Chapter 4:

Four – Tomodachi to Roku

Normal in Parenthesis—The Old Will and the Dawn to All | Our World

It has been a week since school started. Normal days began and they ended with the same tone.Bookmark here

Surprisingly, the seating arrangements weren’t changed for some unknown reasons. But the catch is that this is our permanent seat for the whole semester and we can’t switch places while there’s a teacher inside.Bookmark here

It’s not our group’s problem since we never leave our seats and no one dares to seat on the four chairs in the very back row. It’s probably because of me because they thought that I was unapproachable and a little scary. But they didn’t know that I am an introvert from the start.Bookmark here

I remembered when I was in third year and someone from our class just discovered my name after two years of being his classmate. I am hardly noticeable.Bookmark here

I’m a shadow, so to speak.Bookmark here

The effect of my “minimal exposure” is very effective. For instance, people don’t even know that I was standing and walking with them and they always get surprised whenever they notice me. They would always jump to a crazy conclusion that I am a ghost or something.Bookmark here

What’s the trick? Eliminate every noise or sound that you may produce, may it be unnecessary or not. Walking, climbing the stairs, breathing, or anything you can think of that you do everyday. It won’t work on everything you do though. Sound is an important factor of a being’s actions… or at least that's what I thought.Bookmark here

※ This is a work of fiction.Bookmark here

Right now we have two classes vacant in the morning so we can wander off to somewhere but we are not allowed to interrupt any classes from the underclasses.Bookmark here

I never go to many places so I mostly stay in the classroom perhaps drawing or listening to music I don’t even understand but I like. Though at times like this, we sometimes go to the clubroom and bor-Bookmark here

“Here I am sitting here for twenty minutes wondering why do you have a microphone and talking to thin air. Want to be an announcer or a commentator?”Bookmark here

“Wah… What do you mean, Nagi… I’m doing this for the narration for this chapter you know? It’s already the 4th.”Bookmark here

“Somehow I find it funny how the author writes like this.”Bookmark here

“I wished he made me good at drawing from the start.”Bookmark here

“I guess he wants to add humor to for who knows what he is writing.”Bookmark here

“I want to meet the author here though. I want to know how he looks and how he lives. I wonder if he’s just as listless as me.”Bookmark here

“Nani.”Bookmark here

“Nani?”Bookmark here

“Nani.”Bookmark here

That was amazingly synchronized.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Lunch break.Bookmark here

Just like normal, we are eating on a table far from the cafeteria. We always bring our own lunch so it’s not a problem going to cafeteria every time. It’s exhausting every time we go back and forth from the cafeteria to here. This is like our only place aside from the clubroom. It’s just a lone table with six seats but the other two seats were never occupied and left vacant.Bookmark here

That’s what she said.Bookmark here

“Uhm… Excuse me. Can the two of us have a seat with you?”Bookmark here

“Just as I was talking about the vacant chairs… Oh, I’m not using my mic this time.”Bookmark here

The four of us looked at them like there is a police suspecting us for a crime. But in reality, they were just two female students.Bookmark here

We straighten up ourselves in unison and fixed our bad postures in a tenth of a second. Akira raised both of arms in a ninety-degree angle like he was caught by a police illegally eating their donuts.Bookmark here

I was the first to regain my composure so I replied to the two politely with a stiff voice.Bookmark here

“S-Sure, both of you can have the seat. They’re always vacant.”Bookmark here

“We can’t find any seats in the cafeteria so we ended up here. Thank you for letting us seat here.”Bookmark here

“It’s not a problem. The two of you can join us if you want to.”Bookmark here

They sat on the two vacant chairs that were never occupied for probably since the time the school was built. They seem to have their lunch not coming from the cafeteria. Perhaps it was also homemade.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, they were in our class.Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry for not introducing ourselves. I am Ringo Akanami and she is Shiro Kirishima.”Bookmark here

“Nice to meet the four of you.”Bookmark here

I see. Ringo Akanami from Wisteria and Shiro Kirishima from Cobalt. They’re both transferees in this school so I think it is safe to assume that they are already friends now.Bookmark here

It’s getting suspicious as to why I am the only one talking. Bringing the old times once again, we used our communication with gazes to talk.Bookmark here

(“Oi, why am I the only one talking here?!”)Bookmark here

(“Why not? Have the spotlight!”)Bookmark here

(“The air is so tense you know. My jaws can’t even move!”)Bookmark here

(“I thought you’re not that good when communicating to girls.”)Bookmark here

(“Quit it. I’m just being polite.”)Bookmark here

(“Hoho~ Someone’s being a gentleman here.”)Bookmark here

(“Though he’s listless, he’s still a man unlike you two who slipped in our presentation and fell down simultaneously because of the nerves.”)Bookmark here

(“Nagi, is that a compliment or an insult?”)Bookmark here

(“How can you even use your eyes that long?! Mine’s drying out!”)Bookmark here

(“At least talk to them. I won’t hold this for long.”)Bookmark here

We are not communicating through telepathy, really.Bookmark here

※ This is a work of fiction.Bookmark here

The four of us stopped our silent conversation and tried finishing up our lunch to talk to the two in our table. It is for the reason to come up with a conversation so Ms. Akanami and Ms. Kirishima won’t feel left out.Bookmark here

Finally, Nagi came up with a valid conversation.Bookmark here

“How’s the school for the two of you?”Bookmark here

“It’s actually better than Cobalt in terms of the facilities and security. I didn’t expect that almost everything here is up to date in a short period of time.”Bookmark here

“I’m really fascinated how the platforms here have drawers. It’s kind of resourceful and a wise use of storage.”Bookmark here

“The little things. I also didn’t expect to see them, Ms. Akanami. It’s a new thing here.”Bookmark here

I suddenly butted in after hearing her observation about the small things she noticed. I was surprised that I instinctively told something like that.Bookmark here

By the way, when we are not familiar with people, we tend to call them with Mr. or Ms. along with their surname.Bookmark here

After some thinking, we thought we made a very big mistake. We haven’t even introduced ourselves after talking a lot. So I started talking like I’m in front of someone I wouldn’t dare to pick a fight.Bookmark here

“Ah, it is very rude of us not to introduce ourselves, isn't it? I am Gin Sakato. Nice to meet the two of you.”Bookmark here

If I didn’t say that, they will probably be dead statues standing still in every weather conditions for 3700 years. They introduced themselves after me.Bookmark here

“N-No, not at all! It’s not a problem for us.”Bookmark here

“There’s no need to be so formal. Just call me Shiro if you want.”Bookmark here

I think I made them a little startled after what I said. You barely even hear such deep words anywhere. It’s probably because of the light novels I read that made me good at literature.Bookmark here

I never thought that the conversation with the six of us would last that much and we never even talk to the girls of our class.Bookmark here

“By the way, the club recruitment will be this afternoon. Have you decided on which club you will join?”Bookmark here

Jean probably made them think a little. Perhaps they haven’t decided which club they will join.Bookmark here

After realizing he did confuse the two, he turned to his intelligent mode to explain the clubs.Bookmark here

“I guess as help, I should introduce you to the clubs and what they do, then.Bookmark here

First is the Literature Club, they are in charge with taking care of the books in the library along with the librarian and they do write great literary pieces. If you want to learn haiku, after five or seven attempts you will perfect it!”Bookmark here

The three of us had an unpleasant look on our face while turning our gazes to Jean who made a pretty bad pun. Nagi, being blunt blurted out knives from his mouth to stab Jean.Bookmark here

“That joke is garbage, man. No one could be good at 5-7-5 with just five or seven times.”Bookmark here

“…S-Sorry. I’ll just continue.Bookmark here

Second is the Music Club. They mostly study how to play musical instruments and sometimes play as a band here.Bookmark here

Third is the Sports Club. They are the ones in charge of every sports festival that happens thrice a school year.Bookmark here

Next is the Student Council. Though they do not accept transfer students.Bookmark here

Fifth is the Disciplinary Committee. They have the authority to apprehend brawls around the school. They work with the Student Council and strictly abide the school rules.Bookmark here

Sixth is the Cooking Club. Whenever they do a demonstration, we always have a free taste!Bookmark here

Seventh is the Entertainment Club. They’re probably the best club and they are independent in terms of materials.”Bookmark here

“We would probably prefer a not so populated club though.”Bookmark here

“Then what about the club you were all at? The Art Club, I think?”Bookmark here

“Oh. Yes and lastly, the Art Club. It doesn’t have a president or something like that. Not much students join the club and I blame it on Gin as to why-“Bookmark here

“Oi.”Bookmark here

“…few people join. Recently, the materials in the clubroom were stocked with new ones and we’re really grateful for that.Bookmark here

It is probably the most productive club if I were to say because it has the most outputs and used materials every year but it is not that famous because it is like a shadow. But that is where the four of us had the most fun even though it’s a boring place.Bookmark here

If you ever stumble upon our clubroom, you will see something special there. Here, I’ll give you a hint.”Bookmark here

I kept myself quiet even though I knew that he was talking about my sketch. He showed a picture in his phone where my signature is the only thing seen. I kept myself silent for too long so I butted in.Bookmark here

“Aren’t you a being a bit biased Jean? It’s not that great of a club because it is boring and it may just happen that the members will be a lot fewer than last year.”Bookmark here

“Why would it be fewer?”Bookmark here

“The first reason is because it is a boring club and second is the Entertainment Club is expanding.Bookmark here

We need at least five members for a club to not be shut down. So we will be taking actions later.”Bookmark here

“Anyways, are we being at least helpful?”Bookmark here

“Yes, thank you for informing us about the clubs. It will surely help us decide on which club to join.”Bookmark here

The two of them both had a smile with a subtle display of relief and contentment.Bookmark here

And when I thought the lunch break is about to end, I looked at the clock and there are still twenty minutes before the bell rings.Bookmark here

I think Ringo felt that I was thinking about something.Bookmark here

“Um… Can I call you Gin?”Bookmark here

“Uh, yes, what is it?”Bookmark here

“Is there something that kept bothering you? You seem to be thinking a lot.”Bookmark here

I was surprised that she saw through me that I was thinking of something. No way on escaping, I’ll just say it.Bookmark here

“There’s nothing really bothering me, but you’re right that I’m thinking about something.Bookmark here

I was wondering about the names of you two. We have complete Japanese names except for Jean and Akira…Bookmark here

Before that, can I call you both with your first names?”Bookmark here

“It’s alright. Ringo will be enough.”Bookmark here

“Thanks.Bookmark here

So I thought that if I translate Ringo’s name in Japanese, it would be ‘apple’ and ‘red’ in the part of her surname.Bookmark here

And Shiro’s name would be ‘white’.Bookmark here

Mine means ‘silver’ so I thought it was all about colors. Haha.”Bookmark here

I just made a very weak chuckle after thinking about their meaning of their names in Nihongo. I’m quite embarrassed.Bookmark here

“As you may know from the first day of school, Kiiro-sen said something to Akira about why we call him like that.Bookmark here

It actually was Gin’s idea but he passed the torch to Akira because he doesn’t want any exposure focused on him.Bookmark here

The four of us are actually otaku. We are like rare species in this school though.”Bookmark here

Otakus in Orio aren’t those people who go crazy on watching anime and reading manga or buying some stuff related to them, as I have already said.Bookmark here

But we never missed a chance to talk about it every single day.Bookmark here

After hearing Nagi’s explanation, Ringo and Shiro’s face brightened up with a big smile.Bookmark here

“Y-You may probably not know but we are also otakus. I thought I wouldn’t meet others like us this quickly!”Bookmark here

“Well, guess what? You’ve found some just a few minutes ago!”Bookmark here

Akira stood as he lifted a thumbs up that probably meant as a ‘Welcome!’ expression. There he goes with the wide smile again.Bookmark here

“Hey whale shark, sit down. You’ll scare them.”Bookmark here

It seems that Ringo and Shiro can’t resist they’re laughter after Nagi’s blunt but funny joke. I think they are sinking in sooner than I expected.Bookmark here

Well, that’s a relief. I don’t want them to experience the same situation I had when I was a first year and as a transferee. It’s the introverts’ worst nightmare. I don’t want them to be left out of the people around them.Bookmark here

“Uhm… As… As what Gin said earlier… Can we join you every break from now on…?Bookmark here

“Of course, of course! We’re glad to have the two of you with us. We never leave this place every break so that two seats there will be reserved from now on.” Bookmark here

Ringo is blushing. She’s probably shy to say that to us.Bookmark here

Aside from Ringo, this is the first time I’m seeing Nagi react like that while talking to a girl. I can’t believe he had a side that I never saw for three years. That’s quite surprising.Bookmark here

As far as I can see, it will be a lot noisier every break.Bookmark here

“We will welcome you whenever you want.Bookmark here

Though be wary that your existence in our class will slowly vanish if the two of you join us a lot. And of course, I mean it figuratively. I sometimes snoop in the Literary Club to study language.”Bookmark here

“What Gin meant is your exposure will decrease a lot. It’s like you will be standing inside a fog.Bookmark here

And he’s also the reason why we’re saved from being popular. I hate being talked about by others.”Bookmark here

“Jean just wants to stay low.”Bookmark here

“We don’t mind it. We also want to be in quiet surroundings. Not a problem at all.” Bookmark here

“Thank you Gin, and the three of you for welcoming us.Bookmark here

It’s also a bit hard for me to socialize, honestly. But I never disliked being an introvert.”Bookmark here

(!)Bookmark here

Strange.Bookmark here

The tone of Ringo’s voice subtly changed. Her eyes felt a little down. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions yet. I will continue to observe.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Wait.Bookmark here

I didn’t even notice that her hair is in the length that is almost reaching down to her shoulders. It’s notable that her hair subtly curved instead of falling down straight. And it’s also really black.Bookmark here

“'Rin…'”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“What in the world am I even thinking!?”Bookmark here

I finally snapped out of my zone and returned to the present world. No, it’s not what you think. Author-san, why do this to me?!Bookmark here

“Hey, Gin… Did you just say Rin…?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“You just said that, you know! Did Ringo hear that?”Bookmark here

The four of us then looked at the place where Ringo is sitting. She looked rather surprised and her face looked a bit red.Bookmark here

“I… I did…”Bookmark here

So she heard.Bookmark here

“What the… Did I really say that?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, you do! Are you spacing out again?!”Bookmark here

“A-Actually… If you want to… You can call me that…Bookmark here

Rin… is what you said right…?”Bookmark here

“Huh? I can hardly remember saying that but-“Bookmark here

“…it actually is cute.”Bookmark here

AHHHHHHH!!!!Bookmark here

“N-N-N-Ne-Ne-Nevermind!Bookmark here

Alright, I-I’ll call you Rin from now on. Hahh…”Bookmark here

“Hey, hey… What’s up with this Gin? If you call her that, then your name will rhyme. Are you going to call this coincidence now?”Bookmark here

“Hahh… Alright, you win, Akira…”Bookmark here

We kind of forget that Jean’s name also rhymes with ours.Bookmark here

“But honestly… I feel like saying ‘Rin’ is not just some random thought in my head.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“Anyways guys, let’s go back to the classroom before the bells ring. Next subject will be Science.”Bookmark here

“Are the topics today about concave and convex mirrors?”Bookmark here

“Hey you three, stand up and get your spines fixed. Us four needs to hurry.”Bookmark here

Jean stood up to fix his uniform and grabbed his lunch box. As always he is our human reminder.Bookmark here

I realized a mistake on what Jean said though.Bookmark here

“Oi, you three stop right there. The four of us aren’t going to class…”Bookmark here

The three turned around with a ‘what are you saying’ look. It’s written all over their faces.Bookmark here

“…the six of us will.”Bookmark here

We returned to class after an eventful lunch break. The fact that there are now five people that I can talk to both everyday hasn’t sunk in to me yet. I’ve never talked to this quantity of people at once. It’s unreal.Bookmark here

I guess this is what I wanted—to have friends by my side whom I can talk to.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

“Alright, let’s call it a day, class. Next period will be club recruitments. So you can now go to the booths the clubs prepared for registration. Goodbye.”Bookmark here

The doors are constantly opening and closing and the sound of chattering is slowly descending. We are the ones of the remaining students in the classroom. It seems that Rin and Shiro had gone to the club they will join, so the four of us went to the Art Room.Bookmark here

Our club didn’t have a booth as per our club supervisor’s decision. We just need to go straight to our clubroom for registration.Bookmark here

Of course, the doors are open because it is registration. I expect lesser people joining the club this year because of the Entertainment Club. It’s not like I care a lot but I don’t want for the Art Club to be disbanded.Bookmark here

As what I expected, it’s quiet around the clubroom as we are approaching. We finally reached the clubroom and what our eyes saw first were two students inside the clubroom. They are being guided by our supervisor around the room to familiarize themselves. We just nonchalantly entered the clubroom as usual to get our names registered and just do some sketches until dismissal.Bookmark here

Thankfully, the club won’t be disbanded though we are just six members.Bookmark here

“Mato-sen~ we’re coming in.”Bookmark here

“Gin?”Bookmark here

What we don’t know is that the two students are someone we just met an hour ago. It was Ringo Akanami and Shiro Kirishima.Bookmark here

The lunch break I had a while ago was probably the longest I had.Bookmark here

But I remembered that the day has not yet ended.Bookmark here

One step remaining.

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

Is burger a type of sandwich?Bookmark here

Also, take the that's what she said joke with a bit of salt. I just use it as a some kind of a sike thing.Bookmark here

:)Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

Five: The art and normalcy.Bookmark here

Ana Fowl
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