George was quick to accommodate Zara’s request. “No problem, I’ll have Isaac bring your brother back before tonight. He’ll be free to move around Aurous Hill City until August 10th. On that day, he’ll need to report to Isaac at Shangri-La at eight in the morning.”
Zara was overjoyed by the extra two days that George had granted her brother, and without a second thought, she blurted out, “Thank you so much, Mr. Wade. I’ll stay in Aurous Hill and keep an eye on him to make sure he arrives on time on August 10th.”
Just then, Isaac learned that George was at the hotel. George immediately called him, asking, “Isaac, where’s Fitz?”
Isaac was taken aback for a moment, then he shifted his gaze to Zara and stammered, “I’m afraid that your brother has been gone for about a third of his sentence, and he’s already in Mount Valley Province.”
George remained unfazed by the news. “You’ll need to arrange for someone to bring him back, Isaac. Just make sure to mark the location where you picked him up and send him back to that same place on August 10th.”
Without hesitation, Isaac replied, “Understood. I’ll have our men in the area pick him up by helicopter. We have a plane ready to take off from Riverdale Airport, so as soon as your brother arrives, we’ll fly him back to Aurous Hill directly.”
“Alright,” George directed, “Make the arrangements as soon as possible.”
A helicopter was quickly dispatched from Riverdale, the capital of Emerald Province, and took off, heading straight towards Fitz’s location in the southeast. The journey was short, with only a distance of over 40 kilometers to cover, allowing the helicopter to arrive in under ten minutes at full speed.
Meanwhile, Fitz continued his pilgrimage on foot in Mount Valley Province, his body worn down and his clothes in tatters. Despite his scruffy appearance, he had donned thick protective gear on his hands and knees. Every three steps, he would kneel on the ground and kowtow before rising again to continue his journey, repeating the cycle with every few steps.
When Fitz began his pilgrimage, his body was not accustomed to the high-intensity exercise and was quickly tormented by the routine. Walking only three to four kilometers a day, he was much slower than normal believers who could walk up to ten kilometers a day. As time passed, he adapted to the rhythm and slowly increased his daily distance to seven or eight kilometers. Now, after more than five months, he has traveled over a thousand kilometers on foot.
As Fitz continued his grueling journey, he began to notice that he was not alone on the road. At first, he had thought himself to be an outlier for performing the arduous task of kowtowing every three steps and sleeping under the open sky at night. However, as he walked farther and farther, he discovered that there were many others like him making their way to the southwest on a pilgrimage.
But there was one fundamental difference between Fitz and these other travelers – they were all driven by faith, while Fitz himself was an atheist. They believed in a higher power that guided them on their journey, while Fitz only had the order from George to motivate him.
As Fitz continued his pilgrimage, his mind became more and more reflective. With every step he took, he felt like he was reliving the mistakes and shortcomings of his life over and over again. It was a painful process, but necessary for him to move forward.
As he reviewed his past actions, he became increasingly aware of the many ways in which he had fallen short. His arrogance and entitlement as the young heir of the Banks family was just the beginning. Barne had been ungrateful and unappreciative of George’s help, and had failed to acknowledge the sacrifices made on his behalf.
But his past transgressions went even deeper. When his grandfather took his father away, and his mother and sister were put in harm’s way, he had chosen to compromise with the culprit in order to protect his own future. Looking back, he saw this as a third and final deadly sin.
As time went by, Fitz was surprised to discover that George’s punishment, which was similar to physical torture, could actually bring a sense of calm to his mind. With a calm mind, the daily physical exhaustion was no longer a form of torment. Barne was like a sedentary person who became addicted to exercise after taking it up. Fitz found himself getting lost in it, unable to stop moving as long as the weather was good.
In addition, as he reflected on his mistakes and misdeeds over the years, the hatred he once harbored for George began to slowly fade away. Barne finally began to understand George’s intention behind making him walk this long and arduous journey.
As Fitz continued his grueling journey, he found that the things he had once craved – wealth, status, and material possessions – no longer held any appeal to him. His soul had been nourished and cleansed by the pilgrimage, and he had learned to appreciate the simple things in life. All he needed now was a meal to sustain himself, and he felt contented.
As he traveled, he began to feel a sense of empathy for the poor and destitute he encountered along the way. Barne saw the suffering etched on their faces and felt a deep desire to help them. Fitz knew that he couldn’t do much for them in his current state, but he made a silent promise to himself to help them in whatever way he could in the future.
Through the hardships of his journey, Fitz underwent a profound transformation. Barne had learned to set aside his ego and materialistic desires, and his humanity had been rekindled. Barne was no longer the selfish and entitled young man he had once been. Instead, he had emerged from the pilgrimage as a kinder, more compassionate person, with a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to give back to society.
As Fitz was making his way through his spiritual journey, kowtowing step by step, he heard the distinct sound of a helicopter flying overhead. The sound grew louder and louder until it became a whistling sound that filled the air around him. Barne looked up and saw a helicopter flying towards him from a distance, which quickly landed in front of him.
Barne stood up and gazed at the helicopter, unsure of why it had landed in his path. Suddenly, the hatch opened and a middle-aged man emerged from the chopper, striding towards Fitz with purpose.
“Master Banks, please come with us to meet our Young Master,” the man said respectfully.
Fitz was taken aback. “Your Young Master?” he asked in confusion. “Who is your Young Master?”
The middle-aged man replied, “My Young Master is George Wade of Aurous Hill.”
Fitz was taken aback when he learned that the middle-aged man in front of him was sent by George. His heart pounded with surprise. “George Wade?” he muttered in disbelief. Barne gazed at the man, still stunned, and asked, “Are you saying that Mr. Wade has invited me back?”
The middle-aged man nodded gravely. “That’s correct. The plane is already waiting to take off at the airport. You’ll be sent back to Aurous Hill.”
Fitz’s eyes widened with shock. “But wait, I haven’t reached the finish line yet,” he protested. “Why would Mr. Wade want me to come back now?”
The middle-aged man didn’t beat around the bush and got straight to the point. “Young Master Banks, your father, Mr. Zayne, is getting married soon. The wedding will take place in Aurous Hill. What Mr. Wade wants is for me to bring you to attend the wedding and then continue your pilgrimage after the wedding is over.”
Fitz was taken aback by the news. “My father is getting married?” he repeated, trying to process the information. After a moment, he asked, “Is my father marrying Aunt Kairi?”
The middle-aged man shook his head apologetically. “I’m sorry, Young Master Banks, I don’t know the specific details. I’m in charge of the Wade family in Sohon and Sona provinces, and I’m not privy to the situation in Aurous Hill.”
The middle-aged man spoke with urgency. “Master Banks, the Young Master is hoping for your prompt arrival. Barne mentioned that your sister is eagerly waiting for you in Aurous Hill, and your parents are also there. The sooner you arrive, the more time you’ll have to reconnect with them.”
Fitz quickly regained his composure and nodded. “Okay, thank you for your efforts!” he replied gratefully.
Barne glanced around at his surroundings and turned to the middle-aged man. “Can you please record my exact location?” he asked.
The middle-aged man reassured him. “Don’t worry, Young Master Banks. I have recorded the GPS coordinates of your current location, and I’ll make sure to bring you back here when the time comes.”
Only after hearing the middle-aged man’s assurances did Fitz feel a sense of relief. As he approached the helicopter, he looked down at his dirty, worn-out clothes and felt a twinge of embarrassment. “I apologize for my appearance, I don’t want to dirty the interior of your helicopter,” he said sheepishly.
The middle-aged man smiled warmly and waved away his concerns. “Don’t worry about it, Young Master Banks. Let’s get going, shall we?”
“Okay,” Fitz replied, nodding gratefully. Barne climbed aboard the helicopter, eager to begin the journey back to Aurous Hill.
As the helicopter lifted off the ground, Fitz gazed wistfully at the place where he had boarded the flight, determined to commit the geography and landforms of the area to memory to ensure he could find his way back. As the aircraft soared higher and higher, he gazed out at the imposing and majestic Emerald Mountains stretching before him, feeling a deep sense of yearning and respect.
Little did he know that every moment of the process, from the time he had disembarked the helicopter to the moment he had stepped onto the aircraft once again, had been recorded by a camera. The entire video had been sent to Isaac’s mobile phone for his review.
George stood quietly in the hanging garden, observing as Nanako meticulously arranged the bouquet with the flowers she had brought along. Her long and slender fingers worked with grace and precision, deftly matching different blossoms to create a stunning display. To Josef, Xion, and Zara, the beauty of the bouquet was simply breathtaking – unlike anything they had ever seen before. With each addition, the arrangement became even more enchanting, imbued with a refreshing and delicate energy that left the trio constantly in awe.
Zara and Xion were completely mesmerized by Nanako’s exceptional flower arrangement skills and her unique sense of aesthetics, and even George was taken aback. Barne had never expected such extraordinary talent from Nanako.
As George observed Nanako’s skilled flower arrangement, his phone suddenly buzzed with a notification. It was a video sent by Isaac, showing footage of Fitz and his current state. George had requested it to be taken discreetly, wanting to see the real Fitz without any pretenses.
After watching the video, George’s opinion of Fitz had shifted. Barne realized that the reason for the punishment was not just to inflict pain, but to make Fitz reflect on his actions. George knew that there were many ways to punish him, including locking him up in a kennel like Jiro Kobayashi.
However, George also considered the fact that Fitz was Zara’s elder brother and Deana’s son. If he could reform his ways and change for the better, it would be a significant victory not only for Zara, but also for the entire Banks family.
George had thought that it would take a while for Fitz to truly change, perhaps even after this experience was over. But seeing Fitz’s current performance, it surpassed George’s expectations for him.
In the meantime, Nanako had already finished her first bouquet of flowers. Xion and Zara were both captivated by the stunning arrangement and couldn’t take their eyes off it. Zara couldn’t help but express her awe, “I never thought a simple bunch of flowers could be so breathtaking. It’s perfect from every angle.
Xion was brimming with excitement, her eyes lit up with the prospect of making her parent’s wedding a unique and unforgettable occasion. However, as she delved into the planning, she soon realized that the wedding industry was already saturated with lavish and extravagant ideas.
No matter how creative she thought her plans were, they always seemed to pale in comparison to what others had already done. Even the state-of-the-art facilities at the sky garden, as impressive as they were, could not guarantee a truly exceptional experience for the guests. And they didn’t want to indulge in excess or waste resources, so they needed to come up with something truly innovative.
But as soon as Xion laid her eyes on Nanako’s flower arrangements, she had a eureka moment. The beauty and elegance of the arrangements were unparalleled and could infuse the wedding with a sense of natural splendor. Xion knew that the stunning blooms would add a touch of magic to the day, leaving everyone in awe.
Nanako finished the bouquet and turned to Xion, asking, “Miss Banks, are you satisfied with this arrangement?”
Xion’s eyes widened in amazement as she gushed, “Satisfied? I’m beyond thrilled! Miss Ito, I have never seen anyone with such incredible flower arrangement skills… these flowers are no longer just simple flowers, they’re more like masterpieces in your hands!”
Nanako smiled and said, “I wouldn’t say they’re masterpieces, just a matter of color, pattern, and space matching. Before I arrived, I had already come up with seven or eight matching plans for your parents’ wedding. Once I’ve made them all, you can choose according to the layout of the venue. Additionally, it would be helpful for me to take a look at the style of your mother’s wedding dress, so I can design the bouquets on both sides of the wedding aisle to match her dress.”
Xion’s words came out in a rush. “We’ve decided on the wedding dress style. As soon as it’s ready, I’ll take you to see it!”
Nanako nodded and turned to Josef, beaming. “Mr. Wade, my father’s in town this time. If it’s not too much trouble, would you like to come with me and have a cup of tea with him once I’m done here?”
George smiled. “Of course! Where’s Mr. Ito? Why isn’t he here? And where are you staying?”
Nanako blinked and replied, “My father isn’t with me. I asked Tanaka-san to buy a house in Aurous Hill ahead of time. It’s in Thompson’s First Villa Area!”