Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
This poorly projected vision of mine tells me of some things as I try to slowly open my eyes.
I woke up, with the light coming from my rightmost perspective instead of simply being unable to see the rays as I was used to get up with the light shining on my back.
I am also laid down in a bed that is not leveled to the floor. And when I once again look on my right, I only see the white wall, instead of someone soundly sleeping beside me. As if it was a work of art where the light shone to her with such depth.
I have finally come to the realization once again that in reality, I live alone in this awfully big house for one person.
"I almost forgot that this was formerly owned by some bourgeoisie. Yawn~
Man, I really hate to say but my room is a square meter larger than our room in that house."
Actually, my measurements against tatami mats are barely accurate.
As it slowly sinks in to me, I took the time to find the clock in this room to check how long I was asleep. No pun intended.
"7:56… Ah, I got so used to a different time zone. Better adjust it a bit."
Sat on the bed, I realized that I do not have anything to do today aside from unpacking things out and sorting out the house again.
"Back to the normal life, I guess.
I opened the window of the room and all that is heard are the occasional passing by of vehicles and the chirping of the birds. My sweat quickly poured down as my body accepts the fact that it is still summer in this country.
It is quite a surprise as to how there is a difference in the climate and weather here and in Japan although it is geographically near to each other.
"Wait… is today still really Tuesday? It felt like it was a day ago when Rin and I were on the roof.
Speaking of Rin… it's awfully quiet around their house. Did they seriously made Uncle Shuu shut up…?
Oh well, I might as well greet the family. I hope Anna likes what I will give to her."
Meanwhile, in the family house of Sakato.
"Okā. Did our son tell you what time he'll be back?"
"Huh? I thought you've heard from him, Otō."
"Better not ask me, Dad, Mom. He doesn't really message me with that."
"What about you, Anna?"
"I also have no news…"
The thought of the son, or the brother coming home from the northern country suddenly came to their minds as it seems that they have not heard of Gin's arrival.
The family was left in confusion as the television is turned on, tuned to the morning news.
However, there seem to be a faint sound coming from somewhere inside the house, but is being muffled by the loud sound of the electric fan and the volume of television, leaving the noise unheard.
The back door is unlocked again so I just entered without notice. Also, I took some eggs in the fridge since there's no food in my house yet.
Mmm. Got 'em fluffy today."
The four are still silenced as they focus their eyes and ears to what they are watching. But after several seconds, they all simultaneously rotated their heads to their left as they blankly stared on the person that sat on the dining table.
"Finally, you all looked."
Without any ado, this older brother of mine stood up and walked towards me, ready to chop my head with his right hand.
"Just be thankful that I didn't kick you in the face, okay?"
"Hahahaha. So you still remember that."
"Gin, welcome back."
"Yo, son. It's been a while."
"Yep. It's been a crazy while.
Here, Anna. I really can't think of something to give you so I went with a huge plushie bean pillow with a chibi Kyouka Izumi eating tofu. And a Kim* no Na wa braided cord (which was especially made from the rural)."
"When did you even get home, Gin?"
"Just an hour ago, Mom. Kind of slept as soon as I landed down on my bed.
Seriously… it looks like ages ago when I was on the roof…"
"You flew that early?"
"If I have that kind of schedule, it'll seriously be a pain."
"I think we flew at six earlier, southern time, of course."
"How's the vacation, anyways?"
"Aside from granddad's story being known already, I'd say that it was an insane experience.
Meeting new people and becoming an anime character and all."
"My fault for not telling you things. An animated character was heavily based on me with my traits, personality, appearance and some of my life story. I agreed to use a similar name for that and afterwards thought that I was a bit careless.
There is even a contract for that…
I hope that it won't pose a problem as my being is a quasi-identity as an Exile."
"Also, I am soon to tell you something that may be a conflict in the future and me finding my own self may just have a connection to it."
"Well, let's leave that for later and focus on what's what right now.
Have you taken your rest already, Gin?"
"The sleep earlier helped, Dad."
If you're here, you went home with Ringo, then."
"Of course, Dad. That's just how it falls into place now. You're used to it anyways."
"Hahh… Son, just give her a ring, would 'ya?"
That seriously took me off my guard.
"Hahahaha. Jokes aside, I'm surprised that I didn't hear Shuu shouting from a few blocks away."
"That… I'm kind of worried about him.
Anyway, you were saying something?"
"Ah, I'm planning on inviting Shuu's family tonight on the plateau, since you arrived well and all."
"If it is at night, I guess that would be fine. I'll be sure to drop by later."
"What, do you have plans?"
"Don't you go saying that you two will go on a date right after coming home."
"Nah, that's not it, Kei.
I'll ask her to come with me to visit grandpa. I want to give his grave some words."
If you say so."
"Well, I'll have to go sort out the house and do some shopping. I will also eat lunch here.
See you later."
"I just realized that this will be the first in a long time that I won't eat Rin's food.
It was worthwhile and I don't think it won't be happening any time soon.
I was suddenly visited by an imagination in which I saw a silhouette of a back of a woman on an apron and a ladle on her hand.
The sight slowly cleared as she turns her head towards me. Shining as the light is, it looked as if her bright smile does not know of darkness.
This is your fault, Dad."
~ ~ ~
"Yo, musuko! It's been a while, I'd say!"
"Are you okay, Uncle? You're not hurt anywhere are you?!"
"Hahahahahaha…! This son of mine sure worries a lot about his father-in-law huh?! Oh, I'm so glad of your concern!"
"First. It was Dad and now…"
Seriously. What is up with these two old men?
"Hey, Sis. Sorry, I have no hair ties."
"Owww… Anyways, welcome back."
"Who's 'Potato?!'" is what's probably on their minds with faces of surprise rendered.
"I got to sleep a bit. How about you?"
"I woke up just before you came here. What's up?"
"My family is inviting you all to the plateau later tonight."
"Oh? Are we going for drinking again?"
"NO, Uncle. It's just for dinner.
Rin, surely you have nothing to do today?"
"I'll visit a grave later. Can you come with me?"
"So it was your grandfather. Alright, I'll go with you."
"Great. I will probably knock in the afternoon. Can't go walking around in this heat."
"Why don't you have lunch with us, Potato?"
"Sorry, Auntie. I already told my family that I'll be eating with them.
See you all later."
"Dear daughter, why 'potato?'"
"Ehehehe~ It's just random."
~ ~ ~
It indeed felt like running the house back was more difficult than the time I moved out. With the addition of the never changing extreme heat, it was harder to move around outside as I do my shopping to fill in the fridge once again.
As much of a clean freak I was then and now, dust still managed to accumulate in the things that I covered well. My computer was not an exception as it broke temporarily due to the dusts.
The blue screen of death appeared three times and took some years off of my life.
But in four hours, I thankfully managed the house back to its glory.
Oh, I forgot to pick up Haku at the family house.
Lunch started anyways.
"So Gin… Care to give us a summary of your experience in Japan?"
"Hmm… Where should I start I wonder.
I guess I'll have to explain first as to how it came down to Rin and I lived under a single roof.
We were framed up, basically. I didn't get a hint that my bosses are plotting something. I was ready to refuse, but I was pulled in by the onsen. It was a lovely house, by the way."
"I guess that's pretty much what you would expect in a traditional house."
I stood up and walked towards the door as I spoke.
"Kei, that's quite a good opportunity to travel to the North with Shiina, don't you think?
Right, Onee-san?" I opened the door as I welcome my brother's girlfriend that didn't knock.
Sorry I am late."
"How did you even know, Gin?"
"My ears, Kei. My ears. That's all.
Anyways, have a seat, Onee-san. A plate is ready for you."
"Why don't you continue telling stories, then?"
"Ah, Gin went to Japan, right?"
"That's right, Onee-san.
The work atmosphere is really different from what I was used to. Even though it was just a week and extra days, people of Kyoto are quite the hungry ones I'd say.
Oh, Arashiyama. That place is simply beautiful. Though, I probably overreacted because it was a date…
I actually don't have that much pictures because we primarily used Rin's camera.
There's also the time where I played the piano and Rin has her violin for an animation company that reserved the resto for a day. If we didn't perform, we probably won't be the cast of the anime they're working on.
Aside from my homesickness and grandpa's situation, there's nothing more that is worth telling."
"Yeah, yeah. Not telling you anymore, Anna."
"Well, I guess there are times that I was recognized by people because of the interview.
Anna, do you want to see a sketch of me by an artist of Kyoko Animation? I probably looked better in 2D than 3D."
"I wanna see. I wanna see. The poster will surely be so cute with you and Nee-chan, you know?!"
"Speaking of which, you haven't seen Rin, have you, Onee-san?"
"If you're talking about your girlfriend, I haven't."
"Just so you know, Gin. She'll be here until dinner."
"Is that so. Then that's a good opportunity to meet her. Onee-san, you play the violin, right?"
"Yes. I played for recitals in the past."
"You'll probably get along, then."
~ ~ ~
The time is just before the arm hits the clock to four. The sun is still bright, but the temperature only dropped by a margin.
Once again, we are on our slippers.
"Let's go, Gin."
"I'll go buy flowers on the way."
As we were walking, we stopped by the Giotto's which is still under renovations. Just as I thought, the workers are all Exiles.
I was told that the other Exiles are in disguise as they are partnering with other construction companies. And amazingly, the gymnasium—which is the biggest structure to be built in the school was finished in less than a month.
"They're superb engineers and workers."
Before the light of the sun turns orange, we arrived in front of a certain gravestone.
"Haven't seen you in a while, gramps.
Seriously, you could have just told us when you're still around, you know. What do you know; I might even be back to my old self earlier."
"So he starts with scolding a gravestone…"
"But I will always be grateful to you, gramps. You made me understood what our cooking really means. Though, I regret not discovering it earlier.
It's not that I'm rushing things. But what I really wished is to tell you that face to face. Sadly, it won't happen anymore.
You know what, gramps? I have a girlfriend now. She's right here with me. I'd say that she really is quite lovely and sweet. This is the only way I can introduce her to you since… you know. Haha.
Well, it was a short visit but I'll put the flowers down here. I hope the wind will not take it. See you again, grandpa."
"Gin, let's stop by Zen Park."
"Wait, you're not forgetting something, are you?"
Ah, I'll leave it at that date. Let's take a rest at Zen Park while we're going there."
Sat on the bed of grass, we enjoyed the rare blowing of the wind as we both stare at the lake, reflecting the clear blue sky. The trees around the lake caught the radiant light of the sun and the wind makes the water wave.
“We’re in Orio now, so…”
“Gin? Is your mind still in Japan? Get a grip.”
“No, not that. We’re in Orio now so I guess it’s safe to tell you.”
“Well, Jean is slowly nudging himself near to Ai-san.”
“Huh?! So he fancies Ai-san?”
“What?! That’s even more surprising! So that’s the reason why he talked to you at that time. What did he tell you?”
“I seriously didn’t have any idea of that, you know. I was also just as surprised as you when I first heard.
He said it all started when Jean was taking overtime in the resto and apparently, he was always accompanied by Ai-san so she ended up being an assistant, or rather… partner, I guess.
Those two are actually cheesy, you know-“
“Not like we’re any different when we started our relationship.”
“Ahahaha. I can’t argue with that.
But you do remember the time when they did a sick visit, right? Stuff happened when you told them about the view at the terrace. And then the ‘The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?’ pattern rose.
What’s more, Jean already introduced himself into Ai-san’s parents and will court her in Orions’ way.”
“Ah… We really could learn a thing or two from Jean…”
“I can’t argue with that too…
I’m confused, though. I knew why Jean went out briefly earlier in the airport. He just met up with Ai-san, but what I’m confused about is that Haru-san just straight up talked to me in our language like it’s as easy as breathing.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.”
“So did I.
But I guess we can assume that Ai-san, or even her family knows our language well which is quite surprising.”
“So that answers why he was always fired up.”
“Probably. Oh, Mom’s calling.
“Are you still at the cemetery, Gin?”
“We left earlier. Currently at the Zen Park, taking a rest.”
“Do you want us to pick you up there?”
“Ah, no need, Mom. We’ll go back home anyways. And the plateau is on the other side of the road.”
“Okay. We will travel at around five, so be back quickly.”
“Almost dinner time, Rin.”
“Let’s go, then.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Going back a few hours, Jean is seen sat face to face with his brother inside the visiting room of the prison.
Alex Ando, 23, was unjustifiably accused of murdering a classmate from college, and is currently behind bars with the said act that he did not do.
“Hey there, Jean. Looking fine, are you?”
“I’m glad that you look fine too, bro.”
“I heard you went to Japan for apprenticeship? Look at you being an apprentice chef now.”
“Yeah. I actually just got home early this morning.”
“Shouldn’t you be resting instead of coming here? You’re tired, right?”
“That doesn’t matter. I just want to talk with you right now. I have lots of stories to tell you.”
“If that’s the case, I’m all ears. The guard today is quite lenient.”
“First, of course I have to tell you this too, because… let’s just say that I am seeing someone.”
“Ohhh… who’s the girl?”
“Ah… well… She’s actually in Japan, as we got to know each other at work. Though, I don’t really know if I can talk to her much since they will be moving somewhere.”
“Have you told her already? You know, even though Japan is near, that’s still long-distance.”
“Oh! Hahahaha. Look at you getting ahead of me. I thought you’re still a child but now you’re aiming for a relationship.
You have my support, of course.”
Then let’s move on. Bro, I think there’s a possibility of you being released. Though, I am speaking with very tiny certainty as I speak.”
“T-That’s hard to believe… with the corruption and all…”
“This isn’t any simple thing, bro. We can probably reopen the investigation of your case and get you out of the prison. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about Juno Artecus, right?”
“That cop? He’s the all famous detective of Orio, right?”
“Yeah. I have a friend that got to work with him a few times. I can have him talk with you before contacting the detective. I’m ensuring you that they’re not tainted with any corruption at all.
And maybe, we could also expose the corruption here to the public. Please, don’t lose hope, bro. I’ve learned a lot about this dark reality, and I can at least understand your distrust and despair. But this could be the turning point—the hope we sought for.”
The sour expression of the brother did not even change at all. His eyes can’t look at the eyes of his younger brother. But the look of Jean is brave and unwavering.
“Of course I have reasons as to why I’m doing this for you, brother; selfish ones too. You are my family and we will never abandon you. You’ve worked hard to finish studying, and you promised us a better life.
But I have realized that I have my responsibilities too. And this time, I will be the one to promise you that we will free you out from here and I will strive to establish my own definition of what is a ‘better life.’
And also… I just want to brag about how much of a cook I have become. Of course, I want my whole family to witness this path I have taken, and I am grateful to those who made me push harder to be who I am right now… and that includes you, bro.”
It seems as though that those words melted the steeled despair that was haunting the heart and will of the older brother, Alex. His grip loosened, and his eyes shook with the tears that are about to fall down.
“Geez… There’s no way I can turn you down now…
I’ll leave my hands on you, Jean. You know, I’m quite sad that I didn’t even know that you’ve grown this much. Now I feel bad for only sitting out this two years sulking on my cell.”
“You’ve heard me earlier, bro.
“Time is over, Alex. Go back to your cell now,” the jail guard told after approaching our table.
“Then I have a dumb question before I go back, Jean…
Did the girl told you that she’ll wait for you or something? Because you’ll be making me wait too.”
With that, he left the room leaving him in a thought that just got in to Jean’s mind.
“She was happy and all… and even though those were just words of my fantasizing…”
“Ai didn’t tell me. Oh… that really made me nervous.
But even if what I’m thinking is possible, there’s a narrow chance for that to happen.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Around sundown at the plateau…
“Potato, look at the sky.”
“Oh. Haven’t seen an airplane fly while it is sunset. Quite a good view, I’d say.
This steak is so tender, though. Here, Rin. Have a taste,” and the fork on my hand fed her with the beef.
“Mmm. That’s quite good. This place sure serves great food.”
“Yeah. Let’s go back together some time.”
You have finished 011!
In retrospect, while this story is all over the place, this is still a slice of life.
I would like to preface that the covers that are to come are probably illustrated something like a year ago then progressively. They get better overtime. Anyway, cover has been updated and it features Jean Ando and Hikari Ai!
Thank you for reading!
012: I don't know if this works accurately but "nichijou" means everyday life. Also, Nichijou is a really good anime.
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