Chapter 81:

Setting Sail - Part 1


“Can’t believe you actually got a warrant this fast…” Karim commented as the four girls headed to their destination at the harbor. “They usually take a week or two, and only in emergencies.”

“Many things can be done faster if ya’ve contacts, shorty. Note this fer the future, ay?”

It was the next day after the ifrit’s arrival. Going on the day prior ended up not being an option due to the risk of something going wrong with Colette but also because Anna had to prepare a lie. Be as it was, all pieces were set to the investigation now and the inquisitor’s group that was half-composed of spirits was now at the harbor.

The plan was simple, get inside a boat and convince the navy people there to take them to the admiral. Moem should already know they were coming, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but they had a very real and very proper warrant to use. One Annabeth made herself during the night.

And if Karim was unable to notice, then it should be good enough. And if it wasn’t, then the semi-automatic pistol by her side, the double barrel shotgun behind her hip, and the modified cursed musket on her back would do the job.

“If we need the warrant, can I be the one to show it?” Minako joined the conversation, likely with some random TV show in her mind while she did so. “I’ve been wanting to say ‘we have a warrant!’ for a while now.”

“Of course not! You’re not a cop, how could I let you do it? It’s obviously something I should be saying and not anyone else.”

“I shall not concede to your fair logic! I’m sure all you want is to say the phrase yourself.”

“Why would I? I’m a proper law enforcer.” The petite cop puffed her nonexistent chest in a display of… nothing much to be fair. “I show warrants and recite people’s rights all the time, you know?”

It sounded very much like a lie in Annabeth’s eyes and she was now trying to decide if she should or shouldn’t point out the fact. Karim was a negotiator and not a detective too.

Intervening in this discussion would mean having to deal with them though, so she decided to let it happen. They were arriving at the target boat already anyway.

The ship the redhead had in her eyes, the ADF Tortuga as it seemed to be called, was the bigger one of the six that were always docked at the harbor.

It should be the safest of them and also the one with the most senior officer, and it was the one Anna's group was approaching. And as they approached, the few sailors guarding the ship or making maintenance all got on guard.

“Hello, lads, you people got the memo ‘bout takin’ us to the dragon admiral?” The walking arsenal shouted to the seamen as she kept walking forward. “Ya may wanna call yer captain if the answer’s no, ‘kay? We don’t wanna trouble, ‘aight?”

She then watched as some of the sailors turned to each other with some whispers going around until, after a few moments, one of them took running to the bridge. All seemed to be going well for now. They were still being watched, but the mood wasn’t fully antagonistic.

After a few minutes of waiting in front of the warship, a weird and big ironclad frigate if Annabeth wasn’t wrong with her sizes, the man that went inside came back with an older sailor in tow. This older one, who was likely the captain, could only be described as an oversized turtle though.

“Good morning, ladies… How can I help you…?” He spoke with some long pauses between each phrase. By Annabeth’s observation, he should be decently old, even though it was hard to say considering how he looked. She was also unsure if he was a half-blood or some kind of water demon.

Both could look like big animals even with her eye, so it was more of a guessing game than anything.

She knew he was at least an A-rank threat though.

“We lookin’ fer a ferry to yer main base, captain.” The inquisitor answered with a smirk and then half-turned her face toward her companions. “We’ve gotta warrant, by the way.”

It wasn’t necessary nor was something called for, but it wasn’t as if the kitsune and the witch were the only ones wanting to use this phrase.

Having it stolen from them by a smug inquisitor that was using it for no reason at all made them both stared in a mix of awe and outrage. And the eye blink and the smug face didn’t weaken the blow at all.

They couldn’t make a scene right now though, so the witch and the kitsunes were forced to gulp it down and focus on the situation.

“We’re working for Ms. Sayd from the police department, captain,” Karim added to her partner’s words. “It’s somewhat of an emergency and something we can’t disclose before speaking with Admiral Moem, so I would ask to avoid questions.”

“I see… Board my vessel, please… I’ll call the admiral to get permission…” The turtle nodded slowly and then gave a sign to his men to start moving, opening a path to the four girls. “We’ll depart by then… I’ll be back in a moment…”

It ended up being much easier than expected, but that only meant that they knew about the inquisitor’s arrival.

That much was expected still, so Anna only accepted the situation and started to walk towards the gangway. And behind her, the other three girls followed suit, one of them still looking focused at the nothing as she did so.

By the time they were up, though, the turtle captain had already left the deck, likely back to his bridge. The sailors were also starting to move away from their positions at the harbor, instead rushing inside the ship. And Anna was getting more and more suspicious of the necessity to call someone before their departure.

“Easier than expected, wasn’t it?”

“They’re probably putting on a show for us, not sure why though…” The short girl by Anna’s side answered in the same low tone as her partner. “But I’m sure auntie warned everyone beforehand, so it shouldn’t be anything dangerous.”

“Don’t be too sure, Karim. Last time went with no problems because I could move freely inside the temple, but this time I can’t just purge everyone I want.” Minako also spoke after setting the last member of the group close to the wall. “Today seems to be safe, but I’m not that useful on the sea… It’s not as if I could decide to leave after we’re in the sea, right?”

“Yeah? I guess it would be hard to use yer tarot readin’ when we ain’t able to move freely, but still… Ain’t yer predictions way too vague to be used like this?”

“Aw, right, I forgot we didn’t go that far this time… I’ll get to it some other time then.”

“What in the twelve hells yer talkin’ ‘bout, dammit?!” Anna shouted in a controlled manner. “Why yer so damn cryptic sometimes? Just speak already and be done with it.”

“Other time, other time… Unless you want to trade it for a kiss?”

“This cheap? I can do this.”

“Say what?!” Both Karim and Minako answered in surprise this time, even if both were for different reasons. The fox girl seemed to think of her offer as a joke while the little witch likely wasn’t expecting Anna to accept anything related to a spirit.

Both of them weren’t considering the fact that making sense of the oracle skill was something of vital importance to the inquisitor, though.

Anna spent a while training to use honey traps anyway. Kissing was something very minor in her book. The problems she had with relationships were in a more general sense and more about who was on the other side anyway.

It would be a different matter altogether with other ‘firsts’, but a kiss was very cheap for such a piece of strategic information.

“Start speakin’ or give up on playin’ ‘round.” The redhead went for her ultimatum, but before she could get anything going, the ship’s broadcast system came to life.

“All men to positions! We’re setting sail back to base. We ask the guests to head to the bridge in the meanwhile.”

“It seems we’ve got other things to do now… Get ready to wake up Col after we’re in the sea.”

And without a worry about the reaction of her companions, Annabeth turned around and headed to the big part of the ship she decided to be the bridge.
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