Chapter 426: Only Ciri
The rulers of Cintra were once again back in the conference room, but this time, only five people were around. Three candelabras shone on them. The rulers took the main spots, while Mousesack sat on their right and the witchers further back.
"Now we can talk about the reward." Calanthe nodded at Geralt. She praised, "You won the battle and saved me from indignity. I shall try my best to give you what you want. Coins, treasure, even a piece of land. No longer will you be a lord in name only."
"Anything I want?"
"Except for Ciri." Calanthe shot him a warning look. "Geralt, she might have bonded with you through that Law of Surprise because of her father, but she's my granddaughter and the princess of Cintra."
"A pity." Geralt shook his head, but he wasn't discouraged. "We're here for her. Only her."
"We? He wishes to take her away as well?" Calanthe looked at Roy. "You are not tied to her. What makes you think you can take her? Because you spent a month with her? Or did you read too many stories where a poor boy meets a rich girl?"
"Because Geralt and I helped her," Roy explained.
Calanthe took a deep breath. "But you're just—no offense—you wander between villages, swamps, forests, and even garbage dumps. Can you imagine a princess living in those places? If word gets out, Cintra royalty will be a joke. A world-class joke!"
"Still better than getting locked up like a prisoner," Roy retorted.
"What do you know?" Calanthe shot him a look of displeasure. "She's still young. Still cheeky. She has no idea I'm doing this for her own good. But she'll know once she's older. And witchers always involve themselves in deadly battles. Ciri will be dragged into that mess if she goes with you. Perhaps one day she might die somewhere in the wilds." Calanthe was trying to get through to Geralt. "Do you want that to happen?"
Mousesack wanted to say something, but he stopped himself. Eist looked solemn, and he held his wife's hand.
Geralt said, "Your Highness, to be quite frank, what you talk about is in the past now. Our conditions of living have changed. Drastically."
"It might sound unbelievable, but we're no tramps anymore. We have an estate in Novigrad. We have a shop and a home to shelter us from the elements. Of course, we can't provide a luxurious life that compares to the palace, but we can provide a life most regular families can," Roy said. "Ciri's going to be much happier if she comes with us. At least she won't spend her days locked in this castle."
"This is not the time to joke around, Roy." Calanthe shot them a look of suspicion. To her knowledge, Geralt was a stubborn conservative. He made a living by taking requests and risking his life while killing monsters. On top of that, he had to endure the insults of the people. He would have changed a long time ago if he could. So why now?
"Times are changing. Everyone, whether they want to or not, is affected."
"That's not like you, Geralt," a warm voice said. Mousesack looked at Geralt calmly. "I've known you for decades. Ever since I saved you at the tournament, I've known you as a stubborn man. You won't change, not even until the end of time."
Geralt looked at him. With sincerity in his voice, he said, "I used to be a stubborn man, but only because I didn't feel enough pressure. I go with the flow and take what Destiny has to offer like a wandering passenger. But no longer can I stay passive."
He elaborated no more on that. "If you doubt me, then send your scouts to Novigrad and see the truth for yourself. Ciri won't starve or go homeless if she comes with us. And she can take requests if she wants to. Doesn't matter if she doesn't."
Calanthe clenched her fists. "Even if we ignore your infamy and hazardous work environment, I still can't let Ciri go with you. I know how witchers are made. You make the children take those horrifying decoctions and perform inhumane experiments on them. They are subjected to a long period of torture, and five out of ten kids die in the process. Two turn into monsters or lose a limb because of the mutation gone wrong. Only three become witchers."
"And where did you hear that?" Roy asked. Didn't know witcher mutation is common knowledge.
"Mousesack told me about it."
The druid nodded. "Only a rough outline about it."
"This is no training." Eist held his wife's shoulder and looked at the witchers coldly. "If that is what you want to do to Ciri, then I must ask you to leave. We can reward you handsomely, but you must leave. Cintra does not welcome perverts who would subject children to torture, nor will we let them lay a finger on our family."
Geralt turned around and shot Roy a look of gratitude. You predicted this.
"You worry too much. We never had that plan. We never would put Ciri through that torture."
"You lie!" Calanthe stared into the witchers' eyes, but she only saw calmness.
"Ciri doesn't have to be a witcher," Roy said. "Even if she really wants to, we will modify the mutation and reduce the death rate, making sure she can pass. We're already looking into the case as we speak."
And Calanthe was confused. "If you won't force her to take the Trial and turn her into a witcher, why do you wish to take her away? Because of the Law of Surprise? You just have to take her with you? Do you think we cannot provide for her?"
The rulers and druid looked at the witchers.
The witchers exchanged a look.
"We're doing it for her safety."
A mocking smile curled Calanthe's lips. "Am I hearing things? Did you cast a spell on me? What makes you think a princess of Cintra will be safer with you? She's guarded by troops of soldiers behind the sturdy walls of the palace."
Roy looked at the rulers calmly. "You know why she's in danger."
"What do you mean, witcher? Do not test my patience."
"The danger lies in Amell."
And the look on Eist and Calanthe's faces changed.
"The danger… comes from the Nilfgaardian troops."
Join our discord to chat about the series and get notified when a new chapter gets released!