Pokemon: The Song of Jewels
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January 22nd, 2013 (5:31 PM).
Make the Colors in the Sky!
At the arcade, playing DDR with Ash
Episode 6: "The master storyteller's lesson! Wendy and the legend of Princess Kaguya!"
For a while, the journey from Brightstar Town was uneventful. But just as the sun sank below the plains, Wendy heard the female Eevee complaining. [Can we stop walking? My paws are tired...]
"Good idea..." Wendy agreed as she located a spot to camp on the pains that was by a stream. "This a good spot for a camp?" she asked Brock.
"That looks good to me." Brock smiled as he set down his gear in the grass, where Wendy was pitching her tent by a tree. "Terra, will you take Emi and get some firewood?"
[Okay!] With that, Terra and Emi romped off into the bushes.
[I can catch a Magikarp, if you need food to cook.] Tenku offered as Brock got his cookware in order.
"I appreciate the offer, but I have food already." Brock assured the Pidgeotto as he got out some spiced sausage and sweet peppers from a cooler. "Tonight's menu is sausage and pepper kabobs..."
"...and s'mores for dessert!" Wendy added, triumphantly holding up some graham crackers and chocolate bars.
[Wouldn't peppers be too hot for the two baby Eevees to handle?] Hinata asked as Brock started slicing the sausage and peppers and sticking them on metal kabob sticks.
"These are more sweet than hot, so they should be safe." Brock assured Hinata as Terra and Emi returned with twigs and branches. After arranging the sticks into a nice pattern, he told Hinata "Okay, start the fire!"
Hinata obediently fired an Ember at the sticks, starting a hearty blaze and allowing Brock to begin cooking the kabobs.
"Okay if I borrow a kabob stick to roast the marshmallows?" Wendy asked as she stacked chocolate bars on the graham crackers.
"Sure--that would get a lot of s'mores done quickly." Brock replied as he turned some of the kabobs.
After dinner had finished and the campsite had been cleaned, Emi lightly tugged on Brock's shirt. [Can we sing some songs now?]
Brock grinned--Emi had likely been looking forward to singing songs around the campfire all day. "Okay, we'll have a campfire singalong now." he replied as he reached for his guitar case.
[YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!] Emi cheered as Brock tuned up.
[This is my favorite part of a campout.] Hinata smiled as she and Tenku watched Brock and Wendy tune their instruments. [Brock knows millions of songs and stories for performing around the campfire.]
[Is that so?] Tenku was impressed.
Emi nodded. [He'll even take requests!]
"Let's see here..." Wendy started playing the first few measures of a hesitant melody, which grew into the reel "Traveling to Akari". Brock joined in with a soft rhythmic accompaniment, which picked up strength as the set progressed, but never overpowered the fiddle as its melody grew more and more confident.
[Wonderful, as always!] Tenku smiled when the set ended.
[You're getting so good!] Raku agreed.
Wendy giggled. "I'm not concert hall material yet, but that was fun." She turned to address Brock. "You play backup really well--what's your secret?"
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?" Brock replied. Wendy giggled as he explained "There really is no secret--just remember to let the melody instrument--you--shine. I just listened to your part and adapted my playing accordingly."
They were about to start another set when Emi requested [Sing 'Day-O', please?]
Brock nodded, and sang over a D chord
Day-o! Me say day-o! Daylight come and me wan go home...
"Hey Brock?" Wendy stammered as the last notes of another set faded into the night.
"Hm?" Brock asked as he set his guitar aside.
"M-may I tell you a tale of Minami? To add to your collection of tales?"
"Go ahead--you can start when you're ready." Brock assured Wendy as she too set her instrument aside.
Wendy swallowed hard, then began. "A long time ago...um...in a place far from here..., there was an old couple that had no children. They made their keep by cutting and selling bamboo. One day, the man went to a forest to cut bamboo as usual, and found the bright bamboo."
Brock nods and encourages Wendy to continue, even though he can see her shaking with nervousness. "He, uh, thought the bamboo could be sold for a good price and he tried to cut some." Wendy stammers, her voice wavering in fear. "But suddenly, he noticed there was a little girl in one stalk. He was very surprised, as he and his wife had wanted a child for a long time."
The last part of the beginning runs into a blur as Wendy blurts "Th-Thenhedecidedtotakeherhomeandraiseherashisowndaughter!!!!"
"Easy...calm down..." Brock realizes Wendy is not getting any farther in her story, and helps her breathe deep a few times, easing her nervousness
"H-how was that?" Wendy begins, still a little nervous.
"You were doing well until nerves kicked in." Brock explains. "Just working up the courage to tell for me is the first step towards becoming a good actress."
"Really? Even though I dissolved into a blathering mess?" Wendy asks.
Brock nods. "Even the best actors and actresses have to deal with nerves. When I feel nervous before the beginning of a concert or storytelling show, what I do is take a few minutes to breathe deep a few times like I did with you, and remind myself the audience wants me to do well. You don't go a concert and say..." He proceeds to mimic Wendy's voice. "Boy, I hope this show is terrible!"
Satomi bursts out laughing. [That would be silly!]
"No--you want the performer to do well." Wendy agrees, giggling at Brock's scarily accurate impression of her voice.
"Exactly--if an audience thought you would do terrible, they wouldn't even come." Brock explains. Wendy writes down tips on some paper as Brock goes on. "Which leads me into a few storytelling tips that also apply to acting...first, know your story--or your role--well enough that you don't say "uh", "er", "um", and the derivatives therein. That means read the story--or your lines, well enough until you know them like the back of your hand. Once you know your part, get to know your character--what are they like? What would others say about your character? What are their hopes, their dreams, their flaws, their wishes, their regrets? Things like that bring a character to life."
He notices a book sticking out from Wendy's bag--"50 Tales of Kanto". "Mind if I look through this?"
"Sure--I brought it so Raku and Satomi could look at the pictures." Wendy replies as she writes down Brock's last tip.
"Would you like me to tell you one of the stories in here as I tell it, so you can see what you wrote in action?" Brock offers.
"Yes, please!" Wendy gasps, her eyes shining in excitement.
After thumbing through the book for a moment, Brock set it into the grass and began "There was once a fisherman who longed very much to have children. So he went to the town sage, and the sage told him to catch a Goldeen, have him and his wife eat one half, and then bury the other piece of meat. So the fisherman did as he was told, and thought nothing of it. Imagine his surprise when he found his wife had given birth to two children, a boy and a girl!"
Wendy and the Pokemon laugh as they picture the fisherman's reaction. "On top of that, their Arcanine had two Growlithes, their Rapidash had two Ponytas, and two Cheri trees sprouted on each end of the front walk." Brock continues. "The children were named Kendall and Meredith, in remembrance of the waters the Goldeen had come from."
[Very fitting--both names mean 'water'] Tenku notes.
"The years went by, and Kendall and Meredith eventually came of age." Brock goes on. "They both longed to go out into the world, but their mother assured them that Kendall would try his luck first, and if fortune be unkind to him, Meredith would go. So Kendall took his Growlithe, his Ponyta, and the harp Meredith had made for him...." Excited whispers race through the small crowd as Brock retrieves his own harp--a silver crescent moon shaped instrument with gold inlays and sapphires. "and told her that so long as the Cheri trees bloomed, he was alive and well. But if either of them wilted, he needed her help. If one of them had bright blossoms, that meant he had found fortune, and she was to come join him."
[I wonder what adventures Kandall will get into...] Raku muses.
[What a pretty instrument...] Satomi is more interested in the harp as Brock slips some fingerpicks on his right hand.
"Kendall traveled a long way, until he came to a far away land." Brock continues as he walks around the campsite, the harp still cradled in his arms. "He asked the local sage about the castle, and the sage told him that the king was seeking a husband for the princess--we'll call her Yumi. Each would be suitor had to pass three trials--if he completed them, he would have Princess Yumi's hand in marriage. If he failed, he would die."
[Oh no!] Raku gasps.
"Kendall's not gonna die, okay?" Wendy assures Raku.
"But Kendall decided to try anyway--the next day, he traveled to the castle courtyard, and started playing his harp for the servants and the ladies." With that, Brock plays "The Riverbanks of the Moon" for effect.
Applause goes up when the last note dies. "Even Princess Yumi heard the song, and told her father about the minstrel in the courtyard." Brock continues. "The king summoned Kendall before him and asked what Kendall was doing there. When told that Kendall sought Princess Yumi's hand in marriage, the king gave Kendall his first challenge--cut a certain thick log in one stroke of a blade. Kendall was so distraught, he didn't even feel like picking up the harp that night."
He then plays a soft D chord to represent Princess Yumi. "Even Princess Yumi was concerned, and asked Kendall what was wrong, as she had grown fond of him. When Kendall told her what the matter was, Yumi just smiled and urged Kendall to play for her, and she would have an answer for him in the morning."
After playing the song "Come Give Me Your Hand" to simulate the passage of time, Brock continues "The next morning, Princess Yumi told Kendall she had studied much about magic and fighting, to name a few things. She laid a hand on Kendall's blade, making it glow blue with a spell of strength. Needless to say, Kendall had no problem cutting the log!"
The audience applauds at this. "The king then told Kendall to take his Rapidash and ride for three miles with a chalice filled with water. If even a drop was spilled, the king would have his head." Brock continues, making more concerned chatter fill the air. "Kendall was troubled again, so much so that he didn't even pick up the harp that night."
Hinata's, Emi's and Raku's cheers are the loudest as Brock plays Princess Yumi's motif. "Princess Yumi grew concerned, and asked Kendall what was wrong. When Kendall told her his dilemma, she urged him to play for her, and she would have an answer in the morning."
The waltz "Starry Night" fills the air to simulate the passage of time. When Brock finishes the song, he continues. "The next morning, before Kendall left, Princess Yumi laid a hand on the chalice and sang..." In character as a young girl, he sings
Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...
More cheers go up at the sung "spell". "The water instantly froze to ice, thereby fulfilling the king's challenge.' Brock explains as himself. "But the third challenge was the hardest--face Princess Yumi herself in a non-lethal duel in the royal arena. Kendall was a fine swordsman in his own right, and his sword still had the strength spell on it, but he figured Princess Yumi was years ahead of him in skill."
Silence fills the air as Wendy and the Pokemon ponder how Kendall could defeat Princess Yumi. "That night, Princess Yumi assured Kendall that she would tell him how to defeat her in the morning if he just played the harp for her that night." Brock assures his audience before playing "The Fairy's Waltz" to simulate the passage of time.
When the last note dies, he continues. "The next day, Princess Yumi told him that at one point during the duel, she would throw out a sapphire. If he cut it, she would know to hold back and let him win--as she was so skilled, it would look very much like she lost naturally."
Brock then plays a frantic melody to simulate the duel. "The duel commenced, and Kendall did very well matching Princess Yumi step for step. In fact, for many hours, the duel was too close to call!"
"So did Kendall ever win?" Wendy asks as the last chord fades away.
"At last, Princess Yumi threw out the sapphire, and Kendall cut it to seal his victory." Brock replies over a triumphant flourish. "The king didn't know that Princess Yumi had let Kendall win, as it looked for all intents and purposes that Princess Yumi had lost naturally."
He concludes over a triumphant melody. "Kendall and Princess Yumi were soon married, and even Meredith came to join in the festivities when she saw the right Cheri tree glow. They all lived happily for many years."
"Bravo!" Wendy's applause is the loudest as Brock takes a bow. "The harp was a nice touch!"
"Thanks--I mainly use it when portraying my minstrel character Flynn Devine, or his Gekijou variant, Kashu." Brock explained as he put the harp away. "In creating all my characters, I keep one thing in mind--don't just play the character--be the character."
"I see..." Wendy smiled. "It goes back to what you said about getting to know your character and their wishes."
Brock nods. "Also, look at how your character interacts with others. Who do they love? Who do they hate? Who are they afraid of? Who do they want something from? I could go on for hours about becoming a character..."
"Tell me about Flynn Devine and how you portray him." Wendy begged.
"Well...he is very reserved, and yet playful." Brock explained. "He also tends to speak flowery language..." He then slips into character as Flynn for a moment. "So he will not speak using contractions or popular turns of phrase."
"Kinda like Arran Seluna on TV..." Wendy mused as she put her fiddle away.
"Not the TV version of Arran...the comic version of Arran is a bit closer to Flynn." Brock replied. "So when I am playing Flynn in public, I act a bit more reserved than I usually am, but still smile and wink so he doesn't come across as shy."
[Cool!] Raku smiled.
Wendy, meanwhile, was processing everything Brock had said.
Know your character...know your story...become the character....sounds easy enough...
She sighed and asked. "May I try telling 'Princess Kaguya' again?"
"Go for it--I'm listening." Brock replied as he put his guitar away.
Wendy took a deep breath to calm her nerves, then began "A long time ago, near what is now Akari City, there was an old couple that made their keep by cutting and selling bamboo. One day, the man went to a forest to cut bamboo as he always did, when he found a stalk glowing with an ethereal light."
"Looking good so far, but try not to speak so fast." Brock replied.
Oops, I was rushing again...
Wendy blushed a little, but regained her composure and continued. "But when he tried to cut the bamboo, he found a pretty little girl inside. He was quite surprised, as the old couple had wanted a child for a long time. He decided to take her home and raise her as his own daughter. When he got home with the girl, the woman was surprised but very happy. They named the girl Kaguya and took care of her as their own daughter. The years went by, and they lived happily for some time--until Kaguya came of age to be married."
Brock made a V gesture at his eyes--a discrete request for Wendy to look at him and the Pokemon. "Kaguya grew into a beautiful lady. Many people said that her beauty was not like a human, but a fairy or the sakura. Her hair was extremely long and jet-black like a Murkrow's wing. Her eyes were as dark as the night, and her lips were ruby red. Not only was she physically beautiful, but beautiful in the heart was well. Every man who heard about Kaguya wanted to marry her. However, she didn’t want to marry anybody for some reason...."
"...After Kaguya had left, the king ordered the Taka medicine burnt on the peak of the highest mountain in Minami, which is why it is named Mt. Taka." Wendy concluded some time later.
Brock led the applause. "That was better than your first time, but remember to look at your audience and not speak so fast. I like your enthusiasm, but I can't understand you if you're going a hundred miles an hour."
Look at my audience and don't talk too fast--got it!
Wendy reminded herself as Brock put out the campfire for the night.
[Are we gonna see Mt. Taka tomorrow?] Emi asked Wendy.
"Not tomorrow, but you will get to see it soon." Wendy replied as Brock arrived to tuck Emi into her bundle for the night....
The world will be saved by four heroes with a song in their hearts....
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