Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
Today is not technically our last day in this great country, but these last few hours will be the last time that we can enjoy ourselves.
This will be the last time that I will see this unique mist and the ambiance. This will be the last time that I will hear the 'silent' peacefulness. This will be the last time that I will feel…
…this naturally right temperature of water for a hot spring.
But the thing is, I am pretty much dumped in this hot spring for the week every day and I will probably plunge here later at night seeing that I am bathing under the covered daylight.
We clean the baths regularly, okay?
"Ahhhh~! Nothing beats the springs here! Thanks for having me today, Gin."
"We all deserve this, Jean. We're leaving tomorrow and all."
"Yeah. Quite the experiences. I'd say."
"I guess you'll definitely miss working, huh?"
"Yeah… The next time that I will probably ever get the same experience is when we're adults."
"But then, you've became a capable chef alright."
"I guess so."
By the way, is Ai-san going to see us… see you off?"
"I don't know. We're both pretty much anxious with this and all. If ever things go well at any given time, we might even start dating with a distant relationship.
Sad as it may be, we have no choice for that."
"Well, you could visit her from time to time, right? You know, flying to these two countries isn't that much of a hassle compared to others.
It's almost like a domestic flight, I guess?"
"You have a point…"
"We're talking all about this and that, but I don't even know where the Hikari family will move to.
I'd presume that you know since you're the closest to her."
"I actually don't know myself. I guess that's because I've been avoiding asking that since it'll make things awkward for us."
"Knowing that they will also move out next month, you'll probably know soon."
"I really do hope that's the case."
With the clatter of the door and the splash of water sounding on the other side of the wall, our conversation came to a halt.
"Gin…! Have you finished packing already?"
"I'm almost done, but I'll take care of it later."
"Ah, Yuzuri-san said that she'll be here with the others in the afternoon to give us a send-off."
"You'll be here until dinner, right, Jean?"
"Yep. I've already finished my packing so I'm basically free."
"Oh, with the others… Shoot! Will that actually be okay for them, Rin?!"
"Yuzuri-san told me that it's okay and they got permission from the higher-ups."
"Wow, Anew has become lenient…"
"Ah. By the way, Gin. You just mentioned Anew… that's the company right in front of the resto, right?"
"Listen… It's strange but I actually saw people from the Anew that looked like our Japanese classmates. You know, Yugare-san and company.
It would be strange if I asked them suddenly so I left them alone."
"Seriously? That's a really bizarre thing."
"Well, I'm excited to meet Yuzuri-san's friends. Aren't you, Rin?"
"Of course I'm excited too," Rin blatantly winked as no one can see her.
"Ahhh… I'll definitely kick them out if they insist on making me drink."
"The legal age in this country is 20, right?"
"I think?. This isn't Orio."
"Wait… Sorry I just realized now. Is Kamichi-san working at Anew, Gin?"
"Took you a bit, huh. But she indeed works there. We might be able to see the people that look like our Japanese classmates. That is, if they are colleagues."
"Hmm… Not too far-fetched, I guess.
Ah, Gin, Ringo. Have you seen the announcement of Kyoko Animation already? Congratulations for that."
"We were in the middle of a call with Nagi and Shiro when the news came in. Dude, those two were really annoyed when Rin and I teased us. I'm sure that they already got a hint since we pretty much made it obvious."
"Oh, those two will definitely tackle you tomorrow. Hahahaha."
"You might still be in the cast, you know."
Leaning on the stone, I titled my head up with a towel covering my eyes as the delicate heat of the water and mist travel down through my bones.
I let out a sigh dedicated to the soon to be ending adventure that we had.
"You've been awfully quiet for a while now, Gin."
In just less than 24 hours, we will be boarding in our flight to go back home. I'll sure miss this place."
"Same… Although I didn't get to do some excursion because of work, I'll definitely get unused to the different atmosphere that Orio has.
And…" Jean started whispering very weakly, "I will definitely miss Ai since I won't get to see her for an indefinite time."
It was finally the time for me to realize how I should be ultimately content with the relationship I have with Rin.
We are very close neighbors and I see her every day. A week of not seeing eye to eye is even considered very difficult between us. But here is Jean, left with a choice only to leave this country, but continue to progress her love to who he adoringly sees.
And the truth is… I am scared… extremely scared of the world we live in.
"What's up with what happened at the interview anyways? I didn't know that your grandfather is an amazing chef."
"Hahaha… Neither did I. But it turns out, he was actually a well-known chef in this country before he went to Orio. It was a long story, but I'm gladder that he had that life when he was still alive."
"Um… Just to be clear, your grandfather is Japanese, right?"
"My grandparents are in fact racially Japanese, and that makes my dad actually a non-Orion in blood. I guess that makes me a half?"
Hey, Ringo. Look at you, having a Japanese boyfriend. Hahahahaha…"
I butted as I whisper: "You couldn't be better asking out a real Japanese girl, you know."
"Yeah! It was really surprising but we will definitely have a day committed to explaining things to Nagi and Shiro."
She didn't hear what I teased at Jean considering her reply.
"Then there's Akira who hasn't shown his face to us after graduation."
"That reminds me, school will start at June, right?"
"Yep. Not August anymore. Jean."
"Hah! Thank the implementation of specific departments in our school!" Rin shouted from the other side.
"Really… Tenth pulled out a lot of strings to make that proposal happen since the strands are sort of generalized. It's a difficult system, but that being similar to college is a merit."
"Gin, Ringo… Can we please stop with the school talk now? I know I started it but I can't bother thinking of school right now."
"You say that, but we know you're excited that you're in the Culinary Arts department."
I stood up with the water pouring down back to the spring and stepped out of it.
"I'll be going out first. Yuzuri-san said that they'll be here at dinner but I know that guys from Anew don't play around and they like to tease people."
"Uhh… you sound like you're just insulting them, Gin."
"It's the truth, though. Their job is similar to what R*LIFE does, right? I heard that they are good at setting up situations."
"Of course I would know that since I have been set up by Yugare-san once."
~ ~ ~
The six of them came to the house at exactly 4 in the afternoon with plastic bags with them on hand.
They are all received by Rin as they removed their shoes and entered the house.
"Ah, Yuzuri-san. Welcome back."
"**It's been a while isn't it, Ringo-san?"
"**Akanami-san, good afternoon."
"**Where's Sakato-san anyways?"
"He's in the living room preparing the table. Also, Jean is here."
Little did they know that they are conversing in two languages.
"Oh, so Jin-san actually remained."
"Will that be a problem to the company, Yuzuri-san?"
"It won't be. As long as we do not tell Kaizo-kun's case, everything will be fine."
"I see. Well, we can't be standing here until then. Let's go to the living room."
"**Kamichi-san? Who is Jin-san? Do we know him?" Ayato confusedly asked as he scratches his cheek.
"**You know Jean Ando-san, right? He's your classmate last year at Blue Ink."
"**Oh. Now I remember being warned by Sakato-san because Ando-san works in Giotto's."
"**I look forward to see Ando-san's reaction."
They caught Gin wiping the table as they enter the living room. Jean, on the other hand is in the kitchen, searching for something on the refrigerator.
"Yuzuri-san. You guys are early, huh?"
"**Pardon the intrusion."
"**Good afternoon, Sakato-san."
With their entrance, it was as if Jean coming to the living room was on queue and took a glance.
"Hey, Gin. I'll use the remaining eggs in the fridge o… kay…
He immediately bowed and came back to the kitchen with the same nonchalant expression on his face.
"Sure, empty out the fridge if you want."
"Those were the people that usually came to Giotto's, right? They do really look a lot like our classmates."
In the end, he didn't realize the fact.
"**I'll have to ask what you guys brought into this house.
**If that is alcohol you have in those bags, I will give you one minute either to throw them away or chug them all at once outside or else we will have you adults be kicked out."
"**Don't say it like that, Sakato-san. We just brought some food. Here, look," they all showed the contents of every plastic bag they brought.
"**Hmm… All safe I guess.
**Well, let's all have a seat, then."
"**Oh? Is Ando-san making something? I smell something nice," Ichika asked as she continuously sniffs in the smell.
"He asked if he can use all the eggs earlier. My final count was six, and my guess is that he will be making a giant scramble with his style of cooking." (Gin stopped talking in Japanese)
"Ahahaha… I remember him making that a lot when he was still under your supervision, Gin."
"He sure made a mess making a souffle. Haha.
Anyways, I understand that Yuzuri-san is here but why did you guys tagged along? Though, I get why Yugare-san is here.
Thanks for bringing food, by the way."
"**C'mon, Sakato-san. This is as much as we can do now since you will all be leaving this country. We can at least make a great memory at the last minute, right?"
"Geez, Kaminari-san. I can still feel the emission of the company's objectives from here. This isn't work."
"Oh, Kaminari-san, Itori-san. How are you two?" Rin asked with an unreadable smile.
"**Same as always, I guess."
"**It's as Ayato-kun said."
"Ah, right! Let's talk a bit about our lives, shall we? Of course, those that we can only share."
"Gin, you're suddenly enthusiastic."
"Let's begin starting from them. Is that okay?" inevitably, I looked at the people being talked about.
"**Hahh… Go ahead, Sakato-san."
"**As long as we can answer it."
"Let's see… How long are you two dating already?"
"**About six years now."
"**We met in this company and became friends because of our colleagues. He then suddenly asked me out but I declined at first."
I get that there's the stern behavior seen on Itori-san, but she's not really that good in telling stories, huh?
"**And then when she got a bit drunk at one time, she blurted out a lot of things that she hides. It's so uncharacteristic of her when she suddenly snapped and then let out in front of our colleagues.
"**W-Wai- Don't tell them-"
"**Let me tell you what she said exactly: 'I'm always going doki doki when I'm around Kaminari-san…' Pfft…"
"Ahahahaha…! What was that all of a sudden?! I can't imagine Itori-san like that."
"Doki doki… Hahahahaha!"
"**It's embarrassing me, you two," Itori-san's default seriousness turned off with her face flushed as she pouted.
Are you going two going to be married anytime soon?" I asked immediately after cutting off my laughter and slammed my hand to the table. As if a bomb, if I may.
Just when I asked that, entered Jean with a big plate on his hand, looking at me with such suspicious eyes.
"S-Should I get you water, Gin…? Did you get drunk?"
"Go sit down, Jean."
Such a rare sight was seen, Itori-san fidgeting with her eyes looking down and her face turning slightly red. Flustered.
Kaminari-san then stood up with his right fist shaking. His gaze suddenly turned to Jean and with such a serious expression, he gave a thumbs up and said:
"**Nice save, Ando-san…!"
"Did I do something?
Wait, I haven't introduced myself, have I?! My name is-"
"**There's no need for that, Ando-san, we all know you and you know us too," Kaizo stepped in to the conversation.
"Uhh… I don't understand. Have we met before?
I have my dumb suspicions, but it's so unreal to be true…"
"Jean, you're still thinking of what I told you earlier, aren't you?"
"No way that it's possible. Anyways, here's a giant scramble."
"**Oh, thank you, Ando-san."
"Now that Jean has settled down, I'll ask away again.
Yugare-san and Yuzuri-san, how long have you been in your relationship?"
After hearing my question, Jean suddenly flinched hard making his balance unstable.
"What's up, Jean?
Aside from the ceiling, of course."
"D-D-Did you just say 'Yugare,' Gin?!"
"Yes. That's because this is Yugare Ryou. There's nothing wrong about that, right?"
"N-No… There's got to be something wrong…
How is he…"
"**Ding! You finally caught up, Ando-san! Look, this is me, Mitsumi Ichika!" Ichika gracefully said as she grabbed Jean's collar without any ill intent.
"W-What?! So all of you are… so those guys at our class are actually working adults in their twenties?!"
"Mitsumi-san, what you're doing is harassment, you know."
She seems to be enjoying herself… too much so I had to say that knowing that people around me can get weird without drinking a drop of alcohol.
"**Ah. Sorry about that, Ando-san. I didn't mean anything from that."
"That's messed up…"
"Messed up? Do you mean the fact that there is a striking resemblance to R*LIFE's seemingly fictional system?"
"You just said a lot, Gin, but all of that is wrong," Jean then did a facepalm which we followed up with addition to what he said.
"What I can't believe is Yugare-san having such a beautiful girlfriend…"
"**Pfft… Ahahahahahaha! Hey, Yugare-san, he just said that it was messed up, my word! Ahahahaha…!"
All of us broke out of laughter aside from Ryou. What is more surprising is seeing Yuzuri-san plant her face on the table while slamming her hand on it, trembling in laughter.
"**Wow… I feel like all my teasing all came back to me."
"Jean's obviously joking, Yugare-san. Or at least that's what I think."
"**Hahh… I do hope that's the case.
**Going back to the question, we have been dating for five years."
"**Then we will ask you back, Sakato-san. Though, I have a guess that it hasn't been that long, how long have you and Akanami-san been dating until now?"
"Hmm… is it seven months already, Potato?"
"At the 20th of this month. Yep, seven months."
"When you think about it, it hasn't been that long… but a lot of things happened, I guess?"
"That made it seem like a long time."
"**We better stop right here with the questioning. Others might get a bit out of place (like Ryuuya-san himself)."
"**What, Ryuuya-san? I'm available so why don't we go drinking after this?" Ichika cheerfully asked.
"**NO," and she was countered by a decline.
"**I just noticed, Sakato-san. Are you and Akanami-san living here?"
"I guess we did live here. Nagi and Shiro got so agitated in a call when they heard it from us."
"But Yuzuri-san is sometimes here seeing that she's the caretaker of the house. I'm sure that Yugare-san has tasted her food."
"**You're right, Akanami-san. Yuzuri is a good cook indeed."
"**How did Gin become a sous chef anyways? I already knew since I have been in their restaurant back in the South. And I recently saw his interview."
"It's not really that much of a story, Kaizo. Applying to Giotto's is however a bit difficult. Even if I am friends with the boss, he won't recognize it.
Ah, befriending with the boss was a long story, though. I've known them shortly before I became a cook."
"**Are you talking about that interview? Gin-kun, are you really Golden Knife's grandson?"
"I've lost count as to how many times I have been asked about that, but yes, I am his grandson."
"**Oh my… That was unexpected. Aptitude really runs through the blood."
"You're exaggerating, Yuzuri-san."
An hour passed brimming with chats and it was the time that we realized that they brought a lot of food that they can't finish even with our quantity.
This is where I come in as their savior.
"**I didn't expect Gin to have that big of an appetite…" Kaizo expressed, somehow in fear.
"That's just how Gin is."
"**No, you're plenty surprising too, Akanami-san. To keep up with him, that is."
"**Are you sure you'll be okay, Gin?"
"There are two options, Kaizo. It's either I take this out tomorrow morning, or in the airplane."
"**Ah!" Ichika raised her hand. "**Seeing that you three will be leaving by tomorrow, tell us something that you mostly regret of not doing here in Japan.
**Let's start with Sakato-kun~"
"**Me? Hmm… I guess that's got to be not having to go outside, in general since I got sick."
"**He got homesick when I last came and apparently, it was so bad that he was physically affected.
**But then, I saw him lying down on the roof playing with a cat."
"**Wait, Yuzu? Is that even possible to climb the roof of this house?"
So that's how Yugare-san calls her, huh.
"**That's what got me surprised."
"**Then, next is Akanami-san~"
"If I have to say… It's probably not being able to take a tour in at least one high school."
"Ah, yeah. But the sakura made up for it, at least," I had to add.
"**I wonder how Sakato-kun will look with a high school uniform."
"Mitsumi-san… you've seen us in a high school uniform for a school year.
Oh, wait. Dumb me. I only wore my blazer as my uniform when winter started since my other uniforms didn't fit me."
"**It's still a mystery as to how you suddenly grew that tall just by taking a leave of absence for a week."
"Correction, Kaizo. It was two years."
"**Enough of that. It's Ando-san's turn now~!"
"I think it's mostly not getting to spend my time out from work. I chose to do this, but I mostly regretted it recently. A lot of things happened and all.
But there is one thing that I do not regret!"
"**Ohh… What is it? What is it?"
Sorry, can't tell."
However, it is probably only me that knows what he does not regret. Jean has finally steeled himself and decided to move forward along with his feelings.
As a friend, I really respect him for the things that we do not have the wisdom, but he had.
~ ~ ~
"**I guess this will be the last time that we will see each and every one, Sakato-san."
"We don't know, Yugare-san. Maybe I will be here again at some point in time."
"Thanks for coming, though. It was nice to have a reunion with a few classmates."
"**This is the least that we can do, Akanami-san. It's good to know that you all had fun."
"**Well then, we will head out now."
"**This will be where we will say our farewells, then."
"**Have a safe trip tomorrow."
"Hahahaha. Bye then.
Let's all meet again somewhere."
And thus, the people of Anew left at the nineteenth hour in the night.
"You're going to leave now, Jean?"
"I need to. I may not be able to sleep because I will probably think about-
Yeah, I have to go."
"I almost slipped. I forgot Ringo is here too."
"Well, tomorrow at Giotto's, right?"
"Alright, see you tomorrow."
"Back at you."
▪ ▪ ▪
Finally, the day of our departure.
"Rin. Wakey wakey."
"Ugh… What time is it, Potato…?"
"It's almost five. I just woke up too. Our call time at Giotto's is at six. We can't afford to miss our flight."
The cups of coffee were then made and a sudden request from Rin arose.
"Hey, Potato. Lift me up to the roof. Let's drink our coffee there."
How will I cover our cups, though… I'll think about that later. Let's have you hold these blankets up top.
Alright, up… we go…!"
While carrying Rin carefully on my arms, I leaped with grace up to the unusual height of the tiled roof.
"Thank you, Gin."
"Be right back. I'll bring our mugs with me.
Be careful up there."
After a few minutes, I managed to improvise a way for the coffee to not spill in the middle of elevation.
"Here's your blanket, Gin. It's pretty chilly here."
It was never regrettable that we decided to just sit on the roof as the sun started to rise behind the cotton clouds that scattered everywhere.
"Your idea of coming to the roof is great."
"This is our first and last time to see the sunrise, I guess."
"I like this scenery, though. Left pocket…
I'll be borrowing this, Rin."
I brought out Rin's camera from my pocket and aimed at the sun as the lens slowly focused.
"Oh. That was a nice shot."
"That's the memory card that we mostly use, right? Let's look at the pictures we've taken, Gin."
"Haha. This is quite a lot."
The set of pictures started from the time we had a date.
"I wish I could go back there again."
As we search through the pictures, we finally stumbled upon a different picture.
"Rin. Can you explain why there's a picture of me sleeping when I was a bit bedridden?"
"Your sleeping face at that picture is just cute so I had to take it."
"I appreciate it. I'll borrow the memory card soon then."
The following photos were just random pictures of things or pictures of us that were taken out of boredom.
"Rin, I think this is the prime of the sunrise now."
"Wahh… The sky is so beautiful."
I stood up with my camera on hand and placed it on a level part of the roof where the lens can still catch both of us in a frame. I sat back on the same spot and stared at the sky.
"I wonder if this picture will look good. Look at the sky, Rin. The camera is on self-timer."
The shot was taken and the image turned out to display the silhouette of half of our body while we look at the perfectly caught scene of the sun as it overlapped to the small and scattered clouds.
"I love this shot, Gin."
I can't believe that it's time for us to leave this country."
~ ~ ~
After a few minutes of walking, we arrived at the restaurant with Hiro, Sean, Ryuu, the rest of the southern crew, Jean and Ito-san. In front of the building is a van that we will use to travel to the airport.
"Yo, Driver-san. Good morning."
"Man. You guys are already leaving and all. I think we will feel quite lonely after this."
"The same goes for us too, you know."
"Why do Gin and Ringo always arrive last?"
"Because we're the main characters."
"Now that we are all here, let's finally head out to the airport!"
~ ~ ~
We all safely arrived at the airport after around half an hour of traveling with earphones stuck in our left and right ears.
Everything got sorted quickly and all we have to do is wait for our departure time. And suddenly, Jean stood up from his seat.
"Guys… I'll just head out for a bit. Please look out for my things."
"Yeah, sure. Go ahe-
Actually, I'll go follow Jean. I'll be right back."
"Hm? Where is Gin going to, Ms. Ringo?"
Hiro found Rin sitting alone with bags around her.
"I… don't even know…"
On the far distance, Jean managed to see Ai standing there, looking around. He ran to where she was and I separately hid somewhere as I followed him.
"Ah. Shouldn't eavesdrop."
"H-Hey, Ai… Good m-morning. Are you going to see us all off?"
"No. Only you."
"Ahh… This is kind of awkward…"
Jean took Ai's right hand and held it tightly with his hands with the feeling of a hinting sadness.
"Ai… we are leaving the country, yes. But that doesn't mean that we won't get to see each other again, okay?
I also promised your parents that I will keep this up to the end. I do hope that this won't take years… so I will try my best to visit from time to time."
"You know… I really do think that I will regret everything if I don't say this so just before we leave…
I love you, Hikari Ai."
I guess we really haven't said it directly when the moon was up, but…
Me too. I love you too, Jin."
It was with a smile. A smile filled with joy and not even the slightest hint of sadness was seen. It was a smile of bliss and happiness that pierced through the heart of the man in front of her.
It was Ai's. And it was unconcealable for the young man to avoid the gloom and sadness as it slowly showed on his expressions.
"Ai… I swear… I promise that we will see each other again. I will make sure that it will happen… as soon as I can. I want to be with you, so I won't fail you, Ai.
I will… I will also have you to be able to eat the food you like and we will have a laugh…
You know… I also hope that we can go out on dates… at some point in time."
Ai lowered the folded arms of Jean and took grasp of the young man's hands with ease and gentleness, but with an unwavering grip.
"In the future, I… I will definitely look forward to that.
And Jin, I will surely wai-
I will have to expect you to visit us a lot, okay?"
Ahahaha. I really can't promise that, you know. But I will try my best."
"It's almost time for your flight. Jin, I wish for your safety."
"Yeah… I'll have to go… for now."
A few meters away from the two…
"Hehhh… I wonder what happened just now for those two…
Oh, well. I better go back now before Jean catches me."
"It was probably just some cheesy line, Sakato-san."
"What can I say? Rin and I are also guilty of that.
Suddenly, Hikari Haru was already at the spot I am currently hiding.
Wait, you just spoke our language didn't you?"
"Our family is quite fluent now, just like how you are used to our language. Sakato-san."
"Ohhh. I kind of wonder why you two didn't use that at work.
Oh, I'll have to get going now. Your little sister might be waiting for you."
"Take care, Sakato-san. Have a safe flight."
Truly, it was a very eventful month. We were full of excitement, yes. But there are a lot of things that we did not totally expect. Learning new things, interacting with other people and living with them in the same land. It was only for a month, but we really felt the colors and life of the land of the rising sun.
Japan is a country which I will never forget.
~ ~ ~
Around three hours later.
"My word. I haven't seen this house for a while.
And it's so hot…!"
"Y-Yeah… we were surely used to the weather of Japan that we kind of forgot about this."
"I'm sure that Nagi is laughing at me right now…"
Nagi sneezed somewhere.
"I'll be going next door, then. I'm sure that they will be surprised that we're already here."
"Have a good rest, Rin.
And I have a favor to apprehend Uncle Shuu if he tries to tell my family that we're here. I'll meet them later."
"I will make sure to keep him quiet."
I am finally back in Orio, in my own place.
"Home sweet home."
That concludes 010!
With this, the Kyoto arc is finished. For a few announcements, for every ten chapters I will be skipping one release day until the next. On the other hand, (also) in every ten chapters, the cover will update corresponding to the context of the previous ten chapters.
10 chapters done, [removed] to go.
Thanks for reading!