Epilogue

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

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Things were never the same around the bathhouse again, but the change was definitely for the better. Not long after her return, Chihiro and Haku were married, or spiritually linked, as the spirits did it, creating an eternal bond between the two. It was a wonderful feeling, to be connected to someone in such a way, and Chihiro couldn’t be happier. They left the bathhouse for their honeymoon, spending it at the legendary castle in the sky, Laputa. After their return, lots of things began changing while others remained the same.

After a few more years of servitude, Lin finally got on the train and left the bathhouse to explore the spirit world. She returned 8 years later saying that this was the only place she belonged, with her friends and family.

Sadly, Yubaba and Zeniba never worked out their differences and most likely never would. Bôh still visited Zeniba every chance he got, only now he was normally accompanied by Chihiro and Haku.

According to Yubaba, one thing useful came out of Chihiro’s ‘running away’. The spirits she ran into on the way became regular customers. Chihiro squealed with joy when the storm spirit and forest spirit showed up one day with an infant. And speaking of infants, Bôh and the hill spirit, Ju-Ju, did indeed become very good friends, just as Chihiro predicted. Neither one of them wanted to ever grow up and most likely never would. Chihiro was a little nervous about meeting with the hill spirit again since they didn’t exactly part on the best of terms, but Ju-Ju had already forgiven her.

The once polluted lake spirit came to the bathhouse quite often. However, his visits did decrease a little after Rita developed a crush on him and began following him all over the bathhouse for a majority of his visits.

Yuteela also came to the bathhouse. She no longer held a grudge against Chihiro and considered her somewhat of a friend. Yuteela did seem depressed a lot, but at least she wasn’t such an angry person anymore. Chihiro knew that the forest spirit was on the road to recovery and just needed time.

Even Lord Okaia became a regular customer of the bathhouse, much to Yubaba’s delight. Whenever the sorcerer came, she made the staff work extra hard so Lord Okaia would leave a big tip behind; he was very rich after all.

Kamajii was still Kamajii. He and his soot balls continued to work in the boiler room. He stopped being so grouchy all the time and became a much more cheerful person, although he would snap at the soot balls every now and then.

Clam was never seen or heard from again. The others were shocked when they discovered that he had been the one they had been searching for. Lin kept saying how Lord Okaia had been too easy on him while Haku would say how he wished he could have gotten to the toad first. As for Lord Okaia himself, he never spoke of what had happened and no one ever brought it up.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have an entirely happy ending, not for some people. As Lord Okaia had predicted, Chihiro’s human friends and family were deeply upset by her disappearance. After several days of not seeing her friend, Mimi had called Chihiro’s parents. Chihiro became a missing person and after being searched for, for years, was eventually presumed dead. A funeral was even held for her. Chihiro’s parents mourned their daughter’s ‘death’, never once suspecting that rather than dying she had received eternal life. Mimi was upset as well, but at the same time, for some reason, she felt a little happy, because somehow she knew that Chihiro was in a better place, one where she belonged.

As for Chihiro and Haku, well, things couldn’t have been better. Chihiro never, except for once, regretted her decision of staying. The only time she did was when the result of losing her parents finally hit her. She had cried, but Haku had been there to take care of her. They worked through it together and Chihiro eventually became her normal cheerful self again.

After a few years of marriage, Haku and Chihiro had their first child, a baby girl. Bôh suggested naming their daughter Sen. Both Chihiro and Haku had to admit that they liked the idea and did just that. Four years later, they had twins, one boy and one girl. Haku suggested naming them Akio and Yuuko, after Chihiro’s parents, and Chihiro agreed. They decided to put off having anymore children, and, thanks to Zeniba, they found a spell that would prevent pregnancy. After all, they did have eternal youth, if you know what I mean, and they still acted like newlyweds, even after many years of being together. Still, Chihiro wondered if Yubaba knew about the spell back when she had her one-night-stand, which Bôh was the result of, but she decided it would be best not to ask.

Time went on and life was good for Chihiro and her family. I cannot tell you what their future holds for I am mortal and they will live on long after I am gone. However, I will say this; Lord Okaia took one last look into Chihiro and Haku’s future, and saw an eternity of happiness and love.

THE END

Name of Life by *taichikun14

Name of Life by *taichikun14

~MOVIEFAN-91
(A/N: And so it ends. I’m happy and sad at the same time. Glad that I finished, but sad that it’s over. I hope everyone enjoyed my story. I would like to thank everyone who read and reviewed. THANK YOU, it really means a lot to me, more than I could ever say. But I regret to inform you that I have no plans to make a sequel. Sorry, I know that many of you wanted one. It hurts me more than it hurts you because it feels like I’m letting my fans down. HOWEVER, I do have plans to write more fanfiction from the works of Miyazaki. So if you enjoyed this story, I hope you’ll look into my other ones that I write. I am currently working on one that’s a cross between ‘Whisper of the Heart’ and ‘The Cat Returns’. It will be called ‘Whisper of the Cat’. I’m nearly finished with the first chapter; it should be up tomorrow. I have plans for others too, ‘Princess Mononoke’, ‘Castle in the Sky’, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds’, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, and even Miyazaki’s music video ‘On Your Mark’, and his manga ‘The Journey of Shuna’. Wow, I have a lot of work to do! Who knows, maybe when I finish with them I’ll have an idea for a sequel for this story. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my story and will look into my other ones. So for the last time, please review, and thank you. See ya next time.)

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Chapter 25: Kiss of Eternal Life and Love

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

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Lord Okaia took a deep breath and let his power die down. He slowly walked over to the piece of coal that was once Clam and looked down at it. His back was turned so Chihiro could not see the look on his face, but she assumed that he was very upset.

“Lord Okaia?” she asked quietly.

The sorcerer sighed and turned to her with a sad smile on his face. “Hello again, Chihiro. I’m glad you were able to find the spirit of life.” He noticed her looking at the piece of coal and he sighed again. “I assume you’re wondering why I didn’t tell you about him.” Chihiro nodded. “When I looked into your future, I saw your confrontation with Clam. And though it resulted in his death, it worked out for the best, wouldn’t you agree?”

Chihiro reluctantly did, even though it was sad that Clam did have to die. “I guess so.” She muttered sadly.

Lord Okaia nodded. “However, had I told you about him, things would have turned out differently. How would you have reacted when you saw that the one who wanted you dead was here to greet you? How would Clam react once he saw that he no longer had the element of surprise?”

Chihiro shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“That is my point. Things may not have worked out for the best, which is why I kept quiet, so things could play out like this.”

“But,” Chihiro looked at the lump of coal, “he’s… he’s…”

“Never going to harm anyone ever again.” said Lord Okaia, placing the lump of coal in his pocket. “I gave him a second chance, but he just wouldn’t stop. I knew he wouldn’t, and you almost died because of it.”

Chihiro gulped. “He was the one who…”

“Took my true love away.” Lord Okaia finished. “Yes, he was. And after I stripped him of his power and dismissed him, he came here. Then he goes and tries to force the same fate upon you and Kohaku that he forced upon me. I couldn’t allow that.”

“But I thought you didn’t kill anyone.”

Lord Okaia frowned. “I don’t, but someone was going to die. It was going to be either you or Clam. Now the question was who the killer would be. It was either going to be Clam, in which case the victim would be you, Kohaku, who would have killed Clam to protect you, and the third possible killer,” he took out a card and showed it to her; it was a mirror, “was me. I would not allow Clam to kill you; that was out of the question. And Kohaku has yet to take a life. Though him taking Clam’s life would not be considered an act of evil, I did not want him to have to experience taking a life. Some spirits aren’t bothered by taking others’ lives, and then there are those who won’t be able to sleep at night for a long time with the knowledge that they took a life. I didn’t want to risk Kohaku experiencing that. So I took the burden upon myself, even though I hate violence.”

Chihiro was touched. Lord Okaia was so selfless. “Lord Okaia…”

Lord Okaia held up his hand to silence her. “You don’t have to say anything. I am happy to take the pain of others so they may be happy. And now is the time for you to be happy.”

Chihiro didn’t know what to say except, “Thank you, Lord Okaia. You’re a good friend.”

The sorcerer smiled. “Go to your love. You have about 20 minutes left. Go and live the life that was taken from me.”

Chihiro bowed. “Yes sir, and thanks again.”

She turned around and ran towards the bathhouse. Lord Okaia watched her go. He was happy for her and Kohaku; they could have a life together with the one they loved, something that he knew he could never have. But he was happy. Happier than he had been in a long time.

“Take care, my friend.” He said before vanishing in a flash of light.

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Haku could hear voices. That was good; it meant that he was nearly awake. He could already feel his body fighting off the affects of the sleeping herbs. He shouldn’t have woken up for at least another day and a half, but his mind was stronger than his body, and his mind was determine to wake up.

“She’s back! She’s back!” he heard someone cry. “Chihiro’s back!”

“Chihiro…” Haku muttered.

His eyes snapped open and he was suddenly wide-awake and feeling well rested. But that didn’t matter to him; not if what he heard was true. Throwing off the covers, he hopped out of bed. He was still dressed in his clothes from yesterday, but even if he wasn’t he would have ran out of his room as if his life depended on it.

Outside in the hall, spirits were running around excitedly, all of them heading for the front doors. Haku grabbed the nearest spirit and demanded answers.

“Is it true?” he asked, sounding desperate. “Is she back?”

“Chihiro?” the spirit asked. Haku nodded. “Yes, there was a commotion outside and someone went to check on it. They said they spotted her coming this way- Hey!”

Haku practically threw the spirit aside as he raced to the front doors. There was already a crowd outside talking excitedly. Most of them moved aside when they saw Haku coming.

“So you’re finally up.” Came a familiar voice. It was Lin, and she was giving Haku a very smug look. “Just in time too.”

Haku glared at her. “I’ll be angry at you and the others for what you did later.” He turned back to the bridge and saw the most beautiful creature he had ever laid eyes on walking towards the bathhouse. “Chihiro…”

Haku was about to go out to meet her, but someone else beat him to it. Yubaba stepped out in front of everyone, looking very irritated.

Chihiro’s face fell slightly when she saw that she would have to deal with the witch before she could go to Haku. “Hi, Yubaba.” She said, trying to sound cheerful.

Yubaba’s eyes narrowed as she glared at her. “Back again, are you?” Chihiro nodded. “You know, I just can’t figure you out. You keep saying that you want to stay, and then you keep leaving. I don’t like job-hoppers. Make up your mind. Do you want to stay, or not?”

Chihiro cocked her head to the side. “Of course I do. I just had some business to take care of first.”

“And that involves stealing?”

Chihiro blinked. “Stealing?”

“Don’t play dumb!” Yubaba snapped. “You know exactly what I’m talking about! Sneaking into my office and stealing my train ticket! Who do you think you are, Lupin the 3rd?”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t steal any…” Then Chihiro realized that Bôh must not have told his mother about giving her the tickets. “Oh, no. I didn’t steal them. They-”

“Don’t lie!” Yubaba shouted. “You can’t fool me. How dare you do such a thing after all I’ve done for you. I should send you to the pigpen for a month.”

Haku didn’t like Yubaba threatening Chihiro, not one little bit. “Yubaba!” he growled in warning.

Yubaba visibly winced at the tone in the river spirit’s voice. She knew that if she did anything to harm Chihiro, Haku would do worse to her. She wasn’t planning on carrying out her threat, just to remind Chihiro who was in charge.

Chihiro on the other hand was finally fed up. All these people kept thinking that they could boss her around and do whatever they wanted with her just because they were powerful. But now she had that power too, and she was going to stand up for herself and not let anyone push her around anymore. Yubaba may be her employer, but there was no way she was going to threaten to turn her into a pig, or coal, or any other thing that popped into the witch’s mind.

“Yubaba, I did not steal from you!” she snapped. “And I am tired of you threatening me. If you’re going to send me to the pigpen, then do it now. Here’s your chance, and it’s the only one I’m giving you.”

“No!” several spirits shouted.

“Chihiro, don’t!” Haku cried. If Yubaba did do anything, he would simply reverse it, but he didn’t want anything to happen to begin with.

Chihiro smiled. Somehow she knew that the powers she was given were stronger than Yubaba’s. It was like a sixth sense, and Yubaba didn’t seem to notice the difference in her.

“It’s ok.” She assured them. “I’ll be fine.”

Yubaba smirked. “Well if you’re so sure, I’ll increase your punishment to two months instead of one.”

“Bring it on, Granny.”

Yubaba waved her hand and cast the spell. Chihiro sensed the magic and blocked it with her own. It was surprisingly easy to do.

‘That wasn’t as hard as I thought.’

Yubaba was clearly surprised by this. “Huh? Why didn’t it… Grr. Fine, try this!”

She increased the power of the spell and cast it again. Just like before, it simply bounced off Chihiro.

“That’s two strikes, Granny.” Said Chihiro. “One more and you’re out.”

Yubaba began grinding her teeth together in frustration. “FINE, YOU WANT IT, YOU GOT IT!”

She formed a ball of magic, putting all her power into this last spell. She was convinced that no tricks the human used could stop this. She would also extend the punishment to three months for being cheeky.

Yubaba threw the ball of magic. This time Chihiro had to physically block the spell. She caught it in her hand and held it until the magic ran out. Once the magic faded she gave the stunned witch a smug look.

“Strike three and you’re out.” She said triumphantly.

Yubaba’s mouth was hanging open in pure shock. “B-B-But… h-how did you… you… My spell. You should be able to do that, unless you’re a… a…”

Haku looked at Chihiro in awe. “A spirit.” He whispered.

Chihiro smiled. “Yes, I have gone to see Lord Okaia and the spirit of life. I was granted the opportunity to become a spirit and I took it. There’s just one more thing I have to do to complete my transformation.” She calmly walked across the bridge, stopping only to say to Yubaba, “And I didn’t steal those tickets. Bôh gave them to me.”

“Wha-” Bôh gave her the tickets? How come she was the last to know? She turned to the crowd, knowing that Bôh was in there somewhere. She spotted his baby face surrounded by several spirits. “Sweetie, is this true?”

Bôh nodded happily. “Yup!”

How embarrassing. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It was a surprise!” Bôh said innocently. Yubaba just sighed.

Haku’s heart was pounding as Chihiro approached him. She was radiating with love and happiness, and it was all directed at him. He loved her so much and yet he hadn’t told her how he felt. She had confessed to him. She had managed to work up the courage to tell him. And then she had gone on a journey that could result in her death just to be with him. He would have done the same, of that he was certain of. Just to spend one day with her would have been worth it, but what he really wanted was forever. And if it was true and she had become a spirit, then they could have it.

Time seemed to stand still as Chihiro came to a stop in front of him, gazing lovingly into his eyes. “Haku…” she whispered.

Haku was struggling to find something, anything, to say. “Chihiro, I was so worried about you.” he said, before mentally scolding himself for saying like that, wondering why couldn’t say what he really wanted.

Chihiro chuckled. “If you were worried about the person that was trying to kill me, you can relax, he’s gone.”

Haku felt like he was about to cry. “I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there to protect you.”

Chihiro just smiled. “This was my choice, Haku. I told you I loved you. I was willing to do anything to be with you, even if you didn’t love me back.”

It was now or never. “I do love you, Chihiro. I love you more than you could ever know. I’ve just been afraid. Afraid to love a human.”

Chihiro reached up and rested her hand against his cheek. “I know. But I’m not human anymore.” She said smiling. “Or at least I won’t be after this.”

And she kissed him. It was their first kiss. A truly magical one, both figuratively and literally. As the two poured all their love and emotion into each other, Chihiro began to glow as her transformation began. Had she not been caught up in the moment, she would have noticed all the cheers from everyone and the voice of the spirit of life speaking to her.

“Well done, child.”

Both Chihiro and Haku wanted this moment to last forever, but certain events prevented it. The golden light began to lift Chihiro away from Haku. The two stayed connected as long as possible, but Chihiro was eventually lifted too high up and their lips separated.

She could feel it. She was changing in both body and soul. This was much more intense then when her transformation first began. But it wasn’t unpleasant. No, it was glorious. She felt like she had been reborn, like she was truly alive for the first time.

The golden light began to fade away as the transformation came to an end. Chihiro couldn’t describe the sensation she was feeling. It was marvelous. And it was only the beginning of her new life. She reached into herself and found what she was looking for. She called it forward and felt her body change. She switched from her human form to her dragon form.

Haku’s eyes were wide in awe as he watched Chihiro make her transformation. When she turned into her dragon form, he couldn’t resist. He changed into his own dragon form and joined her in the air. She was just as beautiful in her dragon form as she was in her human. Pink scales covered her body and hair, the same brown color as her human form, ran down her back in the same fashion as Haku, only longer.

The two dragons intertwined with each other in a loving embrace in the air, resting their foreheads together and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. On the ground, several people were crying tears of joy. Surprisingly, even Yubaba’s eyes were a little watery, but she did a very good job at hiding it.

“So much for your matchmaking plans, Lin.” Rita commented, unable to tear her eyes away from the two spirits in the air.

Lin sniffed, trying hard not to cry. “Oh, shut up!” she snapped. “You’re ruining the moment. Just look at how happy they are.”

Bôh was positively beaming and clapping his hands. “Yay! They did it! Yay!” His joy turned to confusion as he watched the two dragons turn back into their human forms and fly up into one of the top windows of the bathhouse. “Hey, where they going?”

Rita gulped. “Wasn’t that… Haku’s room?”

Lin snickered. “We won’t see them for days.”

Bôh cocked his head to the side. “Why not?”

Yubaba was getting a very uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu from Bôh’s question and did not want to get into that conversation again. “Ok, everyone, back to work. The mushy stuff is over. You’ll see much more of that stuff between them in the future. And you are all going to give those two some time alone. And no one is to bother them until they come out. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am!” everyone cried.

Lin and Rita were shocked by this. “Wow, Yubaba can really be nice when she wants to be.” Rita muttered.

“Yeah.” Lin agreed. “But she’s right, those two deserve some time alone together. And I don’t think anyone would want to walk in on them anyway.”

Rita snickered. “Clam might, that pervert. Hey, whatever happened to him anyway?”

Lin just shrugged.

Chapter 24: The One Filled With Hate

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

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Chihiro flew through the air, pulling No-Face along with her, Yu-bird following closely behind. From up here, the spirit world was beautiful. It reminded Chihiro of the times she flew on Haku’s back. She wanted desperately to fly with him again, only instead she wanted to fly beside him.

They were covering ground fast. Of course, that was to be expected since they didn’t have to walk. Yu-bird kept slowing them down though, unable to match Chihiro’s speed.

“Come on, Yu-bird!” she cried. “Can’t you fly any faster than that?”

“Ah, ah.”

Yu-bird glared at whatever it was No-Face had said, but was still barely able to keep up. Chihiro stopped to allow her friend to catch up before deciding to just take her in her arms to go faster. They were on a time limit. They had to get back to the bathhouse so she could complete her transformation.

But she still had enough time to observe the view. The spirit world was truly a gorgeous place, far more beautiful than the human world, which, she realized, had not been properly taken care of. Pollution, global warming, natural disasters, none of these were present in the spirit world. That was because the spirits had such a deep connection with the environment. They knew how to take care of their world and didn’t abuse it. And for those spirits that were bonded, they had to pay for the cruel way humans took care of their world. It was becoming more and more apparent as to why so many spirits disliked humans.

It was for this reason that Chihiro was able to forgive Yuteela so easily. She had been provoked. It was just as if someone provoked an animal. She understood this and forgave the forest spirit, just like she had forgiven Yubaba, Bôh, and No-Face after they tried to kill her 12 years ago. Now they were her best friends, well not so much Yubaba.

“Ah, ah!” No-Face cried, pointing at something on the horizon.

Chihiro looked and saw what appeared to be a beautiful angel flying a short distance away. The angel waved to them before disappearing behind a cloud. Chihiro smiled. The spirit world truly was a magical, beautiful place. Even the dangerous places, such as the toxic forest they were currently flying over, which Chihiro had no problem breathing in any toxins, was beautiful. If only humans could live in harmony with their world.

Chihiro frowned at the thought. She herself had once been arrogant about her former world. Coming to the spirit world had changed her in many ways. It had also changed her parents’ appetite, since they suddenly seemed to find something wrong with any food made from pigs, although they didn’t know why.

The thought had amused Chihiro in the past, but now, thinking of her parents, it was depressing. She had lost them in a way. True, they had moved away and they rarely saw each other, but she could always call them up if she wanted to speak with them, or right them a letter. Now they were separated by different worlds, and only death could reunite them. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. She could still return to the human world before she completed her transformation.

No, she couldn’t do that. She would miss her parents, but she knew that she couldn’t live without Haku. On top of that, the human world hadn’t felt like ‘her world’ since the first time she left it. She knew that she was doing the right thing by staying here, but there would be some things in the human world that she would miss; the most important thing being her parents. She knew that at one point in the future it would really hit her that she had lost them. It would be hard, but everyone went through that pain eventually, and she would have Haku and her friends to help her get through it. She wished she could at least say goodbye though.

No-Face noticed Chihiro’s sadness and grunted questioningly. Chihiro gave him a smile, letting him know that she would be all right.

“Don’t worry, No-Face, I’m fine.” She assured him. “Look, I can see the train tracks!”

The tracks were indeed in sight. Now it was just a matter of following the tracks back to Zeniba’s to drop off the gold seal and No-Face, since she didn’t want to risk bringing the monster to the bathhouse, although he would probably behave since the bathhouse wasn’t so full of negative emotions anymore, but better safe than sorry.

It was well after dark when Swamp Bottom was finally in sight. It shouldn’t take too long to reach the bathhouse from here. The moment Chihiro’s feet touched the ground the door to Zeniba’s house burst open and the witch flew out at light speed.

“Chihiro!” Zeniba cried, hugging the girl. “I was so worried! After I lost connection I feared the worst! Did she hurt you? Are you ok?”

Chihiro laughed. Zeniba was sounding just like Yubaba. “Everything worked out fine, Granny.” Zeniba opened her mouth to say something, but Chihiro cut her off. “And don’t you dare apologize; you did nothing wrong.”

Zeniba closed her mouth. It was then that she noticed something different about Chihiro. She had a powerful aura surrounding her, very much like a spirit. “Chihiro, what exactly happened after Yuteela cut us off? You seem different somehow, yet you’re still the same.”

Chihiro smiled and handed Zeniba the golden seal. “I found the spirit of life.” She said. Zeniba’s eyes widened, but Chihiro stopped the witch from questioning her. “Granny, I can’t talk now. The spirit of life agreed to help me, but I have to get to Haku as soon as possible to become a spirit entirely.”

Zeniba looked confused at first, but then a look of understanding crossed over her face. “So that’s why you looked like you were trying to outfly Porco Rosso.”

“Who?”

“You’ve never heard of the Crimson Pig?” Zeniba asked in disbelief.

“No.”

Zeniba sighed. “Never mind. You go to your dragon, dear. You can tell me all about it when you literally have all the time in the world.”

Chihiro hugged the witch and kissed her cheek. “Thanks again, Granny. Thank you too, No-Face.”

Zeniba smiled. “Oh, you’re very welcome, dear. Would you like me to summon a Kittenbus?”

Chihiro shook her head. “No thanks, I’ll just fly. Bye guys!”

Wasting no more time Chihiro took flight again. Zeniba, No-Face, and the enchanted lantern waved to her and Yu-bird as they flew further and further away.

“Ah, ah?” No-Face asked.

Zeniba smiled. “Yes, No-Face, I’m sure everything will work out fine.”

As the sun began to rise, Chihiro put on a burst of speed. She wasn’t sure how much farther she had to go, but she knew she was getting close. She wasn’t entirely familiar with her surroundings so she turned to Yu-bird for confirmation.

“Yu-bird, we are almost there, aren’t we?” She received no answer. Looking down, she saw that Yu-bird was asleep in her arms. “Hey Yu-bird!” Her friend snapped awake with a screech. Chihiro chuckled. “Sorry, Yu-bird. I just needed you to take a look around to see how much farther we need to go; you are more familiar with the area than I am.”

Yu-bird looked around and confirmed that they were indeed almost there. Chihiro was starting to get a little nervous. She didn’t have a watch or anything, so she looked at the position of the sun to estimate how much longer she had.

After another hour or so of flying, Yu-bird screeched happily and flew out of Chihiro’s arms and began flying around excitedly. Chihiro wasn’t sure what was going on until she saw something very familiar in the distance. Yu-bird had spotted it first since her eyes were better for seeing things far off. But now there was no mistaking it. The bathhouse could be seen.

Chihiro beamed happily. “We made it!” she cried. “We made it!”

She sped forward, leaving Yu-bird behind as she sped toward her home and her love.

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Clam yawned. Keeping lookout was so boring. He was about to fall asleep and he had only been watching for a few hours. How had Haku stayed awake for several days just keeping watch?

“Gotta stay awake.” He yawned. “Gotta keep watch.”

He sat back, twirling his fingers. He was bored out of his mind. He needed to find something to do or else he was going to go crazy. He decided to just lay down and look at the different shapes of the clouds.

“Ok, that one looks like a cat.” He muttered dully. “And that one looks like a flower. And that one looks like a fish. And this is very boring.”

He sighed. Who knows how long he would have to wait. According to Haku, Chihiro was supposed to come back today, he was told by Lord Okaia himself. But really, this was taking forever.

“I should have brought a manga.” He muttered, impatiently. “Why doesn’t she hurry up already? Come on, where are you?”

The words had barely left his mouth before he saw a finger appear along the horizon.

“Just another customer.” He muttered.

But as the figure got closer, he realized that it wasn’t a customer, but an employee. The one he had been waiting for. “She’s here!” he cried, jumping up. He ran towards her waving his arms around and crying out for her to land. “Hey, over here! Miss Chihiro! Down here!”

Chihiro spotted the spirit waving her down and she landed by the bridge. Clam ran over to her. “Miss Chihiro, you’ve finally come back.”

Chihiro nodded. “Of course I did.” She said, surprised that he even had to ask. “Um, not to be rude or anything, but who are you again?”

“Clam.” He muttered. “Just another one of the many toad spirits of the bathhouse. We haven’t formerly been intro… wait a second! Since when do you fly?”

Chihiro chuckled. “Since yesterday. I met the spirit of life. He gave me the opportunity to become a spirit. But I have to get to Haku as soon as possible.”

Clam looked guilty. “Um, that may be a problem.” He muttered. “You see, there was a little incident.”

Chihiro’s eyes widened with worry. “Is he alright?”

Clam nodded. “Oh yes, he’s fine. Let’s just say he’s ‘sleeping it off’. That’s why I’m here to greet you.”

Chihiro smiled. “Well thank you.”

“It is no trouble. Now lets go alert everyone else of your arrival.”

Chihiro smiled more broadly and hurried passed the bowing Clam. As she walked by, she failed to see the dark expression come across the toad’s face and the evil glint in his gray eyes.

“It’s a shame your return will be so short.” he whispered, pulling out a knife.

He crept up behind the unsuspecting human and raised the knife. A loud screeched startled him, as Yu-bird suddenly appeared and began scratching at his head. Chihiro turned around to find Clam batting at Yu-bird and stabbing forward.

Using her new speed and reflexes, Chihiro dodged Clam’s attempted assassination. Clam cried out angrily and began swinging the knife wildly. Chihiro kept backing away until she remembered that she could do magic now.

Clam was thrown backwards by an unseen force. He sat up and glared angrily at Chihiro who glared back. “You just tried to kill me!” she shouted.

“That’s right, you disgusting human.” Clam snarled. “You worthless piece of filth. You’re a disgrace. You should have stayed in your world with the rest of your miserable species.”

Chihiro’s eyes narrowed. “So what did humans do to make you hate them so much?”

Clam growled. “Nothing. It’s more along the lines that they exist to begin with.” He raised the knife. “I should have done this long ago.”

Chihiro eyed the knife. She wasn’t a spirit yet; a stab wound could still kill her. “Why didn’t you?”

Clam humphed. “The first time you came here, you didn’t have any intention of staying. When you got to leave, I cheered along with everyone else. But not because you got to go home, but because we got rid of you. I was the only one that was glad you were gone. Everyone else missed you, especially Haku. It was disgusting!” He spat the final word to show how much he despised her. “Then you came back and everyone was happy again, everyone but me, I was sickened by the very thought of a human here once again.

“I was patient though. The others wanted to send you home and I was all too happy to agree, even if our reasons were different. Then you left for Zeniba’s and Haku realized he loved you too much to let you go. He, along with the others decided to let you stay if you wanted to. I wouldn’t have it though. I waited for you to return, which was why I was the first to know that Haku came back without you. And then my plans were nearly ruined when Lord Okaia told him of my attentions to kill you, though he didn’t mention any names.”

That last part really aggravated Chihiro. ‘Why didn’t Lord Okaia tell me that someone was going to try to kill me?’ she thought angrily.

“I was very careful in my planning.” Continued Clam. “I offered to help find whoever wanted you dead to avoid looking suspicious. I made up false theories, such as it was most likely a jealous woman. And it was me that came up with the idea to drug Haku.”

“You drugged Haku?” Chihiro shouted in outrage.

Clam snickered. “I told you there was an incident. And then I volunteered to take his place as lookout, so I could get to you first.”

Chihiro glared at the spirit with great dislike. She started clapping just to irritate him. “Very good. I bet you thought you were being very clever. Seems like an awful lot of work to do just to get rid of me though.”

Clam sneered at her. “I would never allow a union of a human and a spirit. It’s an abomination!”

“I know that a relationship between our kind wouldn’t work.” Said Chihiro. “Why do you think I went to find the spirit of life? So I could become a spirit.”

“YOU’RE UNWORTHY!” Clam bellowed. “Miserable, disgusting creature! You don’t even deserve your own mortal life, let alone the one of a spirit! Now die!”

He charged at her. Chihiro instinctively reached for her powers and Clam was lifted into the air.

“Put me down, you wench!”

Chihiro caused him to spin around in the air, until he was about to be sick, before letting him drop on the ground. The knife flew out of his hand and into Chihiro’s. Once everything stopped spinning around, Clam looked at Chihiro with pure hatred. The only thing that stopped him from attacking her was the knife in her hand. She wouldn’t be able to kill him with something like that, but it would sure hurt.

“And what are you going to do with that?” he demanded.

Chihiro looked at the knife in her hand then looked back at Clam before tossing the knife aside.

“You know what,” she said, “you really disgust me. I’ve met spirits before that don’t like humans, but they have always had a reason. But you, you’re just plain prejudice. It’s because of people like you that there is so much hatred in the world. Many people died in the human world due to prejudice. You’re just like those people. Spirits and humans have more in common than you think. You know what, you’re the disgrace!”

If it were possible, Clam’s gaze became even darker as Chihiro turned away. She continued speaking even though her back was turned. “I’m going to report you to Yubaba, but she’s not the one you should worry about. I suggest that you leave and never come back, because when Haku finds out what you tried to do, he won’t be happy.”

Clam was outraged as he watched her walk away. How dare that miserable human turn her back on him. How dare she speak to him like that. Oh how she would suffer. He would be sure to make her death as slow as possible.

Moving quickly, he retrieved the knife and dove for Chihiro. “You wretched creature, I’ll kill you!”

Chihiro turned around and saw Clam practically flying at her. Before either of them could react, lightning struck in between them, throwing both of them backwards.

“What the?” Clam cried angrily. His eyes widened in fear. “Lord Okaia!”

Chihiro sat up as the tall figure of Lord Okaia towered over Clam, and he did not look happy.

“You just couldn’t stop.” Said Lord Okaia coldly. “You and your meaningless hatred have done enough trouble. I spared you after you allowed the woman I loved to die, and now you go and try and take away the same happiness from Kohaku that you took from me.”

Clam got angrily to his feet. “It was for your own good!” he shouted. “That human being in your presence was a disgrace. She wasn’t worthy of your love.”

“THAT IS NOT FOR YOU TO DECIDE!” Lord Okaia bellowed, and both Clam and Chihiro winced as the sorcerer’s power exploded. “You do not get to decide who is worthy of what. I loved her.”

“She was an inferior. A love such as that shouldn’t exist. She was nothing; she was vermin. Would you fall in love with an insect?”

“One cannot help who they fall in love with. And you are the vermin, not her. And I will not let you take away someone else’s happiness. Soon Chihiro will be a spirit, and she and Kohaku will have what you took from me.”

“She doesn’t deserve it.” Clam growled, turning back to Chihiro. “She doesn’t deserve to be a spirit. She doesn’t deserve eternal life. She deserves death!”

He dove for Chihiro again with the intent to kill. Lord Okaia’s eye began glowing with silver light and Clam was rendered immobilized.

“No, you’re wrong. She’s earned it. She does deserve it.” He raised his hand as his body began to glow with a silver light. “You don’t.”

Clam’s eyes widened. He cried out in despair as the light consumed him. A moment later, he was gone. All that remained was a single lump of coal.