elemental perceptions

“What the hell is it?” Gojyo nudged the prone figure over with his boot. Possibly a little harder than was strictly necessary, but it was rather understandable under the circumstances.

“Damned if I know,” said Sanzo, “Or care.”

“It’s some kind of bird! A talking bird!” exclaimed Goku excitedly.

“I rather think,” Hakkai said in his best ‘I’m trying not to sound like a schoolteacher but failing, so please just shut up and be educated, thank you’ voice, “It’s a Western angel.”

“An angel? What’s that?” Goku eyed the ‘angel’ with bright-eyed curiosity.

“It’s like a k'i-lin.”

“It looks like a man, not a deer. And where are the flames?”

“Did you somehow miss the flaming sword part?” Gojyo rolled his eyes in exasperation.

“I believe it’s some kind of air elemental, Goku. It’s a messenger of their gods, so it has a different form to ours.”

“Air isn’t an element!” insisted Goku, “Earth, fire, metal, water and wood are the elements. Everybody knows that.”

Sanzo and Gojyo both shot Goku belated and useless ‘Stop encouraging him!’ glares.

“Well, the Westerners believe that earth, fire, water and air are the elements which make up the universe.”

“That’s dumb! Westerners are stupid. And their messengers are pretty sucky too. Look how eas. . . oh look! It’s up again. Round Two!”

The ‘angel’ had indeed returned to its feet, albeit somewhat shakily. The large wings probably didn’t help with balance, either.

“Your Holiness,” it spoke to Sanzo in accent-less, but appalled, Chinese, “This demon filth is with you?”

It eyed Gojyo with aversion.

“That’ s half-demon filth to you, birdie.” Goyjo smiled back. An easy, uncomplicated smile - the type given by man-eating tigers before they eviscerate supper.

“He’s with me.” Sanzo admitted grudgingly, then continued sarcastically, “Didn’t my people send your people the memo?”

“Er,” the angel looked surprisingly shifty, “Probably. It must have gotten lost in my ‘In’ box.”

“A very perceptive conclusion,” interjected Hakkai, smiling gently. “You must get such an awful lot of paperwork. It’s amazing you have the time to patrol your regions.”

The angel gave Hakkai a hard look. Then it blinked and looked uncomfortable.

“Erm, yes,” it said, “In fact, that’s a good point. Maybe I should go catch up on some of that paperwork. No need to mention this. Wouldn’t want to have to fill out all those forms a. . .

As it talked, the angel’s body started to twinkle little firefly sparks and lighten, rapidly becoming transparent. Body and voice faded.

“Hey no! Don’t go! I wanna. . .”

The angel dissipated.

“Ah,” said Hakkai, “Reassuring to see the Western heaven is…”

“Also run by bureaucratic idiots,” finished Sanzo sourly.

“No fair!” whined Goku, “I wanted another go at him. And all that fighting’s left me hungry. Sanzo – when’s the next town? Sanzo! Sanzo! Wait up, Sanzo!”


Note: k'i-lin have also been equated with both Western unicorns and phoenixes, but in this story I chose them primarily for their function of ‘messenger of the gods’. Not that Goku knew that. Also, no this isn't Aziraphale. For a start, he 'lost' his sword...

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