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Chapter: 97


"Call me, Big Brother," William said slowly. "B-i-g B-r-o-t-h-e-r."

"Call me Grandpa," James coaxed. "G-r-a-n-d-p-a"

Instead of an answer, what the young boy and the old man heard was the gurgle of a baby.

"Did you hear that, Gramps?" William asked with a smug expression. "Eve called me Brother."

"No, you numbskull," James refuted. "Clearly, she said Grandpa."

"It's Brother."

"Grandpa."

"Alright, don't fight," Anna said in exasperation. "You're going to scare Eve if the two of you continue this argument."

Anna was cradling a baby girl in her arms as she admonished William and James. She had given birth while William was doing his training, and this was the first time the young boy was seeing his cousin.

William was very good at handling babies because this was one of his duties at the orphanage. Seeing his cousin's adorable blue eyes looking up at him, the young boy felt that his heart was melting.

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"Aunt, can I hold Eve?" William pleaded. "I promise I'll be careful."

"Do you know how to hold a baby?" Anna inquired.

"Yes."

"Okay. it is good that she gets to know her cousin as early as possible."

When Anna passed Eve to William, the little girl's face scrunched up like it was about to cry. Fortunately, the red-headed boy had already anticipated this scenario and lightly rocked the baby in his arms while humming a tune.

Eve looked up at her older cousin and started making gurgling sounds. William wasn't able to stop himself from kissing the baby on her forehead. He then lightly swayed from side to side as he continued humming a tune.

Soon, Eve was fast asleep in William's embrace which surprised Anna and James.

"I didn't know that you were so good at handling babies," Anna said with a smile.

William only returned the smile as he handed Eve back to his Aunt. He couldn't possibly tell her that he had a lifetime's worth of experience when it comes to handling babies and little children.

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"I'll come back again to play with you after I finish my training, Eve." William kissed the baby's cheek before bidding his Grandpa and Aunt goodbye.

Today was the day where he would meet his next instructor and he was told to go to the valley where the goats usually went to graze.

When he arrived at his destination, a familiar scene appeared in front of his eyes. Hundreds of sheep and goats grazed within the pasture as the Shepherds watched over them. His gaze automatically sought out his herd, but he didn't see any of them.

They were not around in their usual place, and William couldn't find them anywhere.

"Are you looking for your herd?" John approached him with a smile.

"Yes," William answered. "Uncle John, where are they?"

"They are undergoing training right now." John smirked. "So, are you ready to go?"

William nodded his head in understanding. "I look forward to our lessons, Uncle John."

"Me, too." John chuckled as he patted William's shoulder. He then looked up in the sky where a Hawk could be seen circling around them. "Blitz, let's go."

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A sharp screech pierced the air as the Hawk grew in size and flew towards the ground.

"Hang on tight," John said as he grabbed William's waist and jumped into the air.

They landed perfectly on the Hawk's back. William had never ridden a flying beast before and it made him feel slightly anxious. Seeing his reaction, John didn't say anything and simply supported the young boy's body as the Hawk flapped its powerful wings to fly high into the sky.

"Do you know what your next lesson is?" John asked in a teasing tone.

"No," William answered nervously. "Does it have something to do with flying?"

"Well, not exactly. It's more about 'falling'." John grinned.

William's body shuddered and he immediately clung to John's body like a leech that was unwilling to let go.

John laughed as he patted the boy's head. "I was just joking. It was just a joke."

"Uncle, please don't make those kinds of jokes," William pleaded.

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John nodded and didn't say anything else along their journey. The two traveled for an hour before Blitz landed in a place that William had never visited before. The place somehow reminded him of the Silent Forest, but there was one big difference.

This place was teeming with life and the roars of various beasts could be heard from within the forest.

"Uncle John, where are we?" William asked. The vast expanse of forest was making him uneasy. Due to his perception training, he could tell that the forest in front of them was a very dangerous place to be.

"This is the outer perimeter of the Strathmore Forest," John answered. "It is the entrance to one of the Forbidden Lands in the Southern Continent."

"Strathmore Forest? Wait! Don't tell me this place is…" William looked at John in shock. He might not have come to this place, but he had heard many stories about it.

Strathmore Forest, the Forbidden Land that was located in the Southern Continent, and was said to house one of the handful of Calamity Class Beasts in the entire world. This Beast that had lived for Thousands of years had already stepped into the ranks of DemiGods. It was none other than the home of the Nightmare Behemoth, Qiong Qi.

(A/N: Read it as Ki Yong Ki.)

"Relax, we are only at the outside perimeter," John stated. "The Strathmore Forest extends for hundreds of miles and the Big Boss is located at the farthest end. He wouldn't be so bored as to find trouble with two little ants like us. Besides, only those below the age of twenty can enter the Forbidden Lands."

"Uncle John, I'm only eleven years old."

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"I know."

"... Can I go home now?"

"Of course not," John firmly gripped William's shoulder. "Don't worry, we won't be going to the depths of the forest. We'll just play at the outer perimeter. Aren't you excited?"

"Yaaaay. I'm so excited." William said in a sarcastic tone.

John chuckled and took out a small bow and a quiver filled with arrows from his storage ring and handed it to William.

"Have you used a bow before?" John asked.

"No," William replied.

"The reason why I brought you here is to teach you archery," John explained. "Bear in mind that we will not leave here until I am satisfied with your performance. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes." William nodded his head. To be honest, he had always wanted to learn archery. When he was still back on Earth, he would often go near the Archery Club to peek at Belle's archery practice.

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Not only was she the number one beauty in the academy, she was also a very talented archer that had won many awards and gold medals from competitions all over the country. William had often thought of joining the archery club in order to be close to her, but his ailment prevented him from doing so.

The image of the black haired beauty made William grip the bow in his hand tightly. Although he wasn't able to learn archery on Earth, it was not too late to learn it on Hestia.

"I like your eyes," John praised as he looked at William's light-green eyes that were burning with determination. "In order to learn archery, you must first learn how to hold the bow.

John demonstrated the proper bow stance using his own bow and showed William the step by step process on how to aim and fire an arrow.

William immediately asked the system to change his subclass to Archer. He had a feeling that he could gain experience points for his Archer Class the way he did for his Monk Class as he continued his training.

A month after John and William arrived at the outskirts of the Strathmore Forest…

*Thunk!*

The sound of an arrow hitting its target echoed in the distance.

The wooden arrow hit the mark that John had painted on a tree that served as William's target practice.

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William had a smug expression on his face as he looked at John in anticipation. "How is it?"

"Disappointing," John replied as he gave the arrow a side-long glance. "Your shooting is a textbook example of how to hit a target."

"Uncle, what's wrong with that?" William was perplexed. "Isn't the objective to hit the target?"

"Indeed. However, you are not using your own ability to hit the target," John frowned. "I don't know how you're doing it, but this is not the right way to learn archery. It's like you're using some kind of cheat and it will not be beneficial for your growth in the long run."

William averted his gaze because he was feeling guilty. John was right, he was using the passive abilities that he had learned while learning how to shoot arrows.

William sighed as he opened his Archer Skill tree to look at the three skills that he had learned during his one month of archery training.

-- When you focus your concentration on aiming, your attack becomes very accurate.

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-- Adds +10 Enhancement Bonus to Dexterity

-- Greatly enhances your concentration when aiming at your targets

-- Adds +2 Enhancement Bonus to Dexterity

-- Allows you to focus your aim at great distances.

-- Increase range of sight by 250 meters.

-- Requirements: Bow or Crossbow weapons.

After thinking long and hard, William asked the system if he could help him with the current situation.

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'Oh? I'm listening.'

'Perfect! Let's do that!'

'System, disable the abilities of the Shepherd Job Class as well.'

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William could feel significant changes in his body due to the loss of the passive skills that increased his stats.

The young boy nocked an arrow on his bow and aimed at the marked target in the distance. This time, he could barely see the target using his normal vision.

When William released the arrow, John noticed significant changes in its trajectory. He was an expert Hunter and the young boy's latest attempt made his eyes widen in surprise. Just like he expected, the arrow landed way off its designated target..

You could even say that it didn't even make it through its target because it landed fifty meters away from the tree.

However, instead of nagging at William, John happily patted the boy's shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.

"Good! Now, take another shot. Remember, practice makes perfect!" John said as he urged William to take another shot.

The boy complied and shot another arrow. Just like his previous attempt, the arrow still fell short from his target. Even so, William had a smile on his face.

Somehow, he felt that with every failed attempt he made, he was getting closer to standing on equal ground with the young lady who had made his heart skip a beat.

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