Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
"Letting out his emotions too easily… I've found my first potential suspect."
I said that as if I think that this investigation will persist for a while, but the only times that I acted dumb and narrow-minded are not to be taken seriously. I could feign ignorance or act like I still need information even with the awareness of my own discovery. But look, if ever I allowed something like this to happen, possible death of many lives can be my responsibility.
That is why I have to be very certain with all the acts I do. It just so happened that I am nearly a hundred percent sure with the hands-on inquiry I did. If I were to revise what I said, "I've found my first 'and only' potential suspect."
I do not know how many times I have said that the world is a cruel place where corruption, despair, hatred, wrath, superiority, and scarcity lives by our side and even sleeps beside us on our beds, even if one is sleeping on the cold ground. But with everything that was said, the world is not vanta black.
I'm not living a normal life, so I excluded myself before I end the preface. If someone or some-many are living a normal life in this aforementioned cruel and many negative adjectives world, one might not even see much of anguish. And when I mentioned 'normal', I wasn't being satiric in regard to a normalcy of the acceptance of the darkness of this world. I meant it to be 'normal' as it should be. And even if it was not a normal life, they may have seen people with extreme rage to a quantity that could equate to the number of hair on one's eyebrows, or one's head at its worst.
And even if in case they are living a normal or abnormal life, but a student in Blue Ink High School, it's highly unlikely that you'll find raging gazes with the intent of dirtying their hands, (again). Taketo Juushiro is a very virtuous man. He will not tolerate a bad and unhealthy growth of the young saplings in his garden farm. He is the type to think that the righteous notions can be passed on to others and preserve the continuity of that process as a cycle. In which, that is his goal to being the principal of this school. He is not some kind of hero of justice that can change the world, but if he can change even a nigh intangible speck, that in itself is a huge feat.
But there is the problem that a situation where one had to die to change the many happened. It was a horrifying concept. We are inside a game which the difficulty is set to "Insane" as default.
Goodness me, I just realized that I said a lot… perhaps unnecessarily. But what I was trying to say is that Blue Ink aims to make students a human with humanity instead of humans enslaved of money and desire. It is hard to think that even one student can give a murderous glare. More so find an assassin just right under your nose.
It however just so happened that those two traits that I just mentioned fell to one single person.
It was when I was in the middle of my appreciation of my inhuman speed, which I was honestly bragging in my head. I saw those eyes for the second time, but the bloodlust was much more intense than my encounter in the rooftop. But if have to say, or dare I say… the anger was so different to Joseph Horach. It is for the reason that Horach has so little humanity in himself, but the feeling I sensed from that student was more than the thought of eliminating Exiles. The rage was full of reason, but it shouldn't have been that hyperbolic.
After all the relief I felt from finding who Teardrop most likely is, I was hurt in my afterthoughts. I initially found it hard to accept that a newly found friend is, not was, a killer.
▪ ▪ ▪
I remember the times when it was November. My hair has been reduced to only a horse tail without anything fancy and it just started to turn to black again.
I could recall that I once said that I'm making friends, uncharacteristically. It wasn't nearly a delusion, as I'm quite glad that all of my classmates in VA are good people. Because of mutual interests in arts, even an introvert can't be left behind.
"Excuse me, is Gin-senpai here?"
"Gin, huh… He's here.
Yo, Gin~! Someone from the fourth year's looking for you!" Vin, or Vincent Garic's voice echoed and came to my ears.
After five years, an underclassman finally called out to me. Although it was only Ai-san, it will greatly suffice to the statement.
The hallway in front of our classroom was surprisingly quiet and unoccupied even when it was a free time. It was only the minimal noise from inside the classrooms that was heard…
…And a slightly loud clap, to add. Ai-san clasped her hand while her head is lowered and stated a peculiar request.
"Can I please ask senpai to assist in the library?!"
Even I didn't hear a 'huh' let out from myself. I thank myself for properly closing the door of the classroom before leaving as it would most likely catch the attention of the others from inside.
As far as I can remember, Ai-san is part of the Literature Club so it's no one's fault if they first think of library when they hear that. The school library isn't all bad, apart from that was the place I came to before getting hit by a truck, but that's an entirely personal opinion. The library isn't so much of a studious place, since it also houses different types of literary entertainment. In my case, the only time I visit is to either read translated light novels or borrow art or cook books.
"Can you explain, Ai-san?"
"We're currently shorthanded in the committee since there's a member that has a broken hand, while the other is recovering from a hamstring operation.
Also, another two members are recruited to do script work for the Entertainment Club."
My face blanked out even in the apparent surprise shown.
Ai-san… Don't tell me your club is also being recruited at construction sites?"
"It's not like that, senpai! I swear that we only read and write without the need of heavy work!"
"Makes sense. And don't take my jokes so seriously."
"But since it is Monday today, the duration will take five days."
"Oh? So it will start today… but I still have club every-"
"The work of a library attendant is mostly sitting and doing nothing," she interjected.
"…" I squinted.
"It is also freezing here, and I heard that the Art Room does not have a heater."
"…" I squinted so much that my eyes were about to close.
"The heater is most effectively felt behind the desk."
"Say no more."
It was out of character, but Ai-san successfully bribed me.
~ ~ ~
I managed to recruit another helper from my class as Ai-san explained that there is a maximum of two attendants behind the desk even though not very necessary. I then started the first day as a slacker with Ryota.
I immediately lent him a pillow while we were sat down.
"Haaaahhhhh… The library sure is quiet," Ryota placed his sigh on the background.
"And you just said that this is the library," I then criticized.
He was not even trying to hide his boredom, but the coziness of the warmth made do. The pillow didn't even help to let us think straight.
"What did you have for lunch, Gin?"
"I wonder what Ken is doing- I mean shrimp. Still, it's hard to find cold water prawns in the market."
"Ahh. I forgot that you're also in CA. But why does your spirit fires up when it's sale day?"
"That's because I do the shopping most of the time."
"I guess I can say that shopping for food is stressful."
"Sort of. I got used to it since I live alone anyways."
"I can't say anything about Sis."
"Really? I thought Ginji was joking when he said that."
"He wasn't. We both live close by so it's no surprise that he knows my place.
Do you live with your family?"
"Family, huh… I live with my mother only."
"A broken family, I guess?"
"Actually, I have something to ask you, Ryota. But before that… I know we have a lot of space behind the desk, but only two attendants are required, Shiro."
From the very start, Shiro has been sat on a chair beside Ryota while ogling on a book.
"Do you have a spare pillow, Gin? I want to sleep."
"Ah, sure. Would you mind Ryota?"
"Here you go, Shiro."
There's no denying that she's enjoying this much more than she expected. She moves as though the things that she's doing are procedural. She placed a blanket to cover her legs, place the pillow on her, folded her legs up to the seat and then continued reading with a flutter.
Ryota was about to raise his voice, but halted and loudly whispered.
"I thought you were going to scold her for coming here!"
"Why would I? We're enjoying ourselves here."
"Eh. So weird."
"Don't mind me~ I'm here just to enjoy the warmth," Shiro uttered.
"You can say that to Nagi again.
I guess I'll go ask now. You're from Wisteria, right?"
"Were you in the same class as Rin?"
"R-Rin? Who's that- Never mind. Ringo?
"Why do you ask? You seem to be close to her anyway."
"We're next-door neighbors so that's a given."
"Whaaat. That sounds so fishy."
Shiro chuckled and spoke again in a jeering tone.
"Pff… Really fishy."
It's not that she's talking about assuming that I like Rin because this is also a given. I came back with my closest friends knowing that I let Rin and her sister live on my house.
"Well, nevermind. But since you're a transfer student, can I ask the reason why you decided to study here?"
It's getting more and more comfy by the time and at this point, we can't put up a substantial conversation. Still, Ryota answered.
"Mostly because the fees are more inexpensive than Wisteria. My mother has been ill for most times so I also have to take part-time jobs."
"Is her illness serious? It sounds like she's always being hospitalized."
"Right now she's not, but maybe in the next month or two. It's just that Rishou Kagetora happened to take very important matters that he had to leave Mykes Hospital for quite a while."
"I'm actually the very important matter."
"Have you met him? If not, I can give him a call. I know him quite well."
"It's fine. I've already talked to him. He's a very kind person."
"That's good to hear."
"Yeah. It turns out that I don't need my crooked father that left us. And you know what? He finally got imprisoned a few months ago. Good for us!"
"I bet you loved your mother a lot."
"I'll do my best to make her well."
"Hahh… I'm rather jealous. You see, I grew up as an ungrateful child. I didn't understand my parents' efforts of making me have a nice life. Actually, I did not even think about those.
Thankfully, I managed to change and showed my gratitude to them. Even though I'm living by myself, I still want to hear them out and support them, just like how you do."
"…Why are you suddenly telling me that?"
"You ask why? You shared your side of things so it's just fair to tell mine. Besides, it's nice to have a chat with you. I'm trying my best to interact with others when I'm a bit socially disabled."
"At least you're putting effort."
"Hahaha. Then…! Tell me something you're scared of and I'll tell mine."
"Why the sudden topic of change… Oh well, if you're telling yours, then I'll say one.
I have a fear of heights."
"Really. Then my turn. I'm actually working on facing my fear of a flying C."
"Oh," they both monotonously uttered.
Can't say the word, so that's the best censorship I can do.
▪ ▪ ▪
I figured that there is no way that I will skip this five days of helping out in the library. I am actually doing my work, to say the least since there are students that borrow books and ask for fantastic books and where to find them.
I've got nice company yesterday and decided that I will pull another classmate to the bliss. This time, it was Yuuga. And contrary to my expectations, he didn't bring his sketchbook with him and his fancy dip pen.
"Hey, Yuuga. You're from Wisteria, right?"
"Were you in the same class as Rin?"
"From second year to third."
"Is that so? How was she like in the past?"
"Wow. It's rare to see you talk this much.
But if I have to say… she's quite meek."
"Well, that's pretty obvious. Anything in particular?"
"Let's see… Oh, there's one."
I thought that he would be suspecting me of something at this point, but he seems nonchalant about this. We've been in the club for every day, and yet G is the only one that knows about Rin and I from the newcomers.
"Ringo is actually a strong person, like, physically."
"Ah. I know where this is going."
"A miscommunication of some sort happened that sacks of rice were mistakenly stored in our classroom."
"Wait, why were there sacks of rice in Wisteria?"
"Out of four, I was in the cleaning duty with Ringo and others after school and the female teacher who was responsible for the rice was panicking hard since there are no more students from our class that can help relocate them. Ringo stepped forward and asked if she can help.
And this is where it got weird. Suddenly, roses were in Ringo's background while she shone and said, 'This is nothing for me, as long as I can help you, ma'am.' She was like an ikemen prince when she said that, but it's so surreal that we were probably just got done by an illusion. But then the teacher's heart went kyun kyun and shouted 'Kyaaaahhh…!' all over the campus."
"Pfft… That seriously happened?!"
And there's also a time when she lost the image of the super shy girl of the class. I was talking with friends about a certain romance manga when she suddenly popped up and slammed our table. Guess what she said."
"How would I know?"
"She said, 'The side couple ships in that manga is so cute that the fluff will extend my lifespan!'"
"Ahahahaha…! I'd want to see that! The gap moe is real."
"Actually, I forgot to hand out pillows. Here's yours, Yuuga."
"And hand this one to Shiro."
How long have you been here, Shiro?!"
"I followed you two here since I do intend to come here anyways."
It was the same scene as yesterday where she's sat on the same place again. It's seen that she made considerable progress from the book she was reading.
Anyway, he handed out the pillow to her.
"Why were you asking about Ringo from me, anyway? What, don't tell me you like her?"
"Yep. I like her."
"Eh! I was expecting you to get flustered!"
"You're reading too much shoujo manga, Yuuga."
"Hah. Alright, then! I challenge you to confess to her later."
Shiro also groaned.
"W-What's wrong? Even you, Shiro?"
"You see… just the other day-"
I interjected, "Don't tell anyone about this, okay? To an uninteresting guy like I am, Yui actually confessed to me."
"Huh? What happened, then?"
"I turned her down."
"What? Why did you?"
"Hahh… You challenged me just earlier, Yuuga. And even if I told Rin 'I love you' I won't really have problems with it."
"That's it? You wouldn't even say 'I love you. Please go out with me!' or something like that? Dude, follow the standards."
"You're reading too much shoujo manga, Yuuga."
"And I've pretty much predicted her answer. She will most likely say, 'Ehhh. Why is Yuuga watching, anyway? But why would you ask that, Potato? We're already going out.'"
"I didn't expect you to be extremely delusional, Gin."
Shiro then tapped Yuuga's shoulder.
"Sorry to say, Yuuga, but it's the truth."
"…I seriously didn't expect that. So that makes sense why you would turn down someone with looks like Yui."
"Huh. This is the first time I hear you praise someone."
"I just really don't, Gin."
"Then what about Minase?"
"Well, Mina huh… How did you know her?!"
"Oi, she's friends with Rin, right?"
"But, Mina… I never really thought about it, but yeah, she actually is very cute for me."
I was somewhat abashed.
"Stop fawning, Gin!"
"What do you mean? She's your childhood friend, right!"
"So what? Childhood friend routes or plots are pretty straightforward and cliched. Even if a triangle is established, the canon ship will end up to the childhood friends most of the time!"
"You two still have good communication, right?"
He was overacting just a second ago, and turned back to his nonchalance afterwards.
"I guess we still have. It might not be bad to at least imagine that."
"Oh, so he still doesn't know. Good luck, Minamina-chan."
▪ ▪ ▪
There's no point in repeatedly saying that it's so comfortable in the library desk every single time. I however pulled Rin with me.
"Ahhh… I want to go in a kotatsu… So warm…"
"Can I ask you something, Rin?"
"You're from Wisteria, right?"
"Hey, stop right there, Gin!" and again, Shiro is here with the same book. "Look at who you're listening to."
"Oh, you're right."
"What was that about, Potato?"
"Ryota and Yuuga were here before you.
And to think that I was surprised to see you carry half a sack of rice in the past… only to discover that you made a teacher fawn over you."
"Wha- Did you hear that from Yuuga?! But I actually have no idea why the teacher reacted like that."
"'This is nothing for me, as long as I can help you, young miss.'
I revised the last part."
"Wow. That's so cool, Rin-chan," she praised herself.
"Then I have a rhetorical question. This is serious this time."
"If your family or someone close to you is in danger or generally in trouble… like illness, and you are resolved and know for yourself that you can do something for them… will you do anything whatever it takes?"
What's with you, suddenly?"
"I'm just curious and like I said, it's rhetorical. Besides, there's no hidden meaning to it. You know that there's a tendency that I might hide something from you if it's something bad."
"Hmm. That's true."
Shiro interposed, "It's still hard to answer, though. You won't hear people asking you that everywhere."
"I'm not an everyday or everywhere guy anyway."
▪ ▪ ▪
In the last two remaining days, I was accompanied with Fuuzan and Dominic to my boredom. And so, I asked them respectively.
Unlike Rin and Shiro, the two still gave a response even after the preface of being a rhetorical question.
Fuuzan took a long time to answer, but he said that if he admits to himself, and he is really capable, then he "of course will not turn back to that." He also added that it is family that you ought to value and love.
In Dominic's case, he was fast to catch on to the concept and replied quickly. "As long as it's something realistic. I won't go out of the line like killing someone. For me, it's like you're the one killing your family or close one instead of saving them," is what he said.
Having interacted with him after that discussion as friends, I found out that he has the aptness to be rather philosophical. But at that time, my intentions of asking that were purely to satisfy my curiosity to how they will react, instead of hearing their answer.
I never thought that those responses will eventually take meaning in my mind.
In the present time, I found myself inside of the office of the principal again.
Naru apparently heard someone from the fourth years talking about something regarding the amplification and therefore was called out as a witness.
It was a female student that was accompanied by Naru. We predicted that it would pressure her if our mood is foul in the process of inquiry. Thus, we took a hospitable approach and she thankfully settled in, aside from seeing me beside the highest admins, namely the principal and his secretary.
"Is the cake good, Ms. Mendel, Ms. Kajima?" asked Tenth.
"Yes! The tea complements it a lot."
We were all found to be eating cake inside the office. I did wonder where Tenth got this, but I figured that Shiro will also know.
Ms. Mendel then realized what ought to be talked about.
"A-Uhm…! Should we be discussing about what I saw that time?"
"If it's okay for you to begin, we'll listen. But we still have a lot of the cake."
"Waaahhh… The principal is so cool."
Akira nearly burst out after hearing that.
"It was when we students were vacating from the school when I saw someone dressed in all black… on the walls of the highest floor of the new building."
I asked, "How? Something like he is sticking to the wall?"
"Yes. He wasn't holding on the bars of the rooftop but I think I saw something he stuck on a wall. Although… it looked like he was having trouble and hesitated to move. If I have to say, he was close to falling and he fidgeted a lot, like he was afraid."
"…" our expressions went blank.
"What a dumb assassin…"
"I-Is there anything you see?"
"None after that."
"If that's the case, you may now leave. And please bring the box of cake with you and share it with your classmates."
"Th-Thank you very much…!"
And they left.
"If your suspicions are very concrete, I'm permitting you to test him. I heard from Sir Martin that he's on cleaning duty today."
"But. G is also on duty."
"He can keep himself safe with his abilities. He's an existential coincidence and he's a few steps to become a companion. It won't hurt."
"Then I will.
There are still two hours of classes. Please do me a favor to call Makoto. I will discuss to him my further plans."
"Alright. You should go back to class now."
~ ~ ~
I was not in cleaning duty today, but I insisted on Mato-sen. After classes, G, Ryota and I were left cleaning the classroom.
Scrap the foreshadowing and hints. I don't ever want to see someone get hurt anymore because of this.
"Yo, G. Are you going to club today?"
"Of course I am! I haven't skipped a day."
I only asked, but G angrily answered while pointing the mop head towards me.
"Ryota! Hold this for me!"
I tossed him three closed pails of lacquer, and easily caught them. But one lid popped off.
"Careful, Gin! This might spill."
"Oh my. I can already smell the lacquer from here! Can you open the window, Ryota?"
G was the farthest from him but he already noticed the chemical stench. My plan is indeed going on already, but G has no idea with it.
Ryota put down the buckets and opened the window just for a fully suited Exile to jump inside the classroom which made Ryota vigorously step back.
The appearance of the Exile is the one that fended off the olden story of the C4 and the one that Teardrop encountered on the rooftop. It was however just Makoto which I made him disguise to be my persona as a faceless.
G was dumbfounded to what was happening, but I gave him a long steady gaze that made him relieved.
"Of all the times you have to be here… Why now?! Do you really want to get killed so badly?!"
I could feel Makoto's disappointment. In his perspective, he's seeing me with an expression of faked surprise while we stared towards Ryota Mizuno with his enraged eyes and knives on both hands.
Makoto silently shook his head as he saw an exposed identity that wears the Blue Ink uniform. He then spoke as it is hard to distinguish his voice from the muffling of the mask.
"What an idiot…"
"Ryota… what are you doing…?" G's voice honestly trembled.
As if his frightening behavior wasn't enough of a sight, I added:
"Ryota, are you Teardrop…?"
And if Kuro is to translate it to my true thoughts…
Hmm. As if it wasn't as obvious as it can be even before all of this… So you really are Teardrop.
That wraps up 041!
A certain vtuber fox reading superchats: 'Can you be my wife?' No! No, wife! Friend!
Thanks for reading!
042: A verbal battle.
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