Chapter 5:

Five – Normal Beginnings

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

Neither an echo of our voice nor the sound of the wind entered the room.Bookmark here

It’s as if the clubroom of the Art Club separated from the physical world and was thrown into a dimension where sound does not even exist.Bookmark here

Honestly though, we are overacting a lot right now. We at least expected that Ringo- I mean…Bookmark here

Rin and Shiro had the possibility to join our club. Part of it was Jean’s fault. It’s nothing surprising really. Bookmark here

…Or at least that’s what I want to think.Bookmark here

We forgot something, and that is what led us four to this present negligence and ignorance. We are so not ready for this.Bookmark here

We forgot that this will be the first time we will be working with female students in a club. What’s worse is that we are just six people in a club of creatives.Bookmark here

“Idio-Bookmark here

Students, you have been silent for exactly four minutes and eleven seconds… Bookmark here

Twelve, thirteen…”Bookmark here

Our club supervisor, Martin Arlo who is also a teacher here at Blue Ink finally broke the unnecessary silence.Bookmark here

Actually, he is a friend when it’s outside the school but not much people know about that.Bookmark here

“Haha… We didn’t expect you to really join our club. Though it will be a pleasure working with the two of you…?”Bookmark here

“Easy there, Gin. They haven’t registered their names yet and the same for the four of you. Renewal of registration, I suppose?Bookmark here

Anyways, to make it official, here’s the log so make sure to register your names, classes, specialty in your field in arts, and phone numbers.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Lastly, make sure you don’t forget your names like the two people who forgot each other because of a comet that hit their faces.”Bookmark here

“Hey, Mato-sen… Is that a shameless joke… or a reference? You know that Kimi no N* wa is still on the summit.”Bookmark here

Akira is, well… not annoyed but infuriated in a very anticlimactic manner.Bookmark here

“Bentayga, you watch your words and bleep the movie! You’re making the author feel bad, you know that.”Bookmark here

I remembered that this teacher and this student were like oil and water. Whatever you do, those two liquids will never mix together.Bookmark here

After I signed the membership logbook, I took a seat in a very familiar spot where it is facing the door of the clubroom but at the farthest seat on the left corner. On that place I can draw or work with the most efficiency because that is the corner where the graphite materials, leads, colored pencils, various inking materials, A2 and A4 papers are all bundled up. In short, it’s like my second home.Bookmark here

The seat on my right is the nearest to the materials such as watercolor, acrylic, different sizes of brushes and canvas for liquid coloring.Bookmark here

Rin took the seat beside me after observing things around the room. She has a bright look on his face perhaps because of how neat the clubroom was.Bookmark here

“Uh… Rin? I suppose you specifically like watercolors and such...?”Bookmark here

“Mhm. Yes, I usually paint as a hobby. I started some time in my second year.”Bookmark here

She gave a light nod to me and immediately replied. Though, her gaze is scanning the whole clubroom once more. Like, she is looking for something. I can’t avoid not asking because I may help her if she was looking for materials she can’t find here.Bookmark here

“Is something the matter, or… are you looking for something?”Bookmark here

“Oh… not really, but I’m curious about the picture Jean showed me at lunch break.”Bookmark here

Before I think about my piece, I looked at where the others are. Beside the seat after Rin, there’s no one sitting there, but Shiro is in front of her. Nagi is just beside the vacant seat so there is one seat apart Nagi and Rin. Jean and Akira are at the desk in front of us. They are the nearest to the door.Bookmark here

After a thorough and quick observation, I finally spoke.Bookmark here

“Oh, that…Bookmark here

I don’t know if I can help you with this but I guess a hint won’t hurt.”Bookmark here

“And here goes Mr. Sadist.” retorted Nagi.Bookmark here

“Shut it.”Bookmark here

“We’re used to Gin’s cryptic hints.”Bookmark here

“No need for you to say that, Jean. It’s because you’re the fastest to understand my hints.”Bookmark here

“Not to brag but my record is 34 seconds.”Bookmark here

“Then that makes me second because of my memorization skills.”Bookmark here

“So Akira is on the last place…”Bookmark here

“Hey…!”Bookmark here

“Enough joking, Trio de Derps.”Bookmark here

“Hey Gin, does that mean it’s like all of you are playing a game?”Bookmark here

I didn’t think Shiro is the type of person who can get familiar with others in a short period of time. I’m a bit startled.Bookmark here

“But does that mean she’s an extrovert?Bookmark here

She doesn’t really look like one. I think not.”Bookmark here

“I guess you could say that…?Bookmark here

I suppose you could call me the game master and the three are the players. It’s like I’m manipulating them in my game but of course not like how Kay*ba Akihiko did it.”Bookmark here

“Oi Gin, you just told us to quit joking but here you are doing the same thing we did.”Bookmark here

Rin made a small and weak laughter after hearing what I said. It’s probably because she’s also an otaku like us that’s why she probably knew what I’m talking about.Bookmark here

“…Sword Art Onl*ne?”Bookmark here

“Ding, correct! Now imagine my face with a circle just like what Koro-se*sei does.”Bookmark here

This time, the two broke out of laughter after my follow up. But the three doesn’t look impressed and the word “lame” is written on their faces.Bookmark here

Seriously, I can’t believe that they are actually laughing on such a lame joke.Bookmark here

“Anyways, I should stop because I’m getting sidetracked already.Bookmark here

Alright then, I’ll make it similar to a riddle or something.Bookmark here

‘The wind is steadily moving eastward from the apple tree. It however is going to nothing, but behind it is a monotone image that doesn’t show much life.’”Bookmark here

As expected, they looked confused.Bookmark here

“It’s a little less vague than how I usually hint because it’s on a whim but I can do better and harder than that.”Bookmark here

Rin looked carefully and observed around if she can see an apple tree somewhere. She even looked outside if there is something as a hint. But in the end, she looked totally confused.Bookmark here

But then she vigorously raised her head, like she thought of something.Bookmark here

“Apple tree… Apple… Ringo! The apple tree is a metaphor for me!”Bookmark here

I did not respond and showed a poker face so it will not be distinguished if she was correct or incorrect.Bookmark here

“The wind is going to the east, so that may mean that there’s something on Rin’s right side? Because east…”Bookmark here

Shiro proudly responded with her pointer finger pointing upwards as she looked at me.Bookmark here

“But there’s nothing beside me… ‘Nothing’! That’s right, no one’s sitting on that chair. So that probably ends the current of the wind.Bookmark here

Behind is a lifeless or monotone image…”Bookmark here

Rin looked what is behind the vacant chair and she saw a framed image in black and white. Yes, my artwork that is hanged on the wall and it was framed with a rather expensive frame.Bookmark here

She stood up as she focused her eyes in my piece.Bookmark here

“It’s a great artwork. I would assume that this was done with 6B and 8B pencils. It may be lifeless but there is a drama that probably can’t be perceived easily.”Bookmark here

“Indeed, you are correct that that artwork is the answer to my sort of riddle. The name of that piece is ‘Piano of Tragedy’.Bookmark here

It is a tribute to Your L*e in April but specifically to Kaori Miy*zono who died in the story. You could say that it is Ar*ma Kousei who is playing the piano.”Bookmark here

“Was these a piece made by a student in the Art Club?”Bookmark here

“I suggest you look at the top left corner and Jean, the picture if you will?Bookmark here

“Right.”Bookmark here

I did expect her not to be so surprised to see the same signature that was on the picture from Jean’s phone. I was right.Bookmark here

“Oh, the signature is here…!”Bookmark here

Rather than shocked, she was amazed to see the signature written on the paper I used to draw the piece.Bookmark here

“Jean said that there is something special here at the clubroom. That is what he was talking about at lunch break. Though, it wasn’t really that special if I were to say.Bookmark here

But I’ll tell you the story about that sketch.Bookmark here

That was drawn by a third year as his final project to be promoted to fourth year. You could say that the student is a ‘mediocre artist’ but he didn’t miss any club meetings unless he is sick. Almost everyday, he stayed here after school because the facility closes at 5pm. He is an otaku but he never stood out to the crowd because he doesn’t like too much people around him. He is always considered as the most zealous in the Art Club.”Bookmark here

I would assume she was thinking of an alumnus or a senior high school student today or just an urban legend. My story isn’t that convincing because the paper is fairly new and well-preserved. It also feels like I’m bragging about myself.Bookmark here

“Was the student an alumnus and was once a member of this club too?”Bookmark here

“My hunch was right. Got you, Shiro.”Bookmark here

“Actually, no.”Bookmark here

I paused for a minute and thought of something again. I went back and thought of the riddle-like hint I gave to them and extended it.Bookmark here

“Hahh…Bookmark here

That lifeless and monotonous place was made by a man sitting beside the apple tree.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

There is a terrifying silence around the whole clubroom. But the one that broke that silence is a…Bookmark here

“Nyan”Bookmark here

A meow of a cat.Bookmark here

“Naniiiiiiiiiiiii?!?!”Bookmark here

What… was that…?Bookmark here

“Pfft… Hahahahaha! Sorry, I can’t help but laugh… Hahaha.”Bookmark here

“Geez, Gin. What are you even doing. You just made Ringo shout nani…Bookmark here

Nani…?Bookmark here

Pfft…”Bookmark here

“What, you’re laughing too. You’re a pot calling the kettle black.”Bookmark here

Even Nagi realized that he heard something new and bursts out of laughter while his head is planted to the table…Bookmark here

Oops. Rin’s pouting with an upset face…Bookmark here

But in a cute way.Bookmark here

Though Rin herself laughed also to her heart’s content not because of the embarrassment but because of enjoyment. Seriously, I’m seeing a lot more new things as days went by and this is probably the highlight.Bookmark here

I finally calmed down myself and returned to my listless self to regain my composure. I clapped two times to get all of their attention.Bookmark here

“Attention please, ladies and gentlemen. With that, I therefore announce that Mr. Jean Ando shall be demoted to be the second fastest to answer Game Master Gin Sakato’s abstruse questions.”Bookmark here

Messenger of royalty acting: ON.Bookmark here

“Therefore, Ms. Ringo Akanami will take the first spot of the quickest to answer the questions with an exact time of 29 seconds at the first question and 3 seconds at the second. Congratulations.”Bookmark here

After spouting such nonsense, Nagi and Akira gave a round of applause to the new holder of the title. We look so dumb.Bookmark here

“What?! When did you even record Ringo’s time?”Bookmark here

“Never underestimate the four months of ‘training’ I did. I practiced observing time and more. And it’s more efficient since the clock is just behind me. I didn’t just slack off watching anime and reading manga in the past four months. Haha.”Bookmark here

“And ranking waifus?”Bookmark here

“Akira… Don’t ever bring that matter anymore or else I’ll rank yours too.”Bookmark here

“No, please, Gin! I’m terribly sorry!”Bookmark here

Who would have thought that I will be around with this bunch.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

“Alrighty. As your supervisor, I want you to draw the very first proper artwork you will create as your first club activity. As much as possible, use the medium you are the most comfortable and most efficient with. The paper you will use is 9 by 12 and you can draw anything you want. You only have an hour to make a piece so I will suggest you make it minimal.Bookmark here

Ready, set, draw.”Bookmark here

I haven’t made a proper artwork in this clubroom for months. I have to get used to this area again to gain the pace.Bookmark here

Instead of using color pencils, I only used a mechanical pencil for rough sketch, 2B for final line work, and 5B for shading. I trained to always keep the quantity of my materials I use at the minimum and don’t use materials I won’t need much.Bookmark here

I see that Rin used watercolor as her medium to make her piece while Shiro used markers for coloring.Bookmark here

Nagi and Akira as always are using a dip pen. But they’re getting better at drawing with the style of manga. Jean used oil pastels for coloring.Bookmark here

Oil pastel is the material I’m really bad at mostly.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

“Times up. Though I know all of you are finished ahead of the given time limit. Make sure you didn’t see each other’s artworks when you’re making your pieces.”Bookmark here

“Shiro? An eagle, huh?”Bookmark here

“Yup, how about you Nagi?”Bookmark here

“I drew the exterior of the restaurant we always go to using dip pen.”Bookmark here

Shiro used brush tipped colored markers to create a rainbow-winged, flying eagle. What’s notable is she did not use any construction lines or rough sketches and linearts. Right at the beginning she used only markers to give life to the white paper.Bookmark here

Nagi drew Giotto’s exterior by using a dip pen. It is in the style of two-point perspective which gave emphasis to the restaurant. What’s aesthetically pleasing to his piece is the overshot lines and great display of hatching for shading. And he drew it from only his memory.Bookmark here

“Woah, Akira. Never thought that you will draw Haschw*lth. That’s a great lineart.”Bookmark here

“But look at yours, Jean. Mt. Fuji!”Bookmark here

Akira made a great character design of Jugram Hascw*lth from Bl*ach and it is well made. It is a striking replica of Jugo that you would think the creator drew that. What’s more amazing is it was all made also from his memory. Though he used up three HB leads for the initial sketch which is not very practical.Bookmark here

While Jean created an image of Mt. Fuji from a reference in his phone and he only used oil pastels for coloring. The blending of colors is smooth and the detail of his piece is very identical to the image itself.Bookmark here

I don’t improve in coloring with oil pastels even when Jean taught me. I’m such a disgrace.Bookmark here

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“Gin? That’s a very dramatic display of emotions in your sketch if I say so.”Bookmark here

“Thanks.”Bookmark here

I drew a man with a shoulder length hair and have bandages all over his body. I used foreshortening to emphasize his right arm. The main setting of the piece is a very white room similar to a dream I had once.Bookmark here

“I really wanted to draw this after a long time because of a dream I had once. I titled this piece ‘Normal Tragedy’.Bookmark here

And Rin. Is that…”Bookmark here

It is very minimal but showed a lot of detail but using a shiny reflection of the surface.Bookmark here

“A silver apple?”Bookmark here

“Indeed, it is.Bookmark here

I painted this as a portrayal of the two us. Before you said those from lunch break, I already knew that the meaning of your name in Nihongo is ‘silver’ and mine is ‘apple’ and ‘red’.Bookmark here

So I made a silver apple.”Bookmark here

The realism is spot on even with the use of watercolor. And what is very amazing is that she put her silhouette as a reflection and her background to the surface of the shiny silver apple.Bookmark here

I was so surprised that my vocal chords did not even work for at least a minute.Bookmark here

“Now, now. Look who’s getting all flustered here, Mr. Silver.”Bookmark here

I ignored Nagi’s teasing like I didn’t even hear him speak.Bookmark here

“But why…? Wouldn’t red be better?”Bookmark here

“I did… thought of it but… I saw your ‘Tragic Piano’ and had an idea to make the apple colorless except for the stem. So I thought I will incorporate your name to my piece. Though, I can’t really show the emotions in my art though.”Bookmark here

I unconsciously gave a very rare smile that was only seen by a very few people. But today, Rin saw something I considered a phenomenon that only happens only once every blood moon.Bookmark here

“This is beautiful. More than you thought, it displayed a similar lifelessness from my huge artwork there. I really like it.”Bookmark here

“Gin… you’re smiling.”Bookmark here

“This is a rare sight.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. I didn’t even realize it until now, because I haven’t felt my real smile for some time now.”Bookmark here

“Real… smile?”Bookmark here

“My true emotions only show up whenever I feel that something is on a high note. It’s like I’m seeing a climax of a story whenever I felt like this. These emotions are very rare that it is like finding a needle in a hay bale. You will soon know that I’m a very nonchalant and listless person that doesn’t really care about others but observes his surrounding a lot. My sense of ecstasy is very shallow, really.Bookmark here

I really want to thank you for this. I haven’t felt like this for quite some time now.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

‹Rin›Bookmark here

Gin’s face is as bright as the sun that it feels like it can give light to everything he looks at with that smile. However, I feel like my face is reddening.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“N-n-no. It’s nothing really…Bookmark here

But I’m surprised to hear that. I wouldn’t ask if there’s something that happened to you in the past… But I at least want you to rely on me when you are feeling down. You can always tell not just me but Shiro too.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay. It’s not like I-“Bookmark here

“It’s not like I can still remember why I became like this.”Bookmark here

Is what I’d like to say.Bookmark here

“…Nevermind.”Bookmark here

An unimaginable happiness is building up inside of me for a reason I don’t exactly know. I can’t help but smile. I can’t transition to the nonchalant demeanor in an instant but I would think it’s a very good thing.Bookmark here

“Really… A ‘thank you’ is not enough… Haha…Bookmark here

You reminded me of Shirayuki, actually…”Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Finally, club activities ended and it is already 4:30 in the afternoon.Bookmark here

“But seriously, who would have thought that you would blurt ‘nani’ out of the blue. I still can’t stop thinking of it. I can’t get your surprised face out of my head.”Bookmark here

“H-Hey…”Bookmark here

“Gin, we’re about to go home. Want to come to Moonbox with us?”Bookmark here

“Nah, sorry. I’ll be doing stuff afterwards.Bookmark here

What about you two?”Bookmark here

“No, I will be going home now.”Bookmark here

“I was asked by my mom to go shopping for dinner.”Bookmark here

“So you’re going to that direction.”Bookmark here

“Oh, one more thing… I forgot to say this… Uhh… Bookmark here

Would the two of you… like to join our group?”Bookmark here

Without any hesitation, their eyes shone with happiness.Bookmark here

“Of course…!”Bookmark here

The face of the two brightened up as they affirmatively replied in unison.Bookmark here

“Well then, we’ll see you in the clubroom next morning then. Matane.”Bookmark here

“Usu~Bookmark here

Oh Rin, which direction will you be going?”Bookmark here

“My house is on this direction," she pointed on her right while we're both standing by the gate.Bookmark here

“Hmm… Shall we walk home together then. I live in the same direction.”Bookmark here

“Right.”Bookmark here

The silence of the street never changes since the first time I started walking to school.Bookmark here

“We’re both walking, so does that mean your house is just near?”Bookmark here

“A bit. It’s just a ten-minute walk from school to there. Our place is a bungalow. I live with my parents and a brother.”Bookmark here

“Is that so…Bookmark here

My family originally lived at Sector 392. Just beside 527 but we moved here because my sister works here so we decided to move and study at Blue Ink in spite of the incident.”Bookmark here

I stopped walking and looked from my house going to Rin.Bookmark here

“Oh, I’m here at our house.”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Rin? Something wrong?”Bookmark here

“Uhh… Our houses are just three houses apart. How come we didn’t see each other when going to school?”Bookmark here

“Seriously?! Then I suppose you moved to the new houses here.”Bookmark here

“That’s right. And there’s a house that has never been bought because of how outdated the technology of it and it’s literally next to us. But the house itself has a good engineering. I think someone rich bought the lot and built the house, but they eventually left it for sale.”Bookmark here

“A house with an outdated technology? That’s a dream for me actually. I honestly don’t like technology much that’s why I only want a standard house if ever I afford one in the future.”Bookmark here

“If I can remember correctly, it got cheap even though it’s fairly new. It’s probably because of depreciation in terms of technology.”Bookmark here

“That’s kind of good…Bookmark here

Wait, want to have a drink in our house?”Bookmark here

“No it’s okay, I also don’t want to be a bother. I’ll be going then. Have a nice rest.”Bookmark here

“You too. See you tomorrow at the clubroom.”Bookmark here

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“What a day,” I would say. Who would have thought that I can find more friends even though I’m not that sociable. I guess I’m progressing at least by a little margin when communicating. It’s just an introvert’s one main problem.Bookmark here

But for my true self to return just like that is something I never expected. I don’t even know what is up with me right now…Bookmark here

A silver apple.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Tuesday. Another normal day and another normal beginning.Bookmark here

I woke up just like normal at 8 in the morning but it really got colder in the morning. I’m about to go to school and it is half passed 9 but the temperature did not pass 30 degrees. That really is something.Bookmark here

“I’m going now.”Bookmark here

“Take care.”Bookmark here

Door is shut and I didn’t forget anything today and I’m not bringing any study materials because today is for interacting with their clubs. Thankfully our clubroom is very quiet and doesn’t catch a lot of fuss.Bookmark here

I’m bringing my bike today with me since I don’t have a lot to carry. As I was walking out of our lot, I saw Rin walking. I immediately took my bike out hoping that I can give her a ride.Bookmark here

“Rin! Good morning.”Bookmark here

“Oh, good morning Gin. You’re riding a bike today?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, since we didn’t have a lot of things to bring. I haven’t used this for some time too.Bookmark here

Want to jump on?”Bookmark here

“S-Sure.”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Time flew a bit and it’s now the fourth week of August. It’s Friday today and I suddenly though that it will slowly transition to the next month soon.Bookmark here

I just got back home after club activities with Rin. It pretty much became normal to have that routine every school day.Bookmark here

Then Saturday came by and the six of us planned to go to Giotto’s. It’s a restaurant mixed with Japanese and Italian food in a reasonable price but really delicious food. I mainly like the Doppio Mezzaluna Pizza they had. It’s a weird looking pizza because half of it has Beef Shigureni and the other half only has cheese, but in three types. It was inspired from Takumi Ald*ni’s dish and became a real dish.Bookmark here

Now, it is Sunday. The 27th of August.Bookmark here

Nothing is really happening today.Bookmark here

It’s boring.Bookmark here

It’s a very normal day… really.Bookmark here

I would appreciate it if something significant will happen.Bookmark here

Stopped and faltered.

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That wraps up the fifth chapter!Bookmark here

After this chapter, I will be complying to my schedule of releasing at Mondays and Fridays per week. I hope you like this first five chapters, but really, I hope that you'd like what is going to come next!Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

Six: There are instances where you reflect on your entire life, even if there is a truck right in front of your eyes.Bookmark here

Ana Fowl
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