O Ye Of Little Faith

for Donna

"So." Sanzou studied the glowing tip of his cigarette.

"Mm. Yes." Hakkai shifted one foot, paused, shifted it back again.

"It was horrible," Gokuu declared vigorously, tugging at the various rips in his clothing. "They came right out of nowhere, Sanzou, just like that . . ."

"See? See?!" came a strangled, feeble cry from the next room. "I told you!"

"And then --" Sanzou hesitated, as though unwilling to put words to it. "The -- leeches?"

Hakkai nodded unhappily. "Yes. Not that we were exactly prepared for them. They were annoying but persistent." He indicated a number of small red circles, the width of a woman's lips, on his own body. "They didn't seem to like Gokuu that much."

"Must be the lack of brains," Sanzou muttered.

"I told you!" came the voice again from the next room. "Didn't I tell you? Didn't I say they were leechbites?"

"There's salt in the kitchen," Sanzou said briefly. "So you dealt with them?"

Hakkai nodded. "At that point, Gokuu and I were starting to wonder if Gojou had actually, you know, been telling the truth . . ."

There was a crash as something heavy hit the other side of the wall.

". . . but in any case," Hakkai hastily continued, "we went on to check down by the river. That was, um . . ." He hesitated for a second, then shrugged. "When the oozing slime youkai zombies rose out of the ground and tried to drain our ki."

"I told you!" drifted through the wall.

"They were really creepy." Gokuu brushed at his clothing. "And they got us all muddy."

"Yes," Sanzou agreed dryly. "You look as if you've been rolling around in the dirt. Remember to take a shower before you sleep tonight, monkey."

"While you were safely here at the inn," Hakkai said gently.

Sanzou shrugged and drew on his cigarette. "We agreed that it didn't sound as if any serious danger threatened."

"We might have been mistaken," Hakkai suggested.

"Yeah," Gokuu agreed. "I sure didn't see any naked women trying to get me to mud-wrestle."

Another crash from next door.

"I thought he'd have been in to say, "I told you so," in person," Hakkai said.

Sanzou gestured idly with his cigarette. "He was boring me. I tied him to the bed."

"Anh. That could have been a mistake."

"And you want to know what I'm going to do to you when I get loose, you damn monk?" the voice howled.

Sanzou stubbed the cigarette out. "Don't bother. It sounds as if we're going to have to clear the place out ourselves."

"Don't I even get a damn apology?"

Gokuu looked troubled. "Sanzou, we did assume he was lying, and we did put lots of salt on all his wounds, and you did tie him to the bed . . ."

Sanzou snorted. "If he hadn't been such an idiot, he wouldn't have come up with a story like that."

"But it was true!" Gojou called despairingly.

Sanzou gave the wall his most dour glare. "What's that got to do with it?"


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