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Chapter 9

Posted by PURPLEYHAN STORIES on Monday, December 26, 2016

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This is weird. It’s been weeks since that incident happened and somehow, something has changed. I’ve been reading the books that I bought last time and I have the same symptoms from one of the chapters about those feelings. I’ve been denying it for the last few weeks but when I see him, my heartbeat becomes erratic and my defense mechanism is to punch or slap him.
Naalala ko tuloy bigla ang usapan namin ni Akemi during the case a week ago.

‘I have a question. Bakit ba parang may galit ka kay Hideo?’
 I asked because I always see her glaring at him.
‘We’re total opposites.’
‘Mind you, opposites do attract.’ That’s one of the basic principles in science.
‘Not everytime. Now, ako naman ang magtatanong. May gusto ka ba talaga kay Mitsuo?’
‘There’s no point in hiding it. Inaasar niyo na ako lagi eh,’ I said and she looked surprised. Totoo naman. They’ve been teasing us since I don’t know when and I think that’s also a factor. ‘At hindi naman ako slow para hindi marealize kung ano ang feelings ko sa kanya, though mukhang hindi niya alam. Of course, hindi pa ako nakakaranas magkagusto sa isang tao before since si Hideo lang ang lagi naming kasama, and I don’t see him as a man. He’s like an older brother to us.’

That was the time I realized what I feel for him, though I can’t explain what exactly is this feeling. It’s like looking at a mixture; you know that there’s a combination of different emotions but you can’t pinpoint the precise feeling at the moment.
Bigla ko ring naalala ang nangyari sa case na ‘yon. Actually, I can’t believe the conclusion of that case. Sir Kyo suddenly appeared and told us that we can’t reveal the real killer to the humdrums. The guy at the park was the one who murdered one of the suspects but he got away. Sir Kyo said that that organization is large but elusive and there’s only one thing to distinguish them—a black sun tattoo—and the Custos tribe is the one who’s tracking them. Kaya nga no’ng sinabi ni Sir Kyo na may Custos agent na nagdisguise as police officer during that case ay nagulat kami dahil hindi man lang namin siya napansin.
Bumalik naman ang isip ko sa kasalukuyan at ako na lang ang tao rito sa dorm. Lumabas muna kasi si Akira dahil magtetraining daw sila ni Michiko. Tumayo muna ako at balak ko sanang magbasa na lang pero may nahagip ang mata ko sa bintana. Naglakad ako papunta roon at nakita ko siya.

“Mitsuo?” I whispered. Mula rito sa kwarto ay nakita ko siyang naglalakad papunta sa Intel Division.
“Anong ginagawa mo dyan?” Narinig ko naman ang boses ni Akemi mula sa likuran ko. Nakabalik na pala siya.
“Wala lang,” I replied but she stood beside me and saw Mitsuo.
“Para kang stalker,” sabi niya kaya napatingin ako sa kanya.
“Really?” I act like one?
“Yes and it’s creepy.”
“But Hideo’s also doing—nevermind.” Why is that guy never been caught?
“Huh?”
“Wala.”

Nacurious naman ako bigla kung bakit siya pupunta ro’n at no’ng tinanong ko si Akemi ay hindi niya rin daw alam. What’s his business in the Intel Division? Sino ang pupuntahan niya ro’n? It’s quite suspicious.
After that ay siya naman ang tinanong ko tungkol kay Hideo, and as usual, wala pa rin akong nakuha. I don’t know if she’s denying it or she just doesn’t have any idea about it but after reading those books, I can see more clearly the movements and expressions of a person, and looking at Akemi, I think she has feelings for Hideo.
Nilihis naman niya kaagad ang topic at napunta ang usapan namin sa books na dinedecode namin. I actually thought of giving up because the pages we decoded aren’t making any sense.

“That’s it!” biglang sigaw ni Akemi kaya napatingin ako sa kanya.
“What’s it?”
“It’s like what you said. Something’s missing with this book. Si Demi ang kumuha ng librong ‘to sa restricted section. I bet there’s a second book or a twin book na kailangang gamitin para maintindihan ang content nito.”

Pagkasabi niya no’n ay napatingin ako sa libro at mukhang tama nga siya. The paragraphs not having any significance might be because of the absence of its continuation.

“You’re right. Parang pinutol talaga ang paragraphs pero kahit na na-cut ay comprehensible pa rin naman kaso walang depth.”
“That means nasa restricted section ang other half ng librong ‘to. But I don’t think I can steal again from that room.”
“Why?” Pagkatanong ko no’n ay biglang nagbago ang expression niya kaya naman nagsuggest ako. “I think I can get that book.”
“Really? Are you sure?”
“You should learn from the expert,” I said with confidence.
“You’re a bad girl, aren’t you?” she said and an idea came into my mind.
“Not as bad as you,” I replied and saw some changes in her facial expression. She stiffened for a second but she immediately smirked.
“Of course. I’m the worst.”

***

Hindi ko namalayang nakatulog pala ako after magdecode. Paggising ko, mag-isa na naman ako sa kwarto. Those two keep on disappearing when I’m asleep. I stood up and pulled my jacket out of the closet. Time to get that book.
Dahan-dahan akong naglakad sa hallway hanggang sa makalabas ako sa dorm. Doon ako dumaan sa likod para walang makakita sa akin, at nagstay ako sa path ng mga puno para natatakpan ako. I checked the time and it’s already 2 AM.
After a few minutes ay nakarating ako sa library at dumaan ako sa bintana. Nang makapasok ako ay dumiretso agad ako sa restricted section. For sure, hindi ako kasya sa space sa taas kaya naman hinanap ko kung saan nakalagay ang susi. Naglagay muna ako ng gloves at mask para wala akong maiwang ebidensya.
I searched nearby and I ended up at the librarian’s quarter. Looking through her things, I saw a vault below the table and instead of a numerical code, there’s a miniboard attached to it.
What is this? I asked myself, trying to figure out the mechanism of it. I tried to search for clues but to no avail. Nothing is written on the vault and I was about to give up but when I felt something on the side of it. The surface of the vault was etched with words or figures. Tinignan ko ang side na ‘yon pero wala akong makita. Mukhang sense of touch lang ang gumagana rito kaya naman pinakiramdaman ko ulit.
For a couple of minutes, I’ve been trying to discover the etched figures or symbols and when I realized what are those, I immediately understood its mechanism.

“So that’s how it works,” bulong ko sa sarili ko.

Napansin ko kasing nag-iiba-iba ang symbols na nahahawakan ko kaya hindi ko mafigure-out kung ano. Saka ko naisip na baka kaya gano’n ay dahil nag-iiba rin ang password para sa vault at nakadepende ‘yon sa symbols—which is, by the way, the Erityian alphabet.
Hinawakan ko ulit ang gilid at this time, naging mabilis ang pagkilos ko dahil baka magbago na naman. Kinuha ko kaagad ang pen na nakakabit sa gilid ng vault at sinulat ang word na naramdaman ko.

After writing it down, the vault instantly opened and inside it were several keys. Since the lock of the restricted section is unique, I immediately got the correct key.
Agad akong tumakbo papunta sa restricted section at binuksan ang pinto. Pagpasok ko ay hinanap ko kaagad ang librong kapareho ng binigay ni Akemi, at matapos ang halos kalahating oras ay nahanap ko rin sa wakas. So this is the book, huh?
Dahan-dahan akong lumabas ng library habang nakabalot sa jacket ko ang libro. God, I can’t believe I just stole a book from the restricted section. Ano bang pumasok sa isip ko para gawin ‘to?
Bago pa ako tuluyang maguilty ay naglakad na ako nang mabilis pabalik sa dorm pero napasandal ako bigla sa likod ng puno dahil sa nakita ko—sina Mitsuo at Sir Kyo.

‘You need to catch them immediately,’
 Sir Kyo said using his inner voice.
‘I know.’ I want to look at his expression but I can’t move from my spot.
I’m counting on you. Ah, did you already tell them your identity?’ Hindi naman siya sinagot ni Mitsuo. ‘That’s a typical response from your clan.’
‘They don’t need to know my entire background.’
‘Don’t underestimate the curiosity of the Atama family, especially those two. Go back to your dorm now.’

Narinig ko naman ang paglalakad ni Sir Kyo palayo sa kanya at doon ko lang napansin na kanina pa ako nagpipigil ng hininga. Ginamit ko rin ang oras na ‘yon para tuluyang umalis habang wala pa sa sarili niya si Mitsuo at pagkarating na pagkarating ko sa dorm ay bumagsak ako sa kama.

Identity, huh? Sino ka ba talaga, Mitsuo?

***

“Where are you going?” tanong ko kaagad kay Hideo no’ng makasalubong ko siya palabas ng dorm.
“Medical department.”
“Why?” I saw his expression tightened and that only means one thing. “Is it Akemi?”

He sighed and looked at me like he just lost a battle. “Yeah.”

“Can you bring this to her?” sabay abot ko sa kanya ng jacket ko kung saan nakabalot ang libro at bago pa siya magtanong ay umalis na agad ako.

Umattend ako ng classes ko at naging wary ako sa presence ni Mitsuo. The scene last night keeps on replaying inside my head and it bothers me. After ng last class ko ay dumiretso ako sa dorm at natulog dahil napagod ang utak ko.
Hindi ko namalayang nagtuluy-tuloy pala ang tulog ko at umaga na nang magising ako. Naabutan ko si Akemi na nagdedecode ng libro.

“Hindi ka na naman ba natulog?” tanong ko.
“Yeah.”

Hindi na ako nakipag-argue dahil sanay na ako sa sistema niya. Umupo na lang ako sa tabi niya at tinignan kung ano na ang progress. Pagtingin ko ay nakalatag doon ang dalawang libro.

“Tignan mo ‘to. Basahin mo mula rito tapos ituloy mo hanggang dito,” sabay turo niya sa magkatapat na page ng dalawang libro.

Tinignan ko naman at binasa ko ‘yon sa isip ko. Now it makes sense!

“So our theory is really true,” I said, amazed by the words written on the books.
“Yes, but it’s still hard to understand.”

Lumapit naman sa amin si Akira na kagigising lang at tinanong kung anong ginagawa namin. Dahil na-figure out na namin ay pinaliwanag namin kay Akira ang lahat at namangha siya. Matapos no’n ay agad kaming nagprepare dahil may class pa kami ng 8 AM.
Dumiretso kami sa Technology department dahil bibigyan daw kami ng weapons ni Sir Aiwa. Of course, everyone was thrilled since our weapons are made by none other than the Legendary Mechanic.
Habang pumipili kami ay nakita kong lumapit si Mitsuo kay Akemi at pagkatapos no’n ay tumingin siya sa akin. Humiwalay din siya at lumapit naman si Akemi sa akin. Tinanong ko siya kung ano ang pinag-usapan nila pero as usual, inasar na naman niya ako.

“Anong pinag-usapan niyo?”
“Nagseselos ka ba?”
“Not really. Curious lang.”
“Curious my ass.”
“It’s true. I’m just curious.”
“Fine. He’s asking about that book. Nakita ka niyang lumabas sa library habang hawak ‘yung libro.”
“He saw me?”

That guy . . . actually saw me?

My face suddenly felt hot so I grabbed the fan on the edge of the table and I realized it’s one of the weapons. This is cute and handy. Maybe I’ll have this as my weapon.
Pumasok naman bigla si Sir Kyo at nakita kong nag-iba ang expression ni Akemi.

“Meet me at the PE room later. Mga 10:00 kayo pumunta. Maliwanag?”
“Yes, Sir.”

After that ay umalis siya at dinismiss na rin kami ni Sir Aiwa. Inayos ko lang ang pamaypay ko at palabas na rin sana ng room pero bigla akong hinawakan ni Mitsuo sa braso kaya napatingin ako sa kanya. Now we’re the only ones left in this room.

“What?” mahina kong tanong at medyo lumayo ako dahil hindi ako makahinga.
“That place. Later.”

Pagkatapos niyang sabihin ang dalawang salitang ‘yon ay binitiwan niya ako at akmang lalakad na pero bigla siyang napatigil. Nagkatinginan kami at alam kong pareho kami ng naramdaman. Agad kaming tumakbo palabas at naabutan namin silang dalawa.

“Akemi.”
“Hideo.”

We simultaneously called their names because their presence are too overwhelming to the point that it’s already suffocating.
Agad naman silang lumayo sa isa’t isa matapos ang confrontation nila about something. Naglakad si Hideo papunta kay Mitsuo at tinulungan ko namang tumayo si Akemi.

“I won’t ask anything but seriously, you guys should control your presence,” sabi ko sa kanya.

Naglakad lang kami sa hallway at pareho kaming tahimik. I’m sure she has a lot in her mind, just like me.

That place. Later. 
What is he planning to do?


***