Chapter 105:

Below the Light - Part 1


“We’re on target. Warn if anythin’ approaches, ay? Over.” Anna delivered her short message before turning to the rest of her team. “Fancy or simple, gals?”

Tracking through the jungle didn’t take much time or much effort for most of the girls. It was only a twenty minutes walk to the temple, even if the ground was only mud and wet plants.

From what they could see, the place lacked any kind of outer security even if it was easy to feel the eerie energy it emanated. An eerie energy that was very clear to Annabeth and that was enough to make her unable to be sure if there was anything inside the construction.

“Fancy means safe? Because this place feels way too weird…” The worried cop answered while looking around in search of anything of note. “It somehow irks me.”

“A weird building in a damn jungle island… Are sure this isn’t some really old abandoned building instead of whatever you were looking for, Anna?” Col squirmed her eyes in a try to somehow see the old-looking construction better but gave up soon after. “I vote for simple, by the way.”

The lower half of the building was a trapeze-like construction with a square base that should be around thirty meters long on each axis. A decently big building and that was without counting the more than fifty meters of height it had when considering the lighthouse on top.

“First, nah, safe was never an option." The redhead answered her partner first and then turned to the brunette. "And second, I’m very sure our li’l cop ‘ere would know if this place was a potential tourist attraction. The Archipelago has lotta that, doesn’t it?”

“It does, but why do you think I would know every single spot? More than that, why in the heavens would small islands be a tourist spot?” Karim shot back in a weirded-out way as her partner’s words didn’t seem to make much sense to her. “Getting on them is a pain and super dangerous too.”

“That’s a point… And one I should’ve thought ‘bout before...” Anna noted, seeing the problematic possibility that this place wouldn’t be the right one, but ignoring it right after as it was too late to retreat. “Anyway, which option ya prefer, princess?”

“I hate jungles now.” The tired kitsune wearing a kimono full of mud answered right away. It was the expected response, though, so Anna only counted it as a neutral answer and moved on.

“Half-half… We charge on then.”

“So our next mission will be depreciating an archeological site... I want my old job back…”

“Talk with yer aunt, not with me! And I love mah’ job, by the way… So I’ll be goin’ first.”

And with a stupid smirk and a shotgun in hand, the redhead charged forward, somehow keeping a quiet pace even if moving fast across high grass.

“Sigh… You go left and I go right, Colette?”

“Got it.” The brawler nodded and moved to the maiden’s back as it seemed necessary. “And I’ll take the fox with me, okay? She looks a little...”

“I really really hate jungles.”

It was hard to understand their words after this, but the three girls started moving as planned, so it was fine.

As the self-proclaimed vanguard, Anna was the first to reach the temple, managing to get a better look inside not that she was closer. But since the huge energy source below the temple was still a problem, she couldn't get much from it either.

Knowing that the whole place was empty, or seemed empty at least, was enough though.

First things first, she rose her hand and gave a silent signal to her companions, who were still approaching the area, and then entered the building.

With a good enough focus going and feeling that her presence was as thin as it could be, Anna started to pull open the stone slabs that seemed like doors. Going very slowly and very carefully, of course, and always ready to open fire right away.

And in a hurtful pace, caused by how heavy the damn thing was, the stone door scratched the floor and gave way to the inquisitor. Way to a huge dark room with no furniture or light sources. Which didn't help seeing if there was anything at all inside of it.

She was still the best infiltrator in the group, so scouting ahead was still her job, though, and one she wasn’t willing to ignore. If this place was a trap, the ghost-like inquisitor would find out and bail before anything could happen.

But after some steps inside and after her ‘normal’ vision more used to the almost absolute darkness, there was still nothing a thing to see. The whole room was an empty area with spiraling stairs a meter away from the wall and towards the sky. With no rails at all too.

And in the inquisitor’s books, this one was a very textbook ritualistic bullshit temple of old. The very useless kind and without the expected facilities even, which meant that something else was in play here.

“Either tis’ an actual archeological site or the fox’ theory’s wrong...” She whispered to herself while trying to find any evidence of activity in this place. But in the end, all she got was finding spots that seemed fit to set lamps at, which at least meant that this place was somewhat modern.

And as the place was empty anyway, Anna took the small flashlight she had in her bag and locked it in the first slot she could see. It didn’t brighten much, the slot seemed to concentrate all the light close to it, but it was better than walking around with a blocked hand.

But as there was nothing to see still, the whole stealth thing was somewhat useless.

“Hey, gals! Come in, we alone ‘ere.” She shouted from the inside, prompting the other girls to open their door too and move on. “So… We ain’t in some archeological site, but I’ve no idea what this place is.”

“Tch! There’s nothing to fight here…” Minako clicked her tongue and complained, which in turn was ignored by everyone else. Everyone else being Annabeth since the other two girls were focused on other things or not focused on anything, respectively, but that's that.

“I’m not sure if it’s better or worse…” Karim commented in relation to her partner’s words while looking around. “You went up the stairs already?”

“Nay. But I don’t feel a thing there too…”

“I wonder what are these drawings on the floor…” Col uttered, without stopping her wandering around. “They seem so random.”

“Drawings?!” The golden-eyed inquisitor forced herself to suppress said eye as she wouldn't be able to look down with it on. Looking at the ground again while ignoring the head-shattering headache only to see the scribbles there. “These are weird… No idea what the hells they mean too...”

From the limited image she had, it appeared possible that something was there, although the many random straight lines made it hard. It didn't help that she could only look at it for a few seconds, but she was unsure if there would be much change otherwise.

"There seems to be something, but I feel that we're looking at it wrong..." Karim called out, moving around the room as she did. "These scratches look new though."

"Like somethin' heavy movin', ay? I agree with that... But why's it 'ere?"

And as she was stuck trying to make sense of them, Col appeared with a theory of her own.

“So, we got late and they fucking moved everything away, right? Isn't that what you two are saying?” The team's brawler explained in a less than interested way, even if her words were making sense. "It's a shame, but I guess we can't do much here..."

“That's not it!” The petite girl jumped off, charging to the stairs right away as some huge idea seemed to spring on her.

“Follow me! I’m sure I know how this thing works.”