Chapter 15:

015 – Errand

Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World

June 15, Friday; 1:00PM.Bookmark here

As scheduled, club memberships and recruitment are set for the day. Just like the past years, the last period will be allotted for the said event and will last up to two hours.Bookmark here

It is the same scene where the five of us are found walking down the stairs to the Art Room.Bookmark here

"Man, it's hot today…"Bookmark here

"You get used to it."Bookmark here

"Stop with the memes, Shiro."Bookmark here

"Just bear with it, Nagi. Summer's about to end anyway.Bookmark here

Ah, Ringo. We haven't really been hanging out together, have we? Why don't we go out tomorrow?"Bookmark here

"Sure, I would love to."Bookmark here

"Well, I kind of get you two. My guess- no… I'm sure that you two are a bit tired of just hanging out with a boyfriend, right?"Bookmark here

"Yep," the two girls answered at the same time.Bookmark here

"Hey, Gin… Are you sure you know what you're saying?"Bookmark here

"What, Nagi? Before they get blunt, be blunt to yourself ahead of them.Bookmark here

And it's the reality that Rin and Shiro haven't gone out together ever since we all met. It's good to give them some time alone without us, you know."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I guess it's a nice change of pace. I'm pretty sure that Shiro will tell Ringo about complaints directed towards me. Perhaps the same goes for you too, Gin."Bookmark here

"Ha! You catch on quick, Nagi. Have one," and I gave him a fist bump.Bookmark here

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"By the way, Jean. How's it going with you and Ai-san?"Bookmark here

"Huh… Well, we're messaging regularly but she's refusing on giving me pictures of the place they moved to for some reason. I wonder why?"Bookmark here

"Bff… Does she describe the place, at least?"Bookmark here

"Well, yeah she did. It's all positive descriptions but I still don't know where they live now. I kind of feel like something's up.Bookmark here

Wait a minute, aren't we walking too slowly? The Art Room is literally just a few meters from our room and we've talked this long?"Bookmark here

"Oh… I guess?"Bookmark here

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"Mato-sen, we're here again to annoy you~" Nagi nonchalantly entered and said those words.Bookmark here

"Good to see you're energetic, Nagi. Then go ahead and put your names on the logs."Bookmark here

"Oh? Three new members? This is news to me?"Bookmark here

By the looks of it, the three are senior high school students and more specifically, from our class.Bookmark here

"Mori? Didn't expect to see you here."Bookmark here

"Hey, Nagi."Bookmark here

It's no surprise that there are no difficulties for Nagi to converse with others especially that Mori Inari is his seatmate, which conversation is bound to happen.Bookmark here

"Good to see you here, Yuuga."Bookmark here

"Yeah… It'll be weird if I went to other clubs with how I've shown my things already."Bookmark here

Nagi's talkative today, I guess.Bookmark here

But with this name itself, Ginji already caught my attention.Bookmark here

"Hey there, Ginji. Nice to know that somehow also has the 'silver' in their name aside from me."Bookmark here

"Just call me G, Gin. Since you've already taken that name, might as well. Few people call me that anyway and it just suits the last syllable and the first letter of my name."Bookmark here

So what he meant is that "G" has the same sound as "ji" from "Ginji." I can see him being suitable for this club with that creativity.Bookmark here

"I'm not really talkative, though. I just got the feeling that you're introverted so I am at ease to communicate, to say the least."Bookmark here

"Oh… quite sharp too."Bookmark here

"I guess we may just have things that we're alike."Bookmark here

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The scene is pretty much the same with how Mato-sen handles the first day of every club activities with giving us an hour of free drawing, sketching and painting to show what type of art is our forte.Bookmark here

The five of us had the same approach on what we drew just like last year. But it's surprising that our club now have three more members which totals up to eight members. No disbanding, at least.Bookmark here

Anyway, it does seem that Mori works best with graphite and black ink at most.Bookmark here

Ginji, on the other hand exclusively used leads to make a piece that probably shows his interest in character design.Bookmark here

But what we're most surprised is with Yuuga's artwork. Focusing initially on the line art, he has an outstanding control over his inking that even the long strokes doesn't even seem like a challenge for him. But there's also the coloring in which he seemed to hesitate on doing at first. It follows a certain and appropriate depth wherein the placement of highlights to shadows are on point. Dare I say he's like a professional at this.Bookmark here

"By the way, Mato-sen. What's up with the PC?"Bookmark here

"Ah, that. The school provided that of course. But at this point in time, it only has office and free painting software in it. For the meantime, I think we won't have any problem with storage."Bookmark here

"A terabyte?"Bookmark here

"Around ten, I think."Bookmark here

"WHAT?! That's insane! I only have two terabytes on my personal machine but this is a beast!" I exclaimed as I catch my eyeballs that almost flew out.Bookmark here

"Then again, we need to earn some for our club budget to afford a better suite."Bookmark here

"Just to be sure, Mato-sen. We're not getting the one with a deadly monthly subscription," Nagi jokingly uttered.Bookmark here

"Of course we won't. But we'll have to do a lot of work for that. We'll plan to sell prints in the web community and at least make a name in it.Bookmark here

We'll just be running like headless chickens, otherwise."Bookmark here

"You heard what Mato-sen said. Though the last few years weren’t successful, consider this something like a job or work. Of course, it's not compulsory as it may hinder our studies at any given situation," Jean briefly explained to the three.Bookmark here

"Yes, considering it as a job makes it more realistic as we members will get a fair share from the earnings, although low," I added.Bookmark here

"Now that gives me another reason to like this school. The system is nice and very hands-on; I guess it really resembles what's to be seen far ahead."Bookmark here

"You can interpret it that way, G."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

More than a week has passed and things are going down well. We're slowly getting the way of the life of being a senior high school student and it is believed to be more widened as time goes by.Bookmark here

It's as Tenth have said, you will enjoy things if you love what you do.Bookmark here

"Hey, Gin~ C'mere."Bookmark here

"What~ Mato-sen. I was just about to draw."Bookmark here

"We need to restock our papers and we ought to have more ink since we have Yuuga's addition in mind. I'll have to ask you to get them.Bookmark here

Also, try to buy some of the tea that Ringo brought here."Bookmark here

"Right, ri~ght. Rin, do you still have some in-"Bookmark here

"G, go accompany Gin."Bookmark here

"Yes, Mato-sen."Bookmark here

"I don't really remember, Gin. But try to ask Mom if there are any," even with my unfinished question, Rin answered anyway.Bookmark here

"At least sign a gate pass for us.Bookmark here

We'll be going, then."Bookmark here

"Gin, at least try to change your shirt."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I get it."Bookmark here

With that, G and I made our way outside of the school.Bookmark here

Wait, when you think of it, "G" and "I" sounds kinda weird with just one letter.Bookmark here

"Hmm… I think what Mato gave should be enough."Bookmark here

"Hey, Gin. What's with the 'change your shirt' thing earlier?"Bookmark here

"Ah, it's to avoid making any issue of students coming out of the school in the school hours. If we're seen without identical clothing, there's not much of a problem and our uniform is pretty common outside the school."Bookmark here

"I see… so you live nearby?"Bookmark here

"Yep. I live between White and Cerulean Street."Bookmark here

"Around the intersection, huh.Bookmark here

To tell you the truth, I also live here in White Street."Bookmark here

"Seriously? Why have I not seen you?"Bookmark here

"I've lived my life in this place. I'd assume that you live around house number 270+. We live at 260."Bookmark here

"Oh, quite near to mine, huh. I'm at 275.Bookmark here

Wait, we're already here, huh. What you see right now is our family house. This is where my parents, a brother and a younger sister live currently."Bookmark here

"So you moved out?"Bookmark here

"For the most part. My mother's probably inside."Bookmark here

And after walking a few steps, we stopped in front of Rin's house and knocked.Bookmark here

"Just a sec.Bookmark here

Auntie? Is anyone here?"Bookmark here

After a few moments, Aunt Sumi opened the door with a slightly shocked face.Bookmark here

"Gin…! That shocked me. It's still school hours, what are you doing outside school?"Bookmark here

"Running some errands and Rin is asking if you still have raspberry tea. If not, we're about to buy some."Bookmark here

"Let me look."Bookmark here

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"Sorry to tell but we ran out of it."Bookmark here

"That's fine, Auntie. We'll be going then. Bye."Bookmark here

"Take care."Bookmark here

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"Who was that, Gin?"Bookmark here

"Rin's mother."Bookmark here

"Oh? Wait, you said you live in between White and Cerulean Street. Which means… we're here at your house?Bookmark here

Woah, this house is big for one person."Bookmark here

"I know right," I opened the door and invited G inside. "Can you play with Haku while I am changing?"Bookmark here

"Your cat, I guess?"Bookmark here

"MY HOUSEMATE.Bookmark here

Don't worry. He's not glaring at you right now."Bookmark here

"Well, we look a little alike…"Bookmark here

Meow.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Around the same time, back at the school…Bookmark here

Girl students are talking about a guy inside the school, in which it was a very feminine response to it.Bookmark here

"H-Hey, look… You see that guy over there?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah…! Isn't he handsome?!"Bookmark here

"Waaahhh~ I wonder if he's the same age as us."Bookmark here

"I wanna know his name…"Bookmark here

"Oh…! He's going towards the admin's office."Bookmark here

"You're right. I wonder who he is…"Bookmark here

And one careful observation stood out over those superficial looks. Yui Akina, who is together with Anzu Yumie in a bench made her eyes roll to the man's movements until he got inside the office building.Bookmark here

Though the keen eyes of hers were thoroughly observant, not a hint of ill intent was shown but only innocence and curiosity was behind those eyes.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"Hello~ Knocking on the door. Please open."Bookmark here

"Hahh… just come in, alright?"Bookmark here

As to who opened the door is someone with very similar facial features of the principal, but with a different vibe that he emits.Bookmark here

"Sorry I was late, Dad."Bookmark here

Akira Juushiro, 16; an Exile.Bookmark here

"Any news, Akira?"Bookmark here

"Well, Makoto's still Ken's test subject, pretty much. Makoto has been always assisting with the PD through Detective Artecus, so the suits are always put to the tests. So far, modifications and efficiency is going well.Bookmark here

Ken, on the other hand, made some breakthrough about his ability. He discovered that it was simply similar to Gin's, where he has tapped on what truly is behind his unrealistic biological characteristic. To put it simply, there are actually no side effects to his forced system stoppage, just like how Gin utilizes his Bone Regeneration.Bookmark here

The progress was thought to be slow because of how the neural surgery affected him."Bookmark here

"I see… Sorry for not being able to come down to the base a lot. School's plainly taking my time."Bookmark here

"That's why you're the principal, Dad."Bookmark here

"Anyways, I'll have one last job for you, Akira.Bookmark here

There are some people that I need inquiry about. Even at my position, it's difficult to gather information," Tenth then followed up with handing out papers to Akira wherein it seems to contain individual data.Bookmark here

"Hmm… I'll have to figure out how to do this…Bookmark here

But I guess staying around the area will be the best."Bookmark here

"Well, just keep yourself in the shadows."Bookmark here

"Leave it to me."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"So you're neighbors with Ringo?"Bookmark here

"Yeah."Bookmark here

As we continue our idle chat, we made our way to accomplish the tasks at hand.Bookmark here

"I guess I really haven't seen you around when coming to school."Bookmark here

"Well, we both walk to school and sometimes we're with my sister."Bookmark here

"You two seem really close."Bookmark here

"That could just be expected to next-door neighbors. We established a well-built relation in both our families because of that.Bookmark here

Both fathers are drinking buddies too. Well, sometimes."Bookmark here

"Are you in a relationship with Ringo, by any chance?"Bookmark here

"Yep."Bookmark here

"Haha. Your confident declaration is scary."Bookmark here

"By the way, you seem to be very communicative for an introvert."Bookmark here

"You're an introvert and all as well, so I don't really have many problems about it. My intuition tells me that I don't need to hold back when talking to you. Besides, I'm not really like this…"Bookmark here

"Because we just shut our mouths when it is not needed."Bookmark here

"Right."Bookmark here

"How are you faring with Blue Ink, anyways?"Bookmark here

"Hmm… I guess I'm quite comfortable. With the peculiar system and such, I settled in quicker than expected. To tell you the truth, I dislike the concept of rankings and honors since it creates unnecessary hierarchy.Bookmark here

I naively thought that people think of honor students as individuals who are always intelligent. And to be honest, that belief is suffocating.Bookmark here

I've been an honor student from third year and I didn't take the pressure and the expectations of being one. Our life does not only revolve in our studies. Being cream of the crop does not mean that one will surely become successful.Bookmark here

But then again, strong favors over the weak. Intelligent goes to the top and those who lack are disregarded.Bookmark here

I just want to live a normal school life where I can prove that I'm not a smart guy whatsoever. In truth, I'd rather be called dumb and stupid, but I ended up calling myself first."Bookmark here

"Way to end those with a joke. I'll treat you a burger after this.Bookmark here

But man, you're entirely right, at least on my own perspective. We kind of stand in the same notions, in fact. The world is pretty much manipulated by power in which it resulted to what it is now. Joseph Horach is a good example. He used his political power to gain over the people, but without clarity on what is to be expected. In his eyes, things will fall down to the annihilation of those who are not needed.Bookmark here

We're sort of like opposites who still have so many similarities. As much as I want to, I want to live a normal life. But things just get in the way from time to time. I regretted my past way of living, where I ran away from the fright and pain, but I realized that those were unavoidable.Bookmark here

Well, I'm happier with my life right now. I have family and friends. That's enough to keep me from giving up in life."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Gin… are you seriously just 18?"Bookmark here

"Don't doubt my age. I'm pretty old myself, though."Bookmark here

"You've got a lot of experience at such an early age. I don't know how to feel, seriously."Bookmark here

"So you can tell?"Bookmark here

"It's obvious from your words. And I am least confident with my observation ability."Bookmark here

"Hahaha. We really do have a lot in common, aye. I hope to talk with you a lot with these things. You yourself is perceptive, you know."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'd love to talk more on how you dislike humans- I mean, nothing."Bookmark here

*Growl~*Bookmark here

And so, my stomach rumbled soundly.Bookmark here

"Apples… I better treat you a burger quickly."Bookmark here

"Looking at you, I think a half-pound would just be barely enough for you."Bookmark here

"Hey, I'm not that much of a glutton."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Ringo, aren't those two taking their time?"Bookmark here

"Hm? I guess… I wonder if they're having a hard time finding the tea."Bookmark here

"…?"Bookmark here

The other two new members stared with confusion.Bookmark here

"Well, you see… Aside from art, tea is the second thing that is in our heads."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Just when I thought that our conversation has already ended, it still continued in a restaurant.Bookmark here

"They are probably thinking that we are somehow taking our time.Bookmark here

Thanks for the treat, by the way."Bookmark here

"No problem, but that's only for today. I only treat Rin, originally.Bookmark here

But I guess it's good that we didn't take long finding the tea. It's hard to find, but oh well."Bookmark here

"Now that you mention her, you affirmed that you two are in a relationship, right?"Bookmark here

"Yeah? Why?"Bookmark here

"Just out of curiosity.Bookmark here

I'd assume you met in school?"Bookmark here

"She was a transfer student along with Shiro last year. And because we are a bunch of otakus, that's where it all began.Bookmark here

But it was to our surprise that we first met as first years, although just briefly."Bookmark here

"That could just mean that it hasn't been a year yet, knowing that Blue Ink started school last year in August."Bookmark here

"September, specifically. That was a time when I was still recovering from injuries from an accident that took two years to heal. That's also why I am 18 instead of the average age."Bookmark here

"That's only the tip of the iceberg, though."Bookmark here

"Injuries? What kind?"Bookmark here

"Apples. Shouldn't have said that."Bookmark here

"Mostly physical injuries. It's hard making contact with several tonnes of pressure to your whole body."Bookmark here

"Ugh… that sounds like a lot of fracture. Let's not talk about that anymore since I can somehow relate. And September…Bookmark here

But I'm still curious with you two. Don't get jealous, Gin. I swear I'm only curious."Bookmark here

"Hahahaha.Bookmark here

But were you already aware of the possibility before knowing our situation earlier?"Bookmark here

"Kind of. Though it was hard to make a conclusion since you two don't really look like a couple."Bookmark here

"There is an unwritten rule in Blue Ink that says: 'Display and public disclosure of romantic relationship… is a nay.'"Bookmark here

"Wait… seriously? Is that the original quotation?"Bookmark here

"Yep. We can't argue about that. But that pretty much sums up why we look so indifferent despite our seemingly 'friendly' closeness inside the school. Not that we brag about it or something (But I sometimes do).Bookmark here

A few people knowing about it will do, but you'll get a lot of attention if everyone knows."Bookmark here

"That's simply amazing.Bookmark here

Though, this is only opinionated but I do think that it's kind of early, more specifically with Ringo."Bookmark here

"I get what you mean. Minus a year to our age and it does look like that in any way you look at it. Then again, I want our relationship to be better in the future. She was even the one that made the suggestions instead of me, surprising as it is.Bookmark here

She made the good call of leveling our relationship to some fair extent. I agreed immediately, and it turned out to be a real promise that I can never break, otherwise… Yeah, otherwise."Bookmark here

"Otherwise, yeah. I can imagine what could happen. But you don't look like someone so trashy to do that."Bookmark here

"Trashy…Bookmark here

But I do try to correct my mountain load of mistakes and regrets that I still carry on to my shoulders from my childhood up to this day."Bookmark here

"From childhood…? Wha…"Bookmark here

"All of us have a past. Not only me."Bookmark here

"Hmm… I can a hundred percent agree with that."Bookmark here

"A 'dark' past is what Gin meant, huh."Bookmark here

"Now, now… G is not even denying what's behind his agreement."Bookmark here

I have realized that G is not very ordinary, just like me. I can interpret that his reactions are drawing parallel to what I think, which I can relate to. Having the same perception of reality, I felt that there is something in him that I need to be wary of.Bookmark here

What I can say to this point is that… I have found another shadow.Bookmark here

"Having expressed our lives into words, I see now that we can get along well, Gin."Bookmark here

"…?"Bookmark here

(!)Bookmark here

"Ah, hahaha…Bookmark here

I get it. Let's go back to school now. The others might be waiting."Bookmark here

"Yeah."Bookmark here

We sat with sour expressions, and we stood with a smile. At the very least, I got to understand who he is, and he understood who I am. Having to meet someone who can comprehend my instability as a human, is truly unprecedented.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Hey, you two. Fifteen minutes late!"Bookmark here

"Sorry, Mato-sen. I can't help but clean my house first on the way back. (He actually did)"Bookmark here

"Gin's house is so big for someone to live alone. (He actually helped)"Bookmark here

"I hear that a lot.Bookmark here

Anyways, here's the tea, Mato-sen. Ah, let me make you all a cup to make up for being late."Bookmark here

"Thanks, Gin."Bookmark here

"Much appreciated."Bookmark here

"I'll help. We're both late."Bookmark here

"Thanks, G."Bookmark here

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"Hmm… That's quite strange for Gin to be close to others he doesn't really know. What do you think, Shiro?" Nagi's thoughts voiced out.Bookmark here

"It certainly is rare to see… Your thoughts, Ringo?" and the question were then passed on the one that knows the man the best.Bookmark here

"I'd say that something happened earlier when they were out."Bookmark here

"Geez… Ringo. You're totally sounding like Gin now."Bookmark here

"Ehehe… But that's the best I can say even in the face of that. Even if my assumption is true, I can't guarantee that he will say anything to me.Bookmark here

But it's nice to see him making friends."Bookmark here

With those words said, the two stared suspiciously along with Jean who was just quietly listening. And thus he finally spoke.Bookmark here

"It confuses me if you are a wife that loves his husband sincerely, or a mother that is very proud of his son."Bookmark here

"Jean, Ringo is a girlfriend."Bookmark here

"Right, girlfriend. Even though you didn't mean anything more than that, Nacchi, it still bothers me hearing that."Bookmark here

"Ah, about Ai-san, huh. You're so helpless."Bookmark here

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"Well? This is rare."Bookmark here

My phone suddenly lit up with a call from a very unusual name that came up.Bookmark here

It has been a while since I last communicated with Akira.Bookmark here

"I wonder what's up for him to call out of the many days…Bookmark here

Hello~ Aki-"Bookmark here

I almost forgot that Mato does not know of Akira's circumstances.Bookmark here

"Hello~ Mr. Still-Not-Showing-Your-Face-For-Two-Months."Bookmark here

"Hey, Gin. It's been a while since we last talked, huh. Where are you right now?"Bookmark here

"I'm with the others right now in the usual."Bookmark here

"Aw, shucks. Sorry I didn't drop by earlier. Dad's giving me work here and there. I guess this is part of being an Exile."Bookmark here

I whispered: "You'll get used to it soon. Even though I'm a resurfaced, I used to do work there too.Bookmark here

Wait, so you mean that you were here at school?"Bookmark here

"Yeah… I went out immediately, though. But I'm glad that this one from Dad will be my last major job.Bookmark here

I can set a date to get us all to meet up perhaps next month. I miss the times a few months ago."Bookmark here

"I'll let them know after school. I'm sure they'll be happy to know too. I look f-"Bookmark here

At that point a lightning of an idea struck my head and a rather smug smile curved to my mouth.Bookmark here

"I do look forward to seeing you again. Expect for a surprise."Bookmark here

"Wow. Making me shake my brain, huh? Knowing you, you wouldn't be saying something like a surprise to someone. Oh well, I'll figure it out later.Bookmark here

Sorry Gin, I'm doing some kind of research. I'll have to hang up now."Bookmark here

"Yes, yes. Good luck with work."Bookmark here

"Who's that, Gin? You looked a little surprised."Bookmark here

"A friend that previously studied here.Bookmark here

Tea's here, let's take a break."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

After school.Bookmark here

I was seen to be looking around in a very omnidirectional manner as we were sat under the oldest tree in the school. With how I suspiciously acted, the company looked very confused.Bookmark here

"No one is around us, right?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Hey, Gin. Quit acting weird, won't you?"Bookmark here

"What? We can't talk about an Exile with a lot of people around, you know. We may be free people now, but we are still in the shadows."Bookmark here

"Huuuhhh… What's up for you to be telling us something important?"Bookmark here

"It's not significantly related to our people, really. It's just that Akira was here earlier and he didn't even wave at us."Bookmark here

"Huh?! Akira was here?!"Bookmark here

"I got a call from him earlier at the Art Room saying he was at the office receiving a job from Tenth and left immediately. It seems that he's still busy."Bookmark here

"Wait… now that I remember… I was hearing some things about a handsome guy entering the office earlier," Rin revealed with her eyebrows curving down.Bookmark here

"Though, it's unlikely to be Akira," and so she added.Bookmark here

"Oof… I also don't think Akira would be some sort of an ikemen just after becoming an Exile," stated by Nagi with confidence.Bookmark here

"Continuing… He will probably be free from his work after this month so he was planning on putting a meet-up next month."Bookmark here

"Ohhh… so faceless decided to show his face now, huh."Bookmark here

"I'm faceless too, Jean.Bookmark here

So if he's that good-looking hot stuff, then he has a surprise with just his face, huh. I already flagged a surprise to him too, so this is going to be fun."Bookmark here

"Uhh… Gin. Your smirk is scary."Bookmark here

"1 and 9. Fufufufu…"Bookmark here

"Ohh…"Bookmark here

Aside from Jean, the three directed a thumbs-up to me meaning that they knew what I'm up to. Easy alphabet.Bookmark here

"…?Bookmark here

Why do I feel like I'm being left out…"Bookmark here

"It's getting late. I have to go home now."Bookmark here

"Ahhh. Thanks for the heads up, Shiro. I lost track of time. I guess we should go home now."Bookmark here

"Off we go."

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

You've finished reading 015!Bookmark here

While NoFutsuu is focused less on introducing a whole lot more characters, I would suppose that in this story it will be otherwise. I've always wanted this story not to only feature the main characters most of the time to give the story a bit more color. I'm aware that it would be very difficult to introduce so many characters and connect the dots, but que sera sera!Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

016: It's been a while, Akira, Bookmark here

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