Chapter 116:

Flipside: Scortched Temple - Part 2


It was hard to describe the scene right now. The boy was looking as if he saw the most impressive thing in the world. Minako deadpanned her expression even more and started to fidget with her clothes in search of the stolen gun. Karim was unsure if she should rush to stop the kitsune or panic right now. And somehow, Colette’s only focus was still on keeping watch of the weird kid-looking spirit they saved.

Only after a couple of seconds of indecision and hearing a gun cocking that the cop finally noticed she had no need to panic. Colette's reaction said it all. She knew more about the secret-ridden redhead, so if the brunette wasn't panicking, then all was likely fine.

Something was surely wrong here and the gun-crazy redhead was out of combat for now, but it wasn’t a crisis yet. Either that or who her partner called ‘her only friend’ knew less than she pretended to.

First things first, she had to ascertain the situation.

“I’m not sure what you want to do with this gun, but CALM DOWN, Minako.” The blonde girl ordered with the hardest stare she could manage, stopping the hands of the five-tailed girl and then turning to the boy. “Then, these things you say, err… How should I call you?”

“Aw, yes, that… You can call me Michael, Michael Praedul Awal, although my condition isn’t the best right now.” The boy presented himself with a curtsy toward Karim. “Also, I thank you for freeing me, your arrival was timely too.”

“That’s no problem, and we didn’t free you for pure goodwill too... Anyway, can you prove anything you’re saying, Michael? Knowing about Annabeth’s condition would be a best-case scenario, but it’s hard to trust someone we just met like this.”

“You do make sense, young hybrid…”

“Karim Imtep, that’s my name.”

“Karim it is then. But to answer your question, what I’m saying are only things that come from experience. This girl’s body shows traces of tempering and she seems to have a relic, so it’s likely that she was affected by my prison... Although the effects appeared too soon for such.”

“That’s a load of bullshit.” Colette left her silent stance while staring down at the weird boy. “Only saints are allowed to hold relics, and Anna has none. She wasn’t even a member of the Three Cathedrals to receive training to use them.”

“I don’t know what these cathedrals are, but there’s no way I’m wrong. Dealing with this kind of research was half of my job, so I know very well what vessels and relics look like.”

Too many terms Karim didn’t know about were being thrown around in this conversation, making things a little hard to follow. Even Minako seemed to be getting lost now, but it didn’t seem that either Michael or Colette would stop to explain anything.

Stopping this chaos and going back to Annabeth and her trivia-oriented mind up seemed to be the best now. But before she could, the discussion about relics and whatnot reached a point that scrambled her whole line of thought.

“Don’t fuck with me. Spirits don’t use relics, dammit! How would you be someone that makes them?”

“What are you talking about? The only spirit here is that five-tailed one, isn't it? What it has to do with me?”

“What? You’re human? Bullshit too!”

“Of course I’m not human, are you stupid or something? My soul’s presence should be enough to make you understand, but if it isn’t enough, you could just...” The angry boy barked to Colette and then turned his gaze back, stopping in place with an expression of surprise. “But… How…? Where are my wings? It’s impossible…”

“I don’t know what’s happening anymore… Can someone wake Anna, please?” Minako worded what Karim was also thinking, focusing so much on the panicking boy that she didn’t even notice the movement at her back. Only when a certain redhead got herself up by using the kitsune’s shoulder as support that anyone noticed it.

“He’s a fallen angel. Ain’t sure if... by choice or now... but I see no wings ‘ere and... I’m positive on the angel bits...” Annabeth spoke after getting up, even if her getting up seemed as close to fainting again as it could. Her legs were trembling, her chains were shining and most of her weight was on Minako instead of herself, so she didn’t seem to be in the best of conditions. “And a very old one too... Some three… thousand… yea… rs…”

The weakened inquisitor then lost strength again and started to fall, only to end up in Minako's arms. It didn’t seem that she would be fainting again, but the situation didn’t seem perfect yet too.

Her sudden awakening caused most of the room’s occupants to freeze, though. If they all were as such due to the inquisitor’s words was beyond Karim’s knowledge, but it didn’t seem to affect the shrine maiden holding Annabeth at all. It only made her more frantic even.

“Stay with me, Anna! Do you know what’s happening?! How do I help you?!”

“I’m fine… Just need… some rest…”

“How is this girl moving…?!” The shocked wingless angel uttered with his eyes locked on the two girls some steps ahead. “She’s not even close to recovered enough to reconnect herself… There’s simply not enough energy there…”

“Wait, so the whole problem is that she’s out of spiritual energy?!” Karim asked the moment she understood the boy’s ramblings. “Uff… We were worrying for nothing then…”

“I saw angels almost crossing to the other side with better reserves than her, but yes, it’s only a matter of spiritual energy.” Michael added as he recovered from the shock of seeing Annabeth move around without a shred of energy. “Worrying or not only depends if you want this vessel to live though.”

“Shut up!” The subject of most worries shouted from Minako’s arms, losing her strength and going back to barely awake right after. “All I need… is rest… a few hours… or a day...”

“I don’t think it’s possible…”

“Hey!” Colette was the one to shout now, drawing the attention of those who could give it and staring up as she summoned her gauntlets. “Anna says she’s fine, so let’s fucking leave this place already. And I’ll keep you under custody until then, boy.”

“I agree. Staying too long in this place risks having other side effects from the crystals on my cell… Even if it’s weird that something happened like this, it’s better to be sure.” Michael nodded in agreement, calmly raising his hands as he did so. “And don’t worry young lady, I couldn’t fight even if I wanted. There’s very little I can do without wings… I wouldn’t even be able to use a magic circle like this.”

“Well, discussing here doesn’t seem to do any good as is, so it’s a valid plan.” Karim decided to agree too since the person that would help the most with this talk was almost useless. “We also don’t want to risk whoever locked you here returning, right?”

“I wouldn’t worry about that… If three thousand years really passed since then, this place had no use anymore. Especially sacked as it is... I mean, the bookshelves aren’t here anymore and only the panels on the floor are intact, so this place is pretty much worthless.”

“I see… Let’s leave then. Could you undo whatever you did with the doors, Annab…”

Karim cut her sentence halfway as she noticed that she was going to ask the almost unconscious inquisitor to undo the portals. And then, she noticed this one inquisitor was likely the only one that knew how to do so.

Luckily for them, and unluckily for Annabeth, there was another exit…
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