Geralt was strolling through the newly built village. He could see busy people everywhere. Not too long ago this place was covered in dense forest, but with the help of undead and golems, clearing it was an easy task. As soon as the first people arrived, they started building their houses with the provided wood. It has only been two months since Geralt met the Sorcerer King, but his life changed greatly. He was alone and depressed, without future. But now he was surrounded by hopeful people. The citizens of this new village will soon start to tend fields and livestock provided by his majesty. In the future, this village would grow into lively city. Geralt was surprised by the first settlers. Not only were they not afraid of him, they even respected him. They knew Geralt was hired directly by the Sorcerer King himself. They would pay the taxes directly to Geralt, who in return used the funds to properly train the adventurers his king sent to this place. The first patch of 20 new recruits arrived a week ago and Geralt has been very thoroughly in their training. He understood that not all of them were suited for the same tasks, so he divided them into three groups. The first group were the fighters. They received training mainly in sword fight, but Geralt also gave advice on other weapons, their strengths and weaknesses. He also showed them how to move in armor. The second group were scouts and rangers. Their lessons mostly consisted of track reading, the identification of beasts and how to survive in the wild. He taught them which plants were edible, how to properly build a shelter and how to move soundless through the terrain. The third group was made of the magic casters. These were people who already received a primary education and since Geralt couldn´t use Tier Magic, he made them do research on magical items and beasts, as well as the practical application of magic. That consisted of target practice and mock-battles. Normally these three groups practiced separately. But today was different. Today all of them would engage in a parkour called Spur. They would have to run a hindrance course through the forest in a set amount of time. Anybody who failed to meet the requirements, was put in even harsher training. Of course, Geralt knew the magic casters were at a huge disadvantage in this lesson, so he set the bar lower for them, in contrast the bar was higher for those in the scout group. The starting and finish line were both in the yard of the fortress. The Witcher fortress Kaer Morhen, which was also their guild base, was currently under reconstruction. The dwarfs and the undead were the first to arrive here, but despite their best effort, they couldn´t finish before the first students arrived. Their quarters were finished, as well as the outer walls. Geralt was standing next to two dwarfs, who were tasked with the reconstruction and fortification.
"So, how is it going?"
"We are very sorry, but it takes more time than we initially anticipated. Time wasn´t nice to this place. Some parts of the wooden structure were completely eroded and had to be replaced. The roof let more rain through than it kept out and the foundation of the east tower has begun to shift. It will probably take at least one more month to do the necessary repairs."
"Don´t be sorry. I am very grateful for your efforts. I will leave everything in your capable hands. If there is anything, I can do to help you, don´t hesitate to ask."
"I don´t think there is anything. His majesty provided us with the tools and materials, as well as untiring laborers."
"These Skeletons are truly amazing. They never get tired, hungry or sick. If there is one thing I ..., Hey you."
The dwarf yelled at one of the skeletons.
"That is the wrong direction. These stamps belong in sector L3."
The skeleton immediately changed direction.
"What I was saying, they do what they are told, but are as stupid as rocks. We have to watch their every move. That is tiring in its own way."
"I just wish I could make it up to you."
The two dwarves looked at each other with a grin on their faces.
"In that case, how about you prepare some more of that Witcher booze. I really liked its strength."
Geralt seemed a little bit mischievous about that.
"Sure, but are you sure you can handle it? The last time we drank together, you ended up unconscious under the table."
The dwarves seemed a little bit upset by that remark.
"The last time doesn´t count. We hadn´t eaten properly beforehand. I have to make some things clear. Nobody outdrinks a dwarven craftsman, not even a Witcher. I will show you your place."
"Sure, sure, just name time and place and we will see, who the lightweight is."
During their conversation, the first three of the scout group arrived. They were breathing heavily and were sitting on the ground, looking like they would pass out any second. Geralt noticed their arrival, but decided to give them a while to recover.
"This is torture. Have you seen his eyes when he showed us this course? I am sure he enjoys to make us suffer."
"You are right. This is too hard."
"Be quiet. You knew what you were signing up for. We all volunteered for this program. Everyone that passes, is immediately promoted to gold rank."
"I know, but this guy is creepy. His eyes look like he wants to hunt us, not train us."
"Who knows, he might want to eat us after we build up some muscles."
As the three of them were joking, the last of their scout group and the first five of the warrior group have arrived.
"Hey, I heard the tavern in the town is finished. It will open today. Should we head in town and get us some drinks?"
"That´s a great idea. Maybe we can pick up some girls if we play our cards right. You know like ´I am the next great hero of the Sorcerer Kingdom´."
"Before you pick up a girl like this, the Theocracy will make peace with the elves."
"Don´t be so mean."
"I think your chances are below zero. In case you didn´t notice, most of the girls in town are already married or engaged. And those that aren´t only have eyes for that creep."
He pointed at Geralt.
"What´s so great about him, anyways?"
The other one was counting on his fingers
"Let´s see, he is the ruler of this place, has much money, is a warrior equivalent to adamantite rank and serves the Sorcerer King directly... should I continue?"
"Not necessary, I already hate this jerk enough."
"How can he be so selfish, at least share some of the fame"
He was nearly crying as he said this.
Now the last of the magic caster group has arrived. Geralt slowly closed in on his students and said
"Well done. Seems like you all made it in time. I have some great news for you."
All of the students looked at Geralt with hopeful eyes.
"Thanks to these three"
He pointed at the three scouts that arrived here first
"I am now aware that my training has been a bit too lax. Beginning tomorrow we will take it up a notch."
The three of them were baffled while all the others looked at them with eyes that were screaming murder.
"What? We didn´t do any such thing."
"Don´t be so modest, it is all thanks to your insight. After all, how could a creepy jerk like me that hogs all the cute girls know anything about your conditions?"
One of the scouts whispered to the others
"I think we hurt his feelings."
Now, pretending to talk to himself, Geralt said much louder than necessary.
"Seems like I have to meet with some of the merchants in town. I think I will be gone for at least two hours."
After Geralt turned around and slowly left. The other students were surrounding the three dumbfounded scouts.
"Wait, wait, it´s not like you think."
"You were to first to come here. What did you do? Did you brag about how easy this is?"
All their fatigue seemed forgotten, as the group of aspiring adventurers hunted their fellow students for the rest of the day. Meanwhile Geralt was meeting with the temporary head of the town and the merchants that settled down here. Many of them came from E-Rantel, because they sensed the value of a new trading post. The proximity to big cities in the Kingdom and the Argland Council state made this a very lucrative position.
"Ah, Lord Geralt, thank you for your fast response."
"Please, drop this ´Lord´. I can´t get used to it. Please tell me, how is the town progressing?"
"If you say so, Geralt-san. Everything goes according to schedule. Most of the buildings are finished and the road to E-Rantel is already more than half-complete. The population of this town and the surrounding farms is already over 400."
"That´s very good. How about the supply routes?"
This time the merchant replied.
"The caravans are moving swiftly, mostly thanks to the paved road. We are currently still supplying via E-Rantel, but I think we will start to make profit by the beginning of the next harvest season. The main income of this domain is the school, but I think agriculture is also important. As I understand it, the Sorcerer King pays for each student you train. I believe they will leave quite a bit of money in the stores and taverns of our town."
"Are the funds enough? Or do you need additional money?"
"No need to worry. I have enough assets to get everything started. I intend to make a lot of profit with this town as a trade route. A lot of travelers will come through in the future. Also, I don´t like to borrow money, no matter from whom."
"Just in case you need it, let me know."
"It may sound rude, but would you let me ask a question?"
"I overheard you stored a lot of gold and jewels in the fortress´s vault, is that true?"
"Should I ask how you know it?"
"Let´s just say I have a nose for money. I just wanted to know what you are planning to do with it."
"Maybe it could be possible to rent some space in your vault. It´s surrounded by thick walls and capable fighters. It would offer very good protection and safety. So, what do you say?"
"Sure, why not. Just let me know what you have in mind."
"Thank you very much. By the way, how much money is in there?"
"With the money from the old contracts plus interest and the tuition fees it should be around 1.000.000 gold pieces."
"Dammit, that´s a lot. I wish I had a daughter I could introduce to you."
"Wouldn´t you need a wife yourself, before that would be an option?"
The three of them laughed heartily. The Merchant gave Geralt a small package, which he put into the vault. After locking up properly, Geralt decided to go to the library. He was still busy writing his new encyclopedia, but lately this once so quiet place became a lot livelier. His students spent a lot of time here, learning from the Witchers 1000 years of experience. Geralt wasn´t complaining. He enjoyed the new life that resided in this old place. Today nobody was in the library, Geralt looked over the shelves in nostalgia. Everything seemed like normal, but something was odd. He sharply reprimanded the students to put everything back in his designated place, yet three books were lying on one of the tables. These books didn´t belong to the learning material, as they were about the mythology on the six great gods and the other one was about the theory of the conjunction of spheres. Nothing an adventurer would normally need. The third book contained the collected information on the Slane Theocracy. As much as they tried to kill all the Witchers, they weren´t always successful. Many times, the Witcher escaped or defeated the attackers and when they returned, they wrote down their experiences. The page that was opened showed the drawing of a young woman wearing a long white dress, ornamented with a golden dragon. The other odd thing was the burning candle. He knew it was out when he left for the town and his students were still busy hunting their classmates. He slowly raised his hand and reached for his sword.
"I´m impressed. You are really good at hiding your presence."
He slowly searched one isle after the other. His medallion began reacting.
"I don´t know, who you are, but if you surrender, I will spare your life."
Geralt reached the last isle, as empty as the others. He seemed to relax a bit, until he suddenly swirled around, his sword aiming into the shadow of the corner. The sound of metal colliding echoed through the room. A robed figure appeared, with a sword in hands. This person was wearing a cloth to cover his face.
"Who are you? Why are you here?"
His opponent remained silent and looked around, searching for an exit. Geralt quickly positioned himself between the intruder and the door, blocking the escape route.
"Not going to talk? I will make you talk."
The intruder was trying to grab the books on the table and run to the window, but Geralt managed to make him stop by throwing his dagger on him. He charged at the intruder and forced him to drop the books.
"You broke into my home and attempted to steal from me. Now you will pay for it."
They exchanged some blows and Geralt seemed to have the upper hand. As soon as Geralt was close enough to hit him, several magical lights appeared before the culprit Geralt noticed and jumped to the side, but one of the projectiles scratched him at the cheek. A small amount of blood ran down his face.
"Impressive. Silent Magic is a skill not everybody can learn. You are no ordinary burglar. Why don´t you show me, what else you´ve got?"
The burglar clicked his tongue in frustration. This silent Magic Arrow from point blank would have dealt with most regular foes, but the young man was no ordinary foe. He was the successor of one of the most powerful guilds in this world, raised and trained by a grandmaster and turned into a superhuman creature. He was already that good, despite being still young. He shuddered by the thought what he could reach in one or two century´s time. Now he had to take him seriously.
Two skeletons appeared besides the caster. They were covered in metal plate armor and carried broadswords and shields. They were superior versions of the skeleton soldiers, Skeleton Knights. They were rather difficult enemies, since they were heavily armored and lacked any vital points. Their strength and skill set them on par with orichalcum rank adventurers. Normally Geralt would be able to deal with them easily, but fighting two of them while facing an equal opponent was no easy task. He couldn´t risk losing here and let this intruder escape with whatever he was looking for. Both of the undead surrounded Geralt.
"Summoning magic? You are a very good fighter for a magic caster."
His opponent commanded the undead to attack. Geralt rushed at him and aimed at his neck, but the skeleton knight was able to get in his way and blocked his attack with the shield. The other one tried to attack him from behind but was met with the Witcher´s magic.
The knight was hit by a shock-wave and crashed into the wall. The culprit tried to go after the books again, but was interrupted by another shock-wave.
This time, Geralt had enough of these knights. He wouldn´t be able to get close to his enemy, as long as they were around. He had to deal with them first. The knight he slammed into the wall was back up and drew closer. Geralt decided to deal with him first.
He used his martial arts to boost his speed and got behind the undead.
In the next instant, the tip of his sword was protruding of the skeleton´s skull. He pierced it together with the helmet. The skeleton crumbled to the ground and vanished, like all defeated summons do. Before he could attack the second one, he could feel his body getting heavier.
(This guy used magic on me. Dammit, I was careless. I have to focus.)
The second knight tried to attack, but Geralt could parry and slipped something inside its armor. He quickly got away, before the bomb went off. The shrapnel caused piercing damage, which wasn´t very useful against skeleton type monsters. But because the explosion was contained inside the armor, the whole power of the blast was directed at the skeleton. It too crumbled away.
"Looks like it´s just the two of us now."
The culprit seemed to have given up on taking the books with him and prepared teleportation magic. Geralt noticed what he was trying and attacked him as fast as he could. Just as his sword was about to hit him, he vanished.
"Teleportation. I hate teleportation."
Just outside the fortress, in the forest, a hooded figure appeared. After removing the cloth on the face, Rigrit inspected her arm. A little bit of blood was running down to her hand.
"That was a little bit too close."