Chapter Twenty-One: Rosemary Village

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Rogue's POV

I was set on my next mission, still recovering from my motion sickness from the carriage ride aswell as the train ride.
The village I arrived at was small. Debris scattered to the side of the dirt path, and a few burnt down and abandoned buildings were left. The village looked almost desserted. I looked around, analyzing the village.
A sign made up of two wood planks read 'Rosemary Village.' I shrugged.
"It looks pretty run down here, doesn't it?" A middle aged woman opened the door of her small home. I nodded. "So I'm suspecting you're from Sabertooth, right?" She opened it a little wider for me. "Yes, I assume that you were the one who submitted the job request?" I walked in.
She nodded and led me to her living room. "So you see, there's this woman... She looks quite young. I'm not strong enough myself to bring her home, nor do I have enough time. I found her lying unconscious on the road about 5 days ago. She also seems to be a mage. As I said in the job request, I wanted someone to bring her home. The poor girl needs it. I don't know what happened to her. I saw her come, she looked somewhat broken in her eyes. Like she was completely missing a part of her. She kinda trugded over to a burnt down house. The next time I glanced at her she was down." A sigh slipped from her mouth.
"I'll show you to her." I nodded and the woman led me to a guestroom.
It was pitch black inside. She switched on the light and my pupils adjusted.
My eyes widened.
The woman laying unconsious on the bed, was none other than Kagura Mikazuchi.
"What is she doing here?" I whispered.
"I have yet to find out myself.... I haven't introduced myself have I? Well I'm Arika Nilo."
"Rogue Cheney." I couldn't look at Arika. I was to lost in my thoughts of trying to figure out why Kagura was here, and what happened to her.
I walked up to Kagura.
Her face looked so lifeless. Her body was completely limp.
I looked at her closely. Around the right side of her body, there was a tear in her blazer and a small hole in her shirt, followed by one deep cut.
What amazed me is the fact that no blood was shed.
Just then it hit me. 'Was she stabbed?' There's no way. She wasn't bleeding. Or was the person that stabbed her ever so skilled that they managed to not hit any veins or arteries? I didn't know if that was even humanly possible or not. Either way there was still a chance.
"It's looks like she was stabbed. But the location of her stab must've been precise for no blood to be drawn." Arika said, snapping me out of my thoughts.
"That's exactly what I was thinking." I glanced and her, looking into her dark hued eyes.
I kneeled down in front of Kagura. Arika was right. Along with her lifeless expression came along with sorrow and trauma... She looked so broken. I couldn't stand looking at her in this state. But she looked so broken beyond repair. I didn't know what else to do with her.
"Please, can you get her home?" Arika pratically begged.
I agreed and she paid me.
I was contemplating how to carry her.
Over the shoulder might be a bit uncomfortable. Bridal-style is too exhausting.
I guess I had to carry her on my back.
With Arika's assistance, I sucessfully managed to get her on my back. I nodded in Arika's direction and she led me out.
"Be safe." She said, giving us a "Aw" look. I smiled. "You too." I nodded in her direction and was off.
We took the carriage ride (of hell) to the nearest train station.
I managed to stay strong though. Was it because of her? Was I that determined?

We got to the train station. I waited in line for the train, obtaining the attention of the public and odd glances and looks from them aswell. I sighed, trying to brush it all off and mantain a calm composure, when I was literally bursting on the inside.
We boarded the train and I took the nearest booth. I layed her down on the seat. I blushed a bit before sitting were her head was. I lifted it and gently rested her head on my thighs.
Just then I felt her hazel eyes burrowing into me.
"Rogue Cheney?" She said, her voice slightly raspy, but barely audible.
I looked down at her, she looked half awake. Her lids were half open and mouth barely moving. Her body wasn't even twitching.
"Hey... What happened to you?" I asked in genuine concern.
"I-I don't know... I just went back to see... Where I once held my happiness... Where I grew up... And the place where I last saw my brother." Her voice quiet, and almost tearful.
I let her continue.
"I was looking at our old house, or, what remained of it. It was really just a pile off debris and burnt wooden pillars. I was taking in the horrific scenery when all of a sudden I hear this laughing out of nowhere and a step. Everything just went pitch black... And now I find myself here..." She raised her hand and rested it on my cheek, I had no objections to it. "...With you..." She said before shutting her lids once more.
I carried her back to her apartment in Magnolia.
I layed her on the bed and just as I was about to turn away from the bed, she clasped onto my hand. "Can you stay here?" He voice was the same. She sounded drained, like her life was sucked out of her.
I blushed. "S-Sure..." I looked around awkwardly.
"Just stay in the same bed... I could use a little comfort." She patted the empty space on her bed.
'What is there to lose?' I sighed and I undid my cape and the belt like thing around my waist. I kicked off my shoes, and in the meantime, she did the same.
She huddled under the covers as I awkwardly entered.
It was only ten minutes and she was fast asleep. She was facing the window and so was I.
I sighed. It was snowing once again. Everything was so beautiful.
All of a sudden the awkwardness and the tension that had once binded to me had vanished. I've never felt so free.
Another blush crept onto my cheeks.
My heart beat raced and butterflies filled my entire torso.
It didn't pain me though. I felt so light... Like I could fly.
Just then, Kagura turned and faced me. We were only inches away. Without a single word she opened her eyes and smiled, and she leaned in so her head was resting on my chest. I wrapped a protective arm around her.
I loved whatever I was feeling right now... This floating feeling...
"I-I... I think it was..." She groggily spoke. "I think it was... That woman... Minerva... She-She was the o-one... Who stabbed me..." And her voice fell silent once more.
And that floating feeling flickered into a flame of burning anger.

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