Chapter 44:

043.2 – Therefore They Took Another Step

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

"Go get some rest for the mean time. You're jobless so weekends should be also free for you now."Bookmark here

Is what I told Ryota and left the hospital with Rin. Still, I was genuinely surprised when she just up and slapped Ryota. She was… actually really mad.Bookmark here

I did not know that Rin was also doing what she knew that she had the ability to act on. Aside from accompanying Ms. Miharu and befriending with her, she also gave Ryota a scolding. But I have to say, even if I was so broken in my head, I don't think I would have ran away unlike how he did.Bookmark here

It however triggered my inhumane conflicts… since I don't know how an ordinary person will react to it. Will they actually run away or not?Bookmark here

In any case… I am glad that we actually got out of that fiasco safe and sound. If I can enumerate the predicaments I can recall, I was hit by a truck and got nearly all of my bones shattered to bits, got a huge scar from slashing my torso, broke both of my arms in defense, and my body also nearly stopped working which almost killed me.Bookmark here

There is also the one when Marcus left a cut on my face. But by far, the one with my encounter against Ryota was the most intensive with many booms and bangs, and a falling crane. I still however got little injuries amid of that.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

And three days after, I came to school with bandages on my left cheek. I have to say, the punch Ryota gave me was enough to knock someone out cold, but I was still conscious. But the huge bruise I got just got worse and more painful since the glass shards left some deep cuts where the bruise is found.Bookmark here

Sure enough, I stood out in the classroom for once because of that trivial matter. I now find myself being interrogated by Yui and Anzu on my desk.Bookmark here

"Seriously, how did you get hurt on your face?!"Bookmark here

"Don't tell me you got in a fight, Gin?"Bookmark here

Anzu's assumption was heard throughout the room and murmurs like "What? Gin got in a fight? Never expected that," for the reason that a plain guy can't really be seen getting in a fight.Bookmark here

I had no choice but to slowly divert the conversation.Bookmark here

"Yui, Anzu, I am guided by the wind."Bookmark here

"Pff… What's that supposed to mean?"Bookmark here

The sliding door opened with Mato making his entrance.Bookmark here

"Huh? Gin, you of all people got in a fight?"Bookmark here

"Can you not, Mato-sen?"Bookmark here

"What do you mean? It's not so far-fetched since a certain someone also got his face with patches.Bookmark here

Oi, what're you getting bashful for, Ryota? At least come in after being absent for a week!"Bookmark here

The door slowly opened, revealing a gloomy face with patched up scratches. The whole class went silent after seeing Ryota who had been absent for a week. What the others noticed was the bandage wrapping around his left shoulder.Bookmark here

Without minding it, I stood from my seat and raised Rin's right wrist while waving it to him.Bookmark here

"Hi~ Ryota!" both of us greeted with a sneer as Rin made a slapping gesture on her hand.Bookmark here

He immediately ran out and the door closed loudly.Bookmark here

The whole class including Mato stared at us, as though saying, "So you got in a fight with Ryota, huh."Bookmark here

"Don't ask! It's really hard to explain what happened."Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah! Let's just say that Gin managed to drag him back to school!" added Rin.Bookmark here

"You say that, Ringo. But he looked traumatized when he saw you two."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

Uh-oh, our bad!"Bookmark here

"Stop making that teehee pero face, you two!!"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

On the rooftop after school…Bookmark here

We ditched club for today and decided to feel the gradually warmer wind. Leaning on the railings, Rin and I sipped on a cup of tea while basking on the afternoon sun.Bookmark here

"Ahhh… The tea is so good in this kind of environment. It makes me think of my times when I was still young," all said on a contented face from Rin.Bookmark here

"I get what you mean, dear. Youth runs like the wind."Bookmark here

We became a grandpa and a grandma… not.Bookmark here

Suddenly, the doors of the rooftop opened which made our head turn in the entrance of Ryota.Bookmark here

"Had a good rest, Ryota?"Bookmark here

"Kind of…"Bookmark here

"That's good.Bookmark here

Did you lock the door, Akira?"Bookmark here

"Yep."Bookmark here

"…! Why is the principal's secretary here?!" Ryota jolted.Bookmark here

"Hey, don't exclude us, problem child."Bookmark here

Nagi, Shiro, and Jean who has been hiding behind the rooftop exit stepped forward.Bookmark here

Jean greeted, "Nice to meet you, Teardrop."Bookmark here

"Why are they here, Gin…?"Bookmark here

"Don't worry. They're just going to listen. Think of them as air."Bookmark here

"We are aiiiirrrrr…" while the four wiggled their arms.Bookmark here

"Gin… if you're going to say that I will be put to isolation, I am already aware of this happening."Bookmark here

"Huh? What do you mean?!"Bookmark here

"What I'm saying is that I'm willing to accept my punishment…"Bookmark here

"HUUUUHHHH?! Dude, I so want to kick your left arm right now! Your will is weaker than 086!Bookmark here

Do you really think your mother would just be settled with Yohan only taking care of her?!"Bookmark here

"Wh-What do you mean…"Bookmark here

"Your job of killing is done for good, but you still have many duties to fulfill. Realize just how much mess you made ever since the first amplification. If only you know how much diplomacy was needed to be settled just to put you in the Exiles custody…Bookmark here

From this point onwards, Teardrop will be forgotten and will disappear. You're given a second chance to change your life. Now use that to prove that you're someone that would not harm your mother with your actions. Starting today, a former young assassin like you that became an Exile will put you to rehabilitation."Bookmark here

"Yes…Bookmark here

I'm also very sorry for acting like no one will understand me. I didn't know that that happened to you in your childhood."Bookmark here

"I never had a childhood, Ryota. To begin with, I was only a human in my first five years of life. It's much more painful to realize that I lost my sympathy for so long… and I have hated myself over and over because of that.Bookmark here

But I feel your regrets now. There are regrets that no matter how you try to remove from yourself, you just can't. The only way is to move forward and stop regretting that permanent feeling."Bookmark here

I extended my arm in front of him and opened my palms.Bookmark here

"If you really want to change your life… for your own sake and for your mother, give up that one last knife you have on your back."Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

Slowly, he took out an encased knife from his back and placed it on my hands. It had a pleasant heft to it on the touch. I then pulled out the blade from its cover and snapped it into two with a majority of the blade severed and gave back the other half with the handle.Bookmark here

"I have a question. Have you ever used this knife to harm or kill?"Bookmark here

"No…"Bookmark here

"That's good to hear. I'll have to smelt this and use this for something at some point.Bookmark here

And remember, Ryota. The lives you took will forever be a weight to you. You have to live with it and persevere to stand up from that gravity… however many times you fall."Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

March 29—the day of the graduation ceremonies.Bookmark here

Since a gymnasium has been established in Blue Ink this ending school year, the school will not be going to rent an event center again. But it's not an excuse to just ditch the formal attire worn for many years by the graduates. The gymnasium itself looks so modern that there was no problem with regards the complementary.Bookmark here

But in any case, this is the only major event that happens for the end of the school year. A recognition event is finally placed in the recycle bin as per the removal of the ranking system of the school. History has been made.Bookmark here

I then found a very few of friends and acquaintances in the venue. There is my family and even Kei still came, but Shiina actually touched up Anna—the actual graduate. Rin didn't tell me that she will also attend, and so she went here separately. I also found Nagi's family since Naru is graduating; it is however not surprising not to see Shiro with her. What I am surprised is the presence of Jean on Ai-san's side. Seriously, and those are still not getting together. Also, I don't see Akira anywhere.Bookmark here

But the graduation march began that brought a little confusion to the people.Bookmark here

"Hey, son. Are you sure you have your act together? You've never done something like this," Dad insulted as I make my way out of my seat.Bookmark here

"What will be, will be, Dad."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

After a part of the ceremony was completed, an intermission of having Tenth on the stage happened.Bookmark here

"Once again, good afternoon to the graduates and assemblage. I would like to address a very significant matter that has been impacting the school recently.Bookmark here

Two years prior, an incident of what we dubbed as 'Amplification' happened to this very school, and speculations if this is a natural or intentional occurrence has been endless… until now. I am very much glad to announce that we have discovered that the Amplification was a man-made act."Bookmark here

It caused a sound murmuring in the building, but was immediately halted as Tenth continued.Bookmark here

"A device implanted in the school has been discovered to be the cause, but we can't present it today as it is being examined as I speak. However, we will be giving updates and soon provide the evidence.Bookmark here

In addition to that, it was also found out that Teardrop is the one behind this incident, but… the said assassin that has been floating around Cotona is now missing.Bookmark here

Thank you for listening in this brief announcement."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Being on the stage, the vice principal made a seemingly regular announcement which was however neglected in the sequence of formalities ever since the graduation march.Bookmark here

"Subsequent to the handing over of diplomas, may we now call on the invited guest speaker for today's occasion.Bookmark here

Please welcome with us, an Exile to share his speech. Let us give him a sounding applause."Bookmark here

It was not surprising to find the audiences' reaction to not be very toward to what was announced. However, on the AMF made to be a long suit, I walked and stood in front of the speech table with my faceless head behind a mask and bandages that wrapped down to my neck.Bookmark here

"First of all, I would like to thank the Board of Trustees of Blue Ink High School for inviting me in this special occasion, and for not recognizing me as an 'honorable' guest speaker. For an unknown someone to be acknowledged like that, it will indeed be unacceptable.Bookmark here

But why is a no one suddenly speaking in front of this crowd? That is for the reason that even a nameless has his story or two.Bookmark here

Also, I am very much aware of the changes that occurred in this very school. To avoid the concept of ranking or dare I say hierarchy among the students to not be implemented even from perhaps its thousand years of existence… is a head-turner. There is a saying that I hear sometimes: 'Try not to become a man of success, but try to become a man of value.' Even if I may have no rights to say this as I am not a part of this society, I do think that it was somewhat misconceived, or just not upheld.Bookmark here

But even if I am one of the many that does not exist in the functioning world, it would be preposterous for me to say that I currently don't have a name. A fellow Exile encouraged me with his actions that we are not always bound by our concealment of identity. Because if I don't have this mask, I am one of the eight billion.Bookmark here

I am a human, but not at the same time. I however characterized myself to be more in the inhuman side despite revealing myself to have a persona with a name on the skin of the Earth.Bookmark here

When I heard the said implementation, I was overjoyed. The world as it stands arguably favors with the strong, and the weak is being stepped on. Thus, the hierarchy for better or for worse. Even I thought about what the principal is thinking, or so that is what I feel. If one has the ability to change a small thing, even if the entirety can't be changed, one still made the change. Somehow equality was observed in this school according to primary sources.Bookmark here

And in times of anguish, happiness will always make its way. I would assume that you graduates underwent a very busy schedule, but you're probably wondering how you can still find yourself a time in a cafe, or maybe even holding a controller. It does seem that the school knows well that human life is not slavery to materialism and the students are given a place to take a deep breath. The balance is seen.Bookmark here

As I am actually acquainted to the principal, I became aware of his objectives. It is to give children a satisfying and fulfilling life, all in that small change in the big world. He wants the students to say 'I enjoyed my school life.' And now I ask you all, did you enjoy it? You know it yourself, but you need not concern my existence to yours. Knowing that you actually know to yourself that you are enjoying life is enough for me to bend a big smile behind this mask.Bookmark here

It is a rejoicing feeling to tell yourself that family is not only defined by blood. And perhaps you will find someone that will ease up your warmth and give you a loving warmth in years' time. In the middle of this cruel and heartbreaking reality, being happy is never a sin.Bookmark here

I know that because no matter how many times I was put to extreme sadness, pain and despair… No matter how many times I nearly lost my life… there will be someone that will be reaching out their hands to you.Bookmark here

Thank you very much, and I congratulate the graduates in advance."Bookmark here

Before I turned around, not only the students, but the whole crowd stood with the warm applause.Bookmark here

"I hope that a no one like me left something in this day."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Having myself unmasked and blended in the crowd as Gin Sakato after the ceremonies, I rolled my eyes everywhere in an attempt to look for my younger sister. I then saw her running in small steps making her way towards me with a rather hilarious face in tears.Bookmark here

*click*Bookmark here

"I had to take a picture of that."Bookmark here

Having reached where I am, a tight embrace of her arms also reached me.Bookmark here

"Nii… Thank you…Bookmark here

I promise… I promise that I always value this… I will always love this family…"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

I see… Congratulations, Anna. Make sure to find your own happiness from now on."Bookmark here

"You too, Ryota."Bookmark here

And to all of you, I, Kuro want to wish you happiness amidst of all the hardships in life.Bookmark here

Ahahahaha. It sounds like an ending, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I'll leave a kaomoji, then.Bookmark here


Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That concludes 043!Bookmark here

And that also ends the Teardrop arc! I can't really manage to do long arcs like 10-chapters, and it's nice to short and character arcs.Bookmark here

also i love kaomojisBookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

NextBookmark here

044: Ahh, the dreaded summer.Bookmark here

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