Chapter 28:

028 – They Visited Again

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

Another day, and another time for someone to knock on my door.Bookmark here

"Yeeess~ on my way.Bookmark here

Ah-"Bookmark here

With who knows how many times has this story made a door-opening scene, this time, I'm genuinely surprised again but not with the same level when an adult Ryou Yugare went in this house.Bookmark here

"Uhh… Hello, Minase and Erika… How may this humble person help you?"Bookmark here

Indeed, they are Rin's friends from Wisteria.Bookmark here

However, as if they did not hear my greeting, they stood without saying anything.Bookmark here

Clarification: it seems that they are in a daze.Bookmark here

"Umm… Minamina-chan? Eri-chan?" again, I called out, trying to pull them back to reality this time.Bookmark here

Having called by their somewhat embarrassing nicknames made them snap and flinch with their cheeks suddenly blushing red.Bookmark here

"Ah- Uhh- Umm… Is Ringo around, G-Gin?"Bookmark here

They stood straight, while Minase stuttered.Bookmark here

"Oh. Before that, you two should come in first. I can't have you staying outside in this cold weather. I'll serve some tea, so please have a seat."Bookmark here

They flinched… again. Regardless, I accompanied them to the living room, while they still show an uptight behavior.Bookmark here

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Gin having gone to the kitchen…Bookmark here

"Apples… I'm getting some serious deja vu…!" he made a rather frightened face as he tightly held on the edges of the counter.Bookmark here

"No… this ain't it, right?! Of course it can't be…! But this thought rejection will just produce the opposite effect…!"Bookmark here

Explanation!!Bookmark here

This has indeed happened to Gin at some point in his fourth year. More so, he is seeing almost the same scene from that past. What is it, then?Bookmark here

The time when he was having suspicions of Rin, romantically!Bookmark here

After he came back from Room of Reality, he had observed that Rin's behavior towards him suddenly changed, making it awkward for both of the two. Specifically, Rin will immediately turn red just seeing him…Bookmark here

"Apples. They're looking at me…"Bookmark here

…and steal glances when Gin is looking away. It wasn't much of a basis in reality, but having seen it for how many times, it just became a memory hard to erase.Bookmark here

"That is, if I have my memories intact."Bookmark here

Oi, don't butt in with the narration.Bookmark here

"Sorry."Bookmark here

He had come to hypothesize that Rin had feelings for him, but denied the possibility only to accept it once again.Bookmark here

In any case, there is a high chance that the situation is a one-way route!Bookmark here

"UUUUUGGGHHHHH…!" for a moment, he came to his mental realm to bash his head on the white wall as Kuro watched him dash.Bookmark here

You okay there, me?Bookmark here

Gin raised a thumbs-up and dashed back to reality.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Sorry for the wait. Here's the tea."Bookmark here

"T-T-Thank you very much…!"Bookmark here

"Thank goodness they are not the type to suddenly switch their behaviors to be extremely nonchalant.Bookmark here

My girlfriend is weird after all."Bookmark here

Of course, Rin sneezed somewhere.Bookmark here

"So… you're looking for Rin, right?"Bookmark here

"Ah, y-yes. We want to pull her with us to go hang out. We haven't really seen her a lot."Bookmark here

"And he also has a boyfriend, so…Bookmark here

Hmph," Erika suddenly sulked.Bookmark here

"Somehow, I kind of feel that they are jealous…"Bookmark here

But with the topic being shifted, they finally managed to calm down.Bookmark here

"Hmm…"Bookmark here

"Is it not okay, or is she not around today?"Bookmark here

"Ah, no. That's always okay. I don't decide for what she does, alright?Bookmark here

But Minase is right that she's not around today."Bookmark here

"Oh, I see…" they silently looked down.Bookmark here

Their disappointment was apparent, even if they perhaps tried to hide it. Having observed their meekness, Gin attempted to lighten up the mood.Bookmark here

"She's not around here because you came to the wrong place."Bookmark here

Their heads lifted up and their palms went on top of their knees. Suddenly, the stares towards him made a little pressure around.Bookmark here

"Rin moved back to her house a few days ago. It's kinda lame how I'm so sad saying goodbye when she just lives next door.Bookmark here

Hahh… Her not being around makes me miss her."Bookmark here

"Tch."Bookmark here

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‹Gin›Bookmark here

HOLD UP. I think I just heard a tongue clicked.Bookmark here

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Indeed, he heard. Though, it was absent to his awareness to whom it may have come from. But in truth, it was Erika who did in a flash.Bookmark here

"It's all coming true… Characteristics of anime and manga really are transporting to the real world… The line is blurring…"Bookmark here

Oi, you just realized that? suddenly, Kuro spoke in his head.Bookmark here

"But what happened? For Ringo to have left already… did you two get in a fight?"Bookmark here

Now the eyes of the two sparkled in relief.Bookmark here

"Ah, no. We've been through fights, yes. But it's just that I've recovered from my illness."Bookmark here

This time, their expressions went serious and blank. Then, their eyes directed to his hair for the umpteenth time.Bookmark here

"I almost forgot that we've already told you about my sleeping disorder. But my hair doesn't have anything to do with it. This is natural though!" and he pointed his finger on his head.Bookmark here

"Ooohhh… That's really nice."Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah. They make you look a thousand notches better."Bookmark here

"I-Is that so… Thanks."Bookmark here

Though, he has been screaming internally for a while.Bookmark here

"Yawn~" from the stairs came an exhausted voice. "Hey, lil bro… is lunch ready…?"Bookmark here

Who came down was none other than Yuna, as it shows the fact that she is the only one living from a different house. Behind her feet, she was followed by Haku, who has the same sleepiness as hers.Bookmark here

"Uhh… it's just 10 am, Sis. I prepared your breakfast on the table so eat up. Anyways, good morning.Bookmark here

Oh, 'sup, Haku."Bookmark here

The cat then walked to the living room with his eyes half closed and climbed on Gin's lap.Bookmark here

"I-Is that your cat…?"Bookmark here

"Aww… it's so cu-Bookmark here

Eek…!"Bookmark here

Just before they began to be bewildered by seeing a rather sophisticated looking cat, Haku looked at them with a long stare.Bookmark here

At that point, Haku doesn't get why the two unknown hoomans got frightened.Bookmark here

"Sorry about this guy. He's not glaring at you so don't worry. This is just how he usually looks like. He's not glaring at you, I swear." Haku raised a paw in agreement.Bookmark here

"Well, now that this furball has come down, why don't we sit on the kotatsu?" having said that, Gin sat under the futon to demonstrate.Bookmark here

"Oh, so that's a kotatsu… It's my first time seeing one in person. How did this even make its way here…"Bookmark here

Regardless of their confusion, they went and sat down raising the futon up that opened up a way for the heat to escape.Bookmark here

"Ahhh…"Bookmark here

"So comfy…"Bookmark here

"Glad you two liked it.Bookmark here

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So… I don't know if Rin is around today. Do you have time until lunch?"Bookmark here

"It's not like we have other things planned today."Bookmark here

"Yep. We're basically free for the day."Bookmark here

"I see. Then, out of curiosity, can you tell me about Rin when she was still at Wisteria?"Bookmark here

"Hmm… If I were to say… she's basically silent," with a pointer finger raised up, Minase replied.Bookmark here

"Ahaha. I had a glimpse of that. She was a really quiet girl at first. An introvert's true nature, indeed."Bookmark here

"But when it comes to interacting with us, there's really no problem. She doesn't hold back when we're having idle talk."Bookmark here

"And when she found out that we're otakus, things really took a turn. That girl is really into her things."Bookmark here

"Wow, that's also what happened when we first met. She was so happy when she found out that there are the same kinds of species in Blue Ink.Bookmark here

But… any worth noting things about her?"Bookmark here

"Hmm… Probably when we're first year…?"Bookmark here

"Ohh, you mean that, Mina?Bookmark here

You know what, Gin. Ringo actually had a long hair when we were freshmen."Bookmark here

"W-Woah… really? I can't imagine," I said in sarcasm as I already knew. Thankfully, they didn't get it.Bookmark here

"Well, she looked a lot more anti-social back then because of her hair, so we suggested if she could shorten it a bit.Bookmark here

And hey, she then looked a bit more sociable."Bookmark here

Gin's head suddenly bashed on the table, startling the two girls.Bookmark here

"Why… Why did you…"Bookmark here

"Why…? Uhh, what? Gin?"Bookmark here

"Why did you suggest cutting her hair… I wanna see… I wanna see…Bookmark here

Ugh… I guess I'll bug Uncle Shuu if they had a picture. I'll even frame it…"Bookmark here

Seeing him with an extremely distressed expression, the two thought as their eyes met:Bookmark here

"This dude's seriously head over the heels for that girl."Bookmark here

"Ah. Actually, nevermind," he blankly uttered after suddenly raising his head. "I almost forgot that we actually met by chance when we were first years. Hahh… It makes me embarrassed how I said stuff just for a lost wallet.Bookmark here

Idiot… I didn't even pick it up."Bookmark here

"Oh? So you were the guy that told where Ringo's wallet was?" as if out of nowhere, Yuna was sat in the kotatsu.Bookmark here

With her sudden appearance made the two girls jolt and moved backwards…Bookmark here

*Thud*Bookmark here

…but, Mina hit her shin on the sharp corner of the underside of the table, making its feet raise at least a few inches from the ground.Bookmark here

It was what we would call a silent cry of pain.Bookmark here

"Oh… that feels like it hurt a lot…" Yuna sympathized.Bookmark here

"When did you sit here anyway, Sis?"Bookmark here

"Huh? What do you mean? I dashed immediately when you guys sat.Bookmark here

Where did you get these sausages, though? It has some nice spice."Bookmark here

"Uhh. I kind of bought too much of it when I went to northern Cotona. That's so good, though.Bookmark here

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Apples, we're losing track, huh."Bookmark here

"Oh, ah. You're right."Bookmark here

"Well, there's a story that I just recalled so let's continue," Mina recovered.Bookmark here

"I'll go get some snow and put it in a bag, so wait a sec. We can't have that swelling."Bookmark here

"Why snow?" asked Erika.Bookmark here

"Obviously, all the ice I need is outside."Bookmark here

He took a lot but he saved some for a snowman.Bookmark here

"Alright. I'm all ears again."Bookmark here

"Let's see… Ah. There's that one time when we were second years. Ringo actually failed hard in our arts subject," so Mina told.Bookmark here

"Huh, what? Did I hear that right?"Bookmark here

"Your ears aren't playing with you. Here, a picture," then, she showed a picture in her phone with an embarrassed Rin in the background, chasing Mina who had a badly drawn illustration at hand.Bookmark here

"What a cute face she was making…" he only paid attention on Rin's expression, but then saw the drawing. "Apples. That's hard to believe. That girl's a passionate painter and I see this. Minase, you're joking right?Bookmark here

And please send it to me."Bookmark here

"Nope. Noooope," she waved with the side of her right hand.Bookmark here

"Our class had a task to make posters at that time so everyone is required to either make their own or group ourselves. Which, we made groups since it was difficult.Bookmark here

But then, our most artistic classmate broke her right hand and had to recover for several months. The deadline was in a month, though. Meaning, that person was unable to even hold anything.Bookmark here

Ringo herself was aware that she had the least cooperation. Even the artistically challenged were able to help, but she can't."Bookmark here

"Lack of self-confidence… Our nemesis as introverts indeed," he interrupted Erika's story.Bookmark here

"Feeling the guilt of doing nothing, she decided to help. She self-studied painting and got tips from our injured classmate. Sometimes, she even went to school with gray bags under her eyes.Bookmark here

And you know, it was nearly impossible for us to finish without the help of our injured classmate but Ringo made it possible. After all that, she became really enthusiastic with art, generally."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Well, that's just how Rin is, I guess? Her kindness to everyone is really amazing. Even I can't do the things she can."Bookmark here

As if they were mistaken with what they heard, they made a confused face and looked at Gin.Bookmark here

"Uh… Uhh…?"Bookmark here

"Gin… I think there's a misconception on how you understand Ringo."Bookmark here

Thinking that he said something that is incorrect, he had left his mouth open in surprise.Bookmark here

"Listen here, Gin. Your girlfriend is not the kindest person in the world. More so, she's not even near that."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Can you elaborate, Erika?" still confused, he asked.Bookmark here

"Ringo is not so dumb that she will just be kind to anyone. Even in the past, she already knew how this world works. She knows that with too much kindness, she will be taken advantage of.Bookmark here

She may not be the most perceptive, but she knows who she was dealing with. Even though she's very timid, Ringo did not waver to refuse people that she is aware that will just take advantage of her kindness.Bookmark here

That girl may not show it, but even she can be courageous to confront those said people… and sometimes can say some offensive things. That's the sense of justice we knew Ringo has, and I don't think it has changed."Bookmark here

The image of the epitome of a kindhearted girl has been erased from his mind. He had realized that Rin's kindness was not at a superlative degree. Having her personality misconceived was something that made him disappointed to himself—as he did not know.Bookmark here

His fist closed with the thought that his perceptive vision has been reduced to nothing if he can't even understand his lover well. He became honest that he had expectations, but all of them has been discarded having discovered Rin's human nature in this unfair world.Bookmark here

However, Gin has felt relief, finally knowing that. He knew well that pure kindness is ignorance to the motives of cunning men. His anxiety only lasted for a fleeting moment. With that, he gave out a sigh.Bookmark here

"That's just shows that I still don't know a whole lot about her. It has been more than a year and I still have the shortcoming of not fully understanding her. I'm quite embarrassed."Bookmark here

"That's a surprise, Potato-san. We really thought that you already knew about it."Bookmark here

"Hmm… I guess we're just too caught up with things that we haven't had the time to talk about those things."Bookmark here

"Yeah," Yuna concurred. "So make sure to fix that head of yours for good. Don't make your big sister worry about you, got it?"Bookmark here

"I got it, onee-sama."Bookmark here

Suddenly, another knock was heard from the front door.Bookmark here

"I'll get it," Yuna stood up from the kotatsu, volunteering to open the door.Bookmark here

"Wow. You're not as lazy today, Sis."Bookmark here

"Shut up."Bookmark here

The three then listened to who might it be from the living room.Bookmark here

"Oh, Yuna-nee. Is Gin around?"Bookmark here

"He's here. Do you want to come in?"Bookmark here

"Don't mind if I do."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Hey, lil bro. Nagi is looking for you."Bookmark here

"Hi there, Gin. Oh, you have visitors? Is this okay?"Bookmark here

"It's fine. Have a seat here too."Bookmark here

"Goodness, you really have a kotatsu.Bookmark here

Ahh, warm…"Bookmark here

In no time, Nagi settled in the kotatsu after walking through the cold weather outside. But as the coziness was kept in his mind, he realized again that Gin has visitors.Bookmark here

"Rare for you to visit alone, aye."Bookmark here

"Before that… can I know who these two are?"Bookmark here

"Oh, right. The one on the left is Minase…"Bookmark here

"Minase Okuni. Nice to meet you."Bookmark here

"…and on the right…"Bookmark here

"Erika Anokane here."Bookmark here

And another 'nice to meet you' from them to top everything.Bookmark here

"Then I am Nagi Kajima. Nice to meet you too. I am Gin's friend and a classmate."Bookmark here

"You see, Minase and Erika are actually friends with Rin before she came to Blue Ink."Bookmark here

"Oh, I see. Wisteria, huh."Bookmark here

"So? It's rare for you to visit alone."Bookmark here

"Ah, yeah. I came to discuss matters that you have missed when you were at your leave."Bookmark here

He took out several paper works from his bag without saying a word of explanation.Bookmark here

"By the way, Jean's already free from work, right?" instead, he asked this.Bookmark here

"Yeah. I will also be back at work soon. He said that my schedule changed, which I only have a shift until 6 every Wednesdays."Bookmark here

"Thank goodness I can pass back the organizational matters to him." After that, Nagi leaned forward to whisper something. "Actually, is it okay for them to hear this?"Bookmark here

"Yeah. No worries."Bookmark here

"So then. First, we have an invitation."Bookmark here

"An invitation? To where exactly?"Bookmark here

"Apparently, TAC's active uploads to Instanyan made its way to the organizers of ManCon and they acknowledged our existence. To top it all off, they are even willing to provide a booth to us."Bookmark here

"Nooow that's some serious business. You mean, ManCon this summer?"Bookmark here

"Yep. And I heard rumors that the Yuuki Amagami that hasn't shown her face will be there for her own event."Bookmark here

"Now that's some more serious business."Bookmark here

‹Gin›Bookmark here

Uhh… I guess I owe you readers an explanation. I will try to make it as short as possible.Bookmark here

Basically, TAC or TheArtClub as it stands for is pretty much the Art Club of Blue Ink High. TAC is an account in Instanyan that is used to share our art to the millions. We used the platform to accept commission work and it is doing fine. The earnings also go to the club budget and a small share for every member.Bookmark here

Regarding the ManCon, it's just an abbreviation of Manga Convention. Our TAC mostly posts analog artworks, either it's anime/manga-like or different genres, since I'm the only digital artist in the group. That is probably why we were found. Going back to the topic of the convention, it is the typical convention and assembly of mangakas in one place. However, this will be the first ManCon in the country since it only happens in the North.Bookmark here

I don't think this is short. Ugh.Bookmark here

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Having heard my conversation with Nagi, the two girls brightened up as they leaned forward with somewhat excited smiles.Bookmark here

"Y-You are the TAC?!"Bookmark here

"Uhh… yes? We are…?"Bookmark here

"Oh my goodness, this is so unreal…!"Bookmark here

"To think that Gin and his friend is behind the TAC… this is just so amazing!"Bookmark here

The two was left in confusion with the reactions of Minase and Erika. In truth, the Art Club was unaware of their popularity in the platform. Their uploaded arts were always posted with their whims considered and such; they were unaware of the feedback.Bookmark here

If one would say, it can be the enthusiasm of youth.Bookmark here

"So… you know about that account? I'm quite surprised."Bookmark here

"What do you mean, Gin?! You don't realize when you guys have over 80 thousand followers on Instanyan?!" somehow sounding mad, Erika exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Ah, yeah… I didn't realize that it was that big of a number now. I guess I now know why Jean fusses about it."Bookmark here

Still, Nagi was greatly astonished.Bookmark here

"We just enjoy art so much that we kind of took it for granted."Bookmark here

The two pouted with the cold response of Gin and Nagi towards the current case.Bookmark here

But Nagi tactically acted to avoid much more fuss and nudged the topic away.Bookmark here

"Ahh. You two are from Wisteria, right? So it wouldn't be a surprise if you know Yuuga?"Bookmark here

"Oh, Yuuga. He was our classmate until fourth year. So he transferred to Blue Ink-" Minase immediately answered but suddenly paused. "Don't tell me that that manga-loving guy is part of the TAC too?!"Bookmark here

"Is that true?!"Bookmark here

Again, they leaned forward, but closer with widened eyes of excitement.Bookmark here

"Apples. I'll be dead if Rin sees this."Bookmark here

"Shoot. I'll be dead if Shiro sees this."Bookmark here

Unprecedentedly, their thoughts paralleled.Bookmark here

"Well… even Rin is part of it. So you might have at least noticed it from her style of painting.Bookmark here

Though, she also draws a lot these days."Bookmark here

"Now that you say it, I kind of felt that I was seeing Yuuga's art."Bookmark here

"But I get what you mean. He talks a lot about manga. Although, he can become enthusiastic just by talking but can still draw at the same time."Bookmark here

"Actually, Gin. Yuuga is Mina's childhood friend. They are still close up to this point," Erika unnecessarily shared.Bookmark here

Minase's head tilted down with her ears turning bright red.Bookmark here

"Is this a childhood friend route?" is what Gin thought.Bookmark here

"Erika…! Don't tell them things like that!"Bookmark here

Needless to say, she was embarrassed.Bookmark here

Gin's expression went blank and asked.Bookmark here

"You like him, huh?"Bookmark here

"You don't need to say that!" she immaturely let out.Bookmark here

"You know, just be honest to yourself," the four of them thought that Yuna was asleep because her head was planted to the heated surface of the table. But she was listening to everything that was said.Bookmark here

"Oh, you were awake, Sis?"Bookmark here

"Like I can sleep with all the screaming of Minamina-chan."Bookmark here

While Minase was pouting, Nagi looked on his watch and stood up.Bookmark here

"Sorry, gotta go, Gin."Bookmark here

"Why not have lunch with us?"Bookmark here

"Ehh… Shiro's parents invited me for lunch, so I'll be screwed if I ditched them."Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah. You better go now if you still want to live."Bookmark here

"Aight. You don't need to see me off. I'll lock your door."Bookmark here

"Sure."Bookmark here

"Potato-san, does Nagi have a girlfriend?" curious, Minase asked.Bookmark here

"Yep. Also someone from our club.Bookmark here

I guess we really are a merry bunch."Bookmark here

Nagi had gone out of sight from the living room and they heard the opening of the door only to hear voices.Bookmark here

"Hi there."Bookmark here

"It's rare for you to come here alone."Bookmark here

They heard a sense of deja vu.Bookmark here

"Well, I'll be going. Your friends are here, actually."Bookmark here

"Is that so? I guess they still didn't know that I moved out, huh.Bookmark here

Ah, I'll lock the door, Nacchi."Bookmark here

Footsteps were heard right after the door shut close and there came to the living room is Rin.Bookmark here

"Hey there, Mina, Erika. You could have messaged me, you know."Bookmark here

"We heard you moved back."Bookmark here

"Ah, yes. I didn't think you might visit here again so I forgot to tell you.Bookmark here

I was just reading manga in the house since my parents went out. Seriously, you should tell me in advance that you two are coming."Bookmark here

"Ahaha. Sorry."Bookmark here

"Alright. You help me with lunch, Rin."Bookmark here

"What are you making?"Bookmark here

"I'll bake honey garlic salmon. I'll let you make the pumpkin soup."Bookmark here

"Ohhh… Alright."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

While the two are at the kitchen, the never-ending topic about the couple had arisen again.Bookmark here

"Uhh… big sis Yuna, are you sure those two aren't married yet?"Bookmark here

"At least wait a couple of years. I'll be sure to get married first before them.Bookmark here

And Minamina-chan, go confess."Bookmark here

"Wh-?! Why do you have to bring that up again?!"Bookmark here

"Hehe. I'm a bit bored, you see."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

The following week, Gin asked Shiro if she knew about Rin's true personality. And to his surprise, she knew.Bookmark here

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"I think I know why girls call us guys idiots…Bookmark here


Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That wraps up 028!Bookmark here

head empty no thoughtsBookmark here

Thank you for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

029: I can see you when others can't, and I...Bookmark here

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