Disclaimer: I don’t own Spirited Away. Just re-posting the story by moviefan-92
Lin was getting fed up with all of this love work. She was drawing a blank on what to do. And Yubaba had to go and pester her about not working. So she had to put her plans on hold to go tend to the customers.
Approaching the foreman, with a bored expression on her face, she said in a lazy tone, “One bath token for King Totoro.”
The foreman nodded happily and handed her the token. Lin took it and sighed. Working wasn’t as much fun anymore without Chihiro around.
The spirit woman turned to the one calling her.
“How’s the planning going?”
Lin sighed again. “It would be going a lot better IF YUBABA WOULD LEAVE ME ALONE!” she shouted, intending for the witch to hear her.
The foreman was quick to scold her. “Lin, please! We have customers!”
Lin snorted. “Yeah, whatever.”
She walked away with a real stubborn look on her face. Rita followed close behind, looking concerned. “You’re worried about her, aren’t you?”
Lin visibly tensed up. “What, no way! Chihiro can take care of herself. She’s a strong girl, she’ll be fine.”
“But she’s human.”
“She’ll be fine!”
Rita took a step back. Lin could be scary sometimes. “It’s ok to worry.”
Lin threw the bath token in her frustration. It hit some random spirit who yelped in surprise, but she ignored them. “Ok, so I’m worried! Get off my back! I swear, if that dragon doesn’t bring her back exactly the way she was when she left, I’ll… I’ll…”
Rita cocked her head to the side. What would Lin say she would do this time? “You’ll do what?”
“Use your imagination!”
Lin continued storming through the bathhouse. In her anger, she forgot about her customer, and was later scolded about it by Yubaba. Rita tried to calm her friend, but when Lin got into one of her moods, it was rather hard to be around her.
But Lin’s mood was about to take a sudden change, and it began when one of the toad spirits came running up to her and Rita.
“Lin! Lin! Where are you?” the spirit cried.
Rita waved the toad over. “She’s over here, Clam. But be careful, she’s in one of her moods.”
“I heard that!” Lin shouted. She turned to the toad and glared at him. “What do you want?”
Clam gulped nervously. “Uh, just thought that you wanted to know that Master Haku has returned.”
Lin’s eyes widened. “About time! How’s Chihiro?”
Clam looked very nervous. He pulled on his mustache anxiously. “Well… um, you see…”
“Spit it out!”
Clam gulped. “She’s… not… with… him…” he said carefully, then braced himself for the explosion.
A few seconds of silence went by. “…WHAT!”
Lin sped past Rita and Clam as she raced towards the front doors. She knocked over several spirits, many of them customers, on her way. Sure enough, there was the river spirit, walking into the bathhouse, looking very depressed. Lin marched over to him with fire in her eyes.
Haku jumped at his name being called. A moment later he found himself pinned against the wall with a very, very angry Lin standing in front of him.
“WHERE IS SHE? WHAT DID YOU DO WITH HER?”
“ANSWER ME OR I’LL- HEY, LET, ME GO!”
Rita and Clam pulled Lin off the startled river spirit and held her from doing anything she would regret.”
“Lin, calm down.” Said Rita.
“Yeah, you’re disturbing the customers.” Said Clam, looking embarrassed.
“FORGET THE CUSTOMERS! KNOWING MR. INSENSITIVE HERE, HE PROBABLY SAID SOMETHING STUPID AND CHASED HER AWAY AGAIN! WHAT DID YOU DO, DRAGON?”
Rolling his eyes, Haku made a zippering gesture and Lin’s mouth sealed shut, literally. This only fueled her anger, but it prevented her from shouting.
Haku put his finger to his lips and said, “Now, if you’ll please stop shouting, I’ll let you speak again.” His voice was filled with sadness, but only Rita and Clam seemed to notice; Lin was too frustrated to notice. She gave him a dirty look and nodded. “Alright then.”
Haku removed the spell, and the second he did, “WHY YOU-”
Zip. Haku shook his head in disappointment. “If you’re going to continue to shout, let’s at least go somewhere more private. I’ll explain everything there.”
He led the three spirits through the bathhouse, nodding apologetically to customers he passed. They entered an empty room and Haku locked the door behind them.
“Now,” he said, “I assume you’re wondering why Chihiro isn’t with me.”
Lin rolled her eyes as Clam asked, “She’s ok, isn’t she?”
Haku nodded. “Yes, I was told by Lord Okaia himself that she was fine. She’s with Zeniba, No-Face, and Yu-bird.”
Rita’s eyes widened. “No-Face? That terrible monster that ate 3 people?” Haku nodded. “And what in the world were you thinking letting her go off with that thing?”
Haku growled impatiently. “That thing is a good friend of hers and mine. His aggressive behavior was a result of all the greed and hunger for power the bathhouse was filled with back then. I trust No-Face.”
Clam gulped. “I hope you’re right.”
Lin looked like she was bursting to say something, but Haku’s spell still held her mouth shut. She settled for making irritated noises.
“Wait a second!” Rita cried. “You just said Lord Okaia said she was alright. You met Lord Okaia?”
Haku nodded. “Yes, he was the one that told me to come back. He said that Chihiro would need me here for when she returned. And he also gave me some very disturbing news.” He looked around as if expecting someone to be eavesdropping. Lowering his voice he said, “According to Lord Okaia, there is a spirit here that will attempt to kill her when she returns.”
Clam and Rita’s mouths dropped open. Lin’s would have too if she had been able to open her mouth. “Mm? Mm mm mmm mm mm mm! Mmm mm mm mmm mm mmm!”
“Can’t understand you, Lin.” Said Haku. “If you promise not raise your voice, I will remove the spell. And if you scream again, I will leave the spell on you and you’ll have to wait for it to wear off.”
Lin nodded furiously and Haku removed the spell. “WHO-” She clamped her hand over her mouth and took a deep breath. “Who would want to kill her? Why?
Anger could be seen in the river spirit’s eyes. “Many spirits hate humans. Some hate them enough to kill. Lord Okaia warned me that this spirit wouldn’t stand for a spirit and a human being together, nor will they allow a human to become a spirit. They will try and kill her before Chihiro becomes a spirit.”
“Didn’t he tell you who it was?” asked Rita.
Haku shook his head. “He said that giving out too much information could change the future he has foreseen. But he did warn me of this to give me a chance to stop whoever they are.”
“It’s probably one of the women.” Said Clam. Both Lin and Rita hit him over the head. “Ow! What was that for?”
“For being a sexist pig!” Lin shouted.
Clam rubbed his head. “I am not! If you had let me finish my explanation you wouldn’t have thought so. I was merely wondering if one of the women could secretly be in love with Haku and is jealous of Chihiro.”
Haku’s eyes widened. He hadn’t thought of that. It was a possibility, but he didn’t think any spirits like him that way. But still, it was worth looking into.
“I don’t know who it is, but I intend to find out.” He said. “I’ll need you three to help me. Don’t tell anyone of this other than Bôh and Kamajii.”
“What about Yubaba?” Clam asked.
Haku shook his head. “No, knowing her, she’ll round up everyone in the bathhouse and probable scare whoever they are away. No, we’ll have to keep this quiet. I’m counting on you three. Don’t let me down.”
“Of course not, Master Haku!” cried Clam, saluting the river spirit.
“I’ll help.” Said Rita.
Lin cracked her knuckles. “If anyone so much as puts one hair out of place on her head, I’ll kill them.”
Chihiro was getting very aggravated. She was tired, hungry, and in a desperate need of a shower. And all this walking was a killing her feet. Why must everything in life be so difficult? All she wanted was live happily ever after with Haku. Was that so much to ask? Apparently it was if she had to go on this stupid journey. It was worth it though, but that didn’t mean that she had to like it.
“AH! Why must I go on this ridiculous quest?” she shouted in frustration. “Why can’t the spirit of life just appear to me?”
Zeniba sighed. She didn’t blame Chihiro for being irritated. In fact, she was surprised the girl hadn’t been complaining more than she was. She sure had patience.
“Let’s take a break.” Zeniba said, popping out of the paper ‘bird’. “Besides, you need to eat.”
Chihiro had no arguments. She was starving! She had to make sure to eat very little so she would have plenty of food for the journey. She offered some to the others, but they politely turned it away. Yes, they were hungry, but they didn’t need to eat. Food was more of a luxury for spirits rather than a necessity.
“No, Chihiro.” Said Zeniba, waving away the offered apple. “You need every last morsel; we wouldn’t want you disappearing.”
“Ah, ah.” No-Face agreed, nodding.
Chihiro sighed and took a bite of the apple. Zeniba sat down beside her. “Listen, dear, I know things seem tough now, but you have to believe what Lord Okaia said. Follow you’re heart and-”
“It will all work out.” Chihiro finished. “I know, I know. But why must I go through this? Why is the spirit of life making me go on this stupid journey?”
Zeniba patted the human on the back. “That I cannot answer, but my guess is that it is testing your love and devotion. It wants to see what you are willing to do for love.”
“Anything.” Chihiro said. “You know that.”
Zeniba nodded. “Yes, I can see it in your eyes. But to say something and actually do something are two different things.”
Chihiro clenched the apple in her hand so tightly that her fingers dug into the fruit. “Well if it wants to test me, why doesn’t it just come out and do it.” She turned to the floating golden seal and began yelling at it. “You hear me, spirit of life? Come out! Lord Okaia said I would have to face joy, sadness, and anger! I faced joy, now where’s sadness and anger? Come out, come out wherever you are!”
The seal did nothing but continue floating in the air, pointing in the direction they must take. It wasn’t like Chihiro expected anything to happen, but she just needed an outlet for the bottled up frustration that had built up over the past several days.
Zeniba patiently waited for the human to get her frustration out. When the Chihiro was finished, Zeniba asked, “Feel better?”
Chihiro nodded. “I’m sorry. I’m just…”
“No need to apologize, dear.” Zeniba assured her. “Everyone has these emotions. I don’t blame you for being upset. This does seem rather unfair. But you have to understand that the spirit of life can’t just go around turning every human that comes to our world into a spirit.”
Chihiro shrugged. “I guess, but how many humans come here anyway.”
Zeniba rubbed her chin. “Good point.”
“WHAT?” Bôh wailed. “What do you mean someone is wants to kill Chihiro? MAMA!”
Rita waved her arms around, trying to silence the overgrown baby. “Master Bôh, please keep quiet. Don’t tell your mother.”
“Why?” Bôh demanded angrily. “Chihiro’s in trouble! Mama will find out who wants to hurt her! Mama!”
Rita put her finger to her lips. “Shh, please, Master Bôh. Haku wants to find out who they are, not scare them away, which is what your mother will do.”
Bôh pounded the floor with his giant fist. “Fine, but she better be ok! If anything happens to Chihiro, I’ll tell mama that it was all your fault.”
Rita gulped. She didn’t want Yubaba to hold her responsible for losing her number one employee. “Don’t worry, Master Bôh. We won’t let anything happen. Just keep this quiet. We don’t want whoever wants her dead to find out we know.”
Bôh nodded ion agreement. “Who does know?”
“Just you, me, Haku, Lin, and Clam should be telling Kamajii about it now.”
“Who wants to hurt Chihiro?” Kamajii demanded furiously.
Clam shrugged. “We’re not sure, but that’s why we’re telling you, so you can keep your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious.”
Kamajii rubbed his mustache as he pondered over this. “Who could want to kill Chihiro?”
“It could be anyone.” Said Clam. “We thought everyone liked her. We can’t trust anybody.”
“Anyone, eh?” Kamajii repeated. He was getting very mad. “You’re right. We can’t trust anybody. It could be anyone. It could be Yubaba. Maybe she’s mad because Chihiro ran away.”
Clam shook his head. “I doubt it; Chihiro’s her best worker.”
“Or maybe, it’s Lin. She could be mad for Chihiro always getting them in trouble and having to do the big bath.”
Clam raised an eyebrow. “That’s highly unlikely.”
“Or it could be Bôh! He might be mad because she didn’t play with him enough! Or maybe it’s Rita! All this planning to get Haku and Chihiro to admit their feelings for each other could have annoyed her!”
“I think you’re taking this too far.”
“Or it could be you!”
Kamajii got right up in his face. “Maybe you’re still mad over the whole No-Face incident! Or perhaps it was you!” He pointed accusingly to the soot balls, who shrank back nervously. “You’re angry because she didn’t help all of you with that coal 12 years ago! Admit it! Admit it!”
The boiler man glared at Clam, who had a very startled look on his face. That snapped Kamajii out of his hysteria, and he realized how he was behaving.
“Uh… sorry.” He muttered, embarrassed. “I was getting a little paranoid.”
“A little?” asked Clam, still looking nervous. Even the soot balls were still cowering away.
Kamajii took a deep breath. “Ok, ok, let’s talk about this rationally. Someone wants Chihiro dead because they hate humans.” He scratched his chin. “Hmm, why would they wait until now?”
Clam shrugged. “I’m just telling you what Haku told me. He wants you to keep your eyes and ears open for anything.”
Kamajii nodded. “I’ll do that. And you, you little powder puffs,” the soot balls jumped back, “you are going to search the bathhouse. It will be easier for you to spy. Just make sure that you don’t leave a trail of soot behind.” The soot balls all nodded and began to leave. “Not all of you! I still need some of you to help me down here.”
The soot balls stopped. They squeaked amongst themselves for a bit before half left the boiler room with Clam and the other half returned to their work. Kamajii watched them for a moment, not really seeing them since his mind was elsewhere.
‘Chihiro, I hope you’ll be alright.’