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Chapter 20

Posted by PURPLEYHAN STORIES on Thursday, March 24, 2016

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Sobrang lakas ng tibok ng puso ko dahil sa kaba nung nasa harapan na namin si Henric. Lumapit sa akin si Ryleigh pati na ang guardians namin. Nung sinabi niyang magsisimula na ang training namin ay lalo lang akong kinabahan.

"Felina," Henric said and his cat guardian dissolved into spirit particles, enveloping his whole body. After a few seconds, his blonde hair grew longer and cat-like ears emerged from his head whie his round eyes became vertical slits.

"The Prodigy," bulong ni Ryleigh kaya napatingin ako sa kanya.

"What?"

"It's him. There are rumors about a kid tactician who led many Exorcists to their deaths. They don't really know him but they said he has long blonde hair and piercing gaze."

Pagkasabi niya nun ay napatingin ako kay Henric at parang nagbago ang aura niya. Ngumiti siya sa amin at kinilabutan ako dahil parang pinag-aaralan niya kami.

"Scared? I can hear your shallow breathing," he said with a sly smile. "I can smell your fears."

"He's coming," Ryleigh whispered and he positioned himself in a defensive stance. I followed him.

Then all of a sudden, Henric lunged at us with an outstanding speed to the point that I can't even see his movements. I called Carlos' name and he tossed me onto his back.

"Jerry,
 infremo!" I shouted and Jerry growled loudly at Henric's direction but he moved so fast and his agility is second to none.

"Bob, 
dankana!" Ryleigh yelled and a claw-like shape made with spirit particles attacked Henric but he easily avoided it.

"Your attacks won't touch me if you guys aren't even in the same form as me. Or is it because you can't transform yourselves yet into the half-animal form? Is this really the extent of your abilities?"

If he said those things to rile us up, then it's very effective. Napakunot ang noo ko dahil may halong pagmamaliit ang tono niya at kahit hindi ko tignan ay alam kong mas nainis si Ryleigh lalo pa't binanggit ang hangganan ng lakas namin.

"Are you done attacking?" tanong niya at biglang naging seryoso ang expression niya. "Then it's my turn." Pagkasabi niya nun ay lalo akong kinilabutan at hindi ko nakita ang pagkilos niya. The next thing I knew, he was already in front of me with his sharp claws pointed at my neck. "Your reflex is too slow."

My instinct is telling me to choose flight over fight but my pride decided to fight back. I immediately moved forward and felt the stinging sensation of his claw on my neck but I ignored it and kneed his stomach. Dahil hindi niya inaasahan ang pag-atake ko ay hindi siya nakaiwas at nalaglag siya mula sa likuran ni Carlos. Ginamit ko ang pagkakataon na 'yun para makalayo kami sa kanya at doon ko lang narealize na hindi ako humihinga kanina.

"Shit!"

Nagulat naman ako nung bigla kong naramdaman na may humatak sa akin patalikod at pagtingin ko, nasa likuran na rin ako ni Bob habang hawak ako ni Ryleigh. Doon ko lang narealize na sumugod ulit si Henric at ngayon ay inaatake niya si Carlos.

"No! Carlos!"

Even though Carlos is a bigger and faster cat than Henric’s form, he’s still losing to him. Henric hissed while attacking Carlos and I’ve got no choice but to send him back to the spirit dimension. Pero parang biglang may kung anong sumagi sa isip ko. Hindi ko alam kung si Carlos ba ‘yun o ako mismo pero gusto kong patunayan na kaya niya pang lumaban.

“Jerry!” I called and jumped into his back. Tumingin din ako kay Ryleigh at mukhang naintindihan niya kaagad ang gusto kong gawin.

Jerry ran towards him and he growled loudly. Nakita kong nawala ang concentration ni Henric sa pag-atake kay Carlos at napatingin siya sa amin ni Jerry. After all, cats and dogs are natural enemies.

“Carlos, 
so-hai!” sigaw ko at agad na tumakbo papalapit sa akin si Carlos hanggang sa nasa tabi ko na ang dalawa kong guardians.

I’ve been learning some basic incantations but I can only cast a few that I am confident with. This time, I want to assess my ability and growth. I want to see my own potential and I know the Spirit Masters are helping us through this kind of test.

“Bob!” sigaw ni Ryleigh at tumalon siya mula sa likuran ni Bob. “
Es hyva fe vies diaz. Morien alav sativa chroina il piero mergus. Comvien han!” Bob disintegrated into spirit particles and they surrounded Ryleigh.

Guess I’ll have to do it, too.

“Carlos, 
nes-sa.” Kahit masakit para sa akin na hindi ko nagamit nang maayos si Carlos ay kinailangan ko siyang ibalik sa spirit dimension dahil ang tagal na niyang nasa labas. Pagkatapos nun ay bumaba ako kay Jerry at tumahol pa siya ng isang beses sa akin kaya naman napangiti ako. It feels like he’s supporting my decision.

“Are you ready, Jerry?” I asked and he barked again. “Then let’s do it. 
Es hyva fe vies diaz. Morien alav sativa chroina il piero mergus. Comvien han!

Habang binabanggit ko ang bawat salita ay naramdaman ko ang pagbigat ng katawan ko, samantalang kanina ay wala akong maramdaman dahil sa saturated spirit particles na nasa loob ng kwartong ‘to. Nawala ang physical form ni Jerry at nagliwanag ang paligid ko. Nagulat naman ako nung biglang nagflash sa utak ko ang mga panahong pinagsamahan namin ni Jerry mula noong binigay siya sa akin ng mga magulang ko hanggang ngayon. Bigla na lang akong naluha dahil sa memories na ‘yon at pakiramdam ko ay nakayakap sa akin ngayon si Jerry.

“Alagaan mong mabuti si Jerry, Reika.” 
Lalo lang akong naluha nung bigla ko ring naalala ang sinabi ni Papa nung binigay niya ang wooden tablet ni Jerry sa akin. “Jerry has been a faithful guardian of our predecessors so be a worthy Divian to him.”

Nakaramdam naman ako bigla ng matinding init at halos mapasigaw ako dahil sa bilis ng daloy ng mg alaala ko kay Jerry sa utak ko pero mas nangibabaw ang panic ko nung naramdaman kong may nagbabago na sa katawan ko.

I’m starting to merge with Jerry.

Hindi ko alam kung ilang minuto o kung segundo lang ba lumipas ang lahat ng ‘yun. Pagdilat ko ay nasa kwarto pa rin ako at kaharap ko pa rin si Henric pero nahilo ako dahil sa sobrang iba ng 
lahat. I can only see yellow, blue and gray but I can sense everyone’s movement faster and easier. I can hear more clearly and I felt uneasy because my ears are moving on their own and they point to the place where sound is detected. But what’s most troubling is that I can smell everything, their distinguishing odor and even their presence. I can smell Henric’s strong aura and there isn’t even a trace smell of fear.

Agad naman akong napatingin sa side ni Ryleigh at namangha ako sa nakita ko. His hair became more unruly and the white of his eyes were turned into black. His fingernails became claws while his wrists were surrounded by brown furs.

“Hooh. You both managed to be in the half-animal form. Interesting,” sabi ni Henric at bigla siyang sumugod sa amin.

I don’t know if it’s because of my enhanced senses or Jerry’s affecting my actions but I easily deflected Henric’s attack and I can read his movements during the last seconds. Ryleigh attacked him with his claws but Henric is way faster than him. Pero biglang napatigil si Henric at naging seryoso ang tingin niya sa amin.

“I can smell your life force...” Biglang nagliwanag ang paligid niya. “
Cies kai.

His half-animal form dissolved and he and Felina, his cat guardian, returned back to their normal appearance. Bigla siyang lumapit sa amin kaya naman napaatras ako.

“Undo the form,” utos niya. “Both of you have ran out of stamina and you’re using your life force to maintain those forms.”

Pagkasabi niya no’n ay naalarma ako dahil ganun din ang nangyari sa akin nung tinawag ko si Phoebe for the first time kaya naman sinunod kaagad namin ang utos niya.

Cies kai!” sabay naming sabi ni Ryleigh at naramdaman ko ang unti-unting pagkawala ng enhanced senses na naramdaman ko kanina. After that ay nakita ko sina Jerry at Bob na parehong nasa tabi namin.

“Your guardians are as exhausted as you so it’s better to leave them for a few minutes. They can use the spirit particles in this room to replenish their strengths.” Nakahinga naman ako nang maluwag nung sinabi ‘yun ni Henric pero kinabahan ako nung naging seryoso na naman ang itsura niya. “But you guys, on the other hand, can’t use the same method. That’s the difference between Divians and guardians.”

After that ay bumalik sa spirit dimension si Felina habang si Henric ay naunang lumabas. Napaupo naman ako sa sahig at yumakap kay Jerry dahil sa halu-halong emosyon na nararamdaman ko ngayon. I managed to do the half-animal form together with him but it’s not enough. That form takes up too much of our stamina and the sensation is no joke. I realized I’m really lacking as a Divian.

“Shall we go?” tanong bigla ni Ryleigh kaya naman pinabalik na rin namin ang kanya-kanya naming guardians sa spirit dimension.

“Natatakot akong lumabas,” sabi ko dahil sa sinabi kanina ni Henric sa amin. Nagulat naman ako nung bigla niyang nilahad ang kamay niya sa harapan ko kaya tinignan ko siya.

“Hold my hand. You might faint.”

Hindi ko alam kung tama ba ako ng rinig o naapektuhan na ako ng pagod pero nung bigla niya akong hinatak ay doon ko nalaman na tama ang pagkakarinig ko.

Naglakad kami papunta sa pintuan at nakatingin lang ako sa kamay niya na hawak ko. Lagi na lang akong nagugulat kapag nakikita ko ang side niyang ‘to. He’s always the confident yet temperamental type but his caring and genuine character is much more appealing.

“Eh, ikaw?” biglang tanong ko pero hindi niya ako nilingon at nagpatuloy lang kami sa paglalakad. “Mukhang mawawalan ka rin ng malay kapag nakalabas tayo sa room na ‘to.”

Hindi siya sumagot hanggang sa makarating kami sa harap ng pinto. Binuksan niya ‘yun at nagulat ako nung bigla siyang lumingon sa akin.

“Then please take care of me,” sabi niya sabay hakbang palabas ng kwarto.

Pagkalabas namin ay parang biglang hinugot lahat ng lakas sa katawan ko. Umikot ang paningin ko at hindi na ako makahinga nang maayos. Unti-unting nawala ang lakas ko at nagdilim ang paningin ko pero naramdaman ko pa rin na hawak namin nang mahigpit ang kamay namin...

Until we both collapsed. And before I totally lose my consciousness, I once again heard that familiar voice calling my name.


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