To Tame a Monkey-King

By Vikki

Disclaimer:  Not mine.  Wish it was.  Whaddaya know, don't we all?

Flame policy:  Ken Hidaka is a friend of mine.  'Nuff said.

Author's all-important notes:  This is the result of BOREDOM.  It should not be construed as anything else.  It is sure to be full of mistakes about the release of Son Goku.  I don't care.  Don't review just to tell me that I obviously have no clue what I'm talking about.  I do not claim to be an expert; this is my own take from looking at the manga and drawing what I could from my limited knowledge of Japanese.

But, anyway, have fun!

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Chapter 1: Release

Genjou Sanzou was annoyed.

Granted, Genjou Sanzou was often annoyed.  Many things in life annoyed him.  Being called 'Sanzou-sama' was one of them – his pet peeve, really.  He was also annoyed by excessive noise and stupid youkai.

He decided that standing at the bottom of the impressive set of stairs before him was only slightly less annoying than being called 'Sanzou-sama' – mostly because he had to climb that impressive set of stairs.

Unfortunately, no one had ever thought to create a Levitation Sutra.  If anyone had, Sanzou would have killed to obtain that Sutra.  Especially right then.

Instead he sighed, considered the fact that the gods were awfully sadistic creatures, and began the climb.

//On the Five-Fingered Mountain, you will find the One who Sinned against Heaven.  He awaits the end of his punishment; he awaits you.//

Indeed, the Five-Fingered Mountain was an impressive tower of earth.  To obtain its summit was to touch the feet of the gods, or so it was believed.  Sanzou's aim was far less lofty; halfway up the mountain was a prison, where a demon who had long ago sinned against the gods was locked away.  No lore spoke of the horrible sin; Sanzou himself was unenlightened, and he was second only to the gods in the world of Buddhism.  Nonetheless, he had been instructed to release the youkai from its jail; its 500-year-long sentence would expire at sunset that very day.

Sanzou had already spent the last two days on winding trails leading to the base of the stairs he now climbed.  Cut into the sheer rock face, the stairs were not crude, but they were narrow and steep – and incredibly long.  If anyone had bothered to build a city on the mountain, they never would have needed to fear an attack; this stairway was the only true access to the higher levels of the mountain, and no invading army would have been able to create a charge strong enough to sustain itself all the way up the stairs!  This thought caused Sanzou to again reflect that the gods were very, very sadistic.  Wondering vaguely whether it was possible to kill a god, and pondering an even more vague notion of what sort of divine punishment could be contrived for such thoughts, Sanzou sat on the narrow steps and paused for lunch.

As he opened his bento box to reveal the pleasant yields from his earlier stop at an inn, Sanzou considered his mission.  Ultimately, Sanzou's mission was to obtain a lost Sutra and return it to its rightful place.  Almost as an afterthought, one of the gods (okay, so she preferred to be called a goddess, but it didn't actually matter – she was a hermaphrodite, after all) had ordered him to the top of this mountain to end the long imprisonment of the youkai.  She had given no other details, and Sanzou, never one to pry, had asked no questions.

However, that did not mean that he accepted everything at face value.  There was certainly some hidden reason for the gods to choose him, specifically, to release the demon.  If only he could figure out what!

He finished his lunch quickly and resumed the climb.  The sun, now high over his head, beat down mercilessly; Sanzou removed his customary diadem from his head and hid it in his sleeves.  He would replace it when he arrived at his destination.  It was always best to use custom to its fullest when dealing with the gods.  The only times Sanzou made a point of being uncustomary was during minor dealings with local monks – revenge for calling him 'Sanzou-sama'.  Really, they deserved it.

Finally he neared the summit of the stairs; the cage holding the youkai was not readily visible, but it was not far from the stairway, if Sanzou had correctly read the scrolls.  The sun was about to set.  Evening shadows lengthened, stretching his form before him.  And at last, Sanzou put his foot on the top step of the stairs.

Pausing for a long moment to appreciate flat ground, Sanzou finally freed his diadem again and settled it into place on the crown of his head.  His golden hair glinted in the orange sunlight, and his fierce violet eyes reflected his general annoyance at having to climb the stairway.  His legs ached, but Sanzou's pride kept him from sitting and relaxing for even a moment.  Instead, he loosened his gun as a precaution, readied his Sutras to perform the release spell or a binding spell (as needed, he thought cynically), and approached the jail.

Nothing had prepared him for what he saw, and it managed to shock him out of his annoyance and into a sort of ambivalent indifference.

The demon was not the fierce, angry, intelligent creature he had imagined.  Instead, a boy with brown hair that was miraculously still cropped short at the top and hung to his waist elsewhere stared up at him with huge brown eyes, shocked and a touch frightened.  He was already of a slender build, but also impossibly thin; it looked as if he had not eaten in years, and given that the gods were perfectly capable of keeping this being alive without sustenance, he probably hadn't eaten for over 500 years.  His legs were folded up under him; he wore a black shirt tight to his skin and ragged pants.  A chain ran from a ring around his neck to the wall, and another that bound both his wrist and his ankle was attached to an iron ball.  Yet another restraint was less obvious, but to Sanzou's experienced eyes, it was apparent that the golden circlet situated over his forehead was a restraint on his youkai-related power.  Ofuda were plastered everywhere; even if the boy had managed to break his chains without his full youkai-strength, he wasn't going anywhere without paying a possibly deadly price.

Sanzou spoke a word of command, and the ofuda on the 'bars' of the prison evaporated.  He stepped forward, and much to his surprise, the youkai recoiled, shuffling away.  Suppressing his initial reaction – anger at his ungratefulness – he softened his expression.  "Come with me," he said, holding out a hand.  "It's time to leave."

The demon stared at Sanzou, then his hand.  Then, slowly, he reached out to the monk.

The sun set.  The 500-year-long imprisonment ended.  The chains on the youkai's small form obediently broke – and the demon set his small hand, long fingernails in need of a cut, into Sanzou's own.

It was the beginning of two destinies.

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Preview next chapter:  Genky Goku goodness.  Sanzou gets pissed; Goku discovers grass; the Nyoibou is discussed.