Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
Ah… I hear voices. A lot of them.
"Alright, alright. Everything is going to be fine. This might hurt a little but please endure it. All of this is for the sake of a lot of people."
I can't do this anymore… It hurts…! Stop…!!!!"
"N-No… I don't want this… Why am I still here…?! I should have just died!
Right…?! I should've just died!"
"Please… I'm scared… No… I don't wanna die…"
"W-Will I… just end up like… the others…?"
"It's just been the first month and we already lost eighteen children."
"We picked the healthiest children and all, but we still ended up with this."
"But even so, we made some breakthrough that can compensate to the loss."
"Hey now… Other children are imitating the others that already left. Stop them quickly! They're trying to kill themselves!"
"N-No way… 027 killed Dr. Heis…"
"What just happened?! Why is 027- What happened to the doctor?!"
"027… he killed the doctor…"
"This is such a waste… We can't let 027 disappear with the intellect that is far from his age."
"This can't be happening… Put him in an isolation chamber until he recovers!"
"Stop crying, kid!"
"Hey, Eiji. You really don't know my name?"
"That's okay. I only gave you the nickname because I don't know yours too. But I heard someone calling you with a weird name."
"Hey, hey… Is 027 losing it now…?"
"What in the world is he writing that on the wall for?"
"Yeah… It's kind of scary that he's repeatedly writing it."
"What is even the meaning of that…
Hahh… Hahh… Hahh…
What… in the world… was that…?"
~ ~ ~
It does seem that I woke up from a nightmare. My whole body was trembling, I'm sweating cold, my throat is dry, I am out of breath, my heart is thumping hard and fast, my eyes are in tears, and my right eye changed unconsciously.
For some reason, I feel so terrified that I can't move a limb of my body. Then I have come to the realization that it wasn't a nightmare…
But memories, rather.
Why did her name suddenly came up…?"
Today is the 10th of July, Tuesday.
~ ~ ~
"Good morning, Potato. Did you get a good sl-
Wha?! What's up all of a sudden? Gin…?"
With the opening of the front door came Gin as he ran towards the door and tightly embraced the ever so startled Rin, which returned the warm caress.
"Gin… Did something happen? What's wrong?" the girl gently asked as she felt the overflowing emotions of the man that is not yet to release the embrace.
"Sorry, Rin… I had a dream and remembered a lot of things… I'm scared…"
The thought of sorrow struck Rin on the back of her mind, but instead she carved a smile and gently strokes the back of the agonizing man.
"Ufufu… You're really like a child in your sleep, Gin. I'm here now, so you don't need to worry."
"Have you already eaten?"
"I just finished making them."
"Then, can you still go to school?"
"Yes… and I need diversion. Who knows what could happen if I'm left alone."
I've already eaten, so don't worry about that. I'll look out for you today so you won't feel lonely."
"I'm so helpless…
But you really make of a good wife… Rin."
"Wha- Don't say that even if you're not feeling well…! I may just… think of that… seriously…"
Mhmm. I really feel at ease when you're here, Rin. Thank you, as always."
"I won't be like this if not because of you, Gin. But anyways, you're welcome."
~ ~ ~
My anxiety lasted more than I expected. I was already in school and everything, but my mind was too preoccupied with the dream… or "flashbacks" that I had this morning.
If this goes on throughout the remaining days of the week, I may not be able to concentrate on our first exam tomorrow and the day after.
But thankfully, I got a little relieved of it when it was time for our club after classes. With everything that has happened today, I felt that I was forgetting something important. It’s a bit unusual that the members are not complete today with the absence of Yuuga and Mori in club.
"Yo~ Gin. It kind of feels like you weren't feeling well the whole day. You okay there?" Nagi voiced out his worries to me.
"Ahh… Yeah, I kind of feel a bit dead today, but I sure can handle it. Just had a dream that has been haunting me."
"Oh, I hope that it's nothing serious. I hope you get well."
Ah, I forgot that I'll return at work next week."
"Wait, the building is already finished being renovated, Gin? You haven't told me about it."
"I was planning to tell you earlier this morning, Rin. But you know, things happened. Sorry."
"Oh… That's okay."
"Uhh… Mind telling us about that 'work?'" G jumped in to the conversation.
"Hmm… I guess it's alright to tell…
I actually work at Giotto's, full time."
"Ah! Now I remember! I saw you with Ringo and Jean in a video uploaded in YouCube.
Wait, that was in Japan right?!"
"You see, G… Gin is actually the sous chef of the resto, surprising as it is. By the looks of it, you already know about the secondary branch in the North so I guess there's no need to widen the story," Jean briefly explained with a volume that is loud enough to be heard in the entire room.
"Man… being in an interview sure is nerve-racking, aye? And you can speak Nihongo, huh?"
"Who wouldn't be? And that was also the time that I discovered that I am actually half-blood Japanese."
"Oof… surprises are just falling down.
Oh, Ringo was demonstrating at that time. Does she also work there?"
"I did, G. But it was for me to experience what it means to work in a restaurant. And it was tough!"
"I was currently having my apprenticeship at that time and it just happened that I became a videobomber inside the kitchen.
Actually, Gin is my mentor."
"Wow, surprises never stop."
"And you're apprenticeship was far better that even you didn't anticipate it~" Shiro teases.
And just like how the wind comes and goes, the two of us are once again walking the quiet road.
"Mmmm… I feel quite better now. At least a bit of load from this morning was removed from my head."
"Mhm. That's good to know then."
"Hahh… Sorry for worrying you again, Rin. Though I can't say for sure what will happen next."
"Yeah… we've already discussed on how you haven't actually regained all of your memories, contrary to what you believe to be."
"But then again, I'm still scared about not knowing how I felt in the past. I took my other memories for granted, but this one seems like it had an impact on me.
What's more scary is how awfully clear my dream was."
"But I hope that everything will be fine. You know that you have a family that you can rely on."
Thank you, Rin. I'm so glad that you're my light."
"There you go again, Potato."
▪ ▪ ▪
I thankfully managed the exams as I got my worries out from diverting myself from things that could give me stress. I have become aware that my past as a five year old was darker than what I thought.
But sharing it to my family makes me very relieved and grateful. Despite my instability, people are still looking out for me.
It is now the 16th of July, and I am about to start working once again.
"Well…? It's rare to see you doing shopping, Sis."
"Oh. Hi, little brother."
On the way to the restaurant, I met with Yuna with shopping bags on her hands. It seems that she was heading home.
"I lost at rock paper scissors with Ringo so I'm doing the shopping for dinner.
What about you? Heading out for work?"
"Yep. Today's the reopening of Giotto's so it's my first day again."
"I just passed by there earlier. The building's looking quite good."
"Ah, that's the way to the market, yes. Of course you'll get to see it.
Anyways, I'll have to go otherwise Hiro will scold me. Be safe on your way back, Sis."
"You too, be careful.
Fufu… Oh, little brother."
~ ~ ~
I had to run since I was assuming that I am getting late for work. But to my surprise, Hiro was standing in front of the restaurant.
"Yo~ Hiro. Am I late?"
"Nope. Still plenty of time."
"What are you doing in front the resto anyway?"
"Ah… I… was just… just met a friend earlier! Yeah, that!"
"Huhhhh… Well, I'm going to the kitchen, then."
"Yeah, go ahead.
Phew… I almost slipped…"
Indeed, the whole restaurant is looking very fine to the eyes. It looks much more modern, and the quality of everything is spot on. It really adds a new life to the Giotto's that I was used to. Having a newer kitchen environment felt like it was boosting your efficiency. It has been a while since I cooked like how I do in the restaurant.
Really, huge props to the Exile engineers for doing this. In spite of the busier construction work at school, they still managed their time for this. They deserve a good rest.
I guess I'll go visit the base to make them good food when I have the time.
Well, I suddenly got the "time."
▪ ▪ ▪
July 21, Saturday.
Akira finally set out some kind of a schedule as he apparently finished with his final job around this week. But us knowing that he does not know of good places in Ginga, we left the decision to Nagi and humbly chose to just settle with his favorite udon restaurant in the corner of the commercial district.
Being the one that insisted the reunion, Akira thought that he shall not be late contrasting to his former persona. Thus, he arrived a few minutes earlier than the schedule.
Him being the first one to arrive, he got a table ready in which it can fit eight people. Since no table for six was available, he thought that it should not be a big deal.
The chimes rang and the door opened with only one person entering the place. Scanning the whole place, the person can't seem to find anyone that is familiar to him.
"Hey, over here, Jean!" Akira whispered.
Hearing the call, he was conflicted as to what expression he should make as the thought that the "handsome guy" which is the main hot topic in Blue Ink is actually Akira Juushiro.
Still, he pondered over the thought that he needs to find someone familiar to him despite knowing the one who called out to him.
"Hey, that's mean! Don't ignore me!"
"Oi… are you seriously Akira…?!"
"Yep! It's been a while, Jean."
Amidst of everything, they shook hands and Jean sat on a seating cushion.
"By the way, you went here alone, Jean?"
"Yeah. I'm wondering why the others aren't here yet. I know it's typical for us Orions to be late since time immemorial, but it's kinda weird that they're not yet here."
"In most cases, they are the ones who are always early."
"Yeah. You're always the last."
"That was Bentley!"
"But I'm pretty sure that I followed the time."
"You're just in time. What I said to Gin was…"
▪ ▪ ▪
"9:30? Alright, noted.
Yes, we're all good to go. I also don't have work every Saturday so things are very fine.
Okay, see 'ya."
"What did Akira say, Gin?"
"9:30 this Saturday. He's good with the place, Nagi."
"Then there's nothing to worry, I guess. All we need to do is get ourselves prepared, ri~ght?" Nagi wryly said.
"Oh, and don't forget earplugs," Rin added.
And all of us aside from Jean threw a thumbs up in both of our hands.
▪ ▪ ▪
"So the others really are late."
"I wonder what's up with those guys. It's almost 10."
"Then while waiting, care to tell how's life-
…in the base?" Jean whispered knowing the circumstances.
"Quite nice, I'd say. Living in the first few days made me realize that their lifestyle is easily very different from the surface. Seriously, you wouldn't even think that you were still on (in) Earth!"
"Oooh… Is that a reason as to why you Exiles don't call yourself humans?"
"You could say that. Hahaha.
Then again, they all have their stories and sometimes they are tragic. But listening to them makes you feel better when you see them all in smiles with the life they have.
And because of the recent oath, life has become easier and they can finally get out breathing some fresh air. But still with caution, of course."
"Hmm… Sounds like you're having a great time."
"It's very life-changing."
"Ossu~! Sorry we're late."
"Is that Akira?!"
"What the- I don't recall knowing any ikemen guys!"
"That hurt, Nacchi!"
"It's been a while, Akira."
"Why are the four of you late anyway?!"
"Uhh… some stuff happened…
Or rather! We planned this out."
"You mentioned some kind of surprise to me in a call. Stop stepping on the brakes, Gin."
"Oi. Would I ever surprise someone when I told him or her that there is a surprise?"
"Well… you have a point there. So it wasn't for me, then?"
"Huh? What surprise are you all talking about?"
Came the question from Jean, who was been sitting with a clueless face.
"Wait, so instead of me, it was Jean that is going to be surprised?" thought Akira .
"Hehehehe~! Miss, show yourself if you please."
"H-Hi, Jin… We-We haven't s-seen each other for a-a while, have we…?" there stood a girl with a timid smile, looking directly at Jean.
"AI?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (Extremely loud shout)" and the whole building leaped and shook.
"See? That's why I reminded the earplugs."
"Were you saying something, Rin? I can't really hear you," I said and tilted my head near hers.
Rin then pointed out with the earplugs she was wearing.
"Ah. Good thinking, Rin."
"Now I'm the one that can't hear you properly."
"I said you're cute."
And then Rin lightly blushed.
"I humbly apologize for making you visit first before me. Please accept my forgiveness," Jean prostrated.
"Woah! Dogeza?! That's some seriousness, Jean!"
The ruckus then caught the attention of the few customers. But the cook behind the kitchen counter is seen resisting his laughter.
"Actually… this is where we moved out… That's why I can't tell where we live…"
"I'm very sorry for being oblivious…!" Jean then slammed his head to the floor numerous times.
"Hahh… Before this cliche gets any worse, let's have our seats and take our orders."
~ ~ ~
Then we arranged ourselves with me and Rin facing each other, Jean and Ai-san, Nagi and Shiro with the same arrangement as us respectively, and Akira is sat on the middle on our side.
Jean is still on a flabbergasted state.
"Alright. Enough of the shenanigans.
First of all, Ai-san, this unbelievably good looking guy whom I still refuse to believe that's him is Akira Juushiro. Akira, you may or may not know her but this is Ai Hikari."
"Nice to meet you."
Wait, Juushiro? Is he related to the principal, senpai?"
"They are father and son."
"Yes, I am his son. I used to study in Blue Ink until I stopped going to school after we graduated. I have a good reason as to why I quit, though.
And please just call me Akira. By the sound of it, you are from the North."
"Since you're so out of the loop, yes she is. You remember my interview, right? She actually worked for Giotto's as a part-timer."
"Ohh… So she's Japanese?"
"My family moved here to the South just this May due to some circumstances. Currently, I am studying in Blue Ink High as a fourth year."
Hearing that, Jean flinched.
"S-S-So Ai actually moved here in Orio and now she's studying at the same school…" Jean loudly muttered to himself as things finally sunk in to him.
Being ignored, Akira asked.
"Uhh… Can someone tell me why is Jean acting so hysterical?"
"Now that it has come to this… I think Ai-san can answer that."
"U-Umm… I just wanted to surprise Jin but I didn't think that it will take a month for this to happen…
To put it simply… umm…"
Her head overloaded thus not finishing what she was saying. It does seem that those two are yet to tell about their special relationship.
With Akira getting to understand the situation, he came to a conclusion.
"Hmm… Are these two dating?"
"Nope. They're not," I replied with a blank smile.
"Let those two explain once they've calmed down."
"Orders to be served!"
"Ah, owner! Rin and I will add 30 Laxes on our bill!"
"Us too, owner!" follow up coming from Shiro.
"Hahaha…! The usual for the regulars, then!"
"Seems like you guys are quite known here."
"I originally introduced Gin to this place when he broke up with Ringo. But Shiro and I think of this as a second home since we always eat here," explained Nagi.
"Oh, right, Nagi. It was originally planned that we will be here at night. Why did you veto?"
"That… It's because this place almost becomes like a drinking house at night. A lot of corporate employees come drink here and complain about their bosses at the same time."
"Oh. The boss stuff is to be expected."
"Potato, don't sneak out and go drink here, alright?"
"Like I said, I don't drink, Rin. You know that the most.
"Going back to the topic… What is up with you two, Jean?"
Alright I'll tell you. I'm currently wooing Ai and getting her parents' approval. Although I've expected that it'll take me long."
"Ohoho… I see. Trying not to follow Gin's example, huh."
It hit pretty hard.
"But even with that, we're kind of in a mutual relationship, I guess."
"I'll explain everything to you some time, Jin."
"Right… I will go visit you then."
"By the way, what's with the stockpile of work that you said you had, Akira?"
"Ahh… I'm acting like my Dad's secretary now. I'll probably be in school most of the time after this."
"How are things in there?"
"About that, I'll have to return this afternoon.
Things are like usual, though. But I do look out for Ken when he's doing his own research. He's getting better."
"'I'll have to return this afternoon,' he says…"
Somehow I get what was behind that.
"I understand, Akira."
"I feel bad (for Ai-san), though. But to make up for it, what's until lunch is on me," Akira declared.
"Nice. Thanks, then."
We lasted for a few hours on the restaurant talking about a lot of things that has happened after the graduation and thankfully, Ai-san quickly adjusted on our idiocy.
I also secretly explained what was Akira’s intention to the others except for Ai-san.
Then the arm of the clock hits 4 in the afternoon.
~ ~ ~
"I guess it's time. I'll have to go back now."
"We'll be going first then, Akira. I have to take Ai home and visit her family.
I'll go with you next time, sorry."
"Nah, it's fine. That is more important than this."
"Thank you for this, Akira-san. I had fun," Ai bowed.
"Gin, Hiroomi knows about this so he let us borrow a car in the resto. You know that you're the only one that can drive."
"Yep. So it'll be at Giotto's then to the base. I'll go make dinner for everybody down there. I want to thank the engineers with that."
"That wiiillll be a lot of work, Potato. I'll help."
"Thanks, Rin. It will be quite the challenge to feed two hundred people. Too bad Jean's not with us."
"So two hundred people live in the Exile's base?"
"That's a lot compared to what we saw out at the Square."
"Well then. Let's head out before it gets late."
~ ~ ~
"Ayy~! Akira is with Gin today!"
"And Ringo, huh?"
"Hi, there. It's been a while, guys. Rin and I will be in charge of dinner, alright?"
"I didn't expect the base to be this big…"
"Neither did I…"
The two newcomers with us were obviously expecting something different.
"Yo, Gin. How's it going?"
"I'm fine. But I should be asking you that, Ken."
"Wait, Nagi and Shiro is here too?
So they will be 'companions' too, huh."
With the events that happened, we terminated the position of 'subordinates of the underground' and simply replaced it with 'companions.' Though my dad and Rin stays with the position.
"Companions? Can you explain, Gin?"
"You two are the third and fourth individuals to ever enter the base as 'humans.' The first and second was my dad and Rin.
And that's out of the many decades."
"So Ringo is well known here?"
"Yep. I've been here many times-
And the children tackled Rin.
"Ahaha… the kids are still full of energy even at this time."
"What a lively place…"
▪ ▪ ▪
It was once again a rowdy dinner every time I go into the base. But it is very relieving to see the others having fun.
It is always a nice experience having to get together with them, as they are very different from what the surface houses on it.
"Ugh… I didn't expect to get this tired…"
"Sorry, Nagi, Shiro. I don't think I can still drive."
"If that's what you're bothered about, let someone drive them home."
"Oh, you have a point, Akira."
"Alright. I'll ask someone. You guys wait here."
"I think it's best to stay the night here. Is that okay, Rin? I'll call both of our parents."
"Sure… If it's in the base, they won't worry. Go ahead, Potato."
"I'm still not used to you being called like that."
"I didn't ask earlier, but why let us inside this base? And knowing that we are one of the few people that saw the Exiles…"
"Of course, that's because we trust you two basically."
Well… we're glad to hear that.
"Alright, you two. The car is ready."
"We're going then. You guys have a good rest."
"Sure. Be careful on the way home."
"Thanks for this. We had a good time."
And so our lives continued on thereafter.
You've finished reading 016!
If only I have the time to draw/update the character designs! Well, I did illustrate some of the early characters of NoFutsuu way before these two stories reached HF, and I sure wish I can draw them again outside of featuring them on covers. Reality is that being an art student isn't really that fun, but pulling through. Reflection: while drawing is what I like, not all art is enjoyable.
Anyway I'll go watch some vtubers.
Thanks for reading!
017: Quarrels are unavoidable.