We managed to get back in the base thanks
to Naia. She tracked us after Jett’s car disappeared from her radar and brought
us back here.
“Are you okay?” Cliff asked while tending my wounds. My shoulder was dislocated and pieces of glass fragments were embedded on my right thigh. The pain had exhausted me but it was still tolerable.
“You’re really a monster, aren’t you?” I grimaced at him. He was covered in scratches and wounds yet he looked unaffected.
The three of us were all injured but Jett had it worst since according to Cliff, the bomb was nearest to him. His left arm was burnt and several of his bones were broken to the point that he can’t move his right limbs anymore.
“Aarif will be here in a while so just hold on for a while,” Naia said after removing the shards from his right arm.
Jett drifted to sleep while the three of us were worried about him. Bakit ngayon pa nangyari ‘to kung kailan malapit na ang labanan sa pagitan ng Senshins at Shinigamis at mayroon na kaming nalaman tungkol sa zeurts? Pero ang hindi ko maintindihan ay kung paano nalagyan ng bomba ang sasakyan niya. It was just park outside Area 008 and surely, someone would see if somebody had approached his car when we were still inside the dome.
After a few hours, I managed to move my thigh again, thanks to the painkillers but my shoulder was still in bad form. Cliff, on the other hand, recovered fast. He was moving as if the accident a while ago didn’t occur. Jett was still sleeping and we were just waiting for Aarif, Blake’s team’s specialist, to arrive since he’s a medical practitioner.
“Hey guys, look at this,” sabi naman ni Naia kaya lumapit kami sa kanya ni Cliff.
“What’s the matter?”
“I brought some of the shrapnel from the explosion and look what I’ve found,” she said while pointing at her laptop. “According to the analysis, it has the same features and components as the bombs found in the park before.”
“Wait, does that mean it was the work of Nox?” tanong ko matapos niyang sabihin ‘yon.
“It might be but this information baffled me,” sabay pakita niya ng data.
“How in the world . . .” Lumapit si Cliff at tinignan nang mabuti kung tama ba ang nakikita niya at halos pareho na sila ng expression ni Naia.
“Why? What does that mean?” tanong ko naman.
“Well, our Parietal department sent the results and according to them, the bomb was placed in the car weeks or even months before it exploded.”
After hearing that, several theories formulated inside my head and I was scared to tell these to them. I do not have any evidences to support my speculations so might as well observe the situation first.
My focus was shifted when I heard some static from the old radio. I adjusted the knob until I heard the clear voice from it.
“Just in: According to our insider, Governor Mechor Trohadas is missing.” Nagkatinginan naman kaming tatlo nang marinig namin ‘yon. “It was reported that the governor went missing last week but the provincial administration decided to keep it as a secret. However, the truth was revealed when news about bomb planted in the Central Park reached the ears of the citizens. Luckily, the police force detonated the bombs and nobody was harmed. Because of this, the police and even the citizens investigated his office and found out that he has been pocketing the funds for his proposed projects for the establishment of his own industry empire.”
The reporter exposed Hortem’s corruption to the public and fortunately, there wasn’t any report about mysterious people involved in his case because that might be us. It’s been weeks since I last saw that man and he might be pissing his pants right now since his wrongdoings were out to the public.
“He’s in Shima right now, isn’t it?” tanong ni Cliff at tumango naman ako.
“Yeah, along with those drittes.”
Bigla ko namang naalala si Kiyoko. She said that Shima is the place for Erityians and humdrums who did unforgivable crimes. I was wondering if she arrived there safely with those kinds of people next to her.
“I’m really curious about Shima,” Cliff said and I agreed.
Yes, Erityians knew about it but only its name and purpose. Kiyoko did not tell us any information about it besides being managed by a Senshin clan.
“How about you, Naia?” tanong ko. “You’ve been researching about a lot of things. Do you know anything about Shima?”
“No,” she said but her eyes avoided mine. I wasn’t sure if my eyes were just playing tricks on me but I saw her expression softened. I wanted to ask some questions but she changed the topic back to Hortem.
As a Keeper, she needed to write a report about Hortem’s case so she asked us about the details. Naalala ko naman ang plano ng Nox na gawing watchtower ang building na sana ay gagawin sa Central Plaza at buti na lang ay hindi ‘yon natuloy. They would have a total control to the province if that watchtower plan, along with several Blacks in different government agencies, proceeded.
Aarif arrived after an hour and he immediately took care of Jett. Luckily, the burn wasn’t that serious but his right arm might take four to five months to fully recover. I felt sorry and worried for him since he usually uses his right hand to shoot down the enemies and that might affect our missions.
“How’s your team, Aarif?” tanong ni Cliff at napabuntong-hininga naman si Aarif.
“The tension in that area was suffocating,” sagot naman niya habang inaayos ang medical stuff niya.
“In Latens forest?”
“Yeah. Their radio barrier keeps on fluctuating and it feels like the Shinigamis will invade anytime.”
Bigla namang nag-project ang image nina Dale at Von kaya agad kaming napatingin sa kanila. They weren’t wearing their usual tux and tie attire but a more casual one.
“What happened? We received a report that Jett’s car blew up,” Dale said.
“Where is he?” tanong naman ni Von.
We explained to them what had happened and Naia told them the analysis results she got from CIA. Cliff also told them the situation in Area 008 and how Ansel Choi can’t remember anything from his past.
I suddenly remembered how Ansel looked at Nigel, as if he was a stranger. His eyes, aside from having different shades of red, did not show any compassion or attachment to anyone. It might be a shock to Nigel since even if his comrade was before his eyes, he wasn’t the same person anymore.
After seeing him, I felt afraid because it gave me a little hope that my mother might also be alive.
“Nel, are you listening?”
Nagulat naman ako nang marinig ko ang boses ni Dale at saka ko na-realize na may sinasabi na pala sila tungkol sa gagawin namin.
“I’m sorry,” mahina kong sabi at nakita kong tumingin sa akin si Cliff. It looked like he had read my mind.
“Anyway, the three of you are going to—!”
The connection was suddenly cut off and the hologram disappeared. We were in trance for few seconds because we did not know what happened but we immediately packed our weapons and supplies when we realized something bad might have happened.
I ordered Naia to stay so that she could monitor and take care of Jett. We would need his ability but his health should be the priority.
We used my car and since we need to get to Latens forest as fast as we could, I thought I would be the best one to drive but my shoulder won’t allow me to. In the end, Cliff volunteered and I sat next to him.
I put my earpiece on and activated the communication option. Looking at my dagger and gun, which were strapped on my legs, I could imagine how uncomfortable it would be to use my left hand while fighting.
Wala pa kami sa park na nasa bungad ng Latens ay napahinto na kami dahil sa kakaibang nangyayari. People were running away, screaming and pointing at different directions. We hurriedly got out of the car to see what was happening when all of a sudden, a bullet shattered the windshield of my car.
“Shit. Are these the allies of Shinigamis?” Aarif cursed under his breath.
Dozens of people dressed in black were marching toward the city and looking at them, I already knew who they were.
“Blacks,” I mouthed and the three of us readied our weapons.
Aarif helped the citizens evacuate while Cliff and I confronted the enemies. I was already tensed due to the number of Blacks but it intensified when I heard the faint sound of alarm from the forest.
“So this is their plan, huh?” mahinang sabi ni Cliff kaya napatingin ako sa kanya.
“What do you mean?”
“Their forcing us to stay here by using their allies—Nox and the other underground organizations.”
“And now they want to involve the innocent humdrums, leaving us no choice but to fight against them.”
Several Blacks lunged at us and we both responded to their attacks. I pulled my gun and shot two of them on their limbs, disabling them to move while Cliff used his brute strength to tackle them away. We were clearly outnumbered and I told Naia to request some back up from the teams in the Latens forest but they were already engaged in the battle.
“The Shinigamis have arrived,” she said that made my skin tingle.
The Blacks had surrounded the two of us while Aarif was still helping the humdrums. We could use that but we might need it later. Bigla naman silang sumugod nang sabay-sabay kaya nagkatinginan kami ni Cliff at mukhang pareho kami ng naisip. We didn’t have a choice but to use it now.
We both closed our eyes and were about to prepare our next attack but the sudden screams made us open them again. The next thing I knew, two of the Blacks had their head frozen and several people with archaic-looking clothes appeared before our eyes.
The girl in front of them looked at me with her crystal blue eyes.
“We’re the Huntres tribe and we’re here to help the Senshins,” she said in a monotonal voice.
“Is that so?” sabi ko naman habang nakatingin sa paligid.
They were already attracting attention from the Shinigami allies, as well as the citizens, so I had to do something.
“You should go inside the forest, then,” I said. “They need you.”
“How about you? Are you sure the two of you can hold them off?” she asked and I wasn’t sure if she was mocking us or she was really concerned. I gave her smile in return.
“Of course. Besides, your appearance and abilities aren’t meant to be seen by humdrums,” I retorted and that made her look around.
“You’re right. Well then, we’re going.”
The reinforcements from the Huntres tribe marched to the forest while Cliff and I stayed here. True enough, we can’t hold these guys off with just the two of us but we needed to. In addition, I could feel the pain in my right thigh again and this would surely slow me down. Damn it.
The Blacks recovered from shock and they were about to attack us again when three of them suddenly collapsed, blood spurting from their necks, while four simultaneously got holes on their forehead.
“I guess we arrived on time.”
“You could say that.”
Just when I was ready to get all bloody, the best reinforcements arrived—Dale and Von, two of the best Custos fighters.