Mitsuo shot the two Shinigamis that jumped off the building but they easily deflected it using the debris falling with them. Using my steel fan, I cut the falling debris into smaller parts to lessen their impact to us.
“You must be Naomi,” sabi ng babaeng Shinigami at nagulat naman ako dahil kilala niya ako.
“Who are you?” I asked and I changed into a defensive stance. She landed in front of me while the guy is keeping Mitsuo busy.
“Let’s just say I have a personal grudge against you.”
“Typical for a Shinigami to have a grudge over something that doesn’t actually matter,” I said. Nagbago naman ang expression niya. Suddenly, she drew her dagger and pointed it at me. “It does matter since you have something you stole away from me.”
“I never stole anything from anyone.”
‘Haruka, don’t be too involved.’ ‘But it’s true. I just want to tell her that, Daiki.’
Upon hearing their inner voices, she lunged at me and I caught her dagger between the slits of my fan. But before I could even make a move, she retracted it and backed away. Nagulat naman ako nang bigla siyang ngumiti.
“I knew you would do that,” sabi niya at napataas naman ang kilay ko.
“Oh really?” I retorted.
This time, I initiated the attack. Gripping my fan, I jumped towards her ready to slash her with my attack, but she fended it off using another dagger on her left hand. My fan was caught between her daggers and she twisted it, making me lose my balance.
“Yup. Using your knife to slash me.”
I fell on my back and she’s already above me. Before she could thrust her dagger, I rolled sideways and quickly stood up. She ended up plunging the ground but without even looking, she threw her other dagger at my direction. My mind tells me that I should avoid it but my body moved by itself. I blocked the dagger using my fan and I was pushed backward due to the force of her throw. I was about to shove it but all of a sudden, I heard a scream coming above us. But what surprised me more was the card buried on my leg.
My knees gave up on me as I feel the pain coursing through my leg. Nagpanic ako dahil baka makita itong opportunity ni Haruka para umatake pero mas pinili niyang tumakbo sa direksyon ng kasama niya. Pagtingin ko ay may card din na nakabaon sa balikat niya at agad siyang tinulungan ni Haruka.
“Akemi!” sigaw ni Mitsuo at sabay-sabay kaming napatingin sa kanya. She fell hard on the ground. “Are you okay? Saan ka galing?” sigaw ni Mitsuo kahit sa likuran niya bumagsak si Akemi at hindi niya tinatanggal ang tingin kina Haruka at Daiki.
Bumangon naman si Akemi sabay sabing, “Rooftop. Nakita ko ‘yung Custos doon kanina pero hindi ko siya napigilan.”
“The agent is there?” rinig kong tanong ni Dana.
“Sorry Senshins, we still want to play with you but we don’t have enough time,” sabi naman ni Daiki.
Pinilit kong tumayo at lumakad palapit sa kanila. Kasabay no’n ay ang pagbubukas ng Black Dimension at agad namang pumasok ang Shinigamis. I was already near them when my body collapsed due to the wound on my leg. Akemi ran to me and pulled the card. She tore a small part of her shirt and tied it on my wound.
“Sorry! Hindi ko sinasadya. Dahil sa hangin, nagbago ‘yung trajectory ng target.”
“It’s okay. At least, nasugatan din si Daiki,” sabi ko.
“The male Shinigami. And the female one is Haruka.”
Lumapit naman sa amin si Mitsuo at nagpabalik-balik ang tingin niya sa amin.
“Shit. Hindi ko kayo kayang buhating dalawa,” sabi niya habang nakakunot ang noo.
“Don’t worry about me. Kaya ko namang maglakad. Buhatin mo na si Naomi.” Nagpanic naman ako sa sinabi ni Akemi.
“What?! No, no. Kaya ko ring tumayo,” sabi ko at sinubukan kong tumayo pero hindi naman nakikisama ngayon ang binti ko.
“Careful.” Mitsuo caught me and I realized that that was the same thing he said before. Tumingin ako sa kabilang direksyon dahil may nangyayaring kakaiba sa mukha ko. Why does it feel so hot all of a sudden?
He shifted his position and carefully put me on his back. I hesitantly grabbed his shoulder but I froze when he turned his head.
‘You’ll fall.’ ‘W-what?!’
Bigla naman niyang kinuha ang braso ko at inayos niya ang pagkakahawak ko. My arms enveloped his neck and shoulders and I’m worried that he might feel my erratic heartbeat. He started to walk slowly because of Akemi’s sprained foot. Just when I’m thinking that we’re getting nowhere, we heard a voice in front of us.
“What are you doing?” Pagtingin namin ay nandoon si Hideo at mukhang naguluhan sa itsura naming tatlo.
“Her leg is wounded. Akemi’s foot is sprained,” Mitsuo quickly explained and Hideo checked Akemi’s foot. Pabalik na sana kami kay Miyu para sa treatment nang biglang naglakad si Akemi.
“Where are you going?” tanong ni Hideo.
“Huh? Babalik kay Miyu.”
“With that sprained foot?”
Without saying anything, Hideo pulled Akemi and put her in his back. When we arrived at our place, I felt so embarassed because of our situation and I knew that those two won’t let this chance pass.
“Uso na ba ngayon ang piggyback ride pabalik sa sasakyan?” tanong kaagad ni Michiko.
“Pfft. Nakakatawa ‘yung itsura niyo,” dagdag pa ni Akira.
Sabi na nga ba.
Binaba niya ako sa loob ng sasakyan at hindi na ako makapagsalita sa sobrang pagod. Basta ang alam ko na lang ay nakatulog ako sa byahe.
“Ikaw na ba ang bahala sa kanya?”
Nagising naman ako dahil sa ingay at naramdaman ko ang pag-angat ng katawan ko. Pagmulat ko, nakita ko kaagad si Mitsuo. He’s carrying me in his arms.
“Where are we going?” tanong ko kaagad.
Tumahimik kami pareho pagkatapos no’n. Pagdating namin ay ibinaba niya ako sa kama at agad siyang umalis. Sakto namang pumasok si Yuuki.
“It’s been a long time since you got yourself injured, Naomi,” bungad niya at ngumiti na lang ako.
“Maybe my senses are giving up on me.”
“Anyway, who’s that guy? ‘Yong nagdala sa’yo rito?”
“New member of the Atama family.” Mukhang nagulat siya sa sinabi ko dahil sa expression niya.
“Wow. Ngayon na lang ulit nadagdagan ang Atama. So you mean the girl in the other room is new too?” tanong niya at tumango naman ako.
Nagkwentuhan pa kami tungkol sa kung anu-ano bago pumasok si Dr. Miwako. She injected an anaesthesia before doing something about my wound and I fell asleep.
“Is she okay now?”
“Yes but she needs to rest.”
“I’ll leave then.”
I was about to open my eyes but when I heard that, I decided to pretend asleep a little longer. Alam kong si Yuuki ang isang nagsalita pero hindi naman ako makapaniwala na narinig ko rin ang boses ni Mitsuo. Why is he here?
Ilang minuto pa ng katahimikan ang nangyari pero naging alert ako nang maramdaman kong may nagbukas ng pinto ng kwarto ko.
“Looks like your foot is okay.”
“Yeah. Ang effective ng treatment nila.”
It’s Akemi’s voice.
“Why did you stay here?”
“I felt responsible for what had happened.” Napatigil naman ako no’ng narinig ko ‘yon kay Mitsuo.
“Pero ako ang may kasalanan.”
“Pero kung naging mas mabilis ako sa kilos ko, sana hindi kayo nandito. I was there but I can’t even protect both of you. I’m a man but I let two girls to get hurt in front of me.”
Siya ba talaga ang nagsasalita? I can’t believe those words came from his mouth. Suddenly, I have this urge to open my eyes and look at his expression right now, but that might ruin the situation.
‘I didn’t expect him to be a gentleman. Ang tumatak na impression ko sa kanya ay short-tempered and cold pero ngayon ay nasaksihan ko ang pagiging caring niya. Wow.’
I silently agreed with Akemi’s thoughts. He looks mad and unapproachable all the time but right now, he’s like a different person. Is it because of Akemi? Bakit sa kanya lang? Pati si Akemi ay hindi rin naman ganito. Is there a connection between them?
“I know that you see me as aloof and unapprochable, but I really care for people who appreciate me.”
Nagulat naman ulit ako sa sinabi ni Mitsuo pero may kakaiba akong naramdaman. Nagkaroon bigla ng tension sa room dahil sa sinabi niya at tumahimik silang dalawa ng ilang minuto.
“I’m from a family of executioners.”
Bigla akong nahirapang huminga. Tama ba ang narinig ko? Executioners?
‘We’re the same, huh? Born and raised to be killers.’
I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I’m pretending to be asleep. Hindi ko akalaing maririnig ko ang mga salitang ‘yon sa kanila. Ni hindi ko na napakinggan nang maayos ang pag-uusap nila dahil sa mga salitang ‘yon.
Executioners . . . Killers . . .
That’s why they don’t want to talk about their backgrounds and they keep on building walls around them. They don’t want people to know about their past. But . . . does that mean they’re bad?
Naramdaman ko naman na may naglalakad at biglang sumara ang pinto. Sino ang umalis? Silang dalawa ba? Didilat na sana ako pero napatigil ako dahil may nag-ayos ng kumot ko.
‘Maybe coming here is a wrong decision after all. Damn it, old fart. This is all your fault.’
Naramdaman ko naman na papalayo na siya sa akin at hindi ko alam kung ano ang dapat kong gawin. In the end, I followed what I want to do and it was too late when I realized that it was a stupid move.
“Are you really . . .” I opened my eyes and he stopped walking. “Are you really an . . . an executioner?”
This is too stupid, Naomi. Are you out of your mind? Now I can’t take it back.
Nanatili siyang nakatayo roon at hindi ko alam kung ano ang iniisip niya ngayon. I can’t read his mind anymore. Sinubukan kong umayos ng posisyon at nagawa ko namang umupo.
“So you heard it, huh?” he calmly said and his tone was bone-chilling.
“Dapat ba ay hindi ko malaman? Si Akemi lang ba ang pwedeng makaalam?” tanong ko at bigla naman siyang lumingon sa akin.
“Akemi and I, we’re kind of the same. We’re hiding something that shouldn’t be revealed and we clearly don’t belong here.”
“But both of you ended up here,” sagot ko at nabigla ako no’ng lumapit siya sa akin. Umupo siya sa gilid ng kama ko at ngayon ay magkaharap na kami.
“That’s why I’m regretting that decision.”
His intense gaze is making me dizzy but I don’t want to lose my composure. I stared back at him, wondering why my heartbeat is getting faster. Am I scared? Nervous?
“Why?” tanong ko. “Is it because you can’t kill people anymore?”
The next thing happened so fast, I didn’t have any time to react. His gun is now pointed at my temple and he’s itching to pull the trigger.
“I don’t think so,” he whisphered. “I can easily pull this trigger if you want to,” he said in a threatening remark. My mind went blank for a second but after looking at his eyes, I regained my calmness.
“Then kill me,” I challenged and he was taken aback. “I’ll believe your words if you kill me. Pull it,” I said while putting my hand on his gun but he immediately pulled back. “So you can’t.”
Lumayo siya sa akin at kinabahan ako sa pagsigaw niya. I can definitely feel his rage and I know that I have crossed the line.
“Stay away from me,” malamig niyang sabi at saka nagmartsa papunta sa pintuan.
“Don’t want to,” I replied.
“You’ll regret this,” sabay sarado niya sa pinto at doon ko narealize na kanina pa pigil ang hininga ko.
He’s rough around the edges but deep inside, I know he’s kindhearted. I know I might regret my decision someday but I want to know him more. I want to know the reason why I’m attracted to someone like him.