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Old January 18th, 2011 (9:37 AM).
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is online now
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Episode 18: A Battle in Song

[BGM: Ash Explains the Rules]

" are the rules for this contest..." Ash began as he addressed Brock and Roni. "Each of you are to perform one fast song and one slow song of your choice--the best crowd reaction after both songs wins."

"Not much of a crowd..." Dawn sighed--aside from her, Ash and Janine, the Pokemon were the only others present.

"In the event of a tie after both rounds, each of you are to try casting a Song Magic spell--the one that manages to cast successfully, wins." Ash continued. "Any questions?"

"Not really." Roni replied.

[Cut BGM]

"No questions here." Brock replied as he finished tuning his harp. "I volunteer to begin with a crowd favorite--the first episode of 'The Ballad of the Beast Riders'.

"Good luck, Karakashu-san!" Janine called in encouragement as Brock began a brisk melody.

Dark times fell on Yoso in a war so long ago... Brock began. Many fell in battle; land, sea and sky heard many a woe. But three young lads joined in the fight, to bring back Anima's light...

Fare thee well, Beast Rider! Dawn joined in at the end of the verse.

These three young lads dreamed one night that they were by the Beasts' side, three more like them, many years before, had been called to ride... Brock started the second verse. But rumblings of darkness were afoot, and they knew not their destiny...

Remember your call, Beast Rider! Dawn led the response. This continued for some time--Brock singing, verse by verse, the story of the Beast Riders' battle against demons bent on destroying the Legendaries, with the small audience joining in with the response at the right time:

Some demons came to Oliva Port, and there they made their seige. The mage's guard tried to douse the flames, but this only fanned their rage. By the time the chaos died, the Light Guardian was taken and the people cried...

Deliver us, O Beast Rider!

The three young lads were sound asleep and lost in a holy dream. Anima came to them that night and told them of the scheme. That darkness was on the move again, and the port had fallen fast; they quickly woke and fled that night, fearing it was their last...

We ride again, Beast Rider!

The lads soon came to the tower of gold, and pleaded to come in. The guardians there sensed a holy light, yet reluctantly sent them in. They came unto the Beast's great lair and could hardly contain their wonder, at the Water Puma, the Fire Lion, and the great Legend of Thunder..

How beautiful, Beast Rider!

Entei was the most surprised that the lads were all so young, yet one lad tried to mount Raikou, and to the floor was nearly flung. Raikou challenged him to fight to wield his wonderful power. Thus began an epic battle that lasted more than an hour...

I challenge you, Beast Rider!

The Legend and the lad did clash, with blade, claw and Pokemon, and for every blow that Raikou struck, the lad countered with his own. Finally Raikou told the lad that victory he had won, and allowed him to climb aboard, a new Beast Rider born...

O victorious Beast Rider!

The other lads, they too did fight, and earned the other Beasts' trust in turn, but then they remembered their studies, and all they had to learn. Their teacher did not believe them as up to the study they rode, as he thought the Beasts were legend, locked away in some abode...

They're wild and free, Beast Rider!

Suicune was offended as the scholar mocked and jeered--how could he say those things to him, this scholar so revered? The water Beast and rider felt the scholar needed to be put in his place, and with a mighty gust of wind, the two of them gave chase!

More than a legend, Beast Rider!

After a little flourish, Brock began the final verse. After a sprint around the plain, the scholar believed the tale; he was nearly exhausted, his face so ghostly pale. He bid the riders blessings as they rode off on their quest, he knew as well as they did they were in for a far greater test...

Believe in them, Beast Rider! Dawn led the last response before leading the applause.

Roni was not impressed. "That's it? I thought there were more verses than that..."

"There are, but we'd be here for a long time if I sang every verse." Brock replied.

"If I remember, there are hundreds of verses to that song, with more being added as we learn more information about the Riders." Ash agreed. "So it was a good thing you only performed the first episode. " He motioned to Roni. "You may begin when you're ready."

Roni hummed a note to assure she was in tune, then began. He was on the run for something not done, but many demanded his life. The chamberlain had been found dead, but no one knew who caused the strife. Since he was there inside the chamber when the guard arrived, a jealous lady blamed him in a story quite contrived...

"'The Earth God's Horn'...a great choice for Roni's range." Dawn commented as Roni's soft yet warm soprano told the tale of a prince accused of murder that he did not commit, and how he exposed the jealous lady as the true culprit thanks to an eccentric mage and Raissel's enchanted horn.

Even Ash couldn't resist Roni's stirring rendition of the song. "This round goes to Roni. Now, for the slow round..."

Roni hummed another note, then began. I saw it on my window, glittering in the sun, Where did it come from, I wonder? This tiny gold coin on the sill, its beauty second to none?

Dawn winced as Roni struggled to hit the many low notes in "The Coin in the Wood". "That one's better suited for an alto voice like mine."

"You sing too, Chiryoshi-hime?" Janine was impressed.

"Yes--I sang all the time as I did chores or prepared the training grounds." Dawn replied. "I'm not minstrel worthy by any means, but if it were Roni and me singing that song, I would win."

Brock slowly nodded in agreement as Roni concluded--if what he had heard her singing back at Whitespell was any indication, Dawn wasn't too bad a singer. He took his harp and began another soft melody. Why do you cry, little maid on the shore? Are your tears in lament to a bygone day of yore? Or have you lost someone dear to you, never to return? Whatever it is, I'll help you find for what it is you yearn.

'Wings of Knowledge'...Janine mused. "Karakashu-san sang that one at last year's chunin put all the village to sleep."

Ash smiled sleepily at the quiet song--he remembered his mother singing the song about a Yanma helping a little girl find two items when he was a baby--and Brock's was a beautiful rendition, to say the least.

When the song ended, Ash began. "With this round going to Brock, both of you are now tied at one apiece--cast me a spell using Song Magic, and we'll see who is worthy of keeping Anima's Diamond."

"You're on!" Roni dashed over to the cave entrance and readied her pipes to play. "Nature's fury, strike down darkness with green earth--GAH!!!"

"Zubats!" Dawn gasped at the swarm of small blue bat creatures diving at Roni.

"While they cannot see, they are very sensitive to sound..." Ash began as Roni tried again and again to swat the Zubats away.

"That's why we must be very quiet when we train in the caves--I know first hand how painful their bites and claws can be." Janine agreed as she showed Ash and Dawn a small puncture wound on her left arm.

Brock, meanwhile, saw a Zubat diving to claw Roni in the neck. "Stone of light, shine and protect these souls from danger! Diamond Shell!"

[BGM: Carried on Heartstrings]

"That's a new spell..." Dawn gasped as she watched the harp create a shining white barrier around them that appeared to be made from diamonds.

Roni was just as surprised at the Zubats trying to attack the shining barrier, only to be rebuffed with a burst of light. "You...actually saved me?"

"Consider it returning the favor for your rescuing me at Whitespell." Brock smiled as he played. "You may be my rival, but it pains me to see anyone in danger and not help them."

"So at any rate, we're even now." Roni replied as the Zubats fluttered back inside the cave. "That, and you've proven yourself worthy of Anima's Diamond--you can keep it." With that, Roni gathered up her supplies and started down the forest path.

"Roni seemed a bit nicer after you saved her..." Dawn noted as the group entered the cave. "Maybe you're teaching her--through your kindness--that being arrogant goes nowhere?"

"Could be, and I have long desired for the two of us to get along." Brock replied. "Whether she's coming around or not, I leave in the gods' hands...for now, we have a Hikari to save!"

To Be Continued...
The world will be saved by four heroes with a song in their hearts....

Diamond FC: 1977 8991 5041 Will trade and battle

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