Chapter 42:

042 – End

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

Needless to say, I am not the kind of person that will be satisfied with this act that I'm doing. In fact, I hate doing this.Bookmark here

I hate putting up a face in front of Ryota just for the accomplishment of this plan even if I have already known of his identity for a while. It may be unapparent or shallow, but I have bonded with him after that time and became rather close, just like how it became to most of my other classmates. I realized that the reason I can't make friends is not just because I can't trust people, but also because I was not close to good people.Bookmark here

I finally found it—a place aside from my family that I can trust. I have seen that my class has fine and genuine intentions. It was a shock at first, since I came from an unruly class that just so happened to have a case of murder. But then… I found that one of my friends is also a murderer and yet, I can't see him the same way Marcus Rodriguez looked to be.Bookmark here

I have begun to understand his almost never-ending anger.Bookmark here

The time did not slow down. The seconds are normally passing by along with the individual ticks off the clock. Yet, we are all petrified, standing still without an inch of hair moving. It is superlatively silent to the point that nearly nothing can be heard; not even the gritting of Ryota's teeth.Bookmark here

He stood on a stance with his hands tightly holding on to the knives. His eyes are only directed to Makoto while they stood.Bookmark here

However, G broke the long silence and spoke with his trembling voice.Bookmark here

"R-Ryota… Are you… Teardrop…?"Bookmark here

Ryota responded, but neither by words nor gaze. He slowly directed his now unfolded left arm and pointed the blade towards us. G was still quick enough to his wits to not provoke Ryota any longer and halted any unnecessary movement. One wrong move and I don't know what will happen to our throats.Bookmark here

"Please don't harm them," Makoto started. "This situation doesn't concern them in any way, so leave them alone."Bookmark here

"Then why are you here…?!" Ryota growled.Bookmark here

"I don't want any unnecessary things to happen so I will say this now. You've killed enough. I don't want you to continue on with what you're doing.Bookmark here

There are still many chances for you to stop this. There is no reason for you to continue eliminating others even if they have done wrong."Bookmark here

"Shut up…"Bookmark here

"Ryota, he's right…Bookmark here

Even if who you are targeting are criminals, death is still not an option for them. If you're involved with the amplification two years ago, do you know the person that died that time have already long changed his life?"Bookmark here

"Gin… You…Bookmark here

Don't tell me you know this Exile…?"Bookmark here

Unable to say anything, I only nodded forcefully as if there is something painful in my throat.Bookmark here

"So this is it… Even you, Gin. You already know that I am Teardrop…? So all of those things just for this… even I thought you understood me, Gin…Bookmark here

But in the end, you know nothing!!"Bookmark here

"Gin…! Watch out!"Bookmark here

I was unable to move with this blanked mind. I was unable to respond when Ryota threw the knife towards me.Bookmark here

But just before it hit my forehead, Makoto threw something that deflected the knife.Bookmark here

I felt more rage from his gaze as it was directed only to me.Bookmark here

I finally snapped back to reality and saw Ryota pulling out a canister of what looked like a smokescreen.Bookmark here

"No, you don't…!" Makoto then hurriedly ran to try and grab him, but as I saw that scene, my mind tells me otherwise and shouted a halt.Bookmark here

"NO, STOP!! Don't apprehend him…!"Bookmark here

Makoto got distracted and turned while Ryota successfully released the smoke bomb that immediately covered the whole classroom. As the smoke spread, it became hard to steadily see and stand. I was not the only one whose head began spinning.Bookmark here

"This is a vertigo gas…!" G coughed out.Bookmark here

The smoke bomb is probably used for wide areas. For it to be released in a small room made a thick cloud of smoke that hasn't yet gone off. As it was difficult for us to see, we were unable to trace Ryota if he had already escaped or not.Bookmark here

But he had not, as I felt a strong force colliding to my cheek that made a loud whacking sound. Thankfully, I did not fall to my knees.Bookmark here

Ginji however sensed his proximity from the sound that what likely were a kick and the stomping that was heard very near to the door. Blindly, he then threw the mop he was holding like a spear that managed to hit Ryota on his shoulder. But none of them saw what really happened.Bookmark here

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In desperation as my head still throbbed, I screamed to the end of my throat…Bookmark here

"Is this really the only way for you to survive?!"Bookmark here

The smoke cleared out with us still coughing while our head started to clear up.Bookmark here

"Gin, why in the world did you stop me?!" behind his mask, Makoto frustratingly asked.Bookmark here

"I think I managed to slow him down. He can't be far away from here," G suggested chasing him in his interjection.Bookmark here

"I said… stop."Bookmark here

"Oi, Gin… What has gotten to you? Your plan was already working until you stopped me…"Bookmark here

"Makoto, I get what you're saying. But it's not a matter of doing what you regularly do with Juno.Bookmark here

I never said that we're going to capture him."Bookmark here

"W-What?! Then what is even the reason for all of this?!"Bookmark here

"None.Bookmark here

I threw away the plan because it's incomplete since the start. All I want is to expose if Teardrop is actually Ryota, and there is no end objective.Bookmark here

All I know is that he felt that he was betrayed. That's why he threw his knife to me. Just like what you said, Teardrop is not suited to be an assassin because he lets his emotions let loose."Bookmark here

Gin walked towards the platform and smashed the whiteboard with the side of his hand which then immediately fell. Ginji and Makoto did not know what to do as they only watched him walk towards his seat and grabbed his bag.Bookmark here

"Ginji… tell only Rin for the time being of what happened here and that I'll be going home ahead of her.Bookmark here

And Makoto. There's something that I need to investigate with you and Juno in the Capital. If possible, I want us to move in the next two days. Moreover, you should know the mutuality that the three of us, including Ryota, have.Bookmark here

I'll be going, then."Bookmark here

He then jumped off the window with his bag on his shoulder.Bookmark here

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After two minutes, Rin and the other members of the club arrived in the classroom.Bookmark here

In a hurry of entering the room, Rin did not see the situation of the room and asked in exclamation.Bookmark here

"What happened?! We heard a loud noise from below…!"Bookmark here

"R-Ringo… look…"Bookmark here

What came to their sight are scattered chairs and a fallen whiteboard that nearly folded in half. Makoto and Ginji have remained standing in awe and silence from what they saw.Bookmark here

"W-Where is Gin…?"Bookmark here

"Don't worry, Ringo. He already went home."Bookmark here

Makoto turned to the window and said, "Ginji, was it? I'll be going now since people are here. And please follow what Gin instructed you to do."Bookmark here

Just like Gin, he jumped off the window.Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Can you guys please return to the Art Room aside from Ringo? I have something to talk about with her."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"W-What is it, G? What really happened here?"Bookmark here

"Just like what I said earlier, Gin already went home ahead of you. For the most part… he's fine."Bookmark here

"What do you mean? Did something happen to him?"Bookmark here

"Something really did, but I just don't know what it was. Just before you all came here, Teardrop was here… Ryota escaped."Bookmark here

"So Gin was right that Ryota is Teardrop…"Bookmark here

"He was exposed when that Exile suddenly came from the window, and Ryota's expression was terrifying. He tried to stab Gin but was saved by that Exile. The Exile that Gin identified as Makoto almost apprehended Ryota, but Gin suddenly stopped him. And just like that, a smoke bomb was released with our heads spinning. Most likely, Gin was hit by Ryota in the middle of the smoke. I tried to stop him from escaping and threw that mop by the door.Bookmark here

It all happened really fast."Bookmark here

From her seat, she looked around the room if there are something more that she could find. But the destroyed board was hard to take away from her sight.Bookmark here

"Then that can only mean that Gin was the one that smashed the whiteboard."Bookmark here

"I'm surprised that you weren't that bothered but yes."Bookmark here

Ginji paused and took out a heavy sigh.Bookmark here

"Say, Ringo… Have you ever seen him get mad?"Bookmark here

Unlike her reaction from the whiteboard, Rin's eyes widened upon hearing the question. She thought of the time when they seriously fought, but she thought more than that because of the display of Ginji's nervousness.Bookmark here

"Gin… was angry…?"Bookmark here

"Was what I saw at least. But he also seemed very sad when I saw him leave. But I was still a little scared when he looked at us. It's no way like how Ryota looks, but I know that something happened to Gin that I wasn't aware of."Bookmark here

"It's not like Gin to be angry about nothing. If there is anything you can recall, please tell, G."Bookmark here

He then imaged what he saw from a few minutes ago and found something from his memories.Bookmark here

"I think I now know why he got angry. He was saying something about Ryota being betrayed, and Ryota reacted so much when he found out that Gin is working with 'Makoto'. I think what he meant was that Gin somehow betrayed Ryota."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

He's angry at himself."Bookmark here

"Gin is…?"Bookmark here

"I think he's been angry at himself for some reason ever since his encounter with Teardrop. Gin has befriended Ryota because they had something in common. And he was hurt to found out that Ryota is most likely an assassin, and that a friend is someone that already dirtied his hands."Bookmark here

"Wait… you mean he already made contact with Teardrop?"Bookmark here

"When the amplification happened, did you see him limping when we came out of the school?"Bookmark here

"I did."Bookmark here

"It was that time when he wore his mask in front of Ryota. Don't get confused, G. Makoto most likely disguised as how Gin looked like with his mask."Bookmark here

"So that was it…"Bookmark here

"Also, did he mention anything to Makoto… like regarding Detective Juno Artecus?"Bookmark here

"So you know about that Exile too…Bookmark here

…!Bookmark here

He mentioned the name. He was talking about an investigation that looked like he requested to happen two days from now."Bookmark here

"Is that so… Thank you for telling me. I'll tell the others that we'll cancel club for today. You must be tired, so you should also go home.Bookmark here

I'll then do my part."Bookmark here

"Alright…"Bookmark here

"Gin… your partner is amazing."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

‹Rin›Bookmark here

I immediately left the school after taking the liberty to announce and suspend our club activities for the reason that something unusual happened in our classroom. The loud stomps and a lone banging sound that abruptly made the whole building shake was just above the Art Room. But as per Tenth's standards, it would not be surprising to not see any dent of it in the next day.Bookmark here

As I however walked the street towards home, I once again assessed the earlier situation and Gin's apparently unusual behavior while minding my safety on the road. But being aware that there is not a need to concern myself to Ryota, or Teardrop's case, I set it aside as there is the possibility that I will burden Gin more if I put myself to danger.Bookmark here

Being around him for a year truly does not suffice to a better understanding of someone, although it does vary. Only I have heard just now, and have never really seen Gin to be very agitated and expressed that mixture of emotion. It is not as close to frankly, the somewhat superlative point of his insanity, but it was enough to shake him up.Bookmark here

His anger—I have seen him many times loathing himself. It was a fruit that came from his regrets of bluntly being an ingrate of a child, as he said so himself after realizing his many years of being hollow. His anger could most possibly come from being unable to do something or reach out his hand to Ryota, as Gin might have realized something from him.Bookmark here

The sense of betrayal that Ryota felt may well have brought forth the sadness. But those two emotions could round up as one while still being two. Or in a sense, a pair of chopsticks.Bookmark here

Assuming the aftermath of his anger and sadness could actually be the case, Gin might have tried to do something, which utterly failed and frustrated himself. It could be similar to Nacchi and Mori's situation, but regarding the lengths that Nacchi had to go through, Gin was not fully aware of it. Perhaps, it is the process of understanding which I know to myself that it is what he lacks.Bookmark here

My line of thought was cut off as I arrive home.Bookmark here

"I'm back."Bookmark here

As I was heard, I saw Mom poking from the doorframe of the living room.Bookmark here

"You're a little early today, Ringo."Bookmark here

"I had to go home since I was a bit stressed…Bookmark here

By the way, did you see Potato passing by before I arrived?"Bookmark here

"So you didn't walk home with Gin? I did not see him, anyway."Bookmark here

"Thanks. I'll go change and check up on him.Bookmark here

Do we still have ice cream?"Bookmark here

"Fufu… we still do."Bookmark here

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Unusually, I knocked and rang on his house as G told me that he left earlier than us but he doesn't seem to be opening. I know to myself that it's rude for me to use my keys and enter without permission in this kind of situation as there is the chance that he might be drooping in his room. I came here with the ice cream I'm currently eating, but I did not even think of giving him a share.Bookmark here

All of the lights upon opening are off aside from the lamps that Gin decided to put since Haku can turn them on for his own coziness. Nonetheless, he welcomed me. I have observed that he has become very intelligent for a cat.Bookmark here

As if not knowing how ruder I was, I came upstairs to see that no Gin Sakato was found even in his room. Just to be sure that he actually went out, even the things that I will never do again happened like inspecting his laundry basket if his school uniform was there and it was. I swear that this won't happen again.Bookmark here

As foolish as it sounds, I asked Haku where Potato was, and led me to his room. I then turned the lights on expecting to see him even if I had to look for him in every nook and cranny of the room, which I did but not found even his shadow. Silly, he is a shadow. But as I was about to leave and turn the lights off until the cat tugged my bottoms and pointed his paw back to the room.Bookmark here

I was not informed that Haku caught the notorious omission of Gin. I had to rack up my memories for a second just to understand what Haku was trying to interpret.Bookmark here

I carried him back downstairs to his bed. And to my surprise, he himself pulled a blanket for himself and neatly covered himself. He looked at me as if he wanted to sleep so I waved him goodbye as I lock and close the door of the house.Bookmark here

"Hello, Dad? Are you still at work?Bookmark here

I will be telling Mom just a bit but please don't get mad at me for this. Can I stay the night in the base just for today?Bookmark here

No need, Dad. It will be exercise for me if I will just run. Yep. I'll immediately leave if you and Mom permit. Probably. If only someone will give me a ride home from there.Bookmark here

Really? Thank you. This is something important."Bookmark here

"You should have said sooner that it is important. I would have agreed earlier if you said that early on."Bookmark here

"Is that so… Still, thanks anyway, Dad. Rin-chan loves you."Bookmark here

*beep*Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

After being granted the permission, I immediately packed a change of clothes and began travelling on foot at five in the afternoon. I never really got to run in the afternoons even from the time when I was doing morning jogging back in Kyoto. Weirdly, spring season in Orio comes in January until March. Even though it's already the middle of March, I expected to see the sunlight at this time to still be yellowish as it is nearing summer. But it hasn't changed yet from orange or the subtleties were just hard to notice. The temperature is not yet to the point that Nacchi will loathe over it, so it is still a good thing.Bookmark here

The way to the Exile's base is most efficiently traveled by a vehicle, and it surprised me that no one suspects cars parking near an abandoned greenhouse.Bookmark here

In my running pace, the distance between my house to there is around three kilometers, and I would average perhaps 21 minutes to get there. Anyway, my estimate was close and I arrived to the greenhouse.Bookmark here

Surprise came after the lift opened when the Exiles saw me arrive alone in the base.Bookmark here

"Oh, Ringo! It's been a while since the last time you came here," an Exile called out.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon. I'm just asking, but did Makoto or Tenth come back to the base already?"Bookmark here

"Hmm. We haven't seen either of them."Bookmark here

"I see. Can I borrow a room, then? I'll help out in making dinner in exchange for staying the night."Bookmark here

"Oh, don't say that Ringo. You're always welcome. I believe you can use the room you were using back then."Bookmark here

"Thank you. I'll go now!"Bookmark here

"Enjoy your stay!"Bookmark here

The Exile I talked to didn't mention anything weird, or a thing regarding Gin. Either he does not see Gin enter, or he never came here from the very beginning. With that thought, I immediately came to the hospital-like room where Gin stayed when he was still gravely injured from the accident.Bookmark here

I saw an unfamiliar face inside. A man around his twenties was sitting in cross legs as he held a pocket book that reflected the pages from his glasses. He looked sophisticated for an Exile that I saw for the first time.Bookmark here

Without interrupting him as he looked absorbed in reading, I silently made my way to a table and took a mug to make coffee for myself. He then realized that someone besides him was in the room, even though delayed.Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry. I didn't see you enter."Bookmark here

"I'm also sorry for not saying anything."Bookmark here

He slightly squinted as he gazed on me, and then asked me a question.Bookmark here

"Hmmm… Did you become an Exile recently? I haven't seen you at all when I'm here."Bookmark here

"Ah, that is not the case. I am actually a human, or I guess I have the position as a Subordinate. My name is Ringo Akanami."Bookmark here

"I'm Marco Lugis. I've been overseas for a while and I just came back. To think that there was another Subordinate aside from Mr. Amano."Bookmark here

"I think… I've heard your name from Gin…"Bookmark here

"So you know Gin?"Bookmark here

"Well, we are together… And I came here because I didn't find him anywhere and his cat told me that he was here."Bookmark here

"Can cats… now talk?"Bookmark here

"Not exactly. The cat is just extremely intelligent. Also, he's not a Fl*rken."Bookmark here

"Nice to hear that he has no tentacles. Nevermind that, so you're looking for Gin, right?"Bookmark here

"I suspect that he's inside the Void."Bookmark here

"So even you knew of it?"Bookmark here

"Actually, I've entered that."Bookmark here

"Oh my. But he's indeed inside. He will be back after two hours. He actually just entered a few minutes before you got here."Bookmark here

"I hope that he won't be contemplating for a month."Bookmark here

"I'm surprised… You caught on the situation already." He then drooped, "If only I also had a girlfriend… and more so a perceptive one!"Bookmark here

I was astonished to discover his hopelessness behind his sophisticated look. It was not my intention, but my response sounded satiric.Bookmark here

"Is it because… you're an IT all-knowing?"Bookmark here

"I guess you could say that… I've encountered women from so many nations and yet…"Bookmark here

It sounded like I was telling him that he only thinks about his expertise and that he nerds out that's why girls won't come to him. I didn't get the chance to take it back.Bookmark here

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After helping out in preparation for dinner, I came back to the room with Marco still there. He was worried that I was nonchalantly making my way towards the door of the midpoint room. But I have been told by Hiro and Sean, who are both at work that it's okay to come inside the midpoint room if the door to the Void is closed. They told me that it will be bad news if midpoint and the Void's room are both open. I recall something that if the extreme gravity and fast flow of time are to leak outside, I could cause a huge tremor.Bookmark here

In actuality, I have never seen the midpoint room since I closed my eyes the first time I entered.Bookmark here

I did not think that it would be so accommodating.Bookmark here

There is a couch and a shelf full of books. It felt like a lounge with the presence of coffee, tea, and snacks. It is like a place for relaxation.Bookmark here

Eighteen minutes of reading a light novel quickly passed and the Void's door opened.Bookmark here

"Hi, Potato."Bookmark here

"…I didn't expect to see you here."Bookmark here

There was nothing different on him, and his demeanor still looked the same. He then sat beside me on the couch.Bookmark here

"How long has it been since I last saw you?" I was the one to ask.Bookmark here

"Five days."Bookmark here

I closed the book and placed my right hand on his head, saying, "I hope that you're okay now."Bookmark here

"I can't let you see my face like what G saw. I don't want you to get scared.Bookmark here

But to think… how did you find me?"Bookmark here

"Haku omitted but I still got his hint."Bookmark here

The hint was that Gin's room is painted white, and it seems that Haku knows the existence of the inspiration to that. The void was white, and so is his room.Bookmark here

"Sorry, but I won't be eating dinner here. I still need to go to Giotto's for the last shift.Bookmark here

Are you staying the night here?"Bookmark here

"Yep. It's Thursday today… Are you coming to classes tomorrow?"Bookmark here

"I've had enough rest. Will you go straight to school from here in the morning?"Bookmark here

"I plan to run early in the morning and come home first.Bookmark here

Anyways, you better get going. You're already late."Bookmark here

"You're right. See you tomorrow then, Rin.Bookmark here

I feel like I can face Ryota again."Bookmark here

"That's nice. Do your best."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Gin really did come to school in the next day. I tried to hide it but he noticed that I was stealing glances at him when we were walking to school. He just nodded and let me do that continuously.Bookmark here

I had made an opportunity to personally ask G about how he saw Gin yesterday. He described from his intuition that his expression was blank, but he saw the regrets on him. Furthermore, his undeniably dead eyes were apparently more lifeless.Bookmark here

I however did not see anything like that even right after he came out of the Room of Reality. On the contrary, his face is showing a stern but resolved expression.Bookmark here

But that was not the significant matter that I and even Gin himself doesn't concern us with. The important matter to point out was Ryota's unexpected presence in class.Bookmark here

And when the classes ended…Bookmark here

"You want me to go home without you, Gin?"Bookmark here

"Yeah."Bookmark here

"Are you going to talk to Ryota?"Bookmark here

"Something like that. I do think I can still clear things out with him even after realizing what he felt last time."Bookmark here

"If that's the case, be careful. You're only on your uniform right now. Even if you can defend yourself, we don't know what could happen."Bookmark here

"I'll be going then."Bookmark here

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As if I can go home just like that, and I'm quite sure that he expects this stubbornness of mine. I then let myself inside the admin's office upon seeing Tenth looking out from the door.Bookmark here

As the students finally left, we saw Gin with a bench with him and sat in the center of the open grounds. After a few, Ryota, instead of Teardrop appeared and stood far from Gin. It is safe to assume that Gin and his Exile persona are still different existence to Ryota's eyes.Bookmark here

It was Gin that first spoke.Bookmark here

"I made sure that all of the students already went home…"Bookmark here

"Aside from Rin."Bookmark here

"…so we have the whole school for us two."Bookmark here

Tenth told me that he was unaware of Gin's plots, but he still let him act on his own inside the school. Nevertheless, we listened.Bookmark here

"At least you still have a spine for you to show up even after what happened."Bookmark here

"I am indeed a coward, but not too much of being one. I just have things to clarify with you. Whether you believe me or not, I don't care. I just want you to listen to what I will say."Bookmark here

"Hmph. What? Is this your true nature? I've never heard you talk like this."Bookmark here

"I'm eccentric down to my bones, even if they are repeatedly pulverized, I will still stay as one."Bookmark here

"Hahah… So you still maintain your tone. Fine then. I'll listen," Ryota raised his voice whilst grabbing a seat for himself.Bookmark here

"I'll start then.Bookmark here

It hasn't been that long since I found out that you were Teardrop. But I just want to say that I was true to my words and sincerely befriended you back in November.Bookmark here

I only found out of your existence when the waves amplified for the second time in this month. I had a glimpse of your gaze back when I picked up your eraser at one point. And then you saw the Exile behind the tree, and your eyes too. I became certain that you really are Teardrop six da- yesterday.Bookmark here

Also, it does seem that your assassination attempt failed this month. But then, it did appear that there should be no reason for you to kill those people. I started to think about my ignorance, and don't get mad, but I tried to understand you."Bookmark here

Ryota was still obediently listening.Bookmark here

"I figured that you are working for a long term client in the underworld. Am I right?Bookmark here

But you don't need to answer that. What I want you to respond to is this—Ryota, you're doing this job to support your weakened mother, right?"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

"Your father was imprisoned a year ago, and you don't have any siblings based on your data. So it's only the two of you as family. But still, hospital expenses are a huge load, but I heard that assassination pays high per head.Bookmark here

Do you really want this, Ryota? Two years ago, you planted some kind of device that amplifies sound waves and managed to kill one subordinate of the principal who changed his life for the better. And you continued two years after to target one more of his staff. To save a life, you are willing to dispose of lives? From my earlier question, should I take your silence as yes?"Bookmark here

Ryota was unable to look directly and his eyes were beginning to show its pain. Still, there was only a silent response.Bookmark here

"Then I have one last question. This time, it's rhetorical again so you don't need to answer.Bookmark here

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?"Bookmark here

And again, he stayed sat without anything to say.Bookmark here

"Well, you're a supportive son. Of course, you would want to help your mother to recover from her illness that you would go to the lengths of ultimately killing as an occupation.Bookmark here

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But are you really thinking of you mother?!" Gin's voice rose up. "She's in a weakened state. Have you ever thought what will happen if she got to know that you are killing people for her sake?"Bookmark here

"Stop…"Bookmark here

"You see, I got to talk to Dominic back when I was a library attendant. I asked him the same question I asked you. I never thought that it will eventually become significant.Bookmark here

Do you know what his response was? He said that as long as killing is not involved. Then, do you know why his answer is like that? Because he added that doing that kind of thing is the same as killing your family."Bookmark here

"Stop…!!!Bookmark here

If you don't have anything more to say… I will leave."Bookmark here

"Ryota. I'm not a very kind person. Even if I wanted to be kinder, I can't. I've seen the reality at such a very young age, and I am not right in my mind. As much as I hate, the provocation that I just uttered was with nonchalance. Just so you know, there are many times that I hated myself; partly because of that.Bookmark here

So yes, this is my nature."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I still see you as a friend… just to tell you, I have a principle of not hurting my family and friends…"Bookmark here

Although he said that, even from where I am, his words sounded forced, but still with a hint of truth.Bookmark here

Gin's response sounded serious and blunt, but he meant to jest.Bookmark here

"How am I supposed to believe that when you nearly split my skull in half?"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

"Alright, I have my final words before I leave. Assassination is not a way of survival."Bookmark here

He stood up from his seat and took out both his hands as if showing it to Ryota.Bookmark here

"Even if there is only one time that you got your hands dirty, you can never clean off that filth for the rest of your life."Bookmark here

"D-Don't tell me…"Bookmark here

"I tried to wash my hands so much that my skin opened up. Yet nothing happened.Bookmark here

I'll grab my bag and go home. Make sure to take that chair back from where you got it.Bookmark here

Give up with your father. You can't kill him."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I don't care about that anymore… I already gave up."Bookmark here

Gin then left for the classroom with the chair on hand. After he was not seen anymore, Ryota walked out of the school from the front gate.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

‹Gin›Bookmark here

If you ask me about how I felt when I was talking to Ryota, it was obvious that I got little mad at him. I've done my time of abhorring myself again, and I've had enough of stalemates against Kuro in chess. But at the same time, I thought that he was pitiful. I may have come to understand him more, but I don't know why he have to be a hired hitman just to support their expenses along with supporting her mother.Bookmark here

However… will you really call it support?Bookmark here

As far as I know, this is the first time I've seen the school this empty. After coming back from grabbing my bag, I saw that Ryota was not there anymore. Instead, Rin is sat below the old tree along with Tenth who is sipping what looked like apple juice from a carton box.Bookmark here

"So you were with Tenth all along, Rin…"Bookmark here

"Thank me for eavesdropping earlier."Bookmark here

"I've never seen you that agitated, Gin. But you really have a way in your words, as usual."Bookmark here

"In all honesty, Tenth, I was serious and sincere to what I said earlier. I've done a lot of self-assessment and managed to lessen my natural insincerity.Bookmark here

Another small step to retaining my humanity."Bookmark here

Out of the blue, Rin asked me:Bookmark here

"But why did you let him leave just like that?"Bookmark here

"I actually don't have much time, but I do plan to resolve this. I expect not to see Ryota from school anymore… but March isn't about to end yet."Bookmark here

"…?"Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Makoto and Juno Artecus really did set a schedule for my requested investigation that I mentioned at Thursday. After two days, I am now walking around the paths of the Capital on my mask.Bookmark here

"I forgot to mention something, Makoto," I spoke while pointing my finger to my mask. "You also got done in with Teardrop's gas, right?"Bookmark here

"It's effect was extremely potent especially since the room was not properly ventilated."Bookmark here

"Then maybe we should add filters to our mask then? I also felt it."Bookmark here

"Wait, weren't you supposed to be immune to external attacks like that since being drugged doesn't have an effect to you?"Bookmark here

"Even I wonder. I haven't really tested it. Maybe it was still resistance. I got dizzy but not to a great extent."Bookmark here

"You two Exiles, we already arrived."Bookmark here

Juno stood in front of a door of a familiar building. It was the company that Dad, Kei and I once worked as a sideline job. As to why we came here, the branch manager's name is Yohan Horach.Bookmark here

The branch manager was expecting our visit, and so we were directed to his office.Bookmark here

"Thank you for accepting our request, Mr. Yohan. I am Juno Artecus from Cotona PD. And those two with me… they don't have names."Bookmark here

"Please have a seat, then. I say this but we have a very limited time to talk, so please make it fast. I'm needed for work outside."Bookmark here

"Then I'll begin immediately. Mr. Yohan, you are the son of the former senator Joseph Horach. Correct?"Bookmark here

"Yes…"Bookmark here

"Based from the former senator's data, he was remarried in 1999 after his wife succumbed to illness."Bookmark here

"It is true that he was remarried… but my mother dying from a disease was a cover-up. That ungrateful man who was my father killed her," and he further explained the details of how the murder happened.Bookmark here

"Moving on, about his remarriage, do you know the name of her second spouse?"Bookmark here

"…Her name is Miharu Mizuno.Bookmark here

They separated eventually though, and abandoned her when she was pregnant. But she was a healthy woman. I tend to visit her and her son regularly, and they are much happier without my father.Bookmark here

But not until his son was twelve. My father sent two people from the underworld with a plan to inject a man-made virus. Ms. Miharu was injected and got ill."Bookmark here

I butted in and asked, "What happen to his son, then?"Bookmark here

"Ms. Miharu personally told me, as she saw what happened that day. His son was so angered that he ended up killing the two.Bookmark here

She saw a very frightening look from his son, and then she fainted."Bookmark here

Juno turned his head towards me without saying anything, but I nodded.Bookmark here

"Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Yohan. The information you gave us will help in a huge case. We will leave now."Bookmark here

I stepped forward in the event that Yohan stood and I whispered.Bookmark here

"I promise that I will save Teardrop… not him, but Ryota Mizuno."Bookmark here

"S-S-So he's Teardrop…?Bookmark here

Then please…! Please save him!!"Bookmark here

After he calmed down from being struck by anguish, we left to another destination…Bookmark here

To the most secured prison in the country.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

There was not a need to go far from the Capital, as the prison itself was situated on and in the city. It was surrounded by four twenty meter walls in height and 750 meters in length each. The very prison is on the center of the land and the many surveillance. Bookmark here

It is where Joseph Horach is imprisoned, just in the lowest level as he is considered as the most dangerous criminal of the country's history. It is way deeper than our base.Bookmark here

Should Juno's presence wasn't seen with us two suspicious men on masks, there will be no way for us to even touch the walls. After all, Juno Artecus is the one that captured him.Bookmark here

We were separated by a considerably thick window as we met once again after roughly a year.Bookmark here

I waved first and greeted.Bookmark here

"A pleasure to meet you again, beast."Bookmark here

"Hmph. So you were the one that threw the bomb. You immediately made my day after seeing you!"Bookmark here

"I'm honored."Bookmark here

Juno butted in and began the questioning.Bookmark here

"Enough with the chit-chat, Horach. I have no reason to have idle talk with a husband who killed and drugged their wives.Bookmark here

Anyway, I need you to tell me if that is the truth. You don't have any choice since you're already imprisoned."Bookmark here

"Hahahaha. Yeah, yeah. I was the one who killed my first wife, and then I sent two lackies from underworld to done in my second family."Bookmark here

I then asked, "Let me ask, out of boredom?"Bookmark here

"Hmm…? Correct!"Bookmark here

I shifted near to Makoto and whispered, "I know you're really mad right now, and so am I. But if I punch that pane of glass it will easily break so can you do it for me?"Bookmark here

BAMBookmark here

As strong as he can, he punched the glass and made it vibrate.Bookmark here

"Now I feel better."Bookmark here

"But then, trash. I'm really surprised! How did you know that I was doing those out of boredom? Maybe… you're not as different as I am. You have no humanity…! I won't even be shocked if you have already killed someone. Tell me, how does it feel?"Bookmark here

"Ah, sorry, Horach. Such words won't work on me. You see, I sometimes talk in a naturally provocative tone.Bookmark here

You know what? It worked for your son."Bookmark here

He slammed the window with the side of his fist as he closely stared at me with wide eyes.Bookmark here

"Caught your attention, I guess? You really have a relation to child assassins, huh? But be thankful that your son underestimated the security here. He has no ability to infiltrate this prison. You're safe from being killed by your son. He personally told me that he already gave up."Bookmark here

Horach went back to his seat with an infuriated expression.Bookmark here

"Get lost. I'd rather rot here than see you again."Bookmark here

Before we stepped out, Makoto gave the guards an advice.Bookmark here

"Uhh, guards. I suggest you to also cuff his feet."Bookmark here

"Are you satisfied now?" asked Juno.Bookmark here

"Thanks."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

Three days later, Tuesday.Bookmark here

The time is five in the afternoon, in Mykes Hospital.Bookmark here

While walking the hallway of the hospital, Rin stumbled upon Dr. Kagetora.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon, Doc."Bookmark here

"Ms. Akanami? It's rare to see you here. Are you visiting someone?"Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

"It's nice to see you again but I have things to attend to. I hope that 027 is well."Bookmark here

"He is, and best regards to you too."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Good afternoon, ma'am. How are you feeling?"Bookmark here

Inside the hospital room is a woman sat on the bed with a surprised face. That woman is Miharu Mizuno.Bookmark here

"I'm feeling fine, but may I know you? Are you a friend of my son?"Bookmark here

"An acquaintance in school. I heard about your condition."Bookmark here

"Is that so…"Bookmark here

"Ma'am, does Ryota visit every day?"Bookmark here

"Yes. He sometimes visits at night after his work. Although… I'm worried."Bookmark here

"Did something happen?"Bookmark here

"He told me that he will quit his job at the end of the weekdays. He also said that he will do his final job in Friday.Bookmark here

But he wasn't sad… instead, he was somewhat relieved."Bookmark here

"Friday…"Bookmark here

"Ma'am? If you would like, can I accompany you in that day? Surely it would be nice for you to talk to others aside from the doctors and nurses."Bookmark here

"If you really want to. I would like hear about my son when he's in school."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I would be glad to."

Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That ends 042 but not NijiHo!Bookmark here

I don't really know, but I seem to like chapters like this. How has Gin not yet roasted someone?Bookmark here

Anyway, next chapter will be a two-part!Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

043.1: Knives out.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.