The Divine Hunter - Chapter 132
Chapter 132: Getting a Mount
The weather was clear and the warm sun got rid of all the shadows that had been lingering on Ellander for the past few months.
On the ever-so-lively street, two witchers headed towards the animal market at the east of the city to buy a couple of suitable horses.
After they solved the two troubles of the palace back-to-back, the duke, who was rarely generous, gave 400 crowns to the witchers as a reward, which included a confidentiality fee.
Their money pouches, which had shrivelled up, bulged again.
Roy was not buying a horse just for the sake of travelling. He also wanted to try out his new skill: “Mount”.
According to the description of the skill, various animals, like lions, tigers, bears, sharks, and whales; or monsters, such as cockatrices, dracolizards, griffins, sirens, archasas, or even real dragons — whether flying in the sky, running on the ground, or swimming in rivers or seas — could be tamed into a mount.
But firstly, it was difficult to find these monsters, and secondly, the more powerful and rare the creature was, the more difficult it was to tame, so to try out his skill, he wanted to get a common horse, which was easily available.
A mount could be freed anytime, so there would come ample opportunities for him to tame a rare one.
* * *
The duo squeezed through the animal market that reeked of the odour of various animals and was filled with the “moo” of cows, “bleat” of sheep, and “hum” of pigs until the deepest of the stables.
They found a horse dealer who wore a headscarf, a short, brown coat and long boots. He greeted them, and his big, brown face showed a bright smile in the sunny weather. Compared to civilians, merchants treated witchers well, but they didn’t behave properly towards the poor.
“Two distinguished guests have come this way…” The horse dealer stretched out his hand and said, “I, Defu, swear on my name that you won’t find better horses in the city than here, the price is low and affordable… Of course, there are expensive ones too. The looser your pocket, the better the quality. No matter what, you’ll be satisfied with what you paid for!”
The witcher looked around. The stable was not the biggest or smallest. It had around thirty horses. “Where do you get your horses from?”
“Most are from the outskirts of Aedirn. There are also a few from Burdof in the south and Dol Blathanna in the east. They’ve been fed well and are healthy. They’ve never been sick from the day I got them! In terms of endurance and speed, they are much better than others in the same range.”
“Have you dealt with them?” Letho asked.
“Most of them are geldings, as the non-castrated horses have temper issues and are easily disturbed by female horses. Most of the buyers have no patience to get accommodated with them.”
Letho nodded with his experience and he knew how to recognize a good horse. “Very well… We will pick our horses, and then we will ask you for the price.”
“You seem like an expert, so please feel free to choose the ones you want!” The horse dealer smiled politely and took a bucket and a rag on the other side of the stable, and started scrubbing the body of a white mare.
“Roy, which horse do you plan on picking? Red, black, grey or white?” The witcher grabbed a handful of grass from the barrel outside the stable and fed it to a black horse, letting the creature smell it. And then the horse took the grass and started chewing. Seeing this, Letho tried to caress its neck with his other hand.
The black horse shook its head and bared its teeth, trying to bite him. Letho immediately took his hand back. He repeated this action until the horse accepted him, bowing its head and letting him caress it.
“Black, grey, or brown.” Roy looked around the stables. He didn’t plan to choose horses with too much fur. It was not his style, and he emphasized, “But I don’t want a gelding.”
“Are you from an animal protection organization?” Letho sneered with a disdainful expression “Rookies who can’t even ride horses shouldn’t make a choice, gelding or not. You would understand it after your non-gelding goes crazy and you fall off riding it, breaking a leg or two.”
“Listen to my advice, and choose a gelding…” Letho said, stroking the black horse’s neck and shoulders before patting its nose. “This one is not bad. It will soon obey your orders and won’t run away from dangers, abandoning you. Quite suitable for a rookie.”
Roy glanced at the black horse and shook his head. “It’s too old, thirteen… It can run well for another two years at most.”
Letho was surprised. He didn’t know Roy knew so much about horses.
“An old horse knows the road well, you know? Look at the developed muscles of its torso and hooves. Although 13, it’s fit enough. I think it can still run for five more years. And this kind of experienced horse is perfect for rookies, for you, and the price is not high, either.”
“Forget it… I’ll look around.”
Roy looked around, not listening to Letho’s advice. He looked at twenty horses of different colors and builds, and he finally found one that could live up to his expectations.
* * *
The horse Roy chose was brown in colour, and was five feet tall. Its fur was shiny and smooth, and it had a white spot on its forehead, which looked impressive. The most important thing was that it had not been gelded, making its physique and agility highest among the dozens of horses. The others, especially the ones that had been gelded, were obviously weaker, which meant their endurance was low.
Roy imitated what Letho did to tame his horse, grabbing a handful of tender grass from the barrel with his left hand and pointing it at the brown horse. His dark golden eyes glared directly at the horse’s black eyes, trying to convey kindness, and he walked slowly towards it. This method didn’t seem to be working.
As soon as the young man got closer to it, the horse immediately raised its head and snorted anxiously. It shook its head and started retreating backwards in the depths of the stable.
Roy slowed down looking at this, spreading his arms and then taking a step back.
“Good boy… Take it easy… I mean you no harm… I will get you out of this cage and free you in a year or two.”
“Boy, you made it nervous.” Letho, who was at a distance, paid attention to this scene and shook his head, reminding him, “Don’t lean over too much, and be careful of getting kicked. It can break your bones and our trip might get delayed. You should honestly change to a more docile one. Get a gelding.”
“I have a unique method to tame it, so don’t worry and just wait,” Roy said to Letho.
Taming a fierce horse provided a unique sense of accomplishment… If Roy were an ordinary person, there would indeed have been no way to tame this ‘stubborn boy’, but he wasn’t ordinary.
With a thought, he used Mount on the horse in front of him, and a message suddenly appeared in the template:
‘The target has not been tamed and cannot be bound as a mount.’
‘Do you want to tame it?’
‘You can tame it using two methods:’
‘Natural Taming: After long-term training, feeding, and riding, you gain its trust and obedience. A high level of Charisma will speed up the process. After successful taming, the mount will get close to you, rely on you, and treat you as a friend, relative, or…’
‘Forced Taming: When your Will is equal to or more than twice the target’s, you can use your will to forcibly make it obey you. The more your Will exceeds that of the target’s, the less time it’ll take.’
‘During the process, the target must be conscious and close to you.’
‘In forced taming, the target might fear you, run away from you, or launch an attack at you.’
‘After successful taming, it will respect, love, obey, and treat you as its master.’
* * *
Of the two taming methods, natural should be used by those who had Charisma as their main stat. And those who had Will as their main stat, like Roy, should use the 2nd method.
However, the target would resist, which meant that if he wanted to forcibly tame a griffon or a dragon, he had to be ready to endure its terrifying claws and breaths.
Forced taming required the target to be conscious, but that didn’t mean the target had to be in a healthy state. If they were too weak to resist, they wouldn’t harm him. Roy got excited after finding this solution to tame monsters.
He turned around and tried to Mount Letho. Unsurprisingly, the target had not been tamed and could not be bound as a mount.
Okay, humans are also within the parameters.
A bond with someone of your own kind was not as strong as that with other kinds, and it was almost impossible to tame a human with the natural method. But if an ordinary person were tied and forced taming were used, would the effect be better than if it had been done with a monster?
Roy planned to give it a try later.
“Boy, what are you thinking?” Letho noticed his weird gaze, crossing his arms over his chest. His pupils turned amber as he observed Roy.
“I found a good horse… How much do you think it’s worth?” Roy quickly changed the subject.
The witcher glanced over the brown horse’s muscular figure and slender limbs, and nodded. “The payment that Hereward gave you is enough to buy it, but are you sure you want to choose a horse that hasn’t been gelded? It might get agitated and you may fall and injure yourself. Don’t blame me then. I warned you.”
“I’m going with this one. What about you?”
“I’m taking this black one.”
After a while, the duo called the horse dealer to complete the transaction. They also purchased a pile of corn, grass, and stalks that were chopped and crushed as feed.
They had spent all the reward money from the duke.
After returning to the inn, when there was no one around, Roy went to the brown horse in the stable. After being taken away from the horse dealer, it became much more docile. It seemed to have understood that its owner had changed.
Roy patted it on the neck.
My Will is 8.5, and it must be twice the target’s for forced taming, which means I need to get it to a 9 if I want to force tame it. Luckily, I have one more attribute point that I haven’t spent.
Having said that, Will had been a very useful attribute — it could tame pets, affect the power of Massacre, had helped him survive the pain and despair of the Trial of the Grasses, and resist abnormal mental status effects…
‘Use attribute points for Will?’
Roy closed his eyes and felt a warmth within his body when his Will increased. He could not feel any physical change, but the brown horse beside him shook its head uncomfortably.
Change in Will affects the surroundings?
He stroked it on the head with his right hand and suddenly activated forced taming —
For a moment, the brown horse seemed to have seen its natural enemy and the thing it feared the most. Its legs lost all energy and collapsed, making it kneel on the ground. Its slender body was trembling, but it dared not scream. The thing it feared was reflected in its pair of bright, black eyes. A human figure with bloody tentacles entwined all around its body.
But this lasted only for a couple of minutes before everything went back to normal.
‘The target has been tamed… Do you want to bind it as a mount?’
The brown horse shook all over, stood up on its legs before lowering its head. It licked the palm of the man in front of it, its hairy tail fluttering lightly at the back.
Roy clearly felt the emotion in Brown Horse’s heart — awe and surrender, unable to resist any of his commands. Now he had a subordinate he could communicate with through his soul. So he tried to give commands in his heart without speaking.
Squat! Stand! Turn around in circles! Neigh!
It did them all, one by one, obediently.
“Very good, boy!” The young witcher smiled with satisfaction. Forced taming was really time and energy efficient. “Starting from today, you have become one with me. And don’t worry, when I find a replacement, I will free you! Now, you should have a worthy, fashionable name… Following the trend, let’s call you Wilt…”
In Elder Speech, it meant a place or location far away, meaning that it would follow the witcher on a faraway journey.
Wilt neighed happily and bowed respectfully.