Cooperation and Logic
The inside of the tower was a strange and ominous sight. A tall, blonde-haired man, frail in stature, walked cautiously down the middle of the path. A nagging temptation came over him, as it usually did, to look over the edge of the path. He tried to fight it, knowing full well the effect it would have on him if he did. His logical side tried to reason him out of what he knew to be a foolish agenda.
"You don't need to peek over the side…Just look to your left and see what's there…"
"If you look to the left," his logic retorted, "you'll want to look over the edge. Be reasonable."
At that point, the young man seemed to play the third voice in the party and quietly mouthed to himself, "There's nothing wrong with looking to the left…What could the damage be?" His eyes that were usually focused up the path and down the middle, slowly, but resolutely went to his left. It was just the same it was on every other floor…The inside walls of the tower were a bizarre phenomenon. There was only a small room amidst the vastness of a large space. It almost seemed like a mile from the edge of the floor to the distant wall that spun around and around, circling him and the room. Or was it the room that was spinning? It was hard to tell because both were gigantic. Maybe if he investigated further…
"You have to look over the edge to determine that question, you know…" Curiosity taunted him silkily.
"What did I tell you? You are afraid of heights…If you look over the edge you'll get sick." Logic shouted angrily.
Once again, he played the third voice and he battled it amongst himself. His eyes would span across the giant wall as it continued to circle silently (or was it the room) as it always had done whenever he explored the tower. He sheathed his masterly crafted sword and got on his hands and knees. "It would only be a peek. I won't even be on my legs. I'll crawl out to the edge and take a look. What is the harm in that?"
"You KNOW what the harm is! You'll get scared! When you fight it will bother you! You won't focus!" Logic growled.
The span of the walkway was more than thirty feet. It was possible for the youth to go throughout the whole tower and not look over the edge. He had done it before and had no problem. When the walkway began to thin, the youth would simply take another path. However, every once in a while his curiosity would play against him and he would begin to waver. The youth growled, presumptuously to his logic, "Ghosh Rhode, prince of Monsabaiya never loses focus!" He slowly began to inch towards the edge of the walkway. As he neared the edge, he slid off his knees and began to crawl on his stomach. The floor of the monster tower had always been clean and well polished, so that Ghosh was able to see his own face on the floor. He only glanced at his reflection and crawled closer and closer to the edge. His hands, which began to tremble ever-so-slightly, griped the angular edge of the walkway. As he pulled himself over, he could feel a warm wind grace across the walkway. It blew strands of his blonde hair in different directions so that it came loose under his bandana. His eyes (which were clenched shut) slowly began to open and see an utterly marvelous thing…
It was just as he had seen it before; there was no support for the room. It was as if it was floating in mid-air. He saw no bottom, the drop only fading into a pitch-black darkness. As the drop began to fade, so did the wall. The wall (or was it the room) continued to spin around and around, but strangely it began to spin in the opposite direction.
No…It wasn't the room…It was himself…
Ghosh brought his hand to his eyes and squeezed his eyelids shut. His head felt as it were dealt a heavy blow he didn't feel. It felt as if his head was made of cotton and a strange ringing filled his ears. His stomach lurched into his ribcage, and it almost felt as if he were falling. He moaned miserably and he hurriedly crawled back to the safety of the walkway. It was a mistake to look over the edge like he had done before. It had the some effect on him as it did last time. He got into a sitting position, Indian-legged, and still clutching his forehead as he tried to get rid of that feeling of falling. His head was throbbing, and he could almost hear the blood pulsing through his veins as he remained light-headed. "Damn it, damn it, damn it!" Ghosh felt more stupid than angry. Sometimes he wished he would listen to his logic, but even then, he hated to admit the truth: The prince of Monsabaiya was afraid of heights.
Slowly, but surely, the spinning came to a stop, but his beating heart raced on as he slowly got to his feet. He swayed slightly, still feeling tipsy from such a shock. He looked around, now finding himself in the middle of the walkway and far from the edge. Notwithstanding the terror had ended, a familiar still-small nagging thought came back to him and began to chastise him: "What did I tell you? You're nervous even now, aren't you? Look at you! You're sweating!"
"Shut up," Ghosh murmured quietly, "because I might listen to you more often if you weren't so unbearable."
He was still a little nervous. The strange, woozy feeling made it feel as if he were still close to the edge and about to fall. He had to get away from it and not be able to see it anymore. He saw a floating room that was connected to the floating walkway he was standing on. If he could make it there he could clear his senses and lose that horrible feeling. As he continued he swayed slightly, holding his sword limply at his side, almost unaware of its weight. The footsteps echoed throughout the vast darkness as he neared the room. The door was a grand arc that was twenty feet high and about half the length of the walkway. He walked through the middle of it and entered the room. He was shocked by what he saw next…
The roof of the room seem to stretch upwards endlessly, as it grew dimmer and dimmer towards the top; yet there was something eerie about not seeing everything in the room. A few times, Ghosh could've sworn he saw a dim light in the shape of an oval. Once again, the voices murmured quietly as Ghosh observed his surroundings. "You haven't listened to me before…Listen to me now…Get out of this room and recover yourself outside…" The logical part of Ghosh's mind was no longer scolding, but pleading to him passionately. A strong sense of urgency sounded in him insomuch that Ghosh felt like he should oblige. Ghosh's eyes continually scanned the blackness above him as he walked towards the opposite end of the room, unaware of a trap that was just a few paces ahead of him…
"Oh no! Look out!"
It was too late for logic to warn Ghosh. He was so lost in the mystery of what was above him that he failed to look about him. Had he been paying attention, he would've spotted a trap in the shape of an ordinary tile. It was part of the floor itself, so that it looked like the rest of the surroundings. However, it was raised a few inches off the floor while everything in the tower was exact, down to the millimeters of height. It was an obvious trap that he shouldn't have missed. To Ghosh's surprise and horror, he learned the identity of the strange light.
It was a monster's eye…
The oval light was now a wide circle, accompanied with many more. They were all fixated on Ghosh and threatening hisses filled the room and strange clinking noises sounded above him. There was a sound of something falling and then a loud clatter as a cage fell to the floor, breaking apart at the door. Inside were only two monsters, but more cages begun to fall from the darkness above him. Soon, the room was filled with hissing monsters who stared at their ancient enemy with as much venom and hatred they possessed. The way in which Ghosh had come in from was blocked by broken cages and his escape was now blocked by monster hordes. He shuddered as they inched closer to him, still unsure of his fighting capability.
"Get ready to fight!" Logic ordered.
Ghosh surprised the monsters by raising his sword into position. They jumped back at the sight, but soon regained their composure and inched towards him again, occasionally a monster thrusting a claw or acting to bite him to see if he would react. It was surprising to see monsters take such a cautious stance towards an enemy, especially with such a group against a single man. Ghosh felt the need to kick himself for refusing to bring any familiars. Had he brought one or two he might've stood a chance against them in a fight, but now he had no choice but to find an escape.
"Scare them! It's your only chance!" Logic suggested.
Ghosh was taken aback by the suggestion, but was quick to obey it all the same. Seeing the monsters and how cautious they took to Ghosh, he let out a loud yell and raised his sword high above his head. True to his theory, the monsters leapt aside, completely surprised by his random outburst. Taking this opportunity he dashed past the group and ran out of the room and sprinted down the corridor. It didn't take long for the monsters to recover from the surprise, because he could hear the clinking of their claws against the slick tile of the corridor. He felt the blood rush to his head as he tried not to pay attention to the height he was at and tried to find a way to lose the monsters. It was impossible, it was a straight path. He would have to find a way to get to the next floor in order to lose his pursuers.
It seemed as if he had been running forever until he saw a dim light ahead of him in a small room. It was magical teleport! If he were to make it there he could escape the monsters perseverance and find a way to escape the tower on the next floor. He pumped his legs faster, trying to ignore the burning sensation inside his lungs. It felt as if his legs would burst from the pressure, but he ran on, cape flying up behind him. He was only a stone's throw away from the teleport now...Suddenly his cape went tight and his legs flew up from under him. He felt as if he was flying, but he felt himself crash down on the tile below. A fiendish monster had taken a hold of his cape and stood over him, joined by his colleagues.
Without thinking, Ghosh swung for the head of that self-same monster. The blade of his sword went through the monsters head effortlessly and a spray of blood went into the air, some staining Ghosh's silky robes. He groaned in disgust as the monsters howled in surprise, horror, and anger. They didn't hesitate to extract their revenge. Ghosh felt the teeth of a random beast dig into his leg. He could feel the pointed teeth tearing away at his clothes to get to the soft flesh that lay underneath. A sense of panic engulfed Ghosh as he struggled to free himself from the grip of the monster, but by breaking his hold, another took its place followed by another and another. He screamed a blood-curdling scream as he saw the same light he saw before move towards his throat…
A great flame struck the head of the monster, sending it up in a symphony of flames. It flailed as it let itself fall over the edge. Its howl echoed and slowly disappeared long after they stopped paying attention to Ghosh. All the monsters turned their attention to the new assailant and they all sprung at him instantly, not willing to hesitate this time around. As Ghosh lay on the ground, he heard the repeated slicing of flesh and howls of agony. He would've loved to help his rescuer, but he began to lose consciousness and he fell into an unconscious sleep…
"You've been out for a few hours now."
Ghosh sighed in annoyance as he recognized the voice. He didn't recognize it at first; seeing that he couldn't pay that much attention to it whilst a monster was moving towards his jugular. He tried to sit upright, but he groaned as he realized he lacked the ability. "Why did it have to be you?" He grunted in disgust. The voice that replied simply said, "Because I imagine nobody else would." Ghosh scoffed in reply and said, "Anyone would give their lives to the prince of the Rhode family. I don't know why you're so different." A brief silence ensued between them both. All that could be heard was the crackling of a fire and the sound of boiling water. A faint smell of jelly filled Ghosh's nostrils and his stomach rumbled at the sense. The rumble must've been loud because the voice asked Ghosh if he were hungry. With as much mock indignation he could muster, Ghosh replied, "I can't believe you'd expect me to eat dog food."
The rescuer suddenly looked over him, coming into Ghosh's view. It was a young man with red hair that was a year younger then Ghosh. His eyes were red and he wore a leather jacket. At that moment he had a spoonful of jelly in his hand and he was forcing Ghosh's mouth wide open. "I know you're hungry, so in a sense, swallow your damn pride." He shoved the spoon into Ghosh's mouth and a delicious taste of grape filled his mouth. At that moment, Ghosh did, quite literally, swallow his pride. He ate the jelly and ate more that followed after that. He was able to eat half a loaf of bread and some homemade jam that seemed to have some healing effect. "I'll admit it, Koh," Ghosh began, "that food didn't suck completely. What was it?"
"I find that medicinal herbs taste bitter by themselves. I mixed it with some jam and toast. It does wonders, seeing how the body ingests it so easily." Koh replied.
"That was surprising." Ghosh said, laughing so that it hurt his stomach.
"What?" inquired Koh.
"You sounded intelligent just now." Ghosh said, with a broad smile.
Koh groaned as he stopped feeding him and began to feed himself. "Man alive. I don't know what your problem is, but I'm tired of trying to fix it." He continued to eat the rest of the bread and jelly grumpily. He stared off ahead of himself as Ghosh felt the herb slowly work into his system. Already, the cuts and bruises from the monsters began to magically heal. "So, what happened to the monsters?" Ghosh asked, trying to see if he could get back on Koh's good side so he could get more jam. Koh finished chewing, which he took his time doing to enjoy it and to spite Ghosh, and replied, "Dead."
"And you took care of them, right?" said Ghosh.
"Yeah." Replied Koh, nonchalantly.
It was harder to talk to Koh than he thought. For some reason Ghosh just never treated him well. They had too many differences between them when they were young. Ghosh was rich and Koh was poor. Ghosh was raised in a civil manner while Koh was not. Yet, after Koh began to go to the tower he had began to rival Ghosh in all his riches, but still the situation remained the same. For some reason they hated each other, at least he thought they did. So if they hated each other why did Koh save him? A new voice surfaced in Ghosh's mind at that moment: a voice which was more vicious in its attempts than the others. "He is only trying to embarrass you. Once you are healed and go back home, he'll announce it to the world that he saved your life. You damned fool. Don't you dare try to befriend him." Ghosh said nothing aloud as he replied to the assailant mentally. "Who said I was trying to befriend him? And what's the problem if he did save my life? He saved the life of my sister before and nobody has chided her."
The voice laughed, "She didn't always make herself out better like you do. She never once questioned his strength; you on the other hand…"
"I've lost before!" Ghosh roared back.
The voice was quiet again as the crackling of the fire slowly made its way back to Ghosh's attention. However, the voice didn't stop. "So, the great prince of Monsabaiya admits defeat, does he?" Ghosh smirked to himself, "I don't admit defeat; I admit a draw." The voice cackled and wheezed as if it were an old man laughing at an arrogant youth, "Foolish boy…Don't you realize what's happening to you? You are losing. You used to be the only man with real meaning in this part of the world. Your name carried weight, my boy. He saves you today, but what next? Does he marry your sister? Have children by her? Becomes the prince in your place? Where does it stop? After you're dead? He is only going to use you like everyone else does. That is why you despise him! This is why you hate him so! If you befriend him, he will use you till your last gold piece! He will drag your name through the mud! He is supposed to be worthless! Not you!" Ghosh only smiled as he dealt the finishing blow to the voice, "If that were true, then he would've let me die, would he not?" The voice made no reply, but a light of realization had struck Ghosh insomuch that he made one final statement.
"I know what you are now; you are my pride."
"Well done, my friend." Logic replied in place of pride. Ghosh was taken back by this sudden appearance in his mind. However, he felt as if he should pay mind to what logic had to say on the matter, and so he prompted him, "Did you have a part in all of this?" Ghosh asked. For the first time in a long time, Ghosh began to listen to the wisest part of himself as logic talked on, "Pride has always kept you from listening to me. He mixes with so many other things that it would boggle your mind to look at it. Isn't it scary how dangerous such a thing as pride can be? Just look at what had happened today. Would you have made that mistake with the trap earlier if you hadn't overestimated yourself because of your title? See how easily pride can turn an ally into an enemy?" At that moment, Ghosh turned to look at Koh who was still eating the rest of his food. A smile crept across his face as he understood the meaning of the words of logic. "Isn't it funny how easily pride can keep an ally from turning into a friend?" Ghosh nodded to himself and said, "I think I know what it is you're trying to say to me." The voice of logic simply said, "Then do what you must, for logic dictates that it is far better to have a friend than to have an enemy."
At this moment, a surprising amount of strength returned to Ghosh and he managed to sit up. Koh, who had been eating his food, was taken by surprise when he saw his childhood rival returning quickly to strength. Ghosh stretched in a few places, pleased to see that his body was returning to normal function. He looked at Koh who was eyeing him with suspicion, "I knew it; you were making it out worse than you really were." Koh stated.
"Your food worked really well. I'm impressed." Ghosh stated honestly.
Koh seemed a little pleased as he responded, "It was just something I figured out on my own."
"Well, you did a good job making it." Said Ghosh simply.
"Thank you," Koh replied, a little surprised at his compliment.
There was an awkward silence between the two, but if there was a time for burying a hatchet, this was it. In the friendliest way possible, Ghosh patted Koh on the back and said simply, "Thank you…for saving my life." Koh, who honestly felt a little awkward, but happy at such an unexpected gratification replied, "You would've done the same for me." Ghosh only replied, "Yes, as it stands now, I most definitely would."
Disclaimer: All characters and references herein or trademarks of the Konami Corporation. I, in no way, own any part of the franchise.
Author's note: I figured that after the last story I did, I figured I should do a positive one for Ghosh's future. In the beginning I intended for this to be a prologue to my story, but I felt it turned out better this way, and that it had a good message to it which I think carries a lot of weight. Why have enemies when it's so much better to have friends? Oh yeah, I'm the next Confuscious…or Socrates…or Drew Carry…
-PJ or Gibson