The Divine Hunter

Reaper Scans


Chapter 443: New Kids


[TL: Asuka]

[PR: Ash]


The light of dawn broke through the night's veil, and purple light lit the firmament. The autumn breeze blew through the alder woods and fence before tiptoeing across the bedroom.

A girl with golden hair sat up and stretched her arms. She purred like a cat, and a lively smile curved her lips. She then looked around at her friends, who were still sleeping. Some slept with their hands on their bellies, not unlike ladies. Some turned to their sides and put one leg on the girl beside them just like how boys would sleep. Some lay on their backs and were as stiff as a stick.

The one beside her was lying spread-eagle. Freckles dotted her face, and a bubble of snot hung from her nose.

A smile curled Vicki's lips. One year ago, she was still roaming a squalid village, sleeping on nothing but haystacks in a pig pen. But now she was living a dream, and it was all thanks to the witchers. "I need to work hard. Can't let the teachers down." Vicki tensed up and swung her little fists. "Rise and shine, girls!"

Her freckled friend shot up, apparently shocked by the shout. Her mouth was open, and some of her teeth were missing. She didn’t look amused. "Vicki, are you mad? It's only five. It's not even time for exercise!"

"Vicki, please just let me have five more minutes." The other girls were shocked as well. They covered their heads with their blankets in an attempt to drown out Vicki's voice.

"The new kids are gonna come today, and we need to clean the place up."

The girls shivered like they were drenched in cold water. Everyone opened their eyes wide, and no longer did they feel sleepy.

"Yeah, they did say we're gonna have thirty new kids."

"Yep, so get up and get dressed. We want to look perfect in front of the new kids. And clean the rooms. Not a speck of dust."

The girls chatted away as they changed into colorful clothes. Their tops were all blue, as were their skirts. They were made of cotton and silk, and all of them extended to their knees. Every set of clothes had a unique emblem on it that showed the girl's name and their student number.

It didn't take long for the girls to emerge into the courtyard. The morning breeze brushed across them, and they shivered, though it also woke them up.

The boys' room finally lit up, and the kids broke out into a little tussle.

"Hey, don't step on my feet!"

"Which of you took my shoes?"

"Ow, my back! Did someone sleep on me again?"

"Where are my pants? Give me back my pants!"

Five minutes of chaos later, the boys came out wearing grey jackets and sturdy boots, and they met the girls.

"Hi, Vicki. Hi, everyone." Carl happily waved at the girls. He noticed the obsidian pendant Vicki was wearing, and it delighted him. He made that necklace from the obsidian given by the trolls, and it was given to Vicki as proof of their love. Well, his love, mostly.

Vicki nodded, and the kids stood in a formation of four rows by five columns. Silence swooped down on the children, then Vicki started lecturing, "We will be receiving thirty homeless children this afternoon. Our teachers have given us food, shelter, and an education. They have saved us from an otherwise dark life, and now it is our turn to return the favor. Aside from the fat lady, no teacher will be taking part in this orientation. It is up to us now. As 'masters' of the house, we need to put on a smile as we welcome the new students into their new homes. Now it's time to know your job."

Vicki called all the children's names. The girls picked up the mops and brooms to clean the rooms, workshop, and courtyard. Some of them helped the fat lady with cooking. The boys darted into the house and moved the tables, chairs, and blackboard into the courtyard. Then they set them up neatly.

The plaque on the door had a red banner hanging over it. The words 'Welcome to the House of Gawain' were emblazoned on it. The girls made it, and Vicki was the one who wrote it. She had beautiful handwriting.

In case the new kids couldn't read, everyone even sewed a little, smiling guy on the banner. They wanted the new kids to feel welcomed.

The kids hummed and sang as they worked away.

Wooden signposts stood by the sides of the path in the woods. One every ten yards. The stakes had wooden planks installed on them, and the pendulum had ropes tied to it. For that day, they were modified into slides and swings. The orphanage now looked like a little amusement park.

The kids wiped the sweat from their foreheads and started rehearsing in the clearing. The kids taking literature classes recited poetry, Carl and the apprentices performed swordplay, while Vicki and Renee practiced their duet.


Slowly but surely, the sun found its place over the heads of the children. Monti was standing on the path, waiting for the new kids to arrive. All of a sudden, his eyes were filled with delight, and he shouted, "They're here!"

Everyone stopped their work and huddled around the fence, waiting for the arrival of the new kids.

And then a nervous child popped out of the woods. She had brown hair, grey eyes, and a yellow face. Her features were small, and her face was freckled. The girl looked about seven or eight, and her grey clothes were covered in patches. She looked gaunt, like she’d never had a decent meal in her life.

The warm welcome shocked her. She stared down at the ground and fidgeted for a moment like a newborn fawn. A while later, she carefully entered the yard.

"Welcome to the House of Gawain, friend. I'm Renee, and I'm eight years old. What's your name?" Renee happily approached the new girl, while everyone gave the girl looks of encouragement. Some of the bolder boys were even waving at her.

"I-I'm Corynne." Corynne felt better seeing Renee's smile. She nervously shook Renee's hand and followed her to the table, listening to her as she happily talked about the orphanage.

And then the second child came. Then the third. Soon, all thirty of them entered the yard. All of them were in shabby clothes, and all looked gaunt.

Carl made a rough estimate, and surprisingly, there were more girls than boys. Sixteen girls, huh?

The children were reacting differently to their new home. Some were shivering in trepidation, while some looked around in excitement. The kids' hard work didn't go to waste. Everyone felt welcome seeing how inviting the orphanage was.

About noontime, all three tables were filled with children. Every new kid had an old kid help them segue into their new life.

All eleven witchers were there, of course, and so was Lytta. Dandelion and Priscilla showed up. Moore, Susie, and Mino were there too. Kantilla took a break from shopkeeping to attend the event, and Gawain was there as well. He seemed happy. Even Kalkstein was there, though against his will. He looked impatient and couldn't wait to return to his research.


"Alright, alright, silence!" A young man stood up. He was handsome and had heterochromatic eyes. His armor was gleaming under the sun, and a warm smile curled his lips. He scanned the children calmly and announced, "Kids, welcome to the House of Gawain. I am Roy, one of the teachers here. For now, I represent the orphanage, and I have a few words to say. I know you have lost your home and family to the disaster. You have wandered the streets and lived a life of suffering. Of starvation. Of loneliness. But I promise, all your suffering will come to an end, now that you're here.

"From now on, we will be a family. Everyone here are your brothers and sisters. We shall live in unity and help one another out. No longer will you be yelled at. Nobody will step on you just because they're stronger, or else." Roy shot Carl a warning look.

Carl froze in confusion and puckered his lips, tears welling in his eyes. Do I look like a cheeky kid? Is that what Roy thinks of me?

The girls and the apprentices chuckled.

"No longer will you be chased away like dogs for trying to fill your belly. No longer will you have to scavenge for rotten scraps. We will provide you with clean, delicious, and nutritious food. You will not live your life without purpose here. Here, you will gain invaluable knowledge. Here, you will learn how to train your body and stay healthy. You will find purpose in life. You will become someone useful to the family, to the orphanage, to the society, and even to the kingdom."

Most of the new kids were surprised and shocked. Roy was describing a life different from the ones they had led so far. It felt like heaven. Still, they wanted to hear more.

"If you need more proof, then look around."

The new kids looked at the older kids. All of them looked lively and lean. They looked healthy, and the light of hope glinted in their eyes.

"These children used to be just like you, but one year in the orphanage, and they're already free of their past. Look at them. They're happy! Carl, Monti, Vicki, Acamuthorm…" Roy called the names of the first twenty children who came. "Do you like the House of Gawain?"

"Yes, we do!" the children roared, their faces filled with pride and delight.

All the new kids froze for a moment. Some of them had been wandering the streets for six months, and some had been living that kind of life for two years, traversing cities and villages. Dangers always lurked around every corner, but fortunately, they survived.

And yet no orphan they ever came across had that kind of smile on their faces.

"Kids, once again, welcome to the House of Gawain. You will know what I was talking about soon." Roy noticed the children's eagerness to eat.

The food was a lot more sumptuous than anyone imagined. Fresh crab, lobster, squid, eggs, bread, pickles, corn, beef stew, fresh apple juice, and more. Delicious and filled with nutrients.

The kids started to gulp, their stomachs rumbling.

"And now, you may feast. Dig in, but remember, don't waste any food, but don't overeat. You don't want your bellies to burst," Roy announced.

But the new kids didn't move. They stared at one another, but when Vicki speared a roasted squid and placed it in Corynne's plate, everyone started taking their portions. And then they feasted.

Carl and his apprentice friends exchanged a look, and they too dug into the food. The veteran witchers, however, ate slowly. They were observing the new kids.

"I see some good ones." Auckes looked at the boy on his left. He lowered his voice until it was barely a whisper. "Look at how he eats. If he's that fierce during his training, he's gonna be a good apprentice."

"The girl has deft fingers. She can be an alchemist." Letho nodded. He, Kiyan, and Vesemir were picking potential new students.


Dandelion was still in colorful attire. His shirt was purple, his hat was olive, but he was trying to cheer his lady up like a sycophant. He cracked open a crab and placed it on her plate, but she gave it back to him right away, then she turned her gaze to the other side of the table.


Roy watched them in silence. Lytta cracked a lobster open and opened her mouth a little, whispering into his head with magic.

All of a sudden, Roy felt someone touching his leg. At first he thought it was by chance, so he shrugged it off and kept flirting with Lytta. But then the lady kept touching his boots. Eventually, she took her shoes off and rubbed all over his pants. Apparently, she was trying to seduce him. Roy shot Lytta a look that said, Stop that.

The sorceress was eating her steak. She noticed the look Roy gave her, and her eyes went wide. Her jaw dropped a little and confusion filled her eyes. Now? That's a bit risky, don't you think?

Oh, shit, it's not her! Realization struck Roy, and he turned around to Kantilla. The Zerrikanian was wolfing down her grilled meat. She noticed the look Roy was giving her, and she grinned at him.

Not her either. When Roy turned his attention to Priscilla, she turned her head away in a hurry like she was electrocuted.

Mistaking that for forgiveness, Dandelion delightfully held her hands and recited a romantic poem quietly.

Roy noticed Priscilla's shoulder shivering. And then he was reminded of what she said to Dandelion back in the ballroom. She did say she wanted to find herself a lover. "That was a risky play. Feel lucky I'm not Lambert, Dandelion. That's all I can do for you ."


Lunch lasted for about half an hour, and all the food was gone. Previously tormented by hunger, the new kids lapped up everything, including the gravy. All the plates were as shiny as mirrors, and smiles appeared on the children's lips.

The old kids led the new ones into their new homes—the new houses. After that feast of a lunch, the kids were starting to make new friendships.

Roy made a new rule. Every old kid would have to help one or more new kids out in adapting to the orphanage's rules. At the same time, they would also have to help them adapt to the classes and daily life in the orphanage. At the end of every month, the old and new kids would score one another, and from there, they would choose the best new kid and the best study partner.

Vicki obviously was popular with the new kids. She was the study partner of three new girls. On the other hand, the quiet Lloyd was almost left with no new kid. Fortunately, Carl pushed a boy named Takuma to him. The new boy had a bowl cut.


The new kids got their beds, and they changed into comfortable uniforms. After that, it was their first afternoon nap. The old kids, on the other hand, cleaned the tables up. They did the dishes, buried the refuse in the fields, and cleaned the yard.

Naptime was almost over after that, though most of the kids were too excited to even sleep. Everyone returned to the yard for an exciting performance from the old kids.

Golden rays of sunshine shone upon the yard, and the literature class kids went up to the stage. They performed Dandelion's new work that went by the title of Friend. Dandelion and Priscilla played the lute, and a tune meshed together with the children's recital.

"A bottle of wine you are, my friend.

The longer our friendship, the better it is.

O'er open fire we drink, a toast to our kin…"


Corynne listened intently to the recital, her eyes gleaming with curiosity and excitement. Like most new kids, she never had the chance to watch a recital. She was illiterate, but still she could feel the warm welcome given by the old kids.

Once the recital was over, everyone gave them a standing ovation.

And then it was time for the swordplay. All the boys were using practice swords, and they performed all five basic stances, from ox to plow. It wasn't exciting at all. The girls almost fell asleep.

And then it was time for Carl and Monti's sparring. Even though they were using wooden swords, the boys had enough practice to make it look like a real battle. They clashed at a blinding speed, their blades banging against each other. Most of the new boys were whipped into a frenzy just from watching the show.

Carl held himself back most of the fight. Eventually, he smacked Monti's blade away, and the wooden sword buried itself in a tree. "I dedicate this triumph to Vicki!"

The boys from the old kids' batch jeered, while the girls were teasing Vicki. She blushed quickly and shot Carl a look.

"You can always challenge me, new kids." A proud smile curled his lips, his face gleaming like a piece of opal.

Some of the new girls' eyes shone.

"I shall be waiting at the stakes."

"Ah, to be young," Lambert commented. "Kids this era are precocious, aren't they?"

Felix tried his best to put on a terrifying smile. And that's your and Auckes' fault!


And then came the most anticipated show of the orientation: Vicki and Renee's duet. Dandelion was their teacher, and he wrote them the song. It was named Autumn.

The children sang their hearts out, their voices silvery and filled with innocence. Dandelion even said they had the potential to be singers. He once proposed that the girls perform at the ballroom, but they declined.

"Glories of morn, violet curtains they call. Into its arms, autumn will fall…"

The kids hummed along, and some of the new kids even sang along.

Things were getting hyped, and then Auckes suddenly shouted. He stepped onto the stage, much to the children's shock. The witcher opened his mouth, and then a funny scene followed. He puffed his chest out and bent his knees as he circled around the singers with his arms tucked to his side, not unlike a duck.

"Follow me, kids!" Auckes beckoned at the audience, and the rowdiest five stepped on the stage. They followed Auckes around, looking like ducklings waddling along with their mother.

Some of the cheekier girls went onto the stage as well, and then things got out of hand.

Vesemir wore his prized hat and waddled along as well. He grinned and made a lot of impossible faces. Eskel followed him and shot another group of kids a glare, beckoning them to follow him. Letho dragged his finger across his throat.

Some of the new kids were dragged onto the 'dance floor' by their friends. They followed the witchers as they waddled around and honked like ducks. The sounds of honks, ragged breathing, shouts, and screams of delight filled the yard.

The orphanage, in this moment, was filled with nothing but happiness. Roy crossed his arms and watched them play, a small smile tugging on his lips. I wish everyone could be this happy forever. But an inexplicable sense of unease made him frown. That sensation slithered down his back like a viper ready to strike.

"You seem uneasy, Roy. Why?" Lytta turned his head to the side and pressed her lips against his. The scent of roses was all Roy could smell for a moment. Her eyes gleamed, and dimples appeared on her cheeks.

She held his hand and took him to the dance floor. And the other ladies followed. For some reason, Roy was surrounded. Lytta was holding his hand, standing in front of him. Kantilla was behind him, and Priscilla and Dandelion stood by his flanks for some reason. Moore and Susie held the gurgling Mino up and rubbed him against Roy's face.

And the day passed by, filled with nothing but laughter and happiness.



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