Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
We have been living in Japan… at least temporarily, for the third week now but I have surprisingly never heard or even set my alarms. And recently, I’ll have to admit that my body clock is simply messed up. Sometimes I wake up at 7 and sometimes I wake at 11 in the morning.
But still, nothing beats the three straight days of sleep that I had when I… yeah… slashed myself with a knife.
This morning marks the fifth day of my recovery from my homesickness and depression which are totally killing me. I am however feeling better probably because of Jean’s visit last night.
I say that I’m feeling better, but I haven’t even opened my eyes since I just woke up. Knowing the possible situation, Rin’s probably up by now.
“I don’t even know what time is it…”
I immediately got up on… Let me… correct that…
We…? Immediately got up and sat on our bedding and yawned all at the same time.
I guess we just both woke up, then.
“Gwoov mornhing, Rin.”
“Morning, Gin. You twisted you tongue.”
“Yeah…” I opened my phone and immediately looked at the time. “Oh… It’s still early, huh?”
“You can still call 8:15 early?”
“Well, you probably got used to waking up a bit earlier. You know that I always wake up at 8 whenever it’s a day off…”
“Ah… I should get ready and make our breakfast. I’ll just go clean up my face.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“Huh?” Just as Rin stood up, she vigorously turned her head back to me with a rather dumbfounded face as she looked at me momentarily.
“Hmm? What’s wrong, Rin?”
She went out of the room and then I just followed her because I am also about to do the same thing she was going to. Just now, she has been stealing glances from me while we are walking.
“Win… can vjou vwhust twer me iv dwher’s shumtin on my vace? (Rin… can you just tell me if there’s something on my face?)” I barely uttered while I am brushing my teeth.
“Huh? What made you think that?”
“You’ve been looking at me with a confused face for a while now so I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.”
“Uh… Am I really that obvious?”
“Not really. But you know that I’m quite observant.”
“Well… how do I put it? I guess I’m just thinking that it’s been a while since I saw you keep up our pace equally…?”
“Uhh… in layman’s terms, please?”
“Your listlessness is gone and you start off your day finally normally.”
“I got a bit surprised.”
“Oh… now that you’ve said it… I’m feeling a lot better today—mentally and physically.”
“Really? That’s good! Does that mean that you’ve recovered?”
“Hmm… I guess so…
Well, I look forward for the breakfast today!”
“I’ll make it extra special!”
It has been five days, but it feels like an eternity since I last felt this uplifted. It was just like that time when I was in the Void when I spent two years that equated to five days in the outside world.
But then again, I was alone at that time.
This time however is different. Way more different, I am together with the people I can rely on. This life is more precious than I thought, so I better not begin complaining anytime soon.
~ ~ ~
“Gin…! Someone’s trying to hook up on the video call!”
“Right. Let’s see who it is…
I immediately ran from the living room to our bedroom and took a camera lying on the table. What I did not know is I accidentally answered the call.
“Rin! I’m going to borrow that camera. Need to hook it up on my phone.”
“Who was the one calling?”
“That’s quite rare for him to call?”
“Umm… Hello? Gin? Are you there?
What’s up? Gin, I don’t see your face and it’s getting trippy so stop moving around!”
“I wonder what they are doing…”
“Wait, Gin? Can you actually use it as an external device?”
“Apparently, yes. I actually tried doing it while I’m kind of bedridden and it works fine.
Let’s see… Wait, did I accidentally answer it?”
“Gin, it’s already been a minute in the call.”
“Really? Sorry about that, Nagi. I was setting up an external camera since it’s a pain to hook up on a PC here.
Oh, hey there, Shiro.”
“I guess this is the first time we’ll get to talk since then?”
“I guess that’s the case, Ringo.
Well, I was actually expecting to see Gin in a mess. But you’re looking fine and all, huh?”
“I just recovered from it, okay?”
“By the way, isn’t it still a bit early there? It’s just passed nine here so that makes it around 8 there.”
“We figured that you might be busy later so we called at this time.”
“Wait, Nacchi. I assume you haven’t heard?”
“We only worked at Giotto’s on its first week.”
“What? Seriously?! Then what in the world are you even doing in your stay there?!”
It does seem apparent that Nagi hasn't begun complaining about the heat yet. To be fair, I also wake up at 8am in times of summer and you could still easily survive with an electric fan. But truly the hottest time of the day is the afternoon if you just stay inside the house all day.
Knowing that, I retorted.
“Enjoying the fairly cold weather, I guess?” I smiled on the camera with an obviously smug face.
“Oh, for crying out loud! Please stop on what you’re saying now!”
A thought far-fetched as it may be, he's a few steps to having trauma over the heat.
“Hey, Ringo… Tell us your experiences there. Mind telling us stories?” (Those two are completely out of the loop)
“**I don’t really know if there are any good stories we can tell you.”
“**Yes, I reckon.”
Shiro, did you understand what they said?”
“No, not at all.”
“Hahahaha… Alright, I’ll stop the trolling. I haven’t been like this for a few days and I was so cheerful before I got homesick.”
“Well… Why don’t you tell us about your current life there and how it came to be?”
“Shiro… That sounds like an interview…” Rin scratched her head out of confusion.
“So you two really haven’t heard anything yet?”
“Not a word.”
As you can see, this is the place where we are staying at. Quite cozy, I would say. We’re currently somewhere in Kyoto and we were given a vacation by the boss after the soft opening of the new branch here.”
“W-W-W-Wait. Now that I see and hear, your place is quiet, huh? But what I am most concerned with is…
A- Are you two living together by any chance…?”
It's as he said before he asked. And it did sound that his question was in exclamation, but with a tone of concern that I felt when we first came here.
“This house was lent by a business partner of the restaurant and the caretaker of the house won’t be around anymore since she has her other work aside from this.
It’s not that I’m avoiding your question but I assume that you need to know that just in case.”
“But yes. We our living separately from the whole South’s crew.”
“Just so you know, this was all due to us being framed up by Hiro and Sean. We were so ready to decline…
But I have to admit… I was shamelessly lured out because this Japanese traditional house has hot springs.”
Suddenly, the eyes of those two on the screen widened disproportionately.
“D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DID YOU JUST SAY HOT SPRINGS?!”
On that note, we saw Nagi slowly fall to his back.
“No, I’m fine, I’m fine…” Nagi immediately got up.
“I guess that’s as far as we can tell-“
“Ah, y-yes?! Nacchi?!”
“How does Gin use his blanket?!”
“He doesn’t cover his feet!”
“Yes, I’m Gin.”
“What side of Ringo’s hair has the most bed hair earlier this morning?!”
“It seems that her left side of the head was planted on the pillow and the bedhead is severe. I’m no different, though.”
“I don’t need your opinion! Ringo again!”
“Name one sleeping habit that Gin has!”
“He sleepwalks a lot to get a glass of water!”
“Gin! Same question!”
“She sometimes sleep talks. It’s cute, though.”
“Again, I don’t need your opinion, Gin!”
“Gin, they’re trying to guess if we’re staying in one room by asking us questions like that.”
“You probably figured it out before I even did. I'm proud of you, young miss. High five.”
Gin and Rin – 1
Nagi and Shiro – 0
~ ~ ~
“So… how was the work experience there?”
“Really wild… Didn’t think the people of Kyoto love food a lot.”
Everyone loves food, right?
“Thankfully, we haven’t encountered people saying: ‘Kyoto boys are nasty,’ around here.”
“Ringo, that’s a reference right?”
Shiro was ignored.
“Jean is still working in the resto but I really don’t know how he performs now. Though, he visited us last night and told us stories around the resto.”
“Also, we went to Arashiyama a few days ago. It really is a nice and beautiful place with all those towering bamboos.”
“Oh, really? Why not send us pictures?”
“We were so absorbed that we forgot to take them…”
“But the truth is that we have no pictures of Arashiyama in itself because all we have is our faces together.
Nagi will surely take revenge on me with the summer heat once we go home.”
At least, bamboos photobombed.
“Ah, before I forget… Does ‘Golden Knife’ ring a bell to you two?”
“’Golden Knife…?’ Have you heard of that, Shiro?”
“No… That’s the first time I’m hearing that.”
“What’s up all of a sudden?”
“It isn’t really that serious. I’m just trying to satisfy my curiosity.”
Oh, well. We have some things to do; we should end the call now.”
“It’s nice talking with you two again.”
“Alright. We’ll be home in May.”
“Gin, are you on for shopping?”
“Sure. You can trust me on the list this time. I was so out of it.”
“Nah, I’ve done the list already.”
“I see. Should we head out, then?”
Just a bit of minutes passed and we were ready to head out and all is fine. Well, all is fine until I got a feeling of déjà vu.
Just as I opened the door, a swing of strong wind blew the shopping list on my hand.
Of course I won’t do the same thing I did last time. I don’t even have a pen on me and so catching it is the only and should be the only option I have.
“Ugh… it’s going up.”
I quickly ran to the front yard with my beyond humane speed but just as I was about to plant my right foot for the jump, I saw and didn’t realize that there was a man walking on the sidewalk.
“Oh, shoot. I am very sorry for this…”
I did not step on my brake on time.
But instead of crashing on the man, I hit no one, surprisingly. Rather… he’s not even in front of me.
“**Hey, there. Is this yours?” the man poked my shoulder from behind.
“**Ah, yes. That’s mine. Thank you very much for that and I am very sorry for almost hurting you,” I bowed as a form of apology.
“**No, it’s okay. Don’t even sweat it because I didn’t even drop of a sweat. Though, I am quite impressed that you still tried to step aside.”
“**Ah, so you saw it, huh? No wonder you got to evade that quickly. I’m impressed too, haha.”
“**Aww, man. I was even expecting you to have a more shocked expression for my figuring it out,” the man scratched his head because of disappointment.
“**I’m relieved that you weren’t hurt.”
“**I’m safe and all.
**But I’ll give you an advice. I actually just saw you almost like a blur earlier, but when you slowed down a bit, I got to see that your footing still needs more work.”
“**I’m not as fast as what you just showed me but you can maximize your speed without exerting that much effort.”
“Somehow, he sounds like an expert on this.”
“**Try to think that you can hold the whole of the earth, then grasp it with the ends of your toes. And then, kick the earth, thinking like you just flickered.”
“**Oh, sure… Thank you for that.”
“**It seems that you’re about to head out with that girl that is walking towards here.”
I looked to my left, which is the direction of the house because the man said so that Rin is approaching, which is indeed true.
“Gin, were you talking to someone just now? I almost forgot to take my violin so I came back inside because I want the music shop to tune it again.”
“I was talking to, just now, yeah.”
He disappeared right after I turned back that way.
But I saw everything anyways. As I was turning my head, I witnessed with the corner of my eyes how he vanished. He jumped backwards on top of a post and jumped, and jumped at one post to another. But then… was disappearing every time he jumps? Cool.
“Do you know him, Gin?”
“I don’t. But I think it’s safe to assume that that guy is a modern-day ninja.”
“Hmm… Yeah, even though I haven’t seen one, the idea is nowhere near far-fetched.
Maybe that's a shadow clone.”
“It doesn’t even blow your mind at this point, huh?”
“I guess I will take up on his advice… but I should at least have asked his name. No, he’s a (ninja) after all.”
~ ~ ~
In just an hour, all of our shopping was done and Rin’s violin also got tuned correctly. Strolling in this country served to be a challenge to me again because of being holed up in the house for a couple days.
“I feel like a shut-in…”
You hear the seemingly silent footsteps of the other passersby. There is also the ringing of the bells of those on a bicycle as they pedal opposite to the direction of the wind. The feeling of excitement came back to me as I once again woke up on myself being here in the North.
“We really should wander around here while we still have time. You think so too, Rin?”
“Of course. There are still a lot of places that we can visit.”
As we are walking in the busy streets, my phone vibrated momentarily.
“I wonder when was the last time I received a message…”
Hiro’s contact name immediately showed up to my screen right after I opened my phone. I checked the message and it says…
Without any hesitation, I called him and he answered immediately.
“Hey, Hiro… What is going on for you to ask help from me?”
“The restaurant desperately needs you two. In an hour’s time the whole crew of Kyoko Animation will be coming down here.
PLEASE COME QUICKLY.”
After hearing what Hiro just said, all of my hair slowly rose up.
“Potato?! Please don’t get bald!”
“Hiro? You still there?”
“I am still alive.”
“I heard from Jean that someone donated a Grand piano in the resto. Mind if I use it?”
“Yeah, sure. But what on earth are you going to-“
*beep beep beep*
“Hey, hey. Rin-chan.”
“Just think of it as an honor for us to make our dishes for the guys of Kyoko Animation.”
“Well, no time to waste. Let’s go home quickly and get changed.
Oh, bring your violin with you, okay?”
“Got it.,” she said even when she had no idea why.
~ ~ ~
30 minutes remaining before the arrival.
Kiriyama Shun is apparently running an errand for the restaurant and he is seen to be carrying heavy bags with him.
“**Aahh… Man. I really just want to cook now… and this is heavy!
**I heard that the senpai before I got in Giotto’s is going to help out because today’s pretty much a battlefield.”
As he was walking, he started looking around as if he was looking for something.
“**I remember Ando-kun telling me that Aniki (Gin) lives around here somewhere. Maybe I’ll get to meet him on my way back.”
He started walking again but he heard a shouting voice from the distance approaching him.
**EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!” it was Rin and I running with all our might.
**Oh, you’re Aniki, right? I’m the new chef in Giotto’s! My name is Kiri-“
“**New guy! Try to catch up on us! Let us also help you with those!”
And just like that, a blur instantaneously passed through Shun, and all of the bags he was carrying vanished.
“**Huh? Wait! Hey…! Aniki! Wait for me! Now this looks like you yoinked my belongings…!”
~ ~ ~
The two of us arrived in the restaurant safely.
“Phew…! That was quite a nice warm up.”
“Thank goodness I started jogging a few days ago…”
“Wait, you’re jogging, Rin?”
“I did because I managed to get up super early when you were still homesick.”
“Morning jogging, huh. Let’s do that together sometimes and eat out somewhere for breakfast.”
“Oh, you two are finally here.
Wait, what’s with those bags?” Hiro welcomed us.
“Uhh… We kind of met the new guy…”
“We both don’t know his name, though.”
“…But he called me ‘Aniki’ and told us that he works here. It seems like he was carrying heavy things so we nabbed these while we were running.”
“He should be here anytime soon.”
“Man, you two really are the weirdest couple I’ve met.”
Seven minutes later.
“**Boss…! Sorry I’m late! Hahh… Hahh… Hahh…” Shun opened the door with force while gasping hardly.
“Well, he’s here. Let me introduce him to you two.
His name is Culinary Passionate Kiriyama.”
“**Yes, sir! Kiriyama Shun here!”
“He didn’t understand a word that Hiro said…”
“So… now that Rin and I are here, care to explain what really is happening?”
“There’s nothing to explain more, Gin. The whole crew of Kyoko Animation reserved the restaurant for the rest of our open hours. That’s everything.”
“Seriously…? A whole animation company?”
“I can’t believe we’ll get to see the people behind the production of such stunning anime.”
“Sakuga for the win.
Well, we don’t have enough time. Hiro, is the kitchen ready?”
“Yeah, I was also about to head there. I think Jean is there.”
“Alright… I’m a bit tensed up now that I haven’t held a knife for five days. I hope I didn’t get rusty.”
“You didn’t even warm up, Gin?”
“It’s as what Rin told you. I was homesick and you suddenly sent me a emergency message. I’ll just wing it.”
“Well, good luck, Gin.”
I tied my apron and stretched out my back and arms. It has been a while since I was last inside the kitchen of this restaurant.
“Rin, are you ready now?”
“**Boss…? It’s kind of awkward to ask Aniki but, is that girl also a cook here?”
“**She is Akanami Ringo and… uhh… she is the same age as Jean.
**To say the least… umm… I forgot what the translation is… Ah! Ringo right there is Gin’s girlfriend.”
“**Oh?! Aniki has a girlfriend? And she’s also a cook here?”
“**That makes them a… duo inside the kitchen… and did Jean tell you that… uhh… he’s a student of Gin?”
“**What?! Ando-kun’s mentor is Aniki?!”
“**And let me add, even though Ringo is a year younger than you, her experience in less than a year is equal to a couple of years. Being a significant other and a culinary partner of Gin, those two are incredible chefs.
**Wow, I said a lot. Did I get everything right?”
“**You said everything perfectly, boss.
**By the way, is Akanami-san a regular chef here?”
“**She’s not. Her first restaurant experience was just one week here.”
I turned around before opening the door of the kitchen.
“**Hey~! Hiro, Shun-kun! We’re going in!”
"**We’ll introduce ourselves in the kitchen later, Shun-kun.”
“**But we don’t have time for that, Aniki. The customers will be here soon.”
“**It’s not a problem.
Hey, Jean. Thanks for the visit last time. I’m all well now.”
“Let’s do our best today, Gin,” Jean replied unusually with a burning aura all over him.
“Woah… I don’t see you get fired up a lot. Let’s do our best.”
~ ~ ~
Finally, the customers arrived all at once. They are from different ages and different attires. They all took their seats and as they wait for their orders, it was like they are starting a meeting of some sort.
It is very pressuring seeing that they all came to the restaurant all at once and this is the first time that we are serving our food not for the masses this time, but for a whole company. Surely, they are all working hard.
And inside the kitchen as we cook, the usual conversations started.
“**We haven’t introduced ourselves, Shun-kun. My name is Gin Sakato and I’m currently the sous chef of the mother branch. I got in the resto last year when I was 17, but that makes me 18 right now. It’s a pleasure to be working with you.”
“**I am Ringo Akanami and I worked in this branch for the soft opening. You may or may not have heard but I am sort of like a partner to Gin. This is my first experience in a restaurant and I am 16.”
“…” Shun stayed silent while stirring in the pot.
**How can you guys talk in the middle of cooking?! I can hardly speak since I’m concentrating a lot!”
“So he became a victim of the kitchen conversation, huh…” thought Jean.
“**Just let me do the talking Kiriyama-kun. First serving, ready to be served!” he placed a plated dish on a serving counter. He immediately started with another dish as he precisely slice and dice ingredients.
“Kiriyama-kun is actually a dropout from school since he doesn’t like how culinary is not focused in his school, making him a false delinquent since he apparently threw a fit a few times in the HE Room of their school.
And he also said that he saw you two once in a train with Gin wearing a red jacket.”
“Oh, that was when we went on a date.
No, nevermind that. Rin… I know I’m slowly gaining the pace, but Jean is awfully quick today.”
“Y-Yeah… it made me surprised.”
“Gin… your student’s performance is simply skyrocketing. His efficiency today is beyond last time.” Hiro butted in.
“So he wasn’t like this when we were away?”
“No. This is the first time I'm seeing him like that. It feels as though he broke through his shell.”
“Wow. Jean suddenly got amazing.”
“Alright, Rin. I’ll go ask him.
Hey, Jean. You’re really fired up today, huh? I assume there’s a reason for this.”
“Well, yeah. I guess you could say that. Yeah, there’s a reason.”
“I don’t get why you need to affirm that one more time.”
“Second serving, done!”
“You’re seriously nailing this, Jean!”
“**Seriously… how can you all talk while cooking?”
“**But Shun-kun… you’re talking with us right now.”
“Man, that’s Gin’s trolling for you.”
~ ~ ~
“**Gin-san, Ringo-san. You can take a short break for now.”
“**Thank you, Ito-san.”
“Oi, Gin. You suddenly hang up earlier when I was asking you. What are you going to do with the piano?” Hiro irritatingly asked.
“Where is it…” I searched for something in all of my pockets until I found what I’m looking for. “I thought I forgot these,” I took out my pair of glasses that I got from Kei’s girlfriend as a present a few months ago.
“Hmm… it doesn’t really have the same vibe, huh. Well, this will work either way.”
“Wait, glasses… violin… piano…
Is this a reference?"
"You're free to think that."
"Are you serious about this? I know I can play some of the songs they use and all, but will this really work out?
Wait, we're referencing something outside their studio!”
“Let’s trust ourselves with this, Rin.
Hiro, we’re heading out now!”
Wait, you didn’t answer my question again!”
Without further ado, we went on the platform where the piano is on. I sat in front of the piano while Rin stood near me with her violin.
“No lies in April, okay?”
We positioned on my queue and we started playing.
We chose an opening song from one of their anime that personally made me cry while watching it. The beginning was rough, seeing that the customers are having their chat but when the noise gradually faded away, the solemn tones of the lovely sound of the piano and violin took over the building and got all the attention of the people.
Without even nearing the chorus, we stopped then started once again.
“The intro is so great that we want to repeat it.”
“It’s such a waste if they don’t hear it. We just made our first attempt as an excuse to grab their attentions.”
Thus, with the silence being present in the dining room, we started slow as I lightly pressed on the keys and as Rin gently maneuvered her arms to the soft sound made with the bow.
The sweet and solemn melody traveled through my bones and lifted the hairs of my skin as we both convey the emotions that the song wishes to share to the feelings of the people that hear them with the sincere ears.
The words that I once did not understand finally entered the meaning in my head. I now feel the true life of the song.
It is at this point in time, my only thoughts are:
“I am so glad that I played the piano.”
“I am so happy to be playing this violin.”
The chorus finally came and exploded like an invisible bomb to the whole room. It feels as if we blew a wind from our platform to all directions. The audience, perhaps stunned, was all sat on the edge of their seats and some even poured tears.
As if a new dimension unfolded, we were all separated to the world and the room went to a melodic singularity where nothing is more significant than the emotion of the ever-changing tones.
And slowly, the voices began to rise from the depths of their throat and sang to the rhythm.
However, the song ended in a coda and thus, the unavoidable end of the song happened.
I unconsciously gasped as I listen to the sounding applause of the audience. My sweat poured down like a waterfall and my heart began beating fast and hard.
It seems as though that in just a few moments, I poured my life to the instrument and neglected my own body. But in reality, it is an indescribable experience of exhilaration.
Out of all the things that happened in my lifetime, I have never been this exhausted until today.
~ ~ ~
“Gin… that was an excellent job you just put in.”
“**You two are amazing… I don’t even know how you did that.”
“**Aniki… Akanami-san…! That song is so beautiful…”
“**It paid off really well… but I didn’t think that it would be so exhausting.”
“**Yeah, Gin… My arms are still shaking.”
"**You two, take some rest now. We'll still need your energy for later."
After that, we immediately went to the staff room to take some rest. It seems that no one is occupying the room aside from us and the overly repeated silence is present anew.
The soundproofing of the room is mainly the cause of the silence, though.
Instead of sitting on a chair, I rested on the couch since sitting on the piano chair almost destroyed my back. Catching my breath again, Rin, plain and simply fell on my lap.
"That was really tiring… Gin."
"Yeah... it was indeed tiring.
But seeing their reactions was golden. As far as I can remember, the only time I played the piano was when I am alone, or my family is watching. That was all when I was on my childhood and through the time I started high school. I haven't told you this, but I actually did not come to school for the entirety of my elementary ever since what happened to me when I was five.
And this is actually the first time that I shared my playing of music to such a crowd. I was actually anxious at first, but when I pressed the keys, I forgot about it all; and once again, you are there, Rin."
"You're welcome… Gin."
"Ahahaha… you saw through me again."
Uhhh… it just got through my head, but we didn't even get to practice that together, right?"
"Nope. I guess we just know the song really well."
"I guess you're right… You were even singing that when you're binging when we kind of broke up."
"I'm not even surprised that you heard that."
"I was resisting so hard at laughing when I heard you to the point that I even fell off my bed because of rolling from side to side.
Though, that was really the only time I loosened up at that time.”
“Well, I’m responsible from what happened to us in the past and I will still say sorry even if you insist not to.”
“I do know the ‘current you’ well so I won’t say anything.”
Her words made something on my mind flinch, and so I replied: “I suppose you’re playing with words right now, Rin?”
“You got me. Hahaha.”
“I decided to keep quiet about this until we get back home. Regardless, you’re the first person that I’ll ever tell you this.
I actually thought that I recovered all of my memories, you knowing that I have a poor memory of my childhood due to trauma. But I realized on our date that it wasn’t the case at all.
It was just a few days ago when I only remembered that I was on a wheelchair. But I'm sure that I already knew about that before.
Even the thing that I just told you—the time when I did not attend school for my whole elementary years is a memory that I just unlocked now.”
“But you do remember when you were a first year student, right?”
“Starting from that time, everything is clear. And it was also the time when I realized that I don’t have a good memory ever since I was five.
But if I have to guess, my memories may fall in to one place gradually.”
Let’s just talk about this once we get back to the South.”
“I’ll just take a nap, Gin. Can you wake me up once the break is over?”
“I’m not sure if I can actually wake you up, knowing how you sleep. I'll probably fall asleep too.”
“It’s just an old habit, you know. I can come back to my senses when you’re going to wake me up.”
“Hehhh… I really hope you wake up on time. Don’t kill my legs, okay?”
But then, her light mood turned a tad heavy.
I promise that I will always be your light when the darkness goes pitch black again. Love you, Gin.
"I'm really no match to you. Hahaha.
Just go and take a bit of rest, and I love you too."
I was under some mixed feelings after she got to sleep. I was happy and at the same time anxious. I steeled myself and slowly closed my eyes; I set aside my thoughts and focused on the current event.
~ ~ ~
The restaurant continued its job by serving the request of the company of serving the whole menu to them. As far as we have observed, they are indeed enjoying the menu, but we just can't set aside the fact that every time they get a bite, they either write something down on the papers or grab a picture of it with a rather overpowered camera over their plates.
Although, I do wonder what those apertures are needed for them to snap a crispy picture of our dishes.
The pressure is still on, not just inside the kitchen but also in the reception and service. I just can't however un-notice how much Jean had progressed. He is now a completely different chef compared to the last time I saw him cook.
"Hey, Jean. Try to slow down. We should maintain our balance otherwise the hot springs won't even heal you."
"Okay. Sorry for that, Gin. I'm just so motivated right now. I'll just step on the gas lightly."
"Jean's not just calm. He's also extremely focused."
"Just be aware that you'll surely pass out later. That happened to me already."
"Ouch… I'll keep that in mind."
"Are you sure that Jean's okay?" Rin whispered to me.
"Whatever the 'reason' is, I think he'll be fine for the time being.
And… I think that his productivity will only last for today. Ah, like a one-time deal, so to speak."
"It sounds like you don't even trust your own student…"
"I'm just simply stating the fact."
~ ~ ~
The arm of the clock hits on the sixteenth hour and the orders of the company finally came to a halt.
The customers started to pack things up while one table is continuously trying to get a look on the kitchen from their chairs. One called a waiter which he then ran towards the kitchen.
"**Everyone…! They are calling us all out!"
All of the workers in Giotto's gathered in the dining room and we are met with the mass of the company all looking at us.
"**I would assume that the one standing in the middle is Ito-san…?"
"**Yes, I am Ito Hitoishi, the head of the northern branch of Giotto's."
"**My name is Karukami Mujin, the representative of Kyoko Animation today. We are very grateful and sorry for our reservation on a very short notice."
"**No, sir. It's okay. If anything, we are the ones that are grateful that you acknowledged our services."
"**Cutting to the chase, the main reasons of our reservation and the request to serve us your whole menu is because we are surveying from different restaurants for a good amount of time now. And here comes the good news: so far, Giotto's is currently on the top of all of our choices right now. If our data are to be approved, this restaurant may well be a candidate upon the approval of the company along with yours."
"**Your 'choices' and 'candidate…?'"
"**Strictly basing on our surveying, there is a high chance that this restaurant will be adapted to a one-cour originally written anime that is set in stone to be produced along with an OVA."
"…!" every one of us flinched out of surprise upon hearing the unexpected words.
"**Please punch me as hard as you can. In the face."
We both stepped back stealthily to avoid being seen and used the line of the whole crew as a cover. I got what I asked for whilst trying to maintain my balance and keeping myself up with the grip of my feet.
"It's like… I grasped the earth like the guy said…"
Thankfully, none from the company heard what just happened.
"**Are the two musicians present right now? May I ask them to step forward?"
With that, we stepped to the front and we got greeted by the representative with a big smile.
"**My name is Sakato Gin and I am the sous chef of the southern branch."
"**I am Akanami Ringo. I am a trainee chef based from the South."
"**Oh… So you two are Orions…
**Thank you very much for that unexpected but wonderful experience you gave us. It brought light about the unthinkable that we didn't even get to brainstorm.
**Just like what I have said, this place is one of the potential candidate to be a direct source material for our next animation. We came upon the agreement wherein, if possible, we can place you two as characters for this next project."
"**Oh, I unders…
**SERIOUSLY?!?!?!" such a devastating shout from my throat made my face disperse until I became faceless and then Rin stood petrified to stone. I needed to pick up my parts from the floor.
"**S-Sorry for surprising you two suddenly…
**But the main reason that we came to that agreement is because of how you two can work together. And coincidentally, the genre of that we are targeting is romcom and drama, and seeing that you two became an instant inspiration to this, we might uphold to the seinen demographic of it and might also appeal not only to the minors but also to a wide age range.
**What we are aiming for is a story with a serious tone to it despite being a romantic comedy. Perhaps psychological in a way, and will bring the reality as we are clinging to a non-fictional plot."
"**But why tell us this information?" Ito-san stepped forward.
"**This is the eleventh restaurant that we have gone to. Truth to be told, we did not tell the other restaurants about the purpose of our visiting. Since we've been doing this for an unorganized time now, we were actually planning to put this on hold.
**Giotto's however checked most of the marks in our list more than the others. We have felt that there is a story even to the small things, which makes this restaurant special. There is a story to every person, there is a story to their hard work, and there is a reason why Giotto's stood in this place."
"**Are you perhaps a writer, Karukami-san?"
"**My, my. You are quite sharp, Sakato-san. Yes, I am indeed a writer and I am also one of the executives in checking the scripts and some of the storyboards."
**But if it were to be approved, are the characters going to be based from us? Like, character designs and such?"
"**We can produce a portrait of you two in the style of what you usually see in our shows right now."
"**Yes, please. We would love to," we both uttered in excitement and lowered our head.
"**Umm, excuse me, Sakato-san and Akanami-san?"
"**What can we do for you?"
"**If I may not be so rude… I am just following my hunch, but I really see you two as a potential 'main' characters."
**How should I say it… Yes, we are in a relationship."
"**Ahahaha… Just before I was about to ask you two. I guess the romance genre made it a dead giveaway.
**Now that it is said, I wish you two a good relationship."
"**Thank you, sir."
We both received such unique portraits that may just be a one of a kind. Seeing that we were drawn in the lovely art style of their animations.
"**U-Umm… May we know your name…?" I asked the artist.
"**Ahh, it's Sumireno. Sumireno Yahiko."
"**Thank you very much, Sumireno-san…!"
We agreed to the terms for where we will be the possible characters of the show. Moreover, data that does not interfere with privacy laws were handed to them securely.
But that doesn't mean that we are the only ones being in the cast. Some of the crew is going to be present, including Jean.
We have to however keep in mind that everything we have talked about is not confirmed yet. We all have to wait for the confirmation so we can breathe lightly.
And now, they have finished packing up.
"**We will be taking our leave now.
**We are very much grateful to all of you. I hope to be working with you in the near future. We will immediately orient you once the decision has been set."
"**We thank you all for paying a visit to Giotto's and we hope to see you again."
Thus, they all set foot outside one by one until every one of them left. And just after a few minutes, we experienced the first rain in Japan ever since our first day.
"**Ughhh~ all sorts of mine hurts…
**Alright, we'll have to close right now and all of you are dismissed once cleaning is done. We can't let the rain become a downpour."
As per Ito-san's instructions, we finished cleaning and got dismissed very early. Rin and I took a bit of rest before heading out.
"Gin, Ringo. I'll be going first. I'm starting to feel my body hurting."
"Sure, Jean. Take lots of rest, then. Be safe. Best regards to possibly becoming part of the cast."
"Thank goodness I brought an umbrella…"
Jean opened the restaurant door and right before he headed out, he saw Haru, seemingly in a rush, went out without Ai.
"Uhh… What's up with your sister just now?"
"Ahhh… she said that she had to do something so she had to take off without me. I was about to tell her that I don't have an umbrella but she immediately ran off…"
Umm… Ai, I think that was a set up."
"Jin…? What do you mean by that?"
"She left her phone in the staff room earlier today, and during work hours the room is locked until before Gin and Ringo took a break. She didn't even take out her phone for the rest of the day. But well, it's as far as I observed.
Ai, was she feeling a sense of urgency just now?"
"…I think so. Just before onee-chan left."
"How about before that?"
"She's pretty much laid back."
"I owe you one, Gin."
"Well, you'll probably see her in your house later like nothing even happened," he opened his umbrella afterwards.
"Are you sure, though?"
"Not really sure… But I just got that analysis from Gin like a communicable disease. I may be right, I may be wrong.
That guy has an insane perception and deduction."
Jean walked out of the roofs with his umbrella on, but suddenly stopped at the sidewalk.
"Jin… is something wrong? Did you forget something?"
Hahh… How will you even get out of this rain without an umbrella, Ai? Just take cover on the umbrella and I'll take you home.
Haru-san might actually be expecting me."
"Oh… O-Ok… Sorry…
30 minutes later.
It is still raining, and the door of Hikari household opened with Jean coming out of it.
"**I will be taking my leave, then. Thank you for having me."
"**Come visit us again, Jin-kun."
Ai and Haru's parents saw off Jean as he was about to leave.
"**But Jin-kun… Are you two going to be okay with this? You're leaving in the next month and all.
**And besides, we're also moving out the same month," the father asked.
"**While I just told you about my courtship, it would honestly be difficult at first. But there are a lot of ways to communicate with your family.
**And I will also try to visit from time to time."
It seemed that Ai's father got annoyed, but he suddenly laughed.
"**Oh… great. I was just testing you but I like how you show your resolve. You really are an Orion with how you work hard for you to get our hearts.
**Well, from this point and to the days, months, years onwards, I bid you good luck for making us approve of you!"
"**I hope not to disappoint you. I will be leaving, then."
~ ~ ~
A few minutes back, after Jean went out from the restaurant.
"Man, the rain's not stopping."
"I'll have to say that the rain isn't much stronger than in Orio."
"Now that you remind me of it, I have to prepare the house after summer."
"Gin? Preparing for what?"
"Right, you came from Sector 392 so that's not really surprising. Last year was the first time in ten years that no major flooding occurred in our current area.
Meaning that, Sector 527; White Street is quite a flood prone area."
"So that's why your family house is elevated."
"Yep. And I hope that I won't be worrying about my own house since the first floor is almost bare and my floor is also elevated quite high."
"I guess that will work out."
Although this is pretty much a cliché, this is the first time that we shared an umbrella, huh?"
"Not making my heart beat faster. Gin."
"We're on agreement, then. Hahahaha."
As much as I would think that we are living a quiet life, I have plenty of worries.
It just came through me because I was neglecting it. But I started to realize that Rin has finally become aware that my… our wishes cannot yet be fulfilled because of a long upcoming storm.
And that brewing storm…
Is probably me.
That ends 008!
You can ignore that last part for a while. There are still a lot of slice of life things to do.
Thanks for reading!
009: The 79th element in the periodic table is...