Chapter II-2: Dissipating Storm, Tangerine Sunset, and Afternoon Tea

Ei’s left arm leaned on Shou’s shoulder as the other reached for the doorbell button by the gate. Seems that it is good to be this tall after all, Shou thought enviously.
Not before long, a youthful female voice said, “Hai hai. Who is this?”
Ei called to the speaker, “It’s me! I fell over that pothole in front of the Kawanos’ house!”
A surprised voice returned, “Oh!? I’ll be right there…” then the intercom terminated with a click. In half a minute, a woman around her early-30’s with identical hairstyle as Ei scurried worriedly towards them.
“Mom!” Ei called. (Read More)


Chapter II-1: A Warm Day with Thundershowers Just Before

“…Is that so? I see!” Kousei Tachibana said, holding onto the telephone receiver. Although his son Shou continued to yawn beside him, he tried hard to get his ears closer to the receiver and listen to the words coming from the other end. “How about this, when you head out to work, you can drop off your daughter at our place, and then we’ll take her to the carnival with us…time? How about you decide, for we’re fine with any…alright, nine-fifteen it is. Address is…Oh? You live quite close by! Very well, see you on Saturday…excuse me.” Shou’s father’s voice remained in his optimistic ‘business tone’ all the way until he put down the receiver. “Well? Is Yuki going to go out with us together?” Shou widened his eyes and asked excitedly. Yuu quickly gave her brother a wallop on his head. “Shou! Are you trying to make us all deaf? Must you yell out loud?” (Read More)

Chapter I-Conclusion: Chalcedony, Crystal and a Quartet

Pling! Ker-crack! The sound of glass and wood dislocating itself into pieces echoed into every corner of the classroom. Yuki and Shou’s second-grade partner tripped on his shoelaces and fell forward towards the old coffee table. With a sweep of his body and a pull on the tablecloth, the porcelain vase and several glass cups pulverized upon contact with the ground, spreading piles of sharp shards and puddles of liquid. Yuki quickly pulled on his arm and managed to save him from falling onto the debris.
“Oh no! Is anybody hurt?” The teacher came rushing in.
Shuuichi clung tightly onto Yuki, “Yuki-chan, I’m sorry…” and burst to tears .
 Yuki’s face broke into a gentle smile. She stroked the boy’s hair, “Don’t be afraid, it’s all right. As long as nobody’s hurt it’s fine. We’ll help you clean up…” (Read More)

Chapter I-3: A golden world in books; Heaven in the pupils

 After two weeks of fourth-grade school life, Shou’s perspective on the learning experience turned about completely. Compared to staying at home or playing in the park, playing hide-and-seek with Yuki and Ei, talking (and later arguing, then fighting) with Jyun, and listening to the teacher telling stories all seemed to be much more enjoyable and exciting. Like a debate or even a duel, Shou found that while interacting with classmates at school can be fun, it could also be unexpectedly challenging.
 “Shou-kun, what did you get?” Ei asked as the group received their writing assignments back.
 “Hold on, let me go through it first. Looks like the teacher made comments in our papers.” Shou gave a brief satisfied look towards his returned work with an 83 written on the top right hand corner.
 “96! Of all that and I got a 96?” Jyun’s right hand chopped at his work held by his left hand. “And to add to that, why is it that you always get one, just ONE mark higher than me all the time?!”
 “So I’m better, so too bad. Nyah-ah!” Ei made a face at Jyun. She turned to Yuki and asked, “Yuki, what mark did you get?” (Read More)

Chapter I-2: A Group of Four

 When the teacher gave the class 15 minutes to freely mingle and know each other better, Shou slumped at the idea: What needs to be said about me, no, what can be said about me! How am I supposed to begin describing myself! Or should I say, how many people would be interested in having a completely obscure and dull nobody such as myself as a friend! Just forget about it!
 “Hey! What’s the matter, did you pass out?” The girl in ponytail, now Shou’s neighbouring seat, greeted in a bright tone.
 “Oh…me?” Shou groggily replied, as if he just awoke. She took the initiative and took his hand, and pumped it with enthusiasm. Shou quietly judged her appearance: The blue suspender pants over her chick yellow turtleneck, and her vibrant expression both suggested the notion: Hey, let’s jump and bounce around! (Read More)

April 29th: Prologue

In darkness, a modern style building stands in the snow. A rush of footsteps echoes in the whiteness beneath.
 No matter how much more snow falls from the sky, the layers upon layers of white material would not deepen.
 Where is this place? Why is it so nostalgic, yet I cannot remember anything…

 A “hand” grabs at the icy cold door handle and pulls with force. With a quick flash of the body, “I” enter the structure. Three banyan trees stand in a straight line. At the other end of the “hallway” illuminated in some orange colour, a glass-walled elevator silently awaits for passengers with its blue-white fluorescent lights.

 “I” am waiting, searching. (Read More)