CHAPTER XII

-power of heart-

"I thought that the oblivion spell that I put on you, just before you left, was nearly perfect...I am really curious about how you gained your memories back." said Yubaba, as another cloud of smoke filled the room. It had gotten quiet, the Baby was sound asleep in his room, and the three of them were still awake despite the late hour.

"You forgot about one thing magic cannot bind Yubaba, and it is no other than love. Chihiro's friends had made sure to keep her memories safe along with their own feelings when they started making that hair tie." Haku explained calmly and glanced at Chihiro who was sitting next to him on the floor.

"Although it does not compliment me, I have to say that you are right at that, dragon boy." she said "So, what are you two planning to do, youngsters?"

Chihiro breathed out slowly and declared "I want to confront the Gods!". Simply and gracefully with that look of unparalleled determination on her face.

Yubaba laughed, as expected. But this time it was mixed with a hint of expectation and encouragement. "A human going into the Realm of the Gods...and exactly what are you going to do once you see the Gods, little girl?"

"I...I'll think of something. But I'm sure that is the only possible way to solve things..."

Yubaba didn't speak, she just locked her eyes on nothing in particular and fell into deep thought. After a while she looked at Chihiro and Haku and spoke again in a serious tone. "When I first started studying magic, my fellow villagers would always say that the Gods dwell in a place no one has ever seen. It is said to be a forest invisible to the human eye. However..." she stopped and walked across the other side of the room to look into a cupboard. After throwing out a lot of stuff, she came back holding what seemed like a very old and rusty compass. "I have this. I stole it from the village temple a very long time ago. They say that it will take you where the Gods live."

Haku gently held the compass in his hand. It was round and had no marks on it, yet a very thin needle moved non-stop inside every time he turned it. It would always point on a fixed direction. "Maybe it works..." he said.

"Since you can't go anywhere tonight, I'm going to be kind enough and let you stay for the night. Luigi, go prepare two rooms for them." said Yubaba, and Luigi popped out from behind a desk, as if he had been listening all along.

"Follow me young lady" he said as he smirked at Chihiro "and young man" he looked at Haku. The two of them walked along the hallway following Luigi and took a right turn. Then they went up a staircase and got to what Chihiro suspected that was the upper floor. Luigi showed them two rooms, one next to each other, with identical wooden doors and knobs made of metal. Torches lit up on the wall beside each door.

"I shall take my leave...I wish you a good night" he said politely and quickly disappeared.

Haku and Chihiro were left alone facing the doors.

"So...which one do you want?" she said.

"They seem to be the same...so, why bother?" he replied and went ahead to open the door to the left.

"Haku..." she said as he took a step inside.

"Yes?" he smiled at her.

"I did say all those things back there but what if...what if I end up doing nothing?"

Haku looked into her eyes full of worry. Worry that made her soul shiver.

"I'm positive that when you put your mind on something you'll end up accomplishing it. After all you are that stubborn girl that set me free." he said in a calm voice.

Chihiro went through the open door, and noticed another torch on the wall, setting light on the small room with a bed and a small desk. On the opposite side of the door there was a balcony, made of stone.

"Hey, there's a balcony, let's go sit over there!" she sounded excited. Haku followed her and they went outside into the night.

Chihiro sat down leaning against the wall and looked down at the numerous other structures that crowded the ground. Haku sat beside her and took her hand in his.

"Haku...I am still wondering how you became a human.."

He looked around, unsure about the answer.

"Not long after you left I announced that I would leave. Yubaba never let me, of course. Her magic was weak, but she kept saying that if I go outside to the world of the humans, I will become speckles of dust or in the best case, an animal. And she was telling the truth, for I was nothing else than a spirit, not a human..."

"So, how did you escape?" Chihiro was craving to hear the rest.

"The last thing I remember was my desire to become a human. I longed to become one for a long time, maybe years, it was my only thought and source of power. I had no idea how, but I was determined to do it. My promise to you made me so desperate to go outside, that after a while I became an existence that no longer lived in peace. They were my worst days as a Spirit, and that's where my memories end. I have no other recollection, until the time I woke up as a human."

Chihiro was troubled and confused by his words. It was indeed so strange, as if something above them had decided to make this change. But she was so exhausted that any thought seemed to tire her. Slowly, without realizing it, she fell asleep.