You are definitely not cut out for trekking aimlessly across the desert. This you have discovered because you've been doing it for the past three days with no food. There is still plenty of water, if only because it's hot and slightly gritty with sand. But each little mouthful has kept you going. As for why you've been stumbling through the desert for so long… Well, the answer is not so easy.
You don't remember.
What you do remember is waking up at the base of a huge sand dune, just barely shaded. All you had with you was the shoulder container of dirty water and your clothes. Since then the knot on your head has stopped throbbing and you've been beaten by enough sandy windstorms that you really can't tell where the bruises down your arms and legs were. With what wits you still have about you, you figure that you must have started this little venture with more than you're carrying now, but you were probably attacked by… Something. Bandits, most likely. Demons would have left everything but you behind, not the other way around. At least that's one thing you remember. It will help you to stay cautious.
You really wish it didn't have to be that way though. Before the strange wave had swept Shangri-La, making most of the demon populace go berserk, your two closest friends had been demons. You don't know if they went crazy or not; they'd gotten the hell out of dodge at the first trickle of negative energy. Of course, you'd felt it too, but you aren't anything special. At best you're just human with a little extrasensory perception. If close enough, you can feel the aura of another person; and the divine energy that was jostled around at the temple back in your hometown was tangible enough. And, if it's potent, you can feel magic in the air, skittering across your skin. That's it though. You can't cast spells or summon fiends and you damn sure can't read minds. However, you're happy about that last one. Others' thoughts are strictly their own especially if they strike you as particularly creepy.
In any case, out here in the stifling heat, you really wish you could do something nifty, like float. Or maybe "poof" to the nearest water source. Yeah, poofing sounds much better. However, you've only got your legs to carry you and you don't bother trying to scope out any other auras. No one in their right mind would be out in the middle of this mess.
That's probably half the reason you're so surprised when a jeep nearly runs you over, doing Buddha only knows what speed. With a shriek, you dive out of the way and end up with your hands and ass buried in the sand. Thinking the vehicle will just pass you by, you shake a fist at it. "Watch where the hell you're going, you assholes!"
The jeep skids to a halt not too far from you. Oh shit. Someone leaps down from the back of it, their scarlet hair catching in the dying sunlight. "Wanna say that to our faces, you little shi- Wait, you're a chick?"
"Um, does that make a difference?" you ask with a pointed blink. Your eyes have just been assaulted by looks good enough to kill. That mass of scarlet frames a sculpted masculine face that peers at you with narrowed crimson eyes. Wow, a half demon, I've never seen one of those before…All this sits atop a body you can tell is lithe and toned and probably delicious… Hey, you might be crazy from near heat stroke, but you're not dead. Yet.
It doesn't help that all his buddies come to crowd around you. And damn if they aren't all pretty too. Each one is a new attack on your vision and if you weren't covered in sand, they could probably see you blushing a bit. Never mind that they're probably pissed you insulted them from afar, and that the blonde looks like he'd rather stomp on you than let you explain.
"I'm afraid it does make a difference to our friend here, miss." The brunette's voice is soothing, polite, and when he offers you a hand up, you automatically take it. You look up into friendly green eyes, one covered by a monocle, as he smiles down upon you. "Are you all right?" he queries, "We really didn't expect to find someone out here. The last village was at least a day's drive back."
For some reason, after he'd let go of your hand, you'd begun the vain process of trying to sweep your hair into something presentable. The rest of you is a lost cause. Your skin is darkened by the beating sun… or maybe that's just the build up of windblown sand. You don't know. But the awe of these young men surrounding you has you trying to appear as pretty as possible. It isn't good for your health for men to be so good looking. Even the shortest, who you also assume to be the youngest, is absolutely adorable.
"Hakkai, it's useless. The sun has baked her brain." This new voice belongs to the blonde decked out in the traditional robes of some priest. You can't remember which, but you know he should be someone pretty important. Your gaze darts to his face and it's all you can do to just not stare stupidly at him.
"It has not!" you protest, suddenly shaken from reverie. "You just… just surprised me, dammit! I haven't seen anyone for days and you just pop up out of nowhere." And you're all so friggin' disconcertingly pretty.
"What're you doing out in the desert all by yourself anyway?"
Your gaze swivels to meet bright gold and for a moment you blink as if blinded. Much to your dismay, a hot crimson blush blossoms across your face. You feel really stupid for doing so, but you answer honestly.
"I don't know."
Despite nothing to echo off of, the three voices reverberate through your poor, aching head. You're sure the volume alone has produced a split in that knot beneath your sand-filled hair. The united shrieks are followed by, "great, another idiot," and the priest begins stalking back to the jeep.
Not thinking that it could only make things worse, you screech after him, "I'm not an idiot, blondie!" Visibly, even from the back, he twitches and before you can do anymore damage — to your own head or the blonde — a hand comes down on your shoulder.
"Hey, babe, calm down. Sanzo's got one hell of a chip on his shoulder. Wouldn't want the asshole to shoot you if you say anymore." It's the redhead — who you've started calling Ol' Red in your mind — and you allow him to turn you around so that you do not see the priest anymore.
"Hey, wait, Sanzo? As in Sanzo priest? That guy?" You glance over your shoulder to find that "that guy", Sanzo, is flicking the lot of you off.
The brunette — Hakkai he'd been called — chuckles apologetically. "Yes. 'That guy' is a Sanzo priest."
"Oh…" you watch Ol' Red's lips curl in disgust and realize that from your outburst he must be expecting you to lapse into some religiously fueled joy. You had just been curious though, you've never seen a Sanzo before either. "Okay." You shrug, garnering looks of surprise.
"Thank god you didn't go into some sort of obsessive, religious stupor," the golden-eyed boy sighs in relief and you giggle at the bit of irony in his words. It seems Hakkai shares this bit of humor with you as you hear his light laughter mix with yours.
You shrug again. "I've just never seen one is all. My town has a temple, but it's not really all that important on the map."
"Speaking of your town," Hakkai says, "was it, by any chance, the one we passed a day or so ago?"
You think on it as the three stand idly by. "Maybe," you say, glancing off in the direction you'd come. "But I was leaving it, I think. I don't know where I was headed."
"Hey!" the youngest suddenly pipes up. "Do you know how to cook?"
Hakkai and Ol' Red (you still haven't heard his name, and feel awkward asking for it since you haven't given your own yet) sweatdrop as you blink at the boy. "Yeah, a little. Why?" The question just seems so out there.
But this one has a way of tying it into everything. "All right! Then you can hitch a ride to the next town with us! We just bought a whole bunch of food from that last place, and if you can cook it, Sanzo's gotta let you come!"
Red groans while Hakkai only chuckles sheepishly. You really have no idea what to make of this. "Um, are you sure about that?" Somehow, by the looks of the blonde man, you don't think it's going to be as easy as he says.
"Of course he isn't," Red snaps, voice steeped in aggravation. "Sanzo wouldn't let her come along if she offered the idea herself, much less since you made it up, Goku."
"Well, it can't hurt to ask, can it, Gojyo?" Hakkai inquires, finally putting a name to Ol' Red. You're a little flattered he's come to your aid, but really, you aren't quite so sure you want to travel with these guys. Sure, they're effin' hot, but they seem a little… unstable, yeah, that's the word.
Gojyo obviously believes that Hakkai is mistaken in the matter. "Do you want to get shot for asking?"
"All right then." Gojyo is smug. "See, it can hurt to ask."
You laugh nervously, eyes darting to the back of Sanzo's head peeking over the head rest on the passenger seat. He's a priest? The way his, er, friends speak, he sounds more like some sort of dictator. Or their mom.
"Gah, I'll just go ask!" Goku huffs, puffing his chest out bravely. Before the others can interject and you can say you'd never really asked to come in the first place, he bounds off to pester Sanzo.
Seconds later there is a loud gunshot that nearly sends you out of your skin. The other two don't even flinch and Goku comes running back to you, a grin splitting his face. "He says you can come!"