Chapter 223 “Knights of the white feather” (part one)
Carrying the glass of wine personally poured by Du Wei, Alpha became a little lost in thought as he watched it.
…… Hmm, have a drink with me……
Have a drink with me……
The one that used to pat his shoulder and say these words…. Where is that person now?
Likely back in the Rowling Castle and slowly withering away……
Yes, that’s right.
In the midst of mediocrity, he’s withering away like a old man.
When thinking of this, Alpha suddenly had the urge to smash this glass of wine into the ground!
He wanted to laugh, laugh out loud, laugh like a madman!
The mission that he once vowed to protect…. Is no longer around!
The family that he would even sacrifice his life for….. Is also gone!
The one that he offered up his life to serve…. Is also no more!
Also … … The one that could once upon a time order him to die with a single command…… He is also not of this world!!
Earl!! Raymond… …
The you now is probably sitting in the Rowling Castle’s study room. With your knees curled up in a blanket and a fire stove in front to keep you warm, the biggest decision to come your way in a day is likely what is for dinner that night or if It will rain tomorrow……
But the most hilarious part is not just you, but I, Alpha!!
More than 40 years of my life, more than half of my life was contributed to this mission! But in the end ……
I’m still climbing through this mountain ….. But what about you Earl Raymond?
What a joke! What a hilarious joke!!
If so, then what am I? What is I, Alpha worth?
What happened to the young passionate hope you had? Yes, you failed, so you left.
But what about me? Am I able to leave?
At this moment, Alpha’s heart felt unusually tired.
Softly sighing, he retracted his staring gaze at the wine cup and jugged it down in one single gulp.
……… So…… Be it.
At his own words, Alpha suddenly raised a smile of self-mockery and fatigue.
I already lost my life’s goal, so even I don’t truly know what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
The only thing I can do now is continue to carry out the last words given to me by that person before he left, that is until……. I meet my death.
Gently putting the glass down, Alpha nods at Du Wei before trying to take his leave.
“Please wait, uncle Alpha.” Du Wei suddenly calls out to the old captain.
Stopped in his steps, Alpha faces Du Wei: “Is there anything else, young master?”
Du Wei takes in a deep breath as he looked at this handsome middle-aged knight. Inwardly, his heart was plagued with unease because from the man’s eye, he can see there was an unshakable hollowness…… In fact, there was a hint of death in the corner!!
“Uncle Alpha.” Coming out from behind the desk, Du Wei walked up to the captain: “I believe we never had a proper chance to have a good talk since we left the capital. I remember back when I still young, you held me…. At that time, you were by far the most powerful warrior that i knew of and the most trusted guardian of the family.”
Somewhat smiling, Alpha replied in a low voice: “Young master…… It was my duty.”
“Can’t be that simple.” Du Wei shakes his head, his voice deep as he spoke: “I know that ever since father disgracefully retired, you’ve been very depressed … … Have you already lost all hope in the family?”
At his question, Alpha remained quiet without saying a word.
Seeing this, Du Wei slowly continued his speech: “Everyone right now calls me ‘Duke Tulip’ to the point where even my name has been changed to ‘Rudolph’ on the official records of the Empire. However….. I there’s one thing I want you to understand, my last name is Rowling! Not ‘Rudolph’!!”
Despite his clear stance, Alpha still didn’t speak.
“Uncle Alpha, I know you’re very disappointed in the family.” Du Wei uses his most sincere voice as he said his next words, “But did you know? I promised my mother that as long as I’m around; I won’t let the Rowling Family line end! Although everyone calls me by ‘Tulip’ or ‘Rudolph’, but I promise you this, one day, I will have the Rowling name stand on top of this continent once again!”
Despite seeing Du Wei’s determination, Alpha’s eyes showed no signs of volatility. Hesitating for a moment, this middle aged knight asked: “Young master, when you first returned to the Rowling Plains, what scene did you see?”
Du Wei became startled at his question.
Right then and there, images from two years ago began to flash across his mind: from how he was casted out of the capital to the celebratory cheers of the family retainers and the escorting Calvary riders.
Remember back then, all the cheering troops had already tossed away their discipline while galloping back and forth between his carriage. It wasn’t just the underlings that were like this because even the leading figures only watched it all happen with a genuine smile on their faces!
Everyone was filled with heartfelt pride on their smiling faces, everyone were throwing their hats in the air while they shouted: “Home!! Rowling men are back in their own land!!”
This feeling is a sense of belonging to the family. An honor, a genuine sense of pride burned deep into their blood!
It was to the point that even Marde, this normally low keyed caretaker, would use a seriously stern tone to speak with him: “While we are back at home, you must call yourself a person of the Rowling Plains and not some citizen of the Kurt Province!”
That occasion is the first time Du Wei was shocked in this world and also the first time he was infected by the cheering cries of his homecoming. Listening to the joyous voices from outside the carriage, even his once long dormant emotions began to surge out of his heart at the thing called “home”.
All of it, all the glory, all the gathering, all the love, all of it comes from one name:
Think back to that scene, Du Wei suddenly felt like he can relate to Alpha’s thought pattern.
“Young master.” Alpha whispered, “Maybe you are too young and could not understand the meaning of the Rowling name for our age group. Back when the family first collapsed, the entire plain was filled with cries of weeping and sorrow. Then when the time came for the forceful disbanding of the Rowling army, some of the most loyal of knights went as far as committing suicide, just so they can accompany the family into the coffin.”
Du Wei had his jaws dropped because he could not say anything in return.
Alpha gave Du Wei a deep bow, his face full of emotion:
“Perhaps it’s somewhat absurd for me to say this with my status …… But my heart is like this. In the deepest part of me, I already feel I am a part of the Rowling family….. My father, my grandfather, my great-great grandfather are all loyal members of the Rowling family!! For people like me, I’ve always been taught to be loyal to the family. My mission is to always defend the family honor, even if it means i have to offer up my life and blood! When necessary, I won’t hesitate for a moment when challenging a enemy! My life and family are all intertwined with the family, so much so that even my children and their children will always continue down this path…. But then one day, everything changed! The tie that has kept my life going is suddenly cut apart with a knife! My mission, my glory, my loyalty, everything is wiped away. Young master, my life may have been saved, but my heart is already dead.”
Du Wei only quietly looked at Alpha.
“Though……” Alpha slowly lets out a long breath:
“Although, young master you are aspiring to revive the family … … Though you are a person of the Rowling family, but……. This may be difficult for you to understand. Your title may be higher than that of your forefathers and your influence may supersede them, but….. Forgive my words, in my opinion; you cannot represent the people of the Rowling Plains as you are now.”
“…… Why not?!” Du Wei’s voice became a little hoarse.
“Because your current title is ‘Duke Tulip’ and not ‘Earl Rowling’! Because your territory is the Desa Province and not the Rowling Plains! Because your capital is established next to this Loulan Lake and not next to the Rowling River!” At this part, Alpha held nothing back to deal the final blow: “For an old aristocratic family like the Rowling Household….. Tradition is above all else!”
“But I will do my best to recover it all!” Du Wei clenched his fist tightly: “Someday, I will take back the Rowling Plains! Retake the Rowling River! Re-established the Rowling Army! Uncle Alpha… … If you fall now, who am I going to look at to help me rebuild? While I may have a lot of men under me now, but the only one that is truly from the Rowling Family is only you!!”
Looking at how Alpha was keeping his silence, Du Wei followed up with another sentence: “… … Didn’t father task you to stay by my side just so you can help me one day?”
“Young master!!” Alpha’s eye seem to suddenly burst out in flames…… Is that anger?!
“Young master!” Alpha’s voice seem to suddenly turn cold: “Don’t refer to your father and I because in my mind, the real count Raymond of the Rowling House is dead! The one alive back in the castle is nothing but a husk that has lost its soul!”
Du Wei was astonished. Never in his mind would he think Alpha would hold such resentment towards his father!
He … … Isn’t he absolutely faithful to old Raymond?
“… … Why?” Asked Du Wei.
“Because he’s not brave enough to die, instead, he cowardly survived.” Alpha slowly spoke his words: “With the fall of the family … … I rather have the Earl accompany the family into the grave! At that time, I will also follow him into the afterlife. This way, i won’t have to see him slowly wither away into a mediocre old man like he is doing now! When the coup failed, I could have risked my life to escort him out of the capital! Once back in the Rowling Plains, we can reorganize the army and fight another day! But he chose to surrender! He thought he can preserve the family this way and avoid any more bloodshed. Let me tell you, he’s wrong! Raymond is wrong!!”
Alpha’s powerful anger seems to have caused his emotions to run loose because a powerful layer of Dou Qi has emerged around his body: “When we Rowling people lost our soul, lost our honor and dignity….. This humiliation was worst then death!! Raymond was mistaken, he was wrong!!”
Seeing Du Wei’s look of surprise, Alpha reacted like he was stabbed with a deep sense of pain. Converging his body’s focus, the Dou Qi that had leaked out slowly dispersed: “Young master, please forgive my behavior….. I believe in your determination and sincerity, but right now, I just can’t see a single ray of hope!”
“What … why … Why no hope?” Du Wei frowned.
“You!” Alpha suddenly sneered: “You’re already a Duke with a province as your territory… … If so, what excuse are you going to use to take back the Rowling Plains? Whether it is a regent or an emperor, none will allow their subjects to rule over two territories at once! What is a family? Its land and people! For hundreds of years, how many generations of people have lived in the Rowling Plains? How many of us have grown up drinking the water of the Rowling River? Even if one day you did truly raise the Rowling Flag on top of the Desa Province…… I will still not recognize it as the true Rowling House!! The reason is no other, this land here is not the Rowling Plains, and above all else, the people here is not from the Rowling Plains!!!”
Du Wei was finally defeated.
Giving Du Wei a glance, Alpha suddenly bends down on knee with a hand across his chest: “Young master, I fully understand your ambition, but I really don’t see a glimmer of hope. Maybe your achievements will be far higher than your ancestors and that your name will forever be etched into the history books, but no matter how glorious your deeds are; it cannot hide one fact and that is: the real Rowling Family no longer exists.”
After saying all this, Alpha no longer spoke as he turned around to leave the study room.
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