(Author's note: All humour aside, I have no idea exactly how to date Ghosh in the Japanese version of Azure Dreams, soooooooooo…well, I'm making it up as I go. I hope no one really minds. I'll try to make this chapter longer, too n. And um, sorry to the slash fans, the yaoi is taking a looong build up. Blame my muse.)

            Koh was exited. Exited in the worst way possible; he was so exited, his common sense was left behind at the tower door. Kewne sadly shook his head as Koh tried vainly to pummel the first monster he came across with his fists. The firey red headed boy told Kewne to butt out and watch the mastah at work, so the small jay sat and watched Koh get beaten into the dirt by a first level monster. Finally, sensing the boy was close to defeat, Kewne sent out a little bit of magic energy to enervate Koh's fist and cause the little monster to explode. Koh seemed elated, but tiredness weighted down his limbs.

"WOO HOO!" Koh danced, putting his fist in the air as a sign of victory. "I win! I win I win! I told you so, Winky!"

Kewne was unimpressed, "Pardon me for asking, but what was that burst of fire that just followed your fist on that last punch?" He inquired,

Koh stared at his hand, not following, "I thought that was me."

Kewne erupted into laughter, "YOU!? An inexperienced boy like you!?"

"Hey shut up! I told you not to interfere!" Koh shouted to his amused pet. The boy stomped off in a random direction, to which Kewne followed, still fighting bouts of giggling. They walked about for a while, well, Kewne flew, and fortunately they had not encountered more creatures. It was all for the better though, as Koh was dangerously low on vitality. To prove Kewne's point he soon sat down on a step, panting heavily.

            Looking exhausted, Koh mopped his forehead with his sleeve, his cheeks red with exertion. He looked from wall to wall, with a 'does this thing ever end?' expression in his eyes. Koh leaned his head back against the step behind him, and pressed his hot hands to the stone, letting the coolness of it seep in. He was hesitant to move, lest his temporary peace be disturbed. Opening his pack, he searched for a canteen of water, then slapped his forehead when he realized he had forgotten it. Peering about, he spotted Kewne beside him.

"I'll tell you what," He began, motioning for Kewne to listen. The bird flew in and landed close by.

"We'll head out of the tower for a break, rest up, get some supplies, then run back in and kick major bootay. Ok?"

Kewne looked a tad nervous. Koh peeked up at him, raising an eyebrow.

"What?" He inquired,

"I'm afraid that's not possible." Kewne said weakly,

"WHAT!?" Koh screamed suddenly, Kewne jumped up and quickly pressed his wings against Koh's mouth to silence him.

"Quiet! Do you want every monster on this level to come looking for us!?" Kewne warned the boy, who was struggling weakly to pry the bluebird off of his face. After a moment of clawing, Koh pushed him off, who landed again, peeking about.

"You need to find and obtain a wind crystal; they will transport you back to your home without you loosing all of your belongings."

"WH—!" Koh just managed to stifle himself before he screamed again. Angry red eyes shot to Kewne for clarification.

"You heard me."

"You mean to tell me if I just leave, all my stuff will vanish!?"

"Yep, and any monster eggs you happen to find."

"Why didn't you tell me this before!?" Koh hissed dangerously,

"I tried, but the 'mastah' found trial and error to be more effective than listening to advice!" Kewne retorted hotly, his normal patience wearing thin by the ungracious offspring of his former master.

"Well, I'm listening now." Koh responded, folding his arms and looking cross.

Kewne sighed, feeling his anger drain away. "This is how it works in the tower…"

It took longer than expected for Kewne to explain the basics of the tower, mainly due to Koh's interjecting every several moments to protest. However, a well practiced glare often put the boy back in his place. The bird explained how humans always went back to level one upon entering the tower, the elevators, what happened when monsters fainted, monster eggs, the works. Koh did find it in him to sit quiet and listen for a few moments, especially when Kewne spoke of finding treasure, and how much money they could market potentially. By the time the bird was wrapping up Koh had become exited and energetic again, ready to start anew, and with a little more effort in cooperation.

Standing up, Koh's eyes glimmered with hopeful mischief. He held his hand up to Kewne, who blinked at him. Koh paused for a minute, expecting Kewne to react. Having no prior experience with this, the jay simply stared at Koh in confusion, while Koh's hand tired.

"Don't you know what a high five is?" Koh questioned,

"A high…what?" Kewne responded

"You know, when two people slap palms together." Koh tried to explain,

"Why would anyone want to do that? Is it like applauding?"

Koh stared at him like he was a moron.

"No, no. It's like, to celibrate a sort of victory with another person. Like teamwork, you know?" Koh tried again,

"Why is that called high five?" Kewne asked,

"Because you slap hands up high, and people have five fingers!" Koh was getting a bit angry at Kewne's ignorance in the ways of childhood habits.

"I don't have five fingers—"

"AARGH! Just hit my hand!" Koh shrieked. Kewne popped up and gave Koh a smile worthy high five.

"Now we're ready."

Together, boy and bird forged the way through the first level, Koh learning for the first time, and Kewne reminiscing as they pummeled the weaker creatures. Koh picked up his first real weapon, and Kewne re-learned how to support Koh while letting the boy do just enough for himself to feel satisfied with his accomplishments. When they had finished the majority of the first level, Koh realized just what a great team they would become.

Nearing the end, Koh sat down again. Kewne gladly perched beside him, happy for a rest.

"Hey Winky…?" Koh began, and Kewne, being too tired to protest, simply rolled his eyes and answered,


"We've been all over this floor, and I haven't seen any monster eggs."

"Oh, so you're already eager to replace me, ey?" Kewne replied, shooting Koh a look,

"Oh no no! It's just, I was just saying…"

"I know, I know." Kewne smiled, and looked to the opposite wall, "It'll be several floors before you'll see the first of them. Other hunters always snatch them up from the lower levels, being too cowardly to venture up too far. The better monsters are up there anyway. Kewne eggs, for example, are found on the eightieth floor."

"Eightieth!? How tall is this thing!?" Koh exclaimed,

"Oh, ninety nine floors or so, I think." Kewne coolly responded.

"Geez, do you know how long it would take to get up that far?" Koh looked above him, imagining miles of rooms to come.

"Yes. I've been there." Kewne snapped, "Besides, I don't suppose you ever wondered why being a monster hunter is a lifelong profession."

"I guess I never thought of it that way." Koh replied.

"Well, you better start thinking if you want to survive." Kewne looked to Koh again, who was staring behind him, eyes rapidly widening.

Kewne briefly wondered if Koh had lost his mind. The boy began stuttering uncontrollably, in such a mannar to convince Kewne that he was quite possibly suffering a seizure.

"S-s-sp-sp-speaking o-of s-s-su-survival…" Koh began, an ominous shadow falling over Kewne, who began to have images of his funeral in his head. Without looking at the monster behind him, Kewne said,

"Shall we run for our lives?"


Long screams echoed down the tower floor; one high warbling tenor, the other a keening shriek. Koh's was the latter. The two bolted down the floor as fast as their wings and legs (respectively) could propel them. Heavy vibrations on the floor signaled whatever was pursuing them was both massive, and gaining.

Koh was chanting "I'mtooyoungtodieI'mtooyoungtodieI'mtooyoungtodie." Over and over again, Kewne was just focusing on finding the exit to the next floor.

"THERE!" The Jay suddenly cried, hanging a sharp right down a pathway. Koh scrambled to follow, and there just as promised, stood the platform that would carry bird and boy to safety. They bound for the platform, and upon reaching it, were all too eager to press the button to carry them to the next floor. As they rose, Kewne caught a glance at the monster following them, struggling to catch the rising platform.

"You do realize," Kewne said at length to the panting kid beside him, "That each level we ascend brings higher level monsters."

"We're only on the second floor." Koh gasped, the myriad of transition colors making him dizzy, "There can't possibly be anything that much worse than what we just saw."

Kewne didn't answer, but merely looked ahead to the floor above. They rose quietly, and finally found themselves looking at a large room. Inside were two figures, and Koh loudly slapped his forehead,

"I was wrong."