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THE KING OF FIGHTERS XI
KOF XI
TEAM STORY
HERO TEAM FATAL FURY TEAM RIVAL TEAM IKARI TEAM
AGENT TEAM K' TEAM AGENT TEAM KYO & IORI TEAM
ART OF FIGHTING TEAM FATAL FURY MOW TEAM PSYCHO SOLDIER TEAM ADELHEID & ROSE
SHION MAGAKI

ADELHEID & ROSE STORY

 After a sightseeing flight of close to a year, the giant airship Sky Noah now once again rests in the docks where it first came into being. The alabaster-skinned man with red pupils scans over various documents presented to him and scribbles his signature.
°»Herr Adelheid, regarding the tune-up, it looks I can get her back to you in a fortnight.°…
 He hastily turned aside the factory chief°«s amiable estimate to walk out of the dock.
 Now autumn, the cobblestones of Warsaw were wet, but the thick clouds covering the sky were floating on their way to the horizon. As Adelheid broke his gait hoping to dash into a nearby shop, he became aware of a presence lingering behind him. A man dressed to the nines in military attire from head to toe was standing there.

°»Still know how to ride a streetcar?°…
°»°ńYeah, I hear it°«s just like riding a bicycle.°…


 Ę® Ę®


 Poland°«s winter is an early visitor.
 This brief season, referred to as °»Golden Fall,°… offers not only a time for the most abundant harvests but also a tinge of the already severe cold of the continent.

 The two men walk in concert through the city.
 The history and heritage of the town seems like something out of the Middle Ages, but this city, which was mostly destroyed during World War II, is actually brand new. The cobblestones on which the two trod, however, just may be over a several centuries old.

°»Has it been a year since then? °ńWhat a coincidence.°…
°»You said it.°…
 Heidern responded without the slightest disturbance to his precise military gait.
 And was what he affirmed the amount of time or the coincidence?

°»So you°«re here on business, then?°…
 Adelheid°«s glance shifted to the ostentatious dress uniform. Its military origin was clear to anyone, but not a single type of seal of national origin was attached.
°»A funeral. For one of my men°ń. No, a friend.°…


 A silence and tension nestled in between the two, laced by intimacy and timidity.
As if in indication of that subtle relationship, a little bird landed at a point equidistant between the two and after it chirped a moment flew off. The cobblestone road they walked along led to an arched bridge. On reaching this bridge spanning a tributary of the Wisla River, they heard the cries of a child down below.


°»I can°«t do it anymore, Dad! My arm°«s going numb!°…
 °»Don°«t give up, it°«s a test of stamina! I°«ll get the boat closer. You reel it in. If it gets under the boat, the line will snap, so stick the tip of your pole into the water because I won°«t get upset. Got it?

 The small boat under the bridge drifts slowly by.
 A son and father are on board, the boy°«s rod having apparently snagged an extraordinarily big catch.
 The toy-like rod is bent to breaking, and the line, taut as a steel wire, streams through catch of the cheap reel. Only the line seems up to the current task. And it°«s a wonder that it has not snapped yet.
 Although the two cannot understand their conversation in Polish, they recognize the familiar drama of a child pleading for help and a father offering advice, checking the impulse to step in. The child soon stops crying, grits his teeth, and starts to concentrate on handling the rod. The father maneuvers the boat, offering brief, precise directions.

 The boat gradually drifts from the bridge and flows about 100 yards downstream.
 On the small boat, the sight of the father lifting a large silver fish, roughly the same stature of the boy°«s, can be made out. The boy is plunked down on the deck, rod still in hand. Very likely his arms are now shaking, and his face flush as he gasps for air. Adelheid slowly expels the breath he had been holding.

°»Well, that°«s a relief. But why do you suppose the father didn°«t try to help out?°…
°»Because he°«s the boy°«s father, that°«s why.°…

 Heidern°«s watch beeps. Adelheid steals a sideways glance of his expression, and understands with a feeling as if he were reading through a textbook°Ĺso that°«s it. A father telling his child about things is like.

°»I°«m kind of jealous of that kid. I°«ve no memory of my father doing that for me. Come to think of it, I°«ve never even held a fishing pole.°…
°»Indeed.°…
°»How about you? Ever been fishing?°…
 The sun is setting, its rays dancing off of the river°«s mirror-like surface.
 A speck floats with the sun at its back in the sky downstream where the boy and father had been. The rotor of a helicopter becomes faintly audible.
°»°ńYup. Frequently. Marine fishing is a hobby of mine.°…
 His slightly trembling lips and voice are drowned out by the roar of the rapidly approaching helicopter. It stops directly above Heidern and hovers. Adelheid covers his face with his arm against its howling gale.
 Within the roar and whirlwind, Heidern grabs onto the rope ladder dropped in front of him.

°»I didn°«t want to call you by this name°ń. Adelheid Bernstein.

 A sharp pain simultaneously shot through both of their hearts.
 It was a vaguely, no, in all actuality, clearly anticipated conclusion. Adelheid could find no words to respond to this fresh torment. Heidern remarked over the head of the speechless young man:

°»When we next meet, I will be°ńcount me among your enemies.°…


 Ę® Ę®


 Inside the helicopter picking up altitude and flying toward the setting sun.
 When Heidern eased into his seat and closed his eyes, he let out a deep sigh quite uncharacteristic of him.

°»°ńI don°«t recall summoning for you people. And I°«m sure I designated another pilot.°…

 The figures of Ralf and Clark were sitting in the cockpit. Ralf was lighting a cigarette with his banged up oil lighter, and Clark looked as if he was taking in the Polish sunrise over the top of his glasses as he gripped the control stick.
°»Our mission hasn°«t begun yet. Call this off time. Don°«t get your blood pressure up.°…
°»It appears Leona and Whip aren°«t with you.°…
°»We°«re off to for some drinks among a few old veterans. We told the kids under thirty to take their candy and go home.°…
°»°ńThanks. You got me out of quite a jam.°…

 Heidern expressed his gratitude in a faintly audible voice. A sweet smell ill-suited to the inside of a military helicopter wafted through the air. When he openend his eyes, Heidern saw a white flower with big petals inserted into the metal clip of his seatbelt.

°»By the way, Commander, do you know the °»language of flowers°… for that flower?°…
°»Can°«t say that I do.°…
°»According to Ralf, our expert in the language°ńHey, cut it out, Ralf!°…
°»Shut up, Clark! That gag is really getting old!°…
°»Hey, Ralf! Don°«t strangle the pilot°ńDo you want us to go down again?!°…

 The out-of-place magnolia flew from the helicopter, unlodged by the shaking and wind.

 (I wonder if it fell into the boat that man and his son were in?)

 Heidern closed his eyes again to enjoy a brief nap until they reached their destination.

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