So, here begins my first ever fanfiction, based on a story I hold close to my heart – Spirited Away.

A quick word of warning – if Chiriro does appear in this story, it will only be in a small part. This story will be an adventure in the Land of the Spirits rather than the story between Haku and Chiriro.

The story will be told from the viewpoint of Haku and a new character, Maya. I will try and update weekly!

Any help would be extremely appreciated – so please review!


The Spirits' Last Stand

By jaybeeuk

Chapter 1

Action

"I call to order this emergency Bathhouse meeting!" shrieked Yu-Baaba over the collective din of slave and guest.

The meeting was due to take place in the main hall of the bathhouse. Yu-Baaba stood on the first floor, behind the railings, looking out over her employees. To her left stood Haku, who had progressed from mere errand runner to co-owner of the Bathhouse, and whose human guise had evolved from a boy to a man. Her son, still simply known as Boh, had remained upstairs. Below her, the rabble assembled.

The bathhouse had never been so full, workers and guests alike had fled to the bathhouse in search of safety under Yu-Baaba's stern ruling, and Yu-Baaba, unable to deny anyone who wanted work employment, had quickly became overrun. No longer was the workforce of the bathhouse comprised of mainly slug and frog spirits: in this time of terror, the labour came from a multitude of different spirit races. Bakeneko, shape-shifting cat spirits, mixed with the Satori, ape-like creatures capable of mind-reading. The doors were guarded by a pair of Shishi guardian lions. Outside in the wind danced the Enenra, smoke spirits.

Haku stepped forwards, and the room became silent.

"I understand that you are frightened and bewildered," he began, "but please, do not despair. We were here long before the humans, and we will still be here long after. The humans have taken your homes with the expansions of their filthy cities, have knocked down the forests of your ancestors, and taken what rightfully belongs to the spirit world – but they will not take this place."

The crowd cheered. They felt safe under the protection of the mighty dragon.

"And how exactly do you propose to stop them?" shouted one of the more obnoxious frogs.

"They take our homes because they are greedy, so we treat them like the pigs that they are, and soon will be," Haku offered. The crowd sniggered; they were fully aware of what happened to humans who stumbled over their world by accident: they would eat their food, and then be turned into pigs. Haku himself could only think of one exception to this rule, a memory from almost 50 years previous, of a young human girl who had given him his name…

"Then it's settled!" shouted Yu-Baaba, "Tomorrow, lay out your finest food, let the humans eat their fill. Those without restaurants can help in the kitchens, or volunteer as pigs catchers."

With this the crowds dispersed, excited to begin preparations for the dawn.

Maya Kasuga filled the walk back to her quarters with thoughts of her own ancestors, damning their ill-fated decision to leave the sacred forest of Kasuga Taisha. Despite the multiracial background of the spirits now present at the bathhouse, one could be certain in the fact that Maya would not find another like herself. She was descended from a line of elf which had long died out and now only existed in the spirit world. Her people lived in sacred land, where the humans revered their shrines and would not dare to attempt to uproot them as in this part of the world. At least, she presumed this was still so. It had been many centuries since her family had moved from that forest, so long ago that the reason for doing so had been long forgotten, and anyone who knew had been long dead. It was only her slightly pointed ears and slanted eyes that alluded to her heritage.

She had moved to the bathhouse long before the recent influx of spirits, and thought of the place as her home. Maya had approached Yu-Baaba many years ago looking for employment, and Yu-Baaba had seen the beauty in her long, jet-black hair and pale violet eyes, and cast her in a profession much needed in the bathhouse - a geisha. Times had been hard in the beginning, but she had quickly progressed to being the most sought-after geisha in the bathhouse, reserved for only the most powerful guests. That was until Master Haku had taken her as his personal concubine.

She had long since suspected his decision to take a courtesan to have been forced upon him: as a very proud man the slightest remark would send him into a rage and, as a powerful figure, it was expected of him to take on a concubine. He had had very little interest in her. In his better moods, he would invite her for a talk and as an elf spirit, a race equally known for their intelligence as their beauty, she could sometimes bring him pleasure through conversation, if he would not allow her any other way. This was how their relationship progressed, and now, many years later, Maya believed Haku counted her amongst his friends, if not his lover.

She would go and see Master Haku now. No doubt he would send her away, as he did in any time of stress, but it was her duty to try.

"Master Haku?" She cooed through the door, whilst gently tapping it.

"Enter," came the manly yet exasperated voice she knew as Haku's.

Master Haku's bed chamber always came as a surprise to her. Shimmering blue silk adorned every surface and emerald crystals were embedded in the unusual objects filling the room. The light from the gas lamps shone through blue and green tinted glass. The breeze from the open door at the back of the chamber set everything in motion, swaying with the tide. Maya could not shake the feeling of being underwater.

She found Haku through the open door on the balcony, his lithe form set in silhouette against the low moon.

"Beautiful speech, Master," she said cautiously, unsure of his mood.

"All the beautiful speeches in the world would not set this right," Haku replied, his face turning so Maya could see the torture in his jade eyes, "I could not save my own river from the grasp of the humans, what makes you believe I can do any different for the bathhouse?"

"You are older now, Master Haku – Stronger," she said, placing a tentative hand on his shoulder. He turned fully to look at her. She had not had time to change and was still in her full geisha dress, a beautiful purple kimono that had been bought for her by Haku, her face chalked and her hair elaborately pinned up with an array of jewelled pins and ornaments. She was unused to being so studied by Haku and was suddenly very aware of the hand she had placed on his shoulder and removed it quickly.

"There have been many people asking after you tonight, you should not have dressed so… beautifully." Haku brooded aloud, "Perhaps you should go and dance with your sisters downstairs to keep the guests happy."

Maya flinched, wounded by Haku's words, "If it is all the same to you Master, I will go and help with the feast."

She left the room before Haku could see the tears of shame rising to her eyes. The corridors smelt of the feast that was to come.