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Old December 13th, 2010 (11:31 AM).
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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Episode 11: The Firebird and the Diamond

"Okay..." Ash mused as he opened the door into the next room. "Let's see what's guarding the voice singing in here..."

Just as the group entered the room, Dawn gasped as she heard a female voice sing Love, oh love... in the distance, prompting a sickly gray feline like creature to yowl as if in pain. "What IS that?" she gasped as she readied an arrow, shaking all the while.

"Judging from the appearance, it appears to be a Delcatty corrupted by the Dark Realm...a Werecatty, as it were." Ash replied as he studied the gray cat with large white tufts of fur that paced the floor, its eyes casting an eerie red glow on the dim room. He drew his blade. "That said, it does not belong here!" With that, he ran at the Werecatty in an attempt to slash at it, but the Werecatty countered by lunging at him, sending him flying to the ground. His sword landed nearby with a clang some seconds later.

"Oh, Ash!" Dawn cried as she helped him up. "Are you okay?"

Ash moaned in pain from the gash on his right arm, but soon felt a warm feeling around him as Brock sang Fire, gleam and glow...let your power shine...Make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine...

"How...how did you do that?" he gasped as he studied his newly healed arm.

"It was an old prayer Marista used to heal things--it was the last thing she taught me before she died." Brock explained as he blocked the Werecatty's claws with his own blade. "Also, were-creatures have an aversion to silver, in addition to fire and light magic."

"So, what's your idea for a strategy?" Dawn asked as she gingerly readied an arrow.

"I'm no tactician, but I do have an idea..." Brock began. "My blade has silver in it--this makes it easier to channel magic through it. So allow me to deal with the Werecatty directly, while you and Ash support me from behind."

"Well..." Dawn was unsure--she had never seen Brock actually fight with a weapon.

"What should I do?" Ash asked as he retrieved his weapon, ever aware of the Werecatty circling them.

[BGM: Out of the Ground, Raze all Greenery in Flame! (battle theme 1)]

"Provide magical support to allow me a chance to get close." Brock replied as he approached the Werecatty, making it snarl a warning to the minstrel that dared to challenge it.

"Precious light, be our armor to protect us! Protect!" Dawn called as Brock rolled out of the way of the Werecatty's claws, then charged at the cursed feline, confident that the orange glow surrounding him was enough to protect him.

Ash gasped when he saw the Werecatty preparing to breathe a pulsing ball of purple energy at Brock--the spell of protection Dawn had cast wouldn't hold up against a magical attack! He sheathed his weapon and fumbled for the sleeve containing the Dreamer's Flute. "Light of heaven, guard us from the unending darkness! Holy Mirror!" As he started to play the tune "New Day Dawning", the Werecatty's spell was deflected back into its chest, making the Werecatty howl in pain from its own spell.

"Another power from the Codex?" Dawn asked as she fired another arrow into one of the Werecatty's legs to paralyze it even further.

"Probably." Ash replied.

"I must thank you for the help!" Brock called back as he jumped out of the way of the Werecatty, then performed a rolling jump onto its back, delivering a deep wound as he leapfrogged over his opponent. The Werecatty whirled around, but received another blow to its chest.

"Out of the ground, raze all greenery in flame! Fire!" Ash commanded, sending a fireball into another leg wound Brock had left.

"Bright light, shine down on bloody impurity! Holy!" Dawn was next, her spell enveloping the Werecatty in a bright light, sending it falling to the floor, paralyzed. "We have it weakened!" she yelled over the Werecatty's scream. "Now's your chance!"

Finally, the Werecatty resisted the paralysis from the Holy spell enough to try and mortally wound the human fighting it, but Brock struck first, delivering the final blow to its chest.

[Cut BGM]

Ash hurried to Brock's side, where Brock was heaving in exhaustion. "Well done--you're not too bad a fighter!" he noted as Dawn arrived to begin healing the various scratches that decorated Brock's arms and exposed legs.

"I adapted...what I learned...in acrobatics...for battle." Brock wheezed before weakly standing up. "Agilty decides...the advantage...."

"You proved yourself handily of being a fighter." Dawn assured him before making sure that the healing magic was taking effect. "Now, let's go see what was singing in the statue room."

The next room was very plain--an ornate circle design adorned the floor, with a statue of Anima facing the entryway. Ash noticed something shining in the statue's arms, and ran to take a look at the tiny white stone the statue was holding. Is this...?

Love, oh love... sang the stone as it hovered into Ash's hands. He gasped--this was one of the Beads of the Elements!

"Guys! The singing was no lost girl, but a Bead of the Elements!" he called, hurrying back to allow his companions to take a look at the shining stone.

"What???" Dawn gasped. "Really???"

A joyful smile crept across Brock's face as he watched the Bead pulse in Ash's hands. "Who would've thought that a Bead of the Elements would be here?" he chuckled as the Bead sang <i>Love, oh love...</i> again.

"The gods' ways are filled with mysteries that we can't even fathom..." Dawn replied. "Either way, let us report back to Ethani."

"I am SO ready to get out of here and see Pikachu!" Ash agreed as he pocketed the bead.

Brock retrieved his harp, tuned it, and prepared to play. "Beacon of Anima, guide us to Whitespell Sanctuary! Time Hole!" With that, the three of them disappeared in a wave of green-blue light and a harp's melody.

---------

[BGM: Welcome to Whitespell]

"You've returned?" Ethani gasped as the group materialized in the temple Sanctuary some seconds later. "So what was it that was singing?"

"The singing was no lost girl..." Dawn replied as she offered the bead for Ethani to examine. "It was one of the eight Beads, crying out to be rescued from a Werecatty."

"And rescue it we did! Brock proved to have as much skill in fighting as he does in music and magic!" Ash interjected as he embraced Pikachu.

"I always knew you were a master of the blade...." Kissa purred as she arrived in the room and nuzzled Brock.

Tears welled up in Ethani's eyes. "Words cannot express how much I thank you for cleansing the catacombs, nor can I express the surprise at the notion that the gods would hide a Bead in this very temple."

"Although it is fitting that Anima hide her Diamond in one of Her sanctuaries." Dawn smiled as the Bead materialized on the necklace thread and she accepted her belongings from a Bowmaster.

"I'm sure that by finding her Bead, Anima has reaffirmed to you why you travel together." Ethani continued. "You to avenge Marista Laire..." she explained to Brock. "You to find your mother and bring her home..." she explained to Dawn. "And you to learn what being a hero really means." she explained to Ash. "In return, you have taken the first step on a journey that will transform you forever in faith that the gods will be there to guide you every step of the way."

"Whatever happens, we'll stick together!" Ash replied. Brock and Dawn nodded in agreement.

"Then go, Heroes of the Holy Colors...encounter the other gods and win back their beads from the darkness--all of Yoso awaits the performance of the great Rainbow Symphony." Ethani mused before giving Dawn one last hug.

"Bye, Ethani!" Ash waved goodbye to Ethani and the crowd of apprentices as the three of them walked into the sunset.

---------

"We did it!" Ash smiled as the group departed the temple. "Our first Bead of the Elements!"

"I'm sure you had quite an adventure in the catacombs..." Kissa smiled.

"Oh, we did--and I learned why your master is on this quest." Ash replied. He was about to say more when he saw a white ball light and a red ball of light fly down before him. "Huh?"

[BGM: In the Presence of Gods]

"Anima?" Dawn gasped as the white light formed into a smaller version of Anima.

"Well done on finding my bead." Anima began. "Before I meet you in Sindura, I thought I would tell you about the Firebird's Prayer, with some help from Deami, my fellow goddess that rules over flames." At this, the red light formed into a smaller version of a girl with orange-yellow flame-like hair clad in a long red coat that concealed a burnt yellow tunic and dull brown pants to match.

"Your minstrel friend likely knows the tale of which I speak." Deami smiled, her warm and gentle voice reverberating through Ash's head. "Long ago, I created the firebird Moltres so that the Mortal Realm would have fire to keep warm. Kione grew jealous of my beautiful firebird, and cursed it so that it would die in a hundred years." Tears welled up in Deami's eyes for a moment when she mentioned the painful memory.

"Naturally, Deami was devastated that one of her favorite creations had been cursed, so to ease her tears, I weakened the curse so that instead of dying forever in a hundred years, a new firebird would arise when the old one died, and retain all the memories of the old one." Anima continued. "The beings of the Mortal Realm began to see Moltres as the sign of rebirth, so Deami taught Moltres healing magic, only to be used when the mortals called on her with a sincere request."

"Your mentor Marista Laire rescued Moltres from a hunter's trap once, and in return, I asked Moltres to teach her the prayer to call on her power, which she then taught you." Deami concluded. "I hope you will remember Marista each time you perform it."

"I will, Lady Deami." Brock replied as the red light faded away.

"Anima..." Ash asked. "How will we know you when we get to Sindura?"

"You will know me by what I wear--until then, farewell." Anima replied before the white light also faded away.

[Cut BGM]

"Sindura?" Kissa asked. "What business do we have there?"

"The people there are being deceived--and we have to stop it!" Ash explained before running down the forest path.

"Wait for us!" Brock and Dawn were not far behind.

To Be Continued...
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