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Thread: Pokemon: The Jeweled Towers of Armor (some Isle of Armor spoilers ahoy!)

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    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Pokemon: The Jeweled Towers of Armor (some Isle of Armor spoilers ahoy!)

    (rated E10+ for fantasy violence and frightening images)

    To celebrate the Isle of Armor coming out, I decided to story-fy and expand on the DLC into a much bigger location, and more Urshifu forms to choose from. The story is based on the Sword version of the DLC. While it does follow the DLC at first, most of the story is all new. So be warned--this is not quite the same DLC you played through!

    Prologue: To a New Challenge


    "So, how does it feel to be not just a victorious team, but the Heroes of Galar?" Victor asked Ash as the group strolled down the bustling streets of Wyndon. It had been a few weeks since Ash, Misty, and Brock had defeated Leon and been crowned a Champion Team. Chairman Rose, once widely revered across Galar, was now widely shunned by most Galarians for unleashing the primal dragon Pokemon Eternatus during the height of the Champion's Tournament. Fortunately, Ash had used his Swanna Song to call the wolf-kings Zacian and Zamazenta to the stadium, where they had combined their Swanna Songs to banish Eternatus once and for all.

    "While the world may never know the definitive reason why Chairman Rose wanted to destroy Galar, I'm just thankful that Eternatus is sealed again, and Galar is safe." Ash replied.

    "Yes--thank you so much for saving us all from another Darkest Day." Victor smiled.

    "Fingers crossed that no one else gets the bright idea to release that big ol' dragon." Misty grinned as the group approached a pier.

    "But if someone does, you'll just fire rainbow thunderbolts from the Master Sword again, right?" Brock agreed, giving Ash a playful nudge.

    Everyone laughed at this, including Ash. "So what's next for you three?" Gloria asked. "If you like, you can explore the huge Isle of Armor, or the northern wilds of the Crown Tundra..."

    "What's the Isle of Armor?" Ash was intrigued.

    "The Isle of Armor is a huge island off the eastern coast of here, close to Spikemuth." Gloria explained. "It could very well be a region in itself, with all the towns, cities, and martial arts dojos there."

    "Martial arts? Sounds cool!" Ash smiled, memories of hundreds of kung fu heroes from movies, TV shows, comics, and plays dancing in his mind.

    "I looked into taking lessons, but never could find a style I wanted to learn." Misty mused.

    "I wanted to take lessons, but at the time, Pallet's dojos were a little expensive for Mom and Dad's comfort." Ash admitted. "Maybe one of the dojos on the Isle of Armor could teach me!"

    Gloria smiled. "Well, if you need a suggestion for a dojo to train in, there's the Kikuzu Dojo. People say Leon studied martial arts there when he was a lad."

    "Never knew Leon was a martial artist as well." Brock mused as Ash took a Poke Ball and prepared to heave it skyward.

    "Cuidachta! Show us the way to a new adventure!" Ash called as he heaved the Poke Ball skyward, making a large raven Pokemon materialize on the pier.

    [Good day, Young Master--how does it feel to be immortalized in Galar's lore for ages to come?] the majestic black bird Pokemon asked as it stretched its wings.

    "It always feels amazing to save the world--no matter how much pain and trouble you went through." Ash replied.

    He embraced Gloria. "Thank you...for all you and Victor have done for us, and fighting alongside us."

    "The pleasure's all mine." Gloria smiled. "It is an honor to be part of a Champion Team, especially if the Heroes of Galar were your teammates. If you ever need a place to stay in Galar, my door is open for you."

    "Sonia gives her regards--she wishes you three well on your next journey, and asks that you continue delighting and inspiring the world with your music and stories." Victor added.

    Gloria nodded. "I can't wait to hear 'The Ballad of the Heroes of Galar'." she told Brock.

    "I'll get on writing a song about the trip." Brock smiled. "When we come to Circhester next, I'll play it in the Noble Mare's next session."

    "I still get chills when I remember your rendition of 'Ah, Rosheen'..." Victor smiled at a memory.

    Ash motioned for his faithful Corviknight as his companions finished their last conversations and said their goodbyes. "Cuidachta...do you know the way to the Isle of Armor?"

    [Of course I do.] Cuidachta replied. [After you have said your farewells, I'll take you three there.]

    Ash nodded, then looked back at Victor and Gloria. "Aren't you guys coming with us?"

    "We'd love to, but helping Hop learn the ropes of being the Champion comes first." Gloria replied.

    Ash offered Victor and Gloria a card with his, Misty's and Brock's contact information on it. "If you want to say hi, or come visit us in Kanto, here's all our info."

    "And here is ours in return." Gloria smiled as she too gave Ash a card. "Good luck, and safe travels on the Isle of Armor!"

    "Thanks!" Ash smiled back as he climbed on Cuidachta's back, with Misty and Brock not far behind. Once sure his friends were safely aboard the majestic raven Pokemon, Ash called "Okay! Take us to the Isle of Armor!"

    ---------

    The flight to the island was uneventful, and before long, the Corviknight was elegantly circling down towards the train station connecting the island to the Galarian mainland. "Wow..." Misty gasped as she spotted an elegant blue pagoda-like tower far off in the distance.

    "Wonder what that is?" Ash mused as Cuidachta touched down near the station entrance.

    [That is the Tower of Water, Young Master--one of twelve such towers on the island.] Cuidachta replied. [You'll likely learn their secret if you head for the dojo Gloria was telling you about.]

    Ash nodded as he climbed on the ground. "I will--but how will I know which one's the right one?"

    "Look for some Kantonian monji at the entryway--this monji always spells the dojo's name." Brock explained as he climbed on the ground.

    After retrieving a piece of paper, he wrote three characters, plus their transliteration into English letters for Ash to see. "These are the three characters we need to look for--ki, ku, zu.

    He noticed a girl in purple, white, and green garb, and a large wing like bow crowning her pink hair. "Uh, hello?" he stammered.

    The girl smiled as she approached the three friends. "Hey, have we met before or something?" she asked, aware of Ash's nervous look.

    When Ash didn't reply, she giggled. "Oh, it doesn't really matter, I guess! I'm Klara!"

    "Nice to meet you, Klara." Misty smiled. "Forgive Ash--I guess your clothes intimidated him a bit..."

    "I suppose I can be intimidating..." Klara replied before turning business-like again. "I've been at Kikuzu Dojo for a while, so they sent me to help out the newbies! Kept making a big to-do about them being heroes or somesuch...so if you need directions, Kikuzu Dojo's just up the hill! See you there!"

    Ash collected himself as Klara dashed away. "Heroes or somesuch? It's Gary all over again…"

    "Look at it this way--just like Gary came to learn to love and respect Pokemon and people; maybe Klara will come around soon enough." Brock assured Ash.

    "I can only hope you're right..." Ash replied as he recalled his Corviknight. "Let's head on up to the dojo."

    To Be Continued...
    Last edited by EmeraldSky; 06-28-2020 at 02:36 PM.
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  2. #2
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 1: The Masters of Kikuzu Dojo

    For a while, the path up the hill was relatively uneventful. But an Alolan Vulpix wandering in a patch of flowers made Ash do a double take. What's an Alolan form doing all the way over here?

    "There you are, Alba!" a female voice called. The Alolan Vulpix seemed to recognize the young woman in breeder's garb, and romped into her arms. "One Alolan Vulpix down, 150 more to go..."

    "How did you get that many Alolan Vulpixes, miss?" Ash wondered as the young woman checked the Alolan Vulpix over for injuries.

    "My name's Kaimana--I came here some years ago because I fell in love with the cooler climate--that and the Alolan Ninetales that came with me loved having a proper winter with snow. the woman explained. "So I started an Alolan Vulpix and Ninetales sanctuary, where people can see this beautiful Pokemon up close. From the original four Alolan Ninetales I brought with me, I ended up with twelve as the years passed."

    She assured Ash "I'm very careful to breed my Alolan Ninetales ethically. The mothers are treated well, and not overbred. This year turned out to be very productive--all my active females had large litters. All the babies added up to 151."

    "That explains the big number..." Brock mused.

    "Two weeks ago, a huge storm came through, and one of my apprentices forgot to close the main outdoor pen." Kaimana went on. "A huge thunderbolt startled the babies, and they all scattered around the island to Arceus knows where. It would mean the world to me if you could keep an eye out for them as you travel around the island."

    "We'll do our best to find them--don't worry." Ash assured Kaimana.

    "Do any of them have defining features, such as a marking, clothing, or fur color?" Brock asked.

    Kaimana gave Brock a list with the names and pictures of the missing Alolan Vulpixes. "Here's a list of all of them. They know my name and scent, so if you tell them I'm waiting for them, they should find their way back to me."

    "Well, the one we found is already marked as found..." Misty smiled as she noticed Alba's entry on the list had been stamped with a "FOUND!" stamp.

    "Now to find the other 150..." Brock agreed.

    "Good luck!" Kaimana called. "If you show me how you're doing on your search, I can reward you with some Alolan Pokemon dolls you can use to befriend Pokemon, or make someone happy."

    "Deal!" Ash smiled as the group turned to leave.

    "If you can find five of them, an Alolan Meowth doll is your first reward." Kaimana explained, showing the group a plush Alolan Meowth.

    "Aw..." Misty admired the doll. "Someone would likely enjoy that..."

    Ash nodded in agreement. "Let's make sure all the Alolan Vulpixes make it home safe."

    ---------

    "This must be the dojo Gloria was telling us about..." Brock mused as the three friends approached a majestic building with a sloped roof some time later.

    Some familiar characters at the top of the main entrance got his attention. "These are Kantonian monji, all right..."

    He studied the three characters for a moment. "Ki...ku...zu...yeah, this is it."

    About then, a brown haired woman in a majestic green robe came out to meet the group. "Hello! It is indeed an honor to welcome the Heroes of Galar as students."

    "I'm--!" Ash started.

    "Your exploits have even reached this far, Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town." the woman smiled. "The world was watching when you rained rainbow thunderbolts on the primal dragon Eternatus--was that a unique power waiting to be awakened?"

    Ash didn't know what to make of the woman seemingly knowing of his adventure on the Galarian mainland "I guess you could call it a unique power--that was me combining my Swanna Song with the Hero's Sword Zacian, and the Guardian Shield, Zamazenta."

    "Basically, the Swanna Song can be traced back to ancient times, where it was actually used to beseech Arceus directly if prayers were seemingly going unheeded, resulting in unleashing great power at the cost of the singer's strength." Brock explained. "Over time, the song made its way into countless folkloric traditions, but the rise of radio and TV introduced the song to a wider audience, usually as a desperation spell or finishing spell."

    "People that can actually harness the song and its power usually have a deep bond with a Pokemon, have met a Legendary, or both, but they are fairly rare." Misty added. "The three of us can use it, but to my knowledge, Brock is one of the few that can sing it for show without any ill effects..."

    As the group continued to visit with the woman, they did not see Klara listening in from a bush. How come they're all buddies with Master Mitsu all of a sudden? Why do THEY get superpowers, and I don't?

    She gritted her teeth. You three claim to know a superpower song? I'm gonna find a way to have you demonstrate the song before the whole dojo!

    Up on the dojo's roof, a tiny bear-Pokemon with a red headband observed the group visiting with he woman. So these three are the Heroes of Galar...maybe they can guide me on my journey!

    ---------

    In the dojo's main training room, the woman addressed a group of students. "Everyone--we are honored to have the Heroes of Galar join our ranks. But just because they saved the world does not mean they should get any special treatment--for our purposes, they are no different from you."

    "Yes, Master Mitsu!" the students chorused as they bowed before their teacher.

    Master Mitsu smiled at the group as a man with wispy pale purple hair in a deep yellow robe joined the others in the room. "Why don't you three introduce yourselves to Master Karashi and the students?"

    "I'm Ash Ketchum, of Pallet Town!" Ash proclaimed as Tintri bounded on his shoulder. "...and my faithful Pikachu, Tintri."

    [Hi!] Tintri squeaked as he waved to the students.

    "I am Misty Williams, of Cerulean City, in Kanto." Misty smiled. "A pleasure to meet you all."

    "I'm Brock Harrison, of Pewter City, in Kanto." Brock began. "Though I am mainly a musician, storyteller, and folklorist, I'm proud to include martial artist among my talents.

    "What style did you train under?" a boy asked.

    "I'm a second dan black belt in Raikou kung fu." Brock explained. "This means I can fight unarmed or with a number of weapons."

    This got Master Karashi's attention. "Second dan black belt? That's impressive for someone so young...would you be willing to showcase your skill by sparring with me?"

    "I would be honored, sensei." Brock replied as he exchanged a bow with Master Karashi. "How shall we battle in this friendly match? Unarmed, or with weapons?

    "Unarmed--the best form for a friendly match." Master Karashi replied, aware of the crowd of students gathering to watch the match. "If you need to change into a uniform, the dressing rooms are down the hall."

    Even Ash was excited. "No matter how many times Brock battles, it's a thrill to watch!"

    "I know--but I'm sure Master Karashi knows a thing or two himself." Misty mused as Brock emerged in the black robe of a kung fu master, complete with a gold Raikou kanji on the chest. "But Brock knows what he's doing--he takes everything he does very seriously."

    On the sparring floor, Master Mitsu explained the rules. "Okay! Brock and Master Karashi will battle for two minutes, with the goal of knocking down or ringing out their opponent. The first person to knock down or ring out the opponent, or the one with more stamina at the end of two minutes, wins."

    "Go, Brock!" Misty cheered as Brock faced Master Karashi on the floor. Ash whistled in agreement.

    After a few tense seconds, a gong sounded to start the match! "Seiryu Emerges From the Water!" Master Karashi charged at Brock in preparation for a spin kick.

    "Raikou Moves the Mountain!" Brock braced himself, then intercepted Master Karashi, pushing him backwards.

    "Nice move!" Ash smiled as Master Karashi collected himself.

    Misty balked as Master Karashi appeared to create copies of himself. "Did Master Karashi just use Double Team???"

    "Nope--it's actually one of many different martial arts that replicate the effect of Double Team." Ash explained as he watched Brock land a jump kick on the real Master Karashi, dispelling the copies. "Keep in mind they're not even going full tilt, here--they're on a time limit, and this is just a friendly match."

    In the arena, Brock watched as Master Karashi lifted his hands and appeared to rise in the air. That's the Swanna move 'Swanna Spreads Her Wings'...if I can just channel my ki...

    He focused for a moment, charging some thunderbolts in his hands. "Thousand Thunderbolts Rain Down!"

    The audience, Ash, and Misty watched in awe as thunderbolts rained from Brock's hands, knocking Master Karashi to the floor. "We have a winner!" Master Mitsu called, to cheers from the students.

    Master Karashi smiled as he got up from Brock's final blow. "Well done! Your sensei in Pewter has taught you well in the way of Raikou. I see why you are second dan--you have learned much on your martial arts journey, but there is still more you can learn. Maybe I and Master Mitsu may be able to teach you something."

    "Thank you, Master." Brock smiled as he and Master Karashi exchanged bows.

    "As for you two...have you ever thought about studying martial arts for yourselves?" Master Karashi asked Ash and Misty as the students dispersed.

    "I wanted to, but the local dojos' lessons were too expensive..." Ash replied.

    "After seeing all those cool moves in the movies, it looks like fun." Misty smiled.

    Master Karashi smiled. "It is a challenging, but very rewarding journey."

    "What styles can you teach us?" Ash asked.

    "Well, which Pokemon's path do you desire to walk?" Master Karashi asked. "If I know that style, I will teach you. If I do not, I'll find a dojo with a master that does."

    Ash thought for a moment. "My dream style would be power and speed based, with some defense."

    "Based on your courage, dedication, and noble heart, you would do best walking the path of Arcanine." Master Karashi smiled. "Arcanine moves quickly, and hits hard. Ever vigilant against evil, and a fiercely loyal companion, he strives to protect the world."

    "Sounds like me, all right!" Ash grinned.

    "In addition to unarmed fighting, Arcanine can wield swords and bows, as well." Master Karashi explained.

    "What about you, mizushi?" Master Mitsu asked Misty as she joined Master Karashi and Brock on the floor. "Which Pokemon's path would you prefer to walk?"

    "If I had to pick a style...I'd want a balanced style, since water can both hurt and help in both its forms." Misty replied, flattered she had been called a master.

    Master Mitsu nodded. "You would do well on the path of Suicune. As the Guardian of the North Wind, Suicune can battle evil with the fury of a tsunami, or the bitter cold of a wintry chill. Yet he is not all power like his cousin Raikou--Suicune understands that sometimes the best offense is a good defense, and supports his allies if they need help."

    "Works for me!" Misty grinned as both she and Ash accepted white student uniforms, complete with a white belt. The only difference between the two uniforms were the kanji on them--Ash's had a red Arcanine kanji, and Misty's had a blue Suicune kanji.

    "This is very comfy..." Ash smiled as he admired himself in a mirror.

    "Now then, Nincadas..." Master Karashi began. "As students here at Kikuzu, do you promise never to misuse your skill in a rash battle, fight fairly, respect others as you respect yourself, protect those that cannot protect themselves, stand up for truth and justice, and battle evil in whatever form it presents itself?"

    "We promise." Ash replied as both he and Misty exchanged bows with their masters.

    "I renew my commitment to do likewise, as a Raikou master." Brock agreed as he too exchanged a bow with Master Karashi...

    To Be Continued...
    Last edited by EmeraldSky; 06-28-2020 at 02:28 PM.
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  3. #3
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 2: The Three Trials


    "Okay everyone...you all have a chance to do something very special for both Master Mitsu and me." Master Karashi explained as the group and the other students gathered in the dojo's main hall a few days later. "In order to do this very special task, you must complete three trials to prove your abilities. You each will receive a weapon of your choice for your second trial, which is unique to each person."

    "So even two people that choose a sword will have two very different trials." Master Mitsu cautioned.

    Before Master Karashi could ask if there were any questions, a familiar voice cried Sensei! I never got a student's uniform!"

    "Here, Klara, let me give--!" Master Mitsu started before a blur of pink snatched away the white student's uniform! "What on earth?"

    Even Misty was surprised when she saw that a Slowpoke clutched the student's uniform meant for Klara! "That was a Slowpoke???" she gasped as two more of the odd Slowpokes arrived.

    "No Slowpoke I've ever seen has gold on its forehead and tail..." Brock mused as the three Slowpokes dashed out of the dojo. "Usually they are all pink, and go as fast as a brisk walk. But these Slowpokes are sprinting!

    Piqued, Ash fumbled for his Pokedex to read up on the odd Slowpokes:

    "The Galarian Slowpoke, a regional variant of Slowpoke. Because they eat the seeds of a plant that grows only in Galar, their tails have developed a spicy flavor."

    "That explains the gold on them..." Ash mused. "But how can they go that fast?"

    "By practice and dedication, Nincada." Master Karashi smiled. "This is your first trial--chasing the fast Slowpoke. Find the one that took Klara's uniform, and bring back the uniform as proof."

    I'm not sure how chasing Slowpoke will help train Arcanine martial arts, but maybe Master Karashi has a reason for us to do this.... Ash thought. "Okay, we'll do what we can to find the speedy Slowpoke!" he smiled before following Misty, Brock, and the other students outside.

    ---------

    As the students and the group arrived in a flowery field, Ash watched as one of the Galarian Slowpokes sent a boy flying!

    "Whoa!" a girl gasped as a second Galarian Slowpoke sped by her.

    "How are we gonna catch these guys, and get the uniform back?" an older boy asked, dumbfounded by the fast Slowpoke running in circles around the field.

    "I'm gonna see if I can match their speed!" a third boy smiled before focusing his ki. "Braviary Hunting Buneary!"

    Misty watched as the boy dashed away in an attempt to catch the Galarian Slowpoke with the uniform. "Not sure how a speeding up move will help..."

    "We could try blocking its path..." Brock mused. "Or we could somehow trap it or trip it up...."

    "SAY..." Ash made a note of the path the Galarian Slowpoke was running in, then dashed into the circular path. "Arcanine Corners the Demon!"

    He threw himself onto the Galarian Slowpoke, and wrestled the uniform free from the Galarian Slowpoke's tail. "You guys! I got it!" he called, waving the white uniform like a flag for Misty, Brock, and the others to see.

    Applause rippled through the field at this. "Nicely done, Ash--cornering the speedy Slowpoke turned out to be a good idea!" Misty smiled.

    "You guys take the uniform back--we'll get the other speedy Slowpoke!" one of the students offered as Ash gave Misty the uniform.

    "Right!" Ash smiled as he led the way back to the dojo...

    ---------

    Ash smiled when he saw a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle playfully chasing each other in the dojo's main practice arena. "Aw, who are these two?" he asked.

    "The Bulbasaur is named Ayame, and the Squirtle is Ketsuro." Master Mitsu replied. "These two are special--they have awakened the power to Gigantimax when they evolve."

    "Guess not only Charmander can Gigantimax..." Ash grinned, savoring a memory of Leon's Charizard Linton.

    A pop of a Poke Ball got his attention. [Wow...is this a place to learn kung fu?]

    Ash smiled when he saw his Squirtle Brenna gawking over the elegant dojo and the many training items in the room. "Not only can humans learn kung fu, Pokemon can learn too." he assured the tiny blue turtle Pokemon at his side.

    Excited, Brenna dashed to where Mister Mitsu was watching over Ayame and Ketsuro were playing. [Please, mistress of martial arts, teach me the way of Gigantimax.]

    Master Mitsu just smiled at Brenna. "Of course--we train Pokemon as much as people."

    Ash remembered the uniform as Master Mitsu led Brenna to a training room. "I got Klara's uniform back." he smiled as Master Karashi arrived in the room.

    Master Karashi smiled as he accepted the uniform from Ash. "Nicely done, you three. The second trial is unique to each person, because it involves weapons. So tell me...what sort of weapon have you longed to wield?"

    Ash thought for a second. "While I'm enjoying learning all the unarmed moves of Arcanine so far, learning to use a sword for real would be cool!"

    "I wouldn't mind learning to use a blade myself...or two!" Misty smiled. "With twinblades, I could create a dance that is beautiful to watch, and deadly to the forces of evil!"

    "Of all the weapons I have learned to use on Raikou's path, my best one is a bow." Brock replied.

    "All right...Ash, come with me." Master Karashi replied. "We will start your unique weapon trial first."

    ---------

    "Ash...choosing a sword is a fine choice of weapon for an Arcanine user." Master Karashi smiled as he led Ash into a training room. "While not as powerful as unarmed Arcanine moves, a sword allows you to showcase the speed that Arcanine is famous for."

    Ash however, was more interested in the beautiful flame designs in his red, orange and gold blade. "So, do I get to keep this?" he asked as he watched his blade project orange and gold lights from the sun into the room.

    Master Karashi nodded. "The Radiant Phoenix Sword can be yours if you pass your unique weapon trial--cut down 100 training dummies using what you have learned from the sword moves of Arcanine so far."

    Ash nodded, then braced himself for a running jump. Focus, Ash...remember what Master Mitsu's taught you so far, and all those stage swordfights you've done...

    He then charged at the row of 100 training dummies before leaping into the air to perform a jump slash on the first training dummy. "'Embers Fall from Arcanine's Mane'...great choice for an opening move." Master Karashi smiled, interested in how Ash would cut the other 99 training dummies in the room...

    ---------

    Master Mitsu smiled as she admired Misty holding a pair of small glittering cyan swords. "Those twinblades suit you well..."

    "But am I sacrificing some defense for a powerful offense?" Misty asked as she admired one of her two blades. "I thought Suicune was a balanced style."

    "You can use your blades to defend as well as attack." Master Mitsu explained. "This is your trial--defending yourself with your blades from targets that come from all directions."

    She gestured to all the ball launchers surrounding the arena. "Your challenge is to deflect or knock away as many balls as you can with your blades in two minutes. If you can deflect at least 50, the Glorious Aurora Blades are yours to keep."

    She went on. "The challenge will start simple, but as time progresses, you'll have multiple balls coming at you. Remember what you've learned so far, Nincada, and trust in your blades."

    "Deflect 50 balls with these--sounds easy enough..." Misty mused as she drew her blades again and braced herself for the onslaught of balls...

    ---------

    "Now then...Master Brock." Master Karashi couldn't help but smile at how regal Brock looked in the black robe of a master. "Since you tell me you are an expert archer, your unique weapon trial is a target test."

    "Okay..." Brock mused as Master Mitsu brought him an elegant pale green bow with thirty matching arrows. "Where is the target you want me to hit?"

    "This is part of your trial--the targets are hidden around this area." Master Karashi replied. "Trust in your bow, and you'll find your mark."

    He explained the rules. "Hidden in this area are twelve statues of the Pokemon of the Zodiac. Shatter the glass orb they hold with your arrow, and we'll move on to where the next one is hidden. If you can break all twelve orbs, you'll pass the trial, and the Venerable Jade Bow you now hold is yours to keep."

    "Those are fair rules." Brock smiled. "May I have a few practice shots before we begin the trial?"

    "Of course...you can practice in the dojo's target range all you like." Master Karashi smiled. "When you are ready to begin your trial, inform Master Mitsu, and she will take you to where the Pikachu statue is hidden. I will be waiting for you there."

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  4. #4
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 2: The Three Trials


    "Okay everyone...you all have a chance to do something very special for both Master Mitsu and me." Master Karashi explained as the group and the other students gathered in the dojo's main hall a few days later. "In order to do this very special task, you must complete three trials to prove your abilities. You each will receive a weapon of your choice for your second trial, which is unique to each person."

    "So even two people that choose a sword will have two very different trials." Master Mitsu cautioned.

    Before Master Karashi could ask if there were any questions, a familiar voice cried Sensei! I never got a student's uniform!"

    "Here, Klara, let me give--!" Master Mitsu started before a blur of pink snatched away the white student's uniform! "What on earth?"

    Even Misty was surprised when she saw that a Slowpoke clutched the student's uniform meant for Klara! "That was a Slowpoke???" she gasped as two more of the odd Slowpokes arrived.

    "No Slowpoke I've ever seen has gold on its forehead and tail..." Brock mused as the three Slowpokes dashed out of the dojo. "Usually they are all pink, and go as fast as a brisk walk. But these Slowpokes are sprinting!

    Piqued, Ash fumbled for his Pokedex to read up on the odd Slowpokes:

    "The Galarian Slowpoke, a regional variant of Slowpoke. Because they eat the seeds of a plant that grows only in Galar, their tails have developed a spicy flavor."

    "That explains the gold on them..." Ash mused. "But how can they go that fast?"

    "By practice and dedication, Nincada." Master Karashi smiled. "This is your first trial--chasing the fast Slowpoke. Find the one that took Klara's uniform, and bring back the uniform as proof."

    I'm not sure how chasing Slowpoke will help train Arcanine martial arts, but maybe Master Karashi has a reason for us to do this.... Ash thought. "Okay, we'll do what we can to find the speedy Slowpoke!" he smiled before following Misty, Brock, and the other students outside.

    ---------

    As the students and the group arrived in a flowery field, Ash watched as one of the Galarian Slowpokes sent a boy flying!

    "Whoa!" a girl gasped as a second Galarian Slowpoke sped by her.

    "How are we gonna catch these guys, and get the uniform back?" an older boy asked, dumbfounded by the fast Slowpoke running in circles around the field.

    "I'm gonna see if I can match their speed!" a third boy smiled before focusing his ki. "Braviary Hunting Buneary!"

    Misty watched as the boy dashed away in an attempt to catch the Galarian Slowpoke with the uniform. "Not sure how a speeding up move will help..."

    "We could try blocking its path..." Brock mused. "Or we could somehow trap it or trip it up...."

    "SAY..." Ash made a note of the path the Galarian Slowpoke was running in, then dashed into the circular path. "Arcanine Corners the Demon!"

    He threw himself onto the Galarian Slowpoke, and wrestled the uniform free from the Galarian Slowpoke's tail. "You guys! I got it!" he called, waving the white uniform like a flag for Misty, Brock, and the others to see.

    Applause rippled through the field at this. "Nicely done, Ash--cornering the speedy Slowpoke turned out to be a good idea!" Misty smiled.

    "You guys take the uniform back--we'll get the other speedy Slowpoke!" one of the students offered as Ash gave Misty the uniform.

    "Right!" Ash smiled as he led the way back to the dojo...

    ---------

    Ash smiled when he saw a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle playfully chasing each other in the dojo's main practice arena. "Aw, who are these two?" he asked.

    "The Bulbasaur is named Ayame, and the Squirtle is Ketsuro." Master Mitsu replied. "These two are special--they have awakened the power to Gigantimax when they evolve."

    "Guess not only Charmander can Gigantimax..." Ash grinned, savoring a memory of Leon's Charizard Linton.

    A pop of a Poke Ball got his attention. [Wow...is this a place to learn kung fu?]

    Ash smiled when he saw his Squirtle Brenna gawking over the elegant dojo and the many training items in the room. "Not only can humans learn kung fu, Pokemon can learn too." he assured the tiny blue turtle Pokemon at his side.

    Excited, Brenna dashed to where Mister Mitsu was watching over Ayame and Ketsuro were playing. [Please, mistress of martial arts, teach me the way of Gigantimax.]

    Master Mitsu just smiled at Brenna. "Of course--we train Pokemon as much as people."

    Ash remembered the uniform as Master Mitsu led Brenna to a training room. "I got Klara's uniform back." he smiled as Master Karashi arrived in the room.

    Master Karashi smiled as he accepted the uniform from Ash. "Nicely done, you three. The second trial is unique to each person, because it involves weapons. So tell me...what sort of weapon have you longed to wield?"

    Ash thought for a second. "While I'm enjoying learning all the unarmed moves of Arcanine so far, learning to use a sword for real would be cool!"

    "I wouldn't mind learning to use a blade myself...or two!" Misty smiled. "With twinblades, I could create a dance that is beautiful to watch, and deadly to the forces of evil!"

    "Of all the weapons I have learned to use on Raikou's path, my best one is a bow." Brock replied.

    "All right...Ash, come with me." Master Karashi replied. "We will start your unique weapon trial first."

    ---------

    "Ash...choosing a sword is a fine choice of weapon for an Arcanine user." Master Karashi smiled as he led Ash into a training room. "While not as powerful as unarmed Arcanine moves, a sword allows you to showcase the speed that Arcanine is famous for."

    Ash however, was more interested in the beautiful flame designs in his red, orange and gold blade. "So, do I get to keep this?" he asked as he watched his blade project orange and gold lights from the sun into the room.

    Master Karashi nodded. "The Radiant Phoenix Sword can be yours if you pass your unique weapon trial--cut down 100 training dummies using what you have learned from the sword moves of Arcanine so far."

    Ash nodded, then braced himself for a running jump. Focus, Ash...remember what Master Mitsu's taught you so far, and all those stage swordfights you've done...

    He then charged at the row of 100 training dummies before leaping into the air to perform a jump slash on the first training dummy. "'Embers Fall from Arcanine's Mane'...great choice for an opening move." Master Karashi smiled, interested in how Ash would cut the other 99 training dummies in the room...

    ---------

    Master Mitsu smiled as she admired Misty holding a pair of small glittering cyan swords. "Those twinblades suit you well..."

    "But am I sacrificing some defense for a powerful offense?" Misty asked as she admired one of her two blades. "I thought Suicune was a balanced style."

    "You can use your blades to defend as well as attack." Master Mitsu explained. "This is your trial--defending yourself with your blades from targets that come from all directions."

    She gestured to all the ball launchers surrounding the arena. "Your challenge is to deflect or knock away as many balls as you can with your blades in two minutes. If you can deflect at least 50, the Glorious Aurora Blades are yours to keep."

    She went on. "The challenge will start simple, but as time progresses, you'll have multiple balls coming at you. Remember what you've learned so far, Nincada, and trust in your blades."

    "Deflect 50 balls with these--sounds easy enough..." Misty mused as she drew her blades again and braced herself for the onslaught of balls...

    ---------

    "Now then...Master Brock." Master Karashi couldn't help but smile at how regal Brock looked in the black robe of a master. "Since you tell me you are an expert archer, your unique weapon trial is a target test."

    "Okay..." Brock mused as Master Mitsu brought him an elegant pale green bow with thirty matching arrows. "Where is the target you want me to hit?"

    "This is part of your trial--the targets are hidden around this area." Master Karashi replied. "Trust in your bow, and you'll find your mark."

    He explained the rules. "Hidden in this area are twelve statues of the Pokemon of the Zodiac. Shatter the glass orb they hold with your arrow, and we'll move on to where the next one is hidden. If you can break all twelve orbs, you'll pass the trial, and the Venerable Jade Bow you now hold is yours to keep."

    "Those are fair rules." Brock smiled. "May I have a few practice shots before we begin the trial?"

    "Of course...you can practice in the dojo's target range all you like." Master Karashi smiled. "When you are ready to begin your trial, inform Master Mitsu, and she will take you to where the Pikachu statue is hidden. I will be waiting for you there."

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  5. #5
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 3: The Ruthless Rival

    "Hut! Hah!" Ash cried as he cut the last two training dummies for his trial.

    Master Karashi smiled and applauded, prompting Ash to take a bow. "Well done, Nincada--you've passed your unique weapon trial. The Radiant Phoenix Sword is--!"

    "Wait!" a voice called.

    "Klara?" Ash asked, surprised that Klara was framed in the doorway. He noticed that Klara was holding a purple and silver blade that evoked a Drapion's claw.

    "Why are you and your friends the favorites of Master Karashi and Master Mitsu all of a sudden?" Klara asked. "If you're really one of the Heroes of Galar, I challenge you to a duel! Your Radiant Phoenix Sword against my Fierce Drapion Sword!"

    "Klara...this is not the place for a duel." Master Karashi explained. "If you and Ash clearly want to duel, come to the main arena--you can duel all you like there."

    "Fine..." Klara signed before departing in a huff.

    "If Klara really wants to duel, then I will accept her challenge." Ash replied.

    ---------

    "All right--here are the rules for your duel..." Master Karashi began as Ash and Klara met in the main arena. "The first one to knock down or ring out their opponent in two minutes, wins. You have ten offensive moves with which to do this. Defensive moves, such as blocks or parries, will not count."

    "Two minutes--got it!" Klara smiled as she drew her blade.

    "Ready...and begin!" Master Karashi called, causing a clock set for two minutes to begin ticking away.

    Ash braced himself as Klara charged at him. "Too Dark To See the Sun!"

    Ash stumbled backwards from the fierce attack, but noticed that his field of vision had dimmed a bit, as if a dark cloud had fell over his eyes. Did Klara just...blind me?

    He heaved a relieved sigh as a whistle stopped the fight. "Klara...you are not to use moves that stymie the opponent, injure them, or otherwise give you an unfair advantage." Master Karashi began. "If you cannot fight fairly, I will declare Ash the winner of the duel."

    Master Mitsu hurried to Ash's side. "Are you okay? That was a hard hit that Klara attempted to use..."

    Ash blinked a few times as the darkness faded, allowing him to see Master Mitsu and the dojo's main arena clearly again. "I think so...what was that that Klara did?"

    "That was a move from the Fierce Drapion Sword--'Too Dark To See the Sun'." Master Mitsu explained. "Even when blocked, it will dim the opponent's vision for a few seconds, leaving them vulnerable to attack."

    That explains why everything looked so dark for a minute... Ash mused as he got up and sheathed his sword.

    Misty arrived by Ash's side a few minutes later. "Huh...Klara challenged you too..."

    "Wait, Klara challenged you?" Ash gasped. "But you have twinblades--you'd have the advantage against a one handed sword!"

    "She also has a pair of twinblades..." Misty explained. "Shiny black blades, too...she called them Invincible Void Blades. I managed to beat her, then she ran off to challenge you,"

    "So if she has a one handed sword and twinblades, then she may have a bow on her person too, so she can challenge Brock!" Ash concluded.

    "Then we need to head for the target range, just so she can't cheat in a shooting match, too." Master Mitsu led Ash and Misty to the target range...

    ---------

    Misty winced as the group arrived at the target range, where Klara was showing off a sleek blue bow that evoked tears. "Just as you said, Ash...she has a bow too."

    "I don't know how she acquired all these weapons, but she needs to learn that in order to be the hero she so desperately longs to be, she has to fight fairly." Master Mitsu explained as she joined Brock and Klara. "Is everything okay up here?"

    "Klara's wanting to have a shooting match..." Brock explained. "Her Beauteous Tear Bow against my Venerable Jade Bow."

    "Very well..." Master Mitsu replied. "Each of you will take turns making three shots. The highest combined score, wins. A perfect score is 30."

    "Okay...I can do that." Klara mused.

    "You are not allowed to use guides, sights, or anything else that would help you." Master Mitsu cautioned. "If you are caught using a guide or a sight, you will forfeit the match, and the opponent gets an automatic 30. Understand?"

    "Understood." Brock replied with a bow.

    "Yes, sensei." Klara replied with a pious smile, snickering a little. Once Master Mitsu was distracted with setting up the targets, she took a small laser sight from her pocket and attached it to her bow.

    Ash, meanwhile, retrieved a coin from his pocket as Klara arrived. "Okay...Pikachu face is heads...Kanto League crest is tails." he explained before flipping the coin.

    "Heads!" Brock called.

    "Tails!" Klara smiled as the coin landed in the dirt.

    Ash checked the coin. "It's heads...Brock will shoot first."

    "Okay!" Brock smiled as he made his way to an open lane.

    Master Mitsu watched as Brock carefully aimed his shot, then fired. "Nicely done! 8 points!" she smiled when she saw Brock's arrow in the inner red ring.

    Misty balked when she saw the sight on Klara's bow. "Didn't Master Mitsu say no guides or sights?"

    "Yeah, but since it's bright right now, I don't think Master Mitsu can see the laser." Brock replied as he saw Master Mitsu applaud Klara's bullseye.

    He noticed some clouds dimming the sunlight as he approached the line to take his second shot. Maybe the clouds will make the laser easier to see... he thought as he readied his second shot.

    Master Mitsu saw Brock's second shot fly into the inner red ring again. "Well done--8 points!"

    Ash saw the red dot from Klara's sight on the bullseye. "Sensei! Klara's using a sight!" he called.

    Klara grimaced as Master Mitsu arrived to scold her. Drat! I was so close to successfully cheating my way to a perfect 30, but then Pika-Boy has to ruin it all! Somehow, Pika-Boy, I will confound you with my strategies, if it's the last thing I do!

    ---------

    Later that afternoon, Master Mitsu led the group to a hill outside the dojo that overlooked a large canyon and a waterfall. "I am so sorry you three have had to put up with Klara--but maybe now we can have Brock complete his unique weapon trial without her interference. Master Karashi has talked with her, and confined her to her room until dinner."

    "Fingers crossed he was able to get through to her that cheaters never prosper." Brock agreed before preparing his first shot.

    After a few tense moments, he fired towards the waterfall. "I heard it hit something..." Misty smiled as she heard a tink off in the distance.

    Ash led the way down the path, where he saw Brock's arrow embedded in a garnet that a Pikachu statue was holding. "Wow! Brock got it!"

    Master Mitsu smiled as Brock carefully edged his arrow out of the jewel. "Very good--Tauros is also here in the canyon, but to find him, we must enter the forest..."

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  6. #6
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 4: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 1)


    That evening, the dojo's residents and the Trio got together to enjoy a large spread of Kantonian and Johtonian delicacies. "Nice, there's tempura Combusken and veggies!" Ash smiled as he admired plates full of lightly fried meat and vegetables on the table.

    "The masters have thought of everything!" Brock agreed as he admired a massive bowl of fried rice with all the fixings.

    He noticed Klara a few places down the table, looking glumly at her plate. She looked up at the group, smiled, then returned to staring at her plate.

    "Arceus' blessings on this meal, and for the guests that join us at our table tonight." Master Karashi began, spurring the group and the students to help themselves to the huge meal.

    "Is it true that there's an ancient form of drama that was revived in Kanto and Johto?" a boy asked. "Master Karashi and Master Mitsu talk all the time about the Gekijou theater, and how martial arts were featured in the plays."

    "Maybe..." Misty glanced over at a stage overlooking the main arena. "Once we're done eating, would anyone like to help Ash, Brock, and me put on a Gejikou play?"

    "MEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Hands went up around the table at Misty's question.

    "Do I get a part? Please say I get a part!" Klara was just as enthusiastic.

    Brock smiled at Klara's enthusiasm, never mind that she and the group had been mortal enemies hours before. "All right...if you want a part, come join us in one of the training rooms--we'll decide roles, decide who makes up the musicians and chorus, and rehearse in there."

    ---------

    "...So without any further ado...please enjoy 'Crimson Parasol'." Misty concluded her introduction spiel some hours later.

    Applause filled the air as Misty exited and the lights went down, leaving the main arena in complete darkness. After a few seconds of silence, the notes of a vina playing the tune "The Scent of Flowers Everywhere" filled the air. The audience whispered who the performer playing the exotic harp could be for a moment, but the whispering quieted when the lights came up on Brock, now clad in a purple robe with white, gold, and green trim, playing his vina.

    After playing the haunting melody through several times, he let the last note fade away before addressing the audience. "Good afternoon and well met, travelers...I am Kataribe-san, your storyteller for today. I travel from town to town playing my harp and singing..."

    He proceeded to play a bouncy melody as he sang Come one, and come all--come and hear my tales!

    The audience laughed as Brock danced around the stage for a moment. "Then the old and the young, the rich and the poor, they all come from their homes and the streets and join me in the town square, eager to hear what tales I have to tell." Brock continued in character. "Today I have a new twist on an old favorite to tell you--you yourselves learned this tale from a storyteller named Jacob Grimm, but where he learned it from, we may never know."

    He smiles "You just can't keep a good story at home, can you?"

    Affirmative murmurs wafted in his direction. "The tale concerns a girl in red, a fearsome Mightyena, and a woodcutter that saved the girl and her grandmother from a terrible fate--I speak, of course of 'Little Red Riding Hood'." Brock explains over a mostly improvised soft melody. "But when that same story came to this land, Little Red Riding Hood transformed into Crimson Parasol." He played a soft chord for effect.

    "Now, with a little help from the Nijiiro Chorus..." Brock made a grand gesture to stage right as the lights came up on a crowd of about thirty people, not including Ash. While the other musicians wore a plain colored robe and carried some form of a percussion instrument, Ash wore a red and gold robe, and the other instrumentalists wore colorful robes themselves. "...we will tell you this tale just as it was told many suns ago."

    As if on cue, two stagehands in black arrived--one carrying a gold disc and the other a silver disc. The vina and the three stringed fiddle-like tikin started a soft melody as the stagehands spun the two disks in opposing directions as they exited. "Many many suns ago..." a male speaker began.

    "On an island in a land far away..." a female speaker continued.

    "There was a mountain capped with snow." a second male speaker explained.

    "Below that mountain was a green valley." a second female speaker continued.

    "In that valley was a meadow of tall grass..." a third male speaker went on. Those chorus members with shakers shook them for effect, to some bemused giggles from the younger students in the audience.

    "And on that meadow stood a cottage." a third female speaker continued as the two stage ninjas brought on a screen that depicted an Asian-esque house on a meadow.

    "In that cottage, there lived a mother..." a fourth male speaker began.

    Oka-san! a female singer called.

    As if on cue, an older female student, now clad in a pale blue and green robe, slowly walked on stage in time to the vina, the woodblocks, and bells. When she got to the center of the stage, she bowed to the audience before walking towards stage right.

    "And with the Oka-san," the first male speaker explained.

    "There lived a young daughter." the first female speaker replied.

    Klara, now wearing a deep red tunic-like robe, black leggings, and black shoes, entered from the right, with the woodblocks and bells providing a playful beat for her steps. She bowed to the girl playing Oka-san and the audience as they noticed the small red parasol she carried, then walked over by the girl's side as the vina and tikin joined back in again.

    "This is Crimson Parasol." the first male speaker explained as a spotlight appeared on Klara. Klara waved hello to the audience at this.

    "She has a feather head." the first female speaker commented as Klara feigned a giggle.

    "She has a wandering eye." the second female speaker added as Klara looked around the room in feigned awe.

    "Listen well, Akane-san." the singer cautioned.

    "Listen to your Oka-san." Ash agreed. At this, the vina and tikin abruptly stopped.

    "Listen to me, Akane, my love." the girl playing Oka-san began. "I would like you to visit your Oba-san that lives to the east." As the girl said her first lines, the stage ninjas brought on a small table, a tea set, and a small covered basket, then exited as quickly as they had come.

    "Yes, Oka-san." Klara replied.

    "Bring her this basket filled with Berries and sweet cakes." the girl playing Oka-san smiled, gesturing to the small basket on the table.

    "How delicious--fresh Berries and sweet cake!" Klara gasped, to some "aw"s from the crowd.

    "Pay attention, Akane." the girl playing Oka-san began as the vina played a drone. "Do not go through the southern jungle. It is dark, it is dangerous, and Raikous lurk in the shadows." A soft drum roll punctuated the girl's line.

    "Yes, Oka-san." Klara replied.

    "Then go, Akane, before it grows hot." the girl smiled. "Do not linger to pick the flowers..." Some bells jingled for effect. "Do not chase the Beautiflies...."

    Ash interjected on his bansi with the notes that matched "Ai-yai-yai, I'm your little Beautifly!" for effect, to giggles from the audience. "...and do not sit and dream on the rocks in the fields." Some larger woodblocks tapped for effect. "Furthermore, take your crimson parasol--who knows whether it will be warm or it will rain?" The vina's drone ended with a soft flourish.

    "I understand, Oka-san." Klara replied before taking the basket from the table and hugging the girl, so more "aw"s. Itekimasu!

    With that, she walked off in time with the bells and woodblocks as the girl waved goodbye...

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


  7. #7
    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 5: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 2)


    Backstage, Misty--now in a navy blue swordsman's robe--alternated between studying the script and listening to Brock's narration out on the stage. I'm thankful that's not me playing the tikin... she smiled as she watched a girl frantically saw away at the majestic three stringed instrument in time to the chorus' pleas. Even though Kuni offered to give me lessons back in Johto, bowing it was just too hard! I'll stick with my fiddle, thank you!

    The stage ninjas bringing on a tree with pink flowers snapped her to attention. Oh, this is the Beauitifly's scene! Ash did say he had a solo in this scene...

    ---------

    Onstage, Klara stopped at the pink flowered tree at as the frantic melody concluded. After a few tense seconds, a girl wearing a green, blue, and silver dress-like costume danced onstage to the accompaniment of bells and finger cymbals. "Oh! A flower...a beautiful dancing flower." Klara smiled. "I will present this dancing flower to Oba-san as a gift."

    She approached and tried to grab at the girl several times, but then the girl waved her away. "Halt! Don't touch!"

    Ash then started what sounded like an improvisation in B minor along with the percussion as the girl continued dancing around Klara, speaking all the while. "No thank you very much! I am no earthly bud! No blossom of the mud! I'm here, I'm there! I am queen of the air! Foolish child, use your eyes! For I am Nabi the Beautifly, princess of the summer skies!" The music ended there.

    "A thousand pardons, sora-hime." Klara replied with a little bow. "I was confused, for the shadows teased my eyes. Please excuse this unworthy Akane-chan!"

    "Very well, but don't let it happen again." the girl warned. "Now, I must be off, for I have an audience with the sakura.

    With that, she danced off as the tikin joined Ash's bansi and the percussion. Some in the audience giggled when they recognized what the instruments were actually playing.

    Oh....oh...oh... the singer sang along.

    "Beautifly! Flutter by!" the chorus chanted over the music.

    "Flash and flitter!"

    "Skip and skitter!"

    "Black and blue!"

    "Colors in the sky!"

    "Green, black, and blue, make the colors in the sky!" At this, the instruments and the singer stopped as Brock appeared in his spotlight, playing the chorus to "Beautifly" one last time on his vina.

    "An encounter with a haughty Beautifly...do you think that stopped Akane-chan?" Brock asked the audience.

    "No"s and murmurs wafted through the audience. "In fact, she went on, even further into the jungle..."

    ---------

    Misty smiled as she admired a beautiful Raikou puppet in the backstage area. "Wow...he's beautiful!"

    "Thanks--we've used him in quite a few performances." the lead puppeteer replied as she led her two partners to get the puppet ready for its grand entrance.

    "Your archer companion is a great speaker, so Niko had no problem syncing to him." one of the assistant puppeteers grinned. "Klara's never seen this puppet before, so her reaction to this big guy's gonna be awesome!"

    Misty noticed Klara and a fourth puppeteer performing a Wartortle puppet were nearing the end of their scene. "Well, when I arrive to save Klara, I'm gonna come like I'm really gonna fight, so can I trust you guys to give me a good struggle?"

    Niko nodded. "We'll do our best." she replied before disappearing inside the puppet.

    ---------

    The stage ninjas brought on a third tree with a yellow flower on it as the tikin began an uneasy drone with accents from the shakers. Listen, listen, what is that? the singer sang.

    Ash joined in with a shuddering note. "Only a bird in the treetop high." a male speaker replied.

    Hush! Hush! Who goes there? the singer sang again.

    The woodblocks answered the singer's sung question with a playful rhythm. "Only a child on the jungle path." a female speaker replied.

    Listen, listen, a sound in the bush. the singer sang again.

    A foreboding drum roll punctuated the tikin and bansi's song, which was now growing more and more tense. Look! Look! A shadow falls!

    Misty jumped as Ash blasted a high note that sounded amazingly like a female scream as a gong sounded and Brock mimicked a perfect Raikou's roar offstage as the magnificent Raikou puppet ran onstage, to "ooh"s and "ahh"s from the crowd. Even though we've done this play hundreds of times since our Johto trip, that STILL startles me!

    "AUGH!!!" Klara yelped, surprised at the huge puppet. She took a few steps backwards before opting to hide behind the parasol. "Oh! You look like...you look like..."

    "What do I look like, shoujo-chan?" Brock asked in a deeper version of himself from offstage. To the audience, it appeared the majestic puppet had asked the question.

    "Well, you LOOK like a Raikou...you SOUND like a Raikou....but I don't think you ARE a Raikou." Klara explained.

    "What? I've never heard such a thing...how can I not be a Raikou?" Brock asked in character.

    "Because I THINK you are a Raikou...today I have made two mistakes." Klara went on. "First, I mistook a Beautifly for a flower. Then, I mistook a Wartortle for a rock. So if I think you are a Raikou, then you have to be something else. Understand?"

    "Not very well." The audience laughed as the Raikou puppet shook its head. "So if I am something else, what am I?"

    "Hm..." Klara looked the Raikou puppet up and down. "Fur...stripes...four legs...a tail...so you must be a Zebstrika! I should tell my Oba-san about you."

    "Ah, an Oba-san!" Brock excitedly gasped in character.

    Nervous giggles filled the air as the Raikou puppet licked its chops. "Two fine meals for the great Langi!"

    The puppet turned to face Klara again. "Of course I am a Zebstrika, shoujo-chan--you do not fear me, do you?" Brock asked in character.

    "No." Klara replied.

    "Then allow me to come with you to your Oba-san's house--I could protect you from any Raikous that lurk in this place." the puppet offered.

    "You are too kind, Zebstrika-san." Klara smiled.

    With that, the puppet and Klara walked in place as the lights went down, with the woodblocks, bells and the drum keeping the beat. Suddenly, a fearful bansi phrase stopped the beat as a spotlight appeared on the chorus.

    "Oh, foolish Akane!" Ash cried.

    "Oh, wicked Raikou!" a female speaker agreed.

    "What will happen now?" the singer asked.

    A tense tikin riff played as a spotlight appeared on the Raikou puppet. "I will tell you what will happen now." Brock explained in character as the stage ninjas brought on another screen of a house in a field and placed it stage left as Master Mitsu, playing Oba-san, entered. "I will get this foolish shoujo to her Oba-san's house, and then I will have a feast!"

    Ash punctuated this with another note that sounded like a female scream. "But how will I do this, you ask?" Brock continued in character, clearly enjoying playing the villain. "Worry not, for I, Langi, am a clever Raikou!"

    The puppet then turned to address Klara again. "Look, out at the sky!"

    "What is it? What do you see?" Klara asked.

    "I see Ho'oh off to the west, with her beautiful golden plumes. If you look towards the setting sun, you just might see her as she passes here." Brock explained in character.

    Klara nodded and froze in a reverent westward facing pose. With Klara distracted, the Raikou puppet tiptoed up to the unsuspecting Master Mitsu and shoved her back behind the screen, complete with Ash blasting another scream-like note as the gong sounded again.

    "There! Into the closet with you while I deal with your precious shoujo-chan!" Brock growled in character as the stage ninjas arrived with a copy of Oba-san's costume.

    Boos filled the room as Brock mimicked another Raikou roar. Memo to self--ask Ash how he can mimic a girl screaming with a flute! Misty grinned--her big scene was coming soon!

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


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    Elite Four Member EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 6: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 3)


    Later, Klara spotted the Raikou puppet's tail peeking from the blanket. "Tails? Oba-sans don't have tails..."

    She pulled off the blanket, to a panicked riff. "A Raikou! Where is my Oba-san?"

    "Don't try to escape, shoujo-chan!" Brock growled in character.

    With that, he mimicked a roar as the Raikou puppet sprung at Klara as the bansi, vina, tikin, and percussion played an exciting melody. Klara, meanwhile, used the closed parasol as a sword.

    Misty meanwhile, listened for the <i>bansi</i> flourish that served as her cue from the wings. Ash said he'd play a distinct little melody for my cue...

    She smiled as she heard a descending phrase down the B minor scale. There it is... she grinned as she drew a prop katana and dashed onstage.

    "Praise Arceus, help has come!" a female extra cried.

    "It is Takuya, a great hunter!" a male speaker agreed.

    "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" the singer cried as Misty cornered the Raikou puppet, prompting the music to stop.

    "Get away from her, you wily Raikou, before your head falls to the great Kanemoto!" Misty warned the puppet, brandishing the katana for effect.

    "What? Cut off my head? You must be mistaken--the girl claims I am a Zebstrika." Brock protested in character.

    "A Zebstrika indeed! I know you too well, Langi of the Southern Jungle." Misty grinned.

    "Please, have mercy, dear hunter!" Brock pleaded in character. "I have not harmed the Oba-san...she was in the closet the whole time!"

    Cheers went up from the audience as Klara brought Master Mitsu out from behind the screen. "Since you have not harmed the Oba-san nor the girl, I am feeling merciful." Misty mused before pointing the katana at the Raikou puppet. "Do you promise to return to the jungle from whence you came?"

    The Raikou puppet fearfully nodded yes as the katana inched closer to its head. "Do you promise never to bother another human again for the rest of your days?" Misty asked.

    The Raikou puppet fearfully nodded yes again. "Now go, before I change my mind." Misty growled.

    Ash smiled as a drum roll played to signal Langi bounding offstage. Misty definitely has this hero thing down! he thought as Master Mitsu hugged Klara, and Misty sheathed the katana over a triumphant vina and bell flourish.

    "Shoo, shoo! Wily Raikou!" he called offstage.

    "Never return again!" a female speaker scolded.

    "Hail! Hail! Wielder of Kanemoto! You've saved the red-clad child!" the singer called.

    Applause went up as the lights went down, except for Brock in a spotlight nearby the chorus, playing an interlude on his vina. "And so, Langi the Raikou returned to the southern jungle--never again did he show his whiskers around that place." he narrated as himself. "Word of Takuya's brave deed spread to even the Pokemon League, and he received a great crystal medallion from the Pokemon Master."

    At this, the instruments played an Asian style rendition of "Advance Galaria Fair" as Misty knelt at center stage, and one of the stage ninjas draped a large sparkling medallion around her neck before all of them exited...

    ---------

    Master Karashi smiled as he met Ash, Misty, and Brock in his chambers later that night. "Thank you all for the wonderful play this evening--I never knew Klara or Master Mitsu could be such wonderful actors!"

    "The pleasure's all ours." Brock smiled. "It's a play we enjoy performing, and we can easily put together with a willing group."

    Master Karashi turned business-like again. "Now, back to the task at hand--Klara has asked if she could battle you all in the morning for your third trial. Since three of you against one wouldn't be fair, which of you will represent the group against her team?"

    "I will." Ash replied.

    "We'll support Ash from the sidelines." Misty offered.

    Master Karashi nodded. "Very well...Ash, you and Klara will battle in the Battle Court in the morning."

    ---------

    That night, Klara snuck out to the Battle Court not long after everyone had gone to bed. So I have to battle Pika-boy in the morning... she thought as she shepherded a small purple scorpion Pokemon by her side. Let's see how he battles when every member of his team is poisoned when they are swapped in!

    She addressed the scorpion Pokemon. "Venus, use Toxic Spikes."

    To Be Continued...
    Everyone has a dream that fills their heart. A journey they must take. A destiny to fulfill. As close as your imagination exists a magical place, where wondrous creatures with incredible powers help make dreams come true. It's the world of Pokemon!!"


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