Author's Note: Hey everybody! Sorry for the long update, how long has it been? 2 and a half years or more. I've been very lazy lately I mean hella lazy. I kept telling myself to finish up this story but I just keep procrastinating and I eventually never get to it. I'm tired of writing this story. I want to quite, but then I can't leave my readers hanging like that. It wouldn't be right, so I'm still going to continue the story just for you guys and those who actually enjoy reading the story so far. Well forgive me for taking so long, and for that I'll shut up and let you read. Enjoy!
Chapter 10: Mysterious Old Lady
Later that afternoon there wasn't much to do around. Work was all done and still there was no sign of Haku. Chihiro started to wonder a lot about Haku all morning until now in the afternoon. It was still as cold as ever, but she found herself getting use to this odd cold weather. Ever since Chihiro has been to this place, not a day that would pass without raining or snowing, it was like a permanent winter.
Chihiro stared up into the gray cloudy sky as it started to slowly snow lightly upon the surroundings. She continues to stare into the sky wondering about all the things that had happen since she had left home. It seems that she had outrun her engagement, but still was this the way she wanted to spend the rest of her life serving under someone else? Was this the price she had to pay for running away from a bad marriage? Why had fate decided to lead her this way? Why can't control her own life, she didn't want someone else to, not her parents, not anyone but herself alone. She wanted to live her life the way she wanted without people telling her what to do or how to live her life. But look what happen when she tried to control her life, she ended up in a place where there's no warmth, but coldness everywhere she went. It was lonesome living in a place like this. Even if Lin was a good friend who had helped her from the beginning, still it wasn't enough; the feeling of being alone had always occupied a part of her ever since she came. After living in that kingdom for a while Chihiro started to fear that what if her one day her parents finally found her. What will they do? What will she do when the time comes? Run again? No, she couldn't afford to run again, by then there will be guards everywhere. For now she planned to stay in that dreadful place just to stall time long enough until her parents gave up the search, by then she'll be able to leave and have full control of her life and no more hiding.
From the distance high up on the castle by the window there stood a shadow staring outside. His jade eyes scanned the area while the sky sprinkle down white snow. He continues to observe the area until his eyes stopped and stared at one thing. Outside in the snow was a girl she was alone. Her brown hair was tied up in a ponytail. Haku stared at her from above and started to wonder why she was all alone out in the snow. She had no jacket on; just her plain working outfit that was require to wear. She looked familiar even from such distance. The more Haku stared at her the harder it was for him to keep his eyes off her. Haku knew who she was; she was the same girl from that same morning. She was the same girl who dare demanded him to eat his dinner and the same girl who dare tell him her name. And now there she was again outside of his window. Haku denied to know who she is, but deep down his brain was telling him that he knew her perfectly well. He knew that he wanted to know her, but his selfish personality refuse to accept. For some reason when it comes to her he never seem to be able to keep his eyes away. Never in his life had this happen to him.
Chihiro continues to be lost in her own thoughts when she heard a strange noise coming from the nearby woods. Being a curious person she is Chihiro decides to go and check where the noise had came from. Haku on the other hand continues to stalk Chihiro from above as she got off the rock she was sitting on and started towards the forest that led to the Kohaku River.
She started to wander off deeper into the forest as it snowed harder.
'I know I heard something in the woods…' she thought to herself. The further she went into the forest the harder it was to see where she was going. She covered her face to prevent the snow from blowing into her face as she manages to keep walking forward. She didn't know where she was going but her feet kept her going. After walking for a short while, she finally stopped. 'I think I'm lost…' In the middle of nowhere of the forest Chihiro stood alone lost not knowing which way she had came from. The snow was now thick and blowing harder than before in different directions. As she started to panic everything suddenly became quiet even though the snow was still blowing fiercely. 'What? Have I got deaf?' she thought looking around from side to side. Before her she saw an old lady with gray hair tied in huge bun. The old lady also had on a black cloak obviously protecting herself from the snow. The old lady stood there staring back at Chihiro and then she suddenly walked forward.
"Are you lost child?" the old lady asked gently observing Chihiro's shivering form. "And what are you doing out alone in the cold?"
Chihiro thought for a moment then answered back shaking a bit. "Yes I'm lost, but … what about you? What are you doing out in the cold too?"
The old lady smiled. "I'm looking for herbs." She simply answered Chihiro.
"Herbs?" Chihiro wonder why the old lady had come looking for herbs in this dreadful forest in the middle of winter. "Herbs? But no herbs grows in winter and especially not in this forest."
"You're wrong." The old lady corrected.
"What?" she was surprise at what she just heard from this old lady.
"Except for one special herb. This herb grows only in winter and only in this forest. It grows only when he is reincarnated.
"Wha… ? What is this herb? And w..Who is he?" Chihiro was confused and she wanted to know what this old lady was talking about.
"The herb is located there." The old lady pointed aside to her left and ignored Chihiro's questions. Chihiro looked aside and suddenly the snow calmed down as if it wanted her to see what was there before her. Everything was clear before her very eyes. This was odd. She could have sworn she hadn't walked a long distance but then she had already reached the one and only Kohaku River. The old lady walked towards the river slowly. Chihiro didn't know what to do or what the old lady was doing so she followed behind quietly.
"The herb is called 'Lonely Hope' and it grows only in this river and only under this condition." The old lady stop to explained then looked at Chihiro. "Do you know why the herb is call 'Lonely Hope'?" the old lady asked.
"N..No why?" Chihiro gave a clueless answer.
"It's called 'Lonely Hope' because this herb is the only herb that grows alone in this weather and when he's reincarnated."
"What? W..Who 's he?" she asked before and now she's asking again hoping to get a better answer from the old lady.
"You know who he is." Chihiro's eyes widen at what she just heard. When did she who 'he' is?
"I do?" she paused for a moment and thought it over quickly. "Could you please give me more of a clue than that?"
"Search deep within your heart and you'll remember him." The old lady said without further information or clue. "Just wait until the time comes." Chihiro was speechless and was now filled with a thousand unanswered questions running wildly in her head. The old lady smiled at Chihiro and continues to walk silently to the river. Chihiro watched closely as the old lady walked to the middle of the river. And there it was in the canter of the river was the herb 'Lonely Hope'. The old lady gently picked the herb into her hands and walked back to where Chihiro was standing dumbfounded.
"Here." The old lady handed the herb to Chihiro. "Take this herb."
"Uh… but I don't need it… plus you were looking for it so you should take it."
"Actually I was looking for it so that I could give it to you…" the old lady spoke calmly. "Please take this herb, it will become in handy when you most need it." The old lady placed the herb gently into Chihiro's cold small hands. Chihiro could feel the old lady's warm hands placing the herb into her freezing ones.
"But … what will I use it for? I don't even know anything about it?" Chihiro held the herb closely to her chest, but questioned the old lady about the mysterious herb. The old lady again smiled at Chihiro's stubbornness.
"When the times is right you'll know what it is for and what to do with it." The old lady kept speaking in riddle like form. "You're just like how I remembered you."
"Eh?…please I need more information…"
"Well? A lonely herb for a lonely hearted person…" the old lady chuckle silently. "It's very easy once you know..."
"Wha-…" Chihiro was about to speak when she realize that the old lady was no longer in sight and that she was all alone. Chihiro looked around quickly but there was no trace of the old lady at all, just snow in every direction she looked. "where did she go?"
Thanks guys for still checking out and reading my dumb fic..I really appreciate it..