Chapter 46:

Accountability - Part 2


“What kind of bad?”

“The kind that means we late. All's statin' already...”

“Why the long faces?” The once-absent member of the trio asked as she returned from carrying things around. “Found out that the enemy army is ready to assault already or something?”

“That’s exactly that actually.”

“Say what?”

“I was gonna tell shorty ‘ere that we likely made things start early, y’see? I'm quite sure there's enough fer an assault but were waitin' fer a big event.” Annabeth continued explaining even if she was very confused about how Col’s joke was so close to home. “We kinda made this plan hard since we're obviously goin' after 'em now…”

“That… That means we’re fucked, right?”

"Yeah, pretty much so."

“WHAT IN THE HEAVENS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!!!” Karim blew up and she couldn’t stand such an important matter being discussed this calmly.

“How can I put it…” The redhead held her chin and tried to get the right words to make what she was going to say reasonable. “We already got that they would need to move a lotta material ‘round to hide all dolls, ‘aight?”

“Yes, and?”

“We’re also very sure each group has infiltrators, ‘aight?”

“Yes…” The short mage answered again with her impatience growing by the moment.

“So… Ain’t it logical that some of ‘em would use that big ass festival to set their forces ‘round the temple? More than that, if the eye works on more than dolls, then they could strap circles in whatever they wanted ‘round there and none would be the wiser.”

The inquisitor’s explanation made Karim freeze in place. It wasn’t because she was saying something groundbreaker or because it was pure nonsense though.

The reason why Anna’s words were so shocking was that the whole thing was stupidly simple.

Below palanquins, tent storage, props, and even set around as decorations, the number of places one could hide a doll in a festival was way too big.

It also had materials being moved around and chaos caused by the big project, so it would be very hard to find culprits too. This much was weirdly simple and easy to see. In fact, it could be argued that checking the festival avenue should’ve been their first action.

The only counter-argument to it would be the fact that the kitsunes would hardly, if ever, betray their temples, but they weren’t the only ones working there.

Common folk working as priests would be much easier to turn and just as effective. They were the ones doing most of the work anyway, so finding the time to stash some extras around wouldn’t be that hard.

“It was right beneath our noses again… How is it possible?” Karim said with an expression full of preoccupation. She seemed unable to find the possible reasons for something like this to happen, but Anna was different.

The red-haired inquisitor could see way too clearly what was happening here, though, and it was a very dreadful sight... It was very likely that this city was much more compromised than they thought.

Still, she would need to focus on the overall later. Now, they had to somehow deal with the incoming attack they had expedited with their half-failed assault.

“See by the bright side…” Col called in a genuine try to improve the mood of the conversation. “We at least denied them reinforcements, right? We got this place under control, so all they’ll have is what’s already there. It shouldn’t be that much since they were yet to attack anyway...”

The conversation stopped after her input. Both Karim and Anna were staring back to the girl with a point in confusion even if the brunette herself was sure her point was very valid. The silence only stood for a few moments though as the other inquisitor had a question to do.

“Col…” Anna asked with a gaze of confusion on her face. “When ya became able to think this hard?”

“Fuck you then!”

“No, no, Annabeth has a point…”

“And fuck you too, you damn midget!”

“I guess I’ll take it a bit more seriously now. Can’t be lettin’ Col lose her few neurons fer nothin’ like this…”

“Next time I’ll let you two be the stupid downers you like to be...” Colette pouted in a slightly resigned tone after losing her time worrying about her two companions but went back to normal in the next sentence. “You’ll see the neurons when I stick this damn rifle into your fucking ass, by the way.”

“You can always try, ya flat gorilla,” Anna smirked at her friend’s threat and then started to walk to the exit. Now that she was looking at things in a slightly different way, the situation that was once hard to deal with seemed much more doable. “As our musclehead friend said, though, we ain’t in that bad of a situation. We’ve to hurry still.”

Annabeth then turned around and started to walk toward the harbor's exit. She needed to think a little and didn't have the time to do so in place too.

This warehouse had too much material for it to be a small part of the ‘real’ army, so they likely could still be overwhelmed. But as long as the trio could warn the temple in time, they had a chance of winning. “So…” Karim asked while hurrying to follow the tall gunslinger already a few steps ahead. “You have a plan or we’re just charging?”

They were very far from that festival venue and from the temple, but Anna had a plan to it. It relied on something she took just because she wanted to take it, but it was still a plan.

“We crash headfirst and go all-out.”

“I like this plan.” Col answered right away as it was expected of her. This reaction only furthered the exasperation of the petite girl by her side.

“That’s not even a plan! And it’s the same you always use too.”

“It works, doesn’t it?”


“Yer actually correct...” The red-haired inquisitor conceded right away as, indeed, her plans had all failed at some level until now. “Third time’s the charm?”

“You’re going to kill us one day…”

“Don’t worry. I’m a high-stakes gal, y’know? The worse the situation, the higher my winning chances.”

“She’ll probably kill us one day, yes.” Colette answered since her friend was bullshitting as usual. “That’s the thrill though, right?”

“I’ll stop caring and play along…”

“Good enough fer me!” The redhead called in high spirits that could only match a person like her even if her next words had a seriousness none expected to hear there. “But don’t worry, we winnin’ this one… I'll make it sure this time.”

Winning, of course, meant defeating the army while keeping the collected artifacts and the Toori’s forces in a good state. Doing only one of these wouldn’t be a problem, but it wouldn’t solve a thing too.

The only problem would be if the other effects of the ‘Monarch’s Evil Eye (temporary name by Annabeth)’ were as Anna expected.

In reality, reaching the location in time was also a problem, but there was an easy solution for this one.

She continued as the trio reached the exit of the harbor and then an area in which the last police wagon stood. A police wagon that, as a side note, only didn’t leave because the assigned driver was unable to find his keys.

He was likely forced to return walking to the department to have a copy made or maybe go take another vehicle, but it didn't matter.

What mattered was that Annabeth was holding the missing keys in her hand right now. She was the reason they vanished, to begin with. “Now…” Annabeth continued while still approaching the locked wagon by the entrance.

“Who can drive this thing?”

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon