Chapter 61:

One Shot Wonder


With way more powder than the safe, a cartridge primer instead of a percussion cap, and some cloth to set it in place, a terrible idea was now set to use.

Just the fact that she was using smokeless powder instead of the black powder meant for this kind of weapon was already a problem, but all else was too.

Everything from the powder blowing the barrel up to the bullet getting stuck. Almost everything could go wrong, but Anna didn’t care a bit about it as she forced the black pellet inside the musket. Even bothering to think about how her silver bullet turned black after having all that cursed energy siphoned into it was irrelevant.

“That’s lotta more work than I fancy, but that’s that.” The inquisitor noted to herself as she got up and glared at the hole in the wall that shined right as she did. “What the…?!”

A flash of light, a thunderclap, and the sound of an explosion. The three noises came almost at the same time and prompted Anna to rush. She wasn't fully healed yet and was hoping that she had more time, but hope was only that.

The inquisitor looked around as she got the line of sight, noting the ifrit still flying close to the remains of the shattering barrier. He seemed to be stunned as he stared at the disintegrating wall of energy, though. More than that, Anna could swear that his body was getting smaller while at it.

It was a somewhat weird situation, but it was a good opportunity too... Or that was what she thought before she tried to shoot her borrowed smoothbore.

All the damage from earlier was clear on the winged demon's body, in special the huge white charred mark on his chest. He was the closest to being defeated Anna ever saw him, but there was something wrong with it.

Without an option, Annabeth instead scanned her surroundings, finally noticing the courtyard's situation. And more than that, understanding what was the lightning from earlier.

The already destroyed courtyard was in an even worse situation by now. Fires, molten rock, and unconscious fighters littered the area, and in the middle of it, there was a small girl with a burst gun in her hands. Karim seemed to be fine, though, which meant that she was uncannily lucky.

“Shorty!” The inquisitor asked to be sure, using the time the ifrit was confused to keep trying to fire. “Ya fine there?!”

“Y-yes…” Her petite partner answered even though she was shaken by the situation. “B-but how’re you…?”

“I’m fine, and ‘bout to finish this...” The redhead answered with a smirk full of confidence and a wink before turning to the dazed creature flying above them. “Would ya fancy surrenderin’, mate? I’d prefer not havin’ to fire this thing.”

There were still noises of fighting around the temple, but it was obvious that they were much weaker now. Even with the barrier down, the number of spells hitting the walls was too small and Anna could barely hear gunshots too. Only the huge columns of smoke were worrying, but they were likely to be caused by allies considering the location.

It was clear who would win this fight now. Even more when one could see the approaching sirens from high up.

Still, being called out seemed to somehow wake up the winged demon, and the way he clicked his tongue only made Annabeth cockier. Seeing him mumble something didn’t seem so good, though.

“And I’ll warn ya to not try flyin’ away, ‘kay? Quite sure I can take ya right away.” She bluffed while trying more and more to force her body to fire the musket. “Get down and we’ll have a nice time talkin’ instead of losin’ more energy ‘ere.”

She was unsure why her vows were going against firing, but the ifrit didn't have to know that. How being thrown into a wall didn't count as an attack was worrying her, but that was for later. For now, she would need some theatrics to end this fight.

As long as she could bluff her way through, it would be a perfect victory. And it didn't even matter if he choose to fight or surrender in this case.

“You know I can’t do that, girl...” He finally answered, still in the same place as before and with a tone that seemed angry still but much more tired. “Even more now that I’m sure it’s either win or die for me.”

“We’re arresting... You...” Karim squeezed out as she leaned on the wall, gaining another snicker from the flying man with it. "You'll be fine..."

“What you say doesn’t matter, little girl, and I would love to surrender and go to sleep, but that’s not how it works...” The ifrit continued with an expression that made it clear how close to giving up he was, even if he was unable to for some reason. “I can bet my chances of beating you two are better than what I have against those monsters, so... Nothing personal this time, ok?”

It was an understandable choice.

Everyone could understand how someone that failed this much would end up in an underground organization. Even surrendering could get him killed by some double agent or worse, tortured to death for information.

It wasn’t as if everyone was a fair and proper cop like Karim. In fact, it was likely how Anna would deal with him if she had the option.

On the other side, the ifrit was tired and wounded, but so were all his enemies. In fact, it was likely that he could defeat everyone in the courtyard by himself. And if he did, the chances of getting another chance would be higher.

With his life on the line, choosing to fight was the best option... Which was exactly what Anna wanted him to do. She only had to make it seem natural.

“I guess that’s that then… Do yer worst, demon.” She said, burning her energy in vain in a fake casting while watching the ifrit also ready his attack. “I’ll give ya some mercy and end it with a single strike.”

“Whatever you say, you crazy girl.” The winged man answered with a growing fireball appearing on his hand. "This time I'll be sure to get you out of the way..."

“Showin’ off, ay? Lemme show off too then.”

“A-Annabeth?!” Karim exclaimed as what Anna would call ‘a show of bravado’ started, even making the blondie move a little back on the ground. It should seem very dangerous and ominous to her, considering the situation, but all the inquisitor was doing was showing off.

It was an almost useless technique that only seemed scary since barely anything could replicate it. The tall girl was only letting the stolen spiritual energy in her body leave, but it would never be the first thing someone would think about it.

From what she heard before, it should look as if she had a massive ghost surrounding her. And the fact that she was full of curses right now should only make it seem scarier.

Even so, it was a defensive skill, at most. A very expensive and almost useless one, even. It was only impressive because almost no one could, or would want to, release their own soul like this.

It was a good bluffing tool, though. And it worked perfectly.

Faced with the growing mass of energy and what he knew about the inquisitor, the ifrit was affected as expected. The attack he was charging was thrown much sooner and a barrage of small ones soon followed. But none of these had enough power to take Annabeth down right away.

And more than that, these counted as her being attacked first.

Right as the first fireball hit the mass of spiritual energy around Anna, the gun fired. A spiraling beam of black and golden light went forward, eating all remaining attacks as it made its way to the ifrit and then striking him squarely.

“It works now, eh?” The source of the brute force attack asked as the smoke and dust started to settle around. “I guess that settles it…”

It was over. Took longer and was more work than it should have, but it was over. The ifrit was falling from the sky like a swatted fly and Anna was as close to being done for as possible, but it was over.

There was a stream of blood on the side of her mouth, she couldn't move her body much anymore, and her whole body was burning. Still, she was much better than she should. That was, on the outside, at least.

“Maybe I went… Cof! Cof! Overboard… a little...” The inquisitor whispered after coughing up some blood. "I need some... sleep..."

And then, right after achieving her victory, fell unconscious to the ground.
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