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Fanfiction Pokemon: The Brilliant Diamond Stage

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by WavePearl, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    (rated E10+ for stage violence and frightening images)

    To celebrate Diamond and Pearl remakes coming out, here is a different sort of adventure: Ash, Dawn and Brock (as well as some others in the Pokémon cast) on a grand tour of the Shinou region performing a larger than life form of ancient theater.

    Slight spoilers for Pokémon Shine Diamond and Pokémon Storm Gray ahoy!

    Episode 0: A Reunion of Diamonds and Pearls

    "...a few spare outfits, and we are good to go!" Dawn smiled as she looked over the single suitcase on her bed. Unlike her last trip around the Shinou region, she now knew better than to pack her entire closet.

    [Remind me why we're going around the region again?] Kori asked. [You've done the Contest Challenge, and narrowly lost to Zoey in the Appeal Competition finals during the Grand Festival...]

    "We're actually gonna learn how to perform an ancient style of theater, and then perform it across Shinou with Ash, Brock, and the gang." Dawn explained to the tiny blue penguin watching from the bed. "From what Ash has said, May and Misty will be with us too."

    A book depicting a black haired woman in a red and white miko outfit aiming a divine arrow at an angry Gyarados got her attention. "But more than anything, I want to play two particular roles--the warrior-miko Kanade..."

    She pulled another book from the bookshelf, this one depicting a Deerling gijinka and a Taillow gijinka leading a boy in traditional Shinouian garb through a vast flowery field. "...and Deerling Child, an earth spirit that helps the hero in the tale 'The Magic Herbs'."

    The doorbell snapped her to attention. "They're here!" After quickly throwing both books in her suitcase, Dawn made her way downstairs.

    Just as Joanna opened the door to let Ash and Brock inside the house, Kori noticed a familiar mouse creature perched on Ash's shoulder. [Tintri!]

    [Kori!] Tintri bounded off of his master's shoulders and hugged Kori tightly. [It's been a while since catching up with you in Unova!]

    [I know.] Kori smiled before changing the subject. [How was Galar?]

    [Beautiful! We also traveled around a huge island famed for its martial arts, and a tundra filled with secrets!] Tintri replied.

    Ash couldn't resist smiling at the Pikachu and Piplup chattering on the living room rug. "I'm sure you're excited to join us and the troupe on our trip across Shinou..."

    "Am I ever!" Dawn replied. "What can I expect on our adventure? Plus...I love the name for the troupe...Kagayou."

    "Kagayou can mean 'shimmer' or 'sparkle'." Brock explained. "It's a reference to the lavish--and often shimmering and sparkling--productions we perform."

    "You know what the Tawame form of traditional theater is, right?" Ash asked.

    "Yeah...after reading about and seeing video of you guys and other troupes on MyTube, I've always wanted to learn to do that." Dawn replied.

    "Basically, the Tawame is the wild and spirited cousin of the Gekijou theater." Ash explained. "So a lot of larger than life adventures, often with martial arts involved."

    "Or what Zelda would look like with martial arts in it." Brock explained. "Based on your acting during our first trip and in the Pokémon Musical, you would most likely fit a houkaku role, a versatile actor that can play many different types of roles."

    "So I could play Kanade one play, and then Deerling Child in 'The Miracle Herbs'?" Dawn asked.

    Brock nodded. "'The Miracle Herbs' is on the Niji Troupe's schedule, as are a few shows featuring Kanade. So you could very well get your wish."

    He motioned for Dawn to come outside. "We're not just walking around Shinou this time...you'll be traveling the region in style!"

    Dawn waved to get Kori's attention. "I'm sorry to interrupt your conversation, but let's go see how we're traveling this time!"

    [Coming!] Kori called as she followed her master outside...

    ---------

    "Whoa..." Dawn gasped as she emerged on the front walk to discover a large caravan of colorful wagons waiting for her. "This is way better than walking!"

    "This is how many Tawame and Gekijou troupes travel even today--long caravans of wagons." Brock explained. "So when you're ready, come on board!"

    Dawn noticed that Opal, the family Glameow, had joined Joanna on the front walk. "Bye, Opal..." she whispered as she hugged the small gray cat Pokémon.

    She next hugged Joanna. "Well, here we go again, on a different kind of adventure."

    "Judging from how well you did on your Contest adventure, I believe you have the potential to be an actress too." Joanna replied. "Do your best, and never give up, no matter how hard things may get. That was what carried you to the Grand Festival."

    Dawn nodded. "I promise...one day I will perform the roles of Kanade and Deerling Child before you!"

    After waving goodbye to Joanna and Opal one last time, Dawn carefully climbed aboard the majestic wagon. "Welcome aboard...this is one of the residential wagons, where we rest and relax while on the road." Ash explained. "Basically, here's how this will work--each week, we'll stop at a theater, and stay for a week--one day for each of the subtroupes to put on a play. Once the last troupe finishes, we pack everything up and go on our way."

    He smiled. "Luckily, the Niji Troupe is the closer for this first week, so you'll have some time to learn the play we'll be doing."

    "So, what are we all performing for this first week?" Dawn asked as Ash showed her inside a modestly furnished room.

    "Well, first the Mikan Troupe kicks things off with 'The White Celestial Raikou'." Ash explained. "Next is the Aoi Troupe with 'Heavenly Willow Holds in the Storm'. After that is the Midori Troupe's performance of 'Shards of the Path', the Akai Troupe's version of 'Glorious Defender of the Emerald Wood', the Murasaki Troupe's 'Ghost Leaping From Darkness'. the Kii Troupe's 'Strike of Sacred Lightning' then we wind the week up with 'Dazzling Rainbow of the Heavenly Beautifly"

    "I like the name of the play we're doing...what's it about?" Dawn wondered as she unpacked her bag.

    "'Dazzling Rainbow of the Heavenly Beautifly' tells the story of Riko--your role." Ash began. "Riko is a student of the Valorous Beautifly sect, alongside her best friend Niki--May's role..."

    "No way...May's with us too?" Dawn gasped.

    Just then, May peeked inside the room. "Surprise!"

    "May!" Dawn cried, giggling as she embraced her friend and fellow Coordinator. "I didn't know you were with the troupe too!"

    "It sounded fun, and I wanted a chance to see your home region too." May explained. "It is a lot of work to learn the form, but it is worth your while."

    She looked up at Ash. "You were saying?"

    "Let's see..." Ash found his place in the synopsis of the play. "One night, an evil sect attacks the temple, leaving the master of the sect clinging to life. After stabilizing the master. Riko and Niki begin a desperate search for a way to heal their master, but come up with nothing. That night, the four guardian gods--mine, Misty, Brock's and Serena's roles--appear to both Riko and Niki in a dream, telling them to meet them by the Ever Blooming Cheri Tree, a legendary Cheri tree whose blossoms always bloom."

    "And then?" Dawn was intrigued now.

    "Riko and Niki travel to the tree the next morning, where Genbu the Black Turtle explains what they must do to heal their master." Ash went on. "Awaken as a divine entity called the Heavenly Beautifly, and defeat the evil sect that hurt their master once and for all."

    He smiled, "After a very long Zelda-esque quest, Riko and Niki both awaken as Heavenly Beautiflies, and with the four guardian gods alongside them defeat the evil sect, healing their master and restoring peace to the land. Riko and Niki are hailed as heroes, and all live happily ever after."

    "Sounds amazing!" Dawn smiled.

    She, May, Ash, and Brock laid their hands on top of each other, like a sports team before a game. "Let's work together to make all our plays a success!" The others cheered in agreement as they separated their hands...

    To Be Continued...
     
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    #1 Mar 9, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  2. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    Episode 1: The Heavenly Beautifly Begins Her Training


    "Okay, Dawn..." Ash began as he led Dawn inside a rehearsal room the next day. "Let's start your Tawame training by getting a grasp on acting."

    "I've acted with you onstage before, so how hard can Tawame acting be?" Dawn wondered

    "Unlike most types of theater acting, Tawame acting is more expressive and dynamic, since it is also connected to song." Ash explained. "More on singing in Tawame style later."

    He noticed Brock had arrived in the room. "Exaggerated expressions help convey emotion and add character to your actions. Your character's personality also informs everything they do while onstage."

    "I looked the script over last night, and Riko comes across to me as very loyal, confident, and kind." Dawn mused. "I can't wait for May and me to convey Riko and Niki's beautiful friendship!"

    "Well, based on that information, how do you think Riko would enter the master's hall of the dojo, and bow to her master?" Ash asked.

    An idea came to him. "Pretend Brock is the master for this exercise, okay?"

    "Hm..." Dawn thought for a moment, then strolled up to Brock, then bowed respectfully before him on one knee.

    "Not bad for a first try, but I see room for improvement." Brock smiled as Dawn got up. "First, the martial arts style of a bow is not the same as bowing before the League Champion or royalty. Bowing is about more than respect in the martial arts world. It means both sides are ready, and it conveys thanks after a good duel. So you don't need to get down on your knees."

    "Okay..." Dawn replied before changing the subject. "I heard you've finally earned the right to teach your own Raikou style students--so may I see you in your master's uniform? I think that may help get me into character."

    "Yeah...second dan black belt is the minimum rank the dojo I trained under recognizes a master, and taking students of your own." Brock explained. "So give me a minute to change into the master's uniform, and we'll try the walk and bow again."

    ---------

    Brock returned a few moments later, now in a majestic black master's robe with a gold Raikou kanji on the right side of the chest. "Now, let's try Riko's walk and bow before her master again."

    He smiled as Dawn confidently strolled up to him and bowed. After kneeling a little to return her bow, he began. "Very good! I think I saw a little of Riko's confidence that time..."

    "Although...why did you start to kneel when you returned my bow?" Dawn was confused.

    "It's actually a specific type of bow that teachers and senior students use before junior students." Brock explained. "I do it all the time with my own students."

    He assured Dawn "The more you do exercises like this, the easier it will be to get into character."

    ---------

    After practicing the walk and bow character exercise for a while, Brock looked over at Ash. "Okay if we go over speaking and singing next?"

    "Yeah, those two skills are related in the Tawame theater." Ash agreed. "You can keep your master uniform on to play Genbu in this scene--our costumes are still being made right now."

    He next addressed Dawn. "Music is the heartbeat of a Tawame show, so it is no surprise that speaking and singing go hand in hand. In fact, it's not unheard of for a character to sing in the middle of dialogue, or entire story beats to be conveyed in a song."

    "When we do sing in the middle of dialogue, it's usually a capella--no instruments." Brock explained. "You might get a little percussion to give you a sense of the beat, but otherwise, no instruments. The only exceptions are A. an instrument is part of your character, or B. it is a very important song in the story."

    "Some context for this scene--after meeting the four guardian gods by the Ever Blooming Cheri Tree, Genbu tells Riko what she and Niki must do to save their master." Ash explained. "Suzaku does interject a few times, but otherwise, this scene is a dialogue between you and Brock."

    Dawn found the start of the scene in her script. "Master Genbu....Mistress Seiryu...Mistress Byakko...Master Suzaku...we have come, as you commanded."

    "You have the right idea, but turn down the volume just a little--you are humbly addressing the Four Guardian Gods, after all." Brock suggested. "There is a time and a place in this play you can scream their names, but now's not the time."

    "Okay...save that for the final battle." Dawn smiled before trying the line again. "Master Genbu....Mistress Seiryu...Mistress Byakko...Master Suzaku...we have come, as you commanded."

    "Riko and Niki...two Beautiflies creating a radiant dance in the sky...you have proven your faithfulness by coming here." Brock began, his voice gentle and yet with an authoritative note. "You master lies gravely wounded by the fang of the fiendish Mightyena. But there is a way to save his life, and make right the wrong done to your noble sect."

    "What must we do to save Master Satoru's life?" Dawn asked.

    "It will not be an easy way..." Ash cautioned. "It will involve a long journey filled with trials. But if you complete this quest, your wings will shine brighter than ever before."

    "Since time immemorial, stories have told of Heavenly Beautiflies--warriors whose noble hearts are strong and beautiful." Brock explained. "By tapping into this divine power, you will strike fear into the Mightyena, and he will flee."

    After finding a pitch pipe, and blowing an E note to establish the key he, Ash, and Dawn would be singing in, Brock sang The sakura grows thick around the mountain brook
    And the banks around are newly colored with flowers.
    It is the heaven-supporting pillar where all the rivers meet,
    The earth’s root, unchanged through a thousand aeons.


    On the red cliff, I cry! Two heroines are here! Ash interjected.

    Brock tried oh-so-hard not to laugh and break character over Ash playing a heroic flourish on his bansi for effect. "In order to awaken as Heavenly Beautiflies, you must travel to the seven Temples of the Holy Jades, and complete the trials within each one. Only then will you be strong enough to drive back the Mightyena from whence he came!"

    Dawn nodded before hesitantly singing Though tears may fall for my master's sake,
    I won't let them consume me...
    I turn my sadness into a sword
    Into a blade, in the name of justice
    The light of my soul
    Will never disappear again!


    She looked through the script. "Is there sheet music in here? So I can have some idea of how my part of the song goes?"

    "Here..." Ash pocketed his bansi, and thumbed a few pages to show Dawn the sheet music of her verse. "Ready to try again?"

    Dawn nodded, then tried the heroic verse again. Though tears may fall for my master's sake,
    I won't let them consume me...
    I turn my sadness into a sword
    Into a blade, in the name of justice
    The light of my soul
    Will never disappear again!


    "Yes!" Brock smiled. "That's the kind of strength and confidence we need in this scene!"

    He looked at the clock on the wall in the room. "Let's take a break for now--you've worked hard!"

    Dawn took a moment to admire the ornate red and gold flute by Ash's side. "That's a nice instrument..."

    "This is a bansi, a sideblown flute that is traditionally the hero's instrument in the Tawame and Gekijou theater." Ash explained. "It is famous for its high and piercing sound--you definitely know it when you hear it!"

    With that, he started a festive melody, spurring Dawn to laugh with delight as the music rang through the room...

    To Be Continued...
     
  3. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
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    Episode 2: The Heavenly Beautifly Takes Flight (part 1)


    A few days later, Dawn was jolted awake by a knock. "Good morning!" May's voice called. "Ready for your grand debut as a Tawame performer?"

    "As I'm ever gonna be..." Dawn replied as she climbed from bed to get dressed. "I'll get the door in a minute..."

    After getting dressed, she let May inside. "So, what's the plan of attack for tonight?" she asked.

    "We have to be backstage, in costume, by 5." May replied as she set down a tray piled high with fruit, cheese, yogurt, toast, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. "The show starts at 6, with an intermission between Act 2 and Act 3."

    "How did the other troupes do with their shows?" Dawn asked as she bit into an Oran Berry.

    "Very well! Every one so far has been a hit!" May assured her friend. "I hope we can close our first week with a bang."

    Dawn nodded before finding a piece of toast. "Me too. I'm nervous, but a little excited too..."

    "It's like Brock always says--the audience is not your foe, but your friend." May agreed. "The more plays you do, the easier it will be."

    The two friends and coordinators laid their hands on the table. "Let's make tonight's show a success!"

    They separated their hands with happy giggles before continuing their breakfast. I've worked so hard over the last few days... Dawn thought as she used the syrup to draw a Beautifly outline on some pancakes. Now's my chance to show my friends--and the world--what I've learned!



    ---------

    Applause filled the Quiet Fortune Theater as the lights went down, and a lone vina began a reflective melody. "Once upon a time, in a place far from here, wandering warriors dedicated their lives to righting wrongs and battling terrifying monsters." a woman began, her fingers dancing across the ancient harp's strings as she set the scene. "The number of paths, dojos, and sects numbered like sand by the sea--and one of the most cherished and well respected sects was not a powerful Pokémon...it was a valorous Beautifly."

    With that, the orchestra struck up a festive melody as hundreds of boys and girls in martial artist's garb appeared on the set of an outdoor training arena. The Arcanine may have his strength! The Beast has power and speed!
    Though the phoenix has its flaming wings,
    Beautifly's colors take the lead!
    one sang as the others jumped, punched, kicked and twirled around her.

    In the wings, Dawn and May--in white robes with hidden color lines--watched the spectacle unfold. "I'm kinda glad that's not me out there..." Dawn whispered as she watched the crowd of performers onstage perform backflips off each other, twirl in the air, and leapfrog over each other.

    "Riko and Niki are the main characters, so it makes sense we get a scene all to ourselves." May replied. "Once we do the friendship affirmation scene, we're not needed again until after the evil sect attack scene."

    "I've been looking forward to that..." Dawn admitted. "If only because we summon the four guardian gods with the Swanna Song..."

    Some applause snapped her to attention. "We're on! Let's do this!"

    ---------

    "Among the many students of the Valorous Beautifly sect were Riko and Niki, two best friends who were never apart for long." the narrator continued from her nook. "Whenever they could get a moment to themselves, they liked to travel to Spring Breeze Hill, and visit over a picnic lunch."

    May located a basket filled with prop food, then motioned for Dawn to follow her onto the stage, which now depicted a majestic hillside set with forests and mountains far off in the distance. "Ah, what a lovely day for a picnic..." she smiled as she unpacked the prop food.

    "I know..Master Satoru may be a tough master, but he cares about every student that walks the way of the Valorous Beautifly." Dawn agreed before stretching out beneath a tree on the set. "As much as we have learned as students, I wonder what adventure lies beyond these hills..."

    The orchestra started a thoughtful melody. We are still on our journey, but we have come this far,
    There is still so much more we can learn..
    . Dawn sang.
    We'll only shine more from here on out,
    So let's be together even more!


    No matter what we face, on the road ahead,
    I'll be there to comfort, guide, and protect you...
    May sang back in reply.
    Let's keep on going forward together,
    Our wings a wild display of color...


    She took Dawn's hand. "Riko...no matter what happens, good or bad, will you be there?"

    Dawn nodded. "I promise, Niki...no matter what. May Arceus judge me if I ever betray or forsake you!"

    A grand swell of music filled the auditorium as Dawn and May sang together With firmness and patience, we'll seek the dragon’s lair,
    Determined to carry on till we climb the Heavenly Peak to the Way of Stars...
    On our long journey we will visit many a country;
    Thousands of cloud-capped mountains lie before us...


    Take me to the end of the world,
    For you and I can go anywhere!
    May sang.

    So let us take flight from the heavenly mountain,
    And fly to the valley far below...
    Dawn sang.

    Let the wind fill our wings!
    And guide us down the road
    Towards a grand adventure!
    both of them sang, to applause as the lights went down.

    ---------

    Some time later, Dawn raced onto the darkened stage, with May not far behind. "Master Satoru! Are you okay?" she asked as she knelt down to tend to a male actor in a beautiful silvery master's robe.

    "We came as soon as we heard the dojo was under attack, but it appears we were too late." May agreed as she tended to feigned wounds.

    "It's not too late..." the male actor replied. "Some of the other students tended to my wounds...I am using my ki to help the healing process along..."

    He looked up at Dawn and May as other actors playing students arrived. "What you need to do now is tell the four guardians what has happened here...they will tell you what to do next."

    As the actors playing students helped the actor playing Master Satoru offstage, Dawn knelt on the stage floor. "Black turtle...blue dragon...white Raikou...red phoenix...I plead for your help!"

    "Someone we love dearly has been gravely wounded, and we want to save his life if we can..." May continued the prayer. "If it is Arceus' will that we can save him, tell us what to do!"

    With that, both girls sang together Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
    Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
    Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
    Emusto koron zen fine, si...


    The audience gasped as May and Dawn crumpled to the stage in feigned exhaustion...

    To Be Continued...
     
  4. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
    Joined:
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    ₽24,091.8
    Episode 3: The Heavenly Beautifly Takes Flight (part 2)


    For a few moments, Dawn and May lay "lifeless" on the stage in feigned exhaustion. But after a few tense moments, a red flash got the audience's attention. "Riko and Niki...two best friends whose bond can never be broken, we of heaven have heard your plea." Ash began from offstage.

    A white flash appeared next. "There is a way to save your special one's life, if you are willing to undergo many trials for their sake." Serena explained from offstage.

    A purple-black flash came next. "In order to learn what you must do to save your special one's life, meet us by the Ever-Blooming Cheri Tree." Brock instructed from offstage. "We will tell you more there."

    "Let me heal you both from your exhaustion, and give you both strength for the road ahead." Misty offered as a water projection elegantly flowed down on top of May and Dawn. "Remember--meet us by the Ever-Blooming Cheri Tree."

    With that, the lights came up on the master's room in the dojo again. "Mm...I had the strangest dream..." May mused as she eased herself to her feet. "I heard the voices of the Four Guardian Gods..."

    "I had the same dream..." Dawn mused as she got up. "Genbu the Black Torterra, who created the earth...Seiryu, who created the waters...Byakko, who created the skies...Suzaku, who created the cosmos...I heard them all clear as day. They said to meet them by the Ever-Blooming Cheri Tree..."

    "The Cheri tree on the hill by the dojo?" May asked. "The one that supposedly has bloomed for a thousand years and more, when most Cheri trees bloom for two weeks?"

    Dawn nodded. "If it means saving our master, I'm willing to do anything!"

    "It's decided! In the morning, we head for the Ever-Blooming Cheri Tree, and answer the call of the Four Guardian Gods!" May announced, to some applause at the lights went down.

    ---------

    The narrator's vina quieted the applause. "And so, Riko and Niki made their way to the Ever- Blooming Cheri Tree. But what the Four Guardian Gods had called them to do would lead them on the adventure of a lifetime..." She let that hang as the lights came up on a beautiful hillside set, complete with a prop Cheri tree with millions of prop flowers.

    Dawn and May arrived onstage a few moments later. "Master Genbu....Mistress Seiryu...Mistress Byakko...Master Suzaku...we have come, as you commanded." Dawn began.

    A swirl of black-purple leaves revealed Brock wearing a beautiful black, gold, and green robe. "Riko and Niki...two Beautiflies creating a radiant dance in the sky...you have proven your faithfulness by coming here." he began, his voice gentle and yet with an authoritative note. "You master lies gravely wounded by the fang of the fiendish Mightyena. But there is a way to save his life, and make right the wrong done to your noble sect."

    "What must we do to save Master Satoru's life?" Dawn asked.

    A whorl of "flames" revealed Ash in a majestic red, orange, and gold robe, complete with glittering "wings" attached to the arms. "It will not be an easy way..." he cautioned. "It will involve a long journey filled with trials. But if you complete this quest, your wings will shine brighter than ever before."

    "Since time immemorial, stories have told of Heavenly Beautiflies--warriors whose noble hearts are strong and beautiful." Brock explained. "By tapping into this divine power, you will strike fear into the Mightyena, and he will flee."

    With that, Brock sang over the orchestra The sakura grows thick around the mountain brook
    And the banks around are newly colored with flowers.
    It is the heaven-supporting pillar where all the rivers meet,
    The earth’s root, unchanged through a thousand aeons.


    On the red cliff, I cry! Two heroines are here! Ash interjected.

    Brock tried oh-so-hard not to laugh and break character over Ash playing a heroic flourish on his bansi for effect--he still found Ash's flourish amusing, even on opening night. "In order to awaken as Heavenly Beautiflies, you must travel to the seven Temples of the Holy Jades, and complete the trials within each one. Only then will you be strong enough to drive back the Mightyena from whence he came!"

    Dawn nodded as the orchestra began a triumphant swell. Though tears may fall for my master's sake,
    I won't let them consume me...
    I turn my sadness into a sword
    Into a blade, in the name of justice
    The light of my soul
    Will never disappear again!


    The audience roared with applause over Dawn's triumphant song before Serena--now wearing a white and gold striped robe with blue and green trim--arrived in a gust of "wind". "If you are ready to travel to the Temple of the Ruby Jade, I will take you there."

    "What can we expect inside? What is our trial?" May asked.

    Misty--now wearing a beautiful blue, white, and silver robe--arrived in a whorl of "water". "The Seven Holy Jades maintain the balance of the elements in the world. The Ruby Jade represents fire, so I will let the honorable Suzaku explain your first trial."

    "Okay...in order to prove yourself to the Ruby Jade, you must cross the Sea of Flames in the temple's heart without being burned." Ash explained. "A relatively easy trial if you know what to do."

    "Once you arrive at the temple gate, I will grant you an aura of water so the fire will not harm you." Misty explained.

    "Okay..." Dawn replied with feigned nervousness.

    She reminded herself I'm not walking on literal fire, just bright orange carpet with lighting on it. May and I did that fine in rehearsal.

    She looked over at Serena. "Lady Byakko..we're ready to travel."

    "All right...let the wind guide you along the way." Serena smiled.

    Moments later, both May and Dawn disappeared in a rush of wind as the lights went down...

    To Be Continued...
     
  5. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    ₽24,091.8
    Episode 4: The Heavenly Beautifly Takes Flight (part 3)


    Awed chatter filled the air as May and Dawn materialized before a majestic red temple set. "You're here...good." Ash smiled.

    Misty knelt down and laid her hands on Maya and Dawn's shoes. Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...

    She smiled as a "watery" aura appeared around May and Dawn's shoes. "There...now the fire of the Sea of Flames will not harm you."

    "Thank you, Honorable Seiryu." Dawn smiled.

    May, however, was not so sure as the orchestra struck up a playful melody. Will we be walking across pure liquid flame? she sang to Ash.

    No--a god would never play that game. Ash sang back before elaborating on the trial's rules, in song:

    With water's blessing on your feet,
    You will not be harmed from the heat


    So take a leap of faith and walk
    Across the flames to find the lock
    The Ruby Jade is hidden behind.


    A lock? But then where's a key? May sang.

    Ash smiled. You can find it, if you look and see.

    Applause went up at the song's end. "All right...we're ready for the trial." May hesitantly smiled as the lights went down.

    ---------

    "Suzaku led Riko and Niki to the Chamber of the Sea of Flames, then left them to complete the trial." the narrator began. "In the middle of the room filled with seething lava, Riko noticed something miraculous..."

    The lights came up on May and Dawn arriving on the set of a temple room, where orange lighting and a orange-gold carpet on the stage created the illusion of lava. "This is it...the Sea of Flames." Dawn mused.

    The lights expanded to include a prop rock in the center of the stage, with an ornate ruby key on top of it. "Wow...a rock stands in the middle of a lava lake...and yet it doesn't burn!" Dawn gasped.

    "Maybe this is what Suzaku meant earlier!" May agreed. "Where you lead, I will follow--Master Satoru's life depends on us!"

    Dawn nodded, then took her first steps onto the "lava". She then strolled up to the rock, climbed up, and took the key as May arrived at the rock. With key in hand, Dawn led the way to a door at stage right and unlocked it, revealing a smaller set of a divine sanctum, where a prop red stone glowed. "Well done! You made it." Ash grinned. "The Ruby Jade has seen your courage, and now offers its power to you."

    Dawn and May watched in amazement as a red streak and some ruby studs appeared on their costumes. "Now...next is the Temple of the Amber Jade." Ash explained. "The others are already there waiting for us."

    With that, he played a mystical flourish on his bansi, making him, Dawn, and May "disappear" in a small burst of flames as the lights went down.

    ---------

    Moments later, Ash, May and Dawn materialized before a majestic orange temple set. "The red streaks on your clothes affirms you have completed the first step on the road to your awakening." Misty smiled. "The Amber Jade represents energy, and the balance thereof. Your trial is to balance the Scales of Fortune inside."

    "When you arrive, you will see magnets, and many bags of coins surrounding the scale." Serena explained. "Use the magnets to find the right bag or combination of bags to balance the scale."

    "Keep in mind that not every challenge will have one definitive answer." Brock cautions. "There may be multiple correct answers to a problem. But this trial tests teamwork--if you work together, you will find a correct solution to balance the scales."

    May and Dawn nodded. "Understood." May replied. "Take us inside the temple, Honorable Genbu."

    ---------

    The lights came up on the set of another temple room, this one holding a massive prop scale and hundreds of bags of coins, as well as a magnet on the entry balcony. May emerged on the right end of the stage, and Dawn arrived with Brock on the left. "Here we are...the Chamber of the Scales of Fortune." Brock began. "The magnets before you may be small, but stronger than any mortal. So you should be able to manipulate any bag in here, no matter how far it is. There is no clock, no pressure--all we wish to see is how well you work together."

    "All right..." Dawn mused as she picked up a small, skinny magnet lying on a pedestal before her.

    "We are ready to begin the trial." May smiled from the other end, holding her own magnet in the air for Brock to see.

    "Very well...I will wait for you in the Chamber of the Amber Jade." With that, Brock seemingly disappeared in a whorl of purple-black leaves.

    May wasted no time in grouping up some smaller bags. "A single large bag seems too obvious..."

    "True, but Master Genbu did say that there may be multiple ways of balancing the scale." Dawn agreed as she too grouped some smaller bags together. "I wonder what happens when we combine two groups?"

    Once happy with the size of their groups of bags, both May and Dawn carefully positioned their groups of bags on the empty pan of the scale. After a few tense moments, the scale creaked into balance, opening the door in the center of the room! "We did it!" Dawn smiled as she met May at center stage on the set's lower level...

    --------

    Brock smiled as May and Dawn arrived in a smaller set of a divine sanctum, where a prop orange stone glowed. "Very well done." he began. "The Amber Jade saw how well you worked as a team to restore the balance of fortune...and now offers its power to you."

    Dawn and May watched in amazement as an orange streak and some amber studs appeared on their costumes. "Our journey now leads us to the Temple of the Topaz Jade." Brock explained as he revealed his own vina. "Lady Byakko will tell you what to do when we arrive."

    With that, he played a gentle D chord, making him, May, and Dawn seemingly disappear in a whorl of leaves...

    ---------

    Moments later, Brock, May and Dawn materialized before a majestic golden temple set. "Now..." Serena began. "The Topaz Jade holds the power of lightning...and its trial will see you finding your way in the dark."

    "Take advantage of the path the lightning shows you when it strikes." Ash agreed. "Think quickly, and walk carefully, and you will triumph against the storm...

    To Be Continued...
     
  6. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    Episode 5: The Lady Phoenix Archer at the Old Post Station

    "Dawn, I'm so proud of both you and May..." Brock smiled as the caravan set out on the road again the next day. '"'Dazzling Rainbow of the Heavenly Beautifly' was a hit--you guys really showed off Riko and Niki's bond!"

    "Thanks..." Dawn smiled. "The dark room with lightning, the thorn trial in the Emerald Jade Temple, and riding the wind in the Indigo Jade Temple were probably the scariest parts."

    "Yeah, let's not do any more wind stuff for a while." May agreed as she joined Dawn and Brock in the lead wagon's large common room. "What do we know about our next stop?"

    "Our next stop is the Old Crossing Theater--so named because it was once part of a post town in ancient times." Brock explained. "Though the real post town is long since gone, the local historical society rebuilt it as a show of living history, to show students and the public what life in ancient Shinou was like."

    "I remember visiting the Old Crossing Station several times as a kid!" Dawn smiled. "The trip almost always included a Tawame play, and you never knew what you were going to see any given visit."

    Brock smiled. "Well, we talked to the historical society that cares for the Living Historic Site, as the rebuilt post town is officially called, and got their permission to put on a week's worth of shows for kids that visit this week. Consider it returning the favor to all those actors and actresses that captured your imagination as a kid."

    "Nice...I can't wait to inspire the kids here!" Dawn smiled.

    "And I can't wait to see the Old Crossing Station." May smiled. "I wanted to see it before the Wallace Cup a few years ago, but ran out of time..."

    "It is worth your while to take a tour--the guides are in character as ancient travelers, so you get a different class' perspective on the post station and its amenities." Dawn asked. "You can ask for a specific character, though."

    "Interesting...any particular characters that are popular?" Brock wondered.

    "Of all the actor-guides, Nijiko, the theater performer, Kitashi, the samurai, and Kiku the miko were my favorites." Dawn remembered. "You only get Nijiko as your guide if you include a Tawame play as part of your tour."

    "While we're on the subject of plays, here's our schedule for our week at the post station..." Brock began as he set a piece of paper on the table. "First, the Midori troupe starts things off with 'Pursuing the Fiendish Dragon'. Next, the Aoi troupe performs 'Light of the Jade Forest'. The Mikan troupe performs 'The Glorious Combusken's Battle Cry...'"

    "That sounds exciting!" May smiled.

    "...and the Kii troupe follows that with 'The Shining Mightyena Guards the Forest'." Brock went on. "The Akai troupe is next, with 'Victorious Eminence of the Jasper Road'. we perform 'The Phoenix Archer'. and the Murasaki troupe winds everything up with 'Power of the Venerable Sun'."

    "'The Phoenix Archer...it sounds familiar..." Dawn mused.

    "The story is very loosely based on the folktale of Hou Yi and the nine suns." Brock explained. "Big change number 1 for our show--the nine suns are actually nine powerful martial artists, all taken down by the Hou Yi counterpart's enchanted bow, which was given as a gift by Suzaku the Red Phoenix."

    "Big change number 2 for our show--our Hou Yi counterpart is changed to a girl named Kisaki." Brock explained. "Would you like to learn archery and try out for that role?"

    "Sure..." Dawn mused, a note of hesitancy in her voice. "But where would we get a chance to practice safely? We can't shoot inside the caravan."

    "When we stop to camp for lunch in a little while, we'll take a moment for our first archery lesson." Brock assured Dawn.

    He located a card the director had given him that explained the synopsis of the new play. "The show tells the story of Kisaki, a girl gifted in archery. One night, the lunar Beautifly Jouga and Suzaku the Red Phoenix come to her in a dream, saying that nine powerful martial artists known as the Nine Suns are running rampant across the world, leaving devastation and despair in their wake. Suzaku gives Kisaki an enchanted bow formed from a flame of home, and tells her she is the one to take down the Nine Suns, and restore peace to the world. With the help of Jouga and other heroes and companions from mythology, Kisaki completes her task, and is hailed a heroine across the world."

    "I would love to play Jouga if Dawn can be Kisaki!" May offered.

    "Tryouts are still going on, if you two want to try." Brock suggested. "Even if Dawn doesn't get the role of Kisaki, it would still be a good idea to get archery training for future roles.

    Something occurred to Dawn. "Yeah...I would need archery training if I want to fulfill my dream of playing Kanade..."

    A bell snapped the group to attention. "We're about to stop and camp. Brock explained. "After lunch, I'll teach you the basics of archery."

    ---------

    The sun was high overhead as Brock led Dawn into an open field. "Okay...above all, a bow is a weapon first." Brock cautioned as he gave Dawn some women's sized archery bracers. "So be very careful to follow any rules a practice range may have, always wear safety gear, and always remember to use good form when you shoot."

    Dawn nodded as she put the bracers on. "Now then...let's begin by showing you what good shooting form is." Brock explained. "So for now, I'm only going to demonstrate what a good shot looks like. If time permits, I'll let you try a shot."

    "How hard can it be? Pull the string back and let it go." Dawn smiled as she watched Brock's Decidueye Kia'i set up a target at the top of a hill. His Dusk Lycanroc Rocky lay in the grass by a tree, waiting for the command to retrieve an arrow.

    "There's a little more to shooting a bow than that, but that's the very basic way of describing it." Brock admitted as he pulled on his own bracers.

    Once sure the bracers were on comfortably, Brock started his lesson. "First and foremost, any shooting not for acting, competition, or--Arceus forbid--battle; should be done in a wide, open space; or on a training range."

    "Right!" Dawn smiled, admiring the shimmering blue training bow Brock had given her.

    "Now--to form the proper stance while standing, you want to stand shoulder-width apart completely sideways to the target, with your toes at a 90 angle to your target." Brock explained, mimicking the pose as he spoke. There shouldn't be any bending at the knees or waist, and no leaning either. Your head is the only thing that turns toward the target, and your arms are the only body part that moves, okay?"

    "O-okay..." Dawn stammered as she tried to mimic Brock's stance. "This feels weird..."

    Brock noticed Dawn's feet were too close together. "You're close...let's spread your feet out a bit more."

    He smiled when he saw Dawn readjust her feet. "There...you'll know if your stance is correct if you feel stable and comfortable holding it."

    "At least I don't feel like I'm going to fall any more..." Dawn heaved a relieved sigh as she held the proper archer stance for a few moments in an attempt to get used to it.

    [Even if you did fall, I'll catch you!] Rocky barked. Dawn gave the beautiful orange and white wolf Pokémon a smile as she watched Brock prepare some arrows for the next part of the lesson...

    To Be Continued...
     
  7. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    Episode 6: The New Phoenix Archer (part 1)


    Applause filled the Old Crossing Theater as Brock arrived in his beautiful green and silver narrator's robe, his vina cradled in his arms. After taking a bow for the crowd, he began "Thank you-- we are the Kagayou Theater. If this is your first time seeing a Tawame theatrical performance, allow me to explain a few of the traditions and customs you will see today."

    Murmurs filled the air as Brock showed his vina to the audience. "First, the narrator--who may or may not be named depending on the play--plays the vina, to add ambiance and character to the spoken words. There is also a chorus of musicians and occasionally speakers to assist the narrator, who may also interact with the action taking place. It is not unheard of for the characters to sing in the middle of dialogue, and entire story beats are often conveyed in song. Props and sets are often brought on and taken away in a moment's notice. If a Pokémon or spirit is needed in the storyline, they are usually portrayed by puppets--the larger ones operated by several puppeteers in plain view of the audience, and voiced by the narrator. That said, live actors for Pokémon aren't entirely unheard of."

    He next cautioned "Even though you will very plainly see the stage ninjas and puppeteers at work creating the play's world, remember that they are shadows, and therefore unseen to you..."

    "Ready?" May asked as she emerged from a dressing room in a shimmery white costume, projecting tiny rainbows on the stage floor from the stage lights.

    "As I'm ever going to be." Dawn replied as she admired herself in a mirror backstage. "Brock's an incredible teacher, and very patient. No matter how many times you get it wrong, he will remind you of proper technique and encourage you as many times as he needs to until you get it right."

    She smiled at her reflection in the mirror. The shimmery ruby studded outfit really does make me feel heroic! she thought as she struck a dramatic pose, making the costume's flowing red cape billow out behind her.

    More applause and the vina beginning a festive melody snapped May to attention. "Brock's playing the overture! Get ready!"

    "Coming!" Dawn abandoned the mirror and hurried to join her friend in the wings. Arceus, help me remember everything the boys showed me about archery technique!

    Onstage, the solo vina had been joined by the troupe's orchestra, and extras playing townsfolk sang and danced. While Dawn couldn't make out the lyrics backstage, the tone of the song sounded festive.

    The music than shifted to a minor key as Brock introduced the play's villains. "But far away from Cheri Blossom Village, alarming rumors told of nine masters of martial arts so powerful, not even the Legendaries could stand against them. Many in the area started to call them the Nine Suns."

    There's the 'Oh no, the bad guys!' song... Dawn smiled as many townsfolk extras sang about the rumors Brock described. If memory serves, my first scene is next...

    The vina calming down the frenetic energy on the stage confirmed her prediction. "But in an unassuming corner of Cheri Blossom Village lived the unlikely heroine that would deliver the realm from the Nine Suns--a girl named Kisaki." Brock went on, playing a hopeful interlude all the while. "Kisaki was known for being highly skilled in the way of the bow, even besting many of the boys. She never let the glory go to her head, however, and always used her bow to bring justice to those that had been wronged."

    A dreamy melody got May's attention. "That's your cue." Dawn nodded, and quickly made her way to her place on the darkened stage, aware of Brock setting the scene for the dream sequence at stage right.

    "...As Kisaki went to bed that night, little did she know she would welcome visitors from heaven..." Brock concluded his narration some moments later.

    The lights came up on the set of an ancient Shinouian girls' bedroom, where Dawn lay on a simple bed, "asleep". In the fiery glow of the setting sun
    The clouds return to ends of the sky and the sea...
    Ash's voice came from offstage.

    A crescent moon breaks through the dusk,
    As countless points of starlight shimmer...


    A spotlight appeared on Ash, now in the familiar red, orange, and gold robe, complete with glittering "wings" attached to the arms. "This is the one the Great Lord asked Jouga and I to speak to?" he mused as he watched Dawn feign sleeping from a platform above the stage. "Though she is young, she has great potential."

    The spotlight expanded to include May with Ash, projecting more tiny rainbows from her costume onto the stage. Though the nine dragons bare their sharp claws,
    The heroine--this girl--raises her ruby bow.
    I will stay by her side, her best friend and her guide
    No matter where our journey may go!


    The way will be long, and filled with many trials
    But one by one, the Nine Suns will fade from the sky!
    No more will this realm suffer!
    No more, will the people here cry!


    "Kisaki..." Ash called to get Dawn's attention.

    "mrggh...who calls me?" Dawn asked as she stirred from her feigned sleep. Once she saw Ash looking down at her from above, she gasped in feigned surprise. "By the Great Lord...He has sent the Red Phoenix to visit me!"

    She smiled over the vina's reverent melody. "Holy Suzaku...I await your message with an open mind and a grateful heart."

    "Kisaki...you have no doubt heard tales of the Nine Suns." Ash began. "The Great Lord believes you are the one who will defeat them, and deliver the realm from their evil power."

    "But how?" Dawn asked. "Though the Great Lord has blessed me with skill at the bow, how can I defeat nine powerful warriors with a simple wooden bow?"

    Ash snapped, seemingly conjuring a beautiful red and gold bow studded with rubies from thin air. "Here--this is the Firelight Bow. It is a gift from me."

    "T-thank you..." Dawn stammered as she took the beautiful prop bow and the quiver full of matching arrows from Ash.

    "You will not walk this long road alone..." Ash went on as May joined him on the platform. "I am sending the lunar Beautifly Jouga with you, as a guide and companion.

    "Peace, Kisaki." May began. "As I make my nightly flight across the land, I hear many things, good and bad. If you are ever lost on the way, and don't know what to do, I will be there to lend you a guiding light,
    Through the night of despair.

    Dawn nodded. "Lunar Beautifly, I graciously accept your help. I will make my final preparations, and say my final farewells, in the morning." She let that hang as the lights went down...

    To Be Continued...
     
  8. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    Episode 7: The New Phoenix Archer (part 2)

    "And so, Kisaki bid Cheri Blossom Village farewell, and embarked on the long and perilous journey to defeat the Nine Suns." Brock narrated, playing a tense melody on the vina as he spoke. "The question now was how to defeat these powerful warriors?"

    He smiled. "The wise Jouga, the Lunar Beautifly, had an answer to this question too." He let that hang as the lights came up on the set of an ancient Kantonian temple interior, complete with a replica of an actual Kannon statue sitting atop a white dais. "But isn't Kannon the goddess of goodness and mercy?" Dawn asked May as they arrived in the scene. "She has never struck me as one to fight..."

    "Ah, but goodness and mercy are always worth fighting for." May replied. "So She is likely aware of the many cries to heaven concerning the Nine Suns."

    Dawn nodded, then sang as she approached the statue. Te lei ze cra riou te ze...
    Cra riou ze te riou rei neu, riou ze...
    Va lei ze te, neu te riou te cra
    Riou rei cra riou ze rei va ze lei...
    Va neu va lei, va neu va ze lei!
    Cra riou cra neu te lei cra riou ze lei va
    Lei va neu cra te lei lei!

    Te lei ze cra riou te ze...
    Cra riou ze te riou rei neu, riou ze...
    Va lei ze te, neu te riou te cra
    Riou rei cra riou ze rei va ze lei...
    Va neu va lei, va neu va ze lei!
    Cra riou cra neu te lei cra riou ze lei va
    Lei va neu cra te lei lei!


    After a few tense seconds, the audience gasped in awe as the statue glowed, revealing Serena wearing an ornate golden costume, complete with an elaborate topaz studded headdress. "Ye have called, my child, and I have come." she began. "I heard about your journey from the honorable Suzaku. Though the task Arceus has called you to do is a great one, do not despair. We of heaven will watch over you and guide you every step of the way."

    "But there are hundreds of warriors out there, some of them as strong as the Nine Suns! So how can I choose these nine from all of them?" Dawn asked. "Where do I begin in showing them Arceus' judgement?"

    Serena smiled. "These nine warriors are the Nine Suns--you will know them by a sun marking on their arms, hands, or shoulders."

    As if on cue, a row of actors in elaborate martial artist costumes appeared before Dawn. "In order, you must battle Houken, the Ruby Sun, Koujun, the Carnelian Sun, Hanchu, the Topaz Sun, Kayu, the Emerald Sun, Kakushi, the Marine Sun, Rikaku, the Sapphire Sun, Gizoku, the Amethyst Sun, Ryofu, the Pearl Sun, and Totaku, the Diamond Sun." Serena explained. "Be warned, even Houken, the weakest of the nine, is a formidable opponent!"

    Dawn swallowed hard in feigned fear. "So how can I face Houken?"

    "His name means 'fire sword'..." Serena began. "So what is the opposite of a hot flame?"

    "Cold snow!" Dawn smiled, a confident smile forming on her face.

    Serena nodded. "Travel into the snows of the North Mountains, where even the local Vulpix and Ninetales breathe ice as a result of the bitter cold. There you will meet Rikka, a powerful Alolan Ninetales that serves as my envoy to the peoples of the mountains. Listen well to what she has to teach you, lest you be scorched by the fire of the Ruby Sun!"

    "I promise..." Dawn replied. "What if I need to talk to You, and I can't find a temple?"

    Serena snapped, creating a box of many white candles. "Should you ever need my help, simply light one of these Ever-Burning Candles, and call me. I will hear you and come to you--no mater where you may be on your quest."

    "Thank you, milady." Dawn smiled as she accepted the candles. "I promise to never abuse this divine gift, or any other divine gifts I may receive from the other gods."

    "You're most welcome--may the light of heaven always light your way." With that, Serena seemingly disappeared in a flash of light, revealing the Kannon statue again.

    Dawn looked over at May. "Well, now we know what we have to do..."

    "To the North Mountains!" May agreed as the lights went down.

    The flutes and tikin in the orchestra next created a realistic mimic of a winter wind as "snow" began to swirl on the stage, to the awe of the audience. Brock, however, was in his nook, adding a few hopeful chords over the "wind" and "snow". "Jouga led Kisaki to the North Mountains, where the wind howled like hungry Mightyenas, and snow made it impossible to travel very far. Eventually, the bitter cold forced them to take shelter in a cave."

    The lights came up on a mountain cave set, where May and Dawn had made a makeshift camp. "I don't suppose Her Grace would mind if we lit one of the Ever-Burning Candles?" Dawn asked as she found the box of candles.

    "Even if you do not call upon her, may it never be said Lady Kannon had someone freeze to death." May assured Dawn. "It would be better than any campfire!"

    After carefully lighting the candle, Dawn asked. "Kannon--we've arrived in the North Mountains. How much farther do we have to go before we find Rikka's den?"

    A fire screen appeared in the center of the cave, creating the image of Serena's face before May and Dawn. "Rikka's den is not far from here--continue following the path north when the snow subsides. Like all fox Pokémon, she is wise and yet playful, but she will not harm the good and the pure. I have informed her that you and your divine guide are coming."

    Dawn nodded as the fire screen disappeared, leaving only a bright candle flame behind on the cave set. "Thank you, milady..."

    To Be Continued...
     
  9. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
    Level 32
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    Episode 8: A Legendary Stay (part 1)

    A few days later...

    "What a week!" Dawn smiled as she and May arrived in the common room. "Onward to our next stop!"

    "Actually..." Brock interjected. 'The Phoenix Archer' and the other plays were so well received, the theater coordinators asked us to stay an extra week, with each troupe doing a Tawame adaptation of a folktale. The Niji Troupe is doing 'The Legend of Susanoo'...

    "Oh, the story that features in 'Okami!" May remembered.

    "The major difference is Susanoo is in no way a sake loving slob." Brock explained. "He is every bit the hero he was always meant to be. So this means sake is not even involved in most stage versions of the story. It was believed that portraying drunkenness onstage was very bad luck--so troupes today work around this by giving each of the eight heads an elemental weakness, or some other weakness."

    He went on "What you may not know is that the names of the brush gods in 'Okami' come from the Tawame stage..."

    "Do you ever get a chance to play heroes or other characters?" Dawn was curious.

    Brock nodded. "Yeah...this is one of those plays where I get to play a character. Specifically Gekigami, the bow wielding Raikou."

    "What happens to the narration if you're playing a character?" Dawn wondered.

    "It depends on the play--in some plays, my character is both the narrator and a character." Brock explained as he joined May and Dawn at the table. "In others, someone else takes the narrator role so I can focus on playing a character. For 'The Legend of Susanoo', Serena is portraying Kitsune, the divine Delphox, as the narrator."

    He next sent two scripts in May and Dawn's direction. "Your scripts for the show...you two play two of the Twelve Noble Pokémon of the Zodiac, alongside Misty and me."

    "Nice...I play Moegami, the Combusken." May smiled as she thumbed through her script.

    Dawn opened her script and smiled when she saw her role on the first page--Yumigami, the Buneary. "Playing a Buneary should be easy--all I have to do is mimic how cute Lola looks when she dances."

    "That, and you will be doing a lot of dancing in the show." Brock smiled at a memory of Lola dancing with Tintri.

    "Remind me of how the stage version of the Susanoo story typically goes?" May asked. "I remember you performing it during my trip on Kanto's Contest circuit..."

    "Basically, Susanoo is on a great journey across the mortal realm--it is usually left unexplained why, but some productions try to give a reason." Brock explained. "One day, Susanoo comes across a village, where he learns of Orochi's terror, and the yearly sacrifice of a young girl with pure heart. His divine fury is kindled when he learns the elder's daughter--who we have chosen to name Nami--is the next one to be sacrificed. Heartbroken by the village's suffering, Susanoo decides to try and slay Orochi, so no more people will have to suffer. After explaining the situation to his sister Amaterasu, she suggests that Susanoo enlist the help of the Twelve Noble Pokémon of the Zodiac to defeat Orochi, since each head has a different weakness, and some parts of his body have different weaknesses too. As Susanoo meets each of the Twelve Noble Pokémon, they first challenge him to pass some kind of trial to prove himself worthy of their loyalty. By the time he earns the loyalty of all twelve, Tachigami the Pikachu grants our hero his iconic blade, Ame no Murakamo, which now glows with the rainbow--the union of all the elements. After a long and drawn out battle, Susanoo and the Twelve Noble Pokémon manage to defeat Orochi. In the end, Susanoo is hailed a hero, and Ame no Murakamo is enshrined in the village temple--where you can supposedly still see it in Kanto today."

    "Sounds fun!" Dawn smiled. "I don't have to guess that Gekigami teaches Susanoo the way of the bow, right?"

    Brock nodded. "You did very well with your shooting as Kisaki, by the way--keep up the practice, and you'll get your chance to play Kanade."

    "So what kinds of trials and gifts do our characters give Susanoo?" May asked.

    "Moegami teaches Susanoo how to channel fire, while Yumigami grants Susanoo the gift of channeling the stars." Brock replied. "But what makes this performance even sweeter is you'll have the League Champion in the audience."

    Dawn froze. No way...Champion Cynthia, a fan of ancient theater?

    She took a deep breath to calm herself. Now I have to make sure that my Yumigami is as cute, yet strong as possible--just like Lola!

    ---------

    From the ten-mile pavilion no travelers leave,
    In the ninefold heavens the stars appear...
    Dawn sang over a dreamy melody from the orchestra.
    All this time
    I've been dreaming of you
    And I'm finally here
    To guide you on your way...

    A million stars light the path to heaven...
    One bright moon fills the earth and sky....


    The director applauded Dawn's performance. "Very nice! Just remember that you want to convey Yumigami's quiet strength, playfulness, and innocence--she's not as bombastic as Toyotama or Gekigami is, and a foil to Susanoo's own boldness."

    "Innocence, playfulness, strength--got it!" Dawn reminded herself.

    "All right, let's run through Susanoo and Yumigami's meeting." the director began. "Start after you've finished your introduction song, Dawn."

    Dawn found her first lines beneath the sheet music. "Greetings, Great Susanoo. I am Yumigami, guardian of the moon and keeper of dreams. But the dreams I see as of late are not pleasant, happy dreams...no...they are nightmares, created from the very essence of evil!"

    "Many are the nightmares of the village I have departed from." Ash explained in character. "Their tears fall like the stars, for the elder's daughter is the latest in a long line of maidens, cut down in their prime by the monster Orochi. I have long wished to set the world free from this great evil, so my sister Amaterasu bade me visit you and the other Noble Pokémon."

    "God you may be, but even we of heaven fear the notorious Orochi--you will need the help of all of us to even stand against that fiend." Dawn explained. My gift for you is the gift of the stars--so you can channel heavenly judgement upon Orochi!"

    "Okay, and scene!" the director called. "Let's block Gekigami's first scene next."

    "Nice job!" May raved as Dawn returned backstage. "You've got the Buneary hop and the innocence down, at least."

    Dawn nervously smiled as she watched the director walk Ash and Brock through a scene. "I just hope I can remember what the director has said when Cynthia is watching!"

    To Be Continued...
     
  10. WavePearl

    Sparkle
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    Episode 9: A Legendary Stay (part 2)


    "So, what order are we performing in for our extra week here?" Dawn asked as she met May in the common area a few days later.

    "Well, the Mikan Troupe starts things off with 'Princess Kaguya and the Five Knights'..." May began. "Then the Midori Troupe performs the tale I most want us to do--'The Liepard of Sakura Mountain'..."

    "I'm pretty sure that's an episode from 'Journey to the West', right?" Dawn asked. "Ash would make a wonderful Son Goku!"

    "That he would--he has the energy, the comic prowess, and never say die demeanor needed to play Son Goku." May agreed. "Anyway, the Akai Troupe performs 'The Tale of Momotaro', and then we perform 'The Legend of Susanoo'. So of the three troupes before us, which show do you want to see?"

    "'Princess Kaguya', by far!" Dawn smiled. "I've heard the version often done onstage is more an adventure than a romance..."

    "The other two shows conflict with our rehearsal schedule..." May sighed. "But we can see one of the other troupes perform as we get ready for our show..."

    "Maybe seeing how the Mikan Troupe performs Princess Kaguya might give me some ideas on how to perform Yumigami with playfulness and grace." Dawn suggested. "I wonder if the boys would want to come with us?"

    "I can probably talk Ash into it by saying there's an adventure involved..." May replied. "Brock will always come watch almost any play, no questions asked..."

    "If you want to come support our other troupes, seeing the Mikan's show tonight is probably your best option." Brock interjected as he too arrived in the common area with a mug of coffee. "Even though we too are doing 'The Liepard of Sakura Mountain' ourselves."

    "What's that play about?" Dawn asked, curious. "I've read a little of 'Journey to the West...'

    Brock took a sip of his coffee, then replied "You're right that our play is very loosely based on an episode from 'Journey to the West'. The show retains the basic plot of Triptaka, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai, and Sha Gojyo--who is usually portrayed as a human water priestess on the ancient stage-- battling the Gold Coin Liepard, who captured an elder's daughter. The major difference is the addition of a Zelda-esque quest, and adding in the Four Guardian Gods into the story."

    "So how does Ash juggle Son Goku and Suzaku?" Dawn wondered. "Or how do you likely juggle Triptaka and Genbu?"

    "The answer? We alternate between both roles with each performance." Brock smiled. "Of my two common roles, Triptaka is the harder role to play, since he is both the narrator and a character."

    "I'm sure it is...I hope I can see you perform as Triptaka on our tour." Dawn smiled. "For today, let's go see 'Princess Kaguya'!"

    ---------

    The Old Crossing Theater rang with applause as the Mikan Troupe's narrator arrived on the stage. "Long ago, there lived an old bamboo cutter." she began, playing a sad melody on her own vina all the while. "He was very poor, and sad also. This was because he had no children..."

    "I wonder if Cynthia's here..." Dawn whispered, glancing around what light there was in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Champion's box.

    "She's here, but we can't see her private box from under the balcony." Ash whispered back. Dawn nodded, and turned her attention back to the stage.

    Awed murmurs filled the theater as the actor playing the man found the actress playing Princess Kaguya in a prop bamboo stalk. "By Arceus...you must be my child, for I find you here among the bamboo." the man stammered.

    "Pretty costume..." May smiled, admiring the girl's colorful kimono as the man sang a beautiful song promising to love her as his own daughter.

    "He took the girl home to his wife, where they raised her as their own daughter." the narrator explained when the song ended. "They named her Kaguya, meaning 'radiant night'. The old couple were happy, for now a child had come to them to love and cherish."

    ---------

    "Three months passed, and Princess Kaguya grew by hours instead of days; until she was an eighteen year old lady." the narrator explained over an interlude. "When she came of age, she was so beautiful that they placed her behind screens like a princess, and allowed only those with permission to see her."
    Awed chattered filled the theater at this. "The fame of Princess Kaguya's loveliness spread far and wide, and many were the suitors who desired to win her hand, or even so much as see her." She let that hang as the lights came up on the set of an ancient Kantonian house.

    The man from earlier came out to meet five other actors in ancient Kantonian warrior's garb. "Good day, my good sirs. What can I do for you?"

    "Tell Princess Kaguya about the greatness of our love, and how long we had waited through the cold of winter and the heat of summer." the actor in red garb replied.

    The actor playing the man gave a bow of respect. "Very well--I will pass on your message as you request."

    With that, he disappeared inside the house set, revealing a second set depicting the house's interior, complete with ornate screens near the back of the set. He gently knocked on the screen. "Kaguya, may I ask something of you?"

    The screens opened to reveal the girl playing Princess Kaguya. "What is it you request, my father?"

    "You have always seemed to me to be a heavenly being, yet I have had the honor of bringing you up as my own child and you have been glad of my humble abode. Will you do as I wish?" the man asked.

    "I would do anything for you." the girl replied. "I will always honor and love you as my own father."

    "Kaguya...I wish to see you take a husband before I join Arceus in heaven." the man explained. "I am old, and my time may come at any moment. Please, come see these five suitors and choose one of them."

    "Allow me to test the five warriors by having them each bring me a mystical jewel--the one who succeeds on his quest, I will marry."

    Laughter rippled through the theater as a joyous melody drifted onstage. "See, they come playing music for you, as if you were a kami." the man smiled. "I will pass on your reply before they wake up the whole village."

    The music increased in volume as the man returned to the exterior set, where the five warrior actors pantomime played instruments while the orchestra provided the sound. "All right, all right, that was very nice!" he smiled. "Please accept my sympathy for all you have endured and all the patience you have shown in your desire to win my dearest Kaguya. She hereby proposes a trial for each of you. She will marry the one of you five who successfully completes his trial."

    "The lady Kaguya's proposal is fair, milord." a blue clad actor smiled as he held a frame drum close. "This way, there is no hard feelings between us."

    "We accept whatever the lady Kaguya wishes us to do." the red clad actor agreed as he brandished his own bansi like a sword, making Ash smile. "Even if we all must travel to the very ends of the world."

    "All right...these are your trials." the man explained. "One of you must bring her a ruby hidden deep within the Red Mountain in Ignis. One of you must go to Wishmaker Peak, said to be situated in the Eastern Sea, and to bring her an emerald from a branch of the wonderful tree that grew on its summit. One of you must go to the Victor's Field in Dragnor and search for the diamond that fell from Taki's blade the moment she defeated Nobunaga. One of you must search for the Gyarados that carries a sapphire in its scales, and bring the stone to her. And one of you must find the Swellow that watches over Avia, and bring the lapis it holds to her."

    "Pretty clever working Ransei into the story..." Ash grinned as the warriors trudged away and the lights went down.

    "The Mikan Troupe changes up which knight succeeds every show, so it's never the exact same story twice." Brock whispered, aware of the narrator speaking.

    Dawn was just as excited. "I kinda want the red knight to win this time...if only because he played a bansi like you, Ash." Ash nodded in agreement as the orchestra struck up another musical number...


    To Be Continued...
     
  11. WavePearl

    Sparkle
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    Episode 10: The Buneary's Legend (part 1)


    "Ready?" May asked as she emerged from a dressing room in a flowing red and orange warrior costume that evoked a Combusken.

    Dawn emerged in a sparkling white robe with a Buneary ear headband and sparkling silver tail to match. "Although I'm excited and honored Cynthia is here watching us, I feel my role as Yumigami is as good as I can get it--we have worked hard over the last few days."

    May just smiled. "I'm intrigued over how Brock feels about playing a character for a change--particularly a character type Ash tends to play."

    "It was definitely a balancing act between boldness and yet gentleness." Brock replied as he emerged in a majestic gold, purple, and blue robe that evoked Raikou. After accepting a golden bow with thunderbolt decor and a quiver full of 30 matching prop arrows from a prop crew member, he addressed May and Dawn. "You guys have really given your all for your roles, so I'm sure you'll do fine--even if Cynthia's there in the audience."

    Some applause filled the air, snapping the group to attention "Seems Serena's done with her introduction...showtime." Brock smiled. "We have some time to kill before any of us go on, though."

    Piqued, Dawn tiptoed into the wings, where Serena was setting the scene for the opening. "...So after bidding his sister Amaterasu farewell, Susanoo embarked on a great journey across the mortal realm, looking for yokai to slay, and to see if the mortals were still being faithful and kind."

    The orchestra's song turned foreboding. "One day, Susanoo came to a village somewhere in what is today Kanto." Serena--wearing a majestic red, orange and gold robe and prop Delphox ears--explained to the audience as Ash--wearing dull red traditional Kantonian warrior's garb--arrived on a set of an ancient village. "But he noticed that many in the village cried, and decided to ask the village elder about what sort of calamity had occurred..." She let that hang as her spotlight went out, and Ash went inside the largest house on the village set, revealing another set of a large ancient Kantonian house. "Thank you, good sir, for hosting me..." Ash began as he met an actor playing the elder. "But something puzzles me...why do your people cry? What misfortune has befallen them?"

    "It is a grave misfortune instead, noble warrior." the actor playing the elder explained. "For many years, our town has been plagued by a terrifying monster..."

    Dawn decided to return to the backstage area some moments later. "A word of warning..." Brock cautioned. "In many plays, when the bad guy or evil sect is named for the first time, one of the bansis will blast a note that sounds a lot like a girl screaming..."

    "I always wondered if that was an actual scream or something mimicking a scream..." Dawn mused. "Has Ash ever--!"

    A loud note from the orchestra pit made her jump in surprise. "Wow--that's loud..." she muttered. "Well, Orochi just got his scream..."

    "You get used to it after a few shows..." Brock replied, aware of the orchestra playing an interlude out onstage.

    "I can't wait to see your scene!" Dawn smiled, aware of Ash and a female actor singing an exciting song about their characters' bonds with each other.

    Brock smiled as the song ended to some applause. "I can assure you Gekigami and Susanoo have a few exciting scenes together." He let that hang as onstage, the actress playing Amaterasu instructed Ash on what to do next...

    ---------

    Some time later, the orchestra played a tense melody as Ash arrived on a set of a cloudy landscape. "When Itegami said this place was known as the Thundering Hills, he wasn't kidding! The clouds here look ready to burst with rain!" he mused as "thunder" rolled in the distance. "That, and it is humid...the Raikou, Gekigami must be out hunting today..."

    As if on cue, a gold arrow zipped over Ash's head, spurring him to duck. "A thunderbolt..."

    A growl spurred him to turn around--only to look right into the eyes of a raiju puppet! "YIPE!"

    "Quickly, noble Susanoo!" Brock called from a spotlight. "Hide here in this cloud, so the raiju can't harm you!"

    "Okay!" Ash quickly dove into an alcove on the set, rendering him hidden behind a prop cloud.

    Dawn's eyes turned to stars as Brock effortlessly backflipped away from the Growlithe-like monster puppet, fired another golden arrow, than jumped away on top of a cloud spire. Wow! Brock has more agility than I thought!

    After his next shot went towards the left, Brock jumped to avoid the puppet, then delivered a fatal blow to the puppet, turning the cloud set sunny again. "There...the raiju are very active this year--luckily, this one didn't do too much damage to the mortal realm."

    "Thank you for rescuing me, noble Gekigami." Ash smiled as he emerged from the cloud set. "I come on behalf of my sister Amaterasu...a village of mortals cries because many daughters, sisters, and friends have been sacrificed to the fiend Yamata-no-Orochi. Will you lend your thundering arrow to my cause, so I may deliver them?"

    Brock nodded. "I can't give you the Great Thunderbow directly, but I can teach you to channel the lightning through any arrow..."

    ---------

    "...your next objective is the River of Stars." Brock explained as a song ended some time later. "You can ask Yumigami, the dream Buneary, and Toyotama, daughter of Seiryu, to help you out..."

    Yumigami...my first scene is next!
    Dawn smiled as she hurried into position on a starry riverbank set, complete with starry "water".

    "And so, Susanoo continued his journey through the heavens." Serena narrated from her nook. "By this time, it was growing late, and the stars were revealing their glory to the mortal realm. It was also the hour when Yumigami, the Buneary, came out to play..."

    From the ten-mile pavilion no travelers leave,
    In the ninefold heavens the stars appear...
    Dawn sang over a dreamy melody from the orchestra as she danced into the scene, to Ash's feigned awe.

    All this time
    I've been dreaming of you

    And I'm finally here
    To guide you on your way...
    A million stars light the path to heaven...
    One bright moon fills the earth and sky....


    She noticed Ash and smiled. "Greetings, Great Susanoo. I am Yumigami, guardian of the moon and keeper of dreams. But the dreams I see as of late are not pleasant, happy dreams...no...they are nightmares, created from the very essence of evil!"

    "Many are the nightmares of the village I have departed from." Ash explained in character. "Their tears fall like the stars, for the elder's daughter is the latest in a long line of maidens, cut down in their prime by the monster Orochi. I have long wished to set the world free from this great evil, so my sister Amaterasu bade me visit you and the other Noble Pokémon."

    "God you may be, but even we of heaven fear the notorious Orochi--you will need the help of all of us to even stand against that fiend." Dawn explained. "My gift for you is the gift of the stars--so you can channel heavenly judgement upon Orochi!"

    To Be Continued...
     
  12. WavePearl

    Sparkle
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    Episode 11: The Buneary's Legend (part 2)

    "Make it good!" Dawn smiled as she watched May climb into position on a set of hills.

    "...After thanking Son Goku for his help, Susanoo arrived in the Heavenly Hills, where the proud Combusken Moegami trained during the night, and announced the sun's awakening every morning." Serena continued over an interlude. "Fortunately for our hero, he arrived in time to hear Moegami's daily call..."

    Ash arrived on the stage some moments later, albeit with some feigned weariness in his step. "Did it really take me all night to reach these sacred hills?" Ash mused before feigning a yawn. "Even a god appreciates a moment to rest..."

    Some gentle laughter rippled through the theater as Ash sprawled out on the stage floor and feigned sleeping, complete with using his costume's cloak as a blanket.

    Backstage, Brock stifled a giggle at the rude awakening Ash was about to receive. "Three...two...one..." Dawn whispered.

    Just then, the orchestra started a loud and festive melody, startling Ash awake! "What in the..." he started.

    May appeared in a spotlight a few moments later. Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!

    I won't give up these strong emotions!
    These endless, strong emotions!
    This immortal melody won't lose to anyone!

    Arise, make those immortal dreams into your wings
    And fly together with me to the future!

    Hear this phoenix song!

    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!

    Your courage will never betray you,
    The road you travel will become a star...
    Illuminating the path that continues before you
    All the way into the shining, sparkling future!

    For what I will protect, I can swear
    I can be proud; I'm not afraid of anything
    The flame of my soul
    Will never disappear!

    Arise, make those immortal dreams into your wings
    And fly together with me to the future!

    Hear this phoenix song!

    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
    Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!


    Applause rang through the theater at the song's conclusion. "Wow...this is a different side of May..." Dawn smiled as she quietly applauded. "It's almost like she's in the Contest Hall..."

    "She does typically play sweet and softspoken characters, but so far she's handling a bombastic role like Moegami like a pro!" Brock smiled as he watched Ash and May banter on the stage. It goes to show you don't always have to play the same role types that you are good at."

    "I wonder...have you played any roles outside of your comfort zone of mentors, hunters, gods, and emperors?" Dawn asked.

    Brock nodded. "I have had a turn as a heroic character before--if it's not a role type you play regularly, playing the hero is actually the hardest role you can play as a Tawame performer."

    The orchestra playing an interlude and the lights going down on the stage signaled that May's scene was over. "How'd I do?" May asked Brock as she arrived backstage.

    "We have a little time to kill before the grand finale scene, so I see no harm in a quiet chat while we wait for the final battle with Orochi." Brock smiled as he led May and Dawn to a rest area backstage, aware of what was going on onstage. "First of all, well done on conveying Moegami's pride, spirit, and joy."

    "Thanks." May smiled as a stagehand brought her some water. "The director just said to channel a cheerleader, so I combined that spirit with a little bit of Ash's style to create something of my own."

    "I think Ash could tell you drew on all his heroic roles to create Moegami." Dawn agreed. "You looked like you were having a lot of fun out on the stage..."

    "While I would love to try more heroic roles, playing Moegami like this is tiring..." May admitted. "Learning that big number that woke Ash up was exhausting."

    "Well, we're needed again when Ash invokes the Swanna Song in Orochi's cave." Brock reminded May and Dawn. "So be listening for that out onstage."

    May nodded, then decided to change the subject. "So what's next, and what play is next on our list?"

    Brock found a map of the tour route on a table, and eased it into what little light there was backstage. "Okay...once we're finished here, we head for the Rock Cape Theater, where we're gonna perform an iconic play in the Tawame canon...'The Princess of the Gold Palace'."

    Dawn gasped in excitement, while being careful not to disrupt the play in progress onstage. "I think I may have seen that play before on TV!"

    "I have too!" May remembered. "Max had to watch it once for class, so I decided to watch it with him. "It was actually very exciting for a love story..."

    "Well, 'The Princess of the Gold Palace' is an iconic Tawame play, and often described as 'the quintessential Tawame play'." Brock explained. "At its heart, the play is a love story, but there's plenty of adventure, drama, and comedy to be had, too."

    "If I could play any role in that play, I would most want to play Princess Kinari." Dawn explained.

    "If I could play any role at all in that play, I'd play the Beautifly that guides the Phoenix Prince on his quest." May smiled. "Does she have a name at all? I know she is traditionally a girl character."

    "Come to think of it, I don't think she's ever been given a name at all--and I don't know of any troupes that have given her a name." Brock confessed. "So, if you could name the Beautifly, what would you name her?"

    May thought for a moment. "Kichou--Beautifly of hope."

    Brock nodded. "That's a great name! I'll see about asking the writing team about working in your suggestion."

    "What about you?" Dawn asked. "If you could play any role in 'The Princess of the Gold Palace', what would it be, and why?"

    "Hm..." Brock thought for a moment. "If I had the choice of a speaking role, I would play Genbu the Black Torterra. It's a role I know well, and easily adaptable, since the Four Guardian Gods appear often in the Tawame canon. But I'd be perfectly happy just narrating it all, as well."

    The group snapped to attention as Ash's voice rang through the theater. Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...

    "It's go time." Brock smiled as he found his bow and the quiver full of prop arrows in a pile of props.

    "Time for the final fight!" May agreed as she passed Dawn a silvery boomerang, then found some knuckles that evoked a Combusken's claws.

    Katoradis favel siicletu edena... Ash's voice rang through the dark theater.
    Emusto koron zen fine, si...

    To Be Continued...
     
  13. WavePearl

    Sparkle
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    Episode 12: Learning the Ribbon Dance


    Dawn smiled as she watched the world roll by from a window in the common area. So long, Old Crossing Station... she smiled. We'll be back one day, with new tales to tell.

    She stretched as she returned to the table. It's been a few days since our big performance of "The Legend of Susanoo". I think I made a great Yumigami, myself...

    [Thinking about your performance a few days ago?] Kori asked as she waddled in the common area.

    "Yeah...and thinking about what's next." Dawn explained as she invited Kori in her lap. "What would you say if I told you we were doing 'The Princess of the Gold Palace' next?"

    Kori's eyes turned to stars. [REALLY??? You'd make the perfect Princess Kinari!]

    Dawn nodded. "If I get to be Princess Kinari, I will make her as beautiful and graceful as I can! But even if I'm given a different role, I will give my all to that role."

    "Are you sure you want to play Princess Kinari?" a voice asked. "That's a fairly dance heavy role..."

    Dawn whirled around to see Serena arriving in the common area. "Serena? What are you doing here?"

    "The director isn't sure you're ready to try a role like Pirincess Kinari..." Serena explained. "So I offered to train you in how to do the different kinds of ribbon dancing featured in 'The Princess of the Gold Palace'. The director agreed, and gave me two weeks. If you can do a simple routine in each of the featured styles at the end of two weeks, she will let you play Princess Kinari. If not, you get the role she was originally going to give you--Youka, a Deerling spirit that guides the Phoenix Prince on his journey."

    "Okay...so what kind of ribbon dancing must I know how to do?" Dawn wondered as she motioned Kori onto the table. "I did take gymnastics as a kid..."

    "The most common version--one that the gymnastics version of the ribbon dance grew out of--is the kanbon, or flowing water dance." Serena explained. This is what you typically picture the Kantonian ribbon dance to be, so it's no surprise it was adapted and remixed into gymnastics. So you should have a head start with that style."

    "Yeah...sounds easy enough." Dawn agreed.

    "The other two styles you have to know are the tsubon, or pipe dance, and the yuudaibon, or 'the grand dance'." Serena went on. "This usually the type of dance you'll see in the theater, since it usually is accompanied by the vina. These are the big showy numbers that the leading lady of the show gets to do."

    "Of the three, I have a head start with the kanbon..." Dawn mused. "...and I can learn the other two..."

    "Well, for today, I plan to start with teaching you the kanbon." Serena smiled. "So let me go find Brock and get set up in a dance rehearsal room, and I'll meet you there."

    ---------

    "Here's your ribbon..." Serena smiled as she gently gave Dawn a deep blue ribbon.

    Dawn smiled when she saw the ribbon matched her sparkling blue practice leotard. "Nice--this matches!"

    Serena smiled in agreement, aware of Brock tuning his vina for the practice session. "Now then--you may have learned in gymnastics class that listening to the beat is key. This will help you out in Tawame dance as well, as many traditional tunes have a distinct beat."

    She went on "We're not going to worry about all those fast, quick routines filled with jumps and spins just yet--let's start with taking it slow, and being aware of where your body is, and where your ribbon is. The last thing you want to do is trip or tangle yourself during the climax of a number."

    Dawn stifled a giggle at a humorous mental image of Serena tripping and comically falling down an ornate staircase. "Yes, let's not do that."

    "Everything you may have learned in gymnastics class will also work beautifully on the stage too." Serena explained. "Including jumps, spins, cartwheels, and somersaults."

    "Wow!" Dawn smiled. "But we'll cross into that region when we get there...this ribbon's a little heavier than I remember..."

    "That's because it is made from better quality satin than most gymnastics ribbons." Brock explained as he finished tuning. "With cheap satin, it's not the end of the world if one gets damaged. These you need to be careful with."

    "I promise I'll be very careful with these ribbons." Dawn replied.

    Brock smiled back, then asked Serena "'Spring Rain' okay for a practice tune?"

    "That one will do perfectly--nice and slow, so we can practice body awareness and ribbon awareness." Serena replied before showing Dawn to the floor. "Now then, I'm going to watch as you improvise a routine to 'Spring Rain'. When you're done, we'll discuss what you did well, and what we can work on."

    "Okay!" Dawn smiled before striking an elegant pose with her own ribbon. "When you're ready..." she called to Brock.

    With that, Brock started a peaceful, flowing melody that evoked raindrops, spurring Dawn to sway, spin and twirl along, the ribbon swirling in elegant patterns around her...

    ---------

    "All right...not bad for a first dance!" Serena raved when Brock and Dawn finished some minutes later. "You followed the beat well, and were very aware of where your ribbon was--I was a little worried when you did those spins near the end."

    "We did spins with the ribbon all the time in gymnastics..." Dawn explained. "So I figured those same guidelines would work here."

    "Okay...another thing to keep in mind as you're dancing is to keep footsteps quiet--stomping around the stage wouldn't work with a slow and quiet tune." Serena suggested. "Above all, keep the music's character in mind as you dance, and have your steps and ribbon movement match accordingly."

    "Right!" Dawn replied.

    "Ready to try something with a little more of a rhythm?" Brock offered. 'Song of the Four Elements' is another short, sweet, and easy song you can dance to, but it has a little more of a beat..."

    "Let's try a dance to that tune next." Serena agreed. "Remember, be mindful of your ribbon, and keep your steps quiet."

    "Okay!" Dawn replied as she prepared to dance to the vina again...

    To Be Continued...
     
  14. WavePearl

    Sparkle
    (Alolan Ninetales)
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    Episode 13: Becoming the Princess


    A few weeks later, the practice stage buzzed with activity with the Niji Troupe and its crew convened for another rehearsal of "The Princess of the Gold Palace". "Dawn, I'm so proud of you!" May smiled as she and Dawn arrived. "Serena's dance training paid off!"

    "Yeah...I'm still pinching myself just to be sure I'm actually playing Princess Kinari sometimes." Dawn agreed as Brock arrived with the harp-like vina in tow.

    "You've done well training for this role, and proving time and again to the director you could play Princess Kinari." Brock smiled. "We still have another week before we reach the theater--once we get there, we'll do tech rehearsals and two dress rehearsals before we perform. I should get our schedule for that in a few days. You guys should get your costumes today, though."

    "What about your costume?" Dawn asked, confused.

    "I'm narrating this time, so I technically have my costume already." Brock replied as he watched May hurry to get her costume. "When I play a character, I get a costume, but every once in a great while the narrator may get a costume besides the traditional narrator robe."

    Just then, May arrived wearing a glittery silver outfit with a long rainbow cloak that resembled Beautifly wings. "What do you think?"

    "You look great!" Dawn smiled as May struck a triumphant pose, the cloak billowing behind her all the while.

    "Thanks..." May smiled. "Your costume's ready, by the way."

    Excited, Dawn hurried backstage, where the costume crew was helping some of the cast get into their costumes, and observing how the elaborate outfits looked and felt. "This is yours, Dawn." the chief costume designer smiled as she showed Dawn a sparkling gold outfit with orange undertones and an elaborate headdress to match. "We tried to balance elaborate with being able to move, since your role does require a lot of dancing."

    "It's beautiful!" Dawn smiled as some other members of the costume crew helped her into the exquisite outfit.

    "You also have a few circlets and tiaras for other scenes, since dancing in this headdress would be difficult." a crew member assured Dawn before leading her to a mirror. "How's it feel?"

    "Very comfy..." Dawn smiled as she swayed and twirled before the mirror.

    She gasped in awe when she saw Ash emerge in a magnificent red, orange and gold outfit that evoked fire. "My beloved...you have returned!" she cried before running to embrace Ash in character. "Long have I waited for you...."

    "It was not an easy task to do what your father asked of me, but I have found the four Pearls of Worldly Balance, and proved my love to you many times over." Ash continued, clearly enjoying acting out part of the play's triumphant ending in the backstage area.

    "And I always believed you would return victorious." Dawn replied. "Come, let us inform Father of your success!"

    Some applause filled the backstage area, snapping both Ash and Dawn out of character. "Very nice!" the director raved. "A shame we're not going over Act 3 today...then we could see that beautiful reunion onstage!"

    "Well, Ash came out in costume as I was testing my costume's movement, so I couldn't resist doing part of the scene where Princess Kinari and the Phoenix Prince reunite." Dawn explained.

    The director nodded. "Well, come on onstage--today we're going to run through as much of Act 1 as we can. This includes your characters' first meeting, and your first dance."

    Dawn nodded. "Let's do this." With that, she emerged onstage, with Ash not far behind. The others cheered and applauded--the play's two leads had arrived!

    ----------

    "Okay...let's do the scene where Princess Kinari and the Phoenix Prince make their promise before the festival." the director instructed. Since we don't have backdrops just yet, just imagine you are in an exquisite garden for now."

    "This point right here..." the prompter reminded Dawn as he pointed out the start of Act 1, Scene 4 in his copy of the script.

    "The first night of the Sakura Festival arrived, and just as he promised, the mysterious prince returned to meet Princess Kinari." Brock narrated as he played a mysterious melody. "Though the princess had many questions about this flame colored traveler, deep within her heart, she was falling in love."

    "Now, once Brock finishes narrating, you two want to meet at center stage at about the same time." the director reminded Ash and Dawn. "You're not running to embrace each other just yet--that's for Act 3."

    Dawn nodded, then strolled to meet Ash at center stage. "You came! Will you tell me who you are?"

    "Not yet, milady..." Ash replied. "If I were to tell you who I am now, it would cause an uproar in the palace, and cast a pall on the festivities. But I promise you--when you get a free moment in your royal duties, return here to this place. I will tell you who I am then, and why I have to hide my identity. But I assure you my intentions in seeing you are pure and honorable."

    Dawn hung her head in feigned sadness and shame. "Is it because of my father you have to keep your identity a secret?"

    Ash nodded. "If your father were to find out who I am, he would likely kill us both in a fit of rage. But know this--I love you more than any king, prince, emperor or hero that has come asking for your hand before."

    "And I love you in kind." Dawn smiled. "Father can kill me if he wants, but I will never stop loving you!"

    "Then will you promise to meet me here when you have a moment?" Ash asked. "I will tell you everything then."

    Dawn nodded. "I promise...may Arceus judge my father if he tries to keep me away from you!"

    "All right, and scene!" the director smiled, pleased at how the tense scene looked. "Dawn, how confident do you feel about doing the dance in Scene 5?"

    "I'm feeling fairly confident, but want to practice it a little more before we arrive at the theater." Dawn replied.

    "All right, we'll skip over Scene 5 for now..." the director replied as the prop crew brought on some prop trees to have the practice stage look something like a garden for the reunion scene...

    To Be Continued....
     
  15. WavePearl

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    Episode 14: Fire and Light Among the Rocks (part 1)


    "We're here..." Brock smiled as the caravan arrived before a majestic building carved into a cliff. "This is the Rock Creek Theater."

    "Wow..." Dawn gasped, amazed at the glittering lights on the columns of rock that served as the theater's entrance. "I can't wait to perform in there! What's our schedule for the week?"

    "Just a sec..." Brock hurried inside the lead wagon and returned with a piece of paper. "Now then...the Kii Troupe kicks off the week with 'Great Horseman of the Pearl Sea', next is the Midori Troupe with 'The Colors of the Valorous Beautifly'..."

    "That sounds exciting!" May smiled as she joined Dawn and Brock on the path leading to the theater. "I wonder if the Midori Troupe will let us perform that play once we get home?"

    "We have performed that play at home before." Brock replied before turning his attention back to the schedule. "Anyway, next the Mikan Troupe performs 'Triumphant Empress of the Sunstone Kingdom...the Aoi Troupe performs 'Sword of the Midnight Sun'...and then we perform 'Princess of the Gold Palace'. So we have time for tech and dress rehearsals."

    "Let's go inside!" With that, Dawn led the way inside the cavernous theater...

    ---------

    The main theater buzzed with activity as the caravan unloaded and set things up for final rehearsals and their performances. Dawn emerged in her costume to discover some cliff setpieces, and a trampoline hidden in the stage floor. "Oh my..."

    "We're setting up to practice a pivotal acrobatic scene during my quest for the Fire Pearl, towards the end of the play." Ash explained as he arrived in a red and gold acrobatic training costume. "This is for a jump I like to call 'The Fireball', but fans have affectionately called it 'The Sonic'. This is because it looks like you are Sonic the Zoroark building up speed as you dive down to a powerful trampoline, then rocket up to the top of a high platform, or slightly above a cliff. In the Suzaku costume or a generic phoenix costume, it looks closer to a fireball. No matter what you call it, it makes a wonderful triumphant appearance effect."

    "I'm sure it does!" Dawn smiled as some of the safety team arrived to attach Ash's catch tether.

    "When we do acrobatics, we take safety very seriously." Brock explained. "Everyone that performs acrobatics wears what's called a catch tether, and spotters are present at all times to rescue the performer if something happens. So if Ash misses this jump, or doesn't clear the second cliff, he's not falling very far--there are land spotters and air spotters present to help. If there's an aquatic act or water involved in acrobatics, there may be water spotters too."

    "Fascinating!" Dawn smiled as she watched Ash being hoisted to the top of the left cliff to practice the jump, aware of the spotters making sure everything was set up correctly, and safety measures were in place.

    "Okay--Red Phoenix, you are cleared to fly." the chief spotter reported some moments later.

    Ash nodded, then leaped from the left cliff in an elegant arc. Dawn watched in amazement as he curled his spinning body into a ball, impacted the trampoline, then rocketed to the top of the right cliff! Once Ash had cleared the cliff, he unrolled his body and held his hands high like wings for a few moments before landing at the top of the right cliff, to the applause of the director, the spotters, and the onlookers on the ground. "A beautiful flight, as always, Ash!" the director raved as a spotter guided Ash safely to the ground.

    "That...was...COOL!!!" Dawn raved as she applauded. "I can only imagine how much practice that took!"

    "It wasn't easy to learn..." Ash admitted. "But the applause when I pull it off makes the long hours of training and practice worth it."

    "Ready to go again?" the chief spotter smiled.

    "Yeah--let's do it again." Ash replied before more spotters arrived to take him back to the left cliff to practice the jump a second time...

    ---------

    Later that afternoon, Dawn spun and twirled across a dance practice room, a gold ribbon fluttering behind her as she ran through the dance in Act 1 yet again. "You're doing great, Dawn..." Serena smiled as she applauded. "Ready to perform that onstage?"

    "Now that I've had some time to practice it a little more, I am ready to try it out onstage." Dawn replied. "Seeing Ash perform 'the fireball' earlier today was great motivation!"

    Serena smiled. "No matter how many times Ash does that, it will never get old to me. It's motivated me to try more daring and bold steps that I wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. But this is what any performer does--continue getting better, and learn new things."

    Dawn nodded in agreement. "The orchestra's still setting up, so we'll just use the play's soundtrack for the music." Serena suggested as she loaded a CD inside a radio.

    "Okay!" Dawn replied before going to change out of her training garb and into costume.

    Kori's eyes turned to stars when she saw Dawn emerge from the dance studio's dressing room in the exquisite gold costume. [WOW!!! Dawn, you look great!]

    "Thanks..." Dawn smiled before explaining to the excited Piplup what was about to happen. "We're practicing the dance scene from Act 1."

    [The part where the Golden Emperor asks Princess Kinari to dance during the Sakura Festival celebration?] Kori asked.

    Dawn nodded. "The beauty of this scene is there's no one 'right' dance the person playing Princess Kinari has to do. Every dance is as unique as the actress that plays the role--so some other troupe in the world could be doing this play, and their Princess Kinari will do the dance differently from me."

    She turned business-like again. "But since they're still moving in the real instruments in the main theater, we're practicing in here for right now. Once the orchestra is all set up, we can do this with real instruments."

    Kori nodded. [I can't wait to see you do this with real instruments!] she squeaked as Dawn struck a 'ready' pose with a gold ribbon and Serena pressed PLAY on the CD player...
     
    #15 Apr 29, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  16. WavePearl

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    Episode 15: The Diamond Princess of the Gold Palace (part 1)

    Applause filled the Rock Creek Theater as Brock arrived in his beautiful green and silver narrator's robe, his vina cradled in his arms. After taking a bow for the crowd, he began "Thank you--we are the Kagayou Theater. If this is your first time seeing a Tawame performance, allow me to explain a few of the traditions and customs you will see this evening."

    Murmurs filled the air as Brock showed his vina to the audience. "First, the narrator--who may or may not be named depending on the play--plays the vina, to add ambiance and character to the spoken words. There is also a chorus of musicians and occasionally speakers to assist the narrator, who may also interact with the action taking place. It is not unheard of for the characters to sing in the middle of dialogue, and entire story beats are often conveyed in song. Props and sets are often brought on and taken away in a moment's notice. If a Pokémon or spirit is needed in the storyline, they are usually portrayed by puppets--the larger ones operated by several puppeteers in plain view of the audience, and voiced by the narrator. Even though you will very plainly see the stage ninjas at work creating the play's world, remember that they are shadows, and therefore unseen to you."

    He readied the vina to play. "Our story this evening is a love story that has been hailed a classic of the Tawame canon. Featuring a divine princess and her faithful phoenix lover, this is a beautiful tale of faithfulness, and love conquering all. Please enjoy 'The Princess of the Gold Palace'."

    Backstage, Dawn watched as Brock started the play's majestic overture. "This is it--what I've worked so hard to perform!"

    [You'll make a wonderful Princess Kinari!] Kori chirped as she admired Dawn's sparkling gold-orange costume]

    "Once you do your big dance, your reunion with Ash, and the dramatic confrontation with the Golden Emperor at the end of Act 1, you're not really needed again until the very end of the play." May noted as she emerged from a dressing room in her colorful costume. "I've left some pocket games and cards if you want to play with your team backstage."

    "The dance I'm actually excited about..." Dawn smiled. "I want to show Serena the fruits of our training!"

    Applause for the grand opening song snapped her to attention. "The Golden Emperor had a daughter, whose name was Kinari." Brock explained over a quiet interlude. "Kinari was renowned in heaven and on earth for her beauty, grace, and kind heart. Many an emperor, king, and hero came to ask for her hand, but the Golden Emperor didn't want just anyone to marry his daughter, his living hope. To every suitor, he gave a challenge--find the four Pearls of Worldly Balance. However, since the four pearls were hidden in four well guarded dungeons to deter the unworthy, not a single one of Princess Kinari's suitors succeeded in the task."

    Some angry murmurs wafted through the audience. "Then one day, as Princess Kinari was walking through the many royal gardens, she heard a flute far off in the distance. It seemed it was playing a love song just for her..."

    The lights came up on a beautiful garden set. Dawn arrived on the stage a few moments later, savoring the exquisite detail in the set. This is beautiful! The set crew went all out for this!

    A bansi flourish from offstage almost made her jump. "A flute? Who could be playing here in the garden?" she wondered as the single flourish became a romantic melody. "It can't be one of the royal musicians, since the Sakura Festival doesn't start for a few days..."

    She called offstage "Is it a friend or a foe who serenades me? Do you come in peace?"

    Ash emerged from a bush on the set, a dull red cloak covering his phoenix-like costume. "A friend, milady. I am a traveler from a far away land."

    "A traveler? Are you here for the festival?" Dawn asked. "If you are, you are early--the first night of the festival is this Golden Night..."

    Ash and Dawn pantomimed a polite but friendly conversation as as the lights blinked to Brock in his nook. "The princess and the mysterious traveler talked for a long time--the more she talked, the more Princess Kinari wanted to learn about this divine musician..."

    "Will you be back for the festival?" Dawn asked.

    Ash nodded. "I plan to stay for the festival...if you will meet me here in the garden before the festivities begin, we will talk more."

    "I promise." Dawn replied, to some "aw"s as she embraced Ash...

    ---------

    "The first night of the Sakura Festival arrived, and just as he promised, the mysterious prince returned to meet Princess Kinari." Brock narrated as he played a mysterious melody. "Though the princess had many questions about this flame colored traveler, deep within her heart, she was falling in love."

    The lights came up on Dawn meeting Ash at center stage. "You came! Will you tell me who you are?"

    "Not yet, milady..." Ash replied. "If I were to tell you who I am now, it would cause an uproar in the palace, and cast a pall on the festivities. But I promise you--when you get a free moment in your royal duties, return here to this place. I will tell you who I am then, and why I have to hide my identity. But I assure you my intentions in seeing you are pure and honorable."

    Dawn hung her head in feigned sadness and shame. "Is it because of my father you have to keep your identity a secret?"

    Ash nodded. "If your father were to find out who I am, he would likely kill us both in a fit of rage. But know this--I love you more than any king, prince, emperor or hero that has come asking for your hand before."

    "And I love you in kind." Dawn smiled. "Father can kill me if he wants, but I will never stop loving you!"

    "Then will you promise to meet me here when you have a moment?" Ash asked. "I will tell you everything then."

    Dawn nodded. "I promise...may Arceus judge my father if he tries to keep me away from you!"

    To Be Continued...
     
    #16 May 25, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  17. WavePearl

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    Episode 16: The Diamond Princess of the Gold Palace (part 2)


    A vina chord snapped Dawn to attention. "Now, Princess Kinari was also renowned for being a wonderful dancer--those that did see her dance described it as 'poetry in motion...'"

    Oh, right...my big dance is coming up! Dawn remembered as she hurried back behind a screen to change into the less elaborate dancer's version of her costume. I just hope I can remember all the steps!

    "Ready?" Serena asked as Dawn emerged from the screen some moments later.

    "As I'll ever be..." Dawn replied as she accepted a sparkling gold ribbon from a stagehand.

    "Just remember what we practiced, and you'll do fine." Serena assured Dawn, listening all the while for Brock to give the cue to start the dance in the palace scene.

    "...so it was only natural that the Golden Emperor would ask his daughter to dance at the height of the festivities." Dawn heard Brock say.

    Dawn took a deep breath and let it go. Here we go...Arceus, help me remember what I've learned here, and make Serena proud!

    She then heard the actor playing the Golden Emperor say "Everyone! The princess is going to dance!"

    Cheers erupted both on the stage and in the audience as Dawn gently walked onto the ornate palace set, and struck a ready pose before the hundreds of extras. After a few tense moments, the orchestra struck up a festive melody, spurring Dawn to spin, jump, and step across the plush red and gold carpet. Her gold ribbon fluttered along behind her, creating elegant swirls and patterns in the air.

    Serena beamed proudly from the wings as she watched Dawn perform the festive and fast dance. Way to go, Dawn! I knew you could do it!

    ---------

    "Later that evening, Princess Kinari returned to the garden to meet the mysterious traveler, as she had promised before." Brock explained as the orchestra's joyous and festive dance gave way to the vina's mysterious song. "Just as he had promised, the traveler was there, playing romantic songs on his flute for her."

    The lights came up on the garden set again, complete with Ash's bansi complimenting the background sounds of a river and Kricketots and Nincadas chirping. Dawn waited for the romantic tune to finish, then called into the darkened part of the stage. "I have come, as we agreed."

    "Welcome back..." Ash smiled before elegantly jumping down from a prop tree. "As I told you before, now I can tell you who I am."

    He began over a mystical vina melody. "I am one of Suzaku the Red Phoenix's many sons and daughters--a Phoenix Prince."

    "A Phoenix Prince?" Dawn gasped. "But then why would you have to hide your identity from my father? He would welcome such an auspicious match with open arms!"

    "I had to hide my identity because of your father's anger--which is known across heaven and earth." Ash explained. "I do not know if he has chosen a match for you or not, but you are worthy of more than any of the suitors that have come seeking your hand."

    "This is true..." Dawn smiled. "Father doesn't want just anyone to have me. This is why he has sent every suitor in search of the Four Pearls of Worldly Balance. For all I know, those pearls are just a myth, and he will have me at his side forever!"

    "Your father could send me on as long of a quest he likes, but I am ready to go to any lengths for your sake, Kinari." Ash smiled.

    "And I am ready to fight for your sake in kind..." Dawn replied.

    The orchestra started a quiet melody. Our combined wishes become the radiance of a thousand stars... Dawn sang.

    They become our flaming wings, become the circle of life... Ash sang back in reply.

    We can’t make this journey called love alone,
    both of them sang together.
    So hand in hand, we take the first step
    Over the starry sky’s arch
    Let’s put everyone’s dreams there
    A shooting star flies away...
    Into a million points of light!


    Some "aw"s and applause filled the air as Ash and Dawn embraced, but an ominous melody from the vina as the lights went down signaled not all was well in the fantasy world...

    ---------

    "Despite spending a romantic evening together with the Phoenix Prince, Kinari was blissfully unaware that her father knew she was missing." Brock intoned. "Believing the Phoenix Prince to be a secret lover, he angrily confronted Kinari the next morning!"

    The orchestra stared a dramatic melody as the actor playing the Golden Emperor and Dawn met on an ornate throne room set. A flame that reaches the heavens burns through me!
    Have you fallen so far from grace?
    Have you been so blinded and beguiled
    As to hide a lover from me???


    My father, he is no secret lover! Dawn pleaded.
    He loves me, and I love him in kind!
    If our everlasting dream becomes nothing but a memory,
    I will never forgive you!
    Is that a price you are willing to pay?


    Horrified gasps filled the theater as Dawn was knocked to the ground, and the actor playing the Golden Emperor held a prop sword to Dawn's throat, never mind that he wasn't actually going to harm Dawn. Since you have brought shame on the imperial line,
    I will cut you down, right here, right now!
    For the sake of my imperial pride!


    "STOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!" Ash's voice came from offstage, bringing the music and the dramatic confrontation to a halt. "Are you so consumed by your own fury that you would harm your own daughter?" Ash scolded as he arrived onstage, now in red, orange, and gold royal garb. "Arceus and my father Suzaku would judge you harshly for cutting down an innocent girl, who has done nothing wrong!"

    Dawn got up and hurried to Ash's side. "What your daughter was trying to tell you is true. If you allow me to speak, I will tell you everything."

    The vina calmed the nervous audience down as Ash pantomimed talking. "The Phoenix Prince told the Golden Emperor everything, leaving nothing out." Brock narrated from his nook. "Once the Phoenix Prince had explained that his love for Princess Kinari was true, the Golden Emperor calmed down. He then gave the Phoenix Prince the same task he did all the other suitors..."

    The lights blinked back to the throne room set. "Very well, son of Suzaku. If you will forgive my rashness, I will give you a chance to prove your claims." the actor playing the Golden Emperor began, sheathing the sword. "If you can search the world, find the Four Pearls of Worldly Balance, and bring them here to the Gold Palace, I will trust you, and give my blessing upon your union."

    In the wings, even Serena was impressed by the acting. What a scene! Is it any wonder why this play has endured for so long?

    To Be Continued...
     
  18. WavePearl

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    Episode 17: The Ninjas of the Pure Island (part 1)


    The mood in the caravan brimmed with happiness as the wagons departed to their next stop a few days later. "I can't believe it...I played an iconic role on the Tawame stage!" Dawn cried as she watched the Rock Creek Theater disappear over the horizon. "What role am I going to play next? Kanade or Deerling Child, maybe?"

    "Actually..." Brock began as he arrived in the common area of one of the residential wagons. "How would you like to play a ninja in our next show at the Pure Island Theater?"

    "A ninja?" Dawn was intrigued.

    Brock nodded. "Our next play is 'Clash on Chaos Mountain'--a tale of ninjas travels to rescue the princess of the land, Sakura-hime, from the evil Shadow Clan, culminating in an epic clash atop the titular mountain."

    "Sounds exciting!" Dawn smiled.

    "The problem is--or blessing, depending on who you ask--the ninjas are not specifically named or given a clan affiliation in the script." Brock explained. "So troupes work around this by letting those playing the ninjas to name them, and pick which clan they are a part of."

    He went on "The director has offered you and May both a chance to play a ninja. You don't need to decide right away, so you have time to think about it."

    "What's this about a ninja?" May asked as she arrived in the common area with some lunch.

    "Our next play is about ninjas, and we have a chance at playing two of them." Dawn explained.

    "Well, how many ninja clans are there, and where would flower and Beautifly themed jutsu fit?" May wondered.

    "According to this play's lore, there are many different clans among the ninja, which usually take their name from an element or aspect of nature." Brock explained. "Chief among these are the Ten Great Clans--the Earth Clan, the Fire Clan, the Wind Clan, the Water Clan, the Thunder Clan, the Snow Clan, the Wood Clan, the Spirit Clan, the Sun Clan, and the Moon Clan. Each of the clans have their own treasures, traditions and customs, but they all answer to the Grand Hokage, and the Emperor or Empress of the land."

    "Are there minor clans, or just these ten?" May was interested.

    "There are minor clans...and flower and Beautifly themed jutsu would file under the Flower Clan; a minor clan of the Wood Clan." Brock replied.

    "Have costumes been made for the ninja at all?" Dawn wondered. "Maybe seeing what each clan wears might help me pick a clan for my character."

    "The outfits are in progress, but the headbands are done." Brock showed Dawn a green headband with the character chi in the center. "My character is Reiji, a ninja of the Earth Clan--this is what his headband looks like."

    "So, what would my headband look like, if I'm in a minor clan?" May was curious.

    "The Wood Clan and their affiliated minor clans have lighter green headbands to tell them apart from the Earth Clan." Brock assured May. "Your character's clan also informs what kinds of jutsu they learned...so once you know what clan you want your character to be part of, I want you guys to brainstorm some jutsu these characters might know. The flowerier the technique names, the better!"

    Dawn thought for a moment. "Where would manipulating the stars fall under?"

    "Cosmic attacks would be the Moon Clan's expertise." Brock replied.

    Dawn nodded. "It's decided! My character is Mizuki of the Moon Clan!"

    "That sounds beautiful!" May smiled at Dawn's triumphant pose. "I'll need some time to think of a name for my character, but I can brainstorm jutsu with you."

    "Let's go!" With that, both girls hurried back to their room, giggling with excitement all the while.

    ---------

    "Now...we even have room to decide what the incantation will be too, according to the script." May explains. "The incantation part we want to keep easy to say and easy to remember. The techniques, as Brock said, we can go wild on."

    Dawn nodded. "The flowerier, the better!"

    "But not so long we forget it." May cautioned. "We're probably going to be presenting these at the readthrough. We're not limited to the characters we play, either--we can think up ideas for the other ninja too. We can also come up with finishing moves and group attacks."

    Dawn grabbed a notebook full of blank pages. "I'll write down the cool ones we both like, then give them to Brock to organize by elemental and type it up for the readthrough in a few days."

    "I know the perfect finisher for Ash!" May smiled.

    She struck a dramatic pose. "Niji magiiro no jutsu! Miracle Rainbow Phoenix!"

    "That sounded cool!" a voice raved. "I'd use that move to defeat the Shadow King and save Sakura-hime in a heartbeat!"

    May and Dawn whirled around to see Ash framed in the door. "Oh, you liked my idea?" May asked. "Brock asked us to think of ninja skills for everyone, so I thought of that one as a finisher for your character."

    Ash nodded. "If it would help you out in brainstorming jutsu for me, my character can use thunder jutsu as well as fire, since they are related powers. Also remember my character has a flute, so think of stuff I can use the bansi for, too."

    "Thanks for the tips!" Dawn smiled as Ash rounded the corner to the hall leading to the wagon with the fight training arena.

    She asked May "Does that 'niji magiiro' part mean anything?"

    "It does--rainbow magical technique." May replied. "So in order, the great clans are chi, hi, kaze, mizu, denki, yuki, taiyou, tsuki, moku, taiji. Niji is rainbow, or every elemental, and kage is shadow, or evil jutsu.

    "Works for me!" Dawn smiled.

    With that, the two went to work brainstorming as many wild attack names as they could:

    "Kaze magiiro no jutsu! Soaring White Dragon!"

    "Taiji magiiro no jutsu! Dance of Transformation!"

    "Taiyou magiiro no jutsu! Holy Judgement Fist!"

    "Hi magiiro no jutsu! Radiant Fire Flash!"

    To Be Continued...
     

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