"My spirit particles, abilities and power are all yours, Second."
Kinilabutan ako sa sinabi niya. Learning the past was helpful but hearing her say that was a different thing.
When the High Seer recited the immortality prophecy, all of them stood frozen. After the last line, the High Seer lost her consciousness, making the advisers run to her.
Napatingin naman kami sa mga bagong dating. A general appeared behind them with a horrified look.
"What's the matter?"
"Several people are causing commotion in downtown and according to some reports, some of them transformed into animals and beasts."
"What did you say?!"
Natahimik silang lahat at rinig mula rito sa kwarto ang kaguluhan sa labas, habang patuloy pa rin ang pagkalat ng spirit particles sa buong lugar.
"Assemble our guards," the King said and the General obliged.
Pagkatapos no'n ay naulit na naman ang pag-ikot ng paningin ko at biglang nag-iba ang paligid. I gasped and yelled when I saw that I am standing midair but Phoebe suddenly appeared beside me and told me to calm down.
"Don't worry, we won't fall."
Then I remember, we're just made up of spirit particles here so our bodies aren't real.
"Where are we?" tanong ko no'ng kumalma na ako.
"At the boundary of three nations," she said while looking down and I saw armies of men marching from three different directions.
Pagkasabi niya no'n ay napatigil ako at kinilabutan sa mga susunod na mangyayari.
"What's worse is the existence of guardians," dagdag ni Phoebe at bigla namang nagkaroon ng kaguluhan sa baba.
Those who are in the front lines turned into guardians, and what's terrifying is I recognized some of them. I can't believe that I'm looking at them as humans turning into some sort of animals and beasts.
"Soldiers!" one of the Generals of the other army shouted. Napatingin naman ako kay Phoebe at nagbago ang expression niya habang pinapanood ang General. Tumingin ulit ako sa ibaba at napakunot ang noo ko dahil pamilyar ang itsura.
"And because of this war, my fate started to change. Do you remember the General who kneeled before the King?"
Doon ko narealize kung sino ang tinutukoy niya. The General who reported about the situation at the borders is him. But why is he on the enemy's army?
"When General Helios discovered that he has been blessed by a guardian, his greed took over and now he wants to be the king."
"He abandoned his nation and now he's the Defense Minister of Garya. Do you know his new alias?"
"W-what is it?"
"Hell," Phoebe said with a hint of distaste. "The same guardian used by Ignus."
Hindi ako nakahinga no'ng narinig ko 'yon. General Helios, who was once a Divian, betrayed his own nation for his ambitions. And because of him, the world experienced chaos.
As if on cue, General Helios, together with his soldiers, transformed into their respective guardians and my body trembled when I saw a fire dragon emerging from his spirit particles. With its magnificent wings, it soared above the armies and for a second, I thought he saw us, then I realized, we’re practically invisible here.
“Because of this war, I decided to follow my fate—the prophecy,” sabi ni Phoebe habang nakatingin kay Helios.
“No wonder,” bulong ko sa sarili ko. “You’re the princess of a kingdom so you have to protect it from him.”
“That’s true but the main reason was much more personal.”
Napatingin naman ako sa kanya matapos niyang sabihin ‘yon. I followed her gaze as she looked down and saw a familiar face.
“Don’t falter! Those who can transform, follow my lead!” sigaw ng isang lalaki. Bigla ko namang naalala kung sino siya dahil kay Phoebe. He’s one of his guards along with Arsen—Erno. He transformed into a guardian and I stood frozen when I saw his form.
“I-Isn’t t-that . . .”
“Yes. And he was my reason.”
He soared above them and came up against the fire dragon. On the other hand, the armies below started fighting, some with their guardians form and some with ordinary weapons.
“Because of the existence of guardians, the whole world has changed but the only thing that remained the same was every kingdom’s goal—to preserve and protect the royal family,” Phoebe said while looking intently at the guardians. “Do you know what people are saying during those times?”
Umiling naman ako. Right after that, successive explosions happened and Helios breathed a ball of fire towards the soldiers below him. I want to do something but I can’t since this isn’t even my real body.
“These beasts must protect the royal family,” biglang sabi ni Phoebe. “The strongest beasts must guard them to ensure their safety. That was what they were saying before. And in our kingdom, there was a particular phrase going on after attaining these powers.”
Tumingin siyang muli kay Erno at nakita ko siyang ngumiti. The guardian intercepted the fireball and protected his people with his huge and long body.
“The dragons should always protect the princess.”
Pagkasabi niya no’n ay kinilabutan ako, kasabay ng pag-atake ni Erno. Golden scales came off his body and turned into sharp blades. With a thunderous roar, the blades poured on the side of the enemies and at Helios. Seeing him here made me remember the present time.
“Kon,” I whisphered.
The scene shifted again, and this time, a familiar memory surfaced. Now I realized that I saw a fragment of Phoebe’s memories during that time, and it was because of our connection.
“Run away. You need to save yourself.”
“No. I am your knight and I will stay by your side.”
Standing in front of me, overlooking the kingdom, was Phoebe and Arsen. Then I realized that Erno wasn’t around. Suddenly, spirit particles gather around Phoebe.
“You need not to,” sabi ni Phoebe. “Because of me, Erno died. Because of my cowardice, I ran away from my fate, and all of these happened. If I had embraced this power from the start, I would’ve saved a lot of people. I didn’t deserve your protection and your life. I am a failure,” she cried as screams and explosions filled the kingdom.
“That’s not true,” Arsen said with a comforting tone. Pinunasan naman ni Phoebe ang luha niya at nagbago ang expression sa mukha niya.
“It might be too late but I want to protect everyone, even if it means embracing this curse.”
“Princess . . .”
With a glint of sadness in her eyes, she looked at Arsen and smiled at him. “That’s why you don’t have to follow me anymore, Arsen. You are now free.”
“No. Don’t do this,” Arsen pleaded.
“Please. I am bound to be alone for eternity. I won’t let you suffer the same fate.”
“And I am bound to be your protector. I won’t let you suffer alone so please, take me with you,” sabay luhod niya sa harapan ni Phoebe.
“Don’t do this. Please.” Muling tumulo ang luha ni Phoebe at naramdaman ko ang sakit na dinadala niya.
“Let me stay by your side. Let me share the curse you’re carrying alone.”
Just like what I saw from that dream, but much clearer, their longing eyes looked at each other. Arsen stood up and held Phoebe’s hand. She wants to protect him by walking the path alone but his undying loyalty for her left her confused and vulnerable. Even though I had seen this before, their deep bond and trust still left me open-mouthed. With that tension-filled atmosphere, they kissed each other, as the whole place was engulfed by fire.
The world spun again, this time faster, until everything’s blurry and the world turned black.
I jolted out of my sleep when I felt a tingle on my skin. Gasping, I rose up trying to remember everything. Then I saw Phoebe in the middle of the room, slowly opening her eyes with tears trickling down her face. Her eyes found me and I stood frozen as she keenly gazed at me.
After that travel from the past, I recited the immortality prophecy inside my head and now it made sense.
Unlimited power will be hers,
Accompanied by its curse;
Death can’t claim her spirit,
But few will be after it.
Fire will claim its flame,
And seal the owner and her name;
Until the second finds its way to her,
The world will fall as hell takes over.
“Do you understand the situation now, Reika?” tanong niya at lalo akong kinabahan. “Because of this dangerous and overwhelming power, I had no choice but to hide myself from people who want this for themselves. I had to seal it. Half of my power was sealed to a tablet, while the other half remained here with me.”
“Tablet? You mean . . .” Ngumiti siya sa akin.
“Yes. The immortality seal that the Exorcists are talking about is my tablet. The tablet that your parents protected until it was passed to you. That’s why you saw them when you marked me as your main guardian, since they used their own spirit particles to protect it and to relay their message to you.”
Hindi ko napigilan ang luha ko dahil naalala ko ang panahon na ‘yon. When I tried to Mark her for the first time, I miserably failed and it almost took my life energy. But I also saw the image of my parents during that time. I thought I was hallucinating but now I know that I wasn’t. Their smiling faces, that look like they were telling me that I can do it; the regret in their eyes, because they know they won’t be by my side; all of those were real.
“The prophecy about you being the Second was issued when they became Spirit Masters. That’s why when you were born, they immediately knew that it was you. Arsen told them the truth and they decided to meet me.”
Naalala ko naman ang nangyari noong unang beses kong nagawa ang half-animal form kay Jerry. A memory from my father surfaced and I saw him talking to Arsen. I felt a lump in my throat because I realized, while I was in the past, that I saw those memories because my father was once the Divian of Jerry and therefore after he died, his spirit particles became a part of his guardian.
“That’s why prior to the Great Havoc, they gave the tablet to you, so that the Exorcists won’t get it from them. They knew the danger of the power inside the tablet and they were scared that you might awaken it with the power that dwells in you at the wrong time, that’s why they put a Limiter seal in you.”
Hindi na ako makapagsalita dahil sa dami ng nalaman ko at hindi pa rin nagsisink-in lahat ng ‘yon sa utak ko. All these infomation are too much for me.
“And now that I removed the Limiter seal, the only thing left is for you to claim me,” sabi niya at napaatras naman ako.
“W-what? But you’re immortal aren’t you? Why can’t we just help each other in defeating the Exorcists? Why must it be just me?”
“This power isn’t mine anymore. The moment you were born, I had lost the control over it and I’m just merely containing these spirit particles. Didn’t you notice? When you came here, they excitedly went to you, because they finally found their owner after a long time.”
“But still . . .”
“And you say I’m immortal, right? I guess I should be happy because I can’t die but do you know the tragedy of immortality?” she asked and I felt the anguish in her words. “It’s seeing the people you love die as time goes by, while you’re stuck in your undying body. Even if you want to die, you just can’t.”
It felt like my heart was wrenched after hearing that and looking at her young form, she must have spent her time looking at her friends and people grow old and wondering why she can’t. She was given that power at a young age and I understand why she ran away from it.
“I’m sorry,” sabi ko sa kanya. “I’m sorry for being selfish.”
“I understand,” she said and she started walking towards me. “I was just like you when I got this power. Everyone is afraid of their own fate, especially if a lot of lives are in your hands.”
Nagulat naman ako nang bigla niya akong niyakap. It’s been a long time since I felt this kind of warmth—like the warmth a mother gives off when she hugs her child.
“It’s frightening to fight alone but I’m here with you,” she whisphered. “We’re going to fight alongside each other, so claim me and save everyone, Reika.”
With her comforting voice and warm aura, I nodded and an incantation formed inside my head.
“Reika . . .”
“Liberia prei,” I chanted and Phoebe glowed. The spirit particles in the room started to gather around us then suddenly, Phoebe became so bright that I couldn’t see her anymore, and then she exploded into a large concentration of spirit particles.
“. . . thank you for setting me free.”
Born on the night of silence,
The world shall know her existence;
The second shall awaken
The power that was taken;
Inheriting the name of the first
Free her from the curse;
Keep the world from the raging fire,
And soar across the sky.
And right here, the prophecy about me being the Second happened.