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The Divine Hunter

Reaper Scans


Chapter 390: Carl’s Trial


[TL: Asuka]

[PR: Ash]


Dawn broke through the horizon over yonder. Gusts of cool morning breeze danced across the woods, caressing the patches of grass between the trees, kissing the fields surrounding the fence, pushing down dewdrop-covered lips, and entering the quiet orphanage.

Carl was in the yard, taking a deep breath. He could smell the scent of life poking through the soil and the aroma of charcoal and meat hanging in the air.

The bonfire. He could still remember it vividly. His friends stood in a circle, hand in hand. Standing in the center was the famous bard who went by the name of Dandelion. They danced and laughed to the merry tune he played, and the night was filled with nothing but delight.

A small smile tugged on Carl's lips. A hint of happiness lit his little face up, but that happiness died a moment later. He was reminded of something terrifying, and his brows furrowed. There was unease and even fear in his eyes.

"Carl, it's a day off. Why are you up so early?" Monti rubbed his eyes and sat down beside his friend, pulling Carl closer. "You look sad. Did you stay up all night? You don't want to leave us, do you? Why don't I tell them to let you stay? You don't have to go for the special training."

"Yeah, Carl. You can still train at the orphanage. You don't have to leave." Acamuthorm had appeared as well. He too sat beside his friend, licking his lips.

Lloyd and Charname made their appearances shortly after. All the reserve apprentices were gathered.

"Training's going to be boring without you." Charname slicked back a lock of his hair and put on a look of disappointment. "Training with these talentless fools is a boring chore. They aren't tough enough to motivate me."

The boys snarled at Charname.

"And you're the pretty boy." Lloyd blinked and sighed. "If you're gone, the girls won't even look at us as much anymore. That's gonna take the fun out of training."

Monti took a deep breath. His fringe was shaking, hesitation filling his eyes. But in the end, he resolved himself. "If you stay, I-I'll let you marry Vicki."

Monti puckered his lips. He felt like crying, but still he continued. "I-I'll be your best man when you get married."

"Yeah. We'll just stop this competition," the boys agreed. They put their hands on their friends' shoulders and pressed their heads together in the center like a human chain, as if doing that would bond them tighter.

"No forcing or giving up on love. Didn't you guys see how Roy wooed Lytta?" Carl shook his head and put on a precocious act.

"Wait, you saw them?" Curiosity lit up the boys' eyes.

"Um, once. When I got up to pee, I saw them going into the woods at night, and then I heard someone purring like a cat. Happened almost every day after that. I call that romance. I bet Roy recites a lot of poems to her every night." He muttered, "And they also fight naked. That's how he made her fall for him."

The boys' jaws dropped. The story was shocking, and they nodded like they had learned something from it.

"If you want true love, you'll have to have charisma and strength. Or all you're gonna get is a fake," Carl said seriously. He patted the napes of his companions. "Thanks for your concern, but I must leave. Worry not. I'll be out for about six months at most. It's going to be the most critical point in my life."

Carl tilted his head and cooked up a story. "If I get through this, I'll be awesome like a swan. You know, the story of the ugly duckling."

"But you're not ugly."

"Shut it! Then I, Carl, will gain enough power to be an actual witcher apprentice, not a reserve member." He teased, "Don't slack off. I won't wait for you guys. If you don't catch up, we'll drift apart."

Curious, Acamuthorm asked, "What if you can't get through it?"

A long silence later, the kids quickly covered his mouth. "Shut it! Don't jinx it!"

Acamuthorm's eyes almost rolled back into his head, and he almost fainted.

Carl turned around while his companions kept up the banter. Then he noticed all the girls and the fat lady staring at him in silence. There was concern and blessing in their eyes.

Are they sending me off?

Felix showed up out of nowhere. This time, he didn't smack his student's head. Instead, he patted it. "Ready, Carl?" There was a hint of warmth in his otherwise dead voice.

Carl nodded. He shouted to the kids, "Wait for me, people. I'll return triumphant!" A tear trickled down his cheek.

The kids waved their hands. "Bye, Carl!"


Not much time had passed since the laboratory last saw a deadly trial, and now another adept came to the very same chamber where Roy underwent the harrowing ordeal. The boy was sitting on the operating theater, naked and filled with trepidation. He looked like a little beast scared of a new place.

Even though he had gone through a dozen pre-Trials and put himself in danger, the prospect of facing the real deal still scared him.

Felix patted his shoulder to comfort him. And he flipped through the records of Carl's data. The remaining witchers were leaning on the nearby walls with their arms crossed and their lips sealed. They were nervous, and Lambert and Auckes were close to holding their breath.

Lytta picked a black bottle out of her grand collection of potions. She uncorked it, and a sharp stench wafted through the air. Roy took the bottle from her and placed it in a steel box.

"Carl's a sturdy boy. His training went well, I see. All he has to do is work with me, and the Trial will be feasible." She paused for a moment. "But just in case, ready that acorn. He might need it if push comes to shove."

Felix stared at the ground, his eyes dark. Carl would lose his memories if he ate that thing.

"That's all for the briefing, witchers. You should leave me to my work now." She put the black bottle down and picked up a green one to swirl under the light.

The witchers didn't leave. They didn't want to.

Lytta rolled her eyes, her hair swaying around her shoulders. "Don't just stand there. Do you expect Carl to run around you like you're training stakes? And it's cramped in here. If you topple anything over, it's not going to end well for the boy. Oh, but he can stay and help." Lytta shot Roy a nice smile, but that smile was wiped off her face when she turned her attention to the other witchers. "You'll have to leave. Do whatever you want, but just don't get in my way."

"No!" Felix shot up. Adamantly, he said, "Lytta, he is my student. I'm the only one who can stay with him during the Trial. I need to keep an eye on him at all times."

"This is my place, I'm the host of this Trial, so I get to set the rules." Lytta refused to budge. "Break the rules, and I'm not taking responsibility for any accidents."

Felix froze. He gritted his teeth and looked at Roy with an unspoken plea in his eyes.

Roy sighed. "Why don't we let him stay?"

"I've overseen my fair share of Trials," Vesemir piped up. "I assume you'll be administering the hormones for Carl?"

Lytta nodded.

"Total silence isn't required for that step. Once the adrenaline hits, he needs someone to guide him. To show him how to release his excess energy. The rowdier the better for this step, and witchers know how to be rowdy."

"We won't get in your way, we promise," Serrit added. "Let us stay."

The witcher stared at Lytta, the anticipation in their eyes almost blinding. Apparently, they paid a lot of importance to the boy's Trial.

This time, Lytta said nothing. She went over to Carl instead. "This will be painful. Hold it in, child."

"Yes." Carl sat up straighter.

Lytta spread her arms open and started casting a spell. Her fingers weaved across the air deftly, the liquid in her bottles flying up and splitting into needle-like structures. They darted into the boy's chest, and streams of colorful lights flowed from Lytta's fingertips into the boy's body.

Carl trembled for a moment, and his face went from pale to red in a moment. That hue of red spread down his neck and across his body. Trails of steam shot out from his nose. He balled his fists and leapt up into the air, thumping his chest like an excited monkey.

His skin was as red as someone who had been in a hot spring for a whole day.

Lytta turned around, her arms crossed, and she raised her head proudly. "He's your problem now. You insisted. Now, Roy, come with me."

Felix quickly said, "Take your time. Enjoy the date." He looked around and picked the perfect spot for Carl to train. It was the same place occupied by the statue a while back.

"You're in luck, Carl." Auckes rubbed his hands and grinned. "You got ten witchers guiding you through this. Nobody has gotten that kind of treatment."

"Enough, you fools. He's my student, and I'm the one keeping an eye on him. You should go back and keep an eye on the other kids."

"Don't worry. Gawain's got it covered." Kiyan pushed his sunglasses up and cracked a joke for once. "And we're all brothers here. Your student is my student. We have a duty to help him out."

The burly witchers surrounded the boy and smacked him around like a top with their practice swords. Sometimes, they would stand around like wooden stakes so the boy could run, jump, and swing his practice sword around them.

Delightful. It was delightful for the witchers. Like they went back to simpler times where they just played around with simple toys.

On the other hand, Carl spun around and roared. The world was spinning, but he kept going on like an unyielding wolf pup.


Lytta held Roy's hand with one hand, waving at the air with the other. Magical light sprung from her fingertips, and a swirling portal appeared before them. They hopped into it and out onto a rickety wooden boat.

The boat sat silently on the endless ocean. Winds howled, and seagulls squawked.

"You're using this as an anchor?" Curiosity welled in Roy's eyes. "The waves could have destroyed it, and we could've found ourselves swimming on the sea."

"Half of this boat is magic. It won't get destroyed that easily." Lytta grabbed his hand and pried his fingers open. "And so what if it's destroyed? You don't want to swim with me?"

"Of course I do." Roy kissed the back of her hand.

"They're going to make a din for a while. Carl needs some time to get that excess energy out of his system. In the meantime, we'll be making some memories." Lytta stretched her arms and leaned on his chest like a mermaid lying on a reef.

Her eyes were glistening, and the witcher held her hair, taking in the scent that was coming off her. His eyes were glinting.

The second mutation filled his body with almost inexhaustible energy, and with great energy came great dilemmas.

"Carl's Trial will take at least three to six months. We can't see each other that much. Once a week is the best I can do, so let's make it Sunday."


"Don't stand me up."

"Okay, then I have a request. Don't get too close to the adepts during the Trial, no matter who they are. Alright?" He stared at the sorceress solemnly. Roy could be jealous if he wanted to, and Lytta's love got him through his Trial.

Lytta chuckled and caressed his cheeks. Her hair brushed across his lips, her eyelashes fluttering like a butterfly's wings.

"Why are you giving me that look? And why are you being quiet?"

"I'm trying to come up with a surprise to cheer you up." She smiled and huddled closer.


"Alright, I'm cheered up. Incidentally, do you know any sorceresses? Whom you are good friends with?"

"Why do you ask?" Lytta was starting to get cautious.

"Well, sorcerers can work too. I just think you being alone takes a lot out of you. Takes a lot out of our time too."

"You'd like to rope more mages into this brotherhood, huh?" She looked back and smiled at him. "I know a lot of mages, famous or otherwise. Margarita, Keira, Yennefer, Tissaia, Triss, and the one you saved—Casiga."

She listed out a dozen mages before she came to a halt. And then she looked at Roy. "Would you like to see Casiga?"

Hesitation grasped Roy for only a moment. The witcher answered, "She has her own life to lead." I'll see her when she's older.

Lytta nodded happily and caressed his forearm like it was a cat. "Aside from me, nobody's going to work with the brotherhood. You aren't exactly esteemed at the moment. Besides, do you even have enough money to hire a second mage?"

Roy mused pensively. Lytta didn't take the coins the brotherhood promised. First, the compensation Kerack's queen gave her was enough to last for years. Second, she didn't want to sour the relationship with things like profit or coins. Roy didn't want to, but Lytta still did him a favor in the end.

Still, it was a favor he loved. The orphanage's upkeep, the Trials, and recipe improvement cost them a lot. The latter two took up most of the costs. What money they made from their shops wasn't enough to keep up with this. And they still had a lot of plans in the future, like gear upgrades and big item purchases. They would have to sit down and talk with the dopplers should they want to hire one more mage.

"Don't shoot for the moon just yet. It's only been a year, but you've doubled your team members and opened an orphanage. That's good enough," Lytta said gently. "You'll get the second mage sooner or later, but for now, Carl takes precedence, get it?"

"Yeah. But can you handle his Trial though?"

"Not sure. You were nearly fourteen during your first Trial. That's about five years older than most if not all adepts. Carl's not even ten years old. He's at the perfect age for a Trial. The effects are going to be far stronger than the Trial you took, but that also means a higher risk."

Come on. Is everybody gonna hold my age against me? Roy shook his head.

Lytta continued. "And Carl's not like you. He can't create miracles or possess multiple powers. You're a seer, a monster tamer, and you can heal yourself just by making your body sparkle. He doesn't have that kind of power. And by the gods, I'll make you spill your secrets someday."

"You'll have to keep cheering me up."

"Uh huh." Flames of desire flared in Lytta's eyes, and she bit her lip.

The skies were peaceful, but the seas weren't. Waves undulated over the surface, and a wooden boat was seen floating across the waters. All of a sudden, it started to rock, and for a long time at that.



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