Day 1 of the Hike: A Journey to Another World
Roberto had a brief recollection of what happened when his power was awakened, he did remember feeling the weight of the wings but the moment he tried to flap them, it was just all blur with Tala’s hand grabbing his arm, and the next thing he knew, he was on the field with her. Tala then did mention that he was transported to another world because he can’t control where his wings will take him. His real father was an “other-worlder” who visited this version of Earth and then Roberto was born with his powers which he was excited about until he used it. Now that the lives of his friends depended on him, well they just meet a few days but he’s a pretty friendly guy and already considers his two sleeping companions as pals, he had to make a decision, take a risk or do nothing and watch the other two turn into stone statues as he expected. He did not even know why he was not affected by the song but concluded that it could be his wings, somehow his bird-like powers helped him survived the song. He did not even have the luxury of time to decide what to do but with the incoming threat, he instinctively opened his wings and flew straight to the surprised Ibong Adarna. He had his two arms ready to grab the humungous bird and take it to whatever world that exists outside their very own world. As soon as he reached and grabbed the left-wing of the bird, the bird let out a shrill cry. The next thing he knew, he and the bird are tumbling inside what appeared to be a vortex and at last, they were spitted out into an open space.
Roberto hit the ground with a thud, he might be unconscious for some time as when he woke up, it was already dark and he smelt fire and felt its warmth too. The sky was dark but without stars. He also noticed a man with skin painted in an assortment of colors. The man was wearing nothing but gold pants and a colorful “malong” cloth draped casually on his right shoulder. The man is tall and muscular, along with a variety of colors were strangely faint, black markings covering his body like the tattoos Apolaki had. His thick straight black hair reached his waist and he looked at Roberto with piercing, blood-red eyes.
“Who are you? ” Roberto asked. “Have you seen the huge bird? It came here with me”. He then looked at the tattoo at the back of his hand which is still glowing in gold which means his powers are still active but strange enough, he can’t seem to feel his wings.
“So you’re of Galang Kaluluwa, unexpected, Abba's surprise as he had mentioned. I am your father’s kin, not close kin but we’re related in blood which explains why you were never affected by my power. Your friend, the girl named Elle, she was right, I am an Ibong Adarna just not the Ibong Adarna on the stories but same kind. We exist just not too many as before.” The mysterious man said.
“So you’re an Ibong Adarna and then you can transform into a human form?” asked Roberto then realizing how obvious his last question was. No one can blame him though, as to this point, part of his brain wanted to believe that none of what's happening to him is real.
“Yes of course. We can transform into human forms and we even help in curing human sickness. But let’s forget that for now as we are in a dire situation. You brought us here in an unknown world and I can already feel hostile eyes observing us from a distance. You have to figure out how to bring us back and in return, I’ll offer safe passage for you and your friends”, The man answered. "I was tasked to prevent you from crossing the silver tree and even stop you from continuing in your journey. It was all easy with my power to make you fall asleep and turn you into stone but then here you are and here I am making a deal.” The man continued.
“Well it all sounds too easy but unlucky us, I don’t know how to use my power as you can see, my wings aren’t even present. I don’t know where they went.” Roberto answered.
“Don’t worry about your wings, like mine they need to rest and they’ll just spread back up once you’re ready. And once you are you have to try and transport us back to Earth, specifically where your friends are sleeping as of this moment.” The man answered. “We have a problem here, my powers don’t work as I expect them so we have to manually fight the beasts which are gathering their courage to attack us in about a minute or so”, The man said.
“What am I to do? I don’t have any weapon?” Roberto said feeling the fast beat of his heart
“That’s your problem, I have to protect myself first and if you die in here, I’ll surely find a way to survive”. The man answered.
Roberto felt his desperation swell. He does not know what to do but right now what’s important is he has to find a weapon. He scanned his environment, other than a few stones nothing appealed to him. He closed his eyes, thought of a sword, and focused on his palm but no weapon showed up. The hair at the back of his nape stood and a cold sweat broke out of his forehead. He’s in peril, weaponless and he does not have his wings.
“They’re coming”, the man said and yes, he heard hundreds of feet thumping, the ground seems to shake. Aside from the little fire they have, he can’t see anything. He then smelled a pungent, gagging odor. Then out of nowhere, creatures, the color of the night resembling hornless goats, with wide ears, long claws, and fangs lunged at him. With nothing to use but his hands, Roberto put all his strength on his right fist and punched at one of the creatures with all his might. His fist went straight through the belly of the monster creating a hole and a dripping mess of black goo which appeared to be the blood of the monster. The smell was even horrible up close. As he pulled his fist out from the monster’s body, a golden glow surrounded his hand, and instantly in his right hand is the handle of “panabas”, a forward curved sword. The weapon had a golden blade with an orange glow.
The man who claimed to be an Ibong Adarna glanced at him with approval as he slashed through the unending number of creatures with his colorful talons that distracted Roberto for a moment until he sensed attacks from different directions. With the new weapon he held on his hands, he felt a surge of renewed vigor and with a cry, he hurled himself towards the monsters and began slashing with all his might.
Soon Roberto found himself engaged in a battle against what he soon learned as Sigbin, creatures who suck the blood of their victims from shadows. After what seemed like an eternity, he felt his wings, growing back. The man then went to him and gripped his arms hard while fighting the swarm of monsters. “Now,” the man said to him and Roberto didn't even need a second prod, He instantly flapped his wings.
He and the bird-man now are back inside the vortex, tumbling but right now, Roberto felt his fall as if in slow motion and he can see different places at the whirling wall of the vortex. He saw a barren land, with nothing but sand and pointed rocks, he saw a tall tower with roses beneath, sea with glowing creatures, and then he saw it, the distinct sparkle of the silver walls, his hand reached towards the image and then he was sucked by the image and with dizzying speed, he was soon spat out of the vortex followed by the man who has now transformed back to a huge bird.
Again, Roberto hit the ground with a thud, feeling the unyielding hardness of the ground against his sore muscles, noticed the back of his hand’s fading glow. He placed his right hand against his left, deactivating his drained power.He was still on the ground when the bird dropped a silver knife and a silver fruit in front of him.
“Cut the skin of your friend’s palm and drop a juice from the silver fruit. It should wake them up and at the same time heal the cut.” The bird said. “It was one of our kind who helped Don Juan survive the song. He was given this knife and a different version of this silver fruit so as not to fall asleep. The knife is enchanted of course. I should get going, I think I served my purpose here. You did good, saving your friends and helping us out of the wretched place which looked like a world of detestable Sigbins.” With that, the bird flew and the silver walls crumbled along with the silver tree disappearing in the middle of the open trail. Roberto checked his watch, it was around nine in the morning and so many things happened to him. Time, in that other place, was displaced by this transfer to this world and so, it appeared as if no more than a minute had passed. He followed the instruction of the bird and soon enough, he watched Elle and Samel opening their eyes.
“Hey man, what happened?” Samel asked groggily.
“I guess we survived that bird, and that other world full of monsters and I have a weapon." Roberto murmured to himself and then he exhaled merrily, "I have so much to tell both of you”.