A small rescue and some dolls collecting later, Anna and Col returned to where they had left Karim and the two kitsunes. The small holy mage was glowing while mumbling her prayers and both foxes were unconscious by now though.
Karim eyed the arriving inquisitors with expectation in her eyes, but the brunette heading the duo shook her head in denial while the other girl seemed focused on something else.
As they approached, the two damaged hooded dolls they had managed to recover were added to the piles, summing to eight humanoid somethings. None of them had any remaining spiritual energy and neither were they moving anymore, so they were little more than big dolls now.
“Are the priests well?” Col asked before leaning on a nearby wall. "Pipe guns can be pretty nasty."
The blonde healer took a last glance at the wounds of the kitsune she was focusing her efforts on, and then cut her chant short. She had stopped the bleeding of the wounded kitsune for now and replenished a little of the lost energy from the other one, but it would be dangerous to treat them further right here.
“They’re stable. I could do more, but too much healing can cause troubles and I’m not sure if there are debris inside her body...” Karim answered with her eyes still on the patients.
They were breathing and seemed well enough, but the petite cop should know that their wounds were still dangerous. Doing more would risk an infection if something was still inside the wound though. And beyond this, there was always the chance that forceful healing would cause other problems like cancer or worse.
Even holy magic wasn't a perfect solution to all. In fact, it couldn't do much more than speed up natural recovery in the end.
She knew that some invasive, and heretical even, methods could circumvent these problems though.
There were more pressing problems right now still, so Karim's sight went away from the kitsunes and to the bodies around her.
“The people you went after, you had to kill them?” She asked while eyeing the pile of remains surrounding her position.
“I’m not sure if those fuckers were even alive, to begin with,” Col answered with a snicker. "It's hard to see, but these things aren't spirits or even humans."
“What do you…?”
“They’re dolls, y'see? I couldn’t kill ‘em even if I wanted to.” Annabeth joined in the talk with her hands still buried in the pile of fake bodies. “Not that sure how it works though… They have magic but it feels very odd. As if it wasn't a spell even...”
“So it’s something you never saw? That’s not a problem. We have the vessels so it’s just a matter of researching a little, right?” The blondie asked as if it was obvious. “Inquisitors are specialists on that, aren’t you?”
“The situation is a little different with Anna involved...” Col added without going much further in her explanation, but she sounded very sure of what she was saying. "If she says it's unusual, then you won't find it easily.
More than that, Anna wasn’t snarking or playing around like usual. She was just staring with a closed expression at the unmoving objects around her.
“C’mon, are you trying to say that she can identify whatever magic and sorcery in existence or something? That’s just impossible.”
“I agree. Actually, I would agree for sure if I hadn’t seen it fucking twice already…”
“Twice?! That’s just nonsense.” The local shouted in outrage, which didn’t show much effect in her two companions. “Even seeing spiritual energy is already hard enough as is. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to know every way it could be used...”
“Ya don’t know much about heroes, ay?” Anna gave a melancholic smile to her petite friend. “How would a li'l human fight the demon king if he couldn’t even read his spells?”
“You? A hero?!”
“Me? Nay. I’m but a common lass, but mah’ brother, mah’ brother was the one who took the big demon down, partner. And he could read every single magical formula in existence...”
Karim’s maw almost fell off her face when she heard the news and it only got worse when Colette nodded in agreement.
Even back here, everyone knew what the ‘astellian heroes’, as they were called, were and what they did.
In fact, ever since the Astellian Federation became a thing, their ‘chosen ones’ were the biggest news. How they came to be and what they really were was unknown, but history would be very different without them.
If said ‘chosen one’ wasn’t a thing, the centuries-spanning war on the continent would have been over long ago. And the humans wouldn't be the ones winning it...
There wasn’t that much information about how it all worked and of the intricacies of the ‘hero’, but all knew how powerful and important it was.
“He could see spirit energy like ya see everythin’ else, shorty, and could read it like a book too... While I… We’ll say I can emulate that, ay? Can’t say much about it though.” Anna continued, still in her serious mode. "So believe me when I say that this 'ere is weird... I can pull a theory, but it would still be weird."
“I can vouch for her, little girl. I reacted the same as you when she first showed me that, but it’s still true.”
“That’s… That’s very impressive. I don’t even know what to say about it…”
“Say nothin’ then. I won’t explain and ya won’t understand, so there’s no point too.” Anna snapped at the situation as she was starting to feel rushed to act. “We have more important things to do and getting these foxes out of ‘ere is what she should focus on.”
As Karim had said before, the wounded kitsune was stable but not out of danger, and the other one was knocked out but seemed fine. They both were out of the equation right now, but they were also the only real information the girls could get from this situation.
There was another reason for them to rush though, but it was one Annabeth couldn’t tell her cop partner openly.
“You’re right. Getting proper treatment is the best we can do to them and we need what they saw to understand the situation...” Karim nodded in agreement even if she would prefer to stay on the earlier subject. “I’ll call an ambulance! There should be cops coming towards us anyway, so I just need to find one of them…”
She then got up and almost took off running towards the main street that was now empty before Anna called her out.
“No need fer it, shorty.” The redhead got up while saying so with a hint of determination in her voice. “Get ‘em on ya shoulders, Col, and we should get there faster.”
"And don't tell yer friend yet, shorty. We don't wanna let people know we were 'ere..."
It wasn’t perfect, but having Colette carry the two shrine maidens was faster than waiting for support. It would also avoid involving other groups in this situation.
“It makes sense… I’ll point you the way to the hospital then.”
“No need to.” Once again, Anna stopped her partner before she could start, but her words made the two other girls confused this time. “Take ‘em to their temple, ay? It should be safer and closer…”
Her reasoning was a lie, but Annabeth’s words still carried the confidence she used when talking about something she was sure of. And be as it was, a temple was the second-best place to take someone wounded.Still a little unsure about the situation, Karim followed her partner’s words for now, and the trio rushed through the city before any law enforcer or soldier could ascertain their involvement.