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The Divine Hunter

Reaper Scans

 

Chapter 286: Before the Operation 

 

[TL: Asuka]

[PR: Ash]

 

The afternoon flew by. As the sun was setting, the young witcher left the academy's gates and rendezvoused with his companions in the abode outside the island.

"Where did you guys go?" Roy sniffed the air and caught a whiff of alcohol and cheap women's perfume coming from the Vipers. "I thought you guys went for recon."

"Shut it. We have serious business here." Letho hid and gave Auckes a look. "Tell him what we found."

Auckes shot Roy a happy glare. He said slowly, "Someone followed us the moment we left the academy." He snorted. "I bet they never researched us. We saw through their acting right away. It was obvious, so we played along."

***

Auckes told them what happened, and they could imagine how it went down. Vlodimir, the leader of the Redanian Free Company, kidnapped Whishaw, who made big purchases frequently at the marketplace. They managed to extract news about the rare animals and set their sights on them. The Free Company had an agreement with some important guy too, so they were planning the kidnap for a while now. They had boats, meds, and equipment. Auckes thought the meds were sedatives for the animals. They would infiltrate the academy the next night to steal the animals and move them to Novigrad.

"And I had no idea about it!" Linus blanched, and he was drenched in sweat. He couldn't imagine the agony he would feel if he lost his animals. "Good thing they underestimate you. Witchers…" Linus gave them a pleading look.

"Enough said, Mr. Pitt." Auckes smirked. He put his hands together and cracked them. "We're gonna finish the request. We'll take them all out. Since they're gonna gather at that place tomorrow, I say we arrest them all."

"It won't fly." Linus said, "You saw through their plans, but you have no proof they killed Whishaw, nor can you prove they're after my animals. And you also said Vlodimir's involved…" Linus stopped for a moment.

"So what?" Auckes was curious.

"My faculty colleague told me that Vlodimir's a rare name. If I'm right, he's a direct descendant of the Everec Family, and their ancestors founded Redania with Radovid I. They're the descendants of Redania's founder. I can't believe they would fall so far just to make a living. Oh, and their coat-of-arms is a boar."

"Are they hard to handle?"

Linus shook his head. "Quite the contrary, in fact. The Everecs are on a decline. They're no longer the same family they once were. Barely an aristocratic clan, but they're still influential to an extent. We can't do anything to Vlodimir unless we have definitive proof.”

Felix, who had been silent, interrupted. "Mr. Pitt, witchers judge things a bit differently from you guys. These guys are crooks. They're unemployed, and they're a menace to the people. Now, they're also murderers. Do we have to find proof of their crimes before we can judge them?" He said, "We can incapacitate all of them with a single bomb, and five witchers plus a Zerrikanian bladeswoman is enough to block all the exits and capture them all. And then…" Felix slashed his hand across his throat, his eyes glinting coldly. "We'll kill them. That'll be the end of it. That's the best choice."

Carl was shocked by the suggestion. He curled up a little. Everyone else looked surprised. Linus was pale. He said carefully, "Master Felix, I don't think they deserve death just for the crimes they did. It's a bit too much, don't you think?" Linus detested them for what they did to Whishaw, but he was still mostly rational and gentle. He preferred to judge these killers by law.

"Worry not, Mr. Pitt." Letho shook his head. "He was just kidding. Oxenfurt is not a good place to kill anyone. We'll go by law."

"I was not kidding," Felix said seriously, patting Carl's head.

"We'll go with Mr. Pitt's suggestion. He wants proof? Then we'll catch them red-handed," Letho decided. "We'll pretend we know nothing. They can go ahead with their operation, then we'll catch them when they infiltrate the academy."

"That's for the best." Linus heaved a sigh of relief. "I'll tell the security department to get a few of their men to work with you, witchers. We'll make sure they're all captured."

"No." Serrit declined. "Having outsiders is just gonna make things chaotic. What do you think, Roy? Roy?!"

"Huh?" Roy snapped out of it.

"It's not like you to get distracted at a time like this, kid."

"Sorry. I have nothing to add. We'll go with this plan." Roy was still out of it. He was thinking about something else. "Vlodimir… The Everecs. That's someone I know." The Everecs are still around. Guess the Hearts of Stone storyline hasn't taken place just yet.

***

The next day, seaside villa. 

"You don't look too good, Olgierd. Didn't sleep well?" Vlodimir looked at his brother. He had dark circles under his eyes. He teased, "Couldn't sleep because Iris wasn't around?"

The Everec brothers were muscular. Olgierd was handsome, while Vlodimir had a chiseled face, so he looked a little fierce.

"Enough. I don't want to hear her name today." Olgierd massaged his forehead in frustration. Iris' parents took her back the day before, but that had nothing to do with his loss of sleep. It was because he had a vivid nightmare. The scenes he saw confused him, but he was terrified as well. It was a pit of despair. Dreams are usually the opposite of what happens in real life, he told himself.

"My poor brother. Look at you. Don't push yourself too hard." Vlodimir wrapped his arm around Olgierd's shoulder and turned around to face the four dozen men in the hall.

These men were all twenty to thirty years old. They wore humble clothes, and their skin was tanned from the sun. They were lean, but they had this violent look in their eyes, unlike most peasants. They also looked excited and full of desire.

"They're ready. Once we get the merchandise and take our reward, we're gonna reserve the whole Silver Cloud and party!"

Olgierd took a deep breath and held his unease down. "What about the business at the marketplace?"

"Don't worry about it. Punk 'convinced' the fish and meat seller to add the stuff into their meat. All we have to do is wait for Linus' guy to come and purchase it. We told him to put a big dosage into it. It's enough to knock a dragon out. The sedative will start kicking in two hours after the animals have their meal. They'll be out for at least a day and a night. As for the witchers…" Vlodimir sneered. "They're still having fun like yesterday. They're not a threat."

 

***

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