Chapter 16

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Rex walked into a hospital uptown and made his way to the 6th floor. The nurses near a quarantined room recognised him as he walked on by, carrying items. They wondered how Rex and his family were able to walk in and out without getting infected. But this was not a sickness that human science had ever discovered.
He entered the room and lying asleep in the bed was a little girl, only six years old. Parts of her body were decayed and half of her jaw was rotten flesh. He placed a small plant on the windowsill and took out a spray with water and sparingly fed the plant. He placed a teddy bear in the girl's arms. A woman woke up who slept on a chair on the other side of the bed.
"You're late," she said in a whisper after she recognised Rex.
"I know. I'm sorry. Preparations with the guild were-"
"I don't care, Rex. Our daughter comes first. I still have to remind you about that."
"Marie, Rose is the most important thing to me. Everything I do is for her."
"The reason our daughter is like this is because of you!" she raised her voice loud enough to wake up Rose. 
"Daddy," she said and her face lit up. She noticed the teddy and squeezed it, thanking her father. She stretched her arms out asking for a hug and Rex was more than happy to oblige. Embracing his daughter, he started to cry with joy. He rubbed the back of her head and hair stuck to his hand.
Time was running out.
Marie stood with her arms folded, tears running down her face but she tried to keep a stern tone, "How long?"
"The Dead Moon is in ten days," Rex replied.
"And you're sure that they can help her?"
"Positive. She's an innocent, and still mortal. They'll cleanse her soul from the corruption of the ghoul."
"But-" Marie started to cry and Rex walked over and held her in his arms, "We can't be there."
"We're wanderers. They'll kill us in seconds."
"And what if they hurt her and we're not around?"
Rex placed each hand on her shoulders, "This will work. Trust me."
She kept crying and Rex pulled her closer and she wailed into her chest, while he just smiled at Rose.
"Daddy will fix you, sweetie. I swear it. Then next year you can start grade one, make new friends. Be done with this place."
"Will I get to come home with you and mommy?" Rose asked, excited to leave the hospital she was born in and had not left since.
"Yes, baby. Mommy and I made a beautiful room for you. Everything you want will be there." Rex said, holding his tears back.

Rex's phone rang and it was Kuro - a call he had to take. Marie gave him a look but at this rate, Kuro knew about Rose and had been helping Rex afford the best care for her. When a baby is born, especially from two reapers, the essence is not contained. Ghouls around the city can feel the essence and are drawn to it like flies. The ghoul that attacked during the birth of Rose was an experienced ghoul that mastered a human form and posed as a nurse. The ghoul even had a bounty on its head from the Underworld but it would change its appearance after every human it devoured. The very nurse that would cleanse Rose off as she came out, stabbed into her infant chest to rip out her heart and eat it. Rex was a split second too late as the ghoul's corrupted essence seeped into Rose's core. Just a little speckle tainted her core by the time Rex had cut the ghoul to pieces. Marie, who was in her human body at the time, was distraught. 
The Order had a guild member who studied medicine over a thousand years that came to keep Rose alive. Healing her body completely, he was unable to rid of the corrupted essence in her core. No reaper except Grim was capable of doing such. Another option was for an angel to cleanse her. But Rex had never seen one. He had only heard stories from Kuro's past when he encountered an angel in his adventures. 
The plan was that during the Dead Moon, it was not only reapers who came into the mortal realm. Angels would come and make every innocent soul invulnerable to any damage caused by the reapers or demons. Rex and Marie hoped that in their absence, the angels would see Rose and cleanse her core. The longer it took for the corruption to flow through her vessel, the more Rose's body would decay and rot. 
They had tried prayer, getting a priest to request an angel to come down and bless her - but to no avail. Even Rex doubted the existence of angels.

Rex answered the phone and he and Kuro spoke for a while. The second Rex dropped the call, Kuro appeared in the room. Rose was in awe, thinking he was a magician.
He looked at Rex and Marie, nodding, "This will at least give her more time, just in case."
Kuro looked at Rose and held his palm over her. Rune scripture on his hand glowed and the same writing engraved onto her forehead. Kuro's eyes glowed a bright light and Rose's eyes glowed as well. A few seconds passed by and Kuro formed a fist. 
Marie's mouth dropped open as Rose's skin began to heal. In a few minutes, Rose's body was fully healed, inside and out. 
"Her core will remain corrupted and the decaying will begin again. But this should hold for a bit, at least until after the Dead Moon." Kuro said. 
Marie dropped to her knees and held Rose's hand which no longer felt like cartilage.
Rex was at a loss of words and almost lost balance as he was overrun with emotions.
"Kuro..." he could only get out before tears swelled up.
"It took me three years. It's not easy when I don't have access to the Underworld and my family's tomes," Kuro said.
"Thank you," Marie said, "Thank you so much, Kuro!"
"Yes-" Rex started but Kuro placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Spend the rest of this time with your daughter. At home."
Kuro wasn't one to linger once his job was done. Rex had already made his decision during their meeting that he would not be going to the Underworld. 
"Before I go, I must ask," Kuro said, "How do you plan to get an angel?"
"We were going leave her here whilst we retreat to a safe distance that the angels won't sense us. And hope they cleanse and heal her," Rex explained.
"And what if that fails?"
Rex and Marie shared a look.
"It won't," Rex said. "I'm sure of it."
Kuro was not.
"Very well then," Kuro said and flashed out of the building.

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