Case of the Missing File
THE WHOLE storage room was filled with defeaning silence. Walang nagsasalita, walang kumikibo. Neither the four siblings were answering our questions.
"Again," Chaos stood up, "tell us, what are you hiding?" He asked.
Midnight straightly looked at Chaos's eyes. "We're not hiding anything." Aniya.
Chaos squinted his eyes na para bang hindi siya naniniwala sa sinasabi ni Midnight. "Are you X?"
This time, Midnight furrowed his eyebrows. "No, I'm Midnight." Naguguluhang sagot nito.
"Don't mess with me. Are you X?!" Tanong ulit ni Chaos.
Midnight crossed his arms and rested his back on the sofa. "As far as I remember, X is a letter on the alphabet. I don't know what you're talking about." He shrugged.
Slate stood up. "Look, the letter you received was from X at kung pinaghihinalaan niyo kami na kami nga si X, do you think we'll clearly expose ourselves like that? No. If we are X, then we'll continue conducting his little play. It's too early to end it." Anito.
Sabay na sigaw ni Twilight, Midnight at Rebel.
Chaos snapped his fingers. "There. You said it."
Slate immediately shut his mouth and sat again. "Your piece of shit!" Galit na sambit ni Rebel.
Sa sinabi mi Slate, may ideya na akong may alam sila kay X. Wala kaming binabanggit kung ano ang papel ni X sa buhay namin ngayon. He clearly stated that X is playing a little game. Paano naman niya malalaman iyon kung hindi siya involved kay X?
"So you're really hiding something?" Matix asked.
The four of them remained silent until Twilight heaved a deep sigh. "We can't tell you. Maybe when we are given the orders we'll tell you—"
"Who are you, really? Whose orders were you gonna wait?" Masungit na tanong ni Chaos kay Twilight.
"Our identities are meant to be secretive but the secret we're hiding, has nothing to do with being the X." Aniya.
Chaos breathed heavily before looking at Matix. "Do your thing." He simply said and looks like Matix immediately got the answer.
Chaos pointed out the door. "The four of you may leave. We will find ways to uncover your identities and find out the secret you're hiding."
The four of them obliged pero bago pa makalabas nang tuluyan si Midnight, he stated, "everyone has secrets to keep, Chaos. I'm sure you have one too," at tuluyan na itong lumabas.
As soon as the four siblings went out, Matix spoke, "I'm going to hack Twilight's laptop and copy some of her files to mine. Panigurado ay may makukuha tayong clue kung ano ang sikretong tinatago nila."
Chaos nodded. "Do it as fast as you can. Twilight might be working on building more stable protection for her files."
Tahimik muli ang buong storage room. Tanging naririnig lang namin ay ang pagtipa ni Matix ng keyboard.
"Anong gagawin natin? Do we just wait for Matix to find a clue?" Effie suddenly asked.
Chaos shook his head. "No. We cannot wait for Matix forever. We need to investigate." Sagot nito.
"How? Paano tayo makakakuha ng clue sa tunay na identity ng mga yun?" Effie asked pertaining to Twilight and her brothers.
Akmang sasagot si Chaos nang galit na hinampas ni Matix ang kamay sa lamesa. "What is it now?" Chaos asked.
"Twilight is damn too fast. I was about to click enter but she suddenly blocked my computer address so I cannot enter her software. Wala na akong access sa laptop niya." Matix explained.
"I'm starting to doubt your hacking skills." Saad ni Chaos na ikinagalit naman ni Matix.
"Hey! Of course I'm the most amazing hacker you ever had. It's just that, the wifi is too bad." Tutol nito.
"At sinisi mo pa talaga ang wifi." Komento naman ni Effie. Pinukol naman siya ng masamang tingin ni Matix.
"So anong gagawin natin? We can't access their laptop. Do we have to do this the old fashioned way?" Tanong ni Matix.
"Old fashioned way?" I asked.
Matix nodded earnestly. "Yup. Old fashioned way meaning, we go undercover." He smirked.
"What do you mean?" Effie asked.
Chaos answered, "he means, we pretend to be friends with that weird group and use that chance to find clues about them."
Ngumiwi ako. I don't like where this is going. Twilight has become my friend. If ever the time has come that we all become friends, baka masira lang iyon dahil sa plano namin.
"Wala na bang ibang paraan?" Tanong ko.
"Nothing as of now but we'll think of ways." Chaos answered.
Effie then, suddenly snapped her fingers. "I thought of an idea!" She shouted.
"Ano yun?" Tanong ko.
Effie grinned widely. "We forcefully still evidences."
"Elaborate." Utos ni Chaos.
Effie first cleared her throat before speaking, "since they think of themselves as detectives, then I'm sure they also have their own ''meeting room'. We just have to find it. As for the evidences. Kukuha tayo ng mga clues na mahahanap natin sa meeting room nila once Matix found it."
"So basically, we're going to steal?" Matix asked.
Effie immediately shook her head. "Nope. We're just borrowing." She grinned.
Thinking of it, Effie's plan wasn't actually a bad idea. Mukhang mas madali at mabilis namin makukua ang clues tungkol sa tinatagong sikreto nila Twilight.
Chaos shrugged. "That plan is nice. We will do it." Humarap ito kay Matix, "find their 'meeting room'. Search for cctvs or any possible clues to their lair's location."
Matix stretched his fingers. "On it." Aniya.
"So, we trespass into their property just like what they did to us and steal—I mean, borrow some clues, maybe files to know their identity and secret." Sambit ni Chaos.
Effie nodded in response. "Yup and of course, Matix will create a distraction to the other group para mawalan ng bantay sa loob ng room nila and that's when we execute the plan."
Bumaling si Chaos kay Matix. "You found anything?" He asked.
Nagpatuloy lang si Matix sa pagtitipa ng keyboard hanggang sa tumingin ito sa amin nang nakangiti. "I found their own 'storage room'."
"Saan?" Tanong ko.
Matix showed his laptop to us and a cctv footage was shown. "The four siblings were seen entering the office of the board games club but that club disbanded seven months ago. That means, no one is occupying that room but the four siblings."
"Saan ang office na yan?" Tanong ko.
"Fifth floor. Pinakadulong room." Sagot naman ni Matix.
"Excellent." Chaos complimented before turning to Matix, "Hey, create a distraction to the four siblings."
Agad namang tumango si Matix at mabilis na nagtipa ng keyboard. "...and, done! As of now, the four siblings left their office so, you have five minutes till the four siblings come back."
"Thanks, Matix!" Pahabol na sigaw ni Effie nang tumakbo kami palabas at papuntang fifth floor. We entered the elevator and waited till we arrive in the fifth floor.
Nang makarating sa fifth floor, tumakbo kami at hinanap ang board games club office. "There!" I shouted at tinuro ang office na nasa pinakadulo ng hallway.
Luminga-linga muna ako bago pumasok upang tiyakin kung may tao o wala. "Hanapin niyo lang ang mga posibleng clue. I'll stay as guard." Ani Effie.
Chaos and I immediately get to work. Hinalungkat namin ang drawers at cabinets pero wala. Mga simpleng papeles lang ang mga ito. "If we have to think deeply, where would you hide a very important clue?" Rinig kong tanong ni Chaos sa sarili.
Napaisip ako. Kung magtatago ako ng pinakaimportanteng bagay at ayokong makita ito ng iba, saan ko ito itatago?
Naglalakad-lakad ako sa buong kwarto at pinapakiramdam ang bawat bagay nang magsalita sa Effie. "Oh no, they're coming back!" Sigaw nito.
Chaos and I panicked. Halos halughugin na namin ang buong office until a large picture frame fell of the wall. Agad ko iyon pinulot at akmang ibabalik nang may maramdaman ako. The insides of the picture frame feels shaky. Like, everytime I shake it, may something sa loob.
"Chaos!" I called.
Tumalima naman si Chaos at agad akong tinulungan na buksan ang picture frame.
"Guys, malapit na sila." Effie informed.
Nang mabuksan namin ang picture frame, isang makapal na brown envelope ang naroon. Kinuha ko iyon at binalik sa dati ang picture frame. "Come on!" Effie half-screamed.
We were about to go out when the office door opened. Mabuti nalang ay mabilis si Chaos na hilain kami sa tagong sulok ng office. Chaos whispered us to be silent.
"Ano ba yon? Pinagloloko mo ba kami, Twilight? Wala namang mali ah." Ani Slate.
Nagpadyak ng paa si Twilight. "I was sure that there is something. Nakita niyo naman diba na may nagsend sa akin ng note?"
"What does it say, exactly?" Rebel asked.
May kinuha si Twilight sa pocket at malakas na binasa. "Science Laboratory. Now. -X"
Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. So ito ang distraction na ginawa ni Matix.
"We fell right into a prank." Ani naman ni Midnight.
The other three nodded in response. "We all know what it means, right?" Twilight asked.
The three brothers nodded and Slate spoke, "someone is pretending to be X."
"Anong gagawin natin?" I asked. Nang mareceive namin ang note galing kay "X", agad kaming tumungo sa science laboratory hindi para mameet si X kung di ay para malaman kun sino ang nagpapanggap bilang X.
"I'm sure this just a one-time prank. Hindi naman siguro ito mauulit." Ani Kuya Midnight.
My brothers, Midnight, Slate and Rebel, maraming nagtatanong kung totoo bang kapatid ko sila. Yes, they are my real brothers pero iba-iba kami ng surnames. It's because we were undercover for Mr. Albert before. He cannot know our true identities so we each changed our surnames.
Our real surname? It's a secret as of now.
Isa rin ang edad naming magkakapatid ang tinatanong ng iba.
If we are siblings, bakit magkakaedad lang kami?
Because we are quintuplets. We are originally five but our other sister died and didn't survive birth. Ang mga kuya ko naman ay pinilit akong tawagin silang kuya kahit magkakaedad lang kami.
"So we will just let it pass?" I asked.
My three weird brothers nodded. "Anyways, Twilight, lumalapit pa ba sayo ang gagong Matix na yon?" Masungit na tanong ni Midnight.
Agad na lumukot ang mukha ko. "What's wrong with Matix? Ano naman kung lumalapit siya sa akin?" Tanong ko. They really are annoying most of the time.
"We don't approve of Matix." My brothers said in unison.
"What's wrong with him? Tsaka why does it matter if you approve of him or not? It's not like we're in a relationship." Sagot ko.
"He doesn't even remember you." Ani kuya Rebel.
I stilled and went quiet. "I know.." I mumbled.
When I first saw Matix, akala ko maaalala niya ako but no. Kahit ilang dikit ko sa kaniya, he still doesn't know me.
"Chin up, little sister. He's not worthy of you."
I frowned. "Bakit kung makapagsalita kayo, parang naging kami ni Matix?"
"That's what brothers are, Twilight. Kaya kung ako sayo, huwag ka nang magboyfriend dahil kung sakaling mayroon, mapupuruhan namin siya." Kuya Slate answered.
Kuya Rebel nodded. "No one touches Twilight."
Ngumiwi ako. "Yuck. So sinasabi niyo bang habang buhay kasama ko kayo?"
Kuya Midnight nodded earnestly. "Papayag kaming magkaboyfriend ka kapag naging bakla na si Rebel."
"What the fuck are you saying?" Galit na tanong ni kuya Rebel at sinuntok si kuya Midnight.
Patuloy na nagsusuntukan sina kuya Rebel at kuya Midnight at si kuya Slate naman ay nagch-cheerdance pa para isupport ang dalawa. Napapahilot nalang ako sa sentido ko habang pinapanood ang tatlo kong mga kapatid.
"Vesper, little sis, isama mo na ako diyan sa langit." I thought.
Napatigil lang ang tatlo kong kapatid nang tumunog ang bell. Hudyat na magsisimula na ang klase. Hinila ko palabas ang tatlo kong kapatid at tumuloy na sa klase. Dahil after classes, we need to get to work.
• • •
"I just got a call from Captain Yu. He's asking us for a favor. There was a murder near his home and he needs our help." Ani kuya Midnight na kakatapos makipagusap kay Captain Yu.
"Call him again and tell him we have other work to do." Utos ni kuya Rebel.
Kuya Midnight nodded and dialed his phone. "Hindi naman niya tayo babayaran kaya okay lang."
After declining Captain Yu's request, agad kaming pumasok sa office namin. It's already 6 in the evening.
"So, I got a call from Khion earlier. He visited Mr. Albert in prison." Kuya Slate said. Khion is our friend who's involved in our undercover.
"Ano ang sabi ni Khion?" I asked.
Kuya Slate crossed his arms. "The police are thinking of transferring Mr. Albert to a private rehabilitation facility because of his mental state," he continued, "nang makausap ni Khion si Mr. Albert, he kept laughing and talking to someone who's not in the scene." Anito.
"He got it crazy." Rebel commented while shaking his head.
"Still, we need to accomplish the job we have. We need him to finish this job." Sabi ko.
"Do you really think that Mr. Albert has something to do with Vesper's death? Remember what mom said? Vesper died at birth. Since we're quintuplets, one sibling has to sacrifice his life to let the others survive. It was Vesper who sacrificed her life for us to live. Iyan ang sabi ni mom." Midnight explained.
"Kahit na. We need to finish this job. Also, there's X who suddenly came in the picture." Ani ko.
"Dagdag trabaho na naman ito. I thought everything ends after Mr. Albert was imprisoned. May dumagdag pa." Puno ng frustrasyon na sambit ni kuya Slate.
"We have the clues we gathered about X, right?" Tanong ni kuya Rebel.
I nodded. "Yup. I hid it carefully that no one can find it." Sagot ko.
"Then let's get this over with." Ani kuya Midnight.
Ako naman ay kinuha ang tinagong file sa picture frame na nasa pader. Binuksan ko iyon pero wala na room ang file.
Wait, I'm sure dito ko nilagay ang file. "What is it, Twilight?" Kuya Midnight asked.
Humarap ako sa kanila. "The file...it's missing." Sambit ko.
"What?" Rebel asked.
"N-Nawawala ang file. Sigurado akong nilagay ko ang file na iyon dito sa loob ng picture frame!" I panickedly said.
"Woah, calm down, little sis." Pagpapakalma sa akin ni kuya Slate.
"Kung nilagay mo diyan ang file at nawala nalang ng parang bula, then it only means one thing." Rebel said.
Midnight added, "someone stole the file."
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