Chapter 61:

060 – Colossal Conclusion

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


July 6.Bookmark here

‹Yuuga›Bookmark here

Good for me; I am actually still asleep when my alarm rings unlike the many times I wake up before that. Heck, that happens even when I'm sleep deprived. I am very glad anyway that I am actually getting decent sleep in the past few days. Weirdly enough, even while I am busy doing my share of work in the mural, I sent the primary, digital copy of chapter 20 to Kuni-san days before the deadline, and with the typesetting done in English, to top it off.Bookmark here

And so, I'm having a little break for myself before… My word, I can't believe Flower of the Unkown is going to end in the next issue, and I haven't even drawn anything yet.Bookmark here

Realizing that I might be procrastinating a bit too long now, I got up with eyes still squinting before a bitter look around this lonesome bedroom. I have done the entire chapter digitally, but I figured that it would be useless to ask myself how I have so much scrap papers scattered around the room and several bottles with energy drinks actually none. It was however not the case of only setting aside my futon… or rather, it has to be aired outside.Bookmark here

"Guess I'll go clean…"Bookmark here

6:33am is what the time of my phones says, and I was not blind to not notice a text message that was sent to me at 10pm last night. I can't believe that I actually slept at past eight. Without even opening the notification, it already says that it was from Mina, in which there's no point in telling what her message says. I'll just keep it to myself.Bookmark here

In an attempt to see if she is already awake at this time, I called the third number on my speed dial while taking off from my room to at least tidy my head.Bookmark here

"Hey there. Good morning from the mountains, Mina."Bookmark here

"Morning!"Bookmark here

"You are full of energy so early in the morning as usual…"Bookmark here

"I got to hear your voice after weeks that it made me so happy right now! I… miss you, you know…"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Hahh… I really can't get used to that assertiveness. And your level of happiness is shallow."Bookmark here

I have to say, it has been around two months since we finally settled our petty conflicts that involved the fact that Mina likes me. If you look back to that chapter, nothing really has changed apart from closing a certain distance with her. It was like a very slow game of hopscotch. I say that nothing really has changed, and yet she had become more open to me, and so that cheeky attempt earlier to make me flustered. That said, I don't even know why we haven't talked through calls while I'm away.Bookmark here

I do feel bad about making her wait, though. My mind at this point is still confused, now that I am trying to understand what exactly my feelings towards Mina are. She had made it clear that she is enamored, but I'm still on the process of making my head clear. There is no doubt that I ask myself as I, a degenerate that has no romantic experience, am getting praises from my manga.Bookmark here

But maybe then, I might be looking at our relationship on a textbook or a dictionary manner. If so, maybe it is time to close the book and think again.Bookmark here

"Anyway, it's Saturday today so why are you awake this early?"Bookmark here

"My body clock is still not adjusting…"Bookmark here

"I'm jealous. I don't have body clock like you.Bookmark here

Anyway, already had breakfast?"Bookmark here

"Yep."Bookmark here

"I'm making breakfast for today. What did you eat?"Bookmark here

"I learned making Cajun seasoning recently, and put it on a Jambalaya!"Bookmark here

"I see. I guess I'll ask Gin to teach me how to make the spice if he's already awake, otherwise I'll just make a regular one.Bookmark here

Well, I have to start preparing, so talk to you later."Bookmark here

"Okay!"Bookmark here

"Oh, and if ever I get home early I'll welcome you home on Wednesday."Bookmark here

"Waaahhh~ A husband! But that's so out of character!"Bookmark here

"Ahahahaha. Am I now?"Bookmark here

And the conversation ended.Bookmark here

In light of that realization, there is no way that I will get an answer alone. If I try to ask Gin, I'd rather just ask him about the Cajun spice instead of that, while the same goes for Nagi. My best bet is once again asking Jean for advice. He's a senpai through and through.Bookmark here

But even in the current case between Mina and I, I'm plenty happy with how we are.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

"So before we head out, I'll just give a short summary on what we left yesterday…" Mato-sen again started a short meeting, "We finished all the roughs up to the end of the wall and we have the remaining 9x3 meters to do. If we keep up the pace, I think we can let Nagi and Shiro focus on their FP work for the whole day. Even if we can't finish today, I bet that we can make a 95% progress."Bookmark here

"At least let us do a bit of painting, Mato-sen…" Shiro complained.Bookmark here

"That's up to you two.Bookmark here

Anyone will do gradients? We need to organize our stock of spray one last time."Bookmark here

"I will," called Jean.Bookmark here

Mato-sen took his eyes away from the paper which contains daily assessment of our work and suddenly directed his eyes to me.Bookmark here

"By the way, Yuuga… You asked me to get two meters for yourself, but you barely even touched your roughs. No, it's just that your sketch is so vague. What're you planning to do anyway?"Bookmark here

I responded after a chuckle, "I'm still right on the head, Mato-sen. Also, I won't use any colors apart from black and white, though I will need a lot of layers of white to make a solid color."Bookmark here

"Yuuga, are you really sure about this?" asked Gin.Bookmark here

It seems that Gin caught on with my intentions. I still kept my rough sketch of what looks like people on the said two meters—which are the characters of my manga. Gin's perception really is a force to be reckoned with.Bookmark here

"Don't worry, Gin. I'm now up for it."Bookmark here

"Apples, so there's no stopping you now, huh."Bookmark here

Nagi, who instead of being confused, pulled a bitter face.Bookmark here

"There you go again with that ambiguous talk… Now even Yuuga…"Bookmark here

"Fufufu."Bookmark here

"Now Ringo is giggling! Tell me I'm not the only one who doesn't get it!"Bookmark here

It was indeed the case apart from the three of us.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, we headed out to the site.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Actually, Yuuga… I think you did a dumb move here," frankly, Mato-sen told his opinion.Bookmark here

We do use chalk to make our rough sketches to the concrete wall, and so that is what I of course did to those two meters. While he and I stared at it, I realized an impending mistake that I am bound to make.Bookmark here

If I was to paint the wall purely white, then putting the sketch is useless! Immediately, I took a piece of paper and sketched my concept more cleanly in a hurry.Bookmark here

Mori went over to us, "If you're planning to paint the wall, then I can let you have my charcoal."Bookmark here

"Thanks for the concern, but using charcoal would probably be messy. I will have to say goodbye to my 8B now."Bookmark here

In an hour, I finished coating the 2x1.5 meters of my part. I stepped back to rethink while the paper is on my hand to replicate the image in my mind… But I've been standing in one place without doing anything for twenty minutes.Bookmark here

I heard a can popping beside me, with Jean offering a can of juice to me while G stood beside him.Bookmark here

"Thanks."Bookmark here

"What exactly are you planning to do, Yuuga?" asked Jean.Bookmark here

"Better not ask him, Jean," G butted.Bookmark here

Still with nothing significant coming to mind, I diverted my thoughts and pushed a conversation.Bookmark here

"Are you two on break?"Bookmark here

"Yeah," Jean affirmed.Bookmark here

"Then there's something I'd like to ask you, Jean."Bookmark here

"That came out of nowhere."Bookmark here

"But well… You and Ai-san aren't… you know, dating, right?"Bookmark here

"That's right. We're not rushing."Bookmark here

"About Minase, huh…" suddenly, G mumbled.Bookmark here

I was however genuinely surprised that he knows that name.Bookmark here

"Y-You know about her… G?"Bookmark here

"Ack… So I slipped… Sorry, but I'll tell you about how I knew of it later. Seriously, I'm sorry…Bookmark here

Yu~"Bookmark here

"Agh…! You even know that?"Bookmark here

"So Minase is the name of the girl, huh…" having been asked for advice once, he concluded that it was the name that Yuuga was talking about.Bookmark here

"G, don't tell me you also know what's up with me and Mina."Bookmark here

"I'm really sorry, Yuuga. It's hard to explain right now but it will or will not make sense once I tell you. It will just be either of the two, in the end."Bookmark here

"Well, anyway… I've told Jean that's it's just a few months from May ever since. Is it natural for me to think that I miss her at this point?"Bookmark here

"Well… I don't think I can say for sure… I actually fell for Ai after a few weeks."Bookmark here

G then spoke, "I just realized that we're on the same boat. I'm still not certain about my feelings for Yui, to be honest."Bookmark here

"That's news to me. If that's the case, I guess that it's complicated in your mind, huh."Bookmark here

"You're totally right, Yuuga.Bookmark here

But honestly, I was regretting not talking with her a lot in the opening of the school year. Yeah… I think I miss her too."Bookmark here

Jean sighed, "I should be relating with you two, but I just can't… My realization was so natural and I was unaware of it until we were face to face. It just happened to me.Bookmark here

But I see that you two are aware of your developing feelings. Well, there is an effect when you spend time with them, and when you are away from them.Bookmark here

I think you guys are overthinking it. Just be natural in your head, and don't think too much. You won't get anywhere if you only think of the future. Take it slow, I guess."Bookmark here

"To think that you're the youngest among us…" G joked.Bookmark here

Without much thought or concentration, I started inking on the paper and visualized my characters.Bookmark here

"I see you guys are talking romance," Mato-sen appeared. "Wait, that's some insane fanart you have there, Yuuga! That's from Flower of the Unknown, right?"Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah. That looks so accurate. And to think that you just draw that from memory," Jean added.Bookmark here

"What do you think of this, Mato-sen?"Bookmark here

"You ask that now? I say that your replication is spot on. Can't believe you drew Hana so well."Bookmark here

"So you really read the manga?"Bookmark here

"Yeah. I feel gutted that it will end next month. I regret not going to Yuki's booth when I was in ManCon…"Bookmark here

"Ahahaha… Then give me a sec, Mato-sen."Bookmark here

I took another piece of paper from the bundle and took out a marker, and wrote a quick autograph.Bookmark here

"Here you go, Mato-sen."Bookmark here

His eyes widened, and is about to scream. But G immediately covered his mouth upon opening it. "Keep it a secret for the time being. You too, Jean."Bookmark here

"Huuhhh… Yuuga, what's going on…?" continuously, Jean poked my shoulder.Bookmark here

"It's sad to say, Jean. But the author of Flower of the Unknown actually has no experience in love."Bookmark here

"Wh- What the heck…"Bookmark here

"Hey, Yuuga…! If you don't work on your part, I can't do the top!" From the other side of the road, Akira shouted.Bookmark here

"Ahh. Sorry about that! I promise that I will be quick."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

As the three of us went back to work on our own parts, I accidentally heard a conversation in the middle of the already painted part of the wall. Although, it is inaccurate to say that I was the only one who heard it, since at this point we are all listening while on the move.Bookmark here

Honestly though, I can't believe that they are actually pulling such a quirky stunt. All I hear is a meow.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

A few meters away from the labor group, a camera sat nearly on ground level without being on a tripod. The lens of the camera was being focused by Nagi to a certain cat while Gin also stood behind the lens. While resisting from bursting out of laughter, Shiro crouched and placed a lavalier microphone just before the cat.Bookmark here

After finishing the setup, Nagi briefly explained, "So to bring you up to speed, Haku, we will be asking you five interview questions. Since your Aruji suggested, all of them will be on separate cuts on the video with the first one to have an intro. If you get it, lend me a paw and I will rub your chin."Bookmark here

Having raised a paw to Nagi's palm, they exchanged fluffs.Bookmark here

"Alright, let's do take one, then! Rolling!Bookmark here

So Haku, what do you have to say about people noticing your glaring eyes?"Bookmark here

"Mewr, meow, meewww. (I don't need sympathy from being born like this. You humans need not concern yourselves with this. I was however a proud kitten.)"Bookmark here

On his last sentence, he suddenly looked at the camera.Bookmark here

"Okay, cut."Bookmark here

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"Pfft… HAHAHAHAHAHA…!!! What's with that, Haku?! That's some attitude coming from you! Ahahahaha…!" exclaimed Gin while slamming on the floor. He stopped after getting a crack on the concrete.Bookmark here

"Oi, Gin! You're supposed to jot down what he says!"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Ringo, I think that's the first time I heard him laugh that loud," said Mori. "Have you ever seen him like that before this?"Bookmark here

"Yep. I've already made him crack up a few times.Bookmark here

Mato-sen~ Care to tell what Haku just said?"Bookmark here

He sniggered, "Just wait for the subtitled footage… Buhh…"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Rolling…!Bookmark here

So far, how is your stay in this trip to the mountain?"Bookmark here

"Meow, meeooowww. (Great, really. Though being a cat, I was very stressed because of the storm and the rain. But I made a new friend who likes the peaceful environment while sipping a cup of tea.Bookmark here

Hi there, Kamichi Kyohei!)" he greeted, while once again looking at the camera with a few waves from his paw.Bookmark here

"Guuuunnnnnggggghhhhh…!" Gin started rolling.Bookmark here

"Cut!"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Now what just happened, Mato-sen?!" Rin desperately asked.Bookmark here

"Wow… Gin sure is noisy today," Akira complained. "Wait a sec, G. That's some realistic eye that you're doing there! Is that from memory?"Bookmark here

"Ah, yeah. I was originally going to paint a sneaky picture I took of her when she was asleep on her desk. But I sometimes find myself looking at her eyes, so why not just this?"Bookmark here

"Umm… What are you talking about?"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Here's to another footage, and hoping that Gin will behave since it's useless if I tie him up. Okay, rolling!Bookmark here

Is there a significant moment in this stay that you can tell us?"Bookmark here

"Purr… Meow. (It's giving a spineless guy a spine.)"Bookmark here

"Guuhh-!" this time, Nagi choked while Shiro got flustered upon reading the translation.Bookmark here

"C-Cut…"Bookmark here

The choke was caught on the mic.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Alright, finally done!"Bookmark here

Dropping a thumb sized 8B pencil, Yuuga spread out his arms and shouted.Bookmark here

Mato nudged close to Yuuga and bent down to whisper, "I still can't believe that you're her- I mean, him. But even if in that scale, this is probably your best drawn hair of Fuuji."Bookmark here

"Is that so… Hahaha."Bookmark here

Akira noticed, "Oh? Yuuga, why does those two people on your sketch looks so familiar…?"Bookmark here

"R-Really?Bookmark here

Ah, I forgot to mix a pail of gray paint…!"Bookmark here

Stopping on painting and ogling on the rough sketch, Ginji mumbled next to Rin, "Now that I think about it… Hana looks a lot like Yui, huh?"Bookmark here

Rin had a shudder.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"As a cat, do you have anything you like in particular?"Bookmark here

"Meow. (If I were to say, it would probably be being under a kotatsu with my head out, and seeing Aruji and his Ojou getting along as usual. I am not fancying a fellow cat right now, but I like watching romance anime.)"Bookmark here

After finishing the accurate notes of Gin, he showed it to Nagi while the camera is still on.Bookmark here

"Oh… Then, can you tell us more about the Aruji and Ojou?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Meow? (Is that the fifth question?)"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Isn't it kinda tiring doing that, Yuuga?"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

Although Mori asked, he did not get a response from Yuuga, who is currently painting gray small dots on his white canvas.Bookmark here

After having finished one of the two characters' linework on black paint, he immediately proceeded to replicate how an application of screentone will look like in that scale. Thus, with only his arm moving, as though his nerves concentrated only in it, his mind became absent to the world. His total silence was not due to internal thinking, as the only thought on his mind was nothing apart from thinking that he was doing the final page of his manuscript before turning it over to his editor, when his deadline is in two hours.Bookmark here

Indeed, despite of the stress piling up in the situation in his mind that had already happened in the past, his mind goes blank when faced in front of the crunch time. However, they are all still so far from the given deadline, but no one around him knows what's up on his mind.Bookmark here

‹Yuuga›Bookmark here

I think there's something that you got a little wrong there, Narrator. So even you as the third person is having faults, huh.Bookmark here

‹That is not the case. It is crystal clear that you are in your subconscious, and that your right arm developed a muscle memory. It is you who is trying to change the script.›Bookmark here

Eh… It sounds like I'm being scolded…Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"So you are probably expecting this, but what is your favorite food?"Bookmark here

"Meow. (Tuna.)"Bookmark here

"Ohh. Canned?"Bookmark here

"Meow. (This is your seventh question, but yes. I only eat tuna very seldom to balance my diet, though.)"Bookmark here

"So it's not very different from cats… who… love…Bookmark here

Ha… na…"Bookmark here

Upon tilting his head, Haku looked up at Gin, asking to satisfy his confusion.Bookmark here

"Meow? (Aruji, it should be 'tuna' and not 'hana', right?)"Bookmark here

Surprised that he was asked, he let out a weak chuckle and stopped the recording before standing up from a crouch. Without notice, he carried Haku on his hands.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Nagi, and even Shiro have not moved an inch from where they are. Their lips began to dry out with open mouths, while they gaze towards the wall with their immovable eyes.Bookmark here

"Hey. Don't just stand there, you two," Gin said upon turning his head to the couple, and once again walked to the wall.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

The others have noticed the presence of Nagi and Shiro, who had been watching behind Yuuga for fifteen minutes as he does his part of the wall. Meanwhile, no one has stopped from their work, so much that Gin also helped on Rin's portion with a cat on his head, while Mato finished up packing the left equipment.Bookmark here

There was the feeling of concealed ecstasy and exhilaration contained in the autumn couple's hearts while imagining the illustrated faces of two fictional characters in their mind. Now, however, they are being seen on a white canvas on the wall nearly a meter in size, unlike those from the physical copies, who won't exceed the size of a palm.Bookmark here

Another thirty minutes have passed.Bookmark here

"Potato, those guys are really enjoying this, huh?"Bookmark here

"You know, it will be useless to ask where they got that popcorn. Better just leave them like that."Bookmark here

"Leave them with those unmoving blank faces?"Bookmark here

"Ahahahaha."Bookmark here

"Don't mind if I do~" Catching his breath and wiping his hands clean, Yuuga went over to the two who are quietly sitting down on the sidewalk and took a handful of popcorn from the container. The flavor was butter, which he greatly liked.Bookmark here

"They seriously didn't budge from that, Yuuga?" asked Gin.Bookmark here

"Those two are weirding me out…"Bookmark here

Regardless of the strangeness behind him, he continued to work.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

In the span of 35 minutes, the linework was completed in a third of the duration, and the intricate blots that replicate the screentones were also done for the heroine and the male character. Yet, there was no reaction from the two, even after running out of their snack.Bookmark here

Yuuga stood confused with the brush still bathed on black paint. He then stared on the two space cadets who are not even looking at him, but at the wall. While still staring at them, he positioned his brush towards a blank part of the wall.Bookmark here

There was surprisingly a reaction, although exaggerated when Nagi on the lead quickly approached nearer on the wall. In Yuuga's eyes, he was seeing Nagi with a pair of furry ears on his head and a wagging tail on his back.Bookmark here

Intentionally, he put his brush away from the wall, and Nagi calmed down and came back to his blank face. Again, he placed the brush tip near the wall and Nagi's tail came back just to put it away. He saw the same reaction. Repeating the process one more time, the reaction did not change.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Heh." Yuuga pulled a smug smirk.Bookmark here

Mato smacked him on the head, "Don't tease them."Bookmark here

"Ahahaha. Sorry, sorry."Bookmark here

However, Nagi's pattern of reaction was not some kind of a mystery. On the contrary, he was so easy to read—in which he wishes to see the signature of Yuki Amagami, stroke per stroke.Bookmark here

And so, a legitimate signature of the manga author itself has been painted on the wall.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Flying apples…"Bookmark here

"Don't steal my catchphrase, Shiro," Rin hit Shiro's head while beside her, Nagi stuttered.Bookmark here

"O-Oh my goodness… Surely I'm just dreaming… right… now…"Bookmark here

There was only one thing that is for sure, the heat is not the reason why Nagi suddenly collapsed.Bookmark here

As he was caught by Shiro and Mori, Gin immediately placed an ice bag on his head.Bookmark here

"So that's why you brought that with you, Potato," said Rin, blankly.Bookmark here

"I was expecting this to happen."Bookmark here

After two minutes of fanning, Nagi came to his senses.Bookmark here

"Hey there. You're actually not dreaming, Nagi." Yuuga greeted him.Bookmark here

"So to make it formal, I am indeed the person behind the pen name Yuki Amagami, whether you will believe it or not. I think there is no better time to apologize at the time during the ManCon since I was absent from our booth, and that I hid my identity to all of you because I was still not confident to tell you guys about it. And to add, I was very discouraged about my work before that convention.Bookmark here

I have a confession to make. Although Gin, Ringo and somehow G now also knows about it."Bookmark here

Ginji interjected, "I said that I was going to explain how I knew, but in short, it was Gin's fault and not at the same time. He never told me, but I got to know about it. I know it's confusing so please don't mind it for the time being."Bookmark here

"I'll look forward to that.Bookmark here

Continuing on, what I'm about to say right now is something that dejected me, and made me think about possibly quitting my work as an author. Really, it was to the point that I even disliked my current self.Bookmark here

…Hahh…Bookmark here

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Contrary to what people or my readers believe, my writing of shoujo manga was purely from my whims, and not from experience. I have never experienced the feeling of endearing someone in a romantic way for the whole seventeen years of my life. But then, I know some of you know Mina…"Bookmark here

Shiro jolted, and repeatedly tugged the hem of Rin's shirt. Without a word, Rin nodded to her.Bookmark here

"Some of you might not even care, especially Mato-sen since I sound like the embodiment of teenage drama, but I was already aware that Mina actually harbor those feelings for me long before this day. I have already known of that even before I graduated from Wisteria. I took it for granted until I had someone I can tell my disappointment to myself in the time of the recent summer vacation. I looked like a hypocrite, realizing what I am writing.Bookmark here

But well, that aside, it was nice that I managed to get help in my manga, and sorting out my head and heart at the same time. Though, it actually still feels weird to call Gin and Ringo my assistants, even if temporarily."Bookmark here

"Glad we're a bit of help," Gin nodded lightly.Bookmark here

"You know, Yuuga," Nagi started, "I really love reading shoujo manga as weird as it may sound. But I'm sure that you already know that. Let me tell you, then. I kind of understand that your manuscript does not come from experience, but perhaps you are pulling out your material from knowledge. You said that you were discouraged, but now Flower of the Unknown is ending in a good pace.Bookmark here

If I were to say, you're actually doing a great job, you know!" he shuffled Yuuga's hair and placed his arm on the back of his neck.Bookmark here

Nagi added, "As much as I hate to make myself hanging, let's hear out the rest of your story later. We still have work to finish."Bookmark here

In that queue, Mato clapped his hands thrice and announced, "Alright, alright~! Do something about the remaining parts needed to be done. If you have anything to change on the existing mural, now's the time to do that. Get all your back ends moving!"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

‹Gin›Bookmark here

On that day, humanity received- Okay, stahp.Bookmark here

Being a 60-meter wall in length does not mean that it is parallel to a 50-meter high wall that was kicked by a 60-meter high human-like lump of flesh that came out of nowhere. But in this reality, it is difficult to define what exactly freedom is.Bookmark here

But that aside, I do hope of not being credited from that joke as Tenth was the one who started the term 'colossal'. However, it very well reflects the mural we did.Bookmark here

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"Hey, Gin…! Are you ready there?" Nagi shouted at me.Bookmark here

"I should be the one asking you if you are going to be okay on where you are, you know."Bookmark here

I was a bit worried, actually. Currently, while I stand with G a few meters away from the mural with running clothes on, Nagi is sitting on the back of a beefy pickup car. He is belted on his waist and all, but the speed of the car will greatly depend on the output of velocity once we run. More so, he is holding quite a hefty gimbal on his two hands while constantly looking at the viewfinder of the camera.Bookmark here

We are however warmed-up and ready for what I expect to be taken several times to get a perfect footage.Bookmark here

Behind the steering wheel of the pickup is Mato while Jean is sat on the passenger seat. Nagi decided to postpone the filming and asked for a test run, literally. With that, G and I started with walking as I know that the car will take time to accelerate, and built up the speed that is considerably faster than a normal sprint. For the first attempt, we easily overtook Mato as he is not heavily putting down his foot on the pedal while G is on equal velocity with me.Bookmark here

Third time's the charm? Not at all. Mato managed to keep up a pace with me at 55km/h for our second attempt.Bookmark here

"Who in the right mind runs that fast?" is what his reaction was.Bookmark here

Unfortunately for him, I don't remember the last time that I was on my right mind.Bookmark here

"Alright, you two. We'll be shooting at 1080p raw with variable speed of 24 to 960fps."Bookmark here

"Wait… you're telling me that our face will be at slow motion?!"Bookmark here

"Exactly. But those will just be for split seconds."Bookmark here

"Well. Nothing that I can do."Bookmark here

Nagi managed to recruit Akira on the back of the pickup with him to hold a boom mic near me.Bookmark here

With that, we started moving forward with slow steps, and gradually picking up speed with the hope that the mural are sometimes getting in focus apart from the slow motion footage. From the corner of my eyes, I saw the car still catching up well while I am hitting the 25km/h speed. I then shifted my eyes, focusing them to the camera in which Nagi is changing the frame variation in his decisions.Bookmark here

Keep in mind, however, that running at 55km/h means that Mato also had to step on the gas immediately as a 60-meter displacement looks so short in that speed.Bookmark here

We hit the mark, and I probably disappeared from the frame once I had left the distance of the mural. I leaped up to the air, perhaps the height of the colossal one and caught my breath even with the air pressure. Gracefully, I landed on my two feet with ease beside the already stopped car.Bookmark here

"Hooohhh… Now I can finally say that the mural is finally done.Bookmark here

Wait, I don't have a maneuvering gear…!"Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

On the night of the same day, all of us took a dip on the hot springs, in which the eight of us men have gathered for the first time here.Bookmark here

"My goodness… So you're really telling me that Gin and G has the same scar?!" Mato exclaimed.Bookmark here

If you can remember, the first time Mato saw my scar was after I accepted a can of beer from him. Although, he fainted.Bookmark here

And now, G and I are standing a few inches to the spring itself being stared by him like he saw a ghost. Baring this huge scar is still somewhat difficult.Bookmark here

"But then again… what's up with that speed, and you suddenly flew off so high!" Yuuga expressed his astonishment.Bookmark here

"Better not ask them," Nagi knocked Yuuga's head. "But now that we're here, You have some things to say, right?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Yeah. I may have mentioned about not having experienced liking someone, and well… I am actually confused right now. I don't actually know if that is the case or not…"Bookmark here

G and I decided to listen silently and let them have the floor… or the hot spring.Bookmark here

Inevitably, Nagi guessed, "This is about Minase, right? What, so you actually have feelings for her?"Bookmark here

"That's right… Though, I still don't know if it is to a degree of liking someone."Bookmark here

"Hahh…" Jean sighed. "There you go again thinking technically; and I just told you not to overthink! Come on, Yuuga. Go and try to evaluate it less with your mind. Try to see your situation in a 50-50 where your heart and mind is half-and-half.Bookmark here

You're quite difficult, you know. Hahahahaha."Bookmark here

Then Yuuga indeed followed what Jean said, but ended up saying his thoughts out loud.Bookmark here

"So how do I really feel about our current situation… We are no doubt on very good terms and are close to each other. The times we spend every day was enough to make me happy at least…"Bookmark here

While listening, I spoke.Bookmark here

"I think Yuuga actually forgot to mention, but he and Minase are actually next door neighbors too."Bookmark here

"If not for you, Gin, I wouldn't have believed that," Jean shrugged.Bookmark here

"That's…" Yuuga continued to mumble. "Why have I forgotten that… It has been so long and yet I put it on the back of my head… If being friends from childhood was not enough to make certain of myself, then what more?"Bookmark here

"Jean, you're just pushing him to realize his true feelings, huh?" asked G.Bookmark here

"Yeah. He's been stubborn for too long."Bookmark here

"You literally just said to take it slowly earlier, you dingus."Bookmark here

"Am I still too absorbed at work that I am not properly valuing our time…?"Bookmark here

In my opinion, however, he is still using too much of his mind. I then sighed a long one and weakly worded, "What do you really want?"Bookmark here

(!)Bookmark here

He stopped expressing his thoughts out loud and fell to a deep silent thought.Bookmark here

"I don't want you dying early because of your job!"Bookmark here

"That's why I'll have to regularly check on you everyday!"Bookmark here

"I developed my feelings toward you, but it made me really sad that I thought that my feelings are not noticed."Bookmark here

"Liking you is also not a joke! Don't underestimate me! Hmph!"Bookmark here

"At this point, you're just challenging me to make you fall in love with me!"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

So that's how it is."Bookmark here

"Finally got something?" Jean asked.Bookmark here

"Yes… I realized that it is now the wrong way. I tried to be ignorant of her feelings, and now I became ignorant of mine—only looking at things superficially.Bookmark here

I can't believe that the answer is so simple when you realize it…"Bookmark here

The four who have at least a someone nodded in agreement. Mato gestured his hand as though wanting Yuuga to continue.Bookmark here

"What I want… I want to spend better times with her, be happy, make her happy and be satisfied with each other's side… To think that I am just realizing my own true feelings; I'm disappointed with myself."Bookmark here

Hearing those words were new to Gin. He recalled in a spur of the moment that Yuuga and Minase have known each other ever since childhood. Compared to himself and Rin, which only had known each other for a month after getting together, Yuuga's way of thinking was clearly different from his. His development of deeper feelings to Rin was slow and steady, while Yuuga had already thought of their own happiness and optimistic insight in a flick. Gin had not immediately thought of those things, and thus left the odds naturally to their moral stand.Bookmark here

He was, through and through, astonished to be able to discover newer ways of people's thinking.Bookmark here

"Just so you know," Gin added, "in the midst of the times and happiness you wish for, don't forget that this is a cruel world."Bookmark here

"Yes. I also want to be there when she needs someone to cry with. What in the world… am I just really realizing… that I actually love her?"Bookmark here

Suddenly, Gin burst out a manly laugh while hammering his palm on the disturbed water. "You goose… Finally…!"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"So then. Now that you realized how you feel about her, what are you going to do next, Yuuga?" as if implying something, Jean asked.Bookmark here

"About that… I am sorry, Jean. As much as I want to follow your ways, I've been making Mina wait for so long. Maybe… as soon as I get back, I might settle things once and for all. Or maybe it's even better if I first consult her parents without her presence. It's probably best to get her parents' acceptance first before hers.Bookmark here

And frankly, even if our relationship needs me to stop my work, then I might, if it is truly for the better. But now, I'm remembering… Mina was the one that pushed me to create a shoujo manga."Bookmark here

"Either way, it is up to you as to how you will approach this," Nagi advised. "In the end, it is you who will still get an end result. So better man up for that."Bookmark here

"Uhem." Bookmark here

All of a sudden, Mato caught everyone' attention.Bookmark here

"Sorry to interrupt your love talk, but I will still support Yuuga nonetheless. What I want to say is that I want to thank you all for your efforts as a member of the Art Club. Even if I didn't get much of a significant experience, I know well that you children had a colorful experience in this trip. That's enough to make me glad as your guidance.Bookmark here

For you, and for the two girls, this will be your last year in being a high school student. Further on, things will be difficult as you step up. I do hope that this experience became a significant part of your lives."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Pfft… That's so uncharacteristic, Mato…"Bookmark here

"Oh, shut up, Gin! I'm trying to be serious for a bit!"Bookmark here

"But yes, we understand, Mato-sen. With so much strangeness that happened in this trip, there's no way we can forget about this," Mori expressed his affirmation. Bookmark here

"Ahahahaha. Is that so."Bookmark here

Mato then extended a fist, and the others followed by doing the same thing, connecting them to make a circle of fists.Bookmark here

Without an effort to exert unnecessary energy, in Mato's usual and normal voice…Bookmark here

"For the future.”


Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That concludes 060!Bookmark here

And that's another end to another arc. A supposed to be client work just went 0-60 and had gone all over the place. Sasuga.Bookmark here

Also, I stumbled upon a home design software and managed to build some almost accurate representation of the settings in this story, primarily Gin's house. And as expected, the visions in my head are structurally wrong when faced against real life measurements. But all in all, the design was just as I imagined.Bookmark here

That's another ten chapters so there will be no release on the next publish day, and the cover will be updated soon.Bookmark here

Also, goodbye Coco.Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

061: Coming home and it's 050 all over again.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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