(A/N: Hello, we meet again it took me a while to write this chapter, because I got some other projects to do. So without further ado here is chapter 16. Enjoy it and I hope you like it.)
IMPORTANT A/N: The swastika mentioned is not the Nazi symbol. Well it is, but it's the one that is associated with Buddhist/Hinduist religions. Actually, if you google the difference, the religious one is 90 degrees turned to the left. It is common to find them throughout East Asia and parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Disclaimer: I do not own Spirited Away
Chapter 16: Giving Up
"Hey, you how is the evacuation of the servants going?'' Lu Chen asked.
A guard stepped forward and gave the advisor a quick bow. ''Most of the servants are evacuated to the higher areas, sir.''
''Good and the Red Swastika?''
''Most of them are heading this way and we tried to contact Mr. Jiangshi, but we have no results. We are still completely cut off from the outside world.''
Lu Chen turned his face towards the black creature. He was silence for a while now, only looking at the door what separate himself and his friends.
''Hey, No-Face. Are you okay? Are you worried?''
Not even a second flew by that No-face wasn't worrying about his friends on the other side of the door. He looked at the surroundings. Guards were standing by and the servants were evacuating. Everywhere was fear and sadness. No-Face tried his best to not adapt those emotions. He has to stay strong and positive. Until he heard a loud yell.
''It stopped!'' shouted one of the guards. The others focused their ears. The guard was right, they couldn't hear a thing, not even a small bang or a scream. The only thing the guards could hear was the wind, escaping from the small gaps of the door.
''Do you think the fight is over?'' the Liberian asked.
''Ah ah,'' added No-Face.
Lu Chen shook doubtful his head. ''No, I don't think so. Not a chance. Believe it or not, but I think Akane and the human girl can handle Kamin pretty well. I mean look at those shadow guards. They didn't stand a chance. Those guards were defeated in a matter of seconds. Akane and the human girl are in there for minutes now.''
''Ah,'' grunted No-Face.
''Sorry, I mean Chihiro,'' Lu Chen corrected.
No-Face focused his attention towards the doors. Suddenly he stretched his arms and walked over to them, in much surprise of the guards.
''Hey, what do you think you're doing?'' Lu Chen snapped with his fingers and two guards tried to hold the black creature away. The number of the guards increased in four, six and eight.
No-Face grunted of surprise and anger.
''Calm yourself! Look, I also don't like to sit here and doing nothing, but we don't have any options. I know your kind has the ability to adapt any form of emotions, but you need to stand down.''
No-Face looked at the ground and released a sad moan. It was a sign for the guards to let him go.
''I'm still skeptical. What if they are not able to stop Kamin?'' the Liberian pointed out.
''Ah ah,'' assured No-Face.
''They will, Liberian. They will and if not. The guards are stand-by to hold him here till Mr. Jiangshi returns, but still the world is full of surprises.'' To be honest the Liberian was right. There is always a chance that they fail and if they fail. What will happen next?
The Liberian nodded in agreement. ''You sure got some brave friends, No-Face.''
The Liberian looked at the advisor and saw something that he didn't want to see.
''Sir, don't say that you are planning to surrender to Kamin?''
Lu Chen turned his head towards the Liberian. His expression was emotionless, yet there was a sign of stress in his yellow eye.
''I am the third-in-command of this place, and I am responsible of this place for the time being. If the girls fail to defeat Kamin then the safety of the servants and the guards will be in danger. The safety of the inhabitants is our highest priority,'' Lu Chen explained.
The Liberian began the chuckle. ''My, my Lu Chen. Those are wise words coming from an old bandit, but do you know what Kamin might do to all of us when we surrender?'' The Liberian reveal the old book he hide in his sleeve. ''Kamin will go after this book and god only knows what he will do with the Jiangshi Army. You think surrender to this idiot will save us all. Think again, Lu Chen.''
Lu Chen clenches his fist. ''You're right Liberian, but what choice do we have? He will eventually come out of the library, those seals don't hold him for an eternity you know. Just like our friend here. I hate to sit here, doing nothing. Waiting for someone to save us.''
''Ah ah,'' said No-Face.
''What is it, do you have a plan?'' asked Lu Chen, surprised. The Liberian and the guards were all looking at the masked black spirit.
No-Face nodded in response.
''Tell us then!'' Lu Chen was desperate. He really needs a plan to help those girls out and to defeat Kamin. All his previous plans to arrest Kamin failed, expect that they temporarily locked him up in one of the worst places to lock someone up in the entire palace.
As No-Face explain his plan. Lu Chen and the guards were listening very carefully, some of them agreed with his plan and others got their doubts about it. Including The Liberian.
''That's madness!'' The Liberian exclaimed.
''Do you have something better? And besides I thought you like to be the madman?'' Lu Chen replied.
The Liberian heard some laughter behind his back. ''Hmm I guess you're right, but still I think it's a stupid plan.''
Lu Chen rubbed his chin. ''Well then, it's settled.'' Lu Chen looked at No-Face. ''We are going along with your plan, but are you sure you want to do this?''
''Ah.'' No-Face gave the advisor a few nods.
''You really are a brave spirit.''
Lu Chen looked at the guards behind them. He felt the fear in the air. Mr. Jiangshi's elite guards were afraid? How is that possible?
Chihiro saw how Akane slowly walks towards her, like a child who tried to walk for the first time in her life. Akane was gripping her sword even tighter, just as she was about to charge.
''Come on, hurry up. Kill your friend,'' Kamin ordered.
''Akane, stop it!'' It didn't help. Akane was just about to slice Chihiro in half, but the human girl dodge Akane's attack just in time.
''Snap out of it. I know you're still in there. Fight it!'' Chihiro dodged again several strikes of Akane's sword. Chihiro didn't know how to keep this up.
A loud chuckle escaped from Kamin. ''Save your voice, human. She can't hear you. I am the master and she is just a puppet.''
Chihiro hated how Kamin talk about her friend like that, for Kamin, Akane was just an object, a toy. Chihiro must find a way to take her down, but without harming Akane.
''What's the matter, Sen are you afraid that you might harm her?'' Kamin teased. Chihiro just ignored Kamin and she focused on Akane. It must be fun for him to watch how a friend is trying to kill her.
Suddenly Chihiro noticed the yellow paper sticking on Akane's forehead.
''I have to remove that paper,'' said Chihiro out loud. But it was easy said than done. Removing that paper is like grabbing an apple from the highest tree in a dark forest.
The human girl took a deep breath as she ran away into the depths of the library. Just as Chihiro expected. Akane was slowly following her further into the library. Chihiro wondered how big this library is as she hide behind a bookshelf.
Chihiro concentrate on the footsteps coming towards her, each footstep echoed into the abyss of the library. Each step became louder and louder.
''This is my chance,'' said Chihiro in her mind. As Akane boots became visible around the corner of the bookshelves. Chihiro ran toward the possessed jiangshi and the human girl jumped in front of Akane. In matter of seconds Chihiro managed to grab the yellow talisman off Akane's head. But then a sudden force knocked her back into a bookshelf.
As Chihiro grunted from the pain she realize that Akane hit her with the back of her sword. Chihiro looked at the paper. She saw strange descriptions written in blood or red ink. Chihiro shredded the paper into a thousand pieces.
Suddenly Akane's body collapsed, but Chihiro prevent that Akane's face hit the ground by catching her just in time. The human girl released a small sigh.
''I am so sorry,'' muttered Akane. Chihiro was surprised, she thought Akane was unconscious, but overall Chihiro was glad that Akane was okay.
''No need to say that.'' Chihiro grabbed the sword which almost killed her. Chihiro glared at the sword for a moment before she put it back into Akane's scabbard, where it belong. Chihiro helped Akane to get on her feet while she walked out of the library with Akane's arm on her shoulder. It took her a while to walk to the main hall of the library again.
''You're kind of heavy, Akane.'' Chihiro joked. The female jiangshi didn't response. As Chihiro drag Akane out of the endless bookshelves. The two girls were greeted by Kamin's beam. With all her strength Akane blocked a part of the beam. A large explosion followed sending the two into the air.
''I missed, but I didn't expect that you defeated her. Well I guess she was weak after all, haha.''
Chihiro looked over how Akane was doing. The jiangshi didn't move. Her long black hair was visible. Somehow Akane looked really familiar and her last name; Ogino. Could she really be?
Chihiro soon felt regret that she lost her focus as a large figure is standing in front of her.
''You fell, here let me help you,'' teased Kamin. He grabbed Chihiro by her throat and he lifted her into the air.
Chihiro heard and saw Kamin's pale hand turning black while was smoking. Like a bottle of acid came down on his hand. Chihiro narrowed her eyes. As Kamin didn't let go.
''Burn me all you want, Sen. I am not afraid of your curse.'' Kamin's expression was calm, yet it was terrifying for Chihiro .
''You shouldn't be afraid for the curse itself but for the girl who carries the curse,'' a loud voice came from Chihiro's pocket. Kamin saw how a paper bird was slowly flying out of the little girl's pocket. An old woman popped out of the bird, but she was static, like an old TV receiving an weak signal.
''Granny?'' Chihiro looked at the static projection of her self-proclaimed grandmother.
Zeniba gave her a sad smile. ''I'm sorry dear that I couldn't contact you sooner. The magical barrier surrounding the Gugong made it very difficult to contact you.''
The old witch looked at Kamin, who was looking back at her with a calm face. Zeniba's expression changed into a more angry tone than before, after she saw who was clutching the throat of her granddaughter.
''Kamin! Please be a dear and let go of my granddaughter!'' Zeniba's tone turned from a sweet grandmother into a furious mom, but Kamin's expression remain the same.
''It has been a while, Zeniba,'' Kamin smirked. He turned his head towards Chihiro.
Zeniba took a few steps towards the jiangshi. ''Yes she a great grandchild. Unlike you, my former apprentice.''
''I was never your real apprentice, Zeniba! And what do you mean with grandchild She is just a lousy human with no abilities whatsoever. Your projection will soon fade away, so what business do you have here?''
The old witch looked at her grandchild who is still struggling in Kamin's grip. She looked around at the library and she saw that Akane was lying unconscious on the ground. Zeniba didn't like this, facing her old apprentice and seeing her granddaughters in this kind of state.
''Originally I was here to talk you out of this unnecessary violence, but I think you will be too stubborn to listen to me, dear,'' Zeniba replied. ''This is your last chance. Release my granddaughter!''
Kamin shook his head. ''Don't call me dear. It's pathetic and I am not going let this fitly human go. My hand is already burned, but I still hold her tight, like a dragon clutching his prey.''
Zeniba took a few steps away from her former apprentice. She was right, but it was worth trying. ''Very well, if you don't let her go. Then I am going to make you to let her go!''
''Bring it on then!'' Kamin chuckled.
''Granny, please help Akane, don't worry about me,'' Chihiro muttered.
''Shut up. Do not interfere!'' Kamin snapped.
Zeniba waved with her hands and cast a fire spell. But Kamin easily blocked it.
''Is that everything you got, you old hag?'' Kamin mocked.
Zeniba was clearly surprised of this. Nobody was able to block these kind of attacks. ''I see Mr. Jiangshi trained you well, Kamin.''
Kamin only gave the old witch an evil smile. ''It wasn't the training that made me strong, but it was always inside of me, hehe. I wonder if I become more powerful when I eat this human.''
For Zeniba it was the limit. ''Chihiro, close your eyes!''
Chihiro did what Zeniba told her to and she closed her eyes. Zeniba formed a ball of fire, putting all the power inside of it. She didn't want Kamin to die, because they need him to cure Haku. But this is just enough to knock him out. Zeniba threw the ball of fire towards Kamin. This time Kamin didn't blocked it nor did he dough it. The jiangshi simply caught it with his left hand and he held the ball of fire until it ran out of its source. Once the flames dove in his hand. Kamin gave Zeniba a teasing smile.
''Ah I see, fire! One of the biggest fears for a regular jiangshi, but you know what? Fears can be conquered, unlike weaknesses.'' Kamin looked at the magical paper bird.
''You observed well, Kamin I give you that.'' Zeniba looked at her granddaughter. The old witch gave her a wink.
''A wink,'' thought Chihiro. ''Oh I see, the dagger!''
Chihiro moved her hand slowly in her pocket. But she suddenly stopped. Chihiro saw that Kamin aimed his hand towards the paper bird.
''Granny, look out!'' Chihiro cried.
But it was already too late or Zeniba didn't bother to move. A ball of fire beamed out of the evil soccer's hand and in without any obstacles. The paper bird burst into flames.
''I am sorry, dear,'' said Zeniba as she faded away. Chihiro continued to move her hand into her pocket, but this time Kamin noticed it and he violently grabbed her hand out her pocket. Chihiro gasped as she dropped the dagger. Luckily Kamin didn't noticed the dagger.
''Did you really thought you could make a move after pulling a lame distraction like this?'' Kamin lifted his arm more up into the air. Chihiro is still struggling while she tried for gasping more air.
''What will you accomplish by killing me? Killing me won't do you any good.'' Chihiro grunted.
Kamin sighed in disappointment. ''It's called justice. You have lost, Sen. Just look around you, your friends have fallen. The Gugong is planning to surrender itself. Your friends gave everything to you, to an inferior human like you and what did they got in return? I will never understand that, but now you are out of luck. There is no one who can save you now, not Akane, not that dragon boy, not Mr. Jiangshi and not your Granny. You have failed all of them, Sen.''
''Did you really think I gave all this up so easily? I came so far to here to cure Haku. I am not going to let him or everyone down!'' Chihiro pointed out. Kamin was surprised that the human dared to reply.
''You heard me. I am not going to give up! If you are going to kill me then go ahead, but let everyone alone.'' Chihiro is now struggling even harder to escape from Kamin's iron grip.
''Very well. I am not going to kill you yet, but I have a little surprise for you.'' Kamin lifted up his other arm and touches Chihiro forehead. His fingertips are now smoking like his other hand. But again Kamin didn't care, he just found a spell to protect himself from Chihiro's protection spell.
''Now, it's time to wake up!'' Kamin said.
Chihiro gasped as her vision began to get blurry. ''What does he mean with waking up?''
''You will find out,'' an unknown voice answered.
(A/N: Another cliffhanger. If you want to know what happened next then I suggest that you follow, fav or leave a review. Tell me what you think about this chapter and I see you next time.)