Chapter 59:

058 – Trees, YUNO, and Spyfall

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

"Kyohei-san~! Do you know the way in the mountains?"Bookmark here

‹Rin›Bookmark here

I sure am hearing that correctly.Bookmark here

Three days have gone by after nothing significant happened over the duration of the storm apart from watching other houses' roofs flying off to the infinity and beyond. Thankfully, this purely Japanese structure survived the storm without severe casualties. But I have to say, it has been a while since I experienced this strong of a storm, and that it was moving a turtle's pace of 10-15km/h. And so, those days were easily wasted because the sky literally just opened up as the sunrays that looked like wide beams pierced through the clouds.Bookmark here

Wow. Talk about We*thering with You vibes.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

.Bookmark here

What just happened to me… Today is the second day of July… How come I have said that… when the movie will be out on the 19th?!Bookmark here

The others were confused as to why I freaked out on the yard for fifteen minutes. I came back to watching on the TV anyway, and that is when I heard Gin with the question on the very first paragraph of this chapter.Bookmark here

Setting that mystery aside, I have to roughly quote what Haku apparently said: Gin's reactions were funny while they lasted. I have to be honest, he was a pain. He was so depressed about how the power went out when he finally got his mood back, and it took him until yesterday to actually recover. Although I guess part of it was because of me since I was a bit cold towards him because I got irritated with that blockhead.Bookmark here

However, we were all fine apart from him. Even Mitsumi-san who was lamenting on how she might get fired cheered up in an instant. Just like how the rain and the clouds immediately disappeared in the movie.Bookmark here

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AGAIN WITH THE REFERENCES I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW! Aka-san… Erase my memories regarding the movie spoilers… It's too early!!!Bookmark here

After this rant of mine in my head, Kyohei-san, who has lived for many years in this area, replied.Bookmark here

"I do know how to navigate… but if you're planning to, I think it's fine to just climb anywhere."Bookmark here

"That won't do, Kyohei-san. I'll surely get lost deeply in if I just wander off without directions."Bookmark here

"Ah… you have a point."Bookmark here

I whispered, "You know, you can jump at a height where you can see everything, right?"Bookmark here

"That also won't do, Rin. I can't be destroying nature more."Bookmark here

My head flinched as I blinked. "Am I really talking to Potato?"Bookmark here

"Well you know, the rain really did a thing and a half in the country, and it just so happened that the sky opened up. Though it might come back in a few hours after being intentionally stopped so I better be quick.Bookmark here

No what am I saying… What the… It should be on the 19th…"Bookmark here

Ahhh. So he got done in too, huh.Bookmark here

"What are you going to do in the mountain anyway?"Bookmark here

"Something, something. No bears or any animals will be hunted or harmed so we're clear on that. I just want to fix the annoying flood in Ginga."Bookmark here

And I forgot to mention that, I see. The two of us are checking up on what's happening back in our house, and things are stinky, if not dicey. The last time we checked from our family two hours ago, the flood on White Street was about a thigh's height. But even after the canals were declogged prior to the storm, the floodwater still looks like gross goop. If I were to guess, Potato and I will probably go back home to shovel the poop of Earth that humanity made.Bookmark here

Or… humanity's poop?Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Of course, we still haven't continued our mural work for the sake of complete recovery after the typhoon. But Potato and G did wonders to the security of the mural as it was left unscathed after all those natural beatings.Bookmark here

And so, it really seems like Potato is going up on the mountain, seeing that he took a bag with him and immediately wore a pair of gloves. Currently at two in the afternoon, the weather is now quite fair.Bookmark here

"Alright. See you later, Rin. I'll come back alive!" and there he goes taking off on a normal sprint… towards the downhill.Bookmark here

"Gin-san…! That's the wrong direction!" Kyohei-san shouted while Gin continues to run farther.Bookmark here

Disappointed, the two of us were left standing behind the gates because of some kind of stupidity. But a few second later, he went past the inn, faster, to the direction of the mountain with a sack on his shoulder.Bookmark here

"Ah…! Take care, Gin!" and I walked in hoping that he heard it.Bookmark here

With that, I completely ran out of things to do.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

I have not heard of an official statement from the meteorologists if ever the summer season has finally ended, now that July just started. But I was wondering about the cold breeze which is probably just brought by the storm. I will not complain about it, however.Bookmark here

I had that thought because I actually needed to wear a jacket when I decided to take a walk around the hill with Shiro since there was nothing to do in the inn. The road has finally dried out and the sun is popping in and out over the clouds. At this time of the year, twenty-five degrees is mainly felt at midnight or dawn but the wind sure is cold especially on this altitude.Bookmark here

There was however something that caught our attention just after ten blocks away from the inn. An elderly man was sitting on a bench in front of what seems to be his house. Beside the bench there are three full sacks leaning on the wall. It was not much of what took my attention, but it was the book that the man is reading. I did not know the book itself, but it looked like a novel.Bookmark here

As if I didn't hear a sound, he took out the bookmark and placed it back on the open leaves and closed the book. He took notice of us and smiled with a question.Bookmark here

"Are you two from the inn up ahead?"Bookmark here

"Ah, y-yes, we are."Bookmark here

The elderly man chuckled, "It is rare to see such good children in this day and age…"Bookmark here

His happiness was communicable that it was able to make me smile.Bookmark here

"Do you mind if we have a seat with you, grandpa?"Bookmark here

"Yes, yes. I see that these maidens' hearts are as calm as the surroundings right now."Bookmark here

We then took a seat. The feeling was very different from when we were still looking. Somehow, it felt so relaxing just by having a seat while watching the fog on the view of the horizon and the lower altitude. The silence was rather calming, and the natural noise was solitary, yet it puts me at ease.Bookmark here

"Don't mind what I told you earlier. It was just something I used to tell my daughter when I see her with that smile."Bookmark here

"Where is she now?" Shiro asked.Bookmark here

"She is now on a much more rural province in the northern Orio with her husband and daughter. I still remember… her gentle smile came back when she had her child. She was so ecstatic that she cried."Bookmark here

I imagined the warm scene in my mind, and then I asked, "Are you by yourself in your house?"Bookmark here

"Right now, I am living with my other daughter together with his husband, and a grandchild from my son. My daughter just got married last year, but his husband decided to live here with her family."Bookmark here

"It does look like a big family."Bookmark here

"I guess it is. I really am blessed to have children like them.Bookmark here

And there is that one child I just met a few days ago, who is the same age as my grandson. Although he's about to turn twenty but his youth still has its enthusiasm. You see those sacks right there? Those are all tree saplings. The number of loggers is increasing in the area, so I wanted to plant them in the mountain with my family after we have adjusted from the typhoon. But it will still take us a lot of time by ourselves.Bookmark here

The young man was also from Chikami. He asked me if he can plant two of our sacks in the mountain while it is adequately wet. Just earlier, he ran with a sack on his shoulder towards the mountain. And boy, was his smile so bright."Bookmark here

Everything then clicked in one place.Bookmark here

"Oh… I think you are talking about my significant other."Bookmark here

"Ohohoho… Young lady, I am now seeing a lovely wife for that young Gin. He has his own brightness and looming sadness; while you have your gentleness and awkwardness. Dare I say, you two make a really good couple."Bookmark here

At this point, I'm very used to hear things about Gin and I from other people. But an opinion of an elderly towards us was very different because it holds so much wisdom. I became flustered, even to the point that the corner of my eyes teared while my cheeks have turned red.Bookmark here

"I-I'm flattered…"Bookmark here

"Young Gin really loves his family, I see. Looking back, I was late to realize what it means to value family, but I'm very thankful that now I had such wonderful children even if my wife is approaching her deathbed. It was my children that made her feel what I was unable to give her.Bookmark here

Even at this age, I am still getting quite jealous. But he is different—despite his youth, he acts beyond it."Bookmark here

The sides of him that I haven't really seen—I wonder if he had thought of the same thing about me.Bookmark here

"Grandpa… Have you ever thought through the years of wanting to be rid of the pain, or at least not experience so much of it?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I'm honestly surprised that at such a young age, you have the perception to ask about it. But I did, of course. Even if someone is not afraid of dying, what is frightening is dying with so much pain.Bookmark here

But for you, young lady, I hope that nothing very miserable will happen to you."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Do you think that I will also feel the same way about my family when I grow old?"Bookmark here

"Young lady, and you too," she looked at Shiro, "the past has ended, and the future hasn't happened. We live in this present, so think more of what is here while you can. I know that you two can do better than me."Bookmark here

"That's right… the present…Bookmark here

But even so, I think I would still be happy even if my hair turns gray."Bookmark here

The two of us then stood up and said our goodbyes to the man. Somehow, Shiro and I came back in the inn with lively, but calm hearts.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I wonder what that young woman meant by that…"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Finally knowing what Gin was up to, I was not surprised that he still hasn't come back after two hours of being in the mountain. I did wonder how many saplings has he planted already, though.Bookmark here

While there is still nothing for me to do in the inn, I did not want to spoil the happiness I received. Finally having an idea of what to do, I went towards the front of Yuuga's room and knocked.Bookmark here

"Ossu~ can I apply as your assistant again, Yuuga?"Bookmark here

I opened the door, but did not find him alone. I am seeing him working on his tablet which just means that he is working on the twentieth chapter of Flower of the Unknown.Bookmark here

But… G is also there ever so nonchalantly with what looks to be rough storyboards on his hand.Bookmark here

"Ah… W-What's going on, G…?"Bookmark here

"See that now, Yuuga? I told you Gin and Ringo are tight-lipped."Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah… I get you now."Bookmark here

So basically… G already knows that Yuuga is Yuuki Amagami for whatever reason.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

A few more minutes after Rin's discovery, the mountain has begun to be deprived of light even though it was still bright out. On Gin's left hand are two empty sacks while his right forearm sweeps away the sweat on his forehead. There he stood around an array of young trees all over in every direction his eyes fall on. There were very obvious traces of severed trunks that are cut clean horizontally before the roots. Some are still freshly cut, while some are also growing algae and small leaves around. He sat on one of them while catching his breath and looked up on the openings of light above.Bookmark here

"That's half a mountain spruced up, I guess… I'll wait for you guys to grow."Bookmark here

As he was walking his way out of the forest, he taught of coming back to the inn, as what would be the most logical thing to do. But he looked at himself from his feet to his arms. He began running until he just passed the inn and leaped a height following the downhill road.Bookmark here

In no time, he landed on the roof of his house gently while observing on the afternoon scene of the White Street. The road is still damp and not completely rid of mud, which is how it is always intended to be to let a lighter rain wash the road. But the bright colored walls of the neighbor's houses caught his sight, as countless splatters of dry mud have stuck on them. It was a disgusting contrast, he thought.Bookmark here

"I guess I'll ask Anna to clean my walls…"Bookmark here

He jumped down exactly in front of the doorway and rotated his key to the doorknob.Bookmark here

"I'm home. At least for a minute."Bookmark here

Lying down, Anna's upper half appeared from the semi-wall with a look of slight surprise.Bookmark here

"Nii? Wait, you look like you came out of a garbage bin!"Bookmark here

"I did a lot of tree planting today. I'll be here until later tonight after I get back from work. I need to take a shower, though.Bookmark here

Everything's fine here?"Bookmark here

"Nothing was damaged so your windows are fine. Though I saw a dog surfing on a styrofoam yesterday."Bookmark here

"Oh, so this street became a river again. Wait, I wanna see that brave dog!"Bookmark here

The dog is still very fine and healthy.Bookmark here

After finishing work at the restaurant he brought home cupcakes from a nearby pastry shop and let her little sister have it all while taking one for himself before leaving to the inn.Bookmark here

Before wearing back his shoes, Anna gave her a box.Bookmark here

"What's this?"Bookmark here

"I'm lending you all those YUNO cards so take care of it."Bookmark here

It was the three decks of the cards back in chapter 34.Bookmark here

"Finally I have something to do! Thanks, Anna!" Gin then took off.Bookmark here

"Is he that happy to get twenty dumb cards on his hands?"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the engawa of the inn became a very popular place to be at peace.Bookmark here

‹Rin›Bookmark here

It's already nine. I wonder if that idiot actually got lost in the mountain. Bookmark here

"What are doing here by yourself, ojou-san?"Bookmark here

So he wasn't. Gin who just appeared sat beside me on the porch. Haku then meowed as he goes back inside.Bookmark here

"(I want to watch an anime-like scene. Go sit beside her, Aruji.)"Bookmark here

"Shut it, Haku."Bookmark here

"You went to work?"Bookmark here

"I had to check on the house since I was already covered in filth from the mountain."Bookmark here

"I see. I wonder how many trees you have planted back there."Bookmark here

"Oh, you knew?"Bookmark here

Gazing on the clear, starry sky, I leaned my head on his shoulder and close my eyes.Bookmark here

"I love you, Gin."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

That came out so randomly. Now what's the reason?"Bookmark here

"My reason is because I love you."Bookmark here

"It makes sense that you don't make any sense, Rin. I wonder what's gotten into this girl."Bookmark here

"Already had dinner?"Bookmark here

I answered, "Yep."Bookmark here

"That's good. I would have been worried if you haven't yet."Bookmark here

"I love our family."Bookmark here

"Now, don't get emotional. I love you too, by the way."Bookmark here

It looks like only Haku was the only one who heard us.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

The chickens are clucking once again.Bookmark here

"Who wants to play YUNO?"Bookmark here

It's already nine in the morning, and Gin actually has the guts to ask that while we should be going back to work on doing the mural.Bookmark here

"Alright, give me seven." Of all the people, I heard that from Mato-sen.Bookmark here

"Mato-sen… Shouldn't we be working on the wall now that the weather is good?"Bookmark here

Oh, thank goodness Yuuga asked.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I guess that's salary deduction for me."Bookmark here

This teacher is done for.Bookmark here

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Anyways, the thirteen of us, Kyohei-san, Yuzuri-san, and Mitsumi-san included, all sat around the table in the living space while Gin distributes seven random cards for everyone. There was however a mutual worry in some of us because of Mori's past case, and that he refused to join the last time we asked him. But that was when he still can't see colors. It seems that he is unfazed of it by now.Bookmark here

Although, I don't remember anymore how our three-deck game back in December ended up.Bookmark here

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Flying apples… how is the first card on the pile a wild card?Bookmark here

Since I was beside Gin, of course the color will be…Bookmark here

"Red."Bookmark here

An 8 got placed down, and the rest was the identity of being red until G placed a green 6, which was then followed up by a skip.Bookmark here

I don't even know how many cards have been discarded since the game was going quick. But it seems that we have found the first victim. After a blue 7 has been placed down, Nagi, who is next to Yuuga has taken eleven cards before he got a compatible one. His hands are already packed.Bookmark here

And just a disclaimer, we don't even know if we are following the official rules of the game, but even it is not, YUNO breaks friendships.Bookmark here

"You sure you shuffled this properly, Gin?"Bookmark here

"Heh. It is all the occurrence of probability, Nagi. Who knows, maybe someone here may get a shorter end of the stick."Bookmark here

Ten minutes later.Bookmark here

…Nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen… Gin has drawn sixteen incompatible cards.Bookmark here

"All is according to probability, right, Gin~?" Nagi teased with a cat face.Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah. Hahh…"Bookmark here

But there's something that I know that everyone of us have found weird. The draw pile has gotten down to half, and yet I don't think any of us have seen a Draw 4 landing on the discard or even have one on our hands. I know to myself that the potato that is holding more than twenty cards will not dare to cheat the game, but is it so coincidental to think that all of the Draw 4 is on the lower half of the draw pile?Bookmark here

Oh, at least a +2 came out… but why does it have to be me to draw the two…Bookmark here

Ok, Mori just dropped five cards in one go, which makes him the person with the least cards. But seriously, a lot of things is happening around the table. Mitsumi-san can't even hide her intentions with that grievous glare she's directing towards her senpai.Bookmark here

Yep. She landed the first Draw 4 on Yuzuri-san. And another of the same to Mato-sen coming from G. I guess the mystery wasn't that weird after all.Bookmark here

That's what she said~♪Bookmark here

Talk about having no emotions in the past. Not a muscle in Gin’s face has budged ever since the beginning, and now he only have three cards on his hands. I don't even know if I should be scared about that face or not… Oh thank goodness he drew from a +2.Bookmark here

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It was all fun and games until Yuuga discarded a card… and there is just one more card on his hand!Bookmark here

Subtly, all of our eyes directed a glare at him while sitting there so confidently with only one card remaining on his hand. One card! In unison or not, we counted up to five seconds in our heads, until it reached five.Bookmark here

"PENALTY…!" I shouted.Bookmark here

Eyes widened in despair, Yuuga pulled his hair. "I forgot to say it…! Aaaahhhhhh!"Bookmark here

Kyohei-san then spoke, "Alright then, the person who shouted penalty has to give the sanction. Ringo-san, go ahead."Bookmark here

At this point, we're already making up things, so why not ride the wave?Bookmark here

"Okay~! Everyone, take out all of your +2!"Bookmark here

"YUNO!"Bookmark here

Now this is some high level reaction face. His face literally turned The Scream. In front of him are seven cards of +2, which means that he has to draw 14 cards.Bookmark here

But unbelievably, it was Mori of all people that got to call out after landing the requested card. Since three decks will be painstakingly long to play, we all agreed to just end the game once one person empties out his or her hand.Bookmark here

Have we been playing for forty minutes already?Bookmark here

Bookmark here

That looked so rushed and badly paced, but oh well. We got a winner out of Mori. I guess one would say that it is his comeback for being unable to play because of his vision.Bookmark here

But the final count of our cards is painful…Bookmark here

Yuuga, in spite of having a penalty ended up with 5, G and Yuzuri-san had 7, Mato-sen had 9, Nacchi got 10, Kyohei-san had 14, Shiro had 16, me, Akira and Jean got 17… while Potato and Mitsumi-san had… 32.Bookmark here

We still had to reset the draw pile from the discard since we still managed to empty the pile.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

After that, the adults… who didn't act like ones when playing earlier went back to their own business along with some others in the club, especially Yuuga who came back to making the beta of his pages.Bookmark here

Now that the living area had become quiet, the old ones of the Art Club remained. And it just so happened that I recalled a suggestion a few days ago.Bookmark here

"Potato, you mentioned Spyfall last time, right?"Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah. I remember saying that before drooping on Roomsky Kornerkov.Bookmark here

I guess we should play a quick round."Bookmark here

With that, we created a server for the six of us, in which it seems the location is the school. How did I know that? I'm a guidance counselor, of course.Bookmark here

That means that one of us is indeed a spy. However, the school being the location will be tricky since the spy can easily catch on. Being direct or vague really is a double-edged sword.Bookmark here

But the time of eight minutes began, and the questions began from Akira.Bookmark here

"Alright, Jean. Is your role something that concerns the floor?"Bookmark here

"Of course. Everyone here does."Bookmark here

Because Jean was asked, now it is his turn.Bookmark here

"Ringo, are you usually sitting or on foot?"Bookmark here

Well, so far, I am surprised that their questions are very safe and unclear.Bookmark here

"It depends on my mood.Bookmark here

Alright, then. Same question, Nacchi."Bookmark here

"Hmm. I'm always standing.Bookmark here

Shiro, give me a color that you see at where we are."Bookmark here

"Green.Bookmark here

Then Gin, is there a time when you have to run?"Bookmark here

"I do, although seldom. My question is for Rin. In your role, do you like seeing people?"Bookmark here

Wow. Can this get vaguer than how it is now?Bookmark here

"It's not that I like people, but I do see them even if not many times.Bookmark here

Ok, Potato. Is your role tiring?"Bookmark here

"Good question. I get tired, but I don't know if the others are more tired than me.Bookmark here

Alright, Shiro. What time do you regularly wake up?"Bookmark here

"Pretty early. Maybe earlier than you guys. So then, Akira, give an example of something that you regularly hold."Bookmark here

"Let's see… Something that I hold, huh. Right, a stress ball."Bookmark here

"Oho~?" Gin reacted.Bookmark here

Of all the times where he can pull a poker face, why not now, Potato?Bookmark here

Akira then asked, "Tell me something that you wouldn't want to lose, Gin."Bookmark here

"An umbrella. Jean, pick one: bus, train, or public cab?"Bookmark here

"There's no train here, so cab.Bookmark here

Shiro, who is the father of Icarus?"Bookmark here

"Daedalus.Bookmark here

Nagi, how many hours do sleep in a day?"Bookmark here

"Eight hours. There might be extra if I'm slacking off in my work.Bookmark here

Gin, give me a situation in this place."Bookmark here

"I got con… I… I learned some kind of truth…!"Bookmark here

"Stop the time!" Shiro stood up cheerfully. "I am the spy."Bookmark here

"Wow. So confident," Nacchi commended.Bookmark here

"The location is the school!"Bookmark here

Akira clapped, "Correct, Shiro! How did you know, though?"Bookmark here

"It's because Gin had a slip."Bookmark here

"Ugh…! I should have said that I hit my shin…! Why of all the things that was the first that came to mind…!"Bookmark here

"Out of curiosity, Shiro, what was Gin about to say?" finally getting his interest caught, Akira asked.Bookmark here

"You're really going to say it, huh, Shiro…"Bookmark here

"Yep. What Gin nearly said was, 'I got confessed by a girl.'"Bookmark here

The two gentlemen then distrustfully looked at the potato who is slowly getting mashed. I need to prepare the gravy.Bookmark here

On the other hand though, Shiro is indeed the spy while Akira is the principal, Nagi is a janitor, Jean is a tea-Bookmark here

"In your dreams, Gin."Bookmark here

"Yeah. I may always be out of the loop because of being stuck in the office, but I'm sure as heck that it didn't happen apart from Ringo."Bookmark here

"Uhh.… Nagi, Akira. I actually heard it when the girl confessed to Gin. I was eavesdropping though since I can't find a time to enter the Art Room."Bookmark here

"And it pains me to say, but I actually let her hug Potato just for once…"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Then who's the girl?!" Nacchi and Akira asked with one hand each on Gin's collar even though he doesn't have it.Bookmark here

"C-Can the girls just keep it a secret…?" on an uncharacteristically meek voice, Gin pleaded.Bookmark here

Watching them in their ruckus, I chuckled weakly until I can't force to stop my smile. Seeing them like this is my own little happiness. It seems that what the elderly man told us really stuck on me a lot. What it means to be a family; what it means to be a lover…Bookmark here

They are all encompassed by calmness and gentleness. Time will come when we will not always be together anymore, just like how it might be for Shiro. But it really does not mean that everything will end. It's just that every one of us has a life of their own—thus, our paths.Bookmark here

I guess there is nothing wrong with looking back even if it was a painful past, or worrying about what comes next in the future. But I might have been thinking of it too much that I'm kind of forgetting that I am in the present.Bookmark here

I wonder what really a gentle smile that the grandfather told us is. Was it something that I have already done, or something that I can see for myself in a tomorrow?Bookmark here

"Hey, Rin."Bookmark here

"Hmm?"Bookmark here

"You're spacing out, huh."Bookmark here

"What do you mean, Gin?"Bookmark here

"Well, the four already left this room."Bookmark here

"Oh. I guess, I really am spacing out. Hahaha."Bookmark here

But as he is leaning his chin on his palm, I haven't seen him shift his eyes anywhere. He was just staring at me without looking away.Bookmark here

"You know, Gin. You've been staring at me for quite a while now."Bookmark here

"Oh. So you're not spacing out anymore?"Bookmark here

"I'm not!Bookmark here

"Hahahahaha. It's just that that gentle smile you have right now is beautiful," he smiled back.Bookmark here

I thought, the present indeed…Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

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Mhm. Am I really?"

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That concludes 058!Bookmark here

Man I so want to draw the last part of this chapter.Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

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059: Our lives' then and now.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.