Chapter 28: The Garden
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I was currently taking a walk through an area in the west of the Pendle Estate.

It's been a week since my encounter with Kasa. The past week was fairly mundane, I practiced some soul techniques, read books, and walked around the Pendle estate.

To my frustration, I still haven't made progress in Az and I've begun suspecting that I was either given false information or misinterpreted something in the documents Gruz gave me. As a result, instead of practicing Az, I've been reading the documents Gruz wrote for me. Considering that he asked me to bury his locket, I'm inclined to believe that it's my fault I haven't been able to progress in Az. In addition, I've started to experiment with Tracking. My experiments have no tangible goal, I just want more information on the technique.

I finished the last book I wanted to read in the Pendle estate 2 days ago. I'm genuinely surprised at how much I read the past 4 years, I didn't have this deep a passion for reading in my past life. I suppose reading was the most interesting thing I could've done for the past few years. However, putting the last book back on the bookshelf left me with a rather melancholic feeling. Although I enjoyed the time I spent reading, I had no clue what hobby could replace reading. I could try to reread books instead of finding a new hobby, but I'd rather try to find something new to do. As a result, I've begun to walk around the Pendle estate.

Walking around the Pendle estate served two purposes. The first reason was to find a good location to bury the pendant. I could bury it anywhere, but - assuming Gruz didn't lie to me - I wanted to bury it in an area with picturesque scenery. I've found a few decent locations, but they were always lacking in something, whether it be the scenery or my ability to bury the locket and not get caught. The second reason was to waste time, I thought walking around could be my new hobby. Unfortunately, while walking around did help pass the time, it could only be used as a partial replacement to reading. Regardless, as I walked around for the past few days I couldn't help but be surprised at how much land the Pendle family owns. I don't think I visited the same place twice. I was even further impressed by the Pendle security, I could see guards patrolling wherever I went.

At the same time, I haven't approached Kasa, nor has she approached me. If I was to guess, I think she's probably decided to practice magic and deal with her problems later. At the very least, her approach makes it easier for me to avoid her. However, I should probably figure out when she's leaving for the academy. If I assume she leaves a few days after her 12th birthday, it should be a couple of months from now. A couple of months should be more than enough for my plans, but I should try to find out the exact date she leaves in case I'm wrong.

Speaking of birthdays, my birthday is about a month from now. For the past few years, I've celebrated it with Kasa, but it looks like I'll be celebrating it by myself this time. I call it a celebration, but it's more akin to a funeral procession. Every year in this world is another year I'm not on Earth. I miss the conveniences from my previous life, but more importantly, I miss my family. If I assume that I'm dead in my previous world, it meant that my family would have to deal with my death. I hope they're taking my death well. The worst possibility I could envision was my family completely fracturing, which would leave me heartbroken. However, although it's scary to imagine my family fracturing, it's not the scariest thought in my mind.

What I'm scared of most is forgetting the memories of my previous life. These memories are the only thing that continues to link me and the earth, and I have this strange hope that as long as I keep these memories, I'll still have a method to return to Earth. Although I know that forgetting all my memories is an impossibility, even forgetting one or two memories makes me feel as if I've been hit by a truck. In fact, I've already forgotten a few important memories in the past decade.

One of the main reasons I want to spend the rest of my life in the countryside is because I want this life to be so boring I forget as little as possible from my previous life.

'Seriously, I wonder how those protagonists in novels were able to throw away their attachment to their previous life. It seems impos- Ow' My thoughts were interrupted as I hit a nearby tree.

As I rubbed my forehead in pain and looked at my surroundings, I found my intended destination, the West Garden. As I went into the garden, I decided to discard my current depressing thoughts and focus on the appearance of the garden instead. Juxtaposing the East Garden, the other garden I visited, the West Garden had a serene atmosphere that evoked a sense of nostalgia. However, rather than calling it a garden, it would've been more apt to call it a forest.

Trees at least twice my height towered over me as I walked through the path. Surrounding the trees were blue, red, and white flowers in various patterns. While the arrangement of flowers was the same on both sides when I entered, as I went further into the garden, the patterns of the flowers on my left and right side started to diverge. When I reached the first fork in the path, the left and right-hand side arrangements were completely distinct. However, although the patterns were asymmetrical, the design still maintained its original feeling of tranquility.

All together, it made me feel as if I was in a different world. Every path I took led to different flowers, different trees, and different arrangements. I was so engrossed in the scenery I actually forgot what paths I took and when. By the time I realized it, I was lost in the garden.