In the end, Anna's first attack was much showier than effective.
Curving shots were fun and all, but adding such detail to their spell formula took way too much space in the circle. There were ways to make it work, but it would take too long and would need a bigger bullet. It was a useful tool for sure, but it lacked the stopping power to cause fatal damage.
That was always the case against any demon above a certain level, but it was lacking even against humans. Her objective this time was to get an opening to change positions, so it was a success all things considered.
More than that, Annabeth even managed to take a good look at her targets as she crossed the street and hid in an alley. Seeing them ended up bringing a new problem to the table though...
Anna wasn't exactly fond of killing humans like the three armed men she saw approaching, so it would be best if she didn't have to.
“Hey, friends!” Anna shouted from her new location. “Would ya be willin' to lower your weapons and talk?”
Changing from attacking to negotiating, she waited for a moment as the men recovered and heard her shout. All the answer she got was a hail of bullets hitting the walls of the shed she was using as cover though.
As the first hail came, Anna noticed that her attacker's submachine guns weren't firing common bullets too. In fact, their shots were giving off effects just like Anna’s, although theirs were simpler, the kind made by engraving the rounds beforehand instead of activating the spells on demand.
They weren’t doing more than piercing through metal or blowing on impact, but it was still abnormal. Their lack of bigger tricks meant that these men were either not that well-equipped or not well-versed in spellcraft, but a human caster with a gun was as rare as one could go around here.
A submachine gun was already abnormal in the Archipelago, but holding one that could fire magic bullets was even more so. There were almost no ammo plants on the islands and the few that existed couldn't make magical ammunition. Only the Federation had the technology for that and they wouldn't be letting it go away.
“Work with me 'ere, please. I’m not gonna hold back, y'know?” She continued while hearing the trio spread around the area. “I would prefer to ask a few questions fer real without killing anyone…"
Anna's focus went astray as she cut her own words and glared at the sky. There, she saw the sizzling projectile that soon blew up in a colorful ball of light, which should mean there was no chance of talking this out.
"Fer real, y'three?” She asked without waiting for an answer and noticing the men trying to flank her.
They had split from each other, two approaching the front of the alley at different angles and the other seemingly going around the sheds. If they were given the time, the red-haired inquisitor would soon find herself being attacked from both sides in a tight space.
Holding back would be way too dangerous then.
Their equipment and aim made the possibility of them having some connection with her target high, but the risk wasn't worth it. It wouldn’t be a problem if she had predicted it and brought some proper equipment, but she was planning to scout around and not fight today. Cornered by the trio spread around, and with them possibly having called reinforcements, there weren’t many options on what to do.
As unwilling as she was, these people would need to be taken care of.
“Sigh… Fine then.” The redhead said while holding her gun with both hands.
She rotated the revolver's cylinder and pressed its barrel on the wall behind her in preparation. Then, when she felt the approaching men close enough, she fired.
For a moment, the gun shone with a red-colored hue and a small spell circle formed itself around the barrel as her sorcery triggered.
And so, the shot made the building tremble, and a part of the wall crumbled to the ground under the bullet's spell. It wasn't the best method since degrading materials was terrible in energy efficiency, but it was the fastest method.
Anna wouldn’t be getting low on spiritual energy soon anyway, so that wasn’t such a big problem. The inquisitor walked through the hole, taking a look at the fainted pointy-eared lady on the house's floor and aiming at one of the intact walls across her.
Another spell shot came out of the gun, this one golden in color but with a much thicker profile and faster speed than the three opening ones. And through the newly made hole in the wall, Anna could see a body falling to the ground outside.
She was sure it was a confirmed kill without even getting close to it.
After a silent apology to the civilian affected by her fight to keep a clean consciousness, she proceeded to break her way through another wall. This time though, when she crossed to the next poor house, a hail of white bullets made its way through the walls.
The aim was random and their spread was very high, but it still forced Anna to duck in a hurry against the second attacker's blind fire. She pressed herself as close to the ground as her chest would allow while counting bullets passing above her head.
"Fifty bullets if I remember well..." She noted to herself while waiting. As she did so, she also took the time to get a new cylinder for her gun and swap rings since she had depleted both.
Doing so took just enough time for the number of bullets fired to reach the number she was waiting for.
In a sudden movement, the red-haired girl turned around and jumped to her feet, firing a perfect shot through the holes and hitting her second foe. Another groan and another confirmed kill soon followed.
Annabeth took a little too long to solve this one though.
Before she could change sights to the third person, he rushed through the other side of the sheds, unloading his weapon as he moved.
Once more, it was only blind fire in the overall direction of his dead friends, but the rounds weren't piercing through the whole building this time. These had some sort of air burst spell on them, and their small explosions took Anna by surprise. A few fragments even manage to hit her before she could manage to duck behind some simple furniture that was around.
It was minor damage, but having a bunch of metal fragments stuck on your arm and chest wasn’t fun in the least.
The gunner had failed to finish her off though and was still confident enough to try opening the door when he reached it. Anna didn’t even lose her time aiming by then, and just fired twice from behind her makeshift cover as he did so.
“Ouch, ouch… I need to learn that spell later...” The red-haired girl groaned as she tried to pick up the shrapnel still stuck in her. “Not a perfect win, but a real well-done one. The civilians even managed to live…”
The first house had two holes in the place of the walls and the second one was barely a house by this point, but it was a win either way. At least the owner of the second shed was lucky enough to not be around.
It was, by Annabeth's standards, the minimal collateral damage possible.
The other woman was still alive even.
“Looks like we're done for now… Should I try getting something from these lads though?” She said while advancing to the closest body.
Anna couldn’t feel anyone stronger than a civilian approaching for now, so it wouldn’t hurt to look around the bodies for information. Before she could go on with this plan though, a new lump of energy caught her attention in a position high in the sky.
Whatever it was, it seemed to be the reinforcements, and did not care about her barrier. Maybe because it was powerful enough for her small barrier to be ineffective or maybe due to the sing the gunmen had fired before, it seemed to be approaching fast.
Something powerful and flying was coming, and it was something Anna didn't want to fight at the moment. Before she could react though, this one reading had fired something in her overall direction already.
“Not a good day fer me, eh…”
In a split-second decision, Anna threw herself back behind her cover and watched as the shed's front blew in amber flames.
There was nothing like a good fireball to give a sign to someone...
And Annabeth was now sure that the time to flee had passed.