Chapter 15:

Enforced Partnership - Part 1

Gloudhaus


“Let me see if I got it right…” Louise held her head in front of the two girls who had entered her room. “You went on a rampage, killed almost half a dozen militia, fought a group linked to our target, left a whole quarter destroyed, and all you got was an artifact you have no idea what does?”

“Yeah, pretty much so,” Annabeth answered, now with her wounds bandaged but still using her battered clothes.

“You arrived less than half a day ago and we’re already running a cover-up operation here... That’s what I get for calling you ‘tame’ earlier.”

“Don’t worry, auntie, I’ll keep a close eye on her from now on,” Karim answered before the Bureau overseer could have a stroke.

“Yes, auntie, she’s now… Wait, auntie?!”

The two other occupants of the room looked to Anna who was making a fuss again, but they didn’t bother to explain anything this time.

“The files are still on the wall, so I won’t bother with you, ok? We have more pressing matters here...” The plus-sized blondie turned to the stone gear Anna had retrieved. “I would usually at least send a formal complaint about you, but, for some weird reason, there were no civilian casualties, so I’ll let you out of the hook once. The incredible number of wounded is impressive though, so try to stay quiet for a while...”

“Don’t worry, I don’t plan to fight before gathering intel. This ‘skirmish’ was more of an unlucky event than anything.”

Saving civilians was one of the articles, even if the less important of them all. Anna wouldn’t talk about that and neither would she mention that most of the fainted and lightly wounded were her handiwork though.

Steering the fight away from places where someone could die made her spend more energy than necessary, but that was fine. This whole fiasco was part of her scouting attempt either way, so it wasn’t as if she was planning to get another fight.

If she landed in another conflict, it would still end with bullets fired, but it wasn’t the plan.

"Hard to call that a skirmish with these numbers..." Louise continued while reading the report again.

"A bunch of B threats and a few A ones are nothing, ay? What else would I call it other than a small skirmish?"

“You know this island has something around one or two thousand citizens that you people would give a threat level, right?” Karim added when she heard that the whole thing was being considered a small skirmish. “Your kills may even be a whole percent of all high-class fighters in Cenfratia.”

“That was high-class?! The winged demon, maybe, but the others…”

“Militiamen don’t receive that much training, but they're still capable...” Karim continued with her eyes turning away from the red-haired girl. “We also don’t have that many people with innate magic around the islands.”

“Purebloods are that rare already? Or you all simply don’t train magic?”

“I little of both, but I don’t have time to teach you Archipelago’s history for you...” Louise answered with a fed-up expression as the pile of paperwork glared at her from the corner of the table. “Again, go read a little if you want to know more. And get out of here already! Go take a nap and don’t get yourself in more trouble, ok? I have work to do.”

“Will do, ma’am!” Anna answered while swiping the artifact away from her overseer with unusually well-trained moves. “I’ll be taking this for research purposes though.”

She then threw the doors open and left before anyone could complain, leaving only the two blondies in the room.

“I’ll be more careful from now on, auntie… Until later.”

“Wait a little, Karim,” Louise called while her small adoptive niece was trying to leave. “I said it before, but this girl attacked you twice already. Are you sure you don’t want to get someone else to deal with her? Inquisitors are way too dangerous for someone…”

“I can do it. Don’t worry, she only took me by surprise that time... It won’t happen again.”

“Still…” The worried woman started to say only to be interrupted.

“Don’t worry, auntie! I can do my job without a problem.”

The resolute answer made it hard to continue the discussion and Karim was already leaving when Louise got something else to say. In the end, the underground chief couldn’t do much more as she left to continue her mission.

As Karim left though, as unexpected as it was, she couldn’t see anything more than the empty corridor leaving to the upper areas of the police department.

"She didn't flee again, right?" She said to herself while thinking about the possibility, reaching the obvious answer. "Hells..."

In a hurry to not lose Anna again, the tanned shorty started to run towards the exit hoping that she would be able to locate her partner right away. As she reached the lobby of the precinct though, there were no signs of the redhead or of anything abnormal, in fact.

To begin with, it wasn’t as if this place received that many cases, so the officers spent most of their time on standby.

“Where did she go…?”

She was almost ready to bite the bullet and call for help again, but a tap on the shoulder made the petite officer turn right away.

“What you doin’, partner?” Anna asked while carrying a couple of donuts from who knows where.

“What YOU are doing?! Also, where did you get these?”

“Found it lyin' around… Ya both were borin' so I made a pass 'round the area.” She answered while giving shoulders. “There was a massive pigman with a box of these things, y'know? I made him a favor and helped kickstart a diet...”

“How did you sneak past Rom?! He loves his sweets more than his life.”

“No idea what yer talking 'bout. I took it and came back, the cops should be doing their work instead of eating donuts either way… Can we leave already? I’m kinda hungry and I need a bath later.”

“You’re really accepting well that whole ‘vow’ thing of yours, eh?” The weirded-out blondie said while looking at her companion wolfing down food that wasn’t hers. “I was sure you would try to bend the whole deal…”

“I don’t like it, but it’s an honor thing, ay? As long as you don’t mess with the other articles and don’ go cocky enough to afford being killed durin' the night, I’ll try to stay quiet... Isn’t that what you asked back there?”

Karim had ordered three things for Anna after she was added to her vows. Three of them to be specific. 

They had to act as partners properly, even if walking together all the time wasn't necessary.

Anna was to stop trying to pick fights with whatever new person she found as much as possible.

And lastly, she was to avoid killing as much as she could.

For Karim, they were very big orders that she expected Anna to reject right away, but it didn't happen so. In fact, the redhead thought her little boss was a little too lenient.

She also decided that carrying around a holy magic user was worth the trouble of being, relatively, kind to her, so complying a little was not a problem.

Karim also tried to enforce some common sense rules to the inquisitor, but those were less effective. She wouldn’t bulge when the matter was changing her preconceptions for some reason.

It was a very weird situation overall even if it worked well enough for now.

“You’re a weird character, you know that?”

“Said the witch who uses both dark and holy magic…”

“You…!” The words of the redhead weren’t polite or easy to accept, but they weren’t wrong, which forced the petite girl to turn around and move on. “Follow me, we’re going home.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

A small uproar started around the cops' waiting room when the missing treats were noticed, but by then, Anna and Karim had already left.
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