Chapter 82:

Setting Sail - Part 2


Relevant pieces of information that were discovered during the first hour of Annabeth’s group’s trip at the Turtuga:

First, the captain’s name was Morgan de Cypre and he was, in fact, a tortle. This didn’t mean a thing to Annabeth, but what Karim described could fit well enough with the generic description of water demons, so he should be that. He was quite the talkative old man, though, and would happily answer the inquisitor’s random questions.

Since he was so ready to feed the inquisitive inquisitor, she used this chance to get as much as possible while waiting. Morgan was very knowledgeable on random bits of naval information for one, so it was an interesting talk.

Second, this ship wasn’t an ironclad frigate with huge cannons, but a post-dracor light cruiser. It seemed to mean that this ship was faster than the common ones, had bigger guns with rotating turrets, and fewer secondary ones than the usual battleships. How little Anna understood about ships made most of this information useless, but took notes anyway.

One thing she could take from it was that the Federation was likely behind in shipbuilding technology.

This wasn’t any surprise since fighting on the sea between the two nations in the Continent was very rare. The only point of anything bigger than a coastal patrol there was transporting goods to the Archipelago. Moving around the continent on ships was just that dangerous.

And third, whatever Minako did to Colette back at the temple worked but in a weird way. It wasn’t as if the brunette was panicking as she would otherwise, but she didn’t seem to be thinking that well ever since she heard the keyword to wake up.

“I would never expect to see airships in the Archipelago… Even more a big castle-like one like this.” She commented to Anna, who was walking the hypnotized brawler around to be sure she was fine. “What would happen if a bunch of these fought against one of the Great Cathedrals?”

“They wouldn’t last long, ya can trust me on that.”

A ship stuck to the sea fighting a proper flying fortress wouldn’t end as a fair fight no matter how Anna looked at it. Even if it was a fleet of these ‘cruisers’, they would end up bombarded out of existence, or at least she believed in that.

“Fair… But what if these things carried planes too?” Col asked with the first idea that came to her mind. “I heard some guys talking about a time when one of the Cathedrals almost went down due to bombers, so it should work.”

“Not sure… I don’t know much ‘bout the Cathedrals, but if one almost went down, then they’d likely work some countermeasure to it. Fill all blank spaces with anti-air cannons or somethin'.”

“Well, this one has a bunch of them, so I think you’re right again…”

Both girls started to stare at the multi-barreled guns set around the cruiser as they reached this conclusion. It was likely a weird scene to the blondie following them, but that was beyond the point.

She was hiding out of sight either way, so it wasn’t as if she could leave her spot and complain too.

Weirdly enough, the deck was mostly empty. Just the two walking girls, a few spotters far away from them, and the hidden witch.

As a side note, the missing member was at the captain’s quarters, which was borrowed by the girls during the few hours of the voyage. She seemed to want to check something with her cards in private for unknown reasons.

Annabeth was considering invading the room out of curiosity, but being sure that Col was still in a good condition came first.

“Anyway, yer feelin’ well, Col?” The redhead asked once more as she tried to imagine what her friend was seeing. “We’re… erm… flying? Y’know, close to the sea, so…”

“That’s fine, I can’t even see the water from here, and as long as we don’t rely on floating for no reason at all, I’ll be fine.”

“Y’know ships float fer a reason, ‘aight? And depending on who you ask, it’s kinda the same reason why planes float even…”

“Bullshit! Planes fly because the wings make something with the air and it makes other thing that pushes the plane up, but boats just pray to stay lighter than water.” Col explained the best she could what she heard once upon a time with a smug expression that was very rare for her, one that soon turned into a melancholic one. “There was even that one time back on Infina that your brother explained it to us, right? Thinking about it makes me wonder where he…”

“He’s nowhere ya’ve to go, that's fer sure.” The hero’s sister answered without putting much thought into it but reacted weirdly right after. “I mean… This subject doesn’t matter, ‘kay? Focus on the job instead of someone who’s… whatever.”

“There’s no body and the blade didn’t return, right? Why can’t you…?”

“I don’t wanna’ve this discussion again and neither do I wanna mess with the dead, no matter what argument you wanna use.”

“You were the one who started it, you know?!”

“It was a slip of tongue and nothin' more. And this talk’s over now.” Anna shut down the possibility of any further escalation and then turned away from Col. “We need to’ve a strategy meetin’ now, so let’s move on already.”

Her steps were fast and not as controlled as usual, which was a serious problem for the red-haired girl. These slips were becoming a little too frequent to her taste now, but there was little she could even if she could guess the reason... And it wasn’t as if it would get any better now that she was far away from her base.

For now, Annabeth had to focus on the task at hand and try to not mess up too much. This kind of effect was common either way, so she only had to get used to it and do her job like normal.

And the first thing to do was stare at the little cop she had just passed by and be sure she wouldn’t do anything unnecessary.

“Col’s fine and nothing more happened, ay? Let’s go to our borrowed cabin now.” The tattooed inquisitor said with a tone that shouldn’t leave any space for discussion right before returning to her path. And still, the holy cop found in her to say something.

“Maybe you should rest a little instead, Annabeth…”

The blondie's voice was tinted with proper worry and there was a reason for it, but there was no way to comply with this request. Time was a finite resource already, so losing it with rest if it was possible to avoid it wouldn't be effective.

Having a spirit worry about her didn't fit well with the inquisitor too.

“I’m well-rested enough.” She answered without even turning around to her partner. “Focus on yerself and on the job instead of losin’ time with me.”

Her words gave as clear of a message as she could without being overly aggressive. Unless she was overestimating her partner, Karim should be smart enough to take the hint.

Now the only question was knowing if the cop wasn’t a nosy one and would actually follow the warning.