Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
"Gin…!" suddenly, Yui called out and came by my desk. "Can you stop what you're doing for a bit?"
"What's the matter, Yui?"
"There's someone from CA that's looking for you."
"Is it Jean?"
"Then I would be mentioning his name already, stupid!"
"Haha. Alright. I'm up."
"But hold on, Gin. That girl from CA is pretty but not in my league (lol), you know. You sure you're not cheating on Ringo?"
"…" my face went blank. "Don't tell me you're jealous?" I jokingly asked, but with a hint of seeking confirmation.
"G will absolutely punch me on the face…"
"Ah, so it was you, Rena. How's the mother life?"
"Shh…! Don't be so loud, Gin.
Anyway, I'm originally looking for Ringo but I don't see her or her bag. Is she absent?"
"Oh… It's hard to explain. She's… umm… staying in their house because she's on a really bad mood…"
"You don't need to say it like that, you know. I understand what that means."
"I'm trying to be ambiguous!"
But what was on her hand did not manage to escape my attention. Of course, I asked about it.
"What's that, Rena?"
"This… I plan to give this to Ringo, but I'll hand it over to you since she's not here. Koba got himself a one-time entry pass for guests outside CCI. It seems that security there is quite strict these times. He tried to get another one for you, be he said he can only take one."
"Nah. It's fine. I'm licensed and all so entrance wouldn't be a problem for me if I decide to take a walk. But hey, this is a nice opportunity for her to survey the institute."
"Also… it's only valid before winter holiday comes."
"And if you have time off from work, why not visit us for a meal sometime?"
"Ehhh? Rin's a given but…
Rena, does Kobana likes sharpening his knives?"
"I see. Then he'll definitely kill me if I visit."
"Pfft… Ahahahaha…! Oh, you jest! It's really not a problem, Gin. He's fine with it."
"Hahh… Alright, then. I usually have nothing to do on the weekends so I'll see what I can do."
"We will expect you, then," she gradually stepped away.
"I'll give you a call!"
Leaning on the doorframe, I started reading what is written on the entry pass. I was standing there, dumbfounded in the middle of the walkway.
"'Sup, Gin," Nagi, who is with Shiro called out while walking the hallway.
"Finished with FP class?"
Shiro dodged the simple question and brought about a new topic.
"Honestly, we heard everything just now."
"Yeah, yeah. I didn't know you're that close with Rena. Granted, Jean got your teeny weeny attention directed to her, but you're conversing like it's nothing."
"Huh? What's wrong with that?"
While making the way inside the room, Shiro chopped on my sides with her hand. "Think about Ringo's feelings."
"I suppose… it can be easily misunderstood?"
"Hahahahaha. You guys are overthinking too much."
"Oh? Ringo's not here today?" asked the oblivious Nagi.
"Ah, yeah. I was having a hard time saying why… but she's on a bad mood for the most part. That's why…"
"Huh? I don't get why she would be absent just for getting a bad mood. What, you guys got in a fight or something?" Nagi thoughtlessly asserted.
"…!" My senses exclaimed, seeing the infuriated look coming from Shiro behind Nagi. Indeed, things immediately got frightening.
If this was a space experiment and research about landing rockets, NASA would have dubbed Shiro's smack on Nagi's head a perfect landing—a groundbreaking achievement of humanity, if anything.
"W-What was that for, Shiro…?"
"You idiot… Now Shiro's literally on a bad mood because of you. Hahh…"
"H-Huh… Did I do something wrong?!"
"You know, Gin. You may be stupid when it comes to being a human, but your comprehension really is something. I'll give you props for that!"
Shiro said that and all, but she hadn't even turned back to us, and was still with an upset tone.
"I'll take that as a compliment…
But you really deserve that for being so dense."
▪ ▪ ▪
Four days later.
"Rin here, crashing in…!"
I flinched upon the sound of my door slamming open.
"Meow! (That scared me, Rin-ojou! You know that we cats are sensitive from shock!)"
"Wait, Haku. You're including me as a cat?"
"Meow. (What gives? You're not human anyway, Aruji.)"
"What are you two talking about?"
“Meow,” I said.
“Don’t screw with me,” is what she jokingly replied.
"How I am now one of the cat species."
In that very moment, Rin's mind blanked out and had imagined Gin as he is, but with a pair of ears (now he has four ears) and a waving tail on his back end.
Suddenly, she leaned her forehead on my doorframe with a distressed face.
"Where's all the energy you had earlier, Rin?"
"Quiet! I'm trying to imagine how you'll react if I step on your tail!"
"I should be the one trying to imagine what you're trying to imagine!"
Actually, I imagined the same thing. That was so cute.
"We just got home and you already went here, Rin? Here to scavenge food on my fridge?"
"That's not it. I ate a lot of cheesecake with Anzu, anyway."
"You'll gain weight."
"Then I will run."
"You'll get tired."
"Then I'll have you carry me."
"Then the purpose of running is defeated."
"I will run again, if that's the case."
I squinted, and frowned on her blank expression.
"Pfft… Things are so different from last year." A chuckle from her let out and so she uttered.
My head tilted and my eyes then closed in extreme confusion.
"I really thought that I'll have to cheer you up today, honestly."
"Ah… You with cat ears already cheered me up."
Oh, look at that. She's trying to suppress her embarrassment. I know that she's aware that she can't shrug that off with a flinch and a forceful nonchalant face.
"Meow. (Don't smooth talk her, Aruji.)"
Thanks for worrying about me, though, Rin. It still packs a punch on my gut, but we're getting there."
Today is August 27, 2019.
Finally, my door closed shut with Rin walking in the hallway while looking around. Her hands were placed on her back, perhaps overlapping, but it's foolish to think that she's holding something there. I wonder why she's doing that, but très élégant.
"It's starting to get cold now, don't you think, Potato?"
The ambiguity really doesn't suit you…" I stood up and opened my arms wide. With the message passed on, she gave a quick hug.
"Thanks for bearing with me all this time."
"Say that again when it's the 20th."
~ ~ ~
"Oh. You're actually going out, Gin?"
She found me going downstairs with an outdoor outfit that is not very contrasting to my casual clothes. It is as expected that she will react with that question of hers.
"Yeah. I'll sit on the bench for a while and then I'll go to the Kagetora household. I'd like to see how that man is doing right now with nothing to waste his time."
"You actually know where he lives?"
"This world is just brimming with coincidences. His family is actually living on the far Queen Street."
"Then I'll accompany you for a bit on the bench."
"Sure. Seems like neko isn't up for the walk, so let's go."
With his paw, this rude cat just up and gestured as though shooing us away without even looking at us. In the end of it all, that's just how cats are, if not that intelligent.
We spent a bit of time on the bench while talking nonsense until Rin herself decided to go back home. Before she walked away, however, I pointed out a small carving that was etched on the wooden rest of the bench that says "will not forget this day". But as much as I want to do something like that, it wasn't me who did it. Rin, having seen that, gave up with a sigh. It was apparently something that she carved while sitting on this very bench, sketching last year. I also can't forget that we actually were in a middle of a fight, and reconciled in this place where I nearly met my demise.
Indeed, things really have changed in a span of a year.
After finally letting out a bit of my unnecessary released emotions without tears, and no more blood, I set out to make my way on my next destination.
But just after Gin left for his stroll, he was not unable to sense the fragment of his existence near the place of inception of his already dealt pain. The wooden bench that is still quite new creaked slightly with Ginji sitting down on it.
~ ~ ~
Looking back on it, I haven't been reflecting in my life a lot these times. Well, I did not before I walked my way in this street and gazed upon the clouds because a certain idiot just wanted to become normal but in reality, to become emptier. Alas, he was hit by a truck and not just reflected. My entire life may not have flashed before my eyes that time, but I definitely saw much of the greatest memories I have had in that hollow fifteen years.
Now that I have thought of all these, my questions are back to the drawing board again. The if.
If I was not hit by that truck, what will I be? Will I still meet the people I have met in the following two years? Will I still find the meaning of my life? Will I still meet the Exiles? Will I still know of Akira's longing for a family? Will I still fall in love with Rin? Will I actually change even if I was not hit by that truck?
I'm old enough to at least know much about myself. I know that the answer to all that is most likely no, knowing how appalling my character was. I am sure that I will still be stuck with the past if ever I recalled everything. Nonetheless, I don't think I would have changed. And I don't think I would have an opportunity to dream of having a lover or a wife.
I really want to make sure if I am in the right place.
I've wandered off quite far in this street while pondering on those thoughts. This time, I am not actually being absent-minded. My only hint is that his house has a big gate and a house nameplate on the wall. Good grief, no one told me that the Kagetora house—including the outdoors is arguably as big as the Void. I clearly remember that I used to look at the Kuroda household's lawn. Apples, they're both huge.
It would be a bigger fail and embarrassment if I actually went on the wrong house. So much for a surprise visit.
With no trust to my own decisions, I still pushed the doorbell and waited for a response in the intercom. Yes, there is an intercom in this house.
"Who's there?" a female voice, rather young, resonated through the speaker of the communicator.
But having a closer look, I noticed that there are eyes that are seeing through the entirety of my existence. Exaggerations aside, there are two security cameras just in the gate.
"The name is Gin. Gin Sakato. May I know if Rishou Kagetora is here?"
"Umm. That would be my father. He is here."
"I see. I am your father's close acquaintance. If he is not busy, I would like to see him."
While still standing on the same spot, I saw a woman with a watering can walking near the main door of the house. She also looked at me and went over the gate immediately.
"May I know who you are?" she asked.
"My name is Gin Sakato. Someone in the intercom told me that Mr. Rishou Kagetora is present. I would like to see him.
Ah, I am a friend to him. We haven't met in person after his announcement last summer, and I thought that it would be a good idea to see him now."
"And I'm also a patient, but he is not a doctor right now."
She opened the gate enough for a person to pass through, "Please come in."
She put down the watering can and accompanied me towards the front door.
"I'll walk you to where his office is at. Since he's tied at doing work, you have to personally meet him, instead of him greeting you.
By the way, I am his wife."
"Oh… It is nice meeting you, ma'am."
One of the two-doors opened and we stepped inside. I have never seen a foyer so huge. Without notice, I immediately took off my shoes and changed to a slip-on house slipper as if it really wanted to be stepped on.
That sounded weird real quick.
But in any case, this house is really big. If I were to live in this house alone, I would probably get separation anxiety in just a few hours. Wait. What am I even saying? I've lived two years of my life in nigh nothingness that still has space. The only difference is that the Room is much bigger than the inside of this house. It doesn't make anything better, though.
But apples, I want their beautiful kitchen as my playground!
Thinking of how to maintain the entirety of this house, I expected that a maid or two is here at least. And there is one that I saw. My imagination is getting over the top, as I seriously thought that she will be wearing a maid uniform. No, the maid is just on casual clothes. She even greeted an idiot like me.
And so we climbed an outstanding staircase and reached a hallway with two separate doors in both sides of it.
There is a girl that walked passed my right and abruptly stopped to lightly bow her head. Perhaps she is in middle school—second year or third year. She might actually be the girl on the intercom earlier.
I instinctively raised my hand lightly so as to respond. Then, she went inside in one of those rooms. Stopping in front of the far door on the left of the hall, Mrs. Kagetora shortly knocked on the mahogany door.
"Hon, you have a visitor. Can you let him in?"
It's open." It was indeed his voice.
She then opened the door and gestured for me to get in the room and excused myself. She left without saying anything, thus I closed the door.
"I don't know how I should address you right now, so I'll just call you Rishou-san. If only someone gave you a nickname like Shou, things would be easier."
"Then you can call me just that."
I got to be honest; it wasn't the response that I was expecting. Perhaps in these four months… something has happened to him?
"I appreciate that, but I won't. Anyway, I won't be used to that."
This time, he did not respond.
The room, or rather, his office is really quiet. The ambiance is a good opportunity to observe the place. It is not the typical office where you are facing the door from your seat. It is actually the sideways in the room, but he still can't see me. But as far as I can see, he is in front of a bunch of paperworks and a laptop. His way of working is somewhat strange. I've excused myself and took a seat in one of the chairs.
Man, he doesn't tidy this place up. There are papers wherever I look at, and I have been here for at least ten minutes, still unattended.
I have observed that he is writing a lot on the papers, and the next time you look, he is typing fast on his machine. From what I can guess, he's really preoccupied with his work that I don't know. Then without a sound, I stood up and went by the bookshelf that towers up to the ceiling. I immediately found something extremely strange…
All of the books are literary. I have not seen one book with regards to medicine. I went back from where I sat in crossed legs and finally managed to utter something.
"Oh, yeah. How rude of me. My name is Gin Sakato. It has been a while, Rishou-san."
Finally, he stopped from his fountain pen. He first stretched from a slouch and immediately turned to where I am.
"027…? Since when have you been here?"
"Your wife told me to just come in since she said that you're busy. I guess I'm developing new heights of minimal exposure for my words to be unnoticed with your consciousness.
I wonder, what in the world is that work you're doing?"
"Ah, this… It's kind of embarrassing to say," he said while scratching his head with a timid smile directed to me.
"Dude, act your age."
"And also, I didn't even see a single medical reference book in this bookshelf. Just what happened to those?"
"Ah… I set them aside for the time being."
"Heeehhhh… Does the brewer have coffee in it?"
I decided to stop studying anything medical for this six months of my suspension of license."
"I guess Maven Aquos really regards you well to only suspend you temporarily instead of permanently."
"Thankfully, I'm not that discouraged anymore. It was hard to think of coming back, really."
"Well, that is your choice to quit or go back in saving lives. Okay, this is some expensive coffee, I see. But that work?"
"This… I'm in the middle of writing a book, or a novel."
I certainly wasn't expecting that.
"Are you telling me that you are reflecting your story as a doctor in that novel? Hah, I can guess that a five year-old that had gone insane was there."
"Just how sharp can you be…?"
"Well, not like I am complaining. I'm pretty much dead. It's funny how I'm dead in the public as a Child, and as an accident victim two years ago when I went missing."
"An accident? That's the first time I'm hearing that."
"I know that writer's sense of time fades away. Try to find what day it is today."
"August 27… that is today? You are that person that was hit by that truck…?"
"Alive and well, even after I got almost entirely of my skeletal system shattered. I hid it from you when I had my checkup in November 2017. I have a rare case of Bone Regeneration, and I speculate that I got it from consuming the pseudo-medications.
But don't worry. If you're avoiding those kinds of topics, I won't continue. I'm just here to see if you're doing well. I'll leave shortly anyway since I have a family dinner to attend to. This is a special day after all."
"I see. Then please look forward in this book. I even have my editor now. As you can see, I'm still doing well for the most part. And I see that your gray hair is gone."
"Ahahahaha. It did grow back to black a few months after."
"To be honest, 027… this past four months taught me a lot of things. I am still regretting all of what I have done to a great extent. So I'm writing a book to convey my notion, so that this will never happen again. Having confessed about the program, I realized that I should value my family more… and that I really should pay attention to my children more.
But then again… after the press conference, my children became very cold towards me. At least they told me their sentiments so we're in the process of reconciliation."
"Well… I expected that much. They are your children after all, and it hurts to know that those things happened to children. My guess is that they felt frightened, considering that you are a father to them."
"That's exactly what happened…"
"You know… even I also want to be a father someday. From what I can see… not like I know a parent's perspective, but I think it is up to their conviction on how they will raise and teach their children about this world."
"That's scary how you already think of that in your age…"
"For you to know, I am living by my own and earning to pay my bills. But I won't up and become a parent immediately, alright? Don't worry, I will invite you to my wedding, if it will actually happen in years' time."
"I hope that that time will come for you. I've talked a lot with Ms. Ringo back when you were in isolation. She does not think of your relationship as something shallow. From that, I can say that your love will not easily fail."
"Thank you… I'm glad, really. She accepted me and put up with my pain and burden. As someone who was empty, I'm in a bliss that I found someone like her. That is why… I am returning all the care she gave me in my own ways."
"Oh. I think I said a lot. I'll take my leave for today, then. If you need someone to criticize your work, I'll try to answer to your call."
"Yes. That will be a big help."
~ ~ ~
I said my farewells to Mrs. Kagetora, and left their house at sundown. Perhaps it was extremely coincidental, but the purple clouds on the reddish sky displayed a crisp silhouette, in a uniform array that floats around flat.
"I have gotten this far with my new life. I can't afford to lose this second chance I got."
I swear that I will do my utmost to value this life.
▪ ▪ ▪
"I swear I left the lights of my house off… Did Haku open it?"
"Welcome home, Potato."
Immediately, I saw Rin tending to the kitchen, and it looked like she's about to finish off.
"Need any help?"
"Thanks. Can you bring this to your family house?"
"Sure. Are they busy preparing there?"
"Yep. Make sure you go immediately once you're done. Leave the cleaning to me.
Haku, you come with me."
This family… I really am happy that I have the right now. My life has been wrong for so far that I can remember. I realized… it is never too late to make things right.
You've finished 064!
I really need to update my character designs.
Thank you for reading!
065: Kaizo Ryuuya is off to work.
"I don't get paid enough for doing this!"
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