“This is exciting!” Akane gleefully said while we were walking toward Technology Department.
Hindi ko naman maramdaman ang excitement dahil sa nangyari kanina. I ended up telling my encounter with her to Ma’am Reina.
“Okay ka lang ba, nee-chan?”
I nodded and smiled at her. I decided to tell them after this. They treat me as a family member and I didn’t want to keep secrets when it could also concern them so I decided to tell them after this. Ayoko namang i-spoil ang excitement nila sa new weapons.
Halos patakbo kaming pumunta sa klase namin kay sir Hiroshi. Newly-made weapons, huh? I’m really curious about them. At bakit kailangan namin ng specialized weapons?
Pagkarating namin sa room ay wala ro’n si sir Hiroshi pero may nakasulat sa…hangin. The words flickered as we read them.
Proceed to the Technology Department. The weapons are here.
Pagkabasa namin ng message ay pumunta agad kami sa Technology Department. This would be my first time to see that place. After ten minutes of walking and running, we arrived in front of a . . .
“Holographic building?” I blurted out.
The building flickered as leaves gently fell on it. It looked real from afar but how come it turned holographic when we got close. Weird. My sixth sense was amplified yet I didn’t see its holographic properties from a certain distance.
“That’s just a façade.”
Napatingin ako kay Akane dahil sa sinabi niya. She stepped forward and reached for the building but as expected, it just flickered.
“Sir Hiroshi, we’re here!”
Nagulat na lang ako nang biglang nag-appear si Sir Hiroshi sa harapan naming, but as a hologram.
“Ah. Come in.”
Iniisip ko pa lang kung tatagos ba kami sa hologram at mapupunta sa totoong Technology Department ay biglang humawak sa braso ko si Riye habang nakapikit siya. She looked scared.
“Bakit, Riye? May problema ba?”
“Nee-chan, I really hate this way.”
I couldn’t finish my question because it was replaced with a shriek. Biglang nawala ang lupang tinatapakan namin, and the next thing I knew, we were already falling.
Umikut-ikot na ang katawan ko dahil paiba-iba ang way na pinaghuluhan namin, hanggang sa nakakita na lang ako ng liwanag sa harapan at bumagsak kami mula roon.
“H-h-heavy…h-h-help me,” Ken groaned and I realized we all fell on top of him.
“Oi, Sir! Bakit doon mo na naman kami pinapasok?! Shit! Akala ko mamatay na ako kanina!” sabay hinga nang malalim ni Ken.
“Sorry. You are not part of the Technology Department so you can’t use the official entrance.”
Pagtingin ko kay Sir Hayate ay nakasuot siya ng labgown habang suot ang salamin niya kaya ang linis niya lalong tingnan. Noong naglakad si Sir Hiroshi ay agad namin siyang sinundan.
Being inside the Technology Department felt like I was in the future. There were devices and equipment I wasn’t familiar and they looked like they were made from the future time. Monitors and screens covered the walls, different codes and programs were running, and there were objects that were moving on their own.
Binuksan ni Sir Hiroshi ang isang pinto at sabay-sabay kaming pumasok. Bumungad sa amin ang isang napakalawak na room na halos kasinlaki naman ng airport. But what was surprising was the fact that the floor was transparent and we could see everything below us—from researchers and scientists doing their works to heavy machineries and equipment.
“This is the Dimension Room,” Sir Hiroshi stated. “Dito namin ginawa at pinag-aralan ang weapons n’yo.”
“Hindi po ba ‘to delikado?” tanong ni Akane sabay turo sa sahig.
“Don’t worry, it’s not really a glass. It’s as strong as a concrete but has a high transparency property.”
Nakahinga naman ako ng maluwag. Akala ko hindi kami pwedeng gumalaw masyado dahil baka mabasag ang sahig at bigla na lang kaming mahulog sa baba.
We followed him toward the middle of the room where a huge table was set. Different sizes and kinds of weapons were displayed on the table and I could her Akane and Ken’s gasps as they stared at those.
“Do you know teleportation?” biglang tanong ni Sir.
“Travelling from one place to another within a short span of time?” sagot naman ni Reiji.
“No,” sabay ayos ni Sir sa salamin niya. “Teleportation is the destruction of one matter to its atomic and sub-atomic levels, then recreating it to another dimension or place.”
Nakatulala lang kami sa kanya dahil bigla na lang siyang nag-lecture about teleportation at bakas sa mga mukha namin ang pagkalito.
“Since holding weapons is too suspicious in some missions, we conducted an experiment to teleport the weapons from here to the user. This is already a 30-year long research, including the formulation and research in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics, and at last, we did it.”
Hindi ko na naintindihan ang scientific terms na ginamit niya pero alam kong malaking breakthrough iyon dahil hindi biro ang 30 years of research. Maging sina Reiji at Hiro na madalas ay walang expression ay nagkaroon ng interes sa sinabi ni Sir.
“Let me demonstrate it.” He suddenly walked toward the end of the room while we remained in the middle. “Watch me, okay?” sigaw niya sa amin mula sa pwesto niya at tumango naman kami.
I could still see the details of his face, thanks to my sixth sense, and I was surprised when he suddenly bit his hand until it bled.
“Oh my god,” I muttered.
“Bakit Akemi?” tanong sa akin ni Akane.
“He bit his hand and he’s bleeding.”
But what shocked me was the sudden disappearance of the two guns in front of us. The next thing I knew, he was already holding them.
“WHOA! WICKED!” sigaw ni Ken at para siyang batang pinakitaan ng magic.
Naglakad pabalik sa amin si Sir at muli niyang nilapag sa mesa ang dalawang baril.
“I’ll explain everything so settle down.”
Hindi ko naman agad napansin na parang nagpa-party na pala sina Ken at Akane dahil masyado silang na-excite. Dahil gusto naming malaman kung anong nangyari ay tumahimik muna kami at pumalibot sa lamesa.
“The key to teleportation is blood,” he said. “Because are disintegrating a matter and recreating it in a different place, we need a binder. We used a super-magnetic energy to accumulate all the atoms in one place. Since our blood contains iron, we can use it to attract these particles. And good thing is, the structure of our internal bodies are different from humdrums and each one of us has a unique composition so the teleportation can be specific to a person. Also, our brain can emit idiosyncratic magnetic waves so when you want to teleport the weapons, you can imagine it in your head and it will make the work easier. I have already marked these two guns with my blood before teleporting it so that it can only be teleported to me. Now that you know how this works, you can also mark your chosen weapons.”
“So basically, it’s like summoning,” sabi naman ni Hiro.
“Yes. The same concept.”
Ang hirap i-digest ng in-explain ni Sir dahil mahina talaga ako sa science pero ang galling pa rin. Kakaiba ang studies at researches na kino-conduct nila. They were out of this world.
“Can we mark several weapons?” tanong naman ni Reiji.
“Yes, you can. However, the markings will fade if you do not use the weapon frequently. So it’s better to mark those you just need.”
Namili kami ng weapons na pwede naming magamit. Pagtingin ko kay Akane, ang mga pinili niya ay wooden sword, double-edged sword and a gun. Nagulat ako nang bigla niyang diniin ang daliri niya sa double-edged sword at nakita ko na lang na tumutulo na ang dugo sa daliri niya at saka niya ‘yon ipinahid sa dalawa pa.
I chose a staff and a spear. Ginamit ko ang nakita kong kutsilyo sa gilid at sinugatan ko ang daliri ko. Agad ko naman ‘yong pinahid sa weapons ko.
According to Sir, the binder would take 20-24 hours to stabilize so we could only practice weapon teleportation tomorrow.
“Ah. Artificial membranes and fibrins are also present in your weapons so that when you’re done marking, the cut would heal instantly heal.”
Tiningnan ko naman ang daliri ko at hindi na nga visible ang sugat doon. Wow. That was fast.
Pagkatapos no’n ay pinalabas na kami ni Sir sa Technology Department since bukas pa naman kami makakapag-practive. Akala ko nga ay sa normal na way na kami dadaan pero doon pa rin pala.
Pinapasok kami sa isang tunnel at akala ko ay aakyat kami pero nagulat ako nang bigla na lang kaming lumutang at parang may humigop sa amin palabas. According to Reiji, the mechanism was reverse gravity. Buti nga at buhay pa kami matapos no’n.
Kinabukasan ay um-attend kami sa PD class at buti ay hindi kami na-late.
"Hmm. You are improving. Pero parang may mali," komento ni Ma’am Michiko.
Napaupo na lang ako sa sobrang pagod matapos makipag-spar sa kanya sa dojo. Hanggang ngayon ay nahihirapan pa rin ako sa pagkontrol ng staff at ang timing ng movements nito.
"Riye, raise your arms! More strength!"
Napatingin ako kay Riye habang nagpa-practice siya ng archery. Maski ako ay nahihirapan para sa kanya. Feeling ko kasi ang hirap hawakan ng bow dahil sa haba nito.
Magkalaban naman sina Akane at Ken gamit ang magkaibang klase ng swords. I was impressed by both of them because they could still move fast even when holding heavy metals.
"Come here, Akemi and Riye," tawag ni Ma’am Michiko kaya lumapit kaming dalawa. "You girls are great. Actually, may progress naman, but I think your chosen PD is not suited for you. You should take into consideration your sixth sense. Personally, I think it would be better if you two exchange your weapons.”
Pagkasabi no’n ni Ma’am ay nagkatinginan kami ni Riye. Kinuha naman ni Ma’am ang weapons namin at pinagpalit. She gave me Riye’s bow and my staff was already on her hand.
"Pero po, hindi ko po alam kung paano 'to gamitin," sabi naman ni Riye.
Suddenly, Ma’am Michiko lurched at her. Nakita ko namang nagbago ang kulay ng mga mata ni Riye, making them yellow. She maneuvered the staff in such a way that she could defend herself and be ready for offense at the same time. She managed to point the staff at Ma’am Michiko’s chin but Ma’am defended herself easily and created an opening. Ma’am tried to kick Riye’s leg but she quickly moved her staff and thrust it to Ma’am Michiko’s abdomen.
Ngumiti sa kanya si Ma’am at nabitiwan ni Riye ang staff nang ma-realize niya ang nangyari. Pagtingin ko ay nanonood na rin pala sina Akane at maging sila ay nagulat sa mga galaw ni Riye.
“See? Dojo is more suitable for you,” sabi ni Ma’am sa kanya. “But I underestimated you. You got my muscles, right?”
“S-sorry, Ma’am!” sabay yuko niya. “I’m so sorry! I accidentally targeted your abdominal muscles and the muscles around your radius and ulna.”
Ayan na naman siya sa pagsasabi ng anatomy. Ano ba ‘yong radius at ulna?
'Those are the bones in your arms. The muscles around them aid you in flexing.'
Nanlaki ang mga mata ko nang marinig ko ang boses ni Hiro at bigla akong nahiya. He just reads minds without consent. Being stupid would be embarrassing in front of him.
'T-thank you,' mahina kong sabi at matapos no’n ay hindi ko na ulit siya narinig.
"I guess hindi ko muna magagalaw ang left arm ko. I couldn’t even flex my elbow. You’re a meticulous one, aren’t you? Just practive your dojo and you will be an expert in no time. Okay?”
"And as for you, Akemi . . ."
"You should try that thing," sabay tingin niya sa hawak kong bow and arrows.
I could feel their stares and that added pressure to me. Huminga ako nang malalim at tumayo kung saan nagpa-practice ng archery si Riye. The target was at the other end of the room, maybe about fifty meters away from me.
"Try aiming it at the center dot," Ma’am Michiko advised and I nodded. I focused my eyes on the tiny center dot and felt the pressure building in my left arm and right hand. "Straighten your left arm. Raise it a bit. Okay, that posture is good. Maintain it.”
Medyo nakakangawit ang position ng kamay at mga daliri ko pero pinilit kong huwag gumalaw. I tried to amplify my eyesight and I knew that my eyes turned light brown because the center dot seemed clearer and bigger. When I felt that I already locked my arrow at the target, I released it and it cleanly hit the target.
I . . . I actually did it.
"Your eyesight is improving. Ilang meters ang kaya mong makita in that state?" tanong ni Ms. Michiko sa akin
"Uhm, 700 meters po."
"I see. Then try aiming at that thing," sabay turo ni Ma’am sa kaliwang side at pagtingin ko ro’n ay napanganga na lang ako.
"You mean, ‘yong clock po?"
"Yes," sabi niya na para bang sobrang dali lang gawin no’n.
The clock in front of Midori building was almost 600 meters away from here. Kahit na alam kong malabo ay pumosisyon pa rin ako. I locked my eyes at my target—the intersection of the hour and minute hands of the clock. That became my center dot. I adjusted my bow and arrow, minding the differences in angles. When I felt the right time and position, I released the arrow and my heart almost leaped as I watched the arrow whizzed toward the clock.
"Tumama ba?" tanong ni Akane. “I can’t see it!”
Ma’am Michiko suddenly touched her sword-shaped pendant with her right hand. Nagulat na lang ako nang nakita kong nagdudugo na ang index finger niya pero mas nagulat ako nang bigla na lang may lumitaw na binoculars sa kamay niya.
Did she just summon the binoculars through teleportation?
"Yes. She hit the target," Ma’am Michiko confirmed.
Tiningnan ko naman ‘yon at natulala na lang ako dahil hindi ko akalaing matatamaan ko ang target. Pero natakot ako nang hindi na gumagalaw ang minute-hand ng clock. My god, nasira ko yata. Lagot ako.
"See? Archery is the right choice for you."
Pagkatapos ng klase namin ay balak sana naming umuwi muna sa dorm para mag-shower dahil ang lagkit na namin pero habang naglalakad kami pabalik ay napansin naming tumatakbo ang ilang estudyante at parang nagkakagulo sila.
"Anong meron?" tanong ni Akane.
"Aya-san!" biglang sigaw ni Riye at tumingin naman sa kanya ang isang babaeng nakalagpas na sa amin. "Ano pong nangyayari?"
"Robbery cases. Bigla na lang dumami ang nangyayaring robbery. That's why every Tantei family is busy," sabi niya at saka siya ulit tumakbo palayo.
"Robbery? Hindi ba common na kaso na ‘yon?" tanong ko habang pabalik kami sa dorm.
"Yeah pero sa naririnig kong conversations ngayon habang naglalakad tayo, mukhang lalong lumala."
"What do you mean, nee-san?"
"The robbery cases are happening at different places simultaneously. This is not normal."
"May kinalaman kaya ang Shinigamis?" pagkasabi ko no’n ay nagkatinginan kaming tatlo.
"Possible. Pero anong motibo nila?"
Nang makabalik kami sa dorm ay nagmadali kaming maligo. Pagkatapos no’n ay pumunta muna ako sa kusina para sana uminom ng tubig pero natigilan ako nang may nakita akong anino sa likod ng bintana.
"S-sino yan?" tanong ko pero walang sumagot.
"May problema ba, nee-chan?"
"Hey what's happening there? I heard something." sigaw ni Akane mula sa banyo.
"Wait lang, ha? May iche-check lang ako. I think I saw someone."
"I’ll go with you," sabi naman ni Riye at tumango na lang ako.
"Hey, where are you going?! Hintayin n’yo ako!" rinig namin kay Akane sa loob ng banyo
"Sumunod ka na lang, Akane!"
Tumakbo kami ni Riye palabas ng dorm at umikot kami kung saan ang side ng bintana namin. Pagdating namin doon ay wala kaming naabutan na tao pero may nahagip na paggalaw sa gubat ang mga mata ko.
"There!" I yelled as I pointed at the forest’s direction.
"Nee-chan! Did you see that?"
"Yeah. I knew it. Someone was watching us."
We ran toward the forest and I used my sixth sense to follow the shadow.
"N-nee-chan, papunta na tayo sa east side ng Latens forest. This is dangerous."
"This is a restricted area, right?" tanong ko at tumango naman si Riye.
Natatandaan ko pa ang sinabi ni Mrs. Seira sa History class namin. Sabi niya, matagal na raw ginawang restricted area ang east side ng gubat pero mukhang papunta na kami ro’n ni Riye dahil hindi pa rin tumitigil sa pagtakbo ang anino.
"Nee-chan, do you think that was the same person who attacked us when we were in the Central Plaza?"
Napahinto ako bigla sa pagtakbo dahil sa tanong ni Riye. Bigla kong naalala ang unang pagpunta ko dito sa gubat kung saan may hinabol din kami ni Akane at nabaril si Riye. We were just about to resume running but we suddenly froze when the person we were following appeared in front of us.
Dressed in an all-black get-up with a cloak covering his or her body, the person’s eyes glinted with malice as he or she grinned at us.
“N-no way,” I muttered as I tried to understand how he travelled from one place to another in a span of a second.
Nanlaki naman ang mga mata ko nang naglabas siya ng baril, just like the last time. I immediately positioned myself in front of Riye.
"A-anong k-kailangan mo?" I asked with a quivering voice.
"Her," the cloaked person said in a muffled voice.
Naramdaman ko naman ang paghigpit ng kapit ni Riye sa braso ko at ang panginginig ng buong katawan niya.
'Don't worry, I'll protect you,' I told her as I tried to maintain my calm.
However, before I could think of a plan, Riye’s shriek had already reverberated through the forest. Pagtingin ko ay nag-collapse na si Riye at nagdudugo na ang kanang braso niya. The guy who was in front of us a second ago suddenly appeared beside Riye.
I was starting to panic but I suddenly heard her inner voice. I could her her thoughts . . . and
"You're dead," the guy said and in that instant, Riye brushed her blood on her palm and at the same time, I picked a sharp rock and cut my finger.
We didn’t have any training yet but we had no choice. I pictured the staff I marked yesterday and I felt a tingling sensation that turned painful in a snap, along with the building pressure onmy hand. The next thing I knew, I was already holding my staff.
Hindi na ako nagsayang ng oras. Tumakbo ako palapit kay Riye pero nakita kong itinutok ng lalaki sa akin ang baril.
"Nee-chan!" Riye yelled and we both threw our weapons at each other, but before I could catch her bow and quiver, the guy kicked me on my side and I collapsed on the ground. I saw orbs circling my eyes and my lungs felt like they were on fire but I gritted my teeth to stay focused.
"You are not fast enough to shoot your arrow," the guy grumbled while aiming at me with his gun.
"But I am."
Pagkasabi no’n ni Riye ay tinarget niya ang lalaki mula sa likuran. She was targeting every bone and muscle that would restrict the guy’s movement and I managed to snatch the gun from him but he was physically stronger than both of us. In the end, we both collapsed and Riye’s injury was getting worse.
Napatigil naman ako nang makita ko si Akane na papunta rito at mukhang naramdaman din iyon ng lalaki. Bigla naman siyang tumakbo palayo sa amin at natakot ako dahil baka bigla niyang atakihin si Akane.
Adrenaline pumped into my blood. With the remaining strength I had, I picked up the bow and took an arrow from the quiver. I let instinct took over and I shot the arrow at his direction. But before it could hit him, he suddenly disappear, together with the arrow.
“Oh my gosh! What happened?!”
Pagtingin ko sa gilid namin ay nandoon na si Akane pero nanatili akong nakatingin sa direksyon kung saan tumakbo ang lalaki.
How did he vanish?