“Naomi?” Akira woke up and she looked at me, confused. “Hindi ka natulog? Aba, nahahawa ka na kay Akemi—wait, nasaan si Akemi?”
“She didn’t come back,” I said while scribbling symbols on the paper. Nagdecode na lang ako buong magdamag dahil hindi ako makatulog.
Dahil may klase pa kami ay nagprepare na kami ni Akira at tinigilan ko muna ang pagdedecode, though malapit na akong matapos sa first chapter. Nung paalis na kami ay saka lang bumalik si Akemi at sinabihan niya kami na mauna na lang kami.
“I heard you last night,” biglang sabi ni Akira kaya napatingin ako sa kanya. I maintained my calm expression and she eyed me with suspicion. “Why did you go to that place? After that, I can’t hear anything anymore. Alam mo namang restricted place ‘yun.”
“I didn’t notice,” sabi ko naman. “I was just following him.”
“Him?” A taunting smile formed on her lips.
“Yeah. Him. He and Akemi are acting suspiciously. Don’t you think?”
“Well, yeah. Pero for sure ay binabantayan din naman sila ng higher ups. Baka nga maging Council of Elders ay tinitignan ang kilos nila.”
Hearing the Council of Elders made my skin crawl. They are a group of advisers and counselors who help the leaders with their decisions and rules. Their loyalty to the tribe is absolute but that’s also the reason why they are perceived as cold and heartless. They will do anything to protect the Senshins and this place, even if it poses harm and danger to others.
“They are hiding their background,” dagdag ko. “And they must have a reason for doing that. I want to know those reasons.”
“You sound like Hideo,” sabi naman ni Akira. “Habang tumatagal, nagiging pareho na kayo ng takbo ng utak. Baka sa susunod niyan, hindi na namin kayo naiintindihan ha?”
Kumunot lang ang noo ko sa kanya at nagpatuloy kami sa paglalakad hanggang sa makarating kami sa klase ni Sir Kyo. Pagdating namin ay nandoon na rin sina Hideo at Mitsuo. Tumingin ako kay Mitsio pero agad siyang nag-iwas ng tingin at nagsanay na lang siya sa gilid.
“Mitsuo,” tawag ni Sir Kyo sa kanya at nagulat na lang ako nang bigla siya nitong sinugod.
I have learned fighting and self-defense during my childhood and in addition, Sir Kyo is training us in this class but when I saw their movements, it felt like all the lessons I took before was useless. The way they wield their weapons and how fast they change from offensive to defensive attacks weren’t normal. Of course, Sir Kyo’s abilities would be this good but for Mitsuo, it was surprising.
Suddenly, they stopped fighting and when I saw their final position, Sir Kyo’s short blade was pointed to Mitsuo’s neck.
“Just like your grandfather,” Sir Kyo said with a smirk on his face. “Though you’re still far below his level.”
Winidthraw ni Sir Kyo ang short blade niya at kita naman sa mukha ni Mitsuo ang inis. Did he really expect to win over Sir Kyo? And who is his grandfather?
Bigla ko namang naalala ang nakita ko sa isip niya before. He was with an old man and a child. Hindi kaya ‘yun ang sinasabing grandfather ni Sir Kyo? So ibig sabihin, may connection sina Sir Kyo at Mitsuo? Wait, hindi kaya dahil sa kanya kaya nakapasok dito si Mitsuo?
A Senshin can only be allowed to enter this place if he or she is born here, or through transferral. The administration will send letter to the guardians and school, or someone from Tantei High will recommend the Senshin to be transferred here.
Bumalik naman sa kasalukuyan ang isip ko nung narinig kong may tumawag sa akin. Doon ko lang narealize na nandito na rin si Akemi at tinuruan kami ni Sir Kyo ng ilang self-defense moves pati na rin sa pag-corner sa criminals kapag nakatakas sila.
After that ay umattend pa kami ng dalawang klase. Pagkatapos na pagkatapos nun ay mag-isa akong dumiretso sa dorm dahil magte-training pa sina Akira at Michiko, habang sina Akemi at Mayu naman ay may kanya-kanya ring lakad. Pagdating ko sa kwarto ay nakatulog agad ako dahil sa sobrang antok at pagod mula kagabi.
“Nathalie, listen. You should never allow anyone to invade your mind.” “Why, Mom?” I asked and she smiled at me. “Because they might search for your secrets and weaknesses. The power of our family is a gift, and a curse at the same time.” “A curse?” “Yes, child. Our minds are closed in default, hence, they will not be able to read them easily. However, once you opened it, your thoughts might overflow and they can overwhelm the person who’s reading them. That’s why you should never fully open your mind . . . to protect yourself and the people around you. Do you understand that, Nathalie?” “Yes, Mom.”
Bigla akong nagising at ramdam ko ang pagkahingal ko. Napapikit ako dahil ngayon ko nalang ulit napanaginipan ang pamilya ko. Buti na lang at agad akong nagising dahil naramdaman ko ang kaunting pagbukas ng isip ko, at buti na lang din ay mahimbing na ang tulog ni Akira sa tabi ko.
Nilibot ko ang paningin ko sa buong kwarto pero wala pa rin si Akemi kahit hatinggabi na. That girl. Maybe she’s lurking around the campus and forest again.
Dahil nakapagpahinga na ako ay kinuha ko ang librong hiniram ko kay Akemi at binasa ko ang nadecode ko last time.
The establishment of Erityian race started when Shinji, Veronika, Ivankov, Yllka, Edda and Ryou met each other and they became the pillars of it. However, due to opposing opinions and beliefs, they decided to group the Erityians according to their powers and abilities. Four tribes emerged from Erityians and they were called Senshin, Shinigami, Huntres and Custos. Shinji and Veronika led the Senshin tribe and they travelled across the world, while Shinji’s brother, Ryou, led the Shinigami tribe and he concentrated their force in Japan. The Huntres tribe was led by Ivankov and Yllka, while Edda led the Custos tribe.
The first chapter is just the summary of the beginning of the Erityian race and the succeeding chapters discussed the sixth sense and the power that lies beyond it. I’ll decode those parts later.
Kinuha ko ang cloak na nasa cabinet at lumabas ako ng dorm. Alam kong may curfew pero hindi talaga ako matatahimik hangga’t hindi ko nalalaman ang tungkol kina Akemi at Mitsuo.
Saktong paglabas ko ng dorm ay may nakita akong naglalakad papunta sa gubat, at gaya ko ay nakasuot din siya ng black cloak. Susundan ko na sana siya pero nagulat ako nung may narinig akong naglalakad sa likuran ko kaya agad akong nagtago sa likod ng puno sa may tabi. Sumilip ako at pagtingin ko ay si Hideo ang lumabas. She followed the cloaked person and now I’m sure that that was Akemi.
So he’s following her movements, too. I guess I don’t need to worry if he’s also making his moves.
“Is following someone your hobby? The both of you?”
Halos napatalon ako sa gulat nung may narinig akong nagsalita sa likuran ko at paglingon ko ay nakasandal sa katapat na puno si Mitsuo. Nakatingin siya sa direksyon nina Akemi at Hideo, at bumalik ang tingin niya sa akin. Huminga ako nang malalim para kumalma dahil hindi ko man lang naramdaman ang presence niya.
“A detective should always know how and who to follow, though,” I said. Napasandal naman ako sa puno nung bigla siyang naglakad papunta sa direksyon ko, hanggang sa nasa harapan ko na siya at nakatingala na ako sa kanya.
“But I am not someone you can follow carelessly,” he said with a serious tone and I can feel the goosebumps all over my body. The first thing that came into my mind is to escape but I don’t want to be seen as a coward. Not by him.
Hindi ko alam kung bakit pero hinampas ko siya nang sobrang lakas sa dibdib at sa braso. Pero ang hindi ko akalain ay nagulat siya at napaatras pagkatapos kong gawin ‘yun. Did I hit him too hard?
“Don’t intimidate me,” sabi ko at bigla kong naalala ang nangyari sa gubat noon. “I won’t allow you to intimidate me again.”
Tumingin lang siya sa akin at medyo nagulat ako nung nagbago ang expression niya and at the same time, the wall around his mind loosen.
I can see a huge, barren field, with crows, ravens and vultures flying around it. The sky was red because of the setting sun and it heightened the eerie scenery. I can also hear voices, some of them are angry and the others are wailing their hearts out. Standing in the middle of the field was an old man holding his weapon—a bardiche.
“Stop.” Napatingin naman ako bigla kay Mitsuo na seryoso ulit na nakatingin sa akin. Unti-unti ring nagsara ang isip niya to the point na hindi ko na mabasa ito. “Stop reading my mind.”
“I . . . I didn’t mean it.”
Bigla naman siyang tumalikod at naglakad palayo. Ang hindi ko maintindihan ay kung bakit ko piniling sumunod sa kanya. I silently followed him and I think he knows that I’m just behind him. But seriously, what’s with him? Siya ang unang kumausap sa akin tapos bigla na lang siyang aalis?
Tumakbo ako papunta sa kanya at pinalo ko ang likod niya, dahilan para humarap siya sa akin. Napaatras ako dahil nakakunot na ang noo niya.
“W-where are you going?”
“Bakit? Susundan mo na naman ako?”
“Yes. Because you’re too suspicious!” Pagkasabi ko nun ay nagbago ang expression niya. His tight expression loosened and for once, I saw him smirked.
“Who boldly tells someone they follow that they are suspicious? I don’t know if you’re brave or just plain stupid.”
This time, ako naman ang nagbago ang expression. I would accept it if he said something like strange, odd or brave but describing me as stupid? Wow. This guy got some guts.
“Hey.” I stepped forward and slapped him hard. “Call me anything but stupid because I am not.” After getting my fan from my side, I pointed it at him. “Remember that and I hope it won’t fade away from your memories.”
I thought he’ll be mad, fuming mad, but I was surprised by his sudden burst of laughter. Is this real? Mitsuo, the one who’s easily irritated, is laughing? Masyado bang naalog ang utak niya dahil sa lakas ng sampal ko?
“You’re funny,” sabi niya sa pagitan ng pagtawa niya at napabuntong-hininga na lang ako. What’s with this guy? Why is he describing me with adjectives that don’t characterize me? Stupid? Funny?
“And you’re insane.”
“You could say that,” he added and he smirked again. Even though it’s dark, I can still see the outline of his face, his intense green eyes and the curves of his lips.
“Really insane,” I whispered and my hand automatically hit his chest. He stepped backward and his smirk left his lips. ‘This girl’s punches and hits are really strong and hard. What the hell is she?’ ‘I heard that.’ ‘Shit.’ ‘I heard that, too.’
We both went quiet after that. I don’t know what happened but after a few seconds, we smiled at each other. And this time, I know that something has changed between us.