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  1. #11
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    Episode 9: The Legend of the Four Guardians

    "It's beautiful in here..." Misty smiled as she admired the rock formations in the Courageous Cavern. What sunlight there was glinted off the jewels embedded in the walls, creating hundreds of tiny colored lights on the cave floor.

    Ash, meanwhile, recognized a drawing of a familiar large turtle Pokemon on one of the cave walls. "Is this a Torterra?"

    [Not just any Torterra...] Goukai agreed. [That is Genbu, the Black Torterra of the North. He watches over the Tower of Earth from his mountain abode.]

    " does that mean Seiryu, Byakko, and Suzaku are here too?" Brock asked.

    Goukai nodded. [Genbu represents Earth, Suzaku represents Fire, Byakko represents Wind, and Seiryu represents Water. Many Kubfus on their journey usually stop to see them--and they are not above teaching humans that are brave, pure, and unselfish their holy arts.]

    "So, where does Genbu live?" Misty asked.

    [He lives in a cave near the Temple of the Golden Earth--so we will have a chance to visit him on our way to the tower.] Goukai replied.

    As the group rounded a corner past a river flowing through the cave, a white blur on the other side snapped Goukai to attention. [That's odd...I have never seen a white Vulpix before...]

    "One of the lost Alolan Vulpixes!" Misty gasped.

    Ash looked across the river. "Unless you guys know where a bridge is, we're gonna have to swim across..."

    [Allow me!] Goukai volunteered.

    "Are you sure?" Brock asked, gesturing to the river's rushing rapids. "You could get washed away in the rapids...and that's if you don't drown first."

    [If you'll trust me, I can get the white Vulpix safely over here without getting wet.] Goukai assured Brock. [So, will you trust me?]

    "Okay..." Brock nervously replied. "Let's see what you can do..."

    Goukai nodded, braced himself, then sped across the water so quickly, all the group saw was a blur! [Yanma Skims the Water!]

    "WOW!!!" Misty gasped, impressed as Goukai returned with the Alolan Vulpix on his back.

    [There you go...] Goukai replied as the Alolan Vulpix climbed off of him.

    "Kaimana's waiting for you." Brock added. The Alolan Vulpix nuzzled Goukai in thanks, then dashed out of the cave and into the sun.

    [I have heard of the exotic region of Alola...] Goukai mused as the group continued through the cave. [How is it that a place so warm is home to a Pokemon of the snow?]

    "Alolan Vulpixes live in the mountains--one of the very few places where you can see snow in Alola." Misty explained. "The normally red Vulpix turned white to adapt to the cold and snow."

    "The native Alolans see the Alolan Ninetales as a guardian god." Ash explained. "So to see one is very lucky indeed."

    "Do the four elemental guardians talk to ordinary people at all?" Misty asked, changing the subject. "I kinda wonder what Genbu would tell us if he does talk to mortals at all..."

    [Oh, the guardians do talk to worthy mortals.] Goukai assured Misty. "Master Mitsu says they will only talk to someone brave, true, and unselfish--usually if they need direction on their adventure, but sometimes they will talk to a hero if the world needs saving."

    Piqued, Ash yelled into the sunshine "Hey, Genbu? Where do you suggest we go first in guiding a Kubfu?"

    At first, no answer came as the group emerged into a cave. But after a few tense moments, a gentle deep male voice echoed in Ash's mind. You could start your long journey by teaching your Kubfu about the martial arts and culture of your homeland. This way, he learns to appreciate cultures different from his, and where many martial arts began. Learning martial arts is for nothing if you do not understand the art's history, traditions, and place in the wider culture.

    "Okay? Thanks?" Ash replied. "I guess traveling to the Tsunematsu Dojo will have to wait..." he mused as the group stopped to make a temporary camp.

    "Look at it this way--if we teach Goukai what we have learned, that's three or more arts out of a thousand." Misty smiled as the group pitched their tents. "So we can start by teaching him about the paths of Pokemon martial arts."

    [So...where do I even begin to learn at least thousand unique styles of martial arts?] Goukai asked as the group settled into their camp. [That's a lot of styles!]

    "Well, the easiest place to start are the different Pokemon styles." Brock explained. "The five most common Pokemon styles are Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Scyther, and Swanna. Some variations of these five are Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Arbok, and Swanna; or Raikou, Infernape, Scyther, Arbok, and Swanna. The version I learned back home in Pewter City was Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Scyther, and Swanna. Of those five, I trained under Raikou style--so we'll start with what I know."

    [What other Pokemon paths are there?] Goukai was intrigued.

    "Besides the main five and its variants, there's the variants of Urshifu that is your ultimate goal." Brock explained. "There's also Pangoro style..."

    "Made famous by the movie 'Kung Fu Pangoro', its sequels, and the TV show." Ash interjected. "Great movies and great TV show."

    "...Emboar style, Tauros style, Centiskorch style, Combusken style, Clawncher style, Honchkrow style, Sawsbuck style, Arcanine style, Braviary style, Donphan style, Delphox style, Greninja style, Pidgeot style, Ponyta style, Entei style, Charmander style, Drapion style, Swellow style, Toxicroak style, Wartortle style, and Mightyena style are the ones I know of." Brock muses, amazed he remembered the long list. "There may be even more that I don't know about."

    He turned business-like again. "But for now, let's focus on learning the Raikou style first."

    "Yes, sensei Brock!" Goukai gave a little bow, then retreated to a rock to listen.

    "Now--the path of Raikou focuses on a powerful offense." Brock explained. "But this doesn't mean he is pure raw power like Tauros or Emboar. Raikou is strong, but he is gentle too. He is proud of who he is, but never boasts about it. He is fiercely loyal to those he trusts, and would gladly give his own life if it meant saving others..."

    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!!"

  2. #12
    Senior Moderator EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 10: The Judgement of the Golden Wheel

    After walking along the road for a while, Goukai gasped when he saw the sloped roof of a dojo in the distance. [We're here! The Tsunematsu Dojo!]

    "So after I taught you a little of the Raikou style, this will be art number 2." Brock mused as he led the group up the hill and into the dojo grounds. It was smaller than the Kikuzu Dojo, and had plenty of open space for students to practice throwing the Golden Lightning Wheel.

    A young blonde haired man in a black master's robe came to meet Goukai and the group. "Hello there, travelers--I am Master Katsura. What brings you to my humble dojo?"

    "We are guiding this little guy..." Ash shepherded Goukai close to him. "...on his journey of evolution."

    "We are travelers from far away Kanto on a journey of discovery as we guide our Kubfu." Misty explained. "So we too would like to learn as much as we can alongside our Kubfu, to protect him when our own Pokemon cannot."

    "So what is the Golden Lightning Wheel?" Ash asked.

    Master Katsura showed Ash a shiny gold ring with lightning decor and thunderbolt shaped spokes. "This is the Golden Lightning Wheel. Like all wheels, it can be thrown like a boomerang, or launched from a launcher mounted on the user's wrist. There's no difference in difficulty between these methods--you only need to choose which method is more comfortable for you."

    [I'll be fine learning to throw it, Katsura-sensei.] Goukai replied with a little bow.

    Ash smiled. "I'd like to try using the launcher, if you don't mind teaching me."

    Master Katsura smiled. "If one truly desires to learn any martial art, the dojo is always open to them--even if the one seeking to learn is one of the Heroes of Galar."

    He motioned for Ash to follow him as an older female student led Goukai inside a training arena. "If you'll come with me, we will begin our training."


    "All right..." Master Katsura smiled as he secured the launcher to Ash's right wrist. "If you need to switch to the other wrist at any point, let me know."

    "This should work fine, Master." Ash smiled as he admired the small white launcher with gold lightning trim. "Besides, I'd still be able to use a blade freely."

    "If you decide to learn the way of the bow, you can combine an arrow and the wheel to create a spinning missile-like weapon that can home in on a target." Master Katsura interjected. "But for the moment, let's begin with the basics of the wheel."

    Ash nodded as Master Katsura explained "Now...what you are basically wearing is a launchable boomerang--to launch a wheel, press the button behind the hand guard with the other hand. Once you fire a wheel, watch its arc carefully so you can catch it with the launcher as it comes back to you. A full attack cycle goes 'launch-arc-catch'."

    " it!" Ash smiled.

    "Now than, let's try firing the launcher a few times so we can practice the attack cycle." Master Katsura suggested. "Remember--launch, arc, catch."

    Ash nodded, then fired a wheel with a click. He almost fell backwards as one of the golden wheels went flying into the sky, creating what sounded like a peal of thunder as it arced majestically through the air.

    He managed to collect himself enough to catch the spinning wheel with the launcher, then contemplated what he had just done. "What was that? Recoil?"

    "Not necessarily." Master Katsura replied. "That was the basic move of the launched Golden Lightning Wheel--the Sound of Rolling Thunder. If you were to try throwing the wheel, the move would be the Sound of the Spring Breeze."

    "I see..." Ash mused. "But, what if I don't want to tip off a bad guy to where I am? Is there a way I can fire quietly?"

    Master Katsura nodded. "To fire quietly, simply press the button as gently as possible. This will create the Sound of the Silent Storm."

    Ash nodded. "Since we're on a long journey, is there any people or sects we should keep an eye out for...or keep away from?"

    Master Katsura thought for a moment. "There are many you should watch out for, and just as many you should be on your guard against. But the ones that most want to help you and your Kubfu are the 777 Saints."

    "Who are they?" Ash wondered as he quietly launched another Golden Lightning Wheel into the sky.

    "The 777 Saints are heroes who have dedicated their lives to fighting for peace and justice." Master Katsura explained. "They wander the world helping others that guide a Kubfu on their journey of evolution. Should you meet one of them on your journey, it would be wise to befriend them."

    " do I tell them apart from any other wandering martial artist we may meet?" Ash wondered before jumping to intercept his wheel.

    Master Katsura showed Ash a picture of a stylized Beautifly design. "This is the emblem of the 777 Saints. Long ago, the Saints chose Beautifly as their guardian Pokemon, as a sign of their promise to cleanse evil, and bring new life, hope, creativity and joy in its place. This emblem, or the choushirushi, is usually worn on an armband, but headbands, scarves, sashes, and other locations are not unheard of."

    His face turned somber. "As for martial artists you should watch out for, the ones considered the most dangerous are the 999 Black Dragons."

    "Are they anything like Team Rocket?" Ash wondered. "Or even worse than Chairman Rose?"

    "Much worse." Master Katsura replied. They will stop at nothing to sow the seeds of discord wherever they go, and will go to any lengths to prevent a Kubfu from becoming an Urshifu. Some have said that they have allied with youkai, or are youkai themselves."

    He showed Ash a picture of a tribal Eternatus design. "This is their emblem--like their sworn enemies the 777 Saints, this too is worn on an armband, but other locations are not unheard of."

    Ash nodded. "We will do our best to find the 777 Saints and bring the 999 Black Dragons to justice!" He unleashed another wheel with a peal of thunder to emphasize his point...

    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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  4. #13
    Senior Moderator EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 11: The Song of the Dutiful Delphox

    "So, how does it feel to add the wheel onto your list of arts?" Misty asked as the group made their way along the road again some days later.

    "'ll be a nice ranged attack option if I can't use my sword or a bow." Ash replied. "The launcher's in my bag--just in case."

    He went on "But I'm more interested in finding one of the 777 Saints, or catching one of the 999 Black Dragons!"

    Goukai shuddered at the mention of the 999 Black Dragons. [Are you sure you want to try and battle them? Master Karashi always said that they are very dangerous...they are feared across the island.]

    "If we find them and capture them, they can't bother the righteous sects anymore." Ash assured his nervous Kubfu.

    "If anyone, Black Dragon or otherwise, attempts to hurt you or take you from us, we will do everything in our power to rescue you, okay?" Brock assured Goukai. "That was our promise to Master Mitsu and Master Karashi when we left Kikuzu."

    A low pitched sound Ash recognized as the end-blown kidi snapped him to attention. "A kidi? Here?"

    "Who would be playing a kidi?" Misty asked, interested in the haunting melody that seemed to be approaching them.

    "Who's playing?" Ash called as the kidi's last note echoed into the sky. "Friend or foe?"

    He balked when he saw the performer--a blonde haired woman in an ornate red, orange, gold, and black robe. "Serena?"

    The woman smiled as she she put away the long, slender flute and removed her Kantonian straw hat. "No...I can assure you I am not the one you seek." she began before showing Ash a familiar Beautifly wing crest on one sleeve of her robe. "I am the Dutiful Delphox--one of the 777 Saints that wander the island."

    Goukai's eyes turned to stars when he saw the woman. [WOW!!! I've always wanted to see one of the 777 Saints in person! They say the Dutiful Delphox never breaks her promises...if she promises you something, she will do everything she can to keep it, no matter how long it takes!]

    Brock couldn't help bowing before the Dutiful Delphox. "It is indeed an honor to see one of the guardians of the island. We are three travelers from Kanto, guiding a Kubfu on its journey of evolution."

    "A worthy task of the Heroes of Galar." the Dutiful Delphox replied. "If you happen to defeat any of the 999 Black Dragons on your long quest, you can report your victory to our chief, Great Rainbow, at the Silver Pavilion. It's not far down the road."

    "Was there a thousandth Black Dragon at some point?" Misty wondered.

    The Dutiful Delphox nodded. "You've defeated him already--Chairman Rose was the thousandth Black Dragon. Though he had no skill in martial arts, he had the skills of cunning, deception, and evil else could he have awakened the primal dragon Pokemon Eternatus?"

    "Don't remind me..." Ash shuddered at a memory of Chairman Rose and Eternatus.

    "But with their leader gone, the other 999 Black Dragons now wander the island, seeking to cause trouble." the Dutiful Delphox explained. "That's why it is important for you to befriend as many of my fellow Saints as you can, and capture the remaining 999 Black Dragons as you guide your Kubfu."

    The red tassel of Ash's bansi dangling from a pocket of Ash's bag got the Dutiful Delphox excited. "Oh, a bansi! How long have you played for?"

    "Five years now..." Ash replied as he unzipped a side pocket and retrieved the ornately decorated side-blown flute. "This one was a gift from a friend in Johto."

    "Would you be interested in learning to channel your ki through your instrument?" the Dutiful Delphox asked. "This is one martial art I know with my kidi."

    "Yeah!" Ash smiled, images of him playing thunderbolts and fire through his own instrument dancing in his head.

    "While you can eventually play ki on the instrument you have, it helps if you learn the art on an instrument specifically designed for ki channeling." the Dutiful Delphox explained as she set down her large traveling bag on the ground.

    After digging in the bag for a moment, she unearthed a beautiful red and gold bansi decorated with thunderbolt and fire designs. "Here...this is the Melody Fire Flute. I hope when you play it, you think of me, and the other Saints."

    "Thanks..." Ash smiled as he accepted the beautiful instrument. It felt warm to the touch, a warmth that felt powerful and yet comforting. "So, how do you channel ki through an instrument?"

    "Simply playing any song you like won't do anything." the Dutiful Delphox replied. "You have to channel the desired effect into your song to get it to manifest. This is why the many techniques of the Melody Elemental Flutes have hundreds of possible songs to create them, and new techniques are created by both novice and skilled performers."

    "Okay...I have an idea as to what I want to attempt to do first..." Ash took a few steps back, then played the Zelda whistle music into the sky.

    A familiar roar got Misty's attention. "Ash...did you just..."

    Her shocked look turned to joy as a familiar Charizard elegantly circled in to land on the grass. "Blaze!"

    "Been a while, big guy..." Brock smiled as he watched Ash pocket his instrument and hug the majestic orange dragon-Pokemon.

    [So it has...] Blaze purred. [The tribe has spoke of a mystical energy here that can make us Charizard and other Pokemon grow to mammoth this true?]

    Ash nodded. "I have seen a Charizard do this before during my time here. The phenomenon's called Dynamax. Charizards are one of the few than can take Dynamax one step farther--Gigantimax. But we can't induce a Dynamax just anywhere--we have to be somewhere with the energy to do it..."

    Misty smiled as Ash and Blaze continued to visit. "It has been a while since Ash has seen Blaze, so it was no wonder Ash called him here."

    "There is a Charizard calling technique in the manual of the Melody Fire Flute." the Dutiful Delphox replied as she stashed a copy of the manual in Ash's bag. "It is called 'Flute Calls the Flame Dragon'."

    "A fitting name." Brock agreed. "So if Ash wants to call Blaze, he can use that song no matter where we are on the island." He let that hang as he watched the boy and his faithful Charizard fill each other in on what had transpired since their last visit...

    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. #14
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    Episode 12: Meeting the Great Rainbow

    "Okay...according to the guidebook, the Silver Pavilion is located off the eastern shore of Temple Lake." Brock began as he led the group down the road. "The lake gets its name because the pavilion looks like a temple from far off. Like the Dutiful Delphox told us, the pavilion complex is where Great Rainbow, chief of the 777 Saints, calls home."

    "Is there anything special we need to to do to see Great Rainbow?" Ash wondered as he admired the sun glinting off of the Melody Fire Flute.

    Goukai thought for a moment. [According to all the stories Master Karashi has told me, the best way to have an audience with Great Rainbow is to say you come on behalf of another Saint.]

    He giggled. [But doing a great deed like saving a region always helps!]

    "Yeah, we have the saving the world part covered." Ash agreed as he returned the Melody Fire Flute to his bag. "Fingers crossed the next dojo we come to can help me better control playing ki."

    "Is there any lore about Temple Lake at all?" Misty asked. "Like folktales or legendary creatures?"

    [It has a guardian spirit, named Amabiko.] Goukai explained. [If you happen to see Amabiko, she will predict your future. If she sees good in your future, she will give you something to preserve that luck. But if she sees bad luck in your future, she will give you something to protect you from that bad luck. But her prophecies may not be as straightfoward as you may think.] He let that hang as the group approached a long bridge leading to a large silvery complex of buildings on the water.

    "This must be the Silver Pavilion..." Ash smiled as he motioned for the others to follow him across the bridge.

    He did not expect a beautiful blonde haired lady in an elegant blue, white, gold, and silver costume to appear in the water before him! "Huh?"

    [Amabiko!] Goukai gasped in amazement.

    "Great lake guardian, what awaits us as we travel on the island?" Brock asked as he bowed on one knee on the grass.

    Amabiko studied a water droplet for a moment, then gave her prophecy. "When the sky is colored brightly, the young one shall usher forth a world of light."

    With that, she offered a box full of candies that resembled marbles. "Thanks?" Ash replied, a little confused.

    Amabiko noticed Ash's confusion. "Don't worry, young hero--the prophecy will reveal its meaning to you in due time."

    Misty watched as Amabiko disappeared in a cloud of dew. "She gave you Bead-amas, Ash--those gumballs are said to help keep you calm and focus."

    "So you don't 'lose your marbles', if you will, if the going gets tough." Brock smiled. "You can get a good sized bubble from just one of them, but you need at least two to get a big one."

    "We'll chew some of these after we see Great Rainbow." Ash mused as he put the box of Bead-amas away. "We want to make a good impression on the leader of the 777 Saints."


    A beautiful woman in a long rainbow gown smiled as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Goukai bowed before her. "Welcome, heroes from a far away land. It is only fitting that you have been chosen to guide a Kubfu on its journey to evolve."

    "We are three travelers from Kanto, and we come on behalf of the Dutiful Delphox." Ash explained. "She bid us come see you in your lakeside abode."

    Great Rainbow smiled. "If one of the other saints thinks highly of you, then you truly are the heroes the world--and now Galar--cheers about."

    She studied the group. " thanks for the heroic deeds you have done on the mainland, and for the heroic deeds you have yet to do during your time on the island, I will be happy to teach you and your Kubfu one of my powerful rainbow arts. For every nine of the remaining 999 Black Dragons you defeat, I will reward you, and teach one of you another art."

    "Okay...which one are we going to start with?" Ash wondered as one of Great Rainbow's attendants signaled for them to stand up.

    "We will begin with the Resplendent Beautifly Flute." Great Rainbow then conjured a glittering rainbow colored bansi in Ash's hands. "This instrument will allow you to play powerful magical melodies that belong to all the elements."

    [Sensei Ash...will you show me how to play the flute?] Goukai asked. [If the venerable Great Rainbow will allow me to have one.]

    Great Rainbow smiled as she conjured a rainbow colored Kubfu sized bansi. "Here you are--now you have an instrument of your very own to practice on."

    [Thank you, Great One.] Goukai replied as he bowed before Great Rainbow in thanks. [I promise to never play evil melodies on it, and only use its song for peace and justice.]

    "Well, I didn't learn all the tunes I know overnight." Ash began.

    [In order to have some songs to battle evil with, we first need to practice the basics.] Tintri agreed.

    Great Rainbow smiled. "You can practice on the terrace overlooking the lake, if you like."


    "Okay, Goukai..." Ash began as he settled in to begin the Kubfu's first bansi lesson. "In order to play any type of flute, you can stand or sit upright."

    [Which is easier?] Goukai wondered.

    "Every performer is different." Ash explained. "Some find it easier to sit, some find it easier to stand, and some can do both well. As for me, I prefer to stand, as I find it easier to get good air support that way. But I do well sitting too."

    An empty soda bottle on a table gave him an idea. "Playing a sideblown flute is very similar to blowing across the top of a bottle." he explained. "So see the one hole that's bigger than the others?"

    [Yeah...] Goukai replied.

    "That's where you blow into your instrument." Ash explained. "So relax, form a small circular opening with your lips, take a deep breath, and blow."

    Even Misty and Brock jumped at the squeaky D note Goukai produced. "I think Lesson Two should be blowing GENTLY." Brock smiled as he peeled Ash off the terrace roof...

    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. #15
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    Episode 13: The Phoenix of a Far Away Land

    "So? Did Goukai finally manage to get a good sound?" Misty asked as the group traveled down a path some days later.

    "Yeah--I did teach him not to overblow, and blowing gently was the key to a good sound on...any sort of flute, really." Ash replied, beaming with pride as he watched Goukai attempt to perform the children's song "I Hear a Little Fletchling Sing".

    [I just wish I could find some more sources for songs--although the books of songs sensei Ash has given me have been very helpful.] Goukai replied as he put his instrument away. [Perhaps if we could see a play in a Gekijou theater, I could be inspired to learn one of the solos...]

    "Well, where is a Gekijou theater?" Ash wondered. "All we've seen on the island so far are plains, caves, and the odd dojo or lake..."

    [If we continue following this road, we'll come to the town of Kitamata.] Goukai explained. [There, we'll find the Joyous Child named because their plays are meant to be enjoyed by all.]

    A poster advertising the Joyous Child's latest show got Goukai's attention. [Hm...Moltres and the Princess Va...Varu...Varuen...]

    "Valencia." Brock gently corrected Goukai. "You were on the right track, though."

    [I don't think I have ever heard that story before...] Goukai mused. [Although...the Joyous Child and other Gekijou theaters do sometimes base a play off of a foreign story.]

    Brock studied the poster for a moment. "The play doesn't sound like the version of 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia' I'm familiar with..."

    He explained to Goukai "In most versions of this tale type, the hero finds a feather of Moltres on the roadside. In some versions, he attempts capturing Moltres, and ends up with the feather."

    He went on "Despite Epona's warnings, our hero takes it to the king, who commands him to find Moltres herself. How exactly our hero goes about this differs from version to version, but with help from Epona and maybe Kitsune, he succeeds. Then the king asks our hero to find the titular princess, even though he does not truly love her--what her name is differs from version to version. She also may or may not have a connection to the Legendaries, as well."

    [And then?] Goukai was interested.

    "Again, how our hero finds the princess differs from version to version." Brock reminded the excited Kubfu. "Once the princess arrives, she sets a number of impossible tasks, and the hero comes through for her on the king's behalf every time. Towards the end, she asks the king to undergo a test of purity or some other trial by ordeal. When the hero is used as the lab Rattata for the trial, he passes with flying colors--usually thanks to a spell of protection Epona taught him. When the king attempts the trial, he usually pays with his life, or otherwise disappears. The hero is crowned king, he takes the princess as his bride and all live happily ever after."

    "Lately, there's been a trend of giving both Moltres and the Princess Valencia more active roles...and the Gekijou theater's version of the story follows this style." Misty added. " In the version we're probably going to see, Moltres' feather is a good thing rather than a bad thing--the hero believes it may heal his king, who is very sick with a terrible disease. Moltres reveals that it is the evil miasma of the evil Koschei that is sickening the king, and the only way to dispel the miasma across the land is to defeat Koschei. But Koschei has put up a magical barrier around his castle, and only ten magical jewels can dispel it."

    [How exciting!!!] Goukai cried.

    "Moltres tells the archer to find the Princess Valencia, and the adventure begins." Misty continued. "From there, the tale departs from the original story, usually becoming a Zelda-esque quest."

    Goukai was confused. [Who is this Zelda? Is she a sage of some kind?]

    Ash racked his brain to figure a way to explain "The Legend of Zelda" at a level Goukai could understand. "Do you remember seeing any game consoles in Master Karashi's room back at Kikuzu?"

    [Oh, so that's what all those strange boxes connected to the big TV in his room were!] Goukai smiled. [Even though I was never allowed in there to use them...]

    "Well, 'The Legend of Zelda' is one of the best loved game series in the world." Ash explained. "The titular Zelda is the princess that rules the far away land of Hyrule--where most of the games take place.

    "In most of the games, the hero, Link, has to collect so many magical things to save the world." Misty continued. "So when other media--or even folktales--attempt this, people always compare it to a Zelda game."

    [I see...] Goukai smiled.

    "Mind you, collect so many shiny things to save the world is not a bad thing in a story..." Brock assured Goukai. "It's what you do with that trope that makes it one of the best things ever, or doomed to be forgotten."

    "But we digress..." Ash smiled as he noticed the rooftops of a town in the distance. "That has to be Kitamata..."

    [I know the way to the theater...come on!] Goukai motioned for the group to follow him into town...


    [...around this corner past the town square....and we're here!] Goukai made a grand gesture to a majestic building with colorful banners hanging from the sloped roof.

    "Wow!" Misty gasped in amazement at the beautiful theater.

    Brock noticed the theater was beginning to attract a line. "If we're going to see the show, we'd better hurry and get in line for tickets."

    Goukai nodded. [It would be a waste if we arrived and the show was sold out...]

    "It looks like we've arrived in time for the first show of the day..." Misty mused as she studied the theater's marquee, which read "NOW SHOWING: 'MOLTRES AND THE PRINCESS VALENCIA 12:30 3:00 6:00"

    "Have you been to a theater before?" Ash asked Goukai as the group got in line to buy tickets.

    Goukai nodded. [Master Mitsu would often take me and the students to see plays as rewards for ranking up or passing some other difficult trial. So I know very well how to behave in a theater.]

    He smiled at the group. [I'm so excited! My first time seeing a tale from the mainland!]

    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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    Episode 14: Moltres and Kubfu

    The Joyous Child Theater rang with applause as the narrator came out onstage, her beautiful vina cradled in her arms. "Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Joyous Child Theater." she began. "If this is your first time seeing a Gekijou performance, understand that is an ancient style of theater that is very different from a traditional play..."

    Brock just smiled as he listened to the traditions spiel. A slightly different version from what I typically say, but still mostly the same spiel I remember!

    Misty noticed the smile on Brock's face. "Sound familiar?" she whispered.

    "Yeah...a little different from how I say it, though." Brock replied before turning his attention back to the stage.

    "The story we want to tell you today is a tale told around the world, adapted specifically for the Gekijou stage." the narrator explained. "In our version, it is Princess Valencia that is the hero of the story, and it is she who goes on a grand quest to rescue her prince from the evil wizard Koschei. It will take many friends, ten magical jewels, and the song of Moltres to defeat Koschei, rescue Prince Alex, and bring peace to the land once more. But through it all, Princess Valencia's courage and loyalty never falters, creating a new take on a beloved fairy tale."

    She readied her vina to play. "So please enjoy 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia'."

    With that, she started to play a mysterious melody that evoked a far away land. "Once upon a time, there lived a kind and just king who had an only daughter..."

    "This is certainly very different..." Misty mused as the narrator continued to speak.

    "Like we were told earlier, this is an all new story just for the stage." Brock replied, aware of the ominous theme the orchestra played.

    "One night, days before Princess Valencia and Prince Alex were to wed, the evil wizard Koschei looked down on the festivities with jealousy in his eyes." the narrator went on. "Enraged, he kidnapped Prince Alex in the night, and locked him deep within his castle dungeon."

    She went on "The only way to dispel the magical barrier surrounding Koschei's castle and unlock the ten locks was to find the ten Jewels of Awakening, and combine their power with the song of the legendary phoenix Moltres."

    Tintri sparked with excitement and Goukai smiled as the narrator went on "Many a brave hero tried to rescue Prince Alex, but all of them failed to return or returned empty handed."

    She intoned "Finally, Princess Valencia got a bold idea--what if she were the one to attempt the quest that so many had failed?" She let that hang as her spotlight blinked off.

    The lights came up on a beautiful palace set that evoked a Kantonian castle of old. A brown haired girl in an ornate blue, silver, and gold costume glanced out a window with a sigh. In this short moment, before dawn breaks
    I wish for your happiness, no matter where you are...
    she sang.

    Although many have set out to find you,
    Not one of them has returned,
    And I feel the call to embark on the hero's road...

    She went on The lands of old, fields covered in golden wheat
    The melody of flutes, singing out like birds in the sky...
    A bansi played a heroic phrase at this, to Goukai's excitement.

    They start falling as large flakes of snow, from a night sky filled with diamonds,
    To the bottom of the ocean where they slumber, turning into pearls...
    Indeed, the breaths of the faraway stars
    They are all hymns
    Silently dedicated to the heroes of the past...

    But why should I, be excluded from their number?
    Is bravery, only the domain of men?
    I too, would gladly face any challenge
    If it means seeing my beloved again!

    So now, I've made my bold decision...
    The sun will rise, peace and light will endure...
    With the Legendaries in heaven guiding me,
    I grasp my courage, and embark on a grand adventure!

    Applause filled the theater at the song's end. "This is definitely not the story you've told before!" Ash raved as he applauded.

    "And it is all the better for being told like this." Brock replied. "By telling the story in a new way, it challenges the audience to rethink what they know about the story and the characters."

    The vina snapped the group to attention. "And so, Princess Valencia departed her father's castle late that night, while everyone slept." the narrator went on. "She traveled a long way, until she came to a flowery grove deep in a forest."

    Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... the girl's voice rang through the darkness.

    Even Goukai was awed at the jewel studded cave set and the Kitsune puppet that welcomed the actress playing Princess Valencia. [Wow...she's beautiful!] he whispered. [I wonder how many performers are in there...]

    "Usually, Kitsune is portrayed as a live actor, but depending on how the puppet is designed, there could be a single performer inside the costume, or up to three performers." Brock whispered back. "This one appears to be the kind that is both a puppet and a costume..."

    [How does that work?] Goukai wondered.

    "We'll explain after the show, okay?" Misty whispered before turning her attention back to the stage...


    [That was amazing!] Goukai raved as the group departed the theater some hours later. [The fight scenes and Kitsune were the best parts!]

    "Well, now I can explain how the Kitsune puppet they used is both a costume and a puppet." Brock explained as he turned up the volume on his PokeNav again. "The Kitsune puppet we saw is an example of a full bodied puppet. You can argue that these are not so much true puppets as costumes to which a puppet head has been attached."

    "If you need another example, they are very similar to the character costumes in an amusement park." Misty agreed. "But while amusement park characters are almost always silent..."

    "They're working on some that actually talk to you!" Ash smiled.

    "...full bodied puppets have the capability to speak, thanks to the performer inside." Misty went on.

    [So, how would the performer see where they're going without crashing all over the set?] Goukai wondered...

    "There's a special camera hidden inside the head, allowing the puppeteer to see where they're going." Brock explained.

    Ash smiled as Brock and Goukai continued their discussion about the puppetry in the play. Forget learning new songs--I wonder if you can use puppets as martial arts implements!

    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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    Episode 15: The Kubfu's Arrows

    "I wonder..." Brock mused as the group continued down the road. "Are all the different archery arts interchangeable? Can you use the same bow to fire off hundreds of unique arrow skills?"

    [Well...yes, and no; if what Master Karashi has told me is true...] Goukai mused. [While some skilled archers can use hundreds of different arrow arts with the same bow; there are some that work best with a specific bow. It's also a good idea to learn a new archery art with a bow designed for that art--so we probably will be accumulating a lot of weapons on our adventure.]

    "That's okay--whatever we can't use or don't want to use, we'll pass on to someone that can." Misty assured the Kubfu at her side.

    Brock nodded before checking his homemade guidebook of the island. "We should be approaching the Okuda Dojo soon..."

    [That dojo specializes in the Glorious Moon Arrow.] Goukai explained. [Its pure white glow strikes fear in the hearts of yokai, and Master Mitsu once said it was strong enough to even beat the primal dragon, Eternatus."

    "Arceus willing I don't ever have to test that claim..." Brock shuddered as he remembered Ash defiantly singing the Swanna Song to Chairman Rose and Eternatus in Wyndon Stadium.

    [Sensei Brock? Since you are a master archer, will you show me how to use a bow?] Goukai asked. [I want to at least master the basics before we get to our next dojo.]

    "Sure." Brock smiled as the group stopped to rest in a grove of trees that overlooked a hill that led down into the plains. "Let me see if one of us has a bow that is Kubfu sized, and I'll teach you the basics.


    [Thank you, Tarina-san, for letting me have this bow.] Goukai smiled, giving the red-cloaked Pichu a little bow in respect.

    [Anytime--I hope you'll get as much use out of that bow as I did when Brock first taught me.] Tarina replied.

    "Okay, Goukai...I'm sure you understand that above all, a bow is a weapon first." Brock cautioned. "So be very careful to follow any rules a practice range may have, always wear safety gear, and always remember to use good form when you shoot."

    [Understood.] Goukai replied as he carefully put on some Kubfu sized bracers.

    Once Goukai was ready, Brock began his lesson. "Now then...let's begin by showing you what good shooting form is, and walking you through what a good shot looks like."

    "We'll go get a target ready for you guys to shoot at!" With that, Misty and Ash hurried off down the hill with some practice targets in tow--a larger one for Brock to demonstrate a good shot, and a smaller one for Goukai to shoot at.

    Brock, meanwhile, began his lesson, aware of Misty and Ash working to set up the targets in the distance. "First and foremost, any shooting not for battle or competition should be done in a wide, open space; or on a training range."

    [Yes, sensei!] Goukai smiled.

    "Now--to form the proper stance while standing, you want to stand shoulder-width apart completely sideways to the target, with your toes at a 90 angle to your target." Brock explained, mimicking the pose as he spoke.

    He observed Goukai trying to mimic his pose, but his tiny feet were too close together. "Almost..."

    Goukai quickly readjusted his feet so that his toes were at a 90 degree angle. "Better." Brock smiled. "There shouldn't be any bending at the knees or waist, and no leaning either."

    He reminded Goukai "Your head is the only thing that turns toward the target, and your arms are the only body part that moves, okay?"

    [Got it!] Goukai smiled.

    "We'll worry about shooting from a kneeling position once we get standing down, okay?" Brock assured his Kubfu student before showing Goukai one of his own Venerable Jade Arrows. "On most arrows, there are three fletchings--two fletchings of the same color and one of them a slightly different shade of the same color. When nocking your arrow, the different color fletching should face away from the bow and towards you. Once your arrow is in position, place the nock of the arrow--that's the split ending at the back of the arrow--on the string of your bow, pushing it in until you hear a subtle click."

    Goukai did his best to follow along with what Brock was doing. [Okay!]

    "Now, form your stance again." Brock instructed.

    He waited for Goukai to get in position, then went on "To shoot properly, start by straightening your hand with the bow ahead of you, but keep it flexible with a slight bend in the elbow. Whatever you do, don’t lock up your shoulder."

    [Got it!] Goukai smiled.

    "You want to hold the bow like you would the handle of a teacup, with three fingers--typically the index, middle and ring--but keep the thumb lowered." Brock explained as he prepared his own shot with the Venerable Jade Bow. "There are several different grips, but you pick the one that's best for you."

    He heard two calls of "Clear!". "Don't even begin to prepare to shoot until you have been cleared to shoot." he cautioned Goukai as Ash and Misty returned. "'Clear' means there's no one in the way, and nothing that can block your shot."

    "We put Goukai's target a little closer than yours..." Misty explained. "Once Goukai's comfortable with shooting from up close, we'll move the little target back."

    Brock nodded, then addressed Goukai as he approached the area facing the bigger target. "Moving draw, draw with three fingers around the string below where the arrow is placed." he explained. "Try to keep the elbow of your drawing hand in line with the arm that’s holding the bow."

    He smiled as Goukai hurried to the area facing the small target, and assumed the correct pose. "Very anchor your drawing hand on your face, ideally somewhere in the region of your mouth and cheek just below your eyes or nose so that you can see down the shaft of your arrow."

    Goukai watched as Brock drew his bow. "When you're ready to shoot, simply relax your drawing hand and follow through with the shot."

    With that, he fired, his shot landing on the bullseye of the big target. "One last thing--don’t put down your bow or change your position until your arrow is in its target." he explained.

    [Here I go...] With that, Goukai drew his tiny bow, then fired at the small target.

    Brock smiled as he spotted Goukai's shot in the outer black ring of the small target. "Nicely done for the first try! If this were a real shooting contest, you'd get three points."

    [How'd I do?] Goukai wondered. [Did I at least do the shot right?]

    "You did well following along with my instructions." Brock replied as Ash ran to retrieve both arrows. "It may sound like a lot to remember, but we'll keep practicing so it becomes second nature."

    "Keep at it, and you'll impress every archer sensei we meet." Misty agreed as the boys returned...

    To Be Continued...
    Last edited by EmeraldSky; 08-02-2020 at 12:18 AM.
    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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    Episode 16: The Moonlit Arrow

    "There it is...the Okuda Dojo." Ash smiled as the group admired the dojo nestled in a wooded area. "Home of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

    "Goukai's been doing well with his archery lessons." Brock agreed. "So he may be ready to learn a real archery art."

    "What about you?" Misty asked as the group approached the large hill leading to the dojo's front gate. "Would you want to learn another archery art yourself?"

    "One of the cornerstones of the Raikou style is being versatile in your attack." Brock explained. "So you need to meet your foe in a way that gives you the advantage. Coming at you with raw power? Be ready to defend. Moving fast? Find a way to intercept them. Melee fighting too dangerous?"

    He smiled as the group reached the top of the hill. "Then come at them with a ranged attack--be this a ranged weapon or magic."

    A white haired woman in an elegant moon print kimono met the group at the dojo's front gate. "Greetings, travelers. I am Kimani Haine, Twenty-second Keeper of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

    She noticed Goukai peeking from behind Brock's left leg. "Seeing as you guide a Kubfu on its journey to evolve, I would be honored to lend my art to your cause."

    [I would be honored to learn, Haine-sensei.] Goukai replied with a bow.

    Kimani noticed the quiver of pale green arrows on Brock's back. "Would you like to learn as well, master archer? she asked--the bright arrows made a nice contrast to the black robe he wore.

    "An archer can never learn how to use too many arrows." Brock smiled as one of Kimani's students arrived to take Goukai inside...


    "Okay then, Brock...the Glorious Moon Arrow's primary purpose is the element of surprise, and purifying evil." Kimani explained as one of her students brought over a bright white bow, and a quiver full of thirty silvery-white arrows. "Yokai especially fear this arrow."

    "Point noted...should we run into any yokai on our adventure." Brock mused, admiring one of the glowing white arrows as two other students set up a target for him to practice on. "I'd imagine these would do a number on one of the 999 Black Dragons, as well."

    Kimani nodded. "Yes--they will turn tail and run as soon as you have them in your sights!"

    She turned business-like again. "The basic move of this style is an arced shot named Shooting Star Crossing the Sky. While it is generally bad form to shoot an arrow directly into the sky, this is one of the few exceptions to that rule. We have to fire the arrow into the sky to create an arc."

    "Clear!" a student called by one of the angled targets.

    Brock shuddered a little at how far back the targets were. "Are you sure you can hit the target from that far out?" he asked.

    "I'm sure--watch." With that, Kimani nocked her own brilliant white bow and fired.

    Brock watched the glowing white arrow elegantly arc through the afternoon sky, then land in the outer ring of the bullseye. "Wow! That's amazing!"

    "By allowing the arrow to arc like this, your target won't even know you have fired until too late." Kimani explained as the students hurried to retrieve her shot.

    She invited Brock to the firing line. "Now it's your turn to attempt the shot."

    Brock nodded. "Here goes nothing..." he replied as he nocked one of his own brilliant white arrows.

    Ash and Misty watched as Brock fired his shot, making it elegantly arc across the sky. "Cool!" he smiled as Kimani went to check to see where the arrow had landed.

    "The outer blue ring...not bad!" Kimani smiled. "Just relax, and imagine an arc from your bow to the target.

    "I'll admit I was a little nervous..." Brock admitted as he prepared another shot.

    He took a deep breath to calm the Beautiflies in his stomach, readied his shot, and fired again. This time, the arrow sailed into the outer ring of the bullseye!"

    "There you go!" Kimani smiled as the students went to retrieve Brock's two shots. "Focus, and remember the arc, and your arrow will strike true."


    "Next, we'll go over a stealth attack shot." Kimani explained as the students took down the targets and set up some training dummies. "This is called Opening the Window to See the Moon."

    "What does it do?" Ash wondered as the group followed Kimani into the brush.

    "The move has this name because you fire the shot from a concealed location--your 'window'." Kimana replied. "As you aim your shot, you are opening the proverbial window to see the moon--your target."

    "That makes sense!" Misty smiled as Brock found a space to shoot from in the underbrush.

    "This is no different from rescuing you guys on the outskirts of Pewter City all those years ago." Brock assured his companions as he prepared to shoot at the training dummies from the bush.

    He looked over at Kimani. "Is there a specific place I should be aiming for?" he asked.

    "Aim for the training dummy's chest." Kimani replied.

    "Training dummy's chest--okay." Brock mused as he readied his shot.

    He fired a few moments later, his arrow creating a white burst as it streaked from the bushes to land in the chest of a training dummy.

    "What was that?" Ash gasped as students arrived to retrieve Brock's shot.

    "Since you are hidden as you make this shot, it is more powerful like this." Kimani explained. "You can attempt this move in the open, but it will not be as powerful."

    Even Brock couldn't resist smiling. "This will definitely come in handy against the 999 Black Dragons!" He let that hang as he readied another shot...

    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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    Episode 17: The Dragon and the Arrow

    "Up next is the Hata Dojo, which teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..." Brock mused. "That sounds like a bow made just for you, Ash."

    Ash just grinned. "It would give me another ranged option if the wheel wasn't an option--and a more precision based ranged attack than the wheel. Besides, I still remember those archery lessons from way back in Shinou--those came in handy on my trip to Kalos."

    "Speaking of which..." Brock unfurled a letter on Fennekin themed paper. "You got a letter from Serena..."

    "Oh?" Ash asked as he accepted the paper from Brock.

    He read over the letter for a moment before reading the contents to his companions. "Dear Ash, how are things in Galar? Your Swanna Song of defiance to Chairman Rose made the news all the way back in Kanto. All I can say is what goes around, comes around--often a little too quickly..."


    "...I'm thinking of all of you, and look forward to your next letter soon. Love, Serena." With that, Ash folded up the letter and stashed it in his bag. "I'll start on a reply as soon as we make camp tonight--Serena would probably love hearing about the island..."

    He looked down at Goukai. "What can you tell me about the Hata Dojo? Besides the fact that it teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..."

    [They are often called 'the dragon hunters of the island'.] Goukai replied as the group made their way into a forest. [So named because of all the dragons that call this forest home...]

    "Dragons?" Misty mused. Do you mean Dragon type Pokemon? Or do you mean 'Chambers and Charizards' dragons?"

    [What's that?] Goukai was intrigued.

    "At least once a week, Brock, Misty, and I--and anyone else that wants to join in--host a grand storytelling game." Ash explained. "The point of the game is not to win, but tell stories of epic adventures and brave heroes. And as the storyline progresses, you often get to do battle with dragons and other powerful creatures."

    [That sounds fun!] Goukai smiled as the group emerged into a clearing to find the dojo.

    The dojo mistress hurried out to meet the group. "How fortunate that three travelers guiding a Kubfu have come! Maybe you three can help solve a vexing problem I have..."

    "What is it you would have us do?" Ash asked as he shepherded Goukai to his side.

    "Meet me in the dojo's main hall." the dojo mistress replied. I will tell you everything there."


    "All right..." the dojo mistress explained as she and a deep brown haired girl met the group in the dojo's main hall. "This is Mitsuna, one of my top students."

    "Hello there." the brown haired girl smiled.

    "Mitsuna has handily proven herself ready for the trial that all prospective masters of the Whirling Storm Bow has to face--slaying a green dragon." the dojo mistress explained. "She says it has been a lifelong dream of hers to become a master of my art. But even though she has risen to the challenge and completed many difficult tasks, I still worry that she is getting in over her head. So I now give you three a request--will you guide Mitsuna on the trial like you are your Kubfu?"

    "Before we give a hard yes or no, the real question is if Mitsuna wants us there to help her." Ash explained.

    He addressed Mitsuna, who was nervously toying with the long neat braid her hair was tied into. " you want us to come with you on your dragon-slaying quest? If you do, we won't step in to help unless you specifically ask us to help."

    "Yes--it would give me and sensei peace of mind knowing someone is there to help if the hunt goes horribly wrong." Mitsuna replied. "Do you require payment for your services?"

    Misty just smiled. "We don't require money--all we ask is that we get to know our opponent, and our Kubfu and one of us gets to learn the Whirling Storm Bow."

    Mitsuna nodded, then addressed the dojo mistress "May I train my escort's Kubfu, sensei?

    The dojomistress nodded. "Of course--training a Kubfu will be good practice for teaching students of your own."

    As Mitsuna escorted Goukai to a practice range, the dojo mistress addressed the group. "Now then...which of you wishes to learn the Whirling Storm Bow?"

    "I will." Ash volunteered. "Though I do not claim to be an expert archer, I have some skill at the bow."

    "All right, come with me." the dojo mistress smiled, leading Ash to an outdoor training range...


    "Now then, Ash..." the dojo mistress began. "At its heart, the Whirling Storm Bow is an offensive power, shocking its target with a burst of wind and thunder. It can also damage nearby targets in the area."

    She went on "The first move of the Whirling Storm Bow is the Mountain Piercing Bolt." Even though you were taught as a Pokemon Trainer that electricity won't do a thing to the ground and rocks, this arrow is strong enough to even shatter a mountain."

    Ash watched in awe as the dojo mistress readied a shot, then fired, making a windy electric explosion on the sturdy target. "Wow! Cool!" he smiled as he applauded.

    He hurried to the firing line and accepted some bracers from a student. "Like all archery arts, the key to the Mountain Piercing Bolt is to relax." the dojo mistress explained as Ash put on the bracers. "If you focus on the target and trust in your bow, you will shatter the highest mountains."

    "Right!" Ash smiled as he accepted a glittering gold bow with thunderbolt trim and a quiver of matching gold arrows from a student.

    After finding a suitable arrow, Ash took a few breaths to calm his nerves as he nocked his shot. Focus, Ash...remember everything Brock taught you... he reminded himself as he readied his shot.

    The dojo mistress watched as Ash fired his shot, making a windy electric explosion on the inner red ring of the target. "Nicely done! Can you try breaking one of our rock targets?" she asked, gesturing to a large rock with a target painted on it.

    Ash nodded. "If I can hit a standard archery target, I can probably break one!" he smiled as he accepted his arrow from a student...

    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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    Interlude: The Legend of Ash, Misty, and Brock

    Later that evening, Mitsuna pulled down a large thick book off a bookshelf in the dojo's library. "The specific green dragon I have to slay is named Thanisa." she explained as she thumbed through the book for a picture of her mark. "Unlike most green dragons here, she is a queen dragon--meaning she has green dragon bodyguards to protect her."

    "Are these like tabletop RPG green dragons, or video game dragons?" Ash wondered. Memories of every green dragon he had ever fought in a campaign came flooding back to him--usually in triumphant final battles. "Are they cunning and evil, or are they more like guardians?"

    "They're actually a bit of both..." the dojomistress explained as she joined the group and Mitsuna in the room. "No matter what color they are, some are good, and some are evil. Only the evil ones are allowed to be pursued and slain--and Thanisa is an evil queen dragon of the worst caliber. If she had a rap sheet, it would likely be a mile long, if not more."

    Misty swallowed hard at this. "So, how are we supposed to kill something that powerful?"

    "The answer? Slay all eight of her bodyguards, and retrieve the Guardian Emerald they drop." the dojo mistress replied. "The bodyguard dragons form a living shield around their queen, and once they are all slain, only then can you slay the queen."

    It was Ash's turn to swallow hard. "We're inside a Zelda game..."

    "Don't tell me we'll have to go all over the island just to find them..." Brock was equally frustrated at the prospect of yet another long journey on the group's plate.

    The dojomistress nodding yes made the group groan. "There's our main quest of getting Goukai to evolve, the 151 Alolan Vulpixes..." Ash began.

    "Wherever those are..." Misty agreed.

    "Meeting the 777 Saints, capturing the 999 Black Dragons..." Brock listed off the group's quests on his fingers. "...and now this on our list."

    He assured Ash and Misty "Look at it this way, you two...we can knock out or make progress on some of our other objectives while we track down the dragons."

    "This is true..." Misty smiled, now in a better mood.

    "If you are seeking out the 777 Saints, the one named Enchanted Dancer is currently at the Temple of the Clear Lapis." the dojo mistress explained. "She is the one that teaches the miko their sacred dance--appropriately called the Clear Lapis Dance."

    She went on "But the miko's sacred dance is beautiful yet deadly to the forces of evil--they use the dance to defend the temple, if need be."

    [So it's a martial art!] Goukai smiled.

    "Lapis...that must mean it's a wind elemental dance, right?" Ash mused.

    "Not really..." Brock cautioned. "Game logic doesn't always apply to the real world."

    Misty, meanwhile, was more interested in the book of dragons on the table. "So, is there any info on Thanisa and her bodyguard dragons? Or any friendly green dragons we can ask?"

    "You can tell friendly dragons from foes by how they are named." Mitsuna explained. "Friendly dragons, regardless of their color, are named similarly to the 777 Saints, and are jewel-like in appearance. Evil dragons simply keep their draconic names."

    She turned to a map of the area in the book. "The closest friendly green dragon from here is Verdant Cloud. She is the guardian of the forest, and knows all that goes on on the island and the mainland."

    "I they understand any of the native Galarian dialects?" Brock asked. "I can speak Low Galarian, but not so much High Galarian..."

    "You can speak one of the native Galarian dialects?" Mitsuna gasped. "Please--speak some Low Galarian!"

    Brock thought for a minute, then decided to say the Low Galarian version of the best known worldwide storyteller's greeting. Fadó, fadó, fadó a bhí ann, tharla rud éigin. Mura dtarlódh sé, ní inseofaí é.

    He looked over at the confused dojomistress. "In other words, once upon a time, something happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told." The dojomistress nodded to show she understood.

    Goukai noticed Brock's guitar case lying near a box in the room. [What's in there?] he wondered. [Is it a moji?]

    "Not quite--what's in there is a guitar, one of the moji's modern cousins." Brock explained as he opened the case and carefully took the black instrument inside. "Unlike the moji, a guitar can play groups of notes at the same time. Learning these note groups, or chords, is the foundation of good playing."

    [I see...] Goukai mused as he watched Brock prepare to tune the beautiful instrument.

    "But before I can play anything, I first have to tune it--in other words, assign each of the six strings to a particular note." Brock explained.

    After bringing up TuneNav on his PokeNav, he next cued a MIDI file of an E note. "So to start the tuning process, I need an example for my first note--mi."

    Once satisfied that his first string was in tune, Brock went on "Now, if we count five steps up the scale on the first string, we can use that to tune the second string, la."

    He winced at how out of tune the A string was. "This one needs some major adjustments..." he explained as he carefully tuned. "You want to get the string you're tuning to match your reference."

    "Trust me, an out of tune instrument doesn't sound very pretty." Misty smiled as she watched Brock tune.

    "Gonna sing a Low Galarian song, Maestro?" Ash smiled as Brock finished tuning.

    "If you guys wanna join in, I have no problem letting Mitsuna and her mistress hear 'Pikachu Went out to Ride'." Brock smiled as he fine tuned the top strings.

    He explained to Mitsuna "That's a sing along song common around the world." as he watched Ash and Misty hurry to get their instruments and get tuned...

    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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