Chapter 55:

054 – This is Not Japan!

Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World

‹Still Rin›Bookmark here

"ONSEEEEEENNNNNN…!!!!!!!!"Bookmark here

I am not joking. How did a fluffin' inn on the mountains of Orio look exactly like a architecturally and aesthetically traditional house from Japan? I get it that we are in the northern part of Cotona, but it's extremely different from the "North" of Japan. And yet, it feels as though I came back to that private house in Kyoto all over again. I wouldn't even be surprised if I see Yuzuri-san in here somewhere! I take that back. I will still be surprised if ever.Bookmark here

I say that all… but we have been standing before the entrance of the inn's lot for a few minutes, letting our jaws roll down. Seriously, we don't think we'll ever see another place like this in this country.Bookmark here

"Uhhh… I didn't know that Japan is just a two-hour travel from school…?" Mori jested.Bookmark here

"Hey~ Rin-chan… Why are you crying…?"Bookmark here

"I can ask you the same thing too!" I exclaimed as Gin had asked while also bawling.Bookmark here

Mato-sen shook his hair and sighed. "Urk… Can't believe I'm actually around a weird pair now that I think about it."Bookmark here

"You just realized that now, Mato-sen?" asked Jean while the others looked nonchalantly, as though they've been used to my and Potato's stupidity.Bookmark here

Suddenly, a voice from the slightly opened main door of the inn resonated.Bookmark here

"Oh? The guests have already arrived. Welcome to the Chikami Hot Spring Inn. My name is Kyohei Kamichi, and I am the owner of the place."Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

With Potato and Jean, the three of us suddenly huddled and mumbled upon ourselves.Bookmark here

"This is just a coincidence, right?"Bookmark here

"That's basically it, Gin."Bookmark here

"Not only Nacchi and Shiro has coincidences, Potato."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"I don't see Juushiro-san anywhere…" the owner looked around.Bookmark here

"Oh. He is working right now. I am Martin Arlo, by the way. For the moment, I'm acting as the TAC's guardian, although one's old enough to act on his own."Bookmark here

"I see, so you were the person that I've heard from Juushiro-san when he came here. It's good to meet you, Arlo-san."Bookmark here

"There's really no need to be formal, you know.Bookmark here

Wait… '-san'?"Bookmark here

"I would suggest to please come in. There are not too many customers in this time of the year, but we can't have our guests appearing to be unwelcomed on the side of the road.Bookmark here

We will show you the reception area and serve some tea. You will be here for three weeks, so please make yourself at home."Bookmark here

"Ah, yes. Thank you very much.Bookmark here

Hey, you three nincompoops! We're going in!"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Tatami floors, as expected. This is a legitimate traditional Northern building apart from just what is already mentioned. It's just that I think it lost its way and got built in Orio which I don't hate at all.Bookmark here

While we were writing our names and signing our signatures on a log sheet, and sipping our cups of tea, the owner explained a few but necessary things.Bookmark here

"So while the others are still logging, I will reiterate that all expenses regarding your stay is covered by the sponsor and therefore, you don't have to pay anything unless if something gets damaged."Bookmark here

"Our client really is filthy rich, huh," we all thought.Bookmark here

He continued.Bookmark here

"I will also have to say in advance that the rooms where you will be staying at are already booked and ready to be used. In total, five rooms will be occupied for the nine of you- ten, including the cat.Bookmark here

Any questions so far?"Bookmark here

Potato responded, "I have none, but this tea is meta."Bookmark here

"Thank you for the review of our tea."Bookmark here

I then spoke, "If that's the case, us two girls will be sharing a room, while the remaining four will be for the men and Haku. Then that means that one person will be having a room for his own…?"Bookmark here

"Well said. But that room will of course be a little smaller. May I know your name?"Bookmark here

"Ringo. Umm… Ringo Akanami."Bookmark here

It's dumb how it sounded like I forgot my own name with that pause.Bookmark here

And I think it is really late to mention, but the owner is actually wearing a kimono and a haori over. Wait, might he actually be Japanese?Bookmark here

"The rooms for two are eight tatami mats so there is plenty of space to move around, Akanami-san. On the other hand, the one-person room only has six."Bookmark here

"Aren't we taking too much space, though?" Mato-sen worryingly asked.Bookmark here

"It is not a problem. Currently there are only three rooms that are being used by guests out of twenty. It also just so happened that we picked a prime spot where hot springs are abundant around where we are now.Bookmark here

Also, since the inn is in the season of the lowest rates, I've had the cooks to take a break from work here so I'm basically the only one for that service. Although I don't think I can serve for more than ten people, so I am very sorry for that."Bookmark here

"It's fine, and the service is optional in booking anyway," Gin relieved the owner.Bookmark here

And Mato-sen followed, "We have a few in our bunch that are more than capable when it comes to the kitchen, so that wouldn't be a problem."Bookmark here

The owner's face brightened up.Bookmark here

"Then we have a small farm here. You can use them however you like!"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"Okay then. Since we still don't know who will be using the solo room, let's settle it with ladders, then," Gin suggested.Bookmark here

※ Or Amidakuji.Bookmark here

"To be fair, who should be the one drawing the lines?" Yuuga asked.Bookmark here

As a response, Nacchi requested, "Let's have the owner to do it for us."Bookmark here

"Ehhh… If I do that, it will take me a long time. You see, I get carried away in putting lines in ladders when I was a child… It would be a pain, honestly."Bookmark here

"So owner plays ladders from childhood? This game is totally nonexistent here. Are you Japanese, owner?" Gin analyzed.Bookmark here

"Ahhh. So I made it obvious, huh…"Bookmark here

"That's no problem, owner. I am also Japanese by blood, although half; and I am 85% Japanese at heart!"Bookmark here

"Are you drunk, Gin?" Nacchi retorted.Bookmark here

Without warning, Haku tapped the owner with his paw on the back and meowed.Bookmark here

"So cute…!" is what I thought.Bookmark here

He then sat in front of the paper placed on the floor beside the owner. He shifted gazes from the paper to the owner for a while.Bookmark here

"Ah. Haku wants to direct you on where he wants to put the lines, owner," a potato spoke.Bookmark here

"Is that soooo… I see."Bookmark here

On the paper, there are seven vertical lines where the names of the guys were already written on top, while the folded bottom has one "solo", and both a pair of "R1", "R2" and "R3". Haku pointed out where he wanted the lines to be on, which is plenty amazing in itself.Bookmark here

"So intelligent…!" Mato-sen shouted since he saw Haku wanting a skipping line and diagonal lines.Bookmark here

"Potato, did you teach Haku how to play these?"Bookmark here

"He got interested when Sis and I had to settle for something."Bookmark here

"Hahh… I can imagine you and Sis just playing around when left alone…"Bookmark here

"Oh, we're done!" what owner meant was about the results. He and Haku made the ladders while looking away from us, so we didn't witness immediately who actually won.Bookmark here

Not like I care a lot though since I already have a room with Shiro.Bookmark here

Haku walked towards who is the winner while intently glaring (just staring) on whoever it was.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

H-Huh… Me? I won?"Bookmark here

Yuuga got the solo room. When he thought that no one was looking he made a vigorous fist pump.Bookmark here

In summary, (1) Potato, Haku and Mori, (2) Jean and G, (3) Nacchi and Mato-sen, (4) Shiro and I, and (5) Yuuga are assigned to our rooms. Although, we still haven't gone to there yet.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

While still hanging out in the reception area, the owner suddenly started looking around everywhere as his eyes rolled. The others did not know what was going on, but then Yuuga flinched and chuckled, making a chain of silent laughs.Bookmark here

"Uhhh… Did anyone see Sakato-san go elsewhere?"Bookmark here

"Pfft…" still, our laughs were irresistible.Bookmark here

It was only me who had noticed from the very start, but Gin sat just right behind the owner a few minutes ago while Haku somewhat squirms in front of him.Bookmark here

Potato had blended to the air again.Bookmark here

"Umm, owner. Our backs will surely be touching in an inch or two."Bookmark here

"Eeep…! Sakato-san?! I seriously didn't see you there!" he turned around vigorously with his rigid arms waving everywhere.Bookmark here

"Well, Haku found a catnip so I picked one for the guy and played here. I'm quite relieved that you didn't see me even moving from that spot."Bookmark here

"R-Relieved…?" he was confused.Bookmark here

"Hahahaha. It's not everyday that you see Haku looking like he's playing by himself," I joked.Bookmark here

Then, Shiro slowly uttered.Bookmark here

"Imagine a floating catnip… waving around…"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

We thought that we will immediately begin with laying out the mural, but Mato-sen said that work will start tomorrow, or it is most likely that he is just procrastinating. I wouldn't mind the break after that back aching travel, though.Bookmark here

Not much of a time had passed when we were in the reception, but the owner had prepared a lunch for us. I have lived my life consuming rice as a staple food, but it was not just me who found it weird that we're eating a bowl of rice while using chopsticks in this country, yet the feeling was still so Northern.Bookmark here

I had however made a thought. The owner told earlier that he was the only one tending to food service as he sent his hired chefs to vacation. I pondered on the question of how the owner did make a variety of dishes for nine people in such a short amount of time. I at least had estimated the other dishes' duration of cooking, and they indeed need a tedious preparation. Only unless if the preparations were done in advance will the time shorten, but doing preparations for that probably took more than just effort.Bookmark here

My inference finally caught that the owner might actually be a chef also; unsurprisingly. Then I asked Potato if he can do it with the basis of my assumption, as I don't think I can do that even after feeling the heavy pressure of working in a restaurant. Jean overheard our unnoticed conversation and shook his head, being his response.Bookmark here

Shortly after, we dropped our things in our rooms while the van is being moved in. I had a shallow thought, but the rooms are mostly similar in looks for the eight tatami. Gin however started squinting in front of the door frame, as if he's most likely comparing this to the bedroom of the private home back in Kyoto, which truly had a different layout while still both being a square room.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"People, Mr. Kamichi just said that the baths are now open before we eat dinner," Mato-sen announced.Bookmark here

Then four guys flinched. I am very sure that they hadn't thought about it hours earlier.Bookmark here

A potato stuttered as it tried to explain, "W-Well… I guess the guys will go in two groups. O-Okay, let's have Yuuga, Mori, and Mato-sen go first. You're still complaining about your back also."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

If your back is also hurting then you should also go first."Bookmark here

"Gin's still quite fine, Mato-sen!" G exclaimed. "We'll just have to wait."Bookmark here

"If you say so," then the three went inside the bath.Bookmark here

There was an awkward silence while the four stared at each other for a while.Bookmark here

"Dude. You just made it sound suspicious," Nacchi uttered to G.Bookmark here

"I don't want some random person to see this giant scar, you know."Bookmark here

"I wonder how you can change clothes so fast that others don't even notice you."Bookmark here

"I guess that's just a quirk of mine, Nagi."Bookmark here

The two of us then got told that the women's bath is ready to use, so Shiro and I left without orienting the four in between their squabble.Bookmark here

I'll be dropping off the mic, then.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

It was in an instant that they felt the warmth inside the bath as they watch the steam going up while the small splashes of water sounded to every step they made.Bookmark here

"I never thought that I would get to experience a hot spring bath in my life…" Nagi cried out.Bookmark here

"Man… it's has really been more than a year since the last time I went into one. I feel old now."Bookmark here

Gin had mumbled to himself in between a soak under a prerequisite douse.Bookmark here

"So you've already experienced hot spring back in Japan, huh, Gin?"Bookmark here

"My bosses picked the long stick, G. I sometimes brought Jean with me so I can have someone to talk to."Bookmark here

"Oi. I bet you're talking before a wall of some sort when Jean's not there," Nagi was talking about him and Ringo.Bookmark here

"Or sometimes one of us will whistle and one will sing. Gotta tell you, the echo sounds like you're singing while taking a shower."Bookmark here

"But man, you really have to tell us how you exercise. How'd you get those adequate buns of bread anyway?" Nagi groaned satirically.Bookmark here

"Well…"Bookmark here

"And look at you, G. There's no way we'll ever see another pair of exactly identical scars from two people. And you're even shaping up too!"Bookmark here

"It's part of my therapy when I was partially paralyzed. I just lived with doing it afterwards."Bookmark here

"Even Rin can now keep up with me when I'm doing a jog, Nagi."Bookmark here

"Woah, what a power couple."Bookmark here

"Oh goodness, this feels so nice," Ginji ignored the conversation shortly and placed his towel on his head, and dipped in the hot water. "I feel rejuvenated…"Bookmark here

"I swear I remember hearing that when I was in Kyoto. Was it me or you that said it, Jean?"Bookmark here

"I can't recall. Just check the chapter itself."Bookmark here

"The owner sure makes dinner early, huh. It's just five right now and he's already cooking.Bookmark here

Oh, yeah. This is a pretty nice bath," shared Jean upon soaking down.Bookmark here

"I'd really appreciate the early dinner, though. I have to rush at work after that."Bookmark here

But Nagi had doubted, "You can really cover that distance in just around a minute?"Bookmark here

"That is if I actually get the appropriate layout of the route. But it will be slower if I jump my way to there. It's safer being on air as long as you land properly, though."Bookmark here

"Now you're going to be a kangaroo person after being a spider person," Jean joked.Bookmark here

"If I run my way from here to Giotto's how long will it take me, Gin?"Bookmark here

He turned his head with vigor after hearing Ginji's question, but still responded amid the slight surprise.Bookmark here

"Let's see… To be honest, we can get here faster than two hours in the van if not because of speed limit. I'd say it will take you less than an hour if you run for about 100kph."Bookmark here

"Wait, G. You're that physical too?!" the water flew everywhere as Nagi stood up.Bookmark here

"I'm nowhere near Gin though… I can only jump two floors at a time."Bookmark here

"You're definitely a coincidence for using vertical leap as an example. So you're also weird, G," he bantered as a reply.Bookmark here

"I guess? I wouldn't be surprised if a raccoon started emailing me."Bookmark here

"Hey. Don't make those references, G. They didn't watch the movie this April," Gin chuckled upon getting the context.Bookmark here

"Please, don't spoil the endgame. Though, I wonder how far to that date will this chapter be released."Bookmark here

They all laughed in agreement, however.Bookmark here

A thought suddenly came to Jean's mind, as he recalled what day it is today.Bookmark here

"Wait, I just realized, Gin. You're eating dinner here?"Bookmark here

"Yeah… I said sorry to them in advance that Rin and I won't be eating at home tonight. Though we will be there in the next weeks so we won't be eating here by then."Bookmark here

"Ehhh… What could you be talking about?" again, being out of the loop, Nagi asked.Bookmark here

"Wait, have I never mentioned? My family and Rin's eat dinner together every Wednesday."Bookmark here

"Hmm… I don't remember…"Bookmark here

※ So does the author.Bookmark here

Nagi then followed up, "Wait, if you'll go out every Wednesday, how will you even go with Rin if you're 'walking on foot'?"Bookmark here

"I'll carry her, basically."Bookmark here

"That simply sounds dangerous!"Bookmark here

"You know, Nagi. I think Rin's grip strength can break someone's wrist, but not mine."Bookmark here

Rin sneezed in their bath.Bookmark here

"I wouldn't want that…" he shivered.Bookmark here

They took their time in the bath.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

The day finally met the twilight as Gin finished preparing for work. With the lights of the inn turning on, Rin and the owner went to send him off.Bookmark here

"Thank you for the dinner, Owner-san. I will be back at around nine."Bookmark here

"Really? Isn’t your workplace quite far from here?Bookmark here

Wait, you're still a student, right?"Bookmark here

"Ahahaha. You're totally right. Well, I'll be off!" and so, he ran normally towards west.Bookmark here

"Take care, Potato…!"Bookmark here

"Akanami-san, are you sure he will be o-"Bookmark here

Suddenly, a strong gust of wind came and blew to them.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

We're on a mountain slope… and how come the wind came from below…?"Bookmark here

"Fufufu…"Bookmark here

"So he boosted out not too far."Bookmark here

"So that made you laugh, Akanami-san…"Bookmark here

"Ah…! If this is a mountain decline slope, then it would be an easy leap down!"Bookmark here

"Umm… Akanami-san?"Bookmark here

"Nevermind that, owner. I'm sure that he will be back in one piece."Bookmark here

"Whaaaat…?"Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

‹Ginji›Bookmark here

I hear a door closing again.Bookmark here

Again… this dream. How many times have I dreamed of this? Nothing had changed; it's still the big gray room that I have come to several times. Just like always… the black silhouette is still sat on the same place.Bookmark here

How long have I been asleep? If only this dream can show what time it is already…Bookmark here

…y.Bookmark here

A voice… did I hear a voice…?Bookmark here

…ey.Bookmark here

Hey. Can you hear me, mate?Bookmark here

W-Who are you…? Are you B-British…?Bookmark here

Oh my. It's really rare to hear monologues stuttering like that.Bookmark here

Where? Where is that voice coming from…?Bookmark here

Don't stand around squirming. This place isn't some sort of a total nonsense.Bookmark here

‹Ginji felt something that tapped his shoulder. He turned around in panic, and saw the black silhouette standing behind him, without a face nor an expression.›Bookmark here

You… I thought you were stuck there just sitting…Bookmark here

Easy there. Calm down now or you will be severed from this dream. You've gathered this much concentration from your own cognition so don't let this go to waste.Bookmark here

What… exactly is happening…?Bookmark here

Hahh… That's what I'd like to ask you. I've been feeling that there's something lingering here from time to time, and this is the first time that it had become clear to my side.Bookmark here

So it was just you, Ginji, who is coming to this realm. I'm starting to have my inference, but this just seems too surprising.Bookmark here

My name? How did you know?Bookmark here

Simple. That's because I know you and you know me. I guess it won't hurt to tell you who I am. My name is ¿¿¿¿.Bookmark here

I didn't seem to catch what you just said just now…Bookmark here

I just said ¿¿¿¿.Bookmark here

No good… it's totally unclear.Bookmark here

There's nothing I can do if you can't hear my name. I'm still awake outside, so it might take 'me' some time to realize that you infiltrated this place. But I know that it will come to that end.Bookmark here

Anyway, why are you here, Ginji?Bookmark here

Why… Even if you ask me, I don't even know.Bookmark here

Pfft… Man, it's been so long since I heard an "I don't know". I've never really used that phrase these days.Bookmark here

If I were to guess, though. It may be something caused by your subconscious, don't you think so too? Is there something that you want, or you wish for? A desire, perhaps?Bookmark here

Desire… I can think of some.Bookmark here

Then if that's the case, maybe that desire is what drove you here. If you've realized what it is really, I would want to know too. That is, if you can come back.Bookmark here

What do you mean?Bookmark here

Sorry. Time's up.Bookmark here

(!)Bookmark here

What happened was extremely weird… or a bit frightening. I saw myself slowly getting pulled away from "unknown" like there was a horizontal gravity that is making me fall. On a split second, I saw where I was being pulled to. It was the door that I always hear in the beginning of this dream, but I perceived it clearly. The door had a text, saying "Reality".Bookmark here

Before I knew it, my eyes opened and I unconsciously got up. Indeed, I came back to reality.Bookmark here

I was a little relieved that I didn't wake up Jean. But I was surprised that he also sleeps early. I looked at the clocked, and it said that it is 10:45 at night.Bookmark here

The night became a little warmer, and so I threw my blanket on the side of the futon.Bookmark here

If the "unknown" was right, then something, or some kind of desire is triggering those dreams. I set aside the questions in my mind and cleared my thoughts. I immediately fell asleep.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Coincidentally, Gin with Haku on his head and Mato came out of their neighboring rooms at the same time. After the former let out a yawn, he asked Mato.Bookmark here

"Are you sure it's really okay for us to wake up at 8 when it's a weekday, Mato?"Bookmark here

"Dropped the sensei, huh.Bookmark here

Anyway, that's not a problem if you will actually study on your own, and if we will meet the deadline.Bookmark here

Wait, how did you get into your work anyway?"Bookmark here

"Don't mind that. At least I got home safely. Are the others awake already? I didn't see Mori."Bookmark here

"Don't ask me. I just woke up myself."Bookmark here

They did not put it to mind, but their rooms are just beside a living area after opening a shōji, which is also merged to a room where a kitchen separates from the main one is seen.Bookmark here

They saw Jean, Yuuga and the two girls, in which Rin is reading the newspaper as they are sat on cushions around a long table.Bookmark here

"Oh! Gin-san, Mato-san. Good morning," the owner greeted from the kitchen, while he tends to a counter with the sleeve of his yukata up. They realized that he was making breakfast, and so they sat.Bookmark here

"I'm next to the newspaper, Ringo."Bookmark here

"You rarely find a young girl that reads newspaper, huh, Mato?" Gin sleepily uttered.Bookmark here

"She really inherited Mr. Akanami's weirdness," Mato had said intentionally for it to be heard.Bookmark here

“Ack. Number two already in the morning…” Shiro slowly made her way out of the room and went to the closest throne.Bookmark here

After a few minutes, they once again heard the owner's voice.Bookmark here

"Ahhh. Finally awake, Yuzu. Help me out, won't you," the owner raised his voice, although to what seems to be nowhere.Bookmark here

"Nii-san… I'm a guest, you know?"Bookmark here

As if a spark of electricity ran through Gin's head, he immediately turned his gaze to the kitchen.Bookmark here

"R-Rin… Rin…"Bookmark here

"Hmm? What is it?"Bookmark here

"We lost…"Bookmark here

"Huh-Bookmark here

EEEEHHHHHH?!?!?!"Bookmark here

The two saw, walking through the paper door is the caretaker of the private house back in Kyoto—Yuzuri Kamichi. However, they also saw another familiar face slowly walking behind Yuzuri, also wearing a yukata.Bookmark here

Upon seeing the two women enter the living area, Mato nudged closely to Gin and whispered:Bookmark here

"Hey, isn't that woman kinda looks like-"Bookmark here

*whack*Bookmark here

Rin had intended to slap Mato's glasses, but instead hit his forehead with her palm. It was a clean hit that it sounded throughout the space, and knocked him out.Bookmark here

"W-Woah… Why did you do that, Ringo?" Yuuga asked as he crawled back.Bookmark here

Jean suddenly screamed incompletely.Bookmark here

"Ahhh- Aaaah! Ahhh!"Bookmark here

"Yuzuri-san…! Mitsumi-san…!" Rin had put Jean's utterance to words.Bookmark here

"Ahhh…! Aaahhh!" this time, it was Ichika that lost her speech while pointing at them. "Paisen! We're in Kyoto again…!"Bookmark here

"No, we're not, Ichika! They're the real deal!"Bookmark here

"What, Yuzu? Do you actually know them?"Bookmark here

"So you're really siblings…!" Gin, Rin, and Jean shouted in unison.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Yuzuri eventually helped out on the kitchen while Ichika came to sat on their table. It was hard to unsee the unconscious man, and so she poked Mato several times.Bookmark here

"I'm pretty sure that's not how grown-ups act…" thought Rin.Bookmark here

"So? Who's this person?" Ichika pointed at the unconscious man.Bookmark here

"You can tell who if you look closely, Mitsumi-san."Bookmark here

Yuuga closed his eyes in confusion and asked, "Uhh… What is actually up, Gin?"Bookmark here

Rin then flinched, and on her knees she prepared her slapping palm.Bookmark here

"N-N-No, don't, Rin…! Yuuga doesn't know anything!"Bookmark here

"Ah! That's right!" Rin palm fist tapped. "Sorry about that."Bookmark here

“Goodness… I don’t even know what will happen if I got hit…”Bookmark here

“Uwaahhh-! It’s actually Mato-sen…! I owe you one, Gin-kun!” she then put her hands together.Bookmark here

An idea came to Ichika’s mind and asked Gin to come close to whisper something?Bookmark here

“I know that you have a lot of questions, Gin-kun. Should we speak in Japanese?”Bookmark here

“Ahhh… About that. That guy, I mean, Yuuga knows how to speak the northern language so we have no choice…”Bookmark here

“Ugh… That’s too bad. I guess I’ll have to omit a lot.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

The owner—Kyohei served tea with confusion as he first saw them sitting in crossed legs, and now they are sitting in seiza. But he thought that it was not the thing he should be concerned about. Mato was still unconscious, but Gin told him to ignore him.Bookmark here

And so, the discussions began while Yuuga’s presence is still in mind.Bookmark here

“I suppose… you and Yuzuri-san are here for work. But… with how things are, aren’t you two just slacking off?”Bookmark here

Ichika then stared blankly.Bookmark here

“Pfft… Ahahahaha…! It really looks like that, huh! You’re right, you’re right, Gin-kun. We came to this inn three days ago right after we got off the plane. We were given a month of leave and that’s why we ended up here.”Bookmark here

“Don’t tell me that this is a paid leave?”Bookmark here

“Correct! We’re given this leave to study and understand the culture of Orio since our team performed a bit meh two years ago.”Bookmark here

“Ichika-san, you’re too loud!” Kyohei’s faint voice sounded.”Bookmark here

“Ahhh…”Bookmark here

“So field work is actually difficult without proper training, huh.”Bookmark here

“Well, it got tough because even we experienced culture shock.”Bookmark here

“Really, Mitsumi-san? When we were in Kyoto, Potato just experienced getting homesick.”Bookmark here

“It’s a given that you two are otaku, Ringo-chan.”Bookmark here

“You said a month… does that mean you will be returning to field (in Blue Ink) by August?”Bookmark here

“That’s right. Though, Paisen will be doing a bit of office work for the most part. I’ve heard from her that she will also apply in Giotto’s South for the rest of this term if she gets admitted.”Bookmark here

It was however not that long when Gin caught on.Bookmark here

“Yuzuri-san…?! Do you actually do your work?!” he shouted from his seat.Bookmark here

“Ahahaha. I thought you would say that.”Bookmark here

“That’s that, but it will really be a problem for Ryou-kun, don’t you think?”Bookmark here

“Yeah… that will suck for Yugare-san.Bookmark here

Oh, by the way. Congratulations to you and Kaizo, although very late.”Bookmark here

“Awww… You flatter me.”Bookmark here

“I was happy when I got the news, but it got bitter immediately. A few minutes later someone actually confessed to me, and I rejected her… so I quickly got dejected.”Bookmark here

“That’s the first time I’m hearing that, Gin!” Jean followed.Bookmark here

“Let’s leave it without saying who. I was kinda depressed when that happened, you know. I was so happy about Kaizo, but then it was painful to reject someone who put her effort to profess her feelings.”Bookmark here

“Timings really are harsh, huh. But still, we have no choice to move forward even if hurts us or others a lot. Perhaps, you became a little careless and didn’t put it into consideration. But then again, no matter how painful it is, I believe that you still grasped in a very little light of hope.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Mitsumi-san… So you can talk maturely,” Gin retorted.Bookmark here

“Hah?! Who do you think you’re talking to, punk? I wouldn’t be in my current job if I can’t be serious!”Bookmark here

“Ahh. She’s back to her usual speech already.”Bookmark here

“Well, I think we’ll be taking our breakfast on a separate room for the sake of the situation. I’ll be bugging those siblings, then!”Bookmark here

“Okay. Be sure not to get hit.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

The others eventually went to the living area as Kyohei began serving up the dishes he made together with her younger sister, and he was delighted that his guests are enjoying their food.Bookmark here

After that uplifting breakfast, they immediately went to the site where they will be commencing the creation of the long mural.Bookmark here

In front of the wall, they began a meeting under the shade of the tree.Bookmark here

“I intended this day to just scout the entire area where we will be doing, but I think we can still remain here for a bit and make a rough layout. Just to remind, the client didn’t ask for a mood board, but he wants the murals to be something viewed by the travelers using this road.Bookmark here

Any suggestions.”Bookmark here

“I have one,” Nagi responded while still surviving the heat. “Let’s try to split the wall in half in which we’ll use the top 1.5m to the direction uphill, and the other half for those going downhill.”Bookmark here

“That’s nice. What I’m also planning is designating every three meters to one person including me so it won’t be too tedious. The only problem is that if we can actually connect every template we’ll individually make.”Bookmark here

“It’s all about communication, Mato-sen. Even if there’s a problem, we can always fix it somehow.” Jean optimistically said.Bookmark here

After a glance on the sky, I asked, “What about if it rains? How are we going to cover the walls?”Bookmark here

“We have a lot of tarps and besides, I don’t think it will be a problem if the paint completely dries out.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I think there’s nothing more to discuss, we have a lot of chalk so we can start by doing a rough sketch already.”Bookmark here

Mato signaled the start by clapping twice and he grabbed a handful of chalk for himself.Bookmark here

“Be careful if you’re using the ladder.”Bookmark here

Gin had stayed silent for a while as he sketch on a part of the wall with a somewhat bitter face. From time to time, he shifts his gaze towards Ginji with a hint of worry.Bookmark here

“If ever he does something, please go easy on him, Kuro,” he whispered.Bookmark here

Thanks for the concern, but I am sure that you know that we can’t do that.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

‹Ginji›Bookmark here

Now it seems like you didn’t come here at random, Ginji. Have you realized something already?Bookmark here

Yes. These last two nights, you’re deliberately showing me visions of someone… And then I finally got it. I don’t know how it happened, but you are actually Gin.Bookmark here

That is correct. You have entered Gin’s mind through dreams. You have entered my mind, and I am the mind.Bookmark here

But I have to say. Your mind is still vulnerable for unconsciously leaking out your thoughts and memories. Aside from losing my emotions, I also have learned how to conceal my own thoughts, and I didn’t know that it would come to this point where I will use it like this.Bookmark here

But anyway, my physical self left a question for you: “What do you plan to do now?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Please, Gin… If it is possible, please let me see what made you to be what you are now. I want to know how it feels to experience the pain you have. I may just be a coincidental existence, but it is unfair. I have a fragment of Gin, but it is not fair that I can’t relate to him. Whatever it is… Whatever torment you bring to me… I will accept them.Bookmark here

That resolve… is just like mine. You’ve come this far, and I know that you will regret doing this. You will despair more than you can imagine. I hope that you are ready to feel a near endless pain.Bookmark here

I will not turn back.Bookmark here

Very well. My name is Kuro. Let’s get along well, Ginji.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

June 24.Bookmark here

It was already late in the morning, in which Mato had to ask since all of the members are already in the living area except for one.Bookmark here

“Hey, Jean. Is G still not awake?”Bookmark here

“Hmm… I don’t think so. He’s still sleeping when I woke up.”Bookmark here

“I see… So it has come to this point.”Bookmark here

“What now, Gin?”Bookmark here

“It will be hard to explain… but please let Rin and I be out on work for a while…”Bookmark here

Nagi frowned, “Dude. Your voice is getting raspy.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… right? Sorry to tell you… but I’m actually beginning to burn up right now…”Bookmark here

Rin then hurriedly went beside Gin and touched his neck, which she vigorously released.Bookmark here

“Gin… This fever isn’t at random, right…?”Bookmark here

“Yeah…” Gin started whispering, “G… he asked to let him see my memories…”Bookmark here


Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That's it for 054!Bookmark here

When you thought the 0-60 was slow, but then it went to 100 real quick. My braincells have left me.Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

055: You just saw the life of a weirdo.Bookmark here

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