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The Divine Hunter

Reaper Scans

 

Chapter 341: Missing Diagrams

 

[TL: Asuka]

[PR: Ash]

 

Dinner wasn't as sumptuous as the one they had before, but meat, stew, and greens were available. Training exhausted the witchers, and they could’ve devoured a whole bull. They chomped through the meat and bones easily, eating as fast as they could. It was like a competition of who could eat faster, and in five minutes, there was nothing left of the deer but its bones.

Letho put down the leg bone and gave his companions a look, and then he raised his mug. "Thank you for your tutelage, Vesemir. A toast to all of you. To the Wolf School! To Kaer Morhen! To everlasting friendship!"

***

The Wolves returned the toast, though someone harrumphed a little. "Just because you're more experienced than I am in battle doesn't mean you're a better drinker, Auckes." Lambert raised his mug as a challenge to Auckes. Flames shone on his eyes where determination flickered within. "Wanna have a go?"

"Sure, but we gotta have some stakes," Auckes accepted the challenge. "What if you lose?"

Lambert announced, "Then I'll bang my head against the ground and apologize to you."

"What if you go back on your word?"

"That is enough!" Letho shot Auckes a deadly look, and the latter shut up. "Sorry. Auckes is a straightforward man. Never filters what goes off his tongue."

"Lambert is the same." Geralt looked at the bantering witchers. "He only shoots off at people he likes. It's his way of showing concern."

"Huh?" The bantering witchers turned their attention to Geralt, the intensity of their gazes making the White Wolf shudder.

"I said that's enough. Now let's talk business." Letho scanned everyone. "As thanks for your generous tutelage, we've decided to give a return gift. Or to be exact, we're giving back what is rightfully Kaer Morhen's."

Sounds of chewing and cutlery clattering against plates disappeared, replaced by a deafening silence.

"What do you mean, Letho?" Eskel was confused. "We couldn't have lost anything. Seventy years I've been here, and I didn't know we had any stolen treasures. How did you guys know about it?"

Lambert, Geralt, and Vesemir were equally befuddled.

Letho looked at Roy. "This has something to do with the kid. The Trial granted him a special power. Premonition, if you will. He can see glimpses of the past and future, especially when he's under pressure."

Roy took over. "The first time I saw Kaer Morhen, I was assailed by my instincts. They were telling me something." Roy stared vacantly in the air as if there were something terrifying hiding there. "When you brought up the attack on Kaer Morhen last night, I saw something. Smoke rose from this fortress, and flames were licking it. A great army surrounded it, and sorcerers rained down the full might of the elements on the castle. Wolves and their apprentices alike fell in the pools of their own blood and lost their lives."

The witchers' breathing almost stopped as Roy told them about the scene he saw. Vesemir took a deep breath. Memories kept flooding into his mind, and he took a big swig of his liquor, though that didn't stop his hand from trembling.

"Hold it." Lambert scratched his chin, and a frown furrowed his brows. "You sure that wasn't a drunken hallucination? If I'm right, that attack happened two centuries ago. Vesemir aside, Geralt, Eskel, and I were probably still in our father's ballsacks. You're telling me you can glimpse back to two hundred years ago?"

"Perhaps it was some kind of mana reflux?" Geralt suggested. "Maybe that's why you had that nightmare. And what does it have to do with the things Letho said?"

Roy didn't answer. Instead, he continued, "I saw two sorcerers in the ruins near the castle. If I'm right, they must have been the mages who worked in Kaer Morhen a long time ago. While the castle was under siege, the mages were in their rooms, using their magical tools to analyze a set of beautiful armor and weapons. They were trying to make out the compositions of those items and come up with their diagrams, and they stayed in touch with another witcher through a telescope."

The Wolves fell silent again. Roy's story was starting to have some veracity to it. Resident mages and telescopes only existed in Kaer Morhen before that conflict centuries ago, and none of them had told Roy about it.

"That witcher was in the blacksmithing hall, making the equipment drawn out on the diagrams, but he was interrupted before his work was done." Shock filled Roy's eyes as he recounted the 'horrifying scene' he saw. "The thugs and troops were already infiltrating Kaer Morhen. They outnumbered the witchers ten to one. Try as they might, the witchers couldn't turn the tables."

"So Letho was talking about the diagrams, wasn't he?" Geralt turned to Vesemir. He was never told of any Wolven diagrams existing, but then Vesemir nodded his head.

"Can you give me the names of the mages and witcher, Roy?" Vesemir asked with an almost imperceptible tremble in his voice.

"The mages were Hieronymus and Chird, while the witcher was Varin."

Vesemir closed his eyes and leaned into his chair. He was too relaxed and looked like a big blob of jelly, but everyone could see the sadness and hint of joy on his face.

"Varin was… an old friend," Vesemir muttered. "I just hit my eightieth birthday before that calamity happened. Was still a sword instructor here. Varin was the combat and blacksmith instructor. He spent his whole life searching for the legendary witchers’ armor and weapons. He aspired to recreate those items and gear all new witchers up. Couldn't whip those stiff-as-rocks newbies into monster hunters otherwise. Varin was already making a breakthrough when the attack happened. Just before he could turn his ideas into reality, those thugs broke through, and he defended Kaer Morhen with everyone else. Lost his life in battle."

"The castle, watchtowers, and fortress were ransacked and almost demolished. I tried to search for the diagrams, but to no avail. Thought the intruders took them away too." Vesemir fell into a long pause. "I was the only survivor in the castle. The handful of witchers who were venturing the lands escaped that terrible fate as well."

***

And then everyone fell into a sorrowful silence.

Dozens of witchers and some resident sorcerers were a force to be reckoned with, but still they were almost annihilated when faced with a horde of frenzied invaders. They were crushed and smashed apart like a lone wooden boat in a raging sea.

Resolve glinted in Roy's eyes. I won't let history repeat itself. We must change for the better, and first, I need to gain their trust.

"So Roy's premonition was spot on?" Lambert gulped in disbelief. "He's a talented swordsman and Signcaster, and now you're telling me he's a clairvoyant? Is he even really a witcher anymore?"

"Of course he is. This is beyond your imagination though." Auckes patted his shoulder. "He's the sign of the Viper School's rise."

"Ah, shut it. A single witcher can't change anything."

***

Roy looked around. "Vesemir, Wolves, if you'd like to, we can set off for the search anytime," he said genuinely. "I saw it. The diagrams weren't taken away. They're hidden in a place nobody knows about, and we have to use a portal to get there."

Vesemir looked at Roy calmly. He had a feeling this witcher was different from them. He's full of life. "Are you really going to give those diagrams back to us?"

"Of course. But we'd love it if we could have a copy."

Vesemir nodded. "We'll set off tomorrow. Get enough rest and prepare yourselves. It's been years since anyone last stepped into that place. It's probably infested with monsters now." He knocked on the table. "Once dawn breaks, we're setting off."

 

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