Chapter 100:

Temples and Puzzles - Part 2


“All crew, we’re leaving the safe zone.” Alya’s voice sang from the intercoms in an unusually clear voice for her. “Now moving to LZ-5 to start operation. Keep systems on low profile until second order.”

The moment her words ended, everyone in the wardroom felt a weak push, and then the ship started to speed up. It was a little surprising how silent the whole process was, but the girl's focus was somewhere also.

“It begun… And we still couldn’t decide what we do?!” Annabeth banged her head on the table since the last hour was spent with a discussion that went nowhere. By this point though, Colette had already given up and was instead doing bars at the door frame, and Minako was roaming around refurbishing.

“That’s only because you keep arguing against any option I give you. If you’re so hurried, we can just try the more likely one and go from there.” The remaining member working on the map shot back without taking her eyes away from the sheet of paper. “Even if I agree with your points, being this thorough is too much…”

“Not being thorough’ll be wastin’ this ship. If it ain’t a sham, whatever we hit first’ll be done in a moment…” Anna fired a finger gun to show her point, but then retracted her hand and made an ‘x’ with her fingers. And by her side, a girl with five tails was setting some colored rocks on top of an overturned chair. “But our second shot may very well fail completely. It’s hard to know how effective we’ll be ‘ere.”

“Sounds very cautious from your standards… What’s happening?”

“That’s easy,” Col called, pausing her training in the meantimes. “She’s scared of heights, so it’s hard to fight in an airship.”

“What in the hea… Aw, right, there’s that.” Karim agreed after remembering the time bomb they were ignoring for now. “It’s probably not only due to that, right, Annabeth? This would be the stupidest reason in existence, right?”

The piercing stare of the girl being moved with her chair stood locked on the red-haired inquisitor, going so as to make her click her tongue and answer. Although it was a little shameful to do so.

“Fine, I’ll answer ya… I’m runnin’ low on everythin' since we’re far from home. And since we low on criminals to 'deal with', I'm gettin' low on energy. Dangerously so even.” A bashful Anna explained with her eyes turned away. “I’ll be unable to fire mah’ spell bullets soon and lettin’ mah’ seal go inside a ship’ll kill everyone. Not much I can do other than goin’ safe, y’see?”

The ‘messy’ room still undergoing redecoration became silent after this announcement. Why it was happening, Anna didn’t know for sure, but the reaction was big still. And the first to break this silence was the same hyperactive kitsune that was moving everything in her sight.

“So… Isn’t it very easy to solve?” Minako answered in an easygoing tone that only made the target of her question glare in annoyance. “What? It is, isn’t it?”

“Ain’t touchin’ yer blood, fox. I’d rather keep goin’ with silver bullets only.”

“Such a stupid reason… And I was worried there was something happening with you.” Karim complained before losing interest in the talk and going back to thinking about the map. “If you need energy, ask Minako and be done with it. Better than dying for pettiness later.”

“So why you don’t start usin’ sorcery while we’re at it, ay? You’ll get stronger, so there’ll be less risk durin' fights.” The redhead snarked back with some real bother showing on her face, only for it to be replaced by an overbearing smirk. “Or you prefer dyin’ for pettiness?”

“That’s…” Her partner tried to fire back, but she stopped before she could even say ‘that’s different’, which was a very likely sign that she noticed the problem. “Tch! Fine… Do as you please. Worst case we can always force your hand anyway…”

“I wish you’d try. All that happened last time was cause mah’ guard was low and not cause it’d work.” The proud inquisitor explained in a matter-of-fact tone. “Learnin’ how to not be grappled’s the first lesson fer mah’ fightin’ style, so I ain’t gettin’ demon blood on me anymore.”

“Who said something about blood?” Minako asked right after setting the last of the miniature statues she brought on her bag, on the table. And her question came with confusion to two girls and dread to one last.

“Wait, everyone. Isn’t this whole thing about Anna’s killing spree to get spiritual energy? How isn’t it about blood?” Col finally finished her exercises and then tried to pull one of the chairs out of its weird position. This action got her a deathly glare from Minako though, so she ended up sitting as it was.

Either way, it didn't seem that the abridged explanation Anna had given about her eye was enough to make the brawler grasp the situation. It was weird considering all the insider information Col also had, but not that unexpected from her.

In fact, why Karim was also confused with the situation was much more intriguing.

“Remember the ‘energy body’ bit, ay?” The conversation’s subject spoke, making sure to try and help the other two connect the dots. It was a little more effort than just answering, but this way had better chances of getting them to remember. "Blood works best cause it's, y'know, blood, but many other things would do too."

“Hmmm… If you can drink blood, then… Ow! A kiss would do? Or is it about some kinkier things…?”

“I don’t even wanna know what this malfunctionin’ brain of yers thinkin’ ‘bout... But the first idea’s on point, kinda. Not somethin’ I’m up to still...” The redhead ignored her friend as she could feel that nothing good was going through her head and turned to the other two girls with a warning. “And don’t even think ‘bout tryin’ it, horny fox.”

“Hey!” Minako complained loudly, even though the follow-up took some of the value of her complaint away. “I’m not ever forcing you and I’m not that kinky… That is, unless you are. I can comply with some weird plays if need be...”

“Shut the hells up, ay? I don’t wanna’ve an even worse image of ya… And ya better get off any funny ideas, shorty.”

“What?! Why?! When did I…?” The blonde girl became full of outrage and anger, but it slowly became a rush of embarrassment when she noticed what Anna was implying. “THAT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!! AND IT WAS CAUSED BY YOU, YOU JERK!!!”

The whole discussion was thrown into chaos and nothing could go on like this, which was the perfect situation to turn the whole subject null and void. Much better than losing more time with it too.

“Anyway, I can’t fight that well, so we need the map. But since we’ve no ideas fer now…” Anna naturally ignored the whole situation she had caused and turned to the redecorated room. “Can you explain what in the twelve hells ya did with this room, fox?”

Chairs rotated to random sides, some overturned or mounted on top of each other even, and all other furniture thrown around. Decorations coming from who knows where, nonsense drawings, and more than that, a whole host of miniatures. All copies of the statues that once guarded the city’s temple even.

In summary, a total mess just like the one found inside the kitsune’s mansion.

And as the one who caused such a mess, Minako was happy to stop and explain what she was doing with a puffed chest. Which was exactly what the redhead was looking for.

“Glad that you asked, Anna. This here is the very thing I’m lacking so I can use my skills well and something that may as well help our little Karim too...” She explained in a proud tone very fitting for her position, with the only interesting bit being the part about Karim. And then, the words that Annabeth was trying to verify finally came.

“I’m turning this room into a temple!"