River of Stars Ch 5 bit – Shangri-La

Pretty world, Daniel thought desperately, looking at the dawn-lit sky, the storm-blown trees, the mountains in the distance. Any direction but down. It didn’t help. He could still smell… that.

“Thought you said the locals cremate their dead,” Jack said levelly, toeing a bit of spent brass with a look of focused interest.

“They do,” Gojyo stated, stepping around bodies as Hakuryuu launched off Hakkai’s arm. “This isn’t good.”

“No, really?”

“The villagers might have a good reason not to come here,” Sanzo stated, violet scanning their surroundings. You’d think he didn’t even see the bodies, if not for the fact that his feet avoided them completely. “We missed a few on our way out.”

“Define few,” Jack said dryly.

“Four. Or five.”

“And that’s enough to pin down a whole village?” Sam said skeptically.

“They are youkai, Major Carter,” Teal’c noted. “If the villagers are not trained warriors, it would indeed be a daunting force.”

White wings circled, and Hakkai glanced at Sanzo. “They’re not here.”

“Just because your dragon doesn’t see an ambush-” Jack started.

“Hakuryuu doesn’t see them. Two youkai and a han’you don’t hear them. And Goku doesn’t smell them. They’re not here.” A last flick of violet eyes about their surroundings, and Sanzo stalked off westward, toward what looked like an old footpath. “Let’s go.”

Jack’s eyes narrowed, but he waved them forward, catching up with Sanzo’s team.

Oh, this is going to be messy, Daniel realized. Yes, the general had said they were going to pay attention to their local experts’ advice, but when they were in the field, it was Jack who decided which way they went. Unless of course there were key ruins Daniel had to examine, or people he had to talk to, or scientific samples Sam had to take… and, well, even then, it was Jack who decided when they had to stop studying and go.

Sanzo hadn’t asked. Hadn’t even consulted. Sanzo just moved, and expected everyone else to follow.

Very, very messy, Daniel thought guiltily. Particularly because his first impulse hadn’t been to support Jack. It’d been to follow, because wherever Sanzo was going was away from the bodies.

Jack wasn’t going to forget that. He knew it.

The last scent of decaying flesh fell behind them, and Jack moved up to point besides white robes. “You know, it wouldn’t kill you to throw on some cammo.”

“Says you.” Violet narrowed, darkly amused. “Colonel, youkai vision’s a hell of a lot better than human, and most humans aren’t going to try and kill a priest. If I’m going to get shot, it’s not going to be by accident.”

“Yeah. A sniper could put a real damper on this party.”

The priest almost smirked. “It’s been tried.”

“Why does that not surprise me?” the colonel said dryly. “So what have you got in your bag of tricks that we don’t know about?”

“Who says I’ve got anything?” Sanzo lit a cigarette, never breaking stride. “Maybe I have a death wish. Stick around with these three long enough, the quiet gets tempting.”

Hakkai laughed; it raised prickles on Daniel’s neck. “You’d rather shoot us all first,” the healer said cheerfully.

“Shoot at us, at least.” Gojyo rolled his eyes. “Think the Sanbutsushin take bets on whether or not he leaves the hotel without bullet holes?”

“Hey, they’re not all Sanzo’s fault!” Goku said indignantly, shorter legs keeping up with no apparent extra effort. “How was he supposed to know those assassins were good enough to dodge?”

23 thoughts on “River of Stars Ch 5 bit – Shangri-La

  1. Yes Jack Sanzo does not consider you in charge of this expedition, get used to it.

    Because I doubt that is going to change in a hurry.

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    1. >>…Any bets on who gets shot first? *Halo*
      My guess is some Youkai who Jake mortally insults (either because he wants to show that he is the leader and/or is ingoring Sanzo’s Youkai Do’s and Don’ts) and starts beating him into the ground even with a couple of rounds in it’s torso.

      Sanzo then explains that yes Jake is a honorless cretin whose clan should have drowned him at birth, but he is charged with ensuring that Jake and his colleagues reach the Merciful Goddess for an audience relatively intact. As a result Jake is ‘merely’ tenderized and not shredded.

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    1. Responses to that include (paraphrased): “No one takes the safety off a gun just to threaten their people into silence!!”

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  2. Oh dear. I’m starting to think that I’m just going to feel sorry for SG1 all through this fic, because Shangri-La is a messed up place to be on the best days. Being introduced to that world by the ikkou, and facing what they do on a regular basis? Haha, culture shock would be putting it mildly.

    Then again, that *is* the same kind of SNAFU that SG1 tends to deal with regularly too. Just that they have their own set methods to deal with the fall out – which Sanzo is going to cheerfully trample over because you do not get to tell that man what to do. No one gets to tell Sanzo what to do. He’d do things in the exact opposite and most violently hard headed way possible just to prove a point. And because he can.

    (Also, poor Jack? Not feeling all that sorry for him, because if anyone can take a hit in the ego or anywhere else, it would be him, but it’s never nice, getting your authority questioned when technically no one ever questions it. For mostly good reasons, but plenty of bad ones too. He could probably use those hard knocks.)

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  3. Why do visitors never listen to the locals?

    Come on Jack, these guys LIVE here and have for either their whole lives or for a couple years. Without dying despite several people’s best efforts. Stands to reason that they know this place and how not to die in it better than you do. That makes them in charge. Save your wild-and/or-best-guess-hope-this-doesn’t-kill-us for when you need it.

    Through to be fair, Jack has a well-honed and not entirely reasonable paranoia and locals have screwed them over before . . .

    On the youkai senses things, they look too much like humans most of the time so at least part of his brain keeps thinking human and therefore human limitations. It’s simply going to take time for his brain to adjust to – plus he might have difficulty believing it without concrete demonstration and that can be tricky with your senses.

    And as dangerous as Shangri-La can be and it’s youkai clan structure . . . I’m thinking the Fanalis would consider it very nice to live. Or least, a very nice vacation spot.

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    1. >>And as dangerous as Shangri-La can be and it’s youkai clan structure . . . I’m thinking the Fanalis would consider it very nice to live. Or least, a very nice vacation spot.
      Would depend. If there aren’t enough fish and/or edible sea monsters it could be a no-go.

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    2. “Tourists!”

      But yeah, Jack and the rest of SG-1 have plenty of reasons not to take anything at face value. Oddly enough, you might say the fact that the ikkou DON’T have ill intentions makes them harder to deal with!

      And yes. Given in canon humans tend to underestimate youkai senses a lot – well. Yeah. You have to see it a lot before you believe it.

      Oh, I suspect the Fanalis would love Shangri-La. And Sanzo would have a headache….

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