"That damn murderer," the inspector growled while looking at the mutilated body on the ground.

Nandito kami ngayon sa crime scene habang itinataboy ng mga pulis ang mga tao. Luckily, the chief inspector is a Senshin and he's quite close to Sir Tora. When he saw us, he let us observe and investigate the scene which bothered some of the officers.

"Let them be," he said earlier. "They can help us. Trust me."

Pagkakita pa lang namin sa katawan ng biktima ay napatigil na kami. Just like the description in the news, the victim was brutally murdered. His eyeballs were removed from their sockets, his abdomen was cut, revealing his stomach and intestines and his skin was unbelievably dry.

"What a brutal killer," Hiroshi commented while scanning the body with the device he invented to record the state of the body and which would be instantly sent to his server.

"He was killed ten hours ago," dagdag ko naman nang mahawakan ang paa niya. "But he was butchered an hour after he died."

"Are there any suspects?" tanong ni Hayate kay Inspector Warren.

"Yes," sabay tanggal niya sa sumbrerong suot niya. "There are actually two suspects three years ago but due to insufficient evidence, we were forced to release them."

"One of them is Ariel Andrada, right?" Kana chimed in and all of us were surprised by her input.

"How did you know that?" the inspector asked, still dumbfounded.

Hindi naman sumagot si Kana at muli siyang tumingin sa bangkay na nasa harapan namin.

According to the initial report, the victim is Gabriel Corpuz, a newly-licensed physician and one of the top ten takers. His friends were waiting for him in a nearby cafe when he suddenly texted a creepy message to one of them:

Isusunod kita

Mukhang hindi pa tapos ang pagpatay niya ng mga tao.

The four of us stayed and gathered information about the case, especially now that there might be another victim.

All of a sudden, I felt a chill down my spine, as if someone was staring at us from behind. Agad akong lumingon pero sa dami ng taong nakapaligid ay hindi ko matukoy kung saan ko nakuha ang pakiramdam na 'yon.

'You felt it, too?' tanong ni Hayate.

'Yeah. That bloodthirst is comparable to a Shinigami,' I answered and I could feel it more intensely, being a Shinigami tracker and all.

'An Erityian is here.'

'But I'm sure that that one isn't the criminal,'
Kana chimed in while looking at the body.

'Yeah. This one is a work of humdrum,' Hiroshi added.

Lumapit naman sa amin si Inspector Warren at ipinakita ang ilan pang information na nakalap nila. Pagkatapos no'n ay nagdesisyon kami na magsimula na ring mag-imbestiga. Hayate and I wandered around the street where the body was found while Kana and Hiroshi stayed at the crime scene to examine the body with the forensic team.

Agad namang nag-send si Hiroshi ng summary of report sa kanya-kanya naming KT, a device similar to a mobile phone. Erityians do not use electronic devices made by humdrums since we could be traced or tapped so the tribes usually have their own inventions or methods to communicate. For Senshins, the Technology department have invented several portable devices useful for times like this.

According to the reports he found three years ago, three murders were committed by the same killer. The same brutality and method were observed and this person is quite clever because he or she didn't leave any traces of him or her. In addition, there were no patterns on the dates of the murders, as well as connections among the three victims.

The first victim, RJ Narita, was found near his home with his mutilated body. The autopsy showed that he died due to dehydration and he was later cut up. The next victim was Samantha Dimos, a doctor, and she was killed three days after RJ's death. Her white coat was soaked in her own blood that it was initially mistaken as a scarlet dress. Her intestines were also removed and were later found in her own bag that was thrown in a nearby trash bin. The last victim three years ago was a nurse who was working in the same hospital as Samantha, Krista Conny. However, the weird thing was she was dumped into a drum of blue paint while some of her organs were outside of it.

"It seems like this guy has good medical knowledge when you look at the way he disemboweled his or her victims," Hayate commented while looking at the photos from the report.

"But how did they arrive at the conclusion that these murders were committed by the same person?" rinig namin sa boses ni Kana na mula sa KT.

"Even if I don't want to admit it, she's right," dagdag ni Hiroshi. "The methods of death are different and the only thing that groups them together is how the organs were removed and scattered after killing them."

"It's the way the murderer opens their gut," sabi naman ni Hayate. "Look at the pictures. Their wounds and the manner the organs were pulled out from their respective bodies are the same. Maybe that's why they reported it to be a serial murderer."

"Wait," I warned.

I felt a faint yet eerie presence, similar to what we felt earlier. Nilibot ko ang paningin ko pero kaming dalawa lang ni Hayate ang nandito sa lugar na 'to.

'A Shinigami?' Hayate asked, taking a defensive stance.

'Yeah. I can sense that dimension.'

I suddenly remembered the first time I encountered their dimension. In our clan, the kids are taught basic tracking techniques and by the time they reach fifteen, they have to experience it firsthand. Well, in my case, since there was a war that time, I saw and felt the Black Dimension earlier than expected.

Maging sa Senshins, hindi agad dini-discuss ang tungkol sa lugar na 'yon. The professors usually introduce them in their last year to prepare them for the final requirement since most of the families deal with cases involving humdrums.

“Looks like we have a visitor,” sabi ko at natahimik naman sina Hiroshi at Kana sa kabilang linya. As if on cue, a portion of the Black Dimension opened behind us and I immediately turned around to face the Shinigami—

Ate Akemi.

That was the first thought that came into my mind and I almost lost my focus. They share the same facial features but her eyes seemed to be colder and full of rage.

“Who are you?” tanong ko pero tinitigan niya lang ako at hindi ako nakagalaw dahil sa takot.

“Kill them,” she ordered and two more Shinigamis came out as she went back to that place.

Who was that woman? Bakit kamukha niya ang taong ‘yon? Magkadugo ba sila?

“Reina,” Hayate called and my mind went back to the present. Doon ko lang na-realize na kung anu-ano na ang tumatakbo sa isip ko. “I know that you’re thinking about her but we should take care of them first.”

“I-I know—”

Hindi ko na natapos ang sasabihin ko kay Hayate dahil biglang sumugod ang dalawa papunta sa amin.

“A sword, huh?” he muttered and he cut his thumb while rushing to those two Shinigamis. He propelled towards them without anything but before they could attack him, his favorite weapon—his broadsword—appeared straight on his right hand and came into contact with the enemy’s sword.

With the way they attack, I’m pretty sure they are Reapers. Buti na lang at hindi sila Elite dahil paniguradong mahihirapan kami kung lumabas sila rito lalo na’t maraming humdrums sa kabilang street.

The other one lunged at me but I immediately summoned my twin shortswords and countered his spear.

“A Shinigami tracker, I see,” he said and I stepped backward as he overwhelmed me with his immense physical strength.

“Good eyes, Reaper,” I responded and used my agility to spin and target his back but despite his large body, he was fast. To find the tattoo on my nape even when I was moving . . . he has good eyes.

“Shinigamis?” rinig ko sa boses ni Hiroshi galing sa device pero hindi namin siya sinagot. Mas mabuti nang mag-focus sila sa paghahanap ng clues. “Don’t en—hey, where are you going?”

He attacked me again and I could only defend myself. I couldn’t attack him because of the length of his spear and his strength alone pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

Bigla naman akong nakaramdam ng matinding presensya at akala ko ay muling bumalik ang taong ‘yon pero hindi ko inasahan ang mga sumunod na nangyari. Blood has splattered on my face and I saw the tip of a sickle protruding on the Shinigami’s chest.

“W-what . . .” he muttered before he fell to the ground.

“One down. Next.”

Hindi agad ako nakagalaw sa kinatatayuan ko dahil sa nakita ko. The next thing I knew, the Shinigami facing Hayate has already escaped using the Black Dimension and opened it again to get his comrade. Naiwan akong nakatulala sa kanya. Kay Kana.

I couldn’t believe what I just saw. It looked like she was a different person, as if she was a hunter who has finally found her preys. Her eyes were also colder and ruthless, just like a Shinigami.

“K-Kana?” I called. She turned around, saw me, and blinked for a few times. After that, her dour expression disappeared and she smiled at me.

“Are you okay?” tanong niya at sakto namang dumating din si Hiroshi na mukhang tumakbo papunta rito. He looked at Kana and just like what she did to me, she gave her a quick smile. “You’re slow, meganerd.”

“What happened?” tanong ni Hiroshi habang nakatingin kay Hayate.

This time, si Hayate naman ang may seryosong mukha. Nakatitig siya kay Kana at inayos niya ang salamin niya. Alam kong nagulat din siya sa mga pangyayari at ngayon ay naging curious siya kay Kana. Honestly, I thought she was a Shinigami a while ago. She just went straight to him and targeted his vital organ with a fatal blow.

“Anyway, we need to go,” pag-iiba ni Hiroshi habang nagta-type sa KT. “We found a crucial clue.”

“Sa killer?” tanong ko naman.

“It’s that person, right?” dagdag ni Hayate.

“Alam n’yo na kung sino? Are you sure?”

“As expected from you, meganerds.”

Well, time to hunt our first target.