As they headed through orchards to the temple – and it did look like a Buddhist temple, though the snakes carved with the fu-dogs were a definite local touch – Daniel noticed Goku drop back to walk beside the shaken acolyte. “Don’t worry,” the young youkai confided, in what was probably meant to be a whisper. “Sanzo’s like that all the time.”
Which didn’t make Daniel feel any better, as they rounded a corner to approach the opening gate, and-
Um. Are those bullet holes?
“Oh, Blessed Kanzeon Bosatsu,” a monk groaned from the anonymous safety of the back of the crowd, “it’s Genjyo Sanzo!”
Daniel blinked. He’d never seen that many people scatter, and still try to look like they weren’t.
“What’d you do to these guys?” Jack muttered under his breath.
“My job.” Striding forward, Sanzo zeroed in on an older gentleman in somewhat more ornate robes, who’d apparently reached the unhappy conclusion there was no way he could sneak off fast enough. “The people of Takei village have been destroyed. I request that you send an armed rescue party, to search for any survivors. Well armed; there may still be two or three insane youkai in the area.”
Request, huh? Daniel barely kept himself from eyeing the heavens. When Jack used that tone, what he really meant was, this gets done, or I will personally hold you accountable for the reason why.
…Whoa. He’d thought that Sanzo had to be fairly important, sure, based on the chakra, and other things, but- Sanzo’s got as much pull as Jack does?
Apparently so; the head priest winced, but didn’t voice a word of protest, politely beckoning them all inside. “Will you and your… companions, be requiring shelter?” The glance at Sam was definitely disapproving.
“Easy, Major,” Gojyo murmured when anger lit the astrophysicist’s gaze. “They don’t get meat or sweets here, either. It’s not personal. Honest.”
Sanzo ignored it all, though Daniel was sure he heard every word. “We won’t be staying.”
Daniel blinked, convinced he could almost hear a mass, Thank God! from every monk in earshot.
Come to think of it… there were a lot of suspiciously clean robes around here. Which kind of implied they’d been doing a lot of laundry lately. And given monks like these, if their usual duties were close to those he knew on Earth, generally weren’t given to large-scale grubbing in the dirt….
Oh, for the love of… no. No way. He couldn’t have scared a whole monastery that much!
Then again… he’d believe Jack could do it.
Still, it was a little hard to worry about it, walking into a building that set all an archaeologist’s inherent scientific avarice squealing with glee. Definitely Asian architecture, but they still have some Egyptian-Goa’uld influences; those are lotus-carved pillars! And- He stopped dead, in front of a hanging scroll.
“Gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond….”
“He knows the ancient script?” the high priest hissed to Sanzo. “But he’s-”
“A scholar, from very far away.” Jack’s polite smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Danny?”
A version of the Heart Sutra. In Ancient. It hurt to walk away.
But they had a mission.
Sometimes, I just wish….
“We’ve got a whole library back in Chang’an,” Gojyo offered.
Which made him the target of a half-dozen skewering looks.
“What?” the redhead shrugged at Hakkai. “I’ve seen you drooling at book-lenders before.”
“I don’t drool,” Hakkai protested.
“Nah; you just look like it’s New Year’s, and you can’t pick which mochi to try first,” Goku grinned.
“Books aren’t mochi….”