Disclaimer: "Gensomaden Saiyuki, Saiyuki: Reload, Saiyuki: Gaiden" and all of its characters were created by Kazuya Minekura. They belong to her and used without prior permission. There is no monetary profit made through this story.
For Gilliotina. In writing this, I hope I do not let you down.
A Faerie Tale by Zan
When winter came and night drew on its cloak of darkness earlier, the nuns would take turns to tell stories to the children. The Orphanage had a strict rule about children being outside after dark. The tales helped shorten the long winter evenings when the little ones would gather round the storyteller sat by a small stove for warmth. It was one of those rare times where young Gonou could feel like one of the children. Rapt in attention he allowed himself the luxury of tuning in to Sister’s voice as it washed over him and soothed him...
Once upon a time long ago in a distant land lived a mighty Bull Demon King and his beautiful Queen. The King and Queen had a son called the Red Prince. There also lived with them was the Prince’s sister, the Plum Princess. Their home was a castle huge and tall. It had many rooms, doors and as many dungeons as it had floors. The family had dragons that could fly them here and there.
The king was a tyrant. In the time of peace between Daemons and Humans, the King believed it was his right to kill humans and take away their lands. Indeed some even said that the Daemon King ate human flesh, was always busy with his evils and had no time for little princesses.
In the cold night with his face pressed against a window of a warm house, unseen, unnoticed a red-haired boy with tears in his eyes stood against a wall. His thin frame and ribs showing through the worn shirt shivered. He listened in as a mother spun a bedtime tale to her young sons huddled together safe in their beds. If he listened, maybe he could touch some of that hearth fire. Something he was not sure he wanted, because he did not know. Maybe if he could not feel the warmth inside his body could take what shelter that outside wall afforded him. He brushed wet from his cheek angrily away. Perhaps it was not tears after all but melted snow on his cheek. He did not notice the feather-light fall from Heaven. The anger provided some heat at least and brought a flush to his face. …
Folk said that the queen was as wise as she was beautiful and her young son was very like her in looks, nature and goodliness. A powerful wielder of magic, the Queen passed her ability and knowledge on to her son. The Prince learnt from his mother how to rule kindly and to lead with honour. The Prince grew tall and strong into a striking handsome young man. With flame red hair and amethyst eyes, he could call on a powerful creature of fire to his aid. Fire was his element.
Let us hear about the princess. Ah! The poor little creature, left to her own devices for much of the time...but the prince loved his little sister and spared what time he had from his studies for her. The Plum Princess seemed to have a happy nature and she tried not to think about how her own mother – who was a mistress of her father’s - did not seem to care for her and what her father’s wife actually thought of her. She was grateful for small mercies and the love of her brother was enough for her.
In a temple not far from the Great River, a boy swept the leaves from under the peach tree. It was his daily chore. Not, that there were actually many leaves for the time of year. Nevertheless, he was secretly grateful for the exercise as it kept him warm. When his master called him, Kouryuu willingly went to sit by Koumyou Sanzo’s side and prepared to listen to his teacher. Perhaps today Koumyou would not chant the song of the scriptures, or speak of the flight of birds and make orange paper planes …
The news of the behaviour of the King reached Heaven. Eventually ‘the People Upstairs’ decided that this immorality could not go on. There was a Law in Heaven that stated no God could spill blood in Heaven, nor on Earth. Only one free of the taint of Godliness could kill. A War Prince of Heaven came down to vanquish the Bull Demon King. An army from Heaven went with this War Prince to aid him. For the Daemon King was not without powerful magicks himself. They came to vanquish everyone including the Queen and the children. Perhaps Heaven feared that loyalty from kin and subjects would result in more death in the form of revenge. Perhaps a mighty battle raged between the two powerful beings. Heaven’s War Prince spared no one.
Thus, Heaven's armies of one and many spent what energies they had, the King came under a powerful spell and sealed along with his queen. The rest of the monarch's household were also magically sealed but with a lesser art. The king upon his throne looked but asleep and the queen within a stone pillar. Graceful even entombed as she was with her beauty now sad and so quiet but no less powerful. Likewise the rest of his demesne rested asleep not dead.
Closed within a dark and forbidding mansion with only the gentle glow of candles for light, a bespectacled priest decided to treat his young charge to a story. The boy looked to the man with total trust in his eyes so endearing and unknowingly misplaced. It did not matter. The man smiled benevolently, it would be a nice change for the dear boy from his myriad of toys. From wanting to be wanted, to be loved and twisted it to a mindset of play. It was all play, moments in time and then forgotten. A story would do nicely....
This part of the story took place about five hundred years or so from the time of the Sealing of the Bull Daemon King. Along came a wanderer to the desolate place where once stood magnificent gardens and beautiful forest. A land that was now barren and desolate. The stranger had an odd curiosity and much knowledge. He was actually pleasantly surprised to find the place. It remained deserted and shrouded in myth for half a millennia that he was not certain it was real. He hated it but he tasked himself with tidying up the Castle. He saw that the dungeons and the numerous vast rooms was a place he could set up a playground of sorts.
Like the faerie tale of old where a prince wakes up the sleeping beauty, the stranger wakes up the mistress of the Castle. Apparently, he woke up the wrong mistress, but all was well. It was right in the end. The Lady in the Stone he left entombed. He now had a whole building full of dolls and puppets to play with and was happy.
The monk took a long look at the boy and chuckled to himself. Life was full of illusions and mirrors. He was not sure he deserved this much fun, but it was. Oh it was. Perhaps it was time to take a trip. Pay a visit to a long time acquaintance. Boys of the same age should play with each other after all. He could make his find take a gift along for the other child. The man chuckled again.
The forest was cold but not empty. Even in winter, as snow lay all about. Frost covered leaves of the trees clawing up into the sky. They jostled for space on the mountain. They were Guardians, which hid all trace of track and trail. No human footprint ever graced the snows hereabouts in winter - not once in five hundred years. A child lay asleep, huddled on the floor of the cave protected by the trees. He was frightened of the silence of the whiteness that greeted him year after year. This was his world. The great white emptiness and the small radius of movement his chains allowed. He did not know how it was he came to be. This was who he was and this was his world. Perhaps he should try calling out. Whom - would he call? If this was the world, there was no one else. Deep in his heart, he did not know the void that was his ache was echoing soundlessly. His closed eyes slept and brought to mind whispers of nothing he could remember.
He hears laughter in corridors. He smells the musty odour of dusty old books and cigarette smoke. He touches something like gold silk threads in hi hands. The light is just out of reach in his mind. Just seen out of the corner of his eyes, is light which is warm, not white and not cold.