Trying to figure out where she had left me, I started to wander around a bit. I was expecting something strange to happen, like a tidal wave to crash down at my feet with some alien mecha technology which would only respond when I used it. A little over exaggerated, but I was willing to believe anything at that point.
To my surprise, nothing happened. It was a normal walk in a normal neighborhood of normal, friendly people. I would have to remember this place so I could use it as a hiding place when things got a little too freaky. It was almost like there were no flaws in the area at all.
I remembered seeing a few people from my school in the area. When I walked by, they all either looked away and giggled a little to themselves, or whispered to their friends and got all excited. I wasn't used to treatment such as this, but it felt pretty good. That is, it did at first.
After about ten minutes, I realized most of the people were following me. Needless to say, I was getting really freaked out. I had reassured Yuko there was no trouble with our classmates, but I hadn't convinced myself of it yet. There may be some trouble.
I turned around and asked, "Why are you guys following me?"
I fell to the floor. I didn't notice it at first, but something had flown straight by my head, and instinct was the only explanation as to how I dodged it. A knife had been thrown by someone in the group, and I barely managed to avoid it. The next weapon would be through my chest if I wasn't careful.
The group spoke unanimously and said, "You will be cleansed."
"Cleansed? Cleansed of what? I haven't done anything wrong!"
"Impurity will not be tolerated. You are not welcome here." The group said again. They all rose their right hands, revealing all sorts of weapons. Crossbows, swords, knives, bows, bats, you name it.
I couldn't move. Fear held me in place, preventing me from escaping. They all charged towards me at the same time, preparing to... 'cleanse' me... I don't even want to know what that means! Somebody help me! I closed my eyes and threw my hands into the way, in a pathetic attempt to stop the oncoming mob of students, hoping they would see that there was nothing wrong...
I opened my eyes, expecting to find myself dead in a ditch, or that my soul had gone to heaven or something of the sort. Instead, it looked like they had rammed into an invisible wall of some sort. Did... Did I do that? Maybe I misunderstood these powers... There's clearly something more to them than making things appear and disappear. Nonetheless, I had the chance I needed, so I got up and ran as fast as I could.
Apparently the wall held for a good amount of time because I managed to get away. Not wanting anything like that to happen so suddenly again, I went straight to Izumi and told her the whole story. When I told her about the invisible wall though, she didn't seem too surprised. She's known the whole time!
"Well of course I've known! It's just against the rules for me to tell you! I figured you would have figured that out by now." she said. "Anyway, there is no way to stop those people from coming after you. However, they aren't who you think they are. They're able to copy the appearance of any person they have come in contact with. They're even able to show images of themselves which aren't real. These images can do everything the original can of their own free will. However, they're not real. They can't harm you in any way."
I was starting to understand a little bit more. "So if I can find the real one and kill it, they'll all disappear?"
"Correct! You catch on fast!"
Suddenly, it hit me. "Wait... Where's Yuko?"
"Oh, that's right! She got here a little while ago. She was a little tired, but she seemed ok. She must have been in a similar situation as you. Anyway, she fell asleep in the other room, and should wake up in a little while."
I sighed with relief. If that happened to me, I knew it wouldn't have been unlikely for it to happen to her. I felt a lot better knowing she was ok.
"Alright, I'm feeling tired as well. Yuko will probably wake me up when she gets up, so I guess I'll see you when we wake up."
"Ok, just one more thing before you go." she said. "Are you sure you want to keep doing this? This is only the beginning. That means it will only get worse from here on out. This will be your last chance. Are you sure you don't want to go back?"
Her voice... It had gone from her usual peppy, excited, playful voice to a worried, serious voice. I was scared.
"I'll sleep on it and let you know when I wake up. For now, I'm not ready to make a huge decision like that."