Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
"Kyohei-san~! Do you know the way in the mountains?"
I sure am hearing that correctly.
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.
Wow. Talk about We*thering with You vibes.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
AGAIN WITH THE REFERENCES I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW! Aka-san… Erase my memories regarding the movie spoilers… It's too early!!!
After this rant of mine in my head, Kyohei-san, who has lived for many years in this area, replied.
"I do know how to navigate… but if you're planning to, I think it's fine to just climb anywhere."
"That won't do, Kyohei-san. I'll surely get lost deeply in if I just wander off without directions."
"Ah… you have a point."
I whispered, "You know, you can jump at a height where you can see everything, right?"
"That also won't do, Rin. I can't be destroying nature more."
My head flinched as I blinked. "Am I really talking to Potato?"
"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.
No what am I saying… What the… It should be on the 19th…"
Ahhh. So he got done in too, huh.
"What are you going to do in the mountain anyway?"
"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."
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.
Or… humanity's poop?
~ ~ ~
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.
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.
"Alright. See you later, Rin. I'll come back alive!" and there he goes taking off on a normal sprint… towards the downhill.
"Gin-san…! That's the wrong direction!" Kyohei-san shouted while Gin continues to run farther.
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.
"Ah…! Take care, Gin!" and I walked in hoping that he heard it.
With that, I completely ran out of things to do.
▪ ▪ ▪
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Are you two from the inn up ahead?"
"Ah, y-yes, we are."
The elderly man chuckled, "It is rare to see such good children in this day and age…"
His happiness was communicable that it was able to make me smile.
"Do you mind if we have a seat with you, grandpa?"
"Yes, yes. I see that these maidens' hearts are as calm as the surroundings right now."
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.
"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."
"Where is she now?" Shiro asked.
"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."
I imagined the warm scene in my mind, and then I asked, "Are you by yourself in your house?"
"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."
"It does look like a big family."
"I guess it is. I really am blessed to have children like them.
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.
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."
Everything then clicked in one place.
"Oh… I think you are talking about my significant other."
"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."
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.
"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.
Even at this age, I am still getting quite jealous. But he is different—despite his youth, he acts beyond it."
The sides of him that I haven't really seen—I wonder if he had thought of the same thing about me.
"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?"
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.
But for you, young lady, I hope that nothing very miserable will happen to you."
Do you think that I will also feel the same way about my family when I grow old?"
"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."
"That's right… the present…
But even so, I think I would still be happy even if my hair turns gray."
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.
I wonder what that young woman meant by that…"
~ ~ ~
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.
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.
"Ossu~ can I apply as your assistant again, Yuuga?"
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.
But… G is also there ever so nonchalantly with what looks to be rough storyboards on his hand.
"Ah… W-What's going on, G…?"
"See that now, Yuuga? I told you Gin and Ringo are tight-lipped."
"Yeah, yeah… I get you now."
So basically… G already knows that Yuuga is Yuuki Amagami for whatever reason.
▪ ▪ ▪
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.
"That's half a mountain spruced up, I guess… I'll wait for you guys to grow."
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.
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.
"I guess I'll ask Anna to clean my walls…"
He jumped down exactly in front of the doorway and rotated his key to the doorknob.
"I'm home. At least for a minute."
Lying down, Anna's upper half appeared from the semi-wall with a look of slight surprise.
"Nii? Wait, you look like you came out of a garbage bin!"
"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.
Everything's fine here?"
"Nothing was damaged so your windows are fine. Though I saw a dog surfing on a styrofoam yesterday."
"Oh, so this street became a river again. Wait, I wanna see that brave dog!"
The dog is still very fine and healthy.
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.
Before wearing back his shoes, Anna gave her a box.
"I'm lending you all those YUNO cards so take care of it."
It was the three decks of the cards back in chapter 34.
"Finally I have something to do! Thanks, Anna!" Gin then took off.
"Is he that happy to get twenty dumb cards on his hands?"
~ ~ ~
Meanwhile, the engawa of the inn became a very popular place to be at peace.
It's already nine. I wonder if that idiot actually got lost in the mountain.
"What are doing here by yourself, ojou-san?"
So he wasn't. Gin who just appeared sat beside me on the porch. Haku then meowed as he goes back inside.
"(I want to watch an anime-like scene. Go sit beside her, Aruji.)"
"Shut it, Haku."
"You went to work?"
"I had to check on the house since I was already covered in filth from the mountain."
"I see. I wonder how many trees you have planted back there."
"Oh, you knew?"
Gazing on the clear, starry sky, I leaned my head on his shoulder and close my eyes.
"I love you, Gin."
That came out so randomly. Now what's the reason?"
"My reason is because I love you."
"It makes sense that you don't make any sense, Rin. I wonder what's gotten into this girl."
"Already had dinner?"
I answered, "Yep."
"That's good. I would have been worried if you haven't yet."
"I love our family."
"Now, don't get emotional. I love you too, by the way."
It looks like only Haku was the only one who heard us.
▪ ▪ ▪
The chickens are clucking once again.
"Who wants to play YUNO?"
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.
"Alright, give me seven." Of all the people, I heard that from Mato-sen.
"Mato-sen… Shouldn't we be working on the wall now that the weather is good?"
Oh, thank goodness Yuuga asked.
I guess that's salary deduction for me."
This teacher is done for.
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.
Although, I don't remember anymore how our three-deck game back in December ended up.
Flying apples… how is the first card on the pile a wild card?
Since I was beside Gin, of course the color will be…
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.
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.
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.
"You sure you shuffled this properly, Gin?"
"Heh. It is all the occurrence of probability, Nagi. Who knows, maybe someone here may get a shorter end of the stick."
Ten minutes later.
…Nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen… Gin has drawn sixteen incompatible cards.
"All is according to probability, right, Gin~?" Nagi teased with a cat face.
"Yeah, yeah. Hahh…"
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?
Oh, at least a +2 came out… but why does it have to be me to draw the two…
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.
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.
That's what she said~♪
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.
It was all fun and games until Yuuga discarded a card… and there is just one more card on his hand!
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.
"PENALTY…!" I shouted.
Eyes widened in despair, Yuuga pulled his hair. "I forgot to say it…! Aaaahhhhhh!"
Kyohei-san then spoke, "Alright then, the person who shouted penalty has to give the sanction. Ringo-san, go ahead."
At this point, we're already making up things, so why not ride the wave?
"Okay~! Everyone, take out all of your +2!"
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.
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.
Have we been playing for forty minutes already?
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.
But the final count of our cards is painful…
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.
We still had to reset the draw pile from the discard since we still managed to empty the pile.
~ ~ ~
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.
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.
"Potato, you mentioned Spyfall last time, right?"
"Oh, yeah. I remember saying that before drooping on Roomsky Kornerkov.
I guess we should play a quick round."
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.
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.
But the time of eight minutes began, and the questions began from Akira.
"Alright, Jean. Is your role something that concerns the floor?"
"Of course. Everyone here does."
Because Jean was asked, now it is his turn.
"Ringo, are you usually sitting or on foot?"
Well, so far, I am surprised that their questions are very safe and unclear.
"It depends on my mood.
Alright, then. Same question, Nacchi."
"Hmm. I'm always standing.
Shiro, give me a color that you see at where we are."
Then Gin, is there a time when you have to run?"
"I do, although seldom. My question is for Rin. In your role, do you like seeing people?"
Wow. Can this get vaguer than how it is now?
"It's not that I like people, but I do see them even if not many times.
Ok, Potato. Is your role tiring?"
"Good question. I get tired, but I don't know if the others are more tired than me.
Alright, Shiro. What time do you regularly wake up?"
"Pretty early. Maybe earlier than you guys. So then, Akira, give an example of something that you regularly hold."
"Let's see… Something that I hold, huh. Right, a stress ball."
"Oho~?" Gin reacted.
Of all the times where he can pull a poker face, why not now, Potato?
Akira then asked, "Tell me something that you wouldn't want to lose, Gin."
"An umbrella. Jean, pick one: bus, train, or public cab?"
"There's no train here, so cab.
Shiro, who is the father of Icarus?"
Nagi, how many hours do sleep in a day?"
"Eight hours. There might be extra if I'm slacking off in my work.
Gin, give me a situation in this place."
"I got con… I… I learned some kind of truth…!"
"Stop the time!" Shiro stood up cheerfully. "I am the spy."
"Wow. So confident," Nacchi commended.
"The location is the school!"
Akira clapped, "Correct, Shiro! How did you know, though?"
"It's because Gin had a slip."
"Ugh…! I should have said that I hit my shin…! Why of all the things that was the first that came to mind…!"
"Out of curiosity, Shiro, what was Gin about to say?" finally getting his interest caught, Akira asked.
"You're really going to say it, huh, Shiro…"
"Yep. What Gin nearly said was, 'I got confessed by a girl.'"
The two gentlemen then distrustfully looked at the potato who is slowly getting mashed. I need to prepare the gravy.
On the other hand though, Shiro is indeed the spy while Akira is the principal, Nagi is a janitor, Jean is a tea-
"In your dreams, Gin."
"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."
"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."
"And it pains me to say, but I actually let her hug Potato just for once…"
Then who's the girl?!" Nacchi and Akira asked with one hand each on Gin's collar even though he doesn't have it.
"C-Can the girls just keep it a secret…?" on an uncharacteristically meek voice, Gin pleaded.
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…
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.
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.
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?
"You're spacing out, huh."
"What do you mean, Gin?"
"Well, the four already left this room."
"Oh. I guess, I really am spacing out. Hahaha."
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.
"You know, Gin. You've been staring at me for quite a while now."
"Oh. So you're not spacing out anymore?"
"Hahahahaha. It's just that that gentle smile you have right now is beautiful," he smiled back.
I thought, the present indeed…
Mhm. Am I really?"
That concludes 058!
Man I so want to draw the last part of this chapter.
Thanks for reading!
059: Our lives' then and now.