Chapter 21 – Cats Have Nine Lives
One day when I was spending calm days with the Tanaka family.
I noticed that my tail became split in two.
It seems I’ve become the one they called Nekomata.
When cats with strong spiritual powers live a long life, they will become a youkai called Nekomata.
(T/N: Youkai are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore.
Can be translated to ghost, phantom, specter, demon, monster.)
I didn’t realize that I’ve lived so long.
It looks like my split tail is not visible to humans.
I became a Nekomata, but I almost have no spiritual powers left.
Not long ago, my powers were taken away for my last chance to give birth to a kitten.
I used all my powers to give birth to only one child.
It seems unlikely that I will awaken some magical power just because I became a youkai in the daytime.
Whether it’s spiritual power or magical power, both source comes from life.
Maybe I only have a little life span left.
The born kitten was named Ryuubi.
Since he is Koumei’s child, for a reason I can’t understand, the whole family unanimously decided it must be Ryuubi.
(T/N: The explanation is a bit long.
See my note at the end of the chapter)
Ryuubi, who inherited Koumei’s power, had the power of foresight.
She could see the future.
She would meow to remind Yoriko to take the laundry before it rained, meow before the family forgot to give us food, meow before the family would forget to bring things.
The unfortunate thing is she didn’t know that the Tanaka family labeled her a noisy child.
I became weak recently from the cold weather.
On a night when it’s especially cold, Minato would secretly put me on the front door inside the house.
She could sit together with the whole family in the warm living room, but she went out of her way to sit on the cold front door and put me on her lap to warm me up.
Even though I lost my spiritual power and couldn’t protect her from anything, Minato let Koumei sleep on her lap and patted me caringly.
It was the calmest and happiest time.
I wanted to be with Minato always.
Minato stopped crying before I knew it.
Minato became big before I knew it.
Minato is no longer easily afraid before I knew it.
Even though Minato is still being targeted by something.
Even though I no longer had the power to protect Minato.
I can only entrust her to Ryuubi.
Even if truthfully, I want to protect her myself.
Ryuubi can see the far future.
The future after Koumei died, Ryuubi died, and even after Ryuubi’s sons died.
The future where the family lives separately, and there are no cats to protect the Tanaka family.
The future where Minato will be killed by something that has always been aiming her.
The future where the whole family will be killed.
The future where a world will snatch Minato’s and the family’s souls.
What can I, who is about to die, do?
What can I do with this old body of mine?
I can’t do anything.
I can’t do anything right now.
Ryuubi’s foresight can’t be overturned.
If so, then let’s go to the world that will snatch Minato’s soul.
Let’s wait for Minato there.
Cats have nine lives.
The fact that I almost became a Nekomata was a godsend.
If you become a Nekomata, you can live [nine lives].
If I have eight more lives, I can live eight more times, and I can find as many ways as I can.
I can be a Nekomata, a monster cat, or even a god.
Let’s wait for Minato while gathering enough strength.
I will be away for a while, but it’s for us to meet again.
Yoriko calls out to me.
I don’t have any strength to answer.
Death is drawing near.
If you think of this as the first of the nine times.
My body is beginning to stiffen.
It’s the first death out of the nine times.
I can hear footsteps.
Minato came home from school.
After Koumei became unable to move, she runs back home every day.
Her face reddens, and she runs out of breath, every day, every day.
Even so, today’s the last, right.
Minato, it will only be for a while.
I will become stronger and come to get you.
Let’s have an afternoon nap together again?
Minato’s tears fall in large drops.
Minato’s tears that I haven’t seen in a long time.
You don’t have to cry, don’t cry.
I will definitely come to pick you up.
Minato is calling.
Minato is calling.
M i n a t o i s c a l l i n g.
Yoriko gazes at me in wonderment.
Even though I never gave a response for a long time, even though I thought I would die like going to sleep.
The cat who desperately responds to Minato’s call was here.
I shouldn’t have that kind of power left anywhere.
“Koumei-san, don’t go-“
“Koumei-san, I love you!”
“Koumei-san, don’t… die-!”
“Don’t leave me… Please… I beg you-“
“Don’t… go anywhere…”
“To die… No… I don’t want it! …”
Minato is crying.
It’s alright, you know.
I also love you.
I like you very much.
Minato, the next time we meet, I will be even stronger.
We will be apart only for a little while.
Just a little while.
But you know, the truth is.
I want to be always, always be with you.
Hey Minato, don’t cry.
I will come back quickly… all right?
I will definitely, definitely come back.
With Minato, with Minato, with Minato, always with Mina…to…
The cat wakes up.
I had a dream from a very distant past.
I lovingly wrap the body of the girl who is sleeping beside me.
The girl whose hair color, eye color, name, and her everything have changed, but even so, she’s Minato.
We will always be together from now on.
Always, always be with you.
T/N: Ryuubi or Liu Bei in Chinese was the founder of the Chinese Shu Han dynasty and its first emperor.
Shokatsu Koumei or Zhuge Liang in Chinese is a Chinese strategist that served under Liu Bei to strengthen Shu Han.
He is considered the most popular Chinese hero in history.
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