NREM 8: Pieces of the 'Truth'
"John Doe?" Yumeji questioned, being completely shocked beyond belief of the sight before him.
"That's right," Chaser John Doe answered, and then looked up at Yumeji and Merry, who squatted and looked down on him with amazement. "What's the matter; were you two under the impression that cats did not dream as humans do?"
"Ah, no; I guess it's just that seeing you in that kind of form isn't what I would have expected…" Yumeji stated.
"Rather, what was it you wanted to tell us, Cat Mask?" Merry asked, getting back to John's original purpose for coming here.
"Right, the reason I came was to discuss the information I managed to gather from one of Heracles' subordinates. I was able to locate one of them after I obtained my vessel." John told them. "In fact she was quite talkative."
"What did you find out?" Yumeji asked.
"She brought up that boy with the powers of a Dream Demon at your school." John answered.
"Wait," Merry quickly leaned down toward John when he said this. "Does that mean this person you fought is the one who hurt the Reaper Boy?"
"No;" John corrected Merry. "That deed was done by Heracles himself." He told them, and the two of them were extremely shocked.
"What…?" Yumeji questioned.
"I know; it must be hard to believe. From what this Chain Noir said, it seems that this Yoru managed to locate Heracles and attacked him."
"Wait a sec-" Yumeji interjected. "Yoru attacked Heracles?"
"Yes, that seems to be the truth." John told Yumeji with a remorseful tone. "But as we know, Heracles is not an easy opponent. And from what Noir said and the current situation of this boy, he was overpowered and defeated. Yoru must have run away after being severely injured by Heracles."
"That would make sense. He'd be just like I was after I took that attack from Engi." Yumeji noted.
"Indeed, though the extent of this boy's injuries as compared to yours then is uncertain, we can infer them to be quite serious and that he will take a longer time in order to recover. As such, this may be our chance." He said, but Yumeji and Merry became confused.
"Our chance; to do what?" Merry asked.
"To learn more about this boy." John answered. "We don't have to fight him, but if we can pull him into my Garden, we can interrogate him while he is unable to fight back. It may allow us to find an answer to how we can remove his powers without harming him."
"Do you really think we could get him to tell us?" Yumeji wondered.
"No, in fact I believe it's likely that he doesn't think it to be possible; however, I do." John said. "The idea that a human has obtained the power of a Dream Demon itself is absurd; but what is even more absurd is the manner in which he claims to have obtained them. He claims that he has gained these powers by killing his Dream Demon, but when a Dream Demon is destroyed, their Garden is destroyed along with them. If his Dream Demon is truly dead, then there is no possible reason I can think of that would allow him to utilize it himself."
"Wait, so does that mean his Dream Demon isn't actually dead?" Merry asked.
"I do not believe so." John answered.
However, Yumeji didn't understand something. "But wait, Yoru said that he lost his dream when he killed his Demon? If the Dream Demon didn't die, why was his dream destroyed?"
"I can think of a few possible explanations for why this might be, however at this point I have no clues to guide me to which one is most likely the truth." John told Yumeji. "But right now we still need to meet with this boy and speak to him, only then will I be able to form accurate hypotheses about the current situation and how to act."
"I understand." Yumeji agreed. They had so much on their plate it was impossible to keep track of it all, if they could even get a hint about Yoru, it would be a great relief for him. "We can go to the hospital tomorrow after school; I want to be there too."
"Why is that?" John asked.
"I don't know why, but I can still enter Daydreams. Yui came by earlier and had Engi pull me into hers." Yumeji answered.
"What…" John muttered and then thought to himself on what this could mean, but after a moment concluded their meeting. "Very well then, we'll all meet at the hospital tomorrow afternoon." He told Yumeji and Merry, who both nodded in agreement. "I'll see you both there." John told them before heading out to the balcony, getting onto all fours and jumping down to the streets below.
The next day at school, Yumeji noticed that there was still no Yoru, which must have meant he was still recovering at the hospital. However, today in class he did see Chizuru walk in, however when their eyes met she did not seem to acknowledge his being there, and her eyes were cold and barren.
She must have still been recovering like Yoru had said she would be for a while. From what Yumeji had seen the day Chizuru had come to speak with him, it seemed as though she was having lapses, times where her mind was stabilized and times where her mind went blank.
Those that didn't know her well wouldn't have noticed the difference in her behavior anyways. Before becoming friends with Isana, Chizuru had acted cold and distant like she did now anyways. So to everyone else, it just looked like she was being her usual self.
Yumeji wanted to go over and try to say something to her, see if he could snap her out of her trace-like state, but he had very little confidence it would help anything and left it alone for the time being. When Chizuru recovered, she would come to him.
Isana however did not know the truth behind Chizuru's condition, which made her behavior look abnormal. This also meant that Isana had no problem attempting to engage Chizuru despite her condition. Isana attempted to question Chizuru as to why she was behaving this way and what had been the cause, but Chizuru barely acknowledged her standing next to her, let alone answer any of her questions.
When class started though, Isana was forced to abandon her mission and sit in her desk. She was by no means through interrogating Chizuru of course, and was sure to come back later to try and pry the information she wanted again, and would likely be just as successful as she was the first time.
Because Yumeji was anticipating the future conversation with Yoru which may lead them to a way to take his powers away without harming him, the school day felt twice as long as usual. He was hopeful that if things went well they could take Yoru's powers away and be left with one less problem on their plate.
Also, he hoped to ask Yoru about Heracles, who had injured him in the first place. If he had fought Heracles, then he may have seen who his vessel was, and then they would be able to find him and maybe put an end to everything. Yumeji was hopeful, but with how fixed Yoru was on killing all Dream Demons, he doubted it would go so smoothly.
Finally, the school day ended and Yumeji told Isana to go home ahead, saying that he had something to do at school before he left. Of course that was a lie and he really headed to the hospital to meet up with Merry and John. When he arrived, the two of them were already there waiting for him.
"There you are; we've been waiting for you." John spoke in a low voice to keep the people around from hearing him since cats after all couldn't talk.
"Right, so it's time to talk to Reaper Boy." Merry said, looking at the hospital with Yoru in mind.
"Open up your Daydream John." Yumeji told John.
"Got it," John replied and did as he was asked.
The next second, the three of them were standing with John's Garden. "So where's Yoru?" Yumeji questioned, looking around without seeing him.
To answer him, a voice shouted loudly. "He's over here!" One of John Doe's servants called to them from a distant rooftop. "We've got him!" The cat girl told them.
Yumeji, Merry, and John made their way quickly to the indicated location where they found who they were looking for. Being surrounded by John's soldiers to keep him from trying to run, Yoru sat on the ground with deep injuries. When they arrived, Yoru lifted his head to look at them, but became surprised upon realizing who they were.
"You two!" He shouted with anger at Yumeji and Merry especially. He got to his feet so fast that he became dizzy and almost fell forward onto the ground again. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"We came to talk." Yumeji answered. "We want to figure out a way to take away your powers without harming you."
"You can't!" Yoru exclaimed. "These powers are part of me now, they can never be severed. If you want to stop me you're going to have to kill me."
"And what makes you say that, boy?" John asked Yoru, who looked up at him with the same hatred he held for all Dream Demons. "Actually, first answer me this: Just how much do you know about Dream Demon's and their powers?"
"What's it to you, Dream Demon?" Yoru answered with a question of his own.
"I am an ally of the truth, and your situation is a very curious and mysterious thing. So before I explain everything to you, I'd like to hear just how much you really understand about us."
"I know enough."
"I don't think you do. You say you killed your Dream Demon, which in itself is something I'd like to inquire on how you managed to pull off, but you don't seem to realize that Dream Demons exist side-by-side with their Gardens. If your Dream Demon was truly dead, it's Garden that you still manage to use would have died with it. So tell me boy, if your Dream Demon is dead, why does its Garden remain?"
"I don't care how!" Yoru basically ignored the question and the merit it held because of his hatred of Dream Demons. "I have this power, and I'll use it to destroy every last one of you Dream Demons!"
"Then let's backtrack now; just how did you kill your Dream Demon."
"I've got no reason to tell you." Yoru answered, clenching his fists tightly as he stared at John.
Yoru wanted so much to use his weapon to cleave the Dream Demons in front of him to pieces. But even if they would not harm him, it didn't change the fact that in his current condition, he would never be able to harm them either. That futility was the only think that allowed Yoru to hold himself back from fighting, and even then it was barely enough to restrain him.
"But you also have no reason not to tell us." Yumeji told Yoru. "If what you say is in fact true and there is no way to sever your powers away from you without killing you, then no matter what we know about you, your powers, or how you got them, it won't do us any good."
"Like I care, do I seriously need a reason not to give my enemies information about me!?" Yoru yelled at Yumeji. "Bottom line is that you aren't getting me to say anything! So unless you plan to kill me, you might as well close your Garden and leave me alone."
"Answer me one thing, and I will leave you." John told Yoru, trying to get something out of this meeting. "With your knowledge of Dream Demon's, just what makes you so sure your powers cannot be stripped from you?"
It was an underlying question. If Yoru actually had a concrete reason behind his idea of his power being irremovable, then they might actually have to accept that it is true. But, if he was purely trying to convince them of it just by saying it, then there was no reason there couldn't be one.
Yoru knew all of this as well, and this time, if he didn't answer, it would be the same thing as admitting that there might actually be a way to strip his powers. Understanding but hating that fact, Yoru looked up at John and gave his answer. "Because I tried for months to get rid of them myself." He said. "After all, I hate Dream Demons, why on earth would I want to have the powers of one. When I found that I had them I tried everything I could think of to get rid of them before finally coming to the conclusion that it wasn't possible."
"So that's when you decided to use them to take revenge on Dream Demons." Merry noted.
Yoru didn't confirm or deny it, but instead just shot Merry a cold look. "Now get away from me." He ordered John.
John looked down at Yoru for a moment before he responded. "Very well, but we will meet again, boy. You can be sure of that."
"I would expect to, I still need to kill you!" Yoru proclaimed just before the Daydream ended.
Back in Reality, Yumeji turned to John again. "So, what do you think?" He asked.
John's opinion would likely be the best inference of what the situation is like and how they should proceed. After giving it sufficient thought, John gave them his answer. "He may have attempted to get rid of his Dream Demon powers himself, but that does not prove that it is impossible; it may simply be that he did not know enough about Dream Demons to properly discern a capable method of doing so." He explained. "And I still do not believe that his Dream Demon could actually be dead if its Garden still exists. Therefore, if we can find a way to bring the young boy's Dream Demon back to the surface from wherever it is, we should be able to strip him of his powers."
"That's great!" Merry celebrated. "Nice work Cat Mask!"
"Of course, this is all hypotheses." John warned Merry. "If I want to be able to prove any of this, I will need to look into this condition where a human gains the powers of a Dream Demon more."
When John said this, he looked over to Yumeji, who caught on to what he was suggesting. "You mean Chizuru?" Yumeji confirmed.
"Indeed, as she was once your ally, she should be more willing to speak with me to allow me some idea of how this phenomenon takes place. I'm also worried about her current condition; she told you before that the boy has already pulled her into a Daydream. This means that she is also vulnerable to hostile Dream Demons she might happen across, which is even more dangerous for her because she has not fully recovered yet."
"And she said that Yoru told her being in a Daydream might have accelerated the recovery process. So if you draw her into yours for an extended period of time, she might recover even sooner." Yumeji suggested.
"Indeed, this is what I hope as well. And with everything on our plate right now, another comrade in arms would certainly be helpful." John added. "I should speak with her myself as soon as possible, but the two of you should head back home before the others begin to worry."
To this, Yumeji and Merry nodded their heads in agreement. "Alright Cat Mask, we'll leave this to you." Merry said.
"Be sure to fill us in later John." Yumeji told him.
"Yeah, I'll be sure to; well then, I'll be seeing you two soon." John told them, and then began walking off on his own away from Yumeji and Merry.