Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
"Uhh… Hello, Potato…?"
"You answered immediately."
"Why did you suddenly call?"
"Uhhh… That's because… I just have one thing to ask you, you see."
"Are you actually bothered when I'm being invited to drink? You know, there was that time after your sister’s wedding, and then when I was with Mato on the roof. I really just want to ask your opinion about it…"
"Why does he sound so worried…?"
"You're seriously thinking deeply about that?"
"Apples… She sounds mad…"
"In the first place, why are you asking me of all people, Gin?"
"T-That's because you're my girlfriend so I also want you to know and share your thoughts about it. If you tell me that you're not okay with it, I will stop of course."
"I've been together with this man for so long that I forgot that he's a half-cooked human…"
"You know, Potato… I'll tell my thoughts anyway—I'm not against you drinking, alright? I'm just a little put off that you're giving our relationship too much credit in this regard. At this point, Gin, I'm just your girlfriend, so I have no right to dictate everything that you do. In the end, it is still up to you as to what decisions you are going to make. And besides, I think that this is much better talked about with your blood-tied family.
But with all that being said, I'm really thankful that you considered my side of things. That made me happy. It's just… we don't want you to think that your life is tied with us. I know that you've felt loneliness inside you for so long, but that doesn't mean that you are not who you are as you are right now. It is still your own life, and not mine or anyone, Gin."
I see… I guess I became too selfless since I always have my family here. That opened up a lot of things in me. Really… thank you for telling me all of those, Rin."
"But you know, we could have just talked about this on our windows instead of a call."
"Sorry. I just feel a little scared to talk about this face to face."
"Rin? Are you still there?"
Her window opened, and so as mine. Without saying anything, she crossed to my room and placed her hand on my head.
"In a few years' time, I bet you won't be worrying about those thoughts anymore.
But I'll have to tell you this. This is for your own good, as I want you to set your own limitations for yourself."
Hahh… Thanks for the enlightenment. I really love you, Rin."
"You… Just now you're acting like a kid who's scared to sleep when the lights are off. Now you're nonchalantly telling me that?
Well, love you too."
"So? For what reason did you ask me, anyway?"
"That, Kaizo actually invited me for a drink in their place and have yakiniku since they have a griller. It's just us two, though. I heard that he and Mitsumi-san just made up yesterday so he sure will have a lot to say."
"I'm weirded out that you're going to drink with an underage person on the outside."
"Yeah. We were planning to go to the udon resto, but that's not going to fly."
"Well, just don't say any nonsense like 'my heart goes doki doki when I'm with Rin' or something like that."
"Rin… You're seriously gonna get Itori-san upset if she heard that."
"Eh. That just came out of nowhere… Ahahahaha."
In the end, those worries were all just for naught. I might really be overthinking.
Meanwhile, while Gin is having his own thoughts, Rin also had something on her mind.
"But I guess it will start to bother me if he drinks out as my husband."
"I'll definitely scold you."
"Huh? What was that, Rin?"
▪ ▪ ▪
I kind of set aside the serious things that Kaizo and I talked about in that Saturday night and just let the things go on until the remainder of the weekend. But now that we're back in school for a new week, the thought suddenly crossed my mind again.
For some reason, Marcel actually found out that I was involved in stopping his brother, Marcus. And so, it got me anxious if he's actually holding a grudge against me. It will be really bad if that is the case. I don't want any more unnecessary damage between us and anyone. And I don't have any idea how I will try to face any possible outcomes, since I'm not Kaizo, and I know so little about him apart from that one night in Sector Xav.
Just when I'm beginning to rack my brain, the bells sounded, meaning that it is start of classes. But first period is sort of weird since we will have an hour of homeroom today. With that, Mato finally closed the final volume of Flower of the Unknown and stood up in front.
"Alright, settle down, you bunch. I finished reading."
"Mato-sen~ You'll get a memo if you do that everytime in the middle of work," Marcus joked. No, not that Marcus, but Marcus. Marcus Marcus.
"Potato, I'm seriously going to punch you if you continue."
"I already know that, Marcus. I've got many salary cuts already that I'm just barely scraping with daily needs while Nana-ojou hates me for that."
Wow, Mato is seriously roasting himself, huh.
"Anyways, enough of the drama."
I cut, "You initiated your own drama. Don't push it to us."
"Shut it, riajuu.
So with that, this utterly long homeroom is allotted for this very announcement that the principal and his secretary issued in last week's meeting.
To put it simply, Blue Ink High School will be having a week-long cultural festival next month."
"WOOOOOHHHHHHH…!!!!!!!" and this is our internal screams while all of us actually make a stupid scene silently. Even Mori and the non-otaku are celebrating for some reason.
"Hold your horses, people."
We sat back down and faced back to Mato, while we despair that there are no horses that we can hold.
"The principal is reluctant in using 'cultural festival', anyway. So we will be using 'Open Event' from this point on. To further the discussion, we still actually have a problem. Well, for this class, we have one less problem since no one here in VA is an irregular.
So our biggest problem that I hope that can be resolved is the decision making as to the planning and organization of what will be presented. I know that SHS doesn't require all to be in clubs, but some of you are as you know to yourselves, are in different clubs. That poses the primary issue.
Cutting to the chase, S2VA is actively going to participate in this open event, right?"
The class answered in affirmation.
"Now that that is confirmed, don't be hesitant to raise your hand: Who's going to work separate from the class? Anyway, take your time to decide. Most of you are either in Art or Entertainment Club, so please make up your minds."
In a few minutes, the Art Club all raised their hands, implying that we are going to work as a club. But with everything that's been said, I think that we're all in agreement that we are still going to work with our own class.
"Anyone that will follow?"
Mato waited for another ten minutes, and no one raised their hands apart from us seven.
"Thank you for your cooperation. But for those that decided to stick to the class, make sure to inform your clubs about it.
For the Art Club, don't expect me to assist since I will be busy with this class. Anyways, you guys have already had prior experience with management back in ManCon. Gin, I'll leave things on your side."
"Alright, then. So we'll start brainstorming on what we're going to do for the event. By the way, the Open Event will begin in October 7-11. So we have two weeks to prepare. Knowing you, that's plenty of time."
▪ ▪ ▪
On the lunch break of the same day.
I was told by Kaizo in advance that Marcel wants to talk to me, and let me choose the location where we will be meeting. For that, I decided to go up in the old building's rooftop, as the 'bloody' misunderstanding from two years ago (NoFutsuu, Chapter 11) is still caught in the wind. Little did our club know, it had already become an urban myth inside the school.
But as I opened the door towards the rooftop, Marcel was already there, leaning on the railings.
"I'm Gin Sakato. Nice meeting you," I said, while assuring that my words will not have a hint of mockery. This, in reality, is actually our first time meeting face to face.
"I heard from Kaizo that you wanted to talk to me."
"That's right. I really just want to clear my head out so I can focus on the upcoming work for the open event."
"Are you here… to talk about your brother?"
"I… I've heard that you were an integral part in discovering his plots in your fourth year. So for that… I want to hear your thoughts in that very moment."
"So you're more collected than Ryota, I see."
"I've also heard that Marcus is doing fine in his rehabilitation.
But before that, I just want to tell you that whatever Kaizo is doing for you; they are true and sincere. I know that, because that is what we both tried our best to become when we were fellow subjects of Anew."
"You… Gin… You're also an adult…?"
"I am the first true minor that became a subject of Anew, and you are the second.
Kaizo is trying his best to support you, so that you won't become a grown person like how he was—giving up on the society. He knows that people can really change, because he proved it, as hopeless as he was. Now look at him. He has his own job, friends, and even a lover. I'm betting that it was the reason why he decided to apply in Anew. He was willing to go through such danger to support his subject.
Compared to how he was in our chaotic Class 4A, he has changed so much."
Silence. I waited for any form of response, but I did not get any. Thus, I continued.
"I have talked too much away from the topic in question. But I'm going to tell you this in advance, Marcel. I will have to be very honest and explicit about it. Will you still listen?"
"How should I start, I wonder?"
"For one thing… Marcus and I had something similar. Even if it was one time, once a hand is dirtied, it can never be removed. Do you know what that means?"
"It was like… how Ryuuya-san mentioned…"
"I see. The only difference is that I was five years old when it happened."
"That is why… when I started to break through my heart's emptiness and loss of emotions; I strove to change for the better. I don't want any more lives to be lost so unreasonably. I was honestly enraged when I found out… that Marcus, along with his accomplices, were the ones that did that to Akaji Mashido.
Why was he killed for such a petty reason, I asked myself. He said that anyone that will get in his way will be eliminated, and because Akaji did, he's no longer here, and his friend might still be grieving on his loss. That was what happened, because our class was clouded with so much unruly notions. They made their own freedom and ideals, that they forgot to respect others and themselves.
But things suddenly changed because of that loss. They learned their own mistakes… after learning Akaji's death.
WHY MUST THERE BE A SACRIFICE FOR A CHANGE TO HAPPEN?!?!"
"Hahh… I'm really sorry about that. My memories from those times just came back to me all at once. I can never forget them…
In the time that we unfolded Marcus's doings, I honestly hated him. I loathed him so much for destroying his own life for a very shallow reason. He raised his fist when he was about to get found out. He gave me the strike that Akaji got done in, and took a knife with the resolve of harming me. I was not devoid of emotions, and I got filled with rage. I was thinking, 'Marcus, get lost already,' and nearly hit him with the very same strike. But then I was stopped by my old regret, before a heavier regret gets to me. Like how Murasaki Seo was, it was also hard for me to forgive him, but I reflected, and also realized that I also made mistakes.
I despaired that nothing can be done anymore with our class. But I was still narrow-minded, not knowing that hope is bright. In the end, I was astonished that they can actually change. Up until this day, I am still lacking. It might take me years, or my whole life just to understand how it is to be human, and l don't even know if I can really call myself a 'human' at this point. But still, I was born and is living in this world."
I'm glad to hear your thoughts… Gin, you may go now. I'd like to be alone for a while."
"You still have six months in your supervision. It's still a very long time."
"So it has been almost two years… and I just let all of my thoughts to be said out loud. I feel like a thorn in my throat is finally gone…"
▪ ▪ ▪
In the end of it all, no one asked me what happened back in the rooftop. Not even Kaizo.
"So… anyone with an idea on what we will present for the open event?"
Indeed, we have postponed club activities and turned the whole hour into a meeting. Mato actually just cut the long story short, as the explanations to how the open event will actually run. Instead, he just gave the whole class a printout of the guidelines and rules and just said that we're having a cultural festival (open event), and the parenthesis should be the other way around. No, the reason why he did not explain is not because he is a lazy teacher (which he is actually), but because to us… uh, weebs, a bunkasai is pretty much self-explanatory.
Of course organizations or classes can do their plays, musicals, bands, food stalls, the cliched cafe, maid cafe, cultural cafe, those classrooms which they turn them to something that is hard to clean house, and really, anything that sparks one's creativity while maintaining their moral obligation as a human. But that is what you normally see in a manga or anime, in which in my opinion is not very ideal to be a reference to a real life open event, and this is not Japan anyway. We are indeed in our high school, but since senior high school in this sole school is specific and very specialized, it is a great opportunity to showcase your department and leave an impression to your college life.
That is, I'm not a normal human and I don't even know if I will actually go to college or not. But nonetheless, I am the only minority in our club, as all the members apart from me have a direction in post-graduation. Therefore, I will let them have the floor.
But now that I'm looking at it, G has been staring at me with an "I got you, Gin," face; as if not letting me down. Perhaps, we got the same idea without even linking our consciousness. What a coincidence, maybe.
And so, I will repeat my question.
"So… anyone with an idea on what we will present for the open event?"
On a business perspective, Jean immediately shared his own concerns. "You see, if we just do a simple art exhibit, I don't think that's going to work out. If we will actually be inclined to do a popup business which involves real money, then the earnings will be split 50-50 with the school. And even if we do a TAC booth here, I don't think many people outside the school know our organization well for us to do flash commissions and selling prints."
By the way, Jean decided to only work for the club.
And to make it clear, as this is an "open event," it means that the school will be open for people outside the school that wishes to come by and enjoy themselves.
"That's a good point. Honestly speaking, even if we are an art club, that doesn't mean that people will just appreciate our art so easily," Nagi made everyone face the reality.
"Jean, do you think we can get customers if Yuki Amagami shows up?" Yuuga openly asked.
"Hmm… That will depend if a lot of people knows your pen name. Though, I think that it will be a good opportunity for you to make a book-signing event."
"Alright, alright. I have an idea," G stood up. "We should first establish our general objectives for our popup business."
"Ah…" we were stupid enough not to take that into consideration.
"Do you have something in your mind, then?"
"Glad you asked, Shiro.
I have one and it should make sense after a five-minute analysis in your minds. You see, an entrepreneur ought to have a creative mind that will push a business to earn trust most importantly, then customers, and profit, right? People might think that high school students are puny little creatures, so they won't expect something that is groundbreaking…"
"Dude, are you sure you're not a student of S2BM?"
"…So, I propose for our objective to be: 'Blow their minds.'"
Two minutes later.
"Yo, that actually makes sense."
"Hah. What did I tell you?"
"Now that you've said that much, we're assuming that you already have an idea. Let's hope that you will put an end to our slump."
"Hm. What I have in mind is establishing a mini branch of Giotto's."
"Say what?!" four in my count exclaimed.
Just as I thought, G and I had the same idea.
"I see where you're going there, G. I can see myself handing in a permit to operate a branch to my boss to make it official, and issue a permit to the school that we will use a gas stove since I don't prefer induction. Then this club actually has three people that have an experience in working in a restaurant.
Also… there's nothing in the guidelines that says that the project should be inclined to what a club does right?"
"Ah, yeah. I get what Gin and G mean. But how are we actually going to get our funds?" asked Nagi nervously.
"Huh? Of course we'll start small," Jean proudly said. "Look, I said that it's not a very good idea to sell prints or open an exhibit 'with that alone.' Our best option, since we surely can't get the amount of customers that Giotto's has per day, is to gain the funds from other services."
Rin then started to get excited.
"Oh! So you're saying that we should open up 'Giotto's Mini' alongside a TAC booth, and a book-signing event for Yuuga!"
"That's certainly the idea, Ringo! With all that simultaneously running together, we can grow the business in approximately two or three days!"
"Then while we're at it, I'll ask Hiro if I can use some of the menu in the resto to make it official and authentic. Also, we'll have to cut the price maybe by 20% of the original costs. I know that that sounds like a compromise, but we are all students in the end. But that's an exploit to get more people if they like our food."
Mori on the other hand was actually listing all our ideas and piecing them together.
"Now we have a good outline. Anyone who still has suggestions?
If not, we should start in making the project proposal while we still have time. And while doing that, Jean, can we ask you to make an estimate of our costs? Even though I don't know much about cooking, I can imagine that raw supplies will be quite pricey."
"Yep. That's our biggest problem. But I have gathered quite an experience that I can at least say that I can do wonders without using quality products. Then again, I studied to differentiate a pork with and without ASF, but just to be sure, let's not use too much pork. We can always opt with seafood and other meat."
"Ah, yes. Potato can also cut the price of buying it if he himself is going to butcher it. He sometimes does that when he's buying meat."
"Got it. I've jotted it down."
"Let's settle down for a while!" G let out a loud clap.
"Right, we pretty much accomplished the 'blow their minds' objective. But let's of course consider our own well-being. Let's ask ourselves if we're actually going to enjoy this, and if the customers will actually get to enjoy this.
Let's think of that, for a second."
"Alright. Let's take a break for an assessment."
~ ~ ~
As it was not a very long discussion since we reached an agreement quickly, the meeting continued with our and the people's point of view considered.
"Then, let's designate who will be on what."
"Rin, me, and Jean will volunteer for the handling of Giotto's Mini."
"Thanks a lot, Gin.
As for Yuuga's event, we can have rotational assistants. For the TAC part, we can have anyone, and we can even pull a person in Giotto's Mini to momentarily sit on the TAC desk. What is it, Jean?"
"I'll need someone to assist me in handling the cash and payments."
"Then I'll do it with you."
Another fifteen minutes later…
"Whew…! Planning's all done! Let's call it a day. Good work to all of us!"
~ ~ ~
With the club dismissed for the day, we decided to immediately step out of the school to get some rest.
"Why is Yui standing by the gate?" I asked while I walk with Rin, Anna, and G.
"About that…" G started. "I kind of owe her a favor and I have to accompany her with her shopping. She was probably waiting for me."
"Oho… Well. Can't have a girl waiting, man."
"Yeah. See you tomorrow."
Thus, Yui and Ginji went on the opposite direction.
"You sure look quite happy, Ginji."
"Wha- Did it appear on my face?!"
"Ahahaha. I'm just pumped with what we're going to do as a club for the open event."
"Oh, about that. They said that the decision for our class needs to be done by tomorrow. But we're mostly betting on a sweets cafe."
"Wohh… That's really good to hear."
"What about Art Club? What are you going to do?"
"That's a secret."
"The truth is, we've finished all of the planning. We'll just have to get the proposal accepted and then we can start."
"You finished just in one hour?! That's amazing."
"Hehe. That's the perks when everyone is enjoying something that they do. Don't you agree, Yui?"
"Oh, yes. I really do agree about that."
"Ahahahaha. You also look enthusiastic, you know."
"Uh, well… That because… Do you remember the cupcakes I gave you one time?"
"I actually made them…"
W-Woah! Really?! That's amazing! I didn't know you can bake! They were great, alright?"
"Wow. Your reaction's exaggerated."
"Now I'm looking forward to what our class will do. So I guess if our club's plan actually begins to stumble, there's no way we will give up with it."
Even if some doesn't like my hobby of making sweets when I'm in VA, I still like baking, nonetheless and I enjoy it. That's something I can't give up.
But really… not everything in this world will actually go to how we wanted it to be. There will be things that we have to give up eventually."
"Hahh… You're a good person, you know that, Yui?"
"In your own ways, you're trying to face the reality. And that's because you're you, and no one else. I want to be like that. I want to completely build my own self without following anyone's footsteps. Good to say, I'm already working on it.
The way you face your own fears, I admire that."
"Ehhh. You suddenly got serious. But thanks… I think that's the first time that someone told me things like that about me. I'm happy to hear that."
"Hah. I'm happy that I made you happy."
"There you go again talking weirdly!"
▪ ▪ ▪
The next day in fourth period, everyone in the school was given the time to plan out for the open event, either by club or by class. Since we were given the time to separate from class, we seized the opportunity to continue our meeting.
"Did you hear that we're actually the first one to present a project proposal?"
"Woah, seriously? Anyway, how did you finish the entire document in one night, Mori?!"
"Truth to be told… No, Jean should actually hear this.
The truth is… I recently learned how to make a proper thesis paper, and just used it as a guide. Though, I learned them from Jean's brother—Yuka Alex."
"What?! No wonder why he's occupied when he's pretty much laid-back with the thesis he finished that originally should be approved by March!"
"Ah, what? Your brother finished a thesis in three months? That's just insane!"
"Well, this is his graduating year upon being freed from imprisonment, so yeah."
"But if we're the first, I guess we'll just have to wait for Tenth to evaluate it within the day and get his response.
I have good news, though! I present to you an official permit signed by my bosses! With this, we are officially acknowledged as a popup Giotto's branch!"
I showed them a printed document with the agreement of Hiro and Sean to use the resto's name and menu, and an applause sounded.
"Not only that, they also hooked us up with the restaurant's supplier and they said that they will give us a discount if we purchase from them."
"Way to go, Gin!"
"I've also talked with my editor. He said that he'll support the signing from the North. He'll also send 125 hard copies of my final volume."
"That's a nice addition."
"Too bad the open event won't have the special art booklet I was working on."
"Potato, look at this!" Rin called while in front of the PC. "We got an email from the school through the TAC email.
Let's see. It says…"
"Good day, our school's Art Club.
Your project proposal has been carefully assessed and evaluated by the principal. We would like to congratulate you for having your proposal immediately approved upon this response. We wish you success for the Blue Ink High School Open Event.
BIHS Administrative Office."
That wraps up 067!
I wish I had this in high school
Thanks for reading!
068: The first day.
Please log in to leave a comment.