Shift! The Side-Character Heroine - Chapter 651 - Old Hunter

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Chapter 651: Old Hunter

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Geralt always rode on a horse called ‘Radish.’ This was the most loyal horse a man could possibly ask for. No matter where Radish was, it would trot up to Geralt at a single whistle.

Cirilla and Olivia rode on another horse. Geralt was highly protective of his daughters. He would use the ‘Axii Sign’ [1] to keep the wild horse under control whenever they were on one. That way, the horse would not be liable to buck his daughters off suddenly.

That’s right. Geralt was rather poor. He could not buy them a horse. The most he could do was capture some wild horse at random and have his daughters ride it.

Geralt was exasperated. His adventures paid a fair bit of coin, so where did all the money go? Was he too addicted to the Gwent playing cards? But he wasn’t he a master of that game?!

He no longer traveled solo. He had two adoptive daughters now, so money was sneaking away faster than he could tell. He would have to plan in detail when it came to the expenditure for milk… No, that’s not right. They did not drink milk anymore. Anyways, even if he had to suffer, he would never allow his daughters to suffer!

Especially Olivia. Geralt hoped that he could see the arrogant princess, one who was so full of energy. However, after going through the ‘Massacre of Cintria,’ Olivia was never the same as before. Well, that would be how a normal person would react, after going through such hardship.

Once again, Olivia made use of her acting skills. She acted as if she was as cheerful as before, but made it forced enough that anyone would think that she was faking a smile. As planned, Geralt saw through the first layer of deceit, but not her acting. As her adopted father, his heart bled for her.

It could have turned out better if he took them away using the ‘Law of Surprise,’ back when he could use it. Who could have thought that the war would turn out so horribly?

Therefore, Geralt wanted to be a good father, no matter how difficult it was. He wanted to become the father that the girls never had since they were young.

At that moment, Cirilla hugged her sister from behind. The only thing she could smell was her sister’s scent. It seemed so sisterly, so ordinary, that Geralt did not think much of it.

Geralt had heard their story. Olivia had described in detail on how Cirilla and her got through horrible ordeals to live through the war, and how Cirilla had saved her from death. Such bonds would be unbreakable – they would never leave each other’s sides.

If not, one of them would have no problems following Geralt, while the other would have peacefully remained with the merchant’s family. She might not have lived luxuriously, but at least she could live a happy life without any problems.

Cirilla spurred the horse with her heels, moving along the river. They passed by a gully and set foot on a mountainous road.

From there, they could see Kaer Morhen, standing among a pile of stone walls. Some walls had crumbled down, the only indicator of them once being there being their foundations, a few towers and gates, and a thick, heavy, cylindrically shaped main tower.

Kaer Morhen in Elder Speech meant ‘Old Sea Fortress.’ It had been named like so because the fortress was built on land that used to be submerged in water. There was the presence of fossilized sea creatures in the stones.

This fortress stood at the edge of the civilized world. It was located in the mountains of the northern kingdom of Kaedwen [2]. The world had long forgotten it, and few knew the way to the fortress.

This was where the witchers trained, and it was also their home.

The fortress had seen better days. The main body and the moat of the fortress have wasted away, and a cold wind blew through the wide spacious halls. Only a few witchers were living there.

However, many young boys had once received ghastly training along the infamous “Gauntlet” near Kaer Morhen.

Kaer Morhen had initially been home to 23 witchers and 40 students. However, a bunch of fanatics, their hatred incited by slanderous publications of the witchers had attacked the fortress. With the help of mages, they had managed to capture the fortress and turn it into ruins. Most of the witchers were slain. Vesemir [3] (Geralt’s teacher) survived, only because he had hid among the corpses.

The skeletons that remained in the fortress’ surroundings were left behind as a reminder of a massacre that occurred as a result of hatred.

The fortress was never repaired. It became another forgotten piece of the world. The last few witchers who lived inside the fortress would usually return to Kaer Morhen during winter. However, they would venture out across the globe during spring.

This was the base camp of the witchers from the School of the Wolf. Geralt was considered to be the central figure of the school. His charming personality enabled even the gruffest of witchers to warm up to him. Many viewed him as a good friend. Geralt was someone who was willing to go to great lengths to help people, and that sincerity won people over.

At that moment, only Vesemir was present at the dilapidated fortress. The other witchers have not yet returned. Even Geralt had returned earlier than usual because he decided to adopt these two girls.

Vesemir was the oldest and most experienced witcher across the continent. He was the last master from the School of the Wolf who possessed the secret to the Trial of the Grasses [4]. Swordsmanship, sword-making, he was a master of it all. Almost all the current witchers had started off as his disciples. They were sons to him, and they revered him as their father.

As Vesemir was so legendary, that he was even on the Gwent playing cards. He belonged to a neutral card, but he only had 6 attack points. They had probably taken his age into consideration…

Although Vesemir looked like an old man on the surface, his highly honed combat sense and years of fighting experience made him no less deadlier.

His words on the Gwent playing cards were, ‘If you’re to be hanged, ask for water. Anything can happen before they fetch it.’

When Geralt saw Vesemir stepping out to welcome him, they embraced each other warmly.

The two teenaged girls, Cirilla and Olivia were shy around strangers. Furthermore, Kaer Morhen looked like it would fall apart at any moment. It did not seem very safe to live in…

Olivia was not too worried. She treated it as another map to explore. That’s right. It’s time to get rid of the fog of war. Also, exploring the map would reward her with skill rewards. She could take advantage of her youth and travel with her old dad, Geralt. She could hunt monsters while exploring the map, wasn’t that wonderful?

In the future when she controls a country and raises an army, she would have a satellite radar in her vision. Nothing would escape her sight. Who could stop her army?

On the other hand, Cirilla had her guard raised up. She was still expending a great deal of energy, vigilantly studying her surroundings. She had not yet opened up her heart to Geralt who had exhibited so much care towards her sister during their journey.

Now, the witcher who faced them looked gnarly and mean. Over his shoulder stood the dark shape of a ruined fortress. She could not help feeling that she had been brought to a monster’s den with her sister…

Perhaps with time, the wound in Cirilla’s heart would slowly heal. It was fortunate that her dear sister was still alive and beside her. If not, she might not have had the strength to carry on by herself.

Translation note:

[1] “Axii Sign” (亚克席法印) is a simple magical sign comprised of a hypnotic effect and is used by witchers. It can calm down people and creatures or be used to hex enemies, causing them to fight alongside the caster.

[2] “Kingdom of Kaedwen” (科德温王国) is the largest of the Northern Kingdoms (and the second largest country in the Continent, next to Nilfgaard).

[3] “Vesemir” (维瑟米尔) was the oldest and most experienced witcher at Kaer Morhen in the 13th century and acted as a father figure to Geralt and the other witchers. Like many of the other witchers, he spent each winter in the fortress and set out on the path when spring arrived.

[4] “Trial of the Grasses” (青草试炼秘密) was an incredibly painful trial to which young witcher apprentices were subjected. It required the consumption of special alchemical ingredients known as “the grasses” and affected the physiology of the subject.