A New Hunt
An El Cazador de la Bruja Fanfiction
Chapter 1: Old Friends
Author's Notes: Hello everyone, and welcome to my first El Cazador de la Bruja fanfiction. I'm a bit better known on the Lucky Star area of the site, so check me out there if you feel so inclined. Anyways, this story takes place just after the end of the final episode, and is a sort of 'what happened next' story. I hope you all like it.
The sun was high in the sky, beating its rays down upon an open road. Looking to either side of this road, one could see for miles off. In fact, some might swear that they could see all the way to the edge of the earth this way. On this road traveled one red convertible whose passengers were not concerned with seeing the edge of existence. One was too focused on the road itself, and the other on the vehicle's driver.
"Ellis?" Nadie asked, looking away from the road for a second and noticing that her friend was staring at her again. "Something on your mind?"
"Nope." Ellis said in her usual simple manner.
"Sure you aren't thinking about something?" Nadie asked. "Maybe something about that Beckman guy?"
"Beckman guy?" Ellis asked, tilting her head slightly.
"You remember?" Nadie asked. "That guy with Blue-Eyes?"
"Oh, you mean Steve?"
"Yeah. Creepy, right?" Nadie said with a chuckle.
"Yeah. Don't you think he looked just like Rosenberg?" Nadie asked. "I mean the likeness was uncanny."
"Yeah." Ellis said, her voice lowering a bit. This didn't go unnoticed by Nadie.
"You don't really want to think about that, do you?"
"Not really." Ellis responded.
"I know what you mean. I'm just glad we gave that slime what was coming to him." Nadie said. Several seconds passed in silence before Nadie spoke up again. "Let's talk about something a bit happier."
"Yes sir." Ellis said with a smile as the two continued down the sun-drenched road.
There was a whoosh of something flying past a window, followed by several oohs and ahs of neighborhood children as they watched the boomerang arc around back towards its point of origin. Some of them covered their eyes, expecting the worst to happen. Lirio however, was at full attention and ready for the catch. Just like she had practiced, Lirio caught the boomerang with both hands without even flinching. The children covering their eyes stopped doing so once they heard the applause coming from the others, and quickly joined in clapping for the display. Lirio smiled widely and bowed for her audience as they cheered happily. As the children left, they each stopped as they passed Lirio's upturned hat on the ground and deposited a few pesos here and there.
"Great catch, Lirio." Ricardo said with a smile as he approached his little friend.
Lirio smiled and made a happy squeaking sound as she held up her hat full of coins to Ricardo.
"Oh, no." Ricardo said, gently pushing the hat back to the little girl. "That's all yours. You've earned it."
Lirio made another happy sound just as a man walking by stopped and tossed an American ten-dollar bill into the hat. "Quite an arm you've got there." The man said as he tipped his hat.
As Ricardo looked the man over, he couldn't shake the feeling that he had seen him somewhere before. The man was wearing a black boonie hat with a matching coat, boots, and a pair of khakis. He had a thin dusting of hair on his chin, and was chewing a toothpick. His brown eyes betrayed a certain slyness that his smile attempted to hide. "What's the matter? Like what you see?" The man asked as Ricardo put himself between the strange man and Lirio.
"Do I know you?" Ricardo asked, narrowing his eyes.
"You're telling me you don't remember me? Ricardo, I'm hurt." The man groaned as he put his hands in his pockets. "After all, it's only because of you that I'm still here today."
"Beg your pardon?"
"Does the name Juan Miguello ring any bells?" The man asked.
"Yeah." Ricardo said, his hand hovering over his holster. "I remember making some good money on your bounty."
"Hey now, relax." Juan said, raising his hands in defense. "No need to go readying you piece now Ricardo. I just told you that you were the reason I was still kickin'. No need to be so cautious."
"My bounties don't normally drop by to say hello." Ricardo said, not moving an inch. "What do you want?"
"Me? I just want to thank you. After all, my wanted poster said dead or alive if you recall." Juan said, relaxing his posture a bit. "I mean, you decided to take me in alive regardless. I've gotta thank you for that."
"You were worth more alive." Ricardo said. "I didn't put up with you back then because I felt sorry for you."
"Fine, I get it." Juan sighed. "Of course, it's the cold aloof bounty hunter routine. Either way, I'm a reformed man. And I have you to thank for it." He said as he pulled a metallic object from his pocket.
Ricardo was faster, and he had his revolver drawn before Juan's hand was at chest level.
"Whoa now!" Juan exclaimed as he dropped his lighter. "I've been told that smoking could kill me, but I never thought this was what they meant!" He said, his hands empty above his head.
"Hey, what's going on here?" Nadie asked as she and Ellis emerged from a nearby alleyway.
"Well hello there, mamacitas." Juan said, turning slowly to face the two girls and tipping his hat. "I was just catching up with my good friend here." He said, taking a step towards them as Ricardo lowered his gun slightly.
"Good friend, huh?" Nadie asked, raising an eyebrow and watching Ricardo holster his gun. "This how you're used to being greeted by friends? Hate to see what your enemies do."
"Well, I suppose he just didn't recognize me is all." Juan said with a shrug. "I'll take my leave now. Till we meet again mis flores del desierto." He said to Nadie and Ellis as he walked between them, down the alley and out of sight.
"Don't like him." Ellis said, looking down the alley where Juan had disappeared.
"Ricardo, who was that just now?" Nadie asked as Lirio ran up to Ellis and hugged her.
"Hey Lirio." Ellis said with a smile as she returned the hug.
"It's a bit of a story." Ricardo said with a sigh.
"We might as well hear it." Nadie said, holding up the cassette tape Ricardo had sent them before. "After all, we came all this way to see you two."
"So you got the tape." Ricardo said with a smirk. "How did you know where to find us?"
"Well, Ellis has always had a great sense of direction." Nadie said, giving Ellis a thumbs-up.
"It was easy." Ellis said, Lirio now sitting on her shoulders.
"I see." Ricardo said, bowing his head slightly. "The guy's name is Juan Miguello. He was an old bounty of mine."
"A bounty huh?" Nadie asked. "And he's still alive?"
"I don't kill every bounty I take." Ricardo said. "Besides, he was worth more alive."
"What was he wanted for?" Nadie asked.
"He ran out on his bride to be. Left her crying at the altar."
"And so she put a price on his head?" Nadie asked.
"It didn't help that he ran away with several priceless family heirlooms and most of the wedding gifts." Ricardo said, causing Nadie to gasp in surprise.
"What a sleaze ball!" Nadie exclaimed.
"It gets better." Ricardo said. "When I found him, he was trying to pawn off one of the stolen jewelry pieces at some shady looking shop."
Ricardo walked into a shadowy pawnshop in an alleyway. As he walked in, he spied his target trying to sell something. Juan was wearing a plain brown vest over a blank white t-shirt with blue jeans. His shoes were battered and had holes in a couple of spots.
"So do we have a deal or what?" Juan said, leaning over the counter as a bald shopkeeper looked over a large diamond studded brooch.
"I dunno." The shopkeeper said, stroking his thick moustache. "Yer askin' a mighty high price for this little trinket."
"That's because those are all real diamonds!" Juan exclaimed, pointing to the brooch animatedly. "All things considered, I'm giving you a bargain price here. You could easily sell it for triple what I'm asking. Especially someone as smart and observant as yourself. But, I can understand if you aren't interested in profit." Juan said, taking the brooch back as Ricardo walked closer.
"Wait a minute!" The shopkeeper yelled, extending his hand. "Let me see it again."
"Not unless you're buying it." Juan said. "I know of plenty of other shops that would take this in a heartbeat. I stopped here first as a courtesy to you." He said as Ricardo put his hand on Juan's shoulder. "Hey, you want something buddy?" Juan asked, looking up at Ricardo's scowl. "Whoa, easy there partner." He said, turning quickly and backing off. "I didn't mean anything by it."
"Come here for a minute." Ricardo said, motioning to the door.
"Uh. Okay." Juan nodded. "I'll be with you again in a minute to negotiate my final price sir." He said with a bow to the shopkeeper as he turned and left. "Hey, can you make this quick?" Juan asked Ricardo. "I'm trying to make a sale here."
"That's a pretty thing you're selling." Ricardo said, pointing to the pocket Juan had stowed the brooch in. "Where'd you get it?"
"What? This old thing?" Juan asked, taking the brooch out of his pocket again. "My wife gave it to me. She's long gone now though, so I'm just trying to do what I can to get by."
"Is that so?" Ricardo asked.
"Yeah. What's it to you?" Juan asked just before noticing the bulge in Ricardo's coat where he kept his firearm. "Y- you're kidding me." Juan scowled.
"Why don't you come quietly?" Ricardo said. "I'm sure my client has a few things to say that would be more effective with you still breathing."
"No way." Juan said, his face twitching in anger. "I didn't come this far to get dragged back to that bitch now!" He yelled as he went for his pistol. Ricardo was faster, and has his revolver aimed at Juan's head before Miguello's hand even reached the holster.
"You're worth more alive than dead, so why don't you just come along?" Ricardo said. "If you give me too much trouble, don't think I'll hesitate to kill you though. Even dead you're worth some good money."
"D- damn it all." Juan said as he put his hands behind his head.
"That's more like it." Ricardo said, taking Juan's gun away from him. "Follow me to my car." He said, grabbing Juan roughly by the shoulder and leading him down the alley with his revolver's barrel in the other man's back. "We've got a bit of a drive ahead of us."
"And the rest is history." Ricardo said, sipping a beer. As he relayed his story to Nadie and Ellis, the group had found it's way to a local bar.
"Wow." Nadie said. "That sounded like it was really easy."
"You might think so." Ricardo said.
"There's more." Ellis said, putting down her glass of water. "Isn't there?"
"I suppose there's more to every story." Ricardo said. "For now though, I've told what there is to tell for today."
"Geez." Nadie said, rolling her eyes. "Cryptic much?"
"Some things are better that way." Ricardo said as he watched Ellis freeze some of her water into a small ice cube. Luckily, the bartender didn't seem to notice. Lirio on the other hand was clapping happily. "Like that, for example." Ricardo said, pointing to Ellis's glass.
"I guess I kind of see your point." Nadie said, watching Lirio show Ellis her boomerang. "By the way, how is she with that thing?" She asked, pointing to Lirio.
"She's gotten pretty good." Ricardo said, patting Lirio on the head. "She can throw and catch it pretty well. She's been practicing a lot."
"Trying to impress her teacher, is she?" Nadie asked with a smile.
"No." Ricardo said, taking another sip of beer.
"No?" Nadie asked.
"She wanted to show off to Ellis." Ricardo said with a smile. "That's why we sent you the tape. I told her you'd come as soon as you got it."
"You what?" Nadie exclaimed.
"He got us." Ellis said. "I wanna hear her sing too."
"I wouldn't count on that." Ricardo said, smiling to himself. "Lirio is pretty shy about her singing."
"Is that true?" Ellis asked.
"Hm." Lirio said, looking down and blushing.
"She had to go into a separate room before agreeing to do as much as there was on the tape." Ricardo said.
"It's okay Lirio." Ellis said, patting Lirio's head. "You don't need to sing if you don't want to. Just make sure to tell me if you change your mind, okay?" To which Lirio responded with a happy nod before finishing her glass of milk and leading Ellis outside.
"Here we go." Ricardo said, following the two girls with Nadie not far behind.
"What's up?" Nadie asked.
"She's going to throw the boomerang for you." Ricardo said, chuckling slightly.
"Oh, cool!" Nadie exclaimed, sprinting ahead to walk with the other girls. "I don't wanna miss this!"
"Lirio." Ricardo thought. "You've grown so well. I hope your parents would think so too." Ricardo thought with a sigh as a strange man began silently tailing the small group.
Author's Notes: Well, there you have it. Not a whole lot there, but at least it's a start. Go ahead and let me know what you think. I'm always interested in other people's opinions about my work. Also, merry Christmas! ^_^