Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path | Our World
"Ringo… We're extremely sorry… I didn't know that things would turn for the worse… let alone ever thought that the circumstances will be like this… This… I know… I know that this will make you hate us for our grave mistake…"
"Dad… What are you talking about…? Tell me…"
Shuu, Rin's father hesitated with his words as his mind was suddenly stormed by boiling emotions while his wife is still on her arms, unconscious.
What ought to be a normal short visit of the daughter has turned to a mysterious and seemingly sorrowful daybreak as something is about to unfold through her father's impending words.
"I never expected this to happen… It seems that we're still tied by an old story… I should have expected that things won't be fine even after all these years…"
"Dad… W-What's holding you back…? Please… tell me…"
Ringo, daughter… Gin, or who you call 027… he was a replacement—a substitute Medical Child to you…
You were supposed to have the code 019…"
Eyes widened, tears rolled, and limbs trembled.
The words that had taken so many cautions have finally been voiced out… to be the most unexpected thing to be heard by her ears. Truly, mere words can raise tragedy—a tragedy that flowed and is still flowing down to the vertical line of time.
What the three did not know was that Yuna heard everything from outside as she was halted to enter the house because of the air of seriousness inside.
▪ ▪ ▪
"Good day, Mr. and Mrs. Akanami."
"Oh, it's you, Mr. X. Please come in."
There stood a man on a suit in front of the door of the Akanami household—in a certain day on April, in the year 2007.
It was still in the home place of Rin's family in Sector 392. A humble home of a married couple with two female children.
"A nice house, I would say."
"Hahahaha. Thank you. This house almost cost me my life."
"You kid, Mr. Akanami."
"So, you being here, Mr. X… Does that mean this is related to the preparatory school?"
"Yes~! I would like to congratulate you for having Ringo recommended as one of the hundred children that can be admitted to the institution."
"Y-You hear that… Sumi…?!"
"How nice… for our Ringo to be recommended in such a school… I'm overjoyed!"
"Now that's the spirit! Truly, this is a very good opportunity for your child."
It was a time where trust was not yet a very conflicting issue. Thus, most are kind and honest… but that time was about to meet its end.
"Mr. Y exclusively sent me here to explain the things regarding the program.
As you may already know, your child along with ninety-nine other children of the same age will be admitted to a preparatory school for a whole year. Though unfortunate that they will be temporarily separated from their family, it is an opportunity to explore their own creativity outside parental guidance.
But the good news is that everything will be free of charge. Meaning, there is nothing for us to interfere financially in every family.
Not to mention, they will be protected from the current epidemic that attacks children of five to twelve years old."
The man had his own ways with his words. So much that he defended his own from the false shortcoming of the pseudo program.
Parents at those times urge their children to take higher education, thus making their heads nod on agreement when such a proposal came to their grasps.
Frankly, it was a foolish way to think. Higher education does not solve every conflict. Not everyone that takes a caliber of education attain success. It all goes down with how an individual applies them. That, in the middle of it, is still a common knowledge.
The technological revolution had produced advantages for everyone, but it is still a double-edged sword—greatly affecting the youth of generations.
Because of that mindset, it was easy for Shuu and Sumi to agree with the conditions, admitting Rin to the program.
And so, the man walked away from the household with a smile of that of a swindler.
But the joy had not lasted, as a head-turner came to the couple.
Two weeks later, they planned to talk with the man on the suit again and found him talking with someone with a laboratory coat in a rather isolated place.
"How's it coming inside, Doc?"
"Good so far. We have a few weeks until the program and we are advancing well. With things keeping up, we can be ahead of the deadline."
It was indeed Rishou Kagetora, who was in his prime as a doctor.
"Ohhh… sounds good. So? Just how many slots of children remain?"
"Surely you would be surprised with this. You're doing a fine job, you know? We only need one more. And whoever it will be will take the code 027."
"I see, I see… I still have my job to accomplish, then. I have three possible candidates for the last slot. I better visit them."
"I'm counting on you."
“You know what, Doc? The family of 019… was it Akanami? Man, they were so gullible I almost laughed in front of them. You’d understand if you saw their hopeful faces.”
“Hahahaha… Mice really are fools in the presence of cheese as bait.”
“That just means that our cover is flawless.”
“Again, you’re doing a good job.
"Thank you. Well, good luck in advance, Doctor. I hope that at least one or two children will stay alive after a year."
"To be honest, I myself don't know. We might successfully make a cure, but there's a high possibility that all the children will end up dead.
Hahh… Those kids should be thankful that they can be of help to many when they are in their graves."
“But! Are they really going to graves?”
“Hahaha. You have a point. Ashes, maybe.”
"Well, let's hope for the best."
The conversation between the program’s agent and the doctor was clearly heard by the couple who was listening in a corner of a building also unseen from other people.
It was truly a terrifying exchange of words, but what sculpted a more horrified faces of Shuu and Sumi is how the conversation looks just like a normal conversation with such nonchalance.
The two moved away from the area and went to a park where it had the timing that only a few people were near.
“Good grief… What did we just listen to?!”
“A-Are they seriously going to kill children… just like that?! But why…?! Why would they do that?!”
Sumi broke in tears as the thought of children dying so unreasonably echoed in her mind. Shuu had tried to steel himself as he placed his hand to the shoulder of his wife and leaned her head to him. But however way he tried to suppress his emotions all failed.
“What is going on… All this time we are running around on the palm of those bastards… We’ve been fooled…
Why does this have to happen?! On what reason will the death of children be a good thing?! How can they spout that crap so easily without even feeling guilty over themselves…? What is this world anyway… Are they trying to make this world some kind of hell?!
Who do those people think they are for playing with their garbage in front of us?! Do they even think of what might the parents of their children will feel if they heard that their child was killed by some unjustified reasons…?!”
Fortunately, not a word from Shuu’s uproar of emotions was heard.
But as a parent, he can’t just turn a blind eye from what he had heard. It had become a wake-up call for them that this world has something wrong with it; that this world is not as justified as one would think. His daughter was still young and has a future that has not yet been paved. Rin still had no idea of what this world will eventually throw on her. She still has a life where she can smile, can play; can be together with her family…
And that life to be trampled over an unfair reason? Shuu will do everything to null that future, he thought.
“Sumi… I will never let our daughter die. I can’t let such a thing happen. I promise that she will live on.
We still have time to resolve this… Sumi… There’s no time for us to be crying here. We need to do something about this.”
▪ ▪ ▪
The next day.
“Mr. X. You’re here. Sorry for suddenly calling you to our house in the middle of your work. Were you busy?”
“I do have some things taken into account, but we prioritize communication with the parents of the children. It’s not a problem at all.”
“What a snake…”
“Sumi and I have something to talk to you about. It’s about our daughter… You see… due to certain circumstances that recently happened in our family, we will have to cancel your offer.”
It was an obvious lie. But all for the safety of their daughter, he taught. Shuu is trying to maintain a peaceful talk, and he intended to settle this with diplomacy.
But there was nothing for the parents to hold them back as their two children are currently on a relative’s house away from them for the time being.
“Cancel the offer…? What could have happened? Mr. Akanami? You wouldn’t find this opportunity elsewhere. You do not have to worry about financial matters either as we explained that the preparatory school will not ask for tuition and miscellaneous fees.”
“Even with such a golden offer, we have to refuse. A family matter is a family matter. Please don’t pry too much in our problems that shouldn’t be told,” Sumi countered the further explanation of the agent.
“I am very sorry…
But we will guarantee the safety of your child. So there is nothing for you to worry about,” the agent insisted, not showing any signs of backing down.
“Enough with that stupidity! Do you think we will let our daughter die in your hands?! What good will be done by burning the corpse of children to ashes after using them?!”
After the hypocritical statement, Shuu finally snapped and the agent came to a surprise.
“Hey, hey… Where did you two hear that from, hah?”
The trustworthy smile of the agent disappeared and was replaced by a grim look on his face.
“You were taking to some doctor yesterday and we heard your conversation. We were just going to discuss some things with you that time, but we happened to discover your true intentions.”
Darn. And here I thought everything will just be fine. Why do you fools need to know our plans… Good grief.
Hey. Do you really insist to remove your child from the roster?”
“Of course we do! There’s nothing for us to gain but sufferings with this stupid cover up of yours!”
“Waaaahhhh… What resolve you have there. I bet you two were head over the heels when you two weren’t married yet.” With his words as the queue, he stood up and pulled out a gun from the inner pocket of his suit. “Just so you know, we’re not doing this just for fun. We’re trying to make a cure for the epidemic, alright? Do you really understand the consequences? Look, because of your non-stop whining, you’re endangering not just hundreds of children but millions of lives too.”
Even with their lives about to end any time, Shuu stood firm.
“B-But even so-!”
“Don’t you get it…? We’re making the world a better place where we can easily cure diseases. We promised that we will be done in a year so we will be experimenting with living rats. Who knows, you two might catch an unknown illness, but we will have a cure for that. Easy!” the agent heartlessly explained.
“So it was very easy for you people to toy with life? Have you no shame?! Are you people still humane?!”
“Hahaha… I wonder?
But I guess one child isn’t really a loss. I’ll just have to explain things to the higher-ups and with a few words, everything will be fine. Hmm…
I know! You two help me with my work and I’ll let you live!”
“W-What do you mean…?!”
“Hey! It’s a very simple task! I’ll just let you choose. Here!”
The agent placed down three pieces of documents to the table containing data of three children, unnamed but with a picture attached.
“Surely you have heard that your daughter is code 019. Agh, it sucks that she won’t be anymore. But then, you just have to choose who will be code 027 and I will leave. Fair deal, right?”
The three documents had pictures of a male and two female children respectively as it was arranged in the table. Immediately, they chose the document of the boy out of desperation.
It was seen in the picture that the boy has a rich black hair in an average length, dark brown eyes and a very lively smile, to be expected from a healthy child.
A smile… that was rarely found in the face of Gin Sakato, after ten years.
“Ohhh… good choice. As promised, I’ll leave.
But it is taboo to tell anyone of what we just talked about. If word has been spread, I will be back and I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
See. You. Fools~ I hope you don’t regret to know that the child you picked might eventually die.” Thus, the agent left the house with his gun hidden again.
Eyes widened, tears rolled, and limbs trembled.
After a few minutes of silence, they realized that they made a grave mistake, as unreasonable as the people behind the Medical Children Program are. Because of their desperation to protect their child, they did not think of the consequences of what they have done.
“What have we done,” “How will the parents of that child feel,” “What will happen to that child?” is what they asked themselves after realizing the darkness of their decision.
Rin was then raised properly with no danger. But unknown to her is the weight of the regret that is still crippling on her parents’ backs as they do not know a thing if that child—027 is still alive or not.
It was a bitter past, and it is a bittersweet present.
▪ ▪ ▪
After hearing the whole story, Rin immediately ran to her room with tears flying out of her eyes and hurriedly went outside without saying a word.
Taken over by her emotions, she did not even notice her sister outside and went inside the car to come back to the underground base.
No significant sound to be heard but the sound of the weeping of Shuu and Sumi as they just watched Rin leave without even looking at them. Yuna then entered the house with her eyes swelling behind her glass from shedding tears.
“I… I know how kind Gin is… but even if he forgives and forgets everything… I don’t think I can easily do that…”
Closing the door, she exited the house.
~ ~ ~
I… So that is where “Rin” came from…
▪ ▪ ▪
In no time, Rin came back to the base as she asked to be sent back quickly. The certain Exile did not ask what happened but it is enough reason to rush after seeing the gloom from Rin reflected from the front mirror of the car.
She ran as if her life depends on it and hurriedly came to the isolation room. As she was about to unlock the door of Gin’s room, a sight was seen inside as Hiro, Sean, the doctor and Gin’s parents watched him write on the walls, the floor and the ceiling—a combination of three letters with his white marker…
Without even being taken aback by the sight, Rin opened the door and embraced Gin, who is stood in the center of the scribbles in the darkness.
Not a word was uttered from inside and outside the room for a certain time.
“Gin… All this happened… because of me… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… You shouldn’t have been there… You should have had a peaceful life… if not because of me!”
As if her tears were unending, she cried everything that had piled inside of her heart, and let everything out.
You say that it’s your fault… yet you still came back to me… when I should have been the one to come back to you… You embraced me… you told me everything even in the face of that…
Doesn’t that make you a strong person…?
I just remembered… I found your documents inside the laboratory… So you were code 019… Hey, don’t be sad. I even spent almost a year just to uncover the mystery of who might be behind that code number… And it turned out that it was you… Just like what you’re seeing right now… I did this in the past…”
“B-But… you had to suffer in exchange to my safety… I can’t accept that…! It’s painful…!”
“No, Rin… It’s serendipitous… don’t you think?
We first met when we were first years… just by pure coincidence because you lost your wallet… And then we met again, not as strangers… but as a family that I will never forget…
But even before that… I am quite proud…
I’m proud… that even as a kid… I was already protecting you… that I have saved you…”
It was a very meaningful cry… that finally reached where it was supposed to be heard.
▪ ▪ ▪
Thirty-seven more days… and this hellish year of experiments will end. Another child had died… it was 086 this time. I saw him being covered with a white blanket, and being pushed on a hospital bed outside the laboratory.
But what I did not know at that time that he was Ken Ichikawa. Now, I ponder to myself how he managed to escape from being disposed.
But he was someone I truly considered as a friend… and he still left nevertheless. I am quite envious though. I attempted to escape for a few times… but he managed to pull off a success in his first try.
“Head doctor, I think something is wrong with 027.”
“What is it? What happened?"
"I think he’s unconscious. He’s not responding to us. But he’s still alive.”
“Check his body quickly. We can’t afford to lose a child after 086 just died.”
“This is bad… head doctor. His health is deteriorating quickly… He might be in danger at this rate…”
“Useless brat… I’ll handle him myself. I can’t have a kid dying on me right now.”
And so, Gin was saved from the verge of dying by Rishou Kagetora. As such, the mystery of Gin’s weakening from the mental breakdown is answered, as it already happened when he was a child.
However, he turned to a child that has seemingly no emotions, no response, and no senses of feeling pain from the remaining experiments.
Thus, the final month ended quickly with the success of making a cure for the epidemic and leaving one surviving child from all the experiments.
He came out of the laboratory after a year, and saw the sun and the sky together. But it did not leave an impression to him.
He was sat on a wheelchair with a hair longer than when he first entered the laboratory together with the lifeless, dark brown eyes that sees through things without meaning. He was under the sun together with two men on black suits, waiting for his ride to send him back home.
But the head doctor, Rishou Kagetora came before the car and told his parting words.
“Useless brat. I hope you disappear soon.”
~ ~ ~
Extreme shock attacked the hearts of his parents as he was sent back home. He was embraced by his father and mother, not expecting to see their son in that sorry state.
But one thing that came to Gin’s mind while he was tightly hugged by those who gave birth to him…
“Who… are they…?”
Being back at a now unfamiliar place, he was unable to speak for more than a year. But later on, he remembered that Amano and Senna Sakato were indeed his parents. However, he did not feel anything about it, as it seemed that he did not have the emotions that ought to be had. But with those being recalled, he only remembered the time before he went to the program. He did not know what the reason of him missing so much in his heart and mind, making his existence feeling empty.
But things subtly changed because of his grandfather, Kinrou who came back to his home after two years away from his family. He was happy and sad to see his grandson in that state. And so he thought of cooking for his grandson, as it may help him from the emptiness. It was like a treasure was found, seeing the child smile in the care of his grandfather, and seeing him cry in his death.
He stayed home for the rest of his childhood, being educated privately. He had no friends, and he had no experience of what it feels like coming to school. So it became a hurdle for him to finally experience the school life in his first year in junior high school.
Thankfully, he met what he could call a friend: Nagi Kajima. And they became a group of four with the addition of Akira Bentley and Jean Ando.
Gin was still a thoughtless child. But he discovered his ability to observe not just people, but also his surroundings. He developed a nonchalant and rather stoic behavior that was forged with the help of his friends. They fought through the unruly acts of their class, and escaped the chaos by being in a club of creatives.
Little by little, the emotionless child regained his humanity, which became a great surprise to his friends when he sculpted a sincere smile on his face.
On the last year of his junior high school life, he met two female classmates and befriended with them as they were part of the same club.
But what Gin thought to be a normal life suddenly changed. He was hit by a vehicle that had lost control, shattered his body and his wishes. But what was not shattered is his will to live. He saved himself from the verge of death and entered isolation for two years which he almost killed himself.
But he came back to the world, ready to face the cruel reality. He came back to his family, eventually found his beloved, changed lives of his class, met new people with different backgrounds, became an Exile and a chef, made a name… as being a nameless, and continued to live on until he faced a predicament once again.
Man… why do I even have this kind of plot armor?
▪ ▪ ▪
For a moment, his parents left the base and came back to their family house… only to see Shuu and Sumi Akanami inside, together with Kei with a pained face, and Anna locking herself up on her room. Seeing his parents came back, Kei stood up and went outside to Gin’s house.
“Mom… Dad… You have to listen with what they have to say…”
“Amano… Senna… I don’t know if you can forgive us… But you’re son… he is suffering because of us…”
“Hahh… So this was related to why your daughter was so broken when she came back to the base…”
“So you know already…”
“Not yet. We had a hint. But we will hear you two out.”
~ ~ ~
Everything has been told to the parents of the suffering. For them, it was not something to be easily forgotten because it concerned their child from taking the burden of someone. As a parent, it was something that is very unforgivable. But…
“We do not ask for your forgiveness, but we wish for Gin and our daughter to stay together… At least with that, we will be contended.”
Shuu… we don’t plan to do anything like that.”
“Hahh… How many times do I have to say this…
It is not our decision whether you will be forgiven, but we do forgive. The choice will come from Gin himself. He is the most affected to everything that has happened. Therefore, he has to decide. He is not a kid anymore. I’m sure that he can decide for himself.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Turning back the time from when it was just after Rin faced Gin with the knowledge of everything that has happened…
“Gin, is it okay if I turn on the lights?”
Just after Sean turned on the lights of the isolation room, something had immediately shone inside. Aside from the scribble being clearly visible now, there appeared right before their eyes a gray-colored hair in Gin’s head.
“Gin… your hair…”
“My hair…? What about it, Rin…?”
“It’s… It’s gray… No. It’s silver…”
~ ~ ~
“It doesn’t look like there are signs of rapid aging. His hair oddly grew rapidly, but we're clear of signs and symptoms,” Dr. Kagetora explained.
“Of course there will be no signs like that,” Amano butted in. “That… we finally saw it again… his hair… we’ve never seen it ever since then…”
“Brother… it was this look of him again…”
“Umm… Mr. Sakato? I don’t quite get it,” Hiro demands for an answer as he cannot understand what the two are saying.
“That… Gin. That was your hair when you were born. Your hair was silver to begin with.”
“We found out that it was not a genetic inheritance as Senna and I do not have such a trait. There might be scientific explanations to it, but we settled with it as pure ‘nonsense.’”
“Ahahaha… A nonsense, you say… Well, even I can call myself a nonsense… So it’s fine…”
But Gin… I didn’t have a chance to ask… How come you are retaining your consciousness this long?”
“About that, Rin. I think it has something to do with me remembering everything. All of them… I recall now.”
“Is that so… Then, that’s very nice…!”
I guess it’s time for me to come back now. Talk to you later, Kuro.
Hahaha… Sure. I will always be here if you need someone to talk to. Not like I can go anywhere.
Thanks. Well, the door is just there. See you.
Yep. Bye for now.
What? Is something wrong?
The door to reality is here, clearly seen, opaque, and can be touched. Thus, Gin grasped the doorknob and tried to twist it… but he can’t.
Hey, what’s going on?
It seems that… I am locked in here… I can’t go out.
~ ~ ~
“Rin… Sorry. I think this will be the last. I promise…”
“What is it…? Gin…?”
With that, his head fell to Rin’s lap as his eyes slowly closed.
Mhm. Good night, Gin.”
▪ ▪ ▪
After a few hours, he woke up.
“Ah, you’re finally awake… Did you have a good sleep?”
For some reason, Gin had a confused look on his face and got up to sit on his bed. Rin is sat on a chair, watching over him as he slept.
“Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?” she gracefully asked.
“Finally awake, I see. We’re coming in then.”
His parents along with Hiro and Sean entered the room which now looked like a hospital room, but still with the scribbles everywhere.
“Umm… yes. I will gladly take your offer. I’m feeling hungry myself…”
“Huhh… What’s with the polite way of speaking, Gin? You don’t speak like this when I’m with you.”
So, my name is Gin?”
All of them paused and looked at him with surprise.
“Y-You’re Rin, right…? It does seem like I can't remember anything aside from your name and face.”
So you don’t remember anything…? No memories…?”
Their expressions are starting to get horrified again as they discovered from the man himself the he had no memories.
So he answered, “Yes, I think that’s the case… Rin…?”
Hearing those words as he displayed an innocent smile, their expressions changed and went blank aside from Rin, who had her face dyed in red with a rather angry but cute face.
What was that…?! I’m so happy and all that you still can remember me, but what kind of human even tells that he is aware that he lost his memories?! So unfair! So unfair…!”
What supposed to be a sad scene turned into something light to the heart. Even with his memories lost and its impact, they can’t resist but laugh seeing how girly Rin reacted.
▪ ▪ ▪
Okay… now what…?
This is so unprecedented… Here I am stuck on my own mind…
Uhh… yeah. That I can see.
I can confirm that it is just on the surface, and I am aware that this shouldn’t be much of a deal knowing that but…
Seriously! Why do I keep losing my memories over and over?!
It’s time to stop dreaming.
That wraps up 023!
While it might not be a thought that is exceptional, for instance, this major twist was one of those that just suddenly sparked in my head long before this chapter got written. I was worried that I would forget it as I don't write ideas out, but it really stuck in me. Could I have done better? Probably. I feel like I spread out this part of this story quite evenly from 016 up to here but it definitely went 0-60 in no time. I really wish I could have made it longer without dragging it too long, but it is what it is now. Arc's not over!
Thanks for reading!
024: The lost child.