"Excuse me, saan kayo pupunta?" tanong ng nurse na nakasalubong namin.
"To his room," sagot ko naman. "Room 329."
"Sa right wing 'yon," she said, giving me a suspicious look.
"Oh. Sorry, bago lang kasi ako. Kasama ako sa dumating kanina at pinatulong agad ako."

Pagkasabi ko no'n ay nagbago naman agad ang expression niya. Her doubtful look was replaced by a smile of relief.

"Oh. Kaya pala. Sige," she said and walked away.

Pinagpatuloy ko naman ang pagtulak sa wheel chair kung saan nakaupo si Ulysses habang ako ay naka-disguise bilang nurse. We sneaked into the VIP quarters and found the room of our target.

'So who is the person I’m going to impersonate?’ tanong ko habang papunta sa dulo ng hallway.
‘You might not remember her but the two of you are kind of connected,’ he said.

Hindi na ako muling nagtanong pa at dumiretso kami sa dulong kwarto. There were two Blacks, probably viertes or quintes, guarding the room but before they could even ask a question, Ulysses shot them but nothing happened.

‘What did you do?’
‘I shot them with some kind of special sedatives. There are out cold but they would look like they’re still conscious,’ he explained and once again, I was amazed by his knowledge in that field.

We entered the room and I immediately realized what he meant by his statement earlier when I saw the patient lying on the hospital bed. Ulysses stood and walked toward her while I remained still.

‘Do you remember her?’ he asked.
‘Yes,’ sagot ko naman. ‘She’s a zweite, right?’

Tumango naman si Ulysses at muli kong naalala ang nangyari noong araw na ‘yon. She was fatally injured by Cliff and I when they got me. We didn’t get any information about her after that but I already expected her to be in a critical condition or worse, dead.

‘She’s Dorothy Moren, an author, but as a Black, she’s known as Jade,’ Ulysses said.

According to him, Jade was supposed to be killed after failing her mission but Raven asked them to spare her life. The other zweites decided to confine her here and Ulysses managed to obtain her location. It seemed like they couldn’t observe her personally so they assigned the outer circles to guard her room.

He carried Jade toward the wheel chair while I looked outside to check if there were suspicious people besides us roaming around. After a few minutes, Ulysses called me and both of us changed our disguise. He posed as a nurse and pushed the wheel chair out of the room.

‘Meet us outside,’ he ordered and I said okay.

Lumabas na rin ako ng kwarto at pagtingin ko ay papunta na sila sa emergency exit. I faced the two Blacks and acted like I was talking to them since there were medical personnels near us. When they finally left, I immediately walked away from the VIP wing and changed my disguise into a visitor. Madali akong nakaalis sa ospital at naabutan ko naman sa tagong parte si Ulysses na papasok sa kotse habang buhat si Jade. Naglakad ako papunta ro’n at ako na ang sumakay sa driver seat.

“Let’s go,” sabi niya at agad kong pinaandar ang sasakyan.


“Your driving got worse,” bungad ni Ulysses nang makababa siya sa kotse.

Napaisip naman ako bigla. Did he mean I got slower? Well, I wasn’t able to drive that much when we got here in the Philippines. I should regain my normal driving speed.

Binuhat naman niya palabas ng sasakyan si Jade at sumunod ako sa kanila. Huminto siya sa pinto at itatanong ko sana kung bakit pero nang may ilabas siyang parang remote control ay doon ko na nalaman ang plano niya. He deactivated all the traps since her presence would trigger all of them, just like what happened to Ink.

Speaking of Ink, he was confined in one of the rooms after Ulysses tended his wounds.

“Hey,” Ulysses called and I was surprised when he suddenly threw something to my direction. Buti na lang at nasalo ko ‘yon. Pagtingin ko, isang journal ang nasa kamay ko. “Study her habits and personality.”

Binuksan ko naman ‘yon at nakasulat doon ang lahat ng observations niya sa Blacks na naka-encounter niya. According to one of his entry, he met Jade in a mission involving a director. His mission was to silence that man because he learned about the existence of Nox after he saw Raven and Jade killing someone. She told him some information about the director and used that to stage his death.

As Dorothy, she fancies suspense and thriller novels. I searched the summary of her stories and it seemed like she was inspired by her missions for Nox. Sikat ang mga libro niya pero hindi siya nagpapa-booksigning kaya naman hindi rin kilala ang mukha niya. Napatingin ako sa kanya habang nakahiga siya sa couch. She looked fragile and I realized the injury she got from us realy sucked the life out of her.

In-activate naman ulit ni Ulysses ang traps bago namin iwan si Jade at saka kami pumunta sa basement. Pagdating namin do’n ay sakto namang may nag-notify na message sa active screen. A chat group was displayed and I saw the familiar codenames typing something.

Coal: 2511141502444033244444243422
Raven: 2404535321405535510343545045350453551132301424143445024?
Ebony is typing . . .
Coal: 2401424143445
Ebony: 2401424143445023115215045231504524331504535052244424450231543
Pitch is typing . . .
Pitch: 4423150244404523150531511311544450113335342205144053231145440452315014242121154315341315?
Raven: 11444423353215

Tumigil naman do’n ang pag-uusap nila at napangiti ako nang maalala ko kung paano dinecode ni Cliff ang chat nila dati.

“So they already knew that she’s missing,” sabi ko kay Ulysses at tumango naman siya.
“That means her guards finally woke up. And it seems like I successfully executed my plan.”

I was about to ask what he meant by that but it was already answered by the photo that was uploaded in the chat. They talked about who she was referring to even though it was Ulysses who left the note there. He managed to create skepticism among the zweites and that would be helpful to us.

Magtatanong pa sana ako kaso may tumunog naman mula sa device niya at mukhang galing ‘yon sa Nox.

“I have to go,” sabi niya at tumango naman ako.

Naiwan akong mag-isa ro’n at muli kong binasa ang binigay niyang journal. I have to study Jade’s behavior to perfectly disguise as her since those Blacks could easily dispose someone, even their own members, based on their actions. Disguising as a zweite would be harder but I need to do it anyway.

From now on, I am Dorothy Moren and Jade.


“You’re finally here,” I said before I could even see the person who entered my room.
“I thought you wouldn’t return here,” sagot naman niya.
“I have to.”
“Well, at least you came back from hell.”
“I won’t go there without dragging all of you, Raven.”

Ngumiti naman siya matapos kong sabihin ‘yon at saka siya umupo sa couch sa gilid.

I returned in the hospital after studying Jade for three days and the Blacks guarding her immediately informed the other zweites. Ulysses let me borrow his voice changer, listening device, nanocamera and recording bug to assist me in impersonating Jade.

Nagulat naman ako nang biglang may hinagis na card si Raven sa direksyon ko at sinalo ko naman ‘yon gamit ang kaliwang kamay ko—one of Jade’s habit.

“What’s this?” I asked while looking at the card.
“An order from Onyx,” she said with a grim expression.

Onyx? I think I heard or read that before but I couldn’t remember when. But for sure, that person was a zuerst since they were the only ones who could order these zweites.

Kill the rats

‘Yon ang nakasulat sa card at magtatanong pa lang sana ako pero inihirap naman kaagad ni Raven ang phone niya sa akin. Luckily, I was able to control my facial expression even though I wanted to snatch that from her hand.

“Isn’t that . . .” I let my voice trailed while pointing at the photo.
“Yes. The Red that was killed by Crow,” sabi naman niya. “They sent it to her team, as well as to their main server. Our mission is to ambush them so you need to redeem yourself after that failure. Well then, rest,” sabi niya at saka siya tuluyang lumabas sa kwarto.

Displayed on her screen was a photo of me, tied and imprisoned somewhere. Hindi ko rin maintindihan kung paano nangyari ‘yon pero mukhang may nag-disguise din bilang ako at mukhang alam ko na kung sino. I need to tell them that it’s a trap or else, I’d lose them.

I was about to get out of bed but I felt something coming at my direction. The next thing I knew, my window has already shattered into fragments and a bullet almost hit my arm. Good thing was I managed to dodge it at the last second. Agad akong tumingin kung saan nanggaling ‘yon at napahinto ako sa nakita ko. Standing on the next building was someone familiar and I almost called him, not minding my disguise.

Several nurses and doctors, as well as the Blacks guarding outside, entered my room, asking what happened but I didn’t respond

“Jett,” I mumbled as I looked at him running away from the rooftop.