3 Little Monkey

"Seran, can you give me a hand? Sammy managed to get his toy on the roof somehow."

"I'm on it, Ms. Mary," said the young boy as he took a running start towards one of the houses. Jumping just high enough to step onto a windowsill, Seran kicked off on a slightly sideways angle to catch the corner of the roof and swing himself to be parallel to the ground. Thankfully, the village houses didn't have steeply built roofs, so he was able to roll a little upward. After getting his balance, he got to his feet and made his way to the center of the roof, where a little sewn teddy bear with calming herbs mixed with ground leaves and grass inside lay. After the boy grabbed the stuffed bear, he went to the edge of the roof and, just for added flair, fell forward into a front flip, landing deftly on his feet.

A lady in her mid-to-late-twenties, sitting with her 5-year-old son on her lap, watched with amazement once again at the display by the agile lad. Both mother and son had light gold hair, while the latter had blue eyes instead of the former's brown irises. Little Samuel clapped and cheered with visible awe, as he usually did when Seran gave him a show, "Big brother's so cool!"

As Seran was about to give Samuel his toy back, he suddenly pulled it back. Crossing his arms in an over-expressed manner, he gave the smaller boy a look as he said, "Sammy, did you throw this up there just so you can see me do tricks for you?"

Blushing a little as his 'plan' was uncovered, Samuel looked down and nodded, "Y-yes, big brother..." He was always fascinated by Seran's skills, to the point where he'd once asked to learn them. Seran said he couldn't for three reasons: one was that his mother wouldn't let him; another was that he was too young; the last one was because it's far too dangerous to do as a child. When Samuel asked why the older boy knew it, a bleak look crossed Seran's face as he said that Samuel was better off not knowing why.

With a smile, Seran gave Samuel a hug after giving him his teddy bear. "Sammy, you know you can just ask for me to show you."

The smaller boy nodded a little as he returned the hug, "I know... but big brother is busy sometimes so I can't ask..."

"For my little brother, I can take some time to show off. Now, next time, don't throw your bear on the roof, just ask me, okay?" Seran gave Samuel a ruffle of his hair when he nodded, "Good."

Mary watched as Seran gave his little brother a little speech and hug, a grin on her face the whole time. Samuel then ran off to play with his closest friend, Lila, who lived right next door, as his mother thanked the older boy, "Thanks again, Seran. You still have a way to get Sammy to listen."

He shrugged calmly, "No worries, Ms. Mary. He's like a little brother to me, and as the big brother, I'm supposed to be a good role model for him. The big brother should always be there for his little brother."

"Nonetheless, thank you again. Having a reliable child like you in the village is a blessing."

Seran shyly scratched his head as he smiled, "Thank you, ma'am... it's almost time to go inside for the night, so I should be heading back. Have a good night, ma'am." Hearing the farewell from Mary, the boy began his short walk home.

It'd been two weeks since he first arrived in Greenwood Village, and almost immediately he was a part of the large family that was the villagers. Even before Eleanor had given him permission to do fieldwork and the like, he helped with the smaller jobs like sewing and helping with other children. As he was very mature for his age, the adults in the village often forget about his age, paying more attention to his very reliable nature. The children loved him like a big brother, so it became his honorary 'title', and the adults often asked him to help with things around the village.

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When he was cleared for work, he helped as much as he could. Fieldwork, making sure the village barricades and houses were still in good shape and helping the hunters with their kills. More than a few times, some of the villagers would watch him doing some exercises in the morning to keep his body fit. After explaining what he was doing and the purpose of the exercises, several people joined his morning routine. Despite the mild discomfort after finishing the movements, the participants noticed that they felt much calmer, along with a minor boost to their energy. After a week of his exercises past, results began showing, in the hunters especially as they brought in an additional 10% more than the usual amount for their semiweekly hunts.

As young as he was, Seran was now an irreplaceable person in the village in several ways. The village, to him, was just as irreplaceable; it was his first true home, and he loved it far more than he'd expected to at first.

Etienne was sitting in his chair when Seran entered with a casual announcement of his return, drinking a cup of herbal tea that Eleanor was especially proud of. The fireplace crackled across from him, the warm light making him look both younger and older. "Welcome back, kiddo. Did you have fun?" The village chief always asked this question with the same childish look in his eyes.

"Mostly. Only one thing troublesome happened today, but it wasn't anything major. Some of the crows that nest atop Elder Marcus's house were being naughty. One of them kept swooping over little Airi's head and scaring her, while two more were playing tug-of-war with one of the barricade ropes that were being replaced. If not for them being relatively harmless, along with being raised by Elder Marcus, I'd have given them a good kick."

The chief laughed, "Those birds are at it again? Don't mind them, they're very naughty. The biggest one used to love mocking me. Nan could probably tell you about the times that he followed right behind me, trying to copy how I walked, only to hide out of my line of sight whenever I looked. Smart little bugger, he is."

After a small grunt of agreement, Seran sat in front of the fireplace, on the cold stone floor that contrasted with the warmth of the fire. He sighed as he stared into the flickering fire, "Two weeks... I can barely believe two weeks have gone by so fast."

Sipping his tea a little, Etienne teased, "Yes, it has. Two weeks since Greenwood Village's little monkey arrived."

Seran gave the chief a look, "That's rich coming from a gorilla."

The 'gorilla' in question laughed for a good minute before managing to settle his amusement. "At least your monkey skills are being used for good things now." After the first week, the young boy had decided to explain why he had outstanding skills in feats of agility and stealth to the chief and the old herbalist, but without mentioning his cheat-like system. The latter, despite her age having strengthened her emotional control, felt tears coming to her eyes as she heard what Seran had suffered through. Etienne, on the other hand, was amazed at his willpower, as not many would be able to force themselves to survive in such conditions. Most people in the slums of the kingdom that he'd come from, which Eleanor had visited on her family's journey to the village's land, were in such bad shape that less than 1-in-5 would survive each year.

The boy nodded just a bit, "I guess so... One day, though, I want to do something about that kingdom... and maybe find that merchant caravan. If not for them taking me along, I'd never have made it here."

"I'm sure you'll be able to, soon enough... There's some bread and meat in the kitchen if you're going to eat. It's almost harvest time, so we'll be getting more vegetables, along with some visitors from the elves." Before Seran could say anything, Etienne cut him off, "There's still another two weeks until harvest, so don't get too excited. Tomorrow's going to be a big day for you. He had a mysterious yet playful look as he smiled at the boy.

"Alright, alright... well, good night," said the boy as he headed to his room, snagging the bread and meat on the way. He heard Etienne answer in kind as he reached his doorway. He'd only taken two bites of bread and meat before he heard a chime from the system, along with William's anxious yet excited voice.

[It's almost time!]

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