Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
The days continued on just as normal. Yes, at this point, I would nonchalantly call this phenomenon as normal. I am here, stuck in my house, with the addition of Rin and her sister, Yuna. Still, I am passing out here and there. I am proud to say that I haven't broken the record of thirteen times of blacking out in one day.
But because of what happened at the 20th, or let's blatantly call it our first anniversary of being in a rather special relationship, it does seem like we have stepped closer from an unnoticed distance between us.
Now that I mention it, I'm starting to remember how much I agonized about a lot of things with her. But I would have to say that I really am an extreme weakling.
"Hmm… I'm thinking of taking out a TV in the house."
"Huh? I don't quite get it."
Just like any normal day, the two of us are sat on the couch waiting for an anime episode to play as my internet is acting up again.
The video is freaking buffering.
"I'm thinking of selling a TV either the one from my room or this."
"Ah, I get that you're trying to cut down power consumption. I agree with taking out one, but what you should be asking is where you will put the remaining one—in your room, or here?"
"Oh, good point.
Let's see… I'm pretty much bored with what's via antennae and I'm sure you are too."
"And I can't play with the console now because of my disorder so the screen in my room has no use.
Oh… I should also compare the consumption of both. Hmm…"
"While you're doing critical thinking there, I'll go give Haku's food.
Pause it when it started playing."
While I am still occupied with my current thoughts, my senses got delayed as I didn't notice quickly that there was someone knocking on the door.
"Potato~ Someone's outside."
"Wah- Oh? I didn't notice."
There stood two girls that is probably the same age of the average first year SHS students.
One does have her long hair bundled as a whole braid that is on her shoulder, and the other one wears a pair of glasses that has a very classic feel with the rounded, rectangular and thick frames that I rarely see aside from Mato.
As I was obviously with the taller height, they had their eyes looking up as they peeled open with great surprise. Surprised as they may be, I also got surprised as I don't know those two.
"U-Umm…! I-Is Ringo Akanami h-here…?"
"Oohhh… they know Rin."
"Ah, yes. She's here. By any chance, are you her friends?"
"Y-Yes…! My name is Minase Okuni."
"I-I am… Erika Anokane."
"They had northern names too, huh…"
"Then I'm Gin Sakato. You may come in. I'll just call her," and the two did come inside. "Oh, do you drink tea? Dare I say, we have good tea."
"Ah, th-thank you."
"Hey, Rin~ You have friends visiting you. They are Minase and Erika… if I'm not mistaken?"
Not even after a second of what I said, she came to the living room at blinding speed as I spun through and through when she went past through me. Of course it got me dizzy and fell on the floor as my head kept spinning.
"M-M-Mina…?! E-E-Erika?! W-W-Wh-
How did you…?!" with a furious and slightly agitated face, she asked as she exclaimed to the depths of her throat.
Yes, I'm still down for the count.
"Ah… well… I guess we should start from the beginning…"
▪ ▪ ▪
Minase Okuni and Erika Anokane are the only two friends of Rin from Wisteria School from her first year until the third year of their junior high school.
Her two friends also live in Sector 392 which is just beside Sector 527, the current place where Rin and I live at. Mina and Erika, as Rin called them are also otaku, in which we can say that Rin, an introvert, befriended with them due to their similarities of interest.
From what I can recall with what Uncle Shuu told me once, Rin was very sad and lonely that she was separated from her old friends. It might be that Minase and Erika are the ones he was talking about.
And it just so happened that they were seen walking around Cerulean Street.
"Hey… are you sure this is near her place?"
"We are here in front of a local family hospital, so we should be near."
"Oh, look there, Erika. So this is Cerulean Street."
"So once we hit a right turn, we will be on White Street then. I'm quite sure that it was house no. 276.
Look! This house is 275. So it should be next door!"
Thus the two knocked on the house with the number 276, which truly is Rin and her family's residence.
Oh? I think I've seen the two of you…" Rin's mother, Sumi opened the door for the two visiting maidens. "Right…! You're Minase-chan and Erika-chan, right?"
"It's nice to see you, Aunt Sumi!"
"So… I would assume that you two being here are to visit Ringo?"
"Yes! We're here for a surprise visit!"
"Oh. Unfortunately, she's not here-"
And they're faces immediately drooped.
"But don't be sad, okay? If you're going to look for her, she's not here."
"Umm… I don't quite understand, Auntie."
"Ringo is currently not living with us. If you try knocking on the house next door, you will find her."
"Umm… next door. You mean, here?" Erika pointed out on the house on her left.
"Erika-chan to your right. That's just a neighbor's house."
"Ahh… So there at 275?"
"Yes, yes. I'm sure that my daughter will be surprised to see you two."
But the two ended up being the ones that got surprised as they saw an average looking tall man that opened the door and warmly accepted their visit while offering a cup of tea.
▪ ▪ ▪
"And so, that's what happened a few minutes ago."
"Ugh… I totally didn't expect this. But well, I guess you will definitely be going to our house normally. It's just that the circumstances are a bit different from what you might have expected."
"Ringo… were you this talkative?" as though she shocked herself, Minase asked.
"Uhm, what? Was I not like this in the past?"
"TO. TAL. LY."
Actually, I should have introduced that guy who is lying down."
"Umm… are you sure he's okay?"
So this here is Gin Sakato. He is the owner of this house. He'll be getting up soon…
Nevermind, he fell asleep."
"Wait, Ringo. So it's true that you're living here?"
"Yep. Due to some circumstances, I am temporarily living here."
"But for what reason-"
She was interrupted as Sis's voice sounded from the stairs, and revealed a rather haggard looking lady.
"Hey, little sis… is there still leftover breakfast…?"
"Ah, morning Sis. You have your portion on the table. You pulled out an all-nighter again, geez."
"Oh…? I think I'm still asleep. I'm seeing Minamina-chan and Eri-chan in my dreams…"
"Hweh? Even Ane Yuna lives here?"
"Uhh… yeah. I won't be in this house without her."
"Ohhh… So you two are the real deal.
Wait. Why is this plank sleeping on the floor?"
"I kind of knocked him out, Sis. Oh, he's awake."
Sis pouted, "Tsk. I was about to step on you."
"Geez. I never thought about that happening in the past, Rin.
And no way, Sis."
"Huh? The what?"
"Kids sure are naughty giving the doctors their own pills. Thank goodness they didn't die.
I guess I'm the only one that-"
With myself standing up and declaring a story to Rin, I completely forgot that she has visitors who came just literally a few minutes ago. I said some ridiculous things, did I?
"Please excuse my inexcusable behavior."
"Hey, Potato. Don't go that dumb English subtitles route."
"Ahaha. That just came out randomly."
"Did you mean something like, 'People die if they are killed' thing?" Minase butted in and asked.
"Yep. Like that. Wait, that's not it.
I haven't introduced him properly yet. He's now awake so… This guy here is Gin Sakato, the owner of this house."
"Nice to meet you two."
"You two are probably asking why I am not in our family house as it is just next door. There's a good reason for it.
By the way, Gin here is my boyfriend."
A long duration of silence came but I can feel from where I am sat the pain, sorrow, and a feeling of betrayal from the two with their stagnant smiles. For whatever reason they might be in deeply dejected emotions, this looks like it will cause rather a ruckus in any second from now.
But I can guess that they're thinking about "Top 10 Anime Betrayals."
"WHAT?!?!?! Ringo has what?!?! Am I hearing this correctly?! Quick! Anyone check if I'm still alive! Am I still breathing?! Still pumping blood?!?!"
"What in the ikemen beings happened to this world?! How come the world changed so drastically in a short span of time?! Is the economy still stable in Orio?! Did the mortality rate go down?! We aren't being invaded by other countries, right?! Has a human already set foot on Mars?!"
A rather obnoxious reaction came from the two as they hysterically utter nonsense back and forth.
"Ringo is living with his boyfriend?! Does that mean…!"
"That could only mean one thing, right?!"
Ohh. Finally, they're thoughts are coming down to Earth-
WAIT, NO. I don't like where this is going at.
"Hey, Rin… Can you make those two stop? Surely they're misunderstanding this."
"Hahh… I shouldn't have said that first…"
"Yeah… this scene suddenly turned into a 'Riajuus, go blow yourselves up' situation."
You two… why do you think we humans have two eyes?"
A chill on my spine crept up upon hearing Rin's questions. Though, the two suddenly sat straight as they shiver in some kind of fear. Thus, they answered in unison.
"It is so that when one eye is gone, we still have one that functions…"
Instead of calming down, they somehow cowered in fear and kept themselves silent. At least, it's now quiet.
"Finally I can explain…
Just like I told you, Gin is my boyfriend. But our relationship has nothing to do with my being in this household as a resident…"
She spoke with her right pointer finger raised. Is she seriously going to poke their eyes…? No, no, no, no.
"Gin has lived alone for more than a year now but he recently got some sort of a sleeping disorder which makes him sleep at random in any time of the day. Because of his family being busy with their own matters, I was left to be the best to watch over him but of course he greatly opposed.
But then Sis proposed that she would also live here as she brings her work here, so everything got settled to where we are now."
"But at least, I'm still glad that you two visited."
"Also, Ringo! I saw a picture of you in some sort of a restaurant somewhere. Although it was a screenshot!"
"So you saw it… Still, no wonder why you don't recognize Gin."
"I kind of worked in a restaurant in Japan this summer vacation and that picture you're talking about was probably a screen capture from a restaurant showcase and an interview.
You've probably heard of Giotto's. Actually, Gin is the sous chef in the branch near here and he's the interviewee at that time."
"Wha- Giotto's?! I've heard about the owners of that restaurant. They're apparently young and quite the handsome men."
Sis almost burst out of laughter for some unknown reasons as she is eating on the dining table. But one thing I know is that she's enjoying at listening on us.
"S-So he's like… a real chef…?!"
"Yes. I got my license a few months ago. Though I'm on my break due to my current condition. I'm a jobless person, if one were to say."
Rin interjected, "But I'm not some kind of a chef, in my case, alright? I just happened to tag along in the restaurant that's why I got a temporary position in the kitchen."
"WAIT. YOU CAME TO JAPAN, RINGO?!?!"
And there they go again.
With a few winks and staring back and forth on us, Erika suddenly leaned forward towards Rin as to whisper something.
"Hey, Ringo. You two sure are suited for each other, you know?"
"Huhh… Why are you saying that now."
"Ugh… I'll just ask bluntly now that I am single with no other things to be proud of aside from my 2D husbands and has no… normal… friends…" the poor girl dug her own grave.
"Erika… you do realize that you're straight up embarrassing yourself, right…?"
"Meh. I had waifus in the past too so I can relate."
I really had to add that.
"Potato… you do realize you're saying embarrassing things, right?"
"Shouldn't have asked…
While you two are here, why not join us for lunch?"
"I-Is that okay?"
"I guess I'll go help, Rin. You're free to punch me on the gut when I fall asleep, okay?"
"I wonder what's making you surprised, Mina."
"S-S-Seriously… what relationship do you two have?! I don't think that's normal…"
"Saying stuff like that… Wait… we didn't know you can punch, Ringo?!"
"Haven't missed a blow on his face."
"Uhh… Well I can agree that our relationship isn't normal, but it's best to say that we're just weird as a pair.
I'm sorry for infecting your friend with my stupidity."
"By the way, how long are you two dating already?"
"It's already been a year just a few days ago. On the 20th, specifically."
"Can you tell us more?"
"Yeah! Like, how did you two meet?"
Their shocked expression just a second ago shifted as curiosity got the better of them. Them being an otaku, I presume that they're seeing us in some sort of a romance anime or manga. The two look to be like they won't back down to their ship. Seriously, that's some spirit they have.
"Do you seriously want an answer?"
"Hahh… Where should I start then…"
"On the table, Rin."
"Right, the table. We became friends at one lunch break last year when we didn't have any space to sit."
"We were also classmates last year, by the way. I've been studying in Blue Ink for five years."
"And then one of Potato's friends explained the clubs. Thus, we went to the Art Club because it's my interest and just because I've socialized with the members."
"Oh, right. That's Ringo for you—escaping unsociable places and all."
"Shut it, Erika."
"Coincidentally, Rin and I lived in the same direction and it turned out to be that we were neighbors. My family house is just a few blocks away from here.
Eventually, we did come to school together from time to time. But then, I took a leave of absence for a week without telling my friends so it made them worry about me."
Of course I can't tell them I was hit by a truck, spent two years in the Room of Reality to heal my injuries, and came back as a seventeen year-old at that time.
"W-W-Wait…! First! Exactly how did you two tell each other your feelings?"
"What is this, an interview? Lol."
"You know, anxiety hits hard because of worrying about this guy when he suddenly disappeared then I realized that I like him."
"Although the one thing we agreed with is that we've probably liked each other even before we realized it. In my case, there are days when Rin has occupied my head for a whole day."
"Going back, a few weeks after that, Potato moved here and we had some kind of ramen get-together. After that, I accidentally got myself to what should be a familial issue on his side."
"That's something that I can't tell, though she knows what it is of course as I let her hear everything that I said at that time.
After crying like helpless kids, it was when we started our relationship. It was all fine and I was planning to tell her family the next day but Rin passed out after being surprised by my eavesdropping parents. This girl can't wake wake up once she's fast asleep."
"Wait… is this where you carried Ringo like she's a princess?! Something like that?!"
Hoooold up. What's with the nerdy intuition that Minase just had?
"Oh sure, that happened because she won't wake up and then his father opened the door and he saw me with Rin on my arms and it was like you'll be left with the 'to be continued.'"
"Kyaaaaah…! That was so cute and exciting that you'd want to know happen next! Ahhhhh…!!!"
"Oh my goodness, I so want to know what happened! I'm sure that it will be something like the boyfriend confronting the father of his girlfriend, so cliched but still cool…!"
And there they go blushing and fidgeting so much out of elation that they can't sit in one place.
Oh my goodness, they really should stop with the kyun kyun.
"But!" I spoke with a slightly louder voice and the two halted from their excitement. "One thing to always keep in mind is that we are still both young. So with that, we drew a line between us and continued on with life as we get to know each other further.
But still, don't take us as an example. Please don't be impatient with this matter. Our circumstances just happened but we're still having a light relationship."
"And also, we split up because of perhaps the stupidest reason we both agreed to."
"What?!" the two leaned forward and bashed their hands on the coffee table. "You mean you broke up?!"
"W-We… It would be better not telling what was behind that. Though, it's something that we decided for ourselves, and it made us learn lessons."
A caring, seemingly mature smile grew from Rin's lips as her warm gaze directed to her friends. Thus, she spoke.
"Mina, Erika. One advice that I can tell is that once you two have found your significant others at some point in time, mutual understanding will come to light if each other share their conflict and pain.
Gin has soooo much of it that I've pretty much understood his persona… almost! Even if he doesn't think of it, I can tell that I still do not know him a lot."
"Ahahaha… well, part of it is that I myself do not even know the entirety of my persona. It may sound weird, but I had a lot of circumstances since my childhood.
There are just significant things that we tend to forget sometimes. It just so happened that I have a slight case of memory loss.
But anyway! That is also how I came to understand and knew more of Rin. 'Always be communicative to your partner,' is what I always follow.
Because if I don't, and I did… I hurt her and made her cry a couple of times now."
"Now… Now I understand why you two suit each other well. Ringo has a tendency to prioritize others before herself even amidst of her shy attitude. That is what made her kind in her own ways.
And to think that she found someone that values her kindness more than anyone, I'm glad.
"Umm… just Gin, please."
"Uhh… then, Gin. We wish for you to take care of Ringo in the future too."
"N-Nah… Even if you don't say that, I'll be doing it anyway. As much as she can't leave me alone as I am a helpless idiot, I also can't just leave her alone.
We may be different as I don't know what it feels like to agonize with being apart from people she cares for, but that's the more reason why I should be beside her when she's in pain. That's just how it is. We lend our shoulders to each other, as there are times where we can't stand and walk by ourselves."
"Potato… you're just too philosophical," along with those words is her head suddenly leaning on my shoulder with her eyes closed and a contented smile.
"Oi, you'll just get Minase and Erika jealous again."
"I'm happy you know."
"Mhm. I'm glad you are."
The conversations did not end there as it continued until we had our lunch with the two. As I have observed them being rather talkative, I started to wonder how exactly they became friends with the introverted Rin. Being an otaku is one thing, but I still don't quite get it since I'm always surrounded by ambiverts.
But it made me feel relieved that Rin had a bright past with Erika and Minase. It honestly made me a bit envious but I realized that I am in a similar position. I have my family, my friends, and the one I love. Those per se are my happiness, and they are my reason for living. Indeed, I am enjoying the life that I currently have.
But with all that being said, the storm is about to make its landfall.
▪ ▪ ▪
A few hours later, in the office of Rishou Kagetora in the local family hospital, a knock sounded on the door.
"Who is it?"
"It's just me, Doc. I'm not here for a checkup. I just want to know if you have any time to talk."
"Oh, Ginji. My hands are free right now. You may come in."
Right after the twisting of the doorknob and opening of the door, G charged his own way to a certain file drawer in the office as he rustle through countless folders and papers from top to bottom.
"Wh- G-Ginji! What are you doing opening my files?!"
"At least give me an answer…! I don't know what's happening!"
"This… found it.
Gin Sakato, or should I say 027, came in Maris in a certain day on November last year to make contact with you after more than ten years. He intentionally made an appointment with you just for that reason.
We've already talked about this, but to clarify, what I'm saying is correct, right?"
"Then you're surely forgetting something important, you forgetful doctor. Just look at this and see for yourself.
You know, I just can't stand by doing nothing, Doctor Kagetora."
G slammed some paperworks on the desk where there stood frozen the doctor upon seeing the contents of the document.
"Oh no… Why… How could I have forgotten about this…?!"
▪ ▪ ▪
Around the same time…
"Wow… even though I have fewer things to do since I'm restricted, I really have nothing to do right now."
"Well, we all have those days, Potato."
"And art block doesn't help at all… ugh… I'm so bored…"
Gin stood up from his lifeless sitting and walked towards the door with a thought that is not projected by his expression of natural nonchalance.
"Where are you going?"
"I have to ask Dad about something."
With a few steps of walking down the several meters on the street, he opened the door of their family house and rolled his eyes to his father.
"Hey, Dad. Doing something?"
"Nothing important. What's up? Feeling fine?"
"Can you drive me to the base? I have nothing to do in my house so I figured that I'll visit them."
"Why not come down with me later? I'm sure you're still known underground. They'll be glad to see the brother (in-law) of Uncle Eijiro."
"Fine. I haven't been there in a while. I'll have the car ready."
"Alright. I'll be back," and I came back to my house.
"Rin. Want to come with us to the base?" I said as I am making my way upstairs.
"Sure. I have to keep my eyes on you anyways."
After a few minutes, Gin came down from his room with a folded paper on hand.
"Let's go, I guess?"
With that, they ventured the road to the underground base over the wheels going through the slowly decreasing crowd until they reached an isolated part of Cotona.
Entering the greenhouse, Gin prompted to go down to the lowest and third floor of the spacious base. What met the eyes are Sean coincidentally near the lift.
"Oh, Gin. Making a visit, I see?"
"Great timing, Sean. I'm giving this to you so please read this immediately," I gave the folded paper I had earlier from the house to Sean as I quickly walked into a room.
"What's with the rush, Gin?"
A room with a thick layer of lookout glass is where Gin entered. With his father, Rin and Sean following him, they tried to open the door that Gin immediately closed but it was locked for reasons they do not know.
"Gin? Is something wrong?"
There, he stood in the center of the room with the company having no choice but to watch from the window.
Hahh… Haah… Haahh…"
Along with the heavy breathing and rapidly pouring sweat, Gin fell down to his knees with a display of kneeling with no life nor radiance emitted from his entire body.
"G-Gin…? Seriously… what is happening to you…?!" with a sorrowful expression, Rin tried to speak.
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH…!!!!!! Hahh… Hahh… HAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH…!!!"
A pained expression on the face of the agonizing man has risen as he strongly pulled his hair with the uncontrollable swaying of his body from the immense throbbing that was coming from his head.
Nothing that either Amano or Rin can do, they helplessly looked over Gin with their emotions on their edges.
Thus, the storm finally fell over us.
To be continued.
You've finished 020.
Honestly, this feels like a very climactic or endgame juncture of the story, but to think that this is just one of the many developments throughout, I really have made the scope of this story really wide.
Anyway, that's another ten chapters, so there will not be a new chapter on the next regular release schedule, but cover will be updated soon. I hope you look forward what unfolds!
Thank you for reading!
021: It is now downhill from this point.
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