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Chapter 161 – The Past and the Present’s Struggle for the Future: Second Half

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3492 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1620 words
Editor(s): Fire

Isami treated me to a can of hot coffee, but now I forgot what I wanted to say. If this was intentional, then she must be capable of peeking into my mind. This isn’t good, my thought process is getting weird.

“Is something wrong? You’re groaning so much.”
“Isn’t this mostly your fault?”

She keeps on using words that catch my interest, so my mind keeps wandering from the main topic. In the first place, what’s the deal with this rogue’s den thing? From the context, I can tell that it refers to a certain group. Come to think of it, Kotone would occasionally use this term as well.

“From my perspective, it feels like you people are only interested in Kotone for what’s within her. I need Kotone for everything that she is.”
“That’s true. And that’s why Koto-chan isn’t considering a future together with us. I guess that’s our hurdle for now.”
“It doesn’t really feel that way to me, though.”

Kotone always seems to enjoy talking with Isami and others. I don’t really see signs of her wishing to cut ties with them. And yet she isn’t considering a future with them?

“I’ve been with Sou for the longest time, so I can tell. Koto-chan is properly thinking about her future as Kotone.”

Isami showed a slightly saddened expression. Thinking about it, this means that Isami has been bereaved of the person she always wanted to be with. And then she had an unexpected reunion with her significant other, who looks completely different now. I can’t even begin to imagine how she must feel.

“Still, she didn’t abandon her past as Sou. And that’s enough for me. But you know us humans, we can be really greedy.”

Meeting again isn’t enough. Of course, she’d want to have a future where they’re together. I’m sure I’d feel the same way if I was in her shoes. If I were to experience an abrupt parting with Kotone and then gain an opportunity to see her for just short periods of time, I’d want to be self-indulgent too.

“That’s why, I was thinking that if you would give up on a future with Koto-chan, we might still have some hope…”
“I won’t give it up, and I don’t plan on yielding.”
“I know, right?”

I was surprised at how those words came out of my mouth. I suppose it just proves how important Kotone has become for me. We’ve only been together for a short time, but I’m confident that I know Kotone well enough to contend with them.

“Honestly, we’re at a disadvantage. Everything else will probably depend on Kotone.”
“What do you mean by that?”

I don’t understand why she changed the way she called Kotone. Isami showed a surprised expression, which then changed into an annoying grin. It’s like she’s bragging that she knows Kotone better, but that’s not true. What Isami knows is this Souji person’s character and behaviour.

“Kotone still exists inside of Koto-chan. That’s how it feels to me.”
“Eh, you mean the terrible Kotone?”
“She’s not terrible. Otherwise, Koto-chan would never have done something like that.”

I’m getting so confused now. She’s saying that there’s another Kotone who I don’t know? Besides, I don’t understand how Isami even knows this. Did Kotone take some sort of action that could warrant her conclusion?

“How can you tell?”
“From what she pulled off this New Year, I guess? The usual Koto-chan wouldn’t go as far as to get our help in getting rid of bodyguards, you know?”
“She said she had a personal grudge against them.”
“That probably had a part of it, but this is likely what was on his mind: Those who’d get in Kotone’s way had to disappear.

That’s a bit too extreme, but I can’t argue that Kotone isn’t above doing that. But wait, wait a minute. From the way Isami is speaking, she’s not doing it for the current Kotone. She’s doing it for the real Kotone. Doesn’t that mean…

“Kotone intends to hand over her current life?”
“Probably. Koto-chan must have started thinking about that only recently. If Kotone really has a terrible personality, Sou would never take that sort of action. It proves just how important Kotone is to him.”
“The only other Kotone I know is the one with a nasty personality.”
“This Kotone is probably the one that Sou first met. The memory of that one night must’ve been really precious for them.”

More new information is flooding my head, but that’s not what I want to know the most. Will the current Kotone disappear and be replaced by the real Kotone? Or will she be able to switch between the two personalities? I can still accept the latter, but if it’s the former, then I have to persuade Kotone against it no matter what.

“There’s practically zero chance of the current Koto-chan disappearing, so I intend to respect her decisions.”
“What makes you sure of that?”
“When we met the other day, we really didn’t have any sort of farewell talk. Based on her personality, she’ll absolutely say goodbye in some way. And since she didn’t do that, I think Kotone might have said something to persuade her.”

It seems like Isami really does understand Kotone better than I do. Does her knowledge of Kotone’s personality really allow her to understand this much? If it were someone else telling me this, I wouldn’t believe them at all. But with just how confident her tone is, I can’t help but believe.

“I think Kotone is a good kid. The type that makes you want to protect her, probably. Yeah, the complete opposite of the current Koto-chan.”
“I’m impressed you have such a strong delusion.”
“You’re slowly getting less reserved with me. That’s good. It’s true that I’ve never met the previous Kotone and the Kotone before her, but I do know the type of girl that Koto-chan would want to protect.”

Isn’t that more of Souji’s preference than of Kotone’s character? Still, the Kotone I know would probably be concerned about that girl too. Let’s just ignore who’s leading that girl’s future in weird directions, though.

“Even if that Kotone does actually take over for the current Kotone, I feel like she’ll have an absolutely dreadful time.”
“Hmm, who’s to say? I think it’ll be an enjoyable life for her.”

They’re definitely going to keep associating with Kotone, regardless of whether she changes on the inside. In a sense, that would make that Kotone a memento of their precious friend. The original Kotone is certain to be burdened with a lot of trouble. And one way or another, I’m probably going to be with her too.

“I’m also afraid to see how Kotori will react.”

I can’t help but be curious how the other twelve family members will react to a changed Kotone as well. Will they try to figure out how to turn her back, or will they treat her as they always do? If it’s the former, I’m scared about what they’ll be up to.

“Still, Kotone really won’t change, right?”
“I can’t be sure since I haven’t confirmed with her, but I do think that it’s unlikely. I told you, right? The previous Kotone is a good kid.”

That’s still mostly your delusion, isn’t it? Still, that did make me a bit relieved. I’m sorry for the original Kotone, but I really don’t want Kotone to be replaced. The one that’s indispensable to me is the current Kotone. I wouldn’t know how to deal with any other Kotone.

“Well, I’ve announced my intentions; I’ll have to have a strategic meeting with the others now.”
“Do you plan to get Ayaka involved, too?”
“Hmm, even without me telling her, she’ll just join in on her own. I’m sure of it. It’ll probably be similar with the others, too. It’s going to get lively.”

I can already see Kotone looking stressed. In that case, maybe it would be wiser to bring Kotone to my side ASAP. I’d rather have it that way and it is a bit worrying. Also, I have to properly confirm Kotone’s intentions.

“Well, Kaori. See you later!”

Isami ran off without waiting for me to respond. She honestly dominated the whole conversation. Souji must be a weirdo to have kept her company for such a long time.

“This is a good opportunity. I’ll ask Kotone on our upcoming outing.”

Still, I can’t ask when Harumi and Miyako are around. I hope I can find an opportunity for us to be alone together. If it’s impossible, then I guess I can just call her to my room at a later time. After all, I can make opportunities to talk if I want to.

“Also, I’ll have to inform Kotori about it.”

In exchange for the tablet, I made a promise to give her information about Kotone. While I can’t tell her what we just talked about earlier, I can probably tell her about the outing. It’s not like having one more person would make a big difference.

“If it’s Kotori, the other two shouldn’t be against it.”

Kotori comes to Kotone’s classroom during lunchtime like I do, after all. So she’s not as hard to be with compared to the other twelve family people. Kotone will shoulder the stress, but I consider that a necessary expenditure. And it’s interesting to see as a spectator.

“Wait, aren’t I starting to think like Isami?”

Do your best, Kotone. Because I’m just going to watch things unfold from the sidelines.


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