Chapter 64:

Behind Sealed Doors - Part 3


“First part? What do you mean?”

"Y'see, I'm a person who's barely has a soul but can still store lotta energy."

"WHAT?!!! What do you mean by that?!"

“Simple, shorty. I'm human alright, but mah' body can get spiritual energy in greater quantities than mah' soul can replenish.” Anna continued her explanation, now forcing her body a little to make the seals and the eye glow. “It has to recover with what's less, well, 'raw, y'see? What I can get is more like a proper soul than energy only. Even eatin' the whole thing's possible in the right condition...”

“W-wait, the whole soul? T-then...” The cop got up in a hurry as her conclusion was likely the scariest thing she had ever heard. “You can impede someone from reincarnating?!”

“Exactly. It's particularly useful to make the villains die fer good and keeps me goin' without a worry.”

“Oho… So that’s why you go full vigilante at the night, right?” The brunette in the corner of the room concluded by the corner of the conversation. “I knew it wasn’t only because you’re a weirdo with knight syndrome…”

“Hey! Yer not wrong but callin’ me a weirdo is unnecessary.”

“Not my problem. Doing push-ups. Go finish your talk with the other nerds.”

“Muscle-brained dumbass...” The walking calamity snickered and then turned back to the petite girl still frozen in thought. “Anyway, gettin’ rid of the body helps with arbsorbin’ the energy, but I only get somethin’ if mah’ body isn’t full yet.”

“Which is why Ms. Chiron did that whole thing back at the temple!” Karim shouted as she started to connect the dots. “And also why we’re fine even though you’re very awake. Did I get it right?”

“Yeah, kinda… I got most of mah' body sealed too, so unless the chain's broken, I collect almost nothin'.” Anna explained while showing her fading-out tattoos. "How this fox knew 'bout that's beyond me, though."

“I want to add that my actions that day weren’t only to keep your magical belly full, Anna.” Miano finally joined the talk, likely to steer it to where Annabeth didn’t want to go. “My aim was very much about the side-effects of this little skill of yours. But you knew this already, right?”

The kitsune gained a bothered glare in answer while Karim watched with a mix of curiosity and confusion to the silent exchange. This next part was still a little uncomfortable to speak about, though, even if Anna knew she had to go through it.

So, without much of a choice, the golden-eyed inquisitor clicked her tongue and decided to be done with it already.

“Yeah, I was going to start on it already…” She bluffed while forcing the words to form in her mind. “Y’see, since it’s a soul in its proper state instead of dispersed energy, I ain’t gettin’ energy alone, I also get some of all else. It mixes in and becomes mine. Just a li’l bit usually, but if ya throw lotta a soul on me…”

Her words were still aimed at the shrine maiden playing with cards, even if the edges on them didn’t seem to hit the couch princess. Anna couldn’t be sure if she was ignoring it or was way too oblivious to notice it, but that was beyond the point for now. What mattered more was that her partner seemed to understand the idea.

“That’s… That’s a lot.” Karim commented as all the remaining details connected and last week’s whole picture became clear. “So you reacted like that at the temples because…”

“Because a disgustin’ demon forced me to bleach mahself even more? Yeah, exactly that.” Annabeth answered with a clear tone of anger this time, even if she ended up biting her tongue and taking it back right after. “Sorry ‘bout that… Ya got the idea anyway. Killin’ a spirit wouldn’t do more than givin’ me a small resistance or some spell, but pure blood can mess things up, y’know? Some memories and all that shit, nothin' I wanna have. And ya better not try it again, gotcha?”

This kind of thing wasn’t enough to mess with Anna’s mind or her personality, she thought, but it was still very unpleasant. She could understand the need at that time and the weird glimpse of the skill she got there was enough to justify it, but the redhead would kill a certain fox if she tried that again. And she had to put this point through with her glare this time.

Both Minako and Annabeth were staring at each other right now, their auras clashing as the two had their reasons to not concede.

It should be quite the stare contest to anyone around, or something very scary, but it had to stop. This time, though, the princess was the one to break first.

“Don’t worry, it was out of necessity and that’s all.” She answered in the closest the kitsune could go to an apologetic tone. “Next time, I’ll have permission and we’ll use a much better method. I’ll be sure of it.”

“There’ll be no next time.”

“You can never know...” The five-tailed girl answered as she skillfully shuffled her deck and set it by the closest table to her. “The future is a mystery, right?”

And then, the whole room got silent. Silent enough to start to be weird even.

All that was in the room was a smiling kitsune, a bothered redhead, and two confused girls. None of them were able to continue the conversation right away.

“What are you all waiting for?” Col finally decided to break the silence and ask. “Are we breaking into a fight or something?”

“Those two seem very close to it, but I’m only confused…” Karim answered as her stare kept going from one girl to another. “I also would like to hear what’s left of their explanations.”

“Was it that interesting?”

“I never heard of someone, a human even, who could use another race’s skills. I want to know what Annabeth can do now… And we also have to hear why we’re at a safe house.”

It was obvious that Minako wanted some reaction to her theatrics and that Anna needed to be the one to do it, but the inquisitor didn’t want to cooperate. In fact, she was making sure to avoid even looking at the deck of cards while staring at the fox girl.

Playing on the hand of a kitsune would be even worse than trying to compete with an oracle, so she would avoid it. And it was very easy due to the fact that she didn't really want to use that tool.

“You think they’ll take too long at it?” Col continued as she stopped her sequences to approach Karim. “I think the fox lady is starting to get angry…”

“She’s getting red for sure… I don’t think it’s anger, though.” The cop said while avoiding looking at the somewhat shameful display. “Should we get a card ourselves? Just to make it stop.”

“Maybe? I’m not so sure of…”

“Stop looking at me and get a card!” The reddening girl finally blew up and gave up on her theatrics. “I know you got a little of my ability, so use it. I want to see it so much!”

“Nay.” Annabeth answered plainly in a way that gave no space to negotiations. “I’ve no reason or will to, so we’ll leave at that. Thank you fer confirmin’ what this is, though… Now I can fill the gaps a li'l better.”

There were a lot of suspicions already. Minako being an oracle was clear now, but how her predictions worked wasn't. It got even worse when the inquisitor got a downscaled version of her skill and only managed to get 'feelings' about what to do.

It was much easier to explain if she considered the theory and usage of tarot cards, though.

Even without the fact that this deck of hers was magical, the idea was already that one would always draw the card they needed. If you mixed the oracle 'sixth sense', as Anna thought of it, with these cards, they could reliably predict the future.

With this out of the way then, she had more important questions to make.

“So...” She continued while moving closer to the deck of cards only to lightly tap it and move away before asking what mattered here. “Why we’ve an oracle trying to flee from the temple?”

“You should have a guess about it too, shouldn’t you? I make myself very clear even.” The raven-haired oracle smirked at her question, smiling in silence for a while until she found out it was time to answer.

“Why more would I be here if not to stay with you, my dear inquisitor?”