Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
September 28, Saturday.
"Woah. I really was expecting that there will be a lot of people here in school today even if it's the weekend."
"I guess you're enthusiasm is just way too much, Gin," G retorted. "Anyways, shouldn't you be at work for the whole day?"
"I'll work in the afternoon and take a shift tomorrow."
Yes, it is the weekend of the first week of open event preparations. And seeing that there is only so little density of students that took their time to come to school, we managed to observe the progress of different rooms and clubrooms. Although for this day, it is just me, Rin and G that is in school, as we are the closest here.
"I've ignored it for a while since we got here, Gin. But why are you carrying those huge panes of glass with you?"
"Ah, this… These are leftovers from when I was making my solar cells back in summer. Though, this stuff is purely AMM without any tech inside."
It however did not leave G impressed, while he is still confused.
"These are just to secure the LPG when it's left unattended. Can't have the school exploding on our watch."
"Ah, yeah… I can't believe I'm saying this, but even if a gas tank explodes inside, the AMM is still overkill."
"Glad to hear that."
"Oh, you three! Nice timing!" we heard Akira yelling from the distance with three stacks of what seems to be a food paper box.
"Hey~ Just so you know, you can't help with club preparations since you're the secretary."
"Tsk. I really thought you'll let it slide. Anyway, I got some takoyaki."
By the way, Potato. You don't know how to make takoyaki, right?"
"Woah, that's a letdown," G once again teased. "You're a sous chef and all but you can't even make a ball. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen you make one (in your memories)."
"Where did this come from, anyway?"
"S1CA is going for a takoyaki stand. They're practicing so I managed to get a sample for free."
"That many for a sample… So the students don’t want to be on bad terms with the secretary, huh."
"By the way, I figured that I have to tell you three since you're here. The school is going to let students to stay the night for the final three days of prep work. That's in the 2nd to 4th next month.
That is, if the parents will allow the individual students."
"Oh, that's sweet. Well, let's go to work. Are you going to follow, Akira?"
"Yeah, I'll watch."
"Okay, then. Should we try installing the resto signage?"
"Good idea. Let's do that for the time being and see how we have converted this room to a mini resto."
"Actually, Potato. How are we going to preserve our supplies?"
"We're still going to use the industrial fridge in HE Room. You know, I can just run there back and forth. Also, we got permission to use some of the dishes from there."
"So we're really going head to head with CA, huh…"
"That's right, G… Rena and Yuzuri-san are leading the class to also make a mini restaurant. They will be going strong too."
▪ ▪ ▪
I came to school in the morning with Rin and Anna, all with secondary bags with us. Even if my house is close to this school, I don't think I will be going home until Friday. I made sure that I will have everything packed, as it obviously felt like I'm cheating my way with this cheater's physicality of mine.
We parted ways with Anna and went to the Art Room to drop our bags, as there are no lockers or any other place where I can fit my bag. Needless to say, the room is a little dirty from all the work we have been doing here for the past days. Nevertheless, we found a place to place down our things, seeing that there are already three bags that are stored here prior. Out of eight members of the club as we are all allowed to stay, five have gone in.
And this may look very blatant, but the two of us are actually entering our classroom without even wearing a uniform. Though I have to stress that we are not allowed to do this without our pins on our choice of clothes. But heck, I'm just wearing flip-flops in this cold weather, and that does not suit my school blazer at all. And yes, that is the only proper uniform that I am wearing.
Looking at it now merely on appearances, it does seem like not many people are going to say here in school for three days. Including the other TAC members and a few of my classmates, not even half of the class is dressed "inappropriately," following the school's handbook. But with all those things considered and placed aside, the VA room actually smells very fragrant. Thank goodness for the sample of sweets that they are making, the room is making us lazy.
But thankfully, we survived the half-day of studying in the midst of all the temptation. Thus, our 12pm to 7am for the next three days will be allotted for the open event. I say that, but we will of course be sleeping our way in the night.
~ ~ ~
Now that we had the time to be stuck on the Art Room, we realized that the room is still looking rather small for all the plans that we are going to do.
"So the floor plan is what we actually forgot to do, huh…"
I am sure that the ever-organized guts of Jean are trembling.
"Our greatest problem is how we are going to displace our art materials."
"Are we doing well with the PC, though?" Yuuga thankfully pointed out.
"Well… since we're going to do all the cooking in the balcony, the inside shouldn't be too steamy. It's getting cold anyways.
Can someone help me move it to another socket?"
"I'll give you a hand."
"Much appreciated, Nagi."
~ ~ ~
Five hours later.
"I've never seen the Art Room so bare…" Shiro had to say.
While still underestimating how large the room balcony is, we actually managed to relocate all the materials a few meters away from the stovetop. With that, we managed to move much better inside while we childishly shout as the sound bounces off the walls.
As it was nearing sunset and dinner, we did a quick simulation of how it will look like actively in the event itself. Thus, initially, we have set the long tables and assumed that it is ten tables, and placed a soon-to-be table label that the customers will have to get upon ordering. On the other side of the room, there are another two tables in which the TAC and Yuki Amagami's counters will be used for that. Thinking wisely, Yuuga's table is situated closest to the entrance assuming that he will attract people due to his identity.
Our intended imagery finally settled in to the ambiance of the room. Satisfied with the initial results… we actually had to clean everything and made way to an open space inside.
After unexpectedly finishing all our tasks for the day, we took a rest and sat on the circular bench on the old tree while sipping hot green tea.
"Uh… Gin? What are you doing?"
It is pretty obvious, but Nagi had to ask what is the meaning of what I'm doing, considering my weirdness. Pretty much, I'm placing fist-sized stones in a shape of a circle.
"I'm going to make a small bonfire.
Oh, the fire's starting. Can you slowly put these wood planks in the fire, Rin? I'll just get something," I handed out a plastic bag of chopped wood.
"Okay. Take your time~"
And as if Shiro had expected Rin's reaction, she facepalmed. "As always… you know how that guy's mind works."
"Let's just wait for him."
I suddenly got a stupidly smart idea. I didn't think that the six panes of glass that I brought with me will actually have another purpose aside from preventing an explosion threat. I will of course take those, but that was not the main reason why I just up and left. The panes of glass are just like the sunroof, at least in shape only. With six of them, I can make a cube, thus, containing our gas tank inside. But I just realized that I can actually contain something with just five panes.
And that is smoke.
What is going on here…?"
And I seriously asked how Nagi did earlier, huh. Stupid me to ask the obvious. The fire has gotten big enough that all of them are hovering their hands on the heat. Once the time hits the start of evening, it truly gets cold fast.
"Hey, Potato~ Join in… it's so comfy here."
"Oh, you're right. Ahh… Warm. Now I'm remembering that one time when a meat dealer challenged me to cut a better ribeye than him. I won, and got a large discount for two…
Say… who wants steak for dinner?"
Yes, our starving inner beasts have awakened as our eyes glowed blindingly bright.
Just as we are still enjoying the warmth, I excused myself and placed a large grilling rack on top of the fire and prepared a separate tray where I was resting the meat.
"Hey, Gin… Why's all the meat vacuum sealed?" asked Mori.
"Here Jean, you handle the trimming."
Perhaps it has been dark enough that they can't see the exterior of the meat from the bag.
"Wait, Potato…! I could have sworn that I have seen those same meats from more than a month ago in your fridge!"
"Yep. I dry-aged these."
Jean's eyed glimmered so brightly that they saw how much the exterior of the meat had darkened. Yeah… dry aging doesn't make meat aesthetically pleasing when you see it at a glance.
"Gimme the meat and I'll trim that in no time!"
All it took Jean to trim the outer layer is three minutes, and with such precision at that. Teaching him before is actually paying off.
But it does seem like I'm the only one that silently noticed Ai-san and the two imouto watching from when Jean began.
"Whaa~ Such knife skills, Jin."
"Wha…! A-Ai?! How long have you been here?! That surprised me…"
"We just got here. Are you grilling that meat?"
"Ah, yeah. Can someone get the seasonings?"
"Did you just flicker, Gin?
Pardon me~ this humble man shall put charcoal in the fire for the time being. We'll reignite that later."
Then the dinner got seasoned generously with plain old salt and pepper after getting them cut in an inch of thicc- I mean, thickness. I am actually thinking that I may have dry-aged a little too much.
"Anna and you two, why not join us for dinner?"
"Of course I'm here for dinner, Nii! They'd also be welcome to eat!" Anna arbitrarily declared.
Let's start searing!"
~ ~ ~
Our minds are going blank. No, that's too much of an understatement. Our brains are simply melting to juice that you get after opening a sous vide bag. Ever since we took the first bite, no one has spoken. Everyone is reacting aggressively without even uttering a word. For a few minutes, we lost our ability to communicate.
"So this is how dry aging tastes like?!" shouted Nagi to the bottom of his throat.
"That's actually the first time I dry-aged. Waaahhhh…!!!! Thank goodness it went well!"
"Woah, that's rare to hear Gin screaming!"
"And the wood… thank goodness the smoke at least penetrated!"
"You selfish people… You should have called me and my son," Tenth suddenly appeared, on a stance with a fork aiming for the steak.
"Oh, go ahead, Tenth. We still have a lot.
Shiro? Do we still have rice?"
"Oh! Here's some rice, Sir Tenth!"
Somehow, we actually forgot the main purpose as to why we're staying here in the school. The dinner was pretty much bonkers that we nearly passed out by the bonfire.
Since a large portion of the cut of meat was not cooked, I placed it back on the freezer while worrying that I have already removed it from the drying bag. As much as the title of a sous chef has been ingrained to my existence, I am still inexperienced.
Having the meat and ourselves rested, I pointed out a bathhouse near the school that opened a month ago. Of course, the entire club came by and took a dip.
And so the clock hit 9pm. The school has silenced down significantly.
After cleaning up the remaining mess that we made downstairs, alone at that, I saw all of the guys outside the Art Room looking extremely anxious.
"Huh…" I glared, but no one responded.
I then looked on the window before entering, and saw that there is no one inside but the lights are on. Seeing that all of the boys are outside, and the curtain separating the behind the scenes of our event are shut entirely closed, I came to a conclusion.
"That's pretty much a separate room already, you guys…"
I loudly knocked on the door, so as to be adequately heard in the inside and called out.
"Excuse me~! Can I lay down the futon for all of us while you're here?"
"Ah, sure, Potato!"
"It's fine to come in!"
I slid the door to an opening where I can just fit in. Immediately, I started rolling down the sheets on the newly mopped floor.
"That guy is so dense…!"
Without Gin realizing, he has been glared by those that are outside while they brooded over him being a blockhead.
"Thanks for the hard work today, Potato."
"Also to you two."
"Eh? Why are you the only one inside?"
We have realized that we exhausted all of our fun on the first day of this three-day stay. The remaining two days went by insignificantly as we were just grinding in work.
▪ ▪ ▪
"Officially… The Blue Ink High School Open Event starts now!!!!"
And the voice came from a cute feminine voice that echoed from the school-wide broadcasting speakers. As to whom that voice might be, I wonder if she was from Entertainment Club. Anyway, that energetic announcement lifted everyone's spirits up.
At 9am sharp, the broadcast sounded. There wasn't even an assembly where Tenth is supposed to give his welcome remarks. "Screw the formalities," he may be thinking, "Just go have fun." He is really a unique cut among school principals. This is how Taketo Juushiro does his things.
A school-wide roar sounded in its every corner. Even through classrooms and clubrooms, the cheers are clearly audible.
Thus, we have taken our posts in the Art Room. That place suddenly silenced down, and the air got somewhat heavy. But if I have to be honest, I really can't compare this tension from the first time I started working in Giotto's, and more so, this just feels cute compared to my experience in Kyoto, back in the soft opening of the second branch. I however am aware that I might be sounding arrogant, and so I refrained from voicing out these thoughts.
Perhaps, Yuuga is sitting on his desk uneasily. Nagi and Shiro might be fidgeting in the reception. G and Mori's hearts might be flying off to the distance already. I can't say for certain since we are behind the curtains, and outside on the balcony waiting for people.
If those five see us fiddling on our phones and nails while they are writing the kanji of "person" in their palms and swallowing it in the middle of this suffocating tension, they might seriously flame us.
"Potato, since it's really silent here, can you hear what's going on outside?" I asked with the trust that he will be able to hear from that far, knowing how sensitive his hearing is.
"Yeeaahhh. The school gate opened just now."
And before Gin and I shift to our own dimension again, Jean posed a question.
"We've advertised this place well, right?"
"Our layouts are quite balanced in the poster, I'd say. Let's hope that they will work."
Actually, Gin said that, but we might have gone overboard with the advertising part. We kind of made the school a mall… putting a "this way" arrow pointing to where this place is throughout the vicinity. See this, Mori is somewhat of an uptight person, but he can actually be a troll at times. He's the one that thought of doing that.
On the other hand, Gin just up and left the veranda without saying anything. Since I heard his footsteps, I opened the window from the outside and scooted the curtain a bit. I saw him turning the knob of the room's soundproofing and stood still.
GIOTTO'S MINI BRANCH AND TAC IS OFFICIALLY OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!!"
Those from the inside got their ears throbbing.
"Hahh… Does he seriously need to reference the 3rd chapter?"
The first customer has come, hearing it from the awkward yelp of Shiro from the entrance. They are in pair, a couple perhaps. What comes next is what they will actually do upon entering.
They took their seats and opened the menu; and so Nacchi placed the label of their table number.
"I'll go tend to their table!"
"Good luck with your first time as a waitress, Rin!"
"Hello, customers, have you decided with your orders?"
"We'll both have Cajun Pasta and iced tea," the gentleman said.
"Two Cajun Pasta and two glasses of iced tea. Customers, you can look around the room while waiting for your orders."
And as I am walking towards the curtains…
"Kyaa~! I told you, Yuki Amagami is really an Orion! Ahh, I forgot to bring a volume with me…!"
It seems that our first customer is already a fangirl.
"Two Cajun right off the bat! I'll bring them water first!"
~ ~ ~
'Twas actually a challenge that I didn't expect. I have experienced how it is to get extremely exhausted in the restaurant kitchen in Kyoto that my legs nearly gave out. But what I am doing right now wasn't as bad as that, yet waiting for customers, sometimes helping with mise en place, sometimes making the entire dish, and serving is still quite a difficult work.
"I'll have to take a break, Gin…!"
"Ohh. Hahahahaha, so I just wasted my saliva on reprimanding you. Didn't expect that you'll give in on your own.
Good job, anyway! You're making your debut!"
"Finally a breather…"
"Ah, Rin. Can you tell G to come over here? He's on reception now, right?"
And so, I gave him a call. It did not take him long to come to where we are.
"Play it by ear, G," they did a custom handshake.
Seeing the confident gesture, Jean asked, "You two have worked together once?"
"Never. It'll be my fault if I can't at least catch up to Gin right now. Is this julienne?"
"Do it quickly or I'll make you experience what Jean had in his first days in Giotto's South, or I can also julienne you."
"Gin's a cruel teacher, G. Better move your hands fast."
It may not be mentioned yet, but Giotto's Mini actually has Gin as the head chef while Jean is the sous. It sounds extremely whimsical and kind of like role-playing for high school students, but the customers are intrigued to see Hiro-nii and Sean's certification framed and hanged on the wall. People actually trust how the concept of Giotto's Mini works.
But on the other side of the wall, we are actually catching quite a volume of customers not only in the restaurant but also in the desks. Apparently, Kuni-san, Yuuga's editor posted on Witter that Yuki will be present in this open event. With that, familiar faces from ManCon appeared right before him, and there are even Japanese people that came. And for the TAC, we announced in Instanyan that we will be active for five days, and people surprisingly came because of that.
Having taken a rest, I joined Mori in the reception. Since the reception group is in the entrance which is nearest to Yuuga, it can't be helped that we will hear the conversations in his side.
"Amagami-sensei…! I seriously didn't expect that you're a guy!" a guy cried out in front of him.
"Ahahahaha. I get that a lot. If I were a girl, are you actually going to confess?" he jokingly replied.
"I think I might! But I don't think it will work out anyway!"
"That dude's passionate…" I thought.
"Amagami-sensei, you, as one who understands both the hearts of a maiden and a young man… surely those instances in your manga are derived from your experience…!"
"Surely Sensei has been graced with a girlfriend, or don't tell me… is it heartbreak? Is that how Ryohei's character surfaced?"
"Ahahahaha… I would appreciate if you don't ask me. That is a private matter that I won't disclose.
But…!" he slammed on the table, so as to keep up with the humor of the guy in front of him. "You know that as a (cultural festival), the heroine will invite her prince to walk with her in the stalls, and will have her thought bubble saying, 'Is this actually a date?!' But if by any chance that you see me with a girl walking in the hallway, don't jump into conclusions as it will raise flags!"
"That's totally right…!" Gin poked his head from the curtain.
"Go back to work, Potato…!!!"
I might have discovered that even Yuuga has his own loosened screws. And why are the women showing a visual SFX saying 'kyun'?!
"We're finally closing with the first day…!"
"I'm so tired… But it's worth it!"
"Ah, right! Let's do the spreadsheets for Day 1!"
All of the transactions that were made throughout the day were all covered with a receipt. Meaning, all three of our services' earnings were recorded, as real money was involved of course. But as this is still a high school, we only used the receipt for that purpose, and so there is no VAT involved. The payments, along with the printing of receipt were all directed to our storage of the PC, which means that those transactions are all integrated to a program that are then encoded to a highly encrypted text file.
Long live our fast SSD!
Then we decided not to directly hook it on a spreadsheet file as we will compromise a lot of our security. Because of that, we had to make a spreadsheet template beforehand.
With the presence of the data and spreadsheet all at once, the process is as easy as copy pasting them. But of course, even our clipboard is encrypted too!
The data was then sent to the sheet effortlessly. The arrangement and organization by service took not much of a time, and the columns have been laid to take their sum.
We all watched the screen with our eyebrows frowning while waiting for the total to show up.
And the number that it encoded is…
You've finished 068!
That's about less than 400 dollars. I don't really know if high schoolers can make that much, because I for one know that I just made 5% of that making logos back then.
Life is pain-peko.
Thank you for reading!
069: Face it, we're high schoolers, but...
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