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The Divine Hunter

Reaper Scans

 

Chapter 277: Chamber of Rare Animals

 

[TL: Asuka]

[PR: Ash]

 

The steel door yawned open as Linus gave it a push. The scent of grass and the stench of livestock came rushing out into the open air. A warehouse about a hundred square meters unfurled before their eyes. It was bigger than it looked. The walls were covered in greenery, looking like a mini ancient forest. The floor was made up of a layer of branches and dead leaves. Ferns, raspberries, artichokes, gigantic napier grass and lots of medicinal herbs grew on the layer of dead leaves. Roy noticed melilotes, raven's eyes, mouse-tail orchids, mandrake roots, and other rare herbs growing around.

There were plants growing on the ponds as well. They were scattered in this little forest, and the weeds turned the surface yellowish-green. Pink lotuses swayed in the water, and something underneath the surface seemed to have noticed the new guests. It swam around, spreading ripples throughout the surface. This was the lowest rung of the chain. The spruce's branches spread throughout the air, filling the top part of the warehouse with its canopy, protecting the weakest creatures from the elements and allowing enough light to pass through.

The warehouse was not fully enclosed. Half of the ceiling was carved out, allowing the sunlight to pour inside. The light was then filtered by crystals and steel mesh, providing life to the creatures in this warehouse. The tree was not a boring sight at all. Soft, supple vines hung between the branches, and mistletoe adorned them. Sparrows and woodpeckers chirped among the trees, hopping from one plant to the next.

It was then they heard something rustle within the napier grass.

"Be quiet," Linus whispered quickly. He spread his arms and curled up a little.

Everyone tensed up and imitated him, putting their weight into their lower bodies.

And then a weird creature popped out of the napier grass, revealing itself to everyone. The moment they saw the creature, all the witchers tensed up by reflex and held their blades. Auckes was about to cast a sign as well. It was an ugly creature.

It looked like an oversized ostrich without even a single feather on it. The ostrich was about the height of one and a half regular adults, but its eyes were as small as beads. Its elliptical maw stretched until its neck, revealing two rows of sharp, uneven teeth. Thick, yellow spit dripped from the corner of its mouth. There were chunks of meat in its saliva. The creature's skin was white, but it was as tough as a lizard's. Its keratin was hard, and its talons were glinting menacingly. It had a web underneath its arms. They were presumably its wings, and it was dragging a long, barbed conical tail behind it.

The moment it came out, it looked at the group coldly. The monster was nervous about the newcomers, and it let out an ear-piercing scream. Carl covered his ears, the veteran witchers held their blades, and Gryphon held Roy's hair angrily. The young witcher cast Observe on the creature.

'Gliding dracolizard

Age: Five years old

Gender: Male

HP: ?

Mana: 120

Strength: ?

Dexterity: 18

Constitution: ?

Perception: 9

Will: 8

Charisma: 5

Spirit: 12

Skills:

Subdragon (Passive): Gliding dracolizards have the blood of dragons flowing through their veins. +20 to Constitution. Its hard keratin grants it decent endurance against physical hits. It also grants a decent amount of resistance against fire, corrosion, and poison.

Plague Bite (Passive): Gliding dracolizards consume rotten flesh at times. Their teeth and talons are filled with fatal viruses and germs. Those who this creature hurts will get feverish, weakened, and start having hallucinations.

Tail Whip Level 4: This creature can store its strength and lash its tail out at its target quickly. This attack has enough force to break bones and inject its venom into the target's veins.

Firebreath Level 4: This creature can spend a small amount of mana to create a chemical reaction between the flammable gases in its body and the fire element in the air to spout a stream of scorching flames at its target.

Sonic Wave Level 5: Thanks to its special throat and vocal cords, this creature can fire off a sonic wave with a special frequency to any target within five meters. This skill stuns and disorients the target.'

***

Roy knew this was a tough opponent. He unsheathed his silver blade, and Kantilla pulled her bowstring back to its fullest. She bared her teeth, getting ready to fire.

Linus quickly explained, "Listen to me and don't make any sudden movements. Tuck your weapons away. It won't hurt anyone as long as I am here."

The witchers fell silent for a while and cast Quen on themselves before backing off.

"Sorry. Force of habit. Can't shake it off that easily, but are you sure it won't attack us?" Letho asked.

"I raised this creature myself. I know how it behaves. Just stay quiet and don't do anything. It'll be fine," Linus said confidently. He put his right hand up and moved it up and down, trying to calm the creature down. "Your favorite food's here, Jacob." He tucked his other hand behind him and beckoned the witchers.

They got what he was talking about. The witchers took a piece of meat out of the bucket and tossed it at the creature. The meat arced across the air and plopped down on the ground in front of the creature, but it didn't move.

It wasn't until Linus picked it up did the creature snap the meat up and bite it off in half. It chewed a few times and gulped it down, then it looked at Linus with desire in its eyes, though it was certainly less aggressive now. "Good boy, Jacob. A few more pieces of meat please, witcher."

***

"This is surprising." Auckes watched as Linus fed the creature and patted its neck. He was astonished. "This is the first time I've seen this. It's like a cross between a wyvern and forktail. I never thought a human could raise it."

"It's hard to tame a cold-blooded creature like crocs and snakes," Felix agreed. He held down his trembling apprentice.

"I don't think it's a wyvern. Look, it has feet. Look at its claws," Serrit said.

"Look at its wings. It's not big enough for long flights, but just enough for a glide. It's a gliding lizard. Or a gliding dracolizard. It's more terrifying than you think it is," Letho concluded. He had a concerned look in his eyes.

Dracolizards came after the conjunction. They were one of the most dangerous creatures in the wilds. They could attack their prey with their claws, teeth, and barbed tails, and they could also use sonic waves and fire breaths too. Not to mention their speed and strength were off the charts.

"And they provide good EXP. Two hundred? Three hundred?" Roy's eyes shone, and he muttered to himself. Claws, teeth, sonic waves, fire breath, and venomous tail. Dracolizards aren't to be trifled with.

"What'd you say?"

"Nothing. This dracolizard is big. It's gotta weigh a few tons."

"Pipe down. It's looking at us."

The dracolizard had finished half a bucket of meat while the witchers were talking, and it had stopped eating. The creature started getting a little drowsy after a meal. It licked Linus' right hand and rubbed its chin against him. Linus took the chance to pat its head. A moment later, Linus said, "Had your fill, Jacob? Let me introduce some new friends. No attacking, alright?" Linus introduced the witchers seriously, then he patted its chin, though the dracolizard probably had no idea what he just said.

The creature let out a delighted shout and slowly went back into the napier grass.

A long while later, Letho said coldly, "Explain yourself, Linus. You didn't tell us something this dangerous existed. Is it an endangered species as well?"

"Of course. There's less than ten dracolizards in the whole of Redania. They're in dire need of protection." Linus smiled nonchalantly. "You don't have to worry about it. It won't hurt you. Jacob's been living here for five years. It never broke any rules. It's even more obedient than a stray dog."

"For now. You're just lucky." Serrit disagreed with keeping dangerous creatures like that in captivity. "Dracolizards are cold-blooded creatures. It won't warm up to you like cats or dogs. Humans are just walking food for them. It'll eat everything it sees if it gets too hungry, including you. Or maybe someday it'll decide that enough is enough, and it'll tear you to shreds."

"You're trying to spook me, witcher." Linus held his stubble, his eyes filled with obstinance. "Every living being is capable of forming a bond with humans. They can form an understanding between each other. That's what I gleaned over the decades of research. You saw that as well.

"I've seen the body of a girl in a dracolizard before. There was barely anything left of her," Letho said.

"I took Jacob back here when he was just an egg. I saw it hatch, and I raised it up. Gently, of course." Linus was still stubborn. "It's a lot less violent than wild dracolizards. And its hormones are at safe levels. But truth is more powerful than words. Come with me if you still have doubts. Jacob is not the only creature here, and yet they get along with one another. That's proof my hypothesis is correct."

 

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