I Became the Forgotten Male Lead

A Difficult Decision (1)

Trying not to think about my impending demise, I made my way to Count Alistairs study. It was not difficult to find; it had the fanciest door in the entire mansion.

Knock, knock.

”Enter. ”

Count Alistair was sitting alone at his desk. He must have sent his aid away to give us some privacy. The drapes behind him were tied aside neatly. The trees outside danced in the wind; their newly sprouted spring coat was giving the entire room a slightly green hue. A bit further beyond were the northern mountains. I knew we lived in northern Lila, but I had not yet visited this cardinal direction of the mansion before. What a nice find.

”Father. ”

”First take a seat my boy. You seem stressed. ”

Did I? I suppose I may have seemed a bit too eager. I took the seat across from him.

”Father, I want to work in Wisteria. ”

He frowned slightly, taken aback by my statement.

”For how long? ” he asked, interlocking his fingers.

”About 6 months. ”

He raised his eyebrow, mirroring the exact same expression Devon had given me moments ago. Why is everyone acting so strangely regarding my requests?

I opened my mouth to elaborate, but before I could speak, the count had raised his hand to stop me.

”I am sorry my boy. I can not let you go. ”

”What? But why? ” I asked bewildered.

His eyes shifted away in a sporadic manner. An evasive tactic if I ever saw one.

”Well… with your sisters incoming marriage prospects, I can not have my eldest son off somewhere when there is so much to do and-. ”

”Huh? She has marriage prospects?! Uh, never mind. Father, I have no interest in being head of the house. I suggest you keep Devon around until Max comes of age. Or better yet, just let her become heiress! She is much more qualified than either me or Max. ”

I stopped to catch my breath. I had not meant to praise Devon like that, but if doing so would get me out of this heir business, then I would gladly do so.

”Kallius. ”

”Yes? ”

The count sighed. Was he still not convinced?

”To be honest my boy, this is not about heirship. You… you have not left the estate in two years! How can one expect a father to allow his struggling child to go off into the world? You have known nothing but work around the estate. You will not last a day out there! ”

From his voice, it did not seem like he was being degrading. He was concerned. Almost… afraid. For me? For Kallius?

…Two years, huh? Alice had mentioned something similar as well. Has Kallius really been holed up at the counts estate for two years?

I glanced at the counts expression again. It had not changed. He was adamant to keep me from leaving. He is probably correct. I know nothing of Kalliuss circumstances. He could be in danger if he leaves home like this. However, I am willing to take that risk. I have a goal. And that is to change this storys ending. For her. Even if it costs me this life. I am not afraid to die. I have already lost everything I have ever cared for. Now, I simply wish to save my last reason to live.

I slammed my hand on his desk. It may be cold of me to do this, but I am Kallius now. And the man before me… is not my real father. I do not care if I hurt his feelings.

”Father. I am twenty years old; I can make my own decisions. I was only here to receive your blessings for a safe trip, but I do not mind leaving without them. ”

His expression was indescribable. Shocked may be the closest word, but it also held a hint of sadness. He suddenly stood up, knocking down a pile of documents in the process. I immediately did as well. With my head lowered like a bull seeing red, I eyed him in defiance. As if to say, ”Go on. Do your worst. ”

But he did not. After about ten seconds of intense silence his demeanour softened, and he slowly sat back in his chair, clasping his hands over his eyes.

”Fine. ”

”Hm? ”

”Go. Do whatever you want. I will not stop you. I am certain you would make me regret it otherwise. ”

What- what is this? I was fully prepared to be slapped or even disowned for my outrageous disrespect, but he is just… letting me go? Do nobles in this world have less pride than I had imagined?

”But under one condition. You must take a maid with you. ”

He looked like a battered soldier. I almost felt sorry for what I had said.

”A maid? Father, that is not necessary. I can take care of myself. ”

”Kallius please. If you will not let me protect you myself, then at least let someone do so in my stead. ”

I did not want to drag an innocent person into my schemes, but the count looked like he was about to start crying.

”Alright. ” I nodded.

His eyes lit up, and for the first time since his greeting this morning, he smiled.

”Really? All right then, how about taking Octavia with you? ”

Hm? Not Alice? I thought she was-

But I lost my thought. This conversation feels familiar somehow. Suddenly my head started to pound. Where have I heard that name? I have not. Then… where have I heard this conversation? Was it in the original story?

An image flashed before my eyes. A memory? A blank sheet of paper was dancing inside my mind. I felt like I would lose my epiphany if I stopped thinking about that paper, so I strained to remember what the words said. Ah ha! I see them now…

13-YEAR-OLD MAID BRUTALLY BEATEN AND DROWNED ON EVELYNS DOMAIN

DUKE EVELYN LOSES ALL SUPPORT FROM COUNT ALISTAIR AND OTHERS

Gasp!

I suddenly remembered where I was. The count was still sitting before me.

”Kallius? You have not said anything for a minute now. Are you sick? Perhaps taking Octavia along might be a bit much. I just knew you got along much more with her than with Alice so I- ”

”Wait. Father. ”

In a frenzy, I clasped my hands around the edge of Count Alistairs desk and leaned towards him. I was shaking. I started to feel nauseous. What I just remembered may just be the cruelest realization of all time. I dreaded confirmation of my theory, but I had to. Damn it… I had to.

”Father. How old is Octavia now? ”

”Via? From what I remember, she turned thirteen last month. Max even bought her a gift if my memory serves. ”

I could not believe my ears. No wonder this conversation felt so familiar. Because just this morning… I had written it down word for word. When I was recalling all the major events from the novel.

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