Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
May 11, the dedicated day for ManCon.
It's called ManCon or Manga Convention, but it isn't really mangacentric as one would still see anime content, fanarts, independent illustrators and such in one place. It's just like how TAC, a group of illustrators isn’t focused on manga content aside from Yuuga when he's not Amagami-sensei.
I wouldn't say that I know everything that I have to do once we're here. This is actually my first time to be attending this kind of conventions and it just so happened that TAC was given an invitation and a sponsored booth. But to think, an Instanyan artist page to be sponsored in this kind of events? Woah.
But while there are those thoughts, I am worried. No, I am extremely worried just like how I expect G to be the same.
We're both scared of doujins. Especially when G's friend, Shuri Kagaki is recalled.
Nevertheless, our Art Club then assembled in a parking space of a food park in Sector 527 with our wills set on fire.
Then Mori asked upon his arrival.
"'O, idiots. Summer is the season of youth, and when Nagi is distressed,' is what he said," as I did an abysmal impression of the absent person as I intended.
"What?! Then who's going to drive?" Mori became confused.
I raised my hand, "Me, of course."
G and Mori looked at me with wide and winking eyes. As if they don't believe me, I took out my driver's license.
"I hope that we will be safe…" the two thought.
Without saying anything, they then all sat inside the car. At this point Mori is the only one that doesn't know that I am in a relationship with Rin, but he did not mind when he saw her sit on the front passenger seat alone when it can fit two people. On the second row of seats is where Nagi, Shiro and Jean sat while Mori and G are on the back.
I was anxious at first when Tenth lent me an SUV, but I figured that I can't do anything about it. He trusts me too much. I'm so thankful that I have a decent experience on navigating in the traffic of the Capital.
Still, I wish we could have come with Akira.
As to why we are traveling by wheels, the event hall where ManCon will be is in the Capital.
Wait, I literally just said that a second ago.
Anyway, in a rough estimate, we would be there after two and a half hours. If there is no traffic (which no way it will happen), it will just be an hour. That's the Capital, everyone.
Finally on the road, Shiro asked, "Did anyone tell what Yuuga is attending for today? He said that he had some important matters he needs to sort out, right?"
"Ahh… Has anyone of you met a friend named Mina, or Minase?" Rin gradually changed the flow of conversation.
Nagi reacted, "Ah, yeah. I met her last November."
"You've probably heard that she and Yuuga are childhood friends."
"I have. Did she say something?"
"She said that he had to attend something that is more important than this. He's actually a very busy person."
"Hmm. Nothing we can do about that."
On the way to the Capital, I felt bad for Mori as he's the only one that is not an otaku on board while playing anisongs. But moreover, Rin and I also felt bad that we're the only one that can clearly understand them. It was fun though.
Future A/N: I forgot that Jean can also understand.
~ ~ ~
Arriving in the venue, it was… it was something I have never felt. That tension—a tension more intense than the gazes of Horach and Ryota. In its own ways, ManCon is a way more terrifying environment than the underworld… not like I have already gone there.
Without missing a beat, we immediately fought through the crowd and finally managed to come in our designated booth and began setting up. Thank goodness, if this place was not air conditioned, Nagi and I might have fainted from the heat. I am especially worried that I might be starting to inherit my family's illness—high blood pressure.
We were given a map of the whole venue with the legends as to where to find who.
As I have expected, Nagi and Shiro held it first.
"I see… So this is where Yuki Amagami's booth is found…"
"Wah! So far from here!"
I stepped away to the back of the booth, "I'll just make a call.
**Hello? Is this Kuni Kida-san by any chance?"
"**Yes, that is me. Who is this speaking?"
"**My name is Gin, Gin Sakato. I would assume that Amagami-sensei already informed you about us?"
"**Oh, the assistant! I'm sorry, but I don't think we can talk any longer. I am pretty busy right n-"
"**Kuni-san, please listen. I am also here in ManCon in the TAC booth. We are actually classmates with Sensei but he asks not to reveal himself yet to them."
"**Ah, that's right! He mentioned that before! Then, please do inform me if they will come here later."
"**Yes. Thank you very much and we're counting on you."
"**Wait, Sakato-san. How did you get my contact info anyway?"
"**I saw your international contact card lying around in Amagami-sensei's place."
By the way, Kuni-san is a guy despite his somewhat feminine given name.
I came back and tapped the two who are still absorbed on the map.
"Hey, couple of autumn! When will you two go around the booths?"
"Maybe around 1pm."
"Noted. We should make schedules for who will be manning the booth while we are away."
"I guess you're right. Then you and Ringo can do your mini date after us."
"This is a convention, Nagi."
Still, we don't know how exactly the convention for us will turn out. There have already been a few instances that we are recognized by people just by being in a still incomplete booth. But having observed the others, we really look like complete amateurs with how slow we are at setting up.
We however got things done by fifteen to ten in the morning with a decent booth that can actually fit the seven of us. Seriously, how in the world did this happen for us to all fit in two rows? Surprisingly, the crowd lessened in this fifteen minutes before the event starts out. It seems that we still have a lot of time, but we haven't even made any warm-ups in reality which made us rush even if there is a space to breathe.
In the main desk are a stack of one hundred blank papers to be used for commissions while we sell prints and the never before seen original illustrations I had in my inventory over the year. My electric bill for the last two months jumped up to 2-4000 Laxes because of the demand for power and my apparent usage so I need income. Original and firsthand content made by artists has great value to whoever will get that one of one piece in this world. Although I have to admit that it makes me sad that I have to do this, but the world does not fare well with anyone.
All of a sudden, a short fifteen minutes passed and the crowd of people waved in the venue after being bathed in that blazing heat. There were normal looking people, whom I will dub as wolves in sheep's clothing, and obvious people doing cosplay of many notable manga characters. I sometimes can't get how weird this community of my species is.
Our booth was not an exception to the many people that lined up in front of us. We are here for our own commercial purposes, but I seem to have disregarded that this place can actually become a place for meet and greet. To think that there are people who are actually willing to shake our hands and give us a refreshing smile after seeing us, it feels unreal.
But in the midst of it, I am slightly worried about the cameras of the people pointed at us while we do signing and doing on the spot commissions eventually.
I will have to say that us being the TAC makes up for my ignorance. Our group was not particularly regarded as a mangacentric organization and so I didn't have any problem when I don't recognize majority of their cosplay. I do see the effort in the process of making their costumes, but I have my opinions as a slightly minimalist with my standpoint.
~ ~ ~
Meanwhile, in Yuki Amagami's booth, forty minutes have passed ever since the event got open to the public. Due to Yuuga's first appearance with his (or what was thought to be her by his readers) real and true self publicly, his booth immediately got packed with people mostly with flustered women. Because of that, the mangaka had to take a rest from the handshakes and pictures, and sat behind while still accommodating autographs.
Thus, the wave of people showed their concern with letting him rest and the crowd of people drastically lessened. With that, Kuni Kida, Yuki's editor is minding the booth with Minase as though all the awkwardness of the world fell to them.
After hours of being present to the convention, this is the first time they will speak to each other.
"K-Kida-san…? Is it difficult for you to communicate with the people here?"
"Ahahaha… It is a little **hard…"
A/N: It is a little 'muzukashii'. The cringe; my cringe.
"Actually, I learned a little of your language with Sensei teaching me."
"Is that so…"
Aside from Minase having nothing more to say to the Japanese man, he thought to herself that Kuni might be pressured with using Orio's language when he admits that he isn't very fluent.
"**Ah, Amagami-sensei. If you want, you can go look around the other booths while you're on break. Okuni-san, I wouldn't mind if you join Sensei. I can handle the things here by myself."
"Mina, he said that he wouldn't mind if you join me in going around other booths."
"I really hope that it will be the case…
Kuni-san, we will be back shortly after."
"Please take your time."
As the two made their exit outside the booth, the editor thought…
"Sensei, you baka!"
Even he already saw through Minase's feelings.
"Hey, Mina. Are you going to the TAC's booth?"
"Yeah, I'll try if I can request for a sketch."
"I see. You know that I can't show myself there so I'll wait for you somewhere once we're there."
"Hmm. You're such a worrywart even when you decided to tell them later on. Hey, I don't think they will think of badly. I already met Nagi, and you should know more than me that he likes romance manga! Maybe just a bit too much, though.
Anyway, you shouldn't worry about that too much. They are your friends and even I… I am one of your friends, and I did understand!"
~ ~ ~
Back on TAC's booth, Mori and Jean have taken their breaks, and Nagi and Shiro are on the front.
"Ringo! Should we split the line?" asked Nagi after a far glance.
"Hmm. Yep. I think it's fine to use up more of our space."
Everyone! We're going to ask you to split the line in half! Those on the second half can come to my desk!"
With what was instructed the line split and came to Nagi's side.
"Ohh… This is a pretty nice booth."
"Hello, can we know your-
Do you want an autograph, a picture, a print, a commissioned sketch, or a scolding, Mato-sen?"
"A sight of my students having fun."
Nagi immediately stood up with a Sharpy at hand and signed Mato's palm.
A signature, and not a name or an 'I love you'. The comet then split apart.
With the awareness that he made quite a scene, he wrote on a piece of paper and raised it beside Mato. What was written is: "This is @SenseiofTAC", which is his username in Instanyan. Even as the supervisor of Art Club in Blue Ink, he is also active in the account.
Thus, the amount of lenses towards the booth doubled. Yeah, phones have double or triple camera lenses in this day and age.
"Thank you very much for coming!"
Nagi however did not notice that next in line was Minase.
"Oh, you're Ringo's friend, right?"
"Yes. It's been a while since we last met."
"Hahahaha. Of course you will be here. Aren't you with Erika right now?"
"Oh, I forgot. We haven't met here but I know that she's somewhere. Wait, this print… this is your piece if I can remember."
Minase pointed out the print of a sakura tree painted with a watercolor set that Nagi made back in January.
"Ah, this one. It's hardly felt in this piece, but the theme here is resiliency in the middle of hard times. It looks like a simple painting, but it took me so much effort when you can't see what's behind every color. It's a lesson for me to not give up on something even when it looks like it is hopeless…
Oh, please don't mind what I just said."
"No, it's fine. I'll get two of it with your signature. I will give Yuu a copy.
And I'll be sure not to give up with what I wish for."
"Here you go."
"Thank you. Oh, can we get a selfie?"
"Sure. Shiro, you have a minute?"
Nagi was careful not to get close with Minase in the picture, but Shiro still threw a crumpled paper to his head after Minase left with her payment.
"I should have introduced her to you, sorry."
But a picture of Shiro throwing the paper was caught and given to them by someone on the line.
"Pfft… Your face on the picture is hilarious, Nagi."
"Yeah, right. But give me a copy too, okay? I'll frame that."
An hour after, Jean and Rin took over the front desk. And in front of Rin now is a girl on the same age holding what looks to be…
"Hello, there! Can I know your name?" Rin enthusiastically greeted.
"I am Shuri. I can request a commissioned work, right?"
"Then, a [redacted for the author's sanity], if possible."
Shuri Kagaki is a fujoshi.
"Umm… Shuri, we do not make doujins… let alone, that."
Jean caught the attention and instinctively turned his head back for a moment with a shriek.
"Ringo, just a sec… Why are G and Gin sitting so far?!"
"H-Hi there, Sh-Shuri…" G greeted.
Shuri thankfully made do with an ikemen OC drawn by Rin.
~ ~ ~
"Kida-san! Here they come!" Minase warned after seeing two recognizable people.
"Oh, we need to hurry…
**Sensei! Please take a break and get away as fast as you can!"
"Are they here now?! Agh, sorry about this!" and Yuuga immediately went to other booths after signing two paperbacks of his manga while Minase hid under the table.
A few seconds after, Nagi and Shiro arrived.
Kuni has lost count on how many times he said his lines, but he still greeted the same way.
"Hello, I am Yuki Amagami-sensei's editor."
"Oh, so she's not here right now."
"We're sorry but he is currently taking his break right now."
"What?! So Yuki is actually male?! Amazing! Way to go in understanding a maiden's heart!" Shiro cheered.
"Sorry to say, but that idiot is a super dense guy…" a thought came from under the table.
"Fortunately, Sensei left two English-translated books of the latest volume signed."
Yuuga's editor becomes fluent when he's nervous.
"Yes…! We'll take it!"
Even without seeing the mangaka himself, they were left satisfied with what they got.
"I'm back… Phew, that was tiring," Yuuga came back on his booth with bags on his arms.
"You surely made a haul for yourself, Yuu!"
~ ~ ~
The current time is 3:08, which is fifty-two minutes before the event ends. I have heard that there is one final event happening before all of the conclusions.
With the crowd dying down, we noticed a big screen being set up in the middle of the venue along with seats being lined up. Eventually, someone came to the booth.
"Excuse me! Are Gin Sakato and Ringo Akanami here?"
"Ah, yes. Gin, Ringo! Someone is looking for you two," G who is on the front desk called out to us.
The person asked to lend us our ears and he whispered, "We are inviting you on the front seats by the big screen. I will lead you the way."
"Wait… I think I've seen you somewhere."
"Yes, I am someone from Kyoko Animation."
I was right that this convention is not just intended for manga and so on. Apparently, the latest episode of the Silver Apple is going to be aired right here, right now prior to the original schedule.
In the production of this week's episode, Rin and I were given a privilege to do a part of the script and surprisingly, we also wrote two minutes of the rough storyboards. We weren't expecting to be involved and very hands-on in the pre-production. For a two-minute part of this episode, it took us a month to produce a satisfactory storyboard after studying the direction of Kyoko Animation's works, and to meet the standards of what is being shown on our screens.
As we have sat on the very front row, we turned our heads and found that Yuuga and Minase were behind us while the other club members sat on the back seats. Before the episode began, the preview of the episode was shown first.
After watching, the two of us finally realized how integral our efforts are. It was not that we made a part of the episode, but we finally discovered that we were the ones that wrote the entire episode. The sixth episode of Silver Apple was expected to reach a certain climax to conclude half of the cour. And so, the opening song was finished, and the episode began with the subtitles translated to English.
"Satokawa-san… What did you just say?"
"Your father… I was the reason why he can't walk anymore…"
The scene was nearly in time for the sunset as the restaurant is finally closed.
"Ameno-san… it was my fault that he was hit by a car. I've wanted to tell you ever since we met, but I can't find myself to bring it up until now."
Immediately, 'Ringo' ran away from the restaurant.
"Are you really satisfied with his, Gin…? Do you think you can fix things with Ameno-san just by letting her run away just like this?!" Jean's counterpart scolded 'me', which flicked a switched on 'Gin' and chased after 'Ringo'.
In tears, while 'Gin's' voice echoed in 'Ringo's' mind, she ran farther away… until it was too late to realize that a truck is about to hit her.
In the very nick of time, 'Gin' caught her without any injuries found, but she fainted. The twilight came and 'Ringo' found herself waking up on a park bench under a light of the lamp post.
"Satokawa-san…? What happened?"
"Thank goodness you are awake…
I want you to listen, Ameno-san…
Ever since being a child, I was always an empty person without anything. I lost everything… my emotions, my humanity, and even my will to live… My purpose, my reason… I never found it.
I lost control of myself and decided that I will commit suicide by running over a vehicle. But your father saved me, but he was caught on the crash, and his legs got paralyzed."
"Even so… I still want to meet him to apologize and thank him-"
"Why are you telling this now?! Why are you telling all of this… after I've fallen for you?! It's painful… It's painful to see my father unable to walk, and it's painful that the one I began to love is blaming himself for it…! Why do you have to hurt me this much?!"
No… I've had enough of seeing everyone get hurt because of me… I thought that that memory of when I see your father… it was flashing right before my eyes when I see you earlier.
No matter how much you hate me now, there is no way that I will abandon you. I don't want the same mistake to repeat…"
"All this time, you were aware… In the time that I have work in Giotto's, I have grown fond of you that even just by seeing you makes me happy… But why… I don't want this to end just like this… It's hard to accept it…
When everything becomes well… it just falls apart. Why… Why does this always happen to me?!"
"I don't want anything to end… That's why I told you this. I'm just deceiving myself if I continue to be happy only to satisfy myself… I don't want that anymore.
You're the reason why I am still living. I want to fix everything that I broke because my only wish is to be with you, Ameno-san. I have lived of wishing nothing, but then I found myself with a dream being together with you. I don't want to lose that 'everything' I finally found…"
It was our feelings that were reflected on those words. The time we professed both our love… the moment we separated… and the times that no matter how much pain came that we endured… It was all in this moment that what we can't express in our actions and words was expressed through this.
And to have seen our own feelings with our own eyes, we realize that we have fulfilled our wish.
▪ ▪ ▪
With that, ManCon finally ended.
"Man, that was one crazy episode…" G uttered.
As someone who does not have particular interest with that type of media, Mori still shared his agreement.
"But still… we didn't get to see Yuki Amagami when he finally showed himself to the public and all…"
"What about Gin and Ringo? Did you at least see the face of Yuki?"
It was as though we didn't hear Shiro's question and we continued the silence as I am also behind the wheel. There was a hint of embarrassment to what we saw on the episode as it reflected our life on it. But if there is something on our mind, another wish grew a leaf on us.
"I hope that we have conveyed a message."
▪ ▪ ▪
The afternoon sun in the Capital has lost its heat, and the temperature dropped ever so slightly.
"**When are you going to fly back, Kuni-san?"
"**I'm scheduled to leave after two days, but I don't think we'll see each other in the remainder of our stay. I think I will take a little rest in a province here."
"**Taking a small vacation, I see."
"**You and Okuni-san should be going now. You are still minors so it's not good to stay late and I will be excusing myself now. Please be careful on your way home."
After a handshake from both Yuuga and Minase, he waved his goodbyes and left.
"Are you hungry, Mina?"
"Not really. Your readers gave us a ton of dumplings."
"Then, if it's okay with you, should we take a little detour?"
"Hmmm…? Is there somewhere you want to go to?"
"Ah, no… I just want to take a walk."
They however eventually thought that it was still a bad idea to walk outside with the heat even in the afternoon. Yuuga then found a bench away from the crowd.
It was a surprising scene to find in a very urbanized place. The bench was in the middle of trees and foliage without the urban noise heard under the greens. As they sat, it gave plenty of shade and an unusually cold wind.
"Yuu, doesn't this look like the park in Silver Apple earlier?"
"Oh, it does…"
"But this place sure is peaceful…"
He then leaned back on the bench after a long pause and let out a huge sigh.
"Yuu? Is something wrong?"
"With me, yeah.
Gin and Ringo really did convey a message earlier…"
"What do you mean?"
"Mina, I'm so sorry, but there's no point in keeping myself shut."
"Uhm… I don't get what you're saying… Why are you apologizing?"
"Because I have taken your feelings for granted. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you… but I have known of your feelings for a long time now. But even being aware of it, I became stuck and insensitive.
Mina, please answer me honestly… Am I hurting you?"
Yes… We've been together for a very long time. I developed my feelings towards you, but it made me really sad that I thought that my feelings are not noticed. But still, it was because I won't speak up… and I lost my confidence.
Even when I found out that we are now neighbors, I started to dislike how stagnant our relationship has become… but I still found myself liking you more."
"That is why I am very sorry… I should have also spoken up after being aware of it. I was in the middle of losing my confidence and thinking that I might hurt you if I tell you. But little did I know that I'm already hurting you with my ignorance.
And now… I want to make up for it."
She slowly turned her head with a look of hope in her eyes as he stared on the forlorn face of Yuuga.
"Lately, I felt that I am lying to myself whenever I read my own work. As much as people see my work as something that is great, I was just being halfhearted. I have never experienced loving someone, and yet I still write those solely from my whims.
I started to think, 'Do I really deserve to continue doing this?' I realized that I wasn't really serious with what I am doing. Now, it was hard to even face you…"
"Don't say that…" Minase shifted herself and sat closer to Yuuga with those words unconsciously voicing out.
"Even so, it made me happy. I noticed that you've changed over the weeks after Gin and Ringo helped out. All those times when we eat together or do shopping together… it was enough to make me forget my sadness. I don't know what's gotten into you… and now you said that you are aware of my feelings.
I'm not entirely hurt, but it made me happier that you actually know how I feel about you."
"No… I can't say that I really know of it."
Again, he let out another loud sigh and stood up in front of Minase.
"I need your help, Mina."
"Please help me understand you more.
I honestly… don't feel like there's something that is already developing inside me. But I don't want your feelings going to waste. At least, even if it's something complicated, I don't think that I still think of you as just a mere friend anymore."
I'm amazed that you are actually being honest."
"Is that a joke?"
"N-Not at all! Liking you is also not a joke! Don't underestimate me! Hmph!
Still… I'm happy to know how you actually feel about me. So if you really need my help, don't even think that I'm going to refuse if you're making such a request!"
"It could also become a win-win situation, you know!"
"So I accept your challenge, Yuu!"
"At this point, you're just challenging me to make you fall in love with me! Of course I'll get on with it!"
"H-Huh?! I-Is that how you really see it?!"
"Then so be it…"
Minase's expression brightened up from Yuuga's response and to his embarrassed look.
"And just so I won't say this too late… I'm blaming you for making me write a shoujo manga…"
"Waaahhhh~!! Really?! Ahhh, I'm so happy!" she cheered while pulling Yuuga's arms.
"Agh! Let's just grab something to eat and go home!"
"I said I'm still full from the dumplings!"
"I don't care! It's my treat anyways!"
Another ship dodged the iceberg.
That ends 047!
This chapter is published with the suppression of also wanting to end my PC.
aight imma take a deep breath
Thanks for reading!
048: Lil sis, I'm not the one who should futureproof.
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