“How is she?” tanong ko nang makarating kami sa ospital kung nasaan si Kana. We were lucky that the nearest one has an Erityian specialist or else, we would be forced to bring her in our own medical facility inside the campus. “Her vitals are starting to stabilize,” Dr. Gardan said and my knees collapsed upon hearing his words. “But we still need to observe her for the next few hours.” Napaupo ako sa tabi nina Hiroshi at Hayate na kasalukuyang nagbabantay sa kanya. We got our first criminal but the cost was high. “Good job for bringing her as quick as possible. If you were late for even a few seconds, I don’t know if I could still save her,” sabi niya at lalo lang nanghina ang buong katawan ko. Hayate and Hiroshi explained everything to me. Apparently, the syringe contained a cholinergic poison which works like a nerve agent. They discovered that Antonio Salazar must have some kind of antidote in case something happened and I was thankful they were both quick thinkers and could keep calm even in that kind of situation. Humdrums do not have a guaranteed treatment for this kind of incident but Dr. Gardan assured us that she’d survive given how advanced our own medical researches and approaches are. “You two,” biglang tawag ni Hiroshi kaya napatingin kami sa kanya. “I told you that weapon transportation has yet to be completed.” Napalunok ako nang makita ko kung gaano katalim ang tingin niya sa amin. When he removed his eyeglasses, I knew we’d get an earful. He turns into a nagger when his creations are put into jeopardy, especially when we are one of the reasons. “Apologies,” Hayate immediately said. “We didn’t expect Shinigamis to intervene, so we had to,” he explained. “H-he’s right,” dagdag ko naman. “But we promise, it won’t happen again.” My statement was followed by an uncomfortable silence. Hiroshi was still glaring at us and I wasn’t sure if this growing tension would affect Kana’s condition since the doctor said we should let her rest without getting any disturbance. I was already imagining the worst-case scenario but it immediately got pushed at the back of my mind when Hiroshi heaved a sigh. That was close. I thought he’d go berserk. “A-Anyway . . .” I said, breaking the silence. “What happened to the weapons? Where are they?” Hiroshi heaved another sigh of frustration. “In the lodge. You know that I’m still trying to figure out how reverse teleportation works.” “We’re really sorry,” dagdag ko ulit. Hindi naman na siya nagsalita matapos no’n. We were all exhausted after what happened today. Hindi ko alam na ganito pala kahirap ang last requirement para maka-graduate. We got trained for this kind of work when we took our Fielding subject but the difficulty of apprehending criminals with A and S ranks exceeded our expectations. “It’s been a long day. We have to rest,” sabi ni Hayate. “Shall we go back to our apartment?” tanong ko. “How about her?” sabay tingin ni Hiroshi kay Kana. “Dr. Gardan said she’s out of danger,” Hayate replied. “We’ll be back tomorrow.” “Okay.” *** Napahiga na lang ako sa sahig nang makapasok kami sa lodge namin dahil sa mga nangyari ngayong araw. Dumiretso naman sina Hayate at Hiroshi sa Japanese table na nasa gitna ng sala. Hayate set up his laptop and communication devices while Hiroshi pulled some wires along with the weapons we summoned while fighting the Shinigamis. “Reina,” tawag ni Hayate at bigla niyang binato ang KT devices naming apat sa direksyon ko. “What—! Hey!” Buti na lang at nagawa kong masalo lahat kahit nakahiga pa ako. Bumangon naman ako at sinamahan sila sa table. “Log all that happened today,” Hayate ordered. “You know that we can’t leave our journals blank.” Oo nga pala. Muntik ko nang makalimutan. Sir Eiichi would definitely think something happened to us if he didn’t see our reports for today. “Fine. How about you two? Anong ginagawa n’yo?” “Now that you have summoned your weapons here, the Technology department staffs are probably aware of my research by now.” “Teka, anong ibig mong sabihin? You mean, hindi nila alam?” “Of course. I had to sneak in and out of the department for the tools and books I needed to develop the teleportation method—!” “You idiot!” I yelled after giving him a punch in the head. “What the he—!” “You should have told us,” dagdag naman ni Hayate. “Would it matter? You’d still summon your weapons if a Shinigami appears,” he argued. “But still!” “It’s okay. As long as they don’t know where the weapons were teleported, they won’t be able to trace me.” Nagsimula naman siyang mag-run ng program sa laptop niya. “It’s that old man’s fault.” “Old man? Hey, have some respect! Sir Aiwa is your grandfather!” “He said I can only have access to the restricted rooms and laboratories in the Technology department when I’m already a graduate. He didn’t even retract his order after his death. What kind of nonsense is that?” Sir Aiwa did a wise decision, I think. Hayate and I grew up with Hiroshi and we know how dangerous his creations could be. I remembered getting chased by mechanical pencils because I pissed him off. Hayate once had to hide in the east side of the forest for a day because he accidentally poked Hiroshi’s eye. He made holograms of beasts to chase Hayate and the teachers had to calm him down. ‘Why are you even reminiscing that?’ Hayate asked. Oh. So he decided to read my mind. ‘Heh. Are you embarrassed? How cute.’ ‘Getting chased by pencils is more embarrassing, don’t you think?’ Pfft. Akala niya naman maaasar ako sa gano’n? “Teleportation, aside, don’t you think Kana’s actions are weird?” tanong naman ni Hiroshi kaya napatigil kaming dalawa ni Hayate. Naalala ko ang nangyari noong oras na ‘yon. When the Shinigamis stepped out of the Black Dimension, even though she was with Hiroshi and they were both far away, she rushed into our direction and gave the Reaper a fatal blow. “I could only think of that clan,” Hiroshi muttered. “The same clan where Mitsuo came from.” “But after that incident, they didn’t allow anyone to leave their island,” sabi naman ni Hayate. “She certainly has the disposition of an Executioner but I doubt they would put another one inside the school after what happened to him.” His words brought back some bitter memories that I didn’t want to remember. It has been thirteen years since the war, yet it felt like it just happened yesterday. “Come to think of it, we don’t know anything about her besides being an FBI agent of the Cyber Division,” dagdag naman ni Hiroshi. “Her expression also hardened when she heard the name Ariel Andrada, one of the suspects in the serial murder case,” sabi ko at agad namang nag-search si Hayate tungkol sa kanya. Tumabi kami ni Hiroshi sa kanya at sinilip ang naka-display sa screen ng laptop niya. According to the source, Ariel Andrada is an S-class criminal because of his international records involving terrorism, murders and illegal trading. Forces like FBI, CIA and InterPol are all hunting him and is considered as one of the most elusive criminals because he’s been on the wanted list for ten years. “Hmm, do you think she has some kind of connection with him?” Hayate’s question was left unanswered. The three of us were silent, and for a second, I felt guilty for getting suspicious of her. She must have her reasons for not telling us anything but after what she did a while ago, her future actions would surely bring skepticism. Matapos ang pag-uusap namin ay kaagad din namang nagpahinga ang dalawa. I’m sure they were drained after all that fighting and running. Tumayo naman ako at sumilip sa bintana. I thought my senses were on edge because of the adrenaline during the fight but I still felt uneasy even after that. Malalim na ang gabi at tahimik na rin ang paligid. Hindi ko alam kung dahil lang bas a pag-atake ng mga Shinigami kanina pero iba ang pakiramdam ko sa lugar na ‘to. Kinuha ko ang twinswords ko sa gilid ni Hiroshi. I wore a cloak to conceal them and went outside. This place reeked of musty smell similar to that of the Black Dimension. I wondered if the Shinigamis we had encountered were targeting us or we were just in their way. Mabilis akong naglakad para puntahan si Kana sa ospital. I was getting worried after what she did to one of the Shinigamis. Paano kapag binalikan siya ng mga ‘yon? Kailangan niya pang magpahinga at hindi ko alam kung gising na siya sa mga oras na ‘to. We shouldn’t have left her alone. I was already striding toward the hospital’s direction when I suddenly felt a faint presence. Napahinto ako at agad na hinawakan ang twinswords na nasa magkabilang gilid ko, nag-aabang sa kung anuman ang parating. For a few seconds, it felt like the world came to a standstill. Nothing was moving except the cold and crisp midnight wind. My skin suddenly tingled and before I could react, a voice was already whispering words in my ear. “Time to die, little girl.” Perhaps it was fear or instinct, or maybe both, that drove me to attack the voice’s owner and defend myself simultaneously. I parried the Shinigami’s attack with my swords but he easily hid himself in the Black Dimension when I was about to make my move. “What do you want, Shinigami?” I boldly asked while gripping my swords. “The heir. Where is she?” he said with a muffled voice due to the opening and closing of the Black Dimension. Heir? Who is that? What is he talking about? The tip of his sword appeared right in front of my face and I stumbled upon warding off his attack. “If you do not have any information, then die,” he mocked. I didn’t have any time to devise a plan. The moment I lost my balance, I did the only thing I could do. Using my other feet as the axis, I spun around while holding both my swords, giving him a huge cut on his arm and face, while his sword made a gash on my waist. “You—!” Hindi na niya naituloy ang sasabihin niya dahil napalitan iyon ng magkahalong sigaw at iyak. Maging ako ay hindi inaasahan ang nangyari. I wasn’t able to detect her presence at all. The next thing I knew, Kana was already holding the Shinigami’s severed arm while her sickle was on her other hand. “K-Kana . . .” I called but my voice trailed off after seeing her coldblooded expression. The Shinigami retreated, leaving his sword and arm in front of us. “Shinigamis . . . are the people I despise the most,” she muttered. Her green eyes gleamed with hatred as she threw the arm to the ground. “I will hunt them down. All of them.” The moment I held her sickle, I instantly learned she had lived a wretched life and would continue that way because her weapon was made out of rage and vengeance. Kana . . . what kind of tragic fate happened to her to live like this?