Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
"♪ Ichi, juu, hyaku, sen, ichiman, juuman, hyakuman, issenman, ichioku, juuoku, hyakuoku, issenoku, icchō, juuchō, hyakuchō…
ZERO, ZERO, ZERO- ♪"
"GIN…!!! Can you please stop singing and just start?!"
▪ ▪ ▪
March 24, 2018.
“Ungh… What a nice weather…”
I say that, but I know that I will eventually take those words back.
I just got out of the bed, and the feeling of just waking up definitely felt warm, contrasting to the recently cold weather we had from winter to spring.
It is almost the end of March now, and summer is about to come.
“I wonder if she’s awake already…”
I opened the window of my room and stood in front of it like I was waiting for something. Well, I am actually waiting for someone indeed.
I stood there for a few, but seeing that there’s no one on the other side, I walked out of my room.
It has been exactly five days since I graduated from junior high school. It felt like nothing has changed ever since. I continued my life normally as I took the starting days of my summer vacation.
“Man… my arms still hurts…”
As I entered the bathroom, I immediately looked in front of the mirror, raised both of my bandaged arms in a 90 degree angle, and shook my head continuously.
No cutting of hair. You made that weird promise with Sis.”
I went out after washing my face, and just when I was about to step down on the first step of the stairs, I heard a rustling sound of perhaps paper.
I took a sigh and went down the stairway like I did not even hear something from the bottom floor.
“Hey… you sure beat me in waking up early.”
I kind of forgot to say, huh? I am currently living alone in this house which is too big for one person to live in.
But have a look, there is a girl sitting on my couch, reading the daily newspaper leisurely like she lives here. No, she does not live here.
“Hahh… You’re finally up, Gin.
“Good morning, Rin.”
I seriously do forget a lot of things these days… I haven’t even introduced myself and that girl—the main characters.
Sorry for that. The battery of the mic ran out. It just needed a quick replacement and everything is fine. Anyways…
I am Gin Sakato, 18 years old, a soon to be senior high school student, a sous chef in a restaurant called Giotto’s but currently have no work, an Exile, and a human only in technical terms.
And I guess this is where you will ask…
Gin…? You’re 18, but you’re a sous chef in a restaurant and more so, a high school student? What is an Exile? By the way, why are your arms bandaged?
Be patient, I’ll explain everything. Everything, I mean even things that you did not ask. I haven’t even introduced that girl.
Her name is Ringo Akanami, 16 years old, also a soon to be senior high school student, and a human. I call her Rin, though.
Yeah, we are the main characters of this story, and there are other characters too. Just you wait.
How come the two of us became the main characters? I don’t know. Ask the author.
But I guess we became the MCs because of our clichéd relationship. We are actually a couple. Don’t even dare ask how it happened. It was an embarrassing situation for me.
And to answer those questions…
Go read Normal in Parenthesis.
“How long have you been sat there?”
“Around 15 minutes. News isn’t really interesting lately.”
“Have you eaten anything already?”
“I haven’t had coffee. Actually, I went here right after I literally woke up.”
“Let me guess. You didn’t even wash your face in your house.”
It wasn’t mine. It was hers.
“Well, my stomach answers that.”
“Hahh… Alright. Since I woke up kind of late, just sit tight and drink your coffee. No need to help me so just relax.”
We are neighbors. To say it clearly, we are next-door neighbors.
We’ve been in this relationship for around six months. That sounds like that’s still a short time, but for us, it’s already lengthy. It felt like there is something that happens every day that made both of us very occupied as a pair. We faced a lot of situations, and we decided things that we do not know if it was the right choice. Clearly, we still need guidance. That’s why we placed a dividing wall between us.
Yes, we are very close, but at the same time, we do not wish to be. At least take away the "very."
This kind of situation right now has become normal. There is at least a day or two where she either knocks on my door, or I see her in my living room just like today.
When we were not yet dating, she helped me a lot when I was moving and when I got extremely ill six months ago. Thus, I gave her a spare key for emergency purposes.
Well, it's a given that anyone from her family can use it.
That explains why she suddenly popped up in my house. Every now and then, she’ll just be here with an empty stomach and have breakfast with me. It does seem that she’s worried that I live alone in this house and she probably thinks that I want a companion.
“I just remembered. Rin, today’s the day we go shop things, right?”
“Mhm. What time should we head out?”
“Let’s at least make it early since we’ll probably have a long time shopping. Maybe at 10, so that we’re early.”
“Hmm… Napolitan,” I mumbled as I took out ingredients from the fridge.
“Ohhh… Making pasta for breakfast? That’s new.”
“I figured that we should have a decent meal since we’ll walk around a lot later.”
“May I see your list, Gin?”
“I think I left it at the table. It’s probably somewhere around there.”
She started to check every scrap paper from the coffee table until she found one that is most likely what she was looking for.
“Gin… you do realize that this is a lot, right?”
“That goes for you too, right? I suppose I can carry them all but I will just look like a dumb noob at shopping. I’ll borrow Dad’s car today so everything is good.”
“If you say so…”
We usually do our own shopping together. But those times are mostly related to food since I buy my own needs, and Rin is always in charge of buying ingredients for her family.
However, this time will be a contrasting exception to the usual. Our main list mostly focuses on travel-related things.
There is an expression/phrase: “Once in a blue moon…” and that expression will soon come in handy in the situation.
I’ve never thought that I will ever get the chance to come to Japan in a few days' time and we will stay there for a month.
Granted, Japan is just above our country, which is Orio. I have always dreamed of coming there one day… but I didn’t expect it to be this soon.
I did mention earlier that I am a sous chef in a restaurant which is in the name of “Giotto’s” and the fact that I currently have no work. The reason for that contradicting statement is that Giotto’s is currently undergoing renovations for an indefinite duration.
While that is happening, I was told by my bosses that they will be opening a second branch which will be in Japan. That is all I know about it.
But I remember my boss saying something like giving me a vacation or a nicest rest of some sort. I was not convinced at first but when I heard that they came to Rin’s parents to ask for permission to let her come with us, I started wondering.
Well, I've been through a lot.
▪ ▪ ▪
“Thanks for the breakfast, Gin. I’ll go home to change.”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll go fuel up the car, then.
Man, gasoline is expensive these days…”
~ ~ ~
Time ticked for a very short bit and it is now 15 to 10 in the morning.
“Oi. You sure you’re okay with slippers only, Rin?”
“It’s hot as it is, and you’re also wearing flip flops.”
“Summer’s just around the corner, indeed.
Anyways, get in. I’ll just lock the house.”
With that, we made our way to the mall.
“Good timing, the AC is fixed.”
“Gin, I haven’t asked yet… Is Akira in the base already?”
“Ah, yes. He didn’t say anything, though. He went there the day after the graduation. He’s officially an Exile now.”
Alright, another character was mentioned so I might as well give him a background.
The guy we were just talking about is Akira Juushiro (formerly Bentley). He is our classmate for four years, a good friend and he’s the son of the principal of the school I’m currently attending.
He decided to discontinue his studies and pursued his newly found purpose of living. That is, to be an Exile.
Yes, yes. I mentioned the word Exile again but I guess it is time to give it a brief explanation. 'Exile' is the title for the people which were generally victims of the harsh reality of the world. That group of people is hidden and separated to the society of humans. Currently, all of the Exiles' identity is hidden underground.
Their existence happened some time in 1940s where abuse in the war was very notorious. Unknown to people, the first generation of Exiles united and dug a hole which eventually became their base.
Yes, I am an Exile myself. Every one that has lived in the base had different and unique stories that relates to the origin of their becoming an Exile. Some of them were saved, some voluntarily became one, just like Akira and I. And recently, we have people resurfacing once again. I belong to that group together with my current bosses in the restaurant which are also Exiles.
Situation changed very recently, and our people finally had the freedom of coming out to the surface again, as per the agreement of us Exiles and the government. The condition of that is we Exiles will not interfere with the world if the people of the surface in general won’t dare to lay a finger on us.
I was out in the front encountering a threat to our existence without any harm, but I ended up with two broken arms. Need not worry, my bones heal extraordinarily fast.
“Sweet, the parking is still empty.”
“There, Gin. We could park in the roofed side.”
“I just realized. This is the first time I’ve come here in the mall by driving.”
“I do hope you can park properly…”
Just a note, Gin can drive legally and he has a driver’s license.
After a little walk, we came in sight of the main entrance and saw that there are people lined up there.
“Not yet open, huh…”
“We don’t want the line to get long… Let’s get going, Gin.”
Just in a few minutes, the mall will soon open but just by standing in that duration, we are already dying in the heat. Amidst of that…
“Yo, Gin. Fancy meeting you here.”
“Oh,” I turned around after hearing a familiar voice behind us. “Haven’t seen the two of you since graduation, Nagi, Shiro.”
Nagi Kajima (♂) and Shiro Kirishima (♀).
Those two are also part of my circle of friends from club. Currently that pair is also a couple. And recently, I’ve had a dream where Nagi is a prince and I work for him. The prince then fell for a princess which is Shiro.
I don’t believe happily ever after things, but a good relationship is enough.
“Grabbing luggages or on a date?”
“Yeah, right. Who would even go on date with a couple wearing slippers…?”
“Ugh, I forgot that you two are a weird couple… Why did I even bother asking?!” Nagi bellowed.
“How about you two?”
“Just hanging out,” ponytail Shiro coldly replied to my question as usual. Thanks for cooling us with that coldness.
“Shiro, you say ‘hanging out’, but you just want me to treat you with sweets, don’t you?”
And Nagi teased, as usual.
“But are you going to?”
“Size Large Parfait.”
In some ways or another, we two pairs have similarities—like being absorbed in our own worlds.
“Oh, the mall’s opening. Rin, stick close to me so we won’t be overtaken.”
“I’ll grab on your arm.”
“Well, that works too,” I reached out my hand and she immediately grabbed my arm as she is in front of me.
“Ah, Gin. Ringo. Have you heard the new serialization of Yuki Amagami? She just released a shoujo manga. You might want to read it.”
“Oh, that mangaka? She’s doing a shoujo manga? Her fantasy manga ended recently, right?
I wonder why her manga are being officially translated in our language.”
“Should we get it, Rin? I’m going to buy Japanese language books, anyways.”
“Sounds good. Nacchi, is the manga already a volume long?”
“It’s just the first chapter so it’s on the magazine.”
“Fairly new, huh.
Well, this is where we split. See you.”
“Yeah. We’ll see you off in the airport.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Well, our shopping wasn’t really that relevant to the story and nothing strange happened but we successfully accomplished our shopping as intended.
It was very tiring, though. We spent around five hours practically looking for things that will fit our budget. We went home with our legs giving out because of exhaustion. Well… I say that, but I have a cheater's stamina.
As we are resting in the living room of my house, someone rang my doorbell. That person is probably the first to ring my doorbell ever since I moved here.
Nope. Probably one of the ten people.
“We have a delivery for Mr. Gin Sakato.”
That person is a delivery guy with two identical boxes on his arms.
“I don’t remember buying something online…”
“Please write your signature here.”
“Should I add my name too?” I showed him the receipt with my written signature on it.
“There’s no need,” he then gave one of the boxes to me. “Uhh… I have another delivery around the neighborhood. May I ask where Ms. Ringo Akanami lives?”
“She lives just next to my house, but she’s currently here.”
“Gin, I heard my name.”
“You also have a delivery, Rin.”
~ ~ ~
“Is the sender written in the receipt, Rin? I wonder who sent this…”
“Let me see…
Ah! This is the clothing shop we helped at when we were in the Capital last month.”
“Oh, I remember now. Yeah, them.”
I opened the box and removed the bubble wraps and we got distracted because of popping them, of course.
I then took out the things inside and they are actually some sort of a coat or long sleeve jacket with a nice and simple design. The two tops are in the same design and one is in color black and the other is red.
Wait, they're clothes so should they necessarily be under a bubble wrap…?
“Oh, nice design.
What’s in yours, Rin?”
Hers is a white long coat with a wide hem that extends down to the forearm. It also has a humble design and the hints of red stitching works well as a contrast to the white cloth.
“Such gifts from a little help. Not complaining, though.”
“We should probably thank the owner some time.”
By the way, that looks really good on you, Rin.”
After a bit of examining, we found out that the cloth has the property of being completely water resistant. It’s amazing how a water resistant spray turned into a permanent clothing feature.
While we were busy looking at the clothes, my phone lit up.
“I got a call. Huh? From Sean?”
Sean Hickory. He is the co-owner of Giotto’s along with Hiroomi Katsuto. As I have mentioned, they’re also Exiles.
“Hey, Gin. Just wanted to tell you that Nevan from our crew can’t come with us to Japan so we have one spare ticket now. It’s a waste if we won’t use this.
Anyone you can recommend?”
“Jean. I’ll try dragging him with us.”
“Jean? Oh, the friend that you were talking about. He's the one that worked for a day here, right?”
“Yep. I think it’s time for him to have an apprenticeship.”
Jean Ando. He’s also a friend and a classmate. But recently, he became something like a student to me. He asked me if he can train under me in terms of culinary and he’s currently confident in walking the path.
“Good idea. He’ll also meet Hiro’s pupil. Hope he can join us.”
If that’s everything, I’ll put this down now.”
“That’s all. See you at the airport soon.”
“This better not be some prank of yours. You have me on the edge of my seat.”
“Rin, I think Jean will come with us. That is, if he will accept.”
“Ohh… I wonder how he’ll get on with the restaurant experience.”
“You heard the apprenticeship?”
“Well, why not help me study Nihongo? We can’t be going there with a twisted tongue.”
“So that’s why you bought the books. Knowing you, you can easily finish that book.”
“I’ll take it slow this time.”
“Then let’s start!”
In the time that remained before we are to fly to the North, Rin and I indeed studied as much as we can about their language and culture.
We are all set and thus, the day of our departure came.
That does it for 000 but that begins Rainbow of the Horizon!
Welcome to the follow-up to Normal in Parenthesis. As already said, this story is going to directly adapt the ending of NoFutsuu, excluding the five special chapters, and continuing right off the bat. One thing to note is that this chapter might get very confusing as it appears that I intended NoFutsuu to fill the blanks of what could be missing contexts of this chapter and moving forward. Hence why I only gave a very brief introduction.
But the reason why I decided to continue with a different title is because the prequel kind of leaves an off mark to me as it was written on my still green writing days. That is why the purpose of "NijiHo" is to supplement that and further improve my writing (which even I argue about that).
Being transparent once more, this story already has a ton of backlog chapters and spoiler, this hasn't ended yet as of writing this.
I however won't be doing another mass release for the first five chapters as I believe that they have much more substance in comparison. But the release schedule will still be the same being biweekly.
This story is going to be a long one, and I hope you look forward to it.
Thank you for reading!
001: You know what's up with April 1, right?
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