Chapter 40:

Skirmish at the Harbor - Part 3


Anna pushed through the broken boxes in a hurry and then jumped right away as a volley of fireballs started to pour into her position.

Luckily for her, the winged demon was still trying to make the truck’s engine work, which gave him a very limited arc of fire. In this situation, dodging away was quite easy for the inquisitor. She could even go to the back of the truck and get in his blind spot.

“Ya better leave this truck, demon!” She shouted while readying another spell on the rifle aimed at the back of the truck. “I only need one of ya alive in the end…”

All between her and the target was the thin civilian truck and its contents, but it wouldn’t be that easy still. The vehicle had some good layers of protective spells and glyphs, so even a good shot from this close wouldn't mean a kill.

Her words were somewhat of a bluff either way, no matter what, the worst she could do at the moment was wound one of them. The ifrit didn’t need to know it though.

More than that, Anna wasn’t even that focused on the ifrit now that she had a little to think. Hitting his protection target would be much tastier.

Still, the threats went flat as, very suddenly, she heard a low voice and the truck's ignition decided to work. And a moment after that, it was already speeding away. Her foe had managed to buy enough time, or so it seemed.

The transport truck broke through the warehouse’s door, leaving to the port with a trail of smashed objects in its wake. Both the goods being transported and the weird unknown man were leaving as fast as they could, but Anna was already prepared for this much.

“Yer makin’ my job too easy...” The redhead ran towards the door and then after the truck until she could get a decent line of sight. “I always wanted to overturn a truck.”

She then knelt down behind the escaping truck and held her gun in her already broken shoulder, firing just as it got close to leaving her range. The bullet never reached the vehicle itself though.

It wasn’t as if her aim was on it, to begin with.

Instead, the low-aimed projectile hit the ground a few meters in front of its wheels and opened up, exploding in a crater too big to be overcome. And, of course, the speeding-up truck that was too close to the newly created road hazard was unable to dodge it at all.

The truck and its barrier crashed on the bottom of the crater and its back kept the momentum, going towards turning the vehicle upside down. The smirk on Anna’s face was wiped blank before it could happen though.

As if time was slowing down, the capsizing vehicle stopped midair while a burst of spiritual energy burst from its location. And right after it, the voice that was the cause of such a burst reached Anna's ears.

“STOP!!!” A young male voice shouted from the passenger seat with such an intensity that even the engaged henchman could hear. More than that, the order shouted in a panicked tone seemed to somewhat affect those who heard it and even the crashing truck for that matter.

For a moment, almost everything stopped in place.

It lasted only for a moment though, but it was enough to kill the momentum of the whole harbor. There was no time to wait after it still, for the bright point in the inquisitor's eye was even more active now.

The reason for such came easily when the truck's cargo blew up suddenly. And from inside it came exactly what anyone could predict by this point.

“Well...” Anna sighed again while watching a few dozen figures leaving the stuck truck and moving towards her and the fighting noises at her back. “I now know how the dolls work, don’t I?”

A few dozen life-sized mannequins were charging toward the warehouse while her real targets were trying to leave the wreckage. The truck was unusable for sure, but they never needed it to flee. If Annabeth was right, the only reason that ifrit took the truck was that he had to deliver its cargo.

Maybe disallowing him from doing so wasn't the best move if she wanted a fight...

It wasn't the time to think about it though. There were many enemies approaching and Ann was getting close to spending most of her resources. To begin with, the toll on her body from shouldering her rifle that much was already getting hard to support.

Still, she could take them down if she were to damn the consequences. And Annabeth never really cared about consequences.

In a swift motion, she injected herself with another elixir and held the rifle in position again. Next, all her focus went to her tattoos and those started to glow stronger and stronger. She could feel the pressure on her body as the chains got close to breaking, but that much was fine in this case.

The real problem was how it would affect the cops and her friends, but again, that was fine in this case.

Her aim was on the wounded man in a suit who was leaving the truck. She would've liked to take down the ifrit too, but this one was enough for now.

A few moments before the process was done though, her gaze and the one of the wounded man connected. “Tch!”

It was a very momentaneous thing, but she could see his lips moving and she could feel the energy it packed. In a split-second decision, Annabeth pulled her focus away from the seals and rewrote the spell on her bullet, firing it right after.

Instead of the high-powered attack she planned at first, what was fired ended up being just a common holy bullet, but what mattered was its effect. Together with the bullet, an ear-piercing bell rang across the harbor, killing off all sounds but itself. And in the deafening silence, the man in a suit fell to the ground.

He was probably still alive, even if wounded and tired. Its bodyguard didn't take long to collect him and fly away though, even if under the inquisitor's follow-up attacks. She had burned too much and lacked the time to get more, so it was expected still

Anna would've risked the shot if the man had chosen any other word, but something like 'go crazy' was too dangerous. Even more if her limitations were off.

This much was only enough to anger Annabeth even more.

In the end, the plan failed and she managed to lose the two biggest targets possible. More than that, they would have to explain this situation with just the captured guards and the guns as proof.

Even the dolls with explosives strapped to them wouldn't help prove their righteousness in this situation...

And this moment was when the red-haired girl finally remembered the charging enemies coming for her. It also matched very well with when she managed to hear things again.

“Now you must be kiddin’ me.”

With the realization of the suicidal strike and its aim, the inquisitor held her gun and tried to take down as many of the approaching dolls as possible. It would worsen her situation and burn more of her limited resources, but losing the warehouse would be too much.

Throwing her rifle away and unloading the revolver a few times would be enough, but that wasn't the problem here.

The real problem was the fact that she was much closer to the dolls than the warehouse.

Taking the mannequins down was sometimes creating chains of explosions, but they kept advancing. The explosives seemed to be time-based so it didn't matter that a good number of them were around Anna right now. And so, after the last of the bomb dolls was on the ground, the inquisitor looked around her and made the only reasonable choice.

She took off running and jumped to the sea before the explosives on the ground blew up.