Chapter 48:

Flipside: Prelude of the Night - Part 2


It didn't take long for the whole temple to go into full alert. Or at least for the people in the courtyard to do so.

Priests armed with spears moved to the gates to hold the stairs leading to the temple and tsukumogami with small guns went inside. It was a weird combination of old and new tactics in this situation.

A traditional spear wall with gunners as support ranged attackers.

“Hurry the shrine maidens. We're dealing with guns here, so we can't fight without magic.” Karim shouted off to one of the moving priests, prompting him to rush inside without another word. “Everyone else! Join me.”

She was clearly putting on airs, but the way the petite girl was moving and talking somehow got the attention of everyone else. It was possible that they were only told to do so, Karim knew that, but she still had command over them right now.

The sudden display of command still got the short girl an impressed look from her toned companion as they both turned back to the gate.

"Quite good at it, eh? Is it a cop thing?" She asked while staring to the column of smoke a few quarters away from them.

"You can say so... I'm good at knowing how to talk with people. How they feel and whatnot." She answered with her khopesh forming in hand. "It works with almost everyone..."

"Anna, right?" Col smirked as she knew the feeling of being unable to read that redhead. "She's both easy and hard to read at the same time, right?"

"A little more than that, but yes."

As they spoke, more priests entered the courtyard and formed at the girl's backs. Their numbers were too small and they weren't much of a force still and there were no kitsunes in sight.

It was starting to get weird even.

All things considered, it would be very likely that only Karim and Col would be a fighting force. Even knowing how much those gunners could do was hard at this point.

“Spear versus gun, eh? Are you used to commanding this?” Col asked in a calm voice as they both moved closer to the staircase.

“Giving a few orders isn’t much, but I'm a cop and not a general...” The cop answered in a deadly serious tone while not even looking away from the path. “As long as they only have those improvised things, we can manage. Priests are quite durable when in a temple...”

“So blessings work here too, eh? That's good... How’re our chances still?”

This question made both girls look to their backs, and to the spear-armed priests there. All the twenty of them even.

"We'll be relying on the kitsunes..." She answered in a hushed tone. "Let's hope few of them were cursed."

“Shouldn’t we tell those people to run away then? Keeping them alive seems to be a pain…”

“They won’t retreat… No matter what. That’s the problem with the tooris.”

“That’ll be fun then.” The brawler brunette smirked at the future prospects right before she heard the echo of a shout and then more noises from the festival’s venue. “And it seems to be starting too.”

“I can feel it too…”

The first echo was obviously a voice and its pressure felt just like the shout that stopped everyone in place at the harbor.

The abnormality, though, was the fact that it was echoing from different directions after the first one. It seemed as if the evil eye user was either teleporting around or moving very fast to activate all its hidden forces.

“More resourceful than I thought, but it isn’t unexpected.” Karim continued as she looked pensive at the venue. “They would need something of the kind since the eye thing doesn’t seem to have an infinite range...”

“Anna says hers has a hundred meters of effect, so maybe theirs the same.” Colette answered while trying her best to somehow think of options a little. It wasn’t as if she had much to do until the enemies appeared anyway. There were many ways for it to happen though and it wasn’t the moment to think about it anyway. Good chances it was the ifrit from earlier even.

“That’s fair, but we can ignore it for now.”

It wasn’t very loud yet, but the sounds of breaking wood and moving objects could be heard from below. More than that, said noises were growing more and more though. It was at least proof that Annabeth’s theory was right.

“Well, they only have one path to here anyway. Even that flying demon wouldn’t change much in this situation.”

“You can see how many are coming through?”

“No idea… That’s Anna’s job.”

“That’s bad, but it’s not that bad still. It’s not as if we have any way to retreat to either way.”

A few more priests had arrived and there was a decent line of spears at the girl's back, but the other reinforcements were still to arrive.

It was a little too slow to the cop’s liking, but there was little to do about it. The whole situation had progressed a little to fast no matter what, so it was somewhat expected.

At least she was hearing some noises coming from inside, which meant that they should be here soon.

“They’re forming up down there, shorty.” The brunette inquisitor commented as she forced her sight to manage any decent details. “A hundred, maybe? Not that sure, but it shouldn't be less than that... I wonder if they're all dolls, though.”

"Why so?"

"I can only enhance this far, but some of those things move different... It can be an illusion, though."

“Well, maybe this eye thing is like necromancy or golem making and all you need is the format and the spell? Wouldn't you know more about this? I had never heard of evil eyes before today...” 

“Well, I don't really pay attention to that kind of thing, you know? My work is punching things." Col answered in a matter-of-fact tone. "You can be right, though… It would be much more useful even. Like having armor that moves as you command.”

Karim was answering but her focus was somewhere else. Her mind was sure something weird was happening there, but the best she could think of was the difference in tactics from the dolls.

They only fought twice, but she was expecting a mindless rush right away instead of having them form up. The things had no reason to buy time since the path for the temple was that small too.

The small cop was entering a spiral of negativity due to that, but it was necessary.

She needed a plan if they had bigger numbers than expected. Or something to the case reinforcements would arrive, maybe more guards like the ones from the harbor. Or worse than that, if there was another path she couldn't see, she had to think about it too.

None of these options seemed to sound good. Karim could connect neither of these to the dolls buying time right now.

That was, until she finally thought a little about what her companion was saying by her side.

"They're buying time for some other spell...” She mumbled absentmindedly and then broke into a frenzy as she noticed the most dangerous option for this spell. “Turn back and punch those statues, Colette!”

“What?!” The brawler asked in surprise as even she was unable to just take an order like that at face value.

“Do it! I can be wrong, but if they arrive…”


Karim's hurried orders were broken by an energy-heavy shout that came from the sky. More than that, the echo was soon followed by other higher but less powerful noises.

One of them being the low rumbling of stone cracking on the back of the humble formation of spearmen at the temple's gate.

It also became very easy to see the wave of humanoid figures charging up the stairs. A mindless wave just like what was expected, but with more than a dozen massive reinforcements on the other side.

Basically, the two girls and their almost thirty spearmen were in the middle of a pincer movement made by dolls and statues. Karim had little of a plan to use now and she was almost panicking.

At least she could see some kitsunes and more priests coming as reinforcements.