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Chapter 159 – Path to the Future

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3536 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1699 words
Editor(s): Fire

We arrived at the skiing place right after noon. We had no problems on our way here. Is it because Harumi and Miyako organized this trip? Or will there really be no troubles happening this time?

“For some reason, I feel like the employee was being really considerate to me.”
“It’s like they knew about you.”

Did information about me make rounds before we came? The employees here seem awfully meek. Moreover, why does the snowboard I rented out look like it’s actually brand new? Mom should be the only one I told about my trip.

“So you chose snowboarding, huh.”
“You chose the same as me, Kaori. Miyako and Harumi went skiing, huh.”

My equipment is monochrome black and white. Kaori’s board is blue and white. Harumi’s skis are red and white, while Miyako’s are silver and black. I finished picking quickly because of Mizuki’s presence. Otherwise, she would have spent a long time color-coordinating…

“You already put on your sunscreen?”
“I’m surprised you have background knowledge about this.”

This isn’t my first time with winter sports. It’s not just for warding off sunlight but also snow-burns. Who was it that got a goggle tan line again? We laughed at him for looking like a panda for some time.

“Also, make sure to do warm-ups, especially you two, Kaori and Harumi.”
“The two of us athletes?”
“If you two get injured here, it’ll be a big problem if it affects your summer competitions.”

Miyako and I aren’t part of any clubs. However, Kaori and Harumi are members of athletic clubs. They’re going to have their last competitions since we’ll be in our third year soon, so it’ll be a shame if they drop out of their competitions. Remembering how much time I wasted doing stupid stuff in my youth, I couldn’t help but let out a sigh.

“Well then, let’s go to an easy place.”

We got on the lift heading for the beginner course. It’s the nearest one, so we should arrive there fast. Sharing lifts are me and Kaori, Harumi and Miyako. The bodyguards are probably chasing after us from behind.

“Have you ever done this before, Kotone?”
“This’ll be my first time snowboarding.”

If it’s as Souji, I have a lot of experience with winter sports. I don’t have any experience in getting stranded on a snowy mountain, though. Having such active fools as friends, I’ve barely spent time relaxing alone at home. The most troublesome ones are those who’d storm into my place.

“I’d love to go near the summit at least once.”
“Is there something there?”
“The scenery is wonderful, particularly on clear days like this.”
“Oh, that sounds interesting.”

From this snow-covered mountain, I can see a lake in the distance. The sky is clear, but there’s some snow falling from above. Still, this only improves the scenery. While I’m not reckless enough to go to the summit without practice, I’d like to go for my last ride.

“Say, Kotone. Don’t you have any lingering regrets as Souji?”

During the field trip, I told Kaori my secret. She didn’t believe it back then, but did something happen while I wasn’t around? There’s a fair distance between the lifts, and we’re facing forward, so our voices shouldn’t be heard from behind. No need to worry about it, then. Still, why is she asking at a time like this?

“What’s with that all of a sudden?”
“I guess it’s because whenever you talk about the past, I don’t really feel any loneliness or sadness from you.”
“I do have regrets. There’s a lot I wanted to do. But you see, I can’t enjoy this miraculous second life if I keep dragging my feet about the past.”
“You have been dragging the past with you, though.”
“No, it’s more like the past catching up to me.”

I didn’t particularly think of letting go of my past. Actually, I even thought of at least checking on them. But how could I have known that I’d bump into my childhood friend first before I could do anything? Other than that, from how I proactively made use of my past, I must have had some lingering regrets.

“No matter what you do, there’s no going back to the past. What’s more important is my present as Kotone. After all, Kotone gave me this new lease in life.”
“I suppose that is pretty in character for you. In that case, you don’t have plans on doing something with Isami and the others?”
“Are you telling me to die?”
“Do you really have to say that?”

After all, doing something with those guys would mean having a career as a singer. For Kotone, that’s pretty much just suffering. Adding to that, I’m going to have to babysit them, and just thinking about that is already discouraging me. You can do it, Yui.

“I really don’t want to stand out. My personality has been partly affected by Kotone, so I honestly don’t want to be in front of a crowd.”
“Look back on everything you’ve done up until now.”

I guess I have already stood out. Still, it’s mostly because I got practically dragged into the spotlight. At first, it was the rumors. Next, it was because of Hadzuki’s whims. Okay, the New Year Incident was my own fault, but that’s the only one for which I’m to blame.

“Being with them certainly is fun. But that’s only as Souji. It’s when interacting with them as Kotone. Though they did treat me as a friend even before I got found out.”
“So you have no plans of joining them?”
“As Kotone, I guess I don’t see that for my future. Whether I choose to help with the family or be independent, I’m thinking of drawing a line with the rogue’s den folks.”

Even if I draw a line, those guys would just step over it like it’s nothing. Besides, I don’t think I can ever get a job at any normal business enterprise. There’s still a lot of uncertainties in my future, but I know full well that my chances of employment as a regular person are hopelessly low.

“While I’m sure about going to college, there’s still what to do after that, huh.”
“What about being a singer?”
“I don’t plan on making it my main profession. Ah, I guess I’ll have to keep in touch with Shirose in this case.”

Just as when I thought of drawing a line, I still have to cooperate with one of them for work. Still, Shirose seems to be good at keeping secrets, so it should be fine. If it were Ruru, she’d likely take the initiative to leak my information. I really have to watch out for her.

“I’m only becoming a singer because the Shimotsuki family isn’t leaving me with any other choice. I don’t plan to make a career out of it at all.”
“What are you twelve family people even doing?”
“I want to ask that myself.”

Getting others involved for their own amusement and enjoying it to the fullest. Sherry might not be a member of the Shimotsuki family by blood, but maybe she was born with a similar temperament. Or maybe she got influenced by the family and became the way she is? Either way, she’s troublesome.

“Anyhow, that means your future is open, right?”
“That’s about right. I do plan on narrowing down my choices while I’m in college, though.”

In other words, it’s just as always. I’m still going to work at the cafe, and I still don’t plan on leaving the apartment for home. Kotone’s family will surely be against it, but I really enjoy my current environment. Besides, I don’t intend to return to high society at all.

“I plan on going to a vocational school, so we won’t be together like we have been until now.”
“I’m still going to work at the cafe, so it’s not like we’ll never see each other again.”

I don’t know if it still applies if I get fired. It’s not like I’ve got a fixed employment period. The owner would probably tell me in advance if he wanted me out. The problem will be where to find work next.

“You’ve experienced a high school graduation before, right? Did you feel lonely about it?”
“It’s the fools, you know? They did stupid stuff right until the end of our high school days, so I couldn’t feel lonely at all.”

Even we wanted to leave peacefully during our graduation. But after seeing the teachers cry with happiness, of course we’d want to cause some mischief. Moreover, the other classes even provoked us to end it with a loud bang.

“They were fooling around even during our post-graduation reunion parties, resulting in us being banned from countless pubs and restaurants. Currently, no one outside of our acquaintances would allow us in their shops.”
“That’s making me seriously concerned about what is going through their heads. But it does make sense that you’re a part of them.”

It’s only limited to our hometown. We haven’t done that much damage at the neighboring town, aka here, yet. The biggest issue is that even among the caretakers, there are those that completely change when drunk. We do try to at least not cause damage to the establishments, but even that has its limits.

“By the way, I’m pretty strong with alcohol.”
“I honestly want to see how you are when you’re drunk.”

Who’d want to show that. Still, there’s a chance that I’ll be wasted by Akane and Shizuru when I reach legal drinking age, huh. Shizuru, in particular, drinks like fish in water. I’m honestly really impressed that Akane can keep up with her.

“Now then, we’re almost there. Can I ask you one question?”
“What is it?”
“You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”
“Well, who’s to say?”

So she has no intention of spilling the beans, huh. In that case, it’d be wiser to observe for now. I still haven’t identified the trouble, after all.


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