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Without another word, Youmu suddenly runs out of the room.
Vincent blinks stupidly. Did he do something to upset her? And what did she mean about not seeing him in her dreams? Her reaction is very strange, indeed. She must certainly be hiding something.
"... that's it," he declares to himself. "She knows something."
He quickly stands up and takes a few steps toward the open sliding door. Youmu didn't even bother closing it as she left. But before he can leave, he hears a tiny mewling sound from behind him.
"... sorry, Master Ran," Chen mumbles. "Didn't mean to... break it..."
Vincent turns around and starts walking toward the sleeptalking nekomata. He can't just leave this girl like this. She might catch a cold.
"Hey Chen," he says as he gently shakes her awake. "Wake up."
"E-eh...? Big brother?" she replies, with only one eye open.
"You'll be more comfortable in the guest rooms," he says as he pulls her up to a sitting position. "You know where they are, right?"
She nods sleepily, brushing at her eyes with her hands.
"Alright then. I'm going out for a while. Make sure you sleep properly in a bed or you'll catch a cold."
"Yes... brother," she says obediently.
He gives the girl one last nod before heading back to the door. But by the time he steps out, he sees no trace of the half-ghost. Sighing to himself, he starts walking around the mansion at his own pace.
For a moment, he pauses to watch the sky. The sun has almost set, and the clouds are tinted with a vaguely familiar shade of orange-red. In a few minutes, it will be getting dark, and soon this day will end. A lot of strange things have happened, but for some reason, he is still feeling at ease.
Hakugyokurou is still quite alien to him. The mansion is quite large, and the grounds even more so. Wisps and spirits fly about freely outside, and the cherry trees blossom out of season. Most of its inhabitants are certainly deceased (or partially so), but for some reason, this place feels... safe. He finds this more than a little odd, as he usually doesn't feel very comfortable around the dead, especially considering his profession.
Still, he can't help but feel a little unnerved by the occasional wisp floating carelessly by. Like that one hovering near a corner post on the right. Unlike the others, it seems to be staying still, as if attached to something nearby. Wait a minute. That wisp definitely looks familiar. Is that...
"Youmu?" he says aloud.
A high-pitched yelp and crash confirms his suspicions. As he rushes toward the commotion, he can see the half-ghost splayed on the ground, wincing uncomfortably. She must have tripped in surprise. Her eyes widen and quiver as she looks up at him.
"Ah, there you are," he says as he offers her his hand. "Hey, are you alright? I was just looking for you."
Youmu only blinks at him in reply.
"Sorry about earlier," he explains. "I didn't mean to upset you. I just wanted to clarify something..."
The half-ghost suddenly looks down, and cheeks turn a little pink. She opens her mouth, perhaps to argue, but in the end she says nothing. Slowly, she takes his hand and stands herself up. Still not looking at him, she carefully dusts off her dress and straightens her clothes. Then, she raises her head slowly.
"I-It's alright," she whispers. "It was inappropriate of me to act like that. Please excuse my rudeness."
"Don't mind it," he replies. "I guess I'm really not the type of person that is very good with words. We probably had some misunderstanding back there."
"Yes, that may be so," she says, regaining some of her composure.
"Anyway, if you don't want to talk about your dreams, then I won't force you. But please... just hear me out. You see... I've been having a lot of strange dreams myself, and I've been getting a bad feeling about them."
Vincent takes a deep breath as he does his best to form the words in his head.
"You see, I've been seeing you in my dreams," he says. "But not just you. Sometimes I see Yuyuko and Chen, as well."
The half-ghost slowly folds her arms and gives him a puzzled expression.
"Well... it's kind of hard to explain," continues Vincent. "Sometimes I see you acting strict, and sometimes I see you acting kind of sweet... err, not that I think you are bipolar or anything. Either way, I can't tell if you liked me or hated me. At least until it got to a... more personal level. But at those moments, I often wake up in a cold sweat or in another place, with little idea of how I got there."
"Then I also see Chen sometimes. She always acts nice and cute, but when we're alone together in the dark... sometimes it can get pretty violent. I can't help but watch her suffer, but she doesn't seem to mind. I really feel bad about her going through things like that, but I can't help it if it's a dream... right?"
"And I see Yuyuko too. When I see her, she always seems a lot less playful and a lot more serious. Not that I don't like her cute side, but she can be... pretty forward sometimes. But anyway, she would ask me to dance with her, but it would suddenly turn into a scene where I drive my... straight into her..."
"Sorry, I really can't bring myself to say it all," he says, smiling. "But you get the idea, don't you?"
Youmu clenches her fists and quivers slightly, but continues to stay silent.
"Anyway, I have been feeling really uneasy about Yuyuko lately. I really don't think it's a good idea to leave her wandering around alone. So... I was wondering if you and I could go look for her together. She'll probably be more open if we talk to her about these things. In fact, we could probably go deep into it all together, with all three of us at the same time, and see how it goes from there. What do you -"
Without warning, the half-ghost interrupts him with a loud slap to the face.
"Pervert..." she whispers.
Before he can react, she starts running off once more. Vincent blinks stupidly as he rubs his cheek.
"Wait... come back!" he cries out.
Steeling his resolve, he makes a split-second decision. He is sure of it now. She must definitely be hiding something. He quickly starts chasing her. She glances behind and gasps audibly when she notices him. But instead of slowing down, she starts running even faster along the mansion. Not the type to give up, Vincent forces himself to keep up, even as he feels his muscles, bones, and nerves telling him painfully to stop. His chest starts tightening as he runs, most likely due to his breathing unable to keep up. But he perseveres anyway.
What the... even after all that... Youmu doesn't seem to be breaking a sweat as she speeds along. How the hell is she moving so fast? It's like trying to chase after a goddamn arrow flying through the air!
But despite this, it seems like she isn't gaining much distance from him. Somehow, he is still able to keep up. His body, however, is pleading with signals of pain for him to stop.
[ ] Ignore the pain. Don't stop running.
[ ] Slow down and rest. She is too fast.