Chapter 4:

Prologue II

[ON HIATUS] Beyond the Horizon, Farther Than the Eye can See


[Everything changed that day]


I had just transferred to my new high school, but I wasn’t expecting it to be awkward like many people think. I’m used to the feeling of changing environments. Meeting new people, visiting new places, doing new things; that is anything but not exciting!


Despite the fact that both our new schools are both visible from my window, they are really far by foot, so me and Yumeha need to take the bus.


It was technically soulless. Only me, her, and the driver. Of course, Yumeha is always the one who lightens up the mood, and this time was no exception. We could finally do some siblingly things and talk a lot more comfortably than at home while admiring the beautiful scenery of the vast blue ocean beside us.


Having some alone time with Yumeha was a lot of fun. Since we left on a hurry thanks to her tardiness, she wanted me to tie her long, brown hair into a ponytail like I always do. I’m really good at it and she’s come to like my technique. Source: Her. It’s not very often that I get praised by her, so I was conflicted at first. It’s obvious she meant it though. Appearance is a girl’s main charm after all. I took my time messing with her a bit, being playful doesn’t harm at all! But I have to admit she was right. I never really noticed myself, but I was overly happy with the result. Ponytails do fit Yumeha a lot.


The bus reached her stop. It was right in front of her new school, a relatively new building judging from my quick glimpse. As always, she wants me to pat her head for some reason before we ‘part ways’, as she likes to say. Maybe it makes her feel safer or better? I still don’t know. Little sisters are so weird indeed.


I tried it on myself for once out of pure curiosity. What a good feeling~~. Having someone else pat your head must feel a lot better than this, I suppose. It was also embarrassing, I think the driver was gazing at me the entire time.


I eventually reached my stop and got off the bus. Poor driver, driving all alone… I offer you my condolences.


The school was on sight. My heart was racing. Racing so fast I couldn’t think straight. I started running without even realizing it. For the first time ever, I was hyper about going to a new school. At least I don’t remember having that feeling ever before on such an occasion.


And then…it happened. I bumped into someone. First thing I noticed were a few books lying on the ground. ‘’Basics of quantum physics’’ was one of them.


‘’Ah, I’m sorry, let me help you pick them up!’’ My voice was trembling. I started picking up the books one by one. I didn’t want anything to go wrong on my very first day. It’s only natural, isn’t it? ‘’Sorry for causing you trouble! I’m really being careless today! Here you go!’’ I said and gave the books to that person, my voice trembling even more than before.


‘’Thanks a bunch!’’ Yep, definitely a boy, you would never hear a girl say something like that. ‘’Don’t blame yourself, it was my fault for spacing out! Well then, have a good day-‘’


A chill run down my spine at that very moment.


‘’-Karasuma Eru.’’


I tried to look at that boy’s face, but he was gone. Nowhere to be seen. [As if he weren’t here in the first place.]


I continued walking nevertheless. My excitement had disappeared for some reason. I was lost in thought. ‘What was I even excited about anyways?’ I kept saying to myself. It’s like my reason to be hyper had been lost.


[‘What is it that I desire?’]


That single sentence crossed my mind and I couldn’t get it out of it. If I were to overthink what and why I happened to ask myself that though, I could easily ruin my precious first day. I’m not the kind of person to overthink things.


I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going until I reached my new school’s gate. I found myself staring at it. I finally got out of deep thought. I was amazed, despite looking like a regular high school. I recognized what was feeling at the moment. My happiness. I remembered why I was hyper since I woke up! A lot of things await me! New people, new experiences!


And just as I was about to take the first step and pass the school gate…


‘’Are you alright?’’


I bumped into another person and fell down. But this time…it was a girl’s voice. A caring voice that sounded like music to my ears. It was beautiful. Calling it angelic wouldn’t be an exaggeration.


‘’No need to worry, what about-?‘’


What I saw when I looked up was beyond my imagination. The slim figure of a gorgeous girl with blue eyes and black long hair. The scenery of her looking concerned under the blooming cherry blossoms looked like a vivid dream I would never want to end. [‘Things like this are just too perfect to even exist’] I thought to myself.


‘’Oh, me? I’m okay! Need a hand?’’ said the girl and helped me get up.


“Th-Thank you…’’


I was able to say just the bare minimum. I didn’t know how to react to that mesmerizing smile on her face. It seemed divine. There was also a slight breeze. Her long hair waved like the grass on the unending fields. These two put together made her seem like a godsent beauty. And she is one, no questions asked. Anyone could fall in love with her at first sight.


‘’You’re welcome! Oh, your uniform… If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your name?’’


‘’Ka-Karasuma Eru.’’


‘’Oh, so you must be the transfer student! Let me introduce myself then. I’m Akiya Yukino! I’m pleased to meet you!’’


I remember thinking ‘There it is again! That angelic smile! Why do I feel so embarrassed just by listening to her?! Wait, did my heart just skip a beat?! We’re both girls, right?! Why do I feel like gender doesn’t matter anymore?! WHAT AM I EVEN THINKING?!’


‘’Um, are you surely alright? You are red to the ears. Do you have a fever or something?’’


‘Am I really THAT embarrassed?!’ I thought to myself. And let me tell you something. I WAS that embarrassed.


‘’No no no no no no no no, that’s not-!’’


And before I could even finish my sentence, her forehead was touching my own. My heart started racing once again. Was I embarrassed anymore? Was I excited? Maybe both? Maybe none of the two? I couldn’t tell at the time.


‘’If you don’t have a fever, then everything must be okay, right? We should get to class! The others must be waiting for you too!’’


‘’Waiting?’’


‘’Yeah, let’s go!’’ she rejoiced and grabbed my hand, running endlessly through the hallways of the school.


‘Can such kind-hearted people really exist!? Just kill me right now, I can’t handle this!’ Another thought that crossed my mind.


We got to my new class. She opened the door.


‘’Karasuma-san, welcome to our class!’’


I thought my eyes were tricking me. My new classmates were indeed all waiting for my arrival. My hunch was amazingly spot on. I had underestimated how kind this world can be. I felt a surge of happiness overflowing within me.


‘’Karasuma-san, why are you crying? Did you not like our little surprise?’’


‘’No, that’s not it.’’ I quickly swept my tears. I didn’t even notice I was crying. But at the same time, it was the only thing I would expect from myself to do. ‘’I’ve been transferring schools my entire life, but this is the first time I’ve been greeted like this. I’ve never felt so welcome in my life! Thank you! I really mean it!’’


And of course, I started crying buckets. Once you start crying, you can’t stop even if you want to. And on top of that-


‘’There there.’’


-Yukino had embraced me, stroking my hair to comfort me. It felt so warm. Honestly, this girl didn't and still doesn’t know what boundaries are. I mean, we had just met! Not to mention that this made me all the more embarrassed.


‘’Are you feeling better now, Karasuma-san?’’


‘’Yeah, but these tears won’t stop!’’


Who knew this would be the happiest day of my life?


*


The rest of the day went by- No, it would be more accurate to say ‘flew by’ as everything felt happening so fast -like any of my other first days so far. Introductions, boring lessons, visiting after-school clubs at breaks; the usual stuff. But something was different than the previous times...


…I was actually enjoying it.


There were so many things going through my mind I couldn’t even focus on anything other than that. ‘What will I tell Dad about first?’, ‘How is Yumeha at her new school?’ and so on.


The sense of someone’s hands being softly wrapped around my neck started enveloping me all of a sudden. I was so immersed into my thinking I didn’t actually realize it immediately.


‘’Hey, Karasuma-san-‘’ whispered that person behind me suggestively.


I took a quick look at the room, only to conclude that I was lying on my desk, having just woken up from a nap. It was afternoon already, about an hour before sunset. Me and that person were the only ones in the class.


I once again felt my heartbeat accelerating, but it got steadier after recognizing that warm presence surrounding me.


‘’-wanna go home together!?’’


That person’s tone had changed.


‘’Who is it?’’ I murmured using the little strength I had to talk.


‘’How can you not remember Yukino!’’


It had just occurred to me, but it could have only been her.


‘’For goodness’ sake, you could have just woken me up and ask like a normal human being.’’


‘’But that’s what I did.’’ she replied ignorantly, only to start laughing hysterically a few moments later. ‘’Did you just say ‘for goodness’ sake’? Are you an old timer or something?’’


She just couldn’t stop laughing, making me feel more like an idiot and I pouted out of pure annoyance.


‘’I-I’m leaving!’’ I declared, stood up and started walking to the door make it obvious I wanted to leave the room.


‘’W-Where are you going?’’


‘’Isn’t that obvious?’’ I smiled. ‘’Aren’t we going home together?’’


Yukino’s reaction to my words was priceless. Despite flashing a brilliant and sparkling smile, it was something more than that; something that can’t be put into mere words. The best way to describe it would be…


…a genuine feeling of euphoria, for both of us.


And that was exactly what I had been looking for this whole time.