Dissimilarity

Chapter 1: Meeting

Zeniba walked in the direction of Aburaya, along the railway tracks. She was alone; she wanted to ensure that No Face would not be adversely influenced by the greedy people there.

The shadow- like people she passed along the way tensed up as she walked by, probably because they were afraid of her. Honestly, she didn't know if they were fearful because they thought she was the all-powerful Yubaba, or because they knew she was Zeniba. Zeniba allowed a cynical smile to cross her face. It amused her to see these people go all out of their way to avoid obstructing her path; not caring of she was Yubaba or Zeniba.

From what she had heard, Yubaba 'morphed' into a bird before she went about her spy trips around her territory. So, Zeniba thought wryly, she has never taken the train before.

Zeniba nearly forgot about the small homemade leather rucksack she carried with her, so deep she was in thought, recollecting the memories she shared with Yubaba, savouring the joyful moments and mourning the unhappy ones.

And so, Zeniba walked, step after step, never tiring, as she slowly but surely made her way to Aburaya.

*****

The lights in Aburaya were on and Yubaba was back from scouting around. Somehow, she had missed Zeniba moving towards her realm. Her pets came welcoming her as she landed on the balcony railing of the highest floor of Aburaya.

As Yubaba threw her navy blue cloak towards a hat stand, which caught the garment deftly, she suddenly felt a sense of loss. Ah, yes, Haku, her foolish dragon disciple. Of course, being the proud person she was, she refused to admit her loss, but silently, she wished he were still around-to follow her every order.

Yubaba remembered the day when Haku told her that he wanted to stop being her disciple so that he could leave to look for Sen, Chihiro, whatever that damn girl's name was. At that time, she thought him useless, so she let him leave. But now that she had to do everything herself, since she trusted no one else, she began to value Haku's usefulness to her.

Yubaba's train of thought was suddenly, and very rudely interrupted when she sensed a very vaguely familiar and extremely powerful force nearby. Zeniba! What in the world was she doing here at Aburaya?!

Meanwhile, Zeniba was crossing the red bridge to Aburaya, and the bathhouse workers were anxiously trying to shoo her away, but to no avail. 'Can't you all just leave me alone? I'm not here to have a bath! I'm here to see Yubaba!'

Hearing this, the bathhouse workers obediently let her pass, and were just about to direct her to Yubaba's quarters when Yubaba stepped forward from behind the shadows and said coldly,' Hello, Zeniba-san.'

'I believe I do deserve more respect, Yubaba. Remember, no matter what, I'm still your elder sister.'

'Hai, Oneesan, but I am more powerful than you.'

The air was taut and frigid, and nearly everyone feared and expected a fight to break out any moment; both Zeniba's and Yubaba's fists were tightly clenched, their veins sticking out prominently on their hands, necks and foreheads. It was evident that they were doing their best to keep their tempers controlled.

Finally, Yubaba unclenched her fists. It seemed that she didn't want to get into a fight with her sister in front of so many onlookers who comprised mainly of her underlings, but in reality, she didn't want to put her business profits at Aburaya at stake.

The atmosphere began to thaw, and Yubaba yelled impatiently at her tense employees,' What are you looking at? Hurry up and get back to work!'

Then, turning her back towards Zeniba, she said haughtily,' Follow me.'

It was indeed a strange sight, those two stout old women who sported the same bun-like hairstyle and exactly alike in every aspect of their physical appearance down to every wrinkle on their faces, walking, no, waddling in the same fashion around Aburaya. Actually, they were headed for the lift, but Yubaba took the most roundabout route possible so that she could show off to her sister.

Zeniba did not mind the indirect route they were taking, for this gave her a chance to familiarise herself with the sights of Aburaya. She observed the workers serving the visiting gods and spirits and grudgingly admitted that this bathhouse business was very lucrative; the gods were very generous with their gold.

Zeniba's thoughts drifted to Chihiro, who had worked here during the brief spell she had spent in this world. Did she find the work tough? Did she suffer under Yubaba? Did she-

'Do you want to get in the lift or climb the stairs?' Yubaba's voice rang out, laced with a mocking tone and rudely interrupting her thoughts.

Slightly embarrassed but still holding her head high, Zeniba hesitantly entered the lift, as if expecting her younger sister to blow up the lift any moment. Up to now, Zeniba was still very much afraid of being in the same room as Yubaba, much less a small, enclosed space like an elevator. The prank Yubaba played on her when they were much younger was still fresh in her mind.

Yubaba pulled the golden lever and the doors closed and the lift started its ascent. The two sisters stood next to each other silently in the elevator, not bothering to break the silence. Yubaba looked straight ahead, her eyes and face devoid of emotion while Zeniba admired the intricate golden ornaments set into the walls of the lift, her awe almost ill concealed but still on her guard against any of Yubaba's surprise pranks.

The rosewood doors of the lift finally opened to a lavishly furnished hall. The floor was green with golden insets, and a pair of velvet upholstered chairs stood beside a pair of maroon-coloured velvet curtains with gold trimmings. A number of expensive oil paintings with intricate frames hung on the wall.

However, of all these priceless items, the most eye-catching of all was the emerald door with golden inlays that glistened in the light from an ornate crystal chandelier hanging from above on golden bolts.

Yubaba continued to let Zeniba ogle at her lavishly furnished quarters, and let a satisfied smirk cross her face. Eventually, Yubaba led her wide-eyed sister through the series of doors and maze of passageways to her very own private living quarters.

Yubaba's quarters were, to say the least, splendidly decorated. The tiles were all of the best quality marble, and polished to perfection. Persian rugs lined the floor and heavy velvet curtains draped down from the ceiling like red shadows beside the windows. An oak desk stood at the back of the room, and it was cluttered with papers and golden boxes. A jade-coloured door remained closed behind the desk.

Yubaba gestured towards a pair of large Victorian-styled chairs beside the fireplace politely. 'Oneesan, please take a seat.'

Zeniba was greatly puzzled as to Yubaba's sudden change in countenance, but slowly walked towards the chair and took a seat.

A/n: ever wondered how Yubaba and Zeniba looked like as children? XD

Seriously, I think this chapter was pretty badly done, but I seriously don't know what will happen in the end. Will Zeniba and Yubaba reconcile? Will they die? XP Give me suggestions. I'm kind of lost right now.

Thanks to: Rin-chan, kossmoe, Aurani, SoapAndTIW, Ah-choo, Yumeko and Christine for reviewing my fic. I really appreciated that. =)