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  1. #21
    Senior Moderator EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 18: The Dancing Dragon Beyond the Hills

    "So, where are the bodyguard dragons of the queen?" Misty wondered as the group left the Hata Dojo the next morning.

    "They are all across the island." Mitsuna replied. "That's why I'm coming with you."

    She went on "The Temple of the Clear Lapis is some days' journey from here, so we will likely have a few adventures on the way."

    "What's the name of our first target?" Brock wondered.

    Mitsuna was about to answer before a white clump got her attention. "Hm...I have never seen a white flower this pure before..."

    Ash watched as the "flower" wriggled up from the ground, surprising Mitsuna when she saw a Alolan Vulpix before her! "That's no flower, that's an Alolan Vulpix!"

    "A friendly one, too..." Brock smiled as the Alolan Vulpix trotted up to him. Inspired, he knelt down to the Alolan Vulpix's level, allowing it to nuzzle his cheek. "Kaimana's waiting for you, little one."

    Misty smiled as the Alolan Vulpix dashed down the road. "Scratch Alolan Vulpix #3 off the list..."

    "I wonder how those exotic white Vulpixes got here..." Mitsuna wondered. "Alola is a long way from here."

    "We met a lady who cares for them." Ash explained. "We're doing her a favor by trying to find them--preferably safely. So any white flowers you find may not actually be flowers at all."

    Mitsuna nodded. "I hope to Arceus the dragons did not find them..."

    "Probably not...dragons are weak to Ice types." Ash assured Mitsuna. "So they may know better than to eat something that would hurt them."

    Mitsuna nodded. "This is true...the green dragons we seek especially fear the cold."

    She turned business-like again. "The first of the bodyguard dragons is named Viron. His lair lies just over the hills."

    "I've got a question about dance martial arts..." Misty wondered. "What do you use when you practice those? A ribbon, like what gymnasts use? Fans? Or do you even need an implement at all?"

    [Every dance is as unique as its teacher.] Goukai replied. [Some dances work well with ribbons and fans, some work well with blades, and still others don't require anything but a strong body and courageous heart]

    "So it is possible to use twinblades in a blade dance?" Misty asked. Goukai nodded. "Nice! I've always wanted to turn a few bad guys to shish kebabs thanks to a tornado of blades!"

    Ash stifled a giggle at Misty's analogy as he brought up MyTube in his PokeNav. "All this talk about dancing made me think of Serena." he smiled as he typed something in the search box. "When we were little, she took rhythmic gymnastics lessons, specializing in the ribbon dance. Any one of her meets and competitions were big events!"

    "Does she still ribbon dance now?" Brock wondered.

    "She still ribbon dances in an artistic context, but not so much a competitive context any more." Ash replied.

    He smiled when he found one particular video in the search results. "Here she is doing a ribbon dance for the Sakura Festival not long after returning to Kanto."

    The group crowded around the PokeNav screen. They watched the image of Serena in a glittering gold costume spin, twirl, and jump with a matching yellow ribbon to the beat of the gypsy jazz standard "Minor Swing". [Wow! What a hot beat!] Goukai smiled as he swayed to the music.

    "That's a specific style of jazz common in Kalos called gypsy jazz." Brock explained as he watched the image of Serena toss the yellow ribbon in the air. "Only instead of saxophones, trumpets, and clarinets playing the tune, you have guitars, fiddles, and the odd accordion. Very fun style to play on guitar, too." He let that hang as applause signaled the end of the video.

    Ash just smiled as the video ended. "This isn't even the first time she's danced to that song--the first time Serena did that routine, it was for an individual ribbon dance competition. I wanted to be there to cheer her on, so on the big day, Mom, Dad, and me all went to the Pallet High School gym, where the competition was being held..."

    In Ash's memory, Delia, Taran, and Young Ash applaud the previous performer. "Next to dance is #101213--Serena Lacroix." the announcer reports as the previous performer departs the floor.

    "Come on!" Young Ash cheers as Young Serena, now in a sparkling gold leotard, arrives on the floor with a yellow ribbon in tow. "You can do it!"

    After a few tense moments, "Minor Swing" blares over the PA system, spurring Young Ash and the audience to clap along as Young Serena twirls, spins, and jumps in time to the music, the yellow ribbon making beautiful patterns in the air all the while. "Do you remember how Serena did in that competition?" Brock asks via voiceover as the scene in Ash's memory fades to the awards ceremony.

    "She got silver in the under 10 division--which was amazing considering she'd only been taking lessons for a short time." Ash explains via voiceover as the third place finisher receives the bronze medal.

    "In second place in the Junior Division...#101213--Serena Lacroix!" the announcer proclaims. Young Ash's cheers are the loudest as Serena accepts a silver medal from the chief judge. More cheers fill the air as the scene swirls back to the present....

    Misty smiles as Ash finishes the story. "Maybe I can study some gymnastics videos to learn how to dance with my blades..."

    "I don't think that's quite the same thing..." Brock interjects, spurring everyone to laugh as they continue down the road...

    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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  3. #22
    Senior Moderator EmeraldSky's Avatar
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    Episode 19: Strategy in the Cards

    "Yume, I choose you!" Ash called, making a lavender twin tailed cat Pokemon materialize in the group's camp.

    Mitsuna smiled when she saw the Pokemon Ash had summoned. "Oh, an Espeon! Did you catch it by the Lake of Outrage on the mainland?"

    "Nope--this one was a gift on a previous trip." Ash explained. "She's very nice to have if you need something in the middle of nowhere."

    Inspired, Brock asked Yume "Hey, Yume--can you please spawn a table so we can have dinner? The Combusken tikka marsala's just about done..."

    With pleasure. Yume replied. The ruby on her forehead glowed, creating an elegant table with five settings as Brock tended the thick orange curry simmering over the campfire.

    [Mmm...smells amazing!] Goukai smiled as Yume sent bowls of the steaming hot mixture to each place at the table, complete with a Kubfu sized bowl for Goukai.

    "Nice, you put extra paneer in mine!" Misty smiled as the group settled in to enjoy the curry and the sides Brock had prepared.

    "I picked up some good paneer in the last town we passed, so making some fresh curry was a no brainer." Brock smiled as he stashed what cold ingredients he didn't use in a storage cooler. "But if Mitsuna wants to try a Kantonian delicacy, let me know."

    "I've always wanted to try some real Kanto style ramen." Mitsuna suggested. "None of this cheap plastic noodles in the store..."

    "Well, real Kantonian and Johtonian ramen is nothing like those cheap packs at the store at all." Brock replied.

    With Mitsuna and Brock occupied talking about food, Goukai noticed a tin depicting a Cinderace kicking a fireball peeking from Ash's bag. [Hm...what's in here?]

    Ash noticed Goukai admiring the tin. "Those are trading cards--once we're done with dinner, I can teach you how to play the game that goes with them."

    "They're called trading cards because you can trade with people to get the cards you want." Mitsuna explained. "Some people play the game that goes with them, and some just collect them for the pictures."

    "Ash, Misty and I play the game competitively and just for fun." Brock went on.

    He watched as Yume cleared the table and sent the dishes for Misty's team to wash. "You can win some nice prizes if you play competitively, including the rarest cards, special cards you can't get in a card shop, money, and other nice things."

    "But in order to keep things fair, the judges of competitive play say that you can't use certain cards due to game breaking effects, or can only use so many of a card." Ash explained. "Those that compete are expected to know what cards are restricted and banned in competition. But in a friendly match like this, you can use whatever cards you like."

    "Brock and I will play each other for an example game." Misty offered as Yume conjured a TCG play mat on the table.


    "Just like a martial arts battle or Pokemon battle, a TCG match requires strategy, tactics, and a little luck." Ash explained as he watched Misty and Brock shuffle their decks. "So while the rules may look complex, it's not too difficult to learn the game."

    Yume conjured a coin before Misty and Brock. Pikachu face is heads...Kanto League crest is tails.

    "In order to begin a match, you start by flipping a coin." Ash explained as Yume telepathically flipped the coin. "The one who calls the toss correctly has the option to go first, although they can let the other player go first, too."

    "Heads!" Misty called.

    "Tails." Brock called.

    Once the coin had hit the ground, Yume warped the coin to the mat's dividing line to show the results to the group. Misty has won the toss--do you wish to go first?

    "Sure!" Misty replied before retrieving a Primarina deck tin from her bag. "I'll use my Rainbow Tide deck for this match."

    "I'm using my Eighteen Tales deck for this exhibition match." Brock replied as he retrieved a deck tin depicting both the normal Ninetales and the Alolan Ninetales together.

    Yume noticed Goukai watching in awe at Misty and Brock setting up their play areas. Would you like a deck of your own to play with?

    [Yeah!] Goukai smiled. [Do they have decks with all the Urshifu forms?]

    Yume created a circle of twelve deck tins around Goukai, which formed a neat pile before him. Here you are--if you ever want to play against Ash, you have a deck for each Urshifu form.

    "Let's use the Crystal Fist Urshifu deck as a visual aid." Ash located a deck tin depicting a Gigantimaxed Urshifu that appeared to be made of shiny green crystal. "The object of the game is to defeat your opponent in a simulated Pokemon battle. You can do this by knocking out all the opponent's Pokemon or if they have no more cards they can draw."

    [Sounds easy enough...] Goukai mused.

    "Cards come in four types--Pokemon cards..." Ash showed Goukai a copy of a Kubfu the Wandering Warrior card. " cards..." He showed Goukai a Grass Energy card. "item cards..." He showed Goukai a Potion card. "...and Trainer cards." He showed Goukai a copy of a The Wise Prof. Oak card. "A legal deck is 60 cards--no more and no less."

    "You can get in big trouble if you have more or less than that and the judges catch you." Brock warned as he set up his bench.

    Ash led Goukai to Misty's side of the table, where she was ready to begin the friendly game. "Feel like explaining to Goukai what a set up play area looks like?"

    "Sure..." Misty smiled. "Once who goes first has been determined, you shuffle your deck and draw seven cards--this is your starting hand. If you don't get a Pokemon you can play on the first try, you reshuffle your deck and try again until you do. However, every time you try again, your opponent gets one more card."

    She showed Goukai a copy of a Bubbling Joy, Popplio card. "This is a Basic Pokemon card--every Pokemon in the game starts like this. If you end up with a lot of these in your starting hand, you pick one to lead with, and put the rest in the bench area."

    "You may sometimes hear Pokemon in the bench area referred to as 'on standby' or 'in reserve'." Brock explained, gesturing to his finished bench area with three Pokemon. "It still means that these Pokemon are not ready to be actively played just yet. They can still be affected by attacks from the Pokemon that are actively in play..."

    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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