Chapter 18:

Express Shipping - Part 2


“Anyway, doin' fine there, Col? I’m pretty sure those boxes ain’t made fer passengers.”

Anna pointed to the crash-landed object while her brunette friend, Colette Deuver, took her backpack from it.

“I’m fine. This much is leagues away from wounding me… But they should make these bloody things bigger! My back hurts."

From the small backpack, Colette equipped a pair of bracelets and then checked if her luggage wasn't damaged. Other than those, the clothes of the slim brunette were a plain grey shirt with a greenish short-sleeve jacket, a pair of jeans shorts, and some boots.

It seemed like some very stuffy clothes for this area but it wasn't that bad in reality.

“Well, as I said, they ain't fer people, y'know?”

“Give me a parachute then.”

“Rocket interceptors are too fast fer that and y'would be shot down in another plane, I think.”

“Then throw more money at it! How do they plan to move people around this place without proper transport?”

“We have proper transport, y'know? It’s a called 'ship', quite the wonder of humanity...”

“I’m not entering those monstrosities!”

“Aham! Could you both leave the middle of the street?” Karim cut into the conversation as the two astellians seemed to not care about the forming traffic around them. “Dealing with this thing you threw here is already enough problem without leaving the rest of the street blocked.”

“This?” Colette asked while looking at the metal box. “I can deal with this thing for you, kid.”

“She’s older than ya.”

“SHE’S WHAT?!!!”

“The box first! If you can deal with it, do it already.”

“Okay, okay…”

Rushed by the smallest of them, Colette pressed her bracelets and, just like Anna's trolleys, they changed forms, becoming a pair of stone-like gauntlets with runes and gems engraved in them. And with those in her hands, she hunched down a little and started to move the container away from the ground without much problem.

“Unexpected, ‘aight? Seein’ a human do that, I say.” A smiling Annabeth said while losing herself in the mood.

“This is quite impressive for sure…”

“I told ya. She’s mah' knight. Someone has to hold the chaff if I wanna fight well.”

And just as she was going before, Anna’s so-called ‘knight’ lift the thing that had protected her from the who knows how high fall and held it above her shoulder.

“Where to?”

“That condominium thing of yours has empty houses, shorty?” Anna asked the third member of the group as she wasn’t sure how to answer Col’s question.

“It has a few, but…”

“It’s settled then. Yer lucky, Col, I’ll get ya some cool lodgings right away.”

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?!” Karim reacted to the meaning of her partner’s words before the other person could, but was mostly ignored.

“Some housing already? Now that’s some good news. I was pretty sure I would be sleeping on the couch for a while…”

“We have to fix the details later, but shorty can do that. Her aunt is the big boss, y'see?”

“Ow, so you scored a big shot as a partner, eh? I knew this bitch look you decided to get would be for some use… We’re going there first?”

“Nah. Just follow, ay? I need a bath...”

The inquisitor duo left the middle of the street under the gazes of many bystanders with the piece of torn metal. They left the petite cop to hurriedly settle the situation though.

Once more, her position and how known she was around helped with it, and the main street was soon back to normal. There was a new hole in the street, but that was a minor problem.

Both of her big problems were walking away and it was all too weird right now though.

With such in mind, Karim rushed toward the two walking dangers by using the metallic crate as a landmark. She would need to apologize to her aunt later for doing so, but she lacked the time or the right words to somehow report what had happened.

In fact, she would love it if the cause of all this managed to explain something.

“Can you explain what just happened here, Annabeth?” She asked right away when her running managed to reach the other two.

“You may not notice, but I need support to fight well, y'see? This muscle-brain exists fer that. She was way too scared to board a ship though, so I had to wait more than expected.” Anna explained while glancing toward her small partner.

“You should have notified us if you had a partner already!”

“But I did… She arrived much earlier than expected, but the note should be somewhere on yer aunt’s table.”

“And she was late because she wouldn’t enter a ship?”

“That’s the gist of it. Kinda dumb, ain’t it?”

“Well…” Karim avoided the eyes of the two other members of the trio as she wasn’t willing to agree right now.

“Avoiding being stuck into a fucking tin-box while it crosses the whole Fiery Sea is dumb now? I was sure it was the most reasonable option.” Called-out Colette as she wasn’t very fond of traveling inside cargo ships that needed convoys just to reach their business target.

“As if droppin' from the sky was a better option...” Annabeth snarked by the side while looking at the small crater in the street.

“Going high enough to ignore any fucking flying creature or anti-air system? I say it’s much safer than with a bloody ship.”

“Those rocket toys blow up a quarter of the time though…”

“I have known this girl for half a day and I was already sure she would never make me say this, but...” Karim started with an exasperated expression on her face. “I agree with Annabeth here.”

“Another one who can’t get how superior is air travel. Well, it’s a girl who lived most of her life in the middle of nowhere and an archipelean, so that’s expected…”

Her words were the usual berating, very much like Anna's usual, but there was a detail there that got Karim's attention.

“Middle of nowhere? Isn’t Annabeth from Infina’s main branch just like you?”

“Of course, she is. Every inquisitor is. You thought everyone had that stupid accent of hers or something? She only has that because…”

“Ya already wanna have a go, ay?! I just called ya 'ere because y'were cryin’ ‘bout mah’ brother and sleepin’ with…”

“Stop, stop! Don’t go messing with my image right after I arrive, you bloody bumpkin.”

“Brain-dead gal!”

“Gun freak!”

“Titless muscle-head!”

“Falsified bitch!”

“Horny dog!”

“Psycho queen!”

“Retard simp!”

“What the fuck does that even mean?!”

“What is happening here… No. More important than that. Don’t go fighting in the middle of the city, you two!”

Karim looked in confusion at the duo that seemed on the verge of starting a full-on brawl.

One of them would be using a steel box as a weapon and the other had a gun, which was twice as weird in reality. But before anything could happen, the two girls broke their pissed-off expressions and smiled at each other.

“Another truce?”

“’Kay. Ya can try after we reach shorty’s home though. They have some huge open areas around there.”

“With the conditions of your clothes? I’m pretty sure all that time made you soft already. I’ll bash you a few times just as payback for the other ones.”

“Whatever y'say, col… Don' go tellin' everyone 'bout me, gotcha?”

“If you stop slandering me whenever you have a fucking chance…”

“I can go with that.”

“Then it’s settled.”

Annabeth and Colette then shared a friendly nod with one another and returned to their march home. The third member of the group was simply left behind in confusion though as she couldn’t even understand what had happened.

“I… I just… I don’t get people from the continent…”

This day was way too long for Karim to care about it anymore.

All she wanted now was to give up and take a bath...

She was a little preoccupied with bringing more trouble to her aunt, but it wasn’t as if a second inquisitor wasn’t expected, so the uproar would be minor. The shots and fight sounds happening in the condominium’s backyard when the three girls got home was much more of a problem...

That was already beyond point though.