Princess Mononoke Fan Fiction ❯ The Chronicles of Princess Mononoke ❯ Unlocked ( Chapter 20 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

“Sasuke...Sasuke, wake up!” Ashitaka's voice echoed within the cave of his distant mind. His shudder quivered and quaked with such spasm it finally drew him to open his pale eyes towards the young prince.
“What do you want?” Sasuke snarled.
“You were shaking. I thought you were having a seizure.”
“Well, it was just a nightmare.”
“You know, you've been getting a lot of nightmares lately.” The two of them kept silent for a brief moment, before Sasuke spotted the lilac sunlight glimmering through the cracks of the bark walls.
“What time is it?”
“It's morning. I think Rhyolite's outside.” Ashitaka then rose up to his feet and walked over to the hole in the wall. Where there, he stepped outside into this surreal immortal world; where the sky was singing with violet delight and the sun was humming with an auburn haze. Rhyolite was already standing outside with her face towards the landscape.
“It's still too early to head off yet. We mustn't disturb the forest.” Her firm voice reflected back at Ashitaka.
“It's okay; I was just coming out here to tell you that Sasuke is up.”
“Are you always that close to him?”
“What do you mean?”
“The way you talk, walk, and surround him. Do you mean to protect him? Like a brother?”
“You think I treat him like a brother?”
“You tell me.”
“Well...we haven't known each other a long time but...I know that we care for each other. He doesn't show it but, he comes to us in our time of need. He sacrificed himself once.”
“When he got shot be Keirtoro? And you managed to retrieve his soul back? You have to be careful when you do things like that.” Her voice became sterner than her usual tone. “Some souls...” She then turned towards Ashitaka. “...shouldn't be brought back.”
“Sasuke doesn't mean to kill.” Ashitaka grew severe as well.
“No, but he does it anyway. It's part of his nature. You have a lot to learn while you're here.”
“I hope so.” Ashitaka sighed. Rhyolite then returned her face to the scenery of the forest. Ashitaka limped a little bit to glance a peek.
“It's beautiful...don't you think so?”
“I think all kinds of forest life are beautiful.”
“Tell me...have you heard of the forest spirit?”
“Yes; he gave up his physical form to save the humans and restore the green lands.”
“He's not dead, you know. He's everywhere; he's in the grass, the wind, the rivers...he's in all of us. And I thank him for that. He will be the only God I have true belief in.” This then made Ashitaka remember someone.
“There's a girl I know who thinks like you. She used to live among the wolf tribe in the human world...but now she only has her wolf brother to comfort.”
“This girl doesn't happen to be Princess Mononoke, does she?”
“Why, yes? How do you...?”
“She's very eminent among the gods, demons and immortals. And because of her loyalty towards the Forest Spirit, we were considering her to become immortal when her reaper will take her.”
“We will ask her when her time comes; to become the guardian of the Human world.”
Searching through the leaves and trunks of proud trees, San and Motoko remained partially lost in finding the location of Ashitaka's lost sister.
“We're going in circles San; we'll never find her in this state!”
“Have faith, Motoko; we'll find her, in time.”
“But time is what's running out. For all we know, Kaya could be dead by now.” San made a sharp turn towards Motoko and grew anger across her face.
“Don't ever say that. If you say that, it could happen; don't whisper another breath about it, you hear?”
“Sorry, San.”
“Right, let's keep going.” She then turned back around and continued walking.
“But face it; I mean, do you even know where we are?”
“Motoko...I have been raised and living in this forest for the rest of my life. If there's any other guide that's not an animal, please, point it out.”
“I won't ask again.” Their repeated walks then lead them to the near brink of the forest's maze. San peered through the gaps of a few branches and smiled optimistically.
“Finally.” She exhaled with relief, as she then jogged down onto the bank of the river with Motoko trailing behind her.
“San...what are we doing here?”
“This was where I was in my dream...but I wasn't on land...” San took a small but eerie moment to herself, trying to figure out what she was missing here. But then she got it. And at that second, she took her first step into the teal bath of the river, and gradually drove another foot inside.
“What are you doing?” San turned towards Motoko.
“We have to go underwater.”
“San, are you crazy?! We'll drown!”
“Don't you think I know that? Look, whatever is down here, is probably where that abductor took Kaya and whatever is down here, must lead us somewhere else.”
“San, you can't base your theory by swimming down there; if we do so, we might not be able to rise back up again.”
“Motoko, I know you don't like me much,”
“San, I do—.”
“But you are going to have to trust me on this, you trust me?” An uncomfortable silence filled Motoko's lungs, and San was forced to give off an expression of coercion. Motoko still had to think; if San was right, then they could find themselves in a new dimension. If San was wrong, then they could both die. A tough decision of course, but she made her choice.
“Alright San...I trust you.” San then faced the river again, and increased her depth below the surface of the aqua life. The water line grew from her calves up to her thighs, as it took hold of her dress, which the stream sprinted up to her white overall, and the line amplified up to her waist, and then to her bust, when the liquid had grasped and clutched hold of her hands and arms. Motoko followed behind as the river ghost snatched her body as well. The water line had then reached San's nape, and she stopped; glaring into the pits of the gothic lava that would consume her whole. She wasn't afraid. She was never afraid of anything. It was at that moment; she gasped one huge breath and dived into the water lands. Motoko shook her head in disbelief and sighed.
“This is nuts.” It may have sounded so, but there had been crazier incidents before, so why should she back out now? Motoko finally took a breath, and pursued behind San as she entered into the abyss.
Cold and solitary, both San and Motoko swam below the surface as they passed through the soft current of the water. The colour was saturated and bewildered by the extreme temperature inside, but San refused to give into the watery devil's laughter, and fiercely hunted the current's tail as they peacefully dragged the two women to their wanted destinations. Fortunately for them, they weren't running short of air just yet; the wolf girl drove pass all of the forgotten branches that laid dead in the sand. Minutes had passed and things still looked bleak; there was nothing but sticks and sand. Until up to that point, San spotted something. Her eyes lingered into what was supposed to look like a beaver's dam. But it couldn't be; there was a dark hole in its midst. San looked behind to find Motoko as she hurried her along by clutching hold of her collar on her kimono and hauled her towards herself, and pointed into the hole. Motoko nodded her head as a sign of communication, as San was the first to enter. It seemed like a normal beaver dam at first; with its ragged arms of twigs and broken bark, and the tunnel was long as well; it was a dark hole travelling for metres on end. Their air was running out. San tried to swim faster, deciding to clutch and rip through the branches, no matter how many twigs scraped across her skin and letting her bleed. But then she found something very unusual...there was a bright light. Down at the very end, there was a light. She scurried pass the current to beat her time. She could hear her heart thumping faster, her lungs begging to explode; it was only a matter of time before she would drown. But it was close, they were both getting there. And when they reached the end of the tunnel, San and Motoko mysteriously fell and pounded their bodies against the floor. How could this be? The two women were choking for air as their wet bodies shivered from the cool breeze. The wolf girl was the first among them both to open her eyes, and fell silent. Motoko stared ahead and whispered.
“Where are we?”