When I got to the mansion, I checked to make sure Kasa wasn't following me. When I was positive she wasn't, I went to my room.
After I closed my door, I felt my strength leaving my legs. I slumped down to the floor and put my hands over my head. This was the closest I've come to a serious injury since coming to this world. Furthermore, it would've been from someone who I was relying on to protect me for the next few years. I couldn't help but laugh at my situation.
Once I regained my composure, I picked up a random book on my bed and went back to Kasa's house.
As I entered the room, I saw Kasa sitting on her bed reading a grimoire. She looked up when the door opened and greeted me with a smile as if she didn't just try to hurl a fireball at me. I smiled back and took a seat on top of some books on the opposite side of the room.
I opened up to a random page in the book and started summarizing what I learned.
I severely underestimated the depth of Kasa's emotional dependence on me. Of course, the entire point of approaching Kasa was to make her attached to me, but her attachment wasn't supposed to be at this level. I meant our relation to be closer to a brother-sister relationship, and I completely overshot the goal. I honestly believe that she cares more about her relationship with me than me as a person. After all, when she felt that our relationship might be threatened she was going to hurt me to neutralize the threat. I thought going to the academy would've fixed her attachment issues, but now I'm not sure. Kasa values our relation too much, and she's far too emotionally unstable as a result of her life.
Unfortunately for both of us, from the start, our relation was built on top of lies. The lies stacked on top of each other and now resembled a house of cards. Even a small breeze could topple it over, and the breeze was approaching fast. I have no doubt that Kasa will find out I lied to her by the time she returns from the academy. I can't even begin to imagine how she would react once she realized I've been visiting the prison for years after we met.
To be honest, I knew my lies would've been figured out eventually, they weren't built with the idea of longevity in mind from the start. However, I thought I could just apologize to her when she found out. By the time I realized an apology wouldn't cut it, I had no choice but to cover up my lies with lies. Now it was far too late to change anything.
I don't even think the situation would've gotten this out of hand if I hadn't said 'We can only trust each other because everyone else is evil' to Kasa a few years ago. I don't know what kind of switch was flicked in her mind, but I wish I knew how to turn it off. Although I do accept that it was mainly my fault her flip switched, I also put some blame on the Duke and her mother. If not for their situation neither Kasa nor I would've ever arrived at our situation.
I turned the page in my book.
Essentially, I had dug myself a grave and I had two options, jump into it or run far, far away from it.
I'd prefer not to die a horrible death, so my only option was running. Originally, I was planning to run away when I turned 18, but now it has to be before Kasa returns from the academy. I assumed that would give me at least 2-3 years.
I hadn't thought about it until now but running away is much harder than I originally thought. First, the Duke had someone put Tracking magic on me, so running away has become a difficult task. Second, even if I did manage to run away, it wouldn't be too hard to track me down. There's probably a handful of people in the world with the inability to use any sort of internal energy. Third, it would be incredibly hard for me to protect myself once I leave this mansion. With only a couple of years, I seriously wondered if I could solve all of these problems.
At the very least, I could use the soul techniques I've learned to somewhat mitigate the issue of protection. But that still leaves me with two unresolvable issues.
I turned another page and started tapping my fingers together.
There are only two groups I can turn to for the solution to both problems, Lucan or the prisoners. My preference was Lucan, but that would be impossible. If an employer's son asked an employee for tips on how to run away from his family, I'm quite sure that the employee would report that to the employer. Especially Lucan, who views his time with plants above all else. I could only ask questions tangentially related to running away, such as which wildlife plants are edible, or which plants can function as medicine.
The only people I could directly ask about running away would be the prisoners. Since they're in prison, I'm sure they hold some resentment towards the Duke. Furthermore, I'm sure a few of them know about shady services for escaping this country. However, I would have to figure out how to ask them about those services - since a Duke's son asking to run away is suspicious- and I would have to be incredibly wary of being scammed. Once I relinquish my position as a Duke's son I would probably be backstabbed instantly. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and at the very least being backstabbed would be preferable to dealing with Kasa's wrath.
I chuckled internally, it was amusing how much information I was trying to squeeze out of prisoners.
As I was thinking about how I could ask the prisoners, Kasa touched my shoulder. She wanted to show me a new spell she learned.
Looking at Kasa performing the spell, I felt thankful that I told Lucan to dispel the Tracking magic. Getting a small scare now is significantly preferable to being blindsided a few years later. Still, I wish I knew what was going on in her head. Exactly how did she interpret the last few years for things to turn out like this?