Chapter 96:

Raise the White Anchor - Part 3


“And it seems we’re done with it on demand, ay?” Annabeth continued as she saw her companions approaching the ship from afar.

How they managed to eat and move away so fast when against that hellish overcrowded cafeteria was beyond her, but that was that. All pointed to Karim being in a hurry to avoid letting Anna stay alone without supervision.

Either way, she waved to the arriving girls and jumped from the top of the small gun, walking closer to the ship’s connection to the dock after doing so.

From what she could see, Karim was, indeed, in a hurry to arrive. Minako still seemed sleepy, but was better than before. And then there was Colette, who seemed weirdly stuck in thought.

“Feels like trouble, but well… You’d like to give ‘em a proper presentation, whitey?” She asked her new ally only to turn around and not see where the girl was anymore. “What? Where’s… Ow, she’s actually goin’ fer it.”

Before she could actually call the white-haired captain, the girl was already moving toward Karim and the other two. Her expression was a very weird one and she seemed to be forcing herself, but that was fine. It was a good surprise after the whole interaction from before. Although, it somewhat fell flat by the time she ended up unable to speak anything when she reached the three girls.

Alya was very much staring at Karim with the cop staring back in confusion. And for a while, they stood there, one of them unable to speak and the other too confused to.

The fact that Minako was barely responsive and Col was stuck in some thinking loop she was unable to solve wasn’t helping too.

“So… Ms. Wessex?” The blondie asked after waiting too much for a reaction, which only ended up making the captain panic more. In fact, how red her staring face was, seemed to be causing a good deal of worry to the cop. “You’re sick or something? It’s Annabeth’s fault?! I’ll deal with her if…”

“I didn’t do anythin', dammit! She broke by herself.” Anna shouted from her position, picking up some speed towards them before things could go wild. “I betcha she’s tryin’ to…”

“Name is Alya Wessex and I hope we’ll work well together!” The small fairy blurted out, picking everyone by surprise, even if as an amusing one for Annabeth.

Her words weren’t very clear considering the situation, but it was easy to understand after seeing the inquisitor trying very hard to keep herself from laughing.

“So that’s how it is… I’m guessing Annabeth roped you into joining our group in more than being our ferry’s captain, right?” Karim’s words were answered by a fast nod and an abrupt cut in the eye contact between the two short girls, but it was enough to understand the idea. “If so, there’s no need to be this formal, Alya. We can barely be considered a division anyway…”

“I’m always up for adding more cuties to the group!” The kitsune agreed with her less-than-awoken mind and eyes that were scanning the fairy all around. “But I’ll warn you that my aim is the position of official wife, okay? And the less I can accept is first concubine.”

“W-w-w-w-what?!” The shy girl retreated with a face that, even if covered by her hair, was still as red as it could be. And she wasn’t the only one affected by Minako’s words even.

Karim also reddened enough to be unable to retort, and Annabeth had closed her smirk and was now glaring at the fox girl. Only Colette, who was changing her gaze from the sky to the sea all the time seemed to be unaffected.

“Aham! You can ignore whatever this lecherous shrine maiden says and you should take whatever Annabeth says with a full bag of salt, got it? And reiterating what I said earlier, don’t try to take this group seriously...” Karim tried to recover hold of the situation, holding her eyes and approaching the white girl as she did so. “You’ll get a migraine or something worse if you don’t do so. Trust me on that.”

“I’d complain, but she’s kinda right…” Anna added from the back while also setting one of her hands on the fairy’s shoulder. “But I feel you’ll do fine. No takes back, by the way.”

“I-I don’t know what feel about it, but… Well… Follow me to the bridge, p-please.” The Beehive’s captain resigned herself to the situation and turned away from the group, moving to the bridge at a very fast pace. But as she did so, Karim pulled her partner down and started glaring at her before speaking in a hushed tone.

“What in the heavens are you doing?! We’re still looking for…”

“Y’know that girl was keepin’ an eye on us, ‘aight?”

“What?! I mean… I felt a stare on me sometimes, but…”

“It was her. That much’s easy to know, but I also know that she’s likely the only one authorized to spy on us.” Annabeth explained, pushing the group forward as she did so as to not call much attention. “Havin’ her on the clear makes it easier to deal with other ones, and we may find a way to get a new ally too.”

“YOU trying to find an ally? Do you want me to believe in that?”

“Very much so.”

It was easy to feel the sidelong glare from her partner as they both moved to the vanished captain while also discussing in silence. And understanding why it was a hard-to-believe move wasn't that hard too. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that they were in the middle of the sea, Anna would, indeed, never use such a diplomatic method.

To begin with, having too many allies was, most of the time, more of a liability than a perk.

This much was also clear on her face, but how serious her words were also was. And it seemed that Karim was able to pick it up well enough, even if she likely didn’t fully believe.

“We’ll have to organize this one properly later, got it? I understand your point, but it’s still a risk you didn’t warn anyone about before picking. At least TRY to warn us beforehand next time.”

It seemed like both a request and an ultimatum, which was exactly what Annabeth expected from her partner.

Luckily, the one true boss hadn't set some other new rule without thinking about it this time, so this was only a small request. One that was very unlikely to ever appear again too.

Before Anna could give a proper answer, though, a third girl joined the whispering conversation, although this one was way less subtle about it.

“Hey, what are we whispering?” Minako asked, leaning her fact right in the middle of the other two girls. “And if it’s about what I think it is, then you must ask for my permission first. I can deal with one or two concubines, but do it properly, please.”

“I hope I didn’t recruit another weirdo…” Anna sighed at the kitsune’s words, not even bothering to lower her voice this time. And luckily for her, the whole conversation was soon lost when a more pressing matter made its way through the trio.

“Hey, everyone…” Col’s tone preluded a serious question, one that, for this one time, was actually a problematic one.

“Are we really inside an airship?”