Ngayong nasa itaas kami ay nakikita ko ang nangyayari sa buong Capital. Lots of guardians were summoned and fighting against each other.
Nagulat naman ako sa boses na ‘yon at pare-pareho kaming napatingin sa gilid. A familiar face came into view as she maneuvered her guardian to our direction.
“And this is what I’m saying,” bulong ni Master. “Most of the Exorcists’ guardians are land type, but there are few of them that can fly.”
Lily flew to the other side, blocking us from Agnes and her condor.
“A mere Exorcist, huh?” sabi ni Master at nagbago ang expression ni Agnes. “If you want to fight against a Spirit Master, you should be of a Minister level, or you’ll just embarass yourself.”
Because of Master’s provocation, Agnes lost her cool and attacked us.
“Did I taunt her too much?”
“Looks like you did,” sagot ni Ryleigh.
Tumigil naman sa pag-atake si Agnes pero nanlilisik pa rin ang mga mata niya. Then we realized she’s chanting an incantation.
“Es hyva fe vies diaz. Morien alav sativa chroina il piero mergus. Comvien han!”
Nagulat ako no’ng narinig ko rin na nagchant si Master at halos sabay silang natapos. Spirit particles gathered around them and in a few seconds, they transformed into their half-animal forms, bearing their magnificent wings into view. But even before Agnes could launch an attack, a huge bird plunged from above and struck her with its talons.
She yelled in pain as blood trickled down her shoulders. Her attacker shrieked and when I looked at it on a closer view, I knew I was thinking about the right person. It’s an eagle, and that means . . .
Sinundan ko ang pinanggagalingan ng boses at nakita ko si Lexi sa tuktok ng isang mataas na puno. Pumito naman siya at agad siyang sinundo ni Charlie mula roon. Pumunta siya kung nasaan kami at gaya ni Master ay pumosisyon din siya sa harapan namin.
“Master, you shouldn’t waste your time with her,” sabi ni Lexi habang nakatingin kay Agnes. “Leave her to me and bring Reika to Hydra.”
Napanganga ako sa sinabi ni Lexi. I never thought that this day will come so soon. She looked and sounded like a true Divian.
“Spoken like a true Divian,” sabi sa kanya ni Master habang nakangiti pero dahil nasa unahan namin si Lexi ay hindi niya ito nakita. She also undid her half-animal form. “You’re becoming more and more dependable and strong, Lexi. As your Master, I am very proud.”
Hindi ko alam kung paano pero kahit nakatalikod si Lexi ay alam kong nakangiti siya dahil sa mga binitiwang salita ni Master. Me too. I am proud of her. When did you become so cool, Lexi?
“Then, we’ll be going, Lexi,” sabi ni Master pero napahinto kami no’ng nagsalita ulit si Lexi.
“How’s that, Reika?” Lumingon siya sa akin habang nakangiti. “I’ve open a path for you.”
Saglit akong natahimik at naalala ko ang sinabi nila ni Yano kanina habang nagpaplano pa lang kami. She really did it. Ngumiti rin ako sa kanya.
“Y-yeah. Thank you.”
After that, the three of us continued sailing the air, leaving Lexi with the enraged Agnes. Lumingon ako para tignan ang kalagayan ni Lexi pero hinarang ni Ryleigh ang sarili niya.
“Don’t. You’ll just distract yourself,” seryoso niyang sagot.
“But . . .”
“Do you trust her?”
“Then you don’t have to worry,” saka siya tumingin sa harapan. “She already gave you her word. The best thing you can do right now is to believe her.”
Natahimik ako sa sinabi niya at tumingin lang ako sa kanya. I thought he’s always confident when it comes to fights but I guess he’s also worried about the people around him.
“Did you hear that from Gavin?” biglang tanong ni Master at kumunot ang noo ni Ryleigh.
“So you just said the same thing, huh?”
I don’t know if I’m just hallucinating but I saw a change in her expression. She tried to smile but she can’t hide the loneliness displayed on her face.
“What do you mean?”
“He said those words when we were waiting for . . .” Nakita kong saglit na tumingin sa akin si Master at kahit na ganito ang kalagayan ko ay agad kong naintindihan ang gusto niyang sabihin.
“M-my parents,” pagpapatuloy ko at mukhang tama ako dahil sa expression ni Master.
“Yeah, but they didn’t come back.”
Her statement was followed by a long silence, an awkward and painful silence. Bigla ko tuloy naalala sina Mama at Papa. From what I’ve heard from different people, I’m starting to know what had really happened back then. I lived without knowing what was the reason for their death, and at the same time, fearing to know the cause of it.
Sabi ni Ryleigh, niligtas daw siya ni Mama noong umatake ang Exorcist sa village nila. That was nearly eight years ago, isang taon matapos nilang magpaalam sa akin. Ang alam ko ay halos isang taon ding nagtagal ang labanan ng Exorcists at Divians kaya naman isang taon din ang nakalipas bago ko malaman ang nangyari sa kanila.
Ayon naman kay Master, hindi niya alam na may anak sina Mama at Papa. Iyon ang pinagtataka ko. Bakit hindi alam ng Spirit Masters na may anak sila? Bakit ako tinago nina Mama at Papa?
Then I suddenly remember the unfamiliar memories I saw when I merged with Jerry during our training with Henric.
“Keep her away from here, Ramon. The Exorcist Seer knows the prophecy about the second.”
“But are you really sure it’s her? What if—”
“Ramon, for the sake of Kass, do it. This is an order.”
“Yes, Divine General. I will do everything to protect them. Let’s go, Jerry.”
The Exorcist Seer? Second? Does that mean the Divine General ordered my father to hide my existence? Is this related to the prophecy? But why me? Wait, the Exorcist Seer is Vesper, right? The one who attacked us in the village with her crow guardian? The same crow that kept an eye on us during training. Then, Vesper really knows who I am. But who exactly am I?
In addition, according to Arsen, the Divine General, my parents were also Spirit Masters. They fought during the Great Havoc together with the other Spirit Masters to drive the Exorcists away from the Capital. Lastly, those visions I had with the female voice and Ignus. I can still remember what he said but before he told that to the female voice, he said something about a curse and that really bothered me.
“Just because some of your precious Spirit Masters casted a cursed spell on me doesn’t mean I can’t do that. How about you, Princess? What can you do? Nothing—!”
Bigla akong kinabahan at para bang napagtatagpi-tagpi ko na ang mga nangyayari. Tumingin ako kay Master at nagulat siya, marahil ay dahil sa pagbabago ng expression ko.
“Master,” mahina kong sabi. “Did Ignus suffer from a curse?”
Nakita ko naman ang gulat sa mukha ni Master, at ang pagtataka sa expression ni Ryleigh.
“H-how did you know that?”
“She met him,” sabi naman ni Ryleigh.
“What?! You met him? You met Ignus?”
“N-not really. I just saw him. But Master, is he cursed?”
Natahimik ulit si Master at nakita kong pinag-iisipan niya ang dapat sabihin sa akin.
“Yes,” sagot ni Master at lalo akong kinabahan.
“T-then, who . . .” Napatigil ako no’ng seryoso na siyang nakatingin sa akin.
“Your parents. They were the ones who brought the curse to Ignus, and that was the cause of their death.”
Hinanda ko na ang sarili ko sa maririnig ko dahil iyon din ang naiisip ko matapos kong maalala ang sinabi ni Ignus, pero hindi ko pa rin kinaya ang sinabi ni Master. Tears streamed down my face as I reminisced my last moments with them.
“Reika, you should—!”
My tears were replaced with horror when I saw Master fell from Lily and a strange-looking creature snatched her in mid-air.
“Master!” I screamed and I felt Ryleigh’s arm around me, keeping me from falling. “Master!”
“T-Tortos! Verscheiden sie viel hyva mich han!”
Master chanted and an armor made of tortoise shell enclosed her whole body. She puched the flying creature’s talons with her hard gauntlet and it shrieked in pain, loosing its grasp. Master fell again but before she could call Lily, the creature started pursuing her again.
“R-Ryleigh!” Humarap ako sa kanya. “S-save her. Save my Master. Please,” I pleaded and without a second thought, he obliged.
“Kon, urino ras!” he chanted and Kon dove for Master.
But the creature was faster.
“Hue, musca ras.”
Suddenly, a huge parrot with mesmerizing colors appeared and before the creature could get Master, she landed off the parrot’s back.
“Isn’t it too early to be injured, Ariah?”
“Yeah, right. I was caught off-guard. Thanks, by the way,” sabay ngiti ni Master habang nakahawak sa bewang niya kung saan patuloy na umaagos ang dugo. “Astrid.”
Sa likod ng parrot ay nakasakay si Astrid at tumingin siya sa itaas, kung nasaan kami ni Ryleigh. Pagkatapos no’n ay tumingin siya sa umatake kay Master at pagtingin ko ay may nakasakay na rin sa likuran nito.
“Two Spirit Masters, one injured. Though I can still take down both of you, even in your strongest form.”
A guy was standing on the back of the flying creature. He looks like in the same age as Master and Astrid, but his long hair made him look older. His words intimidated me, and even Ryleigh, but Astrid and Master remained unbending. Nagulat naman ako no’ng biglang ngumiti si Astrid at unang beses ko lang din iyong makita.
“Stupid. Who said we’re going to fight you and your pteranodon?”
Maging ako ay napatigil sa sinabi ni Astrid at hindi ko naman maipaliwanag ang naging expression ng Exorcist na kaharap nila. Pero bigla na lang siyang tumawa.
“So you’re running away? What a fitting move for Spirit Masters like you.”
“What a real fool,” sabi ni Astrid at biglang lumipad ang parrot sa direksyon namin. “Look below you. It’s the Great Aquian Lake.”
Napatingin din kami sa ibaba at biglang napalitan ang expression sa mukha ng Exorcist.
“We’re not the ones who will fight you. It’s him.”
Right after that, a loud sound silenced the conversation and a giant creature emerged from the lake, reaching the flying creature and the Exorcist.
It’s a whale.
“It’s been a long time, Han.”
Below us, the flying creature plunged into the Lake, while the Exorcist managed to fell to the ground. Standing in front of him was a man on the back of a tyrannosaurus rex.
“Sir Gavin,” bulong ni Ryleigh.
“You kids,” biglang sigaw ni Astrid kaya naman napatingin kami sa kanya. “Let’s go. Gavin will hold him off.”
Tumingin saglit si Ryleigh sa ibaba at saka siya tumango. He ordered Kon to soar towards Hydra as we follow Astrid and Master.
Doon ko nakita ang nangyayari sa baba. The Divians were dispersed throughout the entire Capital while the Spirit Masters were surrounding the Hydra. They are the last line of defense. I saw them holding off and fighting against strong Exorcists, maybe Ministers, to protect the Hydra.
We were nearing Hydra when someone roared with laughter, overwhelming the Capital with that sound. But what terrified me the most was the sudden appearance of fire below us.
“He’s here!” sigaw ni Master at bigla silang tumayong pareho ni Astrid.
“Damn it, it’s not ready yet,” sabi naman ni Astrid.
But then a strong gust of wind separated us with them and out of the blue, a ring of fire surrounded us. Kon started to squirm because of the extreme heat around us, even hotter than my own temperature which Kon cannot withstand anymore.
“Kon, stay still!” Ryleigh ordered but to no avail.
Once again, the sinister laughter filled the air and the fire around us started to burn more. Then a creature appeared in front of us and when I saw its whole appearance, I started to feel the real terror. My body convulsed and Ryleigh tried to calm me down, but he as well, was shaking in fear.
“I finally found you, Princess.”
Ignus appeared in front of us with his guardian—a fire dragon.