Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
I was reminded that winter hasn't yet fell for this year, but I was woken up by the coldness that penetrates through my already thick blanket. The morning illumination is still scarce even though it has already been past six. As the cold was discouraging me to get up while the laziness gets the better of me, I listened to the ambient noise while wrapping myself tighter on the blanket. My hearing is telling me that a drizzle is happening so early in the morning.
"Hahh…" I sighed, hearing my voice muffled from the blanket. "I guess I'll have to wear boots…"
I got up to my upper body and slightly lifted the curtains of my window, so as to see if there is someone on the other side. It took me some time to sink in to my mind that Haku is actually sitting just by Gin's window, looking at me. I gave a wave, and so does he.
Haku really is adorable in times you least expect. I want to hug him.
I was uplifted the moment I saw him, and so I got up from my bed while my listless body contradicts my mood. I went down a floor and instinctively took a toast from the toaster with half-opened eyes. Finally, I was completely woken up by the taste of the toast that I haven't had for quite some time. I then took a mug to make my own coffee, and sat on the dining room.
You're here again, Sis."
"And that's the first thing you're going tell me.
Anyways, good job with work. You might actually steal our regulars by Friday."
"They'll just come back nonetheless since we'll close up shop in the afternoon. Giotto's will be back to normal before we know it.
You're not with Hiro-nii?"
"I left a note since he wasn't awake yet when I left the house. But his alarms were going off before I went out."
"Did you prepare breakfast for him at least?"
"Of course, I did. But I feel bad for not joining him on a meal."
"Can you quit it with the marriage stuff?
But hey, are you two coming to school?"
"We plan to, but we don't have a fixed time yet. It's not like we're going to check out your resto, okay? We already expect things will be almost the same. What Hiro got curious about is that Kobana Azuki's wife apparently was running their own kind of restaurant as part of the department. Now that I mention it, you are classmates, right?"
"Yeah, we're friends. But, how did you know about Rena and Yuka Kobana?"
"I was with Hiro the last time he went to CCI. We met Kobana because of that."
"Ehhh… Right, he doesn't know that we're sisters. She'll be surprised if she realizes that.
Maybe I'll go see Yoru after the open event. Sis, you have Sunday as day-off, right? If Rena agrees, we can visit in that day and introduce you to their son."
D-Did I hear th-that correctly… imouto…?"
"T-They h-have a son…?"
"Uhh. I was wondering why you have a nonchalant expression after mentioning that Yuka Kobana has a wife which is still a student… I was expecting that you wouldn't be as surprised!"
"Of course I would be surprised! Hiro and I haven't even considered having a child, you know?!"
"Ara, ara," the mother heard.
"Ehhh. That so. Thank goodness I will not be an aunt yet."
"Anyway, lil sis. When do you think Gin will decide to propose?"
"Potato and I haven't even considered being married, you know?!"
"Ara, ara?" the mother overheard anew.
Sometimes, the Akanami family holds outrageous conversations that ought not to be considered seriously, and it just so happened that the family had two outrageous daughters that can hold such topics, and an outrageous father that flows the way he wants.
Amidst the sound of rain, it was clearly heard that Gin was sneezing on the next door.
"Well, I'll go to the resto for work. Bye, Mom!"
Finishing my breakfast, I came back up to my room and ought to get dressed for the day. Everything was fine, until I realized that I forgot to close my window and I didn't switch on the heater.
Oh, winter, you truly are approaching fast.
Not exactly knowing how I sorted out my bedroom's problem, I abruptly went off outside and came to the house next door. There was no need for me to turn the doorknob with a key, as it opened in a single turn. I then saw Potato prone to the floor, with his backside sticking up like some sort of a plateau. It seems that he is searching for something.
"What was lost, Potato?"
"I'm trying to find Mom's wedding ring since she said that it might have fell here somewhere."
"What in the flying apples is up with this coincidence?
What about you, Haku? Did you find it?"
Instead of meowing, which I will still not understand, he made me sit on my knees and snuggled on my hand.
"Meow! (Aruji, found it! It's on Ringo-ojou's finger!)"
I raised my left hand, and saw that there is a beautiful ring on my ring finger. Slowly, I looked at Gin whose face is turning red with a surprise on his face. At the same time, my face was also getting hot.
YOU SNEAKY CAT…!"
▪ ▪ ▪
The rain did not let up even after arriving in school under two umbrellas, needless to say. Actually, the drizzle had gotten stronger and the temperature dropped a few Kelvin. Having finally realized the temperature changes, I was rude enough to think to myself that I'd like it if Gin will bring out his kotatsu soon. But I was just a freeloader once, and nothing more.
We climbed the stairs and saw that Mori was the first to arrive in the Art Room. With him is a mop while obviously cleaning the floor of the room. We greeted promptly and placed down our bags, and immediately took out the art materials to the veranda. It was indeed cold, but I wondered if it will be like that once the gas stove has been fired up.
"Has Jean finished the sales table for yesterday?" Mori asked from the other side of the wall.
"I think he did. Is the PC not yet turned on?"
"It's still on a cold start, so things are still processing on startup.
What about the surveys handed out?"
"Ohh… We actually didn't see when they got returned. I guess we should check it out now while we still have time. Can't have a jumbled menu in this kind of weather!"
"Morning…" enter Ginji. "Yawn~"
"You are outright like Potato for the very same behavior in the morning, G."
"Can't deny that…
How's the survey tally, anyway?"
"Ah, so you're the one that handed them out. We're yet to get the results. Help us out, G."
"Then I'll do once I'm back from checking our supplies, Mori."
So, he abruptly stepped out of the room.
In a moment's silence, I suddenly saw Gin holding on and rubbing his chin.
"What got you thinking?"
"He seems like he's on a good mood today."
"Of course… you'll at least know how he will act as an almost identical existence."
~ ~ ~
"Hey~ Gin! What's up with this barrage of orders? We might literally go out of 'stock' with this!" for today, Jean's work priority is as a waiter.
"Oh, nice pun. How many orders of Mala Ramen?"
"We already have eight."
"Woah, apples. That's a lot. Rin! Now's the time to put your practice into actual work!"
"I got it! I'll make four batches in one go!"
"Make sure to use the pasta maker! We don't have all the time in the world! Move the hands! Move! Move!"
And this was the results of the survey that G handed out apparently when he was on break. The club anticipated that it will rain today, and considering how it is getting colder, it indeed is for today. Customers entered the restaurant with a layer and hanged their jacket on their seats. The pungent but flavorful smell had entered the room, and the spiciness that stings ever so slightly flew to the air, making the feeling inside warm.
The survey was unexpectedly a success with the customers that we have gathered even in the middle of the rainy day. Simply put, Giotto's Mini had become almost like a ramen house at this point, in which Mala Ramen became the star of the menu for the day.
After three of hours of around 80% of Mala Ramen orders, we closed the resto for a short while. No, not because we're as tired as how we were on the first day of the soft opening of Giotto's North, but because of the condition of the Art Room. Don't get me wrong, however, the room's smell is phenomenal. Taking advantage of temporarily closing up shop, we took the opportunity to look around the school as for what we will eat for lunch. And so we set off while minding two groups—where half in the club will be on lookout if ever someone tries to force his way in the Art Room, while the other will go around the booths.
But for security purposes, we separated Gin and G so that the room and our earnings will not fall to anything bad. This was one of the precautions that we set, as cautious as we are already after the incident from yesterday. You know, G is still normal at this point when Potato isn't anymore. Well, he's a potato.
With that, we were also with Yuuga and Shiro's company.
▪ ▪ ▪
"Wha- I thought you'd be here in the afternoon…" Yuuga had mumbled, coincidentally meeting Mina in front of S2CA's classroom.
"Hehe. You know that I suck in surprising someone."
"Hahh… Can I?" he looked on the three of us, somewhat conflicted, thus he asked.
Gin carefreely replied, "Yeah, yeah. Have your own table. Don't mind us."
We did some thinking while filling up our empty stomachs, and we came to a point of decision where we ought to take the work a tad lighter in contrast to the performance we had in the last two days. The small discussion concluded that we are not giving ourselves a lot of time to rest, or for a break. It just so happened that it coincided to G's request of having the afternoon for his break. Whatever he's up to, I don't think there is room for us to complain.
But on the opposite side of things, it was surprising that Yuuga is still catching gazes from people even in this place. It seems that Yuki Amagami really has become popular in Orio after ManCon. And having a girl with the mangaka on a table was indeed a scene, but it does seem that Yuuga's readers are compliant to his prior request. There is however people monitoring if anyone will make a scoop out of them.
With that security, things ended in the restaurant without a hitch.
▪ ▪ ▪
"We're back~" Gin slid the door.
"Is that Minase…?" asked Nagi silently. "Hey, having a lunch break doesn't mean that you have to bring your girlfriend here!"
"She's a customer, Nacchi! She's here to buy prints!"
"Ehhh. That so. Alright, it will be 90 Laxes for one print in standard size."
"I'll be going ahead!" G then ran past us.
"Thanks for holding the fort! We'll open up while you're away. You go and have fun!"
I suspiciously stared at Gin upon the recent exit.
"Don't look at me like that… I don't know what's up with him today."
"Hmm… He does look excited, though."
"Now that you mention it, he really did."
This is not Japan, but it just so happened that a bunkasai happened in this country, or rather, an open event as it was called. Ginji had playfully thought of that every time with his interest in the culture, tropes, and all. He was indeed excited, as there is the fact that Yui Akina had agreed to accompany Ginji in his somewhat lengthy break from work, and that he had invited her even before the event begins. It was enough to uplift his mood in the midst of the rain, in the midst of knowing what it symbolizes. In his thought, Ginji is on his way to see the sun.
He quickly ran his way to the Visual Arts room, and peeked on the doors as he was looking for Yui. He did not see her, assuming that she was still on the makeshift kitchen. But then he saw her closest friend, who just finished serving to a customer.
"Anzu!" he called out. "Is Yui inside?"
"You didn't see her, Ginji? She went to the washroom and said that she will go to the Art Room."
"Ehhh. I guess I'll go look for her. Thanks for the tip," he gestured a high five, in which Anzu answered to.
"That guy is so unusually energetic today…"
He was resolved to look for her throughout the building, as they might have missed each other, but he sat on the second to the lowest step of the stairs while watching the crowd move in the hallway. It was still raining, thus the volume of people was not overwhelming. He can clearly see the people walking in opposite directions; so clearly that he immediately saw a certain girl walking in that crowd.
"I guess I'll surprise her."
He stood up silently, and sneakily went to where Yui is at.
But to his surprise, Yui turned around as if she knew that Ginji was behind her.
"Oh, Ginji! I was about to look for you. Did you wait long?"
"Nah. I just asked Anzu earlier so I figured that you will pass by.
How long is your break?"
"I have about one hour."
"I see. We better get going then. Where do you want to go? Have you eaten lunch?"
"I actually haven't. I was a little busy with the work."
"Class 4B was apparently making smashed burgers. Do you like that?"
"I actually haven't eaten one, but I've heard that it was worlds apart from a normal burger. I guess I will be up for it."
"Hahahaha. I'll treat you then."
"Is it really okay with you?"
"Of course, of course."
~ ~ ~
Ginji thought; Detective Juno Artecus was absolutely right with his comment from yesterday. Watching it being made was already appetizing in itself. He had recognized that he had seen that process of making it before and wondered that cooking channels in YouCube have become very convenient.
Nonetheless, they bought two for each and settled with sitting on somewhere quiet.
"Burp… I think I still have space for more…" Yui unconsciously said.
"Pfft…! We sure are hungry, huh? Ahahahaha. Where do you want to go next?"
"Did you know that there's a takoyaki stand somewhere?"
"Yep. I've had a free sample. Let's go for it, then."
"But! I'll pay for my own this time! You got it?"
This time, they have had their lunch completed. But there was however only less than twenty minutes before Yui's break will end.
While once again walking on the new building, on the third floor this time, Yui abruptly stopped and tugged Ginji's shirt repeatedly.
"Hmm? What's the matter?"
He turned his head to Yui, and then looked at where she was looking at. In front of them, a class is doing some sort of a game.
"Ginji… d-did you see the shark plushie there…? That's so cute…!!!"
There was nothing in display outside the classroom, but Yui still managed to see a shark stuffed toy that is about a torso's size inside.
"…I can get it for you if you want it."
Her eyes showed hesitation when looking directly at him, but she felt excited nonetheless.
"Well, I can only try. I don't know what kind of challenge will fall upon me."
"Can you not talk like that?"
It was as though they went to an arcade upon entering the classroom. There were a lot of games and people playing them for the prizes. He was undecided as to what he will play to get the plushie for Yui, until his sight fell to a closed laptop with a graphics tablet connected to it.
"What game do you have in there?" he asked a student near him.
"That has gosu! in it but people don't like to play it much since they feel like it is too hard."
"I see, I see. Then I'll play that for that shark plushie."
"Are you sure, though?"
"There's no way I won't play it if I wasn't sure."
The game was booted up, and he was told that he can get the prize if he accomplished a beatmap with at least a Full Combo either with an A, S, or SS. There were at least 50 maps in total ranging to 1 to 5 stars difficulty. He felt a sense of relief that there are only seven 5 star maps, as he can only play until 4 stars.
He tapped the Random button with the pen, as per the instructions and waited for the map roulette to stop.
It was somewhat unfair, he thought. The beatmap to where it stopped was something that he had already played many times, and that it was on 3.6 stars. But the student minding the game knows about how to play the game, and so Ginji was given a chance to do a warm up. He chose a 4 star map and started clicking circles. As he had expected, he can only do an A rating without Full Combo for his first game. But he thought, his own machine is so crappy that he actually plays better as there are no stutters and the game refreshes twice as smooth. It was not long until he had to play the designated map.
The only given rule to him is that he has three attempts for the exact same map in case that he can't get the Full Combo in the first two attempts. But if he fails to meet the requirement… good game well played.
Other people saw him play the warm up, and they stick to watch him for his game. Without further ado, he plugged his own headphones and cracked every individual finger of his hands. Thus, he began clicking circles.
In his first attempt, the results that showed in the screen was an S rating with Full Combo. He has indeed succeeded and got the prize.
"Here 'ya go."
He handed out the stuffed toy and Yui tightly hugged it in front of him. Girls really have a knack for what they think is cute or beautiful; with that in mind, Ginji just stayed still and watched the overjoyed expression of Yui.
But then, she noticed from the window that the sky is starting to brighten up. Her eyes widened and suddenly pulled Ginji's hand and ran towards the exit.
"I can't afford to miss the sky opening up…! Let's go…!"
Ginji was not entranced, as he is still in consciousness of what is happening. Nevertheless, he let herself be pulled by the small hands and ran behind her. He was only released when they have made their way onto the rooftop of the building. Just in the nick of time, the clouds began to open up little by little, and the visible sunrays started to light up the horizon. And from where he was standing at, the sun had lit him up, and Ginji saw the shadow below him.
Is it just me or… do you also find it really beautiful when you see a sight like this?" Yui turned around to where Ginji was, with a face of joy and shining tears that has not fallen from the corner of her eyes.
Yes… The sky, and then Yui… they are very beautiful."
Ginji was smiling in the moment when he responded, but he recalled a memory of wishing to "see the sun and the sky together." Abruptly, he felt extremely sad, as he was looking at the perspective of a six year-old that finally saw them after a year. That child had seen his wish and yet, he felt nothing with it, as though his heart was empty.
"It has been long filled…"
"Ginji… What's with that look…?"
"…Yui, I'm in love with you."
The sky continued to open, and the wind continued to blow. Yui froze, standing silently while looking blankly on Ginji, but still directly. He stepped forward, and lent his jacket to her and placed it on her shoulders. He then went back from where he was originally standing.
Yui's tears that had stayed in her eyes have finally fallen as she tightly clutched on the stuffed toy that she received.
Realizing that it was meaningless for him to stand in the same spot, he stepped forward anew with a handkerchief on her hand. Without saying anything, Yui gently took it and wiped her tears.
"Do you mind if we sit? I actually have a lot of things to say…"
~ ~ ~
"There is no reason to beat around the bush… It is up to you if you will believe everything that I will say, Yui.
I… actually believe that I know that you can't accept my feelings for you."
"I saw… or rather, I have Gin's memories in my mind. That sounds so stupidly unrealistic, but it is a fact for me. That is why… I was somewhat hurt when I saw that particular memory that he had.
But I've been hurt for so long that I want to see a move-on. I'm sorry for frankly asking this, Yui. But…
Do you still like Gin?"
There was a very long pause, but she let out suddenly in an almost unheard voice.
Ginji closed his eyes, and emptied his mind.
"I did not expect that it was really difficult to give up these feelings… and when I thought that I have gotten over it, I still haven't. I stopped forcing myself to forget about everything… but he still had a place in my heart… that I can't seem to remove…"
I see… I am a little thankful that I wasn't similar with Gin in this case… Yui, can you… look at what face I am making right now?"
Slowly—very slowly, Yui turned her gaze towards Ginji, and saw tears rolling down to his cheeks with a saddened face.
"I'm glad… I'm glad with how much I am an existence derived from him… I was not making the same expression that he made when you confessed to him. I'm glad that I was able to convey the emotions that he can't. I'm so happy… yet I'm so sad…"
Yui was unable to utter a single word. She does not know what she should say and what she can say. Her mind stalled, not knowing what she needs to do.
Her head fell to Ginji's shoulder, and her hands held to the hem of his shirt, tightly grasping on it as she loudly sobbed beside him.
For some reason, Ginji's tears have stopped.
"You're wrong, Ginji… It's not that I can't accept your feelings… It's complicated… I just don't know what I should do…"
He halted Yui from continuing, and spoke with his already calm voice instead.
"I recently found out that my existence itself was a shadow of Gin Sakato's life. There are certain things or events in his life that also happened to me.
For example, we were both delivered through cesarean, our uncles died in cancer right after we were born, our names have an obvious similarity, we have the exact same handwriting, and we both have a scar that is exactly the same from where it was inflicted and it even has the exact same dimensions.
But even if I was technically him, not all aspects of Gin Sakato is applied to me. After realizing that I was him, I began to create my own self and my own life. I started to diverge and live without being shackled by being Gin. I continued to live how I want to be, and I am now proud to say… that I am Gin, and I am not Gin. After all, I am Ginji Satoshi.
I am now different to him even if not entirely. It is very obvious, if his life coincides to what will happen today, then I would never be here with you, and I may not be here to suddenly confess my love to you.
A troubling thought might have dawned in to you after hearing that, but I just want to say that I am not like him in many ways. So I really wish for you not to think of me as Gin—whom you liked. That is why I interacted with you differently while still being me. I will continue to drift away from him, until I have become more complete.
But seriously, I was happy when we met by the staircase earlier. I well aware that you are someone who can see that phantom, as Gin concluded that it was due to your affections towards him. And then you saw me, even when I tried to surprise you. My reasoning is very shallow, but it really made me happy."
He stood up, which made Yui look at him while he made his way in front of her. She had an idea of what was going to happen next, which made her frightened even after everything that has been said.
She looked down and closed her eyes. Her hands trembled as they tightly held on to her skirt.
"N-No… I don't want to hear it…"
"Please let me court you."
It was not what Yui expected to hear, and so she once again froze, speechless. She looked up with an astonished face that intently looked on the man's face.
Did I surprise you, Yui?" Ginji smiled.
She silently nodded.
"I knew through my memories that Gin abruptly got together with Ringo—extremely fast, at that. As I have just said, I will continue to converge away from his existence. That's why I ought not to do what he did, and I know that this is better for me to do so.
So I will say this once again…
I love you, Yui… and I ask for your permission to court you."
It was extremely unexpected that Yui felt relieved, and that a weight on her shoulders have been released. But nonetheless, it was indeed a fact that this generation has greatly forgotten the concept of wooing, and that Gin and Ringo became a major example of it.
But alongside that relief, she felt confidence. She found the resolve to attempt to finally give up her feelings on Gin for good, and move on to a new beginning without his presence.
"I… I hope that you won't disappoint me, Ginji."
He let out a huge sigh, and gestured his right hand towards Yui. The lass got the message and accepted a handshake.
"I will do my absolute best from now on."
"Right… I haven't said it…"
"Thank you very much for the plushie, Ginji."
"Glad I made you happy. Well, you're getting late in your work, so I guess we should go down now."
"Unnnn… I still want to tour the whole event, though. Do you still have some time after this?"
"A lot, actually."
"Okay. I guess I'll have myself ready for a scolding from Anzu."
"Are you going to tell her what happened?"
"Maybe? If you're fine with it."
"Ehh. It's up to you. But I'll surely tell Gin about this to make him feel bad."
"Ahahaha. Don't joke like that."
"I'm not, though. Hahahaha."
Ginji Satoshi has come closer to his light.
That ends the first part of 070!
Currently reading Blue Period! It's an amzing manga!
Thank you for reading!
070.2: Open Event's conclusion.
Please log in to leave a comment.