Bigla namang lumabas sina Hiroshi at Hayate mula sa quarters nila kaya hindi niya nasagot ang tanong ko. However, she gave me a melancholic gaze but I could also see a hint of menace in it.
‘Don’t dig deeper, J,’ she said using her inner voice. ‘Sometimes, not knowing is better.’
Nagtuluy-tuloy naman siyang maglakad hanggang sa makasalubong niya ang dalawa.
“Good work,” she commented while looking at Hayate. Smirking, she looked at Hiroshi and said, “and you should do better.”
Hindi naman na nakaganti si Hiroshi dahil nilampasan na niya silang dalawa at nagdire-diretso siya sa kwarto niya. They sat right next to me and Hiroshi was still glaring at her room.
“Give up,” sabi bigla ni Hayate. “You’ll never win against her.”
“That’s because I’m not even trying,” he retorted.
“But you look like you’re planning something right now,” I added. “That’s the same face you make when you’re about to design a device.”
Bigla naman siyang tumingin sa akin. “Now that’s worth a try,” he said. “I’d like to make a device that could look into someone’s thoughts buried deep down their brains.”
Nagkatinginan naman kami ni Hayate. That would be dangerous. And I’m sure na kami ang magiging lab rat ng lalaking ‘to.
‘Regarding that matter . . .’ said Hayate using his inner voice directed only to the two of us. ‘What can you say about her behavior during this case?’
‘Suspicious,’ Hiroshi responded. ‘Especially when I mentioned the Hansen clan.’
Hansen clan . . .
According to Hiroshi’s sources, it was once part of the main clans in the Senshin tribe before it was annihilated. Senshins couldn’t salvage anything from their village and no traces were left so they were left with little to no data about the tragedy.
‘Her hatred toward Shinigamis is also suspicious,’ dagdag ni Hayate at napatingin silang dalawa sa akin.
‘Do you know anything, Reina? You look like you’re hiding something.’
It felt like their eyes were looking right into my mind so I had to block the thoughts that were trying to resurface. Heaving a sigh, I finally gave in.
‘Her weapon was made from metals covered in blood,’ I said. ‘When I accidentally touched her sickle, that was what I saw.’
‘Do you think she’s . . .’
Kana’s background was still a mystery for us but it would be rude to ask her about it. However, her repulsive behavior against Shinigamis was a huge clue about her purpose. She got into Tantei High through a special admission and we knew people like her were either carrying a mission or relaying messages from their family or headquarters to the administration and vice versa.
Kana seemed to be a different case.
After several minutes of discussion, Hiroshi retired to his room. Hayate and I began recording and summarizing our second case but we still need Doras’ statement since she provided the materials for Tadeo’s bombs.
“Pupunta ka na ba kay Doras?” asked Hayate.
Tumayo naman siya at nagsimulang magligpit. “I’ll go with you,” he said.
“Akala ko maghahanap ka ng iba pang case?”
“I want to ask her about something,” he added. “I don’t know why but it feels like she knows something that we still don’t.”
Hayate prepared his laptop as well as his other devices and we headed to our meeting place—her apartment.
With the sky covered in swirls of ominous vortex of clouds that shifted with the wind and the creeping midnight chill along the darkened street, it felt like we were inside the Black Dimension. All my senses were on high alert, as if my body was sending warning signals for an upcoming danger.
‘Can you feel that?’ tanong ko kay Hayate.
‘Are there any Shinigamis nearby?’
‘I don’t know. It feels like someone is around but I can’t sense his or her presence.’
We stared at each other for a few seconds and came to a similar realization.
“Oh, god, no!”
Nagmadali kami papunta sa apartment ni Desiree Doras pero naka-lock ang pinto niya. Sinubukan ko siyang i-contact pero hindi na rin siya sumasagot. We knocked several times but it seemed like no one was there so Hayate used one of Hiroshi’s device to unlock the door . . .
. . . and her dead body came into view.
“Shit. We’re too late,” I cursed under my breath. “But why would they kill her?”
“Because she knows something that she shouldn’t,” Hayate said while pointing at the computer monitor where another message was written.
“An Erityian?” I muttered as I stared in horror at the monitor. “Shinigamis?”
“Most likely,” Hayate confirmed. “But who is AA? Do you know that person, Kana?”
“Ariel Andrada.” Halos napatalon ako nang marinig ko ang boses ni Kana mula sa likuran namin. I didn’t feel her presence at all. “He’s the only person I can think of,” she said while checking the message closely.
“Why are you here?” tanong ko habang nakatingin pa rin kay Kana.
She smirked at me. “Can’t miss the fun in here.”
“Besides,” she added but her expression turned grim. “The FBI and CIA have been tailing this guy for ten years but they always lose him whenever they get close to him.”
“Is he your mission for the FBI?” Another voice filled the room and Hiroshi was already leaning against the door when I turned around. “Or perhaps a personal target?” There was a rising tension in the air and the dead body of Doras was making it harder to breathe. I was about to tell them to focus on the murder first when Hayate suddenly called our attention. “Her computer, phone and hard drives have been reformatted,” he said as he continued checking the desktop. “All files were erased. Nothing but this message.”
“Then, is this really the work of a Shinigami?” tanong ko. “But why would they leave a message like that if they want it to be reported as a suicide?” Natahimik kaming tatlo dahil ang daming kakaiba sa case na ‘to. It felt like someone was trying to mess with us. I was about to ask something when Kana suddenly had a change in expression. However, she had already bolted outside before I could call her name. “What happened to her?” tanong ko sa dalawa at pareho lang silang nakatitig sa monitor.
“I see. That must have been a familiar name to her,” Hiroshi remarked.
“I wonder who that is,” dagdag ni Hayate. I, too, was staring at the monitor and realization finally hit me. “Yutomu . . .” I mouthed as I read the hidden name in the message. Naalala ko ang ipinakitang expression ni Kana kanina bago siya nagmadaling lumabas. Her eyes reflected rage and pain, and I was suddenly reminded of how her sickle was made—for vengeance. “Let’s go. We need to find her,” Hayate said after alerting the Senshin police and forwarding this case to them. “She knows the murderer.” Hiroshi revealed that he put a tracker on her just in case something like this would happen. She was moving too fast and it seemed like that message had a huge impact on her. She never showed us any kind of emotional attachment to anyone or anything until now. For the past year, it felt like Kana was just existing but her time had stopped a long time ago. This time, it started moving again . . . but it was ticking like a time bomb. And she had no plan to stop it.