The Seventh Deadly Number
Kanina pa ako nakasimangot. Bakit kasi, out of all the person I can team up with, napunta ako kay Rebel? My optimistic attitude just can't match his pessimistic attitude.
Hinahanap dapat namin ang blackjack station together but he stormed off leaving me alone. He told me that it's too dangerous and that I might danger myself.
Di ba niya naisip na mas delikado kung iiwan niya ako mag-isa dito?
I blinked rapidly. It was Twilight's voice. "What?" Tanong ko.
"Are you okay? Pasensiya ka na sa pangit kong kuya. He likes working alone." She explained.
"You don't have to apoligize. Hahanapin ko na lang siya." Sambit ko at naglalakad lakad.
Allan Formoso...the mayor we are targeting. I wonder, saang station kaya siya? Sana naman hindi sa amin. We can't play blackjack. Kung malalaman ito ng parents ko na nasa gambling center ako, magagalit ang mga iyon for sure. A waiter with a mask went near me at nag-alok sa akin ng tea. Tinanggap ko naman iyon at ininom.
"Hey, miss, alone?" Anang isang lalake na lumapit sa akin.
Twilight spoke through the comms. "Move away, Effie. That guy is a known drug dealer. Baka anong gawin niya sayo."
Just like what Twilight said, I slowly walk away but the man held my hands. "You look young." Then he smirked. "It's okay. Masarap ang bata." Anito at mahigpit na hinawakan ang mga kamay ko.
"Shit! Nasaan ba si Kuya Rebel?" Nagpapanick na sigaw ni Twilight sa comms.
The man was dragging me away. Nagpupumiglas lang ako habang hinahanap ng mga mata ko si Rebel or maybe Chaos. Kahit sino...I need help!
"Huwag ka nang pumiglas. Walang tutulong sayo. Pinapangako ko namang masasarapan ka ngayong gabi eh." The man licked his lips and moved his face near mine.
"Shit, Chaos, Midnight, Slate, Friday, asaan kayo? Effie is in danger. She's near the four kings' station!" Sigaw ni Twilight mula sa comms.
Everything went black. I don't know what is happening. All I know is that the man's face is near me and I just stared, scared and helpless. I felt weak for a moment hanggang sa biglang humandusay sa sahig ang lalaki.
Rebel was there, he kept punching the man in the face. "Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you! How dare you disrespect a woman?! She's my partner you asshole!" Galit nito habang patuloy na sinusuntok ang lalaki.
The man is already bleeding. Putok na ang mukha nito at walang malay so I decided to interfere. "Tama na yan, Rebel. You saved me. That's what matters." Sambi ko.
Rebel did stop, after kicking the man so hard it his side. Napangiwi ako. The man's state...mapupuruhan ito kung hindi ko patitigilin si Rebel.
I dragged Rebel away and pressed the off button on my comms and on his. "What were you thinking? Balak mo bang pumatay?" Sambit ko.
"He was about to take advantage of you, Effie!"
"It's because you left me alone! Masyadong mataas yang pride mo at gusto mong lagi ikaw ang magisa. I'm your partner here, Rebel. Sa ayaw at sa gusto mo, kasama mo ako. Why leave me alone?"
Rebel did not speak.
I sighed. "I'm sorry for shouting. I'm just scared and mad and.." hinilamos ko ang kamay sa mukha ko.
I can feel my whole body vibrating due to trembles and fear.
Natigilan lang ako nang bigla akong yakapin ni Rebel. "Calm down. I won't leave you ever again. Just calm down. Don't be scared anymore." Anito at mahigpit akong niyakap.
Surprisingly, I did calm down....
"Is Effie safe?" I worriedly asked while talking to Twilight on the comms.
"She's fine. She's with Rebel. Hinahanap na nila ang station nila." Twilight answered.
"How's the game going?" Twilight asked.
I'm behind Slate, who's playing roulette royale while Matix is guiding him.
After him, it will be my turn.
"We're far from winning." I said.
Twilight tsked. "That's too bad. Kailangan nating manalo. We need to attract Allan Formoso's attention."
"Can't we just create a distraction?" I suggested.
Gambling is not my thing. I don't know how to play it and I don't have any intention to learn it.
"No. Our mission is to arrest Allan Formoso without bothering the other members of the center. The illegal center will be in the police's hands. Sa ngayon, si Allan Formoso ang target natin." Twilight exclaimed.
I was about to ask something when Slate stood up and depressingly tapped my shoulder. "We already lost five hundred thousand pesos. I leave everything to you, my friend."
I winced. I hate losing so I'll try to win.
Matix spoke through the comms. "Okay, just be confident, bro. I'll guide you through." He said.
Just like what Matix said, I confidently sat on the seat that Slate left on. "Ooh, another brave player to face me." The man probably in his fifties said.
"Magkano?" I asked.
The old man grinned. "I bet fifty red chips on this one for number 7." He said and did placed fifty chips on the table.
Wait, what do I do?
Matix spoke, "there are 37 numbers. You have to pick a bet on which number would come up. If the number you picked comes up on the wheel five times in a row, you win. If you bet on number 5 but the number 6 comes up five times consecutively during your turn, you still win. This is just matter of luck, Chaos."
I simply nodded. "I bet 7 black chips. Each chip costs one thousand." I said.
Slate whispered behind me. "Are you being serious right now?" He asked anxiously.
I tuned him out and instead focused on the game. "I bet on number 34. Your turn first."
So the old man bet on number 7 while I bet on number 38. Regardless of what number we bet, I just have to have one number be picked five consecutive times.
Another person spinned the wheel. After a few seconds, the arrow stopped at number 7.
Shit, if the number 7 gets picked four more times, he wins.
It was still the old man's turn. The wheel was again spinned but it stopped at number 19.
It's now my turn.
The person in charge spinned the wheel and stopped at number 21.
I sighed heavily while the old man laughed. The person spinned the wheel again and stopped at number 21 again.
I aighed in relief. Three more tries and I'll win.
The person spinned the wheel but it stopped at number 16.
I frustratingly stomped my foot.
"I will surely win and take your money." The old man arrogantly said while sipping his tea.
The old man added 10 chips. "I bet 10 red chips. One thousand per chips."
Matix spoke, "Allan Formoso is in your station. You need to win and get his attention." He said.
I looked around and saw this Allan Fermoso watching our game.
"I already called the others to come to your station. They'll be surrounding Allan Formoso later on." Matix explained.
"Shut up, I can't focus." I whispered enough for him to hear.
"Gee, thanks." Matix commented.
The wheel was again spinned and stopped at number 1. For the second try, it stopped at number 10.
It was now my turn. The wheel was spinned and stopped at 34. That's good. That's the number I bet on.
It was spinned again and luckily, it stopped at 34. For the third time, it stopped at 34 also for the fourth time.
One more and I'll win. I guess luck is on my side. I took a quick glance at Allan Formoso who is watching in awe.
The wheel spinned and it stopped at 34!
Slate shouted so does the others who came back. All in all, we won sixty three thousand pesos.
"Ang swerte mo ngayon ah." Effie commented when we gathered.
I just shrugged and smiled. "How are you?" I asked worriedly.
"I'm fine." Effie answered.
"That was nice. Do you mind if I ask you to play one game?" Allan Formoso asked who is surrounded by five guards behind him.
I glanced at the Agati siblings. "They'll play in my behalf." I said.
I glanced at the three who's confused and shock. So I whispered, "hey, this is your mission. You have to end this one. Not me."
They all nodded at the same time, my phone rang again.
I declined it but a message popped up.
"Decline my call again and I'll break our deal."
I grunted and this time answered the caller. Lumayo ako sa mga kasama ko. Especially Friday who doesn't need to know what I am up to.
"What do you need?" I asked.
"Allan Formoso is on the scene." I updated Twilight who is busy hacking every security cameras within the vicinity.
"What do we do?" I asked her.
Twilight opened her comms and spoke. "Hey kuyas. Give him a deal. If you win in the game, he'll surrender to the police and return the money he stole. Kung hindi pumayag, tell him that I'll write a news about him and start a big rumour. If he wins, the organization will stop chasing after him."
"Are you serious, Twilight?" Pabulong na sabi ni Slate.
"Don't worry. Before the game even starts, Matix and I will create a distraction to the guards. Leading them outside the gambling center. Kapag lumabas siya, follow him. That's when you'll reveal all his dirty secrets to him and arrest him." Twilight explained.
Pinapanood ko lang si Twilight na nakikipagusap sa mga kapatid niya at inuutusan ito. It somehow makes me feel strange. Hindi ito ang nakilala kong Twilight. She was so cheery during our first meeting in the cafeteria tapos ganito siya kaseryoso.
"What are you looking at?" She asked with furrowed eyebrows.
Umiling ako. "Nothing. You just look different during our first meeting in the cafeteria."
Twilight stilled and sadly smiled. "You really think that we first met at the cafeteria?"
Kumunot ang noo ko. "Hindi ba?"
Twilight shook her head. "Wala. Anyways, how do I send a message to Formoso's guards that someone broke their limousine?"
"That would be hard. We need one of the guard's cellphone's IP address to hack it and send a message." I explained.
Twilight was thinking deeply until her face changed. "I know! I can have kuya Midnight steal one of the phones of the guards."
"Midnight can do that?" I asked.
Twilight was typing on her laptop. "Yup. That's his specialty."
"So Midnight's good at stealing, Slate is good at patterns and you're good at hacking.What about Rebel?" I asked.
"Well, Rebel is good at combat. He's very brutal."
Napangiwi ako. "Yeah, I can tell."
Naalala ko pa noon, sinugod ako ni Rebel sa storage room para bugbogin. He punched me three times in the face for making his sister cry. Kailan ko ba pinaiyak si Twilight?
Buti nalang ay walang tao room at ako lang. There's no point in telling everyone either. Not even to Twilight. Baka lalong magalit ito sa kuya niya.
"Hey, Kuya Midnight, can you steal one of the guard's phone and tell us its number? We'll send him a simple message." Twilight grinned.
"Sure! Though it's a long time since I stole. I might be rusty." Ani Midnight.
Pinapanood ko lang ang camera na nasa contact lense ni Midnight habang ninanakaw nito ang phone ng isang guard.
After a few seconds, nanakaw agad nito ang phone ng guard. Sinabi agad nito sa amin ang number ng phone.
"Thanks kuya." Twilight smiled and continued typing.
"...and, done! Distraction sent."
"The game is about to start." Rebel informed.
"I know," Twilight said, "we already created a distraction. The guards might be shocked now."
"You're right. They're distracted. Binulungan na rin nila si Formoso."
From the camera view on Slate's camera, Allan Formoso stood up. "What—"
He coughed up blood. Allan Formoso fell into the floor and coughed up blood. "What's happening?" Effie asked.
"Shit.." I cussed.
Anong nangyayari sa kaniya?
"Matix, look!" Twilight called at tinuro ang ilang cctv cameras na hinack namin sa buong gambling center.
Several random people, started coughing up blood. Ang iba ay nakahandusay na sa sahig habang nagseseizure.
"Matix, Twilight, what's happening?" Chaos asked anxiously.
"It's not just Allan Formoso who coughed up blood. There's many of them."
"Hey, Effie!" Sigaw ni Rebel.
I looked at the camera on Friday's necklace. Effie is coughing up blood.
Napasabunot ako sa buhok ko. What the hell is happening?
"Dalhin niyo si Effie sa van. We'll send her to the hospital." Nag-aalalang sambit ni Twilight.
When the others reached the van, Chaos spoke, "someone guard Effie. While some stay here to help me investigate."
I raised my hand. "I'll help you investigate."
Friday raised her hand too. "Ako rin, tutulong."
Rebel raised his hand. "I'll be of any help." Anito.
"Then Twilight, Midnight and Slate, accompany Effie to the hospital and call the police." Utos ni Chaos.
Bumaba ako ng van para makaalis na ito at masimulan ang pagiimbestiga.
"This was unexpected." I commented.
Friday sighed. "Especially Effie and Allan Formoso. Why would they cough up blood?"
"They might have eaten the same thing." Chaos deduced.
Rebel clenched his fists. "I'll kill whoever did this to Effie."
"We'll find out who did this." Ani Chaos at pumasok na ulit kami sa gambling center.
"Do you think they're just random corpse?" Tanong ko kay Chaos.
"I think so but how come Effie was also a victim? There could be a reason." He answered.
Oo nga. Imposibleng random ang pagpatay sa mga tao rito. Lalo na kay Effie na wala namang ginagawa.
"Hey, do you think this is the cause of it all?" Rebel suddenly asked while holding a glass of tea.
"That's green tea." Chaos uttered and smelled the glass.
Napangiwi ito nang maamoy ang baso. "The green tea was mixed with poison. A deadly one that could kill you. Based on the smell, a poison is too deadly if it smells too bad." Aniya.
"Then those who drank the tea coughed up blood?" Friday asked.
Tumango naman si Chaos. "Yup. But the question is, who would do it?"
"guys, please tell me that's just the wall's design." Ani Friday na nakaturo sa pader ng center.
A big number seven painted in blood.
"So X did it?" Rebel asked.
"More like, Seven Velasquez was behind this."
"But he went missing. Imposible namang bigla siyang susulpot dito at papatay." Ani Friday.
Chaos combed his hair through nis fingers. "Then, the victims has something to do with the number seven?" He asked
Sa sinabi, may naisip ako. "If the victims have something to do with the number seven, how 'bout Effie?"
Friday spoke, "Effie had seven names including her middle initial and surname. Her second and third names are seven letters."
Tumango-tango ako. "And Allan Formoso's surname has seven letters!"
Chaos snapped his fingers. "So they have the number seven in common."
I asked, "what do we do?"
"We leave this to the police. Remember, we are here because of the Agati siblings' mission. We already have the clue that the number seven is the similarity between the victims. It's obvious that Seven Velasquez did this." Ani Chaos na iniinspeksyon ang bawat katawan.
"Effie is fine. She's currently confined in the nearest hospital. She's stable pero kailangan pa ring bantayan." I informed. Katatapos ko lang makipagusap kay Twilight who informed me about Effie.
Damn that Seven. He really went too far. Pati si Effie ay dinamay.
Biglang nagsidatingan ang mga police. They ordered us to leave and we obliged. Nakakuha naman na kami ng clue about the victims.
Chaos's phone rang again. Again, his face paled. Ngayon ko lang nakitang ganito katakot si Chaos. He's naturally brave and emotionless.
Napatigil lang ako nang tumunog rin ang phone ko. Tinignan ko ang caller.
It's my dad.
"Hey, dad." Bati ko.
"Hey, baby girl. Tumawag ako dahil bukas, pupunta tayo ng beach!" Masayang sambit nito.
"What?" Gulat na sabi ko.
I continued, "dad, malapit na ang exams. I need to study."
"Psh, wag na anak. Let's have fun first. Your ate is joining with Daeril—oh, invite your friends too! It'll be fun. Kasama rin ang mommy mo. We'll be complete tomorrow."
I sighed. "Fine. I'll tell them." I uttered then ended the call.
Going to the beach is nice. It relieves stress. Sana nga lang walang masamang mangyari bukas...
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