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Fanfiction Pokemon: The Shimmering Stage (on hiatus; reworking into a new form)

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by WavePearl, May 7, 2022.

  1. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
    Level 24
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    (rated E10+ for fantasy stage violence)

    Episode 1: An Indigo Invitation

    After a successful performance of "The Legend of Celestial Crown Mountain", the Kagayou's popularity started to grow. While each troupe was talented, fans and casual theater goers alike agreed that the Niji Troupe, and the six best friends in it, were the star attraction. No matter which troupe was performing in the majestic theater in Pallet Town, the show was guaranteed to sell out, or come close to selling out. With each play they performed, the seven troupes grew more and more confident about larger and larger audiences.

    Then one day, an ornate envelope postmarked at Indigo Plateau proved the starting point for the young company's biggest stage yet!

    "Let's see here...fan mail and personal mail goes in each person's mailbox, and the office crew will handle the bills and logistical things." Ash mused as he arrived in the theater's foyer to deliver the massive haul of mail the theater had received.

    He first made his way down the hall to the office common area, aware of the whirs and whines of PCs and machines running, and the th-thunk, th-thunk, th-thunk of the main copier creating copies of promotional posters of the Aoi Troupe's newest play. After sorting out the mail that the office workers handled, he rang a small bell by the entryway as he departed to let those in the office know the mail had come.

    Next, he made his way to the training complex's common area, where his friends were relaxing. "Mail call!" he announced before setting down the collection of letters, magazines, comics, and coupons on the table.

    "Nice, new 'Acoustic Life'!" Brock smiled as he eased out a magazine depicting a group of acoustic guitars on the cover. "Don't worry, I'll still clip out any tunes you guys want to learn."

    "'Aquatica Monthly' scuba diving issue..." Misty smiled before settling to read the magazine with a beautiful Alolan reef on the cover.

    After setting aside some comics for himself, Ash noticed an ornately designed red, blue and gold envelope addressed to him. The return address made his heart race. No way--Lance personally wrote me a letter?

    Excited, he carefully opened the envelope and read the beautiful letter inside:

    Dear Ash,

    I have heard many wonderful things about your Tawame troupe, and how it has revitalized Pallet Town's downtown area. You all have done well bringing this wild and adventurous form of theater to new audiences, and now we of the Kanto League wish to see your skills.

    I am formally inviting you to bring one of the troupes (or the whole company, if you wish) to perform in the Grand Indigo Theater as part of the festivities for this year's League...

    Ash couldn't believe his eyes--Lance, the League Champion, was personally inviting the Kagayou to Indigo Plateau?

    Serena noticed Ash's shocked look. "What's the matter, Ash? You look like you've seen a Gastly!"

    Ash took a few deep breaths to calm himself, then told the group "You guys are not gonna believe this, but Lance has personally invited us to perform for the Kanto League this year!"

    Brock carefully took the envelope from Ash's shaking hand and looked over the letter. "This is definitely Lance's writing, all right! We need to get the troupe together and Rona!"

    "Why stop at just Indigo Plateau?" May smiled. "We could put on our first tour, and perform across Kanto on the way to the League!"

    "What's this about a tour?" a familiar voice asked.

    Ash noticed Rona approaching. "Champion Lance invited us to come perform at the League this year..." he explained as he gave Rona the letter and its envelope. So May figured that now was the time we take one--or more-- of the troupes on the road."

    Rona nodded as she took the letter. "You are in luck, everyone. One of the theater's top supporters took up a huge collection across Kanto, and bought seven sets of genuine Tawame touring wagons, one for each of the troupes. This way, any of the troupes can tour. So you may just get your wish to perform for Lance, the Elite Four, and the other League officials.

    As the others hurried off to pack, Ash asked. "Can I at least write Lance a reply, so he knows we are coming?"

    "Sure!" Rona replied as she gave Ash a piece of paper, an envelope with theater designs, and a Pikachu stamp.

    Excited, Ash started writing his letter. "Dear Champion Lance, we are both honored and humbled by your offer to perform at the League...

    ---------

    A few weeks later, the mood inside the theater was electric as the Niji Troupe's members prepared for their first real tour. "This is it, everyone...we're hitting the road on our grand tour today!" Dawn smiled as she met the group in the theater's grand foyer.

    Ash smiled as he organized his bags and a gig bag holding a Pokeflute and several whistles. "Got my packing done last night, and my bansi's safe with the other instruments in the orchestra's wagon."

    "Well, go get your stuff so we can start loading up the wagons." Misty replied as the group hurried off to retrieve their bags and supplies for the long journey. "Once we're all loaded up, Rona will give us final instructions before we set out."

    "Unlike Tawame troupes of old, we're not camping out in the open every night." Brock explained as he brought over his bags and a well loved guitar case. "While we will have to do that at some points on the route, Rona's found lodging that can accommodate the caravan in most every place we plan to stop."

    May smiled when she saw the guitar case. "Have acoustic guitar on a trip, will travel."

    "That, and my vina's packed away in the orchestra's wagon." Brock explained. "So if we need a break from all the trad Wakunese tunes, we can play trad Galarian, Kalosian, and Unovan tunes at night."

    Serena arrived with a well loved instrument case of her own among her bags. "I'm bringing my own fiddle and my mandolin."

    "I can at least play percussion around the campfire, if Rona deems dancing too dangerous in the open..." May smiled as she brought over her bags, with Dawn not far behind.

    "Okay...are we SURE we have everything we're gonna bring on the trip?" Brock asked. "If you need to go back for something or double check that everything's in order, do it now."

    Something occurred to Misty. "Come to think of it, I DID forget a few important things!" With that, she hurried down the hall to the actor's residential complex.

    She returned a few moments later with her own fiddle case and a large canvas shopping bag depicting a trio of Squirtles playing in soap bars. "There...now I'm ready to go. I'm sure everyone in the Aoi troupe will take care of the theater while the rest of us are on the road."

    "Rona gave the Aoi's impresaria a wireless GPS monitor-so if she does have to send mail to us, she knows exactly where any of the touring troupes are." Brock explained. "Let's go load the wagons."

    ---------

    Rona smiled as the group arrived with their gear. "Good morning, all--once you've loaded your wagon, I'll explain how each stop on our tour is going to work, okay?"

    "Right!" the group chorused before hurrying towards the line of colorful wagons in the theater's parking lot.

    "I assume this one is mine..." Ash smiled before climbing in a gold wagon with chrysanthemum designs interwoven with red phoenixes.

    He noticed Misty carrying the shopping bag. "What's that for?"

    "Soap bars!" Misty smiled. "In many places, even in Waku, it is acceptable to give a bar of soap along with or in place of money. So if you wanna see the show, just donate what you can, or give a bar of soap. What's not kept for souvenirs or our personal use will go in here."

    "That's a clever idea..." Rona smiled as she looked in on Ash organizing his gear in his wagon. "You do have Wi Fi in your wagon--each wagon has its own personal network, so you have online access even in the middle of nowhere."

    Ash smiled as he unpacked his gear, turning the wagon into what more or less resembled a bedroom, complete with a sturdy countertop with drawers. This made plenty of room to eat or set something down. A laptop and a charging station for a red 3DS and his PokeNav sat on the table, and a sleeping bag was rolled up in the right corner. A plug station for the laptop and any portable appliances was tucked away in a corner, so it wouldn't be jostled. His instruments were in a shady corner by the sleeping bag, and his personal items and everyday clothes were in the back, so they wouldn't fly out of the wagon or damaged by the elements.

    Once sure he was happy with his setup, Ash took his PokeNav, climbed from the wagon, and hurried to meet the others out in the center of the empty parking lot...

    ---------

    "Now, here's how every stop on our tour will work..." Rona explained. "We will rehearse shows while we travel, and stay for a week at each stop, performing two performances of a show at each stop. On days we don't perform, you guys are free to relax and see the sights. If you have family in the area, you can visit them, as well."

    "If you're from an area, you can show the troupe around, right?" Misty asked.

    "Of course." Rona smiled.

    A buzz from his PokeNav got Ash's attention, snapping him from Rona speaking. Hi, Ash--good luck on your grand tour! Delia's text read, complete with a Pikachu emoji and a Moltres emoji.

    Thanks. Ash typed back, looking up to be sure he didn't miss anything important. You can call or text anytime--our wagons have wi-fi.

    Another buzz got his attention. hey it's gary, best of luck on the grand tour, superstar!

    Thanks. Ash typed back, aware of the Pokémon wranglers hitching Ponytas to the wagons. All our shows will be broadcast on our official site and on MyTube, if you wanna watch.

    can't wait. Gary typed back. Safe travels, and hope to see you in the audience!

    I'll do my best. Ash typed back. The briefing appeared to be over, so he returned to the wagon.

    He watched as one of the crew members closed up the wagon. "We'll be departing shortly." he smiled.

    Ash nodded. "Just had to say my goodbyes to family and friends first."

    After a few tense moments, he felt the wagon begin to move as the team of Ponytas gracefully made their way out of the theater's parking lot and into the wagon lane on the road, to cheers from a throng of onlookers. Our grand tour of Kanto, here we go! he smiled as he invited his faithful Pikachu Tintri on his lap and settled in to read a comic...
     
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  2. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
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    Episode 2: A Stage of the Ancient Past


    For a while, the caravan's journey was uneventful. In between rehearsals for the troupe's performance of the play "Climbing a Mountain to See Arceus", Ash had spent the time reading what comics and novels he packed, responding to messages, and enjoying the view of the plains and hills rolling by, as well as the Pokémon wranglers walking alongside the wagons.

    A beep from a small wireless radio lying on the table got his attention. "Emerald Raikou calling Ruby Phoenix, come in..." Brock's voice crackled over the tiny radio's speaker.

    Ash scrambled to the table and snatched up the radio. "This is Ruby Phoenix..."

    "Great Rainbow says we should be arriving at our first stop soon." Brock explained. "Once we get there, we'll set things up, and take the stage at 6 tonight in the Graceful River Station's theater, rain or shine. We can also get supplies, explore the post station, and rest in between shows."

    Ash smiled. "Roger--see you in a few minutes. Ruby Phoenix out."

    He smiled as he put the radio back. Those wireless radios Rona got us are an Arceus-send! We can talk to each other even though we may be in very different wagons or locations!

    Just then, he spotted a clump of ancient rooftops coming into view, with a river flowing by the former post station's front gate. That has to be the Graceful River Station--so named because the station sat by a river.

    He nudged his Pikachu awake as the wagons came to a stop near a fork in the road. "Hey...we're here."

    [mmm...are you gonna perform yet?] Tintri yawned.

    "Not yet--we're getting close to the Graceful River Station--the first stop on the old Indigo Road after Pallet Town. Like a lot of roads in ancient Waku, there were post stations--essentially checkpoints on the route--where travelers could rest, replenish supplies, send and get mail, and catch the latest plays, just to name a few things. Many of the post stations and many old theaters on the route are restored and preserved--to give you some idea of what visiting a post station would've been like in ancient times."

    He was about to say more when a boom got his attention. "Oh no..."

    He felt the wagons start to move again as the Ponytas made their way into the post station. Despite the pouring rain, many of the historic station's residents cheered as the caravan passed through the town square and headed for a majestic building with a sloped roof by the north gate. Looks no different than our theater... Ash thought as the wagons arrived in the caravan unloading area. The Pokémon wranglers recalled the Ponytas to their Poke Balls to rest, then opened up the wagons to allow the actors and other crew to stretch and assist in unloading.

    Misty arrived some moments later. "I was looking forward to performing in the station's outdoor theater tonight, but I'm no Castform--I don't control the weather."

    "Good thing Rona had the foresight to have a plan B in case our outdoor venue got rained out." Ash assured Misty. "Fingers crossed that we'll get to perform our second show in the stage pavilion like we planned..."

    "We will--the rain will move out by tomorrow night, so we can perform in the station's outdoor pavilion later this week." Rona replied as she studied a radar on WeatherNav. "For tonight, we'll have to perform in the theater--KNTO says that the rain will last through tonight, making it too dangerous to perform outside."

    She addressed the crowd of concerned actors. "Actors, go on inside the theater and get ready for tonight--we're not letting a little rain ruin our first tour stop!"

    "Yeah--the show must go on!" Ash agreed before leading the charge into the stage door...

    ---------

    Inside the theater, the audience watched as Brock--now in a majestic deep green costume with pale green, white, and gold trim--helped Midori to her feet. "Are you okay, milady?"

    "I think so..." Midori replied as she brushed off her own green and gold costume. "Thank you for rescuing me from those rogues...I need to find bodyguards to lead me to Celestial Crown Mountain."

    "Bodyguards?" Brock was interested.

    Midori nodded. "The Enduring Dark Sect was after me because I can sing ki in my song...I will never use my gift to bring disaster on this land!"

    Brock nodded to show he understood. "Let me take you to Verdant Dawn Valley. You'll be safe there."

    The lights went down over a hopeful interlude, hiding Brock and Midori making their exit. "And so, Emerald Raikou led Green Fletchling to Verdant Dawn Valley, where he and the other five Noble Spirits trained and rested when they were not adventuring. Once there, he told the other Noble Spirits of Green Fletchling's gift--and how he believed she was key to the prophecy..."

    "Wow"s and awed chatter filled the theater as the lights came up on a beautiful ancient Wakunese enclave in a flower filled forest. "Everyone! I have someone you all need to meet!" Brock called to no one in particular as he and Midori arrived on the set's central square.

    "Welcome back, Raikou-san...who is your guest?" Misty asked as she met Brock and Midori.

    "This is Green Fletching." Brock explained, prompting Midori to wave hello. "I have a reason to believe she is the singing Fletching that Seer Summer Grace foretold."

    "You've found the singing Fletching?" May asked as she emerged from a foliage filled pathway, intrigued in Midori.

    "When the Fletchling sings to awaken Arceus, evil will be judged, and a new era of peace will come." Ash quoted the play's hopeful prophecy as he climbed over a rock to join the others. "This explains why the evil sects are ambushing any that sing well or play music well. I have had to hide my flute when I am traveling."

    "If I know Summer Grace, her prophecies are rarely wrong." Dawn assured Ash as she entered from stage left. "So how do you know that this lady is the one?"

    "She claims to be able to sing ki in her song." Brock explained to the group, acknowledging Serena with a nod as she made her entrance from stage right. "The only way to see if she speaks the truth would be to have her sing a spell."

    "Well...I can conjure a rain shower..." Midori offered. "Is that an acceptable spell?"

    "That will do just perfectly!" Ash smiled as the group made a circle for Midori to dance in.

    "Okay...one spring rain, just for you." Midori smiled.

    The orchestra started a dream-like melody as Midori sang a mystical melody, making "rain" and "sapphires" fall on the stage as she spun and weaved through the circle...
     
  3. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
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    Episode 3: Golden Raikou at the Bright Rock


    "Midori stole the show at Graceful River Station..." Misty smiled as the group departed the station a few days later. "Now it's Brock's turn with a familiar character..."

    "That explains why I heard Brock cheering last night, after Rona delivered us our scripts..." Ash smiled as he watched the plains of Kanto roll by from a window in the common wagon. "Another Golden Raikou play?"

    Brock nodded. "A Golden Raikou play I've longed for us to perform for a while--'Golden Raikou Subdues the Demon'.

    "I tried out for Princess Jade Kirin, but that's okay--I think I can work with Violet Deerling." Dawn smiled. "Since we can't exactly have a full readthrough with the whole troupe in our caravan, Rona said to look over and discuss the script and your role yourself--although she is available in the lead wagon for questions and concerns."

    "We can have a readthrough here--just the six of us!" Ash suggested. "At least until Rona manages to make a wagon big enough for a whole troupe readthough."

    "Besides, it'll help pass the time until we get to Bright Rock Theater." Dawn agreed.

    "Since you've played the lead role before, Brock, will you serve as the leader for our group readthrough?" May asked.

    "Sure." Brock smiled as he opened his copy of the script to the cast list, where he saw his role highlighted in green. "The show is part of the Golden Raikou series of plays, and features his main nemesis of all his rogue's gallery--the notorious warrior Argent Murkrow. It is explained in this play that Argent Murkrow has an impressive rap sheet, but kidnapping the princess was the final straw. Alongside a few companions, Golden Raikou seeks to finally bring his cunning foe to justice, rescuing Princess Jade Kirin along the way."

    'They say that a good actress with charisma and good comic timing is important to pull off Argent Murkrow...so I wonder who got that part?" May wondered.

    "If they weren't trying out for the princess, a lot of girls were trying out for Argent Murkrow." Ash remembered. Even Serena tried out for her--and this is the first time I know of that Serena wanted to try out for a bad guy."

    "Argent Murkrow is mainly a funny type of villain--so I thought that playing a bad guy would be a challenge for me." Serena explained. "But Scarlet Delphox will scratch my itch for a comical character perfectly."

    "A girl named Autumn got the part of Argent Murkrow, if I recall correctly." Misty told May. "Serena was actually Rona's third choice, though I don't remember who Autumn beat out."

    "Moving on...the audience doesn't have to have seen any of the other Golden Raikou plays to understand this one." Brock assured the others. "The narrator gets the audience up to speed, then I have a slightly comical monologue that elaborates on some of what the narrator said to start Act 1. As I'm talking to the audience while walking down the Spring Trail, Ash meets me there and lets me know about Princess Jade Kirin's capture."

    "Then we all sing the rap sheet song..." Misty mused. "With Princess Jade Kirin being kidnapped as the Cheri Berry on top.

    "Let Rona know we need a session with the piano later." Serena reminded Brock. "So we can practice the rap sheet song.

    "The song's harder than it looks to play..." Misty admitted. "I could just barely play it on my own piano!"

    "I think it needs to be played on a proper 88 key piano, not a 61 key or 76 key keyboard." Serena interjected. "Your piano's fine for band practice, but not so much Tawame songs."

    "I gathered as much last night..." Misty sighed. "That said, some Tawame songs do work on 61 keys."

    "If and when you do upgrade to a full size 88 key digital keyboard, Mountainwings are your best bet." Brock assured Misty. "Really nice silver ones too."

    "Point noted." Misty smiled before turning her attention back to the script. "Anyway, after the rap sheet song, we discuss our plan of attack based on what we know about the kidnapping--Argent Murkrow took Princess Jade Kirin in broad daylight--right out from under the guards' noses. She then took her to her hideout in the Twilight Moon Cliffs--but the billion credit question is--what route did Argent Murkrow take?"

    "So we agree to travel to the capital, and learn what we can from the imperial court and the guard." Brock went on. "Personally, I'm glad the journey to the capital was cut--that could've been a whole other play.

    "Traveling to the Aiiro City or some other capital or important location makes up an entire genre of plays--appropriately called 'traveling plays'. May explained. "But this is a full on chase play, since we are chasing Argent Murkrow the whole play. Her allies do try to stop us, but our goal is to catch Argent Murkrow and rescue Princess Jade Kirin."

    "I'm looking forward to seeing what the crew Rotoms will design for the imperial palace scene, when Golden Raikou and his companions are formally charged with rescuing Princess Jade Kirin." Ash smiled.

    "Does Princess Jade Kirin just sit there in a cell the whole time, or does she have an active role?" Serena wondered.

    "She does help us out with what she can as the play progresses--similar to what Peach does in 'Paper Mario 64'. Brock explained as he looked ahead to the play's ending. "She also pitches in for the final fight after I let her out--but in all the confusion, Argent Murkrow escapes with a promise that she'll have her revenge next time."

    "But knowing Golden Raikou, he'll catch her once again." Dawn smiled, making the others laugh in agreement...
     
  4. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
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    Episode 4: Golden Raikou and Argent Murkrow Meet Onstage


    "Wow..." May gasped as the group arrived on the stage of Bright Rock Theater a few days later. "I can't wait to perform in here..."

    "The set crew will finish setting things up once we finish our acting rehearsal." Ash explained. "We'll get our costumes in another day or two, do some dress rehearsals, then we're ready for our debut here. For now, let's focus on today's acting rehearsal."

    "Good idea!" May smiled.

    She noticed an auburn haired girl talking to Rona by stage left. Oh yeah...I need to ask Autumn for a practice duel later, after today's rehearsal...

    Once sure Autumn was done speaking with Rona, she waved to get her co-star's attention. "Autumn?"

    "What is it, May?" Autumn asked, making notes in her script all the while.

    "Do you know if this theater has a training room for fight scenes or not?" May asked. "I was wanting to practice our big fight in Act 2 later, after rehearsal."

    Autumn nodded. "I scoped out this place while the crew was bringing stuff in, and there is a fight training room backstage--a very roomy one, I might add. I'll see about reserving it for later tonight, after rehearsal and dinner. Bring your A game!"

    May smiled. "I'll bring more than that--I'm bringing my S game!"

    ---------

    Later, Rona motioned for the group and Autumn to gather around her for a briefing for a key scene. "Now...this is a comical scene, but it is important for the rest of the play--Golden Raikou and the others trying to get an answer out of Argent Murkrow as to where Princess Jade Kirin is. Golden Raikou doesn't know that Argent Murkrow has taken the princess to her hideout in the Twilight Moon Cliffs. Likewise, Argent Murkrow doesn't want to let her nemesis know where the princess is. This should be a great banter scene, although you can play it like a rap battle, if you like."

    "We'll try it the banter way first, then go from there." Brock replied.

    "We can improv this scene, right?" Autumn wondered.

    "If you want to improvise the dialogue, you can--just remember the blue lines have to be included somewhere in the scene." Rona replied.

    She next addressed the others. "This means you guys will have a chance to fire off some zingers with Argent Murkrow too. So let's have everyone get into position and try out as much of this scene as possible."

    Cheers filled the theater as the group hurried to their places. "I'm gonna come like I'm really steamed, so the more nonchalant you can be to my anger, the better." Brock smiled before hurrying to his place at stage right.

    Autumn smiled back. "I'll do my best."

    ---------

    Rona watched as Brock stormed into the scene in feigned anger. "There you are!" he cried in feigned anger. "Where is the princess?"

    "What princess? Am I not beautiful enough to be a princess?" Autumn smirked before elegantly jumping off a prop rock, to giggles from Rona.

    "Don't give us that, Argent Murkrow!" Ash fired back. "We know you kidnapped Princess Jade Kirin right from under the imperial guard's noses! So where is she?"

    "And is she alive?" Misty demanded.

    "Calm down, calm down...yes, I have the princess, and yes, she's just fine inside my little hideout." Autumn assured the group. "But I'll never tell you where my little hideout is!"

    "Maybe this will make you talk?" Brock growled before taking a familiar golden swirled bow and readying an arrow, never mind he wasn't actually going to fire the prop arrow.

    "Easy on the pointy things, Stripey-Meowth..." Autumn grinned, ever aware of the prop arrow Brock was aiming at her. "I'll talk if you won't make me your target!"

    "Okay..." Brock replied as he lowered his bow. "Start talking--where is Princess Jade Kirin?"

    "Once I got her away from the palace, I took a stroll through Maple Woods..." Autumn explained. "Then we walked along Summer Bloom Trail--since the princess was under the impression I was taking her to the imperial gardens..."

    "But the imperial gardens are east of the palace--and you were going west!" Dawn noted.

    "An astute observation, Sea-Doe." Autumn smirked, to Rona's giggles. "Then after passing through the Spring Gate, we passed by Willow Lake, where I at least gave her a royal lunch."

    "We're gonna be here all day at this rate..." Misty sighed in feigned frustration over Autumn's next few lines.

    "She's just trying to get out of telling us where the princess is by stalling us." Ash agreed, a note of frustration in his voice.

    "But what if she's telling the truth?" May suggested, aware of Brock listening in feigned frustration over Autumn's rambling. "What if the route she is describing is the way to her hideout?"

    "If it is the way to her hideout, then we just found a huge clue..." Serena replied. "If it's just a giant red Goldeen, we'll be wandering the realm for all eternity."

    "...then after passing Twilight Pond, we arrived at the cliffs." Autumn concluded sometime later. "But good luck finding the princess in there!"

    Brock thought for a moment. "Okay...I'm gonna try following your claimed route. But you know very well what will happen if this is just a wild Yungoos chase..."

    "I swear to Arceus, this is the truth!" Autumn pleaded. "Just follow the route I described, and you'll find my hideout and the princess!"

    "All right, and scene!" Rona smiled as she applauded. "First of all, you guys did very well improvising your banter!"

    "Thanks!" Autumn smiled. "We might change it up every show, but I think what we did here will do nicely for opening night."

    "If we can make you laugh, we'll probably get the audience laughing too." Brock assured Rona. "We'll just see how this set of banter works opening night!"
     
  5. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
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    Episode 5: Golden Raikou's Debut at the Bright Rock


    "All right, everyone...the facts are these." Brock--now in a beautiful gold and orange robe-like costume that evoked a shiny Raikou--explained to the others as he paced the set of an ancient Wakunese house, not unlike a detective. "We know Argent Murkrow took Princess Jade Kirin in broad daylight--right out from under the guards' noses. She then took her to her hideout in the Twilight Moon Cliffs. The billion sen question is--what route did Argent Murkrow take?"

    "Your guess is as good as mine..." Serena sighed as she slumped in her chair, her costume creating the illusion she had become a rose.

    "Even though the princess was taken without the guards seeing, there had to have been SOMEONE that saw what was going on." Misty--now in a sapphire studded blue and white costume--explained. "Either there is someone at court that saw but didn't inform the guards, or someone saw, but was too afraid to tell anyone what was going on."

    "The second theory sounds more plausible." May replied, her colorful costume creating a rainbow of tiny lights on the stage. "The only way to know who saw anything is to travel to the capital."

    Brock smiled, then accepted a piece of paper and a prop ancient Wakunese pen from a stage ninja. "I will send word to His Majesty that we see the tears of the imperial family, and wish to help find the princess."

    Misty watched Brock write imagined Wakunese characters on the paper for a moment. "If I know Argent Murkrow, she will do everything she can to throw us off the trail..."

    "Yes--she can sweet-talk her way into anything." Dawn agreed as she got up from the table, her majestic purple costume shimmering in the stage lights. "That, or she can talk her way out of any trouble she's in."

    The audience laughed in agreement as Brock finished writing his imagined message, then looked over the imagined writing. "No matter how far she runs, I will not rest until she is locked away in a dungeon cell."

    Then something occurred to him. "But this is Argent Murkrow here...she is crafty enough to find her way out of the imperial dungeons in all of three minutes."

    The audience laughed at the wry comment as the lights went down...

    ---------

    "Golden Raikou and his companions wasted no time in journeying to the capital." the narrator went on over an interlude from the orchestra. "Once there, they questioned anyone at the court that had potentially seen the whereabouts of Princess Jade Kirin. After gathering what information they could, they presented their findings to the Emperor and Empress..."

    Awed murmurs went up on a set of an imperial throne room, where the group had bowed before the actors playing the Emperor and the Empress in respect. "Rise, Golden Raikou--I await your report." the actor playing the Emperor began.

    "After questioning all those that had seen Princess Jade Kirin on the night she was kidnapped, this is the rough timeline I managed to piece together..." Brock explained over a tense stinger. "We know that Princess Jade Kirin was discovered missing at the first hour of the Emboar. The actual kidnapping itself would've likely taken place sometime during the Growlithe Watch."

    The actor playing the Emperor nodded in agreement. "This is correct--the princess was safely in her chambers as the Combusken Watch ended."

    "This is what I do not understand..." the actress playing the Empress interjected. "How could the kidnapper gotten past the guards and into the palace?"

    "A secret passageway, or the kidnapper had a Jigglypuff sing to put the guards to sleep?" Ash interjected, his white, blue, and gold outfit a stark contrast to all the red and gold on the set.

    "A Jigglypuff would have still made a sound..." the actor playing the prime minister explained. "When I managed to rouse the guards, they said the kidnapper had silently knocked them out. A more likely scenario would've been sleeping darts, or an herb to induce sleep."

    "Speaking of which..." Dawn smiled as she showed the actors a prop dart. "I found some of these while we questioned the guards."

    "The sleeping darts would be consistent with Argent Murkrow's known methods to kidnap someone." Brock agreed. "She prefers to knock out any security, take her target, and go before being discovered."

    "Then that is why we did not know Jade Kirin was missing until an hour after the fact." the Empress mused.

    The actor playing the Emperor addressed the group. "As thanks for your assistance in bringing our daughter home, you and your companions have imperial authority to pursue and capture Argent Murkrow, and bring Princess Jade Kirin home safely." A majestic melody began as the lights went down...

    ---------

    Concerned murmurs filled the theater as Brock stormed into the scene in feigned anger. "There you are!" he cried. "Where is the princess?"

    "What princess? Am I not beautiful enough to be a princess?" Autumn smirked before elegantly jumping off a prop rock, to giggles from the audience.

    "Don't give us that, Argent Murkrow!" Ash fired back, to more laughter. "We know you kidnapped Princess Jade Kirin right from under the imperial guard's noses! So where is she?"

    "And is she alive?" Misty demanded.

    "Calm down, calm down...yes, I have the princess, and yes, she's just fine inside my little hideout." Autumn assured the group. "But I'll never tell you where my little hideout is!"

    "Maybe this will make you talk?" Brock growled before taking a familiar golden swirled bow and readying an arrow, never mind he wasn't actually going to fire the prop arrow.

    "Easy on the pointy things, Stripey-Meowth..." Autumn grinned over the audience's laughter, ever aware of the prop arrow Brock was aiming at her. "I'll talk if you won't make me your target!"

    "Okay..." Brock replied as he lowered his bow. "Start talking--where is Princess Jade Kirin?"

    "Once I got her away from the palace, I took a stroll through Maple Woods..." Autumn explained. "Then we walked along Summer Bloom Trail--since the princess was under the impression I was taking her to the imperial gardens..."

    "But the imperial gardens are east of the palace--and you were going west!" Dawn noted.

    "An astute observation, Sea-Doe." Autumn smirked, to the audience's laughter. "Then after passing through the Spring Gate, we passed by Willow Lake, where I at least gave her a royal lunch."

    "We're gonna be here all day at this rate..." Misty sighed in feigned frustration over Autumn's next few lines.

    "She's just trying to get out of telling us where the princess is by stalling us." Ash agreed, a note of frustration in his voice.

    "But what if she's telling the truth?" May suggested, aware of Brock listening in feigned frustration over Autumn's rambling. "What if the route she is describing is the way to her hideout?"

    "If it is the way to her hideout, then we just found a huge clue..." Serena replied. "If it's just a giant red Goldeen, we'll be wandering the realm for all eternity."

    "...then after passing Twilight Pond, we arrived at the cliffs." Autumn concluded sometime later. "But good luck finding the princess in there!"

    Brock thought for a moment. "Okay...I'm gonna try following your claimed route. But you know very well what will happen if this is just a wild Yungoos chase..."

    "I swear to Arceus, this is the truth!" Autumn pleaded. "Just follow the route I described, and you'll find my hideout and the princess!"
     
  6. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 6: An Iconic Story in Another Land


    "Oh, YES!!! YES! YES! YEEEEEEESSSS!!!!" Misty cried as she dashed into the caravan common area a few days later. "We're doing 'The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix' for our next play at New Village Station!"

    "Looking forward to reprising Mizuka again?" Ash smiled. "As soon as Rona announced the play, I've been eager to reprise Karu again."

    "What's all the excitement about?" May asked as she peeked in the room, where Misty was still dancing with excitement in the center of the room.

    "We're doing what's essentially the Tawame version of 'The Three Musketeers'." Ash explained, acknowledging Serena and Dawn with a nod as they came in the room. "That play spurred the formation of a Tawame community in Kalos."

    "You'd be right--that was the play Diantha used to introduce the Tawame theater to Kalos, and the first one ever performed in Kalos." Serena explained. "So if we ever get to tour Kalos, it has to be on the list of plays we perform."

    "Moving on..." Misty composed herself. "Since auditions haven't opened yet..."

    She passed out book copies of the script to the others. "I ordered us all a copy of the play's script for our own reading enjoyment, and to study for our performance. So in lieu of a proper readthrough, the boys and I can answer any questions you might have about the play."

    "Thanks, Misty!" Dawn smiled before eagerly opening her book to the first page.

    "Yeah, thank you!" May agreed as she began studying the first scenes of Act 1.

    "If you're not familiar with the play, the story basically goes like this..." Misty explained. "The show tells the story of Chikaru Hououji, or Karu to those who know him well."

    "My role!" Ash smiled.

    "He is one of the Empress' bravest knights, and is often trusted with the most dangerous and complex missions that none of the other knights are willing to do." Misty went on, acknowledging Ash with a grin. "One day, he unearths a plot by the prime minister to kill the Empress at the height of the Phoenix Festival--the anniversary of this kingdom's founding. Horrified at what he discovers, Karu embarks on an urgent quest to save the realm alongside a band of new friends. That's without giving too much away."

    "So if Ash is Karu, which role do you play?" Dawn wondered.

    "I play Mizuka, a wandering warrior Karu meets on his search for warriors in arms willing to help him stop the evil prime minister. She feels sorry for Karu's predicament, and offers to lend her skill to his cause."

    "I play Eichi Kitora." Brock explained. "He is a skilled hunter who is very wise in the way of folklore, and is never without a song in his heart. But like the Raikou, he hits hard when provoked."

    "I see..." Serena mused as she paged through her book. "If I had to pick today which role I most wanted to try out for, I would try out for Kitsuki. She seems like a fun character to play..."

    "Kitsuki would be perfect for you, Serena!" May agreed. "You would do well with your comical abilities!"

    "Aw, thanks." Serena replied. "Delphox born characters are usually comical tricksters, but some can be heroic, and some can be flat out comical. Kitsuki falls under the lovable noble rogue kind of character--one of my favorite character types to play.

    She thumbed through her book some more, smiling at every scene with Kitsuki and Karu in it. "You and I are gonna have so much fun bantering, Ash..."

    "Who said we had to stick to the script for those scenes?" Ash agreed. "If we improved those scenes every time, the show would be both hilarious and timely."

    "You guys have impeccable comic timing, that's for sure." Brock agreed as he carefully read over Eichi's first scene in Act 1. "May...Dawn...if you had to pick today the role you wanted to try out for, who would it be, and why?"

    "Hm..." Dawn thought for a moment as she skimmed another scene. "Youka sounds like an interesting character--a strong Deerling-born instead of the quiet priestess type we've seen in every play we've done so far. Not that I mind quiet priestess Deerling-borns, but I do want to try different types of roles and different types of Deerling-borns."

    "I'm probably going to try out for Ageha, the actress that doubles as an imperial spy." May replied. "She seems like a fun character to play--and I get to dance and fight in the same play."

    "An actress playing an actress..." Dawn grinned. "Actress-ception!"

    Everyone laughed at Dawn's joke. "That was a GOOD one, Dawn!" May wheezed as she held in tears of laughter.

    "Yes, that was a great jab--and you'll be doing a lot of those if you get to play Youka." Brock explained after composing himself. "Youka may be a wandering hero, and one of Eichi's closest companions, but she has a razor sharp wit, and isn't afraid to use it."

    "All the more reason I want to try out for her." Dawn agreed. "I can practice my comedy, and my heroic acting in the same role!"

    Just then, Rona arrived in the room. "I see you're all enjoying reading over our next play together?" she asked.

    Ash nodded. "When Misty, Brock, and me were training to be Tawame actors, 'The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix' was the play we performed as the culmination of our training."

    "So it holds a special place in our hearts, alongside the story it was based on." Misty agreed.

    "So if it's okay with you, we'd like to reprise the roles we played that first time." Brock requested.

    Rona thought for a moment. "You three will have to go through the same audition process as everyone else, but I will keep you guys in mind for the roles of Karu, Mizuka, and Eichi. If no one emerges as a stronger candidate for those roles, you may reprise them. But be thinking about a Plan B role you three may want if someone does emerge as a stronger candidate for those roles."

    "Since we know we ideally want to reprise Karu, Mizuka, and Eichi as our first choice, we'll drop by our preferred Plan B and Plan C roles later tonight." Brock suggested.

    "May, Dawn and me will do likewise, since we know what our first choice roles are too." Serena agreed.

    "All right--I will see you all in the audition room in the morning." Rona smiled as she departed...
     
  7. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 7: The Reunion of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix



    Ash was jolted awake a few days later by the buzz of a text message. It had been a few days since the auditions for "The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix" had ended, and Ash had been beside himself with excitement to know if he would be reprising Karu or not. He had peeked at the bulletin board in the practice stage's foyer at least once a day, despite Rona's assurances to be patient. He had read over the entire play multiple times, both to refresh his memory on Karu's lines and find new approaches to playing Karu now that he was a proper Tawame actor with some plays under his belt.

    The blinking envelope on the PokeNav screen spurred him to rub the sleep from his eyes. Maybe the parts have been posted already... he thought as he swiped to unlock his PokeNav, and opened MessageNav.

    Good morning, Ash. Brock's message began. I am pleased to announce that the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix are getting back together!

    Three pictures showing "Chikaru Hououji--Ash Ketchum", "Mizuka--Misty Williams", and "Eichi Kitora--Brock Harrison" under Brock's message made Ash's sleepy look of bemusement turn to euphoria! "YESSSSS!!! I DID IT!!!"

    Excited, he typed back are u there in the foyer now?

    Yeah... Brock replied. That was how I got the cast list pictures showing our roles.

    did Serena, May, and Dawn get the roles they wanted? Ash typed, his fingers trembling with excitement as he typed each letter.

    After a few moments, another set of three pictures arrived, showing "Kitsuki--Serena Lacroix", "Ageha--May Alder", and "Youka--Dawn Solberg" on the cast list. There you are. Brock typed back. Now, go spread the good news!

    Ash nodded at the grinning Dusk Lycanroc emoji that ended Brock's message, then tapped on his personal thread with Serena. u awake yet? he typed.

    yeah it's 8:00--why? Serena typed back.

    After copying Brock's picture of his role and Serena's role in the cast list, Ash captioned the two pictures We got'em!

    After a few tense moments, a GIF of a happy dancing Delphox came in reply. when do we get our scripts? came Serena's next message.

    After checking his thread with Rona, Ash typed back Rona said that if u got a speaking role, u can get your scripts starting at 9.

    ok--lemme get dressed, and I'll be over there asap. Serena typed back, complete with a joyful Delphox emoji.

    Ash nodded, then tapped over to his ongoing thread with May after copying the picture of May's role in the cast list. Good morning! he typed with a smiling Pikachu emoji.

    morning...are the parts up yet? May typed.

    Ash grinned as he pasted the picture of May's role in the thread. you got Ageha!

    A glittering GIF of a spinning joyful Beautifly came in reply. oh boy! i'll be over right away! May typed back. can u ask brock to make Nanab nut pancakes? We can discuss da play over breakfast!

    good idea! Ash typed back, complete with a blissful Pikachu emoji.

    He tapped back to Brock's thread for a moment. May wants to know if you can make your Nanab nut pancakes to celebrate us getting the parts we wanted.

    Sure--I'll get cooking while you guys get your scripts. Brock typed back, with a Dusk Lycanroc in a chef's hat emoji. Misty doesn't know the parts have been posted yet, so notify her too.

    ok. Ash typed back.

    After copying the picture of Dawn's role, he clicked over to his thread with Dawn. hey u up yet?

    just got out of the shower--why? Dawn typed back.

    Ash pasted the picture of Dawn's role in the thread. You got the part! he captioned the picture.

    YAY! Dawn typed back, complete with a GIF of a chorus line of Piplups. let me feed Kori and Lola, and I'll be over there to get my script.

    Meet in the caravan's common wagon--Brock's making breakfast! Ash typed back, finishing his message with an excited Pikachu emoji.

    He smiled as he copied the picture with Misty's role. Now to see Misty's reaction to reprising Mizuka!

    He typed Mornin--u up yet?

    yeah--getting ready over here. Misty typed back. Any word on the parts yet?

    Inspired, Ash went back and copied the pictures showing his, Misty's, and Brock's roles, then pasted them into Misty's thread. da raikou, dragon, and phoenix are getting back together!

    A glittering GIF of a singing Primarina came back in reply. REALLY??? Misty typed back, complete with a starry eyed Primarina emoji. I'll be over there to get my script ASAP!

    Meet in the common wagon--Brock's making breakfast to celebrate! Ash typed back.

    I would love those delicious Nanab nut pancakes about now! Misty typed, with an ecstatic Primarina emoji.

    Ash smiled at the emoji, then switched back to Brock's thread one last time. Everybody's notified--I should be there shortly!

    OK--pancakes are just about done, and working on some sausages and a topping bar. Brock typed back. Hope you guys are hungry!
     
  8. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 8: The Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix Begin Rehearsals

    The rehearsal wagon buzzed with activity as the group arrived for rehearsals a few days later. "It's great to be revisiting an old favorite..." Ash mused as he settled in at a table backstage to study his script. "Especially since now we have more than a few plays under our belt..."

    "The beauty of Tawame training is, it never expires or goes away." Brock smiled as he arrived backstage. "Once you've been trained, you're a Tawame actor for life. Although, having a refresher course for 'The Legend of Celestial Crown Mountain' did help."

    "Yeah--we had a bit of a long gap in between our training and starting the troupe." Misty explained. "But now that the troupe is off the ground, and getting popular, we've put our training to good use many times over."

    Ash nodded. "So, what scenes are we going over today?"

    Brock looked out at Rona walking Serena through her part of a scene. "Looks like the scene where Kitsuki and the main trio meet. Rona also mentioned wanting to go over the scenes where Karu meets Mizuka and Eichi at the very least--and maybe the scenes with Ageha and Youka if time permits."

    Ash heard Rona call "Okay, I need our three leads!" "It's time...let's make this play even better than the first time now that Serena, May and Dawn are performing it with us!"

    ---------

    "Okay...at this stage in Act 1, the three leads are together, and Eichi has led Karu and Mizuka to the town of Dawnridge." Rona explains. "Kitsuki meets the group, Karu explains the story so far, and Kitsuki decides to join the main three because she sees it as a new adventure--much to Karu's chagrin."

    Misty checked the script as the boys and Serena chuckled over the thought of performing the humorous scene. "Do we really need to have Karu recap what he has told Mizuka and Eichi twice already? I see some comic potential between Serena and a 'too long, didn't read' version of why Karu is on his quest. There's also lots of comic potential with Karu and Kitsuki, too."

    "Yeah--Kitsuki could see the quest as another fun adventure, while Karu tries and fails to explain that people's lives are in danger." Brock suggested.

    "Why don't you adlib what you'd imagine that scene to look like, and I'll get the writing team to revise the script." Rona suggested. "So let's try the scene with your suggestions and see how it looks, then we'll go from there."

    Brock nodded, then motioned for Ash and Misty to follow him backstage. Once he received the cue to begin, he lead the way onstage. "Welcome to Dawnridge, everyone..." he began, making a grand gesture to an imagined town. "The crossroads of new beginnings."

    "It's beautiful!" Misty gasped as she looked around the imagined town in awe.

    "With so many people passing through here every day, there's bound to be rumors here..." Ash agreed. "I could find a lead as to when the prime minister could make his move, and how he plans to kill the Empress."

    "If you want to find rumors and information, this is a good place for them." Brock smiled.

    "What's all this about a plot to kill the Empress?" Serena asked as she met the group from stage left.

    "Perfect timing, Kitsuki-san..." Brock grinned as Serena approached. "These two are journeying together because of rumors that someone at the imperial court could try to kill the Empress at the height of the Phoenix Festival..."

    "Really, now?" Serena gasped. "Judging from your companion's attire, he must be one of Her Majesty's knights, yes?"

    Ash nodded. "I am Chikaru Hououji, or Karu, if you prefer. I am indeed one of Her Majesty's knights--and I'm searching for a way to stop the prime minister's plot to harm Her Grace at the height of the festival."

    "Now, why would someone pick a festival, of all times, to hurt a wise and just ruler like Her Majesty?" Serena asked with a giggle. "A festival should be a happy day, filled with games, feasting, music, and dancing...ah! I'm getting excited thinking about it!"

    Rona chuckled at Serena's quip. "Well, there's likely to be a lot of people present--and seeing their leader fallen would cause panic." Ash explained. "Potentially even more people would be hurt or killed in the rush to get away."

    "Once he fells the Empress, who am I to suggest the rest of the imperial family is next?" Misty agreed.

    "We have ourselves a bona fide evil prime minister, just like in all the adventure novels and plays!" Serena went on. "So that means we have to come up with a plan to stop him!"

    "That's what Karu-sama has been trying to ask you about..." Brock deadpanned, to Rona's bemused chuckles.

    "Well, why didn't you say so?" Serena giggled, oblivious to Ash's facepalm. "Just say the word, and we'll be off on a grand adventure!"

    "But how can I go on a grand adventure if I don't even know where to start in stopping a treacherous prime minister?" Ash protested.

    "Easy--we find a special sword, and strike him down that way!" Serena replied before dancing over to Ash with a prop sword. "It's dangerous to go alone, brave knight! Take this!"

    Even the other troupe members couldn't help laughing at Serena's Zelda reference as Ash sheepishly took the prop sword. "Thanks, I think?"

    Rona motioned for the scene to stop as she composed herself. "Okay, let's stop here for a moment, and discuss blocking for this scene, and what you four are doing right."

    She smiled at Serena. "First, well done on conveying Kitsuki's playfulness! That Zelda reference should get the audience rolling in the aisles!"

    She next addressed Brock. "Brock...the deadpan in response to Serena's line is nice, but I want to see a little more anger in that response. You're not angry, just annoyed that Kitsuki is not listening to you or Karu."

    "Add some annoyance to the deadpan line...got it!" Brock mused as he made a note in his script...
     
  9. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 9: Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix Prepare for Battle



    "We're here!" Misty smiled as the caravan made its way inside another station. "This is New Village Station!"

    "As opposed to Old Village Station?" Ash grinned as he hurried to help unload the various costumes, props, and instruments the troupe would need.

    "Actually...the station gets its name because it was the first station by the Emerald River, and it resembled a village--hence New Village Station." Brock explained as Ash set down a box of costumes. "But I'm glad we can finally practice the fight scenes--and practice our acting on a real stage."

    "We still have a little time before our show, so I see no harm in practicing both the unarmed and armed fights." Serena suggested before giving Ash some glittering red and gold fighter's knuckles. "The fight crew found your favorite pair of knuckles, so go practice some unarmed fighting while they unload the weapons."

    "Okay!" Ash smiled before hurrying off inside the station's theater...

    ---------

    Inside the theater's backstage dojo, Ash practiced some punches and feinting before a punching bag. He would eye the bag, deliver a few punches, jump away from an imagined attack, then move in for another punch before jumping away again.

    "Good form, there..." Brock smiled as he watched Ash move in for another punch and feint. "I like how you move between attack and defense in one fluid motion--it makes the fight feel more realistic."

    "Thanks." Ash smiled before removing the knuckles, setting them aside, then stretching. "Have the fight crew brought in the weapons yet?"

    "Catch!" Brock called before tossing a familiar sheathed prop sword in Ash's direction. "If you're up for practicing some armed fighting, we can practice Karu and Eichi's friendly duel in Act 2, or Ageha's and Karu's first fight."

    Ash nodded. "I'm pretty sure I can put the lines with the fight in the friendly duel scene, so let's do that scene first."

    "Okay--give me a second to get into my training garb, and we'll practice that fight." Brock agreed.

    ---------

    "Now--keep in mind this is a friendly duel." Brock explained as he joined Ash in the training room. "Karu is surprised that Eichi can wield a sword, and requests a friendly duel. However, Eichi proves a surprisingly skilled swordsman, and defeats Karu. When asked how he is so strong, Eichi tells Karu that the best offense is a good defense--and that raw power can only get you so far."

    He located a sword with laurel wreath inlays. "Let's do the little bit leading up to the fight, the fight itself, and the part after the fight." he suggested as he set the sword by his right leg.

    Ash nodded, and said his character's first line. "You can wield a sword too, Eichi-san?"

    Brock nodded. "If I am ever in a situation where my bow would be too dangerous to use, I keep a sword on hand for a melee scenario.

    "Then, then, may I have the honor of a friendly duel?" Ash asked. "Just so I can see your skill?"

    "Of course--first to knock down the other, wins." Brock replied before drawing his own blade.

    A flurry of silver, red and green filled the dojo as the boys dueled. Even though it was just practice, both Ash and Brock gave their all--just as if it was a real fight.

    After a few agonizing minutes, Brock lunged to deliver a slash, knocking Ash to the padded floor. "Wow...you are surprisingly strong, Eichi-san." he admitted as he eased himself to his feet. "What is the secret to your strength?"

    "No matter how the storm rages, the mountain will not bend or break." Brock replied. "In other words, the best offense is a good defense."

    "No wonder I could barely touch you!" Ash gasped.

    "While I have no doubt of your ability, Karu-san, the power based style you learned will only get you so far." Brock cautioned in character. "I would be happy to teach you some more defensive moves to better round out your skillset."

    Some applause snapped the boys out of character. "That was a great fight, you two!" Misty raved. "Even though Karu is supposed to lose in that fight, I can still feel the power and determination as you fight, Ash."

    "Aw, thanks." Ash smiled as Tintri arrived with a bottle of water and a towel. "If you wanna do a friendly duel, give me a minute to rest first..."

    "Go on and rest--I came so I could practice one of the bigger fights in Act 1 with you both--the fight against Dark Claw." Misty explained as some of the fight crew and fight trainers began setting up numbered targets, props and devices in the room.

    "Your blades, Miss Dragon." a fight crew member smiled as he delivered a pair of sheathed blue blades to Misty.

    "Thank you..." Misty replied back. "I have Sapphire and Marine, so once the fight crew chief is here, we'll go over the Dark Claw fight..."
     
  10. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 10: The Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix Take the Stage



    The station's theater buzzed with excitement as a huge crowd arrived to watch "The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix". Backstage, Ash--now in a familiar red and gold costume with ornate phoenix designs--smiled as the audience took their seats. This is it--even though we've performed this play before, let's make this time even better now that Serena, May, and Dawn are performing it with us! he thought as he accepted a well loved bansi from a stage ninja.

    "Places, everyone!" he heard Rona call as the lights flashed the five minute warning onstage.

    "Ready to go?" Misty asked as she emerged from the dressing room in a beautiful deep blue, white, and silver costume with water designs.

    "Yeah!" Ash smiled. "One of our favorite plays, and one that I will give my all for every time we perform it!"

    "Let's do this!" Brock agreed as he arrived in a regal green warrior's costume with Raikou inspired designs.

    After laying their hands on top of each other, the three companions unleashed the troupe's iconic good luck cheer. "Shimmering! Sparkling! Light! Go, Ka-ga-YOU!!!"

    ---------

    Later, the orchestra started a lighthearted interlude as Ash, Misty, and Brock arrived on a set of a Wakunese town of old, complete with bustling extras playing townsfolk. "Welcome to Dawnridge, everyone..." Brock began, making a grand gesture to the town set. "The crossroads of new beginnings."

    "It's beautiful!" Misty gasped as she looked around the set in awe.

    "With so many people passing through here every day, there's bound to be rumors here..." Ash agreed. "I could find a lead as to when the prime minister could make his move, and how he plans to kill the Empress."

    "If you want to find rumors and information, this is a good place for them." Brock smiled.

    "What's all this about a plot to kill the Empress?" Serena--now in a glittering gold costume with fire designs--asked as she met the group from stage left.

    "Perfect timing, Kitsuki-san..." Brock grinned as Serena approached. "These two are journeying together because of rumors that someone at the imperial court could try to kill the Empress at the height of the Phoenix Festival..."

    "Really, now?" Serena gasped. "Judging from your companion's attire, he must be one of Her Majesty's knights, yes?"

    Ash nodded. "I am Chikaru Hououji, or Karu, if you prefer. I am indeed one of Her Majesty's knights--and I'm searching for a way to stop the prime minister's plot to harm Her Grace at the height of the festival."

    "Now, why would someone pick a festival, of all times, to hurt a wise and just ruler like Her Majesty?" Serena asked with a giggle. "A festival should be a happy day, filled with games, feasting, music, and dancing...ah! I'm getting excited thinking about it!"

    Laughter rippled through the theater at Serena's quip. "Well, there's likely to be a lot of people present--and seeing their leader fallen would cause panic." Ash explained. "Potentially even more people would be hurt or killed in the rush to get away."

    "Once he fells the Empress, who am I to suggest the rest of the imperial family is next?" Misty agreed.

    "We have ourselves a bona fide evil prime minister, just like in all the adventure novels and plays!" Serena went on. "So that means we have to come up with a plan to stop him!"

    "That's what Karu-sama has been trying to ask you about..." Brock deadpanned, to more giggles from the audience.

    "Well, why didn't you say so?" Serena giggled, oblivious to Ash's facepalm and the laughter from the audience. "Just say the word, and we'll be off on a grand adventure!"

    "But how can I go on a grand adventure if I don't even know where to start in stopping a treacherous prime minister?" Ash protested.

    "Easy--we find a special sword, and strike him down that way!" Serena replied before dancing over to Ash with a prop sword. "It's dangerous to go alone, brave knight! Take this!"

    The audience roared with laughter at Serena's Zelda reference as Ash sheepishly took the prop sword. "Thanks, I think?" he stammered, to more laughter.

    "Kitsuki, enough!" Brock growled, snapping Serena to attention as the audience's laughter quieted. "This is a very serious matter, and I'm sure Karu-sama would appreciate what help you can give him! So will you behave yourself?"

    "All right..." Serena replied. "Let's go to my secret hideout near town--we can discuss our plans there!"

    With that, she led Ash, Misty, and Brock offstage as the lights went down...

    ---------

    The lights came up on a room that looked as if it had been carved from a tree. "Well, this is one way to do heroic deeds without evil having a clue..." Ash mused as he looked around the wood and ivy laced set."

    Misty nodded in agreement. "No bad guy would consider looking in a tree."

    "And only I know the way in!" Serena smiled as she lightly leaped onto the stage.

    She next addressed Ash. "You likely know of the imperial spies, yes?"

    "Yes--they have proved very helpful to us many times." Ash replied.

    "Well, I happen to know one of the imperial spies..." Serena went on. "Her name is Ageha, and she makes her cover as a traveling actress. But don't mistake her for a colorful dancing flower--oh no! If she is threatened or someone she knows is in danger, watch out! She is as good with a sword as she is a fan or ribbon! There are even some that say no man has yet beaten her."

    "I know of the lady Ageha..." Ash smiled. "If we can meet up with her troupe, that would allow me to infiltrate the palace, and stop the prime minister's plot."

    "A wonderful idea!" Misty agreed.

    "Where is Ageha's troupe now?" Brock asked. "Have you heard anything in that regard?"

    "The troupe should arrive here in two days..." Serena explained. From there, we ca travel with the troupe as they journey to the palace for the festival."

    "After I tell Ageha what's going on, she would potentially know of more allies to help us stop this plot." Ash mused.

    "No one is overthrowing the empress on my watch!" Misty vowed over an exciting melody.

    "No matter how far we have to go, and no matter what dangers await us along the way, I will do everything I can to protect the imperial family." Brock agreed.

    "And I'll do my part too!" Serena smiled. "This place is too beautiful to be plunged into an era of sadness and despair!"

    Ash smiled at his co-stars. "Thank you all, for helping me with your skills and talents. Just seeing Waku safe will be worth the long journey ahead. We may even be immortalized as heroes, our adventure being told about for ages to come!"

    "Now that's MY kind of adventure!" Serena interjected, to some laughter as the lights went down...
     
  11. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 11: Raikou Channels the Emerald Singer


    "No matter how many times we do 'The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix', it never gets old!" Brock smiled as the caravan departed New Village Station a few days later. "I would happily play Eichi Kitora many times over."

    "The critics agree--they had a lot of good things to say about our fight in Act 2--and practically any scene Kitsuki was in." May smiled, showing the group a picture of Ash's and May's duel in Act 2, followed by another picture of Ash's quizzical look as Serena gave him the sword he used in the play.

    "A Kalosian classic reimagined in Waku--'The Journey of the Raikou, Dragon, and Phoenix' a must see." Dawn read the headline. "Four and half stars out of five isn't too bad!"

    "Most of the stuff they complained about were nitpicky stuff, anyway." Serena agreed before turning to Dawn, who was now looking at the map of Kanto on the walls of the common area.

    "Up next is 'The Legend of the White Delphox' at the Phoenix's Nest Theater." Dawn explained. "Haven't had a chance to look the script over yet, but the main character sounds like someone you would play, Serena."

    "I DO have a copy of the script!" Serena announced, holding a book with a yellow cover high. "The show tells the story of White Delphox, a roving heroine for hire that is well known for her skill in taking down evil sects. The noble sects of the martial world revere her for being "The Crafty Hunter of Evil". One day, some students from the Luminous Harmony School visit White Delphox, telling her that thieves scattered the pieces of the manual for the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements--and if sung by an evil heart, it would mean devastation to the martial world. White Delphox agrees to help, and rallies her companions for a musical adventure of a lifetime."

    "Sounds fun!" Ash smiled. "Does the script say anything about what the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements is supposed to sound like? Or any lyrics?"

    Serena flipped to the pivotal scene in Act 3. "Nope--no lyrics, no sheet music, no suggestions in the script, no anything. We DO know it is supposed to be a song, and one of the main characters is supposed to sing it."

    "What good is a song without lyrics and music?" Dawn wondered. "If there's no suggested music or lyrics, any old pop song would work, but a pop song would be VERY out of place in ancient Waku."

    "It doesn't even say who's supposed to sing it." Misty sighed. "So I have an idea--what if we made the song different depending on who sings it--and who sings it would be different every night of the run?"

    "We know there's no suggestions in the script, but what do the production notes say about the song?" May wondered.

    Serena flipped to the production notes in the back of the script. "Here we are...the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements should be sung with power and great vitality--any of the main characters should be able to sing it."

    "Dunno about the 'great vitality' part, but I can at least bring the power." Brock mused. "If the song is different depending on who sings it, that means six different versions of the song. Assuming the music team is willing to write six distinct versions of the song, what would you imagine the song to sound like?"

    "If I were the one singing it, I imagine a dreamy, mystical feel." Dawn replied. "It's not a lullaby, but not too powerful either."

    "I would imagine something mystical sounding too." May agreed. "Something like the Wishsong in 'The Song Mage Chronicles'."

    "There's an idea!" Misty smiled. "Brock already has a similar voice to Arran Seluna, so if he sings it opening night, we should know what that sounds like, and if we want to channel that in the other five versions of the song."

    "All right--first I'll ask the music team if writing six distinct versions of the Eternal Symphony is possible." Brock explained. "Assuming that's okay, once the parts are posted and we've all had a chance to get into our roles, I'll ask Rona for a piano session to see if how I typically sing the Wishsong is about what she expects the song to sound like. I'm trying not to copy Arran when I sing, I'm simply trying to channel the strength and power in his voice through my voice."

    Serena glanced at the cast list. "You'd probably fit Green Raikou best, Brock...I know I want to try out for White Delphox..."

    "If I can't get Green Raikou, I can probably play Master Earthly Harmony--the head of the Luminous Harmony School--as a Plan B role." Brock suggested. "I already have an idea of what the costume would look like if I got that part."

    He then addressed his companions. "For today, I'm going to ask the music team if they can write six different versions of the Eternal Symphony. If they say yes, I'll ask Rona for a piano session for all of us once the parts are posted. Since Rona likes for us to have a plan for a piano session before we arrive in the music room, what should we ask her to go over?"

    "Does 'power and great vitality' mean what I think it means, or does it mean something completely different?" Ash suggested. "If it does mean something different, what does it mean?"

    "Once we know what 'power and great vitality' means, can you show us what that looks like in the context of one of the play's numbers?" Misty suggested. "Just so none of us has the wrong idea."

    Brock nodded. "Okay--I'm off to go talk to the music team, and maybe ask Rona for a piano session--see you guys in the audition room in the morning."

    "If you're looking for Rona, she is probably in the lead wagon, or briefing the performers on the new show." Dawn replied.

    "What's this about needing a piano session?" a familiar voice asked.

    The group whirled around to discover Rona famed in the doorway. "Rona--I know parts aren't posted for the new show just yet, but what do the production notes mean when they say the Eternal Symphony must be sung with 'power and great vitality'?" Brock asked. "Can you show us what that means using one of the songs from the show, so we know how to approach that in our audition tomorrow?"

    Rona nodded. "We can do a one on one session now, or I can do a group session later this evening with all of you--so which one would be best for you guys?"

    "I've gotta ask the music team something real fast, but I'll be over as soon as I can." Brock offered as the others got up to leave.

    "Okay--I'll reserve a music room for our session while you talk to the music team." Rona assured Brock. "You don't have a copy of the script yet, so I'll have one for you when you get there, okay?"
     
  12. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Episode 12: Delphox Leads the Readthrough


    "Well done on getting the lead role, Serena..." Brock smiled as the group got together to read through "The Legend of White Delphox" a few days later.

    "And likewise, well done on getting your first choice." Serena agreed. "Did we get the confusion about the Eternal Symphony cleared up?"

    Brock nodded as he perused his script. "Yeah--the music team was more than happy to write six different versions of the song, and the piano session a few days ago was fruitful--I was on the right track by channeling the Wishsong, so I told the music team to use that as a guideline when they compose my version of the song."

    He smiled. "Since you are the lead, would you like to lead our readthrough, Serena?"

    "Sure!" Serena replied. "Has everyone else got a chance to read over the script yet?"

    "From what I've read so far, this looks fun!" Misty raved as she thumbed through the script. "The songs are nice, the boys get plenty of solos..."

    "I've played some of these tunes before, but a lot of them are new to me." Ash agreed as he thumbed to each of the bansi solos in his script. "I know I want my version of the Eternal Symphony to pack a punch!"

    Serena just smiled. "I know it will, Ash--you never fail to come through on the powerful and emotional numbers!"

    She turned her attention back to the script. "Let's recap the basic plot...the show tells the story of White Delphox--my role!--a roving heroine for hire that is well known for her skill in taking down evil sects. The noble sects of the martial world revere her for being "The Crafty Hunter of Evil". One day, some students from the Luminous Harmony School visit White Delphox, telling her that thieves scattered the pieces of the manual for the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements--and if sung by an evil heart, it would mean devastation to the martial world. White Delphox agrees to help, and rallies her companions for a musical adventure of a lifetime."

    "They got the musical adventure part right, for sure." May mused as she read over the play's first scene. "Based on this first scene, Violet Beautifly and Crystal Deerling are never apart for too long..."

    "Sounds like the two of us!" Dawn smiled. "I do like the prospect of dancing down Night Dawn Path during Act 1, dreamy song and all."

    "No matter how many times we do a play with a character dancing in starlight scene, you know how to give those a little extra sparkle." Ash agreed. "Aside from the Eternal Symphony scene, I'm looking forward to the caves at Blue Sky Quarry."

    "I can only imagine how the set Rotoms will tackle that..." Brock mused as he read over the scene in Act 2. "Since we are told in play that the quarry is for mining jewels, they could embed some jewels in the walls that function as lights..."

    "Just like your jewel studded hallways in Pewter's Gym's caverns..." Misty smiled at a memory. "I wonder what that would look like onstage?"

    "Would that even be do-able onstage, with physical lights in a digital set?" Ash wondered. "It sounds like a lot of work..."

    "What's stopping us from CGI lights in a digital set?" Brock suggested before reaching for a piece of paper. "If I showed the Rotoms some of my spare jewel lights from home, they could recreate it digitally, saving us a lot of time and hassle."

    He proudly showed the group his drawing of his idea of the cave set. "I picture it looking something like this..."

    "That's beautiful!" May raved.

    "There should be a Pokémon Center with item transfer machines close by the theater..." Serena mused as she brought up MapNav on her PokeNav. "This way you could get your lights, and show them to the set Rotoms."

    [Whatzzz all thizzzz about digital lightzzzz in the set?] a crackly female voice asked.

    Brock smiled when he saw a tiny orange blue spirit materialize in a tiny spark. "Oh, Fara, it's just you..." he smiled. "We were discussing the quarry cave scene in Act 2, which I picture as having jewel studded lights in the walls to help the miners see where they're going--and also help our heroes on their quest. So how easy or hard would jewel studded lights be for you guys?"

    [If you can get uzzzz a reference of what these lightzzzzz are suppozzzed to look like, we can probably make a digital version for the set eazzzzzzy.] Fara replied.

    "Let's see..we should be arriving at the theater later today..." Dawn replied as she studied the caravan's route on MapNav."

    "I have some lights at home that look something like what I'm thinking about." Brock assured the Rotom. "Once we stop at the theater, I'll use the local Pokémon Center's item transfer to bring them here, so you guys can use those as a guide for the CGI versions."

    [Soundzzzz good to me!] Fara smiled. [Okay if I stick around for the rezzzzzt of the readthrough so I can get more ideazzzzzz for the crew?]

    "Sure!" Serena replied. "I'll admit this is the first time I can remember one of the set Rotoms joining the readthrough..."

    "I'm looking forward to seeing Red Blossom Woods..." May admitted. "That's the scene where the group makes their promise to help White Delphox..."

    "The flowers here are carnations--a sign of passion and love." Misty read one of her lines from the scene in question. "No matter who she is helping, White Delphox cares not for wealth and glory--she follows the path she does out of the goodness of her heart--and a love for all that is good and true."

    "Just as she has helped so many others, now is our time to help her in return." Dawn read from her script. "So let us promise to help her and guide her in her quest to find Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements.

    [Falling flowerzzzz in a forezzzt? No problem!] Fara buzzed as she sparked with excitement from Misty and Dawn's lines. [We'll have some falling red carnationzzzzz all ready for you opening night! That'll make thizzzz scene even more beautiful!]
     
  13. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 13: The Stage Comes to Life

    The Phoenix's Nest Theater hummed with activity as the Niji Troupe convened for an acting rehearsal a few days later. [Thankzzz for showing uzzz your lightzzzzzz the other day.] Fara buzzed as she followed Brock onstage. [I think you'll like what we created for the cave in Act 2.]

    "Even though we're probably not going to get that far today, I can't wait to see it." Brock assured the excited Rotom. "I do know we're going to rehearse the big promise scene in Act 1 today."

    Fara sparked with excitement. [We have a little surprizzzzzze for you in that regard.] she buzzed before flying off to rejoin the other crew Rotoms and the human crew members backstage. [Break both legzzzzz out there!]

    Brock gave Fara a nod, then ran over to rejoin the others as they met Rona at center stage. "Okay...let's start today with the promise scene in Red Blossom Woods..." she began. "Misty, if you would start from your line after the second student says she has her doubts over White Delphox's motives?

    Before Misty could say anything, the digital set screen came to life with an image of a beautiful forest filled with falling red carnation petals. "Wow!" Serena cried. "That's beautiful!"

    "Yes, this is amazing, Fara!" Brock called backstage.

    "The crew Rotoms decided to create this set?" Rona asked before smiling. "It is very beautiful...the falling carnation petals are a nice touch."

    "Yeah--Fara, one of the crew Rotoms, sat in on our readthrough a few days ago, and she was inspired by Misty's and Dawn's lines in this scene." Ash explained. "I'm sure the audience is gonna love it too!"

    Misty composed herself from her shock and amazement over the set, then found the line Rona had told her to start from. "The flowers here are carnations--a sign of passion and love." she began, gesturing to the falling digital carnation petals on the screen. "No matter who she is helping, White Delphox cares not for wealth and glory--she follows the path she does out of the goodness of her heart--and a love for all that is good and true."

    "Just as she has helped so many others, now is our time to help her in return." Dawn agreed. "So let us promise to help her and guide her in her quest to find Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements."

    "As surely as Arceus rules the heavens, I promise to never leave White Delphox's side, and fight with her for truth and justice!" Ash vowed.

    "I promise, to the best of my ability, to guide you, counsel you, and fight with you on your quest to find the Eternal Symphony, so help me Arceus." Dawn told Serena.

    "Before these witnesses..." Misty gestured to the others. "...and before Arceus, I stand ready to help you on your journey."

    "You have my promise that I will never turn my back on you or betray you." Brock told Serena. "Anyone that fights for what is fair and just in the world is a friend of mine."

    "No matter what happens, Lady Delphox, I'm here for you, every step of the way!" May vowed.

    "Thank you all..." Serena stammered, more out of surprise over the set than feigned nervousness. "I am honored...uh..."

    "That you have all agreed..." Brock prompted Serena.

    Serena gave Brock a polite nod of thanks, then tried her lines again. "I am honored that you have all agreed to help me find the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements for these students of the Luminous Harmony School. I believe that the best place to begin on such a journey would be the Luminous Harmony School itself."

    "A wonderful idea--I'm sure Master Earthly Harmony would give us some direction on where we should begin our search." Brock replied.

    "All right, and scene!" Rona called. "Nice recovery on remembering your line." she assured Serena. "Remember to focus on what your character is thinking in the moment--don't worry about any distractions onstage."

    Serena nodded. "Thanks for the prompt, Brock--I was so amazed over the beautiful set, I blanked out on my line for a second, even though I've been working on learning my lines."

    "It's okay..." Brock assured Serena. "I think we've all blanked out on a line at one time or another--sometimes more times than we care to admit..."

    "I have plenty of stories I could tell about blanking out on a line at the worst possible time..." May assured Serena. "Be thankful the crew Rotoms are there to prompt us every night of the run."

    [It's not the end of the world if you forgot a line...] Fara agreed as she peeked out onstage from stage left. [I'll be right here with the script if someone ever forgetzzzz a line.]

    "Thanks, everyone..." Serena smiled, glad that she wasn't the only one in the troupe that had blanked out on a line. "Better to blank out now than opening night!"

    "Yes, that's right." Rona agreed. "Are we ready to try this part of the scene again?"

    "YEAH!!!" the group replied before returning to their places to perform the scene again.

    Once she saw Rona give the cue to begin, Misty read her line. "The flowers here are carnations--a sign of passion and love." she began, gesturing to the falling digital carnation petals on the screen. "No matter who she is helping, White Delphox cares not for wealth and glory--she follows the path she does out of the goodness of her heart--and a love for all that is good and true."

    "Just as she has helped so many others, now is our time to help her in return." Dawn agreed. "So let us promise to help her and guide her in her quest to find Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements."

    "As surely as Arceus rules the heavens, I promise to never leave White Delphox's side, and fight with her for truth and justice!" Ash vowed.

    "I promise, to the best of my ability, to guide you, counsel you, and fight with you on your quest to find the Eternal Symphony, so help me Arceus." Dawn told Serena.

    "Before these witnesses..." Misty gestured to the others. "...and before Arceus, I stand ready to help you on your journey."

    "You have my promise that I will never turn my back on you or betray you." Brock told Serena. "Anyone that fights for what is fair and just in the world is a friend of mine."

    "No matter what happens, Lady Delphox, I'm here for you, every step of the way!" May vowed.

    "Thank you all..." Serena stammered, this time from feigned nervousness. "I am honored that you have all agreed to help me find the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements for these students of the Luminous Harmony School. I believe that the best place to begin on such a journey would be the Luminous Harmony School itself."

    "A wonderful idea--I'm sure Master Earthly Harmony would give us some direction on where we should begin our search." Brock replied.

    "All right, and scene!" Rona called again. "Very good on remembering your line this time!" she smiled at Serena.

    "I didn't overdo the nervousness on my first line?" Serena asked, relieved she didn't forget her lines the second time through the scene."

    "If you're not sure how nervous to be, imagine you've walked in on a surprise birthday party in your honor, and you're not sure what to say after everyone's burst out of the closet and said 'Surprise!'." Rona explained. "That's the level of nervousness I'm looking for, okay?"

    "Surprise birthday party level--got it!" Serena reminded herself as she thumbed to an earlier scene in Act 1 for the next part of the rehearsal...
     
  14. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Episode 14: Delphox Delights the Phoenix


    "Ready to go?" Ash smiled as Serena emerged from a changing screen in a shimmery white costume with rainbow sparkles, complete with sparkling white Delphox ears.

    Serena nodded, admiring Ash's orange-red costume for a moment. "I know all my lines, so I'm probably not gonna blank out when I see the carnation petals this time!"

    [Well, if you do forget your linezzzzzz, I'm right here with the script.] Fara assured Ash and Serena. [Break both legzzzzz out there!]

    "Thanks, Fara." Ash gently hugged the excited Rotom, then hurried to his place on the darkened stage as the orchestra started the play's adventurous overture...

    ---------

    Later, the audience watched a tense scene unfold in Red Blossom Woods. "But, Miss Suicune, how do we know Miss Delphox's motives are sincere?" an actor in the white costume of a Luminous Harmony School student asked Misty.

    "Yes...how do we know she is not plotting treachery?" a second actor playing a student agreed.

    The orchestra started a hopeful melody as Misty--now in a majestic blue, green, and purple costume that evoked Suicune--thought for a moment. "The flowers here are carnations--a sign of passion and love." she began, gesturing to the falling digital carnation petals on the screen. "No matter who she is helping, White Delphox cares not for wealth and glory--she follows the path she does out of the goodness of her heart--and a love for all that is good and true."

    "Just as she has helped so many others, now is our time to help her in return." Dawn agreed. "So let us promise to help her and guide her in her quest to find the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements."

    "As surely as Arceus rules the heavens, I promise to never leave White Delphox's side, and fight with her for truth and justice!" Ash vowed.

    "I promise, to the best of my ability, to guide you, counsel you, and fight with you on your quest to find the Eternal Symphony, so help me Arceus." Dawn told Serena.

    "Before these witnesses..." Misty gestured to the others. "...and before Arceus, I stand ready to help you on your journey."

    "You have my promise that I will never turn my back on you or betray you." Brock told Serena. "Anyone that fights for what is fair and just in the world is a friend of mine."

    "No matter what happens, Lady Delphox, I'm here for you, every step of the way!" May vowed.

    "Thank you all..." Serena stammered, this time from feigned nervousness. "I am honored that you have all agreed to help me find the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements for these students of the Luminous Harmony School. I believe that the best place to begin on such a journey would be the Luminous Harmony School itself."

    "A wonderful idea--I'm sure Master Earthly Harmony would give us some direction on where we should begin our search." Brock replied.

    With that, he led the others offstage as the lights went down...

    ---------

    "And so, White Delphox and her new companions made their way to the Luminous Harmony School." the narrator explained from her nook. "Master Earthly Harmony did have some information on the first part of the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements--as well as some new powers that would help them on their long quest..."

    The lights came up on a beautifully colored dojo hall, where an actor in a magnificent rainbow master's robe met the group. "Welcome, White Delphox...Golden Sun and Silver Moon informed me you were coming..."

    Serena nodded as she bowed before the actor playing Master Earthly Harmony in respect. "The pleasure is mine, great one. Green Raikou-san tells me you know where to find at least one part of the Eternal Symphony of the Ten Elements..."

    The actor playing Master Earthly Harmony nodded. "The ballads that make up the Eternal Symphony were scattered across the land, to prevent them from being performed by those with evil hearts. The closest place from here are the caves at Blue Sky Quarry. While the quarry has not been used to mine rock for hundreds of years, the Ballad of Earth chose to come there because of the abundant earth energy inside."

    "I suppose we'll have to light a torch, or get mining gear to survive down there?" Ash muttered, making the theater ripple with laughter.

    "Calm yourself, Phoenix-san--there is light down in the cave." the actor playing Master Earthly Harmony assured Ash. "The miners left hundreds of lights in the caves to find their ways in the passages, which still glow to this day. Even so, there may be wild Pokémon, and yokai down in the caves, so please be on your guard as you travel."

    "We promise, Earthly Harmony-sama." Serena replied.

    "If you succeed in finding the Ballad of Earth, I will teach you some of our arts for your long and likely perilous journey." the actor playing Master Earthly Harmony went on "Each of the Ballads is unique to each person that performs them--but their melodies and lyrics reflect the performer's personality..."

    ---------

    "Wow"s and some applause filled the air as the group arrived in the cave foyer for the start of Act 2, complete with a rainbow of digital jewel shaped lights embedded in the CGI cave's walls. For a moment, Ash and Serena forgot about the conversation Misty, Brock, and Dawn were having on the stage, and savored the rainbow of lights twinkling around them, never mind that they, and the cave, were not real. I have to hand it Fara and the other Rotoms for making this beautiful set...this looks just like the Pewter Gym caverns! Serena thought.

    No doubt Brock gave them plenty of other ideas for the next few scenes, where we are in the caves! Ash smiled in agreement

    Dawn's next line snapped both Ash and Serena to attention. "Remember what Master Earthly Harmony said, and stay alert!"

    "No matter how attractive splitting up may seem, we could get lost in these caves..." Brock cautioned. "So stay together if you can!"

    Ash nodded in character, then motioned for Serena to follow him as the group made their exit and the lights went down...
     
  15. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
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    Interlude: The Emerald Leaf Bow on the Red Hill


    "Onward to the Red Hill Theater!" Misty smiled as the caravan got back on the road a few days later. "So named for all the maple trees on the hill surrounding the theater--which turn red in the fall."

    "Are we performing 'Spirits of the Graceful River' there?" Ash wondered as he settled in at the table in the center of the common area. "I wouldn't mind playing Taira no Koremochi again..."

    "Actually, Brock likely gets the lead this time...our next play is called 'The Fateful Emerald Leaf Bow'." Misty replied, holding a copy of the script high for the group to see.

    "Sounds interesting..." Brock mused. "If the lead role does get to shoot the aforementioned bow, I may consider trying out for that part. If that role goes to somebody else, and they need archery training, I'll pitch in there, too."

    "What's this play about?" May asked as she watched Misty page through the script.

    "The show tells the story of Emerald Song, a traveling storyteller who hears rumors about the titular bow while on the road." Misty explained. "Inspired by the rumors, he initially goes to find out if a well known folktale featuring the bow is true. It turns out that 'The Heavenly Shadow and the Emerald Leaf Bow' is truer than he thinks--and the martial world could be in grave danger if Heavenly Shadow is not stopped. At least, that's the too long, didn't read spoiler free version. We'll go more into detail after we all have our roles and we can do a readthrough together."

    "If I got the role of Emerald Song, does it say I have to tell any specific stories?" Brock asked.

    "Aside from the one story that drives the plot, no." Misty replied. "That's the one story you are required to tell. Anything else, you can fill in any story that fits the description in the script. So if you want to make a lot of references to other plays, or different media altogether, you can."

    "This is why I like it when you play traveling musician or storyteller roles." May smiled. "Since the scripts leave so much room for improvisation, your stories, songs, and jokes are both hilarious and timely."

    "Telling stories in character is harder than you might think." Brock cautioned. "It is tempting to slip into how you would perform the story yourself. But you have to remember how your character would tell the story--based on their personality, and possibly how they were trained. Your average traveling storyteller will obviously sound very different than the minstrel at the imperial court."

    "That's right!" Misty agreed. "There's differences in their language, their repertoire--both musically and orally, their gestures, their movement..."

    "Exactly..." Brock went on. "Even when you're simply standing onstage, you don't want to look like a prop or stiff as a board. Some subtle movement and changes to your tone of voice keeps a monologue interesting to the audience."

    "Besides, talking in a monotone would drive off the audience very fast!" Ash smiled before motioning for Misty to pass him the script. "If I had to pick which role I'm trying out for...it'd be Scarlet Phoenix."

    "No surprise there--that, and there's plenty of comic bits between him and Cerulean Dragon--who I'm probably gonna try out for." Misty mused.

    "The Garasu encounter in Silver Mist Woods sounds exciting..." Ash mused as he continued thumbing through the script. "and the obligatory place where you can see an incredible view in Green Blossom Summit--usually where the heroes make a promise to do something about the bad guy--or bad guys."

    "If I had to pick who I wanna try out for, Wild Blossom sounds like fun." May mused as she glanced over the page Ash was on "Just on this page, I see a lengthy sword fight with one of Heavenly Shadow's cronies to rescue Violet Deerling--who Dawn is likely trying out for."

    "I'm likely gonna try out for Radiant Delphox..." Serena replied. "I can only imagine what a likely shiny costume would look like against a backdrop of the Crimson Sunrise Canyon..."

    "We'll see what that looks like on costume day." Brock assured Serena. "How the set Rotoms would interpret any caves we explore in the canyon will be interesting to see..."

    "They definitely won't be anything like Mt. Moon, I'd bet." Misty grinned, spurring everyone to laugh in agreement.

    "If we let the Rotoms have too much freedom, it'll be Zelda turned up to 11..." Serena cautioned. "Too large a set would overload the Rotoms, be frustrating to us, and bore the audience."

    A spark got the group's attention. [Ah, 'The Legend of Zzzzelda'...] Fara mused as she flew over the table to study the copy of the script on the table. [One of the gold zzzzzztandards of dungeon design that also translatezzzzzzz very well to a stage. But why stop at juzzzzzzt video gamezzzzz?]

    The lightbulb went off in Brock's head. "Come to think of it, I did pack some of my Chambers and Charizards and Legends of Ransei adventures--would you guys like to look at those for dungeon set ideas?"

    [Yes pleazzzzzzzz!] Fara squeaked. [I'll take extra good care of them for you.]

    Brock retrieved his bag, and laid out some of the colorful modules for Fara to see. "Any of these strike your fancy? If you don't like any of these, I have more in the bag."

    [Let'zzzz see here...] Fara mused, studying each one of the whimsical fantasy covers very carefully. [I think I'll borrow your Legendzzzzz of Ransei stuff--that would fit better in our setting than trying to Waku-fy Europan fantazzzzzzy.]

    "If we ever get to perform a Legends of Ransei play, Elena would likely beg to play Taki." Ash smiled.

    [But let'zzzz not get to far ahead of ourselvezzzzzz...] Fara cautioned. [Focus on thizzzz play first--you have auditionzzzzzz tomorrow!]
     
  16. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Episode 15: A Readthrough of Six


    "At last...readthrough day..." May smiled as the group got together to look through their scripts together a few days later. "Wild Blossom is every bit of an enjoyable character to read as she will be to play..."

    "Rona said that you gave Wild Blossom the spirit and heart she needed in your audition." Misty agreed. "You actually beat out several other actresses for the part, but they all said you deserved the role the most.

    May just smiled back as the group made themselves comfortable in the common area. "Since Brock got the lead role, does anyone have any objections to his leading the readthrough?"

    When affirmative murmurs came in her direction, she found a chair nearby a window as Brock arrived at the table. "Okay, everyone...is there anything about your role or the plot that you don't understand, or a character you have a question about?"

    "What's there to ask about the plot?" Dawn mused before recapping the play's plot for the others. "The show tells the story of Emerald Song, a traveling storyteller who hears rumors about the titular bow while on the road. Inspired by the rumors, he initially goes to find out if a well known folktale featuring the bow is true. It turns out that 'The Heavenly Shadow and the Emerald Leaf Bow' is truer than he thinks--and the martial world could be in grave danger if Heavenly Shadow is not stopped."

    She looked over at Brock. "What about you, great leader? Is there something about Emerald Song you don't understand?"

    "Well..." Brock mused. "Even though there's one tale I have to tell as part of the show, I have some free reign as to what the other tales I have to tell are. Problem is, I'm not sure what I want these tales to be. Should I tell an existing Wakunese story, or make something up?"

    "It would probably be easier just to tell your own take on some Wakunese stories..." Ash suggested. "Princess Kaguya and Momotaro are always some safe bets..."

    "'My Lord Bag of Rice would be exciting, as well." Dawn suggested.

    "'The Tauros-herd and the Weaving Maid', perhaps?" Serena suggested.

    "'The Ogre at the Living Silk Gate' would be exciting!" Misty suggested.

    "'The Phoenix Saves the Beautifly's Life', maybe?" May suggested.

    "All good ideas, everyone--I may have enough from my folktale books and you guys' suggestions to make my performance different every show." Brock assured the group. "This way, I have different shows every performance."

    He went on "Moving on to scene 2 of Act 1--where Violet Deerling and Emerald Song meet on the road--and Emerald Song gets the first whispers that 'The Heavenly Shadow and the Emerald Leaf Bow' may in fact be true."

    "To be honest, I'm looking forward to seeing the teahouse in Scene 3..." Misty admitted.

    "According to Fara, the teahouse was actually inspired by some real Wakunese teahouses in Kanto--Rona brought in some pictures to inspire them." Serena explained.

    "Since we're not reading lines just yet, does anyone have any questions or discussion points to bring up about either of these scenes?" Brock asked.

    "I wonder if there is something like a tavern fight in a fantasy movie in a teahouse..." Misty wondered.

    "Based on my research into Wakunese martial arts novels and movies, it's fairly rare for a fight to happen on the scale of a fantasy tavern fight." Serena explained. "If you do get something like a tavern fight at all, it is usually because the bad guys followed the hero--or heroes-- to the teahouse, or are already present in the teahouse by the time the fight starts. So the tavern brawl is just not really done in martial arts stories. This is not to say it never happens, but you're more likely to see it in martial arts movies and TV shows designed to appeal to Unovan and Europan audiences. On the Kalosian Tawame stage, it's more likely to happen, because more often then not, Kalosian playwrights see it in the movies and try to make it work onstage. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. But there is a growing movement for Western Tawame communities to maintain the delicate balance of respecting the Wakunese conventions while trying to put a uniquely Unovan or Europan stamp on the form."

    "Now I'd really like to bring this special form of Wakunese theater to Europa or Unova one day..." Ash smiled.

    "Your best bets to start from are Kalos, Talie, or Paldea..." Brock suggested. "Anime and manga are very popular in all three regions, and Kalos has its own Tawame community already."

    "Not to mention, there's a growing movement to start a community in Galar." Serena agreed. "I can only imagine what a Tawame play would look like on Wyndon's world famous Melody Lane..."

    Ash smiled in agreement. "What I would give to play Ruby Phoenix on Melody Lane--with Leon and Hop watching in the audience!"

    "Well, the more great reviews we get here at home, the sooner we can tour elsewhere."Serena assured Ash. "When we do reach Kalos, I would be happy to be you guys' guide."

    "I presume we're in the mood for a break, since we veered off topic?" Brock asked.

    "I could stand to get up and stretch before we discuss the teahouse scene, where our characters meet..." Dawn mused, setting aside her script and stretching as Ash went to get a drink.

    "All right--after we all have a break, we'll go over the teahouse scene, and the meeting at Green Blossom Summit." Brock explained as the group got up to stretch and move around.

    "I can only imagine what Fara and the crew Rotoms will come up with for Green Blossom Summit..." May smiled as she got up to stretch, her mind spinning with ideas as to what the colorful location would look like on opening night....
     
  17. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Episode 16: Raikou Rehearses a Timeless Tale


    "It's actually strange to be back here in a rehearsal room instead of onstage with the others..." Brock admitted as he arrived with his script and some printed Wakunese tales he planned to use in the play. "Then again, it is nice to have a private space to rehearse telling tales in character..."

    "I'm glad you think so--we'll put the tales in context when you rejoin the others onstage for our first full rehearsal in a few days." Rona assured Brock as she arrived in the rehearsal room. "My goal for today is to help you refine the actual tales you plan to tell, so it's less you telling, and more Emerald Song telling them. We'll work on 'The Heavenly Shadow and the Emerald Leaf Bow' during the full rehearsal."

    "That's fair...I am enjoying learning that story." Brock grinned as he set aside his script and the printed tales, except for one. "Let's start with 'My Lord Bag of Rice'..."

    "Great choice..." Rona agreed. "Remember that Emerald Song gets his title because A. he uses the vina often when telling, and B. his style of telling his very lyrical, with lots of flowery description. In the play's world, flowery description is a hallmark of a skilled teller."

    "Hasn't been easy to keep my inner English teacher in check while practicing telling as Emerald Song, but I think I'm getting the hang of it..." Brock admitted. "The text of the tales are for my reference until we start rehearsing without scripts."

    "For the moment, let's work on telling--no vina and no movement yet." Rona suggested. "We'll work the vina and movement in once you can tell this tale in character well."

    She found a chair in one corner of the room to watch Brock perform. "When you're ready, tell as much of 'My Lord Bag of Rice' as you can in the style of Emerald Song. When you finish, I'll tell you what's working and what's not."

    "Okay..." Brock took the paper with the text of 'My Lord Bag of Rice' on it. "'My Lord Bag of Rice', as performed by my character, Emerald Song."

    After taking a few deep breaths to ease the Beautiflies in his stomach, he slipped into character as he started the timeless Wakunese story. "Long ago in our fair land of Waku, there lived a brave warrior known to all as Tawara Toda, or 'My Lord Bag of Rice.' The tale I wish to tell you concerns how he received this illustrious title."

    Rona smiled as Brock went on in character "One day, he ventured in search of an adventure, as warriors often do. So after gathering his mighty katana, and equally mighty yumi, he went forth into the world. At first, his journey was uneventful, but eventually he came to a bridge that spanned a large lake. As he was about to start on his way across, a female voice called to him. When he looked to see who had called, a lady in a majestic blue costume, and a headdress to match, met him on the bridge."

    He broke character long enough to study the dialogue. "Would it be out of character for Emerald Song to know how to mimic, like I do, or would people volunteer to play roles in the story?"

    "Given his martial title, mimicry would make sense for Emerald Song!" Rona assured Brock. "Go on and showcase the million voices--you're doing great!"

    Brock smiled back, then looked for his place in the text before assuming a mimic of Misty for the role of Toyotama. "Wait, noble warrior! Please heed my request, I beg of you!"

    "You have my word I will do everything I can to help you, milady." he replied as himself. "But first, will you tell me who you are?"

    "I am Toyotama, daughter of Seiryu the Blue Dragon of the East." he replied in his mimic of Misty, then paused as if expecting a flourish from the orchestra.

    Hr giggled a little as Rona played a triumphant C chord on a nearby piano. "Close enough..." he assured Rona before getting back into character. "What is it you would ask of me, Toyotama-hime?" he asked, kneeling down before an imagined person in respect.

    “I want you to kill my mortal enemy the Scolipede, who lives on the distant mountain." he replied in his Misty mimic. "For some months now, we have lived in terror, for this Scolipede has discovered our home, and night after night it comes and carries off one of my family. I am powerless to save them. If it goes on much longer, I too will be a captive. Will you not help me and kill my enemy the Scolipede?”

    "I will do everything I can to slay this fiend, and rescue your family." he vowed as himself. "Where is the fiend now?"

    "Asleep." he replied as Misty. "It comes every night at a certain hour to the palace of the lake, it would be better to wait until then."

    He interjected as his own character "With that, Toyotama-hime faced the waters of the lake, and gave the command for her palace to appear..."

    With that, he sang as Misty Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...

    He went on in character "Moments later, a grand white palace sparkling with sapphires and pearls rose up from the water! Our hero's clothing did not even feel the slightest bit wet as he passed through the water. Never had our hero seen anything so beautiful as this palace built of white marble beneath the lake. He had often heard of Toyotama’s palace at the bottom of the sea in many a bedtime story, but now here it was, before his very eyes!....
     
  18. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Episode 17: Six Lights Shining Bright


    "Wow...we sold out the theater for 'The Fateful Emerald Leaf Bow'!" May smiled as the caravan departed the Red Hill Theater a few days later.

    "What did the critics think of my in character storytelling?" Brock wondered as he admired a picture in the newspaper of the Garasu encounter in Act 2.

    May read a little farther down the page to find a color photo of Brock saying something in an elegant green, white and gold costume with music note trim. "They loved it! To quote the newspaper, 'the storytelling scenes are a highlight of the show'."

    Brock smiled. "Well, now I know that private practice session with Rona helped--I may have to do that again the next traveling storyteller role I play."

    "So, which theater are we going to next?" Ash asked, changing the subject.

    "Rona says we're not so much performing at a theater next as we are performing for a town festival." Serena replied. So we'll just put on one of the shows we know how to do well outside of the town in True Bright Field."

    "'The Legend of Susanoo', please?" Ash asked, just as Rona walked in the room. "We haven't done that one in a while, and I've been itching to play Susanoo again..."

    Rona smiled at Ash's sad Growlithe eyes. "All right, we'll perform 'The Legend of Susannoo' for Bright Town's festival--there's just enough thrills, excitement, and heart for a festival.

    "YES!!!" Ash wasted no time in hugging Rona. "Thank you..."

    "You're welcome." Rona replied. "Let's get ready...we'll be reaching True Bight Field soon."

    ---------

    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!"

    ---------

    "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 audience pavilion in the field 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 field at the song's conclusion. "Wow...this is a different side of May..." Dawn smiled as she quietly applauded from backstage. "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, as always."

    "Thanks." May smiled as a stagehand brought her some water. "Rona always says to channel a cheerleader for that song, so I combine that spirit with a little bit of Ash's style to create something of my own."

    "I think Ash can always 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."
     
  19. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

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    Episode 18: The Blessing of Six Spirits

    "That festival was so much fun!" Serena raved as the caravan got back on the road a few days later. "And thank you for winning me a Braixen doll in the ring toss." she told Ash before hugging a Braixen plushie sitting by her on the couch in the common room.

    "Aw, it was nothin'..." Ash grinned as he invited his faithful Pikachu Tintri on his shoulder.

    "Well, from here, we're off to Reedy Field Station, where we will perform 'Princess Yumi Subdues the Demon'." Brock explained. "It sounds like an interesting Zelda-esque adventure..."

    "Anyone got a copy of the script this time?" Serena asked.

    "It's a public domain script, so it's easily findable online." Misty assured Serena as she perused the script on her PokeNav.

    A bling on Serena's PokeNav got Serena's attention. "Oh, thanks for sending me the link to the script!"

    "Anytime!" Misty smiled before sending out a flurry of text messages. "Let me give everyone a copy of the link to the script, so we all can study it together."

    Once Dawn had opened the link to the script, she perused the cast list. "From what I hear, every girl in the troupe is trying out for Princess Yumi...

    "Be warned, this is not an excuse to wear elaborate kimonos or Europan princess dresses..." Brock cautioned as he perused the play's production notes. "As her name suggests, Princess Yumi is well versed at the bow, and must have good athletic and acrobatic skills, in addition to a good voice..."

    "What part should the one playing Yumi sing?" Serena wondered.

    "The script explicitly asks that a good soprano play Princess Yumi, although a mezzo soprano on the soprano side might be able to do it with some practice." Brock replied. "So Misty's out of the question for that role..."

    "Yeah, Princess Yumi would be a little too high for me." Misty agreed as she listened to a MIDI version of one of the play's songs on her PokeNav.

    "Noelle might be able to do it..." Dawn remembered. "She's always had a good voice..."

    "I'll try out for Princess Yumi, but my voice might be a little too sweet for her..." May admitted.

    "I'll try out for her too, but I might be a little too powerful for her..." Dawn agreed. "It would likely be neck and neck between Noelle and Serena..."

    "Well, no matter what role I get, I'll still give it my all, like I do every play." Serena smiled. "Although I've heard a lot about Noelle, Dawn--if she ends up playing the lead in this play, I will happily give her some tips, as the troupe's eiyuna."

    "Aw, that's sweet of you..." Dawn smiled before a shrine in the distance got her attention. "I wonder which Legendary that shrine is dedicated to..."

    "Actually, this is the Shrine of the Six Spirits." Brock explained. "Want to stop and pay our respects?"

    "Yeah!" May replied. "Maybe I can ask Jade Beautifly to watch over my next role!"

    ---------

    The ringing of a sacred bell filled the shrine grounds as the group left offerings, wishes, and prayers at the shrine some moments later. Please, Ruby Phoenix, grant me your courage and joy for our shows... Ash prayed.

    After finishing his prayer, he met Serena near the wishing tree. "What fortune did we get?"

    "We got a lucky fortune!" Serena smiled. "Basically said that the results of our hard work will pay off many times over, so I had to put it on the wishing tree."

    Inspired, Ash motioned for the miko. "Can you show us which fortune is ours?"

    "It's this one right here..." the miko replied, pointing out a fortune tied to a flowering branch with a yellow ribbon. "Your companion asked to tie it with a yellow ribbon for extra luck."

    Ash nodded. "Thanks."

    The miko smiled. "Arceus' and the Six Spirits' blessings upon you."

    ---------

    "Well, I got Cerulean Frost, like I tried out for..." Misty mused as the group got together in May and Dawn's wagon a few days later. "Who got Princess Yumi?"

    "It was a very tough call, Rona said, but Noelle just barely edged Serena for the part." Dawn replied. "Serena was actually Rona's second choice..."

    Serena smiled. "Tell Noelle I said congratulations, and I will be happy to give her any help and advice she might need for her first lead role."

    "I will." Dawn replied. "I ended up with Pearl Moon, which was my plan B role...

    "I got my plan B role too..." May agreed. "Jade Wind."

    "I can only imagine what that costume might look like..." Dawn mused, aware of Ash drawing something in his Pikachu patterned sketchbook.

    Serena looked over at the beautiful warrior's garb Ash was drawing on a featureless female outline. "Oh, that's beautiful!"

    "It's my idea of Jade Wind's costume, based on the production notes." Ash explained as he added some lavender trim to the half colored pale green and gold outfit. "Once I'm done coloring it, I plan to show it to the costume crew."

    "Let me see!" May hurried to get a look at the in progress drawing. "Wow! I'd love to wear that costume!"

    "I'll tell the costume crew you want this to be your costume." Ash assured May.

    "Draw what you think Cerulean Frost's costume would look like next!" Misty suggested.

    "We have a while to go before we reach Reedy Field Station, so I may just draw every character's costume based on the production notes." Ash admitted. "Of course, if you have a better idea for your character's costume, tell the costume crew that, as well."

    Dawn nodded. "When you get to Princess Yumi's costume, may I give that one to Noelle as a gift?"

    "Sure..." Ash grinned as he continued coloring. "I'll even sign it too!"
     
  20. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Kala
    (Steenee)
    Level 24
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    Episode 19: A Readthrough with a Friend


    A few days later, Dawn and an auburn haired girl embraced as the others arrived in the common area for a readthrough of "Princess Yumi Subdues the Demon". "It's not the same as the readthrough room in the theater, but we'll make it work." Dawn assured the girl as the two of them found seats near the right end of the table.

    "Good to see you again, Noelle..." May smiled. "Well done on getting the lead!"

    "Thanks..." Noelle smiled. "To be honest, I was trying for any role at all. Getting Princess Yumi was a total surprise!"

    "Well, if you have any questions about playing the lead, we'll be happy to help." Dawn assured her friend. "Princess Yumi is a big part, but I think you can do it!"

    About then, Brock arrived with his copy of the script. "Okay, everyone...has everyone had a chance to read over their scripts?"

    When affirmative answers wafted in his direction, Brock next asked. "Does anyone have any questions, concerns, observations, comments on what they have read? You don't have to have read the whole play yet--just tell us about what you have read if that is the case."

    "I'm curious as to how they'll make a blizzard for meeting Articuno on the Winter Path towards the end of Act 2..." Ash wondered. "Will they just use Mothim or Frosmoth scales? Glitter? Stage snow? Either one of those would be a pain to clean up once the scene was over..."

    "What will probably happen is digital snowfall on 'Blizzard' for the background, then some prop snow-blankets in various sizes to make snow in the foreground." Brock assured Ash. "The snow-blankets are very easy for the stage ninjas to pack up--simply roll up the large blankets and gather up the smaller pieces. The only time you'll see glitter or Pokémon scales is if we need a blast of snow to emphasize how cold it is in the play's world."

    "I'm excited to see the Articuno puppet...how does that work?" Noelle was intrigued.

    "Well, when we need the Articuno puppet to fly, we have a kite-like puppet." Brock replied. "It's basically a toy kite with a puppet head attached. Two performers in greenscreen suits control it on the ground, and a third performer will perform the puppet in whatever location it lands--in this case, a hollow tree, since those have space to hide the performer."

    "Cool!" Noel smiled.

    "Can we go over the scene where Princess Yumi meets your character?" Dawn asked, flipping her script back to Act 1.

    "Ah yes, following the vina to Verdant Night Pond." Brock remembered as he found the scene in question. "The script doesn't say I have to play anything specific in that scene, so I'll rotate among some of the more beautiful solos in the vina repertoire during the run."

    "Okay...so I won't be hearing the same song every performance." Noelle mused. "How should I basically react when I do hear you?"

    "If the song is something slow and majestic, you could try approaching with awe." Brock suggested. "If the song is more upbeat, you could try excitedly running to follow the sound."

    "So after visiting a little bit and telling you why I'm on my mission, I then find out the vina plays magic when you fight off a kawaguma in the river." Noelle replied as she read over the scene. "That's gonna be exciting!"

    "Just like I'm not gonna play the same song when I first appear, what spells I perform to drive off the kawaguma will be different." Brock explained. "So many aspects of this scene will be a surprise every show."

    "All the more reason to see the play multiple times!" Noelle agreed.

    "I'm looking forward to Princess Yumi's first trial--the cave behind Silver Dawn Falls." Misty smiled. "I'm intrigued by how the dungeon team will incorporate swimming into a dungeon crawl..."

    "If Zelda can do it, we can too!" Ash smiled. "That, and we have successfully worked water into dungeon challenges before..."

    "How does that work?" Noelle was intrigued. "Wetsuits would ruin the illusion of a Waku that never was."

    "You'll get a wetsuit-like costume that resembles your main costume when it's time to go swimming." Serena explained. "To the audience, it appears you've never even changed costumes."

    "If you're wondering how we get a pool onstage, we have several that live under the stage for aquatic acts and water based challenges like this." Misty explained. "When we need the water, the pool comes up through a trap door, then goes back down after we're done swimming."

    "But what happens when you need to go underwater?" Noelle wondered. "Scuba regulators and air tanks would look weird in a fantasy..."

    "Most of the time, we just hold our breaths." Misty assured Noelle. "When we do need to stay underwater for longer than that, we have special air crystals that function like a scuba regulator, without air tanks. This way, we can maintain the illusion of fantasy. But if you need aquatics practice, we have plenty of practice pools back at our theater--and most other theaters will have a practice pool or three, even if they're inside a post station or out in the middle of nowhere."

    "Based on my script, I'm gonna have to do a lot of breath holding..." Noelle showed Misty some stage directions for the water trial. "Will you show me how to do that?"

    Misty nodded. "The station we're going to does have the means to do aquatics--so I'll give you some breath holding training when we get there!"
     

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