Kei’s voice rang inside my head. The room was in complete darkness but I could make up its layout. He was sitting just a few meters away from me while Irus remained sleeping next to him.
I grimaced as I tried to pinpoint what part of my body was aching. My head was throbbing but it felt like it wasn’t the source of my nausea and restlessness.
“You must be hungry,” he pointed out.
Agad ko namang naramdaman ang gutom nang sabihin niya iyon. I realized I hadn’t eaten anything yet for the past few days.
When I learned that I was an undead, wala na kaming time para kumain. We were in constant danger that eating seemed to be out of options. In addition, Kei said the undead do not need to eat human food as our main source of nutrients is their blood.
My stomach churned upon imagining myself drinking human blood. Parang hindi ko kaya. Somehow, nagc-crave pa rin ako sa normal na pagkain.
“I . . . I can’t drink blood yet,” I murmured.
He chuckled in return. “Seems like you’re not thirsting for it yet.”
Agad naman siyang tumayo kaya sinundan ko siya ng tingin. He put on his leather jacket and cap and looked at my direction.
“Let’s go, Lady,” he said.
“We’re going to buy you some food.”
He was right. I wasn’t craving for human blood yet. Instead, I almost choked on my burger because I was too hungry and excited to eat properly.
He grimaced in disgust as he watched me eat “human” food even though he was two tables away from me. He said the stench of processed foods was too revolting for him but he didn’t want to leave me alone.
Fortunately, my body was still used to it. Pakiramdam ko ay malulungkot ako kapag dumating ang araw na maging ang mga paborito kong pagkain ay kamumuhian ko na rin.
Nang matapos akong kumain ay lumapit siya sa akin at umupo sa harapan ko. He scrunched his nose and looked at the leftovers with repugnance.
“Let’s go if you’re already finished, Lady,” he muttered.
Napangiti ako nang makita ko ang expression niya. He seemed to hate it so much. Maybe because it was too “impure”?
We were about to leave but I saw the young cashier staring at him. Wait, I didn’t even notice that she was the first “young” adult I had encountered since arriving in this place. Karamihan din ng nandito ay matatanda.
I tugged Kei’s jacket and glanced at the cashier’s direction.
“You think we could get some blood from her?” bulong ko.
He looked at me curiously. “Heh, you’re already adapting to this.”
“Well, you and Irus seem to get injured every now and then,” I teased.
Natahimik naman siya dahil doon pero agad din niyang inilabas ang vials mula sa bulsa ng jacket niya.
“Don’t worry, I already got two vials of blood from her,” he said while showing me the vials.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Really? Two vials?”
Muli naman akong napatingin sa babae. She looked dazed and upon closer look, mukhang mahihimatay na siya. Ni hindi man lang niya inalala ang kalagayan ng pinagkuhanan niya ng dugo.
Naglakad naman kami pabalik sa inn at tinanong ko siya sa kung ano ang plano namin.
“We just have to wait for the mage,” he stated.
“How do we know if the mage is here?”
He smiled. “We’ll just know.”
According to him, the mage agreed to meet us here in Kariota. Initially, the rendezvous point was supposed to be in Rusnia but he said they had to meet early because there were stronger creatures in the mainland and they would surely seek my blood.
We couldn’t travel to the Changla mountains, too, because those were the home of Jiangshi, the bloodsuckers of that country. Maalala ko lang ang itsura nila ay umiikot na ang tiyan ko.
“I have to go somewhere,” he said while we were already near the inn. “Stay close to Irus.”
Hindi ko na siya natanong dahil naglakad na siya palayo sa akin. Bumalik na lang ako sa inn at naabutan kong gising na si Irus. He was swinging his rapier in an unbelievable speed and he almost attacked me when I turned the doorknob.
“Lady,” he greeted while kneeling.
Umupo naman ako sa mattress at pinanood lang siyang mag-“training.” I couldn’t even follow his movements.
Bigla kong naalala ang pag-uusap namin noon. When I asked him why he couldn’t just drink my blood, he said something about a blood curse.
“Irus,” tawag ko. He stopped moving and turned to my direction. “What do you mean by that blood curse?”
Despite the darkness, I could see the subtle change in his gaze. He started walking toward me and I promptly felt intimidated. Well, of course I would be. He’s an assassin.
Nagulat ako nang umupo siya sa harapan ko at seryosong tumingin sa akin pero bigla siyang tumalikod sa akin. Then, he assumed a defensive stance.
“Lady,” he called, a hint of a warning.
I thought he was starting to train again but I suddenly felt a tremendous presence. My hands instinctively reached for the scarf around my head while I leaned against the wall. Irus stood in front of me, shielding me from whatever creature was exuding that kind of aura.
Then everything happened so fast that I didn’t have the time to process it. The next thing I knew, Irus had already slumped to the floor, unconscious.
“Irus!” I yelled while running toward him.
My body tensed when I heard heels clicking. And there it was. Amid the darkness, a pair of red eyes looked straight into mine.
Her earth-toned cloak fluttered as she walked. Her unnaturally red eyes and lips were almost glowing. She stopped a meter away from me and I positioned myself in front of Irus.
“W-who are you?” I asked, my voice trembling.
She smiled and subtly waved her hand. Suddenly, I felt a wave of nausea.
“Perhaps you are the youngest daughter of Zenus?” she asked, disregarding my question.
“W-who . . .”
“Then, you must die.”
Before I could even react, she had already taken a hold of my neck.