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Old February 8th, 2011 (11:29 AM).
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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Episode 20: The Pint Sized Problems

Meanwhile, in another part of the cave...

[BGM: Little Lights of Darkness (Asiel's and Takis' theme)]

"You sure this is the place, Asiel?" a girl in a ragged maroon blouse and skirt asked as she brushed her pale blond hair from her face. For the most part, she and her brother could have been just another pair of adventurers, barring the tiny dragon-like wings on their backs.

"Course, Takis--it's not every day that the Great Lord sends two demonlings out to capture the song spirit that lives here; or possess a minstrel's party for their first possession." the girl's brother replied as he quickly hovered out of the way of a stalagtite, being careful not to disturb the Zubats that snoozed nearby. "You've heard the stories of what happens to those that get caught up in magic songs, right?"

"Sometimes I have to wonder what the Great Kione is thinking sometimes...." Takis sighed. "But it's the party I'm worried about--Melis' defeat at their hand was the talk of the Dark Realm for weeks."

"We would be stuck back in the Dark Realm listening to Miss Topas talk about proper possession techniques over and over and over if His Greatness hadn't stepped in." Asiel cautioned as he landed behind a rock, brushing debris from a slightly ragged marroon tunic. "And what better way to impress the class than possessing a human?"

"You did great with the small Pokemon, and leveling an entire village with a Mightyena wowed the class...." Takis mused as she fluttered by her older brother's side.

"Let's not forget how you aced your small Pokemon final with the Rattata swarm..." Asiel smiled. "Humans are a bit harder than Pokemon though--they have many competing influences around their spirits. That, and there's the risk of the spirit fighting back."

"Stupid priest, kicking me out of that little girl when I almost made it inside her soul." Takis grumbled, annoyed that her first human possession had come up short.

"Well, unfortunately, we have a cleric in this party too, so the key is to not get her attention." Asiel cautioned as he spotted Ash and the others in the distance. "Here they come."

[Cut BGM]

Back with the party...

[BGM: The Waterfall's Secrets]

"Oh my..." Ash gasped as he glanced around the large open room.

"Meroetta prefers wide open spaces, so if we're going to find her in a cave, this would be the sort of room to look." Brock explained as Ash walked around the room admiring the layers of ledges and odd rock formations.

Kissa froze as the sound of wingbeats fluttered in the distance. "Be on guard--I sense demons are here..."

"Huh?" Dawn glanced around the room, but saw that nothing was present except for them, a few Zubats hanging overhead, and a few sprouts intertwining around some stalagmites. "I don't see any demons..."

"Maybe this ring I found embedded in a rock would reveal them to you?" Ash offered, showing Dawn a gold ring with a roughly shield shaped ruby inside, ringed by diamonds.

Dawn smiled. "Well! Of all the places to find a Scared Ring..."

"I have heard tales of rings with shield shaped gems..." Janine mused as she led the group across a ledge. "It is said that the wearer is granted a simple <i>hikari</i> jutsu when it is worn..."

"A simple light spell, huh?" Ash replied as he slipped the ring on his right ring finger. "Let's try this!" He aimed the ring at some rocks behind him. "Guiding light, shed magic power from above! Shine!" At this, a beam of red light went flying at the rocks, revealing Asiel and Takis looking down at the party from above.

[Cut BGM]

Dawn gasped. "Kissa was right..."

"Clerics aren't the only ones that can sense those of the Dark Realm...Pokemon and other creatures can too." Brock explained as he drew his own blade. "Get ready to fight, everyone!"

"Geez, I said not to get the cleric's attention!" Asiel complained as he flew before the group, a little wobbly due to the Shine spell.

"It was the mage that gave our position away!" Takis protested, gesturing to Ash as she landed by her brother's side.

"What were you plotting here, demon?" Ash demanded, his blade inching closer to Asiel's neck.

"Easy on the neck, human...we were told to either A. capture the Song Guardian or B. possess one of you--and with all the power inside of you, you make a great target." Asiel stammered.

Ash was about to ask Asiel who the Song Guardian was when a high pitched Oh... got his attention. "Huh?"

"Meroetta..." Brock gasped as a tiny fairy-like creature appeared on a flower shaped rock in the center of the room, brushing its long green music staff-like hair with a twig.

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

"He's distracted! Now's your chance to possess the mage!" Takis called before firing some darts from her claws in Meroetta's direction. Ash ran to block the attack, buying Ashiel time to roll backwards out of Ash's sword range and take flight himself.

"He's getting away!" Janine called as she narrowly missed Takis with a shuriken.

"Janine, Dawn--try to take the demons down from the air!" Ash suggested as he blocked more of Takis' darts with his blade.

"We'll protect Meroetta!" Brock added as he rolled out of the way of a dive attack from Asiel.

"Got it!" Janine called before heaving two shurikens at Takis and Asiel. Takis was able to evade the shuriken meant for her, but an arrow from Dawn sent her tumbling to the ground.

"Takis!!!" Asiel cried as his sister weakly crawled behind the rocks, clearly in pain. He gritted his teeth as he saw Meroetta was unprotected from the eastern side. "You're going to pay for hurting my sister!" he screamed before making a beeline for Meroetta's flower platform.

"NO!!!" Ash shot back as he threw himself before the platform, allowing Asiel to fly inside his body, creating an explosion of dark energy...

[Cut BGM]

Inside Ash's body...

Now where is the mage's soul? Asiel wondered as he skimmed over Ash's bloodstream in hopes one of the veins would lead to Ash's heart. A bright light in the distance revealed that he was close, so he wove through a few more arteries and veins before approaching a dull red pulsing mass. Yes! This is his heart, all right! The soul can't be too far away!

[BGM: Dreaming of Adventure (Ash's theme)]

"Hold!" a white ghostly being that looked exactly like Ash demanded as Asiel approached. "You're not allowed in here!"

"You're the one that threw yourself in my path, so naturally I'm gonna possess you!" Asiel retorted. "Now, let me through!"

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" the Ash spirit replied as several more copies of it appeared and surrounded Asiel, their swords drawn...

[End BGM]

Back in the cave...

"Ash..." Janine gasped as she watched Ash's body, now wreathed in purple flames, writhe on the ground in pain. "Why did you do this?"

Dawn whispered some words into her palm, surrounding her hand in a white-blue glow. "I'm going to lay a hand on him to calm him down before I attempt to cast the demon out."

"He's fighting the demon--I can tell." Kissa mused as Dawn gently laid her glowing hand on Ash's back, making him cry out in pain.

"I'm trying to help you!" Hold still!" Dawn assured Ash, narrowly avoiding being kicked as she made her way around to the other side of Ash's body, her hand on his back all the while.

"Do you know any spellsongs of healing, Karakashu-san?" Janine asked.

"I do--maybe this one will help cast the demon out." Brock began before commanding "Voice of the goddess, come and sing a song of light! Anima no Uta!" With that, he began playing his harp and singing in a language no one seemed to recognize at first.

[BGM: Anima no Uta] (set to this tune)

"The holy tongue!" Dawn gasped as she saw her glowing hand glow brighter.

"Anima no Uta, or Anima's Song, allows the caster to sing in the holy tongue for a short time, usually to heal great wounds or cast out demons." Kissa explained to Janine. "It is said that even the smallest demonling fears hearing the language of the gods." She watched as her master continued to sing in the odd language for a few minutes, calming Ash's writhing body and engulfing it and Dawn's hand in rainbow light. Asiel came flying out of Ash's body some seconds later, landing with a crash behind the rocks.

[End BGM]

"It worked!" Janine smiled as Ash eased himself to his feet.

"My head..." Ash groaned as he glanced around the cave. He could see Takis tending to Asiel behind a rock, despite being wounded herself. Judging from the burns and scratches on him, whatever Brock had cast to force him out had to have been very strong, he thought.

"How did you learn that spellsong, anyway?" Janine wondered as Meroetta flew around her, grateful that Ash had allowed himself to be nearly possessed for her sake.

"Anima no Uta I learned on a previous visit to Whitespell..." Brock wheezed, still exhausted from casting the spell. "I was told never to use it except in an emergency."

"Ash almost being possessed definitely counted as an emergency, but what are we going to do about these demonlings before they decide to attack us again?" Kissa wondered.

Meroetta flew over to Dawn and formed a small ball of light in her hands. "Huh?" Dawn gasped before motioning to Brock again. "Ask Meroetta what she wants from me." Brock nodded and played a few bars of "Lady of Yoso" to Meroetta.

Oh... Meroetta replied to Dawn.

"She says she wants to give you the power to sing magic, since you enjoy singing." Brock replied.

"Tell her I accept her offer and promise to use Song Magic responsibly." Dawn replied.

"I'll do it!" Ash volunteered before fishing out the Dreamer's Flute and playing "The Silver Sword". Meroetta just giggled at the "reply" and sent the ball of light flying in Dawn's direction before splitting into muiple copies of herself.

Elsewhere, with the demonlings...

"...and there we are." Takis smiled as she bandaged her brother's last wound.

"That mage's spirit is very strong!" Asiel complained as he weakly stood up. "I didn't expect it to fight back that hard!"

"You yourself said there's a risk of a human spirit fighting back." Takis replied. "Now, let's get that song spirit!"

Asiel gasped when he saw Dawn surrounded by what looked like hundreds of copies of Meroetta on a raised rock that overlooked the cave floor--some of them red and purple with their music staff-like hair pinned up, and a few of them identical to the real Meroetta--except they glowed with a sea green aura. "Great--NOW how are we supposed to find the real one?" he groaned a bit too loudly.

"You're not going to!" Dawn countered, catching both demonlings offguard.

"And how do you suppose you're going to do that? " Takis countered as she flew out from behind the rock.

Dawn closed her eyes. "Guard us all in lights of many colors! Dance of Light!"

There was an awkward silence as nothing appeared to happen at first. "Oo-hoo-hoo, we're so scared, Lady of Light." Asiel taunted.

[BGM: Dawn's Heartsong] (set to this tune)

Dawn just smiled before singing Feel my strength! Feel my hope! Wonderful, powerful music!, making a bright flash of rainbow light fill the cave.

"Hoo!" the crowd of Meroettas cried, making auras form around the rest of the group.

"Are you ready?" Dawn asked the crowd of Meroettas over the driving melody that seemed to come from nowhere.

"Yay!" the Meroetta crowd cheered.

"Here we go! 1, 2, 3!" Dawn counted off the red and purple Meroettas, which began dancing to the song.

Magical song of the heart! the green and teal Meroettas sang as Ash, Brock, Kissa, and Janine rushed to engage the demonlings. Fu Fu Fu, Fu Fu Fu...Magical song of the heart!

Do re mi fa, my sweet song is rising to the clouds! Dawn sang as Janine hurled a shuriken at Takis. This confident tone rings out, filled with hope! At this, Ash lunged at Asiel, knocking him backwards. Beautiful colors all around, hop! step! jump! Takis gritted her teeth and shot three darts in Brock's direction, which he dodged with a literal hop, step, and jump. Feel power within you, giving you energy!

"Oh, I feel power in me, all right..." Ash mused as he aimed the Sacred Ring at Asiel, who was about to scratch Kissa. "Guiding light, shed magic power from above! Shine!" Asiel howled in pain as the flash of white light enulfed him.

"Thanks!" Kissa smiled. "One down, and one to go." she mused as Takis tried to evade shurikens, light blasts from the Sacred Ring, and small rainbow crystals being conjured from a harp, which could barely be heard over Dawn's enthusiastic performance.

We're playing melodies that are so strong, I just cannot watch! Dawn sang, rendering Takis' claws useless against the rainbow auras that glowed around the rest of the group. Dancing to this rhythm! Looking ahead to the future! A challenge? Go ahead!

"Take it on home, Dawn!" Kissa called in enouragement as she scratched Takis' left wing as she flew low to attack Ash, making her struggle to stay aloft.

It resonates, a cheerful sound, within every one of our merry hearts! Dawn and the Meroetta crowd continued. I only dream that tomorrow is filled with wonderful, powerful music! Everybody rise up and sing a magic song of the heart!

Magic, song of the heart! the Meroetta crowd concluded, engulfing Takis in a wave of green light.

[End BGM]

"Bravo!" Janine applauded as the Meroetta crowd disappeared, leaving only the original Meroetta behind.

"Thanks...although I feel like I've ran a mile and back again." Dawn wheezed as she ran to rejoin the group.

"That's completely normal when you first keep Song Magic going a long time." Brock replied as he led the way over to an opening in the northern wall that led further down in the cave. "You'll get better as you use it more."

Ash turned to look back at Meroetta. "Thanks for everything!" he called.

Oh? Meroetta replied, her song a little more wistful then before.

"She wants us to promise we will find what it is we're looking for." Brock replied before playing a prayerful melody in reply.

[BGM: Duet of Promise]

After he played the tune through once, Ash joined in with the Dreamer's Flute, as if telling Meroetta "We will definitely find what we seek, and much more--don't you worry!"

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

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