Chapter 20:

Nineteen – Blind

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

October 26, 2017, Thursday. Current time is 1:48am.Bookmark here

It is just like an ordinary night. Everyone is taking their rest while the stars are shining in the dark sky with the half-faced moon reflecting the light from the sun that is giving a faint light on the surface of the Earth.Bookmark here

The night is peaceful and quiet.Bookmark here

Or is it? I shouldn't be narrating if I'm actually asleep.Bookmark here

The silence was suddenly broken because of the endless ringing of my phone that made me woke up in a very unusual time.Bookmark here

“Hello… Tenth. It’s still early… what’s happening?”Bookmark here

“Come to the school immediately. Akaji Mashido was found dead.”Bookmark here

“What the-Bookmark here

What?! What in the blazes is happening?!”Bookmark here

“Just hurry and come here as soon as possible. We need you to see him even before the police comes down here.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

I quickly took my jacket and left the house. The day is still really far away and it is still extremely cold. I won’t even bother to use my bicycle because it will be way faster if I just ran to there at my maximum speed output.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Where is… hahh… hahh… Akaji?!”Bookmark here

“14 seconds. Gin, this way.”Bookmark here

I don’t have any time to catch my breath. What’s more important is that a student was left lying dead inside the school.Bookmark here

His body is still untouched and was still lying out cold behind the school stage.Bookmark here

“When was he seen here?”Bookmark here

“3 minutes ago. The guards saw him while they’re doing the night inspections.”Bookmark here

I was handed a flashlight and pointed it to the corpse of Akaji.Bookmark here

“There’s no blood or any traces. It’s hard to have a lead with this. The police are going to be here in any moment, anyways.”Bookmark here

“You’re the last person I want to hear that statement from, Tenth.Bookmark here

Look, he’s properly lied down. His hands are clasped and he was probably moved a little from where he was killed.”Bookmark here

“Now that makes sense.Bookmark here

Wait, you said he was killed?”Bookmark here

“He was murdered by someone… no, not alone.Bookmark here

Look at both of his forearms and upper arms. They are still a bit red from hand marks. It seems that two people took his arms and forcefully grabbed it.Bookmark here

Now, look at his face. He was probably beaten until his last breath…Bookmark here

Wait, his head is swelling around the temple.”Bookmark here

“If this is homicide, there’s a probability that he was hit on the head and his temporal bone may just be severely fractured. One more possibility is internal hemorrhage in the brain.”Bookmark here

“Sir! The police are here!”Bookmark here

“Lead them here.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“We have already covered possible causes of his death, mostly. We just need to know the suspects.”Bookmark here

“Detective Juno Artecus is the name, Principal Juushiro.”Bookmark here

“It’s an understatement to greet you a good morning.Bookmark here

Please have a look.”Bookmark here

Juno Artecus. He’s wearing a long coat that hints more about being an experienced detective. He has a properly toned build and is also around my height.Bookmark here

“Men, we need more lights.”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

A bigger light source shone in the crime scene, covering more area around the radius of the scene.Bookmark here

“Still untouched?”Bookmark here

“Yes, detective. He was found by one of the guards of my school at 1:37am. I was immediately contacted and went here as fast as I can.Bookmark here

Also, this man will give us assistance in this case. His name is Gin Sakato.”Bookmark here

“It’s a very unpleasant morning, is it, Detective Artecus.”Bookmark here

“This is a case of homicide. Are you sure the guards are not to be considered suspects here?”Bookmark here

“That of course isn’t out of the question. We’re yet to check the security cameras, first and foremost.Bookmark here

Hold on, this is a blind spot… Damn it.”Bookmark here

Tenth started fidgeting as he was looking down. The police started to mark the crime scene but they haven’t taken the body yet.Bookmark here

It’s a good thing I put that there. It may just be a lead to the suspects.Bookmark here

“Coincidences are really something that is amazing, I’m telling you, Mr. Principal.”Bookmark here

I slightly jumped and reached out on a seemingly hidden space on the top corner between the two walls.Bookmark here

“Darn it. Of all the things… The two percent chance of this happening took place here…Bookmark here

Here, I placed a camera in the blind spot yesterday just to be sure.”Bookmark here

“…!Bookmark here

This is why I trust your wits, Gin.”Bookmark here

“Alright, there’s no time to be chit-chatting, Principal. That and the security cameras are to be reviewed immediately.Bookmark here

Also, I commend your quick actions, kid. Already pulling out the strings before something even happened.”Bookmark here

“No, I just followed my hunch and the two percent probability of a murder here. I just did my work.Bookmark here

Also, it’s Sakato.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

His parents were called who was really worried and didn’t get any sleep. After they saw the body of Akaji, they came to the state of extreme sorrow and cried every tear they had.Bookmark here

“Damn it, this world is too unfair…”Bookmark here

The first footage that was checked is the time of dismissal which was 3pm yesterday. From the suspended students, the first one to leave the school gates was Ken Ichikawa. Then the three other students followed who went out of the gates together.Bookmark here

The footage was sped up until before the discovery of Akaji’s body. The victim himself was never seen leaving the school gates—not even the three remaining suspended students.Bookmark here

They then followed up with the camera I planted.Bookmark here

“We’re fortunate that the battery died just after the guards discovered his body. Also, that camera is insanely expensive because of the battery life it had and its giant storage.”Bookmark here

“I’ll pay you back later for the cost of that.”Bookmark here

They found four people around 1am but their faces can’t be seen. The light is so faint because it’s only from the streetlights. Only four moving silhouettes of four people were seen.Bookmark here

Tenth paused the video before it even reached a key proof to the scene.Bookmark here

“Detective?”Bookmark here

“Yes, Mr. Juushiro.”Bookmark here

“Before you even came here, Gin had already made a hypothesis about this case. Now, let’s see if his guess is right.”Bookmark here

“Quite a smart one, huh, Sakato. Then tell us your deduction.”Bookmark here

“First, let us play the footage of this scene. If I were to say, one of them is Akaji Mashido, the victim. I guessed from his slightly red arms that he was held by two people on his arms. It feels as if the last remaining person beat him to death.Bookmark here

Actually, no weapons were probably used against him.”Bookmark here

“I also assumed that there is a possibility of severe fracture in the temporal bone or internal hemorrhage in the brain. But I can’t say that with certainty.”Bookmark here

It was seen on the footage that both of his hands were grabbed by two people. Just as I have said. He was punched five times by the other person.Bookmark here

“Wait a second, I am certain that the camera I planted recorded audio too. Let’s unmute the video and see if there’s sound picked up.”Bookmark here

With simple clicks, the video is now playing with the attached audio.Bookmark here

“No, please… Don’t do this…”Bookmark here

“Mashido, it’s the end of the line. Just accept it already. You’ve always stopped everything I do, but this time, I’m the one stopping you.”Bookmark here

“What are you saying?! I’m only doing what is good for you and the rest of our class! This kind of way is unnecessary! This is plain idiocy!”Bookmark here

“Shut up, Mashido! Because of you showing your so-called discipline and justice, other parties are now interfering with us! It’s all you fault it’s happening to us.Bookmark here

I’ve had enough. Grab him!”Bookmark here

“No… no… no!Bookmark here

AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!”Bookmark here

Akaji was hit by a kick on his temple that dealt the fatal blow. After that, all he can do was scream out of pain and pass out.Bookmark here

The three suspects then dragged him a little and clasped Akaji’s hands and placed him properly on the floor.Bookmark here

“This may serve as a warning for anyone who wishes to get in my way.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“That person who killed him is sporting taekwondo. That I do know now.”Bookmark here

“Taekwondo?”Bookmark here

“Tenth, we need an immediate summon of three students. Yes, the suspects are students. Marcus Rodriguez, Eissen Lochry, and Stefan Carillo.Bookmark here

All of them are my classmates in Class 4A.”Bookmark here

“Your thoughts, Detective?”Bookmark here

“Call them.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

After 15 minutes, the three of the suspects came and was asked to go in a room inside the Administrative Office where they will be interviewed.Bookmark here

“Alright, kids. My name is Juno Artecus and I am a detective. The three of you are called here because you are the possible suspects of murdering Akaji Mashido, your classmate.”Bookmark here

“What the-“Bookmark here

“Kid, I didn’t tell you to speak. Sit down.”Bookmark here

It seems that the detective is now extremely mad. His assistant alongside him is sitting on a table in front of the three suspects.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to make this long. Bookmark here

First question, where were you all after the dismissal?”Bookmark here

“The three of us didn’t come home together but I was the earliest to get home at 5pm.”Bookmark here

“As Eissen said, he’s the first one to go home. Then Marcus and I left together at around 5:30.”Bookmark here

Their voices sounded similar to the ones in the footage. It’s getting more obvious that they already lied in the very first question. That is, if they are really the culprits.Bookmark here

“Second, were you all with the victim in that duration?”Bookmark here

“Around the dismissal up to 5:30? We’re not with Akaji that time. I think he went home with Murasaki at 3.”Bookmark here

Marcus finally spoke, and his voice is the same on the one who beat him up in the video. It was also a lie. Murasaki Seo left the school alone after the bell rang. Also, I have never heard Marcus call anyone with their first names since I was a first year here.Bookmark here

He calls everyone in the class by their surnames even if it’s a friend of his. Another thing is that the third person in the video called Akaji in his surname.Bookmark here

“Okay. Third question, do you have any attachments with him?”Bookmark here

“That…”Bookmark here

Stefan shut his mouth as he was about to speak. For a few minutes, the room had gone quiet while I’m still observing in another room where I watch on a monitor.Bookmark here

Eissen then answered the question with a seemingly innocent face.Bookmark here

“Attachments? No, there’s none.Bookmark here

All we know is that he’s our class representative and to tell you, he’s a man of discipline.Bookmark here

Honestly, our class isn’t that good because of us being undisciplined so almost every teacher hated us. But he always makes up for our shortcomings so it’s sad that he died.”Bookmark here

Alright, I’ve had enough of listening to their lies. I left the room where I’m watching and went in front of the interviewing room without making any sound.Bookmark here

But I stepped back as I had an idea.Bookmark here

I took my phone from my pocket and searched the social media accounts of the three. I saw a post that really took my attention.Bookmark here

“I have never thought Marcus is really a taekwondo player.”Bookmark here

There’s an inserted picture in the post where Marcus is with the national champion in men’s taekwondo in junior high school level. It was also posted at the time when I was still inside the Room.Bookmark here

At first look, there’s nothing really interesting about the post, aside from him with a famous champion. But it’s noticeable that there is a wound on the champion’s head and Marcus looks unhurt.Bookmark here

I went back in front of the door and I noticed that all their shoes are placed in a proper holder. If I can recall, I think this is one of the rooms inside the office where you can’t take your shoes inside.Bookmark here

I checked the shoes of the suspects, and even the detectives’. I saw Marcus’s shoe being leather, but when I touched its toecap, it’s extremely hard. His left shoe does have a lighter weight.Bookmark here

“Hmm…”Bookmark here

I quickly removed my shoe and knocked while I wear a slip-on.Bookmark here

“Excuse me, Detective Juno, this is Gin. Can I come in?”Bookmark here

“Proceed.”Bookmark here

I lightly opened the door at a gap where I can already fit and immediately closed it.Bookmark here

“Gin?! Why are you here?”Bookmark here

I didn’t answer Marcus’s question and I directed my eyes to Detective Artecus.Bookmark here

“If you may permit me, detective—can I ask them a question?”Bookmark here

“If it’ll be helpful, then go.”Bookmark here

“Thank you, sir.Bookmark here

Seven students were given a punishment of suspension for seven school days, and the three of them were involved in the suspension.Bookmark here

Now I ask, do you all know what the remaining four students did yesterday?”Bookmark here

The surprised expressions are still seen in their faces, but Stefan and Eissen still answered because the two detectives are in front of them.Bookmark here

The first one to speak was Stefan, and then he was followed by Eissen who is still really tensed.Bookmark here

“I saw Ken Ichikawa go home without saying a word. Out of the seven of us, he was the first one to leave.”Bookmark here

“Then the other three had a talk with us, but they refused to-“Bookmark here

“Eissen!”Bookmark here

Marcus stopped Eissen from talking and his surprised face turned to one with anger.Bookmark here

But what did the other three ‘refused’?Bookmark here

“Eissen, I told you to shut your mouth…Bookmark here

Now we’re all doomed!”Bookmark here

Marcus stood and ran towards me. He threw a desperate right hook but I dodged in time.Bookmark here

After I regained my balance from shifting my whole body, I was greeted with a kick from his right foot. It’s time same kick that killed Akaji. He’s really agile and quick.Bookmark here

Thankfully, I docked before I even got hit by that kick. Should I be hit by a kick like that, I’ll probably be lying unconscious in the next second.Bookmark here

As I stood up, I saw him take a pocket knife from his back pocket and managed to touch the surface of my skin that made my cheek bleed in an instant. That ruined my balance and then he raised his right knee that is about to hit my face.Bookmark here

“Not joking around, are we, Marcus…?”Bookmark here

The detectives still can’t apprehend him because Marcus made quite a distance to the table and he’s attacking me too fast.Bookmark here

I can’t take it anymore so I shifted gears and calmly caught the thrusting right knee and mimicked the kick that could damage the brain, but with an increased strength.Bookmark here

Just before I closed the one inch gap to his temple, I stopped. It feels like I pushed a lot of air with that kick that made his hair sway in the same direction of my foot.Bookmark here

With wide-opened eyes, he fell onto his knees and started trembling on the floor.Bookmark here

“My second question, what do you think will happen to you if that kick hit you?”Bookmark here

Marcus is having a hard time speaking while kneeling on the floor.Bookmark here

“I’ll… I will probably… die…”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Detective Artecus, I am very sorry for that. He just got on my nerves a bit.Bookmark here

…”Bookmark here

"Gah… What was I about to do…? Of all the times that I will be mad… Why now?!"Bookmark here

“Forgiven.Bookmark here

He has a knife and you have… uhh… wits, unbelievable control of balance on your body and insane agility. It’s not right to underestimate a kid like you, Sakato.Bookmark here

Call a medic and patch up his wound.”Bookmark here

“I appreciate it.”Bookmark here

He noticed that my balance and movements in general were “unbelievable”. It’s probably because of experiences that made him conclude that just by watching.Bookmark here

What a sharp intuition.Bookmark here

“Marcus, just how far have you fallen to the dark to do such an unreasonable thing? Aren’t you even guilty of ending our classmate’s life? Why do we have to end up in such a situation…?Bookmark here

Your naivety and hatred consumed you… I hope you atone to your sins.”Bookmark here

“That concludes the interview.Bookmark here

Eissen Lochry, Stefan Carillo, and especially Marcus Rodriguez…Bookmark here

You are now all under my jurisdiction.”Bookmark here

“What’s his name again, Juno? I’m writing them down.”Bookmark here

“Marcus Rodriguez.”Bookmark here

“Oh, Marcus. You know, if you didn’t make haste like that, this investigation would be more peaceful.”Bookmark here

“Marcus, we didn’t tell you three but we already had the lead that’s why you were called this early.Bookmark here

You see… everything you said on the first three questions were already null and voided. The three of you are already the major suspects after the reviewing of the camera.”Bookmark here

“Actually, after Juno saw the three of them, he already knew who killed the victim.”Bookmark here

“And I was right that it was Rodriguez. You lose, so you owe me an espresso later.”Bookmark here

“Alright, I’ve already released all my anger in that kick so…Bookmark here

One final question for Marcus—why did you kill Akaji?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“I… I have nowhere to run now… so I might… I might as well tell you now.Bookmark here

In every way, I always oppose Mashido in any matters. May it be his philosophy or his action. Since first year, I have always hated him because I thought his disciplinary acts were a way of looking down on me.Bookmark here

So a few days ago, I banded a few people to make a huge prank that I wanted to happen yesterday. I thought that prank will work because Mashido didn’t get any information about it.Bookmark here

But when we were sentenced with the punishment, he scolded the seven of us and continued on nagging.Bookmark here

And then Lochry suspected that Ichikawa may have told someone about our plan so he suggested that we should beat him. But I didn’t even bother touching him because even though he joined us, it feels like he doesn’t really care and stood beside me instead of mobbing Sakato yesterday.”Bookmark here

Marcus was helped to sit down on his chair again and answered my last question.Bookmark here

Tenth finally came into the room in a hurry.Bookmark here

“Sorry, I’m late. I was talking with an officer earlier. What happened to your face, Gin?”Bookmark here

“Mr. Principal, that is to be told later. Right now, Rodriguez is in the middle of confessing everything.Bookmark here

Anyways, what time did you make your move?”Bookmark here

“It was around 12:30am. We drugged his drink that made him sleep and we transported him to the abandoned house near the school.Bookmark here

Then I made the two of them grab his arms so I can beat him up and destroy his head. I left his corpse behind the stage as a warning-“Bookmark here

“’…to anyone who wants to oppose me.’ Am I right, Marcus?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes, Sakato… You’re right…”Bookmark here

“Well, that should do-“Bookmark here

“Sir! Autopsy results just came in.”Bookmark here

“Come in.”Bookmark here

The detective scanned the results briefly and immediately looked at Tenth.Bookmark here

“Mr. Principal, you’re more than right.”Bookmark here

“Huh? About what, detective?”Bookmark here

“The cause of death is internal bleeding in the head and the left side of his skull was heavily shattered.”Bookmark here

“That explains the metal plate I found inside Marcus’s shoe before I entered this room. It’s a strong plate of metal but is light. It probably adds weight and strengthens it with force and acceleration. That's the formula of force, alright.”Bookmark here

“I really shouldn’t underestimate this kid, Mr. Principal. Your assistant is quite observant. You see, our CSI is currently working on a bigger case that’s why they’re not present.Bookmark here

If not because of Sakato’s observation skills, the police will still be investigating after 6am.Bookmark here

Cheer up, boy. I don’t usually commend people.”Bookmark here

He’s been here for at least thirty minutes, and this is the first time I saw him smile.Bookmark here

“Then thanks, detective.”Bookmark here

“Alright, case closed. The police will send these three children in the station before the right department take care of them. We’ll be doing the contacting so all the principal needs to do is decide what you’ll sentence them.”Bookmark here

“Hahh… I knew it would come to this.Bookmark here

As much as I don’t want to, the three of them will be expelled from this school. It’s my final decision.”Bookmark here

“Alright then, we’ll clean up then we’ll be going back to the station.Bookmark here

Goodbye for now, Mr. Principal and you, Gin Sakato.”Bookmark here

“I don’t want to say ‘See you later, Detective.’ because I actually want us not to meet frequently.”Bookmark here

“Then don’t let anyone leave a corpse here in the future.Bookmark here

See ya.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“Bloody… Now, I need to deal with more things now.Bookmark here

Gin, I think we should take a rest first.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. It’s just 2am and we’re already awake.”Bookmark here

“You know what, I have futons in my office. Let’s sleep there.”Bookmark here

“What the heck… futons? This isn’t Japan. You do know that.”Bookmark here

“Hey, now… I know you want to sleep on one. You’re an otaku, right?”Bookmark here

“Hahaha… I lost.”Bookmark here

“Be sure to wake up before the bells ring. I’ll be having a meeting with the faculty later.”Bookmark here

“Mhm…”Bookmark here

“I’m just thinking that we should conclude this project this morning.”Bookmark here

“I think you’re right."Bookmark here

"Will you lend me a hand, then… for the last time.”Bookmark here

“My left hand is free, but my right hand is not. It’s a deal.”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

7:30am.Bookmark here

“Good morning to you two, Ringo, Anna.”Bookmark here

“Morning, Shiro and Nacchi.Bookmark here

Oh, just in time! Akira is with Jean. Good morning.”Bookmark here

“Ohayō, minna.”Bookmark here

“Has anyone of you seen my Dad here? He wasn’t home when I woke up and Mom told me he’s already at school.”Bookmark here

“The principal? So is Gin, huh…”Bookmark here

“Huh? What’s up, Ringo?”Bookmark here

“Not even Anna knew where Gin is right now…”Bookmark here

“Mom and Dad didn’t tell me where Nii went. I asked Nee-chan but she doesn’t know too.”Bookmark here

Then a guard came running to their group calling Akira while they’re talking about a missing principal and a student.Bookmark here

“Sir Akira!Bookmark here

Hahh… hahh… hahh… If you’re looking for the principal… hahh… and Mr. Sakato, he asked me to tell you that you should come to his office once I see all of you.”Bookmark here

“Alright, catch your breath. We’ll be heading there now.”Bookmark here

“Ah, before you head there. He said to make sure you remove your shoes before entering. The door wasn’t locked.”Bookmark here

“I think this is something serious, actually. We haven’t been called by Dad once, right? We should hurry.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Dad? We’re coming in.”Bookmark here

Akira slowly opened the door after he knocked. But what ended up right in front of their eyes is the principal that is sleeping in a weird position and Gin who’s sleeping soundly with his feet poking out of the blanket regardless of the cold weather.Bookmark here

“Gin?!”Bookmark here

“Nii?!”Bookmark here

“Futon?!”Bookmark here

“Is this Japan?!”Bookmark here

“This is Orio!”Bookmark here

“Dad…? What in the bloody moon is going on…Bookmark here

What the-“Bookmark here

-Please Standby-Bookmark here

-Just imagine Akira shouting and not swearing-Bookmark here

-The author wants this story to be clean-Bookmark here

“Why are Gin and the principal sleeping here?!”Bookmark here

“And why are there futons in his office?!”Bookmark here

“Gin… I’m almost out of HP…”Bookmark here

“Here, Tenth… Take a regen pot…”Bookmark here

“Ugh… Just how much is the health… of this boss…?”Bookmark here

“It’s okay… Tenth… I have a poison bomb here…”Bookmark here

“Hey, Gin. Wake up, you moron.”Bookmark here

“Oh…? Look, Gin… I think… the boss can talk before it dies… It's calling you a moron…”Bookmark here

“I don’t know… Tenth… Gin is not my gamertag… it’s Gram. Ah, the final stretch…Bookmark here

BOSS DEFEATED!!! Bookmark here

Ouch!” Gin’s forehead hit Akira’s after vigorously getting up.Bookmark here

“Oww! What the heck, Gin?!Bookmark here

Why are you coordinating in your dreams with Dad?! And in an MMO game… Wait, I didn’t know Dad plays games like that…”Bookmark here

“Ah, sorry everyone. Gin and I didn’t have that much sleep last night.”Bookmark here

“Yawn~ At least we defeated the boss, Tenth.Bookmark here

Oh snap, I don’t have time to dress up. Well, I can just go home after an hour…”Bookmark here

“What happened, Gin? And why are you sleeping here?Bookmark here

Wait, that’s not the problem. What happened to your face?!”Bookmark here

“Ah, sorry for not telling you, Rin. I was in a hurry earlier and I know you’re still sleeping that time. You’ll eventually know.”Bookmark here

“And I have an announcement. The classes today will just be for an hour, and then the dismissal will be at 9am.”Bookmark here

“You should dress up properly now. We only have 25 minutes for a meeting.”Bookmark here

“Now that we’re at it… Akira, can I ask all of them a favor?Bookmark here

I need to assemble all the teachers at the meeting room as soon as possible. This is an important matter.”Bookmark here

“Alright. But you owe me an explanation later.Bookmark here

Let’s go and scatter.”Bookmark here

With that, the five of them left the office to call all of the teachers who are already around.Bookmark here

“I’ll clean up the office since I don’t have time to go home. You go and prepare now, Tenth.”Bookmark here

“Thanks. I’ll leave the rest to you. But wash your face, at least.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Inside the classroom of Class 4A, Kiiro-sen announced that every student will be dismissed an hour after. Everyone in the classroom is anxious as to what is happening.Bookmark here

The sliding door opened and then the principal and Gin came inside and stood on the center platform.Bookmark here

For the first time, Tenth showed his face in this quantity of students.Bookmark here

“Who is he, a new teacher?”Bookmark here

“Is that Gin? Why’s he dressed so casually?”Bookmark here

“Hey, hey. What’s happening?”Bookmark here

“What’s up with this? Why is Gin standing beside that teacher?”Bookmark here

“I think he’s also suspended. Lol.”Bookmark here

“Alright, quiet down, Class 4A. I am the principal of Blue Ink High School, Taketo Juushiro.”Bookmark here

“What? He’s the principal?”Bookmark here

“It’s the first time I saw him.”Bookmark here

“Me too.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“Silence.”Bookmark here

With one word from the principal, everyone became quiet. I think he used his gaze to quiet them down. He cleared his throat and continued on speaking.Bookmark here

“Why am I in front of everyone in this class, some of you may ask. It is because I am here to completely make a stop to the history of your batch.Bookmark here

I hope what I am going to say will serve as a lesson for you to not go out of the line of your unruly, disrespectful, and undisciplined acts both inside and outside the school campus. Bookmark here

First and foremost, I also called the students who I gave suspension to attend this class for today. But that doesn’t mean I am already lifting their suspension.Bookmark here

Next, is regarding the prank that was devised yesterday that failed. To tell you the truth, along with the assistance of the student standing beside me, we were behind the stopping of the said prank. To put it simply, we were the ones pulling the strings to prevent it.Bookmark here

Lastly, some of you may be wondering why the following students aren’t called—Eissen Lochry, Stefan Carillo, Marcus Rodriguez, and Akaji Mashido.Bookmark here

I am very sorry to tell you a bad news, and this is also the reason why I’m dismissing every student very early.Bookmark here

Akaji Mashido, your class representative passed away.”Bookmark here

After hearing that, Murasaki, who is Akaji’s childhood friend stood up from his desk and is about to run away.Bookmark here

“Please wait, Mr. Seo. I know this is painful for you, but please hear this one last thing then I’ll permit you to leave this classroom.”Bookmark here

Before Tenth started speaking, I talked with a guard on the phone with a very weak voice.Bookmark here

“Hello, a student named Murasaki Seo is about to leave the room of Class 4A. Once seen, please follow him immediately without him knowing. I don't know what he might do after that.”Bookmark here

“Got it, Mr. Sakato.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“Once again, I am very sorry to tell you, especially Mr. Seo. Akaji Mashido was killed by Marcus Rodriguez with the assistance of Mr. Lochry and Mr. Carillo.”Bookmark here

Murasaki left the room with extreme sadness as he’s wiping his tears while running.Bookmark here

“As the principal said, he was murdered by one of our classmates and now under the custody of the appropriate department. His corpse was found at around 1:37am by the school guards. The three suspects were called out at around 2am and while interviewing them, I was attacked by Mr. Rodriguez and that is where I got this wound.Bookmark here

Fortunately, he was apprehended quickly and had confessed the truth.Bookmark here

And apparently, the reason of the murder is some kind of a grudge and that made him do such a crime.Bookmark here

We won’t tell in detail what really happened but he suffered internal hemorrhage and a skull fracture based on the results of the autopsy.”Bookmark here

“Why do you think it happened, students?Bookmark here

In general, it is because of the influence of the modern era. He was blinded by hatred. And now, I am telling all of you. You are all blinded and fooled by the works of man. And that is what made you what you are now.Bookmark here

I’m telling this to all of you because I don’t want you to do what Mr. Rodriguez did. If ever your eyes became clouded with pride, for instance, you wouldn’t know what you will do next. I am speaking here in front of you because I too, am a human—an imperfect human who has regrets and sins. But I moved forward with those in mind and applied them as an experience. And now, every word that is coming from my mouth is from wisdom. Bookmark here

I have encountered a lot of people in the 38 years of my life. All of them had different stories, and some of them had pain and sorrow; and some of them regretted something from their past that continued to haunt them.Bookmark here

I too regret a lot of things and that is I left someone very special to me once. But I managed to find that person and came back and I am now starting a new life with them. But one man reminded me that I can’t do anything alone. So he helped me with everything he can. He applied his wisdom and lent me his hand.Bookmark here

I don’t want my students to suffer regrets while they are still at a young age. I don’t want anyone of you to feel the regrets that the three of your classmates are experiencing. But I know that it won’t be a straight road for all of you.Bookmark here

All of you need to be guided to the right way and the first step to it is listening to others and knowing how and what they feel. Before doing something, ask yourself and think of possibilities that could hurt someone directly or indirectly. Everyone has emotions, so are the people in front of me. And that is what the teachers feel—the ones who you all are giving grief.Bookmark here

It may look like it’s difficult, but once you see them smile at you and say ‘thank you’, I know you will all feel happiness and contentment in your hearts.Bookmark here

Akaji wants every one of you to do what is right. That is why he led this classroom. He led this class because he wants to say that ‘my classmates did the right thing and I am proud of them’. But bluntly speaking, you were all blinded, so you can’t see even his face; you were all deafen, so you can’t hear his words. He gave all of you an opportunity, and that opportunity has not yet faded whatsoever.Bookmark here

We can start here. I know that if you do what is right, Akaji will have a smile on his face and then he will say: ‘I am proud of you.’”Bookmark here

While Tenth is speaking, I have observed that almost every one of the class is crying.Bookmark here

“It’s too late… Now I’m regretting everything I have done…”Bookmark here

“Why… Why didn’t I listen to everything he had said… to correct us… and now… and now he’s gone…!”Bookmark here

“I swear… I swear from the bottom of my heart… I will change… I will change to do what is right…”Bookmark here

“Regretting something is really painful. I too, not just the principal, had already regretted a lot of things. But there are things that opened my eyes and led me here.Bookmark here

Change. Change not for the sake of Akaji.Bookmark here

Change for the sake of yourself and for every single human that is living in this world. It was just like the first step of man on the moon. They discovered a lot of things that benefit a lot of people.Bookmark here

I know you can all do it. A change happens when someone acts wholeheartedly to show that he or she is trying their best to do what is needed.”Bookmark here

“Class 4A, I do hope that this may serve as a lesson to all of you.Bookmark here

We are living in an unjust and cruel world. Not everyone will be good to us, and people will judge us. But that is the part of our lives. It will not go as you think it will. Our life is a journey where we do not know our destination is.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Dismissed.”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

9:00 in the morning.Bookmark here

Anna and the rest of us are walking again in the usually peaceful and quiet street—the White Street. I invited all of them to my place to have lunch there.Bookmark here

“So that is what the Project RE is…”Bookmark here

“Sorry for not telling you all. We were asked by Dad not to tell you anything unless it is done.”Bookmark here

“You’re telling us now, Akira. So does that mean the project is finally done?”Bookmark here

“I’m not the one that can answer that since I’m not really involved.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

If I were to say, that project was an incomplete success. Tenth kept repeating that it is not a perfect plan and it is not flawless.Bookmark here

Look, we lost one life just to fulfill the missing link in our objectives. We can’t entirely say that we were successful.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… I guess you’re right.”Bookmark here

“Nii, what’s done is done. What we should do is cheer up.”Bookmark here

“Now, now… To think that I’m hearing that from my little sister.”Bookmark here

“Hey!”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Hahh…! I’m finally at this house after a rough seven hours…Bookmark here

Alright, I’m leaving the house in the care of all of you. If you ever get hungry, there are snacks in the kitchen. Play with Haku in my stead.Bookmark here

I’ll just take a shower and… yawn~ and sleep.Bookmark here

Man, I just woke up an hour ago and here I am being sleepy again…”Bookmark here

“Can I turn the TV on, Gin?”Bookmark here

“Sure, Jean. Do what you want…Bookmark here

Goodnight, Rin…”Bookmark here

“Goodnight.”Bookmark here

“The mic is now free now that is Gin is taking a rest.”Bookmark here

“Ehh… I’m not feeling it right now.”Bookmark here

“For the third straight year, Japan is experiencing snowfall before October even ends. Even though this has happened in its third year, it’s still unprecedented.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“Report says that in this month of October, the temperature will continue to drop down and it is consistently making a record.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“Who do you think will win the grand prize? Stay tuned later at 7pm!”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“It’s not really that surprising for him to score 49 points in one game. That’s just how he plays basketball.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“It wasn’t much!” Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“Let’s just talk about something. Oh, I know. How about your relationship with Gin? Since when did you start liking him?”Bookmark here

“I don’t like how this is turning out to be…Bookmark here

Well, I actually don’t know. I guess… it just happened naturally? Actually, it may have started when he was inside the Void for two years. In the span of one week, I started worrying about him not being around and not contacting us since we still didn’t know that time.Bookmark here

I think it was the reason why I looked like so exhausted when I came to school. I kept thinking of him to the point that I can’t sleep.”Bookmark here

“Ohh… We want to hear more. Please, Ringo.Bookmark here

Look, Anna is getting curious too.”Bookmark here

“Please… Nee-chan…”Bookmark here

“You’re too cute, Anna…Bookmark here

I was actually extremely happy when I saw him at the rooftop. I was so red to the point that I feel like I’m a tomato.”Bookmark here

“Now I feel like I now know why Gin said you’re similar to Shirayuki.”Bookmark here

“Then on the 20th of September, when all of you went home after we ate ramen, it was meant for only Anna. But I overheard because I was fixing a plant on his front. He noticed that I was still there and he let me listen to what he said.Bookmark here

That was when he told me and Anna about the week he was gone. Then after that, I told him that I love him and we promised not to leave each other.Bookmark here

Also, I fell asleep because I was so tired and apparently, I was carried by him to my room.”Bookmark here

“Aww… What a story…”Bookmark here

“Then while we’re at it, why not ask the new couple here. Nacchi and Shiro?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Us too?”Bookmark here

“Goodness… Alright…Bookmark here

Nagi, can you tell them?”Bookmark here

“Good grief. Okay, okay…Bookmark here

I guess I should start on answering the question earlier. I also actually don’t know too. It’s so natural like it was meant to happen to me.Bookmark here

Then I consulted Gin but he didn’t really give me an advice.Bookmark here

But that is where we have proven that too much coincidence in one day is true. At the convenience store, we both bought the same thing. We met at the arcade then I lost to every game we played, except for the DDR.Bookmark here

When she gave me a high five, I started acting weird but felt really happy to see her smile. That is where we parted ways.”Bookmark here

“But we still met in the mall, anyways. After we’ve finished both of our shopping, the alarms rang because there was a thief running and he bumped onto me. I was about to fall but Nagi caught me and accidentally embraced him.”Bookmark here

“I unconsciously hugged her too.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, he did.Bookmark here

Then I asked him if that was just a coincidence. And if we meet by chance again, then that will convince me that it’s not a coincidence but something more.”Bookmark here

“And then we met at Zen Park the next day while the leaves are falling. That is when I saw how beautiful Shiro is.”Bookmark here

“Too smooth, Nacchi.”Bookmark here

“Blame Gin for that.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…Bookmark here

I guess we should prepare lunch now so Gin can wake up with a meal for him. I bet he hasn’t eaten since earlier.”Bookmark here

“Umm… Ringo?Bookmark here

Have we already told you that you’re very suited to be a wife?”Bookmark here

“You know, you’ve already thought that we’re a married couple. So why think of that now?”Bookmark here

“But that’s a good choice of apron…”Bookmark here

“Oh, this? Gin bought this for me. We actually match.”Bookmark here

“Just get married! Lol.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

12:00pm.Bookmark here

“Man, that was a good sleep…”Bookmark here

“Morning, Gin. Lunch is ready.”Bookmark here

“Good morning, Rin. Oh, just in time. My stomach is rumbling.Bookmark here

Thanks for preparing lunch.”Bookmark here

“You’re welcome.”Bookmark here

“You sleepyhead. Come on and eat lunch. We’re just waiting for you to wake up, you know.”Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, I was dreaming about a parallel world where Tenth is speaking and then Rin is crying. I missed the time when she hugged me while crying last month.Bookmark here

By the way, it’s seriously a dream. So don’t punch me please.”Bookmark here

“Now that I think about it, you’ve already made her cry? Gin, that’s really mean.”Bookmark here

“In a way, I did. Yeah. But that’s not the case anymore. I even cried that time.”Bookmark here

“Ehhh?! You cried?!”Bookmark here

“Even Nagi looked like a crybaby when we saw each other at Zen Park.”Bookmark here

“Hey, now. You also cried, you know.”Bookmark here

“Well, even though you cried…”Bookmark here

“You’re still cute, Rin.”Bookmark here

“You’re still cute, Shiro.”Bookmark here

*poof*Bookmark here

“Ah…! She’s getting red.”Bookmark here

“She’s also blushing.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Jean, I’m somehow questioning why the author put romance in this story.”Bookmark here

“Actually, I don’t know about that anymore. Blame the author for this.”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

After that, the night came, and the time is around 10pm. Gin is now in a very bad problem…Bookmark here

“Now I can’t sleep!”

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

Another twenty or so pages have been concluded!Bookmark here

Sadly, goldfish brain can't process anything aside from memes.Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

Twenty: In this cold, we say goodbye.Bookmark here

Ana Fowl
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