Posted by PURPLEYHAN STORIES on Sunday, September 25, 2016
We reached the end of the hallway and it branched out into three more ways. Considering what had happened earlier, we decided to map this building together and plan our next move after consulting with Jett and Naia.
'Let's go here first,' sabi ko at naglakad ako sa right hallway. Sumunod naman sa akin si Cliff.
'Let's go here first,' sabi ko at naglakad ako sa right hallway. Sumunod naman sa akin si Cliff.
Habang naglalakad kami ay may nakakasalubong kaming Blacks. Some of them gave strong impressions and I think they are the higher-numbered viertes.
Bigla naman akong nakaramdam ng sakit sa likod ko. Damn that Spider. I wasn't able to react when he attacked me. Drittes are on a much higher level than these viertes and we shouldn't underestimate them just because they are humdrums.
'We need to be careful from now on,' biglang sabi ni Cliff. 'There's still one more dritte lurking around here and I don't want that to happen again.'
'I know,' sabi ko naman. 'I won't let my guard down again. Ink, right? Siya na lang ang hindi natin kilala sa mukha.'
'Yeah. I wonder what's their ranks among the drittes.'
'That, we don't know yet.'
Naglakad kami hanggang sa makarating kami sa part ng hallway kung nasaan ang mga kwarto. I entered the first one while Cliff chose the room across mine. Pagpasok ko ay saglit akong napatigil dahil mayroong tatlong tao sa loob. They immediately stopped whatever they were doing and looked at me.
“What the hell are you doing here?” The guy with the nose-piercing glared at me and the two other guys eyed me with distaste.
I immediately scanned the room and saw the large monitor where they were looking at a while ago. The displayed site was familiar and I realized that it was the Death Index, where they can track and eliminate anyone who are written there.
“Hey! Are you listening?” tanong ng lalaki na malapit sa monitor kaya napatingin ulit ako sa kanila.
“Ah. Sorry, I was lost,” I said with an innocent expression.
“This room is for Eleven to Twenty only. State your number,” sabi naman ng isa pang lalaki.
“Then get out. Go to your own chamber.”
“Oh, right. Yeah, thank you.”
Tumalikod ako at lumabas ng room na ‘yon. When I got outside, I checked the door and wall if there are any details for this chamber, and I saw its name—Chamber 11. So he wasn't lying.
Naglakad ako palayo para tignan din ang ibang kwarto at nakita ko ang division ng numbers. Even the drittes have their own system.
Papasok na sana ako sa kwarto kung nasaan si Cliff pero napatigil ako no'ng may marinig akong pagbukas ng pinto. When I turned around, I saw one of the guys a while ago leaving the room, but he immediately stopped when he noticed me. He made an eye contact with me, and before he could say anything, I went inside the room in front of me. Luckily, there's nobody here.
A smile formed in my lips after what happened. That guy . . . he looked at me, and that was his biggest mistake.
I tapped my right earlobe to activate our communication device.
"Watson, can you hear me?" I whispered.
"Jasmine," sabi naman ni Cliff.
Well, that was my name in our previous mission. The first thing you should know when it comes to spying is that you should not give your real name.
"Record," I commanded.
I heard the opening of a door from here and I'm sure that was Cliff. After a few seconds, he responded.
"Great. Wait for my signal."
Sumilip ako sa hallway at mukhang umalis na siya kaya nagsimula na akong kumilos. Before I left the room, I used my animus, and walked confidently towards Chamber 11.
Now his identity is mine. Cliff also copied his genetic identity that we might use sooner or later.
Pagkapasok ko ay tumingin ulit sa akin ang dalawang lalaking naiwan sa loob.
"Bakit ka bumalik?" tanong ng isa pero hindi ako nagsalit at naupo lang sa upuan malapit sa monitor.
“I thought you already have someone to catch,” sabi ng lalaking may piercing sabay tingin sa monitor.
Oh. So that’s the reason why he left.
“Well, I’m going to change my target,” I said while looking at the list displayed. Sino kaya ang target ng lalaking ‘to sa mga nakasulat?
“Is there anyone better than Sol Dimas, Fifteen?”
So this guy is Fifteen. How about these two? I’m pretty sure that the one with piercing has the highest status among the three of them because of his imposing character. That’s when I saw a small piece of paper addressed to a Number, and I think it was him.
Tinignan ko naman sa Death Index ang pangalan na sinabi niya. Sol Dimas, huh? According to the site, his current whereabouts is in Philippines. I clicked his name and a short profile about him appeared.
Solomon ‘Sol’ Dimas is a 38-year old mercenary hired by the FBI to track an assassin named Ink. Ink was known in the underground community for organizing the death of a mayor and some accomplices due to embezzlement fourteen or fifteen years ago.
Ink? The other dritte who controls this base?
“No,” I answered. “Sol is the top bounty for viertes like us.”
“They why do you want to change your target?” tanong ng isa at bigla kong naaninag ang singsing niya na may nakalagay na Sixteen.
“I just realized you’re pushing me to do this because you’ll inherit my position once I’m dead,” I said with a smirk and I saw him winced. “How about you do it,” sabay tingin ko sa lalaking may piercing, “Twelve.”
Both of them looked at me and I just sat there, browsing other names, in case they asked me. Nagulat naman ako nang biglang tumawa nang mahina si Twelve at naglabas siya ng kutsilyo. Lumayo sa kanya si Sixteen at ako naman ay tinitigan siya.
“I was about to kill you when you said you were going to hunt Sol earlier. But you returned and it seems like you still have some ounce of intelligence in your brain.” He moved closer to me and caressed my face with his knife. “You’re right,” he whispered. “I should be the one to kill that Sol, so that I can be promoted to the highest Numbers, like Ink.”
Pagkatapos no’n ay lumayo siya at itinago ulit sa likuran niya ang kutsilyo. Ngumiti siya sa akin at muling tumingin sa monitor.
“I guess the kill is mine,” sabi niya at saka tuluyang lumabas sa Chamber.
“That bastard,” biglang sabi ni Sixteen at napaupo siya no’ng makalabas si Twelve. “Eleven and twelve, both of them are too intense. Siguro kaya gusto nilang maging drittes ay dahil nakikita nila ang sarili nila kina Ink, Spider at Dim.” Tumingin naman siya sa akin at nagsmirk. “You’re lucky he didn’t kill you.”
Pagkatapos no’n ay lumabas na rin siya sa Chamber at ako na lang ang naiwan dito.
“Are you okay?” Narinig ko naman ang boses ni Cliff sa tenga ko. Naalala ko na nakabukas pala ang communication device ko kaya siguradong narinig niya ang lahat ng nangyari.
“Yeah, though I was this close to slit that guy’s throat,” sabi ko habang nakahawak pa rin sa dagger na nasa binti ko.
“Good job for controlling that desire.”
“Yeah right.” Inadjust ko naman ang earrings ko para marinig ko nang maayos si Jett. “Simoun, are you there?”
“Yeah. What’s the matter?” sagot naman niya.
“Twelve will be out for a mission. He has a nose piercing and he’s about your height. Report it to Nigel and let them tail him. But for now, you’re the one who’s going to follow him.”
Lumabas ako sa Chamber 11 at naabutan ko sa hallway si Cliff. Mayroon ding ilang Blacks na papunta sa Chamber Area at pumasok sila sa kani-kanilang Chambers. Four Blacks entered Chamber 11, where I just came from, and five went to Chamber 21. Lumapit sa akin si Cliff at sabay kaming naglakad palayo sa Chambers.
‘What did you get from that room?’ tanong ko habang naglalakad kami.
‘It’s basically the same. The Death Index is displayed and viertes choose their targets from that. I think the main difference is the list of the names. Chamber 21 only involves lower-ranking officials and agents, and as the level goes higher, the targets become well-known and hard to kill.’
‘So that’s how it works. But I didn’t see Chamber 1,’ sabi ko naman.
‘If there’s any,’ sagot ni Cliff.
‘What do you mean?’
‘There are only three Chambers here—Chamber 21, 11 and 4.’
‘Yeah. The room you entered before coming back to Chamber 11.’
‘Wait, why is it labeled as 4?’
Natahimik naman siya at nagulat ako no’ng bigla siyang huminto sa paglalakad. Even those Blacks around us stopped moving.
Doon ko lang nagawang tumingin sa harapan at nakita ko na ang sinasabi niya.
“I didn’t know you’re back, Twenty One.”
Standing in front of us was Dim, one of the drittes.
“Where’s Twenty Four?” tanong ni Dim kay Cliff. Muntik na akong magsalita pero agad din akong napatigil dahil hindi pala ako si Twenty Four ngayon. I am disguised as Fifteen.
“I think he’s still inside the Chamber, Sir.”
“Is that so?” For a few seconds ay tahimik lang siya at saglit siyang tumingin sa akin. “Well then, come with me.”
Naglakad sila palayo sa akin at kaagad akong naghanap ng lugar o sulok kung saan walang kahit sinong tao o makakakita. I need to be Twenty Four so that I can be with the two of them.
May binuksan akong pinto at dahil patay lahat ng ilaw doon ay pumasok agad ako. I was about to use my animus but then I felt something eerie. Suddenly, I heard a faint movement, but as I turned around, someone has already clasped my neck and pinned my body to the ground with his weight. I tried resisting but I froze when I heard his chuckle.
“I knew it,” sabi niya at agad kong nalaman kung sino siya.
“You know, I love staying in the dark, but something caught my eye,” he said while tightening his grip on my neck, hindering my breathing. “A color,” sabay hawak niya sa mukha ko.
My mind was racing from endless possibilities of what can possibly happen. I’m sure that the lenses hid the color of my eyes but I don’t know its effect in darkness. Maybe due to the intense color, it’s possible to see it, even with lenses, when the room is too dark.
“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” he asked and my mind went blank. “What does the underground community call you? Those people who have intensely-colored eyes. Ah.”
I can’t see him clearly but I know he’s grinning by the tone of his voice. Suddenly, I heard the sound of a blade leaving its sheath.
“Chromes. The Chromes,” he giggled. “And now I’m about to kill one.”