'So.' You break the silence again, before Yoshika goes into some kind of dark brooding mode. 'So! So.' You clap your hands together once, grinning uncontrollably. Perhaps it's just a reaction to how shit-serious Yoshika just made this sound. 'That's part one, sticking your head into things you shouldn't have done.' You gesture to Yumemi. 'Part two is a shadow girl in a hoodie, ring a bell at all?'
Yumemi's eyes widen, and she nods slowly. Mary cocks an eyebrow at you.
'Great! Because she was scoping out the office just before you turned up.' You put your hands on your hips and turn your grin at Mary. 'Told you I did see something! Figured it was too much of a coincidence to have two crazy paranormal happenings in a single day. Anyway! She was up here, when we fell asleep for a second-'
'You fell asleep?' Mary asks, shocked. You sigh and roll your eyes.
'Yes, but that's not important.'
'But you were sleeping.' Mary whines softly with concern. 'Renko you're exhausted!'
'She was here?' Yumemi sits bolt upright, staring around the room.
'Only for a second or two. I woke up and she ... fled, through the window.' You gesture at the rain outside. 'So, Yumemi, what does the shadow girl want, and what do we need to do in order to enforce a little more personal space boundaries? She seemed mighty keen to touch you before I disturbed her.'
'Ugh. That's ... the thing I summoned, by a-accident. I don't know what it wants.' Yumemi grunts with disgust, shivering and then suddenly looking around, leaning forward to see under the front of the bed. 'Where's my bag? What did you do with my bag, I need my bag, there's something I can do.' She reaches out from under the covers, flexing her fingers as if itching to use them.
'Uh ... ' You glance around, but mary is already on the case, leaning past her bedside table to find where she placed Yumemi's bag. She must have brought it up with her.
'Here, sweetie.' Mary tries to pat Yumemi's shoulder again, but the smaller girl almost shrugs it off in her eagerness to reach her bag. Mary's plush dragon is left to fall to the bed as Yumemi clutches the heavy bag and settles it in her lap, unclasping the top and revealing a huge wedge of papers, notebooks, a couple of items of clothing, and a few knick-knacks tucked into the sides. You spot a bottle of what looks like mouldy soda, gone greenish with age, but Yumemi quickly starts emptying the bag onto Mary's bed, sent into a frenzy by mention of the shadowy girl.
Yoshika watches quietly, saying nothing about the thing you saw earlier.
'No, no, where did I- ah!' Yumemi finally reveals a small notebook, bound with cracking black leather, and a much larger, older looking book that she's half-wrapped with paper. She doesn't touch the latter, but quickly pulls out the former and flips it open, leafing through the well-thumbed pages. Every single page is covered with scrawled, spider-like hand-writing, punctuated with diagrams and mathematical notes.
Yumemi finds several bookmarks, but passes by them, and then finally stops. She turns the notebook toward you, expectant light in her eyes.
The page has a Polaroid photograph paper-clipped to it, showing the inside of a laboratory that could be anywhere in the world - the same blacktop, heat-resistant tables, the same long-legged stools, the fume cabinets and gas taps along the far wall - with two figures in the middle of the picture. One of them is a small blond woman, turned away from the camera with one arm raised, her other hand shielding her face. The picture must have been taken at the exact moment she was leaping away from the other figure.
The other figure is the same ash-and-shadow impression you've seen twice now; indistinct, as if the camera couldn't focus properly, her features reduced to static fuzz and blurring.
Except in this picture her angles are sharper, she's clearly in motion, arms outstretched and legs kicking off from the floor like some kind of nightmare preying-mantis, leaping after the blond woman.
'This, is this what you saw?' Yumemi asks, pointing at the second figure.
'Yes, exactly.' You answer, and Mary peers around to get a good look as well. 'Where did you find this?'
'It was in Rika's notes, this was her's' Yumemi waves the black-leather notebook. 'I think she took it, but I don't know who the other person is.'
'So ... she summoned this thing as well. And now she's not here anyone.' You let the suggestion hang in the air. 'Yoshika?' But when you turn to the bruise-coloured girl, she shrugs.
'Please, Yoshika?' Mary asks with a little sigh. Yoshika raises her chin, seems to think for a moment, and then relents.
'Some things are older and wiser than they look. And they get exactly what they want.' She points at the photograph.
'That doesn't mean anything.' You complain.
' ... for all your diligence, Renko, you did not surprise this creature. It arrived precisely when it meant to, and did precisely what it wanted to.' Yoshika says quietly.
'It wanted me to see it?' You press.
'Who can tell. Better to ask the house, or the ground.' She gestures expansively; a poetic way of saying she has no idea.
[ ] 'Then we need to talk to it. I need to read Rika's notes, and Yumemi has to summon it, again, or whatever.' Hands on hips. You have a plan.
[ ] 'Is that literal? Can you talk to the rain for me?' Sarcasm mode: on. You're going to need Yoshika's help, not her cryptic misdirection.
[ ] 'Yumemi, is this the same thing that invaded your apartment? How do we keep it out, at least for now?' Practical matters first, you should probably lock the metaphorical doors.