Lord Bank’s transformation caught them off guard.
To most members of the Banks Family, Lord Banks was like a foul-smelling stone in a latrine, unyielding and pungent. Nobody had ever dared to question his authority in the family and he never showed deference to anyone. However, this time, Lord Banks displayed an unexpected sense of self-awareness and a willingness to change his ways.
Upon arriving at Shangri-La, Lord Banks sought out Xion with the accompaniment of Zayne and Kairi.
He then offered a sincere apology to Xion, pleading for her forgiveness.
With a slight bow, he spoke to Xion, “Xion, Grandpa has wronged you deeply in the past. He has betrayed you numerous times for the sake of the Banks Family’s gain. Now, Grandpa dares not ask for your forgiveness, but I hope you can find it in your heart to accept my sincerest apologies.”
Xion was taken aback when Lord Banks took the initiative to apologize. As she thought about how he never acknowledged his illegitimate daughter, her own mother and refused to treat her as a granddaughter, Xion couldn’t help but feel a pang of resentment.
Recalling the times when the Banks Family had abandoned her and even left her for dead at the hands of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, Xion’s eyes welled up with tears.
Despite her tears, she spoke generously to Lord Banks, “You’ve paid the price for your past actions and I don’t hold it against you anymore.”
As Xion wept, Lord Banks felt ashamed and remorseful for his past actions. Thankfully, Xion was willing to forgive him, which was all he had ever wanted.
Zayne then called Zara to inform her that Lord Banks wanted to visit Deana. Upon hearing this, Deana graciously extended a warm welcome.
Initially, Zayne had planned to accompany Lord Banks, but Lord Banks cautioned him in a hushed tone, “Zayne, now that you’re engaged to Kairi, you must keep your distance from Deana and not make Kairi feel uncomfortable. I’ll have the driver take me there and you can take the opportunity to talk to Astor and see if he’s willing to officiate for the two of you.”
Zayne considered the situation for a moment before nodding in agreement and said, “Alright, Dad. I’ll find a chance to speak to Astor about it.”
As Lord Banks went about seeking forgiveness from Deana, Zara and Fitz, Zayne took it upon himself to reach out to Astor.
At that moment, Astor was secluded in the Elys-Champ Hot Springs Villa, deep in thought. After leaving Deana’s residence that afternoon, he had rushed to the villa, eager to resume his study of the ring that Maria Clark had gifted him.
Thinking back to how the ring began to pulsate earlier in the day, Astor found himself feeling increasingly perplexed. Ever since he had acquired the ring, it had been a source of frustration. No matter how much reiki he infused into it, it remained unresponsive.
However, ever since the last time it had inexplicably pulsated at Aurous Hill University, it had now pulsated for a second time in the underground garage of Thompson First.
Deep down, Astor had always sensed that this ring was anything but ordinary. He had already invested a significant amount of reiki into it and if he were to activate the Thunderbolt Talisman with that same energy, it could potentially lead to a massive thunderstorm that could last for days on end.
Despite the immense power of the energy that he had infused into the ring, it seemed to disappear without a trace upon entering the small band.
As someone who had read extensively, Astor was well-versed in the laws of physics. He understood that everything in the world adhered to certain physical rules and the law of energy conservation was no exception.
The fundamental principle of this law was that energy could neither be created nor destroyed, but only transferred from one form to another. If one were to compare the aura to electricity and the ring to a battery, it became clear that there was something truly extraordinary about this particular ring.
Under normal circumstances, a battery of the same size as this ring would be nothing more than an ordinary button battery. It would have negligible power storage and even the most advanced batteries of this size could only store a few hundred mAh. Yet this ring seemed to have been charged with thousands or even tens of thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity, like a button battery on steroids!
This led Astor to a perplexing question.
According to the law of energy conservation, such a massive amount of energy could not simply vanish into thin air. It must have been either stored or transformed by the ring in some way.
“But how? And where is all this energy being stored?” Astor questioning himself.
Although Astor was unable to solve these two problems at the moment, he was certain of one thing, this ring was no ordinary trinket. It was something that surpassed his understanding of the world.
Despite possessing such a remarkable artifact, Astor found himself unable to unravel its mysteries even as he held it in his hand. The ring remained as enigmatic as ever, a constant source of frustration for him. He tried once more, infusing a small amount of reiki into the ring, but its response remained the same, it absorbed the energy without a hint of reaction.
This only served to deepen Astor’s confusion about the ring, leaving him with even more questions than before. Despite his curiosity, Astor was hesitant to recklessly pour his reiki into the ring. Instead, he repeatedly examined the band, hoping to unlock the mystery of this perplexing object. However, the ring’s surface was smooth and unremarkable, without any engravings or markings.
Just when Astor was at a loss, Zayne contacted him.
Zayne made a request to Richard, “Mr. Wade, I’m calling with a favor to ask of you. I hope you’ll agree.”
Astor replied, “Please go ahead and tell me what you need.”
Zayne made his request known to Richard, “Mr. Wade, I would like to extend an invitation to you to be the officiant at my wedding to Kairi…We couldn’t have reached this point without your help. To us, you’re a great benefactor and it would be fitting for you to officiate our wedding. I hope you’ll accept the invitation.”
After a moment of contemplation, Astor agreed to Zayne’s request. He reasoned that since Zayne had asked him, it would be impolite to refuse. Moreover, the wedding would only involve family members from the Banks, Elms and Ito families, there would be no strangers present.
Zayne, who had been uncertain about Astor’s response, was visibly relieved when he heard Astor’s affirmative answer. He expressed his gratitude profusely before ending the call.
Astor set the phone aside and looked back at the ring, muttering to himself, “You old devil, you’ve deceived me so much. You didn’t even bother to thank me or react to my questions. I won’t hold it against you, but can you at least tell me why you suddenly reacted at Aurous Hill University and Thompson First? Is there something special about those places?”
As expected, the ring remained silent and motionless.
Suddenly, an idea struck Richard, “If I take you back to the same places, will you still react in the same way?”
Excited by the thought, Astor wasted no time. He placed the ring in his pocket and immediately set off for Aurous Hill University!