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Old November 2nd, 2010 (08:18 AM). Edited November 5th, 2010 by EmeraldSky.
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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Episode 3: Adventure's Calling

[BGM: Memories of Home]

"Dear Milina..." Ash dictated to an enchanted quill, making it write the words on a piece of parchment. "I have made it to Hopea...nah..." At this, the quill shook some fairy dust on the rejected fragment, making it disappear. "I almost made it to Hopea in one piece...nah.....I would not have...maybe not..."

"What's that?" Brock asked as he walked in the room just as the quill made fragment after fragment disappear.

"I'm trying to write a letter to my mentor back at the lodge." Ash explained as the quill hovered back to the left margin under his greeting. "Problem is, I'm not sure how to explain my attack and your rescuing me."

"Just assure your mentor that you are safe for now, then talk about the attack and how we rescued you." Brock suggested.

"I think I will..." Ash replied before addressing the quill again. "I am well--I would not have made it to Hopea in one piece had I not been rescued by the minstrel that serves the town, Sir Brock of the Amhran Hall. While I was on my way through the forest, I was attacked by a Scyther, and despite my best efforts to drive it away, it wounded me and left me for dead. Pikachu met Sir Brock's Pokemon companion, a Persian named Kissa, and she brought me to her master's house. When I came to, I learned that Sir Brock is one of the very few minstrels that can sing magic, and was more than happy to teach me in return for my service..." He continued dictating to the quill for several minutes, making sure to include his thoughts on his new companion and the performance they had just returned from.

"I'm not sure I have seen quills that write on their own before..." Brock noted as the quill finished writing and the parchment rose up before Ash for him to look it over.

"Most mages receive a living quill when they visit the library for the first time." Ash explained as the completed letter was warped away to its destination and the quill stretched out on the table in a Persian-like fashion. "They develop their own personalities depending on what their owner writes." At this, the quill perked up. "Say hi to my friends Brock and Kissa, Vardi." Ash cooed. The quill complied by writing "Hello!" in sparkly letters in the air before settling back in its inkwell.

"Pleased to meet your acquaintance, Vardi." Brock smiled as he petted the quill, which intertwined around his thumb for a moment in a loving gesture. Kissa purred in agreement as the quill stroked her fur for a moment.

"I think she likes you two." Ash smiled as Vardi returned to the inkwell.

"It must be quite entertaining with living objects all over the lodge." Brock chuckled as he pictured dancing dishes, more living quills, clothing that washed itself, and walking books.

"Not every object in the mage's lodge is alive per se, but we can command clothes to hang up, dishes to wash themselves, and books to turn to a certain page." Ash explained. As for having actual personalities, our familiars and quills are the only living items we as apprentices can handle--I'm sure the high mages and archmages have even more, but I was never allowed into a high mage's or an archmage's chamber."

"Even though I have met an archmage, we didn't go into the archmage's chamber when I performed at Mirenai lodge--the Archmage's Tiara was presented to me in the common room." Brock explained. "So I know no more about enchanted objects than you do."

"So what exactly do apprentice minstrels do?" Ash wondered. He pictured a group music lesson where every apprentice had to learn the harp, like it or not.

[BGM: Carried on Heartstrings]

"Well..." Brock was unsure--it had been a long time since he had been asked that question. "I can assure you it's not what you picture it being--there are no group harp lessons or learning tales by rote. There's also no auditions--being there means you have at least some form of performance talent, and this is what you study first. In my case, I started with honing my skill on the lute."

"Can you still play the lute at all?" Ash asked--so far, he had only seen his companion play the harp. "Or any other instrument?"

"I can still play the lute somewhat, and am proficient on whistles like the Dreamer's Flute, in addition to my harp." Brock replied. "In fact, I was practicing on my first harp when I met Kissa."

"Really?" Ash was interested. "Were you practicing for a recital or something?"

"Not so much a recital as a performance exam--every so often, our teacher would ask us to perform certain pieces for a grade." Brock mused. "While the name of what I was practicing that day escapes me, I felt that I knew it well enough to earn top honors. Just as I prepared to run through it one last time, I heard a tiny cry coming from the green. I thought it was my imagination at first, but every time I tried to begin my piece, I kept hearing it--a tiny, frightened mew."

"So what did you do?" Ash was interested in the story now.

"I set my harp aside, threw on my cloak, and hurried through the rain to the green, where I found a young Meowth huddled in a bush, shivering from the wind and rain. Once I had gotten it inside and asked the healer to examine it, I returned to the foyer to resume practicing." Brock continued. "Yet my mind was on that poor little Meowth, and I couldn't concentrate at all."

"Did the high minstrel let you keep it?" Ash was piqued.

"Yes--the healer had found that the Meowth was healthy, and so I asked the high minstrel if I could keep it. She accepted my offer--and Kissa and I have been together ever since." Brock concluded.

[BGM: The Mysterious Singer]

Just then, Ash saw Kissa's tiara glow again. "I hear them..." she began.

"Hear who?" Ash asked--there was no one else in the house except for the three of them.

"The Beads of the Elements..." Kissa replied. "When darkness falls upon the land, they will sing for someone to rescue them."

Ash thought back to a few days before--was it possible that the Scyther attack that nearly killed him was a sign of something far more sinister? Nah, that can't be--there'd have to be attacks right and left if Kione was really on the move...

"So again the dark king roams the land, bringing terror and despair in his wake..." Brock mused. "Including Pokemon going wild."

"So are we leaving on an adventure?" Ash asked as he watched Brock carry down some clothing, food, and medicine.

"I am, but someone has to watch the house while Kissa and I are away." Brock replied. "So I want you to housesit while we're gone."

"But that's not fair!" Ash pleaded. "Companions are supposed to stick together through thick and thin! Besides, I have no idea how long you will be away, and I would be very lonely."

"The search for the Beads is for minstrels alone..." Brock countered.

"So? Many minstrels had companions on their journey, and I want to return the favor for your rescuing me, even though we have only been together a short time!" Ash pleaded.

"Let Ash make his case for going on the journey with us--he may have a perfectly good reason for wanting to go." Kissa interjected, dissapating the arguement.

"Okay...I'll hear you out--why is it that you want to travel with me on such a dangerous quest?" Brock asked, his voice calm yet stern. "Tell me the truth."

[BGM: A Tale from the Heart]

Ash swallowed the lump that formed in his throat, then began. "Long ago, nearby a village whose name is lost to us, the fairies that guarded the village came out from their hiding places to gather dew long before the people of the village awoke, led by their queen, Papillion.

Suddenly, they heard a great roar that shook the earth and saw a red plume of flame coming from the forest. When they went to get a closer look, they saw what the noise was--the great Dragonite that had brought terror on the village for several months.

The fairies had heard the villager's rumors about the Dragonite, but had never seen him. Now, he was rearing up on his scaly orange legs, daring a knight that stood before him to challenge him.

A great battle broke out, and the fairies cheered their hardest for the knight...." Ash spared no detail in describing the battle between the knight and Dragonite, how the knight finally slew the huge Pokemon with his last bit of strength, and the fairies' decision to revive the one that had saved the village.

Silence filled the air at the story's conclusion before Brock spoke again. "A well told tale, but what does that have to do with my not allowing you to go on the quest for the Beads of the Elements?"

"My point is, rather than being in the background like the fairies while you go out to save the world, I want to help you!" Ash pleaded. "Long have I dreamed of going on a quest with someone, and searching for the Beads of the Elements is a perfectly good quest. Furthermore, no one can save the world alone."

"He has a point..." Kissa agreed. "My magic is limited, and Ash can likely do more than I can to help...."

"Oh, all right...." Brock sighed. "You can come along on this adventure."

[Cut BGM]

"YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!" Ash cheered before a thought occurred to him. "Although...where are we supposed to find the Beads?"

"We can probably visit the master of Amhran Hall--she would probably know where the Beads have been singing." Brock replied. "So rest well--my home hall is a long way from here."

Ash hurried to gather his gear before returning to his room. He could hardly sleep--he was still excited about embarking on a real quest!

To Be Continued...
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