My old name. Something that I left behind me long ago, in a time and place I would rather be. My new name. Something that I got out of a tragedy that I would rather forget. But of course, the gods love to watch my suffering from above, so I must discard my old self for the new. Calling it a name might as well just be calling it a different side of me.
Every once in a while, however, I find myself thinking back on my old name, and what it represents. My old name is the former me, unstained by the blood of humans and youkai alike. The former me, a child who lived with his master, a Sanzo priest. My old name…
"Kouryuu!" A voice yelled. I turned around in the street, looking for the speaker.
"Sanzo, are you okay?" Hakkai asked like the mother hen he was. I gave a grunt in response and shook it off. Stop being so paranoid. You weren't the only Kouryuu in the world. I reasoned, and continued onward. I continued to curse the clogged streets for making it impossible for Hakuryuu to transform into a jeep.
"Kouryuu!" I heard again. This time, I stopped Hakkai.
"What is…" He began, but I cut him off.
"Did you hear that?" I asked, almost having to yell over the crowd of people.
"Hear what, Sanzo?" Goku interrupted, coming up behind me.
"Forget it. It is none of your business, monkey."
Of course, Goku started to protest, and I didn't hear the voice again. Gojyo came forward, and tried to mess with me. "Finally off the deep end, you stupid monk? I wouldn't be surprised…" Both annoying youkai got a sound whack in the head with my paper fan.
"OW! What was that for Sanzo?" They started to complain, but when I put my hand to my gun, they both instantly silenced. Hakkai just chuckled and continued forward through the crowd towards the fifth inn we were going to check for available rooms, Hakuryuu blindingly white on his shoulders.
"Excuse me Miss. We would like to book a room for 4 for the night. Do you have one, by any chance?" Hakkai asked the woman at the front desk politely. The smile she put on her face informed me right away of her answer.
"I'm sorry, we're all full. There is a huge group of youkai that is picking off the people in the small villages on the outskirts of town. So all of the people remaining flocked into town for safety." She said, equally as kind.
"That's a damn shame. I would have loved to stay here with you tonight, beautiful." Gojyo purred from behind her, just about scaring her to death. I hit him with the fan again, and was rewarded with a hard glare.
Just when he was about to scream at me, Hakkai suggested quickly, "Why don't we all go for dinner. It is obvious we won't be able to find an inn any time soon. We'll just stop for supplies and keep driving." His bad news of another night on the road was blocked out by Goku's yells of joy at the news of food.
We headed outside again into the massive throng of people. The woman was nice enough to give us directions to a small restaurant that was off the main road. As we headed there, I heard that dreaded former name of mine yelled again. I quickened our pace through a back alley, trying to get away from the voices in my head.
Right as we turned the corner, I ran into a woman running full tilt down the street. "Watch where you're going, damn it!" I yelled, brushing off my robes. "You almost knocked me over."
She was already bowing, long black hair falling down around her. "Sorry. I'm in a hurry to catch up with someone…" When she looked up, brilliant, cat-yellow eyes open wide in shock.
"Kouryuu?" She asked, her eyes locking onto mine, searching for the answer. When she said that name, I knew exactly who it was.
The moment I said that, the girl flew at me and yanked me into a crushing hug. Then she pulled back, still holding me by the shoulders, appraising me. "I knew it was you the moment I saw you. I mean, who else in this world has golden hair and purple eyes?"
I heard a collective gasp from behind me. Turning around, I saw Hakkai, Goku and Gojyo with their jaws hitting the floor. All three looked at us like we had grown a couple extra limbs. Lei blushed, immediately releasing her grip on me. "Sorry. I got a little carried away."
I brushed off my shoulders, trying to maintain my dignity. Hakkai snapped out of it first. "I believe we haven't met. I'm Cho Hakkai. It is a pleasure to meet you." She stepped forward and shook his hand, a smile spreading across both of their features.
"I'm Liu Lei." She said happily "Pleasure's all mine."
Goku walked up to her, a look of stupidity and awe on his monkey like features. "Who is Kouryuu? That is Sanzo."
Lei pondered for a minute and said, "Oh, yeah. Kouryuu got a Buddhist name when he became Sanzo. I forgot." She paused for another moment before leaning down and picking up Goku in a hug. "You are sooooo cute! Like a little monkey." Goku blushed, not even protesting her calling him that.
When she set him down, Gojyo walked up, his charm on full blast. "I'm Sha Gojyo. How did a beauty like you come to know that stupid selfish monk?"
She dodged his perverted arm, and answered, "I don't kiss and tell." Gojyo just about fell over and died, choking on his cigarette. "Just kidding. I knew him when we were kids." Lei stuck her tongue out at him and pulled down one of her eyes. "And I'm not an easy woman, so don't even try." Hakkai chuckled and Goku was still red from her affection.
Gojyo laughed. "I know why you're named thunder*. You've got a pretty big bark. I like that." He received a smack in the back of the head with a paper fan. "OUCH! Sanzo, what was that for?" Surprisingly, Lei was the one with the fan in her hand.
"And I'll show you why I'm Liu** Lei" She said, and started beating on him with the fan. All the while, she talked to the rest of us as if everything were normal. "So, what brings you to this crappy town?"
Hakkai had to raise his voice over the racket the two were creating. "We were just passing through town on our way west. But there aren't any inns that are still open."
"Get back here you little bastard. I'm not finished yet. " Lei yelled. Then her attention turned back to us. "Well you'll be happy to know that I have a little onsen*** of my own. And we have four rooms open. You can stay at my place. Okay. I think I punished you enough."
Gojyo rubbed his aching head. "Jesus, Sanzo. Now I know where the hell you get it from. I'm glad she doesn't have a gun." I just huffed in response.
My childhood companion grabbed Goku's hand and started pulling him down the alleyway. "What would you like for dinner, otouto****? I can make whatever you want. Have to keep growing boys healthy and strong, now don't we?" He had started to protest being treated like a kid, but changed his mind. The stupid monkey just rambled on and on about food.
Lei was already halfway down the road before she turned around and yelled. "Well what are you guys waiting for? Let's go." The three of us started forward, looking forward to a nice dip in a hot spring, a good meal, and a warm bed.
*Lei=Thunder **Liu=Kill ***Onsen=Hot spring ****Otouto=Little Brother