Feeling bolstered by the sunrise, William soon found himself facing off against a powerful foe that was twice as strong as a Terrorhand.
"Why don't you hold her?" Anna asked.
A pair of clear blue eyes looked up at him, and William could feel his heart beating wildly inside his chest.
"Eyah!" Eve said as she gazed at her "Big Brother" with renewed excitement.
"Hello, Eve," William replied with a stiff smile on his face.
The two-year-old girl had crawled up to William the moment he'd returned to the Ainsworth Residence, which created this awkward scene.
William lightly coughed because he didn't know how to respond to his Aunt Anna's request. If it was the William of a year ago, he would definitely hug, squish, and kiss Eve to oblivion. However, right now, he was afraid to hold the delicate baby for fear that he would not be able to control his strength and accidentally hurt her.
Seeing this scene, James came to the rescue and picked his cute granddaughter up from the floor.
"William is still unable to control his strength due to his training," James explained. "He's just worried that he might harm his cousin, so he is not in a hurry to hold her."
Anna frowned as she gazed at her nephew, "Is that why you're not playing with her?"
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"Yes." William nodded. "Sorry, Aunt. I really want to play with Eve, but I don't want to hurt her."
Eve giggled and grabbed a fistful of William's hair. It was as if the little girl was challenging her "Big Brother" to hurt her.
The young boy could only smile helplessly as the little baby tugged on his hair while laughing.
While this was happening, James whispered to Helen and asked her to cook something nice to celebrate William's return. However, he also added to make the dishes void of any meat. The head maid nodded her head in agreement and headed towards the kitchen.
James looked at his grandson who was getting bullied by his granddaughter with a smile. After having her fill of playing with her older cousin, Eve felt sleepy, so Anna decided to return her to their bedroom to sleep.
"Come with me, William," James said as he walked towards the conference room without even waiting for the young boy's reply.
William followed behind his Grandpa with a calm expression. Ella decided to stay in the living room to give the two some privacy. Although she was curious about what James was planning to tell William, she knew that it would be better if she gave both of them some space.
Inside the conference room…
"Do you hate me?" James asked.
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"No," William answered. "In fact I am very thankful. Thank you, Grandpa, for letting me see the dark side of the world."
William bowed respectfully to his grandfather. During his four months of recovery, he had time to think about many things. Among those things was why James decided to let him accompany Ezio on his missions.
What William experienced was a culture shock. Although he had heard and imagined that such things were happening in the Southern Continent. Seeing them personally made him question the knowledge he had about the world he was currently living in.
It was a painful lesson that brought William to despair. Fortunately, there were people who cared about him and pulled him out from the Darkness that he had trapped himself in.
James didn't say anything and just looked at his grandson. He was already old and understood that some words need not be spoken between men.
"I'm very happy that you had shaken off the fetters that bound you, but the current you is no good," James said with a serious expression. "You can't live your life being unable to trust and touch people again, so a new round of training must be done in order to fix this issue. This time, I will give you two options."
William stayed silent as he listened to his Grandfather. He also knew that his current state was not ideal because it prevented him from being able to interact with people. If possible, he wanted to hug his cute cousin and play with her as well.
"The first option is that you need to train with Jekyll," James said. "He will teach you about etiquette and how to act like a proper gentleman. The second option is to learn from Feyright. He will teach you how to become a bard, and help you release your negative emotions as well as residual killing intent. The choice is up to you to make."
"I'll choose the second option," William answered in a heartbeat. "Being a gentleman is not my style. My character will become inconsistent if I force myself to act that way. I'm fine with being a narcissist."
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There was another reason why William chose Feyright instead of Jekyll. Due to his heightened perception, he had grasped the ability to tell who among the people he had met were the most dangerous.
The sole dentist, who always had a smile on his face, was on the very top of his list. Even Ezio's killing intent was not able to make William cower. But, when facing Jekyll, the boy always felt as if he was a pig that was about to be slaughtered.
"Feyright? This is not a bad idea." James nodded. "You can also use this skill to court the beautiful ladies that you see on your journey."
William just smiled at his grandpa's never-ending attempt to make him bring home potential bride candidates.
"Very well, I will arrange for him to teach you by afternoon tomorrow. He's always asleep till noon because he performs at the tavern during the evenings."
"Thank you, Grandpa."
After eating lunch, William returned to his room that he hadn't visited for a long time. Everything was in order and the young boy could tell that his Aunt Helen had cleaned his room in regular intervals.
On his desk, several books with information about the Silvermoon Continent could be seen piled up on top of each other. However, the one pile that caught William's attention was the neatly stacked letters on the right side of his desk.
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The young boy's eyes widened in surprise as he immediately took the letters in his hand.
Just as he expected, all of the letters belonged to his Mother Arwen. William felt a slight ache in his heart at the thought of not being able to reply to her letters. It made him feel bad that several years had passed and their exchanges came to a halt.
"Sorry, Mother," William muttered as he opened the first letter according to the date that they arrived. He planned to read all of them and write a reply letter as soon as possible.
As he read the letters one by one, Ella laid beside him with her eyes closed. She was planning to take a nap to recover her strength. The months that she had spent beside William had also taken a toll on her soul as she used the power of the Bell of Anthanasia.
Since William was already feeling better, she decided to catch up on her much needed rest and read Arwen's letter at a later time.
A few hours passed before the boy finished reading all the letters that Arwen had sent to him. Complicated emotions rose from his chest as he went to his desk to write a reply to his mother.
It seems that James had written a few letters to Arwen and explained that William was currently in training. Even so, that didn't stop Arwen from sending a letter once every month. She hoped that one of her letters would arrive during her son's in-between-breaks so he would be able to reply to her.
Unfortunately, Skyla always arrived at a bad time and wasn't able to meet William. The crane also didn't want to disturb the boy's training, so she simply asked James to give Arwen a monthly report on William's training.
As William focused on writing his letter, he didn't notice that the sun had already set. If not for the knock on his door that broke his concentration, he would still be writing his letter.
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"Young Master, it's time for dinner," Helen said with a smile.
"Thank you, Aunt Helen," William replied. "I'll be in the dining room in a minute."
After dinner, William was about to return to his room when he heard the familiar cry of a crane come from outside the house. The boy immediately ran out of the door and was just in time to see Skyla land down a few meters from the main door of the house.
The Silvermoon Crane gave William the "finally you're here gaze", as it uttered a soft cry in greeting.
"Big Sister!" William ran towards the two-meter-tall crane and was about to hug her, but stopped midway. He had still not fully recovered from his mental shackles that prevented him from being intimate with anyone aside from Ella.
Just an hour ago, he was thinking of a way to send his letter to the Silvermoon Continent. He didn't want Arwen to wait for a second longer and was about to ask his Grandfather for an alternative way to deliver the letter.
Fortunately, an express carrier had arrived to answer his prayers.
William respectfully invited Skyla to the garden and brought her food. He then waited patiently for her to finish eating before he started to ask questions about his mother and what she had been doing over the past few years.
Although the crane was exhausted from her journey, she still talked to William and shared quite a bit of gossip about the Silvermoon Continent. The crane also noticed something different about William.
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As a very intelligent beast, it was quite easy for her to spot these changes. However, she didn't pry because she also understood that this was part of William's growth. The two talked until midnight before the crane left the boy to hunt for more food.
Skyla planned to rest for an entire day before her return trip to the Holy City of Nytfe Aethel. Deep inside she was very happy after finally seeing William. After a very long time, she would finally be able to deliver William's handwritten letter to Arwen who had been missing him terribly for years.