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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, '08, 4:03 am
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Part II: Step Up

The rest of the night passed without any further incidence of nightmares or horrific visions, for which Rolf was eternally grateful. He opened his eyes, squinting slightly as morning light passed through the drapes and into his bedroom, then took in a deep breath. He released it as he noticed a familiar sensation: Shir's arm draped across his shoulder and chest, and her head cradled on his other shoulder. Shir's ever-present smile belied satisfaction as she cuddled closer to Rolf, murmurring happily in her sleep.

You've always had this effect on me, Rolf thought as he noticed his pulse quickening slightly. I just hope you've had better dreams than I did.

"Zzzz... hehe... mithril Rolf statue... snatchy-snatchy..."

Rolf sweatdropped. As Shir went through increasingly valuable iterations of dreamed Rolf statues, he opened his eyes fully, now fully adjusted to the daylight. To his side, an small radio buzzed to life, a male voice announcing, "-s the English Language service of Radio Motavia, 212.5 FM, Paseo. The time is now seven AM, and with us now is Joel Conrad with the morning news for June 17, AW 1287."

Shir stirred, then awoke as a different male voice took over. "Good morning. Even three years after the Palma Crisis, evacuation ships from the obliterated first planet of Algo are still finding their ways to Motavia and Dezolis. These ships, constructed during the ten-year long ban on space travel imposed by the now-deposed Mother Brain, were apparently intended for long-term generational use..."

"Good morning, Rolf," Shir whispered, sliding slightly so her lips could reach Rolf's ear. "Feeling better?"

"A little, thanks," Rolf replied, noticing Shir move her hand away from his shoulder. He sat up, rolled his shoulders and neck, then took a deep breath. "Look, I'm sorry about last night..."

"I already told you, it's all right." She sat up, then embraced Rolf from behind. "If I could, I'd steal those nightmares from you."

Rolf chuckled. "So, the mighty Shir of the Winds admits there's something even she can't steal?" he asked. He was rewarded with a small bite to the base of his neck. "I was kidding, Shir!"

"I know." Shir kissed the bite, then started to kiss Rolf's neck, moving her lips ever-so-slightly higher with each kiss.

"-however, latest reports indicate that two of the four hundred worldships, registry Alisa III and Neo Palma, are still unaccounted for..."

Rolf sighed, feeling the unease of his nightmares vanish with Shir's butterfly kisses. He took Shir's hands into his and whispered, "Shir, not that I'm complaining, but if the Commander catches me showing up to work with another hickey, he's gonna have a fit."

"Hehe..." Shir moved to the other side of Rolf's neck, then added, "Thought he said it wasn't a big deal."

"He did, but still, Shir..."

"Aww, all right." Shir removed her arms from around Rolf's waist, then pouted at Rolf as she crossed her arms. "Maybe later."

"It's a date," Rolf added as he climbed out of the bed, stretching his legs. As he headed towards his bathroom, he paused at the door, then took another glance at Shir. "Doesn't someone have to get ready for work, also?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah, that's right! New job today!" Shir followed Rolf out of bed. "Much as I liked the wonderful world of thievery, getting arrested from time to time sucked..."

Twenty minutes later...


Freshly showered and cleaned, Rolf and Shir finished dressing, ready to start the day. Shir sheathed her twin laser knives, then told Rolf, "I'm suprised, really. Didn't think the Agency would have need of someone with my record, eh?"

"Well, we all got pardoned, remember?" Rolf asked. He took the Nei Sword off the wall it hung on, taking a second to look at the pink and purple metal that composed its blade. For a second, he thought he could see Nei's face staring back at him before he sheathed it. "Besides, the Commander said we could always more Agents who can pick a lock."

"Flatterer." The green-haired woman smiled at Rolf, tugging her Nei Cape into place at her shoulders. "And as an added bonus, remember how we talked once about being Agents together? Looks like that part's come true." Shir took a bandanna made of a transparent green fabric, tying it around her forehead, draping the loose ends on her shoulder.

Rolf nodded, as the bedroom radio continued, "-ttlement of the Palman emigrants will continue over the next decade. In other news, the Paseo City Council has reviewed a motion to rename the city 'Aiedo...'"

He turned the radio off, then turned to Shir, who replied with a smile. "Ready to go?" he asked.

Hand-in-hand, the two left their house, making the brief walk to Central Tower...

...and into another adventure.
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