I feel odd. The spirit particles feel hot yet my skin isn’t burning. They have surrounded me yet I don’t feel suffocated. In fact, I can feel the familiar warmth of Phoebe and I her last words were still ringing in my ears.
“Reika, thank you for setting me free.”
Her whole life, she was imprisoned by time, and it must have been so hard for her. I really want her to stay by my side, with his physical and real body, but I’m sure that for a long time, she wanted to escape her curse. She wanted to be normal.
For some time, the spirit particles stayed around me but then, they started to vanish into thin air. From that moment, I have come to realized that I was alone in this room and Phoebe wasn’t with me anymore. Panic began to swallow me because I don’t have any idea what to do next. I was about to breakdown when I heard a noise outside.
“Exsto,” I chanted and a door appeared on the wall. Agad akong lumapit doon at pagbukas ko ay nakita ko kaagad sila.
“Reika!” sigaw ni Lexi matapos niya akong makita. Ilang oras pa lang naman kaming nagkahiwalay pero pakiramdam ko ay sobrang tagal na no’ng huli ko silang nakita. Niyakap ako ni Lexi at naluha ako dahil doon ko naramdaman ang takot sa pagiging mag-isa.
“You look . . . different,” sabi naman ni Ryleigh habang nakatingin sa akin.
“What happened?” tanong ni Yano.
Ngumiti na lang ako sa kanila at sinabing mamaya ko na lang sasabihin ang nangyari dahil hindi ko rin alam kung paano sisimulan ang kwento.
“Ano nang nangyayari sa labas?” tanong ko naman at biglang nagbago ang expressions nilang tatlo.
“The Spirit Masters and the Divine General are still fighting against the Ministers and Ignus, but the Divians are being pushed back. Some of their guardians have died,” sagot ni Yano.
No’ng narinig ko ‘yon ay agad kong naalala ang Divine General noong bata pa siya. Bigla ring bumigat ang pakiramdam ko dahil sa ginawa ko. He promised to stay by her side but I claimed her, and now, he’s alone.
“Let’s go,” I said and the four of us ran to the balcony.
Agad akong napatigil no’ng nakita ko ang nangyayari sa labas. I can hear the cries and roars of the guardians and there are spirit particles everywhere. In the middle of the Central, the hydra and the two dragons were still fighting, as well as Ignus and Arsen, but the Spirit Masters weren’t there.
“Where are they?” tanong ko.
“The Spirit Masters?” Napatingin naman ako kay Lexi. “They’re helping the Divians and at the same time, fighting the Ministers.”
“Let’s help them.”
All of them agreed and Ryleigh and Lexi both summoned their flying guardians. I was about to call Phoebe but I froze when I heard her voice.
“Not yet, Reika.”
“Phoebe?” Inikot ko ang tingin ko, nagbabasakaling makita siya, pero kami lang ang nandito. “Where are you?” Narinig ko naman ang mahina niyang pagtawa.
“You already claimed me, remember?”
“I have a large amount of spirit particles, that’s why I still have my essence, but after a few hours, even my consciousness will disappear.”
Dahil sa sinabi niya ay nakaramdam ako ng matinding lungkot. I don’t want her to disappear.
“Don’t worry. Even if I disappear, the guardian Phoebe will always be by your side. So stay strong, Reika.”
I nodded while keeping myself from crying. Huminga ako nang malalim para mapakalma ang sarili ko. Tumingin naman ako sa kanila at sumakay sina Lexi at Yano kay Charlie. Both of them headed below with an outstanding speed. Kon also appeared in front of us and Ryleigh looked at me with a troubled expression.
“Why?” tanong niya.
“I . . . I can’t use Phoebe yet,” sabi ko naman.
Umakyat siya sa railings ng balcony dahil sa posisyon ni Kon. Pagtingin ko kay Kon ay naalala ko bigla si Erno, one of Phoebe’s general and close friend. He’s one of the reasons why she chose this difficult and lonely path. Looking at Kon, I suddenly realized why he always stays above the ground: he sworn to stop Hell and to protect his comrades from midair attacks. From his human form to his guardian form, he still follows his word.
“Then come with me.” Nabaling ang tingin ko kay Ryleigh na nasa taas ng railings. He pulled me up and we both got on Kon’s back.
After Phoebe showed her memory, the guardians didn’t look the same anymore. Now, I am always reminded that they were once humans.
Pagsakay namin kay Kon ay agad kong nakita ang sitwasyon sa Central. I saw some Spirit Masters engaging a battle with Ministers. Directly below us was Tito Leon with his chimera, Largus, and the Minister Garan. Beside him were a chameleon and a black panther who attacked the Divine Camp before. Tito Leon is dressed in an armor and this is the first time I saw him fighting as a Spirit Master. He’s usually laidback and casual but right now, he looks intimidating. Pero nagulat ako nang bigla na lang may matinis na tunog ang nanggaling mula sa ilalim.
The next thing I knew, huge talons were already gripping my body. My senses came back to me and I realized that this was Bridgette’s guardian.
“You’ll be a nice present to Lord Ig—!” Her jeering tone was suddenly replaced with a sharp cry and I used that moment to free myself from the guardian. With just a flick of my finger, a blue fire appeared on my hands and I touched the vulture’s talon. After a few seconds, the vulture screeched and its grasp loosen, causing me to fall. Luckily, Kon’s long and wide form was just below me and I ended up falling to him.
“Are you okay?” tanong kaagad ni Ryleigh at tumango naman ako.
“You’re too loud.” Halos sabay kaming napatingin no’ng marinig namin ang boses na ‘yon. On our right, Astrid appeared with her parrot and several paper seals were floating around her.
If I remember correctly, she became a Master because her skills in seals are second to none. Bigla naman siyang napatingin sa amin.
“You succeeded, huh,” she said and I was surprised when he bowed her head to me.
“You wench!” Bridgette shrieked as she removes the seal covering her lips. Nakita ko namang nagbago ang expression ni Astrid at tumingin siya kay Bridgette.
“What did you call me, angry bird?”
I was reminded that she’s a Spirit Master when I felt her threatening presence. Astrid was about to launch her attack when she suddenly froze, her arms hanging in midair, even her guardian can’t move. I was ready to jump when I saw her eyes, telling me to not move. But before we could even react, our movements were already stopped.
“Are these . . . strings?” sabi ni Ryleigh habang sinusubukan niyang tanggalin ang kung anumang nakapulupot sa katawan niya.
“Q-Queen! Sal-ve!” Napatingin naman kami kay Astrid no’ng bigla siyang nagsummon. A pair of yellow bee appeared in front of her but they flew away from her. Bridgette laughed and she moved closer to Astrid whose movements were confined.
“Your guardians aren’t helping you! What a sight!”
“Oh, yeah?” Napatigil naman sa pagtawa si Bridgette nang biglang ngumiti si Astrid. “If you want to fight with a back-up, then I need one, too.”
After a few seconds, someone shrieked from the high trees and Agnes showed up with a wound on her shoulder. The yellowbees appeared again, and Adrielle was on one’s back.
“Oh, c’mon Astrid, I don’t work as a backup!” she said as she cut the strings coming from the spider’s mouth. “Anyway, thanks for the ride.”
Astrid, Ryleigh and I were freed from the strings, as well as the guardians. The two Spirit Masters stood back to back with each other while riding the flying guardians.
All of a sudden, a loud, blazing alarm caught the attention of everyone. Then, a familiar voice spoke.
“All citizens have been evacuated. I repeat, all citizens have been evacuated. Divians and Spirit Masters, you can now fight with your full power.”
That was Henric.
“Oohh. That brat is finally moving,” sabi ni Adrielle.
“Well done, strategist,” dagdag ni Astrid.
Bigla namang tumingin sa akin si Astrid kaya napaatras ako.
“Do you remember what I said about the Limiter seal?” tanong niya at tumango naman ako. “It is used to control an overwhelming power since it limits their strength, stamina and power,” sabi niya at bigla nalang silang napalibutan ni Adrielle ng spirit particles. However, those spirit particles were concentrated on a specific body part. “Yours was a Limiter seal, but for us, it’s the seal of the Spirits.”
Symbols started to project from their bodies and when I looked at Tito Leon below, the same case is happening to him.
“Now I understand,” Ryleigh whispered while gaping at them. “Did you know the aliases of the Spirit Masters?” Umiling ako habang nakatingin pa rin sa kanila. “Leon the Beast, Ariah the Shadow, Gavin the Blade, Astrid the Wisdom, Lark the Claw, Adrielle the Angel and Henric the Prodigy. I heard the Divians saying those a while ago, and now I know why.”
Just like what happened to them when Arsen summoned his hydra, different symbols appeared and they all transformed into their respective hybrid forms.
“Now, Exorcists, time to meet your demise,” Adrielle said and she immediately attacked Agnes.
“Leave the Exorcists to them.” Napatingin ulit ako sa paligid no’ng narinig ko ang boses ni Phoebe. “Help Arsen, Reika. Help him stop Ignus. And let me meet him for the last time.”
With her sorrowful voice, my desire to help them grew stronger. Tumingin ako kay Ryleigh at napatingin din siya sa akin.
“Phoebe, sal-ve!” I chanted and her guardian form came into view. I didn’t feel any exhaustion and I still can’t believe that I’m powerful enough to call her without losing my stamina.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I need to make someone’s wish come true,” saka ako ngumiti sa kanya. “Stay here and help them.”
“I’ll go with you,” sabi niya pero pinigilan ko siya. I think he still thinks that he need to protect me for the sake of my parents who gave up their lives for the people, and he’s one of them.
“Ryleigh,” sabay tingin ko sa mga mata niya. “They need you here. I’ll be back.”
Sumakay ako kay Phoebe at tuluyan na kaming lumayo sa kanila pero patuloy kong naiisip ang prophecy. It’s meaning is now making some sense but the last part troubles me.
The dead shall take the blame,
And the Divian burns in flame.
Sorry, Ryleigh, but I think I won’t come back.