I knew the guy was a Katteri but I couldn’t help admiring his beauty.
His long blonde hair gleamed under the moonlight and his eyes seemed to be changing colors every time his appearance flickered—from green to hazel to blue. His body looked lean yet muscular. Even the soft features of his face were too beautiful to ignore.
I had to pinch my arm to remind myself that this was an enemy.
“So, it’s true,” he said in a dreamy voice. “A Stryzyga is wandering around Batara.”
The Katteri looked at me lovingly, not in a way someone would look at a person, but he was seeing me as a source of food—of blood.
“Lady, be careful,” Irus warned while shielding me from the Katteri’s sight. “This one’s different.”
I felt that, too, but I couldn’t pinpoint what was different besides his ethereal beauty. Nagulat na lang ako nang biglang nawala sa paningin ko ang Katteri. My skin crawled and it felt like something was prickling my nape. Agad akong napalingon at pasugod na ang Katteri mula sa likuran ko. Fortunately, Irus was faster.
He lifted me and stepped back a few meters. Napayakap pa ako sa vial na hawak ko dahil baka masayang ang dugong nakuha ko.
Muli kong tiningnan ang Katteri at ibinalik ang tingin kay Irus. He unsheathed his sword that was so thin, it looked like a rapier. Ngayon ko lang siya makikitang gumamit ng sandata dahil kadalasan ay sobrang bilis ng mga nangyayari at wala na akong time i-process ang mga iyon.
“He has drunk blood from high clans,” Irus muttered.
“Look at his skin.” Agad naman akong tumingin sa Katteri. I had to squint my eyes to see what he was talking about. “Siphons usually have green blood vessels but his were bluish.”
He was right. The veins on his arms appeared bluish to purplish under the moonlight. Hindi ko iyon napansin sa grupo ng Katteris na na-encounter namin kanina dahil nag-panic na ako nang makita ko sila.
“That’s an indicator that he drank blood from higher clans—”
The Katteri lunged at us again and Irus fended him off, but he lurched at my direction. I ducked and crawled away from him but he continued attacking me. If it weren’t for Irus, I would have been dead by now.
“Let me taste your blood!” he excitedly screamed.
Napasigaw ako nang mahawakan niya ang damit ko. I kicked his arm and scuttled away but I gasped when the vial fell from my hands. My reflexes took over and I caught it before it rolled from the roof. However, I scraped my hand on one of the tiles. Blood started clotting from my skin and I was surprised when I heard an ear-piercing yell from the Katteri.
His body convulsed as he sniffed. “A high-quality blood,” he said in daze.
“Lady!” called Irus as he rushed to my direction. He winced as he looked at my wound. “Cover it. He’s getting addicted to its smell.”
Kinilabutan ako sa narinig ko at agad akong pumunit sa dulo ng dress na suot ko. I dressed my wound hastily, trying to prevent him from getting a whiff from my blood any further.
My thoughts drifted as Irus fought against the Katteri.
That Katteri got unhinged once he smelled my blood. How come both Irus and Kei seemed to not be affected by it? Not that I wanted to state it, but I was also a virgin—a maiden. Why didn’t they want mine? Could it be assassins and trackers were only attracted by human blood?
My body tensed when I heard the Katteri’s shrill. Halos patakbo akong umiwas sa kanya. Mabuti na lang talaga at kasama ko si Irus kung hindi ay kanina pa ako nawalan ng ulo!
“Lady!” he called. “Stay close to me.”
“Okay,” I breathed.
It was reassuring to have an assassin as your ally and not an enemy.
Napasinghap naman ako nang makita ko ang pagbabago ng anyo ng Katteri. He was changing from children of different ages and races, back to being an adult and then to some middle-aged man—all were beautiful except for their sinister smiles.
He grinned at me as he stared at my gauzed hand and I had the urge to hide it behind my back but I didn’t want to appear more frightened than I was already.
Gusto ko sanang tumakas na lang kami ni Irus pero mukhang mabilis din ang isang ‘to. He could go on par with Irus in terms of speed and Irus wouldn’t be able to protect me while running.
I remembered what happened when I yelled at the Katteris we encountered a while ago. I wanted to help but I doubt I could do that again . . . if I were really the one who did that.
Nanigas ako sa kinatatayuan ko nang muli na namang sumugod ang Katteri. He went straight to Irus and I yelped when he suddenly thrust his right arm on Irus’ chest. It went through his body and reached my neck but he immediately cut it off from the Katteri.
The Katteri casually backed away as if nothing just happened. His freaking arm got cut off! And what the heck, Irus had a hole in his chest! Yet those two continued moving just like before.
Nalaglag ang putol na kamay sa harapan ko at napaatras ako nang makita ko itong gumagalaw-galaw pa. The Katteri lunged again, and this time, he was faster. I shouted in pain as he pinned me to the ground while Irus jumped sideways. Wait where was he going--
The Katteri suddenly wailed in pain and I could see the blood vessels under his skin . . . moving. His body stiffened and the next thing I knew, blood was already gushing out his eyes, nose and mouth. However, instead of streaming down his face, the blood moved into a horizontal direction as if it was attracted to something.
Irus scooped me away from the Katteri and that was when I realized what was happening.
“How dare you disrespect our lady like that,” Kei muttered in a controlled voice and my skin tingled upon hearing the anger in his tone.
He was holding the knife he had and the Katteri’s blood started surrounding it. The blade changed colors from blue to purple to crimson.
The Katteri hissed as he retreated several meters away. I wasn’t sure what happened but it looked like the beauty he had a while ago got sapped together with his blood.
“His blade could absorb high quality blood,” Irus explained in a muffled voice.
The blade seemed to gleam brighter, as if it just got polished to perfection. Its crimson color looked menacing at night.
I stared at how it immediately weakened the Katteri. Nang akmang lalapit si Kei ay umatras naman lalo ang Katteri.
“A djall,” the Katteri hissed. I thought it would attack Kei but it suddenly fled.
“Coward,” he scoffed.
I was about to call him when I noticed that there were blotches on his face now . . . and it took me a few seconds to realize his sleeves were pulled around his elbow so those were his arms. They had turned purplish black now. Halos napasigaw kami nang bigla na lang siyang natumba.
“Kei!” sigaw ko habang patakbo kaming pumunta sa direksyon niya.
I put his head on my lap and made him drink the blood in the vial. He wasn’t responding to my calls anymore and that scared me more.
“Hey, pull yourself together, come on,” I murmured, hoping that he would at least move. “Come on. Please.”
“It’s not enough,” said Irus.
Napatingin ako sa kanya. I was about to say that he had to look for Kei but he grabbed the vial from me and requested for the other one kaya agad ko iyong binigay sa kanya. Nawala siya sa paningin ko at nakarinig ako ng ilang pagsigaw sa ibaba. Oh, damn, I hope he didn’t do anything weird.
Halos manginig ang kalamnan ko nang bigla na lang siyang lumitaw sa tabi ko habang hawak ang dalawang vial ng dugo. Kahit hindi pa ako kalmado ay kinuha ko iyon mula sa kanya at agad na ipinainom kay Kei.
We waited for several minutes but nothing happened. He still wasn’t responding.
“W-what should we do?” I asked, worried about his condition.
“It’s okay now, Lady.”
Pagtingin ko ay muli nang nakadilat ang mga mata ni Kei. The blotches on his skin and face were also gradually disappearing. Doon lang ako nakahinga nang maluwag. I wanted to lay there after that encounter even though I didn’t really do anything exhausting.
“Let’s go,” sambit ni Irus kaya napatingin ako sa kanya.
Bago pa ako makapagtanong ulit ay hinawakan niya ang bewang ko at inilagay naman niya sa balikat niya si Kei. The next thing I knew, I was already cursing his name as he cut through the crowd and places like a burst of high-speed and angry wind.