Female for prounoun purposes :)Timezone:
PST/GMT -8Personal LJ:
momijizukamoriIs English your primary language?:
Series' Medium: Manga (There is an anime version, but no info from it’s being used)
Character: Cho Hakkai (Eastern naming order)
Canon Role: Protagonist
"Real" Name: Harry Xiao Wen Wu
How long have you roleplayed your character, if at all?:
Three - four months
Where have you roleplayed in general and/or with this specific character?:
In general - various livejournal games since 2006. Most recently, The Sky Tides (now ended, played there for a year and a half), and currently playing in Edensphere (just over a year) and Planeocracy (six months or so) and Transmigration 9 (two months)
Hakkai specifically - no games, just open memes and dear_mun to get a feel for voice
Are you personally familiar with your character's canon?:
Yes - have read all of the manga out so far (Sayuki, it’s sequels of Saiyuki Reload and Saiyuki Reload Blast, and the two spin-offs of Saiyuki Gaiden and Saiyuki Ibun) as well as some of the assorted supplementary material from databooks and artbooks that’s been translated by fans
Please give us a personal history of your character's life and explain to us in detail how they grow and develop over the course of their canon:
Cho Hakkai was born Cho Gonou, the younger of two twin siblings. Both he and his sister were given to seperate Christian orphanages at young ages, and Hakkai grew up not remembering very much about his parents or sibling. He was a quiet, serious child - he read and studied a great deal, and smiled very little, to the point where other children in the orphanage found him creepy. Based on his studies, however, he was offered a good scholarship to a prestigious school, which he accepted.
It was at school that he met a young woman named Kanan. The two fell in love quickly, and for perhaps the first time in Gonou’s life, he was happy and open. The two later learned that they were siblings, seperated since childhood - but despite the taboo nature of it, this knowledge didn’t change the nature of their relationship, and perhaps, in some ways, made it closer.
They were living a happy life in a small village, where Gonou worked as a tutor, when this happy life was shattered. The world they lived in was one shared between human and youkai - human-like people with superior strength and speed, and marked by their pointed ears. The youkai lord living near the village demanded young women in exchange for the village’s safety, and rather than give up their own daughters, they villagers gave up Kanan - one of the pair of ‘outsiders’. Gonou came home to find the house in shambles, and Kanan gone. He confronted the villagers, and they were more than willing to admit what they had done when faced with his anger. So, in retaliation, he killed them, then headed for the youkai castle, ruthlessly eliminating everyone who stood in his way. He worked his way through the castle, too, killing every youkai he found, including the lord, despite being a single human with no actual combat training against stronger, faster foes.
He finally found Kanan in the basement, but it was too late - the lord had raped and impregnated her, and in her guilt and self-loathing, she took the knife Gonou had been using to kill the youkais, and stabbed herself with it, right in front of him. While he was still standing in shock after this, the last youkai in the castle - the son of the lord - took the opportunity to ambush him. After very nearly killing Gonou, he off-handly mentioned a legend that a human who kills a thousand youkai becomes a youkai themselves, and wondered how many youkai Gonou killed so far. He slices his palm, and drips the blood onto the downed man - who begins to scream and transform.
What happens next is unclear, but the next time Gonou appears, he’s semi-concious, bleeding out by the side of the road in the rain. A young man, half human and half youkai, named Sha Gojyo finds him, and, somewhat impulsively, hauls the half-dead man home and finds a doctor to patch him up. Gonou wakes up a week later wondering if he’s in hell, and that if so it’s rather mediocre, to which a rather annoyed Gojyo informs him that it’s still the real world. Gonou stays with him as he recovers, hiding his guilt under cleaning and cooking.
Not too long after this, however, two men coming looking for him - a irritable, blond monk named Genjyo Sanzo Houshi, holder of the highest title possible and keeper of one of the Scrolls of Heaven and Earth; and his ward, an apparentlty-teenaged boy named Son Goku. They are seeking a green-eyed murderer named Cho Gonou, and when they come knocking on Gojyo’s door, he truthfully tells them he doesn’t know anyone by that name - as his houseguest has never shared it. Sanzo sees through the deception rather quickly, but Gojyo buys Gonou enough time to escape out the back, saying he has one thing still to take care of. He heads for the youkai lord’s castle, Sanzo, Gojyo, and Goku following behind. Nearly there, he finds the youkai who very nearly killed him - who demands a blood price for his family, throwing down a flask with his brother’s eyes - which Gonou had ripped out - in front of him. Gonou says he’s happy to oblige, and calmly reaches up to pull his right eye out of the socket, and toss it on the ground. He reaches up for the left one, but at this point, his trackers catch up and stop him in time.
Sanzo and Goku take Gonou back to Chang’an, to await judgement by the Sanbushiten. Sanzo tells Gojyo that the punishment for Gonou’s crime is to be death, to which Gojyo expresses a great deal of frustration, and eventually stalks off back home. Much to his suprise, Gonou returns to the town weeks later - know known as ‘Cho Hakkai’. The death, he explains, was one of the old self, rather than a physical death. His new name is a sign of that, a break from the man he was as Gonou.
He and Gojyo settle in to a somewhat awkward domestic routine, carefully dancing around their differences. When an old street acquaintance of Gojyo’s named Banri drops in, Hakkai excuses himself to go visit Sanzo and Goku, and takes the time to try (unsuccessfully) to tutor Goku. He comes home to find Gojyo and Banri there, utterly drunk. Banri, also a youkai, comments on Hakkai’s limiters, and goes off on a tirade about how he hates that youkai have to hide their strength to placate humans. Hakkai disagrees, and says despite being youkai himself, he abhors them - abhors himself. When Banri gets into trouble not long after, Gojyo goes to protect him, knowning Banri will probably turn on him anyway - and in return, Hakkai comes to protect Gojyo. The incident smooths out the tension between the two, and cements the strange, mismatched bond between them.
This relatively peaceful life is interrupted by the arrival, yet again, of Goku and Sanzo. A group far in the west, seeking to revive a powerful youkai king, have disrupted the balance of Togenkyou - youkai have begun to lose their sense of selves, becoming impulsive and violent, and attacking humans. The Sanbushiten have tasked Sanzo with gathering companions, and putting an end to the resurrection attempt and the ‘minus wave’ affecting the youkai. Goku, Hakkai, and Gojyou are chosen because they are the only three youkai to retain their sense of self in the land (likely due to their unusual origins - Gojyo as half-youkai, Hakkai as human-turned-youkai, and Goku as a spirit born of the earth itself), and because their past scars bind them together as a group.
As they begin their journey west, Hakkai falls easily into the roll of driver, caretaker, and ‘face’ for the group. While the other three bicker, he is the one to remain calm and polite. At one of the first inns they stay at, the hostess expresses a hatred of youkai, and he even takes that in stride, only gently disagreeing with the woman. When a youkai assassin intent on killing the travelling party takes her hostage in the middle of the night, Hakkai is the one to protect her, putting himself in greater danger to do so. He also reveals his strength in battle, which is a near-unshakable calm.
Later, when they stay at a temple posing as Sanzo’s ‘servants’, Hakkai again displays this calm, relaxing while the others complain about the uptightness of the monks. When they are attacked by assassins again, Hakkai shows his other skill in battle - versatility. He invents a qi-barrier on the spot, working only off his obserservations of one of their enemies earlier. The assassins also show their own dedication - choosing to kill themselves rather than reveal to the party who sent them.
He meets his ‘counterpart’ of sorts in a woman named Yaone, who is one of the youkai loyal to Kougaiji - the son of the great youkai lord being resurrected, who is tasked with making sure the resurrection happens at any cost.. She poses at a waitress at one of the inns they stop at, with the intent to assassinate them. However, the four end up protecting her from being harassed by other patrons, even going so far as beating them in a drinking contest (at which it becomes apparent that Hakkai has never been seen drunk, and appears to have the alcohol tolerance of the gods).
Nonetheless, she drugs everyone in the inn - but Hakkai is the only one smart enough to realize what had happened, and to not breathe the drug in. He fights her, but realizes that her strength is not in battle, and only uses non-lethal attacks. He even apologises for disarming the explosives she had planted earlier. Dismayed at her defeat, Yaone raises a blade to her throat - and reminds Hakkai of Kanan’s actions, leading to her suicide. He shouts at Yaone to stop - and just in time, Kougaiji shows up to whisk her away, sparing a glare and a threat for Sanzo and company. Hakkai reminisces on the past, and Sanzo tells him that if he still desires revenge for that time, the path is open to choose - to which Hakkai replies ‘I choose to remain here.’
As the party of four passes through a city, a fortune teller stops them and offers to read Hakkai’s fortune. The man tells him ‘A seal of death is appearing’ and that he has ‘the eyes of a criminal.’ A huge crab shikigami appears, drawing the party’s attention, and when they glance back, the fortune-teller has vanished. They defeat the shikigami, and find that it has a tablet inside reading ‘sin’. As the fortuneteller watches them fight, he says to himself that ‘the more precious things you have, the more it’s worth losing’.
The group camps in a forest that night, and Hakkai awakes in the mdidle of the night from a nightmare about Kanan. He leaves the campsite to brood in peace, and finds himself startled by Gojyo, who follows him. The two are attacked by a doll that calls Hakkai a sinner, and when Hakkai’s anger shows itself in a brief flash, tells him that that is his ‘true face’. The doll then shoots Gojyo with a seed that will grow inside him, worming its way into his heart before it eventually kills him. Sanzo shoots the seed in Gojyo, forcing Hakkai to expend all his energy to heal the gunshot wound so close to his friend’s heart, and he collapses from the exertion. Hakkai also realizes who the fortune-teller is - the youkai who nearly killed him - and that his goal is to hurt Hakkai by harming Hakkai’s friends, which he expresses a great deal of guilt over. Sanzo tries to tell him to let go of his past, though as usual, the lecture is a gruff one.
Sanzo and Hakkai lead their enemy away from Goku (who’d been separated from the group earlier and injured) and the still-recovering Gojyo, and lead him deeper into the forest. As they watch for an ambush, Hakkai tentatively asks Sanzo ‘Am I really allowed to be here?’ (that he feels he’s not atoned for his crimes), which Sanzo dismisses quickly.
As he faces Chin Yi-So, he declares his intention to try to do his best to keep living - not for himself, but for the people who believe in him and depend on him, and not being ashamed of doing so. He leads the youkai into believing he’s brainwashed him into fighting Sanzo, and then, at the last moment, turns and shoves his hand into Chin Yi-So’s chest - having killed him once, he realizes that the youkai is actually a shikigami himself, and destroying the tablet inside him will destroy him.
As the four finally head onwards, Hakkai muses aloud that he wishes he had a longer lifeline - that he wants to be someone with both a past and a future. Goku, simple-minded as he is, grabs a permanent marker and draws the lines on Hakkai’s palms longer to fix the problem, which raises a genuine smile out of Hakkai.
Once on their journey again, they come to a dessert town, where the villagers tell them a nearby youkai is rumored to have devoured the last Sanzo Houshi who’d travelled through the area. Knowing this might yield one of the other Scrolls of Heaven and Earth. The four go to where the youkai is rumored to reside, only to discover the fort is under the desert. Sanzo is taken to be devoured, while Goku, Gojyo, and Hakkai are imprisioned. While Goku and Gojyo rage and worry, Hakkai, as usual, is calm. Once they break free, he keeps that calm, even as he points out that the fort has started to collapse around them, burying them in sand. He also pushes himself to his limits to throw up a barricade to protect his friends.
Outside, Kougaiji offers to duel Goku. The stakes - use of one of Kou’s transport dragons for the injured Sanzo if Goku wins, or the scrolls if he loses. Goku, realizing the importance of this for saving Sanzo, takes off his limiter crown, and entrusts it to Hakkai, believing that Hakkai is the only one who can fight him down once he’s given himself over to his uncontrolled side. After Goku smashes through Kougaiji, Hakkai does his best to subdue him - and fails, leaving Sanzo to re-seal Goku’s youkai-nature. Nonetheless, he tries to drive them all back to the village, and only relinquishes his place when Gojyo forces him to get some rest before he passes out at the wheel. In the aftermath, he’s there when Sanzo wakes up, diffusing tension for both of them with a few smiling, well-placed verbal jabs. He also assures Goku that to fight Kougaiji as he did was alright, even necessary, for protecting those he cared about. As they continue their journey, they spot a falling star, and Hakkai realizes he can’t think of anything to wish for. Gojyo comments that ‘that’s because you don’t need a wish, right?’, with which Hakkai concurs.
Half-way through their journey to India, there’s a pause as, thanks to Gojyo’s careless words (and affectionate insults), a powerful child named Kinkaku traps Goku and Hakkai’s souls in a flask - Kinkaku is trying to collect souls of ‘bad’ people, so that his twin brother will become normal again. The soul-flask is full of skeletons, which Goku and Hakkai fight, even as their companions are fighting outside. As usual, he’s the one to take charge, trying to keep Goku calm as they fight. A huge skeleton-monster appears, and Hakkai warns Goku to stay back to avoid getting hurt, before he takes off his youkai limiter cuffs. When the scene cuts back to the aftermath of his fight, there’s body parts and organ bits strewn everywhere, even as Hakkai calmly replaces his ear cuffs. Not long after, they find Ginkaku, Kinkaku’s brother, who explains that their ‘master’, a man who calls himself ‘Kami-sama’ has tricked his brother, and that Ginkaku has been inside the flask the entire time, even as his body has died on the outside world. Sanzo and Gojyo manage to break the flask, releasing the trapped souls, and Goku and Hakkai wake up back in their inn.
The next morning, they wake up to find Gojyo has vanished. Irritably, Sanzo demands that they continue forward without him, instead of wasting time on pointless sidetracks. Neither Goku nor Hakkai disagree, but as the day wears on, Hakkai expresses his displeasure with the choice in various little, passive-aggressive ways, acting as though he’s the ‘neutral’ one here, before finally snapping, and shouting at Sanzo. Ill-tempered, the three turn back in search of their missing fourth, and find him at Kami-sama’s castle, deep in the woods they had traversed the day before. Gojyo is fighting Kami-sama, though his companions only protect him, ostensibly, so that they can punish him themselves. Kami-sama, however, outmatches all four of them, and they only narrowly escape being killed.
Back at the inn, frustrations run high among all four of them as they recover from their injuries - everyone feels defeated and pessimistic about the fight, which, as Kami-sama took Sanzo’s scroll, they cannot avoid a rematch of. To try and shift the mood, Goku borrows a Mahjong set, and forces everyone else to play with him. He keeps winning, and when it’s pointed out that he’s in good form today, simply replies that he’s playing the same as usual, it’s just that everyone else is playing badly. Faced with this challenge, they all rally, gradually regaining their spirits until Sanzo finally wins. After this, they train some for the fight ahead, realizing that they’ll need to use teamwork to their best advantage to win.
They head back to the castle, and make it through the maze of rooms to meet Kami-sama himself. Their training pays off - by working together, they manage to hold their own, even as the toys around them, imbued with the souls of the dead, continue onward. Sanzo taunts Kami-sama, pointing out that he may wear the robes of a Sanzo Houshi, but whoever his master was, he did not deem him worthy of inheriting the scroll. In the end, Hakkai uses himself to hide Sanzo’s attack, putting his life in the other man’s hands as the monk shoots around him into Kami-sama. With his death, the castle begins to collapse, and the four escape, buoyed by their victory, and head westward.
What point in time are you taking your character from when he/she appears at Landel's and why?:
Right after the end of the original run of Saiyuki - the events in the sequel don’t alter his personality much, and it’s a good ‘high’ point to fall from.
Please give us a detailed description of your character's personality:
To someone meeting him for the first time (in most situations, at least), Hakkai seems like an affable, outgoing person. He’s exceedingly polite, even in situations where others would get flustered, and generally seems very calm and composed. He’s also very quick to help out, and good at domestic chores.
Getting to know him a little better starts to reveal that the picture-perfect exterior isn’t quite perfect. He’s tidy to the point of neuroticism about it - even in other people’s spaces. He has a little laugh which punctuates sentences and doesn’t sound completely natural. And the smile which normally does seem friendly and natural never leaves his face - even in times of stress. It only gets harder, sharper, and generally more terrifying. In such cases, his smile is practically a threat, and can get pretty much anyone who knows him to do exactly what he wants, when he wants it. Sanzo is nominally the party’s leader, but when Hakkai wants something done, it gets done - usually through a certain degree of passive-aggressive hinting along with his smile.
Conversely, though, he’s a deeply loyal friend to those who have gotten close to him, and proven his trust. He trusts Goku, Gojyo, and Sanzo deeply - even going so far as to let Sanzo use him as a shield, knowning he wouldn’t actually kill Hakkai - and that trust is returned - Goku, at one point entrusts his limiter crown to Hakkai, believing Hakkai is strong enough to protect him from himself. Once Hakkai makes a promise, he keeps it. He would go through hell and back for his friends, and the easiest way to wipe the slightly menacing smile off his face and go straight to pure fury is to harm or threaten one of his friends. And his rage, while rare, is deep, cold, and unrelenting until punishment has been exacted.
Underneath all of this - his kind nature, his neurotic tics, his deeply protective nature - is a core of guilt and self-hatred. He feels very completely that he is guilty, that he is a sinner - for loving his sister beyond the bounds of family, for killing on her behalf, for failing to save her, and for living where he should have died. He feels as though he broke a promise to her, to protect her. He carries that around with him, all the time, and it shows through at times. In part, his dedication to his friends are a compensation for his failure - he couldn’t protect Kanan, so he protects them, instead. All of this is under a dangerously tight mask of self-control and cheerfulness - while most of the time he seems like the most reasonable member of the travelling party, when something does push him, he’s easily the most terrifying. He keeps his anger and guilt tightly locked down, with no outlet for it, so when his mask breaks, it does so completely - he’s all rage and shouting, with none of the control he previously demonstrates.
Please give us a physical description of your character:
Human form: Hakkai stands just short of six feet tall, with a rather lanky, narrow build. With his shirt off, it’s clear that he’s mostly lean, stringy muscle, with very little body fat - unsurprising in someone who’s spent months on hard travel. He also has a very noticeable scar, close to ten inches long, across his stomach. It’s jagged, and roughly healed. Like the rest of him, he has a fairly narrow, lean face, though despite this it’s a friendly face, as he’s usually smiling. He has neat, dark brown hair, a little longer than close-cropped, and warm green eyes. In canon he wears a monocle over his right eye most of the time, which is artificial and has very poor sight on it’s own, but also wears more ordinary glasses fairly frequently as well (which would fit better with this particular setting). He also wears three silver ear cuffs on his left ear - ostensibly a keepsake of his past, but in actuality, it’s what keeps his youkai form sealed. He dislikes being in that form or having other people see it, so the cuffs are almost always on
Youkai form: Hakkai’s youkai form looks much the same as his regular ‘human’ form in build. There are a few very noticeable differences, however - his nails lengthen into something more like claws, and his ears likewise lengthen into points, and his hair gets longer and shaggier, hitting shoulder-length in back. His natural eye turns gold, the pupil turning slitted - though his artificial eye remains green and with a normal pupil. By far the most notable change, however, is the appearance of green tattoo-like vine markings on his skin, which move on their own.
What kinds of otherwordly abilities does your character have, if any?:
Fighting - Hakkai can use his qi, or lifeforce energy, in two ways in fighting. One is to form a shield, up to roughly twice as tall as himself and about as wide, which curves slightly around to his sides. This can shatter and destroy ranged attacks towards him and people behind him, including projectiles and tossed debris. It’s quick to put up, but draws more power, as it’s wide and uses power to absorb attacks. He can also create balls of energy, of varying size, which can be used as attacks - the more powerful ones can completely obliterate weak enemies, while smaller ones would cause damage such as energy burns and knock-back.
Healing - Hakkai can pour his own lifeforce into others to heal them. He’s shown to be capable of healing quite severe injuries - such as Sanzo getting speared all the way through his chest - though healing life-threatening injuries uses much of his energy and frequently causes him to pass out for the next few hours. While it’s not seen onscreen, lighter injuries would assumably drain far less energy out of him. He has also been never shown to be able to do anything about illness, which means his skills are likely limited to traumatic injuries. There is off-screen evidence for these healing abilities applying to bone injuries as well - Goku fractures his leg falling off a cliff in one chapter, but by the time the next part of the story starts, it’s fully healed. He likely can only fully heal very simple fractures, and for larger ones, only do partial regrowth and ensure union of the two ends.
Vines - Hakkai can manipulate the vine markings on his body, sending them out to travel over touching surfaces - for instance, touching the ground with his hand allows them to travel out from his hand over the ground, and up onto legs of people touching the ground. He can use them in this way as ropes, to bind movement, or to pull someone to the ground. They are also apparently capable of conducting electricity through them. However, he’s never seen to make them travel through air, so it’s safe to assume that he needs a surface for them to travel over, and that breaking contact with the travelling surface would break off the vines, too.
Enhancements - Hakkai can still uses his qi-manipulation abilities in this form, but the effects are stronger, using more of his life force. He’s also much, much faster - in a fight, it’s hard for a normal human to follow his movements visually. He’s also at least strong enough to take hits from the unleashed Seiten Taisei, who’s strength rivals that of gods, and still remain standing.
If present, how do you plan to tweak these powers to make your character appropriately hindered in the setting of Landel's?:
Qi powers: The most important of Hakkai’s qi powers is his ability to heal - it’s his one constructive, rather than destructive ability, and as someone who feels burdened by the destruction he’s caused in the past, it’s a way of making up for that. As such, it’s ability most limited here. The range of injuries he can heal remains almost the same, though he cannot heal large, life-threatening injuries any more. However, the cost to himself is higher than it would be in canon. Large injuries could leave him unconscious for up to a day, and unable to use any of his qi powers for another day or so after that. Even smaller injuries would leave him feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
The same is true for his fighting abilities - he can’t fight using qi for very long before feeling effects. Three or four qi blasts, or two or three shields before it starts to affect him physically, slowing him down. Overuse would lead to lightheadedness, or even passing out for a particularly large or sustained shield, for instance.
Youkai form: Despite not being in his canon world and thus surrounded by the Minus Wave, the effects still stand here - a loss of self-control, irritation, and if he stays in that form too long, total loss of higher-level thinking and reversion to a pure reactive state. Hakkai hates this, along with what the form means to him, to the point that he uses it only twice in twenty volumes of canon. Here, the use of this form and it’s powers will also wear him out faster in canon - probably one major fight would require a few days’ recovery before he can actually utilize the greater power of his youkai form. He also retains any injuries sustained between forms - they don’t heal on reversion to his weaker human self.
Does your character have any non-otherworldly abilities/training that surpass the norm?:
Hakkai seems particularly skilled at picking up things via observation, and is something of a
jack-of-all-trades - it’s noted in his character profile that ‘He could make a living doing anything.’, and has, of all things, a license in lockpicking. He also has very keen observational skills and unusually good luck - he’s generally the winner in a poker game, even against those with far more experience than he has.
What do you see your character doing in the scope of the game and how do you plan to use the setting of Landel's Institute to develop them and affect their psychology in a unique, interesting way?:
Hakkai’s first instinct is to settle in, learn the way of things, and then make himself as obnoxiously useful as he can. He carries a lot of guilt around with him about his past, though, and he’d view a place like this as punishment for his sins, perhaps even karmicly so.
Separating Hakkai from his companions puts him on the defensive - there’s an element of ‘is this real or is this a trap’ as they’ve faced illusions before, and enemies who work by splitting them up. So there’ll be at least a certain bit of quiet rebellion and boundary-testing before he considers himself well and fully stuck. He makes casual acquaintances easily, given his friendly nature, and is likely to be on good terms and helpful with most people who are reasonably polite in return - deeper friendship is a harder thing to gauge, as it requires a fair measure of mutual trust before Hakkai opens up beyond the surface. Not having his emotional balances means holding more in, though - and the more he bottles up, the more erratic his emotional state is, and the more likely his darker tendencies are to surface.
The loss of some of his power will be a sort of constant, quiet frustration, likely showing itself on the surface only when the loss counts for something - failure to help someone who really needs it. He’s not the type to make a whole lot of enemies on personality alone, given his tendency to being the calm, collected one in a group of rather abrasive people, though there are some types he doesn’t like on principle - bullies, closed-minded people - and he’d admit that dislike fairly easily if actually asked about the matter.
Given that this RP takes place in an unsettling and outright horrific environment, how do you justify your character as being appropriate in both body and mind for this kind of setting?:
Hakkai killed a vilage full of humans and a castle full of youkai with what, as far as we can tell, were his bare hands and the occasional scavenged sword. Saiyuki is also a series that doesn’t shy from beating on it’s protagonists emotionally or physically.
There were bodies everywhere, the ground soaked dark with blood. He thought for a moment that they were all of enemies, that this was a victory - until he spotted familiar gold-blond hair, the ends matted in blood. He knelt quickly, paying no heed to the grime that was certain to stick to his clothes - but the body was already cold. Another glance around revealed more - Nyoibo broken into pieces, Gojyo half-buried under a pile of bodies. Even a tiny, broken white body amidst the blood. He was the only one alive. He had failed them. His heart was pounding in his chest, he felt like he was going to be sick-
And he woke up with a gasp, staring at a half-blurred ceiling. Just a nightmare. Those weren’t particularly uncommon for him. He didn’t feel like chancing sleep again, though - and the light outside the inn’s window told him the sun was starting to rise. A quick feel along the top of the nightstand produced one of his pairs of glasses - and he made a quick mental note to buy another pair, while they were in town, as his other back-up pair had gotten irrevocably crushed in his pack during their last fight, and trying to focus without anything gave him terrible headaches. And probably wasn’t very safe for driving, either.
The glasses went on, and he shifted aside the covers quietly, sliding out of the bed. Sanzo was still asleep on the other side of the room - more deeply than usual, it seemed, if he hadn’t even turned at Hakkai’s awakening. The permanent frown on the monk’s face had relaxed only slightly in sleep, and Hakkai smiled, a little of the fear from his dream easing off. He wouldn’t wake him - perhaps a little extra sleep would make Sanzo-sama more bearable on the the day’s drive. He slipped on his shoes, and left the room as quietly as he could.
He cracked open the door next to their’s with a little less caution - Gojyo and Goku were heavier sleepers than Sanzo, and, true to form, were both sprawled on their beds, only half under the covers. Goku was snoring slightly, no less. Hakkai closed the door again, and relaxed a little. They were all fine. Just a dream. It was good to see them all able to relax so easily, after their last fight. Victory... it suited them more than the looks of defeat they had worn. Still, it was proving difficult to shake how close he’d come to losing them all - and himself in the bargain.
He shook his head slightly, trying to clear those particular thoughts - it couldn’t be good luck to dwell on them that much. He padded downstairs, to the tiny kitchenette the inn had available for guests. Sparse, but he had bought some groceries the evening before, and he was used to the rather limited selection of cookware Gojyo had had before Hakkai had started buying more. He turned the coffee maker on out of habit more than anything else - Gojyo and Sanzo would be monsters to deal with without it - and mentally went through his inventory. Enough leftover rice from the night before for congee, and and some fresh vegetables and eggs he could add, too. Goku would probably want more, but he usually did. They still had some bread, that might be filling enough. He started preparing the meal, humming to himself as he went. The nightmare - that wasn’t the best way to start the day, but the comfortable quiet of the kitchen early in the morning was peace enough for now.
‘Am I a man dreaming he’s a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he’s a man?’
I can’t tell yet. This could all be genjutsu, with the others right around a corner. It feels so real, though - more convincing than ‘Kami-sama’s’ illusions were. More complete, too. They’ve said what I believe to be my life is false - but this could be yet another illusion. I can still summon qi - though I did it where nobody was watching. I haven’t tried to remove the limiters, yet.
[There’s a few small spots of ink, as if someone was tapping their pen on the paper as they thought.]
Perhaps this place is hell. Punishment for a sinner.
Completely optional question for first-time applicants: How did you find out about this RP and why are you interested in playing in it?: I learned about it from Andy (who plays Gren and Hijikata), and I love psychological and body horror played in loving, full-hilt detail.