Author: reiko PM
When Cho Hakkai decided to pick up and spend a night with a girl from a brothel house, he never gave much thought about it. One night, that’s all. But fate decided to intervene. Now, they suddenly found themselves with her & tangled up in her dark past.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Drama - Words: 15,735 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-05-02 - id: 952058
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary:When Cho Hakkai decided to pick up and spend a night with a strange gray-eyed girl from a brothel house, he never gave much thought about it. One night, that's all. But then, fate decided to intervene. Now, Cho Hakkai, Genjo Sanzo, Sha Gojyo and Son Goku suddenly found themselves traveling with the girl and completely tangled up inside her dark past.
Warnings:Explicit and extreme languages and some adult contents are present.
Author's notes:Hi everybody! First and foremost, I am completely new in the fandom, awright? My Saiyuki Muses called (I just discovered that I had one ^_^) and so, here I am! So basically this is my first Saiyuki fic. Please be nice. I've decided to write an AU fic since I'm currently following the series in AXN Asia, that means I don't have any idea of the ending yet.
I just wanted to let everybody know that 1) This fic is non-yaoi! Although I enjoy reading yaoi fics, I really, really can't write one. 2) This is my first Saiyuki fic and I'm not yet that familiar with them, especially the technicalities. 3) There may be some grammar or typo errors I may have missed somewhere. I haven't taken a beta-reader for Saiyuki since most of my beta-readers are in the HP fandom. So if anybody's interested, just e-mail me. Your services will be greatly appreciated ^_^
I deeply apologize if the chapter seem long. I do hope that people won't find this boring. It's just that I love reading long chapters so naturally, I write long chapters as well.
Oh and special thanks go to sf and Leviathan2001. They were actually the ones who inspired me to write my own Saiyuki fanfic. Thank you so much!
Desert Rose I – The Scarred Lady
"Na, Sanzo!" lamented the eighteen-year-old saru who was lounging about lazily in the back seat of the Jeep, a pout of utmost despair written across his genki face. "I'm hungry! Let's stop and eat!" he said for the third time.
"Bakazaru!" came Sanzo's automatic reply. He smirked, his eyes traversing from the wide stretch of sand in front of them, as vast as the sea, to the near-to-fainting youth at the back of the jeep. His purple eyes narrowed evenly. "I don't want to waste any more time stuffing food inside your fucking stomach! We've already allotted five hours of our fucking time for that! "
"Urusai!" And a loud 'thwack' was heard as the corrupt monk's infamous paper fan landed squarely on top of Goku's head. The youth let out a loud cry of pain, his right hand mechanically flying up to rub the injured part in an attempt to soothe the stinking ache.
Gojyo snickered. "Baka ne!" he jeered, his voice, low but mean. He smiled nastily at the frowning Goku, his crimson eyes, gleaming with undenied cruel glee, a perfect match for its fury-rich color. "You should've known better than to piss off, Sanzo-sama," he added a little bit sarcastically, his voice lacking sympathy.
And another 'thwack' was heard.
Apparently, Genjo Sanzo didn't like the way Sha Gojyo said 'Sanzo-sama.'
"Ittai yo!" the overbearing kappa cried out, his hands going up as well to his blood-red hair. He turned to the beautiful blonde monk, his face scrunched with displeasure. "What was that for?"
"Hn!" Was Sanzo's only vague reply. (It was his indirect way of telling them 'figure it out yourself' @_@). He haughtily turned his back on them and focused his attentions on the road once more. Behind him, Goku and Gojyo, both earning the wrath of Sanzo's paper fan, started, yet again, one of their famous bickering, this time, they were arguing whose fault it was that sent 'paper fan' off for their heads.
"If not for you're stupid whining—" Gojyo started while gritting his teeth in annoyance.
"I wasn't whining! I'm hungry!" Goku countered, looking daggers at the older man's direction. "It's your fault, you stupid cockroach! Meddling into things you're not supposed to!"
And it was partly true.
At that realization, Gojyo's annoyance deepened. "Urusai!" he shouted, giving the boy a hard clomp on the head that sent another round of wails from the boy's lips. It was quite obvious that Goku hadn't still recovered from the fury Sanzo's paper fan had successfully inflicted on him. He turned to Gojyo, raising his right fist.
And with that, a stupid fight broke loose again, with Goku and Gojyo idiotically hitting and smacking each other with their hands. Gojyo thought about taking his weapon, his beloved shaku jou, out to make things more exciting and 'effective' but then, such a prospect would surely prove to be useless. Gojyo may not be fond of Goku's incessant whining but he sure didn't hate the kid. And besides, using weapons during a fight with the saru was actually against Genjo Sanzo's unspoken rules. Breaking it would undoubtedly result to something very unpleasant, possibly with his head rolling on the ground, Goku laughing his ass off, Hakkai stupidly muttering or smiling or worse, cracking at the same time and Sanzo, in his immaculate priest robes, looking utterly evil with a bloody ax in his hands, his Smith and Wesson completely forgotten. But now that he thought about it, well, they were a bit lucky, as a matter of fact, considering that Sanzo permitted them to hit and slug each other occasionally. That is, without the special aid of their weapons, of course.
Hakkai let out one of his patient, paternal smiles upon hearing the familiar, noisy squabble behind him. "Maa, maa," he uttered soothingly as though he was talking to a bunch of naughty five year olds. He decided to concentrate on the road. He didn't need to look behind him to see what sort of mayhem the two boys were making. Spending most of his time with them, he already had a mental image of what they must have looked like stuck inside his brain to last him a lifetime. He turned to Sanzo momentarily and saw an irritated vein popping at his right temple. His pulse quickened rather nervously. "Let's not get excited, kudasai. It's not wise to provoke any--"
Suddenly, there was a click.
Goku and Gojyo immediately stopped as the cold, silver nozzle of Sanzo's Smith and Wesson greeted their bewildered faces. Obviously, the paper fan was already old news.
And stared some more.
No words were needed. Seeing the gun poised for attack plus the cold, piercing violet eyes that said 'I'm not kidding. I'm gonna shoot you', the two boys quickly surrendered, dropped their hands and turned away. Gojyo facing left, an irritated frown on his face at the thought of being bullied by a man a little older than him and Goku facing right, his chin against his hand, sulking angrily. Hakkai sighed tiredly. He was afraid something like this would happen.
It wasn't really a wonder why Sanzo, Goku and Goyjo were feeling extra cranky that particular day. They've been travelling for three, straight days, stopping only to sleep and buy some food and supplies from a passing traveling merchant, which they luckily chanced upon. The sun was high and it was sweltering hot. The terrible heat was getting into everybody's nerves, not to mention, the rows and rows of sand and sand dunes all around them. There was no sign of life. Not even a village was in sight. That last thought suddenly worried him. They have little food left with them and he knew how Goku's stomach tend to function when hungry… At that rate, if they couldn't find a village sooner, then—
Hakkai blinked, his thoughts shattered. He looked up only to see Goku peering at him with wide, concerned eyes. He was leaning forward, holding onto Sanzo's shoulders for support. "Hai?" he asked, his usual smile lighting up his face. He momentarily turned to Sanzo and he could see that the monk wasn't pleased at the younger boy's touch. He 'harrumphed and hastily shoved Goku's hand away, causing the saru to fall over. Hakkai chuckled and helped him up.
"Why did we stop?" Goku asked once he regained his composure. He looked at Hakkai curiously.
"Are?" Hakkai muttered. He looked behind him only to see Gojyo staring at him with the same curious eyes Goku had. Just then, much to his surprise, he didn't feel the sweet purr of Jeep's engine beneath him. So he did stop. Why? He smiled. "Gomen ne, I didn't realize… I was just thinking of something," he said apologetically.
"And what might Cho Hakkai be thinking seriously to forget driving, hmm?" Gojyo asked. There was an evil glint in his eyes. He leaned forward, grinning meaningfully. "Care to share, Hakkai?" he asked, his voice smooth. "I may be of some help there."
Hakkai chuckled. "Oh, it's not what you think it is, Goyjo," he replied without losing the smile. "I was just thinking about—"
"He's not a pervert like you, 'ero-kappa!" Goku quipped. He sneered, oblivious to the vein popping and twitching on Gojyo's temple, a sign that the water demon was near to losing his thinning patience. "You are so—"
"Urusai!" Sanzo snapped irritably. Hearing the monk, Goku immediately shut his mouth, pouting. As much as he wanted to go on with the insult, he knew better than to ignore Sanzo's order. He didn't want to be inside Sanzo's black books especially at a time like this. Meanwhile, Sanzo tore his seething gaze from Goku and turned to Hakkai, his face emotionless. "You were saying something?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," Hakkai began, his hands leaving the steering wheel momentarily only to let his fingers rake against his fine, dark hair. "I was just thinking that we should get to a village and fast. We don't have much supply left. If we don't get to a village today or by tonight, I am afraid our food won't last." Then he turned to Goku who was already looking near to tears. "So Goku, it would be very helpful if we economize a little, all right?"
"Serves you right, you brat," muttered Gojyo under his breath. "From the way you're eating, I be wouldn't surprised if we suddenly find ourselves eating nothing but sand."
"Demo, Hakkai!" Goku protested, ignoring Gojyo completely. Food was more important to him anyway. "I'm—"
"Ittai yo, Sanzo!"
"Not another word, you two!" Sanzo scolded darkly, completely pissed with their predicament. Things were already looking bad, from what Hakkai just said. The last thing that he needed right now was a bunch of stupid boys, snapping and snarling at each other at the back of the Jeep like there was no tomorrow. Now this journey to the west to stop some stupid demons and collect sutras was beginning to feel like crap! He turned to Hakkai who was already re-starting the engine. "Let's get a move on then," he ordered.
And off they went.
Miraculously, the four men traveled rather peacefully for the next five hours. Hakkai drove amiably, apologizing and murmuring things to Hakuryuu now and then. Sanzo was still having the same emotionless mask on his face while reading his newspaper, having a smoke or two once in a while, whereas Gojyo made up his mind to burn his lungs up by having stick after stick from his second pack. Meanwhile, in order to 'economize' and stop his stomach from grumbling, Goku decided to cooperate by sleeping during the trip. Although his incessant drooling and snoring annoyed Gojyo and Sanzo to hell, still, the two men tolerated the saru. He was much better asleep than awake anyway.
Not long after, the sky darkened. The sun hid away to give way for the moon and the stars. They took their rightful places on the sky, shining brighter than ever that Hakkai had to look up momentarily and admire them. It was a beautiful night, he surmised. But it was clear that it wasn't so for his companions. By that time, Goku was already awake and so hungry. He sat straighter, his eyes widening.
"Na, Sanzo," he whined while rubbing his stomach pitifully. His voice was already breaking. "I'm hungry. I want to eat."
Hearing that and seeing the look the young saru gave him, Sanzo lost heart to tell the boy off. After all, the boy did his part and tried his best economizing. Instead, he looked away from him and fixed his gaze on Hakkai. "Stop. We're setting up camp," he ordered.
At that, Goku let out a whoop of utmost joy, as if he won the state lottery. Though indirectly, Sanzo had permitted him to eat. Finally! Gojyo, on the other hand, shook his head upon hearing the monk's callous bossiness. How the hell could Hakkai take all of these, he wondered, looking at the other man's cheerful smile. But then, knowing how much Hakkai disliked senseless arguing… he turned away, a faint 'Ch' coming out from his lips.
"Sanzo," Hakkai began, settling his gaze ahead. He decided not to stop and pull over. "I think I can see a village, just half a mile away." He frowned and squinted as Jeep moved forward. "Look, I think I already see some lights," he said, pointing at the faint glowering things ahead of them. It wasn't hard to miss since the desert was completely covered in darkness. "It would be wiser if we move on. I think we could reach that village in an hour or so, possibly in minutes."
"Yeah, it looks like a village," seconded Gojyo, squinting as well. "Thank god, we finally found one."
Sanzo looked on as well. Seeing Hakkai had a point, he nodded his approval and turned to Goku. "Oy, saru," he snapped. "Go and get me a beer."
Goku's face brightened even more for when Sanzo ordered to have some beer, it meant that he could also have all the food he wanted. He happily went onto the task, his hands expertly flipping the lid of their supplies box or whatever you call it open, fished out a can of beer, tossed it to the awaiting monk and went back to dig in something for himself. Gojyo, hearing the word beer, felt himself getting thirsty too. After Goku got his hefty number of provisions, emptying the box of food, Gojyo promptly slid his hand in and took another can of beer as well.
"Oy, Hakkai, how about you?" Gojyo inquired, popping his own can open. He took a large, satisfying gulp first before looking at Hakkai's direction.
Hakkai felt his expectant eyes on him. "Nah, Gojyo," he declined without looking back. "I'm not thirsty, anyway."
"Oh, I forgot you prefer sake more than beer," Gojyo commented while lighting another stick. Hakkai chuckled cheerfully, the thought of drinking all the sake he could later making his mouth water. He couldn't wait to set foot on the village even more.
After that, they spent the rest of the trip in silence with Goku munching and chewing all the way and Gojyo telling him off once in a while. (You are so disgusting, he said, eyeing Goku's face, his mouth all smeared with the curry sauce.) Sanzo finished the last and his second can of beer and was contentedly smoking beside the cheerful Hakkai.
As they neared the bright lights, faint cabin-like shapes and roof top silhouettes became suddenly visible. It meant houses, a bunch of them in the middle of the desert. So Hakkai's speculations were right. It was, indeed, a village. Hakkai heaved a thankful sigh as he saw the bustle of activity before them. He stopped the engine at the village entrance. All four of them climbed down and Hakuryuu, famously known as Jeep, upon feeling the heavy load off of him, promptly changed back into his original, cute dragon form. He flew up and circled the four men at first before taking his usual place on Hakkai's shoulders, nipping at his ear affectionately.
Hakkai turned to his companions, grinning happily. "Shall we?" He looked at Sanzo expectantly.
Sanzo harrumphed and haughtily led the way inside the village.
"What the fuck are you still doing sitting in there?"
Han Yui looked up and saw the ugly and burly man-owner of the pub peering at her through the thick curtain of the room, serving as its door. She turned around, placing her worn looking hairbrush on the rickety looking table once called a vanity in its earlier days. It was a clear, beautiful night. Time for business, as usual.
"I'm preparing myself as you ordered me to!" Yui snapped at him. She narrowed her gray-blue eyes at his direction, as if daring him to shout something vile at her. When the man sauntered furiously inside the room as his only reply, Yui swallowed hard and tried her best not to show her fright. Feisty as she was, she was not that strong to fight her way out of this brute especially when things get a little physical. Instead, she bit her lip to keep herself from saying anything bad or offensive.
"There is no need for you to fuss about your face!" the man growled at her, his height towering over her small and dainty body. "With that big, ugly scar across your cheek, I can't even understand why you're still popular with my regulars," he added nastily. At that cruel statement, Yui's lower lip began tremble, fighting back tears. Just then, the man's eyes turned from anger to something else, something she didn't like at all. She saw his eyes travel from her face to her body, a malicious gleam sparking from them. It was so lascivious and lewd that she felt his eyes boring though her cheap Chinese-silk dress. It disgusted her, as well as it scared her.
"Hm, I suppose other than that fabulous voice of yours, your eye-candy to them," he murmured as he inched towards her. "I wonder what that dress would reveal inside. I bet you," he raked his eyes over her body, lingering on her breasts then to her middle, "would cost a fortune. I believe you haven't had a man before?" He was already breathing hard, his face turning an alarming shade of red. After a moment of staring, he finally spoke, "How about I offer you a deal?" His hand flew up only to caress her soft, black tresses. Yui cringed away from the touch, abhorrence clearly written on her face. "Be a good girl and I will give you the best of everything."
"Don't you come near me!" Yui cried out, standing up abruptly. She backed away from the advancing man, her eyes narrowing even more, refusing to show the fear threatening to break loose inside her. Instead, she hardened her heart, took a deep breath and faced the man with forced calmness. "I swear, this time, if you touch me again, I will kill you," she muttered as the over-sized man trapped her against the wall. She turned away, her nose crinkling with disgust. The owner was reeking of alcohol and smelled very, very drunk.
"Oh yeah?" the man taunted, closing in the non-existent space between them but thankfully not touching. "With what, may I ask? Don't you remember I have confiscated the only weapon you had?"
"That's true, you may have taken my Naginata," she shot back, smirking. "But are you forgetting that I still have my hands with me? I haven't killed anyone before but there is a first time for everything, isn't it right?"
Remembering how those hands felt like the last time he attempted to harass her, the man snorted and reluctantly stepped back. She wasn't kidding though, she could really kill someone with just her bare hands, blinded with rage. Well although he could see that Yui hadn't made her first kill yet, he was not that happy to volunteer and be her first.
"Ch! You're not the only woman in the world anyway," he muttered darkly, walking away from her. Yui let out a relieved breath as the man decided to leave her alone. She slowly walked back towards her vanity, her knees still shaking with mixed fear and relief. She was about to take her seat when suddenly the man stopped and turned to her once again.
"You watch out, Han Yui!" came his big, loud voice. He raised an accusing finger at her direction, his eyes rich with fury at having been rejected. "I own you! Until you have paid every single cent those bastards you call as your parents owed me, you are my property." Then he sneered at her, seeing her hands clenched and unclenched due to anger. "And that means doing anything I say in terms of having profit. You keep that in mind!" And with that, the man angrily shoved the curtains away and stepped out.
Yui, alone at last, took several deep calming breaths. After the third inhale, she realized that this time, the action alone simply refused to work. She could still feel her chest tightening, burning with rage. With that, she picked up her brush and threw it angrily on the floor. It created a loud, clanking noise. And it felt good. She felt her chest expand a little. Then seeing the cheap cosmetics laid before her, she took a handful of them and hurled them on the cemented floor as well, smashing them, ignoring the little voice inside her head, telling her to stop and think about what Mao would do to her after seeing this mess. It shattered into tiny pieces and again, it felt good.
And after that, she resumed her meditated breathing.
Little by little, the furious ringing sounds in her ears drowned out, replaced by the noisy and boisterous laughter of the huge crowd, gathering just outside her small dressing room. It was the laughter of men and women alike, a very abhorrent and deafening combination to her senses. It was a laughter of men, all wanting of a woman for the night and women, all wanting to be paid in return for whatever satisfaction they could give them. She turned to her reflection once again and swallowed hard, fighting off the tears.
"How come nothing lasts forever?" she whispered to herself, her forefinger shooting up only to trace the nasty scar running along from her right temple to her cheek. It was the only flaw on her smooth, porcelain skin. Her lower lip quivered. How did she end up in this brothel anyway?
They used to be happy before. She was living happily with her parents and her twin brother. She was contentedly settled, having been the only daughter of the richest folk in the village and certainly one of the most beautiful, betrothed to a man she loved. She was once a princess in her father's eyes and an angel in her brother's. But things started to change. In a snap, she found herself penniless, rich in debt and alone.
It was the cruelty of fate.
She banged her fist on the table top angrily, making the surviving bottles and cosmetics tinkle and rattle with its force. If not for that demon--- Her gray eyes narrowed menacingly. Vengeance was shouting within her, so loud that she couldn't ignore it anymore. She gritted her teeth. Someday, she vowed darkly, her sense of vision not leaving her reflection, someday, if I ever get out of here alive, I will personally see to it that that demon will pay dearly for everything. Pay everything, every suffering he had caused me and my family with his life.
She had to be stronger.
And the scar on her face was a reminder of what happened that fateful day.
Now, it served as a reminder of what she must do.
"A brothel house?" Sanzo asked flatly upon seeing the trivial sign looming just above their heads. He raised an inquiring eyebrow at Hakkai for a moment before bringing his attentions back on the sign board again, crossing his arms across his chest. "A brothel house," he repeated, certain that he had read the sign correctly, his voice remaining passive and unfeeling.
He stood there, eyeing the cabin a little warily, ignoring the bustle of the nosy village people around them. He could feel every curious pair of eyes landing especially on him. After all, he was the highest-ranking monk in all of China and here he was standing in front of a BROTHEL house with a cheerful man, wearing a silly monocle on his right eye, a genki brat who looked like too young and innocent to pass as his son and a pervert kappa who was obviously drooling.
"Er--," Hakkai was now smiling quite nervously. He scratched his head and looked at the cheery establishment with its inviting lights twinkling and adorning the dark, wooden structure of the large cabin-like restaurant, pathetically trying its best to look frolicsome and tempting. "I suppose it is a— brothel house," he said a little hoarsely. He waited for Sanzo to say something but seeing the expression the grumpy monk gave him, Hakkai cleared his throat and decided to elaborate further. "It seems like this is the only place we can get something to eat. All of the other establishments are closed for the night." He sighed, his fingers automatically raking through his hair. "After all, it's late."
With that, Gojyo grinned happily. He craned his neck and saw the lively and wild activity waiting for them inside. He could already see the women, smell them, hear the loud music… with that, he rubbed his hands together, thanking his lucky stars. "And I suppose we don't have much choice, ne?" he coaxed, turning to his companions. When his eyes landed on Sanzo, his smile widened with anticipation. Just think! A monk inside a brothel! Now that's something you don't see everyday! What would the almighty Genjo Sanzo do now?
Goku looked on curiously. "Ne, Sanzo, what is a brothel?" he asked inquisitively, looking at the tall man without batting an eyelash. Sanzo, in return, fixed a seething look on him that told him to shut up. He turned away quickly and fixed his gaze on the brightly lit building, his eyes shining with childish glee. He hadn't been inside a brothel before, whatever that was. It looked like a happy, colorful place. So why was Sanzo frowning?
"A brothel is a place where you can get all the booze and all the women and all the sins of the world you want, chibi," replied Gojyo, ruffling Goku's hair fondly. Goku fixed his eyes on him, round and inquiring. With that sudden show of interest, Gojyo laughed. "Who knows, we might be able to find a woman for your first time," he added, winking mischievously.
At that, Goku blushed a furious shade of red. A vein throbbed on Sanzo's temple as he took out his paper fan and whacked the unsuspecting kappa hard on the head. Hakkai chuckled as Goku edged away from the monk and the water demon, who were obviously about to start a fight.
"What the fuck was that for?" demanded Gojyo while rubbing his soar head. He looked about frantically, checking for some signs of women around. What Sanzo did was really bad for his image. Seeing no girls around them, he heaved a sigh of relief and turned to the monk angrily. "What was that?"
"I will not have you corrupting this stupid saru as well!" Sanzo countered furiously. It was bad enough that they had a pervert, skirt-chasing kappa with them. Having two would make things worse. The last thing that he needed right now was to have another pervert, skirt-chasing saru with him on the trip.
"You call that corrupting? I was just merely telling him the truth! He asked and I answered!" Gojyo shouted back. "And besides, I don't see the big deal anyway. This stupid saru here is older than us! If not, then he's already eighteen, or so I've heard!" Then he raised a fist in the air. "He's already legal!"
"Hn!" Was only Sanzo's reply. He crossed his arms on his chest and turned defiantly away from him.
"I'm eighteen, I think," said Goku helpfully. He scratched his head rather stupidly. He couldn't even understand the big deal about his age and his being legal in this kind of thing! Finding no concrete answer to that, he shrugged and turned to Gojyo with furrowed brows. "Oy, Gojyo, you look kinda stupid with your arm raised like that."
"Maa, maa," Hakkai said. He couldn't think of anything else to say. Instead, he smiled and let his gaze wander on the brothel, waiting for Sanzo's decision.
"Shut it, brat! I'm trying to do you a favor here," muttered Gojyo darkly as he slowly lowered his arm. When Goku just shrugged again, he turned to Sanzo, smirking acidly. "Unless you have something rather 'endearing' going on inside your head for our genki, little cute, saru here," he suggested meaningfully.
With that, Goku's cheeks instantly went scarlet.
That sort of thing he understood— well, a little.
"One more word and I'll blow your fucking brains out," threatened Sanzo darkly, pointing his gun nozzle against Gojyo's temple. "Shinitai no ka?"
"Eh…" Gojyo gulped nervously, not moving. He forced out a strained and tension-filled laugh. "Can't Sanzo-sama take a joke?"
"Yare, yare, I think Goku's getting hungry again," said Hakkai out of the blue in an attempt to ease the building tension between the monk and the water demon. He turned to Goku only to see the young saru leaning quite exaggeratedly against a wooden post, his eyes teary, and his hands clutching his grumbling stomach. "Sanzo, I really think this time he's not faking it."
"Sanzo," Goku wailed feebly. "I want to eat or I'm gonna die!"
"Hn!" Sanzo snorted superciliously. He lowered his gun and placed it back inside his robe pockets much to Gojyo's relief. Turning to them with narrowed eyes, Sanzo tilted his head, gesturing for the door. They didn't have much choice. "Ikou zo!"
And with that, the four men trooped inside the brothel house. They pushed the double doors open and stepped inside. At the sight of a young boy, a happy man, a drooling a half-demon and a monk with a chakra on the forehead standing by the doorway, the bustling activity stopped momentarily. People stared at the new comers with their mouths hanging open, eyes wide. Hakkai looked around. The rowdy atmosphere suddenly went as still and as cold as ice. It was not uninviting but it was not welcoming either. They just… stared.
Sanzo remained indifferent while Gojyo looked around, scanning any prospective females to spend the night with. Hakkai decided to ignore the people and smile quietly, his good eye roaming around only to notice chairs and tables scattered everywhere with junk and bottles of beer and drinks cluttering them. Goku's golden eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight that greeted him. Everywhere he looked there were men of all shapes and sizes, red-faced, obviously sloshed and still drinking. There were women too, beautiful and in various state of undress. With that, his cheeks burned. He turned to his left only to see a blonde girl, not more than his age, wink at him suggestively. So this was what Gojyo was talking about earlier!
"People especially guests and travelers can be inconvenient at times," a sultry voice suddenly drawled at them.
Goku looked up only to see a voluptuous lady, dressed in red, sashaying her way towards them. Her lips were rouged, blood red in color and her dress, low, so low that it gave them a good view of her generous bosom. He blushed and gulped hard as the woman decided to place herself beside Sanzo. He looked up at Sanzo was surprised to see him looking so cool and unaffected. There wasn't even a single tint on his flawless cheeks.
"And now Genjo Sanzo decides to pay us a visit. I didn't know monks also prefer the company of women," she whispered boldly into his ear, leaning suggestively and placing her hand on top of his shoulder. Sanzo's facial expression didn't change. He remained cold and passive. "You want a woman after a long day's journey? I could get a clean, pure, untouched one for you, Sanzo-sama." She let her eyes roam from his face to his body. "You're handsome, quite unusual for monks to be, and I think you deserve some fun," she finally continued. Then she giggled coquettishly. "I promise I won't tell the gods."
"Get your fucking, dirty hands off my shoulder," muttered Sanzo darkly. He smirked, the scent of her cheap perfume wafting towards him. "I doubt I could get anything clean and pure here," he added, his eyes scanning the bordello with obvious disgust.
Seeing the murderous gleam in the monk's eyes, the woman pouted graciously and hastily took her hand back. Well, if she was scared, she had a good way of not showing it, Hakkai thought. For that, he gave her credit. Earning one of Genjo Sanzo's baleful stares and actually taking it quite graciously took a lot of guts. Instead, he saw the woman let out a disappointed sigh and place her hand haughtily on her hips, tilting her head to one side. It caused one of her dress sleeves to fall, exposing one creamy shoulder. By that time, the bawdy laughter and shouts finally resumed. "So what can I do for Genjo Sanzo and his friends then?" she asked loudly amidst the festive noise surrounding them.
"Now that was really smooth,"Gojyo grumbled mentally. He narrowed his eyes and felt like strangling Sanzo to death.
Goku remained still, the on going scene too much for his innocent eyes.
"All we want is to have a full meal, miss," replied Hakkai politely. "It seems like this is the only establishment open. Anou, we would really appreciate it if you could show us a table?"
Hearing the gentle voice, the woman turned her heavy, kholed eyes to his direction. "You seem to be nice one here," she commented graciously. "You can call me Kim if you want."
Hakkai smiled at her and bowed his head slightly. Seeing that, the woman's face brightened. The man was equally good-looking, she thought, and he looked nice despite the weird monocle on his right eye and the ridiculous looking dragon on his shoulder. Who knows, she was feeling a little generous tonight, maybe she could give him an extra time or two. But after a moment of just standing and smiling at her, she sighed with frustration. It was the kind of smile that said 'look but don't touch.' It was so polite that it was so unnerving.
"Are they all gay?"she found herself asking. Her eyes riveted from Hakkai to Goku, who was gaping and gazing stupidly around him as though seeing everything for the first time. "Too young," she assumed. She tore her gaze away from the genki boy and settled it on Gojyo. The moment her eyes met his, a coy smile suddenly curled her lips.
"Now this one's definitely straight,"she thought, giving Gojyo a wink and a smile. When Gojyo returned the suggestive greeting, she shook her head and turned, raising one delicate hand. "This way gentlemen," she said, walking towards a table not far from the bar. The four men followed her, ignoring the curious glances and stares the people gave them. "Best table in the house."
And indeed it was. The table was clean and completely spotless. The chairs, they noticed, are all fixed and not at all wobbly or rickety like the others. Sanzo took a seat first, followed by Hakkai who sat beside him. Gojyo and Goku took the two remaining seats across from the Sanzo. After seeing them all settled, Kim handed them the menu. Goku eagerly took it from her.
"What's with the favoritism, Kim-chan?" one man hollered. Hakkai and Gojyo both turned only to see an old man grinning obscenely at Kim's direction. "I can double up whatever they give you!"
"Oh, shut up, you old crow!" Kim snapped at him shrilly. The older man's grin turned to a disappointed frown but Kim paid him no heed. She turned her attentions back to Sanzo and his companions, a cheerful smile on her face as thought nothing was amiss. "I am feeling so damn good tonight that I will serve you myself," she said. She looked at their faces, expecting them to be grateful or something.
"Hn!" Sanzo turned away from her, a look of disgust plastered on his face as Goku started ordering everything stated on the menu. Kim immediately took out a small pad of paper and pen from her bosom and began writing.
"Arigato, Kim-san," said Hakkai politely. From the looks of it, Kim was the highest paid woman in the pub. Unlike the other girls, she got to choose whoever she wanted to do or to entertain. She was beautiful and very voluptuous and it was very clear that waiting on tables was not her task. He could feel the curious and jealous stares all around them. They were practically the envy of every man inside the pub. "Anou… Kim-san?"
Kim looked up, one perfect eyebrow raised inquisitively. "Hai?" she asked delicately, her right hand stopping momentarily.
"Anou… I was wondering," Hakkai began, looking around. "Is there any inn around here? We are travelers and we've been on the road for three straight days now. It would be really nice if you could recommend us a very fine inn. We wish to rest and stay for the night." He grinned boyishly at her. It was a natural grin as though he was used to doing it everyday, every single minute.
Kim sighed. Now, who could resist that smile? "Well, there aren't any good inns around here, I'm afraid. At least, not that good and comfortable enough for any paying customer," the woman replied thoughtfully. "But if you want, I could arrange the best room for you men in here." Then she giggled upon noting the bewildered looks Sanzo and his companions gave her (except Gojyo ^_~). "Hey, when I said 'room,' I meant 'only a room' with no girl or whatsoever!" she exclaimed.
"Ah, sou ka…" Hakkai murmured, scratching his head. He chuckled. "Gomen, gomen."
"Ordinarily, the best rooms in here are used for doing you-know-what," she continued on meaningfully, without a tinge of shyness. "But I can handle Mao-san. It'll be a breeze. Who knows, I could even get you a discount or something like that," she added airily.
"We have money. We don't need a discount," said Sanzo curtly. It was perfectly clear that he was a bit pissed at the girl's genkiness, not to mention, accepting 'charity' from a— well, a 'paid' lady. Such a thing was really unacceptable for the monk.
"Suit yourself," quipped Kim insensitively, shrugging her delicate shoulders. Then she turned to Hakkai then to Gojyo who was eyeing her appreciatively then back to Hakkai again. "Should you change your mind about having 'only a room,' just look for me and I'll take care of you real good, wakatta?" she said, her voice positively dripping with honey and unspoken promises of a 'very, very good night.'
"H— hai," Hakkai stammered, his smile cracking a little. "Arigato."
"I'll see you," Gojyo drawled, his voice surprisingly silky. Kim giggled at him.
"Can we have everything on the menu, Sanzo?" Goku asked suddenly. He placed the menu on top of the table and turned to the monk, deploying his lost, puppy-eye look. "Huh, Sanzo? Can we? Can we?" He tugged one of Sanzo's long sleeves for effect.
"Is he all right?" Kim asked, looking at Goku's direction.
"Don't mind him. He's stupid," said Gojyo suavely, turning on his charms. "He probably can't make up his mind that's why he decided to have all."
Kim's eyes widened.
"Not to worry though," said Hakkai quickly. "Goku can really eat everything you give him. As in everything," he assured her.
"Sanzo! Can we? Can we? Please…"
"Please? I'm so hungry that I could…"
"Urusee!" Sanzo finally grated, shoving the boy's insistent hand away from his already murdered and wrinkled sleeve. He took out his fan and mechanically whacked Goku on the head. Then he turned to the staring woman, his expression grim. "Give the saru everything he wants," he ordered. This thankfully shut Goku up. "And add a couple of beers and a bottle of sake too."
Kim momentarily stared at him to check if he was kidding. All that food? She turned to Goku who was now absolutely beaming. What kind of boy was he? All the food on the menu? But then, it would surely cost--
"Is there a problem with that?"
Kim blinked. Seeing the ominous look Sanzo gave her, she finally decided that no, the monk wasn't definitely kidding. She shrugged. Oh well, its there money anyway. "Iie." She shook her head. She picked the menu up while placing the small pad and pen back into her bosom. "One humongous meal coming up," she said. She gave Hakkai one appreciative, long lingering look before turning around to see to the task.
Once alone, Gojyo turned to Hakkai and sniggered. He picked a chopstick from their pile and playfully threw it onto the other man's direction. It hit Hakkai on the chest. "She likes you," said Gojyo, shaking his head.
"Maa, Gojyo." Was all Hakkai could think of saying. He shook his head, smiling with amusement.
"Why, Gojyo," quipped the now happy Goku. The man concerned turned his eyes on him questioningly. "Now, that's something new, isn't it?"
He frowned. "What?" Goyjo wanted to know.
"Kim-san liked Hakkai. Kim-san doesn't like you," replied Goku, smiling nastily. "Be careful ero-kappa. You've got some tight competition going on in here. Hakkai snared that woman without even trying." And with that, Goku laughed out loud. Apparently, the resident 'bakazaru' of the group perfectly knew the kappa's sensitive spot: his ego.
Gojyo's brows furrowed. "She likes me just fine," he countered, growling.
Goku grinned at him. "No, she doesn't."
Gojyo's eye twitched. "She does."
Goku didn't lose the insulting grin. He shook his head. "I don't think so."
Seeing that, a vein began popping out of Gojyo's temple. "Do you want to die, runt?" His voice was soft but dangerous.
Hakkai chuckled. "Look, Gojyo can have her if he wants to, all right?" he said soothingly. "I really saw the smile Kim-san gave him. She seems to be quite taken with him, Goku," he quickly added. He didn't particularly care much about Kim-san, really. "I personally think that Gojyo was just not that interested."
With that, Gojyo smiled with satisfaction. "There! You heard it from the man!" he said smugly.
"No she wasn't," Goku continued on cheerfully, looking at Hakkai. "And this pervert cockroach here was definitely interested." The saru was smiling but he looked stubborn as well. Hakkai sighed tiredly, finally giving up. There was just no use putting in some sense into Goku's brain especially if the boy had already made up his mind to be all annoying and troublesome.
"Why you little—"
"Both you, drop it!" Sanzo intervened, completely piqued . He fished his pack out from his robe pocket, deftly took a stick, placed it in between his lips and lit it. After the task, he threw his lighter on the table and took his first delicious drag.
"Oh, listen to Mr. I'm-so-cool-so-we-do-what-I-want," said Gojyo sarcastically. He grinned at him maliciously. "I have to say, nice work on the charm, Sanzo-sama," he quipped with rancor.
Sanzo turned his cold, violet eyes into his direction. "Baka ne." Was all he said before turning away disgustedly from him. Gojyo couldn't really tell what was more insulting: hearing that or being hit by the paper fan. But before he could reach a decision, three girls, not more than fourteen years of age, came to them carrying loads of dishes. Instantly, Goku's mouth began to water as the girls slowly laid the food before them. His golden eyes shone!
"Sugoi!" Goku exclaimed happily, eyeing the elaborately decorated 'feast' in front of him. He hastily took his chopsticks, snapping them into two. "Itadakemasu!" And with that, Goku quickly ate, his mouth rapidly chewing and taking all the food it could at the same time.
Gojyo shook his head, staring at Goku with disbelief. "He's a human vacuum cleaner, I tell you," he said as he too prepared to eat.
Hakkai laughed, taking his chopsticks as well. "As if you're not used to him being that way," he said, placing Hakuryuu on his lap. (Kyuu!) He let his pet dragon nibble some of his food while he ate his meal in small amounts, drinking his delicious sake once in a while.
It took the girls three rounds before all their food was served. By that time, Sanzo had finished already his cigarette. He sat straighter, took his chopsticks and ate nonchalantly. Not long after, silence dawned on the group as they busily ate their dinner, ignoring the activity around them. Only Goku's noisy chewing and smacking could be heard. Sanzo was about to get his second helping of the dumplings when suddenly, he stopped. He looked up only to see the other customers all getting momentarily silent as well. He frowned. What was going on?
Hakkai seemed to notice too for he looked up as well. "Are?" he asked, dumbfounded. And before he could utter another word, a sweet, melodious voice rang inside the still pub house. He looked around, searching for the beautiful, soothing voice.
And then he saw her.
She was sitting on a chair on the small wooden stage located a little to his left with three musicians behind her as her accompaniment. She had her eyes closed, her hands folded neatly on her lap, her mouth moving in time with the slow beat, murmuring the words of the song. She was singing an old love song and Hakkai heard it so many times, in fact so many times that he knew the lyrics by heart, but with her— With the girl singing it, it sounded completely different.
She wasn't just singing, she was singing from her heart, from her soul. Sitting there and listening to the heart wrenching song, Hakkai felt her pain, her sadness and it moved him— deeply. The words of the song, so very common, turned into something magical, something special when uttered by her. Hakkai stared at her, his eyes roaming around her face only to notice the nasty scar across her cheek but nevertheless— He swallowed hard and took a deep, fascinated breath, ignoring the scar. She kept her eyes closed, making it easier for people to stare at her and feel her music. He was completely under her spell.
Gojyo's eyes narrowed in scrutiny, the sweet melody enveloping him, shuddering him to his soul. The girl wasn't that bad looking, he surmised. She looked seventeen or eighteen, on the verge of womanhood. The only flaw he saw was the ugly scar across her creamy cheek. He let his expert eyes roam around her body and quickly assessed that whatever bad imperfection the scar gave her, her dainty form was able to compensate for it.
She had a well developed body, clearly made for pleasure and someday for babies. Even the long and modest Chinese dress on her couldn't hide the firmness of her breasts, the perfect roundness of her hips. She wasn't beautiful at first glance, unlike Kim-chan, but there was something else, something deeper. It was hard to explain but the girl had an attractive quality about her. The voice was only plus, a finishing touch to the unusual loveliness before them.
And he felt lust. Sheer, strong lust.
He tore his gaze away from the woman in order to stop the impish thoughts raging inside his head. Instead, he focused his attentions to his companions only to see them also staring. Even Sanzo was looking at her, his usual cold, cruel face, turning a little soft, almost misty. Goku stopped eating for a minute, which was really impossible while Hakkai— He shook his head, smirking. Hakkai was completely drawn, mesmerized. Gojyo chuckled softly and decided to take a large gulp of his beer as the last words of the song drowned out.
There was momentary silence and then an applause. Slowly, she opened her eyes. Hakkai's eyes widened as the most unusual colored orbs that landed on his green ones. The woman had startling blue-gray eyes! He stared at her. She stared back. Apparently, he was the first person she saw after singing her first number.
"Another round, Yui-chan!" hooted one of the men, whistling and clapping exuberantly. "More! More!"
After the initial appreciation, the rest of the men joined in with their loud applause and hoots. The singer called Yui tore her gaze away from Hakkai and granted her audience a tight-lipped smile. She stood up, bowed slightly and left the stage without another word. Groans of disappointment soon followed. The rest of the women, their made up faces strained, tried their best soothing and relaxing their frustrated clients to keep them from leaving.
"Maa, that girl sure has some attitude," Kim blatantly said as she made her way towards them. She winked at Gojyo's direction. "Everything all right here? Do you need anything?" she inquired solicitously. She was acting as the gracious hostess, and this was her party.
"Ch!" Sanzo turned away and focused his attention back to his meal. He tried his best to remain indifferent after the soul-searching performance a while ago.
"Ne Hakkai, that was a very beautiful song, wasn't it?" Goku asked in between mouthfuls. "She has a very lovely voice."
Hakkai smiled at him. "Hai, sou desu ne," he said. Goku looked at him then to Hakuryuu who gave out a satisfying purr or something. Even the little dragon seemed awed with the performance.
"So that girl," Gojyo began as he filled his glass with beer for the third time. "What is her name?" he asked casually. It was clear that Gojyo wanted to start a conversation.
Taking the question as a sign of invitation, Kim pulled a vacant chair and sat beside Sanzo. The monk, in turn, looked at her with obvious irritation but she decided to ignore him. She purposely propped both of her elbows on top of the table, placed her chin on her hands and pouted, much to Sanzo's aggravation.
"She's Han Yui and she's been here for three years already," Kim replied promptly. Then she shook her head. "I really don't know what happened but I think she was forced to work in this place. I've heard that her parents owed Mao, the owner of this pub, a lot of money and you know, the usual story follows. Girl goes to brothel and work, pays the debt, so forth, so on," she babbled on like a reporter, her hands flailing delicately in the air in gesture.
"Sou ka," Hakkai murmured, looking at the now empty stage. Then he turned to Kim who was exchanging flirting glances with Gojyo. Gojyo was her favorite now. "Anou, Kim-san."
"Hai?" Kim reluctantly tore her playful gaze from Gojyo.
"Why does she have a scar on her face?"
Kim raised her eyebrows. "That," she said, shaking her head. "I don't know." Then she rolled her eyes heavenwards with exasperation. "She wouldn't tell anybody about that scar. No matter how my girls press her or ask her about it— Well, apparently, the novelty wore off and we decided to just leave her alone. Good riddance to her and to her scar-- or whatever that is." When Hakkai turned to the stage once more, she smiled knowingly. "Do you like her?" she asked lightly.
"Nani?" Hakkai whipped his head and faced her, surprised.
"I believe Yui-chan hadn't had a man before," she continued, ignoring the blushing Goku and the near-to-exploding Sanzo beside her. "If you want, I can arrange something for you though the price would be quite high." Then she leaned forward, gesturing for Hakkai to do the same. "Do you see that man over there?" she asked, pointing one slender finger on the table a little far to their right.
Hakkai stupidly squinted at the direction she was pointing at. He saw a burly man, smiling and rubbing his fat hands rather greedily. The burly man was talking to a fat and equally big customer, flanked by three young girls. "Uh, hai," he replied quite unsurely.
"Now the man standing there was Mao," she whispered. "He is the owner of this place and controls most of the girls here. Now, that man he is talking to is a prospective customer for Yui-chan. Apparently, he was so mesmerized that I've heard that he was willing to pay five hundred gold pieces for a night with her." Then she smirked with subtle envy. "Of course the price would get higher, after all he would be her first time."
"Disgusting," Sanzo murmured.
Kim frowned at him. "What is your problem?" she demanded irritably.
"Ne Sanzo, what does she mean when she said the price would get higher because it would be her first time?" Goku suddenly interjected.
Kim laughed boisterously.
And it infuriated Sanzo even more. He looked at Goku, his eyes turning stone cold. The monk looked like he was about to kill. "I will explain everything later, bakazaru," he replied through gritted teeth and twitching eyes. Then he turned to the laughing woman. "Oi, we will not pay for your stupid company for tonight and don't you dare charge that to our account or else," he added, his voice promising a number of unimaginable things should she decide to charge them for her 'services.'
"Boy, you sure are stingy!" she grumbled, her rouge lips curling again into a small pout. "I thought you monks are good people?"
"Oh, this one's an exception," Gojyo quipped deliberately.
"Genjo Sanzo's a very special monk," supplied Hakkai, good-naturedly, the deal about Yui already forgotten.
The woman sighed. "No matter. It's on me," she said brightly. Then she smirked at Sanzo's direction. "You sure are lucky to have nice and good-looking men for company, Sanzo-sama. Ordinarily, I wouldn't give travelers like you a rat's ass."
And with that, Kim stood up and flounced away from them, no doubt, to entertain another customer. Gojyo followed the provocative sway of her hips, chuckling. "Cocky, isn't she?"
"She's an air head, fickle-minded, noisy creature," quipped Sanzo. He pulled out a cigarette from his pack to begin his habitual after-dinner smoking. "Baka ne!" he murmured while lighting the slender cigar stick stuck between his lips.
"I think she's beautiful," said Goku without much thought while stuffing the last pork bun into his mouth. So far, he had managed to wipe every single one of the plates clean and spotless. Then he groaned out, rubbing his stomach. "Oh, I'm so full! I'm feeling sleepy."
Gojyo was about to say something unpleasant to the saru when Hakkai abruptly stood up. Gojyo raised his eyebrows at him questioningly. "Ne, Hakkai, where are you going?" he asked curiously.
"Toilet," replied Hakkai, leaving Hakuryuu behind. "I'll be back." And with that, he pushed his chair back and zigzagged his way across the crowded floor, looking for the toilet. He stopped and asked a blushing young girl for directions, nodded and thanked her politely. He continued on, turned left, entered a narrow, faintly lit passage, passed two doors to his right and was about to reach the door in front of him with a sign that read 'Men's Toilet' when he suddenly heard furious voices a behind him. Frowning, he stood there and listened for a while.
"You will do as I say and when I say you sleep with that man, you will sleep with that man!" Mao exploded inside the dressing room, two doors away from the pub's toilet. He looked at Yui, his face, red and menacing.
"No I will not!" Yui shouted back at him. "There is no way in this world that I will be like your whores in here, Mao! I am more than them!"
With that, Mao furiously made his way towards her, raised his hands and slapped her hard on the face. Yui's eyes widened at the unexpected pain it gave her. At first, she stared at him, not sure if she was in a dream or not but when the pain gradually increased, her lower lip trembled. Her left hand automatically flew up to touch her sore cheek. There was another gleam in her eyes now and it was nothing but fear.
Hakkai's eyes widened. Was that a slap he heard?
"That man paid me five hundred gold pieces for you, you bitch! Now, if you want to leave this place, I suggest that you be a good girl to him. Who knows, he might buy you from me and take you as his mistress," Mao growled at her.
Yui remained still, her eyes glazed.
Mao took deep calming breaths. "Now you go get yourself ready," he rasped finally. He slid his thick hand inside his left trouser pocket, fishing out a small piece of neatly folded paper. He laid it on the vanity table, his eyes not leaving Yui. "I suggest that you take a little of this before facing your first man. I guarantee you it would help." And with that, he strode away from her, leaving her alone.
Hakkai, upon hearing the heavy footsteps getting nearer, hastily opened the toilet's door and stepped inside. Now that was really terrible, he thought, standing in the darkness. What kind of a place was this? They treated women like fresh meat, sold to the highest bidder. And Yui— His frowned deepened at the thought of her spending her first night with an ugly man too old to be her father. Instantly, he felt sorry for her. Her first night and her first time should be a special night for her, right? Just like any other maiden. "Just like Kana," his subconscious mind said. She didn't deserve any of this! He couldn't take it! Without thinking, he yanked the door open, stepped outside and stormed his way back to his companions.
Gojyo was the first to see him approaching. "Oi, Hakkai, I was wondering—"
"Sanzo, may I have your credit card, kudasai?" Hakkai asked as soon as he reached their table. He ignored the baffled look Gojyo and Goku gave him. Instead, he looked at Sanzo grimly, the usual smile grazing his lips completely gone.
"Are?" Gojyo frowned, looking from Sanzo to Hakkai then back to Sanzo again. "What is this? Hakkai?"
"Sanzo?" Hakkai asked, this time softly.
The monk stared at him at first as though reading him thoroughly. Then after a moment, he snorted and decided to hand him the plastic money. "Are you sure that it's the right thing to do?" he murmured flatly, much to Goku and Gojyo's confusion. It was quite obvious that Hakkai and Sanzo were the only ones who knew what was happening.
Hakkai smiled gratefully. "Hai! Arigato, Sanzo." And with that, he turned around and quickly made his way towards the burly man known as Mao. He found him in deep conversation with the man who paid five hundred gold pieces for Yui. Stopping behind him, he cleared his throat and lightly tapped Mao on his shoulders.
Mao whipped his head around, annoyed at being interrupted. "What?" he growled.
Hakkai grinned at him. "Anou, sumimasen," he began politely. He looked at Mao then to Yui's prospective customer. He was right, the man was certainly too old and too ugly for her. "I was wondering if it's not too late to bid for Yui-chan's time for tonight," he continued. He hated saying that about the girl but he had no other choice.
At that, Mao's expression changed from irritation to an overly accommodating smile. "Oh, I see," he said, his voice getting oilier by the minute. It disgusted Hakkai to the bone. "It seems like my dear Yui-chan has captivated two men tonight. Quite a surprise."
"And what have you got, boy?" the other man interjected rudely. He looked at Hakkai from head to foot. "I've already paid five hundred pieces of gold, surely that's the biggest offer Mao have for Yui." Then he turned to Mao, smiling. "I may raise it, you know, considering that Yui's still a virgin."
"Oh, indeed, indeed sir," Mao quickly answered, rubbing his hands again. "She is. No man, even before."
Hakkai smiled at him as his reply. He fished his hand out of his pocket only to reveal the credit card Sanzo gave him. It shone against the bright lights of the cabin, making Mao's jaw drop in awe. "Whatever that is, I'll double it," said Hakkai.
And he smiled.
"Saa, I am wondering how Hakkai's doing right now," Gojyo lamented that night in their room. He thought about the self-righteous, polite man spending a night with a woman, probably getting laid for the first time in a hundred years or so. "Ch! Some people could be so lucky," he murmured a little enviously.
He smiled and leaned back comfortably on his bed, his hands behind his head, a lit cigarette between his lips. He turned to the bed next to him and saw Goku already fast asleep, drooling and snoring away to dream land. He sighed, enjoying the feel of the soft silk robe against his cleansed skin.
Truly, Kim outdid herself again. True to her word, she gave them the best room the house could offer and in such a very, very low price. The room was spacious and faintly illuminated. It has three comfortable beds, a couch built for two near the medium-sized window, a closet with spare silken robes, a little writing desk at the other corner, cluttered with all their things and a small private bathhouse. It was so nice and comfy that even Sanzo couldn't resist taking it, considering that it was Kim, the 'paid' woman who secured the room for them.
Gojyo sighed again, letting the smoke waft against his face. It really felt good to be clean again, he thought. Thank god, Kim found them in the nick of time, if not then where the hell could they be right now?
"Oi, you're dripping water all over your pillow," said Sanzo suddenly. His voice was surprisingly light. Being clean could really do wonders, Gojyo surmised.
The water demon looked up and saw the monk emerging from his bath. He had on a white silk robe, a towel in his hand, furiously rubbing his still wet hair to dry. Out of the priest robes and the spandex, Sanzo's beauty surfaced even more. His crimson eyes followed the monk who gracefully made his way towards the desk, shoving the clutter of guns and glasses on it aside in search for his own lighter and pack.
"Why did you allow Hakkai to do something like that?" Gojyo asked after a moment. He took a long, delicious puff, savored the smoke inside his lungs before exhaling it out loudly.
Sanzo merely raised his eyebrows. "Fucking curious kappa! Won't let me alone!" He sat on the chair, crossed his legs and began lighting his own cigarette as well. He took his first drag, filling his lungs with the health-abusive smoke, relishing it before taking it out. He repeated the process, this time a little faster.
"Oi, Sanzo," Gojyo called after the stillness. He finished his own stick.
"Nan da?" Sanzo barked, taking his last puff as well. He placed his cigarette butt on the ashtray, pressing it face down to put its lighted tip out. Then he stood up and made his way directly towards his bed beside Goku's. He laid down, pulling the covers to his waist, his hands automatically going behind his head.
"About Hakkai," Gojyo started. "Doushite, Sanzo?" he asked, softly.
There was a momentary silence. Just then, Sanzo snorted and turned on his side, his preferred sleeping position. "Fuck off, Gojyo," he said sharply but not unkindly. "I'm tired. I want to sleep." And with that, he turned his own lamp off and closed his eyes.
Gojyo smirked as he too decided not to press the sleepy Sanzo any longer. There was something definitely going on inside Genjo Sanzo's complex brain surely. And what it was? He intended to find out soon. Bus as of now-- He laid down on his bed properly as well, pulling the covers up to his waist. Muttering out a faint good night, Gojyo reached out, put his own lamp out and closed his eyes, waiting for sleep.
Yui sat alone in the first-class inn, waiting, feeling so afraid and so furious. She decided not to turn on any lamps and due to that, the room was enveloped in total darkness, the moon outside of the window her only light. She bit her lip to keep herself from crying. If she wanted to be strong, then she must not cry. Crying was the first sign of being weak. Instead, she sighed and took a deep, brave breath.
Moments later, she would make love to a hateful stranger and she felt nothing but anger, fear, all jumbling up inside her. She felt scared— and she hated herself more for it. This wasn't the kind of first night she had envisioned for herself to have when she was on the verge of puberty. She dreamt of making love, giving all her firsts, body and soul to a man she loved. She fantasized something intimate and special… She swallowed hard, remembering the hateful stranger who bought her. He was ugly. Too big and too old for her.
"Maybe it would be better if I just ask him to leave the lights off?"she asked herself. She couldn't possibly 'perform' with an ugly face up close, could she?
Just then, her eyes landed on the folded paper Mao gave her earlier. Seeing it, she laughed without humor. It was opium. "Does he think that I will ever forget this horrible night by taking drugs?" she asked herself. With disgust, she placed the opium inside the drawer of the little night table beside the bed. She was about to go to the room's private bathroom when suddenly the door creaked open. Instantly, her heart gave a loud, nervous jolt.
"He's here,"her brains hissed at her.
"Anou…" The door closed gently.
Yui frowned at first. Boy, he sure has a gentle voice for a brute. Swallowing hard, she turned around, ready to face her fate. She was about to bow politely but the sight that greeted her made her eyes widen in surprise. Standing before her was the gentle-looking man she saw earlier inside the pub. What was the meaning of this?
Hakkai smiled at her silhouette politely. "Anou… am I inside the right room?" he asked, looking around. "Why is it so dark in here?" he murmured to himself.
Reluctantly, relief washed over her. Well, at least her 'man' improved. She'd rather make forced love to this sweet looking man than that horny old goat. But then, the entire situation wasn't at all different, right? He also paid for her just like the other man. And she never felt so— cheap. Her face hardened at the thought. What in the world happened then? Where was the other man?
"Ch! This man probably doubled or tripled up the price,"she thought furiously. She didn't know whether to feel flattered or not. She shook her head.
When she felt the man feeling his way around in the dark, she hesitantly decided to reach out and deftly turn the little lamp on. It cast a soft orange glow, illuminating the room. She cast her eyes down, bowing politely, just the way Kim taught her how to. "I'm Yui," she said in a tiny, shy and nervous voice. She kept her eyes on the floor so as not to show the man the rage slowly building up inside her.
With that, Hakkai's smile widened. "Yokatta, I'm in the right room," he said softly. "At first I thought I came inside the wrong room. There were men guarding the door and—"
"Mao ordered them to stand guard. He was afraid that I would run away," she cut in stiffly. Still, she refused to look up.
"Oh, sou ka," murmured Hakkai thoughtfully.
Then an awkward silence settled inside the room. Hakkai cleared his throat and was about to take a seat when Yui suddenly spoke. "Would you like to have a warm bath first?" she asked. "I could prepare one for you."
At the sound of a warm bath, Hakkai smiled at her gratefully. He just couldn't say no to a warm bath now, could he? "You won't mind?" he asked uncertainly. Yui momentarily looked at him and smiled. Then she hurriedly looked down. Seeing that as an approval, Hakkai sighed with pleasure. "Arigato, Yui-san."
The woman nodded and hastily walked towards the private bathroom. After several minutes of waiting and humming, Yui finally called him, telling him his bath was ready. Hakkai stood up and walked towards the small bath house. Inside, Yui was waiting for him with a towel and a silken robe in her hands. Hakkai slowly took the bath things from her, thanked her softly and was about to enter the enclosed separate room to undress when suddenly Hakuryuu let out a soft cry.
"Oh, gomen Hakuryuu, I seem to have forgotten about you," said Hakkai, giving the little dragon an apologetic smile.
"I could take care of him," Yui said shyly. Hakkai looked up and for the first time, he saw her face properly. "That is, if you want me to?" she quickly added.
With that, Hakuryuu flew from his shoulder, circled the room once and landed on top of Yui's small ones. The dragon gave her ear an affectionate nip before settling comfortably against her, burying his face in her hair. This made Yui giggle, her gray-blue eyes turning a sparkling shade of silver. Hakkai laughed.
"He likes you," he said as Yui raised a hand to pet Hakuryuu adoringly. The dragon let out a soft low, purr-like sound. It was contented.
"I've always wanted a someone like Hakuryuu," she murmured, giving the dragon a tiny kiss. She seemed to have forgotten some of her nervousness. Hakuryuu let out a low contented rumbling like sound from deep within his long throat. Then she looked up, meeting his eyes for the first time. "Don't worry, I'll take good care of him."
"Arigato, Yui-san," said Hakkai. He politely smiled at first before stepping inside the small cubicle. Seconds later, he stepped out, wearing nothing but the bath robe she gave him. Yui blushed and hastily took his clothes with her.
"Call me if you need anything," she managed to say before closing the door softly. Alone at last, Hakkai took the robe off and soaked himself luxuriously on the tub's warm, foamy and bath oil-rich water. He leaned back and closed his eyes.
It never did occur to him that he had actually missed this. Being taken care of, that is. When Kana was still alive, she would always see to it that he would have a big breakfast every morning, a delicious satisfying lunch and a scrumptious dinner and a warm bath waiting for him everytime he would come home from work.
"Those days were good," he thought. He wondered, would he even meet someone like Kana? Probably not. It wasn't the ladies actually. The problem was with him. Ever since Kana's tragic death, Hakkai had vowed never to let someone in again, well at least for the time being. But then, he found himself frowning. It was a long time ago, wasn't it? Then why—
He shook his head and sigh. He was thinking nonsense again. Finding no real answer to that, he forced such thoughts away from his mind and decided to just concentrate on his bath. He let his mind wander. He thought about Sanzo, Gojyo and Goku. He thought about their journey, he thought about Kougaiji and his minions, Yaone and the kawaii Lilin whose main chief in life was to annoy Sanzo to his death… he thought about anything, anything but Kana and before he knew it, his bath water had already turned cold.
"Has it been that long?" he asked himself, standing up, sloshing water all over the place. A pleasured sigh escaped his lips upon feeling himself all clean. He stepped out of the tub and dried his body with the soft, fluffy towel. Since when was the last time he felt like a true human being? Chuckling, he draped the robe around his body, tied the sash securely in place and stepped out the bathroom.
Hearing the soft creaking of the door, Yui abruptly stood up. She saw the now happy Hakkai, rubbing his wet hair dry with the towel. "Do you need anything else?" she asked solicitously.
"Oh, no, thank you, I was just—" suddenly he broke off. Standing before him was Yui, now dressed in silken robes similar to his. She had her hair down and she was biting her lip, looking at him shyly. And she never looked charming. He gulped and for the first time in his life, he didn't know what to say! He cleared his throat awkwardly. How could he tell her everything? The last thing that he wanted to do was to insult her and looking at her, half-dressed, all ready for— He gulped. "Anou… I have to--"
"Would you like to have some sake first?" Yui asked quickly, sensing his discomfort. The man was a virgin too? Unbelievable, she thought. She sat down before the table, the sake bottles all ready and waiting.
Seeing no other choice, Hakkai decided to take the seat across from her. Maybe if he got slightly intoxicated, he would be able to tell her that he didn't wish to sleep with her. "What would she think of me if I say that to her?" He found himself wondering.
Yui handed him his cup and filled it. "Arigato," he said before taking a sip. Instantly, the familiar, sweet liquid coursed through his throat only to settle inside his stomach. He smiled with gusto, emptying the cup completely.
"I've put Hakuryuu on the couch," said Yui, filling his cup with the sake once again. Hakkai turned around and saw Hakuryuu snoozing quite comfortably on the soft couch. Yui had even provided a small pillow for him and the little dragon was leaning against it quite comfortably. "And you're clothes are inside the closet."
Hakkai merely nodded and took another gulp. Not long after that, he had already finished his first bottle. He turned to Yui who was now looking at him curiously. "May I ask you something?" he said.
Yui raised her eyebrows at him. "What is it?" she asked, while opening the second bottle. She filled Hakkai's cup once again with the potent stuff.
"How come you have such a very beautiful voice?"
At that, Yui's eyes widened. She stared at him, too surprised for words. Hakkai smiled at her reaction. "I greatly enjoyed your performance a while ago, Yui-san," he said after taking a little sip of his sake. He put his cup down gently, not losing the sweet smile. "You are very talented."
Yui blushed. She looked down, a small smile lighting up her face. "Oh, well, thank you," she squeaked. This was actually the first time somebody praised her for her voice without sounding malicious or nasty. And it felt good.
She stole a peek at him under lowered lashes and saw him smiling down on her. She hurriedly looked away as Hakkai decided to focus his attentions outside, gazing at the bright moon. Until that moment, the thought about that 'hateful stranger' was slowly forgotten. Instead, she looked at the man with renewed curiousity. He was always smiling. Why?
"Anou," she began softly. Hakkai brought his eyes on her once again, his eyebrows raised in question. Seeing the mild interest on his face, Yui cleared her throat softly, gathering her courage. "You already know my name so would you mind if I— if I ask yours?"
"Oh, my name is Hakkai," he answered good-naturedly. "Cho Hakkai."
And with that, a comfortable silence dawned on them with Yui, peaking glances at her sweet and gentle man for the night and Hakkai deftly finishing his last cup of sake. He finally totaled his second bottle and was feeling quite tipsy when suddenly, Yui finally decided that it was time to give him his money's worth. She stood up and placed herself before him, her eyes cast down. Hakkai looked up at her curiously.
"Please," she began softly. She raised her right hand and slowly pulled the robe sash free. "I have never done this before so— I would really appreciate it if you would—"
Hakkai stared at her at first, too dumbfounded to speak, the sake clouding his head. When the sight of her undressing in front of him registered inside his brain, warning bells immediately rang inside his head. He immediately sprung up from his seat, grabbed her sash and immediately retied it in place before it was too late. Yui gasped at the sudden action. She stood there, blushing, shocked. She felt the warm feel of his hands against hers and surprisingly, she felt her heart thud loudly. It wasn't unpleasant but she couldn't say it was pleasant either.
"Gomen ne, Yui-san. I don't mean any disrespect," said Hakkai as he quickly stepped back, hastily letting go of her soft hands, "or any insult. Surely you're one of the loveliest women I've seen but— doing this with you—" he shook his head and let his fingers rake against his hair. He granted her smile, a smile that didn't even reach his eyes.
"Yes?" she squeaked at him, her hands clutching her robe tightly around her.
"Doing this with you under this circumstances— is just— is just wrong."
This time, Yui frowned at him. "But why— why did you—"
"Pay Mao?" Hakkai finished for her. Yui nodded mutely. With that, Hakkai chuckled "Well, like my dear friend Gojyo said, it's not really good to see nice girls cry. And from the looks of it, that man would undoubtedly just make you cry, Yui-san. You certainly don't deserve it," he said nonchalantly as though he had said of he had done nothing of importance.
Yui stared at him at first, his words digging deep inside her brain. Was she hearing right? The man didn't want to force her into this because it wasn't right? After a moment, she felt her lower lip quivering. She took a deep breath as the beginnings of tears threatened to fall from her eyes. Seeing that, Hakkai sighed and smiled gently at her. "Yare, yare," he murmured soothingly. "Please don't cry. As I've said, nice girls don't cry, Yui-san."
But it was no use. A tear fell from her eye but to do Hakkai some justice, there was also a smile through the torrent of teardrops cascading down her cheeks. She felt relief, she felt confused, she felt happy, she felt grateful… She didn't know what to say! Instead, she looked at Hakkai, conveying all of those feelings inside her that mere words can't say. Then her smile turned into a soft, genuine laugh. Hakkai's grin broadened. "Now, that's more like it," he said. He handed her his towel.
"Doushite, Hakkai-san?" she asked, sniffing and sobbing. She lightly patted her eyes dry with the towel. "Doushite?"
"I don't know,"he thought, looking at her. "I really can't understand why, Yui-san but something told me that I just had to bail you out of there." Instead, Hakkai just smiled.
Yui laughed softly at this and sat back down on her chair, finally relaxed. She was overwhelmed by his kindness that she too couldn't think of anything to say to him!
Finally, Hakkai decided to break the ice. Looking at her with gentle eyes, he said, "Why don't we talk, kill time? Looks like I have to spend a night here with you so as not to arouse any suspicion." Then he turned curiously on the closed door. "I wonder if the men are still there?"
Yui shrugged. "Probably," she replied. "After all, Mao doesn't trust me when it comes to this so he probably wants to make sure that I would really give you your money's worth." Then realizing what she had just said, she immediately bit back her lip, looked down and blushed.
Hakkai chuckled. "So sneaking out of here would get you into trouble," he murmured thoughtfully. Well, now that he thought about it, if he did leave her alone, much earlier than expected, Mao might get any ideas and probably send the other man in after him. Well, its not impossible for that man to do something as horrid and as disgusting as that, right? After all, he's greedy. With that, he decided to spend the night here, keeping her safe.
"Would you like another sake?" Yui asked him, offering him the third, unopened bottle. This time, she lost most her shyness and Hakkai could see the feisty and delightful girl surfacing slowly out of her shell.
"Oh no, but thanks anyway, Yui-san," declined Hakkai politely. He couldn't afford to be drunk especially now. He was a literally half-dressed man, sitting across a half-naked woman whose body was obviously showing the finishing touches of its enticing developments and curves here and there. She was clearly on the verge of reaching her early womanhood and with them completely alone inside this faintly lit room, making her white skin turn to an enticing shade of honey, nothing could be more tempting. He wasn't sure of what he was capable of doing if he filled his brain with alcohol at a time like this. "I have already reached my limit," he added cheerfully, tearing his gaze away from her quickly.
"Oh sou ka," said Yui, nodding, oblivious of the thoughts running inside his head. She placed the sake bottle down. "Anou, Hakkai-san?"
"May I ask you something?"
Hakkai looked at her and smiled his approval.
"Are you a traveler?"
"Hai, I am traveling with friends," Hakkai replied, crossing his legs under the table. "We are on our way to the west."
With that, Yui's face brightened. "Hontou ni?" she asked eagerly. Hakkai nodded. Maybe she could— "No," she thought abruptly, shaking her head. Asking him to take her with them would be too much, surely. She cast her eyes down, getting thoughtful.
"Yui-san, if you don't mind, I'd like to know something," Hakkai suddenly said. Yui looked up, her eyes wide with wonder. He smiled at her before opening his mouth. "Why do you have that scar across your cheek?"
At that, Yui stiffened. Seeing the initial reaction, Hakkai was about to apologize to her when she suddenly relaxed. "I did that to myself," she finally replied. Strange but she couldn't help trusting the man.
Hakkai's eyes widened. "Are… doushite?" he inquired gently.
"I have to," she answered quietly. "That is the only way that I could escape death." Then she took a deep breath, her sparkling silver eyes turning a dusky blue against the light. "Same old story, actually. It happened when I was fifteen years old. I was about to be offered as a sacrifice to a powerful demon back in our village but I was- I was a headstrong girl. I didn't want to be youkai toy and later on be youkai food so to be able to escape the task, I- I took my father's dagger and- and ran it along my cheek therefore permanently damaging it." She shook her head, a bitter laugh coming out of her lips. "Naturally, the village people were angry because, you see, the demon specifically asked for me. But then, knowing how hungry those stupid creatures were for perfection, I decided to- to give myself some flaw, especially my face and I guess the rest was history." Then she sighed, her lower lip quivering. "I know it was selfish of me but-"
"No," said Hakkai quickly. Yui looked at him, meeting his eyes with hers. There was gratitude there as well as curiousity. Hakkai shook his head, smiling at her with reassurance. "No, Yui-san, you did the right thing," he said, memories of Kana resurfacing once again. He sighed, his head filling with painful recollections of his past. "I am glad that you are one of those women who stood up against them. God knows what a horrible thing it is, sacrificing maidens to filthy demons." He shook his head, feeling somewhat awed by the girl's courage. It was indeed true, not many women could stand up and fight for their right to live when it comes to sacrificial ceremonies.
"I even cut my hair," Yui added. Hakkai turned to her and noticed the uneven black locks, falling gently onto her shoulders. He gave her a smile that made her blush. No matter how unevenly cut they were, still, they look lovely, glistening and shining against the moonlight. Indeed, the girl had some spirit and unusual courage inside her. Now, he was beginning to admire her.
Seeing the sad, far away look on his face, Yui concluded that something happened in Hakkai's past. Maybe it was something terrible but then, curious as she was, it wasn't her right to ask such a personal thing, was it? Doing it would mean meddling into something she wasn't supposed to meddle with. Instead, she smiled and decided to leave their painful pasts behind. She inquired about his friends, which Hakkai gladly answered.
Soon after, an animated conversation took place. They talked about all things, life in general mostly. Hakkai noticed that the girl was indeed an eager learner. She would tend to ask questions and listen. She listened raptly, then after that, she would never hesitate to share her opinions about the matter. And Hakkai enjoyed her company immensely. They talked on and laughed till it was very late and Yui felt her eyes getting heavy. Hakkai was actually in the middle of an explanation about the weirdness of Sanzo's teaching when Yui finally lost the fight and yawned. At that, Hakkai chuckled.
"Gomen, gomen," said Yui quickly, looking at him apologetically. "I didn't mean to be rude or anything."
"No, I have to admit, it's getting late," said Hakkai, standing up and stretching. The alcohol in his blood was already taking its toll and he felt a little dizzy and sleepy. Then he stopped abruptly upon seeing the only bed in the room. He turned to Yui only to see her looking at the bed, thinking the same thing.
"Anou, Yui-san," called Hakkai. Yui turned to him. "You take the bed, I'll take the floor," he offered.
Yui's brows furrowed unsurely. "Are you sure?" she asked uncertainly. "Maybe we could—"
Hakkai shook his head. "That's the way things work, Yui-san," he said gently but firmly. Still Yui looked skeptical. Hakkai smiled. "Daijoubu, daijoubu I'm used to sleeping anywhere," he assured her.
"Well, okay, if you're sure," she said, looking at him gratefully. She then hastily padded her way towards the bed and ripped the thick blankets off them. Then kneeling down, she spread the blankets on the floor, creating a bed for him. "I'm not really sure if this is comfortable enough but—"
"Daijoubu, Yui-san," said Hakkai as Yui finally finished the task. She climbed up on the bed as Hakkai settled himself comfortably on the floor. When Yui offered him a blanket and a pillow, he took it, thanked her warmly and laid down.
"Oyasumi nasai," Hakkai said, turning on his side and closing his eyes.
"Oyasumi," she whispered back after turning the little lamp off. She curled in the bed and closed her eyes. This is one of the most unforgettable nights of my life, she thought as she drifted off to sleep, too bad he'd be gone tomorrow.
And time crept on steadfastly.
Just as Yui's sleep deepened, Hakkai found himself still wide awake. He couldn't sleep. Groaning softly, he opened his eyes, thoughts about what happened this night swimming inside his head. Tomorrow, the four of them would continue on with their journey. He couldn't exactly say what was in store for them but there was one thing he was sure of: after this night, he would never, ever see her again. The thought brought an unexpected lump of sadness inside him.
"At least I could say I did the right thing,"he convinced to himself. Just then he heard the irritating voice ringing at the back of his head again.
"Yes, you may have saved her tonight but what about tomorrow night"it said stubbornly. With that, his eyes widened. Yes, the voice was right! What about tomorrow night then? And the night after that?
He couldn't deny the fact that the girl touched something deep inside him. She was a brave and sweet gir, an uncommon combination of femininity and strength… his breath quickened, his mind already furiously debating. What was the right thing to do now?
With that, he sat up abruptly. He stood up and slowly walked towards the closet. He opened it only to find his clothes neatly folded inside. Shaking his head, he quickly changed. Then after zipping his pants on, he walked noiselessly towards the bed.
"Yui-san," he called softly. He sat down and gently shook her on the shoulders. "Yui-san, wake up."
Slowly, Yui's eyes fluttered open. She turned only to see Hakkai peering at him softly. "Hakkai-san?" she asked groggily. "What time is it?"
"I think it's past three in the morning," said Hakkai.
"Do you need anything?" Yui asked, sitting up sleepily. She rubbed her eye and yawned.
"What do you want in your life right now, Yui-san?" Hakkai asked instead. He looked at her, waiting, his eyes studying her face.
With that, Yui turned to him as though he was some kind of lunatic. She frowned at him, not sure if she heard right. "What?" she asked. "What was that again?"
"I said, what do you want in your life right now?" he repeated patiently.
Yui stared at him at first, the sleep completely gone from her face. "I want out of here," she finally replied. "I want out of this hell hole."
Hakkai nodded. "Very well," he said. He stood up, pulling the confused and baffled Yui up with him as well. "Then go and get dressed. Quickly."
"Matte, Hakkai-san!" Yui cried. "Wha—You— What do you mean? What—"
"Get dressed," Hakkai repeated as he sauntered towards the couch to wake Hakuryuu up. "We're escaping."
End of Part I
A/N:So what do you think of the first chapter? Should I continue? Reviews will be greatly appreciated but please, personal e-mails for corrections and stuff, onegai?
I know a girl was involved but I promise everybody, I'll try my best to keep her from turning into a Mary Sue… ^_^
One more thing, if anybody's interested to tell me the whole story line of Saiyuki plus the difference of Saiyuki from Gaiden, then please do so. E-mail me about it. I don't even mind the spoilers.
Well, that's all! Thank you everybody for reading and reviewing. Ja ne!