Chapter 858: Decree of Absolute Trust
Astratis was taken aback by Izroth's sudden agreement. However, from what he's seen of Izroth's character thus far, Astratis could not help but shake his head and release a small sigh.
"I have underestimated your sincerity, Izroth," Astratis said as he stood to his feet.
He then continued, "In truth, it is still a mystery to me as to why you have decided to assist us. You have even gone so far as to go against people from your own world in our aid. Yet, I still held onto the slightest suspicion towards you and your companions. I am deeply ashamed."
In Astratis' eyes, Izroth and those who accompanied him were anomalies. And, when he fought side by side with Tal'Nis, Astratis could not help but secretly manifest some doubts.
What if there were more powerful figures like Tal'Nis back in the place they called the Mortal Realm?
What if after Izroth's return those powerful figures chose this opportunity to attack while their forces were weakened?
What if—these types of questions flooded Astratis' mind. However, the last tiny shreds of doubt finally left his heart and mind.
If he could not trust his own judgment towards a person, how could he ever help lead the celestials forward into a new era? And, right now, his judgment told him Izroth and his companions held no such wicked intentions.
Izroth remained silent for a few seconds as he observed Astratis.
'I suppose it's not as though I can't see where he is coming from. Still, if I completely overlook it, then he may not rest easy.'
"I admit, it is rather disheartening to be viewed in this manner even after all we have done. It almost makes your early sincerity seem somewhat forced." Izroth sighed.
"I can not take back the err of my ways. But, I can promise you this—On my name, Astratis, bearer of the title, Son of Thunder, you have my absolute trust, Izroth. Should I ever question that trust, may the Protogenos enact your retribution!" Astratis stated firmly.
'Well, if it's this much, it should be fine.'
Izroth knew the importance of that declaration, especially when Astratis involved the Protogenos who were his ancestors. If he truly ever went back on his word, the shame would not belong to him, but rather to the Protogenos. How could he bear such a sin?
Izroth gave a carefree smile and responded, "Then, since you have shown me your sincerity, let us set this matter behind us. A man can be many things, but without his word, he becomes nothing. That is why I hope that you do not forget the words you have spoken here today."
"Ahahaha! Rest assured, little brother! If I dared bring shame to the Protogenos, my elder siblings would not let me off." Astratis said in a joyous manner as his mood seemed to lighten. It was as though a heavy burden had been lifted off his heart.
"Little brother?" Izroth uttered as a puzzled look appeared on his face.
"Did you not accept my decree of absolute trust?" Astratis said with an equally puzzled expression.
"Decree of absolute trust?" Izroth commented.
"Wait, can it be that your world does not have such a tradition?" Astratis asked as his eyes widened in shock.
Tradition? Was it not just the same thing as the previous times they brought it up as a form of appreciation or promise?
After seeing Izroth's reaction, Astratis explained the way the decree of absolute trust worked.
In short, whenever someone made a decree using their title and placed their absolute trust in another person, as long as the other person accepted their words, the two would become the equivalent of brothers or sisters—even if they were not related by blood!
In other words, without realizing it, Izroth had agreed to become the youngest brother among Astratis and his siblings!
When Izroth realized what actually happened, he could not help but give a helpless smile as he inwardly shook his head.
'There is such a tradition in this world? It seems I will have to be careful if I visit other Secret Realms in the future. That being said, I suppose this outcome is also not bad.'
Izroth had been wondering how to bring up a potential alliance that would ultimately benefit all parties involved. But, if he was now considered as Astratis' younger brother, then wouldn't that make matters run more smoothly?
"I have caused another mishap. If you wish to nullify the decree, then I shall accept any punishment that-" Astratis spoke hurriedly.
"It's fine. As I said before, a man without his word is nothing. Ignorance is no excuse. Although it was unintentional, the bond has already been formed. Besides, breaking it now would put you in a rough spot, right?" Izroth stated calmly.
"Well... It would be a little troublesome. Ahaha..." Astratis smiled helplessly as he rubbed the back of his head.
"Then, what's done is done, brother," Izroth said with a carefree expression as he closed his eyes.
'I guess walking down this road is also not bad.'
Izroth had already walked a long path. With each step he took, he noticed that there were fewer and fewer people around him.
Eventually, when he turned to look back, Izroth realized that he had been walking that path alone for longer than he could remember.
All the brothers he made at the beginning of his journey, those he once called friends—in the end, none of them made it to the end of that road.
That's why Izroth made a promise to himself. This time around, he would try a different method to reach the pinnacle.
While this world may not be the Seven Realms, it did not matter to him. All he had to do was reach the top with those beside him!
"Yes, what's done is done. Let's set it behind us, youngest." Astratis said as the excitement in his eyes could not be hidden.
All this time, Astratis had been the youngest among his siblings; therefore, to have someone else inherit that title made the moment all the more joyous!
"Back to your request—I can exchange some Young Wings of the Ambrosia Tree, but I have a need for the remaining two Mature Wings in my possession. I hope you understand." Izroth stated.
Izroth needed both Mature Wings of the Ambrosia Tree for what he had in mind and could not afford to give them away even if the exchange was equal.
"How could I dare take advantage of you in such a way? I know how scarce the Mature Wings of the Ambrosia Tree are. Not to mention, there would not be enough for all those who need them. Besides, even with the Young Wings of the Ambrosia Tree, the recovery process is still improved at an incredible rate." Astratis mentioned.
Izroth gave a small nod and said, "Then, we can settle on the exact contents of the exchange later. You said you had two requests, right? What is the other one?"
"Ah, that request—I think it's best if I tell you after you properly meet your elder siblings," Astratis said as a slight grin formed on his face.
Several minutes later...
"Youngest—no, I suppose you're the second youngest now. This guy... Are you sure you didn't do this just so you wouldn't be the youngest anymore?" Thalos said followed by a boisterous laugh as he slapped Astratis' back.
"Brother, you were the youngest before me. Surely you understand my feelings better than most." Astratis said in a playful manner as he slapped Thalos' back.
"Ahahaha!" The two brothers laughed as they became increasingly aggressive to one another with their back-slapping.
"You two—can you at least behave just for today? This is a joyous day. After all, it is not often that we get to welcome a new member to our family." Eiritia said with a heart-warming smile.
One could tell that Eiritia was truly happy. And, she was not the only one.
Ierosni and Nomii were also in a good mood upon hearing the news. And, while Skos was quiet as usual, in his own way, he showed his distant support for Astratis' decision.
Astratis and Thalos calmed down as their attention landed on Izroth.
"Since you're our youngest now, if you ever have any issues, you can come to us. If others dare bully you, we'll let them see the err of their ways." Thalos said confidently.
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