The cold spray from the fifth and last of the Five Gorges’ tumbling cascades was almost enough to knock her off her feet as she materialized. Just behind her, Jiroshin yelped.
Kanzeon caught and steadied her aide, then headed for the long silver braid above green-edged sutras, standing arrow-straight by the edge of one of the foaming pools. “Koumyou.”
“Merciful Goddess.” Her favorite human Sanzo was dripping wet, white robes shedding dirty river water as if he’d just struggled out of the falls himself. “I’ve found someone interesting. But he doesn’t have much time.”
No, Kanzeon thought, seeing the wreck of a human body in torn and tattered Tau’ri green. Not much time at all.
“There wasn’t a bone in his body that wasn’t broken,” the Queen reflected. “I’ve seen youkai dead with half the damage. He should have been dead. He was just too stubborn to die.” She took a silky breath. “He was hanging on, because Koumyou had him, promising there was help. But there was no way we could have kept him alive without a sarcophagus.” She paused. “Not in that body.”
Daniel swallowed hard, trying not to shudder. “So you… trapped his soul.”
“The Ancients and the Furlings both did an incredible amount of research into consciousness as an energy phenomenon,” Kanzeon stated. “There is another world than this, Dr. Jackson. I can show you the data. But if a soul doesn’t want to move on – yes. You can catch the mind and soul, and keep them… well, asleep, if you know what you’re doing. I do.” An elegant shoulder lifted. “So I caught Kouryuu Genjyo, and held him. Brought his essence back to the lab for a careful analysis; you do not want to put a soul into a body it doesn’t want to fit, bad things happen. And then….” She trailed off, staring directly at him. “I can tell you what happened. I’m just not sure you’ll believe it. I wouldn’t believe it, if I couldn’t feel the truth.”
I don’t want to know.
“Try us,” Jack challenged.
“The manner of Konzen’s death was – brutal,” Kanzeon said shortly.
From the way the dragon general winced, Daniel believed it.
“I did what I could, but when I analyzed what I had… half his soul had already gone on. I didn’t know what to do. Let the rest of my little one go, never to remember Goku again in this life? Try to revive him, with half of what made him himself gone? I couldn’t.” Kanzeon shook her head, eyes distant. “I couldn’t.”
Distantly, Daniel felt his pulse speed up. I have a bad feeling about this.
“When I brought Kouryuu back to the lab….”
“This is impossible!” Jiroshin yelped, reading the alerts past her shoulder. “My lady, it has to be some kind of Tok’ra trick. Or some stratagem of the Tau’ri; we know they’re clever enough to have killed Ra-”
“Right,” Kanzeon Bosatsu mused, one hand caressing each of the crystalline soul-gems on her lab bench in turn. One might have the more red glow common to her children, the other a silvery-blue often seen in humans – but the rhythms of that glow had slowed and sped on each side the closer they were together, until now they beat in perfect time. “You think Egeria’s children, or the Tau’ri, or both, were somehow technologically clever enough to create a man with a soul that matches Konzen’s missing pieces, and then dumb enough to lose him down a waterfall?”
Jiroshin cleared his throat. “It would match some of the records of the Ancients.”
“You have a point. But I think….”
Heart in her throat, she brought both gems close enough to touch. Soul-gems were not perfect containment. They couldn’t hold a soul that truly, fully did not wish to stay.
“…I’m going to have a little faith.”