Napadilat ako nang maramdaman kong umaalog ang kama. Pagtingin ko, nakatingin sa akin si Riye with a worried exprwssion. Tumingin naman ako sa kanan ko at nakita kong tulog na tulog pa rin si Akane.
"Nee-chan, sorry nagising kita," sabi niya. Nakita kong may kinuha pala siya sa may higaan niya kaya naalog ang kama namin.
Bumangon na ako dahil hindi na rin ako makatulog. Pagtingin ko sa wall clock, 3 PM na pala. Grabe, 11 hours tulog ko. Doon ko naman naramdaman ang gutom.
"Magluluto ka, nee-chan?"
Napatingin naman ako kay Riye at natawa lang ako dahil parang nagningning yung mata niya. Mukhang gutom na rin siya.
"Oo. Wait ka lang dyan."
Habang nagluluto ako ay naligo naman si Riye at pagkatapos ko ay ginising ko naman si Akane pero mukhang ang lalim ng tulog niya. 'Mommy! Mommy!' Narinig kong umiiyak si Akane sa isip ko.
Am I hearing her voice in her dream? Right. Sabi niya, bukas by default ang isip ng tao. And it would be easier to read when they are sleeping. 'Mommy! Help my Mommy!' she cried and the desperation in her voice was heartbreaking.
Minabuti ko nang gisingin ulit siya. Ayoko nang marinig ang panaginip niya dahil ayokong ma-invade ang personal life niya. Tinapik-tapik ko ang pisngi niya para magising siya at makalipas ang ilang sandali at dumilat na rin siya sa wakas. She immediately wiped off the tears welling up in her eyes and smiled at me.
"Hmm. Bango! Nagluluto ka ba?" she asked and I smiled.
"Yup. Adobong sitaw."
Sabay-sabay naman kaming kumain at halos 5 PM na rin kami nakalabas sa dorm. We went straight to the agency and the three guys, along with Sir Hayate, were already there.
"Ang aga n'yo naman," sabi ni Akane sa kanila at saka dumiretso doon sa sofa. Sumunod din naman agad kami ni Riye.
"Hindi kami maaga. Sadyang mabagal lang kayong kumilos," Ken retorted.
"Wow, ang bilis mong kumilos ha? "
"Sir, nasaan na po pala si Ma'am Ana?" tanong ni Riye at natigil naman sa pagsasagutan ang dalawa.
"Bumalik na siya sa kanila. Susunod tayomamayang 6 PM. She already gave me her address."
"Sir, sasama rin po ba sina Ms. Reina at Sir Hiroshi?" tanong ko naman. Mas mabuti na kasi na marami kami since Shinigami ang makakaharap namin.
"Reina can't make it. May inaasikaso pa kasi siya pero si Hiroshi ay sasama."
"Am I late?" bungad ni Sir Hiroshi nang buksan niya ang pinto galing sa hallway.
"Just in time."
The two of them marched in front of us with serious expressions
"You have seen the two Shinigamis from the head gear, right?" tanong ni Sir Hayate kaya tumango kami.
One of them has jet black hair and savage green eyes. He was also smoking when we saw him in the CCTV. The other one has a calm expression and has soft features but his cold demeanor was also frightening. They were also wearing cloaks just like that woman I saw before.
"We also know them," dagdag naman ni Sir Hiroshi at tumingin siya kina Hiro at Ken. "Good thing you didn't engage in a fight when you encountered them."
"Why?" tanong ni Ken sa kanya.
"Because you'll be dead by now."
Natahimik naman kami nang marinig namin'yon. Were they that strong?
"They are Reapers and if you compare their strength to our counterpart, they'd be at most at our level."
How did they know that? I thought Senshins do not have enough information about Shinigamis since they always move covertly.
"Reina was tracking several Shinigamis last time and we were engaged in a battle. Nakatakas ang ilan pero may nahuli kaming isa. We transferred him in the Technology Department to extract some information from him. Luckily, katatapos lang ng bagong project ni Hiroshi na Wavisual head gear kaya sinubukan namin 'to sa kanya. Pero nagkaroon ng problema dahil parang damaged ang brain waves na nababasa ng head gear. Parang may nag-lock sa isip niya para hindi namin mabasa ang laman nito. May mga lumalabas na images but they were distorted. Pero buti na lang at may nakuha kami kahit kakaunting information tungkol sa kanila."
"It feels like they were too agitated," Reiji remarked. "It's like they're showing themselves to us and not the usual silent killing method."
"Yan din ang inaalam namin sa ngayon. But don't worry. The adults will handle that matter."
Nag-prepare naman kami para mamaya at habang nagpapalipas ng oras ay napaisip ako tungkol sa mga Shinigami. Why do they need the Golden Sun? Were thet connected to the simutaneous robbery cases? If yes, where would they use them?
Bigla ko namang naalala si Darwin at bumigat ang pakiramdam ko. Hindi ko talaga in-expect na makikita ko siya sa ganoong sitwasyon. We weren't friends but he was the closest I could call as one. Maybe because we had the same situation. We couldn't feel any connection toward our classmates, as if we didn't belong there.
"Akemi! Tara na."
Nagulat naman ako nang tinapik ako sa balikat ni Akane. Na-realize ko na masyado na pala akong nag-iisip ng mga bagay-bagay kaya hindi ko na napansin na paalis na pala kami.
Tumayo ako at sinundan ko sila. Dumaan kami doon sa Tantei Police station at mukhang busyng-busy na naman ang police officers. Siguro dahil na rin sa laganap na robbery cases at iba pang krimen sa Pilipinas. Pagkalabas namin at dumiretso agad kami kay Miyu.
"Good afternoon, Masters."
Nobody made an attempt to talk and I could feel the tensiom rising in the air. We were all nervous. After thirty minutes, we arrived at Ma'am Ana's mansion and I gasped when I saw how huge it was.
Pagbaba namin at nakaabang sa central fountain sa harapan ng mansion ang isang matandang lalaki.
"Mistress Ana is waiting for you. Let's go," sabi niya kaya sumunod kami sa kanya."
Habang naglalakad kami ay hindi ko maiwasang hindi tingnan ang paligid. Statues of different sizes lined up the hallway, along with the chandeliers on the ceiling. Antiques and artifacts could also be seen on the corners of the room. Paintings covered the walls. Napatigil na lang ako sa pagmamasid nang huminto ang butler sa harap ng isang pinto. He opened it and we saw Ma'am Ana together with several people who have yellow green eyes and two kids who still have natural eye color.
"Thank you for coming," she smiled and she introduced the people beside her. "They are my family. My husband, Juro. My children, Aiko, Jiro and . . ." Her voice faltered. She must have realized her son wasn't with them anymore. "And these are my grandchildren, Ayako and Chiyo."
Pinapunta naman kami ni Ma'am Ana sa monitors kung saan nagpo-project ang kuha mula sa CCTVs. In the middle of the Display Room wa the Golden Sun.
"You guys should stay here. Bantayan n'yo lahat ng mangyayari sa camera," Sir Hayate said.
"Wait. Pupunta po ba kayo sa room na yan?" tanong ko at saka ko itinuro ang Display Room.
"We'll go, too." For the first time, narinig kong nagsalita si Hiro ngayon.
“No,” mariing sabi ni Sir Hiroshi. “It’s too dangerous.”
"We can help,” Ken pointed out. “Isa pa, na-encounter na rin namin sila last time."
"Saka po kayo na rin ang nagsabi na malakas sila. Pwede kaming maging back-up if ever may nangyaring hindi maganda," dagdag pa ni Akane.
Nagtinginan naman sina Sir Hayate at Sir Hiroshi na parang wala na silang magawa kaya napailing na lang sila.
"Fine, but someone needs to stay here to stand as our eyes and guard them.”
"Riye, you’ll stay here," Sir Hiroshi ordered and Riye had no choice but to agree.
"I'll stay with her," biglang sabi ni Reiji. "I can use my sixth sense if something went wrong here."
Reiji sat on one corner and he placed his finger on a pointed stick on the table. A bead of blood formed on top of it and after a few seconds, a book materialized on his hand. Wait. Did he just summon the book?
"Dito na lang din po ako," sabi ko naman. I’d just be a burden if they engage in a fight.
Umalis naman sina Sir Hayate at Sir Hiroshi kasama ang tatlo. After a few minutes, we saw them inside the Display Room. They were scanning the Golden Sun and the room to form a strategy. They also summoned several weapons to assist them in case a fight broke out.
Hindi ko naman napansin ang oras. Pagpatak ng 8 PM ay may tumunog na bell. According to Ma’am Ana, that was the signal for their dinner. Hinatid naman ng maids ang dinner dito sa Control Room pero hindi rin naman kami nakakain dahil nakaabang kami sa mangyayari.
As if on cue, a strong blast of wind suddenly blew in the windowless Display Room and it pushed them away from the Golden Sun. Napatayo ako nang tumama sa pader sina Akane at nabasag din ang ilang glass displays.
“Whoa, easy. You don’t need to take this seriously,” one of the Shinigamis, the smoker, said.
The other one looked pissed. “Is this the real one?”
The smoker held the case for a few seconds before breaking into a grin. “This is the real one.”
“Then let’s get this and get out of here.”
They were about to lift the Golden Sun but a sword flew toward their direction. It was too sudden but the smoker stopped its momentum with his bare hand. Blood trickled from his hand and he smiled at Akane’s direction.
"Little girl, this isn't a child’s game. Do you want to die?"
"Oh, I love death games,” bigla namang sabi ni Akane kaya napanganga ako. “And I'll stop the both of you."
"Stop us?" the guy scoffed. "You can't stop us . . . or rather, you don't have the skills to stop us."
Napasigaw na lang ako nang biglang sumugod sa direksyon ni Akane ang dalawang Shinigami. But before I could shout Akane’s name, something unexpected happened. The next thing I knew, the Shinigamis stood frozen just a meter away from Akane.
“Fucking plan,” the pissed Reaper said.
Sir Hiroshi and Ken were standing on each side of him. He was bound by a rope and a gun was pointed at his head. The other Shinigami was in the same situation with Hiro and Sir Hayate, but my brows furrowed when I saw floating letters in the air.
“I see. A a trapping rope, right?” the smoking Shinigami said.
“Yes,” sagot ni Sir Hiroshi. “Move a little and you’ll be in pieces.”
I realized I was holding my breath for too long and I had to exhale slowly because of the stress that built up after watching that whole ordeal.
“Fucking boring,” the pissed Shinigami muttered as he moved his head from side to side. The next thing I knew, he was already yelling as small blades appeared from the rope and it pierced his body.
“Your fault,” Sir Hiroshi taunted.
“That fucking hurts!”
Nanlaki naman ang mga mata ko nang tumutulo na ang dugo mula sa katawan niya pero parang wala lang sa kanya ang nangyayari. Napatingin ulit ako sa isa pang Shinigami na hawak nina Hiro at Sir Hayate. He was just staring blankly at the wall and he felt more frightening than the other one. Napakunot naman ang noo ko nang may makita akong kakaiba sa kanya.
“Riye, Reiji, tingnan n’yo ‘yong brown-haired Shinigami. Ano ‘yong parang transparent na nakapaligid sa kanya?”
“Huh? Saan nee-chan?”
“I can’t see anything.”
Nagkatinginan kaming tatlo. Teka, bakit hindi nila nakikita? Was I just hallucinating? But that transparent field was slowly expanding.
“It looked like a thin veil. Parang usok. It’s expanding,” I described and Reiji moved closer to the screen.
“I have a bad feeling about this. Do you remember what happened a while ago? They were repelled when the Shinigamis suddenly appeared.”
“Oh my gosh. You mean—”
Bago pa matapos ni Riye ang sasabihin niya ay hinanap ko kaagad kung may mic button ba sa controls. Pagkakita ko ro’n ay agad ko ‘yong pinindot habang nakatingin sa screen.
“Hiro! Sir Hayate! Get away from him! He’s going to release an explosive force! Just like what happened earlier!”
They immediately reacted to my words but that guy was faster than them. A huge bast of air threw them against the wall, as well as the trapping rope tied around him.
Hinanap ko kaagad sila sa screen at nakahinga ako nang maluwag nang makita kong hindi naman sila gaanong nasaktan.
“What the fuck? Control your power!” the black-haired Shinigami complained. “The statue is more important than your fucking life.”
“Disappointing,” the smoking Shinigami muttered. “I didn’t kill them.” Bigla naman siyang napatingin sa CCTV at nagtama ang paningin namin. “There’s a spectator.”
“Annoying. I’ll take care of her,” he said and he suddenly vanished.
I knew what would happen. My body trembled but we were given orders. We needed to protect Ma’am Ana’s family.
“Riye! Reiji! Protect them!” sigaw ko at agad silang tumakbo papunta kina Ma’am Ana.
“Hi, little girl.”
Muntik na akong mapasigaw nang may marinig akong boses malapit sa tenga ko. I stepped back, turned around, and saw the Shinigami who was in the Display Room a second ago. “Surprised?” he mocked with a vile smile.
I was sure I’d be greeting death in a moment but my heart sank when he suddenly turned where Riye, Reiji and Ma’am Ana’s family were. My instinct took over and I summoned my bow and arrows. I targeted his open wounds and he howled in pain.
I managed to get his attention back to me but this time, the smile on his face disappeared and was replaced with a more pissed expression.
“D-don’t come near them, or else, I’ll . . . I’ll . . . k-kill you!”
I bit my lips after that statement? Kill him? Who was I kidding? I wasn’t that strong to face him! Bigla naman siyang tumawa nang malakas. “Then prove it,” he coldly said as he lunged at me.
Tumakbo ako palayo sa kanya para rin makalayo kami kina Riye. Pumunta ako sa hallway habang nakasunod pa rin siya sa akin pero napasigaw ako nang bigla na lang siyang nagpaputok ng baril. He was continuously shooting at me and I tumbled when he hit my right arm. He didn’t stop. I was grazed by bullets all over my body and I was just thankful that the woulds I received weren’t critical. Pero napahinto ako nang ma-realize kong dead-end ang nalikuan ko.
Even though he was still far from me, I could still see the triumphant smile on his face when he saw the dead end. Napatingin ako sa gilid at huminga nang malalim. I didn’t have a choice.
I jumped from the window on the third floor and I stifled a yell when I felt the time of my fall. I ended up on top of the bushes and the impact of the fall knocked the wind out of my lungs. A stabbing pain coursed through my body and I couldn’t focus my sight for a moment. I took a deep breath and even that hurt but I immediately stood up and ran.
Nakarinig ako ng pagbagsak kaya alam kong tumalon din sa bintana ang Shinigami. Nanghihina na ang katawan ko at ramdam ko rin ang pagtulo ng dugo mula sa mga daplis ng bala sa balat ko. I realized my feet were dragging me toward that room.
Nasa first floor na ako at naisip ko ang Display Room pero baka lalo lang silang mapahamak kung babalik ang Shinigami na ‘to roon.
“Goodbye, little girl,” the Shinigami said and when I glanced back, he was already aiming his gun at my head.
My life flashed in front of my eyes as the Shinigami pulled the trigger. I waited for my death but I suddenly heard a loud thump. The next thing I knew, the Shinigami was already writhing on the ground in pain. Pagtingin ko, blood was gushing from his side.
“Don’t touch my student, you jerk.”
Napatingin ako sa harapan ko at halos maiyak ako nang makita ko si Ma’am Reina na naglalakad papunta sa amin.
“So, you are Reaper Kyuuya,” she said while coldly looking down at the wounded Shinigami.
“Then you must be that famous Shinigami tracker,” the Shinigami grumbled.
“Oh. I’m that famous? But sorry, you’re under arrest.”
The Shinigami just scoffed at her. “You think you can arrest me, bitch? Try and die.”
Suddenly, I felt a mixture of warm and cold, yet tingling sensation enveloping us. That was the same feeling I felt when the cloaked person vanished in the forest. He was planning to get away. Before he could teleport elsewhere, I held the end of his cloak and the next thing I knew, I was already in a dark place similar to the eerie hallway.
“What the . . .”
I looked around to see where we went but I couldn’t see anything beside him and darkness. That was when I realized . . . I vanished with him.