Chapter 86:

First Contact - Part 4


“Ain’t sure if yer a genius or just real bad at it…” The wet inquisitor looked around the scene after climbing up the lifebuoy’s rope. “How the hells this thing’s still alive?!”

All went according to plan for once, but the results were a little unexpected. Karim fired off the anti-air gun like she was hinted to do, but somehow the horned demon was still alive.

Even with his impressive resistance and using armor, surviving a volley of weapons made to take down planes wasn't reasonable. But that was only if those shots had actually hit their target...

“Since I can see some shrapnel close to Col, I guess the ‘impressively bad’ option is sounder, ay?”

A good chunk of this area of the deck was riled with explosion marks and huge holes, so it was unlikely that Karim had even managed to aim the cannon. It was very lucky that the unconscious brawler wasn’t hit by some strays even.

It was also fun that the first thing the small witch did after wounding her foe was run to heal Colette. Anna could bet she didn't even verify if that hulking monster was really unconscious before starting to pray.

Her prayers seemed to be enough to stop the bleeding and recover the brunette well enough, though, so there was no need to risk using elixir.

“It worked, so shut up.” The short blondie answered as she finished her prayers and started a last check on the brunette to stay on the safe side. “But a few sailors went to get chains or something else to bind him, so stay on guard.”

From what Anna could see, the fight across the ship was over by now. Sailors were now running around treating the wounded, arresting the attackers, and dealing with the collateral damage, but all seemed fine for now. The only problem was how to deal with the pummeled marid when he woke up.

Solving him right now would be for the best then.

With quiet steps, the redhead recovered her weapons and checked them for damages, only keeping the bayonet in hand as she holstered the rest.

They should have other prisoners, so not keeping this one wouldn’t be a problem. Meanwhile, letting him live would be a danger to the mission if he ever got free. And that much was enough to call her first rule above all else.

“Are you killing him?” The kitsune that had approached from somewhere asked in an innocent tone. “This little knife can do it?”

“There’s nothin' a knife can’t kill if y’know where to hit.”

“I see. It makes sense now that I think about it… Where you have to hit a marid to kill him then?”

“What yer gettin’ at, fox?” Anna turned away from her target in confusion. She would expect a protest or being ignored for the time being but having someone oblivious enough to stop and ask about a murder was way too much.

“Just waiting until you’re done to give my thanks. Your reason may not be what I think it is, but you still saved my life back there. And you looked very gallantly doing so again.” Minako continued in the same tone she used during the meetings. “I was sure this travel would start with me having to raise suspicions about my sources again…”

“Yer welcome, I guess.” The knife-wielder answered and then got her blade away. It was hard to justify her actions when both her sixth sense and a proper oracle weren’t warning against it. And it wasn’t as if she couldn’t deal with a wounded demon later if needed.

“Weren’t you going to… you know… take him out?” The curious fox asked again, now with a hint of disappointment in her voice. “I never saw what happens to a dead marid…”

“The same that happens to everythin’ else. And nothin’ ya’ve to worry ‘bout fer now.”

It was hard to be sure if Minako’s reaction was honest or if all she did was mess up Anna’s vow, but the horned demon would stay alive for now. Still, letting his wounds be the only thing keeping him in place was too dangerous. There were ways to deal with it though.

Now, instead of the dagger, the inquisitor had in hand her trusty injector. She would prefer to have another enchanted set of chains or an inhibitor proper, but this should work well enough for now.

Some two or three doses of elixir and this thing wouldn’t be moving anytime soon. And it would hurt a lot too.

“Can I ask one thing?” The five-tailed girl broke the growing silence once again, approaching her target with soft steps as she did so. And since this one target couldn’t be bothered to react while trying to cause a controlled overdose, her personal space was easily breached.

“Yer in the third or fourth ‘thing’ already, so why not?”

“Would you believe if I said that I do love you in the truest sense of the word?”

“Not fer a moment.”

“That’s mean… And if it was Karim saying the same?”

“Would still be bullshit.”

“And Col?”

“Then I’d find out if it’s caused by a shapeshifter or mind control before dealin’ with it. Anna answered in the same cold tone as she injected the third flask of golden liquid. “I know very well who Col’s infatuated with and who’s in her hit list, and I’m not even close to it… Well, not fully, but that’s beyond the point.”

“So it’s a matter of knowing the person well enough, eh?” The kitsune reached her conclusion after a little bit of thinking. “And what if…?”

“What in the heavens are you two doing?” A weirded-out voice cut into the conversation before the next question could arrive and Karim entered the corner of Anna’s sight. Col was still out cold a few meters away from them, but if the priestess was here, then she should be fine.

Anna quietly thanked her for shutting Minako up, but she was still in the middle of a very sensible process. The best she could do while trying to control the dosage was to answer without giving more than a glance at her partner.

“I’m arrestin’ yer li’l achievement.”

The first-stage overdose of elixir would damage the body's nerves enough to make moving untenable, but going further was bad. Second-stage would already be enough to rapture in the muscles, and after that would be the same, or worse, than killing someone.

Only a freak with a weird body could even hope of using more than one of two doses per week.

“Isn’t this the thing you use all the time?” The cop inquired as she eyed the showy liquid inside the injector. “I always thought it was some ‘inquisitor healing drug’ or something of the kind…”

“The name’s elixir.” The redhead went on without ever getting her eyes out of the target. “Kinda hard to make and yer gettin’ some nasty side-effects if you pop more than one a week, but it’ll heal anything in due time. It's said you can even reattach a lost limb if riskin' full paralysis ain't a problem fer ya.”

Her explanation was even more than a watered-down version, but it wasn’t wrong. She would be in trouble if the method of production went public though, so there was no need to talk about it. The bit about the side effects would get more attention anyway.

“Wait! If the side effects are this bad then it isn’t very dangerous to use it all the time as you do?!” Karim asked in surprise, likely remembering the many times her partner drowned herself on the thing.

“Let’s say that I’m special and they don’t affect me, ay? All ya gotta know is that it’s a very useful drug that can force someone to stay still fer a good while.” Annabeth explained, getting up right after and looking around one last time before moving towards the bridge. “We can talk ‘bout it later, though... We’ve gotta talk with the captain now.”

"I don't like bein' used as bait fer free."