Her grip tightening around the handle, she gently fingered the trigger as she waited. They had all been split up through the chaos, and she had been alone since they had hurriedly abandoned their camp earlier that morning. The sun beat down, and she further burrowed herself into the shadow of the rocky outcropping. All around her the brittle wind whistled through the halls of the barren canyon, licking the sweat dripping down her nape. Pushing her hat back with the muzzle of her gun, she waited. She wasn’t quite sure what exactly she was waiting for – vultures, maybe? Or whoever it was that had scattered them so far and wide? – but she knew that for now, she was in no position to move. There was something strange in the air that told her to stay put.
So C.C. did her best not to fidget. She did her best not to think too much of whether the others had found one another, and if they had, if they’d leave without her. They didn’t seem like the type to betray, but then again, she had never really gotten along with the lot of them. It hardly took any stretch of an imagination to think of Rolo advocating for desertion. The rest she was less sure of, but now with Suzaku’s discharge, there were few who she knew could be counted on to stand up for her – even if he had been a thorn in her side for the majority of the time they had spent together. Though she supposed if she were going to worry about anyone’s decision, it would have to be that of the Prince. He was the one that controlled them all after all. He was their leader, their patron, and their Saint as ungodly as it was the holify a descendant of Adam.
Heaving a sigh, she wiped away the sweat gleaming on her forehead. Brushing away the hair sticking to her neck, she squinted out of annoyance; she had cut her hair a week after she had joined the Court so that it was only shoulder-length rather than its original waist-length but even that was proving to be a source of frustration at the time. She grit her teeth; if, somehow, she did make it out of this alive, the first thing she was going to do was shave her goddamn head bald. Screw feminine fashion. Just screw it all.
She sat crouched and hidden between some rocks for so long that the shadow eventually passed from overhead to her complete left. Not that she cared much at that point. Having already fallen asleep from exhaustion and the heat, she griped of nothing and worried over little as the daylight trickled by until she was violently shaken awake.
Startled awake, her finger squeezed for the trigger when a soft black glove gripped her hand. Staring wildly into his eyes, C.C. took a shallow breath before realizing how dry and dusty her mouth was. He handed her a water skin before taking her gun and slipping the stolen bullets back where they belonged. She greedily drank.
“Careful,” he said sharply. “You’ll make yourself sick.”
She eyed him but drank less desperately. Wiping her mouth, she asked him where the rest was. He slipped off his glove and gently placed a cool, dry hand on her forehead.
“If I had come any later, you’d be dead by now. The rest are at the Valley. Where’s Morgana?”
“Mor…” Scrambling up, she vainly tried to look for her horse and partner when a wave of nausea and dizziness claimed her. C.C. wavered like the heat in the late evening desert. She felt a hand catch her elbow.
Regaining her balance, she nudged him off as she held onto the outcropping she had hid behind. Sure enough there was no pinto to be found.
“She’s not the type to wander.”
“I understand your concern, but we need to go to the Doctor immediately.”
“Understand? About what? What can you understand between Morgana and myself, hmm? Because you’re the Black Prince? Well, rest assured, sir, that-”
Her eyes widened and her stomach dropped as he stepped closer to her – so close she could see the bead of sweat rolling down the side of his face in the shadow of his hat – and hissed, “I have already lost one good man to this godforsaken land, and I refuse to lose another. You can either come with me now or you can stay here and search for Morgana, but let me personally assure you, Miss Corabelle, that your horse is easily replaceable while your health is not. I will not repeat myself again; we’re leaving for the Doctor, effective immediately. Am I understood?”
It wasn’t until the small plank house appeared on the horizon did C.C. realize that the Black Prince had addressed her by her maiden name. But by then, it was already too late to ask any questions as by that time she had very nearly passed out and was in no condition to ponder such, much less speak loud any questions.