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  #26    
Old May 30th, 2013 (10:50 AM).
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Episode 26: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 5)


"We made it..." Wendy heaved a relieved sigh as the group entered what looked like a huge library. In addition to books of every shape, size, and subject, stone statues of Meloetta also dotted the room. Some of them depicted her dancing in Pirouette form, some depicted her singing in Aria form, and still others depicted her praying or playing on a variety of instruments.

"What I want to know is how we're going to get up to the way out of here..." Brock mused as he studied a doorway on a balcony, but there was no stairwell, rope, teleportation device to reach it.

[I'm the only one with wings, and I don't know if I can carry all of you...] Tenku sighed

"That, and there's no switch for Brock to hit so we can move on." Wendy groaned, slumping to the floor in frustration.

"Well, if you know a way to get up to the balcony, I'm all ears." Brock assured his companion, but even HE had no idea how to solve the apparent puzzle before them.

He was snapped from his thoughts by a familiar voice singing Karuto, iichiida shou..., followed by a green glow--one of the statues had apparently come to life!

"Meloetta?" Wendy gasped.

"What are you doing here?" Brock was equally surprised.

"I came to congratulate you on how well you're doing so far--not many seekers were able to defeat the Rhydon I posted to guard this floor and my baton." Meloetta smiled. "But as I'm sure you've noticed, your way out is way up there." She gestured to the door on the balcony to prove her point.

"So how do we get up there?" Wendy asked.

"There's no stairwells, ropes, teleports, switches, springs, catapults, or anything else that could get us up there." Brock agreed.

"If you answer this question of mine correctly, I will take you up there and allow you to continue." Meloetta assured the group. "Get it wrong, and you will have to battle one of the library's guardians before you can try again."

"This isn't a so-called 'impossible' question, is it?" Brock swallowed hard at the prospect of a question not even he could figure out.

"And we're not timed, are we?" Wendy added. If there's one thing I hate more than impossible questions, it's having to race the clock to figure out an impossible question!

Meloetta giggled. "Oh no, I would not pit you against the clock unless I was sure you had plenty of time to answer. As for the question--it is not impossible, but it should make you think a little--an important skill if you are seeking the other gems."

"So we can take as long as we need?" Wendy asked. Meloetta nodded. "Okay..."

"Ask us anything." Brock challenged.

"In a small village in a far away land, three innocent prisoners are sitting in a jail." Meloetta explained. "One day, the cruel jailer takes them out of their cell and places them in a line on three chairs, in such a way that person C can see both person A and person B, person B can see only person A, and person A can see none of the others. The jailer shows them 5 hats, 2 of which are black and 3 of which are white. After this, he blindfolds the prisoners, places one hat on each of their heads, and removes the blindfolds again. The jailer tells the three prisoners that if one of them is able to determine the color of his hat within one minute, all of them are released. Otherwise, they will all be executed. None of the prisoners can see his own hat, and all are fairly intelligent. After 59 seconds, person A shouts out the color of his hat, which happens to be correct!"

She pauses to make sure the group understands the circumstances of her riddle. "My question for you is, what is the color of person A's hat, and how did he know?"

"Hm..." Wendy began thinking about possible answers to the problem.

"Everyone, huddle!" Brock suggested.

Once the group had gathered around, Brock recapped what Meloetta had told them. "Okay, when the prisoners are taken out, we know that person C can see both person A and person B, person B can see only person A, and person A can see none of the others."

"We also know that they each are wearing a hat, which has an equally likely chance of being black or white." Wendy added, "They are told that if they can correctly determine which color hat they are wearing in a minute, they will be freed. If they fail, they die."

[and at 59 seconds, person A figured it out and answered right.] Mizuchi concluded. [So where do we begin?]

[Well, person B and person C didn't give an answer.] Hinata interjected.

A grin formed on Brock's face--Hinata possibly knew the key to the riddle! "Okay, let's assume person B and person C didn't answer because they didn't have enough info to go on."

"Person C had to be seeing at least one white hat on the heads of A and B..." Wendy mused. "Because if he saw two black hats, he would know that he is wearing a white hat."

[Person B therefore knows that he and/or A is wearing a white hat...] Tenku added.

[And since he can't give an answer, he must be seeing a white hat on A's head!] Terra concluded.

Wendy smiled. "You may be right, Terra--if B saw A wearing a black hat, he would know that he himself wears a white one."

"Since neither C nor B can give an answer to the jailer's question, A finally concludes that he is wearing a white hat!" Brock triumphantly concludes before hugging Hinata.

"You're a genius, Hinata!" Wendy agreed before the huddle broke.

Brock then told Meloetta "Person A is wearing a white hat."

A smile formed on Meloetta's face. "Well done--that is the correct answer!"

The group cheered at this. "As I promised, I will take you to the door up top--so close your eyes, so I don't blind you with the teleportation magic."

He wasn't sure what happened next, but all Brock remembered was a bright aura and Meloetta's spellsong: Karuto, iichiida shou....
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  #27    
Old June 2nd, 2013 (10:38 AM).
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For so many chapters that have been made, its hard to believe that this has not been looked at. I will review this story in the coming days!
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Elite Academy - A Pokemon Academy fan-fiction by TurtleKing
Volume One | Volume Two
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  #28    
Old June 2nd, 2013 (12:04 PM).
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Thank you--I look forward to seeing it
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  #29    
Old June 6th, 2013 (08:07 AM).
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Episode 27: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 6)


[Oh, goodness...] Mizuchi gasped at the maze of tunnels as the group arrived on the next part of the floor.

"Next question: out of all these routes, which one is the correct one that will lead us onward?" Brock agreed, both awed and confused as to the number and size of the passageways in the large and cavernous room.

[I wish we could find a way out...] Emi sighed. [What if we get lost and are wandering this tower forever?]

"We're not going to get lost..." Brock assured Emi when a bright white light got his attention. "What the..."

He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Jirachi before him."I heard someone wish for the way out...since Meloetta tells me you are the chosen ones seeking the Gems of Song, I will take you to the route that will lead you the guardian of Meloetta's baton and the next floor."

Wendy was elated. "Thank you so much! Beats running into traps at every turn..."

"There isn't so much traps here as you will keep coming back here." Jirachi explained before flying over to one passageway on the left side of the room. "This is the way foward--but be wary of the guardian protecting the baton."

"What can you tell us about the guardian?" Brock asked.

"It is a sea dragon that somewhat resembles a Feraligatr." Jirachi explained as he lit the correct route for Brock and Wendy to follow. "His name is not known even to us Legendaries, but it is dangerous to attack up close."

He then flew over to Wendy's sword and touched the hilt, making the sword and the sheath glow a light green for a moment. "This will allow you to shoot magical beams from your blade..."

Next, he flew over to the quiver on Brock's back and touched the fletching on one arrow, making all the arrows' fletching turn a sparkling green color. "...and I have enchanted your arrows with electricity, so you will have a better chance of winning the fight."

"Thanks, Jirachi!" Wendy smiled.

"Yes, thank you so much for your help." Brock agreed, taking a deep breath to calm himself for the battle just up ahead.

"Not a problem--if you ever need my help again, I am only a wish away..." With that, Jirachi disappeared in a flash of light, but the glowing tunnel remained.

[I'm gonna sit this one out...] Hinata shuddered.

[Me too...] Terra agreed.

"Good idea--Hinata stands no chance of defeating a water monster." Wendy mused as she led the way into the tunnel.

"Nor does Terra." Brock agreed. "They can protect the little ones."

It wasn't long before the group arrived in a large room filled with vines, exotic plants, and aquatic flowers floating on the surface of the murky green water. [Hey, I don't see any Feraligatr monster in here!] Satomi protested before Hinata and Terra led her, Raku, and Emi from the room, leaving Brock and Wendy to face the guardian alone.

Suddenly, an earthshaking roar filled the air as a giant reptillian creature emerged from the water, nearly splattering Brock and Wendy with the surge. Vines and seaweed hung from the beast's dull brown scales, and rows and rows of teeth glinted in the dim room.

"Get ready..." Brock told Wendy as he readied an arrow, which began sparking with electricity as the beast roared, in hopes of intimidating the group.

"I-I'm not s-scared of you!" Wendy retorted over the beast as she shakily drew her blade.

[Bring it on, tough guy!] Mizuchi agreed.

The whistle of an arrow and the zap of electricity clued Wendy that Brock had taken the first shot, making the beast roar in pain. Inspired, she pointed her blade at the hulking monster, sending a beam of green light flying into its stomach. Another arrow landed near the beam's impact site, jolting their opponent with more electricity.

[I think you paralyzed it!] Mizuchi gasped as the monstrosity struggled to lunge at the group, but could barely move because of the two sparking arrows--one in its side, and the other in its stomach.

"HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-YAH!!!!" Wendy cried as she unleashed another beam from her blade, which arced off a wall and into the creature's back, sending it falling back in the water with another huge splash.

[Thank Arceus Hinata and Terra aren't in here....] Mizuchi muttered as she shook herself dry from the surge.

[I'll say...] Tenku agreed from her position above the battlefield. [That surge nearly got me wet, too!]

[They say you can fight fire with fire...well, I'm gonna fight water with water!] Mizuchi growled before lashing her tail at the monster, slapping its leg.

[Look out below!] was the only thing the monster heard before Tenku slammed into it with an Aerial Ace. It frantically tried to scratch Tenku with its claws, but Tenku was back near the ceiling again, making the massive prong-like claws scratch thin air.

The monster roared again, nearly making the group fly backwards into the wall. "Talk about a Hyper Voice..." Wendy groaned as her head throbbed from the attack.

"This guy makes an Exploud look like a Whismur." Brock agreed, his ears ringing from the roar. "But we're not going to let him intimidate us!"

"Meloetta's counting on us!" Wendy agreed before running to the edge of the pool and firing another beam.

Just then, Tenku noticed the monster's hand headed for Wendy! [Jump!]

Wendy complied with Tenku's call, making the giant scaly hand crash into the floor she had been standing on seconds before.

"That was a close one...." Brock heaved a relieved sigh.

[Maybe it was hoping to take advantage of us being dazed by its roar and squish us into pancakes.] Mizuchi suggested. [But I'm not ready to be a pancake yet!]

With that, she conjured a large wave of water. [Heads up!] she taunted the beast as it was doused in Mizuchi's own surge.

"See? Two can play at that game, Feraligatr reject!" Wendy taunted as she fired another beam.

Brock just calmly fired a sparking arrow into one of the beasts' legs. As another beam from Wendy let up the room, he wondered if even the four of them would be enough to take the beast down....

To Be Continued...
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  #30    
Old June 13th, 2013 (02:21 PM).
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Episode 28: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 7)


Another sparking arrow zipped through the air as the behemoth struggled to get up from Wendy's latest attack, landing in its torso. "That should buy us time to formulate our next move." Brock replied with a grin as the group's opponent struggled painfully to get up.

[Combined with your latest shot and Wendy's attack, it's a wonder the fiend CAN get up...] Tenku noted from the room's ceiling, where she had been observing the battle.

"Well, if that last shot wasn't enough to paralyze it, I bet THIS will!" Wendy growled before firing another beam from her blade.

Brock shielded his eyes from the beam's explosion, just long enough to notice the behemoth ensnared by a ring of light--or at least he thought it was a ring of light. "Great shot, there..." he smiled at Wendy.

"You're doing wonderfully yourself." Wendy replied. "Ardea's advice on aiming is really helping, cause you haven't missed a shot yet!"

[I'll be his eyes in the air, so he doesn't miss!] Tenku called before slapping the behemoth with a wing. The behemoth retaliated by trying to knock Tenku out of the sky with a rocky paw, but she was well away from the crushing blow.

"Nice flying!" Wendy called up to Tenku as the behemoth swiped at thin air.

[Thanks...] Tenku smiled. [I knew all those ring flights when I was a Pidgey were good for something!]

She called to Wendy [Aim your next beam for the paw that tried to swipe me!]

Wendy complied with Tenku's suggestion, and Brock followed up with an arrow in the other paw. But in the safe alcove, both Eevees shuddered in fear. [Did the monster die yet?] Satomi asked Hinata.

[Not yet...] Hinata sighed as she heard the whistle of Brock firing another shot, followed by an earthshattering roar that confirmed it had hit its mark.

[If we could see a life bar, or something, how full would it be?] Raku added.

Hinata groaned. [I have no idea, guys--for all I know, we could be stuck here watching them fight forever!]

Emi gasped as the weakened behemoth heaved a rock in Brock's direction, but Brock rolled underneath it to safety. [That was close...I don't want Daddy to be a Daddy-cake from being squished by that rock!]

[He's not gonna be a Brock-cake, okay?] Terra assured Emi as she watched Brock fire another shot into the beast's torso. [He knows what he's doing.]

[Okay...] Emi stammered before a flash from a sword beam prompted her to shield her eyes in fear.

In the main hall, the behemoth was showing signs of fatigue--it tried to charge into the group, but a Hydro Pump from Mizuchi sent it flying backwards. Brock took advantage of the soaked behemoth to fire a shot into its arms, followed by a Whirlwind from Tenku carrying it high into the air.

"HAH!" Wendy fired one last beam as the behemoth fell to earth, making the entire room glow so brightly, even Hinata, Terra, Emi, and the Eevees had to shield their eyes.

[I-is it over?] Raku fearfully stammered as he tensely stepped out into the room after an uneasy silence.

[Can we come out?] Satomi called.

Her tiny eyes turned to stars when she heard Brock's voice say "The coast is clear--our foe is fallen."

[YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!] Raku cheered as he dashed into Wendy's arms.

[Victory!] Emi struck a triumphant pose on the behemoth's lifeless body.

[That's right, Emi...we won...] Mizuchi smiled as the weary group made their way into the next room, which had a strangely comforting green glow.

Sure enough, Meloetta was waiting for them in the small shrine-like room. "Well done, seekers of the Fire Ruby. You have proven yourselves in battle, and by defeating the beast that guards my Glimmering Baton, I will allow you to use its magic to enchant your weapons." With that, she showed the group a small pillow wrapped in white lay on an altar. A shining silver baton lay in the center of the pillow, periodically pulsing with a green aura.

"Thank you, Meloetta." Wendy smiled as she gently touched the tip of her blade to the tiny baton, making it gain an identical green aura.

"We promise not to abuse this power, nor any other power you have for us." Brock agreed as he touched an arrow to the baton, making his quiver refill with arrows with sparkling green fletching.

Meloetta smiled. "The baton's power allows your weapons to attack any target, including targets they would normally not be able to hit--this will come in handy as you explore the tower further, as well as the other sanctums." She let that hang as a door leading to the fourth floor opened...
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  #31    
Old June 20th, 2013 (09:14 AM).
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Episode 29: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 8)



"Careful, everyone..." Brock cautioned as he carefully led the group down a steep slope that served as an entrance to a tunnel.

[I could use a break from adventuring...] Hinata groaned...

[You should be one to talk--I actually had to fight back there!] Mizuchi snapped

"Hey!" Brock quickly pulled Hinata and Mizuchi apart. "To be fair, there's nothing Hinata could've done to help us in the battle." he assured Mizuchi. "Water creatures defeat fire."

Mizuchi sighed. [You're right...I just hope there is a safe haven somewhere in here...]

There is, seekers--on the fifth floor. Ariane's voice assured the group. But you must figure out the secrets of this tunnel to rest.

"Good--I hope we don't run into any more monsters...." Even Wendy was exhausted from the long journey upward.

[i]Consider the runes on the wall of the tunnel.</i> Ariane explained, Of all these runes, two of them are larger and shine brighter than the others--one leads closer to the fifth floor, and the other will lead you right back to where you started. So which one is the way forward?

Just then, Emi spotted two large runes on each end of the wall--a blue starburst, and a red flower bud-like shape. [I see them!]

"But which one do we touch?" Wendy reminded Emi. "That's what we have to figure out."

Brock dug a coin from one pocket. "Let's try flipping a coin to choose what will hopefully be the right rune." He showed Wendy the side with a Pikachu face. "This is heads..." He then showed her the side depicting the Kanto League crest. "This is tails."

Wendy watched Brock flip the coin. "Heads...."

[Tails!] Terra called.

Brock studied the coin when it landed on the floor. "It's heads...we'll try the star rune. Since you won the toss, do you want to touch it?" he asked Wendy.

"Sure." Wendy hurried over to the glowing blue star-like rune and gently pressed her hand on it, revealing an exit tunnel lined with glowing fungi and crystals.

[That's the right one.] Tenku smiled.

"I wouldn't touch those if I were you..." Wendy cautioned as she pulled Raku and Satomi away from the fungi. "You could get sick, or something."

"And I probably wouldn't know how to treat any sickness those mushrooms infect." Brock added.

The lit tunnel appeared to go on forever and wind in all directions, but when the group finally reached the stairway leading to the fifth floor, they found what looked like a lounge or a coffeehouse. Meloetta was waiting at the door with a smile. "Well done--you're now halfway up the Tower of Runes. I created this place for you to rest, so if you're hungry, thirsty, tired, or just want to relax, you are welcome to do so at no charge."

[YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!] Raku and Satomi wasted no time in playing "chase" around a pole by a table.

"Let's get a bite to eat, okay?" Brock suggested as he led Emi through a majestic buffet piled high with just about any food imaginable.

Wendy, meanwhile, sprawled on a beanbag chair with a fantasy novel. This may not be heaven, but it's the next best thing--we've earned it after all this way...
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  #32    
Old June 27th, 2013 (08:03 AM).
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Episode 30: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 9)


After resting and restocking on supplies, the group climbed up to the sixth floor only to emerge in what looked for all intents and purposes like a forest. [Wow...wonder how they got all the plants and trees in here to grow...] Emi wondered as she looked around at the beautiful array of trees and exotic flowers.

"This is Meloetta's domain, so she probably sang all of these flowers and trees into existence." Brock explained before coming to a suspended bridge leading to the next area. "Oh great, I figured we'd have to cross a rickety old bridge hanging over a great big drop into oblivion sooner or later..."

[Who am I to think it's gonna break as soon as we're halfway across?] Raku shuddered as he looked into the huge chasm the bridge hung over.

[Or worse, monsters break the bridge?] Satomi added.

"That only happens in the movies, you two." Wendy assured the Eevees as she motioned for the group to follow her to the bridge.

"But just in case..." Brock tied some rope around an arrow and aimed for a target-shaped inlay in the crumbling stone building that lead further into the tower. "We'll make another bridge out of rope." With that, he fired, making a small rope walkway over the bridge and the chasm.

"Don't think one rope will be enough..." Wendy was unsure if Brock's walkway would hold with two humans and a variety of Pokemon on a single rope.

[Then make it two ropes thick!] Emi suggested, offering Brock another arrow with a rope tied to it.

[Or three!] Raku gave Brock another arrow with rope not long after the second one impacted.

After Brock had made the rope bridge about five ropes thick, Terra carefully worked her way across the chasm tying the ropes together. [Okay, guys!] she yelled from the other end. [Let's see if this bridge will hold you!]

Wendy watched intently as Brock swung himself up onto the five rope thick bridge and carefully made his way across, ever aware of the rickety bridge and the chasm it hung over. I can't let go from here--what if that bridge is as rickety as it looks, or triggers some kind of trap if you step on it? Either way--a long plunge into the dark would not be fun.

He looked back at Wendy and the Pokemon watching him grab sections of rope to propel himself across and grinned--an assurance that so far, the rope was holding him safely.

After he had safely made it to the other side with Terra, he whistled to the others, as if telling them "Come on, it's safe!" He watched Wendy and the Pokemon climb across, then once the entire group was safely on the other end, they went inside the ruined building, which held the stairway leading up to the seventh floor of the tower.

Once the group had arrived at a large and ornate door leading to a large foyer, Wendy noticed a block of text hidden in the elaborate jewel studded designs."Ye that seek the ruby's song,
"To get this far, you must be strong
After this, one guardian waits to fight
Then after an appropriate show of might
You will open the way with rainbow light
But what is the song within ruby red?
We'll never tell you--not even after we're dead!"

Mizuchi groaned. [I hate riddles...]

"No, it's not a riddle, it's a fortune of some kind..." Wendy mused. "After we finish the puzzle in here, we fight one last monster to pass into the upper floors of the tower."

"Then we solve one last puzzle to enter the Fire Ruby's shrine." Brock added.

[I don't get the last part....] Raku complained as the beautiful door opened. [What do the last lines m--!] Just then he noticed a skeleton in front of him. [YIPE!!!!] He scrambled onto Wendy's shoulder, shuddering in fear.

[There's bones everywhere!] Terra noted as she looked around at the variety of human and Pokemon skeletons dotting the large room. Some of them were old and rotting, while a few looked fairly recent.

Just then, Terra spotted one skeleton holding a scrap of paper. After carefully prying the yellowed paper from the bony fingers, she balked at the odd rune-like writing that only vaguely resembled English letters. [Hey guys, I found a clue!]

Wendy hurried over and examined the runes. "Gao...go...gio..." she mused. "Whatever language this is, I can't read it...."

"Here's another one!" Brock frantically waved another scrap he had pilfered from a Growlithe skeleton. "I think it says 'yiisha or 'yishpa' or something like that."

[I found one too!] Satomi dropped another paper scrap in Wendy's hands. [What does it say?]

"Looks like 'nes' or 'neis'....can't tell if that E-like rune is an E or an E and an I." Wendy told Satomi.

"So so far we have what might be 'Gao yiisha neis..." Brock mused as the Pokemon examined each of the skeletons for paper scraps.

An hour or so later....

"Okay...we found a grand total of six paper scraps." Brock explained as he finished arranging the scraps into what he felt was a complete sentence. "Gao yiisha neis..." he repeated his prediction for the first three words. "Chiel or chier; since we don't know if the last character is an R or an L..." he explained, gesturing to the fourth scrap. "The fifth scrap clearly says 'com', but the last one I'm not sure what it says."

"Gao yiisha neis chiel com...whatever the last word is." Wendy mused. "That makes zero sense."

[What if it's Daddy's gibberish song for fire spells in a story?] Emi suggested. [It could spell that!]

"It's worth a try, sweetie..." Brock cleared his throat, then sang the familiar song. Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

[It worked!] Raku cheered as the door on the other end of the room rumbled open.

"Don't get your hopes up yet, Raku..." Wendy warned as the group started up the stairs to the eighth floor. "We'll see if that's the actual song when we get to the shrine of the Fire Ruby."

To Be Continued....
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  #33    
Old June 27th, 2013 (09:25 PM).
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I've got one word for you: extensive. Great action sequence though, and I love how it's set in a region near Kanto with Brock as the main character
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  #34    
Old June 28th, 2013 (06:09 AM).
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Thank you--I wanted to write something that explained what I thought Brock is (or was, if he's coming back for the X/Y arc) doing while Ash was in Unova
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  #35    
Old July 11th, 2013 (12:56 PM). Edited November 5th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 31: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 10)


"This is it...what I hope is our last combat challenge before the shrine of the Fire Ruby." Brock reminded the Pokemon. "Terra, look after the little ones, okay?"

[Got it!] Terra replied.

[I hope your electric arrows work against whatever monsters' in there...] Raku shuddered as an ominous roar echoed through the entry foyer.

[That sounded like a dragon...] Tenku noted as the group entered a large and spacious courtyard lined by fountains and trees.

Hinata's eyes widened when she noticed a dragon that shone in every color of the rainbow awaiting them on the courtyard's other end. [It IS a dragon!]

Hold, seekers... came an oddly pleasant male voice that echoed through the group's minds. For what reason do you seek the Fire Ruby?

"We come because the seal of fire is weakening against Giratina's hold, and Meloetta has seen us worthy to undertake the quest all seekers must take." Wendy explained, figuring it was the majestic glittering dragon that spoke to them.

The dragon closed its eyes for a moment. You have indeed been proven worthy by Meloetta, and braved many trials on your way up here...but as guardian of the Shrine, no seeker will pass through to the Fire Ruby unless they prove themselves to me in combat and with their mettle.

[But if you die, then who will protect this place?] Hinata asked.

We prism dragons cannot die, for we guard the Legendary Pokemon of heaven, and so are immortal like them. the dragon explained. I have been mortally wounded many times over, and yet I now stand before you, unharmed.

Wendy thought for a moment. Since we can't defeat it per se...maybe it will let us through after a few rounds! "How many rounds of combat shall we engage?" she asked the dragon as she drew her blade.

Since your quest is urgent, I will not delay you any more. the dragon explained. So fourteen rounds will be acceptable.

[Then I will have the honor of taking the first shot!] With that, Mizuchi fired an Ice Beam at the dragon, but despite the chilling attack, the dragon did not even flinch at the cold blast.

"Hah!" Wendy fired a beam from her blade at the dragon, but aiming too low caused the beam to ricochet off the stone courtyard and off of a wall before finally disappearing.

Mizuchi next ran at the dragon and bit its leg, but for all intents and purposes, she may have been biting pure steel. [Now I remember why I don't bite dragons that often--their skin is tough!]

"Then again, not even an Ice Beam can faze this guy!" Wendy agreed as she fired another beam. This time, the beam landed in the dragon's stomach, but the blast of energy at the beam's impact only made the dragon stumble.

"Well, if blades and beams aren't helping, let's try a bow." Brock suggested as he readied a shot. Wendy watched as the arrow raced towards the dragon's shoulder, but only barely penetrated the skin before falling to the ground. "Then again, the point of this isn't to kill he dragon--just to see how our combat ability has grown over our adventure in here."

Not one to be deterred, he fired another arrow, only for that to bounce off the dragon skin as well. A second arrow fared no differently.

But what caught everyone off guard was a blast of rainbow light from the prism dragon! [It's bright!] Hinata gasped as the bright rainbow explosion caused everyone to shield their eyes, hoping to Arceus they would not be blinded by the harsh attack.

Yet Tenku hurled a whirlwind, Mizuchi fired another Ice Beam, Wendy fired another beam, which Tenku used as a guideline for an Aerial Ace, Brock tried an arrow, and Hinata hurled a Flame Burst before the prism dragon finally conceded All right...I concede defeat--you are all quite skilled at your weapons. Now only one puzzle remains... He let that hang as the door to the ninth floor rumbled open...

To Be Continued...
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  #36    
Old July 18th, 2013 (12:13 PM).
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Episode 32: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 11)


"Almost there..." Brock assured the group as they arrived in the large open room that took up the entire ninth floor. At the other end of the room stood a large door with four spherical indentations and a box of balls nearby.

Wendy recognized the indentations in the door. "Our final challenge is a giant game of Mastermind!" She hurried over to the door and set two purple balls and two yellow balls in the door. "I love playing this with the Eevees..."

[Yeah, she's stumped us with some hard ones before!] Raku smiled.

Brock watched as three red lights and a yellow light under one of the yellow balls appeared under the code. "Purple ones are wrong outright, yellow ball A is right, but in the wrong place, and yellow ball B is wrong."

Maybe if I moved the yellow ball to the second place... After replacing the other three balls and moving the yellow ball to the second place, her eyes lit up as three green lights appeared under her new code.

"Three of those are correct and in the right place, but the question now is which one is the wrong one." Brock reported.

[The green one's wrong!] Satomi suggested.

[Yeah, the green one has to be wrong.] Raku agreed.

Wendy grimaced after replacing the green ball with an orange ball and only two green lights appearing. "Sorry guys...it's not the green one."

After replacing the first blue ball with a red ball, the group cheered as the door lit up and rumbled open into a large, open room seemingly made of crystal, where a large ruby hovered over an altar.

[Is this the heavens?] Tenku asked as she admired the sparkling crystal decorations in the room.

[I'm not sure, but it's the next best thing!] Terra smiled as she looked out on the treetops, city buildings, and mountains from a balcony.

[You can see the whole region from here, I bet!] Mizuchi smiled as she allowed Emi on her head to get a better look at the view.

"Congratulations." Meloetta smiled as Brock and Wendy arrived on the top floor. "You have done well passing the Tower's trials, and have arrived in the shrine of the Fire Ruby. By accepting this power, I trust you will not use it for your own selfish gains."

"We would have never battled our way up here if we didn't know the conditions and risks involved." Wendy replied.

"We also understand the quest we accept with this power, and what will happen if and when we ever have to do what you did many millenia ago." Brock added. "Arceus hoping we don't have to."

"Very well...which of you will accept their power first?" Meloetta asked.

After a few tense seconds, Brock stepped forward. "I will."

"Stand before the Fire Ruby." Meloetta commanded. When Brock was facing the glowing red stone, she continued. "It will judge your heart, and if you are found to be pure, it will allow you to sing the song that will awaken the magic in your heart."

Wendy and the Pokemon watched in awe as a red beam of light streaked from the Fire Ruby and into Brock's heart. After a few tense seconds, a red aura formed around Brock's entire body. [What's happening?] Raku screeched, worried that Brock was dying.

Just then, Wendy heard Brock start to sing a haunting melody. Gatrandis favel secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Kacoradis favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...


Brock's aura glowed even brighter on his final E note, prompting the Pokemon to shield their eyes.

When the aura finally faded, everyone heaved a sigh of relief when they saw Brock was all right. "You did it...you awakened the magic in your heart." Meloetta smiled.

"Although...what did I just sing?" Brock asked, still a little woozy from the ordeal. "Does it mean anything we mortals can know?"

"It is a promise to the Fire Ruby, the other Gems, and Arceus." Meloetta explained. "So you only have to sing the song this one time. As for what it means, it translates to 'I open my heart to accept this secret power, and I promise to end evil's rule. The song in my heart becomes this power. Will I fight even to the end? Yes."

"Wow!" Wendy gasped.

"I have my magic, now it's your turn." Brock assured Wendy.

Wendy swallowed hard and closed her eyes as she stepped before the majestic red jewel. After a few tense seconds, a red beam of light streaked from the Fire Ruby and into her heart.

[Is Wendy gonna die?] Satomi worried as the single red beam expanded into a bright red aura around Wendy's body.

"I did this too, and I feel just fine, okay?" Brock assured Satomi.

Inside the aura, Wendy heard the Fire Ruby speak to her in a gentle voice. Thy heart is pure, and you have proven thyself worthy of receiving my song and the songs of my fellows.

"Thank you." Wendy replied.

But there is one more thing you must do. the Ruby continued. Sing me your promise that you will wield our power respectfully, so help you Arceus.

Wendy nodded, and began singing the same melody Brock had sang before. Gatrandis favel secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Kacoradis favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...


As Wendy's final Bb rang through the room, she felt the aura glowing brighter as a mysterious power flowed through her. I don't know what's going on, but I feel like I could shoot fire through my blade--or my fingers! Or run faster than even the Guardian Beasts! Or lift more than a Machamp!

The aura around her faded a few moments later. "What was that?" she wheezed as Brock ran to embrace her. "I feel like I've ran ten miles!"

"That's normal that both of you would feel tired...you both have immense power flowing through you now, and your bodies are not used to it yet." Meloetta smiled. "But the more you hone and train your power, the less tired you'll feel."

"At any rate, we're done here." Brock smiled. "The first in recent memory to brave the Tower of Runes and survive."

Meloetta nodded. "I will return you to the entrance so you don't have to make a perilous journey down."

With that, Brock, Wendy, and the Pokemon disappeared in a flash of green light as Meloetta sang Karuto, iichiida shou...

To Be Continued...
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  #37    
Old July 25th, 2013 (12:15 PM). Edited July 26th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 33: "Taking Team Elegy by surprise! A familiar spellsong turns the tide!"



As the group materialized at the entrance of the Tower of Runes, a familiar voice sneered "So, we meet again, Squinty-eyes..."

Brock whirled around and gasped when he recognized the Team Elegy grunt he had battled back in Crystone Town. "What are you doing here?" he growled.

"And what do you guys want?" Wendy added.

"Well, since you two are the first two to ever climb the Tower of Runes and survive, I was wondering if you could tell us what's in there so we can climb it too." the grunt explained.

"H-how did you know we were here?" Wendy gasped, amazed that Team Elegy had somehow learned of their location.

"Oh, informants in Honoru and the radar at our base in Akari City." the grunt explained. "So talk and we'll let you go on your way."

[Like we'd ever tell you guys anything!] Mizuchi snarled before dousing the grunt with a Water Gun attack.

The grunt just grimaced as Brock nocked an arrow and Wendy drew her blade. "Why do we always have to fight?" he sighed. "All I want to know is info about the tower and what secrets it holds..."

"Because then you'd destroy the Fire Ruby!" Wendy snapped back. "And we're not gonna let you do that!"

"Besides, you're the only one here, so it's five against one!" Brock taunted. After discretely motioning for Terra to led Emi and the Eevees to safety in a nearby bush, he added "And that's no fair fight!"

"So its a fair fight you want?" The grunt whistled, and roughly ten more grunts climbed out from rocks, trees and other bushes. "That better?"

Wendy swallowed hard--she hadn't counted on Team Elegy members hidden in the brush. But Brock studied the other four grunts that had now joined their leader on the battlefield. "That's an even match, but we're not going down without a fight."

"We'll see how fast you change your tune and tell us about the tower or the other gems once Loudred's done with you." the grunt smirked.

"Tenku, take down the Kricketots and Kiricketunes on the left..." Wendy began, pointing out Tenku's target.

"Hinata, help Tenku." Brock told Hinata.

"Mizuchi, you take those Roggenrolas over there..." Wendy next pointed out a gaggle of Roggenrolas some other Team Elegy grunts had summoned. "We'll deal with the Loudred."

[Got it!] Hinata replied.

The grunt confidently grinned as he heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Come on out, Loudred!"

Chaos ensured as Hinata burned a Kricketot with a Flame Burst, but Brock studied the mammalian Pokemon with large speaker-like ears before him--how best to fight off a Loudred with minimal injuries?

A Beedrill hive hanging over the Loudred's head spurred an idea. Maybe if I can knock the hive down, the angry Beedrill swarm should scare Team Elegy away!

He fired a shot at the hive, which tumbled to the ground, making panicked screams fill the air as the angry Beedrills streamed from the hive.

The Loudred, undeterred from the Beedrill stings dotting its hide, took a deep breath and unleashed a deafening roar, knocking Brock to the ground. He tried to get up, but the repeated roars knocked him back down again and again.

"You've got nowhere to run now, and unless you have some surprise up your sleeve, we're taking your friend to interrogate her on the locations of the remaining Gems of Song." the Team Elegy grunt growled as Brock struggled to get up. "Unless you wanna be a sport about it and tell us yourself."

"I will...not...allow...the gems...to fall into evil hands..." Brock groaned, his head still spinning from the force of the Loudred's Hyper Voice and his body aching from the impact on the ground.

"Brock, no!" Wendy screeched as more Team Elegy grunts surrounded her in preparation to take her away. "You can't take another attack!"

"In fact..." Brock continued. "I DO have another...surprise up my sleeve..."

"Oh, really?" the grunt asked. "What is it?"

Ruby of fire that burns in my heart, grant me your power to save me...and my friend. Brock silently prayed before slowly and weakly singing Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., making a red aura form around him and Wendy as the crowd of Team Elegy grunts gasped in surprise.

[No way!] Mizuchi gasped.

[One of Daddy's gibberish spellsongs is actually magic????] Emi was just as surprised.

"Gibberish or not, I suddenly feel a whole lot stronger..." Wendy mused, awed by the aura surrounding her. "And I feel like giving someone a knuckle sandwich..." she growled as she whirled around and punched the head grunt, sending him flying into the crowd of other grunts.

Brock eased himself to his feet as he sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... again, conjuring glowing red needles from his fingers.

"Retreat!" one grunt called as the needles went flying, Wendy looking on wide eyed all the while.

[I can't believe it...] Tenku mused as the Team Elegy grunts fled. [Brock actually cast an actual magical spell!]

"Well, I was already mad at them for battering me with Hyper Voice, and madder still for their wanting to destroy the Fire Ruby..." Brock explained. "So I channeled my anger into two spells--one to boost our strength, and another to create the fire needles."

"In fact, the spellsong can do many different things depending on the singer's mood and the current situation." Meloetta explained as she appeared before the group and healed the damaged Beedrill hive. "I commend you for using yours well."

"Well, since Team Elegy's gone..." Wendy paused to sheathe her blade. "I wanna see what I can do with my power."

"You may train here all you like." Meloetta assured the group. "It is safe here, and you're not likely to damage anything."

"Okay..." Wendy looked out on the lights of Honoru City in the distance. "We've had a long day, and it's getting late...and I'm sure Ardea would love hearing about our adventure...."

A playful smile formed on her face. "Last one to the city's a rotten Exeggcute!"

"But--!" Brock started to protest over Wendy singing Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... "No fair using magic!" he complained as he struggled to keep up with Wendy's blazing aura....
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  #38    
Old August 8th, 2013 (02:24 PM). Edited November 5th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 34: "Becoming a beloved friend! Character Karaoke! (part 1)"


"Let's see...if we keep following the road, we should arrive in Seikaku Town very soon." Wendy assured the group. After their harrowing encounter with Team Elegy at the Tower of Runes, Ardea had told them to keep moving and find the other seven Gems of Song. Not to mention the main PokeTheater is in Akari City too... she reminded herself.

[We're not going somewhere boring, are we?] Satomi sighed.

"Oh no, Satomi..." Wendy smiled as she gently picked up the antsy Eevee in her arms. "Remember the last time we came and the Character Karaoke?"

The lightbulb went off in Satomi's head. [Oh yeah...the karaoke contest where people sang cartoon and game songs as the characters that sang them!]

[You wanted to try it so bad the last time we were there, but it was getting late, and the lines were getting long.] Tenku added.

"The only time that ever happens in Kanto is around Halloween--and even then there's no prizes involved unless it's being hosted as part of a big party." Brock noted. "That, and you had to sing in English, so no songs from other versions."

[That's a silly rule.] Emi agreed.

"Then again, they probably want everyone to understand what's being sung." Brock mused. "So although it's a silly rule, that's why it's there."

"The Character Karaoke in Minami is VERY different..." Wendy assured Brock. "One, you can sing in any language you want, and two, there's often prizes involved--and Seikaku Town hosts possibly Minami's best competition."

"So I can hypothetically sing 'Concert of Love' as Emerald Leaf in the original Italian if I wanted?" Brock gasped as the rooftops of the town came into view.

"If that's the song you want to sing, go for it!" Wendy smiled.

[I've always wanted to know what Emerald Leaf's original voice sounds like!] Raku pleaded. [Say something as Emerald Leaf in Italian!]

A sly look formed on Brock's face. I have just the line--the original incantation to Emerald Leaf's arrow attack, Gaia's Arrow, with a little dose of spellsong to actually pull it off!

With that, he took an arrow and nocked it. Freccia della furia della terra, prendere il volo! he intoned as Emerald Leaf as he drew the bowstring.

After a few tense seconds, he announced in English "Gaia's Arrow" before firing his shot.

Raku gasped as Brock sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... making the flying arrow gain the same sparkling green aura a Gaia's Arrow was seen to have! [Wow!] he gasped as the sparkling arrow landed in a tree stump with a small flash.

Brock just grinned. "What I said translates to what they used in English--'Arrow of the fury of the earth, take flight!'"

[COOL!!!] both Eevees chorused.

Wendy giggled at the starry eyed Eevees. "If these two loved that, then I can't wait to hear you sing as Emerald Leaf!"

Later, in the Sekaku Town square....

"Here you are--the costume change area." an attendant explained as he led Brock into a backstage area filled with costumes of every shape and size. "Good luck!"

Brock nodded as the attendant departed, then located the Emerald Leaf costume nearby the changing screen.

He heard the crowd roaring for the performer before him when he emerged and put on the headset mic that would protect his own ears and allow him to hear the karaoke track at a reasonable level. Okay, Raku and Satomi...get ready for the show of a lifetime! he smiled as he made his way to the wings. Even if I'm limited to two minutes at the maximum. he thought as the crowd applauded for him.

Once in position on the dark stage, he signaled the stagehand to cue his music, then located Wendy and the Pokemon near the center of the massive crowd. Here we go...

The crowd roared as the familiar driving beat of "Concert of Love" started playing. True to his character, Brock decided to mimic Emerald Leaf's swaying dance for a few beats before singing in character:

Luce brillante di stelle,
fari luminosi lassù...

Vi chiamiamo tutti a raccolta,
costruiamo un mondo migliore insieme noi, da qui,
Ripariamo terra e mare perché,
lo scrosciare della pioggia così si fermerà,
Finirà!


He started mimicking Emerald Leaf's jumping and twirling as he sang the chorus. E' un concerto d'amore per
vivere, sperare in una grande emozione
da un palco di luci e ombre
sentirò la melodia del nostro cuore...


In the audience, Wendy watched, awestruck, at just how well Brock could mimic Emerald Leaf's original singing voice and the dance he did in the show. "Wow! He wasn't kidding when he said he could do the original voice!"

[It's like the real Emerald Leaf is up there onstage!] Raku sighed dreamily.

[Well, why didn't you sign up?] Satomi wondered.

Wendy hung her head. "First, I wasn't sure if they had any open spots, and two...I'm afraid of singing onstage."

[All this about being an actress, and now you're afraid of going onstage?] Tenku was surprised.[Listen...you may end up doing a musical on your PokeTheater journey--and that requires you to sing]

[Yeah--just pretend it's your big scene in a musical!] Hinata suggested.

"You're right...maybe I do need to face that fear, if only for the PokeTheater." Wendy smiled as Brock concluded his performance to thunderous applause. After applauding her friend, she whispered to the Pokemon "Whatever you do, don't tell him I've signed up too--I want it to be a surprise."

[Promise!] the Pokemon chorused as Wendy made her way to the sign up table...
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  #39    
Old August 15th, 2013 (08:05 AM).
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Episode 35: "Becoming a beloved friend! Character Karaoke!" (part 2)


After changing out of costume, Brock strolled back to the spot near the sign up tables where the Pokemon were waiting, but Wendy was nowhere in sight. "Guys? Where did Wendy go?"

Hinata froze--she couldn't let Brock know about Wendy's plan to surprise him! [She said she wanted to look around at some of the other performers.]

Thankfully, Brock bought Hinata's lie. "All right...did you see which direction she went? I'll go look around what route she didn't take so we can both meet back here.

[She went that way.] Terra replied, pointing off to the left

[Nice cover, Hinata.] Tenku whispered as Brock departed. [If you had used your original idea of Wendy shopping or buying food, Brock would panic after he checked every stall]

[And the last thing we want is Daddy mad.] Emi agreed. [Especially now that he can cast magic.] The Pokemon nervously giggled as they pictured what would most likely happen when--or if, Brock figured out Hinata had lied.

Meanwhile, in the backstage area...

Okay...hopefully Brock bought the Pokemon's distraction... Wendy thought as she was escorted into the backstage area. Now to see if they have any wigs for the Idolmaster characters back here...

She stepped over some canes, feather boas, top hats, and other props scattered about the floor before finding a box marked "WIGS" Ah ha!

After digging through the wigs in the box, she found a familiar royal blue haired wig. This is Chihaya's hair, all right!

She tucked the wig under her arm and started looking through the bewildering array of costumes by the changing screen. There's the costume Brock wore... she smiled as she discovered the Emerald Leaf costume. A purple dress with silver fleur-de-lis print lay underneath. How pretty! I'm gonna wear this for my performance as Chihaya!

Once satisfied that the costume and the wig fit her and she had procured some white gloves and matching boots, Wendy admired herself in the mirror for a moment, then stepped out in the middle of the floor to practice her performance:

Shiranu ga hotoke hottokenai
Kuchibiru poker face...
she sang in her best mimic of Chihaya.
Yo toudai moto kurashi Do you know!?
Uwasa no funky girl!


After spinning and twirling about the messy room for a moment, Wendy continued singing:

Shinobi komareta atashi no kokoro Yabure kabure no yoru
Tokihanatsu wana Yudan wa taiteki

Sasurau PETEN Shi no aoi toiki (Ah...)
Tegakari ni I wanna Koi dorobo Oh!
Itomeru nara Kakugo yoidore

Onna wa tenka no mawari mono
Shibireru kubire
Iwanu ga Hana to nari chiriru
Himetaru karada...


Some applause startled her from her performance. "Bravo! I thought you said you weren't going to participate this time..."

Wendy whirled around and gasped when she saw Brock framed in the doorway. "I-I had a change of heart after the Pokemon gave me a little heart to heart talk...I wanted to surprise you!"

"Ah, so that's why the Pokemon told me you went to look around." Brock replied as he joined Wendy in the room. "But I could hear you singing all the way out there."

"Y-you're not mad?" Wendy stammered. "For lying to you?"

"Not at all--the real surprise is your working up the courage to do this, even if you had to make sure I didn't know." Brock assured her. "By the way...you make a very convincing Chihaya, voice and all, but let me touch up the costume a bit before you go on."

Wendy nodded as Brock brushed some dust bunnies from the costume and carefully adjusted the wig so it wouldn't fall off. "There...now you're ready to meet your public."

"Thank you..." Wendy heaved a huge sigh of relief as she hugged Brock.

"Remember--be the character." Brock whispered as Wendy got into position on the dark stage.

He heard cheers as the song began and Wendy started singing and dancing in character. Shiranu ga hotoke hottokenai
Kuchibiru poker face...
Yo Toudai Moto kurashi Do you know!?
Uwasa no Funky girl

Shinobi komareta atashi no kokoro Yabure kabure no yoru
Tokihanatsu wana Yudan wa taiteki

Sasurau PETEN Shi no aoi toiki (Ah...)
Tegakari ni I wanna Koi dorobo Oh!
Itomeru nara Kakugo yoidore

Onna wa tenka no mawari mono
Shibireru kubire
Iwanu ga Hana to nari chiriru
Himetaru karada...

Amaku mitaraba Massakasama Fly away
Karamaru SURIRU CHAAJI
Yofukashi no neko Madowasu

Sayonara
Ototoi oide
Oh, saraba
Awayokuba mata (Au!)

Shiranu ga hotoke hottokenai
Kuchibiru poker face
Yo Toudai Moto kurashi Do you know!?
GIRI GIRI de Oazuke Funky girl!
The crowd roared with applause...

That night...

"I'm so proud of you..." Brock smiled as Wendy admired the silver medallion around her neck. "Second place on your very first try is no small feat!"

"I was shocked too...it made it worth trying to keep it a surprise." Wendy agreed before noticing the bronze medallion Brock had received."You did very well yourself, but that guy that did Arran Seluna to beat you out for gold really had the character down!"

Yeah--he put my portrayal of Arran to shame." Brock agreed before changing the subject. "Whether this was beginner's luck or true talent, I don't know yet, but it will really help you in the PokeTheater."

"Really?" Wendy asked.

Brock nodded. "Just be aware that the PokeTheater may not be so forgiving..."
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  #40    
Old August 22nd, 2013 (10:08 AM).
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Episode 36: "A hero takes flight! Tenku's rescue!"

Meanwhile, in a unknown location in Minami....

A brown haired woman studies the endless streams of information that appear on the massive computer screen before her. As the boss of Team Elegy, the massive machine--whose screen alone nearly took up an entire wall-- allowed her to keep tabs on any Team Elegy admin and the millions of operatives anywhere in Minami.

"Boss!" The frantic cry of an admin snapped her from her bemused trance. "Spellsongs have been heard at the Tower of Runes!"

"Really?" the woman asked as she turned to address the dull purple haired girl in a nicer navy blue outfit with a little silver trim on the torso and the pants. "Where did you hear this rumor, Hibiki?"

"The commander in charge told me two explorers came out of the tower, and when the commander asked them to disclose the wonders inside, they decided to fight." Hibiki continued. "The commander battered one with his Loudred, but just before he could deliver the final blow, the explorer sang one of the holy spellsongs!" Hibiki explained.

"Did he tell you what this song sounded like?" The woman is still skeptical of Hibiki's story.

Hibiki thinks for a moment. "From what I understand, the spellsong sounded like 'Vao wiisho nas chier com yutuu' or something like that...very strange words none of us have heard before."

The woman contemplates what Hibiki has told her as she gets up from the computer. "If what you say is true, we need to have the spellsingers appear again and demonstrate their art for me."

"But how will we find them, boss?" another admin asks as he joins Hibiki in the room. "We've lost all trace of them since the incident."

"I have a multi-pronged strategy to capture them..." the woman explains. "First, we could try capturing a Pokemon. If they elude us or defeat us there, we can try cornering them on Mt. Taka. If that still doesn't work, we can either capture one of their own Pokemon or lure them to our warehouse in Akari City."

The male admin grins. "You think of everything, boss."

"That's why we love you." Hibiki agrees before turning business-like again. "I'll dispatch a stealth team to Poke-nap a Pokemon right away."

Elsewhere, on the road to Akari City...

[Just think, we're getting close to Mt. Taka!] Raku smiled as he looked over at Wendy studying the map. [You think we can mine gems there?]

"Maybe, if we can find one of the rivers the public can use." Wendy replied as she wrapped Raku's ribbon around his neck like a scarf. "There...now you won't trip and fall."

A male voice calling "Cobalt, where are you?" snapped her to attention. "Someone lost a Pokemon!" She hurried over to a nearby field, where a male cooltrainer was tearfully searching the grass for any sign of his Lucario.

"Need some help?" Brock asked as he joined the cooltrainer in the grass.

The cooltrainer heaved a relieved sigh. "I need all the help I can get right now. "I stopped to camp here in hopes I could travel through the Moonlight Forest and on to Mt. Taka in the morning. I turned my Lucario, Cobalt, loose to train so he could keep the wild Mightyenas that roam in the area away. But when I got back from fishing for our dinner, Cobalt was gone."

"Do you know who took him?" Wendy asked as she and the Pokemon combed the grass for any clues.

"The only clues I have to go on is this odd crying eye sign I found in my camp, and some charred grass, probably where Cobalt tried fighting his attackers." the cooltrainer explained before realizing he had not introduced himself to his Arceus sent helpers. "My name's Kendall, by the way."

"Nice to meet you." Wendy replied before assigning her Pokemon an area to search. "Raku, Satomi, stay with Brock and Kendall and help them look for stuff in the grass."

[Okay!] Raku replied before eagerly bounding into a patch of flowers.

[You know, it's times like this I wish I was an Espeon.] Satomi sighed. [I could telepathically sense where Cobalt went, and we wouldn't have to work this hard....]

"Mizuchi, ask the river Pokemon if they saw anything." Wendy continued doling out instructions.

[Roger!] Mizuchi replied as she hurried off to a river flowing just past a hill.

[I'll look from the air!] Tenku volunteered before fluttering off into the forest canopy.

A few hours later...

Tenku made good time through the forest, but her powerful eyes yielded no sign of Cobalt. She had seen pawprints of Lucarios, but they all were from wild ones--a trained Lucario's strides were farther apart than a wild one's.

She landed on an oak tree branch with a sigh. [I've looked through this whole forest from top to bottom, and no sign of him anywhere!] she screeched in frustration.

[Hello?] a weak voice asked. [Have you come to help me?]

[Who's there?] Tenku called. [Friend or foe?]

After a few tense seconds, a Lucario crawled out from some bushes, every so often picking burs from his blue, black and cream fur. [I mean no harm to you, and hope you came to help me.]

The lightbulb went off in Tenku's head--this exhausted and afraid Lucario was indeed Cobalt! [I came to help you, Cobalt--your master's worried sick!]

The Lucario mustered a weak smile, pleased the Pidgeotto in the tree knew him. [Where is my master? I want to find him before those blue people with the crying eye return.]

<i>Team Elegy!</i> Tenku thought. [Just follow me, I'll guide you to him, okay?] With that, she took off towards the forest edge, making sure to fly slowly so as not to tire the Lucario further.

Back at the forest edge...

"No sign of him in the grass..." Brock sighed.

[The river Pokemon didn't see anything like a struggle...] Mizuchi reported.

Kandall thought for a moment. "I think I know why those owners of the crying eye wanted Cobalt--they wanted to force him to transform into the legendary spirit Kimal."

"Kimal?" Wendy was interested.

"Who's he?" Brock was just as intrigued.

"Kimal was a very powerful Lucario that lived long ago." Kendall explained. "One day, he saved Meloetta from some Mightyenas, and in her plight, Meloetta sang one of her songs of power. This powered up Kimal even more, making him grow even taller, changing his markings, and turning his paws and ears red with fury. Needless to say, those Mightyenas got a beating they never forgot! But they say that Kimal's spirit sleeps in all Riolus and Lucarios to this day, only to be awakened by the song of Meloetta or one of her chosen."

"Wow..." Wendy was impressed.

Just then, Tenku emerged from the brush, with Cobalt not far behind. [I found him!] Tenku announced. [He's very tired and hungry, but alive.]

Kendall raced into the grass and embraced the Lucario. "Oh, Cobalt...I'm so glad you're okay!"

[I'm just as glad to see you too.] Cobalt wheezed. {Arceus knows what my captors had planned for me...]

"Speaking of captors, we've got company!" Brock called before nocking an arrow and aiming at a gaggle of Team Elegy grunts running up the hill.

"There he is!" one grunt called, but before she could pull Cobalt away, Tenku sent a gust of wind flying, knocking her to the ground.

"Run for it!" Wendy instructed Kendall as she drew her blade to face the crowd of Roggenrolas the grunts had summoned. "Take Cobalt somewhere safe!"

"I'll stay with them and support you and Tenku!" Brock volunteered as he led Kendall and Cobalt towards some bushes at the forest entrance, about 40 feet from where the battle raged.

[You sure you know what you're doing, Sir Brock?] Cobalt asked as Brock readied an arrow to fire at a Roggenrola about to use Smack Down on Tenku.

"Sure I do." Brock replied before firing his shot, which knocked the Roggenrola to the ground. "I had training from Ardea."

[The archer of flame???] Cobalt gained star eyes. [They say her skill at the bow rivals many heroes of legend!]

"I know...I had to save one of her Pokemon too." Brock replied before firing another shot at a Beedrill hive, making the grunts scatter in panic.

Wendy meanwhile, cut a large gash in another Roggenrola, making it faint. Mizuchi doused three more in a Water Pulse, making it easier for Brock's next shot to hit. But Tenku saw her chance as a Boldore lumbered up the hill. Bringing out the big guns, are we?

She dove and rammed the Boldore with a hard Aerial Ace, but the Boldore hardly batted an eye. Not even Mizuchi or Wendy's blade made a dent in the massive rock Pokemon's skin, and Brock's next arrow only bounced off with a tink

Brock sighed when he saw his arrow merely bounce off the Boidore. "Cobalt...I know you're weakened right now, but I need your help to protect us and your master."

[How?] Cobalt asked. [I know I have an advantage over that Boldore, but even at my normal strength, such a Pokemon is tough to defeat!]

"Just let me lay my hands on you--I'm going to try and awaken the spirit of Kimal that sleeps within all Riolus and Lucarios." Brock explained.

Cobalt nodded and closed his eyes as Brock laid his hands on Cobalt's chest, being careful to not be poked by the spike in the middle. Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

Kandall gasped in awe as Cobalt was surrounded by a red aura, making him grow several inches taller. When the aura from Brock's spell faded, his markings were more pronounced, and the tips of his ears and paws had turned red. "I don't believe it--Cobalt's become Kimal!"

[And I will save you, Master.] Cobalt replied, his voice now deeper sounding.

With that, he dashed into the crowd of Roggenrolas, his paws a mere red blur as many of them were sent flying. When all the Roggenrolas were defeated, he spotted the Boldore. Wendy and the Pokemon watched in awe as the Bodore fired a Power Gem, but Colbalt countered with a giant Aura Sphere.

The two attacks met in a giant explosion of light. but when the light faded, the Boldore had fainted, and only Colbalt was still standing. [My captors have fallen...] he assured the group. [We have won.] With that, the transformation wore off, shrinking Cobalt back to normal size and with his normal markings.

Kendall ran to embrace Cobalt. "Not only were your rescuers Arceus sent, but one of them is Meloetta's chosen, at least!"

He smiled at Brock and Wendy. "Thank you so much for everything! I know it's not much of a reward, but if you're traveling to Mt. Taka too, you can spend the night with us."

"We would be honored." Wendy replied as she and Brock followed Kendall and Cobalt to their camp...
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  #41    
Old August 29th, 2013 (10:25 AM). Edited August 29th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 37: "A reluctant admin! Hibiki's flight!"


Hibiki laid awake in her room by Aika's quarters. Team Elegy's moving out to Mt. Taka tomorrow night...but why do I feel this sick feeling, like something bad is about to happen?

Some voices got her attention. "Now, when we arrive in the forest by the mountain, I want each team to seek out the dens of the Mightyenas, and set out their firestarters, which I will provide." Aika's voice explained.

"What kind of firestarters, boss?" a male voice asked."Gas? Explosives?"

"Anything you want, as long as it makes a good blaze." Aika's voice replied.

Hibiki froze. No way! All this time as Team Elegy admin, and I never realized that they kill Pokemon???

She covered her face with her hands. I thought Aika was my friend, who would give me a chance to lead a great organization! But now I've heard the truth...and I don't like it at all! I'm getting out of here, and fast!

She climbed out of bed, removed her nightclothes, and after throwing on a casual outfit, began throwing items into a bag. Team Elegy stuff, to be discarded; supplies for a few days...clothes for a few days...

A weak smile formed on her face when she unearthed an instrument case in the clutter. My old autoharp! I haven't played this in years...I can probably re-learn everything or play what few songs I still remember to pass the time...

"Once the Mightyenas have perished, search for Squinty-eyes and Redhead--and see to it their spellsong is silenced." Aika's voice continued as Hibiki finished gathering her possessions.

Hibiki, meanwhile, had carefully sneaked to the base's entrance, discarding her Team Elegy beret and putting on a green one with a white stripe. Good bye, and good riddance, Team Elegy...kill me too, if you want, but I am NOT going to kill innocent Pokemon--nor innocent people, either!

With that, she fled into the night. I don't know where Squinty-eyes and Redhead are, but I have to find them, and let them know what Team Elegy plans to do!

Elsewhere, on a hill overlooking Moonlight Forest...

"Almost there, everyone... Wendy smiled as she led the group up the hill. "We'll camp here for the night, then tomorrow, we'll see Mt. Taka."

A familiar howl snapped Wendy from her thoughts. "Sounds like the Mightyenas on the route are on the prowl with it being a full moon tonight..."

Tears welled up in Emi's eyes. [D-d-daddy...I'm scared those Mightyenas are gonna get me...] she whimpered as the howling in the distance grew louder and more intense.

"They're not gonna get you, okay?" Brock began before he noticed Hinata nudging a slender black instrument case before him. "Huh?"

[You may want to get the big Pokeflute out to calm Emi down...] Hinata suggested. [It never fails to calm any frightened or agitated Pokemon--Emi included.]

[There's bigger Pokeflutes besides the standard sized one?] Mizuchi asked as Brock opened the case and started assembling the large silver flute inside.

"While most people picture the standard sized Pokeflute--thanks in no small part to Ash's incredible skill on it..." Brock explained. "The Pokeflute is actually an entire family of instruments. What I have here..." He paused for a moment to make sure the curved headjoint was in place. "is an alto Pokeflute I received as a gift from doing charity work back home.

"Wow!" Wendy gasped, impressed. "What's the difference between the standard Pokeflute and this one? Besides their size."

"Well, you have to learn a new way to blow and new fingerings--alto Pokeflutes are usually sideblown, although some endblown ones like the standard Pokeflute exist." Brock replied as he nervously fingered his instrument. "The biggest difference is how the music is read--the alto Pokeflute is tuned a fourth below the standard Pokeflute. So middle C on the piano would sound as the G below middle C."

Emi fearfully whining snapped him from his lecture. "For the moment, I'm just gonna pick a note and make something up around it--see if that helps calm Emi down."

With that, he started playing the mighty instrument--making a warm resonant F# echo through the night.

The single note then transformed into a playful, mysterious melody that quieted Emi's cries and silenced the howling Mightyenas. A few Mightyenas approached the camp, interested in the strangely hypnotic song.

But before they could thank Brock for the song, one Mightyena started growling in the direction of the bushes. "Who's there?" Wendy asked, drawing her blade.

Brock scrambled to put the flute away and nocked an arrow. "Friend or foe?" he demanded as he readied his shot.

"A former foe that is now a friend." stammered a frightened female voice. "P-please don't hurt me..."

Wendy raised an eyebrow, interested in what the voice in the bushes said. "Can you at least come out so we can see you?" she asked after silently motioning for Brock to stand down.

After a few tense minutes, Hibiki inched out of the bushes, still very visibly afraid. "Here I am...I want to help you on your adventure to atone for all the terrible things I've done, but i-if y-you don't trust me, that's okay...d-do to me as you will."

"But why did you come find us?" Wendy was both confused and skeptical of the frightened girl's claim.

"My name is Hibiki Aratana--I came to warn you and the Mightyenas..." Hibiki calmly explained, ever aware of the sword in Wendy's hand and the partially nocked bow aimed at her. "Team Elegy plans to set fire to the forest tonight in hopes they can kill or capture as many of the Mightyenas as possible--and possibly kill or capture you guys too."

Tears formed in her eyes. "I may have done some horrible things as an admin of Team Elegy, but I can't believe they would go so far as to kill innocent people and Pokemon...and I want no part of being part of a gang of murderers and Pokemon killers!" With that, she burst into tears.

Wendy glanced over at Brock. "What do you think? Is she telling the truth, or leading us into a trap? We can't just blindly trust her..."

"I know that...and I have an idea..." Brock replied before laying his hands on Hibiki.Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

Hibiki gasped when she saw her chest glow red for a moment, then turn white. "According to my spell, she is telling the truth." Brock explains.

[Does that mean she's good now?] Emi asked.

[I dunno...] Raku swallowed hard.

[My concern is that this is an act.] Tenku replied. [To lead us into the trap.]

[Brock is the leader, so we'll do what he believes is best.] Mizuchi assures the Pokemon. [Even if that means we take her with us.]

Brock thought long and hard for a moment before addressing the group. "Although we all have some very real doubts about Hibiki's claims, I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt for now--at least until we can get her to Akari City and some appropriate support services."

He then addressed Hibiki. "What that means for you is that we will safely escort you to Akari City and any support services you may need as a former Team member. If you can prove to us that what you've told us is true and get rid of everything Team Elegy related, we'll give you the option of staying longer. But if you try anything funny at any time along the way, you'll be going to see the inside of a jail cell. Understand?"

"Okay..." Hibiki finally replied through her tears. "Although, how did you do that glow-y thing on my chest?"

"It's one of the many things the spellsong of the Fire Ruby can do." Brock explained. "Discern if someone is telling the truth. If it turns white after a few seconds, the subject is telling the truth, if it stays red, the subject is lying."

Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Wendy sang to the stars.

Meloetta materialized in the camp a few moments later. "What is it?"

"This is Hibiki, a former Team Elegy member." Wendy explained as Hibiki shyly waved hello. "She's told us Team Elegy plans to attack this place, kill the guardian Mightyenas, and possibly kill us too, but she no longer wishes to be part of, in her words, 'a gang of murderers and Pokemon killers'"

"When I used a discernment spell to see if she was sincere, it turned white, meaning she speaks the truth." Brock added. "We all have our doubts, but the least we can do is take her to Akari City."

Meloetta flew down before Hibiki. "Is it true you wish to learn to use my power of spellsong, and join Brock and Wendy on their quest?"

"I do." Hibiki replied.

"If your request is sincere, you will renounce all your ties to Team Elegy, and sing the song of awakening as a sign that you understand the risks of a seeker." Meloetta explained. "The Fire Ruby will cleanse the evil from your heart, and grant you spellsong."

"You'd really forgive me?" Hibiki gasped, her tears shining hopefully. Meloetta nodded. "Thank Arceus!"

"We have clearly told her what will happen if this is an act." Brock added.

"Just watch over her for now--her behavior will be the best way to tell if she means to change." Meloetta assured Brock before disappearing in a flash of green light.

Brock heard Hibiki's stomach growl. "Have you eaten at all?"

"No--I was not given dinner after objecting to Team Elegy's plan." Hibiki replied as she gratefully accepted a bowl of chili from Brock. "It was just like my mom at home--if you didn't like what the boss said or did, you didn't eat."

[That's not nice!] Satomi gasps.

"See, my mom and dad were very strict--whatever they said, went." Hibiki went on. "The clothes you wore, the songs you listened to, the activities you sighed up for, the games you played, the TV shows you watched--all tightly controlled."

"Sounds like a prison instead of a home." Wendy replied.

"Well, I did get to make my own decision on music lessons--after a heated argument over why I should play an instrument besides piano, violin, or flute, I finally convinced Mom to let me play the autoharp." Hibiki went on. "I decided that was the last straw, and ran away a few months later, taking only a few clothes, my autoharp, and a tin whistle I had secretly bought."

She ate some more chili, then continued. "But I really want to learn to play guitar..."

"Well, until you can get one of your own, would you want to listen to Brock play?" Wendy offered as Hibiki finished her meal.

[He's really good!] Satomi raved.

"I can give you a few tips to remember for when you do get your own." Brock explained as he retrieved the guitar case. "Starting with tune up every time you start playing."

Tune up every time--got it! Hibiki thought as she watched Brock carefully tune his guitar.

Once Brock was ready, he asked "Any requests?"

Hibiki thought for a moment. "Do you know 'Horse with No Name'? I've always felt that song represented my search for somewhere where my decisions are valued."

"Sure do!" With that, Brock started the familiar brisk introduction before singing On the first part of the journey,
I was looking at all the life...
There were plants and birds, and rocks and things,
There was sand, and hills, and rings.....
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz,
And a sky, with no clouds.
The heat was hot, and the ground was dry,
But the air was full of sound....

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name,
It felt good to be out of the rain....
Wendy and Hibiki joined in.
In the desert, you can't remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.
La, la, la la la la, la la la, la, la
La, la, la la la la, la la la, la, la...


TO BE CONTINUED...
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  #42    
Old September 5th, 2013 (10:09 AM).
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Episode 38: "The guardians of Mt. Taka! Fire in the night!"


The mood around the campfire was festive that evening, but the happiest of all was Hibiki. "So this is what it's like to feel happy...I haven't felt like this in years!"

"How bout it? Wanna wow Hibiki with your storytelling?" Wendy smiled.

"What kinds of stories do you tell?" Hibiki was piqued.

"All kinds--fairy tales, adventure tales, historical tales, and tales from my journeys around the world." Brock replied. "So if you have a particular kind you want to hear, let me know."

Happy tears formed in Hibiki's eyes. "I've...never really heard a fairy tale before..."

"Why not?" Wendy was piqued.

"My parents felt that fairies and dragons were not 'proper' reading material, never mind that good triumphs over evil in the end." Hibiki explained. "So instead of Cinderella and Snow White, I ended up reading Pokemon books and books about places--like the Tower of Runes here. Books about fixing and building things were fine too."

"Strict and practical..." Wendy noted.

A weak smile formed on Hibiki's face. "Yeah...I guess you could say that. But through the years, I would secretly check out fairy tale books from the library, and read them when Mom and Dad weren't looking. That is, until I got caught reading one--was marched back to the library and had to return it, and forbidden from checking out more."

[Aww...that's awful...] Satomi sighed.

"If you look past the simple plotlines and REALLY look at fairy tales, you'll find some very good lessons." Brock smiled. "Such as honesty, faithfulness, courage..."

"Believing in yourself..." Wendy added.

"and my two favorites, hope and love." Brock agreed.

Hibiki pondered what her new friends had said. "Interesting...I've never thought of fairy tales like that before..."

[You're in for a treat!] Hinata smiled.

[Brock's really good at telling stories!] Satomi agreed. (He knows a zillion of'em!]

"So what kind of tale do you want to hear?" Brock asked Hibiki.

"Tell the most adventurous, magic filled one you know!" Hibiki replied.

After thinking for a moment, Brock mused "I have a lot that would fit that description, but we'll try this one on for size...it's called 'The Gold Chalice and the Silver Sword'"

With that, he begins "There was once a poor orphan who struggled to survive on what little he earned as a minstrel. People were enthralled at how beautiful his voice was, and many gave him food and a bed in return for a song."

"What's the boy's name?" Hibiki wonders.

It dawns on Brock that he forgot to name the boy. "We'll call him...Arion. One day, Arion was out traveling when it started getting dark. He was too far away from town to rest in the inn--and he barely had enough for a room. But then he spotted a farmer's homestead, and asked the family if he could stay with them for the night. The woman of the house agreed, and prepared him a fine meal."

"Okay, then what?" Hibiki isn't impressed with what she has heard so far.

"It gets better, honest!" Brock assures Hibiki. "Having never had a proper meal before, Arion was amazed at how tasty everything was--he deemed every course worthy of a royal cook. The farmer's wife was touched at this, and told him he need only ask if he wanted more of something."

"And then?" Wendy asks.

"As they were having dinner, a knight passed by the homestead, and asked the farmer if he knew the way to Castle Telchal." Brock continues. "The farmer's wife turned pale at this, and asked if he was really going there. The knight replied he had come from a far away land, and it had taken him three months to get to where this tale takes place."

"Wherever that is..." Hibiki mutters.

"Just assume it's your standard issue fairy tale far away land." Brock suggests. "Anyway, the knight was going to Castle Telchal in search of a gold chalice and a silver sword. Arion mentioned that he knew those things existed, but didn't know where. The knight told Arion that the chalice was a never ending source of healing water that cured any sickness and revived the dead. The silver sword was said to cut through anything--even diamond and mythril."

"Whoa...." Hibiki gets starry eyes as she pictures herself as an adventurer wielding such a sword.

"Arion asked who the owner of the castle was, and the farmer's wife told Arion that the castle was ruled by an evil mage named Atavan." Brock explained. "Atavan always rode on a Ponyta with purple and black fire for its mane with a normal Ponyta foal behind him, and not even the bravest of heroes dared to attack him. However, he could not use the chalice or the sword inside the castle. The second he entered, they flew away to an unknown location within the castle."

"Oh, so the knight wants to fight him there..." Hibiki muses.

"As if riding three months and many adventures on the way wasn't enough, the knight still had a long way to go on his quest." Brock goes on. "The farmer's wife tried to tell him to turn back, as many more had set out on the same quest, and never returned. The knight assured her that he, unlike the others, had visited the Sage of Koune."

"So what did the Sage of Koune tell this knight?" Wendy is interested now.

"First he would pass through a haunted forest, then take a Leppa Berry from a fire fairy." Brock replies. "Then he would seek a smiling flower, guarded by a black Entei. He would then travel to Lake Cerulean, and battle a black knight with a huge mace. Then, after passing through the valley of the lotus, where many forget their homeland, he would meet a lady in white by a riverbank, who would tell him what to do next."

"Arion heard the whole thing, right?" Hibiki smiles

"The farmer's wife wished the knight well on his quest, and pointed out the path to the haunted forest. And yes, Arion heard the whole thing." Brock replies. "The next day, the farmer offered Arion some work for the day tending the Tauros. Arion agreed to ten gold pieces, a day's wage. As Arion was driving the Tauros to pasture, he saw Atavan pass by on his darkfire Ponyta, with the normal Ponyta foal behind him. But after initially being afraid, Arion continued his work. The farmer was so pleased with how well Arion had done, he allowed Arion to stay as long as he wanted until he had enough money to support himself, treating him as one of his own sons."

[And then?] Mizuchi asks as she wraps Emi in her tail to keep her warm.

"One day, as Arion was watching the Tauros by the forest, a light mage named Anadin met him." Brock continues. "Arion was concerned, but he soon found out that Anadin was Atavan's brother, so he knew the way to Castle Telchal well, but since he couldn't pass through the haunted forest--as the spirits and creatures there would fiercely attack a mage of the light, he simply summoned the normal Ponyta, a little filly named..."

[Epona!] Emi suggests.

"Yeah, Epona." Wendy suggests.

Brock considers the name, never mind it is already used in Zelda. "Okay, we can call it Epona." he assures the girls. "Arion asked how to summon the little filly Epona, and Anadin took a few reeds..."

After picking a suitable blade of grass, he continues "He then played this song..."

The familiar notes of Epona's Song echo into the night. "Sure enough, Epona came running to Anadin's side some seconds later." Brock continues. "Arion didn't tell his adopted family about his adventure, but he knew that if he was ever to get to Telchal, he had to find Epona. However, he had not heard Anadin's grasswhistle, so if he was to summon Epona at all, he had to learn what the song was."

"Did he figure it out?" Wendy asks.

"All that day, while he was herding the Tauros, he thought long and hard about how to call Epona, for he was sure that once on her back he could overcome every other danger that awaited him." Brock reminds the girls. "He knew he had to be ready in case he got a chance. Of course, he made his preparations at night, when everyone was asleep. Remembering what he had seen Anadin do, he patched up an old halter that was hanging in a corner of the stable, found a rope long enough and thick enough to fit around Epona's feet, and a net often used for catching bird Pokemon. Next, he sewed together some cloth to make a bag, and he put glue, Fletchling feathers, some beads, a whistle..." Brock pauses to fish his own whistle from his bag. "and some food. Then he went out to the path where the darkfire Ponyta and Epona always appeared, and crumbled some bread on one side of it."

[Did he catch Epona?] Satomi asks

"It wasn't long before all three appeared, while Arion watched in the bushes." Brock replies. "Worries started filling his head--what if all his work was useless? What if the darkfire Ponyta, and not Epona, ate the crumbs?"

[Did the little Ponyta take the bait, Master Storyteller?] one of the Mightyenas asks as he leads his pack up the hill to watch over the camp.

"To his relief, the darkfire Ponyta and her rider went by, eventually disappearing around a corner." Brock assures the pack leader. "Epona, meanwhile, smelled the bread, and began eating the pieces. She was so absorbed in eating the bread that she never saw Arion approaching-- untill she felt the halter on her neck and the rope round her feet, and--in another moment--someone on her back."

Laughter goes up as the group pictures Epona's reaction. "Going as fast as she could run, Epona bolted straight into the wilderness, while her rider hung on in the saddle and trembled at the strange sights he saw." Brock continues. "Sometimes the earth seemed to open in front of them and he was looking into a bottomless pit; sometimes the trees burst into flames and he found himself in the midst of a fire; often in the act of crossing a stream the water rose and threatened to wash him away; and again, at the foot of a mountain, great rocks would roll towards him, as if they would crush him and Epona beneath their weight. Arion didn't know if these things were real or his imagination, but he pulled down his cap to hide his eyes, and trusted Epona to carry him down the right road."

He pauses for a beat before continuing "Finally, they came out on a wide plain where the breeze blew fresh and strong. Arion looked around, and everything seemed normal, though a chill ran down his spine as he noticed the skeletons of people scattered over the plain, beside the skeletons of their Ponytas. And what were those grey forms trotting away in the distance? Were they--could they be--Mightyenas?"

Hibiki freezes when she sees some gray forms, the huge form of a tank-like vehicle, and torches approaching the camp. "No, it's worse than that! Team Elegy's here!"

"Well hello there, Squinty-eyes..." Aika sneers as she and the Team Elegy unit arrive in the camp. "I must thank you for holding onto this traitor for me..."

"I'm not going back with you!" Hibiki snapped as she tried again and again to deflect Aika's hand. "Never again!"

"Why not?" Aika asked. "You were the one that said you wanted to make your own decisions when I found you lost and alone...and I gave you a chance to be a leader of a great organization! You proved yourself to be a hard worker, and rose through the ranks rather quickly...and now you want to turn your back on your dream?"

Hibiki grumbled as she stood up. "It's true I wanted to make my own decisions--but now that I know who you really are, I've decided I DON'T want to be in charge of killing innocent people and Pokemon!" She kicked away her old Team Elegy outfit to emphasize her point. "I won't be needing this anymore..."

Aika was about to protest when Hibiki roared "Furthermore, a good leader respects those they are in charge of, and is sensitive to their needs--not depriving them of privileges and basic needs if you disagree!"

She threw down the Team Elegy beret and jumped on it several times, as if stamping out the evil inside of it. "A good leader listens to those they are in charge of, and if their workers have a problem, the leader works with them and tries to help solve it--not telling them to 'deal with it' or blowing it off as all in their heads!"

Brock watched as Hibiki continued ranting, every so often discarding one of her Team Elegy items. "Get ready...this could get ugly..." he whispered as he nocked an arrow. Wendy nodded, and drew her sword in preparation for battle.

Terra quickly led Emi and the Eevees behind a bush. [Stay here, and don't come out until one of us says it's safe.] she whispered before running to rejoin Hinata, who was charging a Flame Wheel.

"But above all, a leader IS. NOT. A. KILLER!!!" Hibiki screeched, concluding her firey speech.

"No!" Aika pleaded as Hibiki removed her admin insignia. "If you burn that....!"

"I have every right to burn this!" Hibiki snapped, throwing the insignia into the campfire flames. "This world does not deserve to be torn apart because of one person's selfish ambitions! It deserves to be protected!" The sound of Brock drawing the bow punctuated her point.

With that, she started singing Gatrandis favel secret, edena...

[The awakening spellsong!] Hinata gasps.

[She really did want to change!] Mizuchi agreed.

"No! Do you realize what you're singing?" Aika screeched over Hibiki singing Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis... "Do you know what that power can do?"

Kacoradis favel siicletu edena... Hibiki continued as a red aura surrounded her.
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

Aika's desperate "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" nearly drowned out Hibiki's final C note, making the entire hillside glow red with the bright aura.

"Don't just stand there, attack!" a Team Elegy commander called, prompting the crowd of grunts to engage with the Mightyena pack.

"YAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Wendy led the charge into battle, with Brock and Hibiki not far behind.

After leading Hibiki by a tree,which overlooked the Mightyenas scratching and biting the Whismurs and Roggenrolas attempting to climb the hill, Brock explained "I'll support the Pokemon and Wendy from here, you can pick off anything trying to ambush us from behind, okay?"

"Okay...but I don't know how strong my new magic is yet...and what if I need a weapon?" Hibiki worried.

"You can sing one into existence." Brock assured Hibiki as he fired an arrow into a patch of ground, making some Whismurs stumble backwards from the explosion of electricity at the arrow's impact.

Inspired, Hibiki sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., conjuring a number of glowing circular boomerang-like weapons. "Team Elegy won't know what hit them--cause these will come back to me!"

The crack of a branch alerted her to a Team Elegy grunt about to jump down on her and Brock's position from a tree! Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... she sang, conjuring a fireball that sent the grunt flying.

"Nice shot!" Brock grinned as more grunts arrived with fire extinguishers.

She winced as a Mightyena's claw gravely wounded a grunt. "That had to hurt..."

"These Mightyenas guard the mountain, so if the mountain is under attack like this, they hit, and hit hard." Brock cautioned.

[Hah!] Tenku screeched as she unleashed a whirlwind at some fleeing Team Elegy grunts. While the unlucky grunts were tossed about like dolls, the tank didn't move an inch.

Hibiki recognized the large tank looming over the chaotic battlefield. "That's Team Elegy's patented flamethrower tank--we need to destroy that before they can set fire to the forest!"

"It would be my pleasure to take the first shot." Brock grinned as he aimed for the tank, and fired. While the arrow only made a small dent in the mighty tank's armor, the electricity from the impact also lit some of the chaos of the ground.

Hinata rammed into a Whismur, then noticed Brock's shot at the tank. [Everyone! Aim for that giant tank!]

She whirled around to see a Roggenrola charging at her, and jumped out of the way, making the Roggenrola crash into a rock.

You wanna burn the forest down? Then feel the fire of my fury. Hibiki grinned before singing Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

Later, after the battle...

"There...that's the last one." Brock smiled as he bandaged a Mightyena's wounded paw. Wendy was nearby, reviving a fainted Mightyena.

[Thank you all for saving the mountain forest...] the pack leader smiled. [We will never forget how you saved us in our darkest hour.]

"The real hero is Hibiki--she did something very brave, standing up to the Team Elegy boss like that." Wendy interjected.

"It was nothing, really...I did what I had to do to get out of there before I did something I really regretted." Hibiki giggled, a little nervous from all the attention.

Just then,a familiar voice singing Karuto, iichiida shou... snapped Brock to attention. "Meloetta..."

"What are you doing here?" Wendy asked as Meloetta flew over to Hibiki, a yellow and black egg cradled in her arms.

"I wanted to congratulate Hibiki for renouncing her ties to Team Elegy." Meloetta explained before addressing Hibiki. "You did something very brave...now that you have joined Brock and Wendy on their journey. Aika sees you a traitor, and will stop at nothing until the three of you are captured or dead."

"I knew that risk, but I still had to do it before I ended up killing innocent people and Pokemon for no reason and regretting it for as long as I lived." Hibiki explained. "When Aika took me in all those years ago, I thought she was a great leader...but now I see her for what she really is, and it's Brock that is the real leader."

Meloetta smiled. "As a sign of the beginning of a new life, I want you to care for the Pokemon inside this egg."

"Thanks?" Hibiki stammered as she nervously accepted the egg. "I-I'll do my best to take care of it..."

"Besides..." Wendy added. "You have two breeders to help you raise it!"

Just then, the egg started to crack, and after a few tense seconds, a small yellow mouse creature lay in Hibiki's hands. [Ma-ma?] it squeaked, its eyes shining hopefully.

"Aw, a Pichu!" Wendy smiled.

After carefully checking the Pichu's gender, Brock told Hibiki "It's a boy Pichu...what do you wanna name him?"

Hibiki thought for a moment, bemused in the tiny Pichu's happy smile."How about...Fuka?"

[Yay!] the Pichu cheered.

"Fuka?" Wendy was confused.

Hibiki nodded. "Because my love for him is as deep as the sea." The Pichu giggled as he and his new master embraced...
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  #43    
Old September 12th, 2013 (06:04 PM).
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Episode 39: "The master storyteller's heritage! Wendy's trade of tales!" (part 1)


"Finally we're out of those caves!" Hibiki cried as she, Brock and Wendy emerged from a cave a few days later, After protecting the guardian Mightyenas of the mountain and Hibiki's change of heart, the three of them had wound their way through the mountain's maze-like tunnels.

"Hate to break it to you, but after rounding this road, we go in another tunnel." Wendy replied as she studied the map. Hibiki just groaned in reply.

Then, a ring on her left hand got her attention. "What's this?"

"When you sang the awakening song, you got a ring of protection." Brock explained as he admired the circular emerald carefully balanced between two bands of white gold and diamonds. "So if something happens while we are exploring the sanctums of the Gems of Song, this ring keeps us from dying."

"Does this mean I'm invincible???" Hibiki gasped, starry eyed at the prospect of never dying.

"I would not recommend standing in front of a stampede of Donphans to test that theory." Wendy giggled at Hibiki's excitement. "Besides, you have to set a good example for Fuka."

"A good example?" Hibiki asked, glancing down at the smiling Pichu in her arms.

"Pichus learn by repetition--so the more he sees you modeling good behavior, the more likely he'll do it too." Brock explained. "On the other side of the coin, if you complain a lot, he'll complain a lot too."

Hibiki blushed, both embarrassed and ashamed that Brock had called her out on a bad behavior. "I'm sorry, Fuka..." she apologized to the Pichu. "It's just that we've walked a long way, and Mama's feet are tired..."

"We don't have very far to go before we reach the Askarya river..." Wendy explained, "So...why don't we sing a few songs to pass the time?"

"What kind of songs?" Hibiki asked.

A guitar chord got her attention. "One of my favorites to sing on a long hike goes something like this..." Brock explained before beginning We love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain tracks,
And as we go, we love to sing,
Our knapsacks on our backs....

Valderi, valdera,
Valderi, val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera,
Our knapsacks on our backs....
Wendy joined in.

Hibiki raised an eyebrow as Brock continued We love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to us,
"Come! Join our happy song!"


Valderi, valdera,
Valderi, val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera,
Come join our happy song...
came the chorus again.

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me...
Wendy sang as she tipped her hat to a passing traveler.
And Taillows call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree....


Valderi, valdera,
Valderi, val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Hibiki joined in.
Valderi, valdera,
From ev'ry green wood tree...


"Come to think of it, I think I know a verse of this song!" Hibiki smiled before enthusiastically belting out High overhead, the Fletchlings wing,
They never rest at home...
But just like us, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam....

Valderi, valdera,
Valderi, val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera,
As o'er the world we roam....
With that, Brock added a little flourish to end the song just as the group rounded a bend in the road overlooking a river and a large hill.

"There it is!" Hibiki cried, and hurried off down the hill towards the river, where many people were busy mining gems.

She quickly located the supply cabin on the hill, where a line formed to buy the bags of dirt you mined with. "Hello there!" a woman by the river called as Wendy joined Hibiki in line. "Where might you be headed?"

"We're going to Akari City!" Wendy called back. "We thought we'd rest here for a while!"

Raku gasped when he saw the bags of dirt. [Will you find me a Thunder Stone? Please?]

"I'll try, but no guarantees that any Thunder Stones are in the dirt we buy." Wendy cautioned as the line passed a sign that said "MINING DIRT-1 BAG=100 POKE

Outside the cabin, Brock made himself comfortable under a tree with his guitar, and smiled when he noticed a crowd of children at his feet. After playing a bouncy introduction in C, he sings There was a man...

There was a man... the kids echo.

Now please take note... Brock sings the next part of the verse.

Now please take note... the kids echo. The song continues like this:

There was a man,

There was a man,

Had a Gogoat....

Had a Gogoat....


Everyone then choruses He loved Gogoat, indeed he did. He loved Gogoat just like a kid....

----------

Hours later, Brock uses the ending of "Jenny Jenkins"--which he had finally gotten stumped by the color sepia--to transition into a story. "One afternoon long, long ago, Sorin was sitting at home resting when he saw Illumise fly past." Brock begins. "When Sorin saw her, he got a fine idea, if he said so himself."

In character as Sorin, he calls to no one in particular "Oi, Illumise! Why dontcha stop in and chitchat with me for a while?"

As himself, he continues "So Illumise did, and they talked for hours. After they had talked for a while, Sorin suggested they go hunting for eggs together in the forest. Now, Illumise knew as well as anyone that Sorin was quite the trickster..."

Thunderous applause goes up at the familiar beginning. "but she agreed to Sorin's proposal, and told him to come to her house at sunset." Brock continues when the applause dies down. "Sorin loved hunting, and he loved collecting all manner of Pokemon eggs. And Illumise seemed like the perfect hunting companion for anyone who liked to sneak around, for she would give him light to see in the dark."

Giggles go up as the audience anticipates what hijinks the crafty Pikachu will get into this time around. "When the sun set, Sorin hurried to Illumise's house. Together they set off for the forest, and there they snuck up on an unguarded Pidgey's nest." Brock continues. "It was nighttime, and there was no moon in the sky. But Illumise opened her wings, and when she did, her tail lit up the forest like it was daytime. It was just enough light for Sorin see not just the six Pidgey eggs, but all the eggs in the immediate vicinity. So he went to work, picking up every single egg out of every single nest in that tree, and placing them carefully in his basket. When he had gathered every last one, he and Illumise hurried to another tree with nests, and the process would begin anew."

He quickly interjects "As the night wore on, Illumise began to grow tired, and she wondered if this wasn't a mistake."

More giggles go up as Brock goes on "Before long, Sorin's basket was overflowing, and as they moved on across the dark forest, Illumise suggested..." In a breathy female voice he intones "Come, let's go to the next tree, and this time you'll fill my basket."

"I'm too tired to do any more hunting," he sighs as Sorin. "I think I'll just take my eggs home."

As himself, he continues "Illumise was furious at this, and flew away in a huff, leaving Sorin stranded in the dark. They had traveled for a long, long time, and gone a long, long way, and Sorin had no idea how to find his way home. As Sorin groped about in the darkness, he bumped smack into what he thought was a house."

He calls as Sorin "Hello! Anybody home?"

In a deep and gravely voice, he answers "Who's that in my house?"

"It's Sorin, your good friend!" he calls as Sorin.

As himself, he explains "Sorin recognized the deep voice that had answered him--he had wandered into Raikou's den!"

"Ooh"s and giggles fill the air at this. "Raikou saw Sorin in the dim light of the den's entryway and let out a huge sigh." Brock continues. "Sorin had tricked him many times before, and every Pokemon knew that nobody makes a fool of Raikou. But Raikou was a clever Pokemon in his own right. And so, although Sorin was no friend of his, he said, very sweetly..." In a gentler version of his Raikou voice, he says "Come in, my friend."

He continues as himself "Sorin stepped inside, and the moment he did, Raikou shut the door behind him."

"Look at those eggs!" he gasps as Raikou as he admires an imagined egg. "Let's boil them and have a feast."

As himself, he continues "Before Sorin could say a word, Raikou put a big kettle on the fire and called out to his wife and cubs..." As Raikou again, he calls "Come see our midnight snack!"

Laughter goes up as the audience pictures the look on Sorin's face as the Raikous enter the room. "So Lady Raikou and the four cubs hurried into the room, and the moment those eggs were boiled, they began to gobble them down." Brock continues as himself. "But after a few minutes, Raikou began wondering if perhaps Sorin wanted some, too. Sorin was nervous surrounded by all the Raikous, and politely declined. He didn't want to upset the Raikous, after all."

Chuckles of anticipation race through the crowd. "So when all the eggs were gone, Raikou waited until Sorin was looking the other way, dropped a Corphish into the kettle, and then covered the Corphish with all the eggshells. He then invited Sorin to stay the night. Sorin nodded when he saw those gleaming teeth, sharp as knives. He didn't want to refuse Raikou."

Brock waits a few beats, then continues. "Before long, everyone was fast asleep -- everyone but Sorin, who was trying oh-so-hard not to fall asleep. When he heard everyone snoring, he tiptoed to the kettle, reached inside to grab an egg, but the Corphish pinched him hard!"

"AI-YAI-YAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" he screams as Sorin, making the audience roar with laughter.

"Are you all right?" he calls as Raikou.

"There are terrible bugs in this house!" he complains as Sorin.

"Bugs?" he gasps as Raikou. "How dare you insult us!!!" Startled screams mix with more laughter as Brock performs a perfect Raikou roar.

Once the laughter calms down, Brock continues "Sorin raced to the door as fast as he could, and Raikou couldn't help but grin as he watched the little Pikachu hurrying home."

He concludes "Needless to say, Sorin never returned to Raikou's den, and he never went hunting with Illumise again!" Laughter and applause fill the air as Brock takes a bow for his audience.

---------

"Okay...." Wendy begins as she and Hibiki arrive in an open part of the shallows with two screened boxes, two spades, and six bags of dirt between them. "Here's how you mine for gems...first put some of the dirt in the screened in box."

Hibiki hesitantly follows Wendy's instructions as Fuka looks on. "Next, submerge the box in the water and shake it a little to dissolve the dirt--and jewels, stones, and minerals will be left when you bring it up." She demonstrates with her own screened box.

"That looks pretty easy..." Hibiki musters a smile as she submerges her box. "Treasure's hiding in the dirt, so we're washing the dirt away to clean it up." she explains to Fuka.

[No one wants dirty treasure!] Fuka smiles as Hibiki picks out some crystals and a diamond.

Wendy smiles as she sets aside a Leaf Stone and some crystals. "That's actually a good way to explain gem mining to a young Pokemon, Hibiki...."


She hears Brock conclude another story as Hibiki goes to work on her own. "Think you can keep doing this on your own?" she asks Hibiki.

"I think so..." Hibiki replies as she submerges the box again.

Wendy leaves Hibiki to mine and joins Brock and the children. "If you don't mind me joining you, I have a tale of Minami for you..."

"Please tell it--I could use a break, anyway." Brock replied as he sets his guitar aside.

"Okay...this is called 'The Moon Girl'." Wendy explaind before beginning "Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a rich couple, and each month the woman asked Lugia as he passed over the house 'Am I the most beautiful in the world, or are you?'"....

---------

"...The mother was so shocked at this news, she collapsed and died right there on the balcony. As for Luna and Prince Brendan, they all lived happily ever after." Wendy concludes to applause from the children, Brock, and some of the other people mining.

"That was a sweet story..." a boy smiled as he examined what jewels, stones and minerals were left in his latest spadeful of dirt. "Reminds me of the legend of Denryu..."

"Who's he?" Brock is intrigued.

"Denryu is said to be a thunder spirit--which some say resembles an Ampharos--that guards Mt. Taka like the Mightyenas, but he only appears if the mountain is in danger." the boy explained as he petted his own Eevee. "He is said to have a shining white mane and tail with topazes in it..."

"Maybe all the earthquakes in the area have something to do with Denryu?" a girl suggests.

"What earthquakes?" Hibiki wondered as she picked out a ruby and an emerald from her screen box.

She suddenly felt the ground begin to rumble, and Fuka screamed in fear as she and the other miners scrambled to get away from the river. Once she spotted Brock, Wendy, and the children in an open area of grass, she hugged Fuka close as she ran to join them. "It's gonna be okay, Fuka...it's gonna be okay...."

TO BE CONTINUED....
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  #44    
Old October 3rd, 2013 (10:30 AM).
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Episode 40: "The master storyteller's heritage! Wendy's trade of tales!" (part 2)


"Is everyone okay?" Brock asks as the shaking stops. He sets he guitar aside and begins examining each person in his audience for signs of pain or injury.

Back by the riverbank, Hibiki is doing the same for Fuka. "Are you okay? Were you hurt from the shaking?" she asks him.

[I'm fine, Mama...just scared the ground is gonna shake again.] Fuka replies.

"Well, if the ground does shake again, we know what to do." Hibiki assures him.

The crowd, meanwhile, is perplexed as to how and why the earthquake struck:

"How could there have been a quake here? There's no fault lines that I know of out here...."

"Maybe Mt. Taka is on a fault line?"

"If that were true, the Teru Co. Research Lab would have picked it up a long time ago."

"Everyone, please!" a ranger calls as she arrives to help administer first aid. "If there's anyone with major injuries, we will tend to them until emergency services arrive. The outpost has been evaluated for damage and all is well--if you and your Pokemon got separated during the quake, let us know and we will search as soon as the mountain tunnels have been cleared for human passage."

"If you need medicine or supplies, let us know." a second ranger adds.

After reporting to a ranger that none of the people in his audience are seriously injured, and he has done what he can to treat what injuries there are, Brock attends to his team. "Everyone okay?"

[I'm okay...] Hinata reports.

[Emi's crying cause she's scared, but she doesn't look hurt.] Terra reports as she tries to console a squalling Emi.

Brock takes Emi in his arms. "It's okay...Daddy's here." he calmly assures her, making her cries quiet, although he can very plainly feel her shaking in fear.

Wendy, meanwhile, is bandaging one of Mizuchi's paws. [That shaking surprised me so much, I tripped and landed on my paw funny...] she groans.

[If it starts shaking again, get away from trees and buildings, stay put, and don't panic!] Satomi explains with a grin.

A ranger pats Satomi on the head. "You have one smart Eevee, miss." he smiles as he checks to be sure Mizuchi is bandaged correctly. "Thanks for your help."

"Aw, it was nothing!" Wendy giggles before tending to the Eevees. "Are you two okay? Does anything hurt?"

[I'm fine...] Raku reports.

[Same here.] Satomi agrees.

Just then, the boy from before races up to a ranger. "My Eevee's missing! I'm scared he may have ran off into the tunnels when the quake hit."

"We're inspecting the tunnels as quickly as we can, but it may be several hours before we can clear them for safe passage--but we'll keep an eye out for your Eevee too." This consoles the boy a little.

Hibiki notices the uneasy crowd. "Hey, Brock...tell everyone one of your adventure tales while we wait for the tunnels to open..."

"Great idea!" Wendy agrees.

"The longer and more magic filled, the better!" Hibiki adds.

Brock nods, takes his guitar, and starts a peaceful melody to focus his thoughts. Once a story comes to him, he begins "In a time long ago, there lived a king whose power lay not only in the vast extent of his domain, but also in magic. One day, he met a princess of such remarkable beauty that he asked her hand in marriage right there, and considered himself the happiest of people."

He plays a foreboding riff to signal all is not well in fantasyland. "A year went by, and a son was born, worthy in every way of such distinguished parents, and well loved and well liked by the whole court--we'll call him Alex. As soon as the queen believed he was old enough to travel, she set out with him in secret to visit her fairy godmother--the light fairy Lumina."

"Why secretly?" Hibiki is confused. "Light fairies are good, right?"

"They had to go in secret, because Lumina had warned the queen that the king was a mage; and from time immemorial there had been a long standing feud between the fairies, who often wielded light magic, and the mages, who often wielded dark magic--although there were some fairies that did bad things and mages that used their power for good." Brock explains to Hibiki. "The king was one of those mages that usually used their power for evil--had he known about the journey, he might not have approved of his wife's visit."

"Oh..." Hibiki replies.

"Lumina was well pleased with the little prince, and blessed him with the gift of kindness and the gift of wisdom." Brock continues over a calm interlude. "Much to the delight of his teachers, he did very well in all his classes. But a few years later, he lost his mother to a terrible disease."

[Aw....] Fuka sighs.

"Her last words were to not do anything important without talking to Lumina first." Brock goes on. "Prince Alex's grief was great, but it was nothing compared to that of his father the king. Neither time nor reason seemed to heal his sorrow, and the sight of all the familiar faces and things about him only served to remind him of his loss. He therefore resolved to go on a great journey. Thanks to his innate magic power, he was able to visit every country in the world without having to travel the distance between them."

"I hate to interrupt the storytime, but I want to inform you that the tunnels are safe for traveling." a ranger reports.

"Let's go find your Eevee, okay?" Hibiki assures the boy as Brock gets up from his place under the tree, still telling his story and playing guitar all the while.

"After having traveled from land to land without finding anything interesting, he warped to a land where the air seemed filled with the scent of jasmine and Oran flowers that bloomed everywhere." Brock continues, doing his best to project his voice so the whole crowd can hear him as they wind around the corner and enter into the caves. "Attracted by the sweet perfume, he came to some large and beautiful gardens filled with the rarest flowers, and with fountains throwing up their clear waters into the air in a hundred different shapes. A wide stream flowed through the garden, and on it floated richly ornamented boats filled with people dressed in elegant clothing covered with jewels."

Just then, Wendy gasps as they come to a three way fork in the cave. "Uh oh...how do we know which way the Eevee went?"

"I'll take a group this way!" Hibiki volunteers as she motions for some in the crowd to follow the left route.

A smile forms on Wendy's face--Hibiki actually had a good idea! "If you want to look down the right route, come with me!" she calls.

"Everyone else, look down the center route with me!" Brock calls. Once the girls and their groups have departed down their routes, he snaps a few times to count himself off before singing We're following the leader, the leader, the leader....

We're following the leader, wherever he may go! the others join in as they follow Brock down the center route...

----------

"Okay...keep an eye out for Eevee tracks, fur, or a trail." Hibiki instructs her group.

For a while, the search is uneventful, until a boy spots a trail leading behind a formation of crystals. "Maybe he went back here!"

Hibiki hurries over to the spike-like crystal, but all she finds is a half eaten Berry. "If he was seen here, he may have eaten some of this Berry."

[Maybe he got hungry and the Berry was here!] Fuka suggests.

"That's true...but where could he have gone after he ate something?" Hibiki muses. "There's no tracks leading away from here." She lets that hang as she goes to look behind some rocks.

---------

Wendy sighs as her group comes up fruitless--their route has only led to another fork, with no places an Eevee could have hidden. "So much for searching down here--which route should we pick now?"

"Left!" the Eevee's owner calls.

"Right!" some children suggest at the same time.

Wendy's first thought is to flip a coin, but then Brock's voice leading an enthusiastic chorus of We're following the leader, the leader, the leader; we're following the leader, wherever he may go! wafts down the left tunnel. "Anyone want to join in the sing-along?"

The group enthusiastically agrees, and the two groups merge as Brock and his group round a corner, still singing:

Ti dum, ti dee, a teedle-li-doh-ti-day,
Ti dum, ti dee,
It's part of the game we play,
Ti dum, ti dee,
The words are easy to say,
Just a teedle-li dum, a teedle-li-doh-ti-day...


Ti dum, ti dee, a teedle-li-doh-ti-dai,
We march, along,
And follow the other guy...


Each thing, I do, the rest of you have to try! Brock sings alone.

With a teedle-li dum, a teedle-li-doh-ti dai.... the rest of the group sing in reply. Hibiki's group emerges from a tunnel and joins in some moments later as the massive group walks over a sturdy wooden bridge over a gorge:

We're following the leader, the leader, the leader; we're following the leader, wherever he may go!
We won't be back till morning, till morning, till morning, we won't be back till morning...


Because I told you so! Brock interjects alone. The rest of the group howls with laughter and continue the song:

Ti dum, ti dee, a teedle-li-doh-ti-day,
We're out, for fun,
And this is the game we play,
Come on, join in, and sing your troubles away!
With a teedle-li dum, a teedle-li-doh-ti-day.


We're off to see the Raikous, the Raikous, the Raikous, we're off to see the Raikous, and this is what we'll do... Wendy leads the next verse as the massive crowd climbs over some stalagmites.

We may bring back a million, a billion, a trillion... Hibiki joins in.
We may bring back a million, or maybe one or two...

"Company, halt!" Brock announces when he spots an Ampharos petting an Eevee behind a bowl-like rock formation. "I think we've found the Eevee..."

[Oh, so this Eevee belongs to one of you?] the Ampharos smiles, coaxing the Eevee to join it. [Which one of these humans is your master?]

But before the boy and the Eevee can reunite, the cave starts to rumble, making screams fill the air. "Not again..." Hibiki gasps as a wall of the cave cracks, and a large tank-like vehicle armed with twin drills bursts into the room.

Brock sighs that Team Elegy has managed to follow them. "Well, now we know what caused all those earthquakes..." he deadpans.

"Thought you could hide from me by going underground, traitor?" Aika sneers. "Any move you make in here may cause the stalactites to fall, and therefore block any hope of escape."

The sound of Brock drawing the bow gets her attention. "You think an arrow can pierce the Driltank? Think again."

"Then stop bothering the Pokemon of the mountain." Brock warns as he aims his shot at a Zubat den hanging over Aika's head. "Unless you want something worse than Beedrill chasing you this time."

"You and what army, Robin Hood?" Aika taunts.

The pops of Poke Balls as many of the people in the group release their Pokemon to battle make a confident grin form on Brock's face. "Me and THAT army!"

"CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!!!!" Wendy commands as the mass of Pokemon and humans with weapons charge at the tank. Brock unleashes his shot, and many of the crew members scatter as the Zubat attack them.

[Fire types, handle the tank itself!, Water types, take any Pokemon Team Elegy summons!] Terra calls to the various Pokemon in an attempt to direct the chaos. [Electric types, short out the tank's power system!, Grass types, hold the tank down!]

An Ivysaur and a Grovyle tie down the tank at the left side with their vines as Mizuchi gives more instructions. [Chanseys, Blisseys, Happinis, heal the wounded and stay with those that can't fight themselves! Poison types, jam the tank treads with your strongest goo!]

Some Muks are more than happy to comply with Mizuchi's order as they gum up the helpless tank's treads with Toxic. Wendy, meanwhile, is battling a Team Elegy grunt while Hinata helps a Charmeleon and a Delphox burn a hole in the tank so another squad of Electric types can do their job.

As Brock fires another arrow to knock away a Gligar, the Ampharos watching the chaos in the corner gives him an idea. What if Denryu is not a separate creature, but a Mega Evolution, like Kimal is for Riolu and Lucario?

He calls to Wendy as she defeats her foe "Sing to the Ampharos, quickly!"

Everyone gasps as Wendy sings Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., engulfing the Ampharos in blue light. When it fades, the crowd gasps when they see the topaz studded mane the slightly taller Ampharos has sprouted.

"Denryu!" a girl gasps.

"The girl is one of Meloetta's chosen!" a boy agrees.

Denryu, meanwhile, delivers the lost Eevee to its master. There...your Eevee is safe.

"Thank you, Denryu." the boy agrees as he tearfully hugs his Eevee.

Brock then notices Denryu is charging a massive Thunderbolt in an attempt to blast the tank away. Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... he sings, creating a large red protective aura around the crowd, their Pokemon, and the cave.

Good idea, chosen of Meloetta....while the leader of your enemies has fled, and this tank is now abandoned, I can at least destroy it for you. With that, the cave lights up so bright, it seems like the daytime as the tank explodes...

---------

"So Aika and her goons got away..." Wendy sighs as the crowd emerges from the cave later that evening. "How they did it in all the confusion, I don't know, but they did."

"I'm at least glad my Eevee's okay..." the boy smiles before handing Wendy a Thunder Stone. "Here...this is to thank you for giving us all a wild adventure that none of us will forget."

"Thanks." Wendy replied as she accepted the yellow-green stone.

"I'll be happy to come tell more tales any time." Brock agrees as the group turns to leave to thunderous cheers.

"Bye, everyone!" Hibiki calls. "We'll see you again next time!"

Raku,meanwhile, gasps when he sees the Thunder Stone. [Will you evolve me to a Jolteon now? Pleeeeeeeeease?]

Wendy just chuckles at Raku's plea. "Not yet, Raku...while I don't deny you and Satomi were very brave back there, you tell have much to learn before you evolve." Raku nodded to show he understood as the group walked off into the setting sun...

To Be Continued....
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  #45    
Old October 15th, 2013 (12:19 PM). Edited October 15th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 41: "A sister's love! The miracle evolution!"


"Why? Why????????????????" Aika cried in frustration as she read the account of their defeat inside the Mt. Taka caves that the computer had generated. "Why have we constantly been defeated at the hands of the spellsingers?"

The remaining three admins dashed into the room, concerned. "Maybe we're going at this all wrong, boss..." a black haired male admin suggested. "What if, instead of going to them, where they will inevitably be warned about our coming, we get them to come to us?"

"Go on..." Aika pressed the admin further, a grin forming on her face as she led the way into the planning room--or as the admins affectionately called it, "the war room" because of the many maps and security feeds displayed in the room.

A female admin reached for a sheet of paper. "We all know you want the traitor..." she explained, gesturing to an old picture of Hibiki by the base security control panel. "And the spellsingers probably have at least one Pokemon they love very much." She drew a Pikachu as an example Pokemon. "If we were to catch this Pokemon, and demand the traitor in exchange..."

"Wonderful idea!" Aika grinned. "We'll kill two Pidgeys with one stone--we take back the traitor, and then silence Squinty-eyes and Redhead!"

"But what if they try to strike back?" another male admin interjected.

"Then I can send Exploud at them." Aika replied. "I don't think any of their Pokemon would stand a chance against him."

"Once again, the boss thinks of everything..." the female admin grinned as she got up from the table. "I'll dispatch a stealth team to their camp..."

"I'll write the ransom note telling them to come here." a male admin volunteered before going to work clipping letters from some magazines.

Aika smiled, pleased at the flurry of activity in the war room. Soon, spellsingers, your power will be gone forever, and there will be no one left to stop us from tearing this world apart!

The next day....

[WENDYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!] Satomi screeched as she darted into her master's tent. [Wake up! WakeupWakeupWake uuuuuuuuuuuup!]

"mrrgh...what's the matter, Satomi?" Wendy yawned as she groggily woke up.

[Raku's gone!] Satomi breathlessly explained. [I heart some rustling last night, and when I looked to see what it was, Raku was gone, and one of those magazine letter notes was in his place!]

"Magazine letter notes? Like a ransom note in a mystery movie?" Wendy asked as she climbed from her sleeping bag.

[Yeah!] Satomi replied. [Come look!]

"I'm coming..." After getting dressed, Wendy hurried outside to the remains of their campfire, where Brock was studying a piece of paper by Raku's typical spot.

"Okay...it says 'If you want to see your Eevee again, bring the traitor to the hidden grotto in the woods. If the exchange goes peacefully, no one gets hurt.'" Brock explained. "Judging from the mention of 'the traitor' in here, this is probably Team Elegy demanding Hibiki back...."

"They can threaten me all they want, but I am NOT going back!" Hibiki snapped.

"And they didn't have to go so low as to Eevee-nap Raku!" Wendy agreed as angry tears formed in her eyes.

"I know the place the note describes--one of our hidden bases." Hibiki explained, calming Wendy down a little. "Thing is, if we're gonna try a rescue mission, the problem is how to bypass all the traps and security."

"What if I were the one to go find Raku while you guys battle?" Brock suggested.

Hibiki smiled. "That's a good idea--fool Team Elegy into thinking they're getting what they wanted, and then surprise them!"

She added as an aside "The boss usually thinks of just about anything that could possibly happen, but I bet she didn't think we'd pull a bait and switch rescue!"

Nervous giggles went up in agreement as Hibiki reached for a piece of paper and drew the base as best as she could remember, marking every possible place Raku could have been taken. "Okay, while Wendy and I deal with Aika and the admins, you can start down this hallway here...."

Later, at the Team Elegy base...

Aika gasped when she found Brock, Wendy, and Hibiki arriving at the base entrance. "What a surprise! I didn't expect you to respond to my message so quickly..." she grinned.

"We have two conditions before we turn Hibiki over..." Brock told Aika. "Allow me the chance to find where our Eevee is being held..."

"...and second..." Wendy drew her blade. "Defeat us in a battle to decide who is worthy to have Hibiki!"

"Just when I thought we'd have a peaceful solution to a matter..." Aika grumbled before taking a Poke Ball. "All right, if you want to fight, so be it. "But I won't be going down that easily!" With that, she heaved the Poke Ball to the ground, revealing an Exploud alongside two Boldores two of the admins had summoned.

Mizuchi led the charge to battle as Wendy delivered a hard gash to the hole-filled mammalian Pokemon. [Now's your chance, Brock! Go! Go! Go!] she called before the Exploud howled in pain.

[Hah!] Terra flung some dirt in the Exploud's face, buying Wendy time to deliver another blow.

The girls, didn't expect to be thrown back from the force of the Exploud's Hyper Voice. "Ow..." Hibiki winced as she tried to get up.

"You're lucky we didn't hit the rocks..." Wendy agreed as she gingerly eased herself to her feet.

"Rocks or no rocks, this still hurts." Hibiki mused as she too tried to get up.

She gasped as the two Boldores heaved a flurry of rocks in their direction. "Just because we didn't hit the natural rocks doesn't mean we will get hit!" With that, the group hurried out of the way as more rocks rained on the forest floor.

[I'll get the Exploud!] Hinata volunteered before firing a Flamethrower attack, making the Exploud howl even more in pain.

[Incoming!] Mizuchi called as a large wave engulfed the two Boldores, leaving only the Exploud standing.

Satomi watched as the admins summoned two other Boldores, making Wendy's next attack useless. I have to do something--my brother needs help, and Brock may be in trouble too! Wendy always tells me that siblings always help each other, so I'm gonna help save my brother, or die trying!

With that, she ran as fast as she could towards a small hole at the entrance of the base, [I'm coming, Raku!!!!]

Hibiki heard Satomi's cry as she again struggled to stand and gasped in awe as the running Eevee started to glow. "I don't believe it...Satomi's evolving!"

"Huh?" Wendy turned to look and gasped when she saw the distinct lavender fur and divided tail of an Espeon staring down the Exploud. "No way!!! It IS Satomi!"

The Boldores tried to heave more rocks, but her new psychic abilities told Satomi where each one would land, allowing her to dodge them all as she headbutted the Exploud. [Missed me, you windbag!]

"Hibiki, can you sing a spell to protect Satomi?" Wendy asked. "She may be evolved, but I'm afraid an Exploud may be too much for her this soon."

"Here goes..." With that, Hibiki sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... surrounding Satomi in a bright red aura.

The spell also powered up Wendy's blade, allowing her to fire an Ice Beam at the Boldore closest to her. She then heard Hibiki sing Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... again, making the same shield appear around both of them, and the other Pokemon that were out on the battlefield.

[Thanks, Hibiki!] Terra called as she dodged a rock.

"Satomi may be on the front lines, but the rest of you deserve some protection too." Hibiki smiled. "Hopefully this will allow us to hold out until Brock ret-!"

That was as far as she got before the Exploud howled again, sending the smaller Pokemon flying several inches backwards. But Satomi seemed unfazed as more Boldore rocks rained around her. [You can't keep a good mon down!] she taunted.

"Can you sense where Brock is?" Hibiki asked.

Satomi was about to answer when an arrow whizzed over her head, impaling one of the Roggenrolas that were coming to join the fight. "Miss me?" Brock grinned as he hurried to assess Raku and the other Pokemon.

"While you were inside looking for Raku, Satomi evolved!" Wendy reported.

[And now for my next trick...] Satomi smiled before firing a Psybeam from the ruby on her forehead, which finally make the Exploud succumb to the wave of rainbow light.

"We're done here!" Hibiki agreed as the Boldores, seeing that their leader had fallen, fled in panic. "Retreat!" With that, everyone fled, oblivious to Aika's cry of revenge booming through the forest: "You'll pay for this, spellsingers! I will catch you if it's the last thing I do!"

---------

"Good news--Raku's none the worse for wear after his ordeal." Brock reported as the group had dinner around the campfire that evening.

"The real hero is Satomi." Hibiki explained. "Her anger and her love for her brother made her evolve."

Wendy looked over at Satomi. "You did a very brave thing today, but I wonder--why did you just run into the thick of battle?

[You've always told us that siblings help each other--and I couldn't just sit back and watch knowing Raku was in danger.] Satomi explained. [I evolved because I love him.]

[You evolved for me?] Raku gasped. [Th-thank you!]

Inspired, Brock raised his soda can as if it was a wine glass. "A toast! To Satomi--today's real hero!"

"To Satomi!" the girls agreed as three soda cans clanked together to kick off the night's festivities....
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  #46    
Old October 29th, 2013 (07:47 PM). Edited October 30th, 2013 by EmeraldSky.
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Episode 42: "The lights of Akari City! Melanie, the song echoing in the night!"


"We're almost to Akari City..." Brock noted as he consulted the map. "It goes without saying that Hibiki's singing the awakening song was a loud and clear indication she wanted to come with us...."

"If only to atone for my past." Hibiki smiled as she petted Fuka.

"D-d-do you have any suggestions for a tight throat?" Wendy stammered. "I'm simultaneously excited and nervous for my first PokeTheater audition..."

"Well..." Brock thought for a moment. "One way to relieve a tight throat and improve your speaking at the same time is to sing nonsense...."

"Nonsense?" Wendy was intrigued.

"Like scat singing or that one polka song Vocaloids sing?" Hibiki wondered.

Brock smiled. "Exactly--whatever it is you sing, try to enunciate your words--this forces your throat to open up. If you're not in a place where you can sing, then just speak the words."

Wendy pictured Brock as a Vocaloid singing the Ievan Polkka and giggled. "I'm sorry, this mental image of you as a Vocaloid is just too funny!"

"I'd love to hear you sing that--or at least the part all the Vocaloids sing." Hibiki agreed.

"Believe it or not, Ievan is actually one of my favorite quick vocal warmups." Brock told the girls as he fished his pitch pipe from one pocket.

After blowing an A note to establish the key he would be performing in, Brock started singing the gibberish melody: Anat za za, aridavi deen lava itsplan den lan den lan do, lava ii pa pa, bari bari bala rilibilibi liku len den lan do lava rin lan ten lan day alo, barala lavalava lukuluku dayavu, a rin lan ten lan den lan do barala katakata kutukutu deyavu.

[Bravo!] Raku cheered as the girls applauded.

"Maybe I ought to try that...." Wendy mused as the three friends walked through the route gate and onto the bustling streets. "Anat za za, aridavi deen lava itsplan den lan den lan do..." she repeated to herself as they walked down the crowded sidewalk, being careful not to jostle anyone in the crowd of people frantically rushing to one place or another.

"Wow..." Hibiki, meanwhile, was awed at all the glittering lights on the buildings and the headlights of traffic. "I've never been in a city this big before--usually I'd be stuck back at one base or another."

"Well, what would you like to do first?" Brock asked as the group stepped on a sidewalk and rounded a corner to a park--one of the few spots of quiet amid the glittering chaos of the city.

Dreams to dream, in the dark of the night.... came a hauntingly beautiful voice. When the world goes wrong, I can still make it right...

Brock froze. I know this song....I heard it in a movie once... he thought as he followed the voice in hopes of finding the singer.

"Are you okay?" Hibiki asked, concerned at Brock's near trance-like state as he checked in bushes and behind trees along the pathway, in hopes the mysterious singer was behind one.

"Sh!" Brock quietly shushed Hibiki. "Try and help me figure out who's singing and where it's coming from." Hibiki nodded as she held Fuka in her arms.

It wasn't until the group arrived at a large square, where all the park's paths seemed to converge, that they found the singer. A long haired girl was also present, dancing around the park benches, flowerpots and the Milotic fountain in the square's center as she sang the haunting melody:

I can see so far in my dreams
I'll follow my dreams
Until they come true....

Come with me, you will see what I mean,
she continued as she swayed past a flower pot.
There's a world inside no one else ever sees.
You will go so far in my dreams,
Somewhere in my dreams,
Your dreams will come true....

There is a star waiting to guide us,
she sang as she skipped past the fountain, oblivious to Brock approaching her.
Shining inside us when we close our eyes!

Don’t let go, if you stay close to me!
the girl sang as she and Brock waltzed across the grey cobblestones.
In my dreams tonight, you will see what I see
Dreams to dream, as near as can be
Inside you and me, that always come true,
Inside you and me, that always come true.


It wasn't until the girl heard Wendy and Hibiki applauding that she realized she had a dance partner. "Oh! Thanks for the waltz..." she giggled, a little embarrassed she had been discovered.

"My pleasure...I just heard you singing and wondered who it was..." Brock nervously replied, trying oh-so-hard to resist the urge to profess his love for the girl--or specifically, her voice. "I-in return for th-that lovely song...may...may I have the honor of singing for you, my lovely Fletchling?" he blurted in romantic euphoria.

The girl stifled a giggle at the lovesick traveler before her. "You wanna sing for me? Okay then...lets hear it."

Okay, copy of 'La donna e mobile' in the music player...here's hoping the ol' opera ruse works! Brock grinned before putting on some headphones, setting his music to play through the speakers and his headphones, pressing PLAY on his Match Call, and hiding it in his pocket.

When the familiar melody started, he sauntered towards the girl before lip syncing to the existing tenor's Italian. La donna è mobile
Qual piuma al vento,
muta d'accento
e di pensiero.

Sempre un amabile,
leggiadro viso,
in pianto o in riso,
è menzognero....


"Is he actually singing?" Hibiki gasped, impressed that Brock could seemingly sing opera with no formal training.

"Nope--he's lipsyncing..." Wendy sighed as Brock continued cavorting about the square, lost in his "aria".

The girl, on the other hand, seemed to notice where Brock was receiving his operatic skill--the Match Call wire snaking from his pocket. "Sorry, Caruso, but lipsyncing won't get you anywhere in this town!" she smirked as she unplugged the headphones, silencing Brock's performance.

"Oh Brock, did you really have to lipsync opera?" Wendy giggled as she and Hibiki joined Brock on the square.

"Brock, huh?" the girl grinned, pleased to finally learn her partner's name. "Name's Melanie--Gym Leader by day, a cappella singer by night."

"No way!" Wendy gasped. "THE Melanie? Leader of the Starlites?"

"The one and only!" Melanie grinned. "I'm honored you would trek all this way to our humble corner of Minami..."

"Well, I come from Kanto, up north..." Brock explained. "But I came down here for a bit of a walking tour of a region I've never been to...and before you ask, yes, I can really sing--I'm actually asked to do hundreds of shows all over the world..."

"Well, if you're gonna sing for me, I wanna hear your real voice." Melanie cautioned. "No lip syncing, no AutoTune, no trickery--just your natural voice, simple as that."

She then noticed the girls. "And who might your two traveling companions be?"

"This is Wendy, aspiring actress..." Brock explained as Wendy waved hello. "and this is Hibiki, breeder in training." Hibiki shyly waved hello while still trying to cradle Fuka in her arms.

"Nice to meet you all." Melanie grinned. "Since you're here, howsabout a tour of some of Akari's best known landmarks, so you can get your bearings in all this hustle and bustle?"

"We would love to!" Hibiki replied. Fuka squeaked in agreement.

"I would be honored." Brock smiled. Wendy grinned in agreement.

"All right, if you'll follow me to the park entrance, we'll catch one of the buses." Melanie began as she led the way down one of the paths leading out of the square....
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  #47    
Old November 5th, 2013 (09:08 AM).
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Episode 43: "The master teacher! Hibiki's welcome gift!"


"And over on your left is our own PokeTheater." Melanie paused to point out a majestic castle-like building with a marquee as the bus went past the town square. "Currently, they're preparing to open auditions for 'Falco Dolan and the Case of the Persian's Eye'."

"Wow!" Wendy gasped, awed at the building's size.

"Just think--as soon as tomorrow, you and I will be auditioning in there for your first role." Brock grinned at Wendy.

"You'd make a great Falco, I know that much." Wendy smiled back. "Although I've always wanted to be Joanna..."

"Who's she?" Hibiki was interested.

"She is Falco's partner and assistant." Wendy explained. "Sometimes she'll come up with an intriguing solution that Falco didn't think of."

"I've read a few of those stories--sometimes the solution to the mystery comes way out of left field." Hibiki smiled. "My favorite has always been 'The Case of the Book of Secrets'

"Never read that one--what's it about?" Melanie was intrigued. "Try not to spoil how the mystery is solved."

"Okay...it starts in a bar, and a lot of robberies have taken place on the street where the bar is." Hibiki explained. "Just then, one of the Young Fletchinders--the kids that serve as Falco's informants around the city--brings in a mysterious man she found wandering the street. The barkeep and the waitresses believe this guy is the robber terrorizing the city. The police arrest him..."

"Wait--where does Falco come into play?" Wendy asked.

"I'm getting to Falco and Joanna." Hibiki assured Wendy. "Just as the police are closing in, they find the guy has been mysteriously killed. Meanwhile, at Dolan Manor, Falco and Joanna learn of the case thanks to a TV report, and even the Pokemon Investigation Corps is involved..."

"Sounds pretty exciting..." Melanie grinned. "I'll have to hunt down a copy at the library." She then pointed out a festively decorated neon lit building with the Gym insignia prominently displayed. "Right there is where I perform concerts and battles daily--so come on by if you like."

"We'd love to come hear you and the Starlites perform." Hibiki smiled as the foursome got off the bus at the Pokemon Center stop.

"Well, to welcome you to town, I have a little gift..." Melanie smiled as she led the group inside the Pokemon Center and to an open guest room, where she made a grand gesture to a guitar case on one of the beds. "I've been saving this new instrument to give to someone worthy enough to take care of it and play it well."

"May I have it?" Hibiki gasped, stars in her eyes. "I've always wanted to learn guitar!"

"I'll be happy to teach you, too." Brock told Hibiki.

"When do we start?" Hibiki grinned before hugging Melanie. "Thank you so much! I'll take extra good care of it and play it as often as I can!"

---------

"Okay, next question--how DO you play this?" Hibiki wondered as she studied the beautiful black acoustic guitar in her hands. Brock had finished explaining to her the parts of a guitar, how to sit properly, and how to hold the instrument properly.

"Well, before we sit down and play ANYTHING, we're going to learn to tune your instrument." Brock explained before retrieving his own guitar. "I'll show you how to do it with mine, then help you tune yours. The more you do it--and you should tune every time before you start--the easier it gets. Since I play a lot, I'm usually tuned in about 30 seconds."

"Wow!" Hibiki was impressed. She watched carefully as Brock went to work tuning up.

Once satisfied his instrument was in tune, Brock went on. "Okay--to start tuning, you'll need a reference note--this can be a piano, a pitch pipe, another guitar that is in tune, or even a MIDI file of an E note."

Hibiki's quizzical look spurred him to continue. "Okay--picture a piano in your head..."

"Got it." Hibiki replied, closing her eyes.

"You know where middle C is, right?" Brock continued.

"The C key by the company name." Hibiki smiled.

"The specific E note we need is the E below middle C." Brock continued.

She's learning pretty quickly... Wendy grinned as she watched Brock walk Hibiki through the tuning process, then her first scale exercise. I can tell she's itching to learn some chords and songs!

---------

"Okay, so I have some chords down, and some easy songs, but how do you sing and play at the same time?" Hibiki wondered. "You make it look so easy around the campfire..."

"Hate to break it to you, but it's not as easy as it looks." Brock cautioned. "In actuality, I'm doing three things at once--one hand's strumming, the other is playing the chords, and my mouth is singing. It sounds complex, yes, but it's not impossible for an absolute beginner."

He then told Hibiki "Just think of the first nice sounding chord progression using G, C, and D, and start there."

Hm... After reminding herself of each chord's fingerings, Hibiki started a slow, yet hesitant melody.

So far so good... Brock smiled as he reached for the TV remote. "Okay...I like the little melody you're playing..."

"Thanks..." Hibiki smiled as she played.

"Now...can you keep that melody going and watch TV at the same time?" Brock challenged, turning on a TV near Hibiki's chair, where a soap opera was just beginning.

"That's pretty clever--teaching her to do something else while she's playing." Wendy noted before hearing a twang that indicated Hibiki had tripped over a note.

"The purpose of that exercise is to develop independence--something that's very important if she wants to play and sing." Brock reminded Wendy before noticing Hibiki's glum face. "Hey...I know that all we've learned sounds like a lot to remember, and it won't always be easy....but just keep at it, okay?"

"Okay..." Hibiki replied. "I made a promise to Melanie I would practice as often as I could, and I intend to do that. You're actually a good teacher too."

"Well, if I'm going too quickly for you, or if there's a song you really want to learn, I'll teach you." Brock assured Hibiki. "You did very well for your first day--our next lesson will be the same time tomorrow."

"Okay!" Hibiki smiled before putting her instrument away and cuddling Fuka. Thank you, Melanie--you've made one of my biggest dreams come true!
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  #48    
Old November 19th, 2013 (08:22 AM).
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Episode 44: "A lucky accident! My bright silver star!"


"This is it--your first audition for the PokeTheater." Brock grinned as Wendy woke up. "How do you feel?"

"A little nervous..." Wendy replied as she climbed from the bed. "I DO know what our audition act is gonna be--remember that melody you played to go with the lyrics I wrote when you first arrived?"

"What about it?" Brock asked, piqued.

"After seeing how well you can waltz last night, I thought 'Why not have the two of us waltz to that melody'? Wendy explained. "If only I had thought to record you playing it before!"

"Melanie told us that there's a recording studio by the theater, which has a resident band that records background music." Hibiki suggested as she waited for Fuka's bathtub to fill. "Maybe you can ask them to--" This was as far as she got before Fuka dove in the tub with a splash, which splattered water on the floor and Hibiki.

Brock tried oh-so hard not to laugh at Fuka's confident smile. "That was pretty cool, but the bathtub isn't the best place to do trick jumps off the high dive." he explained as he mopped up the puddles dotting the floor.

Memo to self: find a swimming pool somewhere. Hibiki reminded herself. Then I can give Fuka swimming lessons.

She then composed herself and continued as she gently lathered soap on the tiny yellow mouse's fur. "As I was saying before Fuka decided he was Pokemon Diving Champion, maybe you can ask the resident band in the studio if they'll record the music for you guys to dance to."

"I did remember to pack a blank CD or two just in case we ran into this problem..." Wendy assured Hibiki. "Although considering what we've been through the last few days, forgetting to record music for a dance is child's play."

Hibiki, meanwhile, gently coaxed Fuka to swim to her. "You two would be great partners." she smiled as she rinsed Fuka.

Later that afternoon...

Some sniffles jarred Brock and Hibiki from the day's guitar lesson. "What happened?" Hibiki asked as Wendy arrived in the room, tears streaming down her face.

The ruby on Satomi's forehead glowed for a moment as the Espeon read her master's emotions. [Apparently Wendy forgot to specify what kind of music she wanted performed, and now she has this goofy pop song with bagpipes.]

"A pop song with bagpipes?" Brock winced at the thought, yet he tensely inserted the CD in the CD player, just to see if what Wendy described was true or not.

The blaring melody startled Fuka, making him cry. "Okay, okay, I'll turn it off!" Brock assured the squalling Pichu as he shut the CD player off, silencing the loud bouncy song accented with bagpipes.

Wendy stifled a giggle through her tears. "Well, we can add bagpipes to the list of things Fuka doesn't like..."

"Up there with shots, thunderstorms, earthquakes and Houndooms." Hibiki agreed as she set her guitar aside and consoled Fuka. "It's okay...we turned that noisy music off..."

Then an idea came to her. "You know, this may not be a total loss..."

"It's not?" Wendy asked as she dried the last of her tears.

"The lyrics may still work, and you can still dance..." Hibiki explained. "I'm gonna have to turn that noisy music back on for a minute, okay?" she assured Fuka.

Fuka, meanwhile, darted over to an open drawer and emerged with a pair of earplugs in his ears. [Well, that's one way to block annoying music...] Hinata noted as Fuka ran into Brock's hands.

Hibiki, meanwhile, pressed PLAY on the CD player, then did a few light jumps in time to the song's introduction. Then she kicked up her heels in time to the music, making Wendy stifle a giggle. High in the sky is a secret so sweet and a star that is glistening for a moment... she sang. Twinkling in his eyes is a fleeting small memory that his heart and mine, finally intertwined...This thing called love doesn't make any sense, I feel like I am floating up in the blue sky. His love surprised me, as we traveled through the sky and my heart dreams of him, every night and day...

A grin slowly formed on Brock's face as Hibiki spun, twirled, jumped, and sang to the music. "That actually looks pretty neat...but it's missing something..."

Three, two, one, zero! Like a shining Thunderbolt
You came into my life, and you gave my heart new hope

We two travel here and there, riding on the solar wind
You are here, as my little silver star!
Hibiki sang as she danced.

Close your eyes and count to three, you will teleport to me,
And the love in your heart will keep flowing strong and free!

I've been waiting for this day, say 'I love you'-no delay!
You'll be here for me, my bright silver star!
Though you're millions of years away from me!


Surprisingly, Fuka applauded with Brock and Wendy when the song ended. Hibiki just giggled and took a bow.

[I know what Hibiki needs!] Emi announced. [She should be shaking a tambourine as she dances!]

"But where are we going to find tambourines?" Wendy wondered before a thought occurred to her. "Thanks, everyone--maybe having this music for our routine won't be so bad after all!

"You just have to roll with the punches when things don't go right." Brock explained. "I know you wanted us to do an elegant waltz, but an equally goofy dance to a bubblegum pop song can be just as fun to do."

"I still don't know where we're going to find tambourines." Wendy mused as the three friends tidied up the guest room.

"Party supply stores--they're an Arceus-send." Brock grinned as he led the way out,only pausing to flip over the sign on the guest room door to read "WILL RETURN SOON" "But good luck getting Emi, Raku, and Fuka to leave..."
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  #49    
Old December 17th, 2013 (11:33 AM).
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Interlude: "The Poke-Party Panic!"

The doors to Party Central opened with a whoosh, allowing the group and the Pokemon inside. [Wow...] Raku gasped at the dizzying array of colorful toys, streamers, party hats, and other items.

"Remember, we're here for some props for our audition act, not to play." Brock reminded the Pokemon as they hurried off down the store aisles.

[Look at me! I'm a princess!] Emi smiled as she modeled a toy silver tiara.

Brock stifled a chuckle at how cute Emi looked. "Your Majesty, how may I be of service?" he asked as he bowed on one knee before Emi.

"You have the royalty thing down." Wendy grinned as she disappeared down another aisle with Satomi and Raku.

A party horn blat startled Hibiki. [Happy new year!] Fuka announced before blowing the party horn again.

"Oh, that's not for a while..." Hibiki giggled. "So put that back."

[Aw...] Fuka reluctantly hung up the party horn.

Emi, meanwhile, had led Brock into the noisemaker and instrument aisle. [Ooh, harmonicas!] she gasped, memories of Ash playing a long and often improvised solo dancing through her mind.

[Too bad they're the cheap plastic ones that never play anything.] Raku agreed as he met Emi in the aisle.

Just as Hibiki and Fuka arrived in the aisle, Brock motioned to her "If you'll remind me when we sit down for guitar lessons today, I'll teach you how to play accompaniment to another instrument--your guitar to my harmonica."

"Cool!" Hibiki gasped, stars in her eyes. "I've been wanting to jam with someone after getting a few troublesome chords down..."

"You can show me your progress when we get back to the room." Brock assured Hibiki before turning his attention to the different noisemakers and instruments on display. "Hm..."

[You can play a real harmonica?] Raku gasped.

"Yeah--but I'm not as good as my friend Ash is." Brock confessed. "I still have a pretty good sized repertoire of songs, though.

"Like any new skill, you have to practice it." Hibiki added.

[Pity all these tambourines are cheap toy ones...] Fuka sighed. [Those would break even before you got onstage!]

"Rhythm instruments are over there..." an associate assured Fuka as she brought over some new items to stock.

[Thanks!] Fuka replied.

"Yes, thank you." Wendy agreed before following Hibiki and Brock over to another aisle.

After looking through a large bin of standard circle shaped tambourines, Wendy sighed. "I kinda want something a little different from a classroom tambourine...."

[Hey! Look!] Emi called, holding up a royal blue star tambourine high for Wendy to see.

"Those look cute...what other shapes to they come in?" Wendy wondered.

[This one's for Daddy...] Emi then showed the group a red crescent moon tambourine. [Three, two, one, zero! Like a shining Thunderbolt
You came into my life, and you gave my heart new hope

We two travel here and there, riding on the solar wind
You are here, as my little silver star!]
she sang as she danced around the aisle, shaking and banging the moon-shaped tambourine all the while.

"Aw..." Hibiki grinned at Emi's performance.

"Come to think of it, those just might work." Brock smiled. "Some matching costumes, and we're gold!"

"Emi, you're a genius!" Wendy smiled as Emi offered her both the moon and the star tambourines. "Who knows, your little dance just might take Minami by storm!"
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  #50    
Old January 15th, 2014 (06:23 AM).
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Episode 45: "A tale for Melanie! The master storyteller takes the stage!"


"Okay, we have props for later...." Wendy smiled as the group returned to the Pokemon Center with the two tambourines they had bought. "Now we need costumes for the routine..."

She noticed Brock sigh. "What's wrong?"

The ruby on Satomi's head glowed as she read Brock's thoughts. [He's frustrated he didn't pack any suitable costumes, and all the ones he would've used are at home.]

"Didn't Melanie say that if we needed anything, all we had to do was ask?" Hibiki asked.

"Yeah..." Brock replied, now in a better mood.

Suddenly, a thought occurred to Hibiki. "How would we pay for what costumes she gives us?"

"Oh, Hibiki." Wendy smiled. "She probably wouldn't ask for money, per se..."

"Besides, I owe her an opportunity to show her I can really sing." Brock reminds Hibiki.

"Why don't you show her how good a storyteller you are, too?" Hibiki suggested. "And work in some singing into your tale!"

"Uh huh...." the three friends grinned, pleased with their plan.

Later, inside Akari Gym...

"Melanie?" Wendy called as the group entered the neon-lit Gym.

A spotlight appeared on the large and roomy stage in the center of the room, revealing Melanie. "You called?" she grinned.

"Brock and I have a problem on our hands..." Wendy explained. "We're auditioning for the PokeTheater tomorrow, but we don't have suitable costumes to dance in..."

"So I thought I would show you that I can sing for real." Brock picked up where Wendy left off. "And while I'm at it, show off my storytelling skills too."

"Nice, a way with words and song..." Melanie smiled. "If you need time to get ready, go ahead, but if you have something prepared, the stage is yours."

Brock nodded, and made his way onto the majestic stage, allowing him to see the rows of seats, as well as into the room that housed a smaller stage for battles and training. "Okay....I learned this tale on a journey through the Shinou region." he explains.

With that, he begins "There once lived a king and queen who had an only daughter. And the beauty of this princess--we'll call her Isabel--surpassed everything seen or heard of. Her forehead was brilliant as the moon, her lips like a ruby, her complexion smooth as silk, and her breath the sweetness of fresh mint. Her hair was a beautiful midnight black, and in her voice and glance there was something so enchanting that no one could help listening to her or looking at her."

Fuka gains star eyes as he pictures what Princess Isabel looks like. "Princess Isabel lived for seventeen years in her own area of the castle, reveling in the company and the hearts of her parents, teachers, and servants." Brock continues. "No one else ever saw her, for the sons of the king and all other princes were forbidden to enter this area. She never went anywhere, never looked upon the outside world, and never breathed the air outside, but she was perfectly happy."

"So, how do you learn social skills if you stay holed up in one spot?" Melanie is confused.

"When she was eighteen years old, it happened, either by chance or by the will of Arceus, that she heard the song of the Spritzee." Brock explains as he walks around the stage, still speaking all the while. "This sound made her strangely uneasy; her head drooped, and covering her eyes with her hands, she fell into thought so deep as not to hear her mother come inside. The queen looked at her anxiously, and after comforting her went to tell the king about it."

Wendy is about to ask how the king responded before Brock lifts a hand, silently telling her he will answer her question at the proper time. "For many years the sons of kings and neighboring princes had, either personally or by their ambassadors, presented themselves at court to ask the king for the hand of Princess Isabel in marriage. But he had always told them to wait until another time. After a long consultation with the queen, he sent messengers to foreign courts and elsewhere to proclaim that Princess Isabel, in accordance with the wishes of her parents, was about to choose a husband, and that the man of her choice would also have the right of succession to the throne."

"Oh, I see..." Wendy smiles as she invites Raku on her lap.

"When Princess Isabel heard of this, her joy was very great, and for days she would dream about it." Brock goes on. "Then she looked out into the garden through the golden lattice of her window, and longed with an irresistible longing to walk in the open air on the smooth lawn. With a little convincing she talked her maids into it, on condition that she should stay with them at all times."

"I have a bad feeling about this..." Hibiki shudders.

"So the crystal doors were thrown open, the oaken gates that shut in the orchard turned on their hinges, and Princess Isabel found herself on the green grass." Brock continues. "She ran about, picking the sweet-scented flowers and chasing the many-colored Beautiflies. But in her enthusiasm to explore this strange new world, she wandered away from her maids."

"Uh oh..." Melanie echoes Hibiki's sentiment.

"Just at that moment a raging hurricane, such as had never been seen or heard before, passed by and fell upon the garden. It roared and whistled around and around, then carried Princess Isabel far away." Brock confirms the girls' fears as he makes dramatic whirling gestures to represent the hurricane. "The terrified maids wrung their hands, and were for a moment speechless with grief. Finally, they rushed into the palace, and throwing themselves on their knees before the king and queen, told them with sobs and tears what had happened. They were overwhelmed with sorrow and didn't know what to do."

"I would be too, if I were them." Melanie muses.

"By this time quite a crowd of princes had arrived at the palace, and seeing the king in such bitter grief, asked what had happened to make him so sad." Brock goes on.

"Sorrow has touched my white hairs," he explains as the king. "The hurricane has carried off my dearly beloved child, the sweet Princess Isabel, and I know not where it has taken her. Whoever finds this out, and brings her back safely to me, will have her as his bride, and with her half the kingdom for a wedding present, and the remainder of my wealth and titles when I pass on."

As himself, he intones "After hearing these words, princes and knights mounted their Ponytas and set off to search throughout the world for the beautiful Princess Isabel, who had been captured by Darkrai, the Nightmare Pokemon."

The Pokemon shudder at the mention of Darkrai. "Now among the adventurers were two brothers, sons of a king, and they traveled together through many countries asking for news of Princess Isabel, but no one knew anything about her." Brock assures them. "But they continued their search, and at the end of two years arrived in a country that lay in the very center of the world, and had summer and winter at the same time."

"Interesting..." Hibiki smiles, eager to learn about the land Brock described.

"The princes--we'll call them Rowan and Rigel--decided to find out whether this was the place where the hurricane had hidden Princess Isabel." Brock explains. "So they began to climb one of the mountains on foot, leaving their Ponytas behind to graze. When they reached the summit, they spotted a silver palace supported on a Combusken's foot, and at one of the windows the sun's rays shone upon a head of black hair; surely it could only belong to the princess. Suddenly, the wind blew so violently, and the cold became so intense, that the leaves of the trees withered and the breath froze. The two princes tried to keep their footing, and fought with all their might against the storm, but they were overcome by its fierceness and fell together, frozen to death."

Gasps go up at this, but the grin on Brock's face assures the girls that the story is nowhere near over. "Their broken-hearted parents waited for them in vain. Prayers were said, search parties sent out, and prayers sent up to Arceus to pity them in their sorrow."

[Poor princes...] Mizuchi sighs.

"One day when the queen, the mother of the princes, was giving a poor old man some money she said to him...

As the queen, Brock requests "My good old friend, pray Arceus to guard our sons and soon bring them back safely".

"Ah, noble lady," he answers as the old man, "that prayer would be useless. Everlasting rest is all one may ask for the dead, but in return for the love you have shown and the money you have given the poor and needy, I am charged with this message - that Arceus has taken pity on your sorrow, and that before too long you will be the mother of a son, the like of whom has never been seen".

He intones as himself "With that, the old man vanished."

After a pause, he continues "The queen, whose tears were falling, felt a strange joy enter her heart and a feeling of happiness wash over her, as she went to the king and repeated the old man's words. And so it came to pass, that a week or two later Arceus sent her a son, and he was in no way like an ordinary child--we'll call him Risan. His eyes resembled those of a Talonflame, and his eyebrows the Buizel's fur. His right hand was of pure gold, and his manner and appearance were so full of an indescribable majesty, that he was looked upon by everyone with a feeling of awe."

"Wow!" Hibiki is impressed

"His growth, too, was not like that of other children." Brock explains. "When he was only three days old, he stepped out of his swaddling and left his cradle. And he was so strong that when his parents entered the room he ran towards them, crying out..."

In a mimic of Ash he asks "Good morning, dear parents, why are you so sad? Are you not happy at the sight of me? "

"We are indeed happy, Risan, and we thank Arceus for having sent us you in our grief." he explains as the king "But we cannot forget your two brothers; they were so handsome and brave, and worthy of a great destiny. And our sadness is increased when we remember that, instead of resting in their own country in the tomb of their forefathers, they sleep in an unknown land, perhaps without burial. Alas! it is three years since we had news of them".

"Cry no more, dear parents, you shall soon be comforted: for before next spring I will be a strong young man, and will search for my brothers all over the world, and beyond." he assures his audience as Prince Risan.

As himself, he continues. "At these words the king and queen were amazed. For the strange child, guided as it were by an invisible hand, rushed into the garden, and in spite of the cold, for it was not yet daylight, bathed in the early dew. When the sun had risen he threw himself down near a little wood on the fine sand, rubbed and rolled himself in it, and returned home, no longer a child but a young man."

Fuka gasps in awe at this. "It was pleasant to the king to see his son thrive in this way, and indeed Prince Risan was the handsomest in the whole land." Brock smiles, acknowledging Fuka's and Hibiki's awed faces with a nod. "He grew from hour to hour. At the end of a month he could wield a sword, in two months he rode a Ponyta well, and in three months he had mastered the art of magic. Then he put on a helmet, and presenting himself before the king and queen, said...

As Prince Risan, he announces "My much honored parents, your son asks your blessing. I am no longer a child, and now go to seek my brothers. In order to find them I will, if necessary, go to the furthest ends of the world".

"Ah, do not venture." he pleads as the queen. "Stay with us, dear son, you are still too young to be exposed to the risks of such an undertaking".

"Adventures have no danger for me," he replies as Prince Risan, "I trust in Arceus. Why should I hesitate to face these dangers? Whatever Arceus has in store for us will happen, whatever we may do to try to prevent it".

As himself, he continues "So they agreed to let him go. They tearfully bade him farewell, blessing him and the road he was to travel."

Wendy starts to applaud, but Brock is quick to caution her "A pleasant tale is soon told, but events do not pass so quickly."

"Story's not over yet, Fuka..." Hibiki tells Fuka, who was about ready to clap himself.

"Prince Risan crossed deep rivers and climbed high mountains, till he came to a dark forest." Brock continues, walking around the stage to mimic traveling. "In the distance he saw a cottage carved into the earth, and standing in the midst of a field full of poppies. As he made his ways towards it he felt an overpowering longing to sleep, but he urged on his Ponyta, and breaking off the poppy heads as he galloped through the field, came up close to the house. Then he sang a spell that meant the caster was a friend and wished to enter:

He then sings as Prince Risan Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo...

Melanie grins, pleased Brock sounds good and stayed in character. "The rock that served as the door rumbled open, allowing Prince Risan inside." Brock goes on. "He went in, and found a Delphox sitting at a table, her head resting on her hands, her eyes fixed on the ceiling, lost in deep thought. Near her were two beautiful Braxiens, their complexions like lilies and roses, and in every way sweet to the eye."

Melanie recognizes who Brock is describing. "Kitsune!"

"Ah, how do you do, Prince Risan, Hero with the Golden Fist?" Brock asks, using a mimic of Melanie to represent Kitsune; "what has brought you here?"

He interjects as himself "Having told Kitsune why he traveled, she replied..."

As Kitsune, he explains "Your elder brothers perished on the mountain that touches the clouds, while in search of the lovely Princess Isabel, who was carried off by Darkrai, the Nightmare Pokemon, in the form of a hurricane."

"And how is this thief Darkrai to be got at?" he asks as Prince Risan.

"Ah, my dear child, he would swallow you like a Venonat." he sighs as Kitsune. "It has been some time since I went outside this cottage, for fear Darkrai should capture me and carry me off to his lair in the underworld--for he fears the holy magic granted to us Delphoxes by Arceus".

"I am not afraid of his capturing me, I am not handsome enough for that; and he will not swallow me either, for my golden hand can smash anything". he brags as Prince Risan

"Then if you are not afraid, brave Lucario, I will help you to the best of my ability." he replies as Kitsune. "But give me your word of honor that you will bring me some of the Water of Life, for it restores even to the oldest of the old the beauty and freshness of youth".

"I give you my word of honor that I will bring you some". he smiles as Prince Risan.

"This then is what you must do." he instructs as Kitsune. "I will give you a crystal ball for a guide; it will fly in front of you, and follow wherever it goes. It will lead you to the mountain that touches the clouds, and which is guarded in Darkrai's absence by his two most trusted servants, the demons Kita and Mina. Whatever you do, do not lose sight of the crystal ball. If Kita attacks you with an Icy Wind, then sing this spell--'Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...' If Mina attacks you with her Fire Blast, then sing this spell: 'Furiya, shuru shamato...'. With the help of the crystal ball and these two spells, you will reach the top of the mountain where Princess Isabel is imprisoned. Deal with Darkrai as you will, only remember to bring me some of the Water of Life".

"Amazing!" Hibiki gasped, impressed Brock could singlehandedly perform both ends of the conversation.

"I'm impressed he learned to mimic my voice that well..." Melanie is equally impressed with Brock's mimicry.

"Our hero memorized both spells, and took the crystal ball, and, after bidding farewell to Kitsune and her two pretty daughters, mounted his Ponyta and rode off, following the crystal ball, which always flew ahead of him." Brock continues as himself.

He warns his audience "Now, a beautiful story is soon told, but the events of which it consists do not in real life take place so rapidly."

"Point noted." Wendy replies.

"When Prince Risan had traveled through two kingdoms, he came to a land in which lay a very beautiful valley that stretched into the far distance, and above it towered the mountain that touches the sky. The summit was so high above the earth, it may have reached the moon, if not farther." Brock explains. "The prince dismounted, left his Ponyta to graze, and after taking a few deep breaths to calm himself, began to follow the crystal ball up steep and rocky paths. When he had gotten about halfway there, Kita sensed his presence and blew out an Icy Wind. The cold was so intense that the wood of the trees split in half and the breath froze: Prince Risan felt chilled to the bone. But he quickly sang...

He sings as Prince Risan Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., conjuring a red shield of light around him.

"Nice touch!" Melanie smiles, thinking Brock's spell was a special effect.

"Kita blew with redoubled fury, but to no avail. For Prince Risan's fire shield was so hot that he was soaked with sweat, and had to unbutton his coat and fan himself." Giggles go up as Brock fans himself as if hot.

He continues as his spell wears off "The crystal ball stopped at a small snow-covered mound. Prince Risan cleared away the snow, beneath which lay the frozen bodies of two young men, and he knew them to be those of his lost brothers. Having knelt beside them and prayed he turned to follow the crystal ball, which had already flown away, and was flying ever higher and higher. On reaching the top of the mountain he saw a silver palace hovering in the air."

He then intones "Before Prince Risan could get close, a hot wind began to blow from the south, and the heat became so intense that leaves withered and dropped from the trees, the grass dried up, and large cracks appeared in the ground. Thirst, heat, and weariness began to take their toll on the young prince, so he cast the other spell..."

He then sings as Prince Risan Furiya, shuru shamato....

As himself, he continues "After cooling off, he felt stronger than ever, and so continued to climb. Not only was he relieved from the great heat, but even had to button up his coat to keep himself warm." Melanie chuckles as Brock feigns shivering.

Brock just continues "The crystal ball still led the way, ever climbing higher and higher, while Prince Risan followed close behind. After crossing the region of clouds, they came to the topmost peak of the mountain. Here the prince came close to the palace, which can only be compared to a dream of perfect beauty. It hovered in the air, and yet did not fall, and was built entirely of silver, except for its steel gates and roof of solid gold."

[I wish we lived in a palace...] Raku sighs dreamily.

"Before the entrance was a deep pit over which no one but authorized guests could pass." Brock intones. "As Prince Risan gazed upon the splendid building, Princess Isabel leaned out of one of the windows, and seeing him light shone from her sparkling green eyes, her lovely hair floated in the wind, and the scent of her sweet breath filled the air. Prince Risan sprang forward and sang..."

As Prince Risan, he sings Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo...

As himself, he continues "At these words a bridge appeared over the pit, and the door opened. As he entered it closed behind him. Prince Rizan went through the palace till he came to a room bright as the sun itself, and the walls, floor, and ceiling of which consisted of mirrors. He was filled with wonder, for instead of one princess he saw twelve, all equally beautiful, with the same graceful movements and jet black hair. But eleven were only reflections of the one real princess....."

----------

...."They knelt before the king and queen to receive their blessing." Brock pantomimes kneeling before an imagined throne. "The three weddings were celebrated that same evening, and a messenger mounted the winged Ponyta to carry the good news to the parents of the young princes and to bring them back as guests. Meanwhile, a magnificent feast was prepared, and invitations were sent to all their friends and family. And from that evening until the next morning at least they didn't stop feasting, drinking and dancing."

He concludes with a grin "For all I know, they may still be celebrating today!"

The room explodes in applause. "Amazing! You've got real talent!" Melanie raves. "You'd be perfect for an opening act if you wanted to!" Flattered by the applause, Brock takes a bow.
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