In the middle of the raging sea, A phantom island appears; Evil mist and harsh waves, A hell that invokes one's fears; Run, leave, never return, Or your soul will forever burn.
I remembered reading those lines in one of the books in the Cerebrum library. It was kind of weird to read something about a place I considered as home.
"Are you sure you're going alone?" asked Cliff as the three of us walked through the basement of Cerebellum.
His bloodshot eyes looked at me with concern while Jett continued fiddling with his guns. We became busy after the whole ordeal with Nox. They were tasked to clean the mess in that place while the Commander gave me a special mission.
"Shima, huh?" Jett muttered. "Well, I'm the only one capable of going there besides the Commander," I said. Cliff sighed. "Nel would surely look for you."
The mood instantly went down after mentioning her name. I felt a pang of guilt and anger when I remembered what happened to her during the battle with Nox. As a Keeper, I was supposed to keep my team safe but she almost died because of my shortcomings.
We visited her in the Stem Division, where she had to undergo several surgeries because the stimulant she consumed was slowly destroying her organs, and most of her bones and muscles were broken and torn.
I never believed in gods but for the first time, I silently prayed. I just wanted to see her awake and okay before I go.
After the visiting hours, I retired to my room and stared vacantly at the ceiling. My body was tired but my mind was too active. I was about to go to the bathroom but I received a message from Commander Priam so I immediately went to his office.
"Agent Naia," he called. "Are you sure you can handle this?"
I nodded without a second thought. Only the leaders of the tribes have the authority to enter Shima from the outside but his hands were full with the aftermaths of the Nox's downfall. As someone who had lived there for quite some time, he asked me to bring the criminals to that place.
Truthfully, I was a bit surprised that he knew my past. When I first arrived here, I was sure I modified my background to prevent them from knowing my connections with Shima. I was just thankful that he didn't ask anything about it.
"Here," he said while giving me a remote-like device. "This is?" "A device we developed with the help of the Senshins." "Senshins?" "There are too many executives for you to escort and it will be too risky for you to handle them alone. Hence, this." "And how does it work?"
"It incorporates the teleportation process developed by the Senshins into our size-modification technology. Once you're in Shima, just press the button and the cell where the criminals are currently imprisoned will be instantly transported through shrinking and teleportation."
I stared at the device in awe. Senshins and Custos were really stepping up their game in this field.
"Good luck and come back alive," he said and I saluted. "Roger, Commander."
I was admiring the device as I walked to my room when I saw a figure standing on the doorway.
"What? Do you want me to check that?" I asked while pointing at the pistol on his waist band.
Jett quietly followed me as I entered my room and he remained standing while I sat on the side of my bed.
"You're really going alone," he softly said. "Yeah. Alone," I emphasized.
Even though Cliff and Jett didn't say it out loud before, I knew they wanted to come with me, but it would be hard to travel with outsiders. I didn't want to risk their lives.
"But—" "No," I firmly said. "You won't last a minute there."
In a splitsecond, the tip of my sword came in contact with his neck and he stood still, a trickle of sweat running down his face.
"If you can't even defend yourself against that, then no." "that's unfair," he complained. "I wasn't prepared." I sheathed my sword and smiled at him. "The unprepared are the first to die," I said as I picked up my luggage. "Don't miss me too much."
I was ready to leave my room but halted when I heard him call my name.
"Naia." Turning around, I caught the pistol he just threw at my direction. "Keep safe."
A smile escaped my lips upon hearing that line.
"I'm a Keeper," I said. "I need to stay alive to keep my team from dying."
The smile on my face faded as I marched away from the place that sheltered me since I was young. It's time to return to the place of curses and chaos.