Interlude: Whistles on the Wind
[BGM: Resting in Camp]
Ash woke up the next morning and gasped in shock--Mina was nowhere in sight! "Did you ever finish setting the Pidgeot free?" he asked as Misty brought him his breakfast.
"The girls did set the Pidgeot free--and I managed to tame it." Brock added before picking a blade of grass. "Watch."
[BGM: Grasswhistle: Mina]
With that, he cupped his hands around the grass and blew, making a raspy voice-like noise fill the air. A Pidgeot's cry pierced the sky a few seconds later as Mina fluttered into the clearing, clutching two Magikarps in her talons.
"Wow!" Dawn was impressed.
"Show me how to do that!" Ash agreed.
"Grasswhistles are quite simple to make, and very good for signaling." Janine explained as she searched around for a good blade of grass. "Flat blades work the best." she added as she picked one. Once Ash had found a suitable blade of grass, she continued. "Now, hold one end between your thumbs, and catch the other end by slightly bending your thumbs while pressing them together."
Ash scrambled to avoid losing his blade of grass, but managed to get it in the right position. "Like this?"
"Perfect, Nincada." Janine smiled. "This is the tricky part--straighten out your thumbs to pull the blade tight, being careful not to snap the blade as you do so."
Ash winced as his blade snapped. "Great..." he sighed as he found another blade and prepared it.
"Now, purse your lips slightly, put them against your thumbs, and blow." Janine instructed. Ash nodded and blew, making a flat squawk ring through the clearing.
"I don't know if you or a sick Psyduck sounds nicer..." Kissa groaned as Ash continued to squawk.
"What's your secret to getting actual notes?" Ash asked Brock, who was roasting the other Magikarp over the fire.
"I use the same technique you would use to play a horn--try puckering your lips a little like you've just tasted a wild Nomel Berry." Brock suggested.
Okay, pucker like I've eaten a Nomel Berry... Ash reminded himself as he pursed his lips again with a slight pucker and blew, making a buzzy A note.
"There you go!" Brock smiled. "To get higher notes, make your lips into a tighter pucker, and loosen them when you want to go lower, just like a horn."
Pikachu listened, piqued, as Ash squeaked and squawked some more. "Pika..." he warned, sparking a little bit in annoyance.
"Okay, I'll go practice elsewhere." Ash assured Pikachu as everyone laughed.
Later that day...
"Now, can you use your new grasswhistle to call Mina?" Misty asked as Ash emerged from his tent.
"I may not be very good yet, but I'll try." Ash assured Misty as she turned Mina loose to fly a short distance away. He waited until Mina was just a speck in the afternoon sky, then played a wavery and flat version of the melody Brock had played before.
"He did it!" Dawn cheered as Mina came fluttering back to Ash's side.
Ash heaved with exhaustion, but hugged Mina. "May I have my own melody to call you? Blowing on grass is hard work!"
"You mean, you have another signal?" Misty asked.
"My saefleita." Ash explained as he showed Misty his saefleita. "We mages use them to call Pokemon as familiars." With that, he demonstrated by playing the melody for Pikachu.
[BGM: Saefleita Call: Pikachu]
"Pika pi!" Pikachu smiled as he bounded on Ash's shoulder.
"We can release Mina again and see if she responds to the bird's flute." Janine agreed.
"Yeah--it would come in handy if we're going to a place with little or no grass, like the desert." Dawn agreed.
"All right, here she goes..." With that, Misty sent Mina into the sky again.
[BGM: Saefleita Call: Mina]
Ash nodded, then played an oddly pleasent six note melody that echoed through the forest. After a few tense seconds, everyone cheered as Mina returned carrying a few Berry branches.
"Good girl, Mina." Ash smiled as he hugged the majestic Pidgeot again. "I can't wait to go flying across Yoso with you!
To Be Continued...