I groaned as I reached for my head. My eyes fluttered and I felt disoriented. Ang alam ko lang, nakahiga ako sa kama sa loob ng kwartong iyon lang ang laman.
"You're finally awake."
Napatingin agad ako sa pinanggalingan ng boses at halos hindi ako makapaniwala sa nakikita ko ngayon.
Bigla siyang lumapit sa akin kaya napalayo ako at dumikit ako sa headboard ng kama.
"N-nasaan ako?" I asked.
He sat beside me. "Shinigami's base."
I thought I just misheard that but I suddenly remembered what happened before I passed out. Why did I pass out? What happened?
"You were unconscious because of Ichiro," Darwin said, as if he just read my mind."
"Ichiro? Isa ba siya sa mga Shinigami na sumugod doon sa gubat?"
He nodded. "And his sixth sense did that to you."
"Anong ibig mong sabihin?"
"Once he touches someone, you would not be able to feel your senses and you'll eventually lose your consciousness."
Bakit nila ako dinala rito? Why am I here? And that guy, he was the one who killed Akane's mother. I'm worried about her. I need to get out of here.
Tiningnan ko si Darwin at nakita kong nakatingin rin siya sa akin. Mukhang alam na niya kung anong binabalak ko.
"Bakit nila ako dinala rito?" tanong ko sa kanya habang iniisip kung paano ako makakatakas.
"Order from above," he said.
"Above? You mean si Rin?"
"Seems like you know her," sabay tingin niya sa akin.
"What does she want from me?!" sigaw ko.
"You'll know and understand soon," he responded as he moved closer.
I looked straight into his eyes. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin ako makapaniwalang Shinigami siya. It seemed like it was just yesterday when we were still the normal high school students who didn't have any friends.
"Meron akong gustong itanong sa'yo," sabi ko sa kanya.
"Go on. I'll answer it," he said.
I sighed and it felt heavy. Pakiramdam ko kasi, ito na ang huling beses na makakausap ko siya nang ganito.
"Matagal mo na bang alam na Shinigami ka? Kahit noong nasa school pa tayo?" Kaya niya lang ba ako kinakausap ay dahil doon? Dahil alam niya ring Senshin ako?
"No," he answered. "I just learned about it one week after you got expelled. Noon ko rin nalaman na Senshin ka."
Nakahinga naman ako nang maluwag nang marinig ko 'yon. Still, we belong in tribes that hated each other.
'Seiji, come here.'
Bigla akong napahawak sa ulo ko. I heard someone's voice and it sounded familiar.
Napatingin naman ako kay Darwin at napabuntong-hininga siya nang marinig niya 'yon. He stood up and started walking away from me.
"T-teka Darwin, saan ka pupunta?"
Napatayo rin ako dahil papunta na siya sa may pintuan.
He turned his head to my direction. "Rin's calling me."
Seiji? Was that him? And Rin? That was Rin's voice?
"Ah. Seiji is my name here. But you can still call me Darwin," he said as he turned the doorknob.
"Wag kang mag-alala, babalikan kita," saka siya ngumiti siya at tuluyan siyang lumabas ng kwarto.
Tumakbo ako papunta sa pinto at sinubukan kong buksan pero walang nangyari. Mukhang naka-lock mula sa labas. Napasandal na lang ako ro'n at napabuntong-hininga.
That voice. Sabi na nga ba, pamilyar ang boses niya. That was her.
'No, dear. To have great powers is to also experience great misery. That's the rule of the world. That's the rule of our world.'
'That's right, dear. Solve this crime and prove yourself. Then I shall decide whether to take you or not.'
Why did she say those words to me? Why do I need to prove myself to her? Why did she take me?
Gusto ko na talagang umalis sa lugar na 'to pero hindi ko alam kung paano. Iisa lang ang way kung paano makalabas at sarado naman mula sa labas ang pinto. Walang kahit anong bintana sa room. Wala ring mga gamit kundi itong kama. Kung kaya ko lang sirain ang dingding . . .
I gasped when I remembered something. Could I summon my weapons here?
Hindi na ako nag-isip pa ng consequences at agad kong sinugatan ang sarili ko. I was about to teleport my weapons here but I suddenly felt a burning sensation through my body.
Napaupo ako dahil sa naramdaman kong sakit. It felt like my body was on fire and my internal organs were being incarcerated.
Why? Why couldn't I summon my weapons?
I was on the brink of breaking down when I suddenly heard the knob turning. Pagtingin ko ay pumasok si Darwin sa kwarto at kumunot ang noo niya nang makita niya ako.
"What happened to you?" sabay upo niya sa tabi ko at agad kong iniwas ang tingin ko.
He gently touched my hand. "May sugat ka," he muttered.
Hinila ko ang kamay ko mula sa l kanya at pinunas ko na lang sa damit ko ang dugo sa daliri ko. I tried to stand up but my knees didn't have enough strength to support my weight and my body still felt hot.
"Did you try to summon something? I saw that redhead doing that before," he asked. "Don't do that again, or you'll end up dead," saka niya ako hinawakan sa balikat. Napatingin ako sa kanya nang marinig ko 'yon.
"Yes. So just rest and don't do anything. You'll just hurt yourself."
Pinilit kong kumawala sa hawak niya pero wala akong lakas Nahihirapan pa rin akong huminga at mainit pa rin ang pakiramdam ko.
"B-bakit? Bakit ba kasi ako nandito?! Bakit—"
"Because you belong here," he said, cutting me off.
"A-anong sabi mo?"
"You belong with us, Rainie . . . " he repeated and my legs gave up but he caught me and supported my weight. I felt his breath in my ears and he whispered the words that shattered my mind. " . . . because you're one of us."