In the morning, she coaxed on of the birds that brought her the knight's gifts into her room through the bars and delicately caged it within her nimble hands. The guard brought her the small draught of the poisonous concoction as he did every day. She tossed the bird into his face, stunning him as it flapped and fluttered in his face. In the distraction, Asilo took an extra bottle from the guard's belt and tossed it back into her room.

After cursing at Asilo and the bird which flew off down the hall, the guard gave her the poison before swiftly departing to try and capture the renegade bird. As the door was locked behind her again, she felt the toxins dripping down into her empty stomach. She walked to her window one last time and stared at the horizon, hoping to see the knight sooner than expected. She picked up the large bottle and began to drink it slowly. It was bitter and scorched her throat. She had nearly retched, but swallowed it all.

She put the gloves on and curled up below the windowsill with her speculum, rose, and shell. As drowsiness set in, Asilo realized that her looking glass reflected only her face and that only the hollow wind of emptiness emitted from the shell. Her hands only felt the cloth of the gloves and her rose was but a rose.

The walls around her became white; the floor became soft and padded. Her four-poster bed became a small white cot in the corner of the room. As she looked out the window, the moat around her tower became a concrete fence with barbed wire spiraling along the top. A few people were scattered along the grounds wearing white suits with name badges on their fronts.

Her world was not real, the knight was merely a specter of her mind. The experiences she'd felt, heard, smelled, and saw were only her thoughts' manifestations. Her reality was an illusion; she had nothing.

There was a shout from outside her room; feet began pounding louder to her door. Keys fumbled and jingled frantically, dropping to the ground once. The door thudded open and a lady ran in shrieking of irresponsibility and stupidity to the guard behind her.

She stopped silent when she saw Asilo slumped to the ground, holding the illicit bottle dearly to her heart, along with the rose and seashell that her aunt had given her a while back from a trip to the ocean. The woman screamed at the guard to get help.

Asilo dully felt her limp form being lifted. People were talking vividly and, though the walls were the same dull white as she knew them to be, the fluorescent light burned her eyes as she was rolled past them, the black of her eyes consuming the cerulean fringe of life. The voices became muffled before disappearing completely. She closed her eyes.

Brume and dawn tugged at the lashes of her eyes as opened them while lying in the grass. She looked up and saw her window way up high; the bars were no longer there.

A hand brushed her shoulder and reached down beside. Asilo looked up and smiled. She placed her hand within the gauntlet and they walked away.