Chapter 8:

008 – There is Not a Lie in April

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.Bookmark here

But still, nothing beats the three straight days of sleep that I had when I… yeah… slashed myself with a knife.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“I don’t even know what time is it…”Bookmark here

I immediately got up on… Let me… correct that…Bookmark here

We…? Immediately got up and sat on our bedding and yawned all at the same time.Bookmark here

I guess we just both woke up, then.Bookmark here

“Gwoov mornhing, Rin.”Bookmark here

“Morning, Gin. You twisted you tongue.”Bookmark here

“Yeah…” I opened my phone and immediately looked at the time. “Oh… It’s still early, huh?”Bookmark here

“You can still call 8:15 early?”Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

“Ah… I should get ready and make our breakfast. I’ll just go clean up my face.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, me too.”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“Hmm? What’s wrong, Rin?”Bookmark here

“Mm… Nothing.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“Huh? What made you think that?”Bookmark here

“You’ve been looking at me with a confused face for a while now so I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.”Bookmark here

“Uh… Am I really that obvious?”Bookmark here

“Not really. But you know that I’m quite observant.”Bookmark here

“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…?”Bookmark here

“Uhh… in layman’s terms, please?”Bookmark here

“Your listlessness is gone and you start off your day finally normally.”Bookmark here

“Wha… Seriously?”Bookmark here

“I got a bit surprised.”Bookmark here

“Oh… now that you’ve said it… I’m feeling a lot better today—mentally and physically.”Bookmark here

“Really? That’s good! Does that mean that you’ve recovered?”Bookmark here

“Hmm… I guess so…Bookmark here

Well, I look forward for the breakfast today!”Bookmark here

“I’ll make it extra special!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

But then again, I was alone at that time.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Gin…! Someone’s trying to hook up on the video call!”Bookmark here

“Right. Let’s see who it is…Bookmark here

Nagi?”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Rin! I’m going to borrow that camera. Need to hook it up on my phone.”Bookmark here

“Who was the one calling?”Bookmark here

“It’s Nagi.”Bookmark here

“That’s quite rare for him to call?”Bookmark here

“Umm… Hello? Gin? Are you there?Bookmark here

What’s up? Gin, I don’t see your face and it’s getting trippy so stop moving around!”Bookmark here

“I wonder what they are doing…”Bookmark here

“Wait, Gin? Can you actually use it as an external device?”Bookmark here

“Apparently, yes. I actually tried doing it while I’m kind of bedridden and it works fine.Bookmark here

Let’s see… Wait, did I accidentally answer it?”Bookmark here

“Gin, it’s already been a minute in the call.”Bookmark here

“Really? Sorry about that, Nagi. I was setting up an external camera since it’s a pain to hook up on a PC here.Bookmark here

Oh, hey there, Shiro.”Bookmark here

“I guess this is the first time we’ll get to talk since then?”Bookmark here

“I guess that’s the case, Ringo.Bookmark here

Well, I was actually expecting to see Gin in a mess. But you’re looking fine and all, huh?”Bookmark here

“I just recovered from it, okay?”Bookmark here

“By the way, isn’t it still a bit early there? It’s just passed nine here so that makes it around 8 there.”Bookmark here

“We figured that you might be busy later so we called at this time.”Bookmark here

“Wait, Nacchi. I assume you haven’t heard?”Bookmark here

“About what?”Bookmark here

“We only worked at Giotto’s on its first week.”Bookmark here

“What? Seriously?! Then what in the world are you even doing in your stay there?!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Knowing that, I retorted.Bookmark here

“Enjoying the fairly cold weather, I guess?” I smiled on the camera with an obviously smug face.Bookmark here

“Oh, for crying out loud! Please stop on what you’re saying now!”Bookmark here

A thought far-fetched as it may be, he's a few steps to having trauma over the heat.Bookmark here

“Hey, Ringo… Tell us your experiences there. Mind telling us stories?” (Those two are completely out of the loop)Bookmark here

“**I don’t really know if there are any good stories we can tell you.”Bookmark here

“**Yes, I reckon.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Shiro, did you understand what they said?”Bookmark here

“No, not at all.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Well… Why don’t you tell us about your current life there and how it came to be?”Bookmark here

“Shiro… That sounds like an interview…” Rin scratched her head out of confusion.Bookmark here

“So you two really haven’t heard anything yet?”Bookmark here

“Not a word.”Bookmark here

“I see…Bookmark here

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.”Bookmark here

“W-W-W-Wait. Now that I see and hear, your place is quiet, huh? But what I am most concerned with is…Bookmark here

A- Are you two living together by any chance…?”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark 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.Bookmark here

It’s not that I’m avoiding your question but I assume that you need to know that just in case.”Bookmark here

“But yes. We our living separately from the whole South’s crew.”Bookmark here

“Just so you know, this was all due to us being framed up by Hiro and Sean. We were so ready to decline…Bookmark here

But I have to admit… I was shamelessly lured out because this Japanese traditional house has hot springs.”Bookmark here

Suddenly, the eyes of those two on the screen widened disproportionately.Bookmark here


“Ugh…”Bookmark here

On that note, we saw Nagi slowly fall to his back.Bookmark here

“Nagi fainted…!”Bookmark here

“No, I’m fine, I’m fine…” Nagi immediately got up.Bookmark here

“I guess that’s as far as we can tell-“Bookmark here

“Ringo!”Bookmark here

“Ah, y-yes?! Nacchi?!”Bookmark here

“How does Gin use his blanket?!”Bookmark here

“He doesn’t cover his feet!”Bookmark here

“Gin!”Bookmark here

“Yes, I’m Gin.”Bookmark here

“What side of Ringo’s hair has the most bed hair earlier this morning?!”Bookmark here

“It seems that her left side of the head was planted on the pillow and the bedhead is severe. I’m no different, though.”Bookmark here

“I don’t need your opinion! Ringo again!”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“Name one sleeping habit that Gin has!”Bookmark here

“He sleepwalks a lot to get a glass of water!”Bookmark here

“Gin! Same question!”Bookmark here

“She sometimes sleep talks. It’s cute, though.”Bookmark here

“Again, I don’t need your opinion, Gin!”Bookmark here

“Gin, they’re trying to guess if we’re staying in one room by asking us questions like that.”Bookmark here

“You probably figured it out before I even did. I'm proud of you, young miss. High five.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Gin and Rin – 1Bookmark here

Nagi and Shiro – 0Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“So… how was the work experience there?”Bookmark here

“Really wild… Didn’t think the people of Kyoto love food a lot.”Bookmark here

Everyone loves food, right?Bookmark here

“Thankfully, we haven’t encountered people saying: ‘Kyoto boys are nasty,’ around here.”Bookmark here

“Ringo, that’s a reference right?”Bookmark here

Shiro was ignored.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Also, we went to Arashiyama a few days ago. It really is a nice and beautiful place with all those towering bamboos.”Bookmark here

“Oh, really? Why not send us pictures?”Bookmark here

“We were so absorbed that we forgot to take them…”Bookmark here

“But the truth is that we have no pictures of Arashiyama in itself because all we have is our faces together.Bookmark here

Nagi will surely take revenge on me with the summer heat once we go home.”Bookmark here

At least, bamboos photobombed.Bookmark here

“Ah, before I forget… Does ‘Golden Knife’ ring a bell to you two?”Bookmark here

“’Golden Knife…?’ Have you heard of that, Shiro?”Bookmark here

“No… That’s the first time I’m hearing that.”Bookmark here

“What’s up all of a sudden?”Bookmark here

“It isn’t really that serious. I’m just trying to satisfy my curiosity.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Oh, well. We have some things to do; we should end the call now.”Bookmark here

“It’s nice talking with you two again.”Bookmark here

“Alright. We’ll be home in May.”Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

“Gin, are you on for shopping?”Bookmark here

“Sure. You can trust me on the list this time. I was so out of it.”Bookmark here

“Nah, I’ve done the list already.”Bookmark here

“I see. Should we head out, then?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Just as I opened the door, a swing of strong wind blew the shopping list on my hand.Bookmark here

“Not again…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Ugh… it’s going up.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Oh, shoot. I am very sorry for this…”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I did not step on my brake on time.Bookmark here

But instead of crashing on the man, I hit no one, surprisingly. Rather… he’s not even in front of me.Bookmark here

“**Hey, there. Is this yours?” the man poked my shoulder from behind.Bookmark here

“**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.Bookmark here

“**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.”Bookmark here

“**Ah, so you saw it, huh? No wonder you got to evade that quickly. I’m impressed too, haha.”Bookmark here

“**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.Bookmark here

“**I’m relieved that you weren’t hurt.”Bookmark here

“**I’m safe and all.Bookmark here

**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.”Bookmark here

“**Huh?”Bookmark here

“**I’m not as fast as what you just showed me but you can maximize your speed without exerting that much effort.”Bookmark here

“Somehow, he sounds like an expert on this.”Bookmark here

“**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.”Bookmark here

"Flickered…"Bookmark here

“**Oh, sure… Thank you for that.”Bookmark here

“**It seems that you’re about to head out with that girl that is walking towards here.”Bookmark 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.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“I was talking to, just now, yeah.”Bookmark here

He disappeared right after I turned back that way.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Do you know him, Gin?”Bookmark here

“I don’t. But I think it’s safe to assume that that guy is a modern-day ninja.”Bookmark here

“Hmm… Yeah, even though I haven’t seen one, the idea is nowhere near far-fetched.Bookmark here

Maybe that's a shadow clone.”Bookmark here

“It doesn’t even blow your mind at this point, huh?”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“I feel like a shut-in…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“We really should wander around here while we still have time. You think so too, Rin?”Bookmark here

“Of course. There are still a lot of places that we can visit.”Bookmark here

As we are walking in the busy streets, my phone vibrated momentarily.Bookmark here

“I wonder when was the last time I received a message…”Bookmark here

Hiro’s contact name immediately showed up to my screen right after I opened my phone. I checked the message and it says…Bookmark here

“S.O.S.”Bookmark here

Without any hesitation, I called him and he answered immediately.Bookmark here

“Hey, Hiro… What is going on for you to ask help from me?”Bookmark here

“The restaurant desperately needs you two. In an hour’s time the whole crew of Kyoko Animation will be coming down here.Bookmark here


After hearing what Hiro just said, all of my hair slowly rose up.Bookmark here

“Potato?! Please don’t get bald!”Bookmark here

“Hiro? You still there?”Bookmark here

“I am still alive.”Bookmark here

“I heard from Jean that someone donated a Grand piano in the resto. Mind if I use it?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure. But what on earth are you going to-“Bookmark here

*beep beep beep*Bookmark here

“Hey, hey. Rin-chan.”Bookmark here

“Yes, Gin-kun?”Bookmark here

“Just think of it as an honor for us to make our dishes for the guys of Kyoko Animation.”Bookmark here

“Seriously?!”Bookmark here

“Well, no time to waste. Let’s go home quickly and get changed.Bookmark here

Oh, bring your violin with you, okay?”Bookmark here

“Got it.,” she said even when she had no idea why.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

30 minutes remaining before the arrival.Bookmark here

Kiriyama Shun is apparently running an errand for the restaurant and he is seen to be carrying heavy bags with him.Bookmark here

“**Aahh… Man. I really just want to cook now… and this is heavy!Bookmark here

**I heard that the senpai before I got in Giotto’s is going to help out because today’s pretty much a battlefield.”Bookmark here

As he was walking, he started looking around as if he was looking for something.Bookmark here

“**I remember Ando-kun telling me that Aniki (Gin) lives around here somewhere. Maybe I’ll get to meet him on my way back.”Bookmark here

He started walking again but he heard a shouting voice from the distance approaching him.Bookmark here

“…me…!Bookmark here

**EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!” it was Rin and I running with all our might.Bookmark here

“**Eehhh?!Bookmark here

**Oh, you’re Aniki, right? I’m the new chef in Giotto’s! My name is Kiri-“Bookmark here

“**New guy! Try to catch up on us! Let us also help you with those!”Bookmark here

And just like that, a blur instantaneously passed through Shun, and all of the bags he was carrying vanished.Bookmark here

“**Huh? Wait! Hey…! Aniki! Wait for me! Now this looks like you yoinked my belongings…!”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

The two of us arrived in the restaurant safely.Bookmark here

“Phew…! That was quite a nice warm up.”Bookmark here

“Thank goodness I started jogging a few days ago…”Bookmark here

“Wait, you’re jogging, Rin?”Bookmark here

“I did because I managed to get up super early when you were still homesick.”Bookmark here

“Morning jogging, huh. Let’s do that together sometimes and eat out somewhere for breakfast.”Bookmark here

“Oh, you two are finally here.Bookmark here

Wait, what’s with those bags?” Hiro welcomed us.Bookmark here

“Uhh… We kind of met the new guy…”Bookmark here

“We both don’t know his name, though.”Bookmark here

“…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.”Bookmark here

“He should be here anytime soon.”Bookmark here

“Man, you two really are the weirdest couple I’ve met.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Seven minutes later.Bookmark here

“**Boss…! Sorry I’m late! Hahh… Hahh… Hahh…” Shun opened the door with force while gasping hardly.Bookmark here

“Well, he’s here. Let me introduce him to you two.Bookmark here

His name is Culinary Passionate Kiriyama.”Bookmark here

“**Yes, sir! Kiriyama Shun here!”Bookmark here

“He didn’t understand a word that Hiro said…”Bookmark here

“So… now that Rin and I are here, care to explain what really is happening?”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Seriously…? A whole animation company?”Bookmark here

“I can’t believe we’ll get to see the people behind the production of such stunning anime.”Bookmark here

“Sakuga for the win.Bookmark here

Well, we don’t have enough time. Hiro, is the kitchen ready?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I was also about to head there. I think Jean is there.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“You didn’t even warm up, Gin?”Bookmark here

“It’s as what Rin told you. I was homesick and you suddenly sent me a emergency message. I’ll just wing it.”Bookmark here

“Well, good luck, Gin.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Rin, are you ready now?”Bookmark here

“Yep.”Bookmark here

“**Boss…? It’s kind of awkward to ask Aniki but, is that girl also a cook here?”Bookmark here

“**She is Akanami Ringo and… uhh… she is the same age as Jean.Bookmark here

**To say the least… umm… I forgot what the translation is… Ah! Ringo right there is Gin’s girlfriend.”Bookmark here

“**Oh?! Aniki has a girlfriend? And she’s also a cook here?”Bookmark here

“**That makes them a… duo inside the kitchen… and did Jean tell you that… uhh… he’s a student of Gin?”Bookmark here

“**What?! Ando-kun’s mentor is Aniki?!”Bookmark here

“**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.Bookmark here

**Wow, I said a lot. Did I get everything right?”Bookmark here

“**You said everything perfectly, boss.Bookmark here

**By the way, is Akanami-san a regular chef here?”Bookmark here

“**She’s not. Her first restaurant experience was just one week here.”Bookmark here

I turned around before opening the door of the kitchen.Bookmark here

“**Hey~! Hiro, Shun-kun! We’re going in!”Bookmark here

“Alright!”Bookmark here

"**We’ll introduce ourselves in the kitchen later, Shun-kun.”Bookmark here

“**But we don’t have time for that, Aniki. The customers will be here soon.”Bookmark here

“**It’s not a problem.Bookmark here

Hey, Jean. Thanks for the visit last time. I’m all well now.”Bookmark here

“Let’s do our best today, Gin,” Jean replied unusually with a burning aura all over him.Bookmark here

“Woah… I don’t see you get fired up a lot. Let’s do our best.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And inside the kitchen as we cook, the usual conversations started.Bookmark here

“**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.”Bookmark here

“**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.”Bookmark here

“…” Shun stayed silent while stirring in the pot.Bookmark here

“**Shun-kun…?”Bookmark here

“**H-How…Bookmark here

**How can you guys talk in the middle of cooking?! I can hardly speak since I’m concentrating a lot!”Bookmark here

“So he became a victim of the kitchen conversation, huh…” thought Jean.Bookmark here

“**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.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

And he also said that he saw you two once in a train with Gin wearing a red jacket.”Bookmark here

“Oh, that was when we went on a date.Bookmark here

No, nevermind that. Rin… I know I’m slowly gaining the pace, but Jean is awfully quick today.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah… it made me surprised.”Bookmark here

“Gin… your student’s performance is simply skyrocketing. His efficiency today is beyond last time.” Hiro butted in.Bookmark here

“So he wasn’t like this when we were away?”Bookmark here

“No. This is the first time I'm seeing him like that. It feels as though he broke through his shell.”Bookmark here

“Wow. Jean suddenly got amazing.”Bookmark here

“Alright, Rin. I’ll go ask him.Bookmark here

Hey, Jean. You’re really fired up today, huh? I assume there’s a reason for this.”Bookmark here

“Well, yeah. I guess you could say that. Yeah, there’s a reason.”Bookmark here

“I don’t get why you need to affirm that one more time.”Bookmark here

“Second serving, done!”Bookmark here

“You’re seriously nailing this, Jean!”Bookmark here

“**Seriously… how can you all talk while cooking?”Bookmark here

“**But Shun-kun… you’re talking with us right now.”Bookmark here

“**Ugh…!”Bookmark here

“Man, that’s Gin’s trolling for you.”Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“**Gin-san, Ringo-san. You can take a short break for now.”Bookmark here

“**Thank you, Ito-san.”Bookmark here

“Oi, Gin. You suddenly hang up earlier when I was asking you. What are you going to do with the piano?” Hiro irritatingly asked.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“Hmm… it doesn’t really have the same vibe, huh. Well, this will work either way.”Bookmark here

“Wait, glasses… violin… piano…Bookmark here

Is this a reference?"Bookmark here

"You're free to think that."Bookmark here

"Are you serious about this? I know I can play some of the songs they use and all, but will this really work out?Bookmark here

Wait, we're referencing something outside their studio!”Bookmark here

“Let’s trust ourselves with this, Rin.Bookmark here

Hiro, we’re heading out now!”Bookmark here

“Okay.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Wait, you didn’t answer my question again!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“No lies in April, okay?”Bookmark here

We positioned on my queue and we started playing.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Without even nearing the chorus, we stopped then started once again.Bookmark here

“The intro is so great that we want to repeat it.”Bookmark here

“It’s such a waste if they don’t hear it. We just made our first attempt as an excuse to grab their attentions.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

The words that I once did not understand finally entered the meaning in my head. I now feel the true life of the song.Bookmark here

It is at this point in time, my only thoughts are:Bookmark here

“I am so glad that I played the piano.”Bookmark here

“I am so happy to be playing this violin.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And slowly, the voices began to rise from the depths of their throat and sang to the rhythm.Bookmark here

However, the song ended in a coda and thus, the unavoidable end of the song happened.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Out of all the things that happened in my lifetime, I have never been this exhausted until today.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

“Gin… that was an excellent job you just put in.”Bookmark here

“**You two are amazing… I don’t even know how you did that.”Bookmark here

“**Aniki… Akanami-san…! That song is so beautiful…”Bookmark here

“**It paid off really well… but I didn’t think that it would be so exhausting.”Bookmark here

“**Yeah, Gin… My arms are still shaking.”Bookmark here

"**You two, take some rest now. We'll still need your energy for later."Bookmark here

"**Roger, Ito-san!"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

The soundproofing of the room is mainly the cause of the silence, though.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"That was really tiring… Gin."Bookmark here

"Yeah... it was indeed tiring.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

"You're welcome… Gin."Bookmark here

"Ahahaha… you saw through me again."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Uhhh… it just got through my head, but we didn't even get to practice that together, right?"Bookmark here

"Nope. I guess we just know the song really well."Bookmark here

"I guess you're right… You were even singing that when you're binging when we kind of broke up."Bookmark here

"I'm not even surprised that you heard that."Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

Though, that was really the only time I loosened up at that time.”Bookmark here

“Well, I’m responsible from what happened to us in the past and I will still say sorry even if you insist not to.”Bookmark here

“I do know the ‘current you’ well so I won’t say anything.”Bookmark here

Her words made something on my mind flinch, and so I replied: “I suppose you’re playing with words right now, Rin?”Bookmark here

“You got me. Hahaha.”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.”Bookmark here

“But you do remember when you were a first year student, right?”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

But if I have to guess, my memories may fall in to one place gradually.”Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

Let’s just talk about this once we get back to the South.”Bookmark here

“Good idea.”Bookmark here

“I’ll just take a nap, Gin. Can you wake me up once the break is over?”Bookmark here

“I’m not sure if I can actually wake you up, knowing how you sleep. I'll probably fall asleep too.” Bookmark here

“It’s just an old habit, you know. I can come back to my senses when you’re going to wake me up.”Bookmark here

“Hehhh… I really hope you wake up on time. Don’t kill my legs, okay?”Bookmark here

But then, her light mood turned a tad heavy.Bookmark here

“…Bookmark here

I promise that I will always be your light when the darkness goes pitch black again. Love you, Gin.Bookmark here

"I'm really no match to you. Hahaha.Bookmark here

Just go and take a bit of rest, and I love you too."Bookmark here

"Mm..."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Rin…"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Although, I do wonder what those apertures are needed for them to snap a crispy picture of our dishes.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Hey, Jean. Try to slow down. We should maintain our balance otherwise the hot springs won't even heal you."Bookmark here

"Okay. Sorry for that, Gin. I'm just so motivated right now. I'll just step on the gas lightly."Bookmark here

"Jean's not just calm. He's also extremely focused."Bookmark here

"Just be aware that you'll surely pass out later. That happened to me already."Bookmark here

"Ouch… I'll keep that in mind."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"Are you sure that Jean's okay?" Rin whispered to me.Bookmark here

"Whatever the 'reason' is, I think he'll be fine for the time being.Bookmark here

And… I think that his productivity will only last for today. Ah, like a one-time deal, so to speak."Bookmark here

"It sounds like you don't even trust your own student…"Bookmark here

"I'm just simply stating the fact."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

The arm of the clock hits on the sixteenth hour and the orders of the company finally came to a halt.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"**Everyone…! They are calling us all out!"Bookmark here

"**Wha-! Suddenly?!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"**I would assume that the one standing in the middle is Ito-san…?"Bookmark here

"**Yes, I am Ito Hitoishi, the head of the northern branch of Giotto's."Bookmark here

"**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."Bookmark here

"**No, sir. It's okay. If anything, we are the ones that are grateful that you acknowledged our services."Bookmark here

"**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."Bookmark here

"**Your 'choices' and 'candidate…?'"Bookmark here

"**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."Bookmark here

"…!" every one of us flinched out of surprise upon hearing the unexpected words.Bookmark here

"Rin…"Bookmark here

"W-What…?"Bookmark here

"**Please punch me as hard as you can. In the face."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"It's like… I grasped the earth like the guy said…"Bookmark here

Thankfully, none from the company heard what just happened.Bookmark here

"**Are the two musicians present right now? May I ask them to step forward?"Bookmark here

With that, we stepped to the front and we got greeted by the representative with a big smile.Bookmark here

"**My name is Sakato Gin and I am the sous chef of the southern branch."Bookmark here

"**I am Akanami Ringo. I am a trainee chef based from the South."Bookmark here

"**Oh… So you two are Orions…Bookmark here

**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.Bookmark here

**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."Bookmark here

"**Oh, I unders…Bookmark here

**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.Bookmark here

"**S-Sorry for surprising you two suddenly…Bookmark here

**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.Bookmark here

**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."Bookmark here

"**But why tell us this information?" Ito-san stepped forward.Bookmark here

"**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.Bookmark here

**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."Bookmark here

"**Are you perhaps a writer, Karukami-san?"Bookmark here

"**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."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

**But if it were to be approved, are the characters going to be based from us? Like, character designs and such?"Bookmark here

"**We can produce a portrait of you two in the style of what you usually see in our shows right now."Bookmark here

"**Yes, please. We would love to," we both uttered in excitement and lowered our head.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"**Umm, excuse me, Sakato-san and Akanami-san?"Bookmark here

"**Yes, sir?"Bookmark here

"**What can we do for you?"Bookmark here

"**If I may not be so rude… I am just following my hunch, but I really see you two as a potential 'main' characters."Bookmark here

"**Really, sir?"Bookmark here

"Wait, Rin.Bookmark here

**How should I say it… Yes, we are in a relationship."Bookmark here

"**Ahahaha… Just before I was about to ask you two. I guess the romance genre made it a dead giveaway.Bookmark here

**Now that it is said, I wish you two a good relationship."Bookmark here

"**Thank you, sir."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"**U-Umm… May we know your name…?" I asked the artist.Bookmark here

"**Ahh, it's Sumireno. Sumireno Yahiko."Bookmark here

"**Thank you very much, Sumireno-san…!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And now, they have finished packing up.Bookmark here

"**We will be taking our leave now.Bookmark here

**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."Bookmark here

"**We thank you all for paying a visit to Giotto's and we hope to see you again."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"**Ughhh~ all sorts of mine hurts…Bookmark here

**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."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Gin, Ringo. I'll be going first. I'm starting to feel my body hurting."Bookmark here

"Sure, Jean. Take lots of rest, then. Be safe. Best regards to possibly becoming part of the cast."Bookmark here

"Thank goodness I brought an umbrella…"Bookmark here

Jean opened the restaurant door and right before he headed out, he saw Haru, seemingly in a rush, went out without Ai.Bookmark here

"Uhh… What's up with your sister just now?"Bookmark here

"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…"Bookmark here

"Hmmm…Bookmark here

Umm… Ai, I think that was a set up."Bookmark here

"Jin…? What do you mean by that?"Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

Ai, was she feeling a sense of urgency just now?"Bookmark here

"…I think so. Just before onee-chan left."Bookmark here

"How about before that?"Bookmark here

"She's pretty much laid back."Bookmark here

"I owe you one, Gin."Bookmark here

"Well, you'll probably see her in your house later like nothing even happened," he opened his umbrella afterwards.Bookmark here

"Are you sure, though?"Bookmark here

"Not really sure… But I just got that analysis from Gin like a communicable disease. I may be right, I may be wrong.Bookmark here

That guy has an insane perception and deduction."Bookmark here

Jean walked out of the roofs with his umbrella on, but suddenly stopped at the sidewalk.Bookmark here

"Jin… is something wrong? Did you forget something?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Haru-san might actually be expecting me."Bookmark here

"Oh… O-Ok… Sorry…Bookmark here

Uh, what?"Bookmark here

30 minutes later.Bookmark here

It is still raining, and the door of Hikari household opened with Jean coming out of it.Bookmark here

"**I will be taking my leave, then. Thank you for having me."Bookmark here

"**Come visit us again, Jin-kun."Bookmark here

Ai and Haru's parents saw off Jean as he was about to leave.Bookmark here

"**But Jin-kun… Are you two going to be okay with this? You're leaving in the next month and all.Bookmark here

**And besides, we're also moving out the same month," the father asked.Bookmark here

"**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.Bookmark here

**And I will also try to visit from time to time."Bookmark here

It seemed that Ai's father got annoyed, but he suddenly laughed.Bookmark here

"**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.Bookmark here

**Well, from this point and to the days, months, years onwards, I bid you good luck for making us approve of you!"Bookmark here

"**I hope not to disappoint you. I will be leaving, then."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

A few minutes back, after Jean went out from the restaurant.Bookmark here

"Man, the rain's not stopping."Bookmark here

"I'll have to say that the rain isn't much stronger than in Orio."Bookmark here

"Now that you remind me of it, I have to prepare the house after summer."Bookmark here

"Gin? Preparing for what?"Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

Meaning that, Sector 527; White Street is quite a flood prone area."Bookmark here

"So that's why your family house is elevated."Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"I guess that will work out."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Although this is pretty much a cliché, this is the first time that we shared an umbrella, huh?"Bookmark here

"Not making my heart beat faster. Gin."Bookmark here

"We're on agreement, then. Hahahaha."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

As much as I would think that we are living a quiet life, I have plenty of worries.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

And that brewing storm…Bookmark here

Is probably me.

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That ends 008!Bookmark here

You can ignore that last part for a while. There are still a lot of slice of life things to do.Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

009: The 79th element in the periodic table is...Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.