“We can worry about who’s got which weird ancestors up the family tree later.” Sanzo tapped his notes. “If these are accurate, and I think they are, centuries ago Gyokumen Koushu was….”
“One of Śakra’s Queens?” Jack didn’t bother hiding a skeptical eyebrow as they all headed toward the temple’s transport ring chamber. We’re off to see the Goa’uld, he hummed under his breath, the Kanzeon Bosatsu Goa’uld….
Behind him, Jack heard Sha trying to stifle a cackle.
Fair enough. The guy’d earned a laugh, putting up with Sanzo on a long-term basis. If Jack hadn’t seen Sha fight, he would have sworn there couldn’t be a homicidal bone in the captain’s body, to put up with-
What that old hellfire parish priest back in Chicago would’ve told you, if you’d ever been dumb enough to walk back through the church doors, Jack thought reluctantly. What Sara tried to tell you.
Which was why he’d left the faith, and let Sara go, and had the good sense not to walk into a church since. Because nobody, but nobody, could tell him it wasn’t his fault Charlie was dead….
Only Sanzo hadn’t done that. Sanzo had stalked in where everyone else left him to sit in the dark with milk and cookies, yanked down the blinds, slapped him, and told him to suck it up and walk, soldier.
It was… different.
Can’t die, need to shoot Sanzo first.
It was an oddly cheering thought.
Sanzo tapped his glasses back up, deliberately ignoring Sha with the force of a thousand aggravated suns. “Koushu came to Shangri-La with Śakra almost exactly sixteen centuries ago.” The priest looked over his newest sheaf of translucent pages one more time before he handed them over to Daniel. “She apparently likes to change up her name and duties every few centuries, but some version of the Jade Princess turns up as a constant for seven centuries of Goa’uld bureaucratic bitching.”
Jack had to halt right there in the corridor, no matter how people piled up. Because ow. “Are you telling me you waded through seven hundred years of Goa’uld water-cooler gossip?”
“Sanzo has a remarkably high pain tolerance,” Hakkai observed, smile almost chipper. Which was somehow even scarier than the usual air of suppressed mayhem.
“And a good search engine,” Sanzo said dryly, storing his glasses back up his sleeve. Jack was starting to seriously wonder about those sleeves. “Kanzeon shows up about seventy years later. And just a few decades after that, she’s got her Arrangement.”
Aha. Jack knew a clue when someone was dangling it. “Shows up from where?”
“Jack?” Daniel was glancing between the pair of them, obviously trying to put a finger on exactly what had set both of them into aggravated frowny mode. “I mean, we know Queens mature and then take a host, and it’s not always easy for even the Tok’ra to figure out where they were as prim’ta.”
“Only Hathor was locked up in Central America, so she couldn’t exactly be leaving baby snakes around to grow up,” Jack pointed out. “So… whoever Kanzeon came from is some other lineage, like Amaunet. And that matters, right? The whole genetic memory thing.”
“What matters more is that I can’t find her,” Sanzo said bluntly. “Goa’uld usually attach some kind of divine backstory to their Queens, put in the records so all the lesser Goa’uld know the line to spout when they’re grinding slaves’ heads underfoot. Kanzeon’s – on the surface, it scans. But if you’ve read the Legend of Miaoshan-”
Daniel perked up. “The princess ordered to marry by her father, who managed to get herself into a temple instead, and then executed, only they threw her out of Hell because she was saving everybody?”
“That’s the one.”
“You can get thrown out of Hell?” Jack broke into the geeking, amused. “Nifty. Carter, see what we’ve missed by not burying ourselves to our noses in fairytales?”
Sam smiled, even if it was just a little shaky at bad memories. “I don’t think being nice to people would have gotten us off Netu, sir.”
Teal’c took a slightly longer stride, bringing him close enough that Jack couldn’t miss the Buddha smile. “I do not think you would make a convincing princess, O’Neill.”