Thanks to the Editor for pointing out issues
My Castle, My Castellan – Chapter 2 – Is This My Castle?
He could not even surrender? So, he had to die anyway? Never had he heard that he’d have to die during time travel!
McQueen Thomas Arathi was sitting aside hopelessly. The old servant, Garcia, had also nothing more to say. He still looked at McQueen with a lot of empathy and worries – how is it possible that his Castellan turned out to be like this?!
“Garcia, when will Tucker’s army invade the city?” God knows how long had passed, McQueen slowly raised his head and looked at the old man helplessly.
“Let me reply to my castellan. I’m afraid that in one hour they will start invading us. Castellan, you still have one hour left to come up with a solution.” The old man answered honestly, he looked at McQueen with both disappointment and expectations, and was full of thoughts. He thought to himself, no matter how brave the castellan was, when facing a situation like this, he must have been broken down. And that was why he was acting insane previously.
The old man found a suitable reason for the strange behavior of McQueen, even though his castellan had no intention to hide away anything. What they were facing now was a life-threatening situation, what’s the use of hiding anyway?
“Are you saying that I still have one hour of free time?” McQueen picked a streak of his grey hair and continued to ask helplessly.
“Yes, my castellan.” The old man answered in a low voice. Considering a situation like this, the two people had stopped acting up. Their city was going to be torn apart and families were going to be killed. Was there any more use in arguing?
“Go to see the Toss City with me. I need to have a good look at this city on which I have spent so much energy and money on. I need to see if there is still anything which is worth my time.” McQueen said in a low voice, but it seemed that it was with a bit more gnashing this time. He could actually abandon this city and go back to where he belonged. But then the old man would have to deal with all the problems alone. He also wouldn’t want to die like this. It’s simply not worth it!
“Okay, my castellan, please let your old servant walk this last journey with you.” Garcia had stopped having any expectations on McQueen. After having let go, Garcia now looked more at ease. He lifted up McQueen lightly and walked out of the broken door of the house slowly.
When they were standing on the corridor, they could look at the whole of Toss City very clearly.
There was suddenly a fresh air. and McQueen felt very fine. McQueen took a deep breath and all of a sudden, he felt that the whole of his body was infused with a new spirit. This deep breath had even washed away McQueen’s resentment. Since he could at least enjoy a bit, this time travel was still worth it, right?
McQueen was trying to think optimistically. The world he was living in didn’t have such high-quality air, there wasn’t one single day without air with PM25.
The castle was not high. It was only built with three floors. But it was still a building with an important symbol. McQueen and Garcia were standing in the corridor without saying a word.
“Is this my city?” McQueen mumbled himself. There was only one word to describe what’s in front of him – damage. What was the idiot thinking – spending all his energy in building a city, ready to be torn apart? What was surrounding it was a short stone wall, one could climb over with only a broken ladder. Could it really serve as the purpose of defense? There were eight narrow gravel roads with the castle as the center, and four of them were leading to four different directions – north, south, east and west. The other four roads formed a square and they separated the main castle and the walls. These eight roads’ width were not even more than 2 meters. It would not take a person more than ten minutes to run from the main castle to the castle walls.
The whole Toss City was like a square block. The small town in front of them looked even bigger than it. McQueen suddenly extremely helpless. In such a broken town, even the buildings looked so broken and ragged, you could hardly find a complete building! What’s wrong with the brain of Tucker to make him want to fight such a town? McQueen was trying to guess randomly.
There were no pedestrians on the street, but the walls were crowded with people. McQueen had a careful look and he was speechless. They were all old people, women and children, there was not even a single strong man. How could he depend on these people to fight Tucker? McQueen might just find a hole to escape.
“Is the Toss City finished?” Garcia looked from a distance in disappointment. His old face looked peaceful, yet it was so heartbreaking. Through his eyes, he seemed to be missing the city, but he looked determined and calm at the same time.
McQueen looked at Garcia and did not utter a word for a long time. What more could he say? Technically, he was just a passer-by in the city. One hour later, this passer-by would have to leave, no matter what comforting words he tried to say, they could only be in vain. “It’s not that I don’t want to give any effort, it’s just that there’s really no hope.” McQueen said quietly. He didn’t really want to run away, it’s just that he was not the real McQueen and the Toss City had nothing to do with him.
He just didn’t want to die so early, that’s all.
“Your old servant is now seventy-eight and fifty-seven years ago, I was twenty-one years old. At that time, the previous castellan was a noble and his territory was the Toss City. After a natural disaster, the previous castellan led the Toss City and tried to survive with a lot of difficulties. He was trying hard not to let anyone invade his city. Time flew, and fifty years had passed, Toss City did enjoy fifty years of peace. Four years ago, the previous castellan passed away, but with you as its support, I still firmly believe that our City can be saved and stay peaceful. However, with what’s happening, maybe it’s really the end of Toss City. Fifty-seven years of peace, I guess I should be satisfied.”
Garcia sounded very calm when he said this, just like his current expression. It was like nothing much could bother him. The old man was wearing a loose grey robe and it was covered by patches, even the corners were torn out. Even though his clothes were ragged, the old man still looked so clean himself. McQueen wanted to utter a smile, but he just couldn’t.
After more than fifty years of development, the Toss City had developed to its current state. McQueen really had no idea what kind of peaceful days it was having. What was in front of him was just a torn city, he had no idea what the old man was saying when he mentioned “peaceful”. McQueen tried to take a deep breath, yet he just couldn’t say a word. Perhaps, this was how real life was like. When looking at the old man, he started to understand why he could be so calm, that’s because he really loved the Toss City.
McQueen shook his head, he became sentimental also after realizing that he only had one hour left there.
“Garcia, can you walk around with me?”
McQueen finally smiled the way he used to, but in the old man’s eyes, it was as if he was feeling emotional.
“The old servant is willing.”
From the third floor to the first floor, they didn’t see a single person. They walked out from the main door with ease.
The gate was facing a small plaza with cobbled squares. In the middle of the plaza, an ordinary-sized statue was standing quietly. This was a statue of a person. It was holding a big sword pointing to the ground. Its eyes were looking beyond, it was with a large cloak and furiously-looking with its widely open eyes.
Seeing this statue, McQueen suddenly had a subtle feeling in his heart. The pride and reverence that emerged from the bottom of his heart forced McQueen to bend deep in front of the statue.
“This is by no means voluntary.” McQueen bent over and wondered, “is this a physical instinct of my body? It seems to be a reaction left by the real McQueen. Who is this statue, even the real McQueen respects it so much…is it the statue of his father?”
McQueen stood up and he saw that Garcia was also bending down deeply and bowing to the statue, “the Great Arathi, may you bless your descendants, so that they can stay safe in the Toss City and to regain your former glory.”
“The Great Arathi? So, this is my ancestor? It has a strange style and a disgusting name, Arathi…” McQueen was trying to resist his pride and his felt anger running inside him. This was the real McQueen’s ancestor, not his…why should he bend down? And for a statue? That’s impossible.
After worshipping the statue, McQueen was curiously walking on the uninhabited street. At this time, everyone went to defend the castle wall and every door of the household was closed. On the gravel road, the pits were broken, and McQueen who was wearing a pair of broken shoes were feeling pain in his feet. He was used to walking on roads of a modern city, he couldn’t adapt to this stone road.
“This road should be repaired; my feet are hurting.” McQueen complained to Garcia with frustration, ” didn’t you plan to fix it before?”
“We did think about it, but we have no money to repair it. There is war every day, the Kingdom of Soladin is extremely broke now. The Toss City is still better off, you know…other cities are covered with dirt roads. When it rains, nobody is willing to step outside.” Garcia looked at his castellan strangely, as he wondered why the castellan had become such a spoilt brat.
“What… no wonder Tucker wants to attack us. This small town is even stronger than other cities! I really can’t imagine what kind of world we are in, the ancient Europe? A different world? Just so poor and broken!” McQueen sounded totally desperate.
McQueen stopped talking, neither did Garcia have anything more to add. The two were walking quietly on the gravel road.
When the short wall appeared in front of the two, McQueen was even more speechless. He stood in front of the tower and watched it. For one second, he had thought that it would take him a ladder to climb over the wall. When he saw it himself, there was actually no ladder needed…
They saw that a tall lady climbed over the wall with both her hands easily. She achieved it so easily, anybody could do it. The wall was just so short.
“Oh, if you rely on this wall to block the enemy, the enemy has to be a pig then.”
McQueen sighed, and his bit of fantasy had completely shattered.
“Ah, the castellan is coming.”
Suddenly, there was someone who spotted him, and someone was screaming. People were rushing over. The old man and the young castellan were standing there straightly, like two strong pine trees.
“Ah, it’s really the castellan… he is here to lead us to fight Tucker! Long live the Castellan!”
“When the castellan is here, it means the doomsday of Tucker is approaching.”
“That’s right! Long live Arathi!”
“The castellan, the old Bruce is here to report to you.”
Everyone was looking at McQueen enthusiastically, and everyone was greeting him frantically. McQueen dared not look at them straight, he just wanted to cover his ears.
My castellan, I am the castellan.
But my city is not my city!
“I am not your castellan, and I can’t resist Tucker.” McQueen lowered his head and regretted that he had been out on the streets. It would be much better if he had just stayed indoor. Now that he was with such an enthusiastic crowd, what more he could do to reject?