Genjo woke to the tickle of cool, damp grass beneath him, and when he opened his eyes he saw a vivid, cerulean sky.
"Ah, you're back with us."
Genjo turned his head to see Hakkai smiling down at him. He heard Goku's choked sob of relief, but when he tried to rise Hakkai pushed him gently back onto the grass.
"Not just yet," Hakkai said. "I need to slow your heart rate down, and get some of your vitals back to normal. You had quite the adventure."
Hakkai's touch was gentle, as was the warm, healing magic that seeped through his aching body. Genjo recognized the familiar tune that Hakkai had hummed in the access tunnels. "Goku's not touching you," he said.
"No," Hakkai agreed.
Hakkai smiled. "Goku—and you—turned the whole valley into a Locus."
Genjo could feel the remnants of Goku's energy in the ground beneath him, and suddenly, he remembered everything from before he'd passed out. "How long have I been unconscious?"
"Not terribly long, a half hour, perhaps? I'm glad you're awake now, Sanzo Koumyou and Goku have been… concerned."
"Help me up," he said to Hakkai. He needed to see what was going on, and find out what the hell had happened.
Hakkai and Gojyo helped Genjo to his feet, and Goku was a blur of motion as he ran over to wrap his arms around Genjo's waist.
"I'm sorry," he said, his words muffled as he pressed his face against Genjo's chest. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
Genjo dropped his hand on top of Goku's head and ruffled his soft, spiky hair. "You didn't hurt me." He noticed that the faint glow that had always surrounded Goku was gone, although he could still sense traces of the power that had surged through him earlier.
"Genjo." Koumyou strode over to where he stood, lines of worry etched deep in his face. Goku stepped aside, and Koumyou pulled Genjo into a tight embrace. "What were you thinking, goading Ukoku like that?"
"I wasn't going to let him take Goku, Dad."
"Well, the two of you certainly ruined his plans." Koumyou took a step back and lifted his hands to frame Genjo's face. "I don't know how you managed to survive that, son. It's one thing to access the Locus, and another thing entirely to act as his conduit. Channeling that amount of energy would have killed me or Sharak."
Genjo decided not to share the fact that he'd been accessing the Locus in what would be considered a very non-standard way the night before. Several times, in fact. And once again when they'd woken up that morning.
He gently disengaged himself from his father's grasp. "Where are the soldiers?" he asked, craning his neck to look around where they stood. "And what happened to Ukoku? The last thing I heard was him screaming."
"Ukoku is not going to be a problem any more," Koumyou said.
Genjo glanced at Goku, who hovered nearby. "Goku, you said something to him, did something to him, right before I lost consciousness. Did you kill him?"
Goku shook his head. "That would have been too easy on him. I took his music away instead."
Koumyou unsuccessfully tried to stifle a snort. "You did a little more than that, young man."
"Ukoku's lucky that he knows his name, much less anything else." Gojyo said. He turned to Genjo. "The soldiers got all nervous when you screamed and started glowing like a reactor, and when the earthquake hit most of them dropped their weapons and ran off. Me and some of the other Musicians snagged the ones who were still here."
"Sharak and Hassan are taking them—and Ukoku—back to the Southern Dome hatch," Koumyou added.
Goku scuffed his boot on the ground, kicking up a tuft of grass. "He wanted to put me back in that place. And he wanted to hurt all of you." His gaze flew up to meet Genjo's. "But I… didn't want to kill him. When he grabbed me I decided to connect with him, and take his music away so that he could never make magic again." He ducked his head. "I think I ended up taking more than his music."
"Remind me never to piss you off, kiddo," Gojyo said, lightly punching Goku in the arm.
"I don't want your music, it's crappy," Goku retorted, and the two of them started a friendly tussle.
Genjo felt Koumyou's hand rest on his shoulder. "The entire valley is a Locus," Koumyou said. "I can feel it, can you? Goku poured his power into the earth, through you, and now he can live the rest of his life as man, instead of an energy source." He squeezed Genjo's shoulder. "I'm so proud of you, Genjo."
Genjo shook his head. "It was you who made this happen. And it was Kanzeon's idea to get Goku." He saw his father's gaze shift away, and frowned. "Dad? Did you know about Goku?"
"I had…suspicions," Koumyou admitted. "Things didn't quite add up. There were times when I would talk to the Locus while I worked a piece of magic, and I could swear that I could sense a response, faint though it was."
"Goku knew," Genjo said. "He said he liked it when you talked to him."
Koumyou smiled. "He didn't communicate or manifest like the Bodhisattvas, but I sensed emotion in his energy, something I never encountered when I accessed the NATAKU Locus. I tried to investigate—I put in a request to gain access to the Central Core last year—but NiiCom denied my request."
"And the Bodhisattvas can't manifest there."
"That's right. And that just made me all the more determined to know the truth." Koumyou watched as Goku laughed and tackled Gojyo to the ground. "I took advantage of you, Genjo. I used your beautiful score as the catalyst of our escape, and when I petitioned for your Elevation I hoped that having a sixth Sanzo would create a glitch in the system that we could use to our advantage."
"So that I could go to the Central Core," Genjo said.
Koumyou nodded. "And free Goku, in whatever form you found him. Kanzeon was more than willing to help. I'm sorry that I used you."
"Don't be," Genjo said. "If you had seen him, you would have done everything in your power to free him, and make sure he was never forced to do anything again."
"And he followed you here," Koumyou said, smiling.
Genjo wasn't sure he liked that smile; it suggested that his father had another suspicion, this one about him and Goku. He needed a distraction. "Hakkai!" he shouted, loud enough for everyone to hear. "Are we going to build this village, or not?"
A loud cheer rose up from the hundreds of Musicians that surrounded them.
Hakkai appeared at his side. "Genjo," he said, "shouldn't we wait? You just went through an ordeal, you should rest."
"Fuck rest," Genjo said. "Who knows how long Goku's energy will stay in this valley? It might be years, it might be hours. Let's do this."
"Very well," Hakkai said.
They walked to the the rocky outcrop where Ukoku had stood earlier, stepping up to stand together on the flat front ledge of the rock. Hakkai raised his hand. "Musicians!" he called. "Gather your instruments and meet your Section Leaders so that you can assemble your section. Keep your gear with you, and once the full-sized outlines appear, make sure you are fully within the main Plaza."
The Musicians cheered again, and the air was soon filled with excited chatter and the preparing of instruments.
Hakkai turned to Genjo and held out his hand. "Your score, Sanzo Genjo?"
Genjo unfastened the scroll case, removed the score and handed it to Hakkai. "Get them ready, Concertmaster."