The air was chilly during the spring night, the clouds rushed passed Haku as he soared towards Zeniba's house. Chihiro who was still asleep on his back stirred and sighed as her stomach began to vibrate Haku felt that darkness fill him and he winced as he picked up speed. Chihiro moaned in pain as she could feel something tearing up her insides. She had regained consciousness for the time being, however by the time that they had almost passed the station she had fallen back into a deep sleep. Her body was shutting down, not knowing what to do.
Almost as if they knew they were coming the lantern was waving at Haku from a distance, knowing they were almost there Haku picked up speed as he was descending towards the earth and lightning speed. He transformed gracefully before he hit the ground and ran towards Zeniba's front door. Before he could knock she opened the door an amused expression rested on her face. She obviously had no idea what was going on, for Haku was looking at her with a murderous expression.
"Kamaji let me know you were coming, so I thought I-" She stopped as she looked at Chihiro in Haku's arms, her eyes widening. "No wonder he sounded urgent," She murmured and she sprinted back into the house as Haku followed her deathly silent. She gestured the dragon in, he stepped in and No Face closed the door behind him.
"Lay her on the table, I must look at her gently." Zeniba said while using her magic to wipe off the tea and cookies laid out, for she had been waiting their arrival for quite some time now. Haku followed Zeniba's command and grabbed Chihiro's cold hand, "Please, please live." He whispered as he looked at her. Her face deep in sleep, but some how gripped in pain.
Zeniba entered back into the room with several potions and a scalpel. She laid them next to Chihiro, and looked at her. Her eyes saddened, as she gazed at the dying human, and her dragon whom she loved so dearly.
"What's wrong with her?" She murmured to Haku, who looked up and pointed to her stomach. He was so angry and upset, he could not explain calmly. Zeniba sighed and patted his shoulder before she lifted her sleeves.
Zeniba's eyes narrowed, as she placed her large hand on her stomach; only to jerk back once she felt the sensation again. "A tracking worm.." She nearly hissed to herself.
Haku nodded, "It speaks in the ancient language so we were hoping that you would be able to at least figure out what it's saying or doing, or who ever that its working for."
"I'm not fluent, but I should understand enough; however I think we should get it out of her." Zeniba said picking up the scalpel.
"NO!" Haku shot, "That will hurt her."
"True it will, but would you rather have her organs eaten before your eyes? She will die if I don't remove it by tonight, tracking worms work fast, and they can survive in a spirit for 3 days; she's only human; she will not survive past tomorrow." Zeniba said glaring at the dragon who now was protectively over Chihiro.
Haku relaxed a bit, "I guess that you're right." He murmured; "Will the tracking worm be able to lead us to the master?"
Zeniba nodded, "It will live out of the human body for about 20 minutes so, I will have to work fast. No Face; bring bandages, herbs, and my blue tea leaves." Zeniba said as she boiled the scalpel in a tray with her magic.
Haku felt queasy as he held Chihiro's hand; he sighed and rested his head on the tables next to her arm. He could almost feel the chill emanating from her stomach, it almost made him feel sick. He wasn't prepared to witness something like this, he just wasn't strong enough to handle it.
Zeniba tore open her kimono and washed her stomach; as she was No Face walked in with everything she needed. Haku looked away as Zeniba poured a remedy that would cleanse her pale skin; it felt like the room was heavy with the anticipation.
"Hold her down Haku," Zeniba said as she picked up the scalpel. Haku's stomach gripped and his heart raced, he took hold of her shoulders and rested his forehead on hers. She was still sleeping peacefully but was about to get a rude awakening. No Face seemed to brace himself as well, as Zeniba took in a deep breath and placed the knife down and began to slice. She cut a 5 inch deep 7 inches across her belly, just deep enough to reach in and grab the worm. Zeniba was holding her breath just waiting for a reaction. The whole room felt like tension as Haku prepared for the worst.
Just as they did, Chihiro's eyes flew open and screamed in horror as she thrashed around in pain. No Face ran to her legs to hold her down and Zeniba cut even more. Zeniba was trying to get a clean cut while also keeping the wound clean, but a thrashing Chihiro would not allow her to do so.
"Stop, stop STOP!" She screamed out loud, coughing up blood. Haku whispered in her ear soothingly trying to calm her. Tears welled up in his eyes knowing full well the pain that this brought him to see her in this state. "You're okay, we're trying to save you." He said soothingly as tears ran down his face. "I'm so sorry Chihiro, I'm so sorry." As he kissed her on the cheek.
She didn't seem to hear him as she screamed when Zeniba stuck her hand inside, grabbing the black worm. Chihiro felt as if her insides were being eaten and burned at the same time, her pain was unbearable and she thrashed around not even knowing who or what was around her. She wanted to die, her heart was racing and she was losing blood fast, as Zeniba was at war with the worm that would not let go.
"Haku, Haku!" She screamed for his name as he was trying to comfort her.
"I'm right here, I'm right here." He repeated as she held her trying to at least sooth the pain in some way. Chihiro was wailing in pain, "Haku stop, the pain it's burning me!"
"Zeniba, hurry!" He yelled at Zeniba. Haku could not stand it anymore, he had to stop seeing her in this much pain and agony.
Zeniba's stomach was churning as she saw to her horror the worm, who was eating away slowly at her spleen; she closed her eyes and took it out completely; the worm squirming in her hands.
"No Face, close her up!" Zeniba ordered, as she secured the worm in a black pouch and sealed it with magic.
"Chihiro." Zeniba said firmly, the girl's eyes opened ever so slightly; her voice was weak.
"Granny..?" She looked over, "Haku..it hurts so much.." She whispered. Haku nodded, "I know," Zeniba bent down; "Everything is alright now dear, you should rest;" Zeniba said placing her hand over Chihiro's forehead. A white light emanated from her hand and Chihiro's eyes began to melt with sleep. Only being able to murmur the words, "Haku."
As No Face was slowly sewing Chihiro back up, Zeniba cleansed the wound with magic and herbs; while Haku was in the other room with his head in his hands. He was under great stress as he probably witnessed the most traumatic thing in his life. He hated seeing Chihiro in pain, none the less seeing her poisoned by someone.
"Well we finished, she's in the guest room sleeping it all off. The medicine that I gave her will soothe the pain; when she wakes up she'll have to take another dose though." Zeniba said sighing as she sat across table from Haku. He looked at her, "Zeniba, thank you so much." He said his eyes pleading and meaningful, Zeniba smiled warmly, "Of course." Haku could only bow slightly, "So where is this worm?" He nearly spat.
Zeniba sighed, "It died before moments after I extracted it, however I was able to get one word from it though."
"What was it?"
"Renka." Zeniba murmured darkly, "You should know enough of the ancient language to know that one." Haku's heart stopped, he glared at the dark bag that was sitting on Zeniba's table and sighed and shook his head. "I had a feeling;" He said, "Kuran."
"Yes, and this tracking worm was simply the start of it all, unfortunately your brother of yours is a bit of a fool. This worm will lead us to him even in death, by using their eyes." Zeniba began to explain, "If you shine a light through their eyes it can lead you straight to the location of the master or the person who created the worm in the first place."
Haku sighed, "Yes I will set out on a journey then soon to find my brother; this is war." Haku said coldly; anger boiling inside of him.
"Calm yourself dragon, live in peace for a little while longer, its what your little one would want." Zeniba said, "It's late; please stay the night, you must rest in order to return to the bathhouse tomorrow morning."
"But I-" Haku began, but Zeniba shook her head, "Do not worry, No Face will watch her all night and I will take over in the morning. Don't fret, a few hours away from her will not kill you dragon." And Zeniba stood up and retired to her own room.
Haku thought to himself, "I wish those words were true."