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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, '08, 3:16 am
Average Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Rolf and Nei had returned to their home in Paseo after learning that there was no way to get across the northern bridge, with Darum blocking the path. They had learned of the scoundrels who terrorized Arima’s inhabitants, but they had reached a dead end and run out of leads. Thinking they could come up with a solution, they sat in the living area, going over what they already knew.

Then a knock sounded throughout the room, cutting their conversation short.

“There’s a knock at the door…” Rolf murmured, strolling towards the front door. “I wonder who’d drop by?” As he answered the door, his vision met a tall man on the other side.

“I’m sorry to intrude,” the man clad in a black bodysuit and armor said, “but I have heard that Rolf and Nei are trying to solve the mystery of the Bio-monsters.” Nei crept up behind Rolf, tilting her head to the side. The man glanced at her, but continued as if there were nothing unusual, “I am a professional Bio-monster hunter. I have little talent, but I am good with a gun.” he raised his weapon, and Nei’s long ears lowered back defensively like a cat’s.

“Rolf, is he here to hunt me?” she whispered timidly, clutching his sleeve.

Their visitor raised a brow. “No,” he said simply. “Why would I do that?”

The pair exchanged uneasy glances. “No reason,” Rolf lied, wanting to push the memory of Darum our of his mind. He quickly returned to the subject, hoping the man would forget about Nei’s question. “So you were saying?”

“Well…” he knit his brow in thought. “Oh, yes! I also want to go with you.”

“Won’t you come in?” Nei invited him inside, pulling a shocked Rolf over to a sofa as she welcomed their guest.

Rolf couldn’t believe it. He pinched himself. He then smacked himself across the face. When he pulled out his sword, Nei quickly pulled it from his hands, watching as his fingers grasped the air.

“Now, now, Rolf…” Nei offered a friendly smile.

“What?” he asked, shifting his eyes from her to their guest who had knocked on their front door moments before. “What am I supposed to think of THAT!?”

Nei laughed nervously and had a sweat drop. “Ah…well…”

Their guest, a man of thirty-two years of age and standing over six feet in height, had offered them assistance. A professional hunter was sure to be of great aid in the long run. To Rolf, he wasn’t sure if this was an answer to his prayers or a disaster in the works.

“Is there some problem?” the large man asked, reclining on the sofa. His gun, which reminded Rolf of a miniature cannon, was pointed right at the agent.

Rolf swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. “N-no, not at all…” It was Rolf’s turn to have a sweat drop, though he had much more reason than Nei. He wasn’t sure what this man’s intentions really were, or if he was even trustworthy. More importantly, was he really dependable? He may have looked it with his hunter’s gear, but in the end he was a perfect stranger.

Nei leaned close to Rolf and whispered into his ear, “I’ll go get some milk and cookies from the kitchen.”

The agent jumped at this, grasping Nei’s shoulders and sternly looking into her wine-colored eyes. “Are you crazy!?” he said in a hoarse whisper. Their behavior made their guest arch his eyebrows.

“If there’s some problem…” he started to say, standing up.

“No, there’s no problem!” Nei leapt over to the man, grabbing his arm. “Right Rolf!?” Rolf merely nodded in response, sitting on the other sofa adjacent to where the hunter was seated. “Please, sit here while I get you something!” she insisted, forcing a smile though her obvious frustration with Rolf.

“Don’t leave me alone,” Rolf squeaked, biting his lip.

The blond blinked, uncertain whether coming to this agent’s residence was such a good idea after all. As the purple-haired girl scampered out of the room, he noticed Rolf fidgeting nervously. “So,” he rested his elbows on his knees as he bent forward slightly, “will you consider my offer?”

Rolf eyed the doorway to the kitchen, wishing that Nei would return within the next few seconds. When he saw the hunter’s expectant gaze, he shrank back into the plush sofa and whimpered.

“Am I really that intimidating?” he said flatly. Rolf meekly pointed at the large gun that was aimed in his direction, to which the hunter laughed loudly.

“I’m glad you two are getting along, Rolf!” Nei called from the kitchen.

“Easy for her to say,” Rolf muttered.

Nei came bounding into the room gracefully, twirling with her platter of milk and cookies. She sat the large dish on the table, and smiled warmly. “I’m sorry, I can’t cook, so this is the best I can do.”

The hunter took a deep breath, trying to collect his thoughts. He then moved his weapon out of Rolf’s view and grabbed a cookie. “Thanks.” As he went to bite the treat, Nei sat beside Rolf and elbowed him sharply.

“What?” Rolf said.

“You should be more humble to our guest!” Nei insisted in a harsh whisper. She turned her attention to the hunter, who stuffed an entire cookie into his mouth. “So what’s your name?”

He gulped a glass of milk, emptying it, then wiped the milk mustache from his upper lip. “My name is Rudo, which is short for Rudolf Steiner.”

“I’m Nei, and this is Rolf,” she introduced them, then elbowed Rolf again.

“Yeah, nice to meet you, Rudo.” Rolf stood up and turned to Nei, grabbing her hand. “Will you excuse us?” Nei blinked, allowing herself to be led out of the room by hand as if she were a lost child.

When they were out of earshot, Nei furrowed her brow. “Why are we in the bathroom?”

“I don’t trust the guy,” Rolf said firmly. “Who knows, maybe someone hired him to hunt you down?”

Nei folded her arms. “You’re so cynical, Rolf. I know there’s bad people out there, but you’ve shown me that there’s good ones, too.”

He lowered his head, sighing. “We just met him and you expect me to place my trust in him?”

“No,” she shook her head, taking Rolfs hands in hers. “I’m saying that we should just give him a chance. It wouldn’t kill you to do that much, right?”

Rolf imagined Rudo chasing after him, laughing manically as he fired his gun on a certain blue-haired target. He wasn’t sure why he was so paranoid, but he could thank Darum for that.

“I don’t know.”

“Please?” Nei asked, giving Rolf puppy dog eyes.

He groaned, giving into her charms. He couldn’t resist those sad eyes and would do almost anything to make her smile. “All right, we’ll give him a chance.”

Nei squealed, throwing her arms around his neck and nearly tackling him in the small room. “Thank you, Rolf!”

“No problem,” he sighed, then was dragged out of the room by an enthusiastic Nei.

They returned to the living room to find a barren platter and three empty cups; apparently Rudo had helped himself while they were talking in the privacy of their bathroom.

Nei’s eyes watered as her vision met her empty glass. She sniffled, then started bawling as she pined over the void that filled her stomach.

“Nei? What’s wrong?” Rolf glared daggers at Rudo, who had confusion etched onto his features.

“It’s all gone!” she sobbed into Rolf’s chest, soaking the front of his shirt with her spilling tears.

“What is?” as he tried comforting the crying girl, but to no avail.

“The milk and cookies…!” Nei squeaked, hiccupping in the process. She drew back from Rolf and wiped her tear-stained cheeks with the back of her hand, then pointed accusingly at Rudo. “You were right all along, Rolf! You can’t trust him! He’ll eat all your milk and cookies when you have your back turned!”

Rolf blinked. “That’s it?” Rolf said, feeling dumbfounded.

Rudo sighed, rubbing his temple. “I didn’t know when you two were going to be back, so I helped myself. Sorry about that…”

Nei sniffled, then fell onto the couch. “My life is incomplete without the chocolatey goodness…”

The hunter rose to his full height and strode over to the kitchen. Rolf glanced at Nei who was still yearning for her cookies, then tiptoed towards the kitchen. Peering through the doorway, he saw Rudo pouring a glass of milk and placing a stack of chocolate chip cookies onto a plate. Rudo then walked past Rolf and presented the plate and glass to Nei, whose face immediately lit up.

“Cookies!” she sang out, plucking a single cookie off the top of the pile and dunking it into the glass. She nibbled it happily as if nothing traumatic had happened only moments ago. With a full mouth, she said, “Thank you,” though her word of thanks was somewhat muffled.

Rolf strolled over to Rudo and smiled. “Rudo, it’d be reassuring to have your assistance on our mission. I apologise for my reaction before.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Rudo nodded, then rubbed the top of Nei’s head, ruffling her hair slightly. “We have the same goal, right?” Nei tilted her head to the side and blinked, pausing with her mouth full. “So, please,” he said, kneeling to be eye-level with the girl. “In the future, don’t hesitate to speak your mind…”

Of course, his comment was directed towards the paranoid agent.
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