Chapter 74:

The Wheels of Misfortune - Part 1


“First you vanish for half a day, again, and then decide that we’ll be taking a day off for no apparent reason...” Karim complained to her partner while the other two members of their group lazed around her living room. “And even then, no one had the decency of fixing my house!”

Everyone preferred to stay in Karim’s apartment instead of Minako's mansion, mostly because it had nothing there. It had a television and a refrigerator at least, but no electricity or water, so it was kind of useless.

It meant that both bedrooms were now occupied, though.

“I can undo the teleport, but I’m not payin’ it, ‘kay? Get permission from the fox first and then we can talk.” Annabeth answered with her eyes focused on trying to piece together her revolver at the kitchen table. “I’d like to keep access to the place, though. Kinda useful to’ve and all.”

“Ah, yeah? You would like that? Go to hell then! Any of them will do. You’ll likely get a personal room there even.”

“C’mon, it ain’t that bad. There’s buncha empty rooms fer you on the mansion, ‘aight, fox lady?”

“This movie is awesome!” The kitsune answered with her eyes focused on the television and losing the whole conversation happening around her. “A suave-looking spy fighting against the forces of evil. Maybe my next safe house should be in some volcano…”

“The explosions are cool and all, but why we’re always the baddies?! It’s not as if every inquisitor is some kind of maniac… No, wait." The pouting Colette stopped in thought as she complained about the movie going on tv and noticed the likely problem with her argument.

Since they were on a randomly-decided day off, both Minako and Col were spending a good deal of their time on the living room couch. They both had very little resistance to the spectacle-focused style of entertainment that went around the Archipelago’s mass media, so it hooked them right away.

In fact, even Anna was somewhat interested in the movies dominated by fiction that went around here. The ones back home had a very different style, to say the least, so it was somewhat of a novel to the redhead.

The brunette and the raven-haired girl were getting a little too into it, though.

“I guess I’ll have to break my antenna…” The owner of the house said with a tone as unamused as possible. “Maybe on top of either of them even.”

“It’d be fun to watch.”

“Hey, Anna! When are we disguising as a couple to invade some top-secret gala?”

“Hopefully, never. First, I hate galas with all mah’ being. And second, how’d we disguise as a...” Annabeth’s second complaint ended short as she noticed the five-tails and where she was. “’Aight, archipelago, kitsune, whatever… We ain’t doin’ it still!”

“Want to bet on it?” The now smiling fox girl made her enchanted tarot cards appear out of thin air and, once again, presented them to the gunslinger. “Just draw a card and we’ll see how likely it is to happen.”

“Ain’t drawin’ it! Mah’ destiny won’t be set by some lame deck of cards…” The girl trying to fix her gun gave her an ultimatum, only to whisper the second part of her answer for anyone to hear. “And I’ll be gettin’ the same damn card either way.”

Anna never considered herself to be lucky, and lately, she was starting to think that she was actually terribly unlucky. And her tendency to draw a certain scythe-wearing figure whenever she tried tarot wasn’t very appealing when the reader was an actual oracle.

It wasn’t as if she would get anything she didn’t already know too.

On the other side, it didn’t seem that Minako was any less enthusiastic about getting Annabeth’s reading. The inquisitor could bet it was only because it seemed interesting and was a good chance to show off, but a kitsune, and a very young one at that, was beyond her puny logic.

There was a person in the room that was very interested in the card, though.

“What’ll happen if I draw one?” Col asked from her place on the couch, gathering the attention that was on the redhead to herself. “You’re an oracle and Anna somehow got some oracle in herself, I think, but what happens if someone ‘normal’ pulls a card?”

It was an unexpected question, but an interesting one. And because it was logical that someone without the right skill wouldn’t be able to do anything with such a specific tool, it didn’t seem like someone else had ever thought about it.

Anna, for one, had never considered this situation, and Minako seemed unsure too. The only one that wasn’t reacting much was Karim, but it was likely because it didn't change much for her.

“I never tried it out, but it’ll likely give some result…” The priestess answered even if unsure of what she was saying. “This Black and White Deck of mine is still a magical tool no matter what, so as long as you give some energy to it, something should happen. The hard part will be reading whatever you get from it…”

“Can I try then?!” An enthusiastic Colette approached the deck in a hurry. “I’m feeling the urge to go for some nighttime hunt, if you catch me, but it’s hard to decide if it’s a good idea.”

“It ain’t. What you’ll get from this place, ay?” Anna cut into the conversation with a clear implication in there. She agreed with toning down and trying to get along, but it was a different matter if her friend was willing to risk getting something with a demon. Letting her loose on some human-focused nightclub would be fine though.

“Don’t be so stuck up, Anna. It isn’t as if I’m looking for some proper relationship here, right? Just some fun and whatever extra I can get.” The brawler girl with nighttime ambitions went on with an ever-growing smile. “And hunks are hunks no matter the place.”

The meaningful smile on the brunette’s face made both Karim and Anna sour their expression, and for similar reasons even. Meanwhile, Minako was getting more and more invested in this situation. It seemed fun, after all.

“Do as ya wanna then… Just don’t drag me to it.”

“C’mon, Anna, I’ve been inviting you to hang out for so long… I’m sure I could find you someone to play a little.” Anna’s singular friend said with the memories of the times she tried to take the redhead out of her hole back when things were bad. It had never worked and the problem seemed to vanish with time, but Col never gave up on trying to get Annabeth a date. “And getting a guy would also help make this look of yours more authentic.”

“I agree with Col.” Minako added in a very energetic way. “And it doesn’t even have to be a guy neither you have to search much.”

The two females by the couch stared at each other for a moment and then nodded in silent agreement, turning back to Anna right after.

“Not my side of things or something I really condone, but who knows, right?”

“I would know and I don't care. Now draw yer card and stop botherin’ me, ay?” The red-haired inquisitor shut the conversation down as she was getting pissed off. Going back to her broken gun.

And by her side, the petite partner could only watch with some surprise how the situation was evolving. Even if she still wanted her house fixed.

“Anyway, since you’re playing around, what about fixing my… Ow, I’ll get it.”

The ringing of the phone cut Karim’s words and she turned to the set by the wall before deciding that her warning was more important. But before she could even reach the phone, Colette was already holding a single card in her hand.

A singular upside-down card with dark color and a wheel drawn in the middle of many different figures, and one of the two major arcana Anna actually knew about.

And on the eyes of the person who drew it, the growing despair was very clear to see.

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