality greatly resembles that of her great-grandfather.
- His first name: Czesław (Pronounced in Polish as: Chess-wahf (Czesław)), contains the Slavic elements 'czes' meaning "honour" and 'slav' meaning "glory". His last name "Meyer" on the other hand comes from the middle high German word "meiger" meaning high or superior, used often for landlords.
- Czes has used the names "Thomas" and "Benjamin" (the latter in the dub) as false names before.
- He uses Thomas because it's the first name of Thomas Edison, the famous inventor who died in 1931. He chose it so that he wouldn't forget it on his way to New York.
- Czes is 'well-versed' in Japanese in 2002. He has apparently been to Japan many times in the past (it is his fifth visit to Kyoto at the end of the 2000 arc), which we are to infer is the reason for his fluency.
- The cargo Czes hides aboard the Flying Pussyfoot was packed thusly: half of it was in a special container in powder form, and the other half was processed into dynamite and ceramic grenades. He called the explosives "Strawberry Ice Pop" according to 1935-C: The Grateful Bet.