Chapter 0:

000 – Here We Go (Again)

Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World

Let's sing.Bookmark here

"♪ Ichi, juu, hyaku, sen, ichiman, juuman, hyakuman, issenman, ichioku, juuoku, hyakuoku, issenoku, icchō, juuchō, hyakuchō…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

ZERO, ZERO, ZERO- ♪"Bookmark here

"GIN…!!! Can you please stop singing and just start?!"Bookmark here

"Sorry, Rin…"Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

March 24, 2018.Bookmark here

“Ungh… What a nice weather…”Bookmark here

I say that, but I know that I will eventually take those words back.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

It is almost the end of March now, and summer is about to come.Bookmark here

“I wonder if she’s awake already…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I stood there for a few, but seeing that there’s no one on the other side, I walked out of my room.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Man… my arms still hurts…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

No cutting of hair. You made that weird promise with Sis.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I took a sigh and went down the stairway like I did not even hear something from the bottom floor.Bookmark here

“Hey… you sure beat me in waking up early.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Hahh… You’re finally up, Gin.Bookmark here

Good morning.”Bookmark here

“Good morning, Rin.”Bookmark here

I seriously do forget a lot of things these days… I haven’t even introduced myself and that girl—the main characters.Bookmark here

I am-Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Sorry for that. The battery of the mic ran out. It just needed a quick replacement and everything is fine. Anyways…Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And I guess this is where you will ask…Bookmark here

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?Bookmark here

Be patient, I’ll explain everything. Everything, I mean even things that you did not ask. I haven’t even introduced that girl.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Yeah, we are the main characters of this story, and there are other characters too. Just you wait.Bookmark here

How come the two of us became the main characters? I don’t know. Ask the author.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And to answer those questions…Bookmark here

Go read Normal in Parenthesis.Bookmark here

Just kidding.Bookmark here

“How long have you been sat there?”Bookmark here

“Around 15 minutes. News isn’t really interesting lately.”Bookmark here

“Have you eaten anything already?”Bookmark here

“I haven’t had coffee. Actually, I went here right after I literally woke up.”Bookmark here

“Let me guess. You didn’t even wash your face in your house.”Bookmark here

*Growl~*Bookmark here

It wasn’t mine. It was hers.Bookmark here

“Well, my stomach answers that.”Bookmark here

“Hahh… Alright. Since I woke up kind of late, just sit tight and drink your coffee. No need to help me so just relax.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

We are neighbors. To say it clearly, we are next-door neighbors.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Yes, we are very close, but at the same time, we do not wish to be. At least take away the "very."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Well, it's a given that anyone from her family can use it.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“I just remembered. Rin, today’s the day we go shop things, right?”Bookmark here

“Mhm. What time should we head out?”Bookmark here

“Let’s at least make it early since we’ll probably have a long time shopping. Maybe at 10, so that we’re early.”Bookmark here

“Looks good.”Bookmark here

“Hmm… Napolitan,” I mumbled as I took out ingredients from the fridge.Bookmark here

“Ohhh… Making pasta for breakfast? That’s new.”Bookmark here

“I figured that we should have a decent meal since we’ll walk around a lot later.”Bookmark here

“May I see your list, Gin?”Bookmark here

“I think I left it at the table. It’s probably somewhere around there.”Bookmark here

She started to check every scrap paper from the coffee table until she found one that is most likely what she was looking for.Bookmark here

“Gin… you do realize that this is a lot, right?”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“If you say so…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

However, this time will be a contrasting exception to the usual. Our main list mostly focuses on travel-related things.Bookmark here

There is an expression/phrase: “Once in a blue moon…” and that expression will soon come in handy in the situation. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Well, I've been through a lot.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

“Thanks for the breakfast, Gin. I’ll go home to change.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure. I’ll go fuel up the car, then.Bookmark here

Man, gasoline is expensive these days…”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Time ticked for a very short bit and it is now 15 to 10 in the morning.Bookmark here

“Oi. You sure you’re okay with slippers only, Rin?”Bookmark here

“It’s hot as it is, and you’re also wearing flip flops.”Bookmark here

“Summer’s just around the corner, indeed.Bookmark here

Anyways, get in. I’ll just lock the house.”Bookmark here

With that, we made our way to the mall.Bookmark here

“Good timing, the AC is fixed.”Bookmark here

“Gin, I haven’t asked yet… Is Akira in the base already?”Bookmark here

“Ah, yes. He didn’t say anything, though. He went there the day after the graduation. He’s officially an Exile now.”Bookmark here

Alright, another character was mentioned so I might as well give him a background.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

He decided to discontinue his studies and pursued his newly found purpose of living. That is, to be an Exile.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Sweet, the parking is still empty.”Bookmark here

“There, Gin. We could park in the roofed side.”Bookmark here

“I just realized. This is the first time I’ve come here in the mall by driving.”Bookmark here

“I do hope you can park properly…”Bookmark here

Just a note, Gin can drive legally and he has a driver’s license.Bookmark here

After a little walk, we came in sight of the main entrance and saw that there are people lined up there.Bookmark here

“Not yet open, huh…”Bookmark here

“We don’t want the line to get long… Let’s get going, Gin.”Bookmark here

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…Bookmark here

“Yo, Gin. Fancy meeting you here.”Bookmark here

“Oh,” I turned around after hearing a familiar voice behind us. “Haven’t seen the two of you since graduation, Nagi, Shiro.”Bookmark here

Nagi Kajima (♂) and Shiro Kirishima (♀).Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I don’t believe happily ever after things, but a good relationship is enough.Bookmark here

“Grabbing luggages or on a date?”Bookmark here

“The former.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, right. Who would even go on date with a couple wearing slippers…?”Bookmark here

“Us.”Bookmark here

“Ugh, I forgot that you two are a weird couple… Why did I even bother asking?!” Nagi bellowed.Bookmark here

“How about you two?”Bookmark here

“Just hanging out,” ponytail Shiro coldly replied to my question as usual. Thanks for cooling us with that coldness.Bookmark here

“Shiro, you say ‘hanging out’, but you just want me to treat you with sweets, don’t you?”Bookmark here

And Nagi teased, as usual.Bookmark here

“But are you going to?”Bookmark here

“Size Large Parfait.”Bookmark here

In some ways or another, we two pairs have similarities—like being absorbed in our own worlds.Bookmark here

“Oh, the mall’s opening. Rin, stick close to me so we won’t be overtaken.”Bookmark here

“I’ll grab on your arm.”Bookmark here

“Well, that works too,” I reached out my hand and she immediately grabbed my arm as she is in front of me.Bookmark here

“Ah, Gin. Ringo. Have you heard the new serialization of Yuki Amagami? She just released a shoujo manga. You might want to read it.”Bookmark here

“Oh, that mangaka? She’s doing a shoujo manga? Her fantasy manga ended recently, right?Bookmark here

I wonder why her manga are being officially translated in our language.”Bookmark here

“Should we get it, Rin? I’m going to buy Japanese language books, anyways.”Bookmark here

“Sounds good. Nacchi, is the manga already a volume long?”Bookmark here

“It’s just the first chapter so it’s on the magazine.”Bookmark here

“Fairly new, huh.Bookmark here

Well, this is where we split. See you.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. We’ll see you off in the airport.”Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Well, our shopping wasn’t really that relevant to the story and nothing strange happened but we successfully accomplished our shopping as intended.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Nope. Probably one of the ten people.Bookmark here

“We have a delivery for Mr. Gin Sakato.”Bookmark here

That person is a delivery guy with two identical boxes on his arms.Bookmark here

“That’s me.”Bookmark here

“I don’t remember buying something online…”Bookmark here

“Please write your signature here.”Bookmark here

“Should I add my name too?” I showed him the receipt with my written signature on it.Bookmark here

“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?”Bookmark here

“Even Rin…?”Bookmark here

“She lives just next to my house, but she’s currently here.”Bookmark here

“Gin, I heard my name.”Bookmark here

“You also have a delivery, Rin.”Bookmark here

“…?”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Is the sender written in the receipt, Rin? I wonder who sent this…”Bookmark here

“Let me see…Bookmark here

Ah! This is the clothing shop we helped at when we were in the Capital last month.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I remember now. Yeah, them.”Bookmark here

I opened the box and removed the bubble wraps and we got distracted because of popping them, of course.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Wait, they're clothes so should they necessarily be under a bubble wrap…?Bookmark here

“Oh, nice design.Bookmark here

What’s in yours, Rin?”Bookmark here

“Wahhhh~”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Such gifts from a little help. Not complaining, though.”Bookmark here

“We should probably thank the owner some time.”Bookmark here

“Yeah.Bookmark here

By the way, that looks really good on you, Rin.”Bookmark here

“Hehe… Thanks.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

While we were busy looking at the clothes, my phone lit up.Bookmark here

“I got a call. Huh? From Sean?”Bookmark here

Sean Hickory. He is the co-owner of Giotto’s along with Hiroomi Katsuto. As I have mentioned, they’re also Exiles.Bookmark here

“Hello, Sean?”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

Anyone you can recommend?”Bookmark here

“Jean. I’ll try dragging him with us.”Bookmark here

“Jean? Oh, the friend that you were talking about. He's the one that worked for a day here, right?”Bookmark here

“Yep. I think it’s time for him to have an apprenticeship.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Good idea. He’ll also meet Hiro’s pupil. Hope he can join us.”Bookmark here

“Yeah.Bookmark here

If that’s everything, I’ll put this down now.”Bookmark here

“That’s all. See you at the airport soon.”Bookmark here

“This better not be some prank of yours. You have me on the edge of my seat.”Bookmark here

*Beep*Bookmark here

“Rin, I think Jean will come with us. That is, if he will accept.”Bookmark here

“Ohh… I wonder how he’ll get on with the restaurant experience.”Bookmark here

“You heard the apprenticeship?”Bookmark here

“Yep.”Bookmark here

“Well, why not help me study Nihongo? We can’t be going there with a twisted tongue.”Bookmark here

“So that’s why you bought the books. Knowing you, you can easily finish that book.”Bookmark here

“I’ll take it slow this time.”Bookmark here

“Then let’s start!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

We are all set and thus, the day of our departure came.

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

inhalesBookmark here

That does it for 000 but that begins Rainbow of the Horizon!Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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).Bookmark here

Being transparent once more, this story already has a ton of backlog chapters and spoiler, this hasn't ended yet as of writing this. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

This story is going to be a long one, and I hope you look forward to it.Bookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

001: You know what's up with April 1, right?Bookmark here

Takahashi  Eien
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