Hey everyone...long time no see, eh? I know I put this off wayyyyy longer than I said I would, but if any of you looked at my profile you would have seen that at the bottom I said I would be updating less frequently. I'm really focusing on my Kiki's fanfic, but this will be completed soon enough! We are at the heat of the battle for good and evil, and Kaede's got some problems to deal with, like how to break free from Kazuma's control. Or maybe she doesn't want to...? No more spoilers, no more talking, just reading! :)
Chapter 24: Two Worlds, One Attack
It was true; Kazuma had somehow returned me to my original self. But how? Was there a reverse spell? It was the spirit that guarded the gates of heaven that gave me the chance to be immortal. Only he had the power to take away this gift. However, lately, I had been seeing things that were truly and completely impossible. The Spirit World was showing me things my eyes doubted.
But this? This had to have been some sort of ancient dark magic. To transform a spirit into a human, whether they were human before or not, was never seen before. Yubaba and Zeniba would have warned me if they believed it to be factual. There was only one other person who would have known this was possible, and he would have known it would happen.
"You're probably more comfortable down there," Kazuma said to me, "So I'll get your daughter myself." He walked towards the door where they were holding my daughter hostage and entered. I gradually stood up, moving closer to Haku. He couldn't link his arms with mine, but I wrapped mine around him. In human years, I would only be thirty-five years old. I was feeling weaker than my parents most likely did, and they were almost thirty years older than me.
"Chihiro," Haku whispered. He was speechless, as was I. Even he knew there were limits to a spirit's magic, and this defied everything he and I both knew. But we had more pressing issues on our hands, because now we had to deal with Kazuma's next move. Kazuma came out, his arms linked with my daughter's. She looked so scared, so helpless. And I couldn't do a thing about it.
"Kawazoe, take her." He shoved her into Kawazoe, who reluctantly took Kaede's arms and dragged her to the desk. She sat her down and tied her wrists to the arms of the chair. "These are magic chains, much like the ones holding your husband and friends." Kazuma walked towards her, looking at her lifeless body. She was too weak to protect herself, and Haku hadn't taught her that much on dark magic and how to defeat it. We were only faced with it that one time, and we hoped none of our children would ever have to face anyone like Kazuma and Kawazoe. He grabbed a bottle from the table, different from the one he was working on prior. That one was what caused me to become a human again. I was clueless as to what this other one would do. He removed the cork and walked behind Kaede, pulling her head up high. He opened her mouth, threatening to pour it down.
"If she drinks this, she will become like you, Chihiro, only worse. Her body is not known to mortal life, so it will start to turn on her, it won't accept her human form." He was frightening me. I had never seen black magic as evil and wicked as this before. It was madness. "She'll die within days."
"You take your hands off of my daughter or I swear-"
"You'll what? Use your magic to destroy me again? You're just as vulnerable as she is!" Kaede was starting to wake up, but she was still in no condition to fight them off. "There is, however, an arrangement I think we both can agree on."
"What do you want? The bathhouse? Our money?" I asked. Most spirits wanted riches or power. "It means nothing to me. All I care about is that my daughter is safe away from you!"
Kazuma began to laugh in my face. "I don't need your money!" He wanted something more than riches. He wanted to destroy my family. "In exchange for me not killing your daughter, you will drink this potion down to the last drop yourself." He was playing a very risky game. Whatever was in the potion would kill me, especially now that I was human. I was vulnerable again, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I could decline, but then Kaede would suffer for the fate I caused her. I had to do what would save Kaede.
"Deal," I replied. He began clapping his hands together like a madman. I held Haku close to me and wept. I was sacrificing myself for love again. Only this time there was no way out.
"Chihiro, we can still win," Haku encouraged me, "we can still defeat them." I pressed my lips against his, knowing in my heart it would be the last.
"No, there isn't. Not unless Erikku has some plan up his sleeve, it's over." Tears began forming in his eyes. I couldn't stand looking at him that way, so I walked over to Kazuma. He held the bottle for me and I took it from his grip. I held it up to my mouth, ready for the end.
"Wait!" he said, "I think we should have a bigger audience for this…momentous occasion." He had Osamu enter to watch my downfall…and he was waking Kaede.
"Wha…what's going on?" She whispered. She saw herself tied to the chair and saw each and every one of us. She tried to break free, but her magic was too weak for her at the moment. She gave Kazuma a horrifying look.
"I thought we had a deal!" She shouted, "Why do you chain me up like Chihiro? I thought I was on your side!" Kawazoe tried shutting her up, but the words had already come out. My daughter was working for them; it was her plan to get rid of me all along.
"Kaede…" I whispered. I was in disbelief that my own flesh and blood would turn on me the way she did.
"I even gave you her hair band to show you my loyalty!" I hadn't noticed Osamu holding my most treasured gift from the Spirit World in his hands. They were going to use that to destroy the worlds.
"That's your plan," I said, "You're going to use the hair band to call the Dark Spirits. And since it's connected to both the Human and Spirit World, you can do twice as much damage." Kazuma only clapped at my previous ignorance to his plan.
"Very good, Chihiro," he said, "I thought you would have understood it by now. You're not as bright as you were before. Is it the aging process that's slowing you down?"
"Let her go, Kazuma!" Haku shouted, "We can defeat you now, there's nothing you can do to save yourself!"
"Oh, but on the contrary, Kohaku," Kazuma said. His smile was as evil as can be. "You all are tied up with chains, Chihiro is human again, and I still have the hair band and your daughter!" He held all the cards. There wasn't anything we could do to stop him. "Alright, Chihiro, let's get a move on. We don't want to keep your guests waiting."
I stared at the bottle in my hands. It would drain the life out of me faster than I could say "Haku, I love you." And then I started thinking about Erikku. He reminded me of something before we embarked on this journey. He gave me answers that he said would help me find Kaede. "But we already found her," I thought to myself, "What did you mean, Erikku?"
"Look at her," a voice whispered, "Does she look like your daughter right now?" I looked more intently at my daughter. Her eyes were full of hatred, her temper growing with each passing moment. I began thinking about what Kazuma was telling me earlier, reminding me of the qualities I loved about Kaede.
"Your favorite color is blue," I whispered, "Yes, your favorite color is because you're so drawn to water!" Kaede stared at me in confusion.
"How do you know that?" She asked. It was working. I saw her starting to come back. She was turning from them. She was fighting with herself.
"Your favorite food is Mizo Soup, just like me! I understand why you don't want to work at the bathhouse now. You're just like your Aunt Emi; she wanted to leave and explore the world, too!"
"Stop this!" Kazuma shouted, "What are you trying to do?"
"You spend all your time with Kamajii because I never had the time to be with you! And now I realize how wrong I was. Please Kaede, please come back to me!"
"No! What is this! I can't control myself!" Kaede was screaming and trying to escape the chains because of all the strain I put on her. Without it, however, she would continue to be under their control.
"Kaede, please listen to me! We can help you! Listen to your heart! I know you still love me. If you didn't, you wouldn't have your powers back." The room was chaos. Not only from Kaede's screaming, but also from Kazuma's magic. He was using the hair band to call the Dark Spirits.
"Dark Spirits of the past, I raise you from this hell you've been living! Go; take over the Spirit and the Human World!" The ground rumbled to the sound of the Dark Spirits leaving the underground. They were ready to attack.
"Kaede, hurry! You have to fight this spell you're under!" I was not giving up on my daughter. She was going to come back to me. Kaede was struggling with herself so much she broke through the magic chains on her own. Kawazoe and Osamu stood back in shock. She threw her hands to her forehead and ran around the room screaming. It was a disaster. I was causing my daughter to challenge herself.
"Kaede, now!" Haku shouted. She ran towards him and lightning came out from her hands. Haku ducked and the lightning hit the chains. He was free. Kaede did the same to Yuki and Kage as well. She slowed down, tired and weak. She collapsed to the ground.
"Kaede," I said, running to her unconscious body, "Kaede, can you hear me?" She started waking up and looked into my eyes.
"Mom, how did you know those things about me?" She asked. I smiled in relief. She was back.
"Because I'm your mother," I said, "even though it looks like I'm not paying attention, I really am." I didn't need Erikku to tell me the things about my daughter. I knew everything he told me, I just needed time to sit down and think. The minute he answered the questions, everything was clear to me.
"No, no!" Kazuma shouted. His plan was failing. Kaede had fought her way back to us. The only thing he had was the control of both worlds. The Dark Spirits were still coming, I could feel them. Some had entered the Human World, and all I could think about was my parents and how much I wished they had stayed with me.
The Human World
Spirits were surrounding the humans, scaring them half to death. Most believed spirits were fictional creatures, and seeing one for real was a completely foreign sensation. The humans hid in their homes and locked the doors, keeping them and their children out of the evil spirits' reach. Yuuko and Akio, however, were not in the Human World anymore. With all the chaos that had been going on, the doorway to the Spirit World was opened up for the Dark Spirits to enter the Human World. Kazuma hadn't thought humans would come into the Spirit World, though.
"Akio, this is crazy!" The ground was shaking and nothing was standing still. The earth was in a massive earthquake and buildings were collapsing; even the entrance to the Spirit World was falling. Akio and Yuuko ran straight through, missing the falling pieces of the roof. As they made it to the other side, to their dismay, they saw the same thing happening to the Spirit World.
"What the hell is going on?" Akio asked. It was stronger than either had seen before. What could be so powerful to take down both worlds in one attack?
"Akio, there's the bathhouse!" Yuuko shouted, pointing to their left. The building was strong enough to stay standing, but for how long? They wasted no time in getting there. Even in Akio's age and weight, he still pressed on to the safety of the bathhouse. He never let go of his wife's hand. They were going to stay together until the end.
It wasn't too far; they were at the beginning of the bridge. They saw spirits running in and some leading other to the bathhouse. They didn't even perceive that there were humans.
"Excuse me, sir," Akio said plainly to a frog spirit. He was not shocked after seeing many in their last journey. "What is going on? Why are the worlds in chaos?"
"The Human World, too?" He asked, "This is worse than I thought. Follow me; I'll take you to the bathhouse." All three ran towards the bathhouse for shelter. Many spirits were huddled together. Akio and Yuuko looked around for their daughter or son-in-law, but neither were in sight. They then searched for Kaede, their granddaughter whom they had only just met a week earlier.
"Where are they?" Yuuko asked. Beyond the shaking of the earth, screams came from one of the higher rooms. Akio and Yuuko heard and wondered who could possibly be upstairs during a time like this. Yuuko, being the gentle person she is, knew she had to do something to help.
"We have to save them!" Yuuko shouted.
"We have to save ourselves, Yuuko!" Akio wasn't going to let her out of his sight, but she knew there was someone in trouble, someone who couldn't get out from where they were. She ran to the closest set of stairs and skipped a step each time. Akio followed in disbelief. She was risking her life for someone with immortal life. It made no sense to him why she would do such a thing. Yuuko searched every room on the top floor for the person making those screams. She heard them again, and realized there were two distinctive screams. The door across from her was where they were at. She tried opening the door, but found it locked.
Akio, it's locked!" She shouted. He backed up, knowing what he had to do. He hit the door with his side, but it didn't budge. He hit it again, and the hinges were breaking free. On the third try, the door fell to the ground. Yuuko searched the room and saw two young children holding each other in their arms.
"Who are you?" The girl asked them. Yuuko ran to them, only frightening the two youngsters even more.
"We're here to help you," She held out her hand, hoping they would trust her. The two shook their heads in reply, afraid of the two they had never seen before. "You have to trust us. This building is going to fall, and if we don't get out in time…" She saw the fear in their eyes, which stopped her from telling them what could happen. But they seemed to understand their current situation, for the girl grabbed hold of Yuuko's hand. She smiled at the trust the two had just given her.
"Yuuko!" Akio ran back into the room from the roof falling in the doorway. There was no way out for them. "We're trapped." The fear was brought back to the children's eyes, and Yuuko held them closely in her arms, along with Akio. They were not going to leave the children behind, whatever the cost was.
"Kazuma, you should have given up when you had the chance." Haku said as he punched Kazuma, and Kage helped him continue the attacks. Kawazoe came to his defense, but Yuki stepped in and pulled her hair until she fell to the floor. Osamu stood where he was, helpless and without magic. It was equal between us. He jumped onto the desk and took out a knife. I dodged him as he jumped towards me, knifing the ground instead. He pulled it out and held it the wrong way. I kicked him, which pushed him into the wall. He went headfirst into the wall, holding the knife towards him. I could see the tip from his back. It was the end for Osamu. I never thought Osamu would betray me the way he did, and because of it he lost his immortality.
"Osamu!" Kawazoe shouted. Yuki held her arms to the ground and fought against her resistance. Haku and Kage were up against Kazuma. It seemed like an easy win, two on one, but Kazuma still had some tricks up his sleeve. He shot ice from his fingertips, freezing Kage to the closest wall. And he moved in for Haku.
"I will never give up," Kazuma said. Haku was right; he should have given up when he had the chance. Because after he said those words, our rescue team came, just in time. The lightning ball split open the top of the underground room, and we saw everyone who came to help. Zeniba and Yubaba used the lightning ball to save us. Both jumped down into the hole and regenerated their magic.
"Kazuma," Yubaba grunted, "We meet again."
"I've waited sixteen years to rid the Spirit World of the most powerful twin spirits alive. And now I've been given a second chance." Yubaba and Zeniba grew furious and sent lightning bolts his way. He dodged every one of them, moving closer and closer to them. I couldn't let him get to them. They were our only chance of defeating him. I noticed him forming some sort of magic, black magic. He was going to throw a black hole again. Only this time, he's had sixteen years to perfect it.
"NO!" I ran and knocked him out of their way. Instead, he threw the black hole at the wall, where Osamu's dead body lay. It sucked in Osamu and the knife that was used to kill him, and that was the last I ever saw of him.
"You little human!" Kazuma shouted, "You'll pay for that! For everything you've done to me!" He came after me, ready to attack with everything he had. He forgot I had a weapon of his that was going to be used to destroy him. I still held the bottle in my hand tightly as he kept running. Once he was close enough, I dodged his attack by ducking under and faced his back. I held his arms together and tilted his head back, pouring down the potion that was to be used to kill me and Kaede.
After he finished swallowing, he became more infuriated. "Wha-what?" He shouted in fear, "This…this can't be happening! I must win!" He was starting to age faster than I did. His skin became wrinkled and his hair turned a gray-white color. He was much older than he appeared to be. If I had to guess, he was most likely over five hundred thousand years old. "You can't win, Chihiro! You can't! If you don't turn me back, I'll-"
"You'll what? Use your magic to destroy me again? You're just as vulnerable as Kawazoe!" She was still down because of Yuki. I hadn't realized more spirits joined in on the battle. Ryo and Rin were not fond of listening to their elders, for I saw them holding her back. And there was one other spirit there whom I couldn't quite place since her hair was blocking her face.
"Chihiro!" Kazuma was dying fast. His aging process was much faster than mine, being the age he was. However, he had time for one last move. He took his hand and aimed a lightning bolt directly at my heart.
"Kazuma, it's over." Kaede, surprisingly, stepped in front of me and blocked his attack with a shield. It backfired at Kazuma, and he was put out of his misery, as were we. He was gone, forever this time. I wanted him to die in pain, but him dying was good enough for me. There wasn't a black hole for him to use as a backup. His body disintegrated into dust right before my eyes. Kawazoe looked as though she were about to cry.
"No!" She shrieked. Her master was gone, as was her plan to defeat us. She was the only one left, the only one alive.
"Sorry to have come so late, sweetie," Zeniba said. I had to smile at her response. Her being there when we needed her most was just like her. "It was just so hard to find this place. If it weren't for these two youngsters, we may not have gotten here at all." I looked at Ryo and Rin, who were still holding down Kawazoe.
"I'll take care of this, kids," Haku said. He used his magic and lifted her to the poles and chained her arms like we were a few moments ago. She couldn't break free because of the magic that surrounded it. The shaking of the ground had subsided, but the spirits were still out there causing mayhem to both worlds.
"Good job, dragon boy," said the mysterious girl. I still hadn't seen her face, but Haku just did. And he was blown out of this world.
"Oh my God…" He said, completely and utterly baffled. I turned her shoulder and saw the smiling version of a different Emi.
"Lin?" I shouted, "I mean, Emi, right? Oh, who cares, it's you!" I wasted no time in giving her a big ass hug. I hadn't seen her since the day she left to explore the Spirit World.
"Whoa, easy there Sen!" She returned the hug and I wouldn't let go. Things were so different without her. I was just glad she came back.
"Okay, we all know Lin is back so can we get back to the bigger issue?" Yubaba said, irritated that we were getting way off topic. Of course we had to figure what our next move was, but I wanted to catch up with Lin, ask her how the Spirit World was.
"Alright, what are we to do about the Dark Spirits?" I asked them. Yubaba had a terrific idea for saving the worlds, one that I was now able to be a part of.
"Chihiro, I'm going to ask you this once more," she started, "did you find it?" I smiled at the question she had been asking me for the past sixteen years. I searched my pockets for what she was talking about. I should have showed it to her when we were at her house discussing our plan of attack. But sure enough, the water stone was there, and the mystery was over.
"Ah, so you found my secret drawer, then." I nodded in response. The drawer was filled with contracts from the past when she would steal spirit's names and keep them a slave of the bathhouse.
"Yes, along with the water stone," I replied, "How are we supposed to use this to rid the worlds of these spirits, though?"
"And how are we going to return Chihiro to her original self?" Haku added. I had almost forgotten of my inevitable transformation. I was still a human, and I didn't know how to change back.
"I hadn't even noticed…" Zeniba whispered. She walked closer and sniffed me, plugging up her nose after she had done so. "Yep, she's definitely a human again." Yubaba came up to me and took the water stone, examining each side.
"I may have a way for everyone to get what they want," She said. She placed the stone on the desk Kazuma used to make his potions. I looked back at Kawazoe. She looked terrible, dirt all over her face, blood covering parts of her arms and cheeks. She gave me a disgusted look, and I turned back to what Yubaba was doing. I noticed Rin, Ryo, and Kaede were off to the side, paying no attention to our future plans. Kaede looked at me, and I saw her smile. She hadn't smiled that way to me in the longest time, and I realized that because of this, things were turning out to be better than I thought they would.
Wow! That took most of the afternoon to write! But now the fighting is over, or so we think. The Dark Spirits are still out there, and in both worlds. They're going to have to make plans pretty fast in order to save the worlds from anymore damage. And FINALLY Kaede made amends with her mother! PRAISE THE LORD! I know I've been writing this whole time, but her badass attitude was getting on my nerves. I just had to keep it going, made her more interesting. But this story has only a few more chapters to go, so I will try my best to write some more and continue this! Like I say, I'm not finished until I've reached the end! I would like to thank...
The Queen of Water - Thank you for waiting for Chapter 24. I know it was longer than I thought it would take, but I'm glad I have readers who are willing to wait! :)
Vampireninja101 - I think it was good I did that, too. I felt like the story was just going on without anything interesting in it. Thanks for reviewing and for sticking with this!
Mary - I'm glad you liked how I turned Chihiro back into a human! It does make the story better, don't you think? Haha but thank you for your review! :)
Angry Reader - I know, I completely put this off way too long. But, because of your review I decided to work nonstop until I finished this chapter! I do plan on finishing this, and your review helped me continue on! Thank you! :)