Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 4: Day and Night, Part 8】
Thinking about it now, my odds of winning were pretty abysmal from the very beginning. To sum it up shortly: my opponent was a girl so that was already a big no-no in my book, but to add salt to the wound, even though I’ve knew her and her younger sister for like, what, a few hours or half a day at best, I’ve grown quite fond of them and that probably made me stay my hand. Those were the complaints that swirled inside my mind right now; the complaints that I really wanted to say out loud, but I couldn’t.
Right now, when Asagao stabbed me in the chest, it was like everything just started moving in slow-motion. If I still had a heart in my chest, that would have been an instant kill, no doubts about it.
I wonder is Asagao is going to take my Gift now and use its ability to revive herself?
Really, what a strange trade this is. First my heart was taken from me and now in exchange for my life the doll is going to bring her real counterpart back to life so that she could reclaim the life that was stolen from her. And you know what? Quite unexpectedly, I do not mind that as much as I probably should.
I might be stating the obvious here, but despite their frail looks, girls really are strong, so if Asagao can utilize that girly strength of hers to live a happy and fulfilling life then I guess my sacrifice would not have been in vain. And I hope that Asagao’s doll will be able to do the same of course. Maybe she could even fill my spot as Shiinamachi-senpai’s Knight? At least she’s a genuinely trained assassin-doll, not some half-baked former killing machine that chose to abandon its old ways. As long as she’ll have a clear purpose in her life and a goal that she can chase after then I think she’d have no problems with that arrangement. And if her body got broken, Yugao-chan could just recreate it, or maybe even improve it to better suit her tastes… man, the power of bonds between twin sisters really is something that should not be taken lightly. Wait, twins? No, that is no longer the case here.
I’m definitely getting way ahead of myself with this, but if the three of them are going to live together as a family from now on, then Asagao’s doll should get a name for herself, to truly cement her being her own person, and to avoid unnecessary confusion.
For example… hmm, let’s see here… damn, this stuff is more difficult than I’ve initially thought… oh, I think I’ve got it! How about Yorugao? A little cheesy, I know, but it has a nice ring to it, and it completes the cycle nicely. Asagao, Yugao, and Yorugao. Morning, evening, and night. So I guess that instead of twins that would make them triplets now. In such a setting, Asagao would be the cheerful, dependable older sister who’ll always watch over and protect her younger siblings. Yugao-chan would be promoted to Yorugao’s older sister, so it would be her new job to dote on and pamper her newly acquired younger sister. And as for Yorugao, even if technically she’d be the youngest of the three, she would protect them all from harm. It would be great if that scenario could really happen.
Hahahahaha, all right, now that I’ve fantasized about such strange yet wonderful things, I guess it’s time for me to die now without any regrets.
That was a joke of course.
「No way in hell I’m dying now!!!」
I grabbed Asagao’s hand and forcefully pulled her towards myself.
「Wh, What do you think you’re doing, Monjiro-san?!」
「I think I finally understand… no, come to think of it, I probably knew it from the start, and was almost fooled… *COUGH COUGH*!!!」
The inside of my throat was filled with too much blood, so I had no choice but to cough it all out. Ah, of course I’m coughing out blood again, it’s like it’s a permanent thing with me lately.
Not to mention that Shiki will scold me for smelling like blood again, but oh well. I am heartless, glassless and there are almost no emotions left in my chest except for that one feeling that continues to burn so fiercely that it hurts.
「What, what are you…?」
「Asagao, you… you had a heart, sine long ago…」
Yugao-chan exclaimed in a surprised voice, but Asagao only smiled gently, like a mother looking down on her child and she leaned towards my face.
「What are you going on about? Ah, I get it! Haha, Monjiro-san, you’re a silly, silly boy, you know that? Just because I’ve been granted a personality, it does not make me the same human being like you, Yugao or Shiki-sama. It is something that changes and adapts to the environment and your personal needs, am I wrong? No, of course I’m not, and the same holds true even for you. I mean, you acted differently when I was around you and when only Yugao was with you and don’t you dare deny that. As you can undoubtedly see, personality and state of mind are not set in stone, so there is no way for us to truly know just what the other person is thinking.」
Asagao gave me a lecture. Most of what she said was not a lie by any measure, as people’s behavior and personality are often changing depending on where we are or who we talk to. That is why our impressions of others can be, and often are misleading, not to mention that throughout the course of our lives our personalities can be subjected to changes multiple times.
But that is not what a 「heart」 really is!
「Monjiro-san, it’s true that you picked my interest, but that was only due to the personality of the real Asagao that was programmed into me. I don’t have a real heart in my chest. Only the one that Yugao made for me for the purpose of comforting her and making her happy. So she could feel satisfied. That is my personality. That is the 「Asagao」 that was programmed into me!」
「So what of it?! If I’m the source of Yugao-can’s tears then you’ll kill me?! Do you really think that it will make her feel any better?!」
「I… that’s… it’s all for the sake of reviving the real Asagao, so I’m sure that’s what she would have wanted…」
「The only one who wants something like that to happen is you!」
I could feel all of her conflicting emotions directly through her nail-blade that was buried deep in my chest.
「You have your own heart, so you knew. You knew how hard it was. You knew how sad it was. You forced yourself to smile for Yugao-chan’s sake, but inside, all you did was constantly apologizing to her real older sister…」
「N-No, th, that’s…!」
「That’s why I hope. That when I’ll be gone, the real her will come back. And that Yugao-chan… will be able to greet her with a genuine smile… and that she’ll get back the happiness that she’ll be able to feel from the bottom of her heart, just like you wished for her. So… before I go… make sure to listen carefully to what I’m about to say, all right, Yorugao?」
Without paying attention to the blade that digs itself deeper into my chest, I press her against me with all the strength that was left in my remaining arm.
「Ah, Mo… Monjiro… san…」
「When we wish for something not for ourselves, but for someone else’s sake, those are our own feelings. So if you want someone to be happy and you wish for it with your whole being… that… that is what a 「heart」 is…」
Tears. Tears were flowing down from Asagao’s… from the doll’s face. Those were the fragments of her own emotions, which she was bottling up deep inside of herself.
「O, Onee… chan…!」
Yugao cried her eyes out as she desperately tried to suppress her sobbing by holding her hands over her mouth.
Maybe that’s what it really meant, the words of the real Asagao who is trapped in the darkness. She knew that, and that’s why she wanted me to come back to life to help her. So that I could make both of them understand that all they ever need to create a world in which all three of them could be happy were their honest, unobstructed feelings.
「It’s all right, Asagao. No need to act tough anymore.」
「Ahaha… you truly are such a naughty boy, Monjiro-san.」
She whispered those words into my ears with a voice that was shaky with tears…
… and in the next moment, my body was sent flying.