Apollo did not want to dampen Mrs. Rowland and Old Mr. Rowland’s enthusiasm. Still, his eyes lit up as
they landed on the chessboard across the hall. Then, he suggested, “I can play chess with Great-
He had been interested in playing chess ever since he was a child. Mainly because his mother liked to
play it whenever she encountered something difficult and needed to calm down. So, when he
discovered her habit, he started studying the game and eventually became just as skilled as his
mother. She also briefly mentioned that Old Mr. Rowland was an enthusiastic and masterful player, so
Apollo was eager to put his skills to the test against him.
“Really?” Old Mr. Rowland’s eyes lit up instantly. “That’s great! Finally, someone in the family who
wants to play chess with me.”
“Dad, just keep in mind that Apollo is only seven years old,” Mrs. Rowland reminded gently as she
knew well that Old Mr. Rowland would not care about anything else once he started playing chess. She
was worried that he would be too harsh on her grandchild. After all, her grandchild was only seven!
“I know. I know. I will teach him well so that he can put up a good fight against me in the future.” Old Mr.
Rowland dismissed her concerns. He actually had a plan in mind. He knew he was strict with his
grandson, but he had decided that he wanted to spoil his great-grandson. After all, Apollo was too
sensible for a child his age that it made him feel as if he should spoil him to compensate for the child’s
“Come on. We should have our breakfast before doing anything. Then, Great-Grandpa will teach you
how to play chess.” Old Mr. Rowland became full of energy when he heard the word ‘chess’. Mrs.
Rowland did not say anything else as she knew that Old Mr. Rowland would steamroll anything else
that had nothing to do with chess at the moment. Therefore, she contacted the merchants again so that
they could send someone to remove the remaining items that didn’t catch Apollo’s eye.
Actually, Apollo did not choose many items, so most of them were returned to their original state.
“What do you think the Rowland Family is up to? They asked us to deliver the items early in the
morning, and now they want us to take everything back?” The group of managers met each other
outside the residence and could not help but convey their doubts.
“Did you notice that she only asked for things for children?”
“Whose children do you mean?”
“Well, it should be the children from the Family, judging from the big fuss.”
“Wait a second, does the Rowland Family have any children? Mr. Rowland isn’t married yet, so whose
children are we talking about? Moreover, the items look like they are for seven- or eight-year-old
children. So, even if he is married, he wouldn’t have a seven-year-old child all of a sudden.”
“That’s why I’m so confused.”
“Mind your own business. The Rowland Family’s affairs are not something we should speculate,”
someone, who was more level-headed, interrupted the others from continuing their conversation.
After they finished eating their breakfast, Old Mr. Rowland quickly beckoned Apollo to join him in front
of the chessboard. He was eager to share his expertise in the game with his great-grandson.
Keith also took the day off and stayed at home to accompany Apollo. Of course, Mrs. Rowland, who
was already sitting on a stool next to them, would not be absent from this bonding session as she
watched her excellent grandson attentively. She also wanted to intervene in case Old Mr. Rowland was
being too strict with Apollo.
“What kind of chess do you play, Apollo? Should we start with Connect Four?” He was very kind and
friendly as he had thrown his usual solemn demeanor out of the window when it came to Apollo.
“Let’s play Go. I have dabbled in that,” Apollo said as he glanced at the Go board in front of him. He
wasn’t lying, as he had truly spent most of his time playing Go with his mother.
“Oh, you know how to play Go? That’s amazing!” Old Mr. Rowland immediately praised him
wholeheartedly as he did not expect such a small child would know how to play Go. Of course, Mrs.
Rowland did not expect anything out of their match; she thought her father-in-law was merely coaxing
Apollo. As for Keith, he disliked playing chess ever since he was a child due to his rebellious
personality. Thus, he decided to be a silent audience as he watched the two from the side for fun while
“Okay, then. Great-Grandpa will teach you how to play Go.” Naturally, Old Mr. Rowland was thrilled. His
great-grandson was definitely brilliant, and he had no doubt that Apollo was a fast learner. Apollo may
even be able to challenge him in chess in a few years’ time!
He was just about to show Apollo how to make the first move when Apollo had already taken a stone
out of the stone bowl and placed it on the board.
“Wow, that was impressive. It looks like we’re in for an exciting match today.” Of course, Old Mr.
Rowland did not initially consider Apollo to be a real opponent—his main goal was simply to spend time
with his great-grandson. But as the game progressed, his expression changed from casual to serious,
and he became increasingly surprised by Apollo’s skill. By the end of the game, there was only one
word that could describe his feelings: stunned. It was impossible to fully convey just how astonished he
“Congratulations, Great-Grandpa. You won the game!” Apollo glanced at Old Mr. Rowland with a grin
on his face. Nonetheless, it took Old Mr. Rowland a few deep breaths to calm down, and his expression
looked more complicated than ever as he looked at Apollo like he had never seen him before. “You’re
just as cunning as your mother. Did you think I wasn’t able to see through your tricks? I know you let
me win on purpose!”
“But at least you have a conscience, unlike your mother. She made a bet with me and proceeded to run
me down without mercy. She even silenced me before I managed to bring out the marriage proposal.”
Even though he was complaining, his tone was far from angry.
“So, you really did lose a bet to Alice that day and came back in disappointment!” Keith was speechless
at this new discovery. His grandfather was usually reliable, but the old man managed to drop the ball at
such a critical moment.
“Why are you yelling at me? Pursuing a woman is your own business. Apollo is right. If you want Alice
to marry you, you have to do it on your own terms and make her marry you willingly. If I get involved, it
will only put unnecessary pressure on her. How dare you blame it on me? And you even have the
nerve to ask me for help,” Old Mr. Rowland chided.
“So, are you trying to deny the fact that you met with Alice that day with the intention of pressuring her
into marrying me?” Keith asked his grandfather. “I seem to recall that I asked my mother to go there,
not you. But you had already arrived at the Woland Residence by the time I found out.” Keith refused to
back down, knowing his grandfather’s goals were evident from the start.
“Bah, it’s out of my hands now. It’s up to you whether you can successfully pursue her.” Old Mr.
Rowland decided to shift the blame.
“Yeah, yeah. You talk as if you have any say in it,” said Keith. He was too lazy to argue with his own
“Dad, did you just say Apollo gave you that win? Does that mean he is better at chess than you?” Mrs.
Rowland was not affected by their squabbles. Instead, her thoughts were focused on Apollo and what
Old Mr. Rowland said in passing earlier.
“Yes, I’d say that his chess skills are not inferior to mine.” Old Mr. Rowland turned his attention back to
Apollo, and his expression morphed into something complicated once more. He had never lost a game
of chess before. But he had suffered a defeat in Alice’s hands once not long ago, and now, he had lost
to his great-grandson as well.
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