Chapter 8: The Prophet and the River

First of all, there’s the fact that many spirits don’t like humans, thus making it a little dangerous for Chihiro to be around them.

Second of all, there’s also taking into consideration that unless she has food from the spirit world in her system she’ll disappear. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem since the only thing to eat is from the spirit world.

Third of all, the spirit world isn’t really fit to sustain human life. Think of it like taking an animal out of its natural habitat. It will be able to last awhile, but it won’t last too long.

And forth of all, Chihiro’s friends don’t want her to just leave her old life behind forever. Staying in the spirit world would mean never seeing her human friends and family again. She may be sure of her decision now, but later she may have second thoughts and they don’t want her to do anything she may regret.

These are the main reasons, but Haku has a few others, which will be revealed later.

I hope I cleared that up. If I haven’t, please tell me. And now on with the chapter.)
~moviefan-91

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

Chihiro was blissfully unaware of the meeting that had taken place between her friends, and they gave no indication that any meeting of any sorts took place at all. The days went by as if nothing was wrong at all. Chihiro was, without doubt, the happiest she had ever been in her entire life. She was back in her real home with her real family, and her one and only true love.

Although she had admitted her feelings to Lin, she had yet to tell Haku. When she first confessed how she felt, she had been very emotional at the time and didn’t care to keep it a secret, but now that she was thinking clearly, she wasn’t about to admit her love to anyone else, least of all Haku.

Lin was glad that Chihiro had finally expressed her feelings, now she just had to get her to tell Haku himself. That was easier said than done though. True she could tell Haku herself what Chihiro had said, but that wouldn’t be right. Chihiro was going to have to admit it herself. She would help and encourage her along the way, but Chihiro would have to personally do it.

Even though Chihiro was happy with the way things were going, she still couldn’t help but feel like something was wrong. For the most part, Haku, Lin, and Kamajii were themselves, but Chihiro couldn’t help but feel like something was wrong. It was noticeable in Bôh. The giant baby always seemed a little upset about something. When Chihiro asked what was wrong, he would always deny that anything was wrong. Even Yu-bird seemed to be acting a little strange, although it was harder to tell with her.

Chihiro didn’t think much of it, but she couldn’t help but wonder if it had something to do with her. They all seemed to go in this mood after the day Haku had told her she had to return to the human world. Could that be the problem? She had thought that they had worked that out. But thinking back, she realized that she and Haku never had worked that out. True, they made up after their fight, but nothing more had been said about her returning to the human world. She had decided not to dwell on it.

But one day, the bathhouse had a visit from a spirit that had changed everything.

“Welcome, have a nice bath.” The foreman greeted the spirit.

The spirit merely waved the greeting off. “I have not come for a bath. I am here on behalf of my master, the great Lord Okaia.”

“Lord Okaia!” the foreman cried. “My goodness! What would Lord Okaia want with us?”

“You, nothing.” The spirit replied. “I have come here to see the human, Chihiro Ogino.”

“Yes, yes. One moment please.”

The foreman immediately contacted Yubaba, who was just as shocked and thrilled that a messenger of the great Lord Okaia was in her bathhouse. She immediately sent for Chihiro to attend to their valued guest.

“Listen up, Chihiro, Lord Okaia is the most powerful sorcerer in the entire spirit world.” Yubaba explained as she led the human girl to the messenger’s private room. “If he has business here, it could be very important. You attend to his messenger’s ever wish, or I’ll send you to the pigpen for a week. Do I make myself clear?”

Chihiro gulped. “Y-Yes ma’am. But I doubt Bôh would be very happy with you for turning me into a pig.”

Yubaba growled. Chihiro always had that as an advantage. Why did Bôh have to be so fond of the human? “Just get in there.” She ordered, shoving her into the room.

The door closed behind her and Chihiro was left alone with the messenger. He looked like a shadow spirit; only he was bright red instead of black, and was rather short.

The messenger observed Chihiro with glowing yellow eyes. “Ah, so you are the human my master spoke of. So good to see you.”

Chihiro was somewhat startle by the spirit’s greeting. He was speaking to her as if she were the guest.

“Um, if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.” She said.

The spirit motioned for her to sit down. “Please, have a seat. I have come here on business, not leisure.”

Chihiro hesitantly sat down. This wasn’t a normal customer. She wasn’t sure what ‘business’ meant. She was on her guard. Haku had warned her that several spirits didn’t like humans.

The spirit made a quick flick of his wrist and a table floated in front of Chihiro. He sat down across from her.

“My master knows of you.” he explained. “He has seen you in a vision.”

“Am I in trouble?” Chihiro asked quickly. “If I did anything wrong, I am sorry and I ask for your master’s forgiveness.”

The spirit chuckled. “You have nothing to fear, human. You have done nothing wrong. My master is actually rather fond of humans. I have merely come here to deliver a message, and to reveal a few matters.”

He laid a deck of cards on the table. Chihiro wondered where he had been keeping them, but decided that she didn’t want to know. The spirit shuffled and cut the deck before dividing it into separate piles.

“Tell me, do you know who Lord Okaia is?” he asked.

Chihiro hesitated before answering. “Not really.” She admitted. “I know he’s the most powerful sorcerer in the spirit world.”

The spirit chuckled again. “Yubaba would have told you that. Yes, he is. And recently he has had a vision that concerns you and a few of your friends.” He chose a card from one of the piles and looked at it, but did not reveal it to Chihiro. “My master has revealed that his path shall cross with yours. You will have a difficult journey ahead of you.”

“What do you-”

“Please do not interrupt.” said the spirit, taking another card. “The power of love surrounds you. Its source comes from a powerful river spirit.” Chihiro blushed. The spirit took another card. “Yet there is a wall that blocks your path. One built from your mortality.” Another card was chosen. “Your love is powerful, very powerful, and it will be tested by the three most powerful emotions. Do you know these emotions?”

“Uh…” Chihiro had no idea what the spirit was taking about. As much as she could gather, this Lord Okaia knew she was in love with Haku, yet her mortality was keeping them apart. That was obvious enough. But what was this about a journey? She knew of the expression saying that love is a difficult journey, but she had a feeling that these readings were talking about an actual journey. And what was up with the three emotions? She was clueless on that. “I don’t understand.”

The spirit took three more cards. “Three powerful emotions will face off against your love. The first is joy, followed by sorrow, then anger.” Another card. “The emotions must cross paths. Once these emotions test your love, you will be forced to make a decision that will affect you and those around you. No matter what you chose, someone you love will get hurt.”

“What?” Chihiro cried. “I don’t want to hurt anyone!”

“There are different types of love, human.” The spirit explained. “The love for a parent, the love for a sibling, the love for a child, the love for a friend, the love for a spouse. There are many kinds. You must make a chose. One will be left behind. Which one, is up to you.”

“But I don’t want to leave anyone I love behind.” Chihiro exclaimed. “How can I make a decision like that?”

The spirit took another card. “You have already made the decision. But you can still change it. When the time comes to make your final decision, you will have to make the choice again, but this time it will be for keeps.”

Chihiro gulped. She didn’t like the sound of that. “How does your master know all this? Who is he?”

“You will meet him, and then you may ask your questions.” The spirit replied.

“When?”

Taking another card, the spirit said “Soon. After the water, you will be hurt.”

“What? I get hurt? How bad is it? Am I injured?”

The spirit shook his head. “Not physically, emotionally. You will have your trust betrayed. You will turn to those closest to you, only to find that they have betrayed your trust; thus you will turn to others. This is when your journey will begin.” He took another card. “You will forgive those that have hurt you, but you can not turn to them for help during your journey. You must follow your heart. If you do, it will lead you to life.”

The spirit took the final card. He placed them all back into one pile and reshuffled the deck. Whatever reading he had just given Chihiro, it appeared to be over, leaving her very confused and full of questions.

“Wait a minute!” she cried. “That’s it? You can’t just leave me like this.”

The spirit put away the deck of cards. “I am sorry, human, but I am merely delivering my master’s message. I know nothing of any of this. If you wish to know what your readings means, you will have to speak to my master.” He got up to leave. “Remember Chihiro, after the water.” He said as the door closed behind him.

(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)

Chihiro’s mind had been racing for the next few days. She was confused, irritated, and depressed all at once. She tried to make sense of what the spirit’s message meant, but came up with nothing. She considered asking Lin or Haku, but decided against it. Thinking about the part of having her trust betrayed was very unsettling. She didn’t want to think about that.

As the days went by, Chihiro was so lost in her thoughts that she failed to realize that the day she had been looking forward to for a long time had finally arrived.

“Wake up, girl!” cried Lin, pulling the covers off Chihiro.

Chihiro groaned. “Mmm, Lin. It’s too early. Go back to sleep.”

“Sleep? How can you think of sleep on a day like today?”

Chihiro placed her pillow over her head. “What’s so special about today?” she asked sleepily.

“What’s so- Chihiro, this is the day you’ve been looking forward to.”

“Remind me why.”

Lin sighed. “It’s the day Haku said he would take you to his river.”

“Oh, that’s nice…” It took a moment for this to sink in. When it did, her eyes shot open and she jumped wide-awake. “What? Oh no, it is! What am I gonna do? What am I gonna wear? Should I wear a bathing suit? Ah, I don’t have a bathing suit! What time is it? Am I running late?”

Lin had to resist laughing. “Chihiro, calm down. This was why I got you up so early. Come on, let’s get you ready for your date.”

“It’s not a-”

“Whatever.”

(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)

After assuring Chihiro that she looked fine for the tenth time, Lin had to practically drag her to the place where she was supposed to meet Haku.

He was waiting for them on the bridge. He smiled when he saw them approaching. “Hello ladies, how are you today?”

“We’re good.” Said Chihiro. “I’m really looking forward to this.”

“I’ll bet you are.” Lin muttered slyly. Chihiro elbowed her.

“Well then, lets be on our way.” Said Haku, holding out his hand.

Chihiro carefully took his hand. Lin had to keep from laughing at how nervous her friend was.

“Play nice you two.” She teased.

“Lin!” the other two cried, turning red.

“Let’s go.” Chihiro said. “Before I rearrange her face.”

Not wanting to be the butt of Lin’s jokes any longer, Haku turned into his dragon form. Chihiro carefully and shyly crawled on top, taking hold of his horns to keep from falling.

“Have fun!” Lin called, as Haku took flight.

Chihiro cried out as she and Haku soared through the air. She hadn’t done this in 12 years, not counting the countless times she did in her dreams. After she got over her momentary fear, she began to get a feeling of serenity. Riding high in the sky on her love’s back was… nice. The view was spectacular. She had forgotten how beautiful it was. And flying with Haku was delightful.

“This is amazing, Haku!” She cried. “How about showing me what you can really do.”

If she had been able to see Haku’s face, she would have seen a mischievous smile creep up on his face. She could have sworn she heard Haku’s voice in her head saying, ‘Alright, you asked for it,’ before the river spirit put on a burst of speed. Chihiro kept a strong grip on his horns as he flew higher and faster, breaking through clouds and giving her an even better view of the land.

The wind whipped her hair around her as Chihiro took in all the sights around. She cried out as Haku spun in the air, leaving her upside-down for a brief moment.

“AH! Haku, none of that!” she cried.

She heard him snicker before the voice in her head say, ‘Hold on tight.’ Haku put on another burst of speed. Everything around her became a blur. Things got brighter and brighter until the light was practically blinding. The next thing she knew, she was underwater. Haku was gone, he was no longer with her.

“Ahu!” she tried to say, but only bubbles came out.

She quickly clamped her mouth shut, covering it with her hands. She was in Haku’s river, that much was obvious, but where was Haku.

‘Chihiro, it’s ok. Breath.’ Came Haku’s voice.

Chihiro looked around, but there was no sign of the river spirit anywhere. She began to panic and didn’t remove her hands.

‘Do you trust me?’

She heard his voice again, asking her if she trusted him. Of course she did. He wouldn’t drown her. Not intentionally.

‘Just breath.’

Putting all her faith in the river spirit, Chihiro removed her hands and breathed deeply. She expected to have her lungs flooded with water, but no such thing happened. Instead she gulped down cool clean air. She had no idea how this was possible underwater, but she wasn’t complaining.

“Ahu, ere ae u?” she tried to say, but only bubbles came out again.

‘I am right here with you.’ came Haku’s voice. ‘And you do not need to speak. Just speak to me in your mind.’

Her first thought caused her to immediately panic as she pictured Haku reading her mind, seeing some of her deepest secrets, such as her feelings for him. But Haku, wherever he was, seemed to notice her dilemma.

‘Do not worry about your personal thoughts.’ He told her. ‘I can only hear what you tell me.’

Chihiro sighed in relief. ‘Good, you scared me for a minute there.’

Haku chuckled. ‘Why, is there something you don’t want me to know?’

‘NO!’ she cried, perhaps a little too quickly and forcefully. ‘I just didn’t like the idea of my mind being an open book. How would you like it if someone could suddenly look into your mind and see everything that you’ve every thought, said, and done?’

‘I guess I wouldn’t.’

Chihiro nodded, satisfied. She looked around some more. ‘Haku, I am in your river, aren’t I?’

‘Yes.’

‘How can I breath?’

‘I am simply feeding you oxygen. Water contains oxygen in it. I am simply extracting the air and giving it to you. It’s just like how fish breathes. Think of me as your pair of gills.’

‘Oh.” She looked around, still trying to find some sign of Haku. ‘Where are you?’

‘Right here. I am all around you. The Kohaku River is part of me. I have reunited myself with it. Can you not feel me?’

Chihiro thought she felt someone caress her cheek, but when she looked she saw no one. She heard Haku chuckle again.

‘So tell me, how do you like my river?’

Chihiro, for the first time, actually looked, really looked, at the body of water she was submerged in. It was… breathtaking. She saw the beauty that the river was, but there was more to it than that. It was almost as if she was part of the river. She could see and sense all the life within the river. Perhaps it was Haku’s connection with his river and her connection to him that she was experiencing. This felt like more than simply being underwater. It was as if she was in a whole other world of life and wonder.

‘It’s amazing!’ she cried. ‘It’s so beautiful.’

Somehow, she felt Haku relax. It seemed as if her accepting his river was like her accepting something important from him. She didn’t know why he had been so nervous. She loved everything about him; whether human, dragon, or river, she loved him with every bit of her heart.

‘Haku this is amazing.’ She told him. ‘I never knew how exactly a spirit and their spiritual and are connected, but somehow, being here with you, I know that there isn’t really a connection. This river is an actual part of you, just a part separate from your body.’

She somehow knew that Haku was glad that she understood. Being in his river at such a close personal level seemed to give her a special connection with the river spirit, allowing her to sense his emotions and read his thoughts.

‘This is only a small glimpse of how I am one with my river.’ Haku explained. ‘I know every last detail of my river, just like you would with your body. I am aware of every plant, every rock, every form of life within it.’ The river seemed to pull her along with it. Chihiro let Haku lead her on. He, the river, was feeling overjoyed at having her in his river, in him. ‘Chihiro, do you remember the last time you came to my river?’

She figured he meant the day she paid a visit to the small stream before she returned to the human world. ‘Yes.’

‘I felt you enter. Although I could not personally come to you, I was aware of your presence.’ He seemed to be carefully considering his words. ‘You were crying. I know this because one of your tears fell into my river. Part of you became part of me. For a brief moment, I was entirely connected to you.’

Chihiro felt touched, but she wasn’t sure where Haku was going with this. ‘What are you trying to say?’ she asked.

Haku hesitated before saying. ‘I… I would like to give you that same connection you gave me. Just for a moment.’

Chihiro was surprised to say the least. Her tear, as Haku had put it, had merged with Haku’s river, thus merging with him. Part of her became part of him. Now he wanted to share that experience?

‘Haku… are you sure?’

‘I am very sure.’

Chihiro didn’t reply. She didn’t have to. Suddenly an indescribable sensation filled her. She didn’t think there was a word in any language to describe what she was feeling. She became aware of everything with in the Kohaku River. She knew everything down to the smallest mark on the smallest rock.

As for her connection with Haku, well, she didn’t think there was a connection anymore. It felt as if they had become one, that there was nothing separating them. They were together on so many levels now. She could almost see things through his very eyes, hear his heartbeat as if it were her own, feel everything around as if it were her feeling it. And his emotions, she felt them as if they were her own. And there was one emotion that towered above all the others. Love, inexpressible love.

Then it was gone. Whatever connection she had briefly had with Haku was gone and she seemed to be herself again. She wasn’t sure, but just for the briefest moment, when she had zeroed in on that feeling of love, she thought she felt panic from Haku, as if she had stumbled across something he didn’t want her to know.

Or maybe, it was him that had come across something coming from her and she had been the one to panic. She wasn’t sure. When Haku had made that connection she wasn’t sure who was who and who was feeling what.

‘Haku…’ she whispered. ‘That was…’ She didn’t know what that was. She couldn’t think of anyway to describe the feelings running through her. ‘Thank you…’

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