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Fanfiction Pokemon: The Stage of Crystal

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by WavePearl, Jan 14, 2023.

  1. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    (rated E10+ for fantasy stage violence)

    Episode 1: Welcome to the Scarlet Stage

    After a successful tour across Waku, the Niji Troupe became household names in the Tawame scene there--and the budding Tawame scene in Europa took notice. After receiving an invitation to come to the world famous Naranja Academy, Ash and the others took the chance to perform as a chance to introduce the wild and spirited Tawame world to the Paldean stage--with potential to tour other Europan regions too.

    But little did the gang know that their two honorary members would end up joining the troupe for good!

    The audience in the Naranja Academy's majestic theater watched as Brock--in a familiar green, gold, and white costume--approached an actor playing a warlord. "This has gone far enough, Hikouchi..." he intoned. "The Grand Dragon Ring belongs in the imperial palace--so if you will give it back to us, we will let you go peacefully, and forget this whole thing ever happened."

    "No!" the actor playing Hikouchi shot back. "Are you not aware of the Grand Dragon Ring's great power? With the ability to call Dragon Pokémon to my side, I could rule over all of Waku--no, the world!"

    Horrified gasps and "Oh no"s filled the theater as the actor playing Hikouchi grabbed May's arm, and dragged her to his side. "The Grand Dragon Ring is mine now!" the actor roared over a dramatic stinger. "If you lot dare to try and stop me..."

    The ring of a prop sword echoed through the majestic theater as the actor playing Hikouchi held a prop sword to May's throat, never mind that the blade was not sharp enough to do any real damage to a person. "The Six Spirits will be five...so do you really want to lose your precious little Beautifly?"

    In the audience, Juliana held Penny close as both sides stared each other down onstage. "Please...don't hurt Jade Beautifly!" Penny whispered, as if the actors onstage could hear her.

    "Hold it!" came a familiar voice from offstage.

    The actor playing Hikouchi glanced around the stage, still holding May and the prop blade. "Who's there? Show yourself!"

    A triumphant stinger and wild cheers revealed Ash--in a magnificent red, orange, gold and white costume--looking down on the actor playing Hikouchi from a platform above stage right. "I am Ruby Phoenix, the Spirit of Joy and Power!" he announced before elegantly jumping down before the actor playing Hikouchi and the struggling May. "You have nowhere to go now, Hikouchi!" he growled. "You'll have quite a lot to answer to in the imperial court--stealing a priceless treasure, stealing of other, more priceless treasures, ruining people's livelihoods, desecrating sacred spaces, evading capture, treason, kidnapping..need I go on?"

    Nervous giggles filled the theater as Ash approached the actor playing Hikouchi. "No matter how far you run, I will not rest until you have answered for your crimes!"

    The actor playing Hikouchi grimaced as fight actors playing troops joined him onstage. "Get him!" he barked, pointing at Ash.

    The theater filled with cheers as Ash expertly kicked down some of the fight actors, buying May time to wriggle out of the actor playing Hikouchi's grip and run safely into Brock's arms. But Juliana and Penny's cheers were the loudest as Ash expertly performed a well rehearsed fight progression...


    Later, Ash, Misty, and Brock--now in their own training garb--took questions from the orange clad students about the play they had just performed, and some of their classmates joining the Niji Troupe on their impending Paldean tour. "How do you manage to fight without getting hurt?" Nemona asked.

    "We learn the fight scenes under supervision of a fight trainer." Ash explained. "The weapons we use are dulled to minimize the chance of injury, as well."

    "Even though our weapons are dulled, and the arrows only props, we still treat every weapon as if it is real--very carefully!" Misty agreed, to some giggles.

    "The fight trainers and spotters know what to do if something is even the slightest bit off--safety informs everything we do in a play." Brock added.

    He spotted Juliana's hand near the middle of the crowd. "Yes?"

    "How does archery work on a stage?" Juliana asked.

    "Archer characters are mainly support in a fight scene, but sometimes they take the lead in the fight." Brock explained. "I'm actually shooting at targets around the stage, which may trigger special effects to help the melee fighters, protect the melee fighters, or fire off one of my character's powers. If my character has to shoot at a person, I still shoot at a target hidden where the audience can't see, and the fight actor feigns a kill or an injury--so no one's actually harmed with my shots. So everyone has to know who is doing what and at what time for the fight scene to work."

    "So if you're wondering why there's very obviously glowing parts on our animatronics--those are actually targets for Brock to hit." Misty explained.

    "Is there anyone else with a question?" Señora Vega asked.

    When no one said anything, Misty addressed the crowd. "We've had a wonderful time performing for you, and are thrilled two of your own are joining us as honorary actors...but we'll need two more to go with us as guides."

    "I'll be happy to show you guys around Paldea!" Nemona volunteered.

    "Me too!" Juliana volunteered. "There's lots of theaters just in Mesagoza--I'm sure our friends at the Uva will be happy to see you perform for them too."

    "We do plan to perform for as many schools, academy, and theaters as we can on our route around Paldea." Misty assured Juliana as the teacher gave final instructions to the students who would stay behind. "But as thanks for being our guides, you'll get el tratamiento real--the royal treatment!"
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #1 Jan 14, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2023
  2. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 2: The Phoenix of Waku Rises

    Word spread around Naranja Academy that some of their own were joining a Wakunese theater troupe for a grand tour of Paldea. By the time the group's departure day came, a massive crowd of students had gathered at the academy's central square to see off the Niji Troupe's caravan, a black haired girl, a deep red haired boy, Juliana, and Nemona. Awed and excited murmurs filled the air as the students admired each one of the colorful wagons, and speculated what each of the patterns on the wagons were supposed to mean.

    The chatter quieted as Clavell arrived with the black haired girl--now in a deep teal outfit instead of the standard Naranja uniform--and the deep red haired boy. "Ms. Rona Toyonaga, and the Niji Troupe of Pallet Town in Waku...thank you all for sharing your talents with our students." Clavell began. "Even if they are not currently taking a theater class, those that have seen your performances rave about them. Your actors and performers are all gifted, and they all clearly love to perform."

    He gently ushered the boy and the girl forward. "These two are Liko and Roy--they have expressed an interest in learning the Wakunese form of theater, so I have granted them permission to travel with you as honorary actors for your tour. Should they decide they want to remain with the troupe at the conclusion of the tour, would you be willing to welcome some foreign born actors?"

    "Of course." Rona smiled. "They will be trained in all aspects of the Tawame form on the journey, but the choice to join the troupe is theirs.

    Clavell just smiled as Juliana and Nemona arrived. "Then I wish you all a safe and fruitful journey performing of Paldea's legendary stages. I hope that you even reach the Teatro Real, and perform for La Primera!"

    "La Primera?" Ash wondered as the crowd of students cheered.

    "La Primera is what everybody calls Geeta, the League Champ!" Nemona explained. "She's known to be a theater fan--so much so she has her own private box at el Teatro Real!"

    "As opposed to the fake theater?" Ash asked, confused by the theater's name.

    "Silly! Real is Paldean for 'royal'." Serena explained, pointing out the entry in her Paldean to English dictionary. "So it's named the Royal Theater."

    Nemona, meanwhile, looked up at the caravan's lead wagon. "Is it okay if I ride with you in the lead wagon, Ms. Rona?" she asked. "I can point out neat landmarks and attractions you should see on the way, as well as give a little history about our many theaters."

    Rona smiled. "Okay then, Nemona--you can be our lead guide and navigator."

    "I wouldn't mind riding with Ash and the others..." Juliana offered. "Is that okay?"

    Ash smiled. "Come on then--you can't miss the yuushi's wagon!"

    After waiting for Juliana to climb aboard and settle in, a small walkie talkie on a table came to life. "Attention, members of the Niji Troupe! For our first leg of our trip, we won't even have to leave Mesagoza!" Nemona's voice crackled over the tiny speaker as the caravan began to move. "Our first stop is el Teatro Fénix--so named because it was very nearly torn down. But Geeta and the rest of Mesagoza moved heaven and earth to save it, and so it still stands today, putting on favorite plays and new plays from Paldea and elsewhere..."

    Juliana stifled a giggle as Nemona continued talking. "I think Nemona found the radio to talk to everyone in the troupe...once she gets excited about a topic, good luck getting her to stop talking about it."

    "She does know her theater, so I'll humor her and let her talk." Ash assured Juliana as he watched the Ponytas carefully make their way down the gently sloping wagon exit ramp...


    "So, what can you tell us about the play we're going to see first?" Juliana asked as the caravan made its way down the elegant streets of Mesagoza some time later.

    "It's based on a Wakunese folktale featuring a priestess character named Kanade." Ash explained. "In many stories featuring her, she is guarded by a dragon and phoenix--and my role is the phoenix."

    "I can't wait to see your costume!" Juliana smiled as the caravan came to a stop at a majestic theater on the west side of the square. "I think Nemona finally ran out of things to talk about--but she'll probably think of more to talk about once we pass a landmark or a town."

    "Before I forget..." Ash produced two VIP passes. "As thanks for being our guides on this trip, you can watch every show we do from the best seats in the house."

    "Wow! Gracias!" Juliana smiled as she and Ash climbed from the wagon and onto the ground. "I'll give Nemona hers, you go on inside and get ready!"

    "Break both legs, Señor Fénix!" Nemona agreed as she met Ash outside the wagon.

    Ash nodded. "I'll do my best--you two enjoy the show!"


    Later, the orchestra played a tense interlude as Dawn, in the role of Kanade, met Brock, in the role of the village elder, on a set of a nice ancient Wakunese house. "May I ask why the people gather here tonight? I know of no festival falling on this date, so I thought I would ask why you were celebrating." Dawn began.

    Brock sighed as the orchestra's song turned somber. "We are not celebrating anything." he explained. "It was really a funeral service for two of my grandchildren, who, though they are not yet dead, will be called to the heavens before too long."

    "But how can such a ceremony be performed over people who are still alive?" Dawn asked. Some in the audience stifled laughter at the quizzical look on Dawn's face.

    "You have to understand that this region is under the control of a cruel demon." Brock continued over the ominous melody. "Every year, he demands two children, a boy and a girl, to eat. Many attempts have been made to resist this horrific demand, but they have only resulted in increased suffering to those who have dared to oppose him. Because of this, the woeful cycle continues, and many a heart is broken at the loss of those dearest to them."

    "But is there any way to know when this terrible sacrifice is going to be demanded?" Dawn asked.

    "The demon appears in the chosen house a few days before, and demands to have the victims ready on a specified date." Brock explained, nervously walking around the set all the while. "Only the day before yesterday, this summons came to us to have our children ready by tomorrow morning at dawn. That is why we had a feast today, and performed the funeral rites for the dead, so that their spirits may not be held under the control of this merciless demon, but delivered to the Great Lord's care in heaven."

    "But what is the demon like?" Dawn asked.

    "No one knows for sure what he is like," Brock cautioned as the elder as the orchestra's song turned tense. "He has no form that one can see. His presence is known by a strong gust of wind which fills the place with a peculiar smell, and with an influence so subtle that you feel yourself within the grip of a powerful force, and instinctively bow as though you were in the presence of a being who could destroy you in a moment if it wanted to." A bansi proceeded to blast a note that sounds more or less like a girl's scream, startling many in the crowd.

    "One more question..." Dawn interjected as she got up from her place on the stage floor. "Where did this demon come from, and how that he has grown so strong enough to defy even heaven itself, with the Great Lord Arceus and all the Legendaries that watch over us all?"

    "This demon was filled with evil intentions and fiendish instincts from the very beginning." Brock replied. "He took the first opportunity he could to escape to the earth, and took up residence in the grottoes and caverns that lie deep down beneath the waters of the river. Other spirits almost as evil as him have also reside there, and they combine their forces to bring calamity and disaster upon the people of this region."

    Fearful whispers race through the crowd as the audience debated how such a demon could be defeated. "Now, Kanade cherished all living things, but she grew very angry when she thought of how many innocent children had been sacrificed to appease the depraved demon." May went on, quieting the chatter as the lights went down. "Taka and Mizuchi were just as mad, and they began to discuss how to save the elder's grandchildren, and at the same time slay the demon so no one would ever have to sacrifice a child again."

    As the lights came up on the set of a common ancient Wakunese house, Ash--in a majestic red, orange, and gold costume--appeared in a burst of "fire". Misty--in a majestic blue, silver, and white costume--arrived a few moments later. "So? How did the meeting with the elder go?" Misty asked as Dawn arrived in the scene.

    "It turns out the festival was no festival at all--and many in this village cry because they have lost a son or daughter to a demon." Dawn explained. "It doesn't help that the elder's children are next in line to meet this horrible fate."

    "This has gone far enough!" Ash vowed. "No more hearts should have to break to appease a demon! Especially not an elder's children!"

    Misty nodded in agreement. "We can't flat out refuse to send a sacrifice...no doubt there is some horrible fate to those that refuse this demon?"

    An idea occurred to her. "Say...what if we traveled to the demon's lair under the ruse that we will be the sacrifices?"

    "That's a great idea!" Dawn smiled. "You both have transformation abilities, so Demon-san would be none the wiser!"

    Misty nodded in agreement. "Let us return to the elder, and inform him of our plan..."
  3. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 3: The Lady Dragon Among the Bluebells

    "What play will we see next?" Juliana asked as the caravan continued its mini tour around Mesagoza a few days later. "That Kanade story was exciting!"

    "Well, our next show has its share of action, but it has quiet moments, too." Misty explained as she returned to her wagon, aware of one of Rona's assistants giving Liko and Roy an acting lesson in one of the other wagons. "It's called 'White Robe of the Lady Dragon'."

    "That sounds interesting!" Juliana smiled. "What is it about?"

    Before Misty could respond, the walkie talkie in the wagon came to life again. "Our next stop is el Teatro Campanilla, or the Bluebell Theater, if you prefer." Nemona's voice began. "So named because of the bluebells that bloom in the garden surrounding the theater. While primarily used to perform zarzuelas, it has welcomed productions from around the world..."

    "Now it's your turn to answer a question for me..." Misty began, ignoring Nemona's lecture about the theater's history all the while. "What IS a zarzuela, anyway?"

    "A zarzuela is the Paldean musical." Juliana explained. "Some of them can be as elaborate as one of your shows, but as a general rule of thumb, they are usually two or three acts long. They can have adventurous, mystical, or comic plots, but there is often a romance involved in the plot--and happy endings rule the day in the world of the zarzuela. While there are some saddening moments, the good and the faithful are rewarded, and evil justly punished in the end."

    Misty nodded. "Sounds interesting...I think 'White Robe of the Lady Dragon' would work very well as a zarzuela."

    She went on "The show tells the story of Lady Dragon, one of a noble family of Gyarados style martial artists. Once day, a rival family steals her family treasure--the Sapphire of Blue Water. After asking around with some martial arts masters and other noble families, she embarks on a quest to find out who could've taken her family treasure, and why. That's all I can tell you without giving too much away."

    Juliana nodded as the caravan arrived at the theater's entrance. "I can't wait to see it!"


    The audience in the theater watched as Serena--now wearing a majestic orange and gold outfit with some black and white trim--met Misty--now wearing a white robe with subtle blue accents--on the set of an ornate garden overlooking a city street far off in the distance. "Thank you, Delphox-san, for meeting me here..." Misty began. "I hope you will forgive me bemoaning all my troubles to you..."

    "It's about the Sapphire of Blue Water, isn't it?" Serena guessed. "I understand how angry and saddened you feel about losing your family's treasure, so if you wish to vent, I will listen all the same."

    "The Sapphire of Blue Water has been in the family for years..." Misty explained. "But I can't understand why any other family would want to take it. As far as I know, my family has not wronged anyone, and no one has yet issued a challenge to my family. I know for certain you haven't taken it..."

    Serena nodded in agreement. "May Arceus judge me and my family if we have ever taken anything of yours without returning it. The city would be in an uproar if you simply accused someone without proof or evidence. So let us ponder who the likeliest suspects would be before you do anything too hasty."

    Misty thought for a moment. "Hm...we can rule out Master Phoenix and Master Raikou--they understand how important the Sapphire of Blue Water is to me and my family."

    "We can also rule out Lady Beautifly and Priestess Deerling too." Serena agreed. "Remember when you told Lady Beautifly about the Sapphire of Blue Water being taken earlier today? She looked as shocked, angry, and confused as you were!"

    "Yes...and Priestess Deerling was the one who notified the magistrate and his men that it was missing." Misty remembered. "A servant of Arceus stealing from the people they serve would be a shameless act!"

    "Exactly...so now that we have ruled out your family, and some of your inner circle, let's expand the net a little wider to include all the noble families and known rogues in the city--including known evil sects that operate in this area." Serena suggested as the orchestra started a thoughtful melody.

    "We can rule out that rogue Careless Murkrow..." Misty agreed. "When the magistrate brought him in for questioning, he denied taking it, and his alibi checked out."

    "Knowing Careless Murkrow, he may have dropped it somewhere in the city, and forgotten about it." Serena mused. "That's typically how the magistrate and his men find out he stole something!"

    The audience laughed in agreement. "The Wicked Dawn School may have taken it as a sign of a challenge, since they know your Blue Dragon Blades are powerful..."

    "This is true, but I have not received a writ of challenge." Misty mused. "Even evil sects must abide by the rule of notifying a potential opponent of a challenge."

    A thought occurred to her. "What about Steel Arbok? Has he been spotted in the area?"

    "You may be right..." Serena replied. "Just a few days ago, I found some of the magistrate's men putting out bounty posters--his bounty is now just over a million sen!"

    "Wow"s filled the air as the audience pondered how large the amount of money was. "Regardless of whether or not Steel Arbok took the Sapphire of Blue Water, or someone else did the deed, I will not rest until my family's treasure is recovered, and the thief brought to justice!" Misty vowed over the orchestra's hopeful and heroic melody. "Even if I have to go to the very ends of Waku to do that!"

    "You have my word that I will do what I can to help you on your journey." Serena agreed. "But before you embark on this likely perilous journey, let's ask the others if they wish to help."

    "A wonderful idea!" Misty smiled as the lights went down...
  4. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 4: The Bamboo Princess Among the Grapes

    "And here we are!" Nemona smiled as the caravan made its way up another academy's entry ramp up to the main square. "This is our sister academy, the Uva."

    Juliana smiled as hundreds of purple clad students hurried to get a look at the majestic caravan. "The Uva may be our rivals in many things, but it's more of a friendly rivalry than anything. Many of us in the Naranja have a friend or two in the Uva."

    She snapped to attention at a male voice calling her name. "Florian!" she called, waving to one particular purple clad boy as he hurried to meet Juliana. "It's good to see you..."

    "When Señora Morada said that we had visitors from Waku coming, I didn't expect them to arrive like this!" Florian gasped, amazed at all the beautiful wagons.

    "Many Wakunese theater troupes travel in these colorful caravans today--just as they did hundreds of years ago." Ash explained as he climbed from his wagon. "Every wagon's pattern has a meaning--usually to bring good luck to the troupe, or keep bad luck away."

    Florian nodded. "Well, if you'll come with me, I'll show you the way to el teatro so you can get ready for your grand performance!"


    Applause filled the Uva Academy's theater some time later as Rona came onstage before the curtain. After taking a bow for the crowd of excited students, she began "Gracias--we are the Kagayou Theater of Waku. Today the Niji Troupe will be performing an adventurous twist on a timeless tale. If this is your first time seeing a Tawame performance, allow me to explain a few of the traditions and customs you will see."

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

    Excited murmurs went up at this. "One major difference between the Tawame tradition, its sister tradition of the Gekijou, and other ancient forms of theater is that girls were allowed to perform onstage alongside the boys." Rona explained. "Tawame and Gekijou girls are not dancing princesses waiting to be rescued by any stretch--they are just as strong, and just as important, as the boys."

    She concluded. "Our story for you today tells of a princess of the moon, and her quest to save the mortal realm from a deadly threat--please enjoy the Niji Troupe's performance of 'Princess Kaguya of the Heavenly Bamboo'."

    Applause filled the air as Rona left the stage, and the orchestra began a dreamy overture...


    The Uva students watched as Dawn--now wearing a purple, blue, white, and gold kimono-like outfit that looked like shimmering crystal--addressed Ash, Misty, Brock, Serena, and May on the set of a courtyard in a Waku that never was. "Of all those that have answered my call, you four will accompany me and my envoy Ran on my quest to save the realm of mortals from calamity."

    "A calamity?" Brock gasped. "What sort of calamity?"

    "No doubt you have heard the news that the rogue called Jade Devil is even now making his way to the imperial palace." Dawn explained. "By the authority of Arceus, I have come to put a stop to his ambitions before he can plunge the mortal realm into an age of woe!"

    "What can we do to stop Jade Devil?" Misty asked. "Many have tried to bring him to justice, but so far, all have failed."

    "In order to stop Jade Devil, we will need five divine jewels that will dispel his evil aura, and protect us from his demonic arts." Dawn explained. "First, we will travel far to the west to find the Ruby of Enlightened Flame. Next, we travel to Golden Tree Mountain in the Eastern Sea, where we will search for the Emerald of the Grateful Earth. From there, we must seek out the sword wielding Noble Pikachu Tachigami, and convince him to give us the Topaz of the Brilliant Storm. Then, we will slay the notorious dragon Souzen, and claim the Shining Pearl. And finally, we will journey to the peak of Celestial Crown Mountain, and claim the Brilliant Diamond."

    Ash nodded as he got up to address Dawn. "No matter how far we may have to go, milady, we stand ready to assist you and protect you on this great quest!"

    Cheers filled the theater as he rendered a respectful salute to both May and Dawn with a prop sword. "This will likely be a long journey, milady..." Misty cautioned. "So if you will allow us some time to prepare, we will set out at morning's first light!"

    "Very well--we will set out as soon as we have enough supplies for our journey." Dawn replied.

    I still wish we left in the bit about Son Goku guiding us to the west... Ash thought as he made his exit. But to be fair, a comical character like Son Goku would be very out of place in an adventurous play like this.

    He listened as Brock, now alone on the stage, set the next scene. "The five knights eagerly made their preparations for the perilous quest. Just as Chiyuki had promised, the lady of the moon, her Beautifly envoy, and her four bodyguards departed at dawn the next day..."

    The orchestra started a festive melody, prompting Dawn to lead the others out onto the stage, where a crowd had gathered. "Arceus' favor be on your journey, my beautiful Kaguya..." the man playing the father smiled as he hugged Dawn, to some "aw"s.

    "I promise you this, Father...I will return victorious!" Dawn vowed, to more cheers as the group paraded across the stage, making room for a beautiful ribbon dance to take place onstage to signal a transition from Act 1 to Act 2. "Okay, to kick off Act 2, we come to a town being oppressed by oni..." Brock explained as he looked over the script on a table in the backstage area.

    "I can't wait to see what the set crew has come up with for the oni cave!" Ash grinned, excited to see the play's first dungeon set...
  5. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 5: The Treasure of the Ghost Arrow God

    "Florian said to tell you guys that he and the other Uva students said gracias for the wonderful show!" Juliana smiled as the caravan continued towards the western gate of Mesagoza a few days later. "There are still plenty of theaters in Mesagoza for you to perform in, but before we venture out into the wilds of Paldea to another town, there's one other theater Nemona felt you needed to stop at before we left Mezagoza."

    "Oh?" Ash asked as he looked up from a comic.

    Juliana nodded as the caravan approached a theater near the western gate. "This is the Tiara Theater--so named because the inlay work on the rooftop resembles a tiara. Since it was often the first thing travelers to Mesagoza saw when they arrived, it is sometimes called 'The Welcoming Beacon'."

    "That should fit our next play perfectly!" Ash smiled as he stashed away the comic. "It's called 'Game of the Ghost Arrow God'. Basically, it's a twist on every anime tournament arc you've probably ever watched."

    He went on "The show tells the story of how the Six Spirits uncovered the truth behind a grand tournament, and defeated the mastermind behind it after a world spanning quest and confronting the Ghost Arrow God at the height of the tournament's finals. In the end, the Ghost Arrow God is defeated, and his plot--and the tournament--stopped before the martial world is brought to its knees."

    "Sounds exciting!" Juliana smiled as the caravan pulled up to the theater's front gate.

    "I'm gonna go meet the troupe inside and get ready..." Ash assured Juliana as he climbed from the wagon onto the ground.

    "Break both legs, Señor Phoenix!" Nemona smiled as she watched Ash reunite with the others near the stage door...


    Backstage, Ash--now in his trademark red and gold Ruby Phoenix costume--watched from the wings as excited people continued filling up the Tiara's ornately decorated auditorium. When they say that Europan theaters are some of the most beautiful in the world, they're not kidding!

    "Whose turn is it to react to the tournament's dark secret?" Serena's voice snapped Ash back to reality. "I remember May did it the last time we did this play..."

    "Working on it..." Brock replied as he inputted each of the group's names into a randomizer on his PokeNav. "Whichever name the randomizer picks, does the reaction at the end of Act 1."

    The rest of the group watched as Brock selected something on the PokeNav. "It's Misty's turn."

    "Okay! I'll let her know after I get into my costume!" Serena replied before hurrying off backstage.

    "Misty's fury mode should add a punch to that scene." Ash smiled as Brock went to leave his PokeNav with a crew member for safekeeping.

    "Yeah--every time Misty does that scene, no one ever forgets it!" Brock agreed. "I'm gonna go get in costume, so sit tight for a little longer, okay?"

    Ash nodded as his friend departed, while at the same time fighting to calm the Beautiflies in his stomach. I may be nervous, but I'm also a little excited to be bringing this form of theater to a new audience! I can only imagine how the rest of Paldea will react to these plays--both the classics that have endured for hundreds of years, and the newer plays that help to move the form forward...

    "Ready to go?" Misty asked as she emerged in an ornate blue and silver costume with swirl patterns that evoked flowing water.

    "As I'll ever be..." Ash replied as the others arrived in their costumes. "Show Paldea the fury of the dragon!"

    "Cheer time!" Serena called as she laid her hand on top of Ash's hand. Misty laid her hand on top of Serena's, May laid her hand on top of Misty's, Brock laid his hand on top of May's, and Dawn laid her hand on top of Brock's to complete the stack of hands.

    After a few tense seconds, the group called "Shimmering! Sparkling! Light! Go, Ka-ga-YOU!!!" cheering as they separated their hands...


    Some time later, the packed theater watched as the group reunited on the set of an arena's holding area for competitors. "Well done on your performance, Deerling-san..." May smiled as she made herself comfortable in a chair overlooking the imagined arena filled with digitally generated people far off in the distance, creating the illusion of a crowd.

    "Thanks..." Dawn replied. "But has anyone noticed something strange? I gave a heroic effort in my battle, yet I am not in the top ten of the ranks..."

    "I noticed that too..." Misty agreed. "I too fought my hardest in my match, and I still lost...something tells me this is more than a case of luck, or my opponent being better than I..."

    "A theory, on my part..." Brock interjected. "Remember when the tournament opened that Ghostly Arrow said he wished to see 'the very best that Waku had to offer'?"

    "That's right! He also said he wanted to see 'warriors that he wished to battle himself'--and that is no small feat considering Ghostly Arrow is himself very powerful!" Ash agreed.

    "Well, what if Ghostly Arrow is intentionally manipulating the ranks so that he does get to battle against some of Waku's finest, and defeat them?" Brock asked.

    "Then if that is the case..." Misty mused over a tense stinger from the orchestra.

    An angry look formed on her face a few moments later. "He plans to proclaim himself the winner, and rule over Waku with an iron fist! He never planned to play fair in the first place!"

    Shocked gasps filled the theater at the turn of events. "Then we need to shift our focus from winning our matches, and focus on stopping Ghost Arrow!" Dawn cried. "But we need to do that without him being aware that we are onto his plot..."

    "We have a little while before the next round..." Serena assured her worried co-stars. "We should use this time to find evidence of a plot--since officials and magistrates won't believe us without any evidence. Once we have evidence--and an official we can trust--we can plan our next steps and how to defeat Ghost Arrow in between our matches..."
  6. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 6: Heroes of the Past

    "Okay, everyone--our next stop is the city of Rescatan, which is famous for a Paldean uprising against Kalos long ago, which has been immortalized in literature, art, music, dance, and theater." Nemona explained over the walkie talkies in the caravan. "Ask any Paldean about el Dos de Mayo, and they'll know exactly what you mean."

    "Golden Delphox to Scarlet Lady, is it okay if I explain what basically happened and a little about the Kalosian perspective of the whole affair?" Serena asked Nemona over her own walkie talkie.

    "Sure...go ahead." Nemona replied.

    "Basically, the infamous Kalosian general Volonté wanted the Paldean royal family to effectively be taken prisoner in Kalos." Serena explained. "At the time, Kalos had attempted to take control of Paldea thanks to chaos in Mesagoza over who would rule. Volonté saw this as a golden opportunity to assert what he believed would be Kaloisian dominance over the Europan continent."

    "But he didn't count on the people of Rescatan to fight back!" Nemona agreed, picking up the tale where Serena left off. "Try as the Kalosians might to put the rebellion down in Mesagoza, the people of Rescatan managed to unite all of Paldea against Kalos, and drove Volonté and his men out, in La guerra de los lirios y los claveles--The War of the Lilies and Carnations. You may also see the war called "La guerra de los lirios, las rosas y los claveles--The War of the Lilies, Roses and Carnations, because Galar did come and help Paldea in the fight."

    She went on "Today in Rescatan, you can see a grand memorial to the heroes of the uprising--people come from all over the world to leave flowers and tributes."

    "Sounds interesting!" Ash replied before relaying a request of his own to Nemona. "Ruby Phoenix to Scarlet Lady, okay if I talk a little about a similar event in Wakunese history?"

    "Go for it!" Nemona replied.

    "Okay...this story is said to have inspired Taki's story in the Legends of Ransei tabletop RPG, but it is a true story that has been immortalized on the Tawame stage, as the play 'The Heroes of the Indigo Flag'." Ash explained. "While there is a little fantasy in the play's story for the sake of the rule of cool, it follows history very closely."

    He went on "The play tells the story of a group of best friends who form a resistance movement to fight back against an evil warlord after hearing constant tales of friends being forced into hiding, losing everything, or flat out being killed for no reason at all. After promising to do everything they can to drive back the warlord, find the true Emperor and Empress--who are in hiding as the play begins-- and unite Waku, they make a flag out of indigo fabric as sign of their promise, which quickly becomes a rallying symbol as more and more unite behind them, beating the odds to defeat their common foe, return the true Emperor and Empress to the capital, and restore peace to Waku."

    "How exciting!" Nemona replied. "The people of Rescatan should love that!"

    "I know--as soon as we researched the city's history and read about the uprising, I knew we had to put on that play." Ash replied.

    "At any rate, we should be arriving in Rescatan in a few days." Nemona reported. "I can't wait to see the play!"

    "Me neither!" Juliana agreed.

    Brock, meanwhile, arrived in the common wagon with the script of "The Heroes of the Indigo Flag." "Looking at the cast list here, would Liko and Roy be interested in playing roles? This would be good practice for what they have learned in their training. If they don't feel they're ready yet, I'll understand."

    "Let me go ask them!" Juliana offered.

    "At the moment, Rona needs the roles of Rumika and Shinrou filled." Brock explained. "They're not too challenging, so they would be perfect for their first real roles."

    Juliana nodded as she accepted the script. "I'll see if they are interested in those roles, then we'll go from there."

    "We have some time before we reach Rescatan, so they'll have time to learn those roles and rehearse with us." Brock assured Juliana as she departed with the script.


    "Okay...I told Liko and Roy about the play, and the roles that they would potentially be playing..." Juliana explained as she met the group in the common wagon later that night. "They are interested in playing those roles, but don't feel like they are ready to be acting just yet. They have, however, offered to be understudies for those roles."

    "That's a perfect compromise--they learn those parts with us just in case the ones that Rona casts can't perform." Serena explained. "Even if they don't go onstage with us, they still get to watch the play, and see how a Tawame performance works."

    "Roy actually is originally from Kanto--and he has proven both a good student and supporter for Liko." Misty explained. "So if it happens that they have to cover Rumika and Shinrou, they'll be supporting each other--even if Liko's a little unsure about her readiness to act right now."

    "You all know I would never force an actor in training to perform before they feel they are ready." Rona assured Misty, Serena, and Juliana. "If and when Liko and Roy join us as regular performers will be their choice and their right. For now, understudies are a good compromise--since both of them are interested in playing roles with us on this tour."

    Misty nodded as Rona gave her two copies of the play's script. "Okay--I'll go deliver them each a copy of the script so they can read over the roles they will be covering tonight. They'll get their training garb in the morning, so they can join us for acting practice."

    "Win win for everyone." Brock agreed as he looked out at the caravan's massive campsite. "For the moment, let's get some rest so we're ready for practice in the morning!"
  7. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 7: Braviary's and Mightyena's First Rehearsal

    "Okay, Liko and Roy...before we go to acting practice, let's get you two some training garb." Brock began as he led Liko and Roy to a dressing room in the rehearsal wagon. "Since you two are understudies, you guys will both see how we block each scene, and can ask questions about it before you go practice the scenes for yourself in another room. This way, you'll be learning the play at the same pace as we are--so if we need you two to perform, you'll know what the roles you are covering are supposed to do."

    "That's fair." Liko assured Brock as the small group arrived before a large closet filled with leotards and form fitting shirts of many colors. "What happens if we are called to perform?"

    "As soon as Rona knows that the main performers you're covering can't make it, she will first tell you guys, and then she will tell us." Brock explained. "If the programs have already been printed, it will note you guys are filling in those roles. If the programs are not printed yet, you will be listed in the cast list, but noted as an understudy. Rona's assistants will also let the audience know well before showtime that you guys are there covering the roles you have been asked to cover."

    He made a grand gesture to the closet full of training outfits. "What color do you guys want? Whichever outfit you pick, it is yours to keep."

    "This teal leotard would fit my lucky heart necklace perfectly!" Liko smiled as she located a dark teal leotard and some white tights to match.

    "Dibs on this maroon garb!" Roy held a maroon form fitting shirt high for Brock to see before finding black leggings to match it.

    "Okay...if you need to get those in your size, you can go see the costume crew." Brock replied. "Otherwise, go get changed and meet us in the acting practice room."


    "...after promising to do everything they can to drive back the warlord, find the true Emperor and Empress--who are in hiding as the play begins--and unite Waku, they make a flag out of indigo fabric as sign of their promise." Misty finished explaining the play's pivotal scene to Liko and Roy. "Is there any question you want to ask about this scene, or anything you don't understand about what Rumika and Shinrou are supposed to do?"

    "Not so far..." Roy replied as he read over the scene in his script.

    "Do we actually see the flag being made, or does that happen offscreen?" Liko wondered.

    "It happens offscreen, while the narrator fills in the details of what we're doing." Misty explains. "For now, you can watch how this scene plays out, and make notes in your scripts before you go to work with Rona's assistants."

    Liko nodded. "Maybe seeing Lauren play Rumika will give me some ideas of how I should play her in case I'm asked to play her."

    "And me with Dan playing Shinou." Roy agreed as he found pens for himself and Liko to write on their scripts.

    "Write on the scripts all you like--you should see what some of mine look like before we go off script!" Ash smiled as Rona arrived with some of her assistants.

    "Yes--you are free to write on the scripts." Rona agreed before addressing the gathered cast. "Okay, let's go over the play's most important scene--the heroes' promise and the making of the indigo flag. So, Ash, if you would start from the beginning of the scene, please?"

    Ash nodded, then met the group in the center of the room. "This has gone far enough!" he began. "For far too long Andou has brought terror on this land! And who am I to think he will proclaim himself emperor next?"

    "Okay...well done on conveying Akito's anger in this scene!" Rona smiled. "I would only caution you to be careful that you don't have his anger come across as hysterical. Akito is of course angry in this scene, but he is careful not to let it get the better of him."

    "Not so much terrified or afraid, but just enough power to sell that my character is mad--got it!" Ash replied as he made a note in his script."

    He then tried his line again as the group made their way into the stage area. "This has gone far enough! For far too long Andou has brought terror on this land! And who am I to think he will proclaim himself emperor next?"

    "How many more must die before Andou's reign of terror is stopped?" May agreed. "Is there anyone brave enough to stand up to Andou, and put a stop to his ambitions?"

    "There was a moment of silence for a moment before Serena began "If no one else in the land will stand up to Andou, then let us be those brave ones to take up our blades, and say 'Enough is enough'!"

    "Then let us promise that we will drive back Andou, find the true Emperor and Empress, and unite Waku." Misty replied. "So let us make something as a sign of that promise."

    "But what would we make?" Dan asked. "It can't be too large, nor can it alert Andou that we oppose him..."

    "It also needs to be something that the people would recognize as the sign of the resistance, but Andou and his men would've have a clue." Dawn agreed.

    "Why not make a flag?" Brock suggested, holding up a piece of indigo fabric. "It wouldn't be very large or very showy, but large enough to let people know that we are the resistance..."
  8. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 8: Braviary and Mightyena Answer the Call

    "All right...I understand..." Rona assured a caller on the other end a few days later. "I hope you both feel better soon!"

    "Who was that?" Ash asked as he peeked into Rona's office in the caravan's lead wagon.

    "Sounded like the actors Liko and Roy were covering are out for our performance in Rescatan..." Nemona explained.

    "Lauren caught a bad cold, which she then passed to Dan." Rona explained. "So will you go find Liko and Roy and let them know they'll need to perform when we arrive in town? Luckily, I haven't printed the programs yet, so I can note they will be performing, plus have my assistants note this before the show."

    "Right!" Ash replied as he hurried off. Okay...if memory serves, Liko is having a singing lesson right now, and Roy is in the dojo wagon undergoing fight training...

    A piano playing a flamenco-like melody in G minor for Liko's sweet and yet strong soprano got his attention. While he couldn't make out the lyrics of what Liko was singing, he recognized the song as one of Rumika's songs from Act 2. It's not polite to walk in on someone while their lesson is in progress, so I'll wait until a natural break to let Liko know she needs to play Rumika for our show in Rescatan.

    Liko's final high G and the piano's last chord signaled that the performance was over. "That was great!" Ash raved as he applauded. "I didn't want to interrupt your lesson, so I waited until you were done with the song before coming inside." he assured Liko as she set aside her sheet music. "I have a message from Rona..."

    "What is it?" Liko asked.

    "The actress you're covering is out sick." Ash explained. "So that means you'll be performing Rumika for our run in Rescatan."

    Liko smiled. "I guess it's a good thing I was rehearsing one of Rumika's numbers when you came!"

    "When you're done here, meet with Rona to get your costume and your instructions for the run." Ash explained before turning to leave. "I've gotta let Roy know he's performing, and Rona will let the rest of the cast know when we get there, okay?"

    "Okay!" Liko replied as Ash departed. This is it! My chance to show everyone what I've learned in training!


    In the dojo wagon, Ash watched as Roy delivered a few punches to a punching bag, then backflipped away from an imagined attack. "Okay! You've earned a break for now!" the fight trainer assured Roy as she delivered him a towel and a bottle of water.

    About then, Roy noticed Ash framed in the door. "Oh, were you coming to do some sword training?" he asked.

    "Actually, I have a message from Rona..." Ash explained as he joined Roy in the training room. "Dan caught a cold, so you'll need to cover Shinrou for our play in Rescatan..."

    "Leave it to me!" Roy smiled. "I've been brushing up on Shinrou's lines, numbers, and fights just in case I needed to perform!"

    "If you're done training, meet with Rona to get your costume and your instructions for the run." Ash explained. "I'll meet you and Liko both backstage later."

    "Let me clean up first, and I'll be right over there!" Roy replied as Ash departed.


    That evening, Ash--now in an elegant red and gold costume with white trim--watched from the wings as the Teatro de los Héroes began filling up with excited people. Great crowd tonight...I hope Liko and Roy are ready to perform! he thought as one of Rona's assistants arrived to inform the crowd of the understudies in the cast for the run.

    "...due to illness among the main cast, Liko Monterosa will be playing Rumika, and Roy Igarashi will be playing Shinou for our run here, starting tonight." the assistant explained. "Thank you for your understanding, and we hope you will enjoy tonight's performance of 'The Heroes of the Indigo Flag'."

    Ash smiled as Liko and Roy arrived in their costumes. "Ready to go?"

    "I'm as ready as I ever will be, but I'm also excited I get to show off what me and Roy have been learning in our training." Liko replied as she twirled in the teal and purple kimono she wore, complete with a red obi.

    "Let's do this!" Roy agreed as he emerged in the wings wearing a darker red costume with yellow, black, and white trim.

    Ash nodded happily as the others arrived in their costumes. "Then I guess we need to teach you our pre-show good luck cheer--so if you two will put your hands on top of mine..."

    Liko and Roy excitedly complied, allowing Misty to lay her hand on top of Liko's, and Brock to lay his hand on top of Roy's.

    Once the pile of hands had been created, the new group of eight stars cried "Shimmering! Sparkling! Light! Go, Ka-ga-YOU!!!" before separating their hands with a cheer...


    Later, the orchestra started a tense interlude as Ash made his way into the scene of the resistance's hideout. "This has gone far enough!" he began. "For far too long Andou has brought terror on this land! And who am I to think he will proclaim himself emperor next?"

    "How many more must die before Andou's reign of terror is stopped?" May agreed. "Is there anyone brave enough to stand up to Andou, and put a stop to his ambitions?"

    There was a moment of silence for a moment before Serena began "If no one else in the land will stand up to Andou, then let us be those brave ones to take up our blades, and say 'Enough is enough'!" Cheers went up from the audience at this.

    "Then let us promise that we will drive back Andou, find the true Emperor and Empress, and unite Waku." Misty replied. "So let us make something as a sign of that promise."

    "But what would we make?" Roy asked. "It can't be too large, nor can it alert Andou that we oppose him..."

    "It also needs to be something that the people would recognize as the sign of the resistance, but Andou and his men wouldn't have a clue." Dawn agreed.

    "Why not make a flag?" Brock suggested, holding up a piece of indigo fabric. "It wouldn't be very large or very showy, but large enough to let people know that we are the resistance."

    "That's a good idea!" Liko smiled over a hopeful interlude. "In my homeland of Paldea, the carnation symbolizes enduring love and devotion, no matter what. Since that flower isn't known here in Waku, Andou would never have a clue it was a sign of resistance!"

    "A wonderful idea!" Misty agreed. "I hope to Arceus that the carnation stands side by side with the sakura, as a sign of our enduring loyalty and devotion to Waku when the land needed it most!"

    As the lights went down, the orchestra played a soft and frenetic melody to symbolize the group working. "And so, the small resistance force went to work making their flag. But little did Azuki know that her wish would come true, and all of Waku would see the carnation as a symbol of resistance, and the people of Waku's loyalty to the true Emperor and Empress..."
  9. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 9: Big Adventures On the Road to Little Waku

    The troupe's morale was high as they got back on the road a few days later. "So? Did you enjoy your first time acting with us?" Serena asked Liko and Roy as she watched the town of Rescatan disappear over the horizon.

    Liko nodded. "It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be--I can see why you guys love to perform..."

    "Yeah--I wouldn't mind performing with you guys more often!" Roy agreed. "Name the roles, and we'll give it our best shot!"

    The walkie talkie in Serena's wagon crackled to life a few moments later. "From here, our next stop is the town of Cereflor." Nemona's voice explained. "It is famous for its Little Waku district..."

    "...and there she goes again..." Serena sighed as she led Liko and Roy to the common wagon, where the group was gathering to have lunch.

    "Since we're going to a place famous for its Little Waku district, it's only fitting we do our version of Princess Kaguya--tweaked slightly so Liko and Roy potentially have a part." May smiled.

    "Our version of the story takes a more adventurous slant than the original romance the story was." Misty explained. "So we turned the tale into a fantasy adventure based on what Princess Kaguya tells the five knights to do in the real story--but this time, it is Princess Kaguya that goes on the adventure with now seven trusted bodyguards."

    "Another huge difference from the original story is Princess Kaguya came to the mortal realm by her own free will, to save the mortals from an evil threat." Ash agreed. "The five knights in the tale become seven guardians, who each have more fleshed out personalities, backstories, and fighting abilities."

    "Copies of the script for you both..." May smiled as she gave Liko and Roy a copy of the script for the revised production of Princess Kaguya. "If you want to ask questions about the show, or our experiences performing it, we'll be happy to answer!"

    Liko studied the script for a moment. "It says in the cast list that one of the knights is both the narrator and a character. How does that work?"

    "It does require some extra work--since you have two sets of lines to memorize." Brock explained. "In my experience, it's easier if you perform the narration in character. One of my favorite characters that is also a narrator is Tripitaka, of 'Journey to the West' fame."

    "Seeing Brock as Tripitaka and Ash as Son Goku is a must see!" May raved. "Brock will even work jokes of his own into the narration, depending on if we're doing the whole thing, or a certain episode."

    "In the case of this particular play, the character I typically play, Kito, is explained to be a skilled musician with great skill at the bow, so it makes sense that he both narrates and serves as a character in the story." Brock explains. "The narration bits are typically short comments at the end of a scene--Kito's thoughts on what just happened in the story's world, and setting up for the next scene. When I first tried playing the character, I took the Tripitaka approach--narrate from a nook, then become a character in the story's world. Running back and forth between a nook at stage right and my next place onstage grew tiring very quickly."

    "I would be tired too if I had to run back and forth between stage right and somewhere onstage." Roy agreed.

    "So the next time we performed 'Princess Kaguya', the writers reworked the narration to make the transition between narrator and character seamless." Brock went on "It was SO much easier to play my role that show, so that is how I have portrayed Kito ever since."

    "How do you guys do Princess Kaguya returning to heaven at the end?" Liko wondered. "Is the performer in the air on wires, or on an elevator?"

    "For Dawn's safety and the crew's peace of mind, we use an elevator hidden in the set to take her to an actor's catwalk out of view of the audience." Ash explained. "A crew member meets her up there, and takes her downstairs to the wings so she can come out for the curtain call--and potentially an encore."

    "What happens if the audience asks for an encore?" Now Roy was curious.

    "In the Tawame theater, if the audience requests an encore, it is not unheard of for the cast--or the yuushi and eiyuna, at the very least--to return to the stage and sing one of the songs from the play again, or a whole new song that showcases their singing ability." Serena explained "This means that we have to be ready to sing multiple songs if the audience asks for multiple encores."

    "Elaborating on that..." Ash interjected. "If a troupe's play goes over well, audiences may ask for one (or more) encores. When this happens, the yuushi and the eiyuna, the troupe's stars, or even the entire troupe will return to the stage and perform either a song from the play a second time, or a different song that showcase's the stars' singing abilities. Other options we can perform for encores include dancing or one last show of color--song, dance, and/or acrobatics together--to create a lasting impression on critics and fans."

    "As a general rule, if audiences ask for an encore, the troupe is very good, and more encores mean the troupe is a legend at what they do." May smiled.

    "Then I promise to do my best to do what I can for as many shows as you allow me and Roy to be in, so we both earn lots of encores for you!" Liko vowed.

    Serena smiled at Liko's enthusiasm. "Well, in the meantime, you two can study the scripts we gave you for auditions in the morning..."
  10. WavePearl

    WavePearl Believer in Possibilities

    Level 34
    Nov 22, 2012
    Episode 10: A Change of Plays

    "Everyone, we've changed what play we're doing for our next stop!" Misty called, getting many of the actors' and crew's attention.

    "So if 'Princess Kaguya' is out, then what's the new play?" Roy asked as he and Liko woke up with a yawn.

    "It's something Juliana and Nemona wrote just for us." Misty replied. "And if I understand correctly, they made two roles especially for you two. So come join us in the common wagon if you wanna know more--Rona will inform the other actors and the crew once we stop to camp."

    "We'll be right over." Liko assured Misty as she departed to let the others know that the play the group had planned had changed.


    "Okay, Nemona...mind telling us what your masterpiece is basically about?" Brock asked as the group assembled in the common wagon.

    Nemona nodded. "Our play is called 'The Brave Imperial Sakura'. We borrowed a lot of motifs from Wakunese mythology and folklore--and a dash of martial arts movies--to inform the story."

    "Basically, the play story of Asusa, a dancer in the imperial court who is just as skilled with a sword as she is with the ribbon and the war fan." Juliana explained as she acknowledged May with a nod. "As she is traveling home from the capital one day, she finds two foreign travelers being harassed by the Ravenous Night Sect, who seem interested in the heart necklace that Shizuka, a young lady with dual Wakunese and Paldean citizenship, wears. After gathering some of her closest friends together, Asusa promises Shizuka that she will protect her, setting a long journey across Waku into motion that will stop the Ravenous Night Sect from taking over the capital, and find out the truth behind Shizuka's necklace."

    "Sounds exciting!" Roy smiled.

    "You guys really wrote me a role?" Liko gasped, starry eyed. "Thank you!"

    She looked down at the green crystal heart she wore. "Can I wear my own necklace for the necklace in the story, or are they making one just for me?"

    "I asked the prop crew very nicely to custom make one that'll fit for the story." Nemona replied. "It's not ready yet, but they're using your existing necklace as a template.

    "If you and Roy decide to join the troupe, one of us will personally ask the prop crew to make you a set of heart necklaces in many colors--so you'll always have one to match any costume you'll wear." Serena assured Liko.

    "You'd do that?" Liko smiled. "That's very sweet of you..."

    "I presume you wrote Asusa for me?" May asked Nemona.

    Nemona nodded. "Asusa is for you, Shizuka is for Liko, and Kinrou, Shizuka's bodyguard and companion, is for Roy to play--the other roles are for anyone. So Auditions will still be on once Rona announces this to the other actors."

    "Don't worry, we did get Rona's permission to allow you guys to perform our masterpiece." Juliana assured the group. "I believe all of you will do it justice, and make us proud."

    "It wouldn't be the first Tawame play we've ever done with a foreign writer--and it wouldn't be the last one, with growing communities around the world." Misty agreed. "It WOULD be the first one we've done with Paldean writers."

    "We did have help from one of the troupe's writers just to be sure the show looked and felt authentic." Juliana mused as she watched Serena page through the script.

    "You both did very well...this simultaneously follows a lot of the conventions, and gently parodies or subverts others." Serena replied as she looked through each scene in the script. "If I had to pick today which of your characters I'd most want to play, I'd pick Mineri--she has a lot of comic potential here!"

    "After looking over each of the characters, I'd probably want to try playing Yumina." Misty agreed before nudging Brock. "Besides, you'll give me a refresher of bow technique, right?"

    "I'd do that, plus show you how to do the trick shots Yumina is required to do." Brock replied. "We should have a wide open space to do that when we camp next."

    "We put in some trick shots for Yumina to add some excitement..." Juliana confessed. "If you'd rather them be twin sword tricks, we can revise the script."

    "Oh no, it's okay!" Misty assured Juliana. "I have a little bow skill myself, so I should be able to do some trick shots and show off with the twinblades. Granted, I'm nowhere near Brock's level, but I can hit a bullseye when it counts."

    "Remember the time you skipped an arrow across a lake and still hit the bullseye?" Brock smiled.

    "If memory serves, Ash challenged me to do it after seeing you do it." Misty remembered. "It took a few sunken arrows fished out of the lake, but after you showed me the right angle to get it to skip, I did it on the first try!"

    "The look on your face when you finally pulled it off, and Ash's amazed look that you nailed it on the first try was priceless." Brock smiled at a memory. "It's similar to skipping rocks across a lake--you just have to know the proper angle to get it to skip."

    "Okay then, Robin Hood--what's your record for most arrow skips across a lake?" Dawn smiled.

    "My current record starting from a location near the water's edge is 8 skips." Brock replied. "If I make the shot standing in the water or on a large rock or sandbar, I can get about 10 to 12 skips--this is because if you start in the water, the arrow doesn't lose as much energy, and has potential for more skips.

    "Interesting!" Nemona smiled. "Now I know way Rona calls you the bow master of the troupe!" Everyone laughed in agreement...

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