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Fanfiction Pokemon: My Life on the Scarlet Stage

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by WavePearl, Jan 11, 2023.

  1. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    (Shaymin (Sky))
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    (This takes place a year before SV begins, and sets up for both the theaterverse version of the remixed SV (Pokémon: The Stage of Crystal), and the remixed animeverse version (Pokémon Ancient Scarlet)

    (rated E10+ for fantasy stage violence)

    Act 1: The First Play of the First Year

    The large and spacious practice room reserved for Theater Performance I buzzed with excitement as a crowd of boys and girls in orange training garb made their way inside, and started their pre-class stretches. The boys wore orange form fitting shirts and black leggings, and the girls wore orange leotards with white tights. The most obvious clue that the outfits were school property was the gold orange emblem on the right side, near the neck.

    Among the many excited students were a brown haired girl and a black haired girl with tan skin stretching near a window overlooking the academy grounds. "Got any guesses what our first play of the year will be?" the black haired girl asked. "I hope we get to do 'The Three Musketeers' or its Paldean counterpart, 'The Queen's Knights'."

    The brown haired girl thought for a moment. "Either of those would be great fun, Nemona--the two of us would easily fill two out of the three lead roles."

    "If you want, and you don't have too much homework to do after classes are over, you can join me in my room, and we can watch my Wakunese DVD of 'The Three Musketeers' with Master Ash, Master Misty, and Master Brock in the leads." Nemona offered. "It has subs and audio tracks in just about every language, so we could still understand it."

    "That would be fun!" the brown haired girl smiled. "Regardless of what our first play of the year is, I will always come watch a play or some anime with you. I'll even bring over stuff for boccadillos, so that will take care of dinner."

    About then, the teacher--a black haired woman in her own orange leotard and white tights--arrived in the room. "Buenos tardes a todos..."

    "Buenos tardes, Señora Vega." the students replied.

    "Has everyone had a chance to finish stretching?" Señora Vega asked. "If you're done stretching, go have a seat in the meeting area. If you're still stretching, you may continue to stretch while I take roll."

    With that, she read the first name on the roll. "Juliana Villaverde?"

    "Aquí!" the brown haired girl called as she found an open space in the meeting area to sit.

    Señora Vega acknowledged Juliana with a smile, then called the next name. "Nemona Cárdenas?"

    "Aquí!" Nemona called as she found an open space on one of the meeting area's risers to sit, nearby Juliana.

    As she listened to her teacher go down the roll, Juliana's thoughts turned to what was going to happen in class. I heard that the first play of the year was being announced today...I wonder what it will be? Will it be a zarzuela, or another Paldean story? Will it be a elegant Kalosian tale? Will it be a tale from far away Waku? Or will it be something else entirely?

    She snapped to attention as Señora Vega addressed the group of excited students. "Now that we have settled in as a group, and I have seen your acting strengths and weaknesses for myself, I believe it is time to reveal the first play of the fall term. We will be performing the Talien story 'The Seven Rainbow Mountains'."

    Excited murmurs filled the classroom at this. "Don't think I've heard that story before..." Nemona mused. "Wonder what it's about?"

    "At its heart, this is a typical dragon slaying story, with a long quest involved." Señora Vega explained. "The tale is about a hero named Dario who sets forth to rescue the Princess Maria from the clutches of a Hydreigon summoned by the king's younger brother."

    Intrigued murmurs filled the classroom. "In order to find Princess Maria and the king's brother, Dario must first cross the titular mountains, facing the trials inside each mountain with a Pokémon companion." Señora Vega went on. "In the end, Dario confronts the king's brother, and defeats him. He then tells the king about his brother's treachery, and how he loves Maria more than any of the other suitors that have come to see her. The king gives his blessings, and all live happily ever after."

    'Aw's filled the room before Nemona raised her hand. "Can Dario be a britches role, or must he be played by a guy?"

    "Ever the hero, Nemona..." Señora Vega smiled. "Dario can be made a britches role, so girls are welcome to audition for him or the other boy roles if they like."

    She addressed Nemona again as the other students cheered. "You will have to go through the same audition process as everyone else, though."

    She next showed the students an audition time sheet. "If you are interested in auditioning for the play, sign up for a time and a day here. An earlier time will not guarantee the lead role. You will be reading a scene with me--although not from the play--and singing a song of your choice. When you sing, you may ask my assistant Maya to play the piano for you, play your own accompaniment, or use a recording."

    That's nice to know... Juliana thought as the audition sheet made its way down the top row. I'll see if I can find a song I can play guitar on and sing...

    She raised her hand. "Do we have to sing a song from a play, or can it be from somewhere else?"

    "Your song can come from any source, provided it is appropriate for school, and no longer than five minutes." Señora Vega replied as she watched the audition sheet make its way down the rows.

    Juliana smiled as she received the audition sheet. Now I'll really have to find an anime song I can play on guitar...I don't care what role I get, I just want to share the stage with Nemona, and make all of Paldea--and the world--happy!
     
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    #1 Jan 11, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2023
  2. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 2: Studying the Wakunese Masters


    Later that evening, Juliana--now in the familiar pale blue and orange Naranja uniform--was snapped from making her own bocadillos by a familiar knock at the door. There is Nemona...

    "Come in!" she called as she laid some Parmesan cheese on top of some prosciutto, then went to let her friend inside her room. Mr. Clavell doesn't mind people having guests over, provided you don't make too much noise...

    "Buenas noches, Juliana!" Nemona smiled as she made her way inside the apartment-like dorm, a Blu-ray tucked under one arm. "As promised, here's my Wakunese DVD of 'The Three Musketeers'!"

    Juliana smiled back. "Make yourself at home--I'll finish making the bocadillos while you set everything up."

    A thought occurred to her. "Where did you find a Wakunese play DVD, anyway?"

    "Sometimes la comiqueria has them, alongside stage shows for games and anime." Nemona replied. "I was surprised that Wakunese actors decided to take on a Kalosian story!"

    "Well, there is the Jewel Revue, where girls play all the roles." Juliana reminded Nemona. "But this looks like a mixed cast of boys and girls..."

    She turned her attention to her in progress bocadillos. "What kind of bocadillo do you want?"

    "Give me a second to set up the Blu-Ray player, and I'll come make my dinner." Nemona replied as she carefully inserted a disc inside the Blu-Ray player...

    ---------

    "Do we want Paldean subs, Paldean dub, English dub, or English subs?" Nemona asked. "What's cool about this play is, all the actors were multilingual, so they performed the play multiple times in different languages to get the different dubs!"

    "Wow! That's dedication!" Juliana smiled as she arrived with her prosciutto and cheese bocadillo for herself and a potato tortilla piled high with sweet chorizo, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and seasonings for Nemona. "I know a lot of Wakunese are bilingual in English, so I wonder what the English voices sound like?"

    "English dub it is!" Nemona smiled before selecting the option on the audio setup screen. "They say that Master Ash, Master Misty, and Master Brock are acting masters as well as Pokémon Masters! So you're in for a treat!"

    ---------

    "The way to Lumiose was long, but eventually, Diana reached the grand city." the narrator continued when the play's first song ended. "Having never been to the city before, Diana soon found herself horribly lost."

    A deep brown haired girl playing Diana arrived on the city set some moments later. "Wow...I never thought Illumis was such a big place..." she mused "The castle must not be far from here..."

    "Hold it right there, sweetheart!" a male voice called.

    The girl playing Diana gasped as two male actors in grungy bandit's garb approached her. "You wanna see the castle? Then you hafta pay a toll to da Black Moon!"

    Juliana swallowed hard at the ring of a sword being drawn. "And if I don't?" the girl playing Diana challenged, leaping into a battle pose.

    "Ooh, the lady wants to fight, does she?" the second male actor sneered.

    "We'll teach you not to mess with the Black Moon!" the first male actor shot back.

    Even Nemona shuddered as the actors playing bandits approached Diana. Just as the girl playing Diana watched in feigned horror as the actors playing bandits approached her, an ornate arrow with green fletching came flying on stage!

    "An arrow..." the girl gasped.

    The two actors playing bandits froze in terror. "Oh no...not him...anyone but..."

    "A noble man, with an eye so keen..." the other stammered.

    "A royal musketeer of the Queen..."

    "Who now shoots at us, sight unseen..."

    "Tis' Eliwood, of the Forest Green!" the two boys chorused in terror.

    The trumpets played a 'ta-da!' stinger as Brock arrived on the stage, bow in hand. "Well, well, well--if it isn't my two favorite rogues of the Black Moon Guild..." Brock began as he approached the bandit actors. "Drop the lady's arm."

    "But--!" one of the bandit actors started.

    "NOW!!!" Brock yelled, making Juliana jump and spurring the two bandit actors onscreen to flee offstage.

    Applause went up in the background as Brock looked the actress playing Diana over. "Are you all right, milady?" he asked.

    "I'm fine..." the girl replied as she brushed off dust from the simple lavender dress she wore. "Thank you for rescuing me, Sir Eliwood."

    Brock smiled. "You're most welcome, milady. It is a musketeer's duty to protect the innocent, after all."

    "But where are Rowan of the Red Flame and Brenna of the Blue Water?" the girl playing Diana asked. "It is very rare to see the Three Jewels of Kalos separated..."

    "Eliwood, is everything well?" Misty's voice came from offstage.

    The offscreen audience roared with applause as Ash and Misty arrived on the stage. "We came as soon as we heard the Black Moons were causing trouble again, but it appears you've chased them off..." Misty explained.

    Ash approached the girl playing Diana. "If I may ask, milady, what brings you here to Illumis?"

    "I am Diana Fontaine...Nathan's daughter." the girl replied as she handed Ash a prop letter.

    Ash carefully opened the prop letter and read the imagined text on the paper inside. "Well! This is the writing of Nathan Fontaine, the Golden Light! He did speak highly of you every time he came to court..."

    "Lumiere looks beautiful at your side, Lady Diana." Misty agreed. "If you like, we can escort you to the castle."

    "Please do--I'd rather not meet any more bandits!" the girl playing Diana stammered.

    Laughter rippled through the theater as the orchestra started a quiet introduction. This small seed of hope is in bloom... Brock sang over the music.
    And it reaches out towards the stars...
    From a little spark from deep within the heart
    Someone's love has brought you here.

    We will not back down, we will not give up
    We will protect you--come and take my hand!
    We will fight for you, we would die for you,
    As your name is known through the land.

    Her Grace, she longs for you!
    She would welcome you as her own
    And once again, the bonds of the stars
    They will bring a miracle!


    Excited cheers filled the air, and Juliana and Nemona shared knowing smiles at the orchestra's triumphant swell. "And so, Diana was escorted to Castle Lumiere for her long awaited audience with the queen." the narrator went on as the song ended. "As she waited to be admitted to the throne room, and formally made a musketeer recruit, Constance--the court wizard, appeared to take a liking to Diana..."

    One day... Juliana thought. Nemona and me will share the stage with Ash, Misty, and Brock!
     
  3. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 3: Supporting My Best Friend

    A few days later, the class reconvened to hear the results of the auditions, receive their scripts, learn the timeline of rehearsals and performances, and begin reading through the script. Among the excited students, Juliana was unusually calm as she found a place to sit. I was just trying for any role at all in 'The Seven Rainbow Mountains'...but I also know Nemona was eager to try out for Prince Dario. But no matter what role she gets--and what role I get--we will both give our all to the roles.

    The excited chatter quieted as Señora Vega arrived in the classroom. This is it...we finally find out who got parts! Juliana smiled as she watched her teacher go down the roll, only pausing to call "Aquí!" when her name was called.

    "Okay...first, we will announce the cast for 'The Seven Rainbow Mountains'." Señora Vega began. "You all did very well in your auditions--and it was no easy task choosing some of the roles! But if you feel I didn't get the role right, let me know by the end of the week."

    With that, she started announcing the roles. "Lead, Prince Dario--Nemona Cárdenas..."

    Way to go, Nemona! Juliana smiled as she watched her friend hurry up to receive her script. You always have had a knack for playing heroes, so you'll have no problem bringing Prince Dario to life!

    For a moment, the cadence of Señora Vega announcing roles and her fellow students receiving their scripts ran into a blur as Juliana slipped into a daydream of Nemona as the hero of a Zelda-like video game, complete with a life bar, a magic meter, and a huge inventory screen filled with rare and fabulous items...

    She was snapped out of her daydream when Señora Vega announced "Supporting role, the Phoenix of the Red Mountain--Juliana Villaverde."

    "Coming!" Juliana called as she hurried to the front of the class to get her script.

    As she made her way back to her seat, she spotted Nemona smiling back at her. Nemona...we'll both do our parts to make this play a hit!

    She took a moment to look over her script. Let's see here...I have a few scenes in Act 2, and then I'm not needed again until towards the end of Act 3, when the Guardians of the Seven Rainbow Mountains arrive to help Prince Dario in the final battle...that's not too many lines to memorize. To be fair, we're both good at remembering things--so maybe I'll get my chance at a lead role soon enough.

    Once everyone had their scripts, Señora Vega went on "Thank you all for auditioning. If you didn't get a role this time, there will be other opportunities this year for you to try for a role. For those of you who did get roles, we will have rehearsals for the next six to eight weeks, with a performance date sometime in the middle of November. Crew members will be assisting our house crew with sets, costumes, lights, sound, music, and effects..."

    ---------

    "...and so, Prince Dario set off for the Seven Rainbow Mountains with courage in his heart, and confidence in his step." the boy playing the narrator began as Nemona--now wearing an elegant plumed hat that matched her training garb--confidently walked around the rehearsal area for a few moments. "It was not hard to find the mountains--they all shone like colored beacons from any point in the kingdom." After a few days of uneventful travel, he finally arrived at the Red Mountain--the Mountain of Divine Flame."

    My cue! Juliana smiled as she rummaged through a box of hats, capes and other implements near her seat, aware of Señora Vega giving the boy playing the narrator and Nemona some tips for the scene's opening.

    After finding a suitable red cape to stand in for a costume and tying it on, she heard Señora Vega say "All right, let's continue with the part where Prince Dario and the Phoenix meet!"

    Nemona nodded, and knelt down near the center of the room, as if the entrance to a mountain was there. "Guardian of the Mountain, I come on a quest. How am I to pass your holy test?"

    At this, Juliana elegantly jumped into the stage area, but one student suggested "Can't we get a platform or something to stand in for the mountain?"

    "A great idea." Señora Vega agreed before starting towards the hall of storage rooms. "Wait there a moment, everyone..."

    Murmurs filled the classroom until Señora Vega returned with a small platform some moments later. "Now...Juliana, are you able to step on and off this platform easily?"

    Juliana easily stepped onto the platform, giving her a grand view of her classmates, the entire room, and the views of the academy from the windows. "Si, señora. I can stand on this platform fine."

    "Okay...can you try jumping on it from a running start?" Señora Vega asked as some assistants set down a safety mattress--just in case Juliana missed the jump. "We want to create some illusion of flying, and still keep you safe."

    "Which way should I approach from?" Juliana asked. There were several ways she could perform a jump onto the platform, but which way would be safe, and provide a beautiful flight?

    "Let's try from the right corner first--near the bleachers." Señora Vega suggested as she watched Juliana get into position.

    Juliana nodded, braced herself in the corner, then took off towards the platform. After a few tense minutes, she made the strongest jump she could, rolling elegantly in the air before touching down on the platform. She next spread out the red cape, as a signal to her teacher and her classmates she had made it safely.

    "Wow!" Nemona gasped as the students cheered Juliana's elegant landing.

    "That was very nice!" Señora Vega agreed. "Think you can do that again as your grand entrance for now?"

    "Si, señora...I can." Julianna wheezed through a tired, but happy smile...
     
  4. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 4: Thinking Outside the Box


    A few days later, the class convened in the rehearsal room, intrigued by the TV set up in the middle of the floor. "All right, everyone--we're not watching a play today, but we will watch a demonstration of the acting exercise I would like us to try today." Señora Vega explained as she arrived in the room. "The name of the exercise is 'What's in the Box?'--it aims to help improve movement, comic timing, and comic expression. While I believe this exercise will help all of you improve your acting, it will be especially helpful for those of you with comic roles in our upcoming play."

    Excited murmurs raced through the room as one of Señora Vega's assistants arrived with a closed box. "To perform the exercise, all you have to do is open a closed box in the most humorous way possible without talking, and without using your hands." Señora Vega explained. "So no simply tearing the box open with your hands."

    "What about using a box cutter or a knife?" someone asked.

    "I have hidden a knife somewhere in the room, but that is part of your challenge." Señora Vega explained before checking to be sure the TV and the Blu-Ray player were ready. "To give you one possible version of what this exercise looks like, here is Divine Coordinator and actress Dawn Solberg performing the exercise."

    With that, she hit PLAY on the TV remote and dimmed the lights as onscreen, Dawn--now wearing a beautiful purple and white Wakunese outfit--arrived on the set of a Wakunese palace to discover an ornately patterned box wrapped in a golden bow. Piqued, she examined the box for a way to open it, but the box was so tightly closed, there was no obvious flap or other opening. Giggles filled the room as she shook the box, creating a quiet rattle...

    ---------

    Later, after the video had ended, Señora Vega addressed the students. "Now that you have a basic idea of how the 'What's in the Box?' exercise works, I want each of you to try it for yourself."

    Just then, some of Señora Vega's assistants arrived carrying a box full of festively designed boxes. "I've prepared a box for each of you, filled with your favorite things." Señora Vega explained. "Your challenge is to find the knife hidden somewhere in the room, or find some other way to open it, without talking or tearing the box open with your hands. Be creative, and show off your comedy skills!"

    She glanced around the room. "Any volunteers? Otherwise, we will go down the roll."

    "I will!" Nemona volunteered.

    Señora Vega just smiled at Nemona's enthusiasm as an assistant set a box decorated in pale blue flowers labeled with Nemona's name on the floor. "Okay...here is your box, Nemona. There's no time limit, so take your time, and be creative!"

    Nemona took a moment to examine her box, to giggles from the other students. There's a ribbon, but once I untie it, it won't be much help. Fingernails are against the rules--no using your hands. Banging the box on the floor or against something would potentially break what's inside--so I'm gonna try finding the knife!

    Inspired, she hurried over to the corners of the room, and used what light she could find to look for any sign of a knife. I wish I could use my Rotom Phone...then I could use its flashlight mode. she sighed as she dug through some set pieces and props, to some giggles.

    A red metallic flash from an empty sword sheath snapped her to attention. There's the knife!

    She emerged from the pile of clutter holding the knife, to some applause from her classmates. Excited, she returned to her waiting box, untied the ribbon, and cut it open, revealing an array of Nemona's favorite snacks and candies, a variety of Mentaverde comics, Pokémon League photo books, and play costume photo books.

    "Well done!" Señora Vega smiled, pleased at how quickly Nemona had found the knife. "I did like seeing your expressions as you looked for the knife..."

    "I know part of the challenge is trying to find it, but can you hide it somewhere where someone can see it?" Nemona asked as she gave her teacher the knife for her to hide for the next person's challenge...

    ---------

    Before long, it was Juliana's turn to attempt the exercise. "Here's your box..." Señora Vega assured Juliana as she set a box decorated with mint leaves and green swirls labeled with her name on the floor. "Take your time, and be creative...good luck!"

    Juliana nodded, and approached her box, just as she had seen Nemona and some of her other classmates do. Let's see here...once I untie the ribbon, there's no obvious way to pull open the top. she thought. Using fingernails is against the rules, and I don't want to break whatever's inside...

    She longingly looked over at the corner where Nemona had found the knife earlier, to giggles from her classmates. It's unlikely that Señora Vega would hide the knife in the same place twice. It's not out in the open, either...

    Inspired, she hurried over to the script shelves at the right end of the room. Maybe she hid it inside one of the mystery scripts!

    After thumbing through a script for "The Queen's Knights", she found the knife sandwiched between a scene and an illustration of a character using a dagger to cut the heroine free. Ah ha! A fitting choice to hide the knife... she thought as she returned to her waiting box, to applause from her teacher and her classmates...
     
  5. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 5: The Prince and the Phoenix Onstage


    In the Naranja Academy's majestic theater, Juliana, Nemona, and their classmates arrived to begin rehearsing and blocking their first play of the year. "Okay, everyone...today we will begin blocking the play." Señora Vega began as she met the excited orange clad students on the stage. "You all have been doing well learning your lines, but I want you all to have them memorized within the next three weeks."

    Cheers filled the air as the students hurried backstage to find something to stand in for a costume. "I hope Señora Vega brought the plumed hat I wore last time backstage."

    Juliana rummaged through the box of costume pieces until she found the red cape she had worn before, and a headdress with a red plume. "There we are! I hope I look phoenix-y enough!"

    "You look perfect!" Nemona assured Juliana. "Now that we're onstage, we can practice your big jump to meet me at the start of Act 2!"

    "Okay! I need Prince Dario and the Phoenix of the Red Mountain!" both girls heard Señora Vega call.

    Nemona smiled as she put on the plumed hat. "Our turn! Let's do this!"

    "Coming, Señora!" Juliana called as she threw on the red cape and the headress, then followed her friend onstage...

    ---------

    "...and so, Prince Dario set off for the Seven Rainbow Mountains with courage in his heart, and confidence in his step." the boy playing the narrator began as Nemona--wearing a familiar elegant plumed hat that matched her training garb--confidently walked around the stage for a few moments. "It was not hard to find the mountains--they all shone like colored beacons from any point in the kingdom. After a few days of uneventful travel, he finally arrived at the Red Mountain--the Mountain of Divine Flame."

    Nemona knelt down near the center of the stage, as if the entrance to a mountain was there. "Guardian of the Mountain, I come on a quest. How am I to pass your holy test?"

    Juliana made an elegant jump onto the platform before Nemona. "Fear not, brave hero...I am the phoenix that guards the Red Mountain. Though it may be a mountain of fire, the flames inside will not harm the good and the pure."

    Nemona nodded. "Kitsune told me to find the Ruby of Fire. What must I do to prove myself worthy?"

    "If the lady Kitsune bid you come here, your quest is urgent indeed." Juliana replied. "In order to prove yourself worthy of the Ruby of Fire, you must first brave the perils of the Red Mountain. If your heart is pure, the flames will not harm you as you brave the mountain."

    "I understand, milady." Nemona replied.

    "If you are ready for the trial, follow me inside the mountain." Juliana instructed, motioning for Nemona to follow her.

    "Okay, and scene!" Señora Vega smiled. "First of all, I liked how you two contrasted Prince Dario's fear and the Phoenix's gentleness. Nemona, remember that Prince Dario is not terrified or panicked. He knows and understands his mission to save Princess Maria, and is not easily rattled. That said, it okay to show a little fear in your lines to better emphasize that even though he is afraid, Prince Dario chooses to take the Phoenix's trial for the sake of Princess Maria."

    "Got it--ease off on the fear." Nemona smiled as she made a note in her script.

    "Juliana...nice job on conveying the Phoenix of the Red Mountain as a gentle guardian." Señora Vega explained to Juliana. "My only concern is that you're playing her as too gentle. If you can, I want to hear just a little more strength in your lines--you are the sacred guardian of a mountain, after all, so try to balance gentleness with authority, okay?"

    "Right!" Juliana replied as she wrote down a reminder in her script.

    Señora Vega, meanwhile, motioned to the boy playing the narrator. "Okay, let's try this part of the scene again, up to the point the Red Phoenix leads Prince Dario inside the mountain for the trial of the Ruby of Fire."

    The boy nodded, then read his narration again. "And so, Prince Dario set off for the Seven Rainbow Mountains with courage in his heart, and confidence in his step." he began as Nemona confidently walked around the stage again for a few moments. "It was not hard to find the mountains--they all shone like colored beacons from any point in the kingdom. After a few days of uneventful travel, he finally arrived at the Red Mountain--the Mountain of Divine Flame."

    Nemona knelt down near the center of the stage, as if the entrance to a mountain was there. "Guardian of the Mountain, I come on a quest. How am I to pass your holy test?"

    Juliana made an elegant jump onto the platform before Nemona. "Fear not, brave hero...I am the phoenix that guards the Red Mountain. Though it may be a mountain of fire, the flames inside will not harm the good and the pure."

    Nemona nodded. "Kitsune told me to find the Ruby of Fire. What must I do to prove myself worthy?"

    "If the lady Kitsune bid you come here, your quest is urgent indeed." Juliana replied. "In order to prove yourself worthy of the Ruby of Fire, you must first brave the perils of the Red Mountain. If your heart is pure, the flames will not harm you as you brave the mountain."

    "I understand, milady." Nemona replied.

    "If you are ready for the trial, follow me inside the mountain." Juliana instructed, motioning for Nemona to follow her.

    "Okay, and scene!" Señora Vega called. "That was much better this time! Can you remember to balance courage, love, and fear in how you say your lines, Nemona?"

    "I think I know how to do that, Señora." Nemona replied.

    "Juliana, nice job on conveying gentle authority!" Señora Vega called up to Juliana. "Since the interior of the Red Mountain set is not ready yet, let's work on putting movement with the lines..."
     
  6. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 6: A Debut With My Best Friend


    The Naranja's beautiful theater buzzed with activity as parents, family, friends, and students arrived to watch the Theater Performance I class put on their first play of the school year. Backstage, the students' excitement was palpable as they threw on costumes, the school orchestra tuned up in the pit, and the crew made sure that the lights, sound, and effects were in order.

    In the wings, Juliana--now in an ornate scarlet and gold dress-like costume with a red plumed headdress--looked out at the rapidly filling theater. This is it! We've worked so hard on this play, so let's show them that we're just as good as the other Theater Performance classes when it comes to a good show!

    Just then, Nemona arrived in a regal scarlet, violet, gold prince's outfit, complete with a purple and gold hat with a white plume. "Ready to go?"

    "As I'll ever be..." Juliana replied as she adjusted the red feather in her headdress.

    A mew made Juliana smile as a green cat Pokémon trotted out to meet her. "Hi, Menta...will you behave while I'm performing?" The cat Pokémon nodded, and nuzzled Juliana, purring happily all the while.

    "Aw, your Sprigatito came to wish you good luck?" Nemona smiled as Juliana petted the tiny green cat Pokémon.

    "Don't worry, Juliana--the Pokémon wranglers will take good care of Menta while you perform." Señora Vega assured Juliana as Menta romped backstage and curled up in an empty box for a nap.

    She motioned for the class--now in their costumes--to circle around her. "Everyone...you've all worked hard these last few weeks, and I couldn't be more proud of you. Now, go out there and give our students and Mesagoza a show they all can be proud of!"

    Cheers filled the wings as the students hurried to their places, and the lights flashed the five minute warning...

    ---------

    "...and so, Prince Dario set off for the Seven Rainbow Mountains with courage in his heart, and confidence in his step." the boy playing the narrator began as Nemona confidently walked around the stage in a spotlight for a few moments. "It was not hard to find the mountains--they all shone like colored beacons from any point in the kingdom. After a few days of uneventful travel, he finally arrived at the Red Mountain--the Mountain of Divine Flame."

    Nemona knelt down near the center of the stage, facing a majestic craggy mountain set. "Guardian of the Mountain, I come on a quest. How am I to pass your holy test?"

    Juliana made an elegant jump onto a platform hidden in the mountain set before Nemona. "Fear not, brave hero...I am the phoenix that guards the Red Mountain. Though it may be a mountain of fire, the flames inside will not harm the good and the pure."

    Nemona nodded. "Kitsune told me to find the Ruby of Fire. What must I do to prove myself worthy?"

    "If the lady Kitsune bid you come here, your quest is urgent indeed." Juliana replied. "In order to prove yourself worthy of the Ruby of Fire, you must first brave the perils of the Red Mountain. If your heart is pure, the flames will not harm you as you traverse the mountain."

    "I understand, milady." Nemona replied.

    "If you are ready for the trial, follow me inside the mountain." Juliana instructed, motioning for Nemona to follow her offstage as the lights went down.

    The lights blinked back to the boy playing the narrator for a moment. "The Red Phoenix took Prince Dario deep inside the mountain, where a shining ruby floated at the end of a lake of fire. Prince Dario's heart was pounding--would he have to walk across the lava, or something worse?"

    The lights came up on Nemona and Juliana as they arrived on a volcanic cavern set, with orange carpet standing in for the "lava"., and a prop ruby floating at stage right. "Here we are...the Lake of Courage." Juliana explained as she and Nemona arrived onstage again. She made a grand gesture to the "lava" and the ruby at the end of the stage for effect.

    Laughter filled the air as Nemona reared back in feigned fear. "Courage? All I see is a lake of lava!" she protested. "Am I doomed to burn alive in here, before my quest even begins?"

    Juliana laughed along with the audience at Nemona's feigned panic. "The Lake of Courage is called as such because there are safe places to step on within the fire--if you are willing to place your trust in Arceus and take the first step of faith. If your heart is pure, the fire will not harm you--only the evil and selfish are burned alive in here!"

    Nemona swallowed hard. "O-okay..." she stammered, to more nervous giggles as she approached the edge of the lake of "lava".

    The orchestra played a mystical stinger as Nemona gingerly stepped forward onto a hidden platform that looked like a rock! "By Arceus...this is rock! Maybe I won't burn alive in here after all!"

    "indeed it is..." Juliana replied. "Since you faced your fear and took the first step into the lava, that rocky platform appeared to you, thanks to your noble and pure heart. For every step you take towards the Ruby of Fire, another rocky platform that is resistant to the fire will appear. So long as you remain focused on your goal, you will always have a way forward."

    Nemona nodded as the orchestra played a hopeful melody. "My goal is to save my beloved Maria, or die trying. In order to do that, my first step is to claim the Ruby of Fire. In order to do that, I must cross a lake of fire.

    Juliana watched as Nemona carefully stepped across the lava lake towards the prop ruby. Way to go, Nemona! Maybe you can teach me how to get better at realistically portraying fear!
     
  7. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 7: A Celebration of Legends


    The mood inside the Theater Performance I class was festive as Juliana, Nemona, and their classmates gathered to celebrate their play's successful performance a few days later. Señora Vega had said that while nothing class worthy would be done, she did have a major announcement. For once, the students were in the usual Naranja uniform instead of their training garb. "I wonder what Señora Vega's big announcement is..." Juliana mused as she arrived at the massive tapas bar that had been set up in the rehearsal area. "A famous play? A guest instructor? A trip somewhere far away?"

    "I can assure you it's not another play..." Señora Vega replied. "Let's celebrate the play we just finished performing, and give you some time to rest, before we move on to a new play. But my announcement is something special, and one I believe will benefit you all as actors--since one of the goals of our theater department is to introduce you to theatrical traditions around the world."

    Señora Vega's assurance made Juliana's heart quicken. Could it be? Someone famous is coming to perform for us and teach us?

    The excited chatter quieted as Señora Vega clapped for attention. "Okay...first of all, thank you all for your hard work in making 'The Seven Rainbow Mountains' a success!"

    Cheers filled the rehearsal room. "Our show even made the front page of the school newspaper!" Señora Vega proudly showed the students a copy of the school paper's latest issue, where a picture from Juliana and Nemona's first scene highlighted the headline "'Las siete montañas del arco iris' el último éxito del departamento de teatro.'

    Nemona smiled at the headline. "'The Seven Rainbow Mountains' the latest hit for the theater department'...I'd say it was!"

    "You did great as Prince Dario!" a boy smiled as he found a seat to enjoy his tapas.

    "Juliana was no slouch either!" a girl agreed.

    Compliments came from all corners of the room, making Juliana blush a little. "Aw, I was just doing my best to play a minor role well..."

    "And you did very well as the Phoenix, Juliana..." Señora Vega assured Juliana. "Even though Nemona is eager for the lead role every time, I believe you have potential to play a lead role too."

    She turned business-like again. "This brings me to my announcement. Thanks to Paldea's long partnership with Waku, Señor Clavel has arranged for a few Wakunese actors to come here for a residency. This means they will be teaching you how to write, rehearse and perform the Tawame style of theater, and in turn you will teach them about our long tradition of la zarzuela."

    Excited murmurs filled the room at this. "And no better actors could've been chosen as our Wakunese ambassadors--the legendary Ash Ketchum, Misty Williams, and Brock Harrison!"

    The room erupted in cheers as Juliana very nearly dropped a piece of prosciutto and parmesean cheese onto the carpet in shock. "EEEEEEEEEEE!!! WE GET TO PERFORM ALONGSIDE THREE LEGENDS OF THE STAGE!!!" Nemona nearly screamed before dancing around the rehearsal room, almost knocking some tapas serving plates and bowls off the table.

    "I KNOW!!!" Juliana called back, equally excited.

    Once the cheers and excitement had calmed down, Señora Vega gave more details about Ash's Misty's and Brock's impending visit. "As hosts for our guests, I want you all to be thinking about which zarzuelas you want to show them. Try to come up with at least three ideas, or if you want to write an original zarzuela with them. Whichever shows are the most popular are the ones we will perform for our guests."

    "We have to do something featuring Mentaverde and Colorada!" a girl suggested.

    "Then put it on your brainstorming list--that is your tarea for tomorrow." Señora Vega assured the student. "Your lists don't have to be unique--the more times a show is on people's lists, the more likely we will perform it."

    "What if we want to teach our Wakunese guests how to write una zarzuela?" a boy asked.

    "Then note that on your list, outside of the minimum of three existing shows you chose." Señora Vega replied. "If you are not familiar with the zarzuela repertoire, Pokepedia has a very extensive, but not exhaustive, list--many of them with plot summaries and song and act lists."

    "Can we suggest plays for our Wakunese guests to show us?" a girl asked.

    "Yes! You can suggest plays for our guests to demonstrate, but keep in mind they may already have their plays already planned, and may not have time to perform suggestions." Señora Vega replied. "If you make a separate list of suggestions, I will pass it on to Señor Clavel."

    Nemona thought for a moment as Señora Vega continued answering questions about the residency and their homework for the next day. "Come to think of it, doesn't Pokepedia have a huge list of Tawame plays too?"

    "Yeah...there's probably dedicated Web sites that are better than Pokepedia." Juliana agreed. "I have a free period after this, so do you want to meet up at the library once we're done here, or wait till after school?"

    "I have Battle Strategies I next, so it may be best to wait till after school." Nemona replied. "They say Ash, Misty, and Brock are as Legendary as trainers as they are actors--everyone remembers how they took down World Champion Leon last year!"

    "Yes--interrupted programming and everything." Juliana remembered. "Part of me wants to see how Ash would do against our League, and La Primera, never mind it would likely just be a formality."

    "I hear that Señor Ash's Pikachu is just as legendary as he is!" a student commented.

    Juliana smiled as a familiar green cat Pokémon hopped in her lap and purred. "I hope Menta and me grow that close too."

    "So, are we agreed to meet in the library for play research later?" Nemona asked.

    Juliana nodded. "Yeah--the library's open 24 hours, so we should have plenty of time to finish our homework!"
     
  8. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Intermission: Researching a Far Away Stage

    Later that evening, the Naranja Academy's grand and specious library hummed with quiet energy as students came and went to do research, do homework in a quiet place, or find a book or another item for personal enjoyment. In one of the private computer labs, Nemona typed in one particular address, bringing up a massive list of Tawame plays in alphabetical order. "Okay...which ones should we ask our Wakunese guests to at least tell us about?"

    "The Legend of the Azure Moon?" Juliana asked. "That sounds interesting..."

    Nemona opened the link in new tab, revealing the play's synopsis, pictures of the Niji Troupe performing it, and Misty posing heroically against a night sky with a blue full moon. "That does look exciting..."

    She then saw another title. "'There Will Always Be Music?' Sounds like a showcase play--a kind of play where there's not so much a plot, as there is a showcase of the troupe's abilities."

    "This one has video!" Juliana smiled, pointing out a video captioned "The eight stars of the Niji Troupe perform the Phoenix Song" "Shame we can't watch videos in the library..."

    "Yeah--I'd definitely want to ask Ash about the Phoenix Song." Nemona agreed as she wrote down "Ask about the Phoenix Song" on her list of ideas.

    "'The Grand Journey of the Eight Spirits'...that sounds fun." Juliana smiled.

    "So does 'Journey to a Graceful Treasure'." Nemona agreed, admiring a picture of Dawn in costume as Shaymin singing something.

    "That's a pretty costume..." Juliana mused before finding the quick synopsis for the play. "Shaymin guides a band of heroes to the mystical forest where the legendary Gracidea flower is said to bloom. But the way to the forest is harder than the heroes bargained for!"

    "Memo to self--ask our guests about Shaymin and the Gracidea flower!" Nemona smiled before writing down the idea on her list.

    "Evil Tries to Stop the Gold Phoenix?" Juliana found an intriguing title in the large list.

    "Spoiler alert: you can't stop Ho'oh." Nemona grinned as she admired a picture of a beautiful Ho'oh animatronic on the play's information page.

    "I want to know how our guests handle big Pokémon onstage..." Juliana wondered.

    "Already been answered in the 'Ask the Niji Troupe' section." Nemona replied as she gestured to a second tab with the question loaded. "Sometimes they are live actors, sometimes they are huge puppets, and sometimes they are animatronics, depending on the play."

    "Interesting...have they answered any questions about the puppets?" Now Juliana was curious.

    "They work something like Rubi the Talonflame in 'El bosque de Fantasia'--they're often both a costume and a puppet." Nemona explained, showing Juliana a picture of a beautiful Greninja full body puppet on another page. "Others are akin to theme park character costumes, and still others are traditional Wakunese puppets that need multiple people to perform. Again, this depends on the play."

    She clicked back to the list of plays. "'Braviary Watches From the High Cliff'...'Tales from the Old Dragon'...'The Glorious Flower Shines Brightly'..."

    "Wonder what that Tales from the Old Dragon one is about?" Juliana wondered.

    Nemona smiled when she saw a picture of Brock in a beautiful green Wakunese storyteller's outfit saying something. "I see...'old dragon' is sometimes used in Wakunese to mean a highly skilled storyteller, regardless of what the person's guardian spirit is. So this is a showcase of Brock's storytelling skills--both Wakunese tales and Europan and Unovan tales with a Wakunese twist."

    "Oh!" Juliana smiled as she saw a picture of Dawn in a beautiful purple, silver, and gold costume that evoked a Deerling leaping to attack something with a Wakunese style staff, creating a beautiful silhouette against the full moon projection on the night sky set. "So that's what Dawn looks like as Pearl Deerling!"

    "That play's called 'Deerling of the Harmonious Moon'." Nemona explained. "As the title suggests, this one is about how Pearl Deerling got her innate element--the cosmos."

    "Maybe we can ask Ash, Misty, or Brock about their fellow stars when they come?" Juliana asked.

    Nemona nodded as she added the idea to her list. "Serena does look familiar to me--she is one of Ash's closest friends, and not too shabby a coordinator. But it makes sense why Ash is the chief male actor, and Serena is the chief female actor of the troupe--their bond is very close, and it shows both on and off stage."

    Juliana nodded in agreement. "It goes back to what Señora Vega said earlier today--the lead actors of a Tawame troupe are so close, they do everything together, even after they step down."

    She glanced at the clock on the wall. "How are we doing on time?"

    "It's getting late, but I'll copy down the URL of the main play list for you, so you can keep looking back in your room." Nemona smiled as she e-mailed Juliana the link to the main play list. "Of course, I'm just down the hall if you need anything--good thing the cafeteria is open 24 hours for those all nighters."

    "Thanks, Nemona." Juliana smiled as the girls gathered their belonging in preparation to depart. "I'll show you what I've found when we get to class tomorrow."

    "And I'll do likewise, before Señora Vega takes it up." Nemona agreed as the two companions and hallmates made their way back to the library's main lobby.

    "Have a good evening." the chief librarian smiled as Juliana and Nemona departed, pleased at the fruits of their research...
     
  9. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 8: The Heroes of Waku Arrive


    "Did you hear, did you hear?" Nemona cried as Juliana arrived to change into her training garb a few weeks later. "Ash, Misty, and Brock are here!"

    "Really?" Juliana asked. "When did they arrive?"

    "Señor Clavel said they came a few nights ago." Nemona replied. "Today's the day they'll answer all our burning questions about the Tawame theater--and what to expect in learning to perform that style."

    "I wonder what play they'll have us do first?" Juliana wondered, her mind spinning with ideas.

    "Go get changed, and we'll find out!" Nemona replied before hurrying off to get into her own training garb...

    ---------

    Juliana couldn't help but smile at the black haired boy, an orange haired girl, and the older brown haired boy before her, calmly answering her classmates' questions, and sometimes showing off a prop or demonstrating their own abilities. That's a clever idea--wearing your own practice garb while having an elemental themed pin so it somewhat matches ours. she thought as she admired Ash's red form fitting shirt and black leggings with a flame pin, Misty's blue leotard and white tights with a water drop pin, and Brock's green form fitting shirt and black leggings with a leaf pin. For all that they've been through, and everything they have won, they're still humble about it...

    "What's the difference between a Western sword and one handed Wakunese sword?" Someone asking a question snapped Juliana from her thoughts.

    "The biggest difference is how many edges they have." Ash explained, laying his preferred blade and one of the prop swords in the room side by side on a table. "Most Wakunese swords--and this includes the mighty katana--are single edged, while the Western sword is double edged."

    "Have you wielded a katana before?" Juliana asked Ash.

    "Yes!" Ash smiled back. "But even the prop katanas are fairly heavy, so it takes some extra practice if you're used to a one handed blade. But I've played enough samurai roles to comfortably wield one."

    "How do you manage to work swimming into a show?" someone asked Misty.

    "Most Tawame theaters--including our home theater--have a pool that lives under the stage." Misty explained. "If a character needs to do aquatics, they get a wetsuit version of their costume, so to the audience, it doesn't look like a costume change happened at all."

    "How do you get Pokémon onstage?" someone asked.

    "Depending on the play, they could be real Pokémon, live actors, different kinds of puppets, video projections, and even animatronics." Ash replied, inviting his faithful Pikachu Tintri aboard his shoulder.

    "What is that harp-like instrument I keep hearing in anime and martial arts movies?" another student asked.

    "Wows" and awed chatter filled the classroom as Brock revealed his well loved vina to the students. "This is la vina--the Wakunese harp that only the narrator gets to play. The music was said to help set the mood for the scene, and add character to the narrator's words. As you can see, it is small enough to hold in your hand."

    After taking a moment to put on his preferred pale green fingerpicks, he went on "While you can play the vina with just your fingers, it is encouraged to wear fingerpicks. This protects your fingers from injury, and it protects the strings from the gunk that is naturally on your hands."

    "Can you do your nails and wear the fingerpicks?" Nemona was intrigued.

    "Yes, and no." Brock replied. "If you're wearing clear protective polish or one solid color, that's fine. But the elaborate designs you see on MyTube or Memogram are a no go."

    He flexed his playing hand so the students could see the picks. "Just like guitar picks, vina picks come in all kinds of colors and sizes."

    With that, he played an excerpt of "The Lotus Flower Opens" to give the students a taste of what the beautiful instrument sounded like. ¡Qué bonito! Nemona raved as the classroom exploded in applause.

    Gracias. Brock replied back before starting an exciting melody that evoked a Waku of old. "Now...let's talk about the first Tawame play you guys will be doing. 'A Sneasel Sneak Attack!' is a comic play, set in what is now Shinou. At the time the story takes place, Shinou was known as Hisui."

    "Oh"s went up at this. "The play tells the story about a band of heroes chasing a Hisuian Sneasel--who is usually portrayed as a live actor--across a Waku that never was to get back a sacred jewel." Brock explained. "Part of the humor is the near cartoon-like situations the Hisuian Sneasel leads our heroes into."

    "If you want to try playing the Hisuian Sneasel, we'll need someone that can move quickly, has good comic skills, and can act well without saying anything." Misty explained as Brock set the vina somewhere safe. "The speaking roles will have auditions, but we're taking volunteers for this one role."

    She looked out at the excited students. "Any volunteers?"

    Juliana wasn't sure what was calling her to raise her hand, but she raised her hand high anyway. "I will."

    Cheers filled the classroom. "I think you can pull off a comical villain pretty well, Juliana!" Nemona assured her friend.

    "You're sure you want to do this, Juliana?" Señora Vega asked. "There's plenty of other roles I feel you would fit, but if you really want to try a non speaking role, I will respect your choice."

    "I'm sure, Señora." Juliana assured her teacher. "I have wanted to try playing a comical role that doesn't talk--hero, supporter, or villain."

    "Besides, you've got three legends of the stage supporting you every step of the way!" Nemona agreed as Ash passed down the Hisuian Sneasel's script to Juliana...
     
  10. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 9: Becoming the Sneaky Sneasel

    "Quick change to a lavender outfit for today...and a headband for a temporary costume...." Misty smiled as she slipped a purple feather headband on Juliana's head in the theater department's athletic training room. "And there we are! A temporary Hisuian Sneasel costume."

    "This role requires someone agile--and you easily proved that in the dancing exercise you did with your classmates earlier today." Brock smiled. "That said, there are some moves you need to learn that should sell the illusion of parkour to the audience. So for today, we'll work on some rolls and fast jumps."

    "Actual parkour would be a little too demanding for the schedule we have, but what we're gonna teach you will serve you well for this show." Ash agreed. "This is the basic safety roll, or as I like to call it, the Link Roll--because it resembles the movement Link performs in 'The Legend of Zelda' when you do the roll command."

    "Grass or this sort of carpet will do very nicely for safety reasons." Misty explained. "But if you don't feel comfortable or safe doing something, tell us!"

    "Like Señora Vega says, safety informs everything we do on stage." Juliana smiled.

    Ash smiled in agreement. "Now, here's how you do the Link Roll...stand with your left foot slightly forward and right foot slightly back, like this."

    "Okay..." Juliana replied, trying to mimic Ash's pose on the familiar beige carpet.

    "For these next few steps, just watch how I do it first, then it'll be your turn to try." Ash assured Juliana before getting down in an all fours crouch position. "Next, crouch and place your hands on the ground in front of you with your right hand in front of your left hand, like how I am here. Once you're in that position, lean forward."

    Juliana watched in awe as Ash performed an elegant roll. Once he had safely gotten up, he went on "As you're leaning forward, allow the forearm to fall onto the ground. This should stop you from falling and hurting your shoulder."

    "Right!" Juliana smiled, acknowledging the nurse and her Chansey in the room keeping a watchful eye on the lesson in progress.

    "Next, push with the left leg to give yourself some momentum, like I did." Ash went on. "You want to roll over the left arm and onto your shoulder. This should be a diagonal movement across your back."

    "Whatever you do, don't let your head touch the ground!" Misty cautioned. "If you did everything correctly, you should be able to use your momentum to get up and continue on your way."

    "Ready to try the Link Roll?" Ash asked, inviting Juliana onto the floor. "We're only worried about doing the roll from a standing start for now. Once you can do it well from a standing start, we'll add movement into it."

    "Yeah!" Juliana smiled before assuming the starting position, then diving into a wobbly version of the roll.

    "Not bad...the roll should be one fluid movement." Ash explained. "No diving down or any extra movements."

    "Okay..." Juliana replied before attempting the roll again, only to have the roll become a tumble.

    "Almost had it--remember the roll itself is a diagonal movement across your back, not onto it, like a tumble would be." Ash assured Juliana.

    Both Ash and the nurse smiled as Juliana performed a smooth roll on the next attempt. "YES! That's what the roll should look like!"

    "Can you remember what that movement feels like once we add movement and jumps into this?" Misty asked.

    "I think so..." Juliana smiled as she accepted some water from the nurse.

    "While we take a break, let's put our athletics and acrobatics lesson into the context of the play." Brock suggested before finding a copy of the play's script. "Your first big athletics sequence--what we are practicing now--is when we first see your character, after you've successfully snatched the Eight Color Diamond--the jewel that the other characters are trying to get back from you. Remember that this is a comical play, so don't be afraid to taunt the guards as you roll, jump, and run across the stage."

    Juliana chuckled a little as she pictured herself, as a Hisuian Sneasel gijinka, doing a cute dance as Nemona, in the role of an archer, gawked at her from across a chasm. "Once I get to the palace gate at the end of the chase, it it okay if I can do a cute dance to taunt the guards before I run offstage to end Act 1, Scene 1?"

    "That would be a great way to end Scene 1!" Ash raved. "It would put the Cheri Berry on top of an already wild chase scene!"

    "Before we go back to practicing rolls, let's recap how the chase is gonna work." Misty begin. "Basically, the narrator sets the scene, you come on--maybe smirk to the audience to silently tell them what you are about to do, tiptoe to the prop diamond, admire it for a minute or two, then snatch it--which alerts the guards. After the guards say their lines, quickly hurry off--the roll we are practicing is your jump from a palace window into the imperial garden. Once you're on your feet again, you use the pavilions and rockwork as springboards to elude the guards, including running across the koi pond. Once you get to the gate, do your cute dance to taunt the guards, then hurry offstage, and scene.

    Juliana grinned at Misty's description of the chase that started the scene. "I can't wait to thoroughly trash a Wakunese garden!"

    "Well, for the moment, we'll keep working on what will become your big jump into the garden from the window." Brock explained. "Once you're comfy with the roll and getting up, we'll work on jumping across pavilions and rockwork. Either way, this will be one of many thrilling and cartoon-like chases you'll be doing over the course of the play, so we'll have fun trashing some traditional Wakunese sets, and doing that safely..."
     
  11. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Act 10: Practicing With the Sneasel


    The Naranja Theater filled with happy chatter as the Theater Performance I class gathered for rehearsal. "Aw, you look cute for a Hisuian Sneasel!" Nemona smiled as Juliana emerged from a dressing room in a lavender leotard with white tights, some purple gloves standing in for claws, and the purple feather headband.

    "Thanks..." Juliana smiled. "If we're going over when your character finally defeats me today, I'd rather just fall off the palace to meet my demise--it would make a bookend considering I start the play escaping the imperial palace."

    "I don't think we're going over that part today..." Nemona admitted as she checked the next to last scene in Act 3. "According to the script, my character is supposed to take you alive at the end. The Emperor warns you to not do any more evil things, you agree to this, and romp off--and all live happily ever after."

    "But whether or not I truly reform or not, I leave you to decide." Juliana smiled.

    Señora Vega's call of "Places, everyone!" snapped both Juliana and Nemona to attention. "Here we go! I can't wait to see the results of the special athletics training you've been doing!" Nemona smiled as the set crew set up various obstacles that would stand in for various items in a palace garden.

    Juliana, meanwhile, was mentally reviewing the chase in her mind as she climbed onto a platform standing in for the palace window she would escape from on opening night. Okay...the narrator sets the scene, I come on--playfully smirk to the audience to silently tell them what it is I am about to do, tiptoe to the prop diamond, admire it for a minute or two, then snatch it--which alerts the guards. After the guards say their lines, quickly hurry off--the roll we practiced is my jump from a palace window into the imperial garden. Once I'm on my feet again, use the pavilions and rockwork as springboards to elude the guards, including running across the koi pond. Once I get to the gate, do a cute dance to taunt the guards, then hurry offstage, and scene.

    "Ready up there?" a familiar voice asked as Juliana emerged onto the platform.

    Juliana smiled as she looked down at Brock, who now had on a black referee's whistle in addition to his training garb. Misty was nearby with her PokeNav open to TimeNav. "Ready!" she called as Ash arrived to explain what was about to happen.

    "Basically, we're gonna run through what the opening chase will basically look like--and we're gonna time you." Ash explained. "The goal is to complete the chase in a minute and thirty seconds, or less. We'll also fine tune the chase itself by getting your teacher and classmates' feedback on what we've been practicing."

    "Okay!" Juliana smiled before getting into position at the top of the tower for the jump down to a safety mat below.

    "And 3...2...1..." Brock counted down before blowing his whistle, spurring Juliana to make an elegant leap and roll to the mat.

    Señora Vega and the other students watched as Juliana nimbly leaped across various platforms and mattresses, simulating the wild chase through the imperial garden that would kick off the play. Once she reached the other end of the stage, she performed a cute pose to signal Misty she had completed the run.

    "Let's see here..." Misty studied the TimeNav screen for a moment. "One minute and forty seconds--we're getting to the goal time, but there's still room to improve!"

    "Also keep in mind that some of the platforms and springboards will move opening night." Señora Vega cautioned. "So you will need to practice that once you reach your goal time on a still course."

    She addressed the students. "Everyone? Is there anything Juliana could do to refine the opening chase so it is safe for her, and exciting for the audience?"

    "Have you been practicing rolls in the air?" someone asked.

    Once Juliana had nodded yes to answer her classmate, Nemona interjected "An aerial roll at the peak of each of the high jumps you do would look cool--but only if YOU feel comfortable doing that!"

    "Yeah--as Señora Vega says, safety comes first!" a boy agreed.

    "While I would eventually like to incorporate some aerial rolls into the chase, I don't feel confident about performing them just yet." Juliana replied. "But maybe with a little more practice, I may be able to do it."

    Cheers went up at this. "On that note...are you ready to do the run again, Juliana?" Ash asked.

    "Yeah!" Juliana replied before scrambling back to the tower to practice the run again as the crew touched up the course.

    "Once sure Juliana was in position and Misty had cleared TimeNav for another run, Brock counted Juliana down again. "Okay! 3...2...1..."

    Nemona's cheers were the loudest as the whistle blew, and Juliana made another elegant jump and roll on the safety mat, then ran across a wobbly mat that would simulate a fountain, then dove and leaped across the platforms and mattresses again.

    The students held their breaths as Juliana performed her signal pose, and Misty checked Juliana's time again. "Nice job--one minute and thirty-five seconds! You're getting close!"

    Señora Vega beamed as the other students cheered. "Well done, Juliana! Our guests have been training you well."

    "Thanks..." Juliana wheezed as some crew members arrived with some water and a towel.

    "Do you have enough in you for a third run, or do you need to rest?" Señora Vega asked as Juliana wiped the sweat from her face, then took a long drink of water.

    "Maybe after I rest a little, I'd be up to try and reach the goal time." Juliana replied.

    "Okay...you can take a break backstage while we block the aftermath of the chase." Señora Vega replied before addressing the other students. "I need Honoka and the guards, please!"

    "Honoka--my role!" Nemona smiled as Juliana made her way backstage. "See you in a bit!" she smiled as she joined two other boys to practice a key scene in the play...
     
  12. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Grace
    (Shaymin (Sky))
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    Act 11: Writing a Play in Return


    Later that evening, Juliana, Nemona, and some of their classmates gathered around a table in their dorm's common area to discuss a gift for Ash, Misty, and Brock. "Everyone's here...good." Nemona smiled. "Penny may not physically be in class that often with her anxiety, but Señor Clavel allows her to go to class remotely." she explained to some of the first year students present. "She's actually a great playwright, even if she won't go within ten feet of a stage. So we're gonna enlist her help in our thank you gift for Ash, Misty, and Brock for their time here--write them a play they can take home to Waku, and perform there!"

    Cheers went up in excitement as Juliana found one particular app on her phone. "I have let Penny know we were doing this, and she seemed to love the idea. So let me connect to Flash here..."

    The group waited a moment as Juliana started the app, only to smile as a notification popped up. "Okay...Penny's here, so let me connect her."

    "Testing...can everyone hear me okay?" came a soft voice from the phone.

    "This is Juliana--I can hear you just fine." Juliana replied.

    "Hola"s wafted in the phone's direction at the red and white haired girl on the screen. "Nemona told me everything..." Penny explained. "I would be honored to attempt writing a play for the Champions of the Stage to perform. I have done some research on the Tawame style, but what else should I keep in mind while writing such a play?"

    "High adventure and excitement are the order of the day." Juliana explained. "So imagine what a zarzuela, or something like 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' would look like with martial arts involved."

    "Okay...do any of you guys have ideas for a title?" Penny asked. "Once I know what your masterpiece will be called, I can probably come up with an authentic sounding plot from there."

    "I'll be here to help with research, and brainstorming the story, musical numbers, and so on." Juliana assured Penny. "So you're not doing the writing completely alone."

    Penny nodded. "All right, let me set up a document in Autoria here..."

    "Oh yeah, the specialized word processor for writing and planning stories." Nemona remembered.

    "Not just short stories and novels, but you can also use it to write poetry and plays." Penny explained. "For now, this is to keep track of title suggestions for your gift play. Once we have a title everyone agrees on, I will start another separate document for the script itself."

    Juliana nodded to silently assure Penny she understood, then addressed the others in the room. "Anyone have any title suggestions?"

    "'The Wonderful Road'?" Nemona suggested.

    Penny thought for a moment. "That's a start, but the wonderful road to where? A good title should be clear and concise."

    "You could also interpret that as the 'the wonderful road to what'?" a boy agreed. "Either way, it would be confusing for both the actors and the audience."

    He thought for a moment. "How about 'The Heavenly Road to Snow Town?'"

    "That's a good idea--reminds me a little of the tales of Calyrex and Glastrier at home." Penny smiled.

    "Misty would probably play the lead if we went that route." Juliana agreed as she watched Penny type the boy's suggestion into her idea document.

    "If no clear favorite emerges, we will hold a vote on each suggestion." Penny went on. "You can, of course, suggest as many titles as you like, but let's try to have everyone contribute at least one good suggestion."

    "That's fair." Juliana replied before thinking a little. "'The Venerable Ponyta Coin'?"

    "How would we fit a Ponyta on the school stage?" Nemona wondered. "Señor Clavel would say no to Ponytas in the theater easily!"

    "Well, you could say it is simply a coin with a picture of a Ponyta on it, and it grants some other power--such as a Ponyta's speed and power." Penny assured Nemona. "Based on what few times I've been in the school theater, I will agree that fitting a live Ponyta on the stage would be a challenge."

    "But if you're writing this for Ash, Misty, and Brock, they may have a stage back in Waku that can fit a Ponyta...or even a Rapidash!" a girl interjected.

    "That's true..." Nemona admitted.

    "How about 'A Song of Attaining Glory'?" a boy suggested. "It could be a retelling of the Champions' victory transferred to Waku..."

    "It's a thought, but I would like to set this tale in an ancient Waku, if we can." Penny replied. "Transferring a well known tale or event to another land can be difficult..."

    "How about 'The Jade Phoenix Sword Manual'?" a girl suggested.

    Even Penny could help but smile at the cheers on the call. "I take it that is the title everyone has agreed on?"

    "Guess so." Juliana replied. "It goes without saying that Ash is the lead..."

    "Is there anyone else in their troupe I should know about?" Penny asked. "Once I know who the other stars at home are, I can write roles for them, as well."

    "I'll ask them when I see them at rehearsal tomorrow, okay?" Juliana assured Penny before noticing a clock on the common room wall. "As soon as my classes are done for tomorrow, I'll report back with what I find out."

    "That's fair." Penny smiled. "Buenas noches, everyone."

    "Buenas noches, Penny." everyone replied back before the call ended...
     

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