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Old January 21st, 2011 (11:10 AM). Edited January 21st, 2011 by EmeraldSky.
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This is a prequel to "Pokemon: Magic of a Melody", told from the POV of Kissa, Brock's Persian.

A Night at the Grand Market: Kissa's Tale

I'm proud to be a minstrel's Pokemon.

While it isn't always an easy task, and I can't always deal with tough crowds, stormy weather, and low supplies, I still love my master, and I will do anything to see him happy. If he's cold, I will find something to keep him warm even if I have to make the blanket myself. (he doesn't mind the leaf-and-twine blankets I make at all) If he isn't in the mood to hunt, I will find a river where we can fish together. (although he needs a rod and reel, while I catch them mid-jump) I owe him my life ever since he took me in when I was just a Meowth, so it is only fair I provide for him in return.

But how we met is not the tale I want to tell--not this time.

While we do have a little house in the woods not far from my master's hometown of Hopea, we mainly travel all over the land of Yoso, singing songs and spinning tales to all that want to listen. Well, my master does the singing and tale spinning, while I am content to observe the audience, play the occassional role in a tale, and watch over his instruments from behind the scenes--so he always knows where his instruments and props are at any time.

One of my favorite places to visit is the town of Ourania, home to the famous Grand Market. Every spring, artisans, craftsman, farmers, and entertainers from all over Yoso converge for four days of selling their wares. There's exotic food, games, battles, competitions, and even some prizes. My favorite part of it all (besides hearing my master perform in the inn) is sampling the fish from all around the world.

So there we were on the plains leading to Ourania, trying our hardest to outrun the omnious black clouds filling the sky. Master led the way, his dull red cloak billowing behind him and revealing the harp case and the bag of flutes and whistles he was carrying. I was close behind and was even able to overtake him despite carrying our camp supplies and anything else he couldn't carry on his own. His calls of "Come on, Kissa!" helped me see where he was in the tall grass that was slowly beginning to dampen with the oncoming storm.

I caught up to him some minutes later when we arrived in town, just as the heavens opened up. While my fur was mostly kept dry thanks to the load I carried, I wanted to be out of the rain before my head, my tiara, and my gear were soaked. Fortunately, it wasn't far to the inn--the Shining Wish.

"Good day to you, traveler." the innkeeper smiled as she took the tents and cooking supplies from my back. "It's fortunate you entered before the rains arrived." she added before brushing a wisp of her rich black hair from her face and calling down the hall "Eli! Come start a fire in the fireplace!"

"Yes, Mama!" came the reply as a young girl came dashing down the hall and gasping at Master's red and yellow attire. "Sir Brock, Kissa, what a surprise!" she giggled as she threw all seven years of her into Master's arms. "I didn't know if you would be back for the Grand Market this year...have you gotten to go find the great spellsong yet?"

"I have not gotten the chance to travel for the ultimate spell of Song Magic yet, Eliana." Master replied. "But when I do, I will go to the ends of the world to find it, as I promised Marista as she died."

"Has it been five years since the attack on Amhran Hall already?" Eliana's mother gasped. "Know this, Sir Brock--you've become a fine minstrel in your own right, if you've earned an archmage's gift. Marista would've been proud of you."

"Thank you..." Master smiled. "Would you object to a few tales and tunes for the patrons this evening, Lady Mele?" he asked as he discretely slipped a white flower into Eliana's deep brown hair. Eliana's father was a merchant, so he was away for most of the year, except for the Grand Market, Eliana's birthday, a brief time in the summer, and during the winter, when it was too cold to sail.

"Of course..." Mele smiled. "Do well and your room is on the house."

Since I was tired from running, I decided to curl up by the fireplace, just as Eliana finished arranging the logs in a nice pattern. Mele lit the flames, and I sprawled on the rug, allowing the flames to dry my creamy yellow fur. Then, Mele gave me some milk and Master some fresh Stantler meat and vegetables.

Eliana was first to see the silver tiara studded with jewels on my head. "All hail Queen Kissa!" she joked as she presented me with a Goldeen.

"Actually, I received that tiara as a gift from the head mage of the Vatin Lodge, to the north." Master explained in between bites. "This is how Kissa can carry heavy loads, cast some simple magic, and speak the language of humans."

I nibbled at the Goldeen, and savored every fishy bite. "This is very good...."

"You're welcome, Kissa." Eliana replied before showing another man to a table.

His meal complete, Master decided to prepare for his performance. Eliana was by his feet in seconds as he quickly and carefully tuned his harp, anticipating what he would tell. The plungs and plings of tuning harp strings seemed to get the growing crowd's attention as they entered the common room and made themselves at home either at a table or in one of the many chairs scattered throughout the room. I could see common folk and nobility alike, including a cluster of mage apprentices, likely from Masuliro Lodge. One of them, a black haired boy, flashed a smile at Eliana as the high mage in charge rounded up the rest of the group.

"Here's a coin in advance for your performance." Eliana giggled as she presented Master with a gold coin.

"You sure that's all you have? They're practically pouring from your ears!" I stifled a giggle at Eliana's awed face as Master pulled a coin from her ear, to some applause. Eliana's father, a strong and muscular young man, came down from the innkeeper's quarters upstairs at this point, smiling as Eliana told him about Master's magic trick.

"Pay heed, ladies and gentlemen! Sir Brock of Hopea and his speaking Persian Kissa have returned to us again on the eve of the Grand Market to brighten up this dreary night with songs and tales." Mele announced, to thunderous applause.

Master acknowledged his applause and made sure that another, smaller case was close by, then took his harp and strolled to the center of the room, playing the familiar song that Marista always played when she wanted a class's attention. Since she was mainly a storyteller, Master honored her memory by playing that song when he began to spin tales. Judging from his audience, sticking to tales and songs of heroes, how things came to be, and larger than life Pokemon seemed to be the best course--the gross and bawdy ones were better suited to the tavern than the inn. That, and there WERE children present.

I yawned as Master began. "I will answer your requests this evening, so if you desire to hear a particular tale or song, tell me, and I will gladly perform it for you."

"Sing us a song for all the new lovers!" a man requested.

"Lord Minstrel, why do Combuskens scratch at the ground?" a boy asked.

Master decided to honor the man's request first as he played a calm melody. Oh, the summertime has come, and the leaves are gently bloomin'. And the wild mountain thyme grows around the bloomin' heather...

I just nodded my head to the tune as the crowd joined in with Will ye go, lassie, go? And we'll all go together... Out of all the thousands of songs and stories Master knew, that was one of my favorites--I could just picture two young lovers picking the thyme together, lost in the happiness and joy that comes with new love.

When the last note died, Master began the tale the boy requested. I decided to doze off--it was a long journey to get here, and it was refreshing to lie down, never mind the adventures of a Combusken who received a special ring from a Pidgeot, and how subsequentially losing said ring lead to Combuskens scratching the ground. Just lying on the simple leaf-print rug by the fire was enough for now. I don't know how long I slept, but the songs and tales seemed to run into a blur of harp music, words, and the ocassional whistle.

Eliana requesting a tale snapped me to attention: "Sir Brock, tell the story about the tree with magic leaves."

Master nodded and played a soft melody for an introduction. "In a kingdom far from here, there was once a greedy tax collector--we will call him Higure." Shocked murmurs and gasps wafted through the room--tax collectors were no more admired here than in the land of make believe, but the way Master set up the tax collector made you eager to learn if such a greedy person could be defeated.

"Higure so loved material wealth, he would even go so far as to reword the laws of the land to suit his fancy." Master continued.

"Boo!" the black haired mage apprentice jeered, prompting some others to boo Higure (the tax collector's most commmon name when Master told this tale) as well.

"So if someone could not pay their taxes, Higure would take their house, their land, their belongings, their Pokemon--even the clothes on their back." Master continued as the boos intensified--he knew that the chorus of boos was not directed at him, but the scoundrel he was describing. "He did not care if he left anyone with nothing, and even kept a portion of what he collected for himself."

"Such a greedy rogue!" a woman commented. The high mage nodded in agreement, but gently squeezed the black haired apprentice's hand as a warning when he blew a raspberry of contempt at the air, as if Higure was really present.

"Higure's greed was so well known, no one wanted to live in that town, for they feared the tax collector would take everything they owned." Master continued as he played a little more, quieting the boos. "Now, in a neighboring town, there was a man who had a clever son--we will call the son Kaitou. Kaitou's family was not well off, but what they lacked in material things, they made up for in far greater treasures--love, humility, and kindness." Some applause and cheers went up in agreement at this. "Kaitou's father taught him to be generous and humble from birth, and Kaitou had grown into a fine young man." After playing an interlude, he continued. "One day, Kaitou heard the rumors about Higure and was appalled. He pondered for many days how to bring the greedy tax collector to justice. He could not tell the king, for the king would not listen to a simple commoner. Finally, he took it upon himself to outwit Higure." Giggles of anticipation came from Eliana and the black haired apprentice.

"So one day, long before his family woke, Kaitou went to his father's garden, dug up an Aspear tree, and hurried off to the neighboring town, making sure to time his arrival on the day Higure made his rounds." Master continued. "When he found Higure in the town square, he said..." He then used a breathy young male voice to represent Kaitou. "Please sir, I've just arrived in town, and must know how much in taxes a poor man must pay to live here."

"You'll have to pay something..." he replied in a gruff older voice for Higure. "What do you have?" The black haired apprentice watched, impressed, as Master skillfully carried a conversation between the two personas:

"Just this magical tree, and nothing more."

"Magical?

"Whoever touches a leaf of this tree to their forehead turns invisible for several hours."

"Is that so?"

As himself, Master continued. "So Higure took the tree from Kaitou and returned to his house." I snapped to attention--my part in the story was coming up. "Once there, he plucked a leaf from the tree, held it to his forehead, and called to his wife..." As Higure, he called "Meilin, can you see me?"

"Of course I can, dear, I'm not blind." I replied in a pitch perfect mimic of Mele. Laughter went up from the crowd at this, but the black haired apprentice laughed so hard, he almost fell to the floor.

"Higure plucked another leaf and called again..." Master continued before switching to his Higure persona. "Now can you see me?"

"Of course I can see you!" I retorted in my "wife" persona, to more laughter. Eliana's was the loudest, and the black haired apprentice was drying tears of laughter from his eyes.

"Higure plucked a third leaf and called again..." As Higure, he continues "Now?" As himself, he interjects "Meilin was growing tired of the game her husband was playing, so she closed her eyes and said..."

"No, dear...I cannot see you." I replied in character.

"Surprised that the spell had worked, Higure went into the town square. Everywhere he went, people looked away or at the sky--which Higure took to mean he really was invisible." Master continued. "So he went through the market stealing things--Pecha Berries here, a rug there, a whistle here, spices there. But no one said anything, lest they meet the wrath of the tax collector." After playing a tense interlude, he continued. "Eventually he left the village and walked down the road, where he saw the king and his men returning from a hunt. But before he could make off with some of the rare pelts, the guards arrested him. The king was furious and stripped Higure of his title. He eventually became a laughingstock and was shamed all across the land."

"Serves him right for stealing from the king!" a man commented.

"The villagers rejoiced in Kaitou's cleverness, and told of how a peasant boy had deliverd them from the greedy tax collector for many years to come...so ends the tale of 'The Tree with Magic Leaves'." Master concluded.

After the applause died down, the black haired apprentice stood up. "Please, lord minstrel; tell the one about how Sorin flew to the heavens." Cheers went up from the children--tales of the trickster Pikachu Sorin were very popular.

"Once Sorin was out looking for Berries in the woods." Master began over a soft melody. "He was growing hungry--winter was coming and food was becoming hard to find. Not only that, the other Pokemon were well aware that Sorin was a trickster, and no one knew what sort of trick he would pull if they gave him their trust..." The black haired apprentice savored every incident and fiddle interlude like the choicest meat, eyes sparkling all the while at how Pidgeot tried to get Sorin back with a trick of her own, only to earn the red orange and yellow plumes Pidgeots are famous for.

Little did I know, we would be seeing that apprentice again very soon.

THE END
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Old January 21st, 2011 (02:04 PM).
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Hello. I don't usually leave reviews, so I don't know if this one will be of any use to you, but, well, I hope so.

Quote:
While it isn't always an easy task, and I can't always deal with tough crowds, stormy weather, and low supplies,
I'm curious. What does Kissa do when she can't deal with it? Just, like, freak out?

Quote:
I still love my master, and I will do anything to see him happy, even if it means giving up my blanket and shivering in the cold so he can be warm, giving up my last fish so he can eat, or any number of other things.
...Wait up. I don't know if that was your intention, but you made Kissa's Master sound kinda mean here. What sort of trainer is happy to see his pokémon shivering in the cold or starving? Not a good one, I guess.

Quote:
I owe him my life ever since he took me in when I was just a Meowth, so it is only fair I provide for him in return.
So because Kissa's master took her in when she was younger, she believes she must repay Brock with small acts of self-sacrifice every day. And Brock accepts that, takes it for granted, even... because he thinks 'hey, Kissa's my pokémon. She has to love me and serve me since I took care of her when she was younger, because ingratitude's not a choice when the human saves your life, but it's totally acceptable when a pokémon follows you and dedicates her life to you.'

...Brock sounds so selfish on these first paragraphs.

Quote:
"Eli! Come start a fire in the fireplace!"
I don't know if it's just me, but if Eliana is seven-years-old, her mother would do well in starting the fire herself.

All in all, I like it Specially the stories, they're quite nice. Only the end feels a bit rushed... but oh well.
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Old January 21st, 2011 (02:34 PM).
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Hm, it’s been a while since I read any of your works. In fact, I think the last time I read a story of yours is back during the HeartGold/SoulSilver One Shot contest back in 2009 (haha, fun times). I decided to have a quick read here.

I have to say, neat idea of Brock going around telling stories and helping people around. I could see him like that in a Pokemon fantasy world AU.

Kissa I quite like a lot too. Even though I’m usually iffy about stories in a Pokemon’s POV and having them sound a bit too human (unless it’s mentioned in their Pokedex entries that they’re smart and such), in this kind of fantasy setting I’ll let it pass. I like the way you write out her thoughts over Brock, the people, and the stories. Oh, this is my favorite:

Quote:
Judging from his audience, sticking to tales and songs of heroes, how things came to be, and larger than life Pokemon seemed to be the best course--the gross and bawdy ones were better suited to the tavern than the inn. That, and there WERE children present.
Brock, telling steamy smut stories? Oh my. D: Then again, he’s been known as the woman chaser, so I can buy that somewhat. XD;

The tax collector story I enjoyed a lot, and I too was hoping he got what he paid for. The crowd’s reactions are fun to read too.

I have to agree with aglaya though in the first few paragraphs the way you worded it makes it sound Brock selfish, like the shivering in the cold aglaya pointed out. I know it's not your intention, but maybe reworded/rewrite some parts of the beginning to not make it sound Brock is mean and such?

Hm, I also wish instead of just Brock telling a story there are also a couple more scenes of him and Kissa doing something else. Then again, looks like I’ll have to read that other story of yours if I want to read more of their adventures. After checking real quick how many chapters you have posted, looks like I have a lot of catching up to do! XD
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Old January 21st, 2011 (03:41 PM).
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This was meant as a spur of the moment prequel, yes, but Brock doesn't hate Kissa at all--I may reword the beginning a bit to convey that.

The gross and bawdy stories bit came while I was looking for folktales to Pokemonize--one I almost Pokemonized involved a horse...um, doing its business
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Old February 7th, 2011 (06:30 AM).
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Quote:
The gross and bawdy stories bit came while I was looking for folktales to Pokemonize--one I almost Pokemonized involved a horse...um, doing its business
The second thing that came to mind was a horse in a business suit. XD

Anyways I also enjoyed this one-shot - yet again the tales told by Brock were my favourite part with this prequel, imo. Brock certainly knows how to tell a good tale, and I noticed and like how you kept the story format pretty similar as well to the other prequel I have read. I do agree with Bay that normally a Pokemon sounding this human would normally throw me a bit - it certainly is more...well, 'acceptable' in this sort of story but I would have liked to have seen more in the way of a cat-like thoughts from the Persian. But overall I enjoyed the story - again the pacing felt decent and the description was nice as well.

Quote:
If he's cold, I will find something to keep him warm even if I have to make the blanket myself. (he doesn't mind the leaf-and-twine blankets I make at all) If he isn't in the mood to hunt, I will find a river where we can fish together. (although he needs a rod and reel, while I catch them mid-jump) I owe him my life ever since he took me in when I was just a Meowth, so it is only fair I provide for him in return.
The bracketing there sounded a bit odd to me given the lack of a capital in the sentence starting it, and the lack of a full stop at the end of each instance as well.
Quote:
I caught up to him some minutes later when we arrived in town, just as the heavens opened up. While my fur was mostly kept dry thanks to the load I carried, I wanted to be out of the rain before my head, my tiara, and my gear were soaked.
Those my's are a bit repetitive as you already imply they belong to her with the first 'my head' there, so I'd suggest getting rid of them.
Quote:
"Good day to you, traveler." the innkeeper smiled as she took the tents and cooking supplies from my back. "It's fortunate you entered before the rains arrived." she added
This occurred a number of times - often you did use punctuation right here but for instance here, the full stops at the end of the dialogue should be commas as what follows the dialogue is part of the same sentence as said dialogue (as they talk about who said what and how, etc). A few other instances are below too although there's others as well:
Quote:
"Actually, I received that tiara as a gift from the head mage of the Vatin Lodge, to the north." Master explained in between bites.
Quote:
"You're welcome, Kissa." Eliana replied before showing another man to a table.
Quote:
"Here's a coin in advance for your performance." Eliana giggled as she presented Master with a gold coin.

All in all this was also an enjoyable read, although I did prefer the other one slightly more - I found the protagonist of that story more enjoyable to read about, I suppose, and perhaps a bit more in the way of a less 'human' POV style with the Persian would have made this even more enjoyable to read.
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Old February 7th, 2011 (07:03 AM).
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Again, this was just a spur of the moment idea, so apologies for the grammar errors.
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Old February 9th, 2011 (06:47 PM).
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This was a very enjoyable little story, and the little stories inside it felt natural and nostalgic. I especially liked the atmosphere in the inn: homey, but just exotic enough to complement the awaited Grand Market. Though I find it hard to picture Brock as a minstrel (maybe because of his voice in the TV show), it doesn't get in the way of the quality.

One thing that I found harder to shake off though was Kissa's nature as a talking Persian, especially the way it was revealed. When Brock just states out of the blue that Kissa can talk, it made me do a double take and wonder why she hadn't been saying anything earlier. This is entirely my opinion, but I felt that Kissa's ability to talk put her right in the middle of the uncanny valley. I think it's because of her initial description as practically a beast of burden. It made the revelation feel almost out of place. To be honest, I didn't even feel the fact that she could talk added much to the story, but I suppose you can hardly change that seeing as this is a prequel to another work.

That aside, there was only one other thing that stuck out to me as problematic, and that was this:

Quote:
"I have not gotten the chance to travel for the ultimate spell of Song Magic yet, Eliana." Master replied. "But when I do, I will go to the ends of the world to find it, as I promised Marista as she died."

"Has it been five years since the attack on Amhran Hall already?" Eliana's mother gasped.
I might be wrong, but this felt like a little too much exposition dumped in one place to me. Also, Brock's overly casual mentioning of that detail of Marista's passing didn't seem like something he would be so frank about with a seven year old. Make of that what you will, but I would try to slow down this part of the scene and integrate the exposition more smoothly.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed this and my interest in the main story was certainly piqued. Nice job!
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Old February 9th, 2011 (07:11 PM).
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You're right--I should've set that up a little differently, but I go into more detail about it in the main story
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