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Fanfiction Pokémon Moonlight Silver

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by WavePearl, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    After writing myself into a corner with my remix of Yellow, I decided to try again by compressing the Johto arc of the show into something not quite so filleriffic, with elements of HG/SS and my own ideas mixed in.

    So be warned: This is not quite the GSC you remember, nor is it the anime you remember!

    (rated E for Everyone)

    Prologue: The Fight in the Forest

    The moon shone down on a forest somewhere in the Johto region, illuminating the Zubats as they fluttered about looking for bug Pokémon. But the evening calm was shattered by a male voice and a female voice in the middle of a heated argument:

    "...If we continue through this forest, we'll make it to New Bark Town by tomorrow morning!"

    "You have no sense of direction or time, Ash! That route looks like it would take several days, at least!"

    "Prove it!"

    An orange haired girl spread out a map of the region on the ground before her companion. "We're right here..." She pointed out the group's current location. "and New Bark Town is over here..." She pointed out the nearest town to the group's position. "and according to the scale on the map, we should reach New Bark in two days, not tomorrow!"

    "But what if the map is not to scale, Misty?" the boy challenged as he adjusted a well loved red and white baseball cap with the familiar L sign of the Kanto League sitting askew on his head.

    "Then it would say so on the map!" Misty sighed in frustration. Granted, she knew that once her companion had his mind set on something, it was very difficult to change his mind.

    "But it doesn't, so my route is still viable!" Ash replied, confident in himself.

    "No it's not!" Misty retorted.

    "Yes it is!" Ash shot back.

    "Is not!"

    "Is too!"

    "Is not!"

    "Is too!"

    Over in a bush, a yellow mouse creature with a thunderbolt shaped tail and a rotund blue mouse creature watched as their masters argued. [Ash, one; Misty, one...] the blue mouse smiled as the back and forth continued.

    [Who needs TV when this is just as entertaining!] the yellow mouse agreed as it watched to see if the group's third member, an older brown haired boy with tanned skin, would intervene to stop the fight.

    Just then, the FWEEEEEEEET! of a referee's whistle shattered the tranquility of the forest, sending Pokémon hurrying to their burrows and dens and stopping the argument in its tracks. "Both of you have good cases for a suitable route, but we'll decide the route in the morning, okay?" the brown haired boy replied as he let the silver referee's whistle he had just blown fall against his chest before returning to the simmering pot hanging over the campfire. "Besides, it's too late to travel any more today, so let's just have dinner and call it a day."

    "Okay..." Misty sighed in defeat as she slumped against a log.

    Just then, the older boy noticed the two mice creatures watching from the bush. "Tintri, Ami, the show's over--and dinner's almost ready."

    [Coming, Brock!] The yellow electric mouse led the way as it clambored on Ash's shoulder.

    Just before Brock could serve dinner, a rustle in the grass got the three travelers' attention. [What was that?] the rotund blue mouse asked.

    "I'll take a look, okay?" Ash assured the second mouse creature as he climbed over a rock to look through a bush on the west end of the camp.

    He gasped when he peeked through the bush and noticed a majestic blue and white cat creature with a flowing purple mane approaching a nearby stream. As Misty and Brock joined him in gawking at the beautiful Pokémon, he fumbled for a small red device in his pocket, and flipped it open.

    "Suicune, the aurora Pokémon. This Pokémon races across the land. It is said that north winds will somehow blow whenever it appears." the device explained in a male robotic voice. Sure enough, a light breeze from the north started blowing as the Suicune lapped at the stream's water, oblivious to the three humans, the Pikachu, and the Marill staring at it in awe.

    Once he had had his fill of water, the Suicune tossed his mane and raced away. "Hey, wait!" Ash tried calling after it, but the Suicune was now only a shining blue speck in the distance. "It's gone..."

    "It's not the end of the world if you missed a chance to ask the Suicune what it was doing here." Brock assured his dejected companion. "We have a whole region to explore, so I'm sure you'll see Suicune again."

    "Speaking of the three Beasts, don't you know some stories that feature them?" Misty asked, changing the subject as the three travelers returned to the campfire.

    "I do, actually...I'll let you guys hear one over dinner." Brock offered as he started spooning the chili he had made for his companions into bowls, then spread out an array of Berries for the Pikachu and the Marill to enjoy....
     
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  2. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    Episode 1: New Friends, New Foes

    [It took some doing, but I got Misty back in a good mood.] Ami smiled as she walked alongside her master.

    "That's good." Ash smiled as Tintri bounded aboard his shoulder. After the encounter with Suicune the night before, the evening had gone without incident--they had eaten dinner, while Brock had shared some of the millions of stories he had learned from books and people from around the world that had visited Pewter Gym over the years.

    "So, what was the Crystal Onix?" Brock's question snapped Ash back to reality.

    "Exactly what it says on the box--a special Onix with a body made out of glass crystal." Ash continued his story. "A little girl named Marissa was the one that wrote the message. She wanted to find the Crystal Onix to help her brother, Mateo, find the inspiration to make glass Pokémon statues. Mateo told us about how his grandfather discovered the Crystal Onix, and then was able to make extraordinary sculptures for years afterwards--and one of those sculptures included the Crystal Onix itself."

    "I hate to interrupt the nostalgic story, but we're here." Misty interrupted, pointing out a signpost in the distance.

    Brock hurried on ahead and examined the sign. "Welcome to New Bark Town--the town where winds of a new beginning blow....I'd say we're here."

    "I can see why it's called that." Ash smiled as he looked out on the rooftops of the buildings and the many Cheri trees that lined the streets, sending cascades of pinkish white petals twirling to the ground. Lush green mountains loomed over the town, giving off both a sense of the familiar and something totally new.

    "Wow...it's beautiful...." Misty smiled as she and Ash caught up to Brock, allowing them to see the town in the distance.

    "And that huge red domed building on that hill to the west might be the local professor's lab--let's go see if he's here!" With that, Ash was moments away from dashing off towards the building until he felt a familiar hand pulling him back. "What the?"

    "Easy, cowboy--I know you're excited about this whole new world we're going to see here, but first impressions still count." Brock reminded his excited companion. "So let's go there together." Ash just sighed in reply.

    After making their way up the hill to the domed building, Ash balked when he saw a boy with long red hair pacing the grass near the western end of the building. "I wonder who that is?" he wondered as the boy paced back and forth, periodically looking in the windows or musing to himself.

    Misty reared back at the red and black shirt the boy was wearing, complete with jeans that nearly looked purple and matching red and black shoes. "I don't know, but he looks like bad news to me!"

    "So this is the famous Elm Pokémon Lab..." the boy mused before noticing Ash and the others staring at him. "What are YOU looking at, hat-boy?" he growled at Ash. "Go on! Get lost! Shoo!"

    "Okay, okay, we're going..." Ash sighed before he motioned for the others to follow him inside the lab.

    "I'd love to give that jerk a piece of my mind..." Misty grumbled as the group made their way inside the lab's main room, where the professor, a bespectacled young man will dull brown hair, was in the middle of speaking to a black haired boy wearing a gold and black cap, and a brown haired girl wearing a large and puffy white hat.

    "...So while all three can be equally helpful to you, choosing the one best suited to your abilities will help you dramatically on your adventures." the professor explained before he noticed Ash. "So this must be the famous Ash that my colleague Professor Oak was telling me about!" he smiled. "Allow me to extend a hearty welcome to Johto to you and your friends."

    "The pleasure's all mine." Ash replied before giving Dexter and his trainer card to Professor Elm to update. "These are my companions, Misty..." Misty waved hello before shepherding Ami by her side. "and Brock." Brock waved hello before leafing through a bookshelf for a guidebook of the region.

    "These two are Ethan and Lyra--they're about ready to leave on their own journeys." Professor Elm went on. "It may be a good idea for the three of you to share your experiences so they know what to expect on their travels."

    "Well, for one thing, never leave a bike unattended around an electric type!" Misty began.

    Everyone roared with laughter as Ash turned beet red with embarrassment. She has no idea of how many lawns I had to mow and how many times I had to clean the bathroom to pay her back...

    "Second of all, know thy type chart and know it well." Brock added as he finally pulled a suitable guidebook from the bookshelf.

    "And third, if you run into a boy and a girl in white garb with red R's on them and a talking Meowth, run FAR away in the other direction!" Ash warned. "They'll steal any Pokémon they can get their hands on, and are STILL chasing me for my Pikachu!"

    "Believe me, we heard about Team Rocket and the Mewtwo incident." Ethan assured Ash. "But we'll keep our eyes peeled for those goons anyway."

    "They've chased you across Kanto?" Lyra gasped. "That's dedication...but don't worry--they won't find you here."

    "Now then...shall we let you two choose your starters?" Prof. Elm offered as he led Ethan, Lyra, and the group over to a platform where a green creature with a leaf on its head, a tiny porcupine creature with flaming quills, and a small blue alligator creature milled about on a platform.

    "Aw!" Lyra gasped when she saw the green creature. "I want this one!"

    "Chikorita...good choice." Prof. Elm smiled as he watched Lyra cuddle with the Chikorita.

    Piqued, Ash decided to read up on the tiny leaf creature:

    "Chikorita, the leaf Pokémon. Its pleasantly aromatic leaves have the ability to check humidity and temperature." Dexter explained as Prof. Elm left Lyra a Pokédex of her own and a string of five Poke Balls, not wanting to interrupt the intimate moment between trainer and Pokémon.

    "I'll call you..." Lyra thought for a moment for a suitable name for her new Chikorita. "Hana!"

    "Good choice..." Brock smiled. "and a very appropriate one should it evolve to its final form, since it means 'flower'."

    He was about to show Lyra a picture in the guidebook when Lyra politely waved him away. "Um, that's okay! I want to see all Hana's forms for myself."

    Just then, a huge crash surprised everyone. "What was that?" Ethan gasped before looking towards the door and gasping.

    Ethan's gasp spurred Ash to look towards the doorway--only to find the same red haired boy he had encountered before!

    Professor Elm was equally horrified by the boy's appearance. "Kamon...I thought I said you were not leaving on a journey this year! Not until you learned to treat Pokémon with respect!"

    "Pfft...who cares about respect?" Kamon replied as he sauntered into the room, making Hana shudder in fear as he approached the table with the two remaining Pokémon. "If this is the only day I can get a Pokémon, then I'm gonna get one!"

    The porcupine creature angrily displayed its fiery quills as Kamon reached out for it, making him reconsider. The alligator creature growled as Kamon's hand approached it. "Feisty little guy, aren't we?" Kamon sneered as he reached to take the tiny blue alligator in his arms.

    "Kamon, no! I wanted Totodile!" Ethan pleaded. "Besides, if the professor said you couldn't have a Pokémon this year, that's a rule!"

    "So? Rules were made to be broken." Kamon chuckled before grabbing the Totodile and bolting for the door.

    "After him!" Lyra called as she heard the Totodile's fearful squawk.

    As Ash, Misty and Brock followed Lyra down the path, Ash silently hoped that they could catch the red haired delinquent and give Ethan the Pokémon he had wanted...

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  3. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    Episode 2: Put Down the 'Dile

    Ash fumed with anger as he eyed the red haired boy carrying the panicked Totodile. Kamon...we may have just met, but we've already started off on the wrong foot by your so brazenly stealing a Pokémon that was very clearly meant for someone else; plus openly defying the professor!

    As the group rounded a corner, Ash spotted a police alarm on a pole and pressed it as he ran by. So now I'm gonna have you answer for your crimes!

    The group eventually cornered Kamon and the Totodile inside a garden in the town square, where Kamon's only escape route was out the way they had entered. "You've got nowhere to go now..." Misty warned as she approached Kamon. "So will you give back the Totodile, or what?"

    "You and what army, sweetheart?" Kamon replied with a huff as he struggled to keep a grip on the squirming Totodile in his arms.

    "Me and THIS army!" Misty replied as she heaved all four of her Poke Balls skyward, summoning Ami, a muscular blue duck Pokémon, a blue seahorse Pokémon with spikes on its back, and a purple starfish Pokémon with a red jewel as its core.

    "Nice, a fan of Water Pokémon." Kamon smiled. "I suppose you want this one back because you wanna add it to your collection?"

    "No--I want it back because it was promised to a friend before you decided to swipe him, and I intend to bring him back to his rightful trainer." Misty replied.

    "And if I don't?" Kamon shot back.

    "I have backup." Misty confidently grinned as Tintri charged an angry spark. "I also have a user of a Mega Ring with Z Crystals inside, who can call forth a powerful attack just by his Heart Song, not just Mega Evolve Pokémon."

    "Oh look, Squinty-eyes is gonna cast a spell on me...I'm so scared." Kamon sarcastically replied, moments before the Totodile bit his finger. "YIPE!!!"

    "Mr. Totodile's had enough of your attitude, I'd wager." Brock began as Kamon winced at his throbbing finger that was beginning to slightly bleed.

    With that, he held his Mega Ring to the sky and sang Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... making a green crystal in the circle of crystals surrounding the emerald in the ring glow.

    "GAH!!!" Kamon yelped as he was surrounded in a torrent of red rose petals, forcing him to drop the Totodile. The Totodile wasted no time running into Ash's arms, enthralled by the swirling red tornado its captor was trapped inside.

    When the rose tornado dissipated some moments later, Kamon spat out a few stray petals. "First of all, what in Arceus' name did you just do?"

    "Easy--I invoked a Z Crystal on my Mega Ring." Brock replied, showing Kamon his Mega Ring, a gold ring with an emerald surrounded by a rainbow of crystals sandwiched between ivy inlays. "This way I or a Pokémon of mine can use a powerful attack when the chips are down, or I can command my Pokémon to evolve to an even more powerful form, albeit temporarily."

    Kamon just brushed off more rose petals. "Okay, fine...you can have the Totodile back. But next time we meet, don't think a magic spell's gonna save you!" With that, he climbed over the garden's northernmost wall and hurried off into the crowds of people, oblivious to the wailing siren approaching where he had been moments before.

    Officer Jenny arrived moments later. "We received your report of a kidnapped Pokémon here, but it appears the culprit got away."

    "The perp was a boy with long red hair." Ash explained as Misty shot Brock a warning glance. "He had on a red and black shirt, with jeans that nearly looked purple, and matching red and black shoes."

    "All right...is there anything else you can tell me about our suspect?" Officer Jenny asked as she wrote down Ash's description of Kamon. "Such as if you've seen him elsewhere or what his name was?"

    "His name was Kamon, Officer." Misty replied. "We found him hanging around Prof. Elm's lab not long after he arrived in town."

    "Let's go back to the lab, and see what we can learn from the scene of the crime." Officer Jenny suggested. "I'll meet you three there."

    ---------

    "I can't even begin to thank you for saving the Totodile I was going to give Ethan..." Prof. Elm smiled as Officer Jenny dusted the lab for fingerprints. "How can I ever repay you?"

    Brock, meanwhile, was more interested in Officer Jenny. "I may have cornered a perp or three in my day, but maybe you can help me find my stolen heart--!"

    This was as far as he got before Misty's Seadra sprayed him, much to Ethan and Lyra's delight. [That will be QUITE enough, loverboy!] she scolded as one of Prof. Elm's assistants gave Brock a towel to dry off.

    "Thanks, Spritz--I didn't even have to drag him away this time!" Misty smiled as she hugged her Seadra.

    "Well, what's important is the Totodile is safe and sound." Prof. Elm grinned as he gently placed the Totodile in Ethan's arms.

    "Yes, that's always a good thing." Officer Jenny agreed before turning to leave. "Thank you all for pitching in with the investigation--we'll do whatever it takes to bring the punk that snatched this Totodile to justice."

    "Thank goodness the Totodile's okay..." Lyra smiled. "You'd make a much better master for him than that red haired jerk."

    Ethan grinned at Ash. "Thank you so much for rescuing Totodile for me--how can I ever repay you?"

    "Just promise me this--that you will take good care of him and train him well." Ash replied as he and Ethan embraced as friends.

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  4. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    Episode 3: Stepping Up to the Plate

    The trio departed New Bark Town the next morning in high spirits. "I'm glad that Ethan finally got his Totodile." Ash smiled. "But I still wonder--why did Kamon want him?"

    "Some people are just naturally punks out to make trouble." Brock sighed. "Kamon might be one of those people."

    "You have to admit, that Cyndaquil was so brave!" Misty smiled. "But I wonder what would've happened if Kamon had snatched Hana and made Lyra panic?"

    [Speaking of Chikoritas, look over there.] Tintri interrupted, pointing out a grassy spot by the roadside.

    "Okay, team! In order to win the Capture the Flag event, you all need to work together!" a female voice explained as Ash carefully tiptoed up to a bush and peeked through it, where he could see a purple haired girl in a yellow and black pinstripe outfit addressing a Chikorita, a small brown bird Pokémon with a pink beak, and a tiny purple rat Pokémon. "Camden! You naturally have the advantage at this event due to your wings. Fenway! You can run fast on the ground, and speed is key to finding the flags. But I especially wanna work with you today, Wrigley..." the girl smiled as she knelt down to pet the Chikorita. "You may not be able to run fast, but you can power past our rivals!"

    "Um, forgive me for interrupting, but what's going on?" Ash asked as he climbed through the bush to join the girl and her three Pokémon on the field.

    "We're training for the Pokethlon--an athletic competition just for Pokémon." the girl explained. "Name's Casey--I've dreamed of Pokethlon glory since I was little."

    "Sounds like fun!" Ash smiled. "I'm Ash...and these are my friends Misty and Brock." he smiled as Misty and Brock joined him on the field.

    "Today my team and I are practicing the Capture the Flag Pokethlon event." Casey explained as she gestured to the rainbow of flags hidden under rocks, in tree hollows, in bushes, and buried in the grass. "The object of the event is to find as many of the flags hidden around the course as you can--either one Pokémon can do it alone, or a team of three can do it together. Since this is just practice, I'm having each of my Pokémon make an individual run on my makeshift course first."

    She balked when she looked in her bag. "Great...I forgot my stopwatch and my whistle..."

    "Here--my Pokenav has a stopwatch app." Misty offered.

    "I've got a whistle..." Brock offered before retrieving his own referee's whistle from his bag and hanging it around his neck.

    Casey grinned. "Nice, a Kanto Screamer! Those are some of the best whistles for outdoor competition. But the Pokethlon isn't just for competing on the land--there are also water and aerial courses, too."

    "Really?" Misty gasped, her eyes sparkling over the thought of her Pokémon competing in a water Pokethlon. "Where do I sign up?"

    "The main stadium is nearby the National Park, not far from Goldenrod City." Casey went on. "Once you sign up, you can compete at any stadium. The winners receive medals akin to the Olympics, and those that earn eight medallions earn the right to compete in the Grand Pokethlon during the Pokémon League."

    She turned business-like again. "So...let's see how Wrigley does on my makeshift course."

    "Okay!" Brock announced. "Ready? Set?"

    The whistle echoed through the trees as Wrigley dashed from hollow, to rock, to bush, picking up each of the flags her master had hidden as she circled around the field, only pausing to drop the flags at her master's feet when she had gathered them all.

    "One minute and forty-eight seconds." Misty announced as she showed Casey Wrigley's time.

    "Not bad, Wrigley." Casey petted her Chikorita before gathering up the flags. "Got any swift runners on your team, Ash?"

    "Well, I've got my Pikachu Tintri, but I don't think he's that fast..." Ash stammered.

    "I'll hide the flags in the same places, and see if your Pikachu does any better than Wrigley." Casey offered. "Even if he wins by one second!" she called as she hurried off to hide the flags again.

    Ash drew a line in the grass to serve as a starting line. "Remember, you need to beat a minute and forty-eight seconds." he reminded Tintri.

    [Not too shabby for a Chikorita, but I think I can beat that!] Tintri grinned as Casey returned.

    Brock waited for Misty to reset the stopwatch, then announced "Ready? Set?" before blowing the whistle again, spurring Tintri to race through the grass.

    He found the first one buried in the grass, then retrieved the second one sticking out from a bush. The first hollow he checked was empty, but found the third flag under a nearby rock. He circled around to a log and grabbed the fourth flag from inside before finding the fifth flag in a dusty pit. After jumping over the tiny pit, he found the sixth flag in a bush near another hollow tree, and the last flag beneath a rock before hurrying back to the line.

    Misty studied the stopwatch. "One minute and thirty-five seconds!"

    "Wow!" Casey gasped. "Almost 13 seconds off Wrigley's time! What's your secret?"

    "There is no secret..." a familiar male voice interrupted. "Ash only won because he cheated."

    "WHAT???" Casey gasped in horror at what the voice had said.

    Misty looked up to see Kamon perched in a tree overlooking the field. "How dare you suggest Ash is cheating?" she growled.

    "Easy--having seen the course before, Ash knew where all the flags were, and told his Pikachu their locations before making his run." Kamon explained. "Simple as that!"

    "Now, wait just a minute!" Ash protested. "I did no such thing! Tintri ran the course without me telling him anything!"

    "Are you sure?" Casey asked, a stern look on her face.

    A whistle silenced the impending argument. "Everyone, please!" Brock pleaded. "Rather than arguing over what Ash did or did not do to allow Tintri to finish with a faster time, I have a simple solution--have Tintri and Wrigley run the exact same course at the same time. If Tintri finishes within ten seconds of Wrigley, he ran the course fair and square. If Tintri finishes with a higher margin than that, then we have a case that he may have cheated, or Wrigley was just plain overmatched."

    "Sounds fair to me." Casey replied.

    "All right then..." Brock replied before waiting for Misty to reset the stopwatch. "Pokémon! Take your mark!"

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  5. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    Episode 4: A Home Run for Honor

    "Okay, everyone..." Brock explained as he addressed Ash and Casey on the ground, as well as Kamon, who was still relaxed in the tree that overlooked the field. "We're going to have Wrigley and Tintri run the pennant race at the same time, using the exact same course both Pokémon ran separately before."

    He then started over to where the first flag was buried in the grass. "Both competitors will have to keep an eye out for flags in the grass..." He then walked over to where the second flag was sticking out from a bush. "under rocks..." He gestured to the third flag hidden under a nearby rock. "in logs and tree hollows..." He circled around a log and pointed out the fourth flag hidden inside. "in pits..." He pointed out the fifth flag in a dusty pit. After carefully stepping over the tiny pit, he pointed out the sixth flag in a bush near another hollow tree. "in bushes..." He then made his way back to the line. "...before coming back around to the line."

    He then addressed the two trainers. "If there is a large advantage between either competitor, there may be grounds that one of them got that advantage unfairly. If both Pokémon finish within a ten second difference of each other, Tintri ran the course fairly. Any questions or concerns before we begin the race?"

    "No." Ash replied.

    "That's fair to me." Casey smiled.

    "What about you, birdwatcher?" Brock grinned at Kamon, who was sprawled in a makeshift hammock in the tree branches.

    "Your proposed rules are fair." was all Kamon had to say, although he bristled at being called a birdwatcher. Mr. Referee's a little wordy, though--I managed to gather the materials for and make this hammock in the time it took to explain the course!

    "Pokémon? Are you two ready?" Brock asked Wrigley and Tintri.

    [Yeah!] Tintri replied.

    [I'm ready!] Wrigley replied.

    "All right...is the time keeper ready?" Brock glanced over at Misty.

    "I have the clock set to stop when the first competitor crosses the line, but not stop completely until the other crosses the line." Misty explained. "That way we can see the difference in both times."

    She set the stopwatch to zero. "On your whistle, Brock."

    "Okay! On your marks...get set..." Brock announced before blowing his whistle, sending the Pikachu and the Chikorita tearing through the grass in search of the colored flags once again.

    Tintri easily found the red flag in the grass, but Wrigley powered past him and snatched the orange flag in the bush. She's quick... Tintri thought as he grabbed the yellow flag from the rock. I don't know if she's trained ever since she was caught, or has natural talent, but she loves to do this, and knows what she is doing.

    He balked as Wrigley easy retrieved the fourth flag from the log. Wow...I thought she would struggle there, but I guess running every day does slim you down. he thought as he jumped over the small dusty pit, retrieving the flag on the way.

    Try as Wrigley might to reach the blue flag, the wind from Tintri's jump knocked her backwards, but she recovered enough to catch up to him near the bush with the sixth flag. I know my Jump stat isn't the best, and we've been pretty close in the race so far, but something tells me the red headed boy was lying, and the Pikachu didn't cheat at all!

    She effortlessly grabbed the last two flags before both Pokémon raced neck and neck towards the line, to the cheers of their human masters as Tintri just barely edged Wrigley to win.

    "All right...what's the time difference?" Brock asked Misty as Ash and Casey hurried to tend to their exhausted Pokémon.

    "There's a second and a half difference between Tintri and Wrigley." Misty reported. "A minute and forty-six seconds for Tintri against a minute and forty-eight for Wrigley."

    "So that means Tintri ran the course fair and square all along!" Brock announced, to Ash's and Tintri's cheers.

    Kamon just balked as he gathered up his hammock and climbed down from the tree. And hat-boy does it again...is he one of those do-no-wrong types, or something? he grumbled before starting off down the path. There's something about him...I don't know what, but I'm gonna find out!

    Back in the field, Casey addressed Ash. "Ash...I'm sorry I accused you of cheating. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"

    "Yeah...it was all Kamon's plot to rile us up all along." Ash smiled. "Besides, a Pokémon Master never cheats!"

    "Speaking of Kamon, I think he's disappeared..." Brock noted when he saw that the tree Kamon was in moments earlier was empty.

    "Couldn't handle being exposed as the real cheater, could he?" Casey grinned before addressing Ash. "Besides, you don't look like the type to cheat anyway."

    "You'll have to tell me when the Pokethlon is gonna be--I'd come cheer both you and Misty on!" Ash smiled. "That is, if the land and water events don't happen at the same time."

    Everyone laughed at this. "And you can come referee any time you want!" Casey smiled at Brock. "I'd know your Kanto Screamer anywhere."

    Brock blushed a little, but replied "I believe you and Wrigley both will be great Pokethletes--since Misty's gonna be competing on the water track, you two just might compete in the Grand Pokethlon together."

    With that, Misty and Casey linked pinky fingers. "Let's strive to reach the Grand Pokethlon together!"

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  6. WavePearl

    Starshine
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    Episode 5: A Land of Illusion

    "You'd think we could do something besides look around the roadside..." Ash sighed as the group trudged down the road. It had been a few days since they had met the aspiring Pokethlete Casey, and they were nowhere near Violet City, much less civilization. There was also catching up to the red haired delinquent Kamon and demanding for him to tell them why he had snatched Ethan's Totodile despite being told he was not to leave on a journey, and an explanation into why he had accused Ash of cheating.

    "Hate to break it to you, but the map says the nearest town is two days away." Brock replied, making Ash and Misty groan at the prospect of more walking. "But if you're bored, we could sing a song!"

    With that, he belted out I liked to play my old guitar
    And place it on my knee,
    But then the strings got all broken
    And it was no good to me.

    So I took it to the music shop
    To see what they could do
    And now my strings are good as new
    and I can play for you-oh!


    I liked to play my old guitar
    And place it on my knee,
    But then the strings got all broken
    And it was no good to me....
    Misty and Ash joined in.

    So I took it to the music shop
    To see what they could do
    And now my strings are good as new
    and I can play for you-oh!


    The song continued with gusto for several miles, with Brock beginning another rendition as soon as the previous one ended. But after a few repetitions, the song was beginning to grate on Misty's nerves. "Okay, can we sing about something other than old guitars?" she asked.

    "Sure!" Brock then sang When I went down to the western port to buy an old chemise
    The first thing I picked up in my hand I found it full of fleas...


    Laughter and "ew"s rang through the air as Brock continued How much do you want for that old thing, Eighteen coins says she
    Eighteen coins for that old thing, do you think I am a fool-oh?

    Kitty pallalla pallalla pall-lie, kitty pallalla pall-lie-lo
    Kitty pallalla pallalla pall-lie, me whack follol le nai-do...


    He eagerly started the second verse, but stopped when he spotted a signpost in the distance. So I took it home...and... I washed it out, and hung it...up..to...dry...

    "What's the matter?" Misty asked as she and Ash caught up to Brock. "I wanted to hear more about that rotted old chemise!"

    Brock studied the signpost for a moment. "Warning, Forest of Illusion ahead. It's dangerous to go alone."

    "Someone's been playing too many video games!" Ash declared. "How dangerous could one forest be?"

    "Plenty--there's bugs, and wild Pokémon, and huge tree roots to trip over..." Misty replied, counting the hazards on her fingers.

    "Not to mention will-o-wisps, old witches that eat people, and giants." Brock added, but trailed off when he saw Ash running on ahead. "Too late..."

    "Ash, wait for us!" Misty called as she and Brock hurried to catch up to Ash.

    ---------

    "Strange...we've been walking around in circles for the last hour..." Brock sighed as the group returned to where they had started for the sixth time that afternoon. "Maybe whoever wrote that sign wasn't kidding when they said this place was called the Forest of Illusion..."

    "Haven't you guys ever played Super Mario World?" Ash grinned. "All we have to do is find a secret exit, and we'll be out of here in no time flat!"

    "We'll be spending the night here in no time flat at this rate!" Misty grumbled as she followed Ash down another forest path.

    Just then a howl got Misty's attention. "That wasn't a were-Mightyena, was it?"

    "It's not even nighttime, Misty." Brock assured his jittery companion. "It's not even a full m--WAUGH!' he yelped when he appeared to see a spooky face on a tree!

    "EEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!" Misty screeched as she saw another spooky face on a tree near her. "The forest is alive!"

    "RUN!" Ash called, motioning for the group to follow him as they tried to escape the spooky trees, only to find more spooky faced trees, rocks, and plants at every turn.

    Just as they rounded the corner to regroup, a red aura flashed through the forest, making everything return to normal. "Everyone okay?" Brock asked as the group collected their bearings.

    "I wanna know what that flash was..." Ash replied as he brushed some dust from his shirt and picked some burrs stuck to his vest.

    "That was a Foresight attack, Ash." a familiar voice replied. "There is a reason why this place is called the Forest of Illusion--that howl and all those spooky faces? All illusions."

    Ash's sense of relief turned to annoyance when he saw who had spoken emerge from a bush--Gary! Piqued, he took out Dexter to read up on the small brown owl Pokémon at Gary's side:

    "Hoothoot, the owl Pokémon. It stands on one leg, but uses both its powerful eyes to see clearly even through the darkest night. Dexter explained.

    "That includes seeing through what is an illusion." Gary went on. "The sign at the forest entrance wasn't kidding when it said it was dangerous to go alone--so what made you think you could?"

    "And here you were saying it was just a video game..." Misty smirked, making Ash sweatdrop with embarrassment.

    "At any rate, you're gonna need a Hoothoot to get out of here in one piece and chase after that red haired punk you're chasing." Gary smiled. "Last I checked, he was stuck in this forest too."

    "Okay, Mr. Know it all, where can we find a Hoothoot?" Ash challenged.

    Gary pointed down a path to the south. "Just follow that path due south, and you'll find the house of the old hag that rents'em out. Once you make it out, they find their way back to her."

    "Thanks, we think..." Ash stammered--this was the first time in a long time that he remembered Gary being nice to him.

    "Anytime--even rivals have to look out for each other." Gary grinned. "Until then, smell ya later!" With that, he departed with his Hoothoot in tow.

    Brock sighed. "Come on, guys...let's head south."

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  7. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
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    Episode 6: Some Way Out

    "West...south....west..." Kamon mused, only looking up from his map to see that he was back where he had started again. "Errgh...the sign at the entry sure wasn't kidding when it said this place was called the Forest of Illusion."

    A devious smile formed on his face when he saw the group headed south. Wonder Boy and pals again...maybe if I follow them, I might be able to get out of this nightmare! he thought as he discretely dashed from bush to bush, making sure to keep the Trio in sight.

    Meanwhile, Misty noticed a flash of movement behind her. "Was that another illusion?"

    "Nope--I saw something following us." Brock replied as the group approached a rickety old cabin in a clearing that had clearly seen better days.

    He noticed a rope near the door. "Please ring bell for assistance."

    Ash tensely approached the bell rope and gave it a few hesitant tugs, making a few soft clonks fill the air. "I know you're scared, but if you want whoever lives here to hear us, you have to ring the bell good and loud!" Misty exclaimed, giving the bell rope a few hard pulls.

    The resulting clangs started some bird Pokémon from their roosts, and it was not long before an old woman with obviously dyed auburn hair appeared in the doorway. "Yeah? What do you need?" she deadpanned.

    Ash froze in fear about how intimidating the woman looked, despite her small size and frail appearance. "Um, we'll go ask for directions somewhere else, thanks." he nervously stammered, and tried to sneak back down the path without his companions noticing.

    "Hold it right there, scaredy-Meowth!" the woman snapped as she pulled Ash back. "You will need my help if you three want to get out of the forest safely."

    "W-who are you?" Even Misty seemed frightened.

    "Name's Hagatha--I've lived here raising and caring for Hoothoots to guide the travelers that come through here." the woman replied. "You have seen the power of the Forest of Illusion, and it is said that those that seek to venture through without a Hoothoot's guiding eyes will never see the light of day again."

    Brock swallowed hard. "Do you happen to have any Hoothoots we can use?"

    Hagatha thought for a moment. "At the moment, all my other ones are out guiding travelers at the moment, but I do have one left..."

    She smiled as a small Hoothoot waddled by her side. "This is Shinko, one of my hatchlings. She's still learning the art of discerning illusion and guiding, but if you're willing to take a chance, I am willing to lend her to you."

    "We'll take her!" Ash smiled as he gently picked up the small Hoothoot. "All she needs is a good trainer to teach her, and she'll be guiding people easily!"

    ---------

    "You were saying about Shinko only needing a good trainer?" Misty grumbled as Shinko hesitantly led the trio back near the forest entryway.

    "Ever since we left Hagatha's cabin, we've walked in circles five times before she found the right way, more spooky trees, walked upside down, seen pink Donphan, blue grass, and green sky, heard flowers sing, and seen mushrooms dance." Brock sighed, his voice growing more frustrated with every illusion he listed.

    Just then, Ash saw Shinko shaking in fear. "What is it, Shinko?" he asked.

    He yelped in fear as a blue will-o-wisp surprised him! "Shinko, use Foresight!" he nearly screamed as more and more will-o-wisps surrounded the group.

    "Yes, please use Foresight!" Misty pleaded.

    A hopeful smile formed on Ash's face as Shinko's eyes started to glow, but then faded away as more will-o-wisps appeared. "Errgh...Shinko, I know you can do this! Use Foresight!"

    "Shinko, will you help us? Please?" Misty asked.

    Shinko nodded, but moments before she attempted using the attack, she squawked as the will-o-wisps combined into a massive blue fire spirit, and fluttered off!

    "Shinko!" Misty hurried after the little Hoothoot, with the boys not far behind her.

    As the group tore through the brush, Kamon peeked from a bush. "It's official...Wonder Boy has gone nuts..." he sighed before hiding back in the bush, where he could see the group catching their breaths in a clearing.

    "Everyone okay?" Brock asked after he composed himself.

    "I think so..." Misty replied before addressing Shinko. "Shinko...I know you're terrified of the illusions as much as we are, but Hoothoots are born and raised to guide people through places like this. So will you be brave, and help us through here?"

    Shinko nodded, making Misty grin. "Thank you!"

    Ash balked at how Shinko was easily doing as Misty told her. "How come Shinko listens to Misty and not me?"

    "Maybe because Misty doesn't yell at her and remembers to say 'please'?" Brock replied.

    "What does manners have to do with--!" Ash started before noticing Shinko trembling again. "Huh?"

    He saw a flash of red and heard footsteps as someone fled from a bush. "Kamon!" he gasped."

    "Now he's the one that's nuts..." Misty smiled at what she thought was Ash standing by her side.

    She balked, however, when she saw another Ash standing near Brock. "What the?"

    Brock, however, was seemingly unfazed at the hundreds of Ashes forming around him. "Would the real Ash please stand up?"

    [He won't even have to do that--I'll handle this!] Tintri volunteered before charging a Thunderbolt. The electric blast arced from false Ash to false Ash, creating a massive explosion when it hit the real Ash moments later, sending him flying backwards.

    Misty hurried over to Ash's side. "Are you okay?"

    She was about to tend to her friend when a huge Ariados appeared before her, making her scream in terror! "Shinko, help meeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!!!!!" she yelped as she watched the seemingly hundreds of Spinaraks crawling on her and surrounding her.

    The boys watched in awe as Shinko's eyes glowed red, making the Spinaraks and the Ariados disappear. "She did it!" Brock smiled.

    "And look what's bean causing all of this..." Ash smiled as he gestured to a hollow, where a pair of Haunters were laughing hysterically at Misty screaming, despite Shinko's efforts to dispel the illusions.

    He looked over at Brock. "Don't Ghost Pokémon hate holy water or sacred words or hymns?"

    "I may not have holy water, but I do know a few holy songs..." Brock replied before clearing his throat and singing Te lei ze cra riou te ze...
    Cra riou ze te riou rei neu, riou ze...
    At this, the Haunters gasped as a holy circle of white light formed around the group.
    Va rei ze te, neu te riou te cra
    Riou rei cra riou ze rei va ze rei...
    Va neu va rei, va neu va ze rei!
    Cra riou cra neu te rei cra riou ze lei va
    Lei va neu cra te lei lei!


    "It's working!" Misty gasped as she watched the Haunters flee from the rotted hollow tree. "Keep singing, Brock!"

    Te lei ze cra riou te ze... Brock started the song again.
    Cra riou ze te riou rei neu, riou ze...
    Va rei ze te, neu te riou te cra
    Riou rei cra riou ze rei va ze rei...
    Va neu va rei, va neu va ze rei!
    At this, some brush parted, revealing the path out of the forest and allowing sunshine to stream inside the clearing.
    Cra riou cra neu te rei cra riou ze lei va
    Lei va neu cra te lei lei!


    Misty was the most relieved at seeing the road. "So this was where the way out was the whole time!"

    She knelt down before Shinko. "Thank you, Shinko--you are free to return to your mistress."

    After giving the small Hoothoot a hug, she waved goodbye as it fluttered back into the forest. "Wonder if Kamon will ever find his way through all the illusions?" Ash wondered as the group started down the road.

    "Oh, he'll make it out in about a week." Brock grinned, making the group laugh as they walked off into the setting sun...

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  8. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
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    Episode 7: Once Upon a Festival

    "I am so glad we're not in that spooky old forest any more!" Misty smiled as the group broke camp the next morning.

    "Yeah, the only forest of illusion I ever want to see again is inside a video game." Ash agreed, shuddering at the memory of the trees, rocks, and even plants with spooky faces from the previous day.

    "I don't know, the look on Misty's face when she saw all those duplicates of you was priceless." Brock grinned as the group got on the road for the day.

    For a while, the trek was uneventful--the sun was shining, Pidgeys perched on tree branches and darted through the grass, and the breeze ruffled the leaves and the clothing of the three humans on the road.

    After a while, Brock spotted a signpost pointing north. "Florando Town, this way..."

    He knelt down to examine a flyer attached to the signpost. "Pokémon Festival today, come enjoy food, games, entertainment, and the Pokémon Lore Stage--whatever that means..."

    "Maybe it's a storytelling competition!" Misty suggested. "You should enter!"

    "Yeah, although if it is a contest, it wouldn't be fair to the other storytellers to have a pro go up against amateurs." Ash cautioned.

    [We're not gonna see if it is a competition or not if we just stand here...] Tintri noted.

    "You're right, Tintri--let's go!" With that, Ash hurried off down the road.

    "Hey, wait for us!" Misty and Brock were not far behind.

    ---------

    "Wow...." the group gasped at the crowds milling about, watching the various performances, demonstrations, and competitions, or playing one of the many games on offer to win Pokémon dolls and other prizes.

    Some Mankeys nimbly kicked down training dummies and targets high in the air on one stage, while a boy tried to win a Fennekin doll for what Brock assumed was his girlfriend by knocking a pyramid of milk bottles down. Those things are rigged, anyway... he thought as the boy came up one bottle short.

    An Alakazam noticed the group as they passed its booth. Fancy your fortune told, for a pretty coin of gold? it telepathically asked.

    "I'll bite..." Ash volunteered as he opened the bag of gold tokens that had been given at the front gates of the festival grounds and placed one in the payment box.

    The Alakazam tuned itself to Ash's mind before revealing his fortune. I see that you are a brave and determined young man, who will do many great things during your time here in the Johto region. You will master a great power of light, befriend Legendary Pokémon, and drive back the evil slumbering in the shadows.

    "Thanks?" Ash wasn't sure what the cryptic fortune meant.

    A gentle chuckle echoed in his mind. Don't worry about figuring out what your fortune means--it will reveal its meaning to you in due time. the Alakazam smiled.

    Brock wasted no time in depositing a coin. "Will I find a lady to love here?" he asked.

    The Alakazam attuned itself to Brock's mind, then revealed his fortune. I see that you have many qualities of a faithful lover--kind, brave, and unselfish. But be wary of the initial euphoria that comes with new love--too passionate a response will drive any potential suitors away. But it is a different kind of love that will guide you during your time here--the love you have for the lore of this world.

    "Hint hint..." Misty grinned as she playfully nudged Brock.

    Brock contemplated what the Alakazam had revealed to him. Mental note--find the info booth and ask about the Lore Stage...

    Misty was next to deposit a coin. I see that you are a passionate lady who can have the raging fury of a tsunami one moment, and the calmness of a still pool the next. the Alakazam explained. There is a time and a place to use your power, but be wary of using it to tear others down--channel your anger into positive energy, and amazing things will happen.

    "Thanks." Misty smiled. "I will contemplate what you have said." she told the Alakazam as she led the others down the rows of booths and stages.

    A female voice singing a familiar melody got Ash's attention. "Someone's singing that one song all the Vocaloids sing!"

    "Huh?" Misty asked as Ash lead the others before a larger stage, where a brown haired girl in a teal shirt was singing as two humanoid plant Pokémon danced to their mistress' voice. "It is the Ievan Polkka!" Misty gasped when she recognized the tune the girl sang.

    Brock, meanwhile, noticed three colored shiny stripes near the girl's right shirt pocket. Those must be award stripes, or something... he thought as he joined the crowd in applauding the song.

    "..."Finally, Sorin reached the corner of the garden where the wonderful tree grew." the girl continued when the applause for her song faded. "He had never seen it before. The rosy-cheeked Berries glowed in the bright sunlight, and Sorin could hardly wait to ask for the fruit."

    She added "It helped that the Berries had a beautiful color and a sweet smell."

    Ash tried to hold in laughter as the girl went on "Sorin had never been so close to anything which smelled this good. So he took a big bite...."

    She grinned "...and you should have seen the look on his face!"

    The crowd roared with laughter as they pictured Sorin's disgusted face. "That beautiful sweet smelling Berry was bitter and sour, and it had a nasty taste, so he threw it away from him with a mighty heave." She pantomimed throwing something for effect.

    She concludes "Sorin never forgot the tree's long name and the little song he had made up. Nor did he forget how the Berry tasted. He never took another bite of it himself; but, after that, his favorite prank was to treat the other Pokémon to the wonderful Berry just to see their yuck faces when they tasted it."

    Laughter and applause fill the air, but Ash's applause is the loudest. "Bravo! Encore!"

    "That was pretty good!" Brock agreed. "Even though we only heard the end of it."

    More cheers filled the air as a judge arrived to pin a green stripe to the girl's shirt. "And Bailey wins the Festival Lore Stage!" he announced. "Thank you all for coming!"

    As some in the crowd turned to leave, Misty noticed Brock making his way to where the girl and several others with the stripes on their clothing were signing autographs and answering questions. "Where are you going?"

    "To congratulate that girl, ask if I can learn that story she told, and ask her about the Lore Stage." Brock replied before finding Bailey and the two plant Pokémon near the middle of the stage.

    After composing himself, and reminding himself about what the Alakazam had told him about passionate responses, he began. "From one storyteller to another...well done."

    "Thanks!" Bailey smiled. "I wasn't sure if 'Sorin and the Wonderful Tree' would be enough for my fourth stripe, but apparently it was!"

    Ash, meanwhile, decided to read up on the two humanoid plant Pokémon:

    "Bellossom, the flower Pokémon." Dexter began. "When the heavy rainfall season ends, it is drawn out by warm sunlight to dance in the open."

    "It is perfect weather for them to dance." Misty smiled as Ash put Dexter away, keeping an eye on Brock all the while.

    "Those stripes on your shirt...what are they?" Brock asked.

    "Color Stripes for the Lore Stage." Bailey replied. "The Pokémon Lore Stage is a competition between storytellers and musicians from all across the world."

    "Mm-hm...is it just for amateurs?" Brock asked. "I wouldn't call myself a pro, but I am asked to tell a lot in public."

    "Both amateur and pro storytellers are welcome to compete--although it helps if you have some experience." Bailey assured Brock. "Each Lore Stage competition has a theme, and the storytellers are challenged to tell a short and a long story that fits the theme. The storytellers are allowed to use any talent they have to help in telling the stories, including their Pokémon."

    She hugged one of her Bellossoms for a job well done. "This includes everything from musicians, dancers, actors, costumes, puppets, mimicry, and even stage combat or stage archery at some venues."

    "What kinds of themes do they use?" Even Ash was interested.

    "Things like adventure, pour quoi, and love found, to name a few." Bailey replied. "Storytellers are judged in four areas: knowledge, energy, style, and appeal."

    "What exactly do those mean?" Brock was intrigued.

    "Knowledge means the storyteller knows their story well, and recovers from missteps well." Bailey went on. "Energy means the storyteller show enthusiasm, and engages with the audience. Style means the storyteller uses their talents well in bringing their story to life,and appeal simply means that the audience is interested in the story being told."

    She referred to the four shiny stripes on her shirt. "The winners of a Lore Stage earn a color stripe, with the goal to create a rainbow. Those that do earn seven stripes and create a rainbow are crowned Masters and Mistresses of Lore, and go on to perform during the pre-League festivities."

    "Sounds fun!" Misty smiled.

    Brock smiled. "Where do I sign up?"

    "Our info booth is near all the food stands-you can sign up there." Bailey replied.

    Ash smiled at Tintri as Brock thanked Bailey for the information. "Well, bud...we all have something to aim for while we're here..."

    Tintri nodded. [Let's all achieve our goals together!]

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
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  9. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
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    Interlude: The Perfect Story

    "So, now that you've signed up for the Lore Stage, what kinds of stories are you planning to tell?" Ash asked as he stashed his Pokeflute case and two of the four whistles he'd packed back in his bag for the next night. The two had made camp not far from the town they had departed, and had just concluded a post dinner jam session. Only Brock still had his instrument out--a familiar yellow-brown acoustic guitar, where he was half-heartedly plucking out notes as he pondered Ash's question.

    "Well...it really depends on what sorts of themes the Lore Stages will have, and how many I have the opportunity to compete in." Brock explained, mindlessly switching between an A minor chord and a C chord as he spoke. "Do they suit adventure tales? Trickster tales? Pour quoi tales? Funny tales? Something more obscure than those types?"

    "If I had to guess, you'll probably be asked to tell a balanced variety of all of those." Misty explained as she put her fiddle case away for the night. "So the real question is, out of the millions of stories you know, which ones would be the best to use in competition."

    Brock stopped his endless progression to ponder what Misty had said. "I know I obviously can't use stories that are not polished..." he smiled before starting a mostly improvised melody in A minor. "I also know that I can't tell things that would be too scary or inappropriate..."

    [Then again, you don't really have inappropriate stories...] Tintri noted as he offered Ami one of the leftover marshmallows that had not been made into s'mores.

    "That's true...you mainly tell for all ages anyway." Ash agreed.

    "And you usually warn the audience before venturing into the dark side of folklore." Misty added, enamored in the intricate melody filled with trills, bent notes, and hammer-ons Brock was performing. "But that still leaves us with hundreds of stories to pick from."

    "So what are some that audiences--and us--ask for again and again, off the top of your head?" Ash challenged.

    "There's 'Sorin's Trap'...and 'The Buneary Herder'...'The Giant's Captive'...'The Three Valleys', although that one ventures into some scary territory..." Brock mused.

    "I can think of some--'The Golden Starly' and its millions of variants, and its cousin, the Moltres story type." Ash suggested. "There's also 'The Three Powers' and all its variants, 'Princess Miranda's Rescue', all the Jack tales you know...'

    "A grasswhistle would wow an audience in an outdoor venue." Misty suggested. "As would stage archery."

    "I did bring my bow and some arrows, actually." Brock smiled. "Just in case we found some archery ranges or venues where I could do some stage archery, and another means of defense should our Pokémon fall in battle."

    Ash, meanwhile, kept listing tales he had often heard Brock tell. "I really liked 'Brendan and the Giant'...'The Faithful Tauros'....

    "You all have some great choices, and I may consider telling those." Brock interrupted Ash. "But a lot of those are quite long, and I don't know if there's a time limit on what we can tell--they didn't tell me this in the signups.

    "Good idea--always good to have some short stories in case you do have a time limit." Misty suggested. "But if there IS no time limit, go nuts!"

    "There may well be a time limit if there are a lot of people competing..." Ash interjected. "Since they need to have everybody tell..."

    "True..." Brock mused as he finished his song, then put away his guitar for the night. "I'll probably stick to you guys' suggestions, but have some other stories on standby if they give me some really obscure or crazy theme to work with.

    "That's a good idea." Misty smiled with a yawn. "Let's get to bed--we have a big day in the morning!"

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  10. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
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    Episode 8: Caught in the Wildfire

    "Wow!" Ash gasped as the group arrived on a hill overlooking an affluent community filled with beautiful mansions, colorful gardens, ornate statues and fountains, and Pokémon topiaries. "This was worth getting up early for!"

    "I wonder who lives in these beautiful houses?" Misty wondered as she admired an angel fountain standing nearby the elegant iron gate, its white marble glittering in the morning sun.

    "We've apparently arrived in Violet Hills, a community where some of Johto's prominent families call home." Brock read from the guidebook. "Some of these mansions have been owned by a single family for years."

    Ash suddenly noticed a guard post near the front gate. "You don't suppose that we can get permission to take a tour?" he asked. Their route to Violet City appeared to cross through the community grounds, and he did not want to risk being arrested for trespassing.

    Brock read further down the guidebook page for a moment. "Many of the community residents have opened up their homes for public tours--you can request tour schedules and guest passes at the guard post."

    An argument from some nearby bushes piqued Misty. [What's going on?] Ami asked as she followed her master into the grass, where unintelligible yelling rang across the community grounds.

    Misty just peeked through the bushes to find that Ethan and Lyra had confronted Kamon. "Looks like that tour's gonna have to wait, Ash...we've found Kamon." she mused as she returned to the road where the boys were waiting.

    "Found Kamon?" Ash asked. "Where?"

    "Those bushes by the roadside--Ethan and Lyra found him, and apparently Lyra's confronted him about swiping the Totodile from before." Misty explained as she motioned for the boys to follow her. "So if you wanna confront him about why he accused you of cheating before, here's your chance."

    "All I wanted was a civil discussion from him--and judging from all the noise, it's devolved into a shouting match." Ash mused as he and Brock joined Misty in the brush. While he couldn't make out exactly what Kamon and Lyra were saying, he did know that emotions on both sides were running high--Lyra was very nearly in tears, and Kamon had a furious scowl on his face.

    "If they decide to battle, I'd be willing to referee." Brock offered, keeping his voice down so as not to tip Kamon off to their presence. "Or mediate before the argument turns ugly."

    "Go on, go mediate." Misty urged Brock into the open, silencing Lyra's and Kamon's argument as Brock approached.

    Ethan seemed relieved to see Brock. "Brock, am I glad to see you! Kamon called Lyra weak, and the two have been squabbling all morning--Lyra to defend her honor, and Kamon just to anger her even more!"

    "I wasn't getting her mad--I was nearly stating a fact." Kamon interjected. "All she's got is a little Chikorita, which is a weak Pokémon."

    "Oh yeah? If Hana is so weak, then how is she capable of evolving?" Lyra retorted.

    "She's all looks and no substance--you need to talk the talk and walk the walk if you wanna be strong." Kamon smirked, pleased at the grimace on Lyra's face.

    "Don't judge a book by its cover!" Lyra retorted. "Just because Hana doesn't look powerful doesn't mean she's weak!"

    "And just because Tintri is naturally fast doesn't mean he's a cheater!" Ash joined in as he ran by Lyra's side.

    A whistle pierced the air, quieting the shouting. "Everyone, please!" Brock pleaded. "Let's try and sort this out civilly."

    "Kamon claims my Chikorita is weak because it looks cute--and that he took the Totodile that was supposed to be for Ethan because it fit his definition of strong." Lyra explained. "I tried to tell him that raw power doesn't answer everything...and that was were you guys came in."

    "So Kamon angered you by belittling your opinion?" Brock asked, looking to Lyra to be sure he had heard her side of the argument correctly.

    Lyra nodded. "Every time I try to respectfully tell him that I disagree with him, I feel like I'm talking to a wall!"

    "What's there to talk about?" Kamon sighed. "She got a Pokémon at the lab. Big deal."

    He eyed Lyra's Chikorita, who shied away as he leaned in. "What a waste. That's a Pokémon that's too good for a wimp like you."

    "I am NOT a wimp!" Lyra screeched.

    Kamon was unfazed. "Don't you get what I'm saying? You Pokémon's all looks and no substance."

    "But Hana's a good Pokémon!" Lyra protested.

    A smile formed on Kamon's face as he looked down and noticed that he and Lyra were standing on a space wide enough and large enough for a Pokémon battle. After drawing the outline of a Poké Ball in the grass, he went on "Well, I too have a good Pokémon. I'll show you what I mean!" With that, he heaved a Poké Ball into the air, revealing a Cyndaquil on his half of the field.

    "Hana--I know you're at a disadvantage here, but I need you to prove to Kamon that you are stronger than you look." Lyra told her Chikorita. "Can you do that?"

    [Sure!] Hana smiled. [I'll show this red haired jerk and his Cyndaquil who's boss!]

    Lyra next told Brock "If you're going to referee for us, I have a Potion I plan to use."

    "Okay...you guys will have three timeouts apiece, as per League rules." Brock replied.

    ---------

    "Representing the Gold side, Kamon and Spike!" Brock announced, making a grand gesture to Kamon and his Cyndaquil on the right side of the Poké Ball outline.

    [You're getting burned, Miss Leafy!] the Cyndaquil smirked.

    "And representing the Silver side, Lyra and Hana!" Brock announced, making a grand gesture to Lyra and her Chikorita on the left side of the Poké Ball outline.

    [Don't underestimate flower power!] Hana shot back.

    "Everyone ready?" Brock asked. Cheers came up from the makeshift arena and from Misty, Ash, and Ethan watching on the sidelines. "And three...two...one..."

    As Brock's whistle echoed across the majestic mansion grounds, Spike charged at Hana, sending her flying backwards until she came to a stop at Lyra's feet. "Hana! You okay?" Lyra asked as Hana eased herself to her feet.

    [I think so...] Hana replied. [But I can play that game too!] she cried before charging at Spike, but gasped in horror as Spike ran out of the way, causing her to miss her attack completely.

    "You realize I have a type advantage over you?" Kamon smirked. "A Cyndaquil's mush faster than a pokey little Chikorita."

    He then addressed his Cyndaquil. "Spike, use Smokescreen!"

    Hana coughed as she ran into the black cloud of thick smoke Spike heaved onto the field. Although her vision was cloudy and her eyes watered from the smoke, she spotted the red glow of Spike's quills at the left end of the field. She charged in Spike's direction, but only managed to clip his leg, making him slip and fall.

    "Hana! Growl at Spike!" Lyra commanded.

    [HAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!] Hana screeched as she circled around in an attempt to Tackle Spike again. She did not, however, expect Spike to charge at her from the smoke, sending her flying over the Silver side of the makeshift arena.

    Kamon sneered at Hana trying to get up. "Spike, use Leer!"

    Hana shielded her eyes from the bright flash of the Leer attack. Gah...this guy's pounding away with raw power, leaving me no chance to defend!

    She smiled when she saw the smoke had cleared away, leaving her a straight shot towards Spike! But I have to prove I'm stronger than his jerk of a trainer is! Because I want to defend my trainer's honor, and prove she is not weak!

    She charged headlong into Spike while he was off guard, sending him tumbling to the grass. "Spike, Tackle Hana again!" Kamon commanded.

    "Hana, Tackle Spike!" Lyra called.

    Both the Cyndaquil and the Chikorita collided at the same time, but the huge impact and the stress of battle had taken its toll on Hana. [I can't go on much longer...] she wheezed as she crawled back to Lyra's side. [That Cyndaquil's really strong!]

    Lyra nodded, and made a T signal to Brock, prompting him to blow a quick blast with he whistle. "Time out, Silver." he announced as Lyra unearthed the Potion from her bag and administered it to Hana.

    "Well, well, well...You're doing OK for someone weak." Kamon grinned, impressed. "Didn't know Miss Leaf had it in her to last this long against raw power."

    On the sidelines, Ethan commented "I see--Kamon's pounding away with raw power, while Lyra is flummoxing him with a defensive strategy."

    "No, it's worse than that--Kamon's treating Spike not as a living being with feelings, but as a tool!" Ash grumbled. "Pokémon are not mere tools! They are living beings to be loved, protected, and cherished."

    "You try telling Kamon that, then." Ethan sighed as Brock's whistle signaled the end of Lyra's time out.

    Back on the battlefield, Spike and Hana charged at each other again. However, it was Spike that looked weary as he stumbled back to Kamon. "Come on, Spike! You're a fire type! You're supposed to beat grass types!" Kamon snapped.

    [B-but I can't go on much longer...] Spike wheezed.

    "Get back out there and finish the job!" Kamon growled. "Use Leer again!"

    The bright flash of the Leer attack blinded Hana again, but she shook away the spots before her eyes and hurled herself with all her might into Spike, making him fall to the grass with a plop, swirly eyed.

    Cheers filled the air as the whistle blew. "Game Set! This match's winner goes to Silver." Brock announced as Lyra ran to hug Hana.

    Kamon, however, seemed unfazed by his loss. "Are you happy you won?" he grumbled as he recalled his fainted Cyndaquil. "You may have won today, Miss Leafy, but know this! I'm going to be the world's greatest Pokémon Trainer--the greatest Pokémon Master! And don't you forget it!"

    "Hey, that's my line!" Ash protested as Kamon disappeared down the road.

    "He'll never be a Pokémon Master if he treats his Pokémon like that..." Misty mused.

    Brock, meanwhile, smiled at Lyra. "Well done, both of you."

    "Thanks--but Hana's the real hero here." Lyra smiled. "She proved that a Grass type can overcome a Fire type with a little training and a lot of love!

    "I can only hope Kamon comes to realize that." Ash agreed as Tintri bounded on his shoulder. "Can we go take that tour now?"

    "Ooh, good idea!" Ethan led the charge down the hill into the setting sun...

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  11. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
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    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 9: A Very Deer Friend (part 1)

    "Ah, such a beautiful day..." Ash smiled as he led the way down the path. "Sun shining, bird Pokémon singing..."

    A strange orb in a bush got his attention. "Huh?"

    "What would an orb be doing in a bush?" Misty wondered as she and Brock caught up to Ash and Tintri on the path.

    Brock noticed the orb begin to move, and saw it was attached to the pale yellow antlers of a small brown deer Pokémon. "A small deer Pokémon...wonder what it's doing out here?"

    Ash, meanwhile, brought up the Pokémon's picture onto Dexter's screen."Stantler, the big horn Pokémon." Dexter began. "Its magnificent antlers were once traded at high prices as works of art. As a result, this Pokémon was hunted close to extinction."

    "The Pokédex's picture depicts a full sized Stantler, and this one's smaller..." Misty noted. "Which means that this one must be a baby!"

    "That still doesn't answer my question of what a baby Stantler could be doing all the way out here." Brock mused as he got out a bag full of fresh Pokechow that he had made the night before. "So maybe if we lure it closer, we may figure out why it's alone out here..."

    "Separated from the herd?" Misty wondered as Brock made a trail of Pokechow leading to the group's location.

    "Let's see if a food bribe will get it to come closer." Brock smiled as he wiped Pokechow crumbs from his hands. "If that doesn't work, I could mimic a mother Stantler in attempt to coax it over here."

    Sure enough, the baby Stantler approached the group, pausing to nibble at the Pokechow nuggets Brock had left behind. Misty, however, noticed the baby Stantler was limping a little. "The Stantler's hurt!"

    "So it is..." Brock mused as he hurried to the Stantler's side with some first aid supplies. The Stantler shied away at first, but tumbled to the ground as Brock assured it "It's okay, little guy...I only want to help you..."

    "Try telling that to those other Stantlers..." Ash gasped, noticing a crowd of angered Stantlers charging in Brock's direction.

    About then, Brock saw the angered herd headed for him and the wounded Stantler. "Uh oh...guess my trying to help you will have to wait!" he stammered.

    "RUN!!!" Ash lead the way back down the pathway, every so often looking back to see if the Stantlers were following them.

    He was never more relieved to hear a police siren in his life as Officer Jenny met them on a branch of the path leading to a ranger's outpost. "Is everything okay?" she asked. "We received reports from the rangers that there was a Stantler stampede in the area..."

    Brock, however, had other ideas. "There was a stampede of lonely hearts headed for your beauty and brave heart..."

    This was as far as he got in his euphoric confession of love before Ami sprayed him. [Were you ever told to respect authority?] she scolded as a ranger gave Brock a towel to dry off.

    "We found a wounded baby Stantler near the woods, and when my friend tried to clean and dress the wound on its leg, a bunch of adults thought we were trying to hurt it." Ash explained.

    "While your intentions were noble, it was still very dangerous--the Stantler herds have been terrorizing the surrounding areas." Officer Jenny explained. "If you find this Stantler again, it's better to notify the rangers and have them try and help the fawn."

    "Okay." the group replied.

    "It may be better to try and travel through the night...the Stantlers are less active then." a ranger suggested as he brought the group some snacks and drinks.

    "What we don't understand is who or what could be riling up the Stantler." Officer Jenny mused. "We haven't found evidence of Team Rocket activity..."

    "Good--I'm not in the mood to deal with them today." Ash grinned as he offered Pikachu some Oran Berry juice.

    "Not that we've found them anywhere so far, and I'd prefer not to find them now." Misty agreed as she relaxed on a cot, watching the comings and goings of the rangers as they went about their evening patrols.

    The group did not, however, spot Kamon listening in from a crack in the wall. "So wild Stantlers live here...since I couldn't get that Totodile, maybe a Stantler will do instead..."

    ---------

    Surprised gasps and chatter filled the outpost that evening, startling the group from their sleep. "What's going on?" Ash asked, glancing around the room in hopes of finding the suspected intruder.

    "This baby Stantler came to the outpost, as if looking for someone." a ranger explained as he and his partner led a familiar baby Stantler inside the room. "It has a wounded leg, but the wound is not consistent with any known predators in this area..."

    "Maybe I can help!" Brock volunteered as he climbed from his cot, retrieved his first aid kit, and went to work cleaning and dressing the small gash on the fawn's left front leg.

    After wrapping some gauze around the wound to hold it in place, he took a step back to admire his handiwork. "There we go."

    "We'll take the Stantler to the medical wing for observation, then release it in the morning." another ranger smiled as he and his partners led the Stantler away.

    "Judging from how the Stantler came looking for you, you'd think it would want to join your team, or something." Ash mused as he climbed back in his cot, petting Tintri all the while.

    "As tempting as it is to call that Stantler mine, I also know its true home is back with its mother, where it belongs." Brock explained as he climbed back in his own cot. "It is still a wild Pokémon, and it wouldn't seem right to catch it when it is not old enough to be separated from its mother."

    "That's fair." Misty smiled. "Let's get back to bed, then..."

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  12. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
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    Episode 10: A Very Deer Friend (part 2)


    [Wake up...] Tintri whispered, nuzzling his master.

    "mrgggh...what is it?" Ash asked with a yawn as he sat up in the cot. After shielding his eyes from the sunshine for a moment, he noticed Misty was already having breakfast with her Pokémon, but Brock was nowhere to be seen. "Where did Brock get to?"

    "Helping the rangers get the baby Stantler ready for release." Misty replied. "They're going to release it by the hill where we first found it yesterday."

    "How is the little guy, anyway?" Ash wondered as Brock returned to the room, a six tailed fox Pokémon behind him.

    "Ready for release--its wound healed overnight." Brock smiled. "As to what could've made the wound, the rangers believe that the Stantler could have run into a trap. My question is--who could've set the trap if there was no confirmed Team Rocket activity, and Stantler season isn't even open yet?"

    "Team Rocket working incognito?" Misty grinned.

    "Can we talk about something else?" Ash shuddered. "All this talk of Team Rocket's giving me the heebie jeebies..."

    "If you want to watch the release, come on." Brock offered.

    "I've always wanted to watch a wild Pokémon release!" Misty was not far behind Brock.

    "Come on, bud--let's go." Ash motioned for Tintri to climb on his shoulder as he followed his friends outside.

    ---------

    The way to the hill was uneventful--a team of rangers led the Stantler to the hill, with the group not far behind them.

    "Okay, little guy..let's get you back to where you belong!" a ranger smiled as she untied the lead rope. Cheers filled the air as the baby Stantler charged off to the woods--only to be caught and tangled in a net, to some horrified gasps.

    "Team Rocket!" Ash gasped, expecting Jessie, James, and Meowth to appear and repeat their 'To protect the world from devastation' spiel for the umpteenth time.

    "Nope--just little old me." Kamon smirked as he emerged from the brush to check the net. "And it looks like my gerryriged net trap worked--I'll be taking this Stantler with me."

    "But that Stantler is just a baby!" Ash protested. "We were trying to get it back to its mom!"

    "So? Even Pokémon have to one day leave their mothers." Kamon smirked. "But if you want him, come and get him!" With that, he charged off towards the forest, the baby Stantler squalling from the net all the while.

    "After him!" the chief ranger called as the group dashed after Kamon.

    Brock, meanwhile, heaved one of his Poke Balls skyward. "Argent, I need your help!"

    Misty was relieved to find the majestic silver snake Pokémon towering over her. "Am I glad to see you, big guy!" she smiled--when Brock needed a Pokémon to cut off escape routes or raw power, he usually used the mighty Steelix. He could also induce the Steelix into its Mega form, if things got desperate.

    "Okay Argent--I need you to head off the red haired punk heading for the forest!" Brock called.

    [Got it, Boss!] the huge Steelix crawled up to the forest entryway, then curled around Kamon as he approached the forest entryaway. [Going somewhere, punk?] he growled.

    "Let me go!" Kamon pleaded as he struggled to climb through Argent's metallic coils and tie the net containing the Stantler to a tree. "I got this Stantler fair and square!"

    Argent was not impressed as he wound his way around Kamon again. [You call catching a Pokémon in a net fair and square? That sounds like something a Team Rocket lowlife would do!]

    "Why would I get involved with those hooligans--call me a punk if you want, but I'm a punk with standards." Kamon shot back. "Now, are you gonna let me go, or what?"

    [If you release the Stantler, I'll consider it.] Argent growled, frustrated at Kamon's stubbornness.

    He seemed to smile when he heard Brock sing Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... in the distance, engulfing him in a bright green light.

    "What in the..." Kamon gasped as he watched the Steelix that held him gain rainbow crystals and pentagon-shaped runes in his coils.

    "Behold... the power of Mega Evolution." Brock explained as he approached where Argent held Kamon. "The sign of a true bond between Pokémon and trainer--the Heart Song resonates in both their hearts and awakens a Pokémon's true potential."

    "And this has to do with me how?" Kamon asked.

    "Catching a Pokémon in a net is no way to establish that bond." Brock replied. "It needs to be established as a mutual friendship between human and Pokémon, not as a hostage situation."

    He looked over at Ash and Misty. "Go find the Stantler and set it free--I'm gonna try talking some sense into Kamon here..."

    "Good luck with that..." Ash called back as he and Misty hurried off into the forest.

    ---------

    Misty spotted the net with the Stantler inside near the forest entryway. "Here it is!"

    "Okay, Tintri--cut the net loose with a Thunderbolt!" Ash commanded.

    [HI-YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!] Tintri screamed as he unleashed a massive Thunderbolt. But he gasped when he saw his attack cut the net--and if the Stantler fell, it would be badly hurt, if not killed. [Uh oh!]

    Brock panicked when he saw the Stantler slide out of the next and hurtle towards the ground from a high branch. He wasn't sure how he did it, but he managed to sprint to the forest entryway, make a flying leap, and catch the panicked Stantler in his arms.

    "Nice catch, baseball star." Kamon smirked as he finally climbed free of Argent's coils.

    Thank you, baseball skill! Brock smiled as he removed the net from the Stantler. Been a while since I put on the black and silver of the Pewter City Golems, but I still remember how to dive for home plate!

    The squawk of a distressed Stantler filled the air as the Stantler herd arrived. "Kamon better start running..." Ash grinned as the herd angrily eyed Kamon.

    "Right about..." Misty mused as the herd charged, each Stantler angrily eyeing Kamon as he hurried down the path. "now..."

    Everyone watched as one Stantler unleashed a distress cry, prompting the baby Stantler to run and rejoin its mother. "Aw..." Misty smiled as the mother Stantler licked the fawn, then gratefully looked over at the group before both mother and child bounded off to rejoin the herd. "Aw..." Misty smiled.

    "Mother and child safely reunited." a ranger agreed.

    "But Brock was the real hero--he may be tough, but he's got a big heart for human and Pokémon alike." Ash smiled.

    Brock just blushed as he recalled Argent. "Aw, it was nothing."

    To Be Continued...
     
  13. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
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    Episode 11: The Flowers of the Mountain (part 1)

    "Yeesh, it's cold up here..." Brock shivered as the group emerged from a forest onto a plain surrounded by mountains.

    "I'll say..." Misty agreed. "The mountains that are farther out are covered in snow--so unless you brought ski gear, good luck getting past there!"

    "That would be fun, but I'd have to take lessons first." Brock confessed. Misty pictured Brock tumbling down a mountain in ski gear and stiffled a giggle.

    "Hey look! I see Ethan and Lyra!" Ash pointed out Ethan, Lyra, and Hana setting out a picnic lunch among the flowers.

    Misty ran on ahead of Ash to meet their friends and allies. "Got room for a few more?" she asked as the boys and Tintri arrived.

    "Sure--I was gonna feed the extra sandwiches to the wild Pokémon, but we have enough to feed three more people." Ethan smiled as he invited the group to sit in the grass. "Lyra and I are here as a favor to the professor..."

    "One of Prof. Elm's friends lives out here...everyone just calls him Mr. Pokémon because he rivals a Pokédex in how much he knows about Pokémon, not just the native Pokémon of Johto." Lyra went on as she shepherded Hana by her side. "He said he had something for Prof. Elm to study, so we were on our way up the mountain to his house to go get it."

    "Sounds interesting...did you learn what this something is?" Ash asked as Ethan's Totodile eagerly danced around his master's feet for a share of the meat Ethan was laying on a piece of bread to make a sandwich.

    "Okay, Dundee, okay...you can have this sandwich after I finish making it." Ethan assured his excited Totodile as he added a slice of cheese and some mustard to the sandwich, then set it before the Totodile. "Here you go."

    "Fiesty little guy, isn't he?" Brock grinned as the Totodile eagerly bit into the sandwich with a chomp. "I think I know where you got the name Dundee from..."

    "'Croconaw Dundee' is one of my dad's favorite movies." Ethan explained. "I've watched it a few times with him, and it still holds up all these years later..."

    Lyra, meanwhile, set out a platter of sandwiches. "Okay, who's hungry?"

    [Me!] Hana dashed to a sunny spot by Lyra's side as Tintri eagerly hurried over to get a sandwich.

    "Ham or roast beef?" Lyra offered Tintri the platter.

    [One of each.] Tintri replied. Lyra set two sandwiches on a plate, followed by some chips and berries.

    "Why's Hana not eating anything?" Ash wondered as he helped himself to some sandwiches.

    "As a Grass type, she doesn't need to eat as much as humans and other Pokémon--she naturally gets food from photosynthesis." Lyra explained as she looked over at Hana basking in the sun. Ash nodded to show he understood, then moved the basket away from Hana to allow her to receive more sun.

    Ethan noticed the two cloud patches on Brock's vest. "Oh, you're competing in the Lore Stage! I've always wanted to watch one of those!"

    "I'm mainly competing for the experience--I acknowledge and understand that I may not win it all, and I may face storytellers that are way better than me." Brock replied before taking a bite of his sandwich. "But if I do somehow win it all, that would make for the ultimate memory on this trip."

    "Yeah, you've mainly told as a hobby, and for a few local events." Misty noted. "You're sure you're ready for a bigger stage than the local library, schools, and a few local festivals?"

    "I never would've signed up and gotten these cloud patches if I didn't know what I was getting myself into." Brock assured Misty as he gathered up his trash and placed it in the trash bag Hana was guarding. "There we go--doing our part to keep this place beautiful!"

    [Nothing ruins a scenic place like this more than trash.] Hana agreed as she helped her master tie up the trash bag in a tree. [And we won't have to worry about attracting wild Pokémon with the trash!]

    "If you're gonna compete in the Lore Stage, do you feel comfy trying out your material on us?" Lyra asked.

    "Sure--give me a minute to think of a tale that isn't too long and we all would like." Brock replied.

    Tintri, meanwhile, tugged on Ash's shirt. [Hana and me want to go explore the forest path.] he explained, pointing out the hillside path that led into a forest, where the trash bag hung from one of the trees.

    "What do you think, Lyra?" Ash asked. "Tintri and Hana want to go explore the forest."

    "So long as they stay together and come back here by sundown, I have no problem with it." Lyra replied.

    "Okay guys--you can go explore the forest, but you have to stay together, and be back by sundown." Ash reiterated what Lyra had said to Tintri and Hana. "Think you can do that?"

    [Yeah!] Tintri and Hana replied.

    "In case you do get lost, Mr. Pokémon's house is not far from a Pokémon Center near the forest's west entrance." Ethan replied, showing Tintri and Hana the map of the forest near their location. "So those two places are your meeting points if you do end up accidentally getting lost--we won't be mad if it's an accident."

    [Got it!] Tintri replied before he led Hana into the forest.

    "Have fun, you guys!" Ash waved goodbye as Tintri and Hana hurried off down the leafy path.

    After making sure Tintri and Hana had safely made their way to the forest, Brock addressed the others. "Okay...this tale is a version of 'The Hero and Epona' from Kanto. While the hero is not often named in these tales, for our purposes, we'll give him a name."

    With that, he began. "Across the wide ocean, on the side of high mountains, beyond thick forests, in a village that faced the sky, there once lived an old peasant who had three sons..."

    TO BE CONTINUED...
     
  14. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 12: The Flowers of the Mountain (part 2)

    Playful giggles rang through the trees as Tintri and Hana dashed through the forest, piquing the interest of the Pidgeys in the treetops or the Caterpies munching on leaves. After dashing through the grassy underbrush, Hana leaped onto Tintri, sending them tumbling down the hill, giggling all the while, until they landed in a heap of tails and leaves nearby a stream, still laughing all the more.

    [That was fun!] Hana smiled as she smoothed out her leaf from their long tumble down the hill.

    [I didn't expect you to pounce on me like that...] Tintri confessed as he brushed some burs from his fur. [But you got me, so you decide what to do next.]

    [Rock skipping contest?] Hana suggested, picking up a rock with her leaf and heaving it across the water, skipping it twice.

    [Nah...I wonder how far this stream goes?] Tintri wondered.

    [Okay! Let's see how far the stream goes--and if we get lost, we can follow it back!] Hana suggested before hurrying off down the shoreline with a giggle.

    [Hey, wait for me!] Tintri was not far behind.

    ---------

    [You were saying about being able to follow the stream back?] Tintri asked Hana as the two Pokémon glanced around the grove of trees that following the shoreline of the stream had led them to. There was more of the shoreline to follow, but Tintri was already tired of following the winding shoreline.

    [Come to think of it, I think we are lost...] Hana mused before looking up at the sky and gasping as the clouds began to turn pink as the sun prepared to set. [And it's almost sunset!]

    Tintri suddenly remembered what Ethan had said. [Are we anywhere close to the Pokémon Center or Mr. Pokémon's house?]

    Hana consulted Ethan's map again. [Maybe following the stream was a good idea...Mr. Pokémon's house isn't too far from here.]

    She looked up from the map and noticed a small cabin on the hillside. [Let's go see if that's it!]

    [Right behind you!] Tintri followed Hana up the hill to the cabin's front stoop and knocked at the door.

    "Now, I wonder who that could be..." Hana heard a male voice muse before the door opened, revealing a stately man in a neatly pressed brown suit in the doorway. Tintri wasn't sure how old the man was, but the swirls of gray in his otherwise black hair were the only clue to his age.

    [Are you maybe Mr. Pokémon?] Hana asked. [We were exploring the forest and got lost.]

    The man smiled. "I am in fact the Mr. Pokémon you speak of...come on inside, and you can rest here while you wait for your masters to find you."

    [Okay!] Hana and Tintri made their way inside, awed over the rustic decor, the paintings on the walls and the exotically designed rug on the floor.

    [Don't you ever get lonely out here?] Tintri asked as he admired a painting of the hills outside Celadon City hanging nearby a window.

    "Oh, not at all." Mr. Pokémon smiled. "I travel a lot in search of bettering our knowledge and understanding of Pokémon around the world--this is why I have befriended many professors across the world."

    [What's the most amazing thing you've seen in your travels?] Tintri asked, his eyes shining with excitement at the stories Mr. Pokémon had to tell. If any of these stories are cool enough, I may tell Brock to write down the basics of it!

    "Well...I've seen many amazing things on my travels, but if I had to choose one..." Mr. Pokémon mused before pausing for a moment. "It would be the great mountain, Mt. Coronet, which splits its home region of Shinou in half."

    [Wow...] Hana gasped, amazed at the concept of a mountain that large. [I can only imagine the view at the peak!]

    "As much I wanted to climb it, I am no mountain climber, and so I leave that task for those adventurous enough to do it." Mr. Pokémon replied as he settled in an easy chair and invited Tintri and Hana onto the small table beside it. "So tell me...what brought you this far into the forest?"

    Hana, however, was interested in a strange white egg with red and blue triangles in an egg holder on the kitchen table. [What's that? Is what Professor Elm sent my mistress to get from you?]

    "I did in fact ask Professor Elm to study that egg." Mr. Pokémon replied. It appears to be from a Pokémon family I have not seen before."

    [But my master says you know almost everything about Pokémon!] Tintri protested.

    Mr. Pokémon just smiled. "This egg is one of these almosts--how can I claim to know about this Pokémon family if I have not seen it before? This is the nature of true learning--it does not necessarily take place in a classroom."

    [I see...] Tintri mused--Mr. Pokémon did have a point.

    ---------

    "Tintri!" Ash called as he led the group through the brush. "Where are you, bud?"

    "Hana!" Lyra called before spotting Tintri's and Hana's tracks by the shore of the stream. "Hey guys, I think I found where they got to!"

    "That's the pathway to Mr. Pokémon's house--if you follow the stream until the path forks, you'll find it." Ethan mused as he studied the map.

    "Then it was maybe at this point they realized they were lost and decided to go that way." Misty suggested. "Let's go see!"

    "Lead the way." Brock smiled at Ethan. "Although they did go to one of your two designated meeting spots, so I see no reason to punish them when we find them."

    After winding their way to the cabin, Ethan knocked at the door. "More guests?" he heard a voice say, but just as Mr. Pokémon opened the door, Tintri dashed onto Ash's shoulder, and Lyra bounded into Lyra's arms. "Oh, I see you found your masters..." Mr. Pokémon smiled.

    [Everyone, this is the famous Mr. Pokémon.] Tintri explained, gesturing to Mr. Pokémon. [He's been to all kinds of faraway places, including a region where a mountain splits it in half!]

    "Nice to meet you." Ash smiled before tipping his cap in respect. "I can't thank you enough for taking care of Tintri for me..."

    "...and looking after Hana for me." Lyra agreed as she stroked Hana's leaf.

    "My pleasure." Mr. Pokémon replied as he returned with the odd egg. "This is what I wanted Professor Elm to examine--I believe it to be the young form of a Pokémon family I haven't seen before."

    "Lyra and I will get it there, as thanks for your looking after our Pokémon." Ethan replied as he accepted the egg holder.

    "...and my friends and I are on our way to Violet City." Ash explained.

    "Oh, so you're maybe challenging the Gym there?" Mr. Pokémon asked. "Your Pikachu should do just fine against Falkner's birds--but it's better to prepare too much than be unprepared.

    "I'll keep that in mind!" Ash grinned as he hugged Tintri again, relieved his friend was all right...

    To Be Continued...
     
  15. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    PokéPoints:
    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 13: A Lesson in Friendship (part 1)

    "Welcome to Violet City...the city of nostalgic scents." Brock read the signpost as the group made their way around a corner, where they could see many rooftops and treetops in the distance.

    Misty sniffed the air. "I can definitely smell something nostalgic, all right...the Cheri blossoms in the springtime..."

    "Mom's awesome chocolate chip cookies..." Ash sighed dreamily.

    "Then what are we waiting for?" Brock's voice snapped both Ash and Misty back to reality. "We'll find more things to do and nostalgic scents to sample in town."

    He motioned for Ash and Misty to follow him. "Last one there's a rotten Exeggcute!"

    "Hey, wait for us!" Misty cried as Brock charged down the hill into the city.

    ---------

    "And over to the north you will see Sprout Tower..." Brock read from the guidebook, making a grand gesture to a magnificent purple pagoda-like tower in the distance that dwarfed even the tallest office buildings. "The tower itself is over 100 feet tall, and is held together by a giant flexible pillar that shakes from side to side. This flexibility protects the tower from earthquakes, and symbolizes the battles that are occurring on upper floors."

    "Cool!" Ash gasped.

    "That means you can see the tower from anywhere in the city!" Misty agreed, awed at the tower's height.

    "According to legend, a 100-foot-tall Bellsprout was used to make the swaying pillar." Brock went on before a thought occurred to him. "How said 100-foot-tall Bellsprout made the pillar depends on the teller--there's actually many different versions of the story."

    Tintri, however, was interested in the rainbow of zinnias lining the streets, and scrambled off of Ash's shoulder to get a look. [Wow...these are so pretty!] he smiled before approaching a red zinnia to sniff it.

    "Oh, what a cute little Pikachu!" Tintri suddenly felt himself being picked up and held in an awkward position by a navy haired schoolgirl.

    "Were you lost, little guy?" a brown haired boy asked as he reached out in an attempt to touch Tintri, never mind that Tintri was sparking angrily in the girl's arms.

    [Put me down, please!] Tintri pleaded as his sparks grew more numerous and brighter.

    Ash hurried over to the two children. "When a Pikachu sparks like that, they're uncomfortable or feel threatened." he calmly explained as Tintri wriggled out of the girl's death grip and bounded back on Ash's shoulder.

    "Oh, so the Pikachu is yours? We thought he was a wild Pikachu that wandered into town." the girl explained. "We're sorry."

    "There you are!" a navy haired woman smiled as she ran up to the two children. "Morning break is over, so you should be back with us in class."

    As the two children hurried back to their waiting classmates, the woman introduced herself to the group. "My name is Priscilla...I teach over at the Pokémon Academy." She made a grand gesture to a large brick building nearby, where many other students were coming and going. "But my students prefer to call me Miss Priscilla."

    "I'm Ash..." Ash replied. "...and these are my friends and traveling companions Misty..." Misty waved hello. "...and Brock..."

    "Nice to meet you." Brock replied as he stashed his guidebook back in his bag. "As well as trainers, we know a lot about Kanto lore, and lore from elsewhere...."

    "Would the kids like to hear some songs and stories from Kanto?" Misty offered.

    "As well as some true stories from our travels?" Ash agreed, getting more and more excited all the while.

    "What a great idea!" Miss Priscilla smiled. "It would be a great opportunity for them to learn about and appreciate cultures different from theirs, since many of them will travel as trainers and coordinators."

    "That, and you can teach them how to hold a Pikachu correctly." Misty smiled as the group followed Miss Priscilla and her class into the school.

    ---------

    "Okay...this is how you properly handle a Pikachu." Ash addressed the kids in an activity room. "Pikachu are naturally very curious and outgoing, but they can be a little shy at first, so be patient if they don't want to approach on the first try."

    He then got down to Tintri's eye level, and offered his hand. "If they do show an interest, offer your hand in a non-threatening way. In other words, keep your hand below the Pikachu's eye level and bring your hand slowly closer to the Pikachu from an angle." he explained as he did this.

    "Approaching from above can be very frightening to a small Pokémon like Pikachu, and you could be mistaken for a predator." Brock added. "So if the Pikachu is interested in interaction, it's best to let it come to you or picking them up by gently scooping them."

    "Aw"s filled the room as Tintri bounded into Ash's arms, but then, a girl spotted the group's instrument cases. "Oh boy! Are we gonna have a sing along?"

    Brock smiled. "I don't see why not." he replied, to thunderous cheers from the children. "Just give us a few minutes to tune, and we'll have a jam session."

    As Misty and Brock set to work tuning their instruments, one boy noticed the green mouthpiece of Ash's main whistle peeking from a pocket. "What's that?"

    "This is a tin whistle--if you took a Pokeflute and took it through the wash, this is what you'd get." Ash explained. "The biggest difference between the two is a Pokeflute can play in any key, while a tin whistle can only play in one or two keys."

    "Oh"s filled the air at this. "So while many people start on a whistle before moving up to a Pokeflute, it's also possible to learn them backwards, like some famous players did." Ash went on, to some giggles.

    He noticed Brock signaling that he and Misty were ready to play. "So let's get going with one of our favorite sets..."

    With that, he led the way into a set of polkas they often played around the campfire, with Tintri and Ami dancing and the kids and Miss Priscilla eagerly clapping along.

    After the Vermilion Polka had raced to its conclusion, Misty started "Come Give Me Your Hand"--the song that signaled Brock had a story to tell.

    Once the fiddle's last note dies, Brock begins "Once upon a time, there was a beautiful kingdom ruled by a kind and just king and queen. But one year, the king had to go to war and defend his realm from invaders."

    Piqued murmurs fill the room at the tale's beginning. "While the king was away on the battlefield, his wife, the queen, gave birth to twin sons. There was great rejoicing throughout the land, and messengers were dispatched to the king with the joyous news." Brock continues. "Both boys were strong and healthy, and grew up like little trees. The one who was the older, but barely just, was the hardier of the two. Even as a toddling child he was always playing in the courtyard and struggling to climb on the back of a Shiny Ponyta that had been given to him because it was about his own age."

    "Aw"s fill the room as the children picture the heartwarming scene. "His brother, on the other hand, preferred to play inside on the soft carpets." Brock explains. "He was always following his mother and never went outside, except when he followed the queen into the garden."

    He adds as an aside "This was why the younger prince became the mother's favorite."

    Nervous giggles fill the air--choosing a favorite child usually didn't end well for the family. "The boys were seven years old before their father the king returned from battle victorious." Brock goes on. "He looked at his sons with pride and joy and he asked the queen the billion credit question: which was the older and which was the younger?

    Whispers of debate begin wafting through the room, but Brock is quick to quiet the chatter. "The queen, thinking that the king was asking in order to know who was the heir to the throne, slipped in her favorite as the older. The king, of course, did not question his wife's word and so, from that day on, he always spoke of the younger one as his heir."

    The children's whispers turn angry as Brock continues "When the boys had come of age, the older one--we'll call him Brian--got tired of life at home and of hearing his brother always spoken of as the future king. He longed to go out into the world and seek his fortune and adventures of his own. One day, as he was pouring out his heart to the little shiny Ponyta that had been his companion from infancy, much to his amazement the Ponyta--whose name was Epona--spoke to him and said..."

    "Since you are not happy at home, let us go out into the world in search of fortune." Misty jumps in the role of Epona. "But do not go without your father's permission. Take no one with you and mount no Ponyta but me. This will bring you good luck."

    Brock interjects "Prince Brian asked Epona how she could speak the words of humans." as Ash, as Prince Brian, pantomimes asking Misty the question.

    "Don't ask me," Misty replies. "I can't tell you. But I want to be your friend and counselor, and I will be as long as you do as I tell you."

    "Prince Brian promised to do everything Epona told him to do." Brock continues. "So he went to his father to ask permission to go out into the world. At first, his father was unwilling to let him go, but his mother gave her permission. After a little bit of pleading and coaxing..." Giggles go up at Brock's understatement. "he finally won his father's consent. Of course, the king wanted Prince Brian to go forth in a manner befitting his rank with a great company of men and Ponytas. But Prince Brian insisted that he wished to go alone."

    "Why, my dear father, do I need any such retinue as you suggest?" Ash rants as Prince Brian, to the children's delight. "Let me have some money for the journey, and let me ride off alone on my own little Ponyta. This will give me more freedom and less trouble."

    Laughter goes up at this. "Again he had to argue with his father for some time, but at last he succeeded in arranging everything to his liking." Brock assures his audience as he retrieves his guitar. "Before long, the day of parting came. Epona stood saddled at the castle gate. Prince Brian bade farewell to his parents and his brother. They all said tearful goodbyes, but at the last moment the queen had a change of heart, and told Prince Brian the truth. She made him solemnly promise that he would return home within a year, or at least send them word of his whereabouts at that time."

    Excited whispers go up as the children speculate what adventures Prince Brian and Epona will get into. "So Prince Brian mounted Epona, and off they went." Brock continues over a droning melody that sounds like galloping. "Epona went at a surprising pace for a Pokémon that was seventeen years old, but to be fair, she was no ordinary Ponyta. The years had not touched her at all. Her coat was as smooth as satin and shone as white as the moon. Her mane glowed blue instead of red like other Ponytas. No matter how far she traveled, she never tired."

    Awed gasps and whispers fill the air at Epona's description as the droning melody transforms into the jig "Light At the Close of Day". to mimic the passage of time, prompting some of the children to clap along. "Epona carried Prince Brian a great distance until they spotted the towers of a beautiful city." Brock continues when the last chord dies. "Then Epona left the beaten path and crossed a field to a huge rock. When they reached the rock, Epona laid a hoof on it and sang...."

    Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Misty fills in the song.

    Wild cheers fill the air at the familiar spellsong. "...and the rock opened. They rode inside and Prince Brian found himself in a comfortable stable." Brock continues as himself.

    Misty instructs Ash in character "Now you will leave me here, and go on alone to the nearby town. You must pretend you are a poor boy, and be careful never to reveal who you really are. Present yourself at court and have the king take you into his service. When you need anything, no matter what it is, come to the rock, sing the song 'Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul', and the rock will open to you."

    Brock continues "Prince Brian thought to himself: 'Epona certainly knows what she's talking about, so of course I'll do as she says.' So he disguised himself by dressing in ragged clothes, putting a patch over one eye, and making his face look pale and sallow. Then he presented himself at court and told the most heartwrenching tale of woe he could think of. The king felt sorry for Prince Brian, and took him into his service."

    He starts a playful melody as he continues "Prince Brian was capable and quick at everything he was told to do, and it wasn't long before the king put him in charge of the household. His advice was asked in all matters of importance and all day long he hurried about the castle going from one thing to another. If the king needed a scribe, there wasn't a cleverer one anywhere than Prince Brian. Before long, he was well loved and well liked by the entire court."

    The guitar's song begins slowing down into a love theme. "Now, the king had three daughters, each more beautiful than the other." Brock explains as he plays. "The oldest was named Orla, the second, Ariana, and the youngest, Christina."

    Light applause goes up in approval of the princess' names. "Prince Brian loved to be with the three princesses and as he was presumed to be a poor boy, the king made no objection to his spending time with them." Brock continues, still playing his love song. "How could the king possibly think that there was any danger of a poor boy stealing the heart of one of the princesses? They liked him, all three of them, and were always taking him with them wherever they went. He wove garlands for them, spun golden thread, picked them flowers, and drew them designs of birds and flowers for their embroidery. He liked them all, but he liked Princess Christina best. Everything he did for her was done a little better than for the others. The garlands he wove her were richer, the designs he drew for her were more beautiful. The two older sisters noticed this and laughed, and when they were alone they teased Princess Christina. Princess Christina, who had a sweet and amiable disposition, knew the teasing was all in good fun, and happily played along."

    The love song then begins to turn into a somber lament. "Prince Brian had been at the court for some time when one morning he found the king sitting sad and gloomy over his breakfast. So he asked him what was the matter." Brock narrates.

    "Is it possible, my dear boy," he sighs in a gentle, deeper version of himself--his favorite "king" voice to perform--"that you don't know what's the matter? Don't you know the calamity that threatens us? Don't you know the bitter three days that are at hand for me?"

    He interjects as himself "Prince Brian, alarmed by the seriousness of the king's manner, shook his head no."

    "Then I'll tell you," he replies as the king over the lament he is playing, "although you can be of no help. Years ago three Hydreigons came flying through this land and landed on a great rock near here. They laid waste to the country, devouring the Tauros and killing men, women, children, and Pokémon alike. Soon the city was in a state of siege. To keep them away we placed all the food we had outside the gates, and in a short time we ourselves were starving. In desperation I had an old wise woman called to court, and asked her was there any way to drive these monsters from the land. The only way to drive them off was to promise the awful creatures my three beautiful daughters when they came of age. At that time, my daughters were only small children and I thought to myself many things might happen in the years before they grew up. So, to relieve my stricken land, I promised the Hydreigons my daughters. The poor queen died of a broken heart, but my daughters grew up knowing nothing of their fate. As soon as I made the monstrous bargain, the Hydreigons flew away and until yesterday were never seen again. Last night, a shepherd, beside himself with terror, brought me the news that the Hydreigons are again settled in their old rock and are sending out fearful roars. Tomorrow I must sacrifice to them my oldest child Princess Orla, the day after tomorrow my second child, Princess Ariana, and the day after that my youngest, Princess Christina."

    Gasps and "oh no"s race through the crowd as the guitar's last foreboding chord fades away. "Prince Brian was horrified at what he heard, and hurried to the princesses' room." Brock continues as himself. "He found them dressed all in black and looking white as a Gastly. They were sitting in a row and bemoaning their terrible fate. Prince Brian tried to comfort them, telling them that surely a great hero would appear to rescue them. But they paid no mind to him and kept on moaning and crying. Grief and confusion spread throughout the city, for everyone loved the royal family. Every house as well as the palace was soon draped in black and the sound of mourning was heard on every side."

    After a few tense seconds, Brock goes on "One night, Prince Brian hurried secretly out of the city and across the field to the rock where Epona was stabled. He laid his hands on the rock and sang..."

    Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Ash fills in the song as Prince Brian.

    "...the rock opened, and he entered." Brock continues. "He stroked Epona's glowing blue mane and kissed her muzzle in greeting."

    "My dear Epona," Ash explains as Prince Brian, "I have come to you for advice. Help me and I will be happy forever."

    He pantomimes talking to Misty as Brock narrates "...and he told Epona the story of the Hydreigons."

    "Oh, I know all about those Hydreigons," Misty replies as Epona. "In fact, it was that you might rescue the princesses that I brought you here in the first place. Early tomorrow morning come back and I will tell you what to do."

    Excited whispers fill the air in anticipation of a battle. "Prince Brian returned to the castle with such joy shining in his face that if anyone had noticed him, he would have gotten yelled at." Brock continues as himself over a hopeful melody. "He spent the day with the princesses trying to comfort and console them, but in spite of all he could do they felt only more terrified as the hours went by."

    As the last chord of his hopeful song dies, he continues "The next day, at the first streak of dawn, he was at the rock. Epona greeted him and said..."

    Misty instructs Ash as Epona "Lift up the stone under my trough and take what you find there."

    "Prince Brian did as he was told." Brock narrates, to the children's giggles as Ash pantomimes lifting something heavy. "He lifted the stone and under the stone he found a large chest. Inside the chest he found three beautiful suits of clothing, with caps and plumes to match, a sword and a bridle. The first suit was red embroidered in silver and studded with diamonds, the second was deep blue and embroidered in gold, and the third was green,and richly embroidered with silver and studded with diamonds and pearls. For all three suits there was but one mighty sword. Its blade was beautifully inlaid and its scabbard shone with precious stones. The bridle was also richly jeweled."

    "Wow"s and awed whistles fill the room as the children and Miss Priscilla picture the magical items. "All three suits are for you," Misty explains as Epona. "For the first day, put on the red one."

    Brock quickly narrates "So Prince Brian dressed himself in the red suit, buckled on his sword, and threw the bridle over Epona's head."

    "Have no fear," Misty assures the audience as Epona. "Cut bravely into the monster, trusting to your sword. And remember, do not dismount."

    Brock continues over a tense theme "At the castle heartbroken farewells were being said. Princess Orla parted from her father and her sisters, stepped into a carriage, and accompanied by a great multitude of her weeping subjects was slowly driven out of town to Dragon's Rock. As they neared the meeting spot Princess Orla stepped into the grass. She took a few steps forward, then collapsed on the ground." Nervous giggles go up as he plays a downward glissando on one string to mimic Princess Orla fainting.

    The tense melody gives way into the Zelda theme. "At that moment the people saw galloping toward them a knight with a red and white plume. In a voice of authority he ordered them to stand back and leave him to deal with the Hydreigon. They were glad enough to lead Princess Orla away and went to a hill, where they could watch the impending battle at a safe distance." Brock continues as he plays. "Then there was a deep rumbling noise, the earth shook, and Dragon's Rock opened. A huge Hydreigon crawled out, and it spat fire and poison from all three mouths and turned all three of its heads this way and that, looking for its promised prey. When he saw the knight he let out a horrible roar."

    The audience begins clapping along with the iconic video game theme, as if cheering Prince Brian on as Brock gives the play by play. "Prince Brian rode straight at him and with one blow of his sword cut off one of the Hydreigon's heads. The Hydreigon writhed and enveloped Prince Brian in flames and poisonous fumes. But Prince Brian, undaunted, struck at him again and again until he had cut off all three heads. The life that still remained in the loathsome body, Epona finished with her hooves."

    Cheers go up as Brock plays the "got item" stinger to signal a victory. "When the Hydreigon had perished, Prince Brian turned and galloped back the way he had come. Princess Orla looked after him, wishing she could follow him to thank him for rescuing her. But she remembered her father back at the castle and felt it was her duty to come back to him as quickly as she could."

    He grins at the enthralled audience. "I can't even begin to describe the king's joy when Princess Orla appeared before him safe and sound. Her sisters embraced her and wondered if a hero would rescue them as well. Prince Brian assured them that he was certain they, too, would be saved. Although the prospect of the next morning still terrified them, hope had come to them, and Prince Brian even succeeded in making them laugh a few times."

    "Aw"s go up as the audience pictures Prince Brian making the princesses laugh. "The next day, Princess Ariana was led out." Brock snaps the audience back to reality with an expectant Bb chord. As he plays a slightly lower key version of the Zelda theme, he adds "Just like the day before, the unknown knight appeared, this time wearing a royal blue costume. He attacked the second Hydreigon and, after a long and valiant battle, dispatched it. Then before anyone could reach him, he turned and rode away."

    He interjects as he stops the song "Princess Ariana returned to the castle, saddened that she had not been able to speak to the knight and express her gratitude. Princess Christina then said..."

    In his best mimic of a young girl, he scolds "You, my sisters, were silly not to speak to him before he rode away. Tomorrow if he rescues me, I will kneel before him; and not get up until he consents to return with me to the castle."

    As himself, he continues "Prince Brian burst out laughing at this and Princess Christina asked him what was so funny. He explained that he, too, wanted to see the hero."

    A foreboding riff quiets the "Aw"s. "On the third day, Princess Christina was taken out to Dragon's Rock, and this time, the king came too." Brock intones. "Princess Christina's heart raced when she thought that if the unknown hero failed to appear she would be handed over to the horrible monster."

    Cheers go up as the guitar begins the familiar Zelda theme again. "A joyous shout from the people told her that the hero was coming." Brock narrates over the song. "Then she saw him, a gallant figure in green with a white plume floating in the wind. As he had killed the first Hydreigon, and the second Hydreigon, so he killed the third; although the struggle was longer and Epona had her hooves full trying to stand up against the poisonous fumes."

    The crowd enthusiastically claps along with the iconic video game song before it comes to a screeching halt four repetitions later. "After a very long and drawn out battle, the Hydreigon was slain." Brock smiles, playing the "got item" stinger to thunderous cheers. "Princess Christina and the king rushed up to the hero and begged him to return with them to the castle. He hardly knew how to refuse, especially when Princess Christina, kneeling before him, grasped the edge of his tunic and looked up at him with such sad Growlithe eyes that his heart melted and he was ready to do anything she asked."

    He then interjects "But Epona took matters into her own hooves, reared up suddenly, and galloped off before the hero had time to dismount."

    Laughter goes up at this. "So Princess Christina, too, was unable to bring the hero back to the castle." Brock goes on. "The king and all the court were understandably disappointed, but their disappointment was swallowed up in their joy that the princesses had been so miraculously saved. But a few days later, with Epona's permission, Prince Brian revealed himself to Princess Christina, told her everything, and explained why he had to hide his identity from her. This only made Princess Christina's love for him even stronger, and it wasn't long before the two of them were married."

    He concludes "Prince Brian and Epona went on many more adventures together, but that is another story for another day!" He adds a playful flourish on the guitar to prove his point.

    The crowd roars as Brock sets the guitar aside and takes a sweeping bow along with Ash and Misty...

    To Be Continued...
     
  16. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Posts:
    9,594
    PokéPoints:
    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 14: A Lesson in Friendship (part 2)


    The children cheered as the bell rang for lunch some time later, with Ash, Misty, and Brock not far behind. As the children hurried to unpack their lunches and eat, Miss Priscilla smiled at the trio. "You three have real talent...you should take your music and stories on the road!"

    "Aw, we're just three good friends who enjoy sharing songs and stories with each other." Ash smiled, flattered someone had complimented them.

    "In fact, how would you like to join us on our trip to Sprout Tower this afternoon?" Miss Priscilla offered. "I'm sure the children would love hearing about the hundred foot Bellsprout that formed the swaying pillar."

    "I know that story, actually--or at least a version anyone in Kanto knows." Brock replied. "So I'd be happy to tell it."

    Ash, meanwhile. was mingling with the students, answering their questions and getting to know them. "If you competed in the Kanto League, why didn't you win?" a boy with messy black hair asked.

    "I was a beginner--but even though I didn't win the League, I DID learn a lot of valuable lessons on the way." Ash explained to the boy. "Things like teamwork, perseverance, courage, and loyalty."

    The boy, meanwhile, noticed Tintri. "Hey, little guy...name's Zackie--wanna be friends?"

    Tintri uneasily sparked in reply. "I could be a way better partner than Hat-boy could ever be, so come with me!" Zackie pleaded.

    [But what if I LIKE Ash?] Tintri retorted as his sparks grew larger and brighter as Zackie's hand inched closer and closer. He finally discharged his tiny Thundershock, then darted into a forested area not far from the school courtyard.

    The crackle of a thunderbolt snapped Ash to attention. "Tintri!" he gasped as he watched Tintri dart away.

    "Come back here!" Zackie was not far behind. "You're gonna be my Pokémon now!

    ---------

    "I know you're here, Pikachu..." Zackie called as he crawled through the brush near the school. "You're gonna be mine if it's the last thing I do!"

    He gasped when he saw what he thought was Pikachu ears peeking up through a patch of tall grass. "Ah ha! I gotcha now!" With that, he heaved the Poké Ball at what he believed was Tintri "Poké Ball, go!"

    Ash and the real Tintri watched the Poké Ball shake on the ground from the safety of a bush. [Should we tell Zackie what he really caught?] Tintri whispered, being careful not to alert Zackie to his presence.

    "Nah...he'll find out right about..." Ash watched as Zackie heaved his Poké Ball skyward, only to balk when he saw a small sprout Pokémon materialize before him. "now..."

    "How did I get a Bellsprout?" Zackie gasped at the spindly sprout that stood before him. "I wanted that Pikachu!"

    "If you wanted a Pikachu that badly, you should have got one of your own instead of trying to take my partner away from me." Ash calmly but sternly explained as he and Tintri emerged from the brush. "If a Pokémon has a name, it belongs to someone, no ifs, ands, or buts."

    Zackie glumly looked over at the Bellsprout he had caught. "Okay...I'll see what I can do with this Bellsprout..." he sighed. "I'm sorry I tried to take your Pikachu....will you ever forgive me?" he asked Ash

    Ash's angry look softened when he saw tears shining in Zackie's eyes. "Of course I forgive you...with a little love and patience, I'm sure you and your Bellsprout will be best friends in no time!

    He motioned for Zackie to follow him. "Come on...let's go rejoin your classmates at Sprout Tower."

    ---------

    "So did you finally talk Zackie out of wanting Tintri?" Misty asked as Ash and Tintri arrived, where Brock was telling Miss Priscilla and the class a version of the story of how the swaying pillar in the center of the tower came to be.

    "I think so--I found Tintri hiding behind a rock, then watched Zackie catch one of these.." Ash then showed Misty the Pokédex, which depicted a Bellsprout on its screen:

    "Bellsprout, the flower Pokémon. Even though its body is extremely skinny, it is blindingly fast when catching its prey."

    "I see..." Misty smiled before noticing smoke coming from the tower's top floor. "That's funny...do you see smoke coming from the top of the tower, or is it just me?"

    "As the soldiers advanced on the tower, the Bellsprout...refused...to...." Brock trailed off when he too noticed the smoke. "Is there something burning in here?"

    Miss Priscilla gasped when she noticed the smoke. "Oh my! Everyone get outside, quickly!" she told the class.

    "We'll go investigate before we alert the fire department." Misty offered before taking one of her Poke Balls. "It could just be smoke from an errant Smokescreen."

    "If it is fire, we'll let you know." Ash assured the frightened children and Miss Priscilla as Brock hurried to comfort a frightened girl.

    "What about me?" Ash heard Zackie say. "I wanna help too--as an apology for trying to take your Pikachu."

    Ash couldn't resist smiling. "All right, but you have to do everything Misty and I tell you, okay?"

    "Got it!" Zackie replied before following Ash and Misty up the tower.

    ---------

    "Okay! Spritz, clear the air!" Misty commanded as she heaved her Poké Ball skyward, revealing her Seadra. As Spritz sprayed a stream of water to dispel the smoke, she could see Kamon staring down the tower elders' fainted Bellsprout.

    Kamon then noticed Ash and Misty watching him. "He calls himself the Elder, but he was no match for me." he bragged. "Sure enough, those who lecture how you should be "nice" to Pokémon... They cannot defeat me. All I care about are strong Pokémon that win every time. The rest of them don't mean anything to me!"

    "Oh yeah?" Zackie challenged as he summoned his Bellsprout. "Winning isn't everything!"

    Kamon just smirked. "Really? Try me..."

    Ash watched as Kamon summoned Spike to face Zackie's Bellsprout. I applaud Zackie for trying to stand up to Kamon, but his Bellsprout's gonna need some help against Kamon's Cyndaquil...

    [Do I need to step in and help?] Tintri asked. [I mean, even though Zackie tried to capture me before, I have no hard feelings against him....]

    "If you feel called to help Zackie, then go help Zackie." Ash replied as he watched the Bellsprout stare down the Cyndaquil. "You don't need my permission."

    [Got it!] Tintri nodded before he hurried over to where Zackie and Kamon stared each other down.

    "If we're gonna battle, then make your move--I don't have all day." Kamon sneered.

    Zackie, however, noticed Spike wheezing from exhaustion. He's weakened! I may have a chance to beat him!

    He then called "Bellsprout, use Razor Leaf!"

    "Tintri, supercharge Bellsprout's Razor Leaf with a Thunderbolt!" Ash called.

    [HAAAAAAH!!!] Tintri fired a massive Thunderbolt, darkening the Razor Leaves as they gained a yellow aura, sending Spike flying backwards before landing at Kamon's feet, swirly eyed.

    "I did it!" Zackie cried as he ran to hug Ash, aware all the while of Kamon departing with a huff. "I couldn't have done it without you...and I think I know what you mean when you say your Pikachu's your best partner."

    "Isn't that what training Pokémon is all about?" Misty asked as she, Brock, and the class arrived. "Building friendships with your Pokémon?"

    "Yeah...and everybody's got their own special Pokémon partner!" Zackie went on. "My partner is Bellsprout, just like Ash has his Pikachu."

    He looked over at Ash. "Ash...I wanna battle with you when Bellsprout evolves into a Weepinbell, and then eventually a Victreebel!"

    "I can make it happen the next time we come--or even if we meet again in the League." Ash smiled.

    "Think you could write a song about me and Bellsprout's adventures?" Zackie asked Brock.

    "Sure...I'll call it 'The Ballad of Zackie and Bellsprout'!" Brock replied.

    "You have to play it the next time you guys come!" Zackie reminded Brock, to everyone's laughter that resonated through the Tower...

    To Be Continued...
     
  17. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    9,594
    PokéPoints:
    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 15: Courage Takes Flight

    "Wow!" Ash gasped as the group approached a lavender tower-like building filled with windows that spanned the building's entire height. "This is the Violet City Gym???"

    "Sure is..." Brock replied. "Dedicated to Flying type Pokémon, as Mr. Pokémon told you before."

    "He did say Tintri would do just fine against the Gym Leader's birds." Ash mused as he hurried up to one of the windows and peeked inside. "Although it appears he--or she--is out at the moment..."

    Just then, Misty looked in the sky and gasped. "Look! Up in the sky!"

    "What is it, Misty? You see a superhero or something?" Ash asked before looking up at the spot Misty was pointing at, where two winged beings circled and weaved around each other in an intricate aerial ballet over the Gym and the three awed onlookers on the ground.

    After a moment or two, the beings sped toward the ground, where the group could see what they were more clearly--a Pidgeot and a navy haired boy piloting a deep blue hang glider with silver feather-like trim. "The glider pilot must know what he's doing to fly that close to a Pidgeot..." Brock noted as Pidgeot and pilot wove and circled around each other as they made their way to the ground, giving a little flair to a carefully controlled and well rehearsed descent.

    Misty couldn't help applauding when the glider pilot touched down on the ground some moments later. "Bravo! That was amazing!"

    "Thanks..." the boy smiled as he climbed out of the glider harness and brushed some leaves and dirt from his matching royal blue flight suit. "Taka and I make a point to go flying together at least once a day, when I'm not busy tending to my Gym Leader duties."

    "Taka?" Ash asked.

    The boy whistled, and the Pidgeot fluttered onto his shoulder. "I'm Falkner, and this is Taka." he explained, gesturing to the Pidgeot. "Hatched him and raised him from a Pidgey."

    "Nice to meet you Falkner--I'm Ash." Ash began. "...and these are my two companions Misty..." Misty waved hello. "...and Brock." Brock gave a wave hello while admiring the majestic Pidgeot perched on Falkner's shoulder. "I have my own Pidgeot as well..."

    He then heaved a Poké Ball skyward. "Come on out, Mina!"

    "Oh, so your Pidgoet is a girl..." Falkner smiled as a second Pidgeot, this one female, emerged in a flash of red light and landed on Ash's shoulder. "If you don't mind my asking, how did you two meet?" Falkner asked.

    "I caught her as a Pidgeotto in Viridian Forest, and she earned me a few Gym Badges." Ash explained. "Are you taking challenges at the moment?"

    "If you feel confident enough, I gladly accept your challenge." Falkner replied. "Let's go inside and get my gear put away, then we'll go up to the arena."

    Ash nodded. "Mina, return." he commanded, recalling his Pidgeot before giddily racing inside the Gym...

    ---------

    "Whoa..." Ash gasped, as he, Misty, Brock, and Falkner--now in an elegant cyan and blue kimono-like outfit--stepped out into an open air arena at the top of the tower. "We're gonna battle here?"

    "Yes, we are." Falkner smiled. "Thankfully, there are safety barriers to keep us and our Pokémon from falling."

    "Good thinking." Brock agreed as he took a seat on a bench near the silver side of the arena.

    Misty, meanwhile, was more enthused about the view than her friend's upcoming battle. "You can see all of Violet City from here, if not all of Johto!"

    Falkner grinned. "Win or lose, I want my challengers to have a memory of our match--and the view's what they often remember."

    He next addressed Ash as a referee arrived. "Which side of the arena will you take? Gold or Silver?"

    "Silver!" Ash replied before hurrying to the right side of the arena, with Tintri not far behind him.

    "Representing the Gold side, Gym Leader Falkner and Mie!" the referee announced as Falkner summoned an intimidating bird Pokémon with three heads. "And representing the Silver side, Ash Ketchum and Tintri!"

    Falkner's expression turned business-like as Ash and Tintri cheered. "People say you can clip Flying-type Pokémon's wings with a jolt of electricity...but I wouldn't get too comfortable on that knowledge alone!"

    "Bring it on!" Ash shot back.

    "Are all the competitors ready?" the referee asked.

    "Let's do this." Falkner replied.

    Ash and Tintri cheered in reply. "Okay! Three...two...one..." The referee's whistle resounded through the city, alerting those down below that a Gym battle had begun.

    "I'll show you the real power of the magnificent bird Pokémon!" Falkner smirked as the three headed bird Pokémon charged at Tintri. Tintri effortlessly jumped out of the way, landing at Ash's feet moments later.

    Ash made a T signal with his hand. "Time out--Silver." the referee announced.

    He next motioned for the referee to come over. "Is it okay to use a Pokédex for basic information on an opponent?"

    "So long as it does not give you an unfair advantage, using a Pokédex to form strategies is fine." the referee replied before retreating back to her post at the dividing line that cut the Poké Ball arena in half.

    Ash, meanwhile, consulted Dexter to size up his opponent:

    "Dodrio, the triple bird Pokémon. An enemy that takes its eyes off any of the three heads--even for a second--will get pecked severely."

    "You hear that, bud? Be on your guard." Ash cautioned Tintri as he pocketed Dexter as the referee's whistle signaled the end of his time out.

    "Silver has two time outs remaining." the referee announced. "Resume battle!"

    "Are you sure a little Pikachu's gonna be enough to take out Mie?" Falkner asked. "No challenger has ever defeated her!"

    "Yet!" Ash shot back. "No challenger has defeated her YET--and I'm gonna be the first!"

    Both competitors called at the same time "Use Agility!"

    Both Pikachu and Dodrio raced at each other, each of them bright blue colored blurs to the spectators on the Silver sideline. As Tintri raced to avoid the large Dodrio in a somewhat choreographed routine of head on charges, near misses, and dodges, he thought he saw a glimpse of the Dodrio's body as he raced by. This is my chance to stun her! I just have to fire a Thunderbolt on my next pass!

    He fired a Thunderbolt as he circled around the Silver side of the arena, but balked as the Dodrio effortlessly jumped over the attack, leaving the Thunderbolt to arc gracefully into the safety barrier at the north end of the room.

    [WAUGH!!!] he yelped as the Dodro pinned him to the wall, then pecked at him one-two-three-four-five times. Try as he could to get free, the Dodrio pinned him to the arena floor moments later.

    [Oh no...] was all he could muster as he watched the Dodrio's beaks start spinning like drills.

    "Drill Peck!" Brock noted as Tintri was mercilessly pecked by three beaks at once.

    "Tintri!" Ash gasped as he helplessly watched Tintri get battered by the Drill Peck. "Hang in there for me, okay?"

    "Mie, use Tri Attack!" Falkner ordered.

    "Tintri, if you can, take it down with Thunder!" Ash commanded.

    Mie opened her beaks and positioned her heads so each beak became a corner in a triangle. An orb of energy then formed inside Mie's beaks--the right one was green, the top one was indigo, and the left one was red. A red triangle then formed in between the orbs.

    Tintri braced himself. Once the triangle starts to turn indigo, I need to dodge, and quick!

    He saw Mie fire the triangle, then wall jumped away as the triangle exploded on the safety barrier. [HIIIIIIII-YAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!] he screeched as he fired a massive thunderbolt, shocking Mie and causing her to slump to the floor, swirly eyed. "Mie is unable to battle--Tintri wins!" the referee announced.

    A smile formed on Falkner's face. "I must commend you for being the first for defeating Mie. But now it's time to get serious by showing you Taka's power!

    "Hope you've got another Pokémon, Ash..." Misty mused as Tintri arrived on the sideline for a well deserved Potion and wipedown.

    "I do..." Ash assured Misty before taking the other Poké Ball he carried and addressing Falkner. "So, Taka's your ace? I'll show you mine!"

    He then heaved the Poké Ball skyward. "Blaze, come on out!"

    Even Falkner was impressed at the majestic orange dragon that circled around the arena and landed on the Silver side of the arena...

    To Be Continued...
     
  18. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    9,594
    PokéPoints:
    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 16: Blazes of Glory

    [Good to see you again, Ash...] Blaze smiled as he landed by Ash's side. [Who's our opponent here?]

    "This is Taka, Falkner's Pidgeot." Ash gestured to the majestic brown bird Pokémon with an ornate, red, orange, and yellow crest facing him and Blaze. "Tintri's on the ropes, so I need you to finish the job!"

    [You got it!] With that, Blaze took off and stopped over the arena's dividing line.

    "Taka, take flight!" Falkner commanded.

    [Yee-ha!] Taka cried as he soared skyward, eager to engage the Charizard hovering over the middle of the arena. But Blaze blew out a wave of fire in Taka's direction, only to balk as Taka effortlessly wove through the flames.

    [What do we do now? The Pidgeot avoided my Flamethrower...] Blaze looked to Ash for advice.

    "Keep trying!" Ash called from the ground. "Use Flamethrower in as many directions as you can! One of them should hit Taka eventually."

    A toothy grin formed on Blaze's face. [Your strategies may be strange, but I know they will work.] he smiled before scanning the airspace above the arena for any sign of Taka.

    He saw a brown blur out of the corner of his eye and blew a Flamethrower in the blur's path. When the blur veered out of the way of the stream of fire, Blaze would heave another fiery blast, only for the blur to dodge that Flamethrower as well.

    On the ground, Misty watched Blaze's futile attempts to hit Taka. "It looks like a game of Whack-a-Diglett up there..."

    "That's because Taka is using Agility to dodge Blaze's attacks no matter where he aims." Brock explained. "I think Falkner's trying to wear Blaze down before counterattacking."

    In the arena, Ash was growing frustrated at Blaze's constant near misses. "Come on, I know you can hit him!"

    [I'm trying, but he's moving too fast for me!] Blaze called back, before heaving another Flamethrower in the Pidgeot's direction.

    He heard a rush of wind headed in his direction, but before he could fly out of the way, the small tornado sent him tumbling to the arena floor. [WAUUUUGH!!!]

    [Not so high and mighty on the ground, are you, you overgrown lizard?] Taka taunted as his right wing started to glow bright white. [Feel the power of the wind!]

    [AUGGGHHH!!!] Blaze yelped in pain as he was pummeled by the force of two Wing Attacks that pinned him to the floor. As he helplessly tried to get up, Taka slammed into him with a Quick Attack, leaving the majestic Charizard writhing on the floor in pain.

    Ash, meanwhile, winced as his faithful Charizard was pummeled by the Pidgeot's merciless attack. What do I do now? At the rate Taka is pummeling Blaze, Blaze is a sitting Psyduck!

    Falkner's voice snapped him back to reality. "Do you see just how powerful the wind can be? If I were you, I would just cut my losses and go train a bit more."

    "No..." Ash growled. "I didn't come all this way to suffer humiliation and defeat...I came so I could prove my skills in a new region, and win their badges alongside the badges I earned in my home region--so I'm not giving up!"

    Blaze weakly stood up. [You're right...I can't just lie here like a frightened Meowth and get pecked to death!]

    He flexed his wings a little bit. [I still have enough oomph in me to take flight again--so let's do this!]

    Ash cheered as Blaze took flight again. Maybe I have a chance to win after all! he thought as he watched Taka attempt to Quick Attack where Blaze had been lying moments earlier.

    [What the...] Taka started, but gasped when he saw Blaze airborne again. [I thought I had you down for the count!]

    [When you have a master that loves you and believes in you, you just can't keep a good mon down!] Blaze smirked.

    He watched Taka power past him with Agility, but veered out of the way as Taka attempted Quick Attack again. When Taka tried again from another angle, Blaze just flew out of the way again.

    On the ground, Brock realized what Blaze was doing. "Blaze is turning Falkner's own evasive strategy against him!"

    "Let's see how good Falkner is at Whack-a-Diglett." Misty grinned as Blaze flew behind Taka, in hopes of catching the Pidgeot off guard.

    Just as Taka was about to fly in for another Quick Attack attempt, Blaze turned around and surrounded Taka in the flaming circle of Fire Spin. [I gotcha now!] Blaze smirked. [I understand the power of the wind, for the wind fans the flames!]

    With that, he grabbed Taka in his claws, flew to the top of the arena, gracefully performed a few spins to appeal to the audience down below, then zoomed back down, tossing Taka into the ground for more damage.

    The referee's whistle pierced the air. "Taka is unable to battle--this match's winner is Silver!" she announced, gesturing to Falkner's swirly eyed Pidgeot.

    "YES!!!" Misty cheered.

    "Way to go, Ash!" Brock agreed.

    A smile formed on Falkner's face. "I must commend you for your never say die attitude--that will allow you to soar on your Pokémon League quest." he told Ash as Ash ran to hug Blaze.

    He offered Ash a silver badge that resembled a pair of wings. "In honor of your heroic effort here today, I give you this official Pokémon League Badge."

    [We did it...] Tintri smiled as he hopped aboard Ash's shoulder and admired the tiny badge in his master's hands.

    "You've just won your first Johto Badge...what are you gonna do next?" Brock grinned.

    "Before we go to Worlds of Wonder? Shout what we did from the rooftops!" Ash replied before dashing out to the arena's observation deck with Blaze and Tintri.

    After taking a moment to savor the view of Violet City at sunset, he held his new badge high and proclaimed "I got a Zephyr Badge!!!!", over Tintri's joyous squeak and Blaze's triumphant roar.

    To Be Continued...
     
  19. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    PokéPoints:
    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 17: Tears of Courage

    "Well done, Ash..." Misty smiled as the group departed Violet City the next morning. "I thought you were done for when Blaze was pinned to the floor!"

    "You know Blaze...he's not the type to give up." Ash smiled.

    "Now that you have your first badge, our next stop is Azalea Town, to the south." Brock explained as he studied the map of Johto in his guidebook.

    Ash nodded. "I can't wait to battle the Gym Leader there!"

    For a while, the walk down the road was uneventful until Misty noticed the majestic spires of mansions and trees in the distance. "Look! Another subdivision of mansions!"

    "Welcome to Riverside Hills..." Brock read the welcome sign before spotting a dull green haired girl in a lovely magenta gown looking out on the mountains from a cliff.

    Misty noticed the dreamy look on Brock's face. "Wait...I know that look..."

    "That's the 'I-see-a-pretty-girl-so-I'm-gonna-get-my-guitar-out-and-sing-a-song-for-her' look..." Ash sighed as sure enough, Brock quickly got out his guitar and started tuning up.

    Misty, meanwhile, noticed a familiar rotund blue mouse Pokémon tottling in the group's direction. "Aw! Another Marill!" she gasped, before heaving a Poké Ball skyward. "Go say hi, Ami!"

    Brock was snapped from tuning up by the pop of a Poké Ball. "I wouldn't exactly plan on battling that Marill if I were you..." he cautioned, pointing out a pink bow on the Marill's tail.

    "Relax, I was just gonna see if it would be interested in talking to other Marills." Misty assured Brock. "I'm sure Ami would love making some friends here too."

    Ami, meanwhile, hurried up to the other Marill. [Hi! My name's Ami!]

    The other Marill looked up at Ami, teared up, and burst into tears. [What's the matter? I only want to be your friend.] Ami smiled as she tried comforting the bawling Marill.

    She looked over at Brock, who was just finishing his tuning. [Quick! Sing the happiest, most joyful song you know!]

    "Before that though, I'm just gonna just try calming her first." Brock replied as he returned his instrument to its case and hurried over to the bawling Marill's side. "Sh, now...it's okay...we're not gonna hurt you..."

    "It's working!" Ash grinned as the Marill's cries started to quiet.

    Just then, the girl from before approached the group. "Well! That's the first time I've seen anyone besides me calm Lana down..."

    "Thanks--all we wanted to do was say hello to it, and she just decided to cry at the sight of my own Marill, Ami." Misty explained.

    "The girl giggled. "My name's Wilhomena...my family's raised Marills for many years, but I can't understand why Lana constantly cries, even at things that shouldn't be scary..."

    Brock emerged before Wilhomena. "Hi, I'm Brock--maybe she needs a few happy songs to show how special she is and how lucky she is to be owned by an equally special young lady..."

    Ami facepalmed. [Can I spray Brock, Mama, please?]

    Misty sighed as Brock started a brisk melody. "Too late..."

    But before Brock could sing a note of his song, Lana burst into tears and raced off towards a steep hill. "Uh oh!"

    [She's headed for that cliff!] Tintri gasped as he dashed down the hill in an attempt to corral the bawling Marill. The hill proved to be steeper than he thought, and he ended up getting tangled as both he and Lana went rolling down the hill towards the forest and the raging river below.

    "Tintri!" Ash called as he dashed down the hill in an attempt to catch both Tintri and Lana. However, he ended up tripping on a rock and crashing into a tree as Misty hurried down the hill.

    "Stay with Brock and Wilhomena!" Misty called as she raced by. "And be sure Brock stays out of trouble!"

    "But what about--?" Ash asked as he rubbed his arm in pain.

    "I'll find Tintri and Lana! Don't worry!" Misty called back as she sprinted down the hill and leapt to catch both Pokémon moments before they could roll into the river. "There...I've got both of you--you guys okay?"

    [Just a few scrapes, nothing major.] Tintri replied. [But judging how Lana's bawling, you'd think she lost a limb!] He gestured to Lana, who was still crying profusely.

    "Sh...it's okay, Lana." Misty smiled. "I only wanted to help you before you went falling into the icy cold water." Lana nodded before bawling some more.

    She was about to attempt climbing back up the hill before losing her footing, sending her, Tintri, and Lana screaming into the river...

    ---------

    "I hope Misty and Tintri will be okay..." Ash mused.

    Wilhomena, meanwhile, was equally devastated. "It's all my fault...I can't calm Lana no matter how hard I try..."

    "Well, there are in fact ways to curb Lana's crying." Brock explained as he played a relaxed melody. "Having cared for both human kids and young Pokémon, they typically tend to cry for either A. attention, B. an activity or tangible item, or C. to escape a demand."

    "Hm...I never thought that Lana might be wanting my attention before..." Wilhomena replied.

    "So if Lana starts to cry, do your best to stay calm." Brock went on over his song. "Otherwise, both your anxieties will feed off each other and get worse. Validate Lana's feelings by telling her, 'It's okay to cry. I know you feel sad right now, but you still should, or shouldn't...' whatever it is you're trying to have her do."

    "I see...I guess she can feel my panic when she cries." Wilhomena giggled, slightly embarrassed that Brock had gently called her out on a bad habit of hers.

    "In fact, most Pokémon--or human kids for that matter--don't like to hear 'no', and so they make their displeasure known in any way they know how, which for Lana is crying." Ash agreed.

    He looked out towards the river. "I can only hope Misty doesn't go insane from Lana crying..."

    To Be Continued...
     
  20. WavePearl

    Starshine
    (Combusken)
    Level 24
    Joined:
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    ₽12,527.6
    Episode 18: Riding out the Swarm

    Misty climbed out of the water moments later, Lana bawling all the while. "Sh...it's okay..." she tried to assure the squalling Marill. "We're safe here..."

    She looked around for a moment at the forest around her and the river they had just came from. "Although I'd love to know where 'here' is..."

    [Me too--I bet Ash and Brock are worried sick!] Tintri agreed, wincing as Lana bawled in his ears.

    Finally, Misty's combined anger, frustration, and fear overwhelmed her. "Look, I know you're scared and want your mama, but crying's not gonna help!" she snapped, causing Lana to cry even more.

    She seriously considered banging her head against a tree in frustration. Arceus, make it stop! she silently pleaded.

    Just then, she gasped as Lana wriggled free from her hands and dashed off into the forest, leaving her wrinkled pink bow on the grass. "Hey!"

    [Follow that Marill!] Tintri announced as he led Misty and Ami into the forest.

    "If there's one thing that'll make Lana easy to find, we'll hear her before we see her." Misty grumbled as she followed Tintri through the brush, over a log, and carefully climbing through some ivy.

    [To be fair, you could've been a little bit nicer when you told Lana to calm down.] Ami explained. [She may have picked up on your angry tone of voice, and that scared her even more.]

    Misty sighed, embarrassed that her own Pokémon had called her out on misbehavior. "You're right, Ami...I admit I was the one that scared her, and in the heat of the moment, I did something I'm gonna regret if she ends up dinner for a big Pokémon or Poke-napped. Not only would Wilhomena never forgive me, but the boys wouldn't either."

    [Now that we have admitted our mistake, let's go make things right.] Ami suggested.

    "Yes, lets." Misty agreed as she hurried off after her own Marill.

    ---------

    After climbing through brush and climbing over logs, Tintri found Lana cowering in a corner. [Found her, Misty!] he called as Misty and Ami emerged from the brush.

    "Go give Lana her ribbon back." Misty gave Ami Lana's ribbon and watched as her own Marill hurried over to the frightened Marill holed up in a log.

    [Um, you dropped this earlier...] Ami tensely offered the ribbon to Lana.

    [Y-you're not gonna hurt me?] Lana stammered.

    [No--I would never hurt you.] Ami explained. [My master wouldn't hurt you either--she only wants to help you find your mama]

    [B-but she yelled at me before!] Lana protested, tears forming in her eyes all the while.

    [That was because she was frustrated at your constant crying, even though she wanted to help you.] Ami explained [And still wants to help you, even though anger got the best of her.]

    [Really?] Lana gasped, her tears shining hopefully.

    [Yeah--if you just trust my master and our Pikachu friend, we'll get you back to your mama.] Ami assured Lana.

    [W-will you teach me how to be braver?] Lana asked as she tensely followed Ami.

    [I don't claim to be an expert, but I'll do what I can.] Ami replied as she led Lana back to where Misty and Tintri were waiting. [I finally got Lana to calm down and talk to me.]

    "That's good to hear." Misty smiled as she retied Lana's ribbon. "There we go--all pretty again!"

    [T-thank you...] Lana blushed. [I'm just...very shy and sensitive.]

    "I know...it's scary being lost." Misty replied. "But we have to work together to find your mama, okay? She's probably looking for you as much as we're looking for her."

    A thud in the grass, followed by a distinct hum made her freeze in terror. "Beedrills!" she gasped as a swarm of the red eyed wasp Pokémon chased Tintri back to the clearing where she and the Marills were huddled.

    [All I did was trip over a Beedrill hive half buried in the moss!] Tintri explained as the group fled into the forest.

    "No time to explain, let's get somewhere safe first!" Misty instructed as the group weaved around trees and rocks in an attempt to lose the Beedrills.

    She winced as Lana started crying again. Oh no, not again...and just when I thought Ami made progress, too...

    ---------

    "Misty!" Brock called as he, Ash, and Wilhomena followed the riverbank, desperate to know where their friend and companion had gone.

    "Tintri!" Ash called into the woods, before a familiar cry snapped him to attention. "There they are!" he called, pointing out Misty and the Pokémon fleeing the Beedrill swarm.

    Brock whistled, getting Misty's attention. "Over here!"

    Misty was relieved to hear her friend's voice. "Am I glad to see you guys--but let's get rid of these Beedrills before we talk." she suggested as she quickly delivered Lana to Wilhomena.

    "Already on it." Brock replied as he retrieved some arrows and a familiar oak bow with silver and emeralds for trim. "Okay, Tintri--can you electrify these arrows for me?"

    [Sure!] Tintri replied, sending some sparks into the silver arrowheads until they glowed yellow and sparked.

    "Oh, I see what you want to do!" Wilhomena smiled as Brock carefully aimed one of the electrified arrows as the oncoming Beedrill swarm.

    After a few tense seconds, he fired, making the Beedrills come to a screeching halt as the arrow landed on the ground in an explosion of electricity. They turned to flee as more electrified arrows went flying--each one being careful not to wound any of the Beedrills as they retreated to the forest.

    "That's actually very clever--imbuing arrows with electricity." Wilhomena commented as the group made their way back up the hill towards the house.

    "Well, if people can set them on fire, imbuing them with other elements is also doable in real life." Brock replied. "Besides, my goal was not to hurt the Beedrill swarm, but warn them away from us."

    Wilhomena smiled as she led the way up the hill. "I can't thank you all enough for your bravery in saving my little Lana..."

    "Aw, it was nothing." Ash replied.

    "Even if she is prone to cry, Lana was actually very brave, being so far from home." Misty agreed as the group returned to the house, where some other Marills were waiting for Wilhomena's return.

    As Lana ran to meet some of the other Marills, Wilhomena led another Marill to Ash's side. "As a reward for bringing Lana back safely, I want to give you a Marill of your own--this little girl's ready to be paired with a trainer and given a name."

    "Thank you..." Ash replied as he took the Maril in his arms and contemplated a name for his gifted Pokémon. "I think in honor of our adventure here, I'll name her...River."

    To Be Continued...
     

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