“What the hells am I seeing…?” The petite cop asked in confusion as she woke up to see Annabeth tied in chains while Minako held her mouth.
“I’m not sure too, but if you two could hurry… The suit guys are firing already and the barrier is going to rise soon.” Col answered as she helped Karim get up and ignored Anna's angry moans. “And no, I’m not helping you, Anna. Deal with whatever is this yourself.”
Seeing the back of her old friend leaving to fight didn't make Anna any happier. though. Even when she saw the forming dome of energy around the temple, it still didn't make her happy. The area was pretty much safe and even the depleted foxes could hold a lot with their barriers, but it didn't matter to Annabeth.
All she cared about was not letting that damn priestess have her way.
“Stop fighting and drink it! It’s just a little bit of blood.” The kitsune who was shoving her wounded hand on the other girl’s face was having a hard time fulfilling her goal. “I know you don't like it but the only other way can't be done outside... Well, it can, but wouldn't be proper. What was I saying?”
Just like everything else in a spirit's body, their blood was very close to being pure spiritual energy. Drinking it wasn't enough to absorb this energy, but it was very usual in the right conditions. And Annabeth was the right condition itself.
“Mmmh hmmm mmhft!” The even more pissed-off inquisitor complained as she didn't care at all about Minako's ramblings. Even if the fox lady could understand it, though, she was ignoring it.
Anna was restrained and with a hand in her mouth, so she would need to swallow eventually. She would keep squirming and trying to leave the bounds until then, though.
“You need energy and I’m giving it to you... Stop being a pain and accept it!”
“We don’t have time for this, Anna..." Minako tried to convince the red-haired inquisitor, but the loss of blood and energy was tiring her out. "Be a sweetie... and... and drink the blood!”
“I’m so confused with what I’m seeing here...” Karim spoke again as she stared at the pleading eyes of the pissed-off redhead being grappled. “Is whatever you’re doing necessary? I don’t want to have Annabeth going berserker when you tire out…”
“It'll make... she not need... I'll make she won't need to absorb energy... for a while...” The five-tailed fox explained in a slightly lethargic way. As she explained to Karim, though, the shrine maiden started to think that she shouldn't have made a hole in her hand. “I’m not used to bleeding… That was a bad plan… Help!”
Karim kept on staring at what was slowly devolving into some comedic display, even with all the blood involved, without being sure of what to do.
It wouldn't be that funny if Anna had her revolver in hand instead of being stuck with her rifle, but right now it was quite the funny sight.
How the dolls were already engaged in combat was worrying, though. Losing more time here would be bad and being able to fight without risking the bystander would be useful, but this kind of help was unacceptable.
There wouldn’t be casualties if she went on a rampage away from the temple either way, so why should she drink blood? It was both gross and dishonorable, so she wouldn't let it happen easily. In fact, it seemed that she could even win the struggle now that Minako was getting tired.
Losing both her blood and spiritual energy was sure to put a toll on her body, so Anna only had to keep going. Then she could escape fast and do her thing without worrying.
Or that was the plan until a small blondie decided to hold her nose instead of watching quietly.
Even someone trained to the extremes like Annabeth couldn’t hold their breath forever. It was something too hardcoded on the brain to fight against, which was why, no matter how angry she stared at her partner, she would still have to swallow.
And the moment she did so, both she and Minako fell to the floor, even if for different reasons.
The five-tailed girl's plan had worked. Pumping almost all her energy directly on Anna's body made the inquisitor's evil eye calm down, but the redhead herself wasn't happy with it.
“Cof cof cof! Damn! Ack… You duo of harlots… Demons in disguise… Bastards of another level… Cof cof cof…”
“Wow, it actually made that weird feeling go away. How does it work?” Karim asked while both healing Minako’s hand and ignoring Annabeth’s complaints. “How you knew it would work even?”
“That’s another... long story... I can tell you later though… In private... Maybe?”
Even with her skin paler than usual and saying things that shouldn’t be fine at all, the chief maiden of the temple was still with her regal aura. It hadn’t changed during the whole ordeal even, which wasn’t exactly a good sign, albeit an impressive one.
Karim, on the other hand, wasn’t sure how she should feel about it. She was also more focused on closing the sloppy and way too big wound on Minako’s hand right now.
“You should be a little more…”
Before the cop could finish her phrase, though, she was shoved to the side and the barrel of a huge rifle appeared by her side. And it was aimed squarely at her patient too, by a very angry girl even.
“Gimme a reason to not blow yer damn head this same moment!” The gunner asked in the angriest tone Karim had ever seen while ignoring the approaching sounds of battle. "I may thank ya fer the help, but I'll end yer life 'ere."
Anna was glowing more than ever before with all the power embedded in her body. It was obvious that right now was the strongest anyone around had ever seen her. And still, the five-tailed kitsune was as calm as ever.
"H-hey! Calm down, Annabeth..."
Karim was a different matter altogether, but the kitsune didn't even register the gun as a threat. And it wasn't as if she had any chance of surviving a shot after giving away most of her soul. "Stay out of it, brat. I waitin' fer an explanation 'ere..." Anna continued with a seriousness that was unusual for her. Still, Minako wasn't bothered by it at all.
“You know the reason and I know you won’t blow my head. We have a fight to win, right?” She answered with a conceited smile that was overflowing with confidence. “You want some support?”
A deadlock had been achieved, but it wasn’t one Anna could keep as is. No matter how angry she was, getting a direct charge like this was useful.
“No, I’m fine…” She answered with a snicker and then turned to the gate, and to the energy wall in front of it, with heavy and fast steps. A barrier was useful due to the fact that only things going from outside would be blocked, which was the perfect defense for a gunner like Anna. This one was a little on the weak side due to how drained the casters were, but it would be enough to hold.
“Open the way, Col!” She shouted to her friend fighting at the stairs as she aimed from behind the barrier. And her tone alone was enough to prompt the brawler to hurry away.
It was good that she did so too, for the moment the first doll entered the redhead’s aim, her rifle was already firing at it.
She didn’t even think much about it. It didn’t matter that many of the figures were so peppered in bullets they could barely move and that many were ablaze even while still moving. They wouldn’t be there at all soon.
“Let me show ya what’s the real meanin’ of all-out.” Anna said to the two other girls on her back and, without having to care about burning her own soul on a spell, she fired a bullet packed to the brim with raw magic.
And right after the first one, she pulled the rifle’s lever and went to it again.
The only complexity of the attacks was the usually too-costly spells that kept the weapon stable, but even this cost was minor now. Each shot packed enough of a punch to create a hole in the advancing column and cause a sonic boom right in front of Anna. And she could keep going like this without a problem.
Twenty-five, sixty, one hundred, each shot destroyed more dolls as Annabeth got closer to her peak concentration. And she became stronger for that.
There was enough spiritual energy in these shots to kill an average citizen, spirit or human, but she couldn't even feel it. Kitsunes were known for their massive polls of energy and the inquisitor had more than a kitsune worth of it in her right now.
But after the first mag was over and half the stairway was cleaned, she stopped.
"Hold this fer me, shorty." Annabeth said as she threw her weapon to the holy mage at her back. "I'll be back in a while."
And then, while calmly unlocking her holster, a
flying creature broke through the barrier right in front of everyone’s eyes.
And Annabeth’s body went soaring to the sky with it.
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