Chapter 39:

Skirmish at the Harbor - Part 2


“Now I see somethin’ good ‘ere... I wanted to take this one down soon.” Anna sighed while returning her scope to the rifle and setting it on top of the objects she was hiding behind. “I try to take the bastard down and risk bein’ noticed though? Are the cops more of a threat since they have guns? Such a hard decision…” It was unlikely that Anna could fire twice before putting things in motion, either way, so she had to choose a target.

On one side, there was a chance these cops, and even the harbormaster, weren’t actually in cahoots with their enemies and were just unlucky. Betting on them being in the wrong place at the right time wasn’t Anna's style though.

On the other, someone with high physical resistance, which was one of the most important characteristics of an Ifrit, was a bad match against Col.

Even Anna's big gun with proper spell bullets would need some charging to cause damage from afar. And charging said bullet would be the same as becoming a beacon around the harbor.

There was also the unknown guy in the room that, if she wasn't wrong, was also a huge source of spiritual energy.

She took her time to think about it and set three of her rings in place, letting their energy flow and her tattoos shine. They would be needed no matter what, even more if she was going for the decision in her mind right now...

“Tch! What a pain… Guess I’ll bet in capturin’ one of those two instead of gettin’ evidence then.” The red-haired riflewoman got her aim away from the red man and lined her shot with the fifth man.

She didn't care enough to take his features that far, but he was a plain guy. His suit was also something that would fit an intern better than someone important, but he shone brightly in her eye.

It was likely worth taking the shot.

And that's what she did.

A loud bang, much louder than anything an archipelean was used to hearing, and a flash of light came and vanish on the mostly empty harbor.

The inquisitor's aim was perfect once more. A square shot on the head, but no blood splash. Instead, the unknown man was sent flying by the impact, which meant trouble by itself.

Ignoring this detail for now though, the attack put the other people in the warehouse in high alert. The cops unholstered their guns, the harbormaster dived to the ground and the ifrit sluggish looked towards the broken window.

Before any of them could notice Anna though, the redhead was already on the move. Around her, a new batch of loud noises came from different positions around the warehouse.

Annabeth was very pleased to see that her companions were punctual.

It wasn’t hard to understand what was happening to the guards of the big warehouse and neither was it hard to get why the people in the office had left.

Soon enough, more than the generic fighting noises, gunfire also started to come from some places. She called it gunfire, but the sound made it clear to Anna that the weapons being used weren't anything modern. Either pipe guns or something of the kind, but that was that.

“Black powder, eh? This why fightin’ ‘ere is fun.” The inquisitor commented as she advanced towards the warehouse from which many figures were leaving. “But no dolls yet…”

More than two dozen C-ranks, a few Bs, the sleepy ifrit, and the, likely, powerful man, those were all presences Anna could feel moving around. Some of them were leaving the premises instead of heading to the fight though.

Both the two powerful beings and the two weakest ones were heading to different exits, so she had to choose which target to go to.

The two weak ones were headed directly to the same place in which crates and people were being thrown around. A bulldozing slim figure in jeans was likely fighting around there, so maybe she would take these two down. More than that, the approaching cops could also luckily get them, so it was better to go for the more dangerous ones.

It was the excuse Anna would use, at least, since she wanted to take down that ifrit.

She kept advancing from cover to cover, attacking any unaware enemy she had a clear shot and continuing until the side entrance of the warehouse.

With each step, she could read the movements of the unengaged foes, and what she could see made her hurry. The two main targets were right where the truck she saw before should be.

“He decided to flee already?! Why would...” Anna hurried up, turning her rifle into a bag again to gain speed and grabbing her revolver just in case. “Yer not escaping me, demon!”

She gave up on hiding and took off sprinting, firing her revolver at the door’s handle and jumping through it as fast as possible. Getting her eyes on the rows and rows of stacked crates and, more than that, coming face-to-face with three approaching guards.

But of course, Annabeth already knew they were there.

“Hi!” She exclaimed before fanning the remaining four bullets of her revolver toward the trio getting ready to fire spells at her.

The bullets weren't enough to take all of them down though, which prompted the inquisitor to throw the revolver itself at the remaining person. It would only stun him for a moment, but this much was enough for the antimaterial rifle to materialize again.

“And bye.”

The arm of the warehouse guard vanished with a single shot and he fell to the ground in agony just like his peers. With no time to lose though, Anna picked up speed again, rolling on the ground to recover her smaller weapon and then trying to find a path toward the truck.

She had to hurry though as, while she was doing so, the faint sound of an engine failing to ignite was already being heard.

“C’mon. C’mon! C’MON!!!” Her tattoos started to shine even brighter than they were already with each shout until the next bullet was charged enough and a spell was ready. “Be on time!”

Anna spun in her own axis and pressed the barrel of the rifle to the closest row of crates in a single swift movement, firing the gun right away with the degradation spell charged on it.

It was the same spell she had used on the house's walls back in the slums, but the scale was much bigger this time. She was using a bigger weapon and had more power available this time, so it was no surprise that everything in a straight line simply turned to dust.

This time though, the degraded objects didn’t have the integrity to stay in place forever. In fact, right after firing, Annabeth could already see the crates threatening to fall.

It was a reasonable risk still. The inquisitor had a target and was willing to take risks to hunt it, rushing through the dangerous tunnel with her rifle aimed forward.

And right at the end of her path, in the lone truck at the loading area, the ifrit had noticed her though. was already readying a fiery counterattack with his hand aimed from the inside truck he was still trying to turn on.

As a side note, the other man was seemingly unconscious on the seat by his side. A makeshift bandage on his head and some obvious bleeding below it.

“You again?!”

“Time fer round two, demon!”

“Leave me alone, you crazy bitch!”

And with the two very different battlecries, the two sides fired their attacks. One side had fired the best bullet she could in the limited time while the other sent a condensed fireball in answer, but both attacks were fated to meet.

Their collision caused a huge explosion that toppled the already unstable tunnel though. The explosion was even furthered by whatever was inside some of the crates, turning the close area into a pile of wood scraps and doll pieces.

And from the middle of this destruction, an inquisitor was still charging forward.