Rainbow of the Horizon
I forced a sloppy wave with my hands with a rather tense smile.
I would not have done it like that if it wasn't for the extremely surprised expression coming from Yuuga who put down his phone from his ears. I can now confirm that he actually has some huge eye bags, but still managed to pull a wide-open look with his mouth still stiffly opened.
"H-Hi, there…" he still greeted nonetheless.
"It's actually you, Yuuga. Do you live here?"
"Ah, yeah… on the second floor. Were you taking shelter from the rain?"
Rin chuckled, "Y-Yeah…"
"It looks like the rain's not going to let up for a while. My place is welcome to you two."
Rin and I then exchanged gazes and came to a decision.
"We'll take up your offer."
~ ~ ~
This apartment building that I just praised earlier for its good engineering houses three apartment rooms in each of its two floors. The main stairway that we just climbed is located on the right side of the building while there is an emergency route on the other side. On the second floor, Yuuga's room was the farthest from the main stairway.
I noticed that the apartment building is actually bigger than the normal ones. It however became an understatement on my part.
"Please excuse our intrusion."
I have to guess that each and every room is the same size as Yuuga's. It is not a typical one room, and toilet situation. But rather, it has two rooms and a bathroom. On the main room is where the kitchen, the living and dining spaces are found. But that is generally how it looks to be.
Sure, there is a kitchen and a dining table with three seats as the other side of the table is by the wall. The living space is a little different, though. He only has a coffee table over a carpet and one sofa, and I will surely notice that we have the same model of TV. Still ordinary.
There is a bookshelf of three layers that are filled with books beside the television and fitted almost snug to the corner. Opposite to the bookshelf though is a desk with a lightbox for sketching and his display tablet.
Without saying anything, we chose where to sit on the living room while waiting for him who is by the kitchen counter. As I am someone who doesn't usually sit on the couch but still have some on my own house, I asked Yuuga.
"Are these sitting cushions, Yuuga?"
Considering how dark the clouds are outside and how it's an hour away to sundown, it was not very dark in his room. We realized that in between the desk and the bookshelf, which is still considerably far from each other, a window still lets natural light to pass through.
With a tray of a pitcher of iced tea and glasses placed down on the table, he also sat on a cushion.
"You sure you two didn't run on the downpour?"
"We took shelter in advance. I won't get a cold just from that anyway," I said.
"I might if we ran though," she added.
"By the way, how did you get those eye bags? Are you still sleeping?"
"Ah, maybe a maximum of three hours in the past five days."
"Huuuhhhh. For you to get so little sleep, what are you doing since the vacation?"
"Uhhh… Work? Yeah, work. Work."
He started acting drunk or perhaps lightheaded, but his sleep deprivation might just be kicking in.
"Ahh, yeah! Good timing! You and Ringo can actually help me with work right now. I'm sure it's not that hard for you since I've known how you work in the club."
He stood and went to what might be his bedroom. He did not take long and so he came out with a plastic case containing a stack of paper inside, and placed it on the table.
"Hmm… Let's see. This is done… this also…
Page 1, 2, 3… until 7 done, huh."
While counting the papers that I still can't understand its contents, he picked up the AC remote without looking at it and turned the machine on. I will have to say, although it is raining, that doesn't mean that one can escape the summer heat even if it is actually a little colder outside. Actually, the three of us are kind of sweating on our foreheads until Yuuga turned on the aircon.
He came back to his room and took out a cylinder with pens and pencils on it and two small glass containers of what seems to be ink.
"I have 32 pages for the May issue and I've already done 7 pages of it. I've done the huge black areas of the beta prior but the inking is not yet done.
Also, I've listed the screentones necessary for every panel, but please try to minimize and don't waste the use of screentones."
"Uhhh… Rin you know I'm heavy-handed."
"Then I'll do the screentones once you're done inking."
"Alright, then. I'm pretty confident with how I ink now. Yuuga, do I use a dip pen for the inking?"
"Yeah. Weight variation will be lost if you only use a fineliner. But I guess brush pen will work too."
"Eh. I'll just stick with the dip pen. I'm not really good with brush control."
"Sorry. If I did that chapter digitally it would be more convenient."
"Nah. It's fine. We'll start then."
"Don't forget that I'll still help, okay?"
~ ~ ~
In the midst of the unending ambient noise of the rain and the sound of the rough sound of the dip pen…
"Yuuga, I might be asking late but I can probably ink consistently if I know what's going on with the pages. Do you have the script?" I asked him without a hint of sarcasm.
"Ahh… I forgot to bring it out, huh. Give me a sec."
With the presence of the script separated from the pages itself, it became easier to visualize and produce the emotions being told in every sketch. Needless to say, the speech bubbles should be left blank. I then started to think.
"How do you send this to the publisher, anyway?"
"They gave me an insanely good scanner, and even I still use a fax machine, you know."
Oh my, is Ryohei really okay with this? I know she finally gave up on going after Hana, but for him to start supporting Fuuji… Isn't that kinda painful?"
"Y-Yeah. I realize that too. Aren't Ryohei forcing himself?"
"I think you two are misunderstanding Ryohei. He's been a relentless guy in the love triangle but he knows his place. He hurt Hana in chapter 12, right?"
"Ah… so it's like, he finally accepted that he can't be with Hana anymore because of what he did," Rin speculated.
"That's right. He started to think more about Hana's feelings and how she didn't like Ryohei's standpoint of only thinking of her deeply without minding his family who is always away.
But he's a disciplined character at the end of the day. My editor actually liked that concept."
"Well, even I will oppose his way of thinking. Do you know that I was away from anyone for two years, Yuuga?"
"You may have heard, but I actually lost my memories a couple of times now. But even with that, I still regained them and didn't stop thinking about my family."
"Hmm. I did hear from Nagi that you were a very aloof person back then. Did meeting Ringo change you?"
"Something like that. But that's where I oppose Ryohei. Even if I have Rin with me, it's not an excuse to forget about my family."
And then Rin asked, "But wouldn't that make Ryohei pitiful or hated by the readers?"
"Maybe, for now. But it's for his own character development. I want him to be more sincere with others and to himself."
"Hmm. Seems like you really planned his premise, huh."
"Yep. I can at least say that."
Out of the blue, my phone rang. I stood up and stood by the kitchen to not interfere with the work of the two.
"**Hello? Oh, it's you, Kura-san.
**Yes, I'm doing fine…"
Back in the living room…
"Wait, Gin can speak in Japanese?!" Yuuga in surprise asked Rin.
"Uh, yeah. I can also."
"**Really? That's nice to hear.
**Seriously?! You're sending me the episode in advance?! Yes, thank you very much!"
I came back with my mood uplifted. I expected Rin to ask about it, but she probably kept herself silent with an idea already on her mind.
Yuuga however looked at me curiously.
"You can speak in Japanese, huh."
"Even I heard you talking earlier outside with the language.
And I was about to ask, you already did the direct translation of the script to Japanese?"
The script was written in English, but below every dialogue, the Japanese translation was already printed.
"I actually do the typesetting for English scans while the publishers in the North sort out the Japanese version."
"Ohh. No wonder why the English version is fast in release."
…Rin and I realized too late. Like, extremely late.
With a sudden shudder, Rin stood up with a shocked look towards Yuuga.
"Y-Yuuga… You're… You're Yuki Amagami?!"
By the time Rin exclaimed, I already realized that fact, but the surprise still boiled up by 100°C.
"You two just realized that?! Wait, how come I didn't try to hide it?! Ahhhh!!!! My head's coming loose with the lack of sleep!"
"W-Wow… I can't believe that Amagami-sensei is an Orion…"
"That's why I kept myself from reacting whenever you guys fawn over every chapter! It's hard to control myself, you know!
Anyway, it makes me happy whenever you comment with my work!"
"Wait, then that means you're also going to be in ManCon?!" I realized.
"Yeah… That's why I have to tell the club that I won't be in the TAC booth. I even went as far as requesting a booth far to the club.
I was going to tell you guys about this later… but please let me take some time to tell the rest of the club."
"Alright, we got you covered. But try to think of some measure or how you will hide yourself. Nagi and Shiro will surely visit your booth."
"Speaking about an episode… Surely you and Ringo already heard about Silver Apple that is airing next week."
"I was just talking about that with our representative earlier on the phone…!"
"We're also looking forward to it…" Rin let out a dry chuckle.
"Also… I have a request for you two."
"Thus may be sudden, but… can I hire you guys as my assistants just for this chapter? If that's not a bother to you… I made you do work for me and I'll feel bad for making you do this for free."
Again, Rin and I looked at each other and thought about it.
"We don't really mind doing this for you. Besides, I was also looking for ways to earn some money for myself."
"Oh, that's about what we talked about at some point, Rin.
Also, we're done with TAC work for ManCon, anyway."
"Really… Thank you."
~ ~ ~
It has been more than two hours since the rain began to fall, and it's still not showing any signs of letting up. We were done with what Yuuga instructed us to do, but he fell asleep midway.
With nothing to do, we felt our stomach starting to rumble. We both looked at Yuuga, but we realized that imposing on him too much was a bad idea at this point, considering that he already exhausted himself.
Momentarily though, I woke him up.
"Uhh… Gin. Yeah?"
"Want something to eat? We're intruding and all, so the least we can do is make something for dinner. It's already passed six."
"I appreciate the offer, but…"
"It's alright. Go back to sleep and we'll make something for us to eat."
"We'll wake you up once we're done.
Rin, I already messaged your father that we might come home late. He gave me his OK."
Upon opening his fridge, I discovered that Yuuga also makes his own food, as he's living here alone. His stock of raw supplies is neatly stored inside.
"I'll help with making dinner, Potato."
Rin then walked in the kitchen after cleaning and organizing back the finished tasks.
"Maybe I should make something refreshing to at least ease up Yuuga's tension in his body."
"What's funny, Rin?"
"I'm now realizing that your life is somehow indifferent after seeing Yuuga."
I guess so? To think that he's actually a hardworking person too. I wonder what's making him do this much.
Now, I respect him more for this."
~ ~ ~
"Mmm…! How can you make food this good, Gin?! Even I can't do something in this caliber…"
"Well, I do this for a living."
"Ah…! The interview I watched in YouCube last year! No wonder how you two can speak in Japanese!
So you're a sous chef, huh. Actually, why don't we watch it again while we're in front of the TV?"
"Ehhh… It's embarrassing."
"Quit acting bashful, Potato. It doesn't suit you."
"I didn't know you're so direct, Ringo…"
After watching the video, Yuuga started to wonder about something.
"Giotto's… Giotto's… I believe I saw that restaurant in the latest PV of Silver Apple…"
"Hai, I'm listening."
"Since we found out that you're Yuki Amagami, we might as well tell you a secret.
The main characters in Silver Apple—Gin Satokawa and Ringo Ameno is actually based from the two of us and our lives."
Dude, are you serious? No way can you be a good looking guy drawn in Kyoko Animation's style."
I then pulled a picture from my phone, with Rin and I holding an artwork drawn based from us by an animator of the company back in Kyoto.
He facepalmed, "That's so good…" and he repeated them four times. "So I can't ask if I can consider your two as reference material for my work…"
~ ~ ~
"Thanks for having us, Yuuga."
"No… I should be the one thanking you two."
With the rain completely gone at 8pm, we decided to take our leave.
"We'll be going now. Be sure to take a good rest."
He briefly went back in his room, and came out with two sheets of paper with him that he then handed out to us.
"Surely you'd want this as a souvenir."
It was his autograph as a mangaka.
"By the way, Ringo. I just noticed… since when did you cut your hair?"
I forgot that he's the kind of person that is like what you find in a manga that is a stereotypical dense character.
▪ ▪ ▪
A few days later…
"Thanks for having us again, Yuuga."
This is the second time we came in Yuuga's place after that time we got stranded. This time, we came here as his official manga assistants.
"Do you know how to make focus lines, Gin?"
"Not yet… I think it's difficult to do."
Focus lines… I wonder how I should explain…
I don't know if this will be easier to understand, but it is kind of similar to perspective lines, but it doesn't make an intersection nor even meet the center of the panel. It is sometimes used to express the surprise in a panel, or just to add comedy.
"How do I do that anyway?"
"I follow other mangaka’s way with stabbing a thumb tack on the sticky side of the tape and stick it on the center or the panel."
"Oh, I get it."
"Uhh… Yuuga? I can't help but notice…"
"What is it, Ringo?"
"How much does your electricity costs?"
Yuuga and I then turned and looked up to the aircon that has been making us cool while working.
"Actually… My usage is much higher before 2017 when winter wasn't a thing yet. I can't work with sticky and sweaty arms. It will ruin the paper!"
"Ah. You do have a point. Anyway, I should probably practice first before I do an oopsie-daisy."
"I hope you two realize already that this chapter is a parody to Gek*an Shoujo Noz*ki-kun.
This chapter and not my manga chapter," Yuuga joked.
"Oh? You read that too?"
"Of course I do. That's my savior from stress."
"How cruel… You read another mangaka suffering from stress to relieve your own stress?"
"Don't put it that way, Ringo!"
"By the way, since when have you been living here, Yuuga?"
"Since I started in being an author. Actually, my family owns this apartment lot. I'm currently a representative landlord who collects the rent."
"What the… you have your pay as a mangaka, then you also handle the rent collection…"
"I only use my own money!
How about you, Gin? You live close to school, right?"
"I also live alone. Though, my family house is just a few blocks away from my house."
"'My house,' you say…"
"I have the signature on the title of my house, so basically, I own it. Don't get me wrong, though. I work in Giotto's full time to pay my electricity, water, gas, internet and loans used to buy the house."
"But when you look at it, I am a sous chef, you are a mangaka, but we both have sideline work from TAC commissions. We also both live alone."
"Please don't tell me that Ringo actually lives next to your house."
"How did you know?"
"A shoujo mangaka's intuition. But yeah… we really have a lot in common…"
He jerked his head up as he suddenly looked to the clock. It says 11:46 in the morning. Seeing that, he panicked and pulled his hair.
"No… No… I forgot…"
"W-What is it, Yuuga…?"
"It's Tuesday today and almost lunch now… Ah, shoot! We can't clean up in just a few minutes. She's going to come here any time soon!"
"Huh?! Who is going to come here?!"
"Mina lives next door and she brings lunch here every Tuesday to eat with me! She doesn't know that I'm Yuki Amagami!"
"H-Huh?! I didn't know that Mina lives alone now!"
"Wait, Minase actually brings lunch for you?! That's so sweet of her!"
"If you want to, I'll do that too, Potato!"
"Oh, thanks, Rin!"
"Wait, can you stop with your fluffy talk right now?! We have a bigger problem here-"
A voice of a young woman suddenly sounded from the outside. Hearing that, Rin and I thought:
"That's probably Minase!”
"Mina is coming…!"
But in Yuuga's head there is only one sentence repeating endlessly…
"I FORGOT TO LOCK THE DOOR…!"
"Yuu…! Your door is unlocked so I'm going in!
I heard some noise here so I hurried with… our… lunch…"
With Mina letting herself in with a pot held with both of her hands, she abruptly stopped after seeing what seems to be Yuuga, Gin, and Rin dancing a ritual around the coffee table."
"Please don't drop the pot, Mina…"
Shifting again her sight, she immediately saw the sheets of paper on the table, quickly noticing the appearance of Hana Kozue, the heroine, and Fuuji Karakura, the main male character of Flower of the Unknown—a shoujo manga written by Yuki Amagami.
It is a manga that she loves talking about with Yuuga.
That does it for 045!
Announcement! There is no certainty that 046 or later chapters will be released on schedule. I might take a hiatus or just go sike.
Thank you for reading!
046: Oh hey, the density is lower than that of a blackhole.