Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
A/N: I have to say this in advance, but if you see the word 'sparkles', it is censorship. If ever it is used, imagine shining rainbows or the nyan cat perhaps. I hope unicorns won't hate me.
▪ ▪ ▪
I was sick for six days.
To be honest, people's fever normally don't last this long. Even I clearly know that, as I usually recover from mine by a day or two, and sometimes three.
What kind of idiot catches a cold and recovers for six days?!
Sadly, I am an idiot but I still catch colds… at least, others don't catch mine.
Gin Sakato, back in the narration shizz. My black hair has grown quite longer too.
Indeed, I was destroyed by a 45°C fever and it took me six days to completely recover from that. Because of that, my start of the winter break was wasted as I just lied down on my bed; with feeble limbs that are unable to walk down the stairs.
On the bright side, an unrivaled event happened—Sis actually took care of me in one of my weakest. I'd be lying if I didn't see Rin in Sis, so I guess sisters really share same waves.
But of course, Rin also visited just like usual. The ginger tea she makes was so organic that she was literally boiling chopped ginger. That wasn't really a problem but I was not used to a pot with four pieces of it, chopped; and it seriously burns your innards. Nonetheless, my throat healed without a hitch. Give honey a thanks for at least sweetening every cup.
Uhh… I don't call Rin 'honey' so please take it literally.
But with her visits came a bad news. I discovered that something happened to Mori. This time, they realized what I did not. I was told that he had a tragic past, and he is completely colorblind to the point of monochromacy. I have never thought that this can actually happen to people.
Following that, I will actually refer this situation into a certain anime, but please bear with me. This anime just ended a few days before the new year started, and coincidentally, that anime that aired in the recent Fall 2018 was about a girl who can't see colors. Its title is Iroz*ku. I'm not saying this as a joke, since it portrays the psychology of someone who is 'blind' in a sense.
Having made an analysis, I came to a certain point of a somewhat convenient solution if ever I can help Mori. If ever you have watched the anime, then you will probably get what I am saying, and how their situations might be identical.
Seriousness aside, the said anime actually made me cry.
I have also heard that Nagi was hardly found in the entirety of the winter-spring break, and that made me worry a bit. He's thinking that he's at fault with what happened to Mori, and I expect that his minimal appearance to us was because he's being distressed.
In addition, Tenth recently visited Mori at his uncle's house and revealed that it took him three days before he recovered his speech. His condition was unfortunately bad, and with how I am visioning it, it's as if he was in the same state as how I was as a child.
Regarding those two, they weren't able to communicate after the incident since Mori took the leave early. And then just like what's said, Nagi was off the grid for many times in the break.
The two weeks of break became rather insignificant as it flew fast. The new year in Blue Ink started along with the beginning of the cold spring.
Rin and I first stopped by the library to return books we borrowed for the break, before coming to the classroom.
"So Tenth's not going to put an assembly at this time of the school year, huh."
"Just don't complain, Potato. It's still cold as it is."
"Fancy seeing you two here," Jean appeared with Ai-san from the opposite shelf.
"Good morning, Gin-senpai and Ringo-senpai." the Japanese greeted.
"Also returning books, I see?
Good morning too, by the way."
"How's your break, you two? Surely you went on a few dates in the duration," Rin teased.
"I could ask you the same thing, Ringo. But yeah."
"Just home dates just like usual."
"Ah, how was work when I was sick? I heard from Ryuu that you substituted for me. Thanks for the hard work."
"I was reminded when I did waiter job last year. It was of course hectic because it was almost the holidays. To think that it has been a year, and now I can work as a chef."
"Fufu~ It's nice hearing you like this again, Jin."
"Come on, Ai. I was always like this back at Giotto's Japan."
"Catch you later, Jean. We'll be going to class now."
"Aye, Gin. Tell me if you have news about Nacchi."
While we were walking our way to the classroom, we stumbled upon Shiro, who is by herself.
"Surprise, surprise. You're not with your coincidental half today," I said satirically.
"Good to see you're still alive, Gin. Still rocking that tail when you're half silver now." she replied, also satirically.
"I guess we'll see your tail in a month or two, Ms. Scrunchie."
The banter ended.
Really weird. We made it inside the classroom but the talk of the box cutters still wasn't sat on his seat. But Mori was already here, nonchalantly resting his chin over his palm.
He also greeted with his usually cold tone.
We didn't realize that we were standing frozen by the doorway and someone from behind tapped my shoulder.
"You know, you shouldn't loiter in front of the doorway especially since you're flipping tall, Gin.
And your hair is still silver. It's been a while, by the way."
I should have brought my glasses with me.
"Oh. Sorry to block your way, my prince."
"Wha-? You got a prescription glasses, Nacchi? I didn't know your eyes are bad."
"My right eye was starting to get blurry. It's probably the same case with Gin's pair."
Indeed, Nagi was wearing a pair of eyeglasses, but more so to that is a slightly shorter hair from his usual. His sideburns are finally seen.
"Huuuhh… Where were you in this break anyways? Surely you're not doing part-time."
"Nah. I climbed a mountain."
"You'll die with the cold."
"Then I should be in a coffin instead of sitting here at my desk."
"Dude. Something is obviously up."
~ ~ ~
The day, just like the break was somewhat insignificant. Nothing worth noting happened in the duration of 8 school hours. Just as we expected, the two did not have any communication whatsoever. Nothing was resolved between them, after all.
But what I did not expect is that Mori still attended club after classes.
"I'll be switching desks for the time being," he said and went straight to sketching.
It was a good thing that he was being transparent, at least. He clearly moved away from all of us since the incident is still fresh in their minds even after more than two weeks. We let him act as he wanted to give him some space of his own since there is a big possibility that we might pose a risk to him.
"Nacchi?! Is that the newest set?!" suddenly, Rin broke out to a loud scream.
"Chill down, Rin. It's not every day that I hear you shout like-"
Actually, it's not a very big deal. Rin just fangirled for a little.
It seems that she saw Nagi pulling out a metal case of a watercolor set that according to her is the dream of most painters. This means, its value is at near high end, and I can even tell it has premium quality from how it looks.
"Where in the world did you even get that?" of course, I would ask.
"Strangely, this was a freebie in an art store. I didn't realize that it was already my 500th purchase and I got this."
"What?! I didn't know that was a thing! Ugh…! If I knew I should've went there four hundred more times!"
Of course I would be bias that she's still cute when she freaks out.
"What're you painting today, anyways?"
"I'm getting artist's dilemma so I'll paint a simple sakura tree."
"Oh, spring… in Orio."
"Hmm… This… Not this one… Ah."
We left him while he picked his swatches, which he surprisingly had a bit of difficulty to it that he even needed to point at them one by one. Perhaps because of artist's dilemma—the common anxiety of using a certain material for the first time, especially if it has quality.
Quite surprisingly, he decided to do his painting in front of the window. His excuse was that he can't get much light as the club doesn't usually turn the lights on. But even Mato-sen who has way worse eyesight can be just fine in the lighting in the afternoons.
It's irritating how Nagi smirks from time to time while he painted. Nagi, your confidence might increase but art does not improve you overnight.
~ ~ ~
The wheels tirelessly rolled forward in the rhythm of the pedaling on my bike. It was with the very same silence of the road I have lived my life but the air that pressed to my skin has still been cold even without the fall of the snow. There was however a feeling of warmth on my back as Rin leaned her arm on it.
Shortly after, we parted as we are finally in our homes. But perhaps it won't even last an hour and she will be here.
O… kay… Sis in not here."
Because if she was, I would have already heard the subtle tapping on the keyboard or the scribbling of the pen. More so, there's no way that we are already putting the kotatsu out any time soon. She would just be loitering or working, but neither is a fact in this afternoon.
I would be lying if I don't say that I feel spoiled. I moved out to this house and lived my life alone for a year. I was not used to saying 'I'm back' since I'm the only living here; and that I was cold when I was still with my family just a few blocks away. At times like this, it's now rare that I come home with the house unoccupied aside from Haku. I am used to living alone by now, but by having a different atmosphere here, the alone becomes lonely.
"Haku…! Let's go out for a walk."
~ ~ ~
We've gone out and all, but she's still not back. I don't think she is at her office at this time since it's almost twilight.
"Ah, geez. I should've cleaned the house earlier. Gotta be fast.
Sis~ excuse me for entering your room."
It's filthy as expected.
Don't get me wrong. She can actually clean. But work is just a hindrance to it that's why it piles up like this. And if you're wondering why I'm not at work today, it's my day off. Sean once again reorganized my schedule after what happened to me on the September-October range. I've got more time with my self and family because they said that I should 'value my youth' as an excuse.
My pay is of course lower but I make do with putting tenfold efficiency since I have a heck ton of stamina. I always work like the restaurant is in its high time.
I was picking up random pieces of paper from the floor and desk when…
"Ohhhh… Sis shouldn't be writing it down so casually that anyone might see it.
So she's on a date, huh."
"I'm excusing myself~"
Rin caught me drawing on the kotatsu table with a neck pillow on my nape.
Also, kotatsu is still usable even without the heater. Save energy.
"Hi, Potato. What happened to you?"
"My back hurts."
"Flying apples. Then that neck pillow is just for show, huh."
"Don't even say it. I can't fit that on my back."
"Then maybe on your waist-"
"Hah! At least help me lose the weight you made me gain!"
"Ahh… I remember. Then let's go run this Saturday. 15km?"
"I'm back~~ Hehe… What a time to be alive~"
MAYDAY! MAYDAY…! Shut-in onee-san is currently on a cloud nine! I repeat! Shut-in onee-san is on a cloud nine! Reason: unidentified!
"Woah, Sis. What anime made you this happy?"
A sister-sister treatment indeed. Sarcastic edition.
"What, Sis? Got a kiss from your boyfriend or what?" I joked.
"Don't say stuff like that when you haven't kissed Ringo!" she angrily started.
"Hey, on the forehead!"
And I realize that I was saying all that out loud.
"Is that so. Oh well, a forehead kiss is also very sweet~! Very well! I'm going back to my room.
Wai- how did you know that I was on a date anyway?!"
"Your room is almost beyond help, Sis. This is still my house, you know."
She still went up nonetheless.
I then looked at Rin.
"Hey, you snuck in first."
"At least I discovered that you have a forehead!"
▪ ▪ ▪
January 9, Wednesday.
"Nagi Kajima, please report to the principal's office directly."
The communication speaker suddenly sounded in only our classroom, calling Nagi for unclear reasons aside from the fact that Jean is the person that witnessed their conversation.
I was quite sad that I can't do nearly anything about those two since I am still not in any position to mediate. Thus, whatever happens is out of my hands.
But there is the realization that I may be one of the MCs of this story, but I'm given too much exposure at this point. Thanks for the diversion, Author-san.
Anyways, to the admin office!
~ ~ ~
"Sir Tenth, I'm here."
"Oh, Nacchi. Come in," unexpectedly, he heard Akira's voice beyond the door, and so he opened.
"Akira. So you're working here today, huh.
Good afternoon, Sir Tenth."
"Pfft… You still call me that when you addressed me already as just Tenth… You're so formal, Nagi. You barely left the base and you still act like this outside.
I can't believe the glasses actually suit you."
"Is this how he usually talks to Gin? Is this even the principal in the first place?" thought Nagi.
"At least I'm showing respect. So… I didn't expect to be called."
"About that… I have a favor to ask. It's time for you to do the running instead of walking."
"…?" he did not understand what the principal was trying to say, and so Akira scolded Tenth.
"Dad, you're not talking to Gin, you know?"
"Ah… sorry about that. What I'm saying is…
Nagi, change Mori's perspective."
"…! Tenth, you know that I have already tried that and I failed miserably!"
"So what? Where do you even put the years of your experience in art? In the dumps? Are you saying that art being understood and that it has meaning are false? Do you admit your hypocrisy, then?"
Some time a year ago, Nagi was warned by Gin that Tenth, with the many experiences he had in years, has his own ways with his words.
He realized that the provocation was to give him a push, but inevitably, the words were like blades stabbing him.
Tenth's way of helping is near to nothing. The purpose of this is for the person to find his own answer to solve a predicament however difficult it is.
"Hahh… If that's all you have to say, then I'll go think of something now. I'll ask Shiro for help and tell her about these glasses if that's okay.
Please excuse me."
"Well, see you, Nacchi."
"Should you really be that harsh, Dad?"
"Ahahaha… Gin has good guidance to his friends."
"I wonder if he thought up the concept of the glasses by himself."
"I have to admit, I didn't expect him to go through such lengths. That kid has guts too."
At some point in the next day…
The Art Room was enveloped in silence… the doors were somehow locked in the afternoon, and just below the orange rays of light inside of the room are two people.
"H-Hey, Shiro. Make it faster! The others might notice!" Nagi groaned.
"I know. But should we really be doing this?"
Shiro is holding a paintbrush, so please don't misunderstand. - Narrator.
"It's okay to try, you know."
"Why did you come up with this anyway? This is dangerous!"
"Well, the principal asked me a favor that's why-
Wha- that tickles…"
"Why do I have to paint it when you're wearing it?! Ugh…!"
I hope we're clear now. - Narrator
"To make it realistic, of course! I also have to go to the Entertainment Club after this. Thank goodness Tenth gave me an extra uniform."
"Just a few more… There! We're done!"
"Alright! Let's bail out!"
The doors were unlocked without any trace of the two running out as fast as they can. Minutes after, the club members came.
"Huh… I smell paint," G noticed.
"Paint? Oh, yeah."
"Did someone spill paint here?"
▪ ▪ ▪
And again, the next day.
We noticed that Nagi has been heavily breathing from time to time in the course of the day. Since he was trying to hide it, we did not ask him, but I did ask Shiro.
"Hey, Shiro. Do you know if something's up with Nagi? It's like he's out of breath sometimes."
"I asked him already, but he said he's okay. I'm still worried, though."
"Did you two also notice? The colors of his artwork earlier were off," Rin added in.
"Yeah… now that you mention. Shiro, are you sure that he's okay?"
"Well… that's what he said, and he feels fine for the majority of the time."
"Let's do activities in the rooftop later, then. Let's give that guy some fresh air."
Shiro then agreed.
~ ~ ~
As what I suggested, we all went up to the rooftop and fortunately, the weather was nice in the afternoon and the skies were clear. The rain clouds that did not pour went by them.
We have been halfway to our works when…
"Excuse me…! I'm from the Entertainment Club. We need at least six people to help us today for painting."
"I'm in," Jean stood up in acceptance.
"Can someone look after our things?"
"I'll do it," Nagi raised his hand.
"Well, thanks! Yo, third year, we won't be hesitating if we need help in exchange, okay?"
"Yes," a little scared, the underclassman responded.
"Stop that, Potato."
The six of us, mainly I, Rin, Shiro, Jean, G and Yuuga left the rooftop to help the Entertainment Club for whatever they want us to paint.
Actually, our club is the second most funded club due to the foundation of TAC. But the most funded club is the Entertainment Club since they also do outside work that was permitted by the school. We're talking about helping with TV shows, indie films and such. And this is why they are the biggest club in Blue Ink, without argument.
Heck, we might even get paid for this.
Setting that aside, I'm worried to those who are in the rooftop. Nagi and Mori were left alone up there. I wonder how they are doing right now.
~ ~ ~
"If I say that I'm trying to put myself into your shoes, will you believe me?"
I already know that the others in the club knew that I don't see colors. How am I supposed to believe that?"
"Mori, the world is not really what you think. It is weird. So much that I can't see colors right now."
What do you mean?!"
"It's what I just said. I can't see colors, just like you."
"Th- How is that even possible…?"
"These glasses that I have… prevents the cones of my eyes to see colors flawlessly. When I said that I can't, I really can't. Everything is black and white.
Even before school came back, I already had this made for me. Ever since, I've lived my life seeing no colors, day in and day out. It feels… It feels so lonely and empty… It was as if there is little to nothing life to what I see."
"But how can you still paint…?"
"It's because I memorized the colors of my materials before turning blind. I hid the fact that I can't see colors, just like how you did. It was very difficult."
"Mori… I'm really sorry. I did not understand how you felt at that time. I didn't know that I'm actually hurting you whenever I suggest those things. I was insensitive. I kept insisting that art has meaning, and that it should be understood rather than seen. I was a fool for not seeing through the meaning of your art. I failed to understand you.
But now… I think I at least know how it feels to be blind. To be honest, I felt that this was painful. I didn't know that it would be so depressing to see no life.
That's why… I'm very sorry for what I did…"
"Please don't apologize.
In fact, I should be the one apologizing. I hurt you and I said something harsh. I was caught up by my emotions that I didn't control myself. It was my fault for being emotional—that I always despaired of not being with my parents anymore. I was the fool for being stuck, being shackled by my emotions.
Nagi, I'm also very sorry for what I did."
Haha. I see. Then let's just call this even between us."
Their hands firmly gripped and shook.
"W-With all that being done… Haah… Haah… I can… Haah… Haah… finally rest…"
Nagi's grip slowly loosened as he fell down to the ground.
"Nagi?! Nagi…! What happened to you?!"
The fallen lied down to his back, revealing a wound from his stomach that had already dyed his shirt red. Quickly, a lot of *sparkles* started to flow out.
"Brrgh…!" Mori retched. "No…! This is not the time for this!
Nagi! Don't move around!"
"Ahaha…" Nagi's voice became hoarse and dry. "Y-You see… I was stabbed earlier, before coming to… s-school. I patched it up somehow… but I guess t-this is it… I've already lost so many *sparkles*…"
"H-Hey… Don't worry about me… Y-You know… at least I can r-rest now without… any… regrets…"
Nagi finally lost strength of his body as his eyes began to close slowly. In a few seconds, he lost consciousness.
"No… this can't be happening… Brrgh… NO!" He carried Nagi with *sparkles* still dripping on his body that has lost any of its strength. His legs trembled with the extreme fear and with the familiar scent when his parents were massacred.
He was a few meters away to the door, but he fell down along with Nagi. His legs finally gave out.
"N-No… I'm so useless! Nagi… I'm sorry that I couldn't save you… I'm sorry… I'm sorry…!" his eyes burst in tears
"Mom… Dad…! I'm sorry…! I know that this is not what you wanted to happen! Please! Give me one more chance! I will save Nagi…! I don't want anyone to die anymore! I don't care about seeing the *sparkles*… but help me…! I really want to save Nagi…!
Anyone…! Please help me! I need your help…!"
Silence was the response to his call that tightly gripped to the feeble string of hope.
In despair, he slammed his fist on the floor, but the orange sunlight lit on him. His drooped head looked up and so he saw the sky in the far horizon.
Red… Orange… Yellow… Green… Blue… Indigo… and Violet.
A rainbow shone over the distant horizon. He saw them. He saw the orange tint of the sky. He saw the hues of the mountains; of the town. He saw the *sparkles* from his hands. He saw the light and he saw the tragedy. He saw everything.
He saw the colors of the world.
"…Whhaaaaaaaaa-!!!! Uuuuhhhh… WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-!!!!!!!!!"
He did not know what to feel. He finally saw the colors again, but he realized the reality that one life was lost anew in front of his eyes.
"Shoot… I sure made a mess. This place really looks like a scene of murd- sparkles."
To his surprise, Nagi stood firm under the rays of the sun with what looked like blood all over his clothes.
"Oi, you surprised?"
"B-But… why?! How?! How are you still…"
"Thank the Entertainment Club for giving me tips in acting. As you can see, I didn't die. All of these sparkles are fake.
But dude, I sure got you with that. I was surprised though. You sure held up even after seeing this exaggerated amount of 'sparkles'. This stinks hard too."
"Ah- Aa- Ahh-" Mori can't speak.
"Anyway, you should get up now. You also had 'sparkles' on your clothes so we better get that cleaned.
So… can you see me now?"
He had Nagi help him to stand because his legs lost their strength, only to fall down again.
"Ah- no. I'm okay…
But… I really forgot how the world looks like…"
"Hahaha. That's good that you're still fine.
But yo… These glasses didn't even catch a scratch after falling down. Oh well, I guess I can take this off too-
Oh my goodness… That rainbow…"
It was also Nagi's first time in weeks that he saw colors. Even he had his emotions overflowing after seeing the scene.
The glasses will be briefly explained in the next chapter.
"We're back~" G shouted.
"WHAT IN THE FLYING APPLES HAPPENED HERE?!"
"WHAT IN THE FLYING APPLES HAPPENED HERE?!"
Rin and I, at the same time.
"This looks like a crime scene… No! A sparkles!"
"Woah… Nagi. I was expecting less than this. You really pulled this one out, huh. Good work!" we turned our heads to Shiro, who might know what in the world just happened.
"And Mori got his sight back!"
▪ ▪ ▪
At the end of the day, Nagi and Shiro explained what they were plotting as per Tenth's favor.
We were permitted to use the clubroom until dark and we celebrated Mori's full vision coming back. Even Tenth and Akira joined us.
And just so you know. Today is my day off again. The one last Monday was an exception but I work four times every week.
That wraps up 035!
I am not scared to say that my chapters are weak, although that is just from personal feedback. But I would say that this is objectively one of the weakest chapters I have written. Really, even I ask myself what I was doing when I was writing the initial draft of this.
On the other hand, of course we'll go past 35 chapters unlike NoFutsuu.
Thanks for reading!
036: Sis, did you eat something bad?
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