Without much say in the matter, Anna and Karim left the station and headed deeper into the city, reaching a very different area from where they were earlier.
The area closer to the harbor, which they had just left and was dubbed the lower city by Anna, was made of glued-together buildings with two or three floors. It was a common design choice from the colonial time than focused on using less space, but the deeper blocks had a different style.
In fact, the further away from the pier one went, the higher the buildings got and it became more common for them to have small walled open areas around them. It was to the point that the inquisitor couldn’t even see single-floored buildings around anymore.
Maybe someone had decided that vertical was the best to save space, but Anna couldn't agree with this choice. In her eyes, it was all way too dangerous.
Be as it may, and based on Karim's walking direction, it was clear that their destination was one of these buildings. And, as expected, the small girl eventually stopped in from what seemed to be the quintessential example of this whole idea.
The complex that Karim was entering had three beige buildings with at least ten floors each, all surrounded by a tall brick wall and with some smaller buildings and open areas surrounding them.
Other than that, the apartments had a dedicated space for parking inside the walls and an abnormal number of varied vehicles in it. Annabeth was sure she saw what seemed to be a gas station close by too, so the lack of traffic of personal vehicles was even weirder now.
There was a chance that everyone would either walk or use public transport around here, even with the lack of trains, but again, it would be weird for astellian standards. The internal parking lots made the assumed lodgings weirder for another reason too. Ignoring the small number of cars running overall, Anna hadn’t seen a single space marked as a parking lot around the city until.
There were also no cars parked in the streets now that she thought about it.
“Hey!” She called the girl leading the way. “What is this place? Some kinda police facility?”
“Facility? It’s a condominium. Like, some houses and amenities, and that’s it… Why the weird question? Are you stupid or something?” Karim stopped in place to answer with a weirded-out expression.
“We can have a go right away when y'show mah’ house, but till then, be useful for once, ay?” Annabeth scoffed at the words of her forced partner and then continued to what she really wanted to say. “Now… What in the Circle’s will is a condominium?!”
“You…? Sigh...” Karim gave up when she saw that the girl following her was serious and tried to explain what was commonplace to her. “A bunch of houses one on top of the other with some common areas like a gym, arcade, salon, and whatever around. That’s what a condominium is.”
“So... Yer telling me that people live in places where a half-decent destruction spell could bury 'em and all neighbors, and even got a name fer it?” The inquisitor girl asked with amazement in her voice. “Actually, is this whole area like this?! An air raid would destroy this place's population!”
“It’s either that or giving up on having any space for agriculture. And it’s not as if someone would air-raid the Archipelago to begin with...” Karim gave shoulders to the question and kept on moving.
“What a buncha crazies… Wait! I’m living there too now?!”
“No…” The petite girl answered without turning back. “WE are living there now.”
“That’s some suicidal claims yer makin'…”
“Go complain to our boss if you want to, but that’s the only lodging I have.”
“I see it’ll be quite the fun times, ay?” Anna snickered while watching her guide greet the person manning the gates. “And the cars are…?”
“People from the station, mostly. Personal ones only though.” Karim pointed out partly predicting what question would come. “The ones for work are parked close to the station.”
“Where?!” Anna asked as she still couldn’t remember any parking lots around the path they took.
The tanned girl only pointed to the floor as the gates opened and headed inside without saying more.
“The flo…” She started to say before the realization hit. “WHY YOU PEOPLE PUT THE CARS SAFE UNDERGROUND AND THE PEOPLE ABOVE IT, DAMMIT?!!!”
Annabeth’s words received no answer as her guide only kept going without looking back, still heading to their lodgings, probably.
“This place… Sigh…”
And without much choice, the red-haired girl followed suit as they entered the building and kept going. More than just entering, they took an elevator and ended on the last floor of the building.
It even had access to the terrace, which was right by the side of the door they both entered. This one door though, also known as Karim's house, was but a simple apartment with four rooms and a cozy look.
It had a living room and a compact kitchen divided by a low counter, a small veranda with some potted plants, and two other rooms other than what should be the bathroom. One of these rooms was open and Anna could see the organized bedroom behind it, but the other had its door closed.
There wasn’t much in matters of decoration around the building, but it had a television and a good number of bookshelves. It was a neat small living quarter.
They were still a bunch of meters above the ground though, and it didn’t fit well with the redhead.
“Of course, we in the last one… This place will kill us both eventually.”
“The almighty high-inquisitor is chickening due to a little bit of height, eh? Quite funny if I do say myself.”
“I tend to point my gun out when I’m scared, y'know? Y'should get some diapers just in case...” Anna unlocked her revolver on the holster as she was saying so and started to go towards Karim, who was already on her sofa.
“We’re doing this already? You sure you want to have a go with me?!”
The smaller girl faced the possible foe full of killing intent and tried to rush her weapon summoning just as the revolver was unholstered. The sudden movement made Karim lose balance and fall back to the sofa even if her bravado was still up.
When she looked back at her aggressor though, Anna was mockingly smiling at her with her gun aimed elsewhere.
“Ya need to work a li'l on yer bite, gal.”
Annabeth then manually spun the revolver’s cylinder aimed at the second bedroom while her tattoos started to shine under Karim’s gaze.
“You held yerself this time, so I’ll let ya into somethin' good though…”
And the moment her words were done, the revolver fired a pulse of golden energy that collected itself on the door and then vanished.
“Time to see some real good lodgings.”