Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
June 13, 2018. 6:30 in the morning.
Well, 7 hours of sleep sounds quite nostalgic. This time, it's legitimate and I'm not going to be scolded by Kei and go back to sleep anew.
What do you know, time flies fast and summer vacation ended already just like that. Now, it is once again the first day of school for who knows how many years-
Actually, it's probably the 5th year, as far as I can remember. I started coming to school in my first year in junior high.
Anyways, it just hit me. This is the 14th chapter already? Fast. But hey, when you think about it, Chapter 14 is quite special I guess. Well, in Normal in Parenthesis, at least.
Who would have thought that a ramen-eating gathering turned out to be the time when I went all dramatic and straight up told Rin that I love her? And it all happened in the same numerical chapter!
I really should get up now."
~ ~ ~
After doing all the boring and habitual things I do early in the morning, I prepared breakfast for myself as it seems that the girlfriend won't be coming over right at this time.
Nothing new with the news as usual."
As a senior high school student, one thing that has changed is of course the uniform.
Since the seasons of this (seemingly) tropical country recently changed, so is the uniform. The top is still kind of similar to our old uniform back from junior high as the colored end of the hem of the button down polo tells if one is right handed or lefty, the same with the color of the collar which is black that is also the same for the bottoms.
At winter, we get to wear a black coat with the option of a long sleeve as an under layer.
"The quality of the eggs I bought is quite good. It's great that I did shopping before school.
Oh, and there she comes."
As I heard a clinking noise, it was immediately followed by the opening of my locked door from the outside.
Yes, it was Rin which possesses one of the greatest treasures of this house: A spare key.
"Good morning, Potato!"
"Morning. Did you get a good sleep last night?"
"Good for you, then. Still don't want to go to school…"
"Gin, you're already 18 and you still say something like that. Amazing."
"I may have spent two years of isolation but it doesn't change the fact that there's still a kid inside me.
The uniform looks good on you, by the way."
It has a similar design to what my uniform looks like aside from the black skirt that goes down to the knees. No way I'll be wearing a skirt, for crying out loud.
"Looks like you're all set to go. You'll have to wait for me to finish breakfast, though."
"It's okay. There's still time."
"I guess we'll be on the bike, then."
"Ah, do you know today's schedule, Gin?"
"Hmm… I think it's mostly orientation and homeroom. I don't know if we can go to the Art Room, though. But I heard that Tenth will show up in the whole student body for the first time in his term."
"I guess we'll be quite busy because we have two departments to attend to."
"Well, I helped you study about culinary so I hope that we can apply what we learned from self-study."
"I do wonder about that."
"Uhh… I guess we're good to go once I get these plates washed."
~ ~ ~
Passing on the White Street never gets old. It has been a while since I get to feel the vibe of this road since I don't really go outside.
It still has the same serenity and silence that takes it apart from the others. It's so silent that it was like the sound of my bike amplified along with the subtle noise of the wind hitting my ears.
I am glad that I live in this street.
But after five minutes of pedaling, we reached the school gates.
"Hmm… No changes to be seen in front."
"My guess is that the gymnasium is near our building."
"Well, we'll find out soon, Rin."
A lot of things have changed since the term of Tenth or Taketo Juushiro, as he is the current principal of this school. Small details were also reimplemented just like how the bulletin boards are being used again properly.
Posted there are school information and the class rosters. But it seems that we only need to look for our rooms as all of the departments are only one class per.
"Ohh. So we'll still be on the new building."
"Look, Gin. It seems that the Culinary Arts room has a different style."
"Oh, I look forward to that, then."
"He~y, you guys are early."
Come Nagi and Shiro, as we were called out.
"Hey. Good to see you two. Visual Arts room is in the new building. It's not that hard to find there."
"I guess we'll be going on ahead, Gin. Later," and so the autumn couple left the scene after a brief greeting.
"Sure, go ahead. Rin and I have to check up on the fourth years."
And we did exactly what I just said.
We looked around all of the sections of the fourth years and found our way to Anna's class which is 4B. It seems that she's together with Naru and surprisingly, Ai-san was in the same class.
I am sure those three will be good friends.
Now that I think about it, I haven't seen Jean yet.
"It should be good as long as she won't get found out."
"Let's go to our room then, Potato."
~ ~ ~
It looks to be that the new building from last year was extended to have another floor. But in this case, our room is located at the second floor just right beside the room we used as fourth years.
Upon opening the familiar door, the display of the room is quite different. Instead of individual armchairs, there are medium length tables rowed in two.
Or so I thought. They're detachable!
The front is the same as always with the platform and the teacher's table apart from the addition of a built in projector sheet.
Seeing where Nagi and Shiro are sat, it seems that they reserved two seats that are the nearest to the windows in the back row. Oh, how I missed that spot.
"I'm not used to not seeing Jean and Akira here. Things sure have changed."
"Quite right, Nagi."
"Hey, Ringo. It's surprising how I still can't find any other classmates from last year."
"Oh, yeah. They're probably in different departments."
As Shiro pointed it out, we finally noticed that no one in the Visual Arts dep. is our former classmates from 4A. But there is a deeper reason that stems outside from our new class.
"About that, Rin. I've heard from Murasaki that us five may just be the only remaining Class 4A in this school. They all transferred apart from us, apparently."
"Hmm. I guess we'll be around new students, then. I haven't seen anyone from other classes from last year. Not that I know them by names," Nagi nonchalantly stated as he rocks his chair.
"I'm not used to how quiet it is. I guess the new guys still don't know anyone," the still wondering Rin mumbled.
The sliding door rattled loudly with the entrance of a teacher.
"Hello, class. Orientation's about to start so stay put on your seats and quiet down.
Looking around with a slightly blank face, he started talking.
"Mato-sen~ The room was already throttled down even before you entered."
Rotating his head as he scanned the whole room, he stayed silent as he just stood with his hands rested on the desk.
"I guess we'll start."
"Eh. He's embarrassed."
"I am Martin Arlo and for this year, I'll be the head teacher of the Visual Arts Department for the first years.
Visual Arts. Very self-explanatory. I wouldn't understand why you would be here if you don't even know why you enrolled in this department. Just one thing to remember:
If you're not serious with your art, you better get los- leave this room now and don't come back."
As usual, Mato is throwing daggers with his mouth.
He already introduced himself so I don't need to. He is the Art Club's supervisor and now an adviser of a class. But outside of the school, he's like a childhood friend.
He started teaching here when he was 20 and this is his sixth year. But even before working here, he was the one that recommended me to enroll in this school.
Strict as he may sound, that's just him being a teacher.
"Keep in mind that your goal as students inside this room is to enhance your creativity and mastery of arts. It is within your capability whether you unlock more potentials than what you have, or not.
The purpose of this newly erected education system is not to bring out talents of superiority or achieve fame as artists in the creative realm.
I want you students to think and feel that you are doing what you love.
With all that being said, it looks like the attendance for today is complete. In total, this class has 21 students majority being from other schools.
May I ask the students from the first row down to the back to introduce themselves one by one.
Just tell me your name, age, and the school you came from if you are from a different school."
~ ~ ~
"I'm Dominic Rias, 16, from Rosé."
"Vincent Garic, 16, from Hive."
"Fuuzan Kouki, 16, from Arachle."
"Marie Turmeryc, 16, from Canson."
"Anzu Yumie, 16, from Gil."
"Poru Shinbou, 17, from Cobalt."
"Aljon Lim, 16, from Canson."
"Ryota Mizuno, 16, from Wisteria."
"Riku Wakamatsu, 16, from Gil."
"Marcus Lagrima, 16, from Hamma."
"Yuuga Ayame, 16, from Wisteria."
"Ginji Satoshi, 16, from Mykes."
"Yui Akina, 16, from Rosé."
"Edward Muvon, 17, from Ten-es."
"Jayson Geronimo, 16, from Mykes."
"Michael Cruz, 16, from Arachle."
"Mori Inari, 16, from Gil."
"Nagi Kajima, 16, a student of Blue Ink."
"Shiro Kirishima, 16, same case, so are the last two."
"Ringo Akanami, 16."
"Gin Sakato, 18."
With that, the class stayed as quiet as ever. But it was observable that some of them had a school in common. Though as seen, none of them probably know each other.
The guy named Poru Shinbou, though. It's the first time I'm hearing the name, but for some reason it sounded familiar. I wonder why.
"Now that everyone has been introduced. I'll be giving you all a few reminders. Let's see…
First of all, since most of you are transfer students, I'm pretty sure that you have been oriented about the Amplification incident. If so, then there's no need for it to be told again.
Those four at the back, from Nagi to Gin. Please come here in front."
We did as what Mato-sen said. It is apparently giving us our protective earpiece back. We did return it after the last school year ended. So it was returned because it was being modified.
"As you can see, the school provides a protective earpiece for all the students entering the school premises. With your knowledge about the incident, this earpiece serves as a shield to your whole body and nullifies the extreme frequency of sound waves. It now has a modified chassis which makes it more appropriate to the ear.
As of right now, only the old students were given their pairs. And with that, we apologize to the delay as it endangers our students if ever the incident happens again.
Next, you may have known but since last year, the school is now allowing students to bring their cellular phones along with a system that restricts one's phone from non-school related software. In a way, it is kind of a hack."
"Thank Marco Lugis for that."
"Furthermore, there are a handful of clubs and organizations that are established in this school. First is the Entertainment Club which is an organization generalized for drama, plays, music and such. Generally, it's the biggest club.
Second is the Sports Club. They will be in-charge of sports-related activities in the school, including a sports festival. Though, there are still no decisions as to when it will be.
Next is the Literature Club, where the members have the freewill to write various literary pieces and is affiliated to the library.
Fourth is the Cooking Club in which you can pretty much showcase your cooking skills or just learn about it.
Fifth is the Art Club. Being a small club, a club president was not and will never be necessary even if it expanded. Yeah, you do art there.
The last two is kind of merged as they work side by side—the Student Council and Disciplinary Committee.
Also, club recruitment and membership will be this Friday.
Lastly, I will briefly explain this system of senior high school in Blue Ink. It is a bit different from the standard system where some of the courses are generalized or combined. This new system is specific, but the catch is that since Blue Ink is just a small school, we can't accommodate every specific course. The available courses here are Visual Arts or VA, Culinary Arts or CA, Business Management or BM, Filmography and Photography which was once separated, shortened as FP, and the last one is Accountancy.
This system became possible with the proposal of the principal, Taketo Juushiro to the Education Department.
And please be reminded that every course has only one section. Visual Arts will be shortened as 'S1VA.'
That's all I have to say. If you have any question, feel free to ask. But if none, just do what you want. Assembly will be after the morning break. Just don't be noisy. I'll just be here watching anime."
I can't blame the others for showing an "Eh?" expression on their faces. In the duration of the orientation Mato-sen consumed only fifteen minutes. Morning break is 9:30, which means that we have more than an hour to do nothing inside the classroom.
But hey, Mato. You're really not holding back with your dose of anime even in the school, huh.
"Well…! That's quite a surprising news," uttered by Nagi while stretching his arms on his seat.
"Film and Photog. Being merged."
"Oh, surprising indeed."
"Then I guess Gin and I will be in CA and you two will be in FP."
"Quite right, Ringo. Talk about being able to attend your second choice course."
"But man… if we only knew that Mato-sen's homeroom is this short, I would've thought of something to do."
"Well, have you read the fourth chapter of Flower of the Unknown, Nagi?"
"Wait, Gin?! Chapter 4 is released already? Didn't know that!"
"I haven't read it too, okay. I just got it downloaded from the digital store so I can't send it to you, and we can't go online in school.
I'll let you read it once I'm finished.
But just by looking… man, Yuki Amagami's art style is really something."
"Yeah, and look at that background. That's some serious detail."
"Umm… do you need help?"
"Ah, n-no need… I can pick them up."
It seems that someone from the second row is drawing something, and goodness, he's packed with materials and he even has a sweet, sweet type of dip pen that fell from the table.
Well, I'll start reading.
"I'll tell you that's some great writing too. It's just chapter 4 and the development is already this good. Do you understand now why I recommended this to you, Gin?"
"Hahaha. Yeah, yeah. Thanks for giving me some great manga."
"Potato, admit it that you just read too much shoujo manga."
"Ahahaha… I sometimes sleep late because I get too absorbed in binge reading."
I turned my head, and I saw the other couple with such a satiric look towards me.
"A-A birth of a maiden…"
And again, the same guy dropped his materials and as he docked down, he had a quick glance on us with a sweat-pouring face of nervousness.
I didn't mind it.
Shiro then changed the topic that was directed to Mato-sen with an audible voice.
"Mato-sen~ How are you and Nana-sen?"
The said teacher then slammed the screen of his laptop down to a fold and he eventually folded it out again and hid his face.
Even though it was fairly quiet, only a few caught the attention. But the whole class's attention was caught because of Mato-sen's reaction.
"Don't bring that up now…"
"The four of you at the back! Stop smirking!"
It clicked and I remembered what was the reason of the well-hidden flustered face of his.
At the day of our graduation last March, specifically at the 19th, that guy, Martin Arlo asked out a fellow teacher in the name of Nanase Itsuna, or so we call her "Nana-sen." They weren't really close and Nana-sen sort of liked Mato not in as a part of opposite sex. She just found him interesting. But hey, it went well and they're together. I'm happy as his friend.
Also, he's one of the few dense ones that do not know that Rin and I are together but knows about Nagi and Shiro. Mind you, he's our club supervisor for the 'whole' school year last year.
Anyways, we continued to do nothing until it is the morning break.
We checked if the lone table us four used (formerly a group of six) is still there. We met up with Jean there who was already sitting alone. We really are not used to the surroundings without Akira.
~ ~ ~
Finally, all the students have gathered inside the newly built school gymnasium as opposed to using the school stage due to the growing population of students.
And after four years of his term, the principal of Blue Ink, Taketo Juushiro showed himself to the entire student body.
Good morning, my dear students and welcome to another year here in Blue Ink High School. I am sure that most of you don't know me as this is my first proper appearance in front of you all. But anyways, I am Taketo Juushiro, the principal of this school."
As expected, it raised noise to the entire gymnasium that is mostly coming from old students in junior high as it is the first time they saw him.
"There is honestly a reason for my being present in front of all of you after four years…"
That's because he is also an Exile.
"…but that is all in the past. I hope to work with you all from this point forward.
As you may have already known, a new system in the senior high school department has been implemented to this, and this school only. The implementation includes specific courses which are not grouped together in contrast to the academic tracks and strands.
And yes, we are aware that it will and it has taken criticisms that it has limited the students from enrolling as we do have only a few courses to offer, for instance.
But the purpose of this system is to bring a more collegiate approach. Academically speaking, those courses will not only focus on written outputs but also more practical outputs in which the students can show and improve their abilities. What we hope to see is not assessment according to standard. We want our students to enjoy themselves in the courses they went into as it is needed in your careers.
Remember, aptitude is not the only factor necessary as there is also attitude.
Additionally, this is a trial for this year, but all academic rankings are not included in the system, in which this applies to the whole school. We want to know if such ranking system is really needed. The school is avoiding many possible situations to happen, just like pressure, discrimination, unnecessary hierarchy and such. Thus, all of the students are equal in many ways.
But of course, there is the question as to why this was raised.
We value you, students. And so, we prioritize your safety while you are all inside the school premises. As I have said, we want all of you to experience an enjoyable school year. In school, we as educators do not only teach academically, but we also teach about our humanity.
Wisdom is applying your knowledge to do what is right.
One of our objectives is guiding you all to a path that does not know of desire and materialism. As much as possible, we want to remove the notion of using our knowledge to gain what we want. Adults work to make money because they have a family that they are supporting them. It is always needs over the wants.
Having a simple and humble sight is the key to having a content life. Wealth is nothing if we don't have happiness in our self. I personally want to see a future where humans are treated equally. It is hard to envision, but that is what I wish for.
With that, I wish you all a good morning."
The speech ended with applause from every corner of the gymnasium and the assembly ended.
As a fellow Exile, I can't help but relate to what he said and I was truly amazed with how much he voiced out his life experience. Now I get why he became the principal of this school.
~ ~ ~
Starting at 1:00, we will have two hours in the afternoon as a vacant time and as the arms of the clock pointed at the said time, the others in VA started doing their own arts and the awkwardness earlier had disappeared.
Others finally conversed through talking about their art and the room has gotten livelier for the most part.
We also finished our orientation in CA in which it briefly introduced the irregular students, or those who chose a second priority course like Rin and I. And it does seem that VA does not have any irregular students.
"Mato-sen, you know the drill. If you need us, we'll just be in the Art Room."
"Sure. Here's the key so don't bother going to the staff room."
The door of the room closed and the four members of the Art Club left.
"Uh-oh… I forgot to tell them…"
"Has anyone called Jean? I'm pretty sure that we have the same schedule."
"I did, Gin. He'll be on his way, he said," the reply came from Nagi.
"Uhh… Potato. Is it just me or are the keys different?"
"You can't call me with that in the classroom okay, Rin?
But yeah, I wonder if they replaced the door or Mato just gave the wrong keys."
"We'll just see on the way."
And that's what she said.
The Art Room is (seemingly) gone as a new room is now housing the (former?) room of the Art Club.
"We're not lost, right…?" Shiro tiringly asked.
"Surely we're not…"
"Where's the Art Room then?!"
"What was that? Gin?"
"Ah, I got a message.
Aaaand it looks like it was from Mato-sen."
"Sorry, forgot to tell. Art Room is just below our room."
"Huh," we blankly said all at once.
"HUUUUUUHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!?!" we shouted all at once.
~ ~ ~
And so, we finally got into the Art Room which is-
"This is pretty much the same!!!" Nagi angrily exclaimed.
Indeed, it's as Nagi said. It is a mystery as to how the Art Room literally looks exactly the same as it did. The materials, the desks, my framed artwork, and even the windows are in the same place. It's like it was teleported from one place to another.
"Wait, there's a PC and a printer here now?! Man, I should've brought my tablet with me!"
"Y-Yes… We can finally scan our stuff…"
"And we can easily produce commercial prints for commissions and such…"
"Ahhh… we just love art so much…"
And our face fawned over the countless possibilities.
"When you think about it, this wasn't the same scenario last year."
"Oh? Ah, you have a point, Shiro. We were just celebrating over Gin's piece last year and now we went here with you two girls."
"Aaah. Now I'm remembering when I sneaked and listened when you were all shouting here."
"Really… I didn't know at first that it was you, Rin."
"Wait, something like that happened last year, Ringo?"
"Y-Yeah… And I kind of stayed just before the door and the four of you didn't even notice me."
"I-I'm amazed at myself to only realize that after almost a year…"
"I get how you feel, Nacchi."
Seeing that there is really nothing new to the room aside from the PC. We all sat on our chosen seats and did some sketching.
But with the dropping of my eraser, the mood changed just a very small bit.
I crouched as it landed underneath the tables and hit my head. But I noticed a small piece of paper taped under the table.
"Seriously was this even cleaned?"
I took the paper and unexpectedly, something was written in Japanese. I tried to translate it and what came is…
"Look inside the drawer carefully…?"
So, I did what it said and found a picture frame. It is to my surprise that an old memory was pulled back in my head as I saw a portrait of Rin in the frame.
As fast as the speed of sound, I put it in my bag.
"Gin? Something wrong?"
"N-Nah, Rin… I just found a priceless treasure- I mean… Nevermind."
"Seriously, Itori-san… I can't thank you enough."
"By the way, Gin. You saw the girl in my class with… I guess the longest hair?" Jean asked out of the blue.
"…? Hmm… Was her name Rena Azuki?"
"Yep. It's not that big of a deal but I'll tell anyway. Apparently, she's also the same age as you, but I think older than you by a few months.
It seems that she paused studying for a year that's why she's still a first year."
Hearing his gathered information, I recalled how I initially made a description of her. She may be quiet and possibly introverted, but I sensed an experience in the field of culinary from her.
It may just be the intuition that I developed as a sous chef, but I'm sure that I'll find it out.
"Hmm… Surely not a case of someone entering the Room of Reality, of course. Definitely someone from the surface."
"I guess you'll be doing a lot of observations, then. You've been eyeing out on our classmates back in the room."
"Well, who knows?"
This new education system definitely made an impact to a lot, and maybe even academes.
If I were to be asked of what is the possible outcome of it, I have no clear and definite answer to that.
But I do hope that this year will be a successful one, where a levelheaded and humble mindset is planted as a sapling to our minds.
I myself do not understand why the concept of competition exists, and it is hypocrisy if ever I say that I am against that concept. Winning and losing—we learn a lot from those, but even in the face of that, I cannot sweep away the pessimism from it. It is a double-edged sword.
Without even the beginning of the academic studies, there is already a lesson coming from the wise words of the principal. I realized that those times where I stood beside him was not even a comprehension of what's the depth of an iceberg. There is a continuity of experiences where one does not stop learning because there are still the experiences from the past, the present and the future.
Truthfully, I am still a child. I may have a critical perception of the reality of this world, but there's more to just what I have applied to myself.
I am very grateful that there are people that support us to take grasp of a future in our hands.
That ends 014!
I feel honestly confused reading back these chapters. When I said I have so much more to show in this story, I meant it to the point where I'm asking myself "wait, they-
Thanks for reading!
015: The man named Ginji Satoshi.