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He had finally found the little girl. The little girl that he feared and believed was dead until he heard “Geralt” screamed from afar. He had never been happier in his life. That being said, he had no clue what to do or how to raise a child. So he would take her to the place he called home. To Kaer Morhen. It was his only hope at this point.

Kaer Morhen was a ways off. A long ways. They would face many dangers but nothing would ever happen to the girl. He would not allow it. Occasionally a bandit or two would attack and Geralt would make quick work of them. He then had to go on damage control, assuring little Ciri that she had nothing to fear from him.

When night came, they made camp on the side of the road, Geralt would pick some apples and give them to the girl. He swore she loved apples as much as Yen loved apple juice. If they could not find enough food then Geralt would go hungry. He had the chance to hunt some rabbits but Ciri begged him not to. They were too cute to eat, she insisted. As long as Ciri was fed then he was happy. Every night, Ciri would snuggle up to Geralt and she would fall asleep in his arms, feeling happy and safe that she now has someone to call family.

********************

Eventually, they traveled to Redania, but instead of continuing North, they took a detour east to Oxenfurt to meet a bard. In case anything should happen to either Geralt or Ciri, this story needed to be told to his friend. The bard was surely able to provide them some food and shelter as well. Geralt had no coin left and food was only available if they were able to find it. Geralt couldn’t take contracts either for he refused to leave Ciri under supervision of some villagers while he went out and fought monsters.

The Witcher had always found Oxenfurt quite pleasant. It was a fairly large city with a population made up of mostly young people and many students. Geralt had found that with high education came high intelligence and thus the students tended to not have a problem with Witchers. They didn’t fear them or think that they were gonna steal the youngins’. They knew better than that. The city guardsman on the other hand, were a whole different story. Those that couldn’t be bothered to use their brain or learn and instead only cared about muscle usually became guards. Many were intelligent but many weren’t. And the ones that weren’t were a lot stupider than the intelligent ones were smart. And stupid guards lead to stupid problems, especially for Witchers. Especially for a Witcher with a young child.

Geralt and Ciri approached the main gate of Oxenfurt, called the “Novigrad Gate.” Beautiful craftsmanship likely built by dwarves years prior. However what stood on the bridge was far less beautiful than the city walls, gateways, and bridges were. Fat, smelly, guardsman that looked at the Witcher with disgust. Geralt got off of Roach and helped Ciri down as he glanced back over at the guards.

“Go take Roach to the stables over there Ciri, they should let you stall her there.”

“Won’t I need coin?”

“Ciri, you’re adorable, use your cuteness.”

“Ah, that’s what I wanted to hear, Geralt.” Ciri said confidently. She was a smart-ass even at her young age.

Geralt didn’t need to stall Roach in a stable outside of the city. He knew that there were stables inside the city and that horses were allowed inside the walls but he just didn’t want Ciri around in case things got ugly with the guards.

He approached the guards and while about fifteen feet away they began to speak to him.

“Ay, where did you get the girl from you mutant?” Just as Geralt thought, the fat and stupid guards far outnumbered the ones that just wanted to protect and serve the citizens. If only Yen was here, anyone that called him mutant when she was around was sure to get a lightning bolt to the chest.

Geralt let out a dee sigh and spoke, “She’s my daughter.” He didn’t have the time or the want to explain the story so he simply went with “daughter.”

“Everyone knows that Witchmen can’t have children.” one said. “I bet he put a hex on her.” shouted another.

“Good thing I’m a Witcher not a Witchman.” Geralt retorted. Sarcasm was always one of his strong suits.

“Ay the freak thinks kidnapping is some sort of joke. Kill the freak!” Geralt let out another deep sigh, why do they always have to try.

He made quick work of them. Geralt made the hand sign for Aard and thrusted his arm in their direction causing a heavy blast of wind and force to push the guards off the bridge into the river below. From this height and with the river being shallow, the fall was sure to kill them. The blast missed one of the guards and Geralt had to quickly dodge to the right causing the guard to swing and miss falling to the ground. Geralt used this opportunity to unsheathe his steel sword and lunged the blade through the top of the guards back. Three less pieces of filth in the world as far as Geralt was concerned. Hopefully they did not have families, Geralt thought to himself, but the thought quickly left his mind. No way anyone could stand to be around idiots like that. He picked up the last guards body and tossed it over the bridge railing, joining it with the bodies of the other two. Geralt decided he would return there later when he got the chance to burn the bodies. Not because he was afraid of the consequences but because the water should not be soiled with that kind of filth.

********************

Luckily Ciri was still in the stables when he was finished with the guards. He did not want her to witness that. He could see her little head from afar, standing with Roach and talking to a young man. The Witcher headed towards the stable to return to his newly adopted child. The man saw Geralt coming and spoke. “Ay, I know you, you’re none other that the White Wolf himself, the Witcher Geralt of Rivia.

“Hehe you’re famous Geralt! I know a famous person!” Ciri giggled and exclaimed happily.”

“Uh-huh. And where do you happen to know me from?”

“There’s a man in town. Can’t stop telling tales of your heroic acts. Said he saved you quite a fair number of times as well if I remember correctly. I thought a man like yourself would have no problem saving himself but no matter.”

Geralt ignored the last part. Now there was no question in the man’s identity. Dandelion. “And where might I find this man?”

“Twas stayin’ at the Oxenfurt Inn when I saw him last. You wanna find him, try there.”

“Will do, thanks. Can my horse stay here?”

“Yes master. The little one and I already agreed that the horse can stay.”

“Thank you. We’ll be on our way then.”

“See you around, Witcher.”

Ciri and Geralt then headed back over the bridge and into town. Ciri grabbed onto and held his hand as they walked. This gave the Witcher one of the biggest smiles of his lifetime. If only he had Yennefer, his life would be perfect. One day, perhaps.

It had been some time since Geralt had been in the city. He viewed a signpost and a roadmap and quickly determined where the inn was. Ciri and him headed towards it, still holding hands. Some gave them strange looks as well as some whispered gossip that couldn’t be decipered even with his enhanced hearing. He didn’t blame them, not everyday that you saw a Witcher and extremely rarely would they be with a child.

The pair reached The Alchemy Inn as the sun was setting. It look them a while to make their way through the city crowd and the many buildings. Ciri was appearing to become tired as she was now resting her head against the arm of Geralt as they walked.

********************

They walked through the door and before they could even look around a man shouted and approached them. “Geralt, my friend!” A few bar patrons looked their way but they had drinks and food and that meant that they had better things to worry about.

“Dandelion. I’ve never been happier to see you.”

“I was thinking the same thing, my friend. But who is this little one?” Dandelion kneeled down and stuck out his hand towards the child.

Ciri looked up at Geralt and he nodded, giving her confirmation that this man was friend not foe and was to be trusted. She then took his hand and shook it. His grasp was gentle and caring. It was comforting.

“I’m Ciri.” She said in the adorable voice with her Cintrian accent.

“Nice to meet you, little one.” Normally Ciri would retort that she was not in fact a little one but a whole NINE years old now. Barely. But now she was simply too tired and was speaking to a man whom she did not know.

“Uhh, I’ll explain later.” Geralt chimed back in at this point.

“Come sit, my friend. You look right famished.” Dandelion turned around and led the two through the large room over to his table in the corner. Geralt always preferred the corner tables anyways. Gives him a back rest.

“Order some food, Geralt. You two need it.”

“Uh, I’m a little low on coin.” Geralt replied, partly embarrassed.

“No matter at all. I’ve made a small fortune lately. My poem book is being mass published. Merchants are selling it from Novigrad to the Skellige Isles.”

“Glad to hear that. Congrats, Dandelion.”

“Couldn’t have done it without you. Traveling with you inspired many a poem and many a tale. I’m working on a book full of our adventures at the moment.”

“Uh-huh. And let me guess, you save me in more than a few of these.”

“Well no one said that the stories had to be all truthful.” Dandelion replied sheepishly.

Geralt glanced over a nice menu printed on fine paper with exquisite designs on it. When a worker for the inn came over, the Witcher ordered a chicken roast, with some apples and bread and milk. It had been a long while since he had a full meal and he was about to feast. “What do you want, Ciri?” “Apples.” She replied in her typical sweet and quiet voice. Geralt let out a small sigh and a chuckle. “We’ll split the chicken roast.” The waitress smiled at the shyness of small Ciri. What an adorable little girl, she thought to herself as she walked away.

Geralt and Dandelion chatted and played a friendly game of dice poker as they waited for the food. Ciri sat quietly observing the game, trying to understand what was going on but didn’t say anything. She instead just rested her head on Geralt’s shoulder. They had been traveling since early morning and now nightfall had came. There food arrived and Ciri quickly chirped up becoming excited that she would be able to get a full belly. Geralt cut off pieces of the chicken and put them on a plate for her. He also pushed the bowl of apples that the waitress gave them over to her. He doubted he would get many and that was completely okay. As long as she was happy. They ate in silence, Geralt only speaking to check if Ciri needed anything. Dandelion was quiet as well surprisingly, not wanting to disturb his friend or Ciri. Instead he worked on a new ballad. One of a child and a Witcher eating dinner. Not all ballads have to be epic tales after all.

********************

Dandelion had to admit to himself. He was fascinated with the child. A fascination that he had not had in a long time. Who was she? Why was she with his best friend? And why did Geralt seem to care so much for her? Hopefully his questions would be answered soon but now was not the time to ask. Not when she was here at least.

They finished there meal after some time. They had eaten all the chicken, the remaining bread and apples, Dandelion took and put in his pouch to give to the Witcher later. The waitress came back to the table and Dandelion paid her for the meal, giving her a generous tip. Partially because of her kindness and good service and partially for her attractiveness.

“Excuse me, Witcher. Will you be needing a room for the night?” Geralt glanced over at Dandelion and he nodded reassuring the Witcher that he would pay for all expenses.

“Yes please. How much will it be?” The Witcher responded.

“No charge.”

“Beg your pardon?”

“No charge, Master Witcher. You see Mary over there?” She said pointing to an elf women and Geralt nodded his head.

“She saw you deal with those guards earlier. They had been harassing many a non-human. It is good to be rid of them. We appreciate it. The room is on the house tonight.”

“Oh, I, uh, you’re welcome. Thanks for the room.” The waitress nodded and gave a faint smile then proceeded the hand over the Witcher the key to his room for the night. “Third floor, Room 13.” She said and walked away, taking their used dishware with her.

“What happened with the guards, friend?” Dandelion inquisited.

“The usual.”

“Figures. People are different depending on where you are but scum remain the same no matter the location.”

“At least they’re consistent.”

“Geralt, can we go to bed?” Ciri asked.

Geralt nodded and stood up. Taking Ciri by the hand.

“I’ll be here a while longer if you need a drink, Geralt. Otherwise we’ll talk in the morning. I’m staying in Room 7.”

Geralt and Ciri walked through the large room through a doorway and down a short corridor leading to a staircase that led up the the higher floors of the inn. For many patrons, the night was just beginning. A group of musicians played on a small stage in the corner of the larger room and students filled the establishment, looking to get drinks and meet new friends and possible partners.

The Witcher hoped that the noise wouldn’t be too much for Ciri. He needed her to get her rest for the would likely be setting off sooner rather than later. Their room was surprising nice. Geralt figured that they innkeep must’ve given them one of the nicest rooms. There were two large beds, a vanity as well as a bathtub already filled with water and multiple dressers and cabinets and a stool to light the chandelier. Candles and a chandelier lit the room but it was still a bit dark. He set the pouch of food that Dandelion gave him on the dresser located near one of the beds. Ciri took off her small bag and set it on the other dresser. She pulled out a small teddy bear made of plush and wool and climbed into the bed. Geralt didn’t know that she had that, it must’ve been given to her by the family that took her in, he thought.

“Im going to go talk to Dandelion.” The Witcher said, interrupting the silence.

“B-but.” He could tell that Ciri was upset to be left alone.

“It’ll be okay, Ciri. I’ll just be downstairs.” He realized that this was the first time he was leaving her alone since they had reunited.

“But you’re coming back, right.”

“Of course, Ciri. Always. I can stay until you fall asleep if you want.” Ciri nodded as Geralt tucked her tightly into bed. He sat on the bed opposite and watched as she drifted off into slumber. She fell asleep quickly, having nothing to fear. She knew that Geralt would keep her safe.

“Sleep tight, little one.”

********************

Geralt locked the door behind him and came back down to the bar area of the establishment. He noticed Dandelion was surrounded by patrons. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to be the friendly type. Many people were watching on as the bard struggled to explain himself.

“You think you can just sleep with anyone’s wife just because you are a famous bard?” An angry man said to Dandelion. The bard was sitting at the same table, now regretting his decision to sit in the corner. His back was against the wall and there would be no escape.

“Maybe you should please her better and I wouldn’t need to.” The bard retorted. Multiple patrons gasped at hearing such a thing and they believed a murder of the bard may be coming. Geralt heard this as he was approaching the table. He would’ve imagined that someone as cowardly as Dandelion would be smart enough to shut up. Dandelion, the man wouldn’t fight a fly with his fists. But if words could kill then Dandelion would be a serial killer.

“You fuckin wot?” The same angry man said. “Ay, the little punk thinks this is some joke.” Another man said, likely a brother or friend of the first man.

“That Witcher that dun made you famous isn’t here to save you now. How unfortunate.”

“What was that now?” Geralt spoke, now standing behind the confrontational men.

The two men turned around and looked as if they had seen a ghost.

“I’ll give you five seconds to apologize to my friend and I’ll give you another five to leave this inn and never come back.”

“What if we don’t?” One of the men said, deciding to try his luck.

“You’ll end up feed for the drowners in the sewers.”

The men quickly decided that this was not losing their lives over. They turned around and apologized to the bard. “S-s-sorry, sir Dandelion sir.” They said terrified of the Witcher. Then they quickly turned around and hurried out of the inn. Geralt assumed that they would be back, likely with more friends but he didn’t care. Bring an army and Geralt would still fight to defend his friend.

“Wooh, thanks my friend. Close one, huh?”

“Uh-huh. Can’t wait to here how you saved my life in the Alchemy INN in a future tale.” Geralt said letting out a light chuckle and sitting back down at the table.

“So who is the girl, Geralt?” Dandelion asked, quickly changing the subject back to what was on his mind.

“She isn’t just some girl, Dandelion. She’s my child of surprise.” He said quietly, making sure no one else in the inn could here them.

“What? But I thought.” Geralt cut him off, “I know, but she is alive, I found her, Dandelion. I’m beginning to rethink this whole fate and destiny thing.”

Dandelion was astonished but he should have known. How had he not realized this? It didn’t really make sense to him still however. Cintra was attacked, so many died, including all the leader figures. The grandmother of Ciri, Calanthe was one of the deceased and Ciri was in her care. How did Ciri escape and no one else did? She was a fighter, he did know that. And Dandelion knew that there was no one better to take care of her than his best friend. His best friend, the Witcher, The White Wolf, The Butcher of Blaviken, and new father, Geralt of Rivia.