Chapter 76:

The Wheels of Misfortune - Part 3


“By the heavens, yer a convenient gal, ain’t ya?” Anna answered right away as the priestess showed her a white card with a lone figure watching the horizon from the top of a ship’s mast. “No idea what this thingy means, but it has a ship, so I betcha we’re goin’ to the navy people, 'aight?"

“I also got a reversed tower that looks like a lighthouse and Col as a priest but at the deck of a ship, so the nautical theme is there, no doubts.” Minako continued while letting her other two cards, both grey ones, turn back into energy. “I can also guess that this lack of luck is related to this situation too, although I’m unsure why…”

“Was Colette the one who disliked ships?” Karim asked after finishing her call. “And my aunt will likely arrive in two or three hours, Annabeth.”

“Good. I’ve gotta an even bigger reason to speak with her now. Warn her that we’ll be lookin’ ‘round the navy now and get permission to board if needed...”

“Wait, wait, wait, you’re not trying to say that we’ll need to board a ship this time, right?” Col jumped into the conversation that somewhat involved her directly. “Can’t we go to some dock and do everything from there?”

“Maybe, but I ain’t bettin’ on it, y’know? I’m yet to see a proper military base ‘round ‘ere, and I’m sure the ships at the port ain’t even a small bit of this place’s navy.”

“You’re right in your assumptions, but we’ll need a ship even if all we have to do is look at the bases.” The local cop explained, to Colette’s displeasure. “They aren’t even on this island to begin with.”

“We take a plane.”

“If you show me the airstrip, Colette, I’ll accept right away. Planes are a much faster way to travel from what I heard.”

“Fuck! Then I’m staying here.”

“Quite sure ya’ve to keep an eye on me, ‘aight? Leavin’ sounds a li’l counterproductive in this case…”

“I don’t give a heck.” The brawler with a ‘dislike’ for ships shut down her friend’s argument and went back to her seat on the couch. “I’ll keep a watch on the house while you three go have fun in the middle of the fucking SEA.”

“Don’t be dramatic, Col. There ain’t much that can risk a battlefleet when this close to the islands, y’know?” Annabeth dismissed her overreacting friend and even added some extra weight to her argument, even if it wasn’t something she should disclose. “The recon our guys run ‘round ‘ere barely ever picks a thing even.”

“Recon?!” And lo and behold, Karim reacted to this bit of information right away. “What do you mean by ‘recon you guys run’, eh?”

“C’mon, y’know it already or you forgot the plane that left Col ‘ere?”

“Now that you mention it…” Karim said before entering in a pensive state about the implications of a super-fast airplane in range of Cenfratia. But of course, the redhead wasn’t willing to explain anything more to ease her work.

The specifics were beyond Anna’s capabilities anyway, but it should’ve been obvious after the ‘express delivery’. Even if hard to believe, keeping some airpower around the Archipelago wasn’t impossible for the Federation.

In fact, and as something the redhead wouldn’t really disclose, they even kept some bases around. Small ones made on useless rocks and barely fit for aircraft, but bases nonetheless.

They were more of a flex than anything relevant though.

“Kinda slow to notice, but whatever… Either way, we won’t be attacked without prior warnin’, ‘kay? Now get yer ass over it and accept you’ll be boardin’ a ship.”

“Aren’t all lines ignoring you lately?” The subestimated brawler argued back with the major flaw on Anna’s bluff and then pushed on. “How you would be warned about anything at all like this?”

“Tch! She noticed it…”

“You won’t even pretend to not be trying to trick me then, you fucking bitch?!”

“Why’d I? Such a bother…”

“Excuse me, you two…” The kitsune that was watching the discussion decided to call before it ended escalating even more, and went to present her idea. “What if we solved the problem instead? I have a method that could cure any fear without a problem.”

“Oh, really? That’s useful, ain’t it?” The girl who had given up on fixing her gun turned her eyes to the brunette and asked the slightly rushed question. “What ‘bout usin’ it ‘aight now?”

“I don’t know… I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to just pretend it’s not a massive danger.”

“Yer goin’ either way, so it’s more like decidin’ if you’ll go as is or if you’ll solve yer fear first.” Annabeth argued with a very serious complexion on her face, which in turn made the other inquisitor groan in distaste.

“Fine… But is it safe? You’re sure of that?”

“You have my word for it, Col!” Minako endorsed her own plan energetically, although her words didn’t stop there. “I may not be the one who can use it and neither someone who even saw it in practice, but my intuition says it’s an ‘alright’ plan.”

Never in her life Anna had seen trust in someone’s words fall this fast in a room. Even her barely existent confidence in this young and sketchy priestess managed to hit an all-time low just by her last sentence. And the fact that the kitsune wasn’t even sure enough to call it a ‘good’ plan only made the situation worse.

Still, this plan sounded better than no plan at all, so she had to endorse it either way.

“I’ll say it again, Col, yer either doin’ that or goin’ as is, so I don’t think you’ve much of a choice… Which one is riskier’ll be yer wager in this.”

“And it’s a terrible wager!” Col complained with her nerves getting the best of her. “Let me stay back home already, dammit!”

“I’ll be honest with ya… Mah’ weird sixth sense is tellin’ me I’ll need everyone to this mission, y’see? I can’t really ignore it, can I?”

“You can! Actually, you were the one saying to ignore things like future predictions a minute ago!”

“That’s that, this’ this. Yer readin’ was likely a fluke, but mine is proved to’ve some basis in reality and I ain’t willin’ to risk it.” Annabeth explained her line of thought as if it could justify anything. “More than that, I betcha even Shorty there agrees with takin’ ya with us, don’cha?”

“Sounds way too sketchy to me, but if it’ll solve the problem…” The blonde girl gave shoulders in agreement with the whole argument. “It’s also a better situation than leaving a quarter of all our allies behind in a situation that can very well mean entering an enemy base.”

“Fuck… Fine! Since everyone is against me here, do this whatever you want to do with me.”

The combined pressure finally managed to make the brunette buckle and she was forced to concede. Anna was still unsure if this whole chaos was a good plan, but the tickling on her head was saying it was, so she was going with it for now. The last few times worked, so there was no reason to believe otherwise.

“Okay!” Minako got up after Col’s resignation and slapped her deck away out of existence as usual. “Let’s go to the temple then. I’ll show you the person who can solve whatever mental issue a person has.”

“Now you’re straight-up mocking me…” Col complained as she also got up and followed the kitsune in resignation. “You two are coming?”

“I’ve gotta receive a package, so no. Yer goin’, shorty?”

“You know this IS my house, right? I’m not letting you bring more random things inside without my supervision.”

“Yeah, we ain’t goin’ then. Have fun gals.”

“Not fun…” Minako said as she headed to the door with a girl that couldn’t care less following behind. “See you later then.”

And with a last nod and a door opening, the team split for a while, and soon after, another call rang on the apartment’s telephone.

The delivery had arrived.

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