Chapter 15: Let’s Play

Disclaimer: I don’t own Spirited Away. Just re-posting the story by moviefan-92

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“Finally!” Chihiro cried, as No-Face set her down. “My arms are asleep.”

She shook her arms, trying to get the feeling back into them. She was greeted by the feeling of pins and needles in her arms. She made a mental note to have No-Face carrier her in a different position that would cut off her blood circulation the next time they needed to fly.

And speaking of No-Face, he slowly reverted back to his non-flying self as he spat up Yu-bird. Just as Chihiro predicted, Yu-bird was very upset about being swallowed and she proceeded to scratch at No-Face with her talons.

“That’s enough, you two.” Zeniba scolded them. Yu-bird screeched angrily. “I know it was unpleasant, but it did save us the time of going around the forest.” Yu-bird screeched again. “You watch your language! I won’t have that kind of-”

“Stop it, you guys!” Chihiro cried. “This is getting us nowhere. Who knows how long we still have to go. We need to find Lord Okaia, and I still need to figure out what this spell is for.”

Zeniba seemed surprised by this. “Spell? What spell?”

Chihiro just then realized that she had not yet told the others of the spell that Lord Okaia had provided her in her sleep.

“This one.” She said, holding out her hand.

Zeniba popped out of the paper ‘bird’ and took Chihiro’s hand in hers. “Hmm, this is a fire spell. When did he give this to you?”

“While I was asleep on the train. He came to me in my dreams.”

Zeniba ran her finger over the red mark. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

Chihiro rolled her eyes. “It kind of slipped my mind when we jumped off the train.”

Zeniba continued studying the mark. “I wonder why he gave this to you. He may have foreseen an event in which you would need it.”

Chihiro had figured out that much on her own since Lord Okaia had told her to use it on joy, whatever that meant. “He told me that I could only use it once and that I should use it on joy.”

Zeniba raised an eyebrow. “On joy? How strange.”

Chihiro nodded in agreement. “What does that mean? And why does he keep talking in riddles?”

Zeniba shrugged. “Lord Okaia is a wise and powerful being. I won’t pretend to know that I know what goes on in such a being’s mind, but he must be doing this for the best. I just hope it all works out.”

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This was it. This was the train. Her scent was all over it. She had been here. How long ago, Haku wasn’t sure, but she had definitely been on this train. She wasn’t any longer, but at least he knew that he didn’t need to check any more trains.

Haku approached one of the train’s workers. They would definitely remember a human being on board; they didn’t exactly get those kind of passengers everyday.

“Excuse me, but there was a human on this train earlier.” He said. “I’m not sure how long ago, but she was on board this train. Can you tell me which station she got off at?”

The train employee shook his head. “I’m sorry, but she did not get off at a station.”

“What do you mean?”

The spirit nodded to the doors. “She jumped. A faceless monster picked her up and the two jumped off. Something about following a golden seal.”

Haku’s eyes widened. “She jumped? What was she thinking? That’s dangerous for humans.” He sighed and put his hand to his head. “Ok, can you tell me when this was?”

The spirit made a disbelieving noise. “I don’t remember. Hours ago. There wasn’t any station around, but we were passing by a forest. I hope that helps.”

Really, it didn’t. He had flown past several forests. There was only one thing to do, he had to backtrack along the tracks and try to pick up her scent. It would be somewhere between where he was now and Swamp Bottom. Haku sighed. He knew that he could find her scent, but how far back it was and how long it would take was a different story.

“Thank you for your help.” He said, bowing to the spirit. He turned into his dragon form and took off.

The spirit watched him fade into the distance. “Good luck.”

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“I need to rest.” Said Chihiro, collapsing to the ground.

No-Face came and sat down next to her. They had been walking for a good six hours and were exhausted. Zeniba appeared again and sat down next to the other two.

“You should eat something, Chihiro.” The witch suggested. “Wouldn’t want you disappearing.”

Chihiro reached into her pack and took out some of the food they packed. She only ate a little since they didn’t know how long the trip would still be. She offered some to the others, but they politely refused.

“Yu-bird, why don’t you go and see if you can spot anything.” Zeniba suggested.

Yu-bird screeched and flew up high, seeing if there was anything worth reporting. This got Chihiro thinking. Where did Lord Okaia live? Did he live in some sort of castle? Was his home someplace like the bathhouse? Would Yu-bird be able to spot it from the air. Zeniba had said that no one really knew where Lord Okaia lived.

Yu-bird flew back down and gave Zeniba a report of what she saw. Based upon the look on the old witch’s face, the news wasn’t good.

“What did she say?” Chihiro asked.

“Uh…” Zeniba muttered, looking uncomfortable. “She said that beyond this hill, there is nothing but rocky terrain that goes on as far as she could see.”

“WHAT?” Chihiro cried. Just how far away was Lord Okaia, and where exactly was he? She began stomping her feet in a very childish manner. “Why does everything have to be so difficult? Why must I constantly have to be put through all this torment? Why, why, why, why?”

No-Face would have had a look of concern on his face if he had one, as he turned to Zeniba and grunted. “Ah, ah?”

“Yes, No-Face, she’ll be fine. She’s just getting out her frustration.”

Chihiro continued on with her tantrum until the feeling of the ground shaking snapped her out of it. At first she thought it was just her imagination, but then she felt the ground beneath her shift again.

“Granny, something’s wrong.” She exclaimed. “The ground is moving.

Zeniba placed her hand on the ground. “Yes, there certainly is a lot of movement.”

“Ah, ah.”

“I know it’s coming closer, No-Face.” The witch replied. “The question is, what is-”

She didn’t have a chance to finish as a large massive figure burst up from underground. Chihiro jumped back in surprise as the large creature dug itself out of the ground. What ever it was, it resembled a mole, a 20 foot egg shaped mole. But unlike regular moles, this one had large yellow eyes, as big as they were round, and it was covered in fur of brown and black stripes.

“Wha’s all da noise?” the mole like creature cried. He talked like a baby, Chihiro noticed, even more baby-like than Bôh. “Peez stop da pounding; my ears are vewy sensitive.”

‘What ears?’ Chihiro wondered, before noticing a hole on each side of its head, which she assumed were the creature’s ears.

The creature turned to her. His large red nose twitched as he sniffed her, much to Chihiro’s discomfort. “You’re a human, aren’ you?” it asked. Chihiro nodded. “Why are woo on my hill?”

Chihiro struggled to find her voice. “Y-Your hill?”

The creature nodded. “Yup, I’m a hill spiwit, and dis is my hill.”

Chihiro looked down at the large mound of dirt she and her friends were standing on. This was a hill? She hadn’t noticed.

Zeniba immediately bowed. “Oh, I am so sorry, we didn’t mean to intrude upon your home. It’s a very lovely hill.”

The hill spirit giggled. “Oh, dat’s ok. And dank woo, it is a nice hill, isn’ it?”

No-Face nodded. “Ah, ah.”

The hill spirit bent down to become eyelevel with the faceless monster. “You funny. Can I twy on your mask?”

“Ah, ah, ah.”

“Peez?”

“Ah!”

The hill spirit sat on his rear and began kicking and screaming in a manor very much the same way Chihiro just had. This convinced her even more that this hill spirit was an infant; either that or he was like Bôh and didn’t want to grow up.

“Wanna twy it on! Wanna twy it on!”

Yes, this spirit was just like Bôh, and just as spoiled. At least he wasn’t violent about not getting his way. Chihiro remembered back when Bôh was still very spoiled that he threatened to break Chihiro’s arm or have Yubaba kill her when she didn’t do what he wanted; thank goodness he was no longer like that. But this spirit, she didn’t know what he would do. And that screaming was very annoying.

“Granny, can’t you do something?” she shouted over the spirit’s cries.

Zeniba had her hands over her ears, but she still heard the human. “One moment.” She did some quick magic and a mask similar to No-Face’s appeared n the hill spirit’s face. “There, how’s that?”

The hill spirit stopped crying as he noticed the feeling of something covering his face. “Ooooh! How do I wook?”

“Uh…” Chihiro shared a look with her friends. “Very… cute…”

The hill spirit cheered happily. “Yay, yay, yay! Dank woo! I so happy! Hey, wanna pway wit’ me?”

Chihiro grinned nervously’ it was Bôh in his room all over again. “Uh, we’d like to, but…”

“We’re in a big hurry.” Zeniba said. “Isn’t that right, No-Face?”

“Ah, ah.”

The hill spirit turned away from them. “I didn’t want to pway wit’ woo. I wanted to pway wit’ the human.”

“Me?”

The hill spirit nodded. “Yup, yup! I hear woo pway weally cool games in your world. Me wanna play!”

Chihiro took a step back, making sure to keep her big smile on her face. “I really can’t. I don’t have time.”

“Dere’s always time to pway!” the childish spirit insisted.

“Maybe later.”

She turned to leave, and he friends were all too happy to join her. But the hill spirit was much faster than he looked, and he was in front of them a moment later.

“I said we pway, so we pway.” He demanded. “Come on! It will be fun!”

“We can’t,” Zeniba insisted, “we have to go.”

“Woo go!” the spirit ordered. “She stay!”

No-Face stepped in front of Chihiro. “Ah, ah!”

The hill spirit pouted behind his mask. “Woo no fun. Bye, bye!”

He clapped his large hands together and the ground No-Face was standing on began moving, taking him away from the others. Yu-bird screeched angrily and began flying around the spirit’s head.

“Bad birdie!” the spirit cried, swatting at Yu-bird.

Zeniba stepped forward to take charge of the situation. “Listen to me, we would like to play but we can’t. We’re in a hurry.”

The hill spirit turned to her. “Ok den, woo go too.”

A large mound of earth rose up from underneath Zeniba’s feet and carried her off. Zeniba may have been a powerful witch, but this was the tree spirit’s hill, the very thing he was born from, and he had all power over it.

“Now we pway!” The hill spirit said happily to Chihiro.

“I can’t play!” Chihiro insisted yet again.

“Sure woo can!” The spirit grabbed Chihiro’s wrist in his large hand and began dragging her towards the hole he had originally popped out of. “Come on, we pway undergwound! It gweat for Hide-and-Seek!”

Chihiro tried to pull away, but the spirit was rather strong and had a firm grasp. He was actually, and unintentionally, cutting off her bloodstream. “Let me go! Let go!”

“No, woo see, we have wot’s of fun!” the spirit insisted. “Woo shouldn’ be in such a huwwy so much! Learn to have more fun and be happy like me!”

‘I don’t have time for this!” Chihiro thought angrily.

Her hand, the one the hill spirit was holding, suddenly grew hot. It was the same hand that had the fire spell on it. Chihiro remembered what Lord Okaia had told her about the spell: ‘Use it when you are in danger. Be careful though, because the spell will only work once. Use it on joy.’

Well she wasn’t really in danger, but this hill spirit was a bundle of joy. Then again, maybe she was in danger. The child-like spirit may not know how delicate humans were compared to spirits and his games may be a little extreme.

Seeing no other way, Chihiro cried out, “Go fire spell!”

He hand got much hotter as flames flew out from her open palm. The hill spirit cried out, not in pain since the flames didn’t touch him, but in surprise. He quickly crawled into his hole and poked his head out.

“Fire! Me no like fire!”

The flames were immediately dying down. Chihiro was glad since her hand was really hot. But once the fire was gone, there wasn’t even the slightest burn mark on her hand; on top of that, the fire spell symbol was gone.

“Chihiro!” Zeniba flew back over to her with No-Face close behind. “Are you alright, dear?”

Chihiro nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”

The hill spirit crawled back out. His fur was sticking up and his yellow eyes were now red. “Woo a big meanie!” he cried. “Woo used fire on me! Me no like fire! Just for dat, me no pway wit’ woo! Go ‘way!”

Chihiro backed away. She didn’t know what an angry child-like spirit was capable of, and she didn’t intend to find out; at least not until she was a spirit herself. Zeniba came up behind her and rested a hand on her shoulder.

Bowing to the hill spirit, the witch said, “We are sorry for the disturbance, but you forced us.”

The hill spirit turned angrily to them. “Just go ‘way! Me no wanna pway wit’ woo anymore! Woo go bye, bye!”

The hill spirit pounded on the ground. A wave of earth moved below the others’ feet, carrying them away from his hill down into rocky terrain beyond it.

“Hmph, big meanies!” the hill spirit complained, once they were gone. “Dey too busy to pway wit’ me. Fine, I no want to pway wit’ dem anyway.” He crawled into his hole, like a stubborn child locking themselves in their room because they didn’t get their way. But before he tunneled back underground, he turned to look back in the direction he had set the others. His eyes turned yellow again as his anger faded. “Oh well, maybe dey pway next time.”

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The ground stopped moving once they were out of range from the hill spirit’s power, which wasn’t far away from the hill itself. The sudden stop caused them all, not counting Yu-bird, who was flying, to topple over on top of each other.

“Ow! My head!” Chihiro moaned. “What did I hit it on?” She turned around and saw Zeniba rubbing her own head. Apparently Chihiro had hit her head on Zeniba’s. “Oh, sorry, Granny.”

Zeniba stood up, not realizing she was standing on No-Face. “That’s ok, dear. Ow, what a spoiled brat. He was worse than Bôh.”

Chihiro chuckled. “I don’t know, I think the two of them would have gotten along pretty well. Ah! Granny, you’re standing on No-Face!”

“I’m doing what?”

“Ah, ah.”

“Oh my!” Zeniba began hovering in the air, sparing No-Face her weight. “I’m sorry, No-Face.”

No-Face stood up, dismissing it with a wave of his hand. “Ah, ah.”

Chihiro looked around. She spotted the hill spirit’s hill the distance. Wow, he had sent them pretty far away. It was just a shame that he couldn’t send them all the way through this rocky terrain.

“Now where are we?” she asked.

Zeniba stood up and looked at the golden seal. It was still facing into the seemingly never-ending rocky terrain. “We’re on the right track. Let’s get a move on, it will be dark soon.”

Chihiro sighed. “Great. Let’s just make sure that we don’t trespass on any other spirits’ land.”

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“Finally!” Lin cried, as she finished scrubbing the big bath. “That’s done. And look at the time. Yubaba was right, working did take my mind off of things.”

She exited the big bath and went in search of her next job. She ran across one of her friends who was getting a little concerned with her behavior.

“Hey, Lin. How are things going?”

Lin sighed. “Well Rita, things could be better. Chihiro is driving me out of my mind with worry. And it’s all my fault.

The other spirit, Rita, put a hand on her shoulder. “Oh, don’t go blaming yourself. From what I’ve heard, Haku and Kamajii had a helping hand.”

Lin scowled. “Yeah, that’s true. It really is mostly that darn dragon’s fault. I mean, why doesn’t he just tell the human how he feels. But then again, the same thing could be said for Chihiro.”

Rita chuckled. “Everyone knows they love each other, except each other.”

Lin smiled for the first time in hours. “You got that right. When those two get back here, after I kill them, I’m going to get them to confess if it’s the last thing I do.”

Rita was positively bouncing up and down. “Ooh, love confession plans. This I gotta see.”

Lin smiled mischievously. “You can help. I’ll bet Bôh would like to help too.”

“Alright!” Rita tossed her cleaning supplies away. “This is going to be great.”

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It was very busy today. Kamajii was being worked to the bone. Not that he minded that much, it gave him something to do. He enjoyed his job, but still, he could use a vacation. And it was on days like these that he wished he hadn’t given up his train tickets. But he wouldn’t change his choice even if he could.

“Kamajii!”

The boiler man jumped in surprise, making a mess of things. He growled in frustration. He already had enough to do.

“Kamajii!”

“What?”

Lin and Rita entered the boiler room. Kamajii was surprised to see Lin in such a good mood. She had been sulking for the past several days since Chihiro had left.

“What’s all the ruckus?” Kamajii asked of the spirit women.

Lin crossed her arms. “Well it’s like this, we’re getting tired of Chihiro and Haku refusing to admit how they feel.”

“We are?”

“Yes, we are. So, when they come back, we’re going to get them to confess to each other how they feel.”

Kamajii snorted and went back to work. “That’s a switch. Not too long ago, you were saying how we shouldn’t get involved and that they needed to confess on their own.”

Rita gave Lin a pointed look. “You know, he’s right.”

Lin waved it off. “Ah, they will confess on their own. We’ll just give them a little push in the right direction. So how about it, Kamajii, you in?”

The boiler man considered it a moment. “Sure, why not. It would be fun messing with them.” Five bath tokens suddenly dropped down in front of him. Kamajii sighed. “Maybe later though.”

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“What’s it doing?” Chihiro asked, looking at the golden seal. The small magical item had begun spinning around and flashing with a golden light. “Is it broken?”

“Broken?” Zeniba repeated, giving Chihiro a weird look. “Of course not!”

She reached out and touched the golden seal. It fell from the air and remained motionless. Chihiro, No-Face, and Yu-bird gathered around, expecting the golden seal to do something.

“Did the spell wear off?” Chihiro asked.

Zeniba’s hand closed over the seal. “No.” She whispered. “We’re here.”

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