Chapter 65:

Behind Sealed Doors - Part 4


“Yer kiddin’, ‘aight?” The very tired inquisitor asked as she didn’t want to believe this stupid reasoning. “Don’t ya’ve somethin’ better to do with yer four hundred plus years and freakin' future prediction?”

“But I’m eighteen.”

Annabeth heard the kitsune’s answer and then looked at her five tails, and then back to her face, and then back to the tails, repeating the same process a few times before she finally answered.

“No, yer not.”

“Yes, I am.”

"It can't be..."

“But it is.”

“Very sure yer lyin’ ‘ere...”

“She actually is eighteen, Annabeth.” Karim joined in as it was clear the aimless discussion would go on for too long. “It’s very weird that she got nominated as the toori's representative even… Auntie’s theory says a lot of nepotism, by the way.”

“Her theory isn’t that wrong, but the ‘oracle’ thing helped a lot too.” Minako nodded in acknowledgment of the cop’s words and then continued. “Getting enough clear readings to convince the old timers was the most work I ever had to do. It was quite easier than surviving this whole chaos, though…”

Anna stopped again as she heard the words of the five-tailed girl, stopping to stare at her tails again a few more times before opening her mouth again.

“So yer an eighteen years old five-tailed kitsune? Y’know, a kitsune halfway through her final form with only eighteen years of age? And you think I’ll trust ya like this?”

From all the redhead knew, any kitsune would be born with a single tail and gain extra ones as they grew in strength. The books said that it would take, on average, a hundred years of training to get each tail.

More tails not only meant having more skill and a bigger control of magic but getting one would make the kitsune straight-up stronger. It was also, in theory, related to how much fox fire they could control.

It was a lot of work and very few would reach the ninth tail. Still, it was arguably worth the effort. And with lifespans going above a thousand years (also, by the books Anna knew), it was a doable process.

In summary, the more tails a kitsune had, the more powerful and old she should be. And it meant that, as long as some of what the Federation knew was right, Minako couldn’t be that young.

“Aw, so you’re going on that… That’s a lie.” The shrine maiden answered plainly, to the amazement of the inquisitor trying to argue with her. “Well, not a complete lie, but it doesn’t work like that. At least not anymore.”

“I don’t think I follow… Yer implyin’ that what I know ‘bout kitsunes’ wrong?”

“Yeah, almost that.”

“Bullshit. I know every bit of information in the church's library, it can't be that all that was wrong.”

"Considering how much the elders work on spreading misinformation, it likely can be."

"That... That sounds wrong."

"It seems we were tricked for a few centuries, eh?" Col smirked at the new bits of information the inquisitor due received, even if in a self-derisive way. "I would love to see the expression on those fucking librarians when I tell them that."

Karim gave a piercing gaze in response to the brunette's declaration, but Col only shrug it off. It was her job in the end, so reporting this much was a need. Meanwhile, Annabeth was still stuck in the loop from earlier.

Something was starting to click in her mind now that new information was added, but it wasn't a good something. It could very well be the only decent explanation for Minako's actions, though. And it was less of a pain to deal with too.

"Hey!" She stopped the staring contest to push her own discussion forward. "If mah' data is wrong, how yer tails work, fox?"

"Simple. I was born with them." The princess answered with a matter-of-fact expression on her face. "I could, maybe, get another one or two, but it would be too much work and time. Only maniacs do it like that nowadays."

"Still sounds like bullshit."

It wasn't as if the redhead couldn't believe this explanation, but she didn't want to. Trusting it was the same as accepting that all that happened was based on the whims of a rebellious girl.

"I have to note that she's saying the truth," Karim added as she gave up on keeping this information hidden now. "I heard that it wasn't like that when the first council appeared, but nowadays it's not that rare for a kitsune to be born with two or three tails. Five is a little hard to believe, but it should be possible..."

"Tch! Seems like I'll need to trust ya. Can't believe I prepared mahself this much when the opponent was just a rebellious teenager in a big body..."

Five hundred years of eccentricity and experience would turn any opponent into a mystery box, but it was different now. The secondary plans, support calls, and every contingency Anna had were unnecessary in this situation. In fact, if she knew Minako was this young, she wouldn't even have bothered to investigate her.

Even with her position, it was obvious that her influence was debatable inside the temples. The fact that she could move freely like this was further proof of that.

"What do you mean?" Col asked this time as she couldn't see how Anna, who was even younger, could call a kitsune that. "Is it for the difference in lifespan or something?" "Hey! Calling me a rebellious teenager is very uncouth of you." The fox girl protested, even if without much strength on it. "And why do you believe Karim almost right away like this? I said almost the same thing earlier."

"Nay. Nothin' that complex." Annabeth explained while ignoring the protests of the talk's subject. "It's the actions, y'know? Get a person away from some disciplined place and she'll go ham."

"I don't think I'm going 'ham' here..."

"You got an expensive secret base 'cause it was cool."

"Tis' not..."

"Use weapons that ain't even close to the best option fer some reason, 'cause they're cool."

"Ofudas are expensive, but it isn't as if..."

"And yer tryin' to get close to the first dangerous lookin' person ya find, which kinda fits since yer part of one of the 'deviant races'." Anna continued her explanation with some slurs to spirits there, but she had no better way to explain it. It would be either that or going on about the few same-sex races that were around. "Everythin' goes by the 'rule of cool' and nothin' makes logical sense, that's all there is to our fox mastermind."

"That was very disrespectful, Anna..."

"Sorry, but I'm pissed. All that work fer this..."

"You know it's all your own fault, right?" Karim added to the discussion as she couldn't see the point of getting angry now. "Wouldn't all be solved if you asked instead of deciding by yourself?"

"Shut up, shorty. I know that..."

"About that description..." Col interrupted the downward spiral of mood in the conversation as something almost unrelated to it all. "Isn't that whole description just you, but, you know, with other preferences and style?"

The chaotic living room went silent after Colette's phrase. It wasn't difficult to see the similarities, though.

Leaving what was likely the strictest family on the whole continent. Having a room connected by teleport just like Minako's mansion. Using old but good-looking guns she used and took weird care about. And, only for Col that was there at the time, passing by a temporary, and one-time only, crush on a certain instructor back at the continent.

Annabeth simply checked all the boxes she had presented earlier.

Everyone seemed to be stuck trying to understand it, and as they started to realize the brawler's point, a huge smile appeared on Minako's face.

"Care to explain this, Anna? Or should I say 'my compatriot in rebellion'?"

"By the heavens, this will get ugly..."

Ignoring Col, that was a little bit confused by the situation, the two other girls were fully focused on watching Annabeth's reaction. The chance that it would all go down into a brawl was too big there...

But instead, the young inquisitor instead walked to the table with the tarot deck and took a card, throwing it as far as she could right away.

It seemed like a random move to Karim and was even more confusing to Col, but there was a huge point there. No matter what, Anna drew a card from the deck, and this much was enough to get all focus Minako had.

It was also enough to make her rush toward the fallen card right away, giving Anna enough time to find the exit and escape.

"We goin' to yer auntie, shorty!" And so, the matter would end up dying without much more discussion there, the redhead ran to the exit.

The fact that what she drew was a reaper in a black background would end as something only she and the kitsune knew, though.