|Down The River, My Love
Author: Sarlinia PM
[PART I OF THE RIVER ARC] Basedon the novel, the story of Sanzou's origins, about the fate of his parents and the reason he was found abandoned in a river.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Words: 7,912 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-01-02 - id: 1098078
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
DISCLAIMER: I donot own Gensomaden Saiyuki. I did not write or come of with Journey to the West. Therefore it is simple to say that I do not own any of the characters and did not create any of the characters.
NOTES: While reading a translation of Journey to the West for my Mythology research paper, I came upon the chapter which explained Sanzou's origins…of how he ended up abandoned in a river/lake and found by Koumyo Sanzou. I then got the ideas for this one-shot fic. Now, cut out A LOT of the plot to help make it fit into the whole Saiyuki timeline, meaning I drastically shortened it and cut out some important events that do not fit well into the timeline. Of course I'm going to add to the plot what was not expressed in the myth. I hope I don't disappoint anyone.
So for those who do not believe it, the story is based on the actual novel/myth Journey to the West.
WARNING: Rape. Yeah, you heard me. It is not too explicit, but still anything that deals with IT is disturbing. So, read at your discretion please.
To make things simple about the names:
Liu Hung: the evil boatman
Kuang-Jui: the young lord, husband to the Lady Yin
Lady Yin: wife to Kuang-Jui
DOWN THE RIVER, MY LOVE
"How much longer, boatman?"
Liu Hung glared balefully at the Emperor Tang's man. Kuang-Jui was young, self-righteous and perfect for his new position of governor of some land called Chiang Chou that belonged to the Emperor. But to Liu Hung the boatman, Kuang-Jui was just a pompous rich boy who had a stick up his ass. When Kuang-Jui came to him and ordered him to sail him and his young wife down the river, Liu Hung had protested, wanting nothing to do with anyone that belonged to the Emperor's court, especially when said rich man's destination was through the swamps.
But of course, there were drastic consequences to denying an Emperor's man.
With a poorly concealed snarl, Liu Hung prostrated himself at the young man's feet and said, "Great Master, it will take a few days to reach your destination at the end of the river."
Kuang-Jui was not a tall man, but he made up for his stature with the way he held himself up, and with the piercing look he cast on those who disappointed him. Liu Hung wished nothing more than to have the high-ranking man's throat between his hands. With a self-suffering sigh, Kuang-Jui said, "Rise. We have been traveling down the river for three days already, boatman. My Lady Yin has not been well, and I wish to be gone from the stench of this place."
Liu Hung rose slowly and cast a fleeting glance at Kuang-Jui's wife. She was a pretty thing, with amazing large eyes that shone like dark amethyst gems. Her face was pale as the moon, and her waist slim and tiny as they came. Like her lord husband she too was small in stature but held a grace and power within her stance and speech. Looking at her, he noticed that she looked slightly paler than normal. Perhaps she realized that she was married to a snit that probably did not know how to please one as beautiful as she?
Noticing his look, the sweet lady blushed and looked away, the coy thing.
Looking away quickly he said to Kuang-Jui, "Do not worry my Great Master, we will be out of the swamp perhaps in two days. Surly the Lady Yin, being your devoted wife, has the strength of her lord and be able to endure this journey for men."
Lord Kuang-Jui narrowed his sharp eyes at the other man, staring at him for a long moment before saying gravely, "You have a slithery tongue, boatman."
Liu Hung let his gaze drop and said, "Your humble servant only speaks of what he sees with his eyes."
The young lord looked over at the Lady Yin, and his gaze softened as he watched her as she sat patiently on the mossy log that she had covered with a sheet of red silk. "My lady is the strongest woman that lives," he said softly, "and she brings honor to her family and will bring honor to me with that strength." He shook himself and looked back at the bowing Liu Hung, "We have rested long enough, let us go, boatman."
"As you wish my Great Master."
Liu Hung trudged over to his boat, picking up the numerous packaged bags that belonged to the young couple. As he placed bags on the boat he watched with a keen eye as the young lord took his lady's hand and caressed it gently, how the Lady Yin let her lips turn up into a smile, and how her eyes looked and shined only for her lord husband. Truly she was beautiful, and though she looked pale and slightly ill she never spoke a word of her discomfort to her husband who obviously would move land and sea to please her.
The boatman ducked his head as Kuang-Jui escorted the Lady Yin to the boat. But with his head down he caught the flash of a white supple ankle as the Lady Yin hiked up her traveling robe as she stepped into the boat. A sudden dark thrill went up through his loins, making his dirty hands sweat and his mouth go dry. What would it feel like to touch that pure white ankle, to kiss it and taste its sweetness?
Once settled next to his wife, Kuang-Jui said, "We are ready, boatman."
Nodding, Liu Hung grasped the long paddle and pushed off, steering his small boat down the dark river. Truly his despised the swamp, with its stench and the occasional predatory animals. Some even spoke of an occasional youkai clan lurking about in the swamp's dark bowels. Luckily the Goddess of Mercy seemed to be on their side since they had seen neither hide nor hair of anything dangerous. Oddly enough, even the mosquitoes did not come to plague the couple.
As he paddled, he silently listened to the Lady Yin's soft melodious voice as she conversed with her lord husband:
"Jui, you are worrying too much."
"My Yin, I do not like to see you uncomfortable. This pasty pallor of yours does not suit you, therefore it does not suit me."
The young woman laughed and touched her husband's hand gently, "It is merely the stench of the swamp, Jui. There is nothing you can do about the smell of a swamp now can you?"
Kuang-Jui blushed slightly as the Lady Yin laughed kindly. "What kind of a woman have I married who laughs at her lord husband's fears?"
With a sigh she leaned her head against his shoulder, her amethyst shining like the gems in the glorious sun. "Only a woman who adores her lord and loves how he worries like an old mother."
The young man snorted but wrapped his arm around Lady Yin protectively, "Now you compare me to a woman! I see now that I have not married a woman, but a mischievous sprite."
"You have discovered me, my astute lord."
Kuang-Jui looked up suddenly and pointed over the canopy of drooping swamp trees to the five peaks of an oddly shaped mountain, "Look there, my beloved sprite. That is the fabled Five-Phases Mountain. It is there that the Gods hold under stone tricksters like you who do not know how to obey their lords."
"Ah, but that trickster was a great warrior, Jui. A warrior equal to heaven."
Kuang-Jui looked down at the Lady Yin, his hard eyes shimmering with pride, "You know ancient lore, Yin? I did not know."
The Lady Yin shrugged modestly and said, "While at the palace, a great priest frequented there and was very talented in story-telling. Every night he would have something new to tell us, though he was unusually fond of the story of the Great Sage who was Equal to Heaven, Son Goku."
Liu Hung lost interest of their discussion; after all, what was so amazing about a stupid myth about some monkey that was imprisoned in the Five-Phases Mountain for disrupting the heavens?
No, what had Liu Hung's undivided attention was the beautiful Lady Yin. The only thing keeping him away from her was Kuang-Jui. The young lord was a scholar, an educated man who carried only a simple ceremonial dagger at his belt. If he were a seasoned warrior he would have his battle scars and carry his weapons open with pride. No, Kuang-Jui was no obstacle. All he had was his knowledge, but soon…oh so soon the young ass would discover how his knowledge could defend him.
Two days he had said to the foolish lord, when in actuality the land he was supposed to govern was just a day away. Tonight was the time to finally put Kuang-Jui in his place and let the river eat away at his pathetic scholarly body.
Then…then with the lord gone, he could have the Lady Yin and truly taste her white skin.
Night had come too swiftly, and the Lady Yin felt a shiver shake her frame as she wrapped a blanket around her shoulders to ward off the cold of the swamp. A wave of nausea threatened to make her gag, but she merely grimaced and put some pressure on her stomach.
Her cycle was late.
Feeling a blush rise up on her cheeks despite the cold, she wondered how to break the news to Kuang-Jui. The poor man was already worried enough with the pressure of taking over a part of the Emperor's land without her burdening him with the news that she was now pregnant. The people would rejoice once they received her husband as their new lord, and celebrate once she bore the child, proving that he was truly a man worthy to govern them. And if the child were a boy, then they would honor her as they would her husband.
She would wait till a few days after they were settled to their new positions and then give Kuang-Jui the news. She knew whether it was a boy or a girl he would still love it, but still she wished for a strong and healthy boy to make her beloved proud.
She turned her head slightly to look at her sweet Jui as he fretted over the fire, feeding the flames so as to warm her up. He had seen her shiver and was attempting to do something about it. The Lady Yin allowed her thoughts to drift back a few months before to the time she first laid eyes on Kuang-Jui.
She had been sitting beside her window, idly with a silk ball as her ladies and servants twittered over their sewing. It was then she caught sight of a young man accompanying one of the Emperor's advisors. He held himself regally and his eyes left nothing unseen, but with the tall hat he wore atop his head he looked ridiculous. He looked stern, and she wondered if he was as cold as he looked. So with a mischievous smirk born out of boredom she chucked the silk ball she held out the window, knocking the ridiculous hat off Kuang-Jui's head. She would never forget the look of bafflement on his face as he picked up both ball and hat and looked up toward her…then he smiled.
It was his smile that made her love him. He put on his mask of icy coldness; a barrier that had allowed him to win favor with the Emperor, but when he smiled it was his undoing, for it was then that Yin could see the gentleness and uncertainty of the young man.
After that he returned her elusive ball, and weeks later the Emperor allowed them to be married.
And now she was pregnant with his first son.
"My Yin, perhaps if you had some meat then you will regain some color?"
Yin looked up at Kuang-Jui and shook her head, "But my lord, we do not have any meat."
She watched in amusement as her young lord's chest swelled as he said, "I will go with the boatman and hunt something that we can cook and let you eat."
The Lady Yin felt a slight frown knot at her brows at this, glancing past her bursting husband to the boatman who was fiddling around with his boat. She did not like the man. Many times she had caught him looking at her with an unhealthy light in his eyes. She had thought of telling Jui, but it was not the first time someone had looked at her that way. Many of the Emperor's nobles who had courted her had that same look, bit nothing ever came of it, so she decided to stay silent. She did not want to accuse the man and have Kuang-Jui set off in a jealous rage. No, perhaps it was the new life within her that was making her suspicious.
But still, she did not want Kuang-Jui to leave her side. "My lord," she said, "Please, once we leave this swamp I will be fine. You do not need to bother yourself with something so trivial as meat for me. We have ample enough rations to last us over ten more days."
Her young lord leaned down and cupped her cheek in his hand. He had no calluses that came with use of a sword, they were smooth and long and smelled of ink and parchment, befitting a man who was a scholar. "Dried fruit and rice will not give you the blood that you need, my Yin. Wait here by the fire and warm yourself up. I will return shortly."
He silenced her with a soft kiss on her forehead. Running his hand over her face as if memorizing it he said, "I want the people to see you for how strong and beautiful you truly are, my Yin. Once we are free of this swamp, and we have sailed down the river…when we meet our people..…" He stopped suddenly, touching her lips, "No one knows how strong you are, Yin. If they see you pale then they will think you weak and sickly. I will not allow you to be stamped as that, my love, for it will be hard to change their minds and I do not wish you to go through such meaningless hardships. So, let your foolish husband find you some fresh meat so that you may present yourself to our people with all your glory and might as you stand by my side."
She felt herself blush furiously at his words and managed to nod her head, "As you wish my lord." Then she too the hand on her lips in hers and kissed it, smiling up at him, "I will be waiting for your triumphant return."
He face split into a smile and kissed her on the lips before pulling away and calling to the boatman, "Boatman! Let us go find my lady some meat!"
The boatman stopped what he was doing and suddenly grinned, saying softly, "As you command my Great Master."
The Lady Yin found this odd, but kept silent as she watched her husband disappear into the swamp, followed by the boatman.
Liu Hung watched mildly as the young lord Kuang-Jui tied the feet of the rabbit they had hunted and killed. He had been trying to think of a plan to get the fool away alone so that he could get rid of him without the Lady Yin witnessing it. Such violence was not fitting for the Lady Yin's eyes. But the idiot had made things quite simple for him, wanting to catch something for his lady to eat.
The fool. He had dug his own grave.
While occupied with the rabbit, Liu Hung spotted a large thick branch on the ground, half in the river's water, half on dry land.
He reached down and pulled it up, letting the cool water moisten his grip on the branch. Tightening his hold so that his knuckles were white, he silently approached the unsuspecting Kuang-Jui, his cloth covered feet not making a sound on the wet mossy ground. He came to stand behind the crouching young man and paused as Kuang-Jui said aloud to himself, "For my strong Yin."
With a disgusted snort, Liu Hung raised the large branch and sent it down onto Kuang-Jui's head. The branch shook with the force as it crushed bone with a loud sickening crunch. Without so much as a sound, the young lord toppled over face foreword. But the boatman was not satisfied. With a vicious kick, he turned the lord over and brought the branch down again on his handsome chiseled face.
Blood flew as the boatman beat Kuang-Jui's face first, and then went on to his arms, making sure to smash the fine long fingers. The ribs, hips and legs were attacked viciously so that when Liu Hung let the branch fall there was nothing left of the young proud Kuang-Jui but a bloody mess of flesh and bone.
Liu Hung licked his lips as he reached down and grabbed the broken legs, hauling the dead body to the river and pushing it in. He watched with a large thin smile twisting his lips as the body sank down, red blood smearing the pureness of the river. He spat into the river then went to get his prize pausing to pick up the rabbit as he went along.
In a daze he walked back the small camp that had been made for the three of them, his mind thinking of one thing and one thing only: The Lady Yin.
He stopped short when he saw her by the warm fire that her now dead husband had made for her, a twig in her hand as she carefully scrawled some neat Chinese characters onto the moist ground. She had such small graceful hands, fine and soft unlike the whores at the taverns he had frequented. No, those whores knew nothing of writing; all they wanted was the money that they earned for spreading their legs. He knew that the Lady Yin was no virgin. She had been married to the now dead corpse for over a month, so it he was fairly certain that Kuang-Jui had already deflowered her.
But only him. The Lady Yin knew only the pleasures of a corpse. A corpse who knew nothing of women and pleasure except from what he read in a book. Liu Hung felt the stirring of his loins, but did nothing to thwart it.
It was time.
The Lady Yin suddenly looked up, her violet eyes illuminating in the firelight eerily, spotting him standing alone in the shadows amidst the wet drooping trees. She glanced past him, a curious look upon her fine face, "Boatman, where is my lord?"
Liu Hung stepped forward slowly approaching her as he replied, "He is no longer here, my lady."
She frowned, and Liu Hung wondered how would she look like as he entered her. Should he do it all at once, or should he take it slowly and allow their first time to last? Would her fine brows knot in a frown? Would she open her mouth and gasp in pleasure? Would she moan her dead husbands name? Liu Hung licked his dry lips.
She stood up, rigid, stepping back as he continued to come toward her. "Where is he, boatman? Do not speak in riddles."
He stopped so that that only the fire separated them. He smiled, his lips stretching like a shedding snake, the fire casting frightening shadows over his hard dirty features, "No riddles, my lady. The Great Master has gone down with river, so curious was he to see with his own eyes what treasures the river held at its bottom."
The Lady Yin lost all color from her face, her eyes widening in realization at what he was saying. "What have you done?" She whispered, her voice shaking as the tears started to rise and threaten to fall as she took a cautious step back. "What have you done?! What have you done to my lord?"
She let out a small cry and jumped back when Liu Hung suddenly stepped over the fire, not noticing the flames, entranced by the crystal tears in the Lady Yin's eyes. He spread his arms wide saying, "You have no lord now, my lady," he saw her inching away, her eyes desperately looking for something to defend herself with, "no lord to come to you, no lord to hear you…there is only me."
And he leaped at her, snagging her small wrist in he brown hand as she tried to dart away, yanking her close. With an angry shout she whirled on him bringing her free hand to his face, attempting to claw at his eyes. He laughed at her weak attempt, simply grabbing the attacking hand with his own and pulling it away from his face. Her hair that she had neatly pulled up in a pin had gone undone, her long luminous black hair falling in waves down her back and shoulders. He could already smell the fresh scent of peaches.
She struggled, pulling back hissing, "Let me go! Murderer!"
Her smell was intoxicating, and her struggles were thrilling. He could see the fear and fury both in her gem-like eyes, eyes that could only belong to a god. Those eyes were haunting, and Liu Hung wanted to see them only looking at him, only seeing him. He would have her, possess her, and dominate her fury, her strength that Kuang-Jui loved.
He threw himself on top of her, driving her down with his weight. She let out a pained yelp as her back collided with the group, his weight on top of her, suffocating her, caging her. She writhed in his grasp, twisting and turning, trying to slip away from his hold. His hardness pressed against he thigh, a pulsing thing that made her tremble in disgust.
He pulled her arms up over her head keeping hold of them with one hand as the other traveled down her robe, ripping at the buttons and laces as he spread her trembling legs with his own, positioning himself in between them. As the laces and buttons came away, and cloth was pulled aside he let his eyes feast on the pure softness of her white skin. He had never seen anything so beautiful and clean. He let his face drop to the trop of the curves of her breasts that she had wrapped in a tight cloth, letting his tongue come out and taking the first small taste of her skin. He traveled upward to her neck, nuzzling under her small shell-like ear and feeling her struggles stop as she went rigid to his ministrations.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. She was crying, her clear crystal tears sliding down the sides of her face and disappearing within the mass of her black hair that was spread around her white face. She made soft gasping noises as she held the sobs and screams within, too proud, too strong to let him hear her fear and anger. Their eyes met for a brief moment, but she turned her head away, refusing to meet the eyes of the her husband's murderer, and now her rapist.
Liu Hung's hand traveled down to her smooth warm stomach,
and then lower as he whispered, his breath hitting her face, "Will you not let
me hear your cry, my lady?"
"Never," she hissed, her eyes shutting tight, trying to keep the trembling from her voice.
He smiled at this. Yes, too strong, too proud. She would never let him hear her cry, but her tears and fear were there, only for him, solely for him.
His. Only his.
And with that though, he dove down and claimed her lips.
The Lady Yin winced in pain as Liu Hung shouted into the night as he climaxed, spilling his seed, his dirty essence into her. He had let got of her hands sometime ago so now they lay at her bare sides, digging into the wet dirt of the swamp and used her over and over again. His large hands were grasping her hips and thighs in a bruising grip, and she knew that she bled like a virgin from when he had savagely entered her.
Savage…so unlike her dear Jui who now rotted at the bottom of the river while the traitorous boatman used her. Jui had been so gentle and kind on their first night, awkward and uncertain for he too had never known the pleasures of the sheets. And in the end he held her as she wept in his arms, frightened that he had hurt her.
She banished the thought as she felt her throat constrict in coming sobs. No, she would never give the looming monster the satisfaction of hearing her cries. She may not be able to stop the tears, but he would never hear the anguish he had brought to her. She looked up at her rapist who was propped up on his elbows; sweat dripping from his nose onto her naked chest. If she could, she would have felt disgust, but she could feel nothing but a burning hatred for the man.
The man grinned down at her, his sweaty twisted features reminding her of a lecherous toad. "Tell me, my lady, do the officials in this Chiang Chou know your departed husband?"
Yin blinked up at him, wondering what the piece of filth was planning now. Either way she would not respond to him.
Seeing her silent defiance, Liu Hung said gravely as he raised his hand to her long thin throat, "You have a choice, my lady, you can submit to me or I can cut you in two and throw you into the river with your husband."
She glared hatefully at him, wishing nothing more than to die and join her beloved Jui.
Liu Hung laughed at the steely look in her eyes and the thinness of her lips as she pursed them together. "Ah, you would wish that wouldn't you? No, you do not fear death." He shifted his torso so that she could feel his growing hardness. "How about I use you till you die? Or should I kill you and continue to use your corpse to satisfy my needs? Or maybe I should take you to a brothel and earn some money while other men took their pleasures from between you white thighs?" He slid his other hand down and touched her, bringing his hand back up, his fingers smeared with her blood. "I have not hurt you like the other men would, my lady. Yes, shall we let you have a taste of them, hm?"
She trembled visibly at the thought, letting out an involuntary whimper.
Liu Hung's smile showed his yellowed teeth as he cupped her face in his hands. He said, "Tell me, my lady, do the officials in Chiang Chou now your husband?"
Yin allowed the tears to rise and fall, as she answered softly, "N…no. No one knows my lord husband."
He pulled away from her then, standing up and walking towards the bags. Yin sat up slowly, ignoring the pain that pierced at her from between her legs. She carefully pulled her torn robes up to her, trying to cover her defiled body. She watched in wary curiosity as Liu Hung pulled out one of Jui's larger official robes. The man was not much larger than her lord husband, and a bit heavier on the stomach from drinking at the taverns.
He held the robes for a moment in his hands before putting them down and stalking back to her. She flinched as he grabbed her, snatching her tattered robes away from her with a snort and dragging her to the river, plunging them both into its chilly depths. He freed her hand and said, "Clean yourself, my lady. You do not want to appear before the people of Chiang Chou covered in mud and hair in tangles."
"What are you planning?" Yin demanded, not moving as the man started scrubbing year's worth of dirty off his body.
"It would be very disappointing to the people if the Great Master Kuang-Jui and his lovely wife the Lady Yin never showed up to take their places to govern the land in the Emperor's name."
She could only gape at him in shock as he submerged himself under the cold water and came out, rinsing his hair out. "You wish to go as my husband?" For a moment she thought she would laugh at the absurdity of the plan, then realized he could actually pull it off.
Seeing her reaction, Liu Hung said, "You may play along my lady, or you may go to the brothel. Your choice."
For a moment Yin said and did nothing, gazing in despair down at her bruised bare body, the teeth marks on her breasts, and the scratches over her navel. She was not a fool; she knew that there were far worse men than Liu Hung who would do anything to hear her scream in pain as they took their pleasure.
Her beloved Jui had called her strong…
Yet, as Yin haltingly started to rinse the dirt off of her, she could feel nothing but shame at her cowardice.
The Lady Yin sat rigidly beside the window at the mansion of Chiang Chou.
Months had passed since Liu Hung, disguised as her long dead beloved husband Kuang-Jui, took his place as governor over the people of Chiang Chou. Amazingly, he had won the favor of the officials and advisors by saying humbly when he met them, "Having come here, a student like me is utterly dependent on the support and assistance of you gentlemen."
She had to hand it to the man, he was a master actor, and played his role very well. But of course, the most evil of creatures were always known for their ruthless cunning.
Yin gazed down in despair at her bulging stomach. Liu Hung had noticed early on that she was pregnant with Jui's child. When in their sleeping chambers he never failed to remind her that once the baby was born he would kill it. He would have no children of Kuang-Jui coming back for revenge.
Liu Hung also never failed to have his way with her every night. She had hoped that when her stomach had started protruding that he would be disgusted by it and leave her alone to satisfy himself with some unfortunate whore, but the man seemed to get high whenever he saw her stomach naked, almost getting pleasure by the mere thought of killing the baby within her once it was born.
She had learned within the first week with him that to struggle would mean pain and humiliation. He had whipped her twice for scratching his face, and had her stripped of her clothes for three days when she bit his tongue. To the servants, he said that she was denying her husband; to the unknowing nobles he excused her absence for fevers. So now she just lay like the dead thing she felt herself as while Liu Hung took her, groaning her name in lust and passion that only he felt.
Liu Hung had left the day before on some official business, leaving Yin happily alone without fear of his touch at night. As she sat by the window she allowed her thoughts to drift on how she wished to skin the man alive and sleep in his skin. That gruesome thought let her lips turn up in a rare smile.
Feeling a bit light headed, she rose and exited her chambers, waving away the simpering servants that Liu Hung had hand chosen to serve her every needs. Her soft slippered feet carried her out to the courtyard where a few nobles bowed toward her in respect. She gave them barely a glance before drifting towards the gardens at the back of the mansion.
It was a beautiful garden with many rare flowers and peach trees. She wandered down the paths, enjoying the calm sounds of the crickets and the birds, and the sweet aromas that came from the flowers. She knew that Jui would have loved to walk with her for hours in this garden, her lost love having had a fondness for nature's pure beauty.
Something flashed in the sunlight, hidden among the thorns of a rose bush. Pausing, Yin knelt down and carefully extracted a sharp spade, holding it aloft in the warm sunlight. Liu Hung had made sure that nothing sharp would be left out for her to get her hands on, for he knew that if she did she would undoubtedly kill herself.
But now it looked like the gardener had been neglectful.
Arranging herself down on the grassy ground, the Lady Yin gazed almost lovingly at the spade's sharp edges. Yes, today would be a good day to die, though she wished that she would be able to see Liu Hung's pasty face once her body was found. Pulling her red robes aside so that the soft flesh of her chest was revealed, Yin positioned the spade's sharp tip over her heart and shut her eyes, praying that she would be reincarnated and somehow find her beloved Jui.
Suddenly, a sharp pain lanced through her stomach and loins, causing her to make a strangled cry and forcing her to drop the spade. She gasped as she felt the wetness on the insides of her thighs, knowing full well that now, out of all times, now her baby was demanding life.
Panicking, Yin tried to stand, but the searing pain held her down. Holding back a tormented scream, she propped herself up against a peach tree and spread her legs, pulling aside her robes and other articles of clothing that would hamper the birthing process.
How long she writhed in pain alone, she did not know, but as the child let out its first wail, Yin felt her conscious wavering. In despair, she saw that it was a baby boy, his lungs filled with power as he wailed at the world that had taken his father. Dizzily, she noticed that he had been born with a golden blond thatch of hair atop his head. Never had she seen anything so beautiful, though she had to wonder since both she and her beloved had both had black hair. Jui would have been proud if he had been able to see his son as she saw him. Their beautiful strong baby boy.
A boy that would be murdered once Liu Hung returned.
Desperate, she searched for the fallen spade, determined not to allow Liu Hung be the one to murder her child. Better to be killed by his own mother than to be slaughtered out of spite by his father's murderer and mother's rapist. But he would not be alone; she would join him once she was done.
Her mind reeled as a flash of bright light came down from the heavens, forcing Yin to lay flat on her stomach, her baby boy screaming beside her. Lifting bleary, tear-filled eyes, her hair undone and draped down her back and over her shoulders, she found herself staring at a beautiful scantly dressed woman who had an air of pride an arrogance about her.
The woman knelt down beside her, touching her cheek gently, then lifting her baby boy up into her arms, holding him close to her buxom breasts. The child stopped his wailing, instead opening violet gem-like eyes to stare in wary suspicion at the strange woman who held him.
Yin raised herself, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand, watching the woman gently rock her glaring child. Opening her mouth, she said softly, "I know you…you are Konzeon Botatsu."
Konzeon Botatsu, the Goddess of Mercy, looked up from the baby boy and said, "Of course I am. Who else would be gifted with such beauty?" Her eyes became sharp as she asked, "What were you about to do, Lady Yin?"
Painfully, Yin prostrated herself before the goddess, saying, "Please, the man who killed my husband will kill my child. I would rather kill my son myself than have that murdering monster have the satisfaction of slaughtering the only thing left that I have from my beloved husband."
"Rise Lady Yin," said Konzeon Botatsu. Once Yin had sat up, the beautiful goddess said gently, "This son is a gift from me, the Great Konzeon Botatsu. One day his name will be known far and wide, for he is not to be compared with an ordinary mortal. But like you said, when Liu Hung returns, he will surly try to harm the child, and you must take care to protect him."
Yin bowed once again, "As you command, Konzeon Botatsu."
With a gentle smile, the goddess handed the glaring boy back to Yin who clasped him tightly to her chest, his small fingers clenching onto her robes. She smiled down onto her son who gave her an odd look with his eyes, gem eyes so like her own but on the face of his dead father. Yin lifted her head to ask a question to the goddess but found that she was alone once again.
With a sense of urgency, Yin stumbled to her feet, and staggered towards the back of the gardens. There was a secret entrance that led out towards the river that only she knew of. Slipping through it she squeezed between the crack of the mansion walls and out into the open. The mansion was not far from the bank, and in a matter of minutes she reached it, gasping for breath.
With trembling hands, she wrapped her son in her undergarments so no one would notice anything odd about her when she returned to the mansion. Then pulling out from the folds of her robes, she wrapped around her child's neck rosary beads.
She had not realized that she was weeping as she spoke, "Look my love, these beads were your father's. He gave them to me as a gift of protection from any youkai. He never thought of protection from a human though. Perhaps they will protect you one day, so keep them close to you." She touched his small pale face with her cold fingers, "Oh, my love, you look just like your father…even that angry glare you are giving me right now, it is all your father's."
She lifted him up and placed a loving kiss on his forehead, "I won't give you a name, my love, for it will be too risky. Just…just I pray that you never think that your poor mother hated you." Her tears fell onto the baby boy's face, who looked on with distress in his large beautiful eyes.
"Down the river," whispered Yin, holding her child close, the child gifted from the Goddess of Mercy, the child of the union of her and Jui's love for each other. "Down the river lies your father, a great man though he was a scholar. He was a stern man, with a sharp eye, but he…he was a gentle man who loved me and would have loved you if had been given the chance to look at you."
Catching a piece of drift wood, Yin secured the baby to it, and with a final kiss, she pushed the plank away and watched it as it floated down the river, carrying her child, the last that she had of her lost love down to the unknown.
Alone, Yin collapsed to the ground and wailed in despair and pain, for the first time letting the world hear her torment. Looking up to the heavens she wept, "Please, take pity on him! Send someone to find and rescue him, to love him and care for him as I and my Jui would have!"
She looked to the bubbling river from where she lay and whispered, "I pray…that you find strength so that you can protect what you love…so that unlike your mother, you do not loose what is important to you." She raised a trembling hand and whispered, "Down the river, my love, find life and live it so that you can die with no regrets. Live, my love, for your father and mother who never got a chance to. And…and perhaps by chance…we might meet again."
It was a long time after that before the Lady Yin found the strength to rise and return to the mansion alone.
Koumyo Sanzou had fled the temple after being told of the masses of people who wished to be gifted by the 'holy presence of a sanzou'. No matter how many times he said it, the monks of the temple would not allow him some time to himself. So with his tail tucked between his robed legs, he fled like a runaway teenager, hoping that he could escape his so called duties for a little while at least.
He found a wonderful spot near the river that was not too far from the temple, and seating himself on a flat boulder he shut his eyes and allowed himself to relax for awhile. He wished the monks would understand that even though he was the highest-ranking monk around, he was still mortal and wanted some peace and quiet once in a while. It wasn't too much to ask…was it?
Sighing, he allowed his mind to go blank as he listened to the calm currents of the river, and the sweet chirping of the birds in their nests above, and the low wailing of a baby.
Koumyo Sanzou sat bolt right up, his eyes wide as he looked down the river to the source of the child's cry, barely able to believe his eyes as he spotted a struggling bundle floating atop a piece of drift wood. With a strangled gasp, he staggered into the river, ignoring the fact that he was still fully clothed in his temple robes. Reaching out, he snatched the bundle up, tearing away the driftwood, and stumbling out of the cold waters.
Going to his knees, he unraveled what looked like a woman's undergarments and felt the breath sucked out of him as one of his fingers was grasped by the small hand of the baby boy within. Large yet serious amethyst eyes glared up at him, suspicious though swimming with tears and the child hiccupped and shook in fear and cold. He made little whimpering noises and Koumyo Sanzou felt his heart melt at the frightened look in those large eyes.
Extracting the child from the wet cloth, the monk tore a large chunk of his robe and wrapped the boy securely in it, saying gently, "There now. You'll be warm in a moment, little one. Dry those tears away for me, and I'll get you some warm milk in no time."
He frowned when he saw the red rosary beads around the child's neck, but kept it there. It was the child's and he had no right to take it away. "Beads of protection," he commented more to himself than to the child. "These have the essence of love, little one. You should cherish it."
He held the baby boy close, unable to stop himself when he nuzzled the baby's fine golden blond strands. He had never seen such a beautiful baby before, with such eyes that held so much power for one so little. It was as if the gods up in the heavens had made sure that he would find the beautiful child. Koumyo Sanzou was a stubborn man, but he was not one who fought with fate. He would not forsake the child.
When the baby boy whimpered again, Koumyo Sanzou looked down at him and smiled, "My name is Koumyo Sanzou, little one. Don't worry, I'll take care of you." He looked to the river and said, "You need a name though. A name befitting you until you earn another one."
He looked down at the child in his arms and said, "Kouryo. What do you think?"
The baby wrinkled his little nose in distaste.
Koumyo Sanzou threw his head back and laughed at this display, and started walking back toward the temple, his arms holding baby Kouryo protectively to him. "I see you do not like it. But maybe when you have grown some I will give you another name. When you have grown and gained some strength to back up that look in your eyes."
He let baby Kouryo grasp one of his fingers and watched in amusement as the little baby boy squealed in delight and shoved the digit into his mouth, chewing and sucking at it hungrily. "What a strong boy you are," he said adoringly as the baby boy blinked up at him.
And Koumyo Sanzou left the riverbank to his temple; carrying the baby he named Kouryo, unknowing what fate had handed to him in such a little bundle.
"Down the river, my love, find life and live it so that you can die with no regrets. Live, my love, for your father and mother who never got a chance to. And…and perhaps by chance…we might meet again."
So, what do you people think? Please throw me a line.