While Kenren was busy barricading the door, and Konzen was still tending to Goku, Tenpou had the chance to talk to Gojun, man to man. "Ryurei would never allow you to live this down," the Dragon-King said, his thoughts naturally going to his sister, who had been in the care of Kanzeon Bosatsu until further notice, no doubt, under Li Touten's orders. The Goddess of Mercy would not keep Ryurei in high isolation for long, but he had hoped that it would last until the ordeal was over, or rather, when it was over.

"Forgive me," Tenpou said, looking at the black rose standing in the vase on his desk. She had created a whole meadow of them, just to wait for him in the Lower Realms whenever he was called to his duties, and now, he would the source of her greatest heartbreak… He even had the audacity to take her brother as his hostage. "I could not give her the future that you demanded of me." There was only one way out from the mess that he had created, and that was through the Gate of Heaven, however, there was a great chance that none of them would survive.

Gojun scoffed. "Nonsense," he told his subordinate. "I would not have allowed you to get close to my sister unless I knew that you would make her happy." The gaze of Ryurei and Gojun were one and the same, fiery and commanding. Tenpou smiled slightly at that realization while he puffed out a cloud of cigarette smoke. They were Dragons, after all. "And she has been happy, in her days with you, happier than I had ever seen her, since the Dragon-Wars ended."

The two of them were the last of the Dragons in every sense of the word. Although they had lived for a time like the Dragons of ancient tales, under the depths of the oceans, surrounded by armies of sea-creatures, pearls and their own kin, everything ended when their parents were killed in the Dragon-Wars. Gojun, only at the cusp of manhood, was called to take up their father's title as the King of the Western Oceans, now, reduced to a mere title. He was lucky that Heaven saw his talents in the military, which allowed him to progress into the high ranks of the Heavenly Armies. But his sister, his beloved sister, was not so. Feared for her power, being the Key of Life, she was reduced to a position of little importance, despite being a Dragon… It was Tenpou that brought her smile back to her. Gojun could never, ever deny that.

"Please, if we do not make it, Gojun-sama, can you make sure that she forgets me?" Tenpou asked, no, pleaded. He did not want Ryurei to suffer because of him… It would be a cruel fate for her, if he did.

The Dragon-King nodded. "However, I'd doubt that it would work. Ryurei is just as stubborn as you are," he told Tenpou with a slight smirk. "Just like what you told her, you would always have a place in her heart… But look at it this way, if we die here, it usually means that you would reincarnate to the Lower Realms someday. Perhaps, you'll meet again then?"

Tenpou looked at the black rose and chuckled. "Perhaps you're right, Gojun-sama." They would meet again, if that was the case.


It was an encouraging thought. Looking back, looking at his sister, now a blushing bride standing next to her groom, Cho Hakkai in Keiun Temple. How they had managed to coerce Genjyo Sanzo into presiding over their wedding was a large question that puzzled even him. But he would never forget that conversation he had with Hakkai 500 years ago, when he was still Tenpou Gensui. Perhaps, he would work as a fortune teller when he retired.