Follow us on:
Facebook   Discord   RSS

Chapter 154 – Future of the Two as One: Second Half

Leave a comment

Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3773 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1934 words
Editor(s): Fire

I know now that both of us care a lot about each other. And that both of us plan to disappear and let the other remain. Which is exactly why our discussion is going nowhere. I guess that’s only natural since the only way to resolve this is for both of us to remain existing.

“But you’ve been with me up until now, right?”
“Because it was necessary to keep you tied down. Any soul going inside me would immediately disappear, after all.”

And even if they don’t disappear, the discrepancy between the mind and body might drive the soul crazy, huh. I guess it’s all thanks to Kotone that I didn’t have that. She has also sealed off my memories in the past, so she probably did a lot for my sake.

“I understand your efforts now, but wouldn’t it have been better for you to improve your own situation instead of relying on me?”
“I’ve decided that, if it were you, I wouldn’t have any regrets. However, I have been getting second thoughts about that lately.”

Now that I think about it, my whole course of action might have changed ever since I met with Kotone back then. Now I’m not acting as Kotone, but as Souji. I didn’t have any intention of taking over Kotone’s life from the start, but I still held myself back. And now that the chains are off, this is the result.

“I’ve learned first-hand the consequences of you going berserk.”
“I don’t think I went that far.”
“It felt like you were letting out all your pent up stress in my eyes.”
“If that wasn’t the case, I’m sure you wouldn’t have gone out of your way to gain the assistance of the rogues’ den people.”

When I was still living as Kotone, I was generally passive with my relationship with the rogue’s den. Now, I actively utilize them. I honestly didn’t realize this until Kotone mentioned it.

“Besides, if you disappear, what about your promise with Mr. Satoru?”
“Naturally, I’m leaving it to you.”
“I wholeheartedly refuse.”

I promised Satoru that I’d join next January’s New Year Party. I told him that I couldn’t join because I was busy this year, but he just told me to go next year. I was able to seal his movements thanks to this, but the price was too steep.

“By the way, there’s a pretty high chance that everyone will be there.”
“I’d just die.”

It’s still a year later, so it should be possible for them to adjust their schedules. It’ll practically be a class reunion. Most of the rogue’s den are still being punished right now, so they probably didn’t get informed about this yet. But once the news breaks out, it’ll be a riot.

“I don’t want to go either.”
“Your role is to quell them, right? I most certainly can’t do such a feat.”
“Don’t worry, Kotone. I’m sure you’ll adapt.”
“Please stop it with baseless trust.”

Their target is definitely going to be Kotone. Which is exactly why I don’t want to go. If it was me in the past, I’d be sure to go since it’s been a while since we last got together. However, I’d rather not go there when I know I’m going to be made fun of.

“If we back out, several of them will absolutely come and kidnap us.”
“You intend for them to clash with the security team?”

That’ll be a disaster. I can already see Isami’s old man getting enraged. And I’m definitely going to be scolded together with them. Why do I have to get lectured when I’m not actually doing anything wrong?

“That’s why, Kotone, you stay.”
“That isn’t a funny joke, Mister. You’re the one who will remain.”

Where has the previously self-sacrificial desire to let the other remain gone? Now we’re trying to push the annoying future responsibilities onto each other. There is other more troublesome stuff, but the largest threat is definitely the rogue’s den New Year Party.

“Besides, while you will more or less disappear in your case, it’s slightly different in mine.”
“Something like an assimilation?”
“That’s right. I will literally become one with you. A hasty assimilation might cause issues, so my intention was for it to be gradual.”

If I suddenly became more reserved and ladylike, the people around me would probably get confused. And I’ll likely be the most confused about it. And if I don’t receive any explanation from Kotone, I doubt I would have realized what’s going on.

“But the base personality will be me, right?”
“Obviously. Take responsibility for the future you created.”

I even went out of my way to make Kotone an amusing future. Not that it’s solely my design. After all, I had no plans on becoming a singer at all, and I don’t want to become the family head either. And yet for some reason, those two are potential choices.

“I have entrusted my life to you. Even if I, aimless and detached as I am, were to be given a life again, that would only be a waste. However, I’m sure that you will live with a goal in mind.”
“I don’t have a goal anymore, though.”
“Still, I trust that you’ll set a new goal soon enough. For example, ironing out the coming future?”

Changing Kotone’s public reputation. Punching her father was another goal. While the former is technically still ongoing, I’ve already completed the latter. Then I really do have to set a new goal. Still, the future, huh.

“That’s probably the most difficult thing. I can’t imagine any regular company willing to hire someone from the twelve families.”
“I suppose the only choices are to start a business or find places that will accept us unreservedly.”

Be it becoming the family head or starting a sole proprietorship, there’s a lot Kotone has to learn. I guess going to college will be necessary. I planned on attending college to begin with, since it’s a given for members of the twelve families to do so. I guess I’ll have to change my mindset.

“On that point, the cafe is the most ideal workplace.”
“I find that family to be frankly strange. There are so many of the twelve families frequenting their place, and yet they don’t get snobbish, nor do they try to curry favors. They treat us equally as normal customers. It’s amazing.”

Seriously, what’s their hearts made of? Even when they first met me, they were shocked to learn my identity but were calm right after. Normally, one would either have doubts or treat Kotone differently.

“We really should treasure our bond with that family.”
“That’s precisely why you are necessary. I have no confidence that I’d be able to socialize well.”

The original Kotone would likely feel needlessly reserved. Kotone also has no experience with work and it’s not like she’ll inherit my working experience. With the sudden change, Kaori will definitely notice something’s off. And there’s no assurance that it won’t drive a wedge in our relationship.

“You built those bonds. They aren’t for me to inherit. I have complete trust that you can create a good future for us.”
“Are you really fine with that?”
“This is the future that I desire. I want to see the future that you’ll create.”

Kotone stares down at me with unflinching resolve. There is not a tinge of regret or resignation in her eyes. All that I can feel is her strong desire to have me continue in her life. A desire much stronger and unwavering than mine.

“I lost. Still, the results might not be what you expect. I’m not taking responsibility for your disappointment, okay?”
“Don’t worry. I’m sure that you’ll go beyond my expectations.”

Where does that trust in me even come from? Is she not considering the possibility that I’ll try to be more behaved as Kotone? No, that won’t change how rowdy the people surrounding me are, so I’ll probably still suffer. Yeah, I get why Kotone would rather refuse.

“Will your voice still reach me?”
“It’s hard to say. The original plan was for my consciousness to disappear within a year. But because of your antics, that plan has gone amiss.”
“If I restart my life as Kotone, what will happen?”
“Our progress has been basically reset right now, so I’ll have to spend a whole year assimilating with you.”

In that case, wouldn’t it be better if I completely lived as Souji? However, I know that this will result in my disappearance and isn’t the future that Kotone wishes for. Now that I’ve seen her resolve, I’ve decided to go against my own wishes.

“You can speak out, no need to be reserved, okay? It’ll personally make me feel better that way.”
“It’ll be nice to enjoy things together, right?”

Rather than sharing enjoyment, it’s more like sharing in suffering. We have the issue of the future, our relationships with Shimotsuki, Fumizuki, and the twelve families as a whole, and maybe intrusion from the rogue’s den? Now that I think about it, there’s a lot to deal with. There’s nothing but uncertainties.

“Now then, mister. Let’s meet again if the opportunity arises.”
“Personally, I don’t mind if we meet many more times. No need for you to hold back. We’re one Kotone, after all.”

I won’t try to become Kotone like I did at first, I accept myself as Kotone. Even so, I’m not abandoning my past. I hold on to my past as Souji while having a renewed resolve to live as Kotone.

“We’re probably the only ones in the world with this kind of mindscape.”
“That’s exactly why your consciousness is important. Your consciousness is surprisingly fragile, you know?”
“So I guess it’s thanks to you that I can exist right now. Sorry for spoiling your efforts, Kotone.”
“I’m at fault for not explaining enough previously either, so there’s no need to take the blame.”

She was sad and angry before, but now she’s only showing me a smile. Everyone at the academy has a stern impression of Kotone, but she’s actually gentle by nature. There’s probably barely anyone who knows this. Still, I will never forget this.

“It’s about time.”
“We can see each other again, right?”
“I’m always inside you, so we can always meet anytime.”

I can’t judge if she’s lying or not. Her goal today and last time was to warn me. Kotone has never called me for any other reason. It might be because she needs to keep interventions to the bare minimum, but I still don’t know the reason why.

“Now then, goodbye Mister.”

This might be the last time I’ll be able to get into touch with Kotone. Realizing that, I naturally hugged Kotone. Normally, I’d be too embarrassed to embrace someone of the opposite sex, but strangely, I feel a sense of peace and security. Perhaps this is proof that, at this point, we’re one and the same.

“Let’s make it an enjoyable future.”
“I’ll looking forward to seeing your efforts.”

I’m going to be real busy from here on. This second chance encounter with Kotone has definitely caused a change in my heart. I’ve developed self-awareness as Kotone and have to choose a future that’s for our best interest. You can say that what I have to do has been made clear.

Still, I must never forget to be myself.


Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Gateway to Gender Bender Novels