Chapter 2:

A Warm Welcome - Part 2

Gloudhaus


The world seemed to stop after the massive gun was fired. Panicking bystanders got frozen in place and the figures in the open area all stopped in place with exception of the red-haired gunner. Her expression was still tinted in surprise though, and it was due to the petite forgotten girl by the side.

“Oho… Yer goin' against official matters, kid? I’m pretty sure unregulated dark magic is quite illegal too.” She snarked to the small blondie that had forced her rifle off-target.

The small mage lacked the focus to spare an answer as her control over the weapon's material was slowly being overpowered with brute force. She was keeping the rifle away from anyone, so all the stunned beings in the area started to flee.

Still, the red-haired foreigner was almost bursting into laughter as she forced the barrel of her gun back to its terrified target.

“And ya, winged demon, gave up on attackin' now? Yer real close now… Push a li'l more, please. Gimme a wound and see how it goes.” She kept on taunting, trying to pull some reaction for some reason.

Her taunts seemed to, sadly, be to no avail as the big ifrit could only stay in place. All his instincts were warning about the gruesome fate he should expect the moment he left his position even if a little, and so, he stood his ground.

He couldn't say why since being versed in magic wasn't a common skill, but primal instincts existed for a reason. Someone from a governmental agency or from some extralegal syndicate would be able to notice the energy flow on the girl's tattoos though.

As an example, the small blonde girl struggling on the back seemed to be able to notice so. She could see both the faint golden glow behind the redhead’s shades and the black hue of her tattoos, but even then, was unable to tell what exactly they did.

“Ya lucky we found my guardian, big boy...” She whispered before tugging her rifle with enough strength to break the magical binds and push it away. "I've other business to take care of now."

She then returned her weapon to its trolley bag form and walked forwards, tapping the shoulder of the man who almost fainted now that the pressure wore off. And as she walked forward, the piercing glare locked on her was only making her overconfident smile grow.

“The name is Annabeth Solomon, my cute contact, but can call me Anna, 'kay?” Anna presented herself to who she deduced was the person she had been looking for and then approached her ear. “It’s a pleasure to meet ya, even with the interference, but don't let it happen again.”

Instead of any reaction she was hoping to see though, the small girl closed her face in anger and shoved the taller foreigner away. It didn’t pack much but was enough to surprise and break the posture of the red-haired girl. Enough of an opening for a curved blade to appear on her neck as she hunched.

“Can you give me any reason to not arrest you right now?” The girl with an obsidian black sword asked in a cold tone.

“A few, but seein’ you try would make mah’ day, lil’ friend.” Anna answered while losing herself in the excitement.

“Thank the heavens for your guest status then...”

There was a dangerous glint on the mismatched eyes beneath the sunglasses, but the angry red eyes glaring at them weren’t showing any signs of retreating too. They both couldn't keep the stalemate forever though, so eventually, both girls backed away.

“Follow me, Ms. Solomon. You already caused enough commotion for today.” The petite one ordered so and then walked away without saying anything more. And Anna watched as her guide left the now locally deserted pier market with her sword disintegrating around her hand for a while before moving too.

“Curious...” She commented while rushing to both collect her fallen revolver and follow the girl vanishing in the distance.

Even with the headstart, the smaller girl didn't open that much of a space between them both, so the two girls were soon walking side-by-side.

“So… Siren?” Asked Annabeth since she wasn’t sure.

“Siren? Like an ocean peri or something? Or maybe a fish spirit?” Tried the girl in search of an answer without much success. “I can’t get what you’re saying with these weird names you people from the continent use…”

“Are you any of those?” Anna asked again.

“Me?! No! I’m not even water-attuned.”

“Not water or whatever... Then…” The girl pretending to understand scanned her mind for other kinds of black magic users. “A hag?”

“A what?”

“Is old, uses magic, quite powerful with spells…”

“What in the heavens are you trying to say here?!!!” Shouted Anna’s contact in outrage.

“Nay too…? Succubus then?”

“You want to have a go, right?! That’s why you’re saying all this, isn’t it?”

The red eyes of the petite girl started to bore holes in Anna’s face again as the inquisitor's words made her pissed.

“That I want fer sure, but I’m tryin' to find out what kinda demon I'll be fightin' first...” The inquisitive gunslinger said while searching in her mind for the next entry of the manual.

“I’m not a demon.” The red-eyed girl came to a full stop and Anna felt genuine anger aimed at her this time. “And you better not say that anymore if you want to work here.”

“Why should I? Just like ya can pretend both things are different, I can say whatever I want, and even if I couldn’t...” Anna snarked while cutting into her guide’s personal space again. “What you gonna do, li'l girl?”

“A corrupt soul is not the same as a proper spirit like most who live in these islands.” The blondie answered with her eyes quivering in anger. “And the next time you put this stupid mug of yours this close… I’m cutting it off.”

The threat from the serious girl brought a mocking smile to Anna’s face and she moved her hand to pat the petite head in her path.

“Of course, cute li'l thin… Guh!"

Her words were cut mid-sentence though as the same girl she was going to call a ‘cutie’ punched her lowered face with all she had.

“It's a real one now…” Annabeth only smiled while licking the blood from her cut mouth. “That’s good.”

And then, in less than a moment, a revolver was already pressed on the forehead of the little girl who wasn’t even able to register the quickdraw.

“Yer lucky.” The armed psychopath said while holding the loose hammer of her gun with her thumb. “I don’t kill weaklings.”

The nominal arch-inquisitor stowed her gun again and turned back to the path they were following before. Attacking someone who panicked that much without a proper reason didn't fit well with her, so she decided to move on instead.

“Good job holding yer ground. May even seem fearless if you control yerself better...” Smirked the girl with shining tattoos looking at the wet half of her target before turning around. “I can go by myself from 'ere.”

She could even see the police department a few quarters away, so there was no need for a guide anymore. Hers had to deal with an 'accident' right now either way, so it worked for both.

Taking the foreigner to the department was in the plans, so there was no reason to stop the foreigner anymore too. Actually, even if there was one, the quivering girl forcing her challenging expression to stay in place would never do so.

She would instead stand her ground, still in the middle of the sidewalk and with some passerby's eyes locking on her from far away. That was, at least, until she saw the redhead leave her sight. Only then, her expression finally broke.

The mixture of negative emotions ranging from shame to pure anger wasn't something she usually felt, so it was hard to keep her focus right now.

And it made Karim regret not hearing her chief’s advice earlier.