Chapter 59:

Flipside: Song of Dawn - Part 2


Karim was wobbly and tired, but she was now sure of a thing... She was sure that something in her attracted battle maniacs.

“Even the proper sheltered princess, eh...” The holy mage mumbled to herself while watching the scene by the temple’s gate after the kitsune had left her there. “No wonder she would fancy Anna.”

It was something she should have noticed before Anna's arrival on the island even. How she would always end up solving brawls between civilians should be a hint. Unless she was working with customs or in a proper emergency that asked for her actual position, brawls in the streets were all she dealt with.

Problems at the market, edgy teenagers acting like gangs, random misunderstandings ending in a fight. The petite cop would always find a few of them, so why her allies would be different?

It wasn’t a problem in the situation, in fact, it was very good, but asking for a reasonable ally would be too much?

"Tis' boring." Minako commented on her position many steps ahead of her resting friend. "Burning them from behind a barrier sounds so unfair..."

"I also think you'll end up burning the whole city like this..." Karim called out as the leader of the temple put another random area of the venue on fire with her fox flames. "Can't you hold back a little?"

The kitsune was using her control over the five flaming wisps to slowly but surely take down the caster's positions. Her aim was quite bad, though, so she was causing a lot of collateral damage.

Minako's lumps of blue flames were, obviously, not simple fireballs. Fox-fire was a high-end technique and one that the kitsunes had full control over.

In general terms, those flaming wisps were magical flames like any other spell, but these were in direct connection to their fuel supply. One way of describing them was as controllable and powerful fireballs. They were faster to cast and hotter than anything a mage could use, but using one of them was the same as firing a few of any other spells.

"Holding back is a little hard, but the collateral damage is going too far..." The shrine maiden kept attacking as she thought about it but stopped after a while. "Oh! I got an idea."

She then got her hands inside the kimono and took off several paper strips she had in there. Nothing was surprising for Karim anymore, but seeing this many talismans was still a little shocking.

For one, talismans were basically the same as Astellian spell bullets, but somehow more expensive and harder to use. The price of treating common paper, which was already somewhat expensive, was massive. And enchanting the thing without destroying the lump of money you got after it was as complex as it could be.

Their only advantage was that talismans could be produced at the archipelago.

"If waiting behind the barrier is too much trouble..." The splurging fox said as she threw the paper strips to the sky and activated their spells. "I'll bring my own and go there."

"You don't mean..." Karim started to ask as she saw the talismans taking flight around the kitsune while shining in different colors. "A-a personal barrier?"

"Should solve the problem, right?"


"Good. I'll be going then."

And with twenty or so different defensive spells active around her, Minako charged downstairs with her fox fire going. She was calling quite the attention, though, but no attacks that went her way could do much. It would be different if she was shot with bullets instead of spells, but the dolls were too focused on Colette for that.

Still, the maiden's smile was growing bigger and the movements of the wisps were getting more complex for no reason as she advanced. A quarter of the closest buildings were on fire already and many dolls were pieces of coal. In summary, Minako was having a lot of fun.

“Bwahahahaha! Fight me better, you lowly weaklings. I didn’t lose that many lives inside this dusty temple for an easy fight!” The princess laughed and shouted at the stairs as she reached the high of her energy and her ally fighting a little further down. "Now we charge, Col!"

“The fox princess?!” Colette asked in surprise as she protected herself from another barrage of attacks with the closest mannequin she could get hold of. “The fuck you’re doing here?”

“Having a fun fight! The first one in my life even.” Minako grinned and said as her flaming orbs dashed towards the closest rooftop, turning it into a sea of blue flames with the enemy mages still there. “Can I have the privilege of keeping your back?”

“Damn… It’s not my style but be my guest.” The inquisitor in tattered clothes answered with an expression of surprise and awe on her face. “Keep the ranged ones outside me and I’ll deal with the rest, okay?”


And as the two hit off on their fighting, the tired holy mage kept on watching from the temple’s gate.

“They’re really alike, eh? I should’ve expected this much… It seems we’re winning this soon, either way.” She noted to herself as she kept a patient watch over the battlefield. "Maybe we didn't even need to help much..."

Her watch over the battle was close to the end, but Karim was somehow unable to see her impact on the battle. In fact, she would probably even deny it if someone were to say anything about how she likely turned the whole fight. “I wished I could help more, but using more would be…” The humble holy mage sighed as she held Anna's rifle in front of her face. "Could I do something with this... Wait! What's this?"

And that was when Karim noticed that something weird was happening around the mass of destroyed dolls down the stairs.

“What is that…?” She squirmed her eyes on the scope while trying to get a good sight of the figures she had noticed. “What in the heavens are those things?”

Her vision wasn’t that special, and the darkness didn’t help at all, but there was enough light now that Minako was rampaging with her fire to see around. And with the help of Annabeth’s scope, spotting the small stone creatures moving through the feet of the dolls became easy.

It took a little longer to understand what they were doing, but it was only a matter of observing too.

“They’re… They’re collecting broken dolls? Why would they move the defeated forces away when they’re not even… Heavens!” Karim shouted in realization as, once more, she lost one of the retreating stone foxes in the crowd. She had seen enough, though, and enough was very bad already.

The more Karim looked, the more she noticed dolls in bad condition arriving at the battle. And with the broken dolls being sent back, it didn't take much to get the idea.

“As long as something is intact, they rebuild and send it back to the frontlines... That’s why their numbers don’t seem to go down even if the number of guns goes, right? Which means…”

To be honest, it didn't mean much. The number of figures wasn't that big and lowering the quality of the cannon fodder wouldn't help much too. It could buy a little bit of extra time, but Minako and Colette working together was too overwhelming.

This battle was over, but Karim couldn't accept waiting for it to end in silence even if she was the one who gave the most.

As long as she could still move and had any bit of energy remaining, she would use it to help her allies. Anything to lower the risk of allied casualties and anything to end the fight a little sooner.

And Karim also had in her hands the perfect weapon to deal with small targets while not using magic, even if the ammo was limited. She would only have to ask some spirits to somehow teach her how to use the thing.

“It wasn’t something I was expecting to do, but...” The girl who was shorter than her gun held the massive rifle and tried to mimic her partner’s usual posture.

“Time to communion with a sniper.”
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