"I am the thirty-first of China Genjyo Sanzo."
The words come mechanically. Thankfully so, because Sanzo doesn't know if he can still say them otherwise. He kneels before the Three Aspects, his head bowed. Cold from the stone floor rises up through the worn fabric of his robes. His uncut fringe hides the chakra on his forehead, like a drop of Koumyou's blood that still stains his skin. The pride at being chosen as his Master's successor has long left him. It cracked with the first bullet he fired through a man's head; then gradually chipped away every time he scrubbed off the dirt and the blood during the last four years. Till there was nothing left but failure.
Is this what you saved me for, Koumyou? Is this what you expected me to be?
The monks he meets look at him with both worship and distaste. They respect his title, the heritage and maybe even his youth. But Sanzo doesn't wear the sutra or his Master's crown. He can't bear to touch them anymore. He is not the Sanzo priest the monks want him to be. He knows they blame him for his lack of reverence. They distrust the emptiness in his eyes. They expect him to look over them, teach them and protect them. He knows how they feel. He had someone to look over him, teach him and protect him till the very end. But every day he feels further away from the memory till he fears there'll come a time he won't bear to touch that either.
The Three Aspects are harsh in their verdict. He hears their words, reminding him of his duty to the Maten Sutra and Koumyou's legacy. For a moment he's overwhelmed by the sharp disappointment that they didn't strip him of his title. But he has to respect their orders, so he crushes the emotion. He bows his head in resignation and rises, still the thirty-first of China Genjyo Sanzo.
References to Burial Arc.