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  #1    
Old October 12th, 2013, 07:54 PM
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EmeraldSky
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Just to forewarn you, this fic is doubling as my discovery diary is I play through Pokemon Y, so there will be major spoilers if you have not gotten the game yet. In addition, it is not a straight rehash of the game--there will be a few differences in how things work.

That said, enjoy the journey!

The Kalos Connection

Episode 1: A White Hot Beginning

It all started...pretty much like any other day, actually.

I made extra sure to wake up early the day I left on my adventure. This way, I wouldn't be lost in the horde of other aspiring trainers that had probably woke up late and hoping to Arceus that they would not be stuck with a Pikachu with a attitude (extra points if they got shocked on the first attempt at picking them up) or some other "unwanted" Pokemon, like an Eevee or a Zorua.

Why would Professor Sycamore give such rare Pokemon out, anyway? Once all the Chespins, Fennekins, and Froagies were gone, they were gone--do not pass Go, do not collect 20,000 credits, better luck next year. If you were REALLY lucky, you could talk him into, oh, a Pikachu (thankfully minus the attitude) or an Eevee, but Pokemon outside Chespin, Fennekin, and Froagie were the exception, not the rule.

But I digress.

I was still sawing logs when I heard the fluttering of wings and the singing of a Fletchling on my windowsill. It chirped a greeting as I groggily looked at the clock--7:30, right on schedule.

After climbing from bed, I dragged out a traveling bag and started throwing together stuff--Potions, healing items, Berries, and that sort of thing. Next came camping gear, some extra clothes, and my most prized possession--my guitar. I was pretty sure any Pokemon I met was gonna want to hear a campfire song our two on our travels--cause who doesn't like singing songs and telling stories around a campfire?

Once sure I was happy with my bag, I took a moment to savor my room for what I figured was one last time. The PC, the Wii U I had spent hours playing Zelda, the Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Marill, DucklettTales Remastered, and many other games with my friends Callum and Shauna (more on them shortly), the movie posters on the walls--i was likely going to miss it while I was gone.

"Good morning, hon." Mom smiled as I made my way downstairs.

"Hi, Mom..." I sleepily smiled before digging through the cabinets for some cereal.

"You sure look rested this morn--!" Just then, Mom noticed my wild bedhead and my PJs. "You look like you've just rolled out of bed!" she gasped. "Go change out of your PJs, right now!"

"Okay..." I sighed, and trudged back upstairs--why didn't I think to get dressed before? I guess I was too excited about my impending adventure to care about getting dressed.

So after throwing on a black shirt (that had a beautiful plaid red skirt to match), some black leggings, my shoes, and my favorite red hat (complete with white sunglasses perched on it), I returned downstairs. "This better?" I asked Mom as I combed out my bedhead.

"That looks perfect!" she smiled as I returned to the cabinets for breakfast, take 2.

After some cereal, some toast, and a little OJ to wash it down, I informed Mom of my plans for the day. "I'm gonna hang with Callum and Shauna in town today..."

Mom just smiled--we'd been very close friends since we were little guys, and it helped they lived nearby. "Have a good day, sweetie, and don't stay out too late, okay?"

"I won't." I assured Mom as i disappeared down the front walk.

I had barely stepped out into the town square when I found Callum and Shauna waiting for me. "Hi, Serena!" Shauna giggled, her long brown ponytails bouncing along with her as she jumped about with excitement.

I giggled--Shauna was energetic as always. "Morning to both of you...."

"D'ya know what today is?" Shauna asked.

"What?" I asked, intrigued.

"Today's the day when all the new trainers leave on their journeys." Callum replied as he smoothed some wrinkles from his royal blue shirt. "That, and Prof. Sycamore wants us to do something special for him..."

"Define 'special'" I pressed Callum further.

"Come join us for coffee in Aquacorde and we'll tell ya more!" Shauna smiled before skipping off down the road. Callum was not far behind her, but noticeably more relaxed.

Aquacorde Town wasn't far from home--just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Vaniville. Because it was so close, people from Vaniville often came to its coffee shops to relax and visit.

I heard someone calling "Oi, Serena!" as I arrived in town. Confused, I looked around for a moment--who had called me? Just as I was about to blow it off as my imagination, I heard it again: "Oi, Serena!"

I whirled around and saw Callum waving at me from a table outside our favorite coffee shop--the Fletchling Roost. He smiled as I made myself at home, where he, Shauna, and two other boys were waiting. "Serena, you made it!" he grinned before gesturing to a heavy set, muscular boy. "I'd like you to meet Tierno..." The boy grinned as his latte arrived. "and Trevor." A boy with light brown hair shyly waved at me from behind the menu.

"Nice to meet you both." I smiled before noticing the water approaching. "I'd like a Frozen Mocha Latte, please..."

"Well, the gang's all here." Tierno grinned. Then a thought occurred to him. "You know? It'd feel like we're a closer crew if we all had a nickname!"

He smiled at me. "I dub thee Lady S!"

I balked--who was he to call me something so stupid?

Shauna seemed to notice my disdain for the new moniker. "Maybe calling Serena 'lady' isn't the right term--why not call her 'Li'l S' instead?"

I wisely bit my tongue--that nickname was even worse!

"I dunno...she looks more like an 'S-kins' to me." Trevor commented as a sandwich arrived with his coffee.

Thankfully, Callum saw how I was trying oh-so-hard not to explode on everyone. "Guys! If Serena wants a nickname, let's let her choose."

"Okay! What's your code name gonna be?" Tierno asked.

I thought for a moment--what was something that denoted strength and power? I'd always seen myself beautiful and powerful, and I wanted any nickname to reflect that.

A display of ruby rings in a nearby shop cave me an idea--the ruby is said to signify love, courage, and passion, right?

"How about 'Ruby-san'? I suggested to the others.

"Love it!" Shauna smiled.

"Groovy!" Tierno agreed.

We spent the afternoon enjoying our drinks before Callum offered me a box with three Poke Balls inside. "Professor Sycamore asked me to give you one of these--so which one do you want?"

I covered my eyes and pointed at each Poke Ball. "My mother told me to pick...this one!" I announced, grabbing the one in the middle.

"Ooh, what's inside?" Shauna grinned.

"Come on out!" I announced as I heaved the Poke Ball skyward, making a small fox Pokemon materialize on the table.

"Oh, a Fennekin!" Tierno smiled. "So light and graceful moves!"

I, meanwhile, contemplated a good name for my new Fennekin. "What should I name you, little guy?"

[I am NOT a boy!] it growled.

"Um, I mean, little girl..." I sheepishly stammered, making the Fennekin smile again. "How about...Kitsune?"

[I like that!] the Fennekin yipped before nuzzling me.

"Kitsune's a cute name." Shauna agreed before taking the Poke Ball on the left. "I claim Chespin!"

"...and I'll take Froagie." Callum smiled as he took the last Poke Ball.

Trevor tugged on my shirt. "Um...this is for you...." he stammered in a quiet voice as he offered me a Pokedex. "The professor wants us to go on a journey together, and these should help."

"Thank you, Trevor." I smiled as I took the Pokedex and pointed it at Kitsune.

Fennekin, the fox Pokemon. the Pokedex began. As she walks, she munches on a twig in place of a snack. She intimidates opponents by puffing hot air out of her ears.

"Interesting!" Shauna smiled. Kitsune, meanwhile, just found a twig on the ground and chewed that as we finished up our drinks.

After saying my goodbyes and receiving a letter from Tierno, I was about to start for home when Shauna caught up with me. "Don't you even want to check out our Pokemon?"

I was about to stupidly ask why, but remembered that in trainer parlance, checking out one's Pokemon usually translated to a battle. Kitsune seemed to sense a battle as well, and puffed out her ears in anticipation.

"Come on out, Chespin!" Shauna commanded, summoning a squirrel Pokemon with green thorns.

Since Fire Pokemon, such as Fennekin, beat Grass Pokemon,such as Chespin, Shauna's Chespin was down for the count with two Embers. Even after the easy win, Kitsune still looked ready for more. [Is that it? Who's next?]

Shauna just took her loss in stride. "Wow! You must be a natural!"

"I just remembered the type chart from school, that's all." I assured Shauna as I shepherded Kitsune by my side.

"I guess Chespin and I have work to do!" With that, Shauna hurried off--presumably to train. I just made my way home--It was getting dark, anyway.

"Welcome back..." Mom smiled when I arrived home with Kitsune. "And who might this be?"

"Mom, this is Kitsune." I grinned, proudly gesturing to Kitsune. "Callum gave her to me on behalf of the professor."

Tears welled up in Mom's eyes. "My little girl..you've grown up so fast to already receive your first Pokemon..."

[Is it bad if a human's eyes make water?] Kitsune asked.

"No--those are tears." I told Kitsune. "Humans make them when they cry." I then presented the letter to Mom. "This is for you..."

Mom read over the professor's letter detailing how I was to travel through Kalos, win Gym Badges, and take on the Pokemon League before composing herself. "If you believe you're ready for a journey, you're going to need more than that bag up in your room..."

"Like?" I pressed Mom for more information.

"You'll need first aid, emergency food and supplies, extra clothes...." Mom began as I brought down my gear from my room and allowed her to stash a first aid kit in one pocket, followed by food from the pantry.

Kitsune,meanwhile, was interested in the guitar case. [What's in there?]

"Something I use to sing songs with." I explained. "I'll do my best to have a campfire sing along every night, okay?"

[Sounds fun!] Kitsune yipped. I grinned--I couldn't wait to teach Kitsune such classics as "Down By the Bay", "My Darling Clementine" and many other old favorites I had played a gazillion times down through the years.

But little did I know as I went to bed that night, I would be doing more than fulfilling the professor's wishes--I was going to stop an evil team, defeat an evil dragon bird Pokemon, and save the world while I was at it!
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Last edited by EmeraldSky; October 13th, 2013 at 06:07 AM.
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  #2    
Old October 17th, 2013, 08:02 AM
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EmeraldSky
Make the Colors in the Sky!
 
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Episode 2: Earning a Shocking Pair of Wings (part 1)


I left home with Kitsune early the next morning after telling Mom my goodbyes. "I'll call or send letters as often as I can." I assured her.

"Treat Kitsune well--if you take care of her, she'll take care of you in return." Mom reminded me.

"I will." I replied.

[Are you done saying goodbye yet?] Kitsune asked with a huff. [There's a big wide world out there and here we are stuck on the front walk!]

"Be patient, Kitsune--I may not see Mom again for a long time, and it's always sad when you leave home for the first time." I assured Kitsune before hugging Mom one last time. "I love you..."

"I love you too, Serena--good luck." Mom replied as I shepherded Kitsune to my side. She waved as we started down the front walk for the last time for a while.

As we walked down the pathway leading to Aquacorde Town again, a loud bellow startled Kitsune. [What was that?] she gasped, fearfully looking around the tree lined pathway for the supposed intruder.

I then noticed a Rhyhorn lumbering through the grass, searching for its breakfast. As soon as it saw me, it unleashed another mighty bellow, as if to say "Good luck, new trainer!" "It was only a Rhyhorn." I assured Kitsune. "They tend to roam in the woods, and every year, when the new trainers leave on their journeys, they get a lot more vocal. Prof. Sycamore says it's because that time of year is mating season, but I like to think they're telling the new trainers good luck."

[We'll go with that.] Kitsune smiled at my explanation as we walked through town and onto Route 2.

Shauna and Callum were waiting for me on the route. "Serena! You made it!" Shauna grinned.

"Hey guys..." I smiled back.

Callum, meanwhile, offered me another box. "These are for you--your first set of Poke Balls."

I halfway expected him to drag me into the grass and show me for the billionth time how to catch a Pokemon:

1. Weaken the Pokemon by battle--DO NOT make it faint

2. Toss Poke Ball

3. Watch it wiggle--three wiggles usually means the Pokemon's not getting out, but you need to be prepared just in case.

4. If the Poke Ball's center dims, you've got it.

Instead, he encouraged me to go into the grass. "We're all trainers here, so we obviously don't need to go over how to catch a Pokemon. Instead, I want to see you make your first catch. Kero and me will be here if you need help." He gestured to his Froagie, who promptly proceeded to catch a Venonat with its tongue as Kitsune romped into the grass.

Kitsune, meanwhile, heard a familiar birdsong in a tree. [I found a good mark!] she called. I hurried over to the tree, where a Fletchling was uneasily singing and warily eying the Fennekin looking up at it.

I took that opportunity to look at Fletchling's Pokedex entry:

"Fletchling, the tiny robin Pokemon. Despite the beauty of its lilting voice, it's merciless to intruders that enter its territory"

Right on cue, the Fletchling dove into Kitsune, making her stumble backwards. Her first thought was to burn it with an Ember, but I warned her "Don't make it faint." She nodded, and ran to scratch it.

The Fletchling unleashed a screech of pain as Kitsune's claw dug into its wing, and started flapping up a small tornado--a Gust attack! "Watch out!" I called to Kitsune, but the thud as the Gust picked her up and dropped her made me wince. "Are you okay?"

[I think so...think I have enough strength to attack again...] she groaned as she eased herself to her feet.

The Fletchling diving at her got her attention. She fired an Ember at the Fletchling, which singed its stomach and sent it fluttering into the grass.

"Okay, Kitsune, I'll take over from here." I told Kitsune as I heaved a Poke Ball at it, which absorbed the weakened Fletchling in a flash of light...

One...

Two...

Three...

A smile formed on Kitsune's face when the center of the Poke Ball dimmed. [We did it! We caught a Fletchling!]

Callum must've heard Kitsune's triumphant bark. "Nice work out there...I was worried for a minute when I saw that Gust attack."

"May I see your Fletchling?" Shauna asked.

I obediently let it out, allowing her to heal it with a Potion from her bag. "There we go...all better! Saves you a trip to the Pokemon Center." she grinned.

The Fletchling looked up at me. [Who are you?]

"My name's Serena." I replied. "If you've always wanted to see the world, I can make it happen."

[Really?] The Fletchling was intrigued. [I've always wanted to grow into a majestic Talonflame and see what lies beyond Santalune Forest.]

[We're on a trip around Kalos, so you're gonna get your wish.] Kitsune grinned.

"Welcome to the team...Rouge." I smiled as I hugged my new Fletchling.

"Rouge...what a pretty name!" Shauna commented.

"I agree, and very fitting, since it means 'red'" Callum agreed before turning to leave. "We're going on ahead, but if you want to spend some time with Rouge, that's okay--we're in no hurry."

"Be careful!" I called before Rouge flitted on my shoulder. "Okay...if you wanna ride on my shoulder for a while, you can."

[I think I will.] Rouge replied as we continued on our way down the path...
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  #3    
Old October 19th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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EmeraldSky
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Campfire Interlude 1: A Story Takes Flight

I spent so much time getting Rouge and Kitsune to get along (Though I can't say I blame them for their initial skittishness--Fennekins and Fletchlings are natural enemies in the wild) that by the time I got them to somewhat tolerate each other, it was too dark to continue into Santalune Forest. So I made the most of the wasted travel time, and made my camp on the plains

Kitsune was more than happy to start the fire, and Rouge flitted off to go find some Berries. They returned sometime later--Kitsune with a huge Magikarp and Rouge with several beakfuls of Leppa, Pecha, and Cheri Berries.

[You said earlier you want to see what's beyond the forest...] Kitsune told Rouge.

[Yeah--I want to see the big city in the center of the region especially.] Rouge explained. [They say there's a beautiful tower there with millions of lights on it that they turn on when night falls--or so the Pidgeys and other Fletchlings that have flown that far have told me.]

{You sure you want to believe a Pidgey?] Kitsune asked. [They may just be telling a big lie to get your hopes up]

"But there is often a chance that they are telling the truth." I reminded both Pokemon as I got the guitar out and started to tune it. "Lumiose City is a long way, but we'll get there in a few days if conditions are good and we don't get sidetracked."

[The Chespin your friend adopted--he always told me the Gym Leader there is quite renowned as an inventor and tinker--even if what he invents doesn't always work] Kitsune told me in between bites of a Leppa Berry.

"Yeah--I'm told Clemont is a bit of a character." I smiled. "Very skilled with Electric types too."

[Do you know if he has a Pikachu?] Rouge asked. [I've always wanted to meet a Pikachu--they're always so happy and carefree.]

[I dunno--anger or bother them too much and they'll give you a Thunderbolt you'll never forget.] Kitsune cautioned--she did not like the idea of being shocked by a mob of angry Pikachus.

"I'm not sure if he does or not--but probably the most famous tamed Pikachu belongs to a Kanto boy who dreams of being the very best trainer in the world." I told both of them.

[If that boy ever comes to Kalos, I want his autograph!] Kitsune cried, stars in her eyes.

[You can always tell where Pikachus have been if you see charred Berries on the forest floor.] Rouge told me.

"I'll have to remember that tomorrow." I assured Rouge as I finished tuning up. "Now then...who's up for a story?"

[Only if it's not too scary...] Rouge replied.

[I wanna hear an adventure story!] Kitsune begged. [Magic, heroes, princesses, dragon Pokemon, and epic quests!]

I grinned at Kitsune's enthusiasm. "Well...in a far away land there reigned a king, and he had an only daughter who was so very beautiful that there was no one in the whole kingdom who could be compared to her. She was named Princess Petra, and the fame of her beauty, kindness,and wisdom spread far and wide."

Rouge sighed dreamily over my relaxed melody as she pictured what she imagined Princess Petra to look like. "There were many princes among her suitors, but the one she loved best came from a kingdom on the hills--we'll call him Derek. She obtained her father’s consent and blessing to their marriage, and then, attended by a huge retinue, set off with her lover for the shrine, Most of the princes who had been unsuccessful returned disappointed to their own kingdoms: but one of them, who was really the nightmare Pokemon Darkrai in disguise, was so mad that he vowed he would have his revenge."

[Uh oh...] Kitsune swallowed hard.

"So he turned himself into a whirlwind and lay in wait for the princess." I intoned over a minor keyed version of 'Here Comes the Bride' "When the wedding procession was about to enter the shrine, the air was suddenly filled with a blinding cloud of dust, and Petra went flying high as the highest clouds, and then right down to an underground palace. There Darkrai--who brought her down there to begin with--left her there, lifeless."

[Oh no!] Rouge gasped.

[D-did Princess Petra ever wake up?] Kitsune worried

"When she opened her eyes, she found herself in such a magnificent castle that she figured some king must have run away with her. She got up and began to walk around, When she got to the kitchen, the table was set with gold and silver dishes, filled with food of all kinds."

[Mmm...] Kitsune licked her lips at what the magnificent feast must have looked like.

"She returned to the sofa and lay down to rest, but being unable to sleep, she looked first at the door, and then at the lamp burning on the table, then at the door again, and then back to the lamp. Suddenly the door opened by itself, and four demons that were fully armed came in the room. They carried a golden throne, upon which was seated Darkrai. He came close up to the sofa and attempted to kiss Princess Petra, but she smacked him in the face."

Both Rouge and Kitsune roared with laughter as they pictured Darkrai receiving the slap and having little Torchics running around his head. "Understandably his cry of pain was so loud, that the palace walls trembled. Yet his love for her was so great that he did his best not to show his anger, and turned away as if to leave her. But as he was still a bit dazed, he fell down, dropping a cap he was carrying."

[There's your magic item...] Rouge grinned at Kitsune.

"Now, this cap had the power of making its wearer invisible." I explained. "The demons hurried up to their master, and placing him on his throne took him out of the room."

[And then?] Kitsune asked over the interlude I was playing.

"No sooner had Princess Petra found herself alone she jumped off the sofa, locked the door, and picking up the cap ran to a mirror to try it on and see how it fit her." I went on "Imagine her amazement when looking in the mirror she saw—nothing at all!"

Rouge giggled as she pictured the princess' reaction. "She took off the cap, and she was there again just as she was before." I continued. "She soon found out what sort of cap it was, and marveling in owning such an item, put it on again and began to walk about the room. Just then the door flew open, and Darkrai stormed in. But he found neither Princess Petra nor the cap, and concluded that she had taken it. "

Kitsune's laughter was the hardest as I played a "frantically searching" melody. "He began to search high and low; he looked under all the furniture, behind the curtains, and even beneath the carpets, but it was all in vain. Meanwhile Princess Petra, still invisible, had left the palace and run into the garden, which was very large and beautiful. There she lived without Darkrai having any clue, eating the delicious Berries, drinking water from the fountain, and enjoying the helpless fury of Darkrai, Sometimes she would throw the Berry seeds in his face, or take off the cap and show herself for a split second: then she would put it on again, and laugh at his rage."

[Hee hee...poor Darkrai!] Rouge wheezed.

"One day, while playing this game, the cap caught in the branches of a Berry bush." I intoned over a tense riff. Darkrai, seeing this, ran up, grabbed Princess Petra in one hand and the cap in the other, and was about to carry them both off when he heard the sound of a trumpet way off in the distance."

[The hero has come!] Kitsune smiled, confident at what happened next

"Darkrai trembled with rage and muttered words that I won't repeat here." I continued. "He cast a spell that put Princess Petra to sleep, covered her with the invisible cap, and grabbing huge sword, rose up in the air as high as the clouds, so that he might fall upon his assailant and kill him in one blow."

[What about Prince Derek?] Rouge interrupted. [What happened to him?]

"Well, after the storm had upset the wedding procession and carried off Princess Petra, the whole court was panicking." I explained "The king, the princess’s attendants, and Prince Derek sought her in every direction, calling her by name, and asking anyone and everyone they met. At last, the king in despair declared that if Prince Derek did not bring back his daughter, he would destroy his kingdom and have him killed. And to the other princes present he promised that whosoever among them should bring Petra back would have her for his bride and receive half of the kingdom. At this command, they all mounted their Ponytas and hurried off in every direction.

Kitsune tried oh-so-hard not to cry as I continued "Prince Derek, overpowered with grief and dismay, traveled three days without eating, drinking, or sleeping. On the evening of the third day he was quite worn out, and stopping his Ponyta in a field, got down to rest for a short time. Suddenly he heard cries, as of something in pain, and looking round saw an enormous Noctowl tearing a Buneary with its claws. Prince Derek grabbed the first hard thing that came to his hand; and with the heave of a huge piece of obsidian, killed the Noctowl with the first blow. The rescued Buneary ran up to him and gratefully licked his hands, but after it had ran off, the piece of obsidian spoke to him and said, “Prince Derek, accept my grateful thanks for the good turn you have done me. I belonged to an unhappy man who took his own life, and for this crime of suicide I have been condemned to roll in the mud until I was the means of saving the life of one of Arceus' creatures. I have been kicked about for nearly a thousand years, crumbling miserably on the earth, and without exciting the compassion of a single individual. You have been the means of setting me free by making use of me to save the life of that poor Buneary. In return for this kindness I will teach you how to call to your aid a shining Ponyta, who belonged to my master. She will be able to help you in a thousand ways, and when in need of her you have only to walk out on the plains without looking behind you, and to sing...."

I next played a D chord and sang the first eleven notes of Epona's Song from Zelda: Hoo-oo-ooh, hoo-oo-ooh, hoo-oo-oo-woo-ooh...

[Interesting song...] Rouge was intrigued.

"Prince Derek thanked the obsidian piece, dug a hole at the foot of a tree, and reverently buried it, repeating over it prayers for the dead. Just as he finished, he saw a small blue light come out of the ground and fly towards heaven." I went on."When he couldn't see it any more, Prince Derek made a sign of Arceus and resumed his journey. He had gone some way on the plains when he stopped, and without looking back tried the effect of the magic song, singing..." I then sang Hoo-oo-ooh, hoo-oo-ooh, hoo-oo-oo-woo-ooh... again.

Both Kitsune and Rouge waited for me to describe the Ponyta. "No sooner had Prince Derek sang the last note did a Ponyta with shining blue fire for her mane come running up to him. Her name was Epona, and she was light as air, with a shining white coat and a sapphire blue mane. When she asked Prince Derek what she wanted him to do, he told her everything. Then Epona sang..." I then sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

[A magic spell!] Rouge gasped.

"...and in a flash of red light, Prince Derek was clad in a suit of splendid armor." I went on. "In addition to silver plate, he wore a steel helmet inlaid with gold, and his sword and bow completed the look. What's more, he felt himself filled with superhuman strength and bravery. When he stamped his foot and shouted the earth shook and gave forth a sound like thunder, so much so the very leaves fell from the trees. 'What must we do? Where are we to go?' he asked. Epona replied, 'Your bride, Princess Petra, has been carried off by Darkrai, the Nightmare Pokemon. This powerful scourge must be defeated, but he lives a long way from here, and nothing can touch or wound him except the sword that belongs to a monster with the head and eyes of a basilisk.'"

[Here comes the quest...] Kitsune flared her ears in excitement.

"Prince Derek leaped aboard Epona, and they set off immediately, clearing high mountains, dark forests, raging rivers; and so light was Epona's step that she galloped over the grass without so much as bending a single blade, and along sandy roads without raising even a grain of dust." I continued over an exciting riff. "Finally, they reached a vast plain, strewn with human and Pokemon bones. They stopped in front of a huge mountain, and Epona said' Prince Derek, this mountain that you see before you is the head of the monster with basilisk eyes, and the bones that whiten the ground are the skeletons of his victims, so beware of his eyes. The heat of the midday sun has made the giant sleep, and the sword with the never-failing blade lies there before him. Bend down and quietly approach until we are close enough, then grab the sword. Without the sword, not only will the monster be unable to harm you, but he himself will be completely at your mercy.'”

[What did Prince Derek do?] Rouge gasped, her eyes shining in anticipation.

"Epona quietly approached the huge creature, upon which the prince bent down, and quickly picked up the sword." I explained over a sneaking motif. "Then, mounting Epona again, he cheered loud enough to wake the dead. The giant lifted his head, yawned, and turned his bloodthirsty eyes on Prince Derek; but seeing the sword in his hand he calmed down, and asked for Prince Derek to spare him.”

[Why?] Kitsune was intrigued.

"The monster explained that he had once been a great knight of the race of giants, and if it were not for the wickedness of Darkrai he should have lived in peace." I went on. "Darkrai was jealous of his looks and talents, and tried to kill him, or at least gravely wound him, winding up cursing him into his current form. All his strength, which is extraordinary, lied in his heart, and his body could only be cut by the sword in Prince Derek's hand. If he succeeded in killing Darkrai, he would be healed of his terrible curse."

Both Pokemon listened as I started an adventurous melody. "Prince Derek bade Epona carry him to the kingdom of Darkrai. They reached the garden gate at the very second when Darkrai had spotted Princess Petra and was running after her. The trumpet challenging him to fight had obliged him to leave her, which he did, after putting on the invisible cap."

[I see! It was the prince that sounded the trumpet earlier!] The lightbulb went off in Kitsune's head.

"As Prince Derek was awaiting the answer to his challenge, he heard a mighty rushing wind, and looking up saw Darkrai preparing to aim at him from a great height. But he missed his aim and fell to the ground so heavily that his body was half buried in the in the ground." I went on to some giggles. "The prince had no problem killing Darkrai with the sharp smiting sword."

[Yay!] Rouge cheered at Prince Derek's victory.

"With Darkrai dead, his spell on Princess Petra and his curse on the knight were broken." I went on over a happy melody. "When they got home, the king, overcome with joy, kissed Princess Petra fondly, and the same evening she was married to the devoted Prince Derek. The king himself led her to the altar, and to his son-in-law he gave half his kingdom. So splendid was the wedding festivities, that no eye has ever seen, nor ear ever heard of its equal since then."

[That was great!] Kitsune cheered

Rouge brushed away a happy tear. [I love happy endings...]

"I'll try to tell you guys a story every night as we travel." I assured the Pokemon as they romped off to bed..
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  #4    
Old October 24th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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Episode 3: Earning a Shocking Pair of Wings (part 2)

After breaking camp the next morning, we continued on our way down the path to Santalune Forest. Kitsune trotted by my side, and Rouge rode on my shoulder, singing happily all the while to welcome a new day.

Her song got a boy's attention. "Excuse me, do you have any antidotes or Pecha Berries?" he asked.

"i do--what's the matter?" I asked.

"My Zigzagoon--his name is Sly--got poisoned by the bugs in the forest, and I'm scared he'll faint before we get to a Pokemon Center." he explained.

"I have a few Pecha Berries left over from last night--where is Sly now?" I asked.

"Come on--I'll show you where he is." The boy led me into the grass and over to a tree, where a Zigzagoon was uneasily resting in the grass, breathing heavily from the poison's effects. "I'm back, Sly...and I have help." he gently assured the Zigzagoon as he removed a white blanket and assessed a bite wound in its bushy brown fur. "Name's Austin--I was so excited to get to Santalune City and have Sly take on Viola, the Gym Leader, but Sly can't battle like this."

I knelt down and offered Sly a Pecha Berry. "Hello, Sly...here's something to help you feel better." The Zigzagoon happily snapped up the Berry, thankful for my help.

Once sure Sly was comfy again, I addressed Austin. "Before you travel through the forest again, pack lots of remedies." I told him. "They'll be a huge help against Viola, since she uses bugs too. As for Sly, let him rest for a bit longer, then take him to a Pokemon Center."

"Okay! Thanks!" Austin called. He waved goodbye as I returned to the path.

[That was very nice of you...] Rouge smiled.

"Well, trainers help other trainers as much as they can." I explained as we approached the supply outpost that marked the forest entrance. "It's courtesy."

I was about to say more when someone called "There you are!"

"Shauna?" I whirled around and saw Shauna by the forest entryway. "What are you doing here?"

"I came in hopes you'd let me go with you in the forest--it's dangerous to go alone, after all." Shauna explained.

I smirked at Shauna's Zelda reference. "Okay, we can go together."

"Yes!" Shauna cried. "If you run into trouble, I can heal your Pokemon for you." She proudly gestured to her bag, which was bulging with Potions, antidotes, Paralyze Heals, Awakenings, and Arceus knows what else. How she could've afforded it all, I didn't know, but it gave me some comfort in knowing I wouldn't have to hike all the way back to Aquacorde if things got bad.

"Okay--let's stay together." I explained as we stepped into the forest. "I'll be making trail markers if we get lost or separated."

"Got it!" Shauna replied as I bent a twig into a vaguely one-like shape to mark the entrance.

For a while, our expedition was uneventful--Shauna seemed to enjoy admiring the sun streaming through the trees, Beautiflies and Vivillions flitting about, and the Scatterbugs munching on leaves.

It was only after I made another trail marker that I saw some charred Leppa Berry skins on the ground. "Must be Pikachus close by..."

"Really?" Shauna was intrigued.

"Rouge says you can tell where they've been if you see charred Berries or Berry skins on the ground." I explained as I stepped over a tree root. "As cute as they are, if we find one, don't go nuts over it--that may scare them away."

A "Pika!" by my foot got my attention. When I saw that a Pikachu had been following us ever since we found the clump of charred Berries, I smiled.

"Hello there..." I smiled at it before consulting my Pokedex:

"Pikachu, the mouse Pokemon. It has small electric sacs on both its cheeks. If threatened, it looses electric charges from the sacs."

Shauna stooped down to pet it, but it sparked at her, so she wisely backed away. It didn't seem to mind my approaching it, though--probably because it seemed more interested in digging through my bag than the two humans observing it.

I gasped when I saw the Pikachu had a somewhat heart shaped tail. "It's a girl!"

"You don't have a Daddychu or Pichus, do you?" Shauna cooed to it.

[Nuh-uh, I would rather explore the world than be a mamachu.] the Pikachu explained before it found my Poke Balls. [Can I come with you?]

"Well, if you've followed us all the way here, I have no problem with you joining me." I smiled before gently touching the Pikachu with the Poke Ball she found, allowing her to go inside in a flash of red light.

"Nice, you didn't even have to battle!" Shauna grinned before noticing the sun was beginning to set, and we still had a ways to go before we reached any form of civilization. "Wow, is it nighttime already?"

"Fraid so..." I replied as we arrived in a clearing. "We'll camp here for tonight." With that, I decided to release my new Pikachu. "I think I'll call you...Lita..."

[What a pretty name!] Rouge chirped.

[Welcome aboard, Lita.] Kitsune nuzzled her. [You're gonna be on the adventure of a lifetime!]

[I can't wait!] Lita happily squeaked as I petted her....
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  #5    
Old October 26th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Campfire Interlude 2: Friends by the Fire

When I started the fire, Lita was mesmerized by the flickering flames. [So warm...]

"You won't even need to look for berries tonight--I brought food!" Shauna grinned as she prepared some ground beef for cooking.

"Thanks...saves me a lot of trouble." I smiled. "I have some food too, in case it doesn't turn out good."

"Relax--I learned a few recipes good for a campfire before we left, so we shouldn't be messing with stomachaches from bad food." Shauna assured me.

"I'll take your word for it, then." I replied as I pitched my tent

Lita seemed interested in what Shauna was making, so Shauna explained every step of her recipe to her. "First, I'm gonna fold the aluminum foil so there's two layers..." After doing this, she explained "Then I'm gonna put about a burger patty sized mound of meat inside...put a little oil over it...add some vegetables....then fold the foil so that it makes a flat packet..."

She then reached for some tongs. "Then you put it over the fire and let it all cook for a few minutes."

[Mm... smells delicious...] Lita smiled as Shauna watched the packets, making sure to turn them so that they cooked evenly.

[I agree...] Kitsune agreed.

After a few tense seconds, Shauna removed the packets from the fire, carefully opened one, and poked one of the potatoes with a fork. When it went through easily, she smiled. "Okay! Let's eat!"

I took the other packet and took a bite. "Hm....wow...Shauna, this is great!"

"My family always makes these when we go camping--it's Shauna's Dinner in a Packet!" Shauna grinned. "Really easy to clean up, too, so we don't have to worry about wild Pokemon getting into our stuff."

After securing the trash in a tree (not that there were Ursarings in the forest, but Shauna wanted to be absolutely sure, just in case) and doing the dishes, she decided to let out her Chespin. "Come on out, Chester!"

"Chester?" I asked as her Chespin materialized on the grass.

"I thought the name was cute." Shauna replied as she fed Chester what was left of her packet.

Kitsune, meanwhile, romped up to Chester. [No hard feelings about before, okay?]

[No offense taken.] he assured her. [Ya were always the most determined ta win a battle, even if ya did scorch me good back there.]

Then he spotted my guitar case. [Oh boy! We're gonna have a sing-along!]

[And stories, too!] Kitsune added.

Lita, meanwhile, was intrigued as I started tuning up. [What kind of stories do you tell?]

"All kinds--adventure tales, funny stories, scary stories, stories about why things are, and some true stories from our regional history." I explained.

[She even takes requests!] Kitsune added.

[You'll love it!] Rouge agreed.

As soon as I was tuned, Shauna sang at the top of her lungs We'll be coming round the mountain when we come! We'll be coming round the mountain when we come!.... as I played along.

[But we're nowhere near a mountain....] Lita interjected, stopping the song.

"It's just how the song goes, okay?" I assured Lita as I started the song again.

We'll be coming round the mountain when we come! We'll be coming round the mountain when we come! Shauna sang again. We'll be coming around the mountain, we'll be coming round the mountain, we'll be coming round the mountain when we come...

---------

"Okay, Serena...what kind of story do you have for us tonight?" Shauna asked as the last chord of "Yellow Submarine" faded into the night.

I thought for a moment for a story Shauna and Chester would probably like, then began. "There was once a prince that had three sons. The first two followed in their father's footsteps, but the third--we'll call him Harrison--did not. He said he wanted to be a ranger."

[What's a ranger?] Lita asked.

"Someone who takes care of parks and forests, and guides people through forests." Shauna explained.

"The father was angry and kicked him out of the house." I continued over a sad interlude. "He gave him shepherd's garb, and Harrison went out into the world."

[That's not very nice!] Lita gasped, sparking a little.

"He had been walking through a forest for three days. He was hungry and cold, and everything seemed to be against him. He was tired too, and he finally fell asleep under a tree." I continued. "As he was sleeping, an old mage came to him. He would not leave him to sleep, but woke him up. Harrison was understandably frightened at first, but the mage told him there was no need to be afraid--he only used his powers to do good things."

[Oh, a friendly wizard!] Chester smiled.

"So Harrison stayed with him for seven years and learned many languages, how to play the Pokeflute, and all kinds of other stuff." I went on. "Now, in that land there was a king who had an only daughter--we'll call her Ariana, since the moon was shining brightly on the night she was born. There was a fierce Noivern which was ravaging the whole of that kingdom, and everybody was forced to give him one Mareep and one person chosen by lot to appease him. So the lot fell on Princess Ariana too."

[Oh no...] Rouge puffed up her feathers a little in fear.

[Someone's gonna save her, okay?] Lita assured Rouge.

"The old mage told Harrison that something had to be done to deliver the people and to save Princess Ariana from being eaten by the Noivern." I continued. "He told him to go to the next house and ask to be hired as a shepherd, and in the morning he would have to drive the Mareep into the forest. So they said their goodbyes to each other, and Harrison was hired as a shepherd. The next morning, he drove the Mareep into the forest, where the old mage was waiting for him. When he came with the Mareep, the old mage gave him a wand and a ring, and said..."

"When you sing 'Karuto, ichiida shou'...to this ring, you will first be brought to a castle where a giant dwells, and you will have to fight the giant. This wand will help you to do it. Then you must take his robe, his Ponyta, and his sword. When you sing the spellsong again, you will be brought to the town, and it will be about the time that Princess Ariana will be brought out."

[And then?] Kitsune puffed out her ears in anticipation

"So Harrison took his leave and everything happened as the old mage had said. As he came near to the castle, the giant was looking outside, and he demanded to know what Harrison was looking for." I continued over a tense melody. "When Harrison replied he was looking for a fight, the giant got mad at this--how dare was a human stronger than him?"

The Pokemon giggled as I started the Zelda theme. "He was holding a great club in his hand, and he flung it at Harrison, but Harrison dodged it and the club sank deep into the ground, it had been flung with such force. So Harrison went right up to him, and zapped him with the wand."

[What spell did he cast?] Lita interrupted.

"I don't know, the tale never really says." I confessed. "Just assume it was something giants don't like."

Lita seemed to accept that answer, so I continued "The giant tumbled over, and Harrison took his sword and cut off his head. Then he took a crystal key out of the giant's pocket. He opened the lock, took the robe and the Ponyta, and dressed himself as a knight. Then he sang Karuto, iichiida shou... to the ring, and in a moment he found himself on the road along which they were bringing Princess Ariana to be devoured by the Noivern. When he saw the procession, he asked what was going on and why the people were crying. When told it was because Princess Ariana was to be eaten by a Noivern, Harrison asked to be led to the Noivern's den."

[And then?] Chester gasped, his eyes shining in anticipation.

"So he rode up to the Noivern's cave, and demanded a fight." I continued. But the Noivern answered that he wasn't in the mood to fight that day. If he wanted a fight, Harrison would have to come again the next day."

The camp exploded in laughter at the turn of events. "That's one lazy Noivern!" Shauna wheezed in between giggles.

I waited for the laughter to quiet, then went on. "So Harrison returned the next day. He rode towards them and said that the Noivern would not leave his den today. So they all went back to the town with the knight, and the king would not let him leave on any account...."

Some time later...

..."They brought him before the princess, and she made him tell her how he had got that ring and how he had been clothed." I continued over a love theme. "So he said: 'All those three days I was with you.'"

[Aw...] Chester sighed dreamily.

"Harrison did not go back to the marshal, though he complained of the loss of his shepherd." I continued. "He was clad in royal robes now, and they had a splendid wedding in the castle. But Princess Ariana did not know what his heritage was, although she could see that he was not a common man."

I then concluded "They lived together for a long time, and Harrison and the old mage went on many more adventures. But that is another story for another day!"

[YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!!] Lita cheered as she applauded.

[Encore!] Chester agreed.

"I don't know what you do to learn all those cool stories..." Shauna smiled as she put out the campfire and started for her tent. "But whatever you do, please keep doing it!"
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  #6    
Old October 31st, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Episode 4: Meetings on the Forest Path

After breaking camp the next morning, we met the boys on the main path. "Good morning, all-did everyone sleep well?" Callum smiled.

"It was a bit weird sleeping in a tent..." Trevor yawned. "Didn't help that Tierno danced himself to sleep..."

"So? Sometimes I enjoy a good groove before bed!" Tierno protested.

"Everyone, please!" Callum quickly diffused the impending argument. "Do you want to go with us, Shauna, or stay with Serena?"

"I'll stay with Serena--you guys missed a cool story last night!" Shauna grinned. "It was about this boy who befriended a wizard, received magic power, fought a Noivern, and saved a princess!"

"Sounds pretty exciting--I would've loved to hear it." Trevor smiled.

"You always did have a knack for campfire stories, neighbor." Callum grinned at me before he turned to leave. "We're going on ahead--we should find our way out of here before sunset."

"Take care!" I called as I waved goodbye.

I noticed Shauna digging in the grass. "What's the matter?"

"Sometimes if you get lucky, you'll find stuff that people dropped." Shauna explained before offering me a Paralyze Heal. "Someone just left this Paralyze Heal--do you want it? I have plenty already..."

"Sure!" I replied as I stashed the Paralyze Heal in my bag. "Thank you!"

[What does that stuff do?] Lita asked, piqued in the bottle of pale yellow liquid.

"This is medicine to cure paralysis." I explained. "So if a bug uses Stun Spore, this will loosen up your paralyzed arms and legs."

[I see...] Lita replied.

"Hey!" A familiar young boy darted up to us, a Scatterbug and a Fletchling not far behind him. "What do you think of my Fletchling? He's in the top ten percent of all Fletchlings!"

"Oh, so we've given up on Ratattas and moved on to Fletchlings, Joey?" Shauna grinned at the boy.

"Rattatas are so last year--now, I'm all about Fletchlings!" Joey proclaimed before running off.

I stifled a giggle as Joey hurried off to challenge a Scatterbug--for a long time he had a beloved Rattata that he would tell anyone and everyone that would listen that it was "in the top ten percent of all Rattata" He didn't just tell this to people's faces--anyone unfortunate enough to give him their phone number would get near daily calls reminding them of this fact.

"What do you think became of Joey's Rattata?" I asked Shauna as I waded through some brush.

"I'd like to think it's at his house, doing...whatever it is Rattatas do for fun.". Shauna replied.

As we rounded a corner, I noticed a Pikachu wearing a blue ribbon trying to get some Oran Berries on a high branch. But no matter how much she tried ramming the tree, shocking it, or shaking it, none of the Berries would drop.

Kitsune took it upon herself to help the Pikachu and her master, a young girl, out. [Need some help?]

The Pikachu heaved a relieved sigh, grateful someone had come to help. [Yeah...my master wants to pick some of the Berries, but they're too high up for me to reach!]

[We can help!] Rouge flitted to the branches with Berries and flapped up a Gust, which made them fall into a basket Kitsune carried down below. She would occasionally dart one way or another to catch a Berry that didn't fall straight down, but what Berries didn't land in the basket, Lita would dash to pick up.

The Pikachu's owner was ecstatic to see Kitsune's basket. "Wow! You and your Pokemon make a great team!"

[Yes, thank you!] the Pikachu agreed as her master spread out a picnic blanket on the grass.

"Would you like to join us for lunch?" the girl asked. "As thanks for helping us out?"

"I'd love to, miss..." I started, before it dawned on me we hadn't introduced ourselves.

"Anna." the girl smiled. "and this is Kiiro." she added, gesturing to the Pikachu.

[Nice to meet you!] Kitune replied.

"I'm Serena, and this is my friend Shauna." I replied. "We're on our way to Santalune City..."

"Really? I heard Viola's famous for her pictures..." Anna mused.

[Pictures? Like pictures you draw?] Rouge was intrigued.

"No--the kind you take with a camera." I explained. I would've gone into detail about how a camera worked, but that would've been too hard for all the Pokemon to understand.

"What kind of pictures does Viola take?" Shauna was intrigued.

"Everything! Pokemon, cityscapes, flowery fields, landmarks, other people--you name it!" Anna replied. "In fact, some of her pictures are on display in the Lumoise Art Museum's photography wing..."

Shauna sighed with nostalgia. "I remember end of the year field trips to Lumiose...used up entire rolls of film in one day."

I grinned. "Maybe Prof. Sycamore will give us tickets to the theater to see a play."

"Ooh, a play!" That got Anna excited. "They say to have a play premiere in Lumiose is a great honor."

[What's a play?] Lita asked.

[Essentially, humans dress up in costumes and act out a story.] Kitsune explained as we started cleaning up our picnic area.

[Sounds fun!] Rouge smiled.

[I hear that in some plays, the humans sing songs and dance too.] Kiiro grinned.

[I really, really hope we go see a play when we get to Lumiose...] Kitsune smiled, scenes of actors in elegant costumes dancing in her mind.

After bidding Anna and Kiiro goodbye, the rest of our trek through the forest was uneventful. When we got to the forest edge, Callum and the boys were waiting for us. "Bout time...we were worried you lost your groove in the forest!" Tierno noted.

"We're fine, Tierno...we just stopped to help a little girl, and she invited us to lunch as thanks." I explained.

"That was very nice of you..." Tierno mused.

"Now...I have something for all of you..." Callum then proceeded to give us each handmade books. "These are filled with some rules of the road I felt we should all remember on our travels."

"Thanks, man!" Tierno wasted no time in thumbing through his book. "You put a lot of effort into this!"

"Professional quality!" Trevor agreed as he admired a picture on one page of his.

Piqued, I opened my book and read a little bit of Callum's wisdom:

Whether you're only going to the next town over, or on a grand adventure across the region, there are certain things a traveler should do. Whether it's for safety, common courtesy, or just for a good deed, following these will fill your journey with memories that last a lifetime.

I then read the beginning of the first page of tips a little farther down:

--Always help someone in need--you never know who that trainer on the side on the road may be!

--If you're asked to have a battle, always accept--not only is it proper trainer's etiquette, both sides' Pokemon get experience, even if they lose.

--Treat your Pokemon well, and they'll treat you well in return...


Just like Mom said... I smiled as I looked at the drawing of a male trainer cuddling with an Eevee.

--Even if you can't play an instrument to save your life and your voice is not Kalosian Idol material, make an effort to learn the words to a few campfire songs and learn a few stories to tell around the campfire.

--Take more supplies than you think you'll need--it may save your life!

--Always take advantage of the Pokemon Center--not only do they care for Pokemon, there's lodging and amenities for the trainer too.

--Take the time to see the sights in each place you visit, no matter how lame or overpriced they may be.


Point duly noted. I grinned as I skimmed through the book. Callum had thought of everything: first aid, emergency procedures, campfire friendly recipes, both well known, and not so well known sights in Kalos, and something personalized for each person--in Tierno's, he had included a section on ethnic dances of Kalos. Trevor's had a section on where to see rare Pokemon, and mine had the text of several folktales he figured I would like, plus the lyrics and chords to some songs--some from Kalos, and some from other regions I had never heard before.

"Thanks, Callum! I'm gonna cherish this forever!" Shauna smiled as she flipped through her book's personalized section--Kalosian theater and fashion.

"Yes, thank you..." I agreed. "I can't wait to learn some of these songs and play them!"
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  #7    
Old November 2nd, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Episode 5: The Sights of Santalune


"So, what does everyone want to do when we get to Santalune City?" Callum asked us as we walked down the path.

Tierno sweatdropped. "Um...Trevor n' me are not going directly there..."

"Yeah, we wanna see what other Pokemon we can find." Trevor agreed before following Tierno down the path.

"I want to check out the shops there--what's a trip without souvenirs?" Shauna grinned.

"What about you, Callum?" I asked. "What are you gonna do?"

"I'm gonna challenge Viola, the Gym Leader." he replied as the dirt path turned into cobblestones, heralding the city entrance.

"I may do that too, after seeing the sights." I explained. "But before I do ANYTHING, I'm going to head for the Pokemon Center."

With that, I located the familiar red roofed building sandwiched in between two clothing shops in the heart of the shopping district. The one on the left sold T-shirts and other trinkets for tourists, and the other appeared to be a nicer boutique

"Good morning!" Nurse Joy smiled as I made my way inside.

After recalling my three Pokemon into their balls, I strolled up to the counter. "I need these three healed, please...."

"All right--just have a seat over there, and Muna will bring your Pokemon out to you shortly." Nurse Joy explained, pointing out some couches by the left windows. Some trainers were dozing on them, some were playing with young Pokemon (particularly one young boy with a Pichu romping on the floor), and still others were reading or using some of the phones to call friends or family.

Inspired, I decided to call Mom and update her on my progress. There was one vacant phone by an employee entrance, so I inserted a coin and dialed home.

"Hello?" Mom's face blipped on the screen.

"Hi, Mom--just wanting to let you know we made it to Santalune City." I began. "Right now, I'm healing my Pokemon, but as soon as that's done, I'm gonna meet Shauna and do a little shopping before we battle for our first badge."

"Viola uses bug Pokemon, so you and Kitsune should be just fine." Mom assured me.

"If Kitsune falls, I have a Fletchling and a Pikachu as backup." I added.

We visited for another few minutes, but a Chansey arrived with my three Pokemon on a gurney just as I said goodbye. [Here you are, good as new!]

[Oh, it feels so good to stretch my wings!] Rouge smiled as she stretched her wings and flapped them a little before flitting on my shoulder.

"Thank you." I told the Chansey as I shepherded Kitsune and Lita to my side.

Just then, Tierno arrived in the Pokemon Center. He grinned when he found me. "Well! Fancy seeing you here! Our Pokemon hunt didn't go so well..." he sighed as he handed over his Poke Balls to Nurse Joy.

"I'm gonna go do some window shopping with Shauna." I smiled as I departed. Tierno just sighed as he plopped onto a vacant couch--shopping was one of those girly things he didn't understand.

Shauna met me at the boutique next to the Pokemon Center. "This place sells hats and accessories! You need a hat befitting a strong trainer, Ruby-san!"

I looked up at my red hat and white sunglasses--while I didn't see anything wrong with my current hat, there was also nothing wrong with looking. Besides, if I found a really special hat, I could just send my current hat home via PC.

"Okay, Shauna..." I smiled as we entered the boutique. "I'll try on some hats, and you tell me how you like them. The one that gets the best reaction, I'll buy."

"That works!" Shauna grinned.

The first hat I tried was a blue beret. "I don't think so..." Shauna sighed.

Next came a tan bucket hat. "Definitely not." Shauna told me, so back in the fitting room I went.

"Mmm...nah..." was her reaction to a grey porkpie hat

"That's a little better..." She seemed to like me in a newsboy cap.

"Ew!" she winced when she saw me a droopy sun hat with black polka dots.

I next emerged in a red fedora with a Fletchling feather for trim. "YEAH!" Shauna cheered. "Perfect!"

[Serena Dragonswift and the Temple of Secrets!] Kitsune sighed dreamily as she pictured me as a brave explorer in an old timey movie serial.

"Okay, I'll buy this one." I told Kitsune.

So 2600 credits later (2100 for the hat, and 500 for the feather), I was the hat's proud owner. But 2600 credits was pocket change compared to the initial 100,000 I started with.

Shauna wanted to buy a postcard for her family, so we bought one depicting the Roselia fountain in the town square. Then we watched the students of the trainer's school play on the playground while Shauna filled in all we had done so far.

As Shauna was working, a black haired girl skated up to us. "I haven't seen you guys around before...where you headed?"

"Oh, we were just exploring town and needed a break." I replied. "I'm Serena..."

"I'm Rinka." the skater grinned. "What brings you here to Santalune? The Trainer's School?"

"We mainly came to take on Viola..." I explained.

"Okay...you probably know she's famous for her pictures." Rinka explained. "But she has an equally famous sister--Alexa, the drama and novel critic for the Lumiose Times. If your play or novel impresses her, it has to be good."

"Cool!" Shauna smiled as she wrote the last sentence on her postcard.

Rinka then remembered a third pair of rollerblades she carried. "I've been looking to give these skates a home...so if one of your Pokemon can beat one of mine, I'll give them to you and I'll buy you coffee. Lose, and you have to buy me coffee."

"Fair by me." I grinned. "What flavor should I get, if I lose?"

"I like the Minty Frozen Mocha." Rinka showed me the picture of a frozen mocha with whipped cream, chocolate syrup on top, and mint leaves for garnish on a menuboard.

"Then I will try one for you if I win." I smiled.

---------

"Representing the Red side, brave explorer Serena!" Shauna announced as I took my place on the square with Rouge. "And representing the Blue side, blader Rinka!" Rinka skated into position with a Zigzagoon romping behind her.

Intrigued in the charming raccoon-like Pokemon, I looked at its Pokedex entry:

"Zigzagoon, the tinyraccoon Pokemon. It restlessly wanders everywhere at all times. This Pokemon does this because it is very curious, interested in anything it happens to see."

Sure enough, the Zigzagoon was looking around at the trees, the fountain, Kitsune and Lita, and my shoes. "Focus, Meeko." Rinka assured it, snapping it to attention.

"Red side ready?" Shauna announced. Rouge sang a confident little melody in reply. "Blue side ready?" Meeko yipped in reply, intrigued at the Fletchling before it.

"And three...two...one..." With that, Shauna blew a whistle to start the battle.

Rouge was caught off guard by the Zigzagoon rushing to headbutt it, and went flying a few inches backwards at impact. After regaining her bearings, she fired an Ember at her opponent, but it only singed the Zigzagoon's fur as it ran out of the way.

"You okay, Rouge?" I asked--she had taken a hard hit.

[I think so...] she groaned as she rubbed her head.

I held up three fingers. "How many fingers do you see?"

[Three...] Rouge replied. That was a relief--at least she had no serious head injury.

"Okay...use a Gust attack to pick your opponent up!" I ordered.

"Dodge and Tackle!" came Rinka's command.

Try as the Zigzagoon might to dodge, the Gust picked it up and dropped it, just as it had done to Kitsune. But the Zigzagoon still had a little strength left after ramming into Rouge again, and fired a blast of cold air--an Icy Wind! Granted, Rouge was part Fire, but the attack would still do major damage if Rouge didn't dodge.

Thankfully, Rouge flew out of the way, making me shiver a bit. "What? I thought that Icy Wind would seal the deal!" Rinka gasped.

[Heads up!] Rouge dove into the Zigzagoon, making it collapse on the pavement with a plop.

Yet Rinka didn't seem angry when Shauna blew the whistle and declared me the winner. "Wow! Most bird users aren't expecting Icy Wind, and fall like Venonats. Rouge is one brave birdie."

"And Meeko did well too." I agreed as we shook hands.

After healing Meeko at the Pokemon Center, Rinka made good on her promise. "I hope you'll take good care of these, and think of me when you skate in them..." she smiled as she presented me with a pair of red rollerblades. "You've earned them!"

"I promise I'll take care of them." I assured Rinka as we went inside the coffee shop to discuss our battle over Minty Frozen Mochas....
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  #8    
Old November 7th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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Episode 6: The Picture of Victory


I woke up the morning of my battle with Viola in high spirits. "Who's ready to go and try for our first badge?"

[MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!] Kitsune, Rouge, and Lita chorused at the same time.

[Let's do it!] Lita smiled, sparking in anticipation.

After putting the Pokemon Center's guest room back in order (the Chanseys were very grateful I had at least tidied it up--which mean less work for them) we made our way to the Gym.

The first thing that met us were the many pictures on the walls. [Wow...is this the Gym or a museum?] Rouge gasped as she admired the many photographs of fields, landmarks, Pokemon, and people.

[Wonder who this guy is?] Kitsune mused as she admired a picture of a brown haired boy with tanned skin holding a crowd spellbound as he spoke about something.

I knelt down to inspect the information plate. "Every year, Pewter City in Kanto holds a major storytelling festival that attracts storytellers, artisans and musicians from all over the world. The main attraction for many festival goers is hearing the resident Gym Leader, Brock, perform. In addition to being a master storyteller, he is a superb musician, songwriter, and actor, and regularly incorporates those talents into every story he tells."

[I wanna go there and hear him perform one day...] Rouge sighed dreamily.

"Me too, but Kanto's a long way from here." I cautioned as I admired a picture of a Vaporeon sunning itself on a rock overlooking the ocean.

"What's the hustle, little Crustle?" a voice asked, startling me from admiring the photographs.

I whirled around and saw a dull blonde haired man nearby a pole painted to look like Spinarak silk. "Who are you?"

"Name's Jim...it's my job to help would be League champions by givin' 'em some tips about what to expect in every Gym." the man assured me. "This your first time challenging a Gym?"

"Y-yeah..." I stammered.

"How d'ya feel right now?" Jim asked. "Excited? Thrilled? Pumped?"

"My Pokemon are, but I'm actually a bit nervous..." I confessed.

"Don't be...I'll be here rooting for you every step of the way." Jim grinned. "And what might our would be League medalist be named?"

"My name's Serena..." I nearly whispered. Jim's exuberant personality was a bit overwhelming, but at the same time, something told me he genuinely wanted to help.

"Serena? Okay then, Serena...as you can see, Viola's a true blue shutterbug." Jim explained, gesturing to the millions of photos around us. "As such, she loves bug Pokemon. Fire and Flying types are your best bets, but have a few Pokemon on standby to cover secondary types."

"Okay..." I replied. "I should be fine with my current team, then."

"Fine? You'll be more than fine with a Fennekin, a Fletchling, and a Pikachu." Jim assured me. "So just slide on down here, and show Viola what the picture of confidence looks like!" He made a grand gesture to the thread-like pole to emphasize his point.

I took a deep breath to quell the Vivillions fluttering in my stomach, then carefully climbed on the pole. "This is it, you guys...no turning back now."

We carefully slid down the pole (well, Rouge decided to fly down) and landed on a rope maze that resembled a Spinarak web. [You sure this is safe?] Lita was not so sure that the wobbly white rope would hold a Pikachu, much less a human.

"You'll be fine, Lita--there's one of these at almost every playground." I told Lita as I started climbing across the threads. "Although I will admit this is the first one I've found on this large a scale."

Seeing me climb across the threads spurred Kitsune, and then Lita, to follow me. Rouge, being a bird, decided to be my eyes from the air in helping me find the right route. [Okay...start turning left here...keep going...little more...now go right...mind the knot there...head right....]

---------

[....and a little more to the right...and we're here!] Rouge smiled as we finally arrived at the other end of the room. A blonde haired girl--who I assumed was Viola--grinned at us as we stepped off the rope maze and onto solid ground again. The camera in her hands didn't look like the cheap digital cameras in souvenir shops--this one was very clearly a top of the line camera from a respected brand.

"That determined expression...that glint in your eye that says you're up to the challenge--it's fantastic!" she smiled as she set the camera on a table in the large tent. "This your first Gym challenge?"

"Yes--my name is Serena, and I would like to try for your badge." I replied, trying my hardest not to show Viola I was nervous.

"Wonderful!" Viola grinned. "Whether it's the tears of frustration that follow defeat, or the blossoming of joy that comes with victory, they're both picture perfect!"

[I'm glad you think so, but do we really need to get all philosophical over a battle?] Kitsune was unimpressed by Viola's monologue.

Viola grabbed a Poke Ball from another table. "If you're ready, come at me!" She heaved the Poke Ball skyward. "I'm focused on victory!"

I was intrigued by the small blue bug Pokemon with spindly legs Viola had summoned, so I consulted my Pokedex:

"Surskit, the pond skater Pokemon." the Pokedex explained. "If it senses danger, it secretes a thick, sugary syrup from the tip of its head. There are some Pokemon that love eating this syrup."

[I'll take this one!] Lita volunteered. Her first Thundershock fizzled out as the Surskit sprayed some strange pink mist that smelled like bubble gum into the room.

Not one to be deterred (and acutely aware of the millions of credits worth of photography gear inches away from where we battled), Lita next tried to ram into the Surskit. Her Quick Attack knocked the Surskit backwards, but it then sprayed water everywhere, coating the web with sparkling droplets.

[Pretty clever, but that Water Sport won't help once I take the field.] Kitsune noted as Viola's Surskit rammed into Lita, sending her flying before my feet.

"You okay?" I asked her as I grabbed a Potion from my bag.

[Yeah...] Lita replied. [I've got this.]

With that, she charged another Thundershock, minutes before Viola ordered "Bubblebeam!". The spark easily cut through the swirl of rainbow bubbles, and shocked the Surskit senseless, even though Lita got a little wet from its last attack.

"Great job." I told Lita as she shook herself dry. "I thought you were done for when that Quick Attack sent you flying."

[It'll take more than that to take me down!] Lita grinned, pleased at her victory in her first real battle.

Viola's next Pokemon was a pink patterned Vivillion. Not being one to underestimate my opponent, I checked the Pokedex:

"Vivillion, the scale Pokemon. The patterns on this Pokemon's wings depend on the climate and topography of its habitat. It scatters colorful scales."

"And those scales may prove deadly against a Fire type if you're not careful!" Viola cautioned as the Vivillion started creating a large puff of what looked like mist, but closer inspection revealed that it was actually hundreds of tiny scales.

[Scales or no scales, I'm going in anyway!] Kitsune called as she charged into battle.

[Be careful, Kitsune!] Rouge called after her.

Kitsune, however, had a plan: First, she waved the scales away from the Vivillion with Tail Whip. Once sure that the Powder attack was cleared away completely, I called "Use an Ember, quickly!"

She did not, however expect to be thrashed about by a Gust flapped up from the Vivillion's wings. Unlike Lita, Kitsune looked none the worse for wear when the Gust dissipated. [Is that all you've got?] she taunted, flaring her ears out for effect.

The Vivillion was glad to oblige with a Stun Spore attack, but Kitsune ran out of the way and fired an Ember at her opponent, which hindered its ability to fly.

She gritted her teeth as she dodged a Sleep Powder attack. [HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!] she howled as she jumped and rammed into the Vivillion, making it crumple to the floor, defeated.

[Wow!] Rouge gasped when she saw Kitsune deliver the final blow.

Viola was equally impressed. "Well! You've shown me a whole new depth of field!"

She then caught herself. "No...it wasn't just you, Serena...you and your Pokemon have shown me a new depth of field!"

"Thanks?" I stammered. Whatever Viola meant by "depth of field", I figured it was a good thing--or some weird piece of photography lingo I didn't understand.

Viola then offered me the badge, which resembled a Ledyba's skin in purple, gold, and green. "Here you go--in remembrance of your picture perfect victory!"

About then, it finally hit me that I had just won my first badge. "YES!!!" I cried as all three of my Pokemon cheered. "We got a Bug Badge!"
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  #9    
Old November 9th, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Episode 7: The Brave Little Riolu


Jim was waiting for me when we stepped off the elevator leading back to the photo gallery. "Look at that badge!" he grinned when he saw my Bug Badge. "Congrats!"

"Thanks..." I giggled. I had so many emotions swirling through my head--ecstasy at winning my first badge, sheer excitement, pride in my Pokemon...

"You know, Professor Sycamore would be very proud of you..." Jim went on. "Why don't you go see him in Lumiose City?"

"I'm headed there next." I assured Jim as we departed.

We had not gotten very far from the Gym when Lita asked [Why are we fighting for those sparkly things, anyway?]

I realized that Route 22--and the Pokemon League--were not far away. Granted, I needed seven more badges before I could go inside, but I could at least let my Pokemon see the majestic entryway to the League.

We had not gotten far on Route 22 before Kitsune heard a thump in the grass. [What was that?]

Rouge heard the thump too. [Wait there, I'll go see.]

She came fluttering back with a report some moments later. [It's only a Riolu training by whacking a stump.]

"A Riolu?" I asked. Rouge led me into the grass, where sure enough, a tiny blue and black wolf-like Pokemon was eying a stump. After a few tense seconds, it made a flying jump and whacked the stump with a Force Palm.

I wanted to get closer, but Kitsune gave me a warning hiss. [I wouldn't disturb a training Riolu if I were you--they will not hesitate to attack any intruder that interrupts their training.]

"Point duly noted." I assured Kitsune as I consulted the Pokedex:

"Riolu, the emanation Pokemon. The aura that emanates from its body intensifies to alert others if it is afraid or said." the Pokedex explained.

About then, the Riolu noticed us and crept up to where I was watching it. "It's okay...I'm not gonna hurt you." I assured it.

[Wit' garb like tat and yer friendly aura, ye don't look like a threatnin' type] the Riolu assured me, her gentle lilt making me smile. [I'm used te humans tromping tru here as I'm trainin'...but I often wonder were tey're goin'.]

I figured I would kill two Fletchlings with one stone and show Lita and the Riolu the League entryway. "See that large stone archway way out there?" I told the Riolu. "That's where the very best trainers go to prove their skills. The winner receives a medal from the Champion.]

[A prize and te favor of a king?] the Riolu gasped, starry eyed. [I've always wanted to prove myself te strongest!]

I wasn't sure if the League Champion was the same as royalty, but if it motivated the Riolu, great. "Make that the queen." I corrected her--I knew there was currently a female Champion, but who she was, I didn't know. "Many trainers, myself included, make this journey every year, but only a few earn a medal."

[Wow!!!] Even Kitsune was excited.

[Wanna come with us?] Rouge asked.

The Riolu thought for a moment. [I'd be honored te join ye on yer journey...] She then struck a fighting pose. [...if ye'll prove yer strength te me first!]

[Challenge accepted!] Kitsune charged into the grass, intent on scratching the Riolu. But the Riolu jumped out of the way. Kitsune looked around to see where the Riolu had gone, but was knocked to the ground by a Quick Attack.

Not one to be deterred, Kitsune tried an Ember next. The Riolu blocked the brunt of the tiny fireballs, never mind being singed a little.

I then noticed the Riolu about to deliver a Force Palm to Kitsune. "Look out!"

Too late--the THWACK! of the blow sent Kitsune flying back at least a foot. [Uggh...that hurt...] she groaned some moments later.

My heart was pounding--I didn't want to use Rouge, as Flying moves were super effective to Fighting types. Kitsune was pretty much down for the count--although she hadn't fainted, sending her back out after being smacked like she had was suicide.

[You play nurse to Kitsune! I'll take over from here!] Lita assured me before darting into the grass to face her challenger.

The Riolu was not expecting Lita's Thundershock. After waving off the tiny thunderbolts, she unleashed a deafening war cry that could be heard all the way back in Santalune City, at least. Lita rushed in for a Quick Attack, but she ended up blocked by the Riolu's paws and pushed backwards. Try as she might to push forward and ram her opponent, the Riolu would intercept her and push her backwards.

[Are they ever going to stop pushing?] Kitsune asked as I gave her another Potion, slightly bemused by the comical tug of war playing out in the grass.

[Sooner or later, one of them is going to tire.] Rouge agreed. [I don't want to go in unless you really want me to...]

About then, Lita and the Riolu appeared to have called a truce. [Ye are clearly very strong...] the Riolu wheezed as I arrived to assess Lita. [I would be honored te travel wit' such strong companions.]

"So, you're coming with us?" I asked--aside from a few bumps and bruises, Lita appeared okay.

The Riolu gave me a shaky little bow. [I pledge my loyalty te ye--where ye go, I will go also.]

"Okay...welcome aboard....Erin." I smiled, gently touching the kneeling Riolu with a Poke Ball. After she had gone inside in a flash of light, I saw that the sun was setting. "Come on, guys...let's go back to Santalune City for tonight."

[Good idea...] Kitsune weakly smiled.

[You'll still tell us a story tonight, won't you?] Rouge asked.

"Of course." I replied.

[Erin's in for a treat, if your last story was any indication!] Lita grinned as we arrived back in town for the night....
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  #10    
Old November 14th, 2013, 07:06 PM
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Pokemon Center Interlude 3: The Master and the Apprentice


No sooner had we gotten settled in the Santalune City Pokemon Center did Lita greet me with a question. [Is there a way we can see Brock tell stories without traveling to Kanto?]

I grinned--the picture Viola took apparently was on her mind. "I'll ask if there's a PC that can go online, okay?"

Nurse Joy was more than happy to direct me to the tech area of the Pokemon Center, where some other trainers were reading e-mail or checking their Pokebook pages. After finding a vacant one and logging on to MyTube (the volume was on low, so as not to disturb others), I typed "brock storytelling" into the search bar....

...and was floored by the immense amount of stories people had filmed Brock telling--in addition to stories direct from Brock's own MyTube channel, which had the screenname "PewterSong". I decided to start there, and started naming the different stories to the Pokemon. "The Miracle Boy?"

[Nah...] Rouge wasn't interested.

"Prince Tatters?" I suggested again.

[I've heard a variant or two of tat tale...] Erin noted. [In most versions, a princess is married to what appears to be a poor man, and every night, she complains about what she left behind, but after tree deys, she finds the poor man is reely a prince. In some versions, te princess has tree challenges te face to break the spell.]

[Interesting, but I'm not feeling cursed princes tonight.] Kitsune mused.

"The Magic Egg?" I tried. No answer from any of the Pokemon, so I tried the next one. "'The Dragon's Gifts'"?

[I wanna hear that one!] Rouge suggested.

Piqued, I clicked the video link, and Pokemon crowded around the PC as the Brock on the screen (who was apparently in a theater for this and a few more videos) began "Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a poor woman named Melina, who had six pretty daughters, all very beautiful and intelligent, and an only son named Jack, who wasn't exactly the brightest star in the sky."

The offscreen audience and the Pokemon giggled at this. "Hardly a day passed without his mother saying to him..." In his best mimic of a woman, Brock scolded "What are you doing, you useless creature? If you weren't too stupid to look after yourself, I would kick you out of the house and never let you see my face again."

[That was pretty good!] Lita was impressed at the impression.

"Every day Jack did some stupid thing or another, till at last Melina, who was at her wit's end, beat him till he was at least three different colors..." Brock explained as himself. "which so startled Jack that he took off running, and never stopped till it was dark and the stars were shining. He wandered on for some time, not knowing where to go, and at last he came to a cave, at the mouth of which sat a dragon, more awe inspiring than anything you can imagine."

[What kind of dragon was it?] Lita asked the screen, as if the image of Brock could hear her.

I just petted her as Brock described the dragon for the unseen audience. "He had a huge and sleek head, sparkling emerald eyes, a majestic snout, and a great gash of a mouth that held hundreds of razor sharp teeth. His scaly skin and huge wings rippled with power."

[So probably a Charizard...] Kitsune speculated.

"In short, he was simultaneously the most beautiful and horrifying object Jack had ever seen." Brock explained. "But Jack, who, with all his faults, was actually very brave, and a very well mannered boy, took off his hat, and said..."

In character as a boy, he spoke to an imagined dragon. "Good-day, sir; I hope you are well. Could you kindly tell me how far it is from here to a town?"

As himself, he narrated "When the dragon heard this question he burst out laughing, and as he liked the boy's polite manners he said to him..."

In a deeper version of himself, he asked "Will you enter my service?"

"Name your terms." he replied as Jack.

"If you serve me faithfully," he explained as the dragon, "I'll make sure you'll get enough wages to satisfy you."

[Wow!] Lita was amazed Brock could simultaneously perform both characters.

"So the bargain was struck, and Jack agreed to become the dragon's servant." Brock went on as himself. "He was very well treated, in every way, and he had little or no work to do, with the result that in a few days he became as fat as a Fletchinder, as round as a barrel, as red as a Corphish, and as proud as a Combusken."

Some giggles went up at the wry observation. "But, after two years, Jack got tired of this life, and longed desperately to visit his home again." Brock intoned, quieting the giggles of his offscreen audience. "The dragon, who could see into his heart and knew how unhappy he was, said to him one day..."

As the dragon again, he assured the audience. "My dear Jack, I know how much you long to see your mother and sisters again, and because I love you as the Leppa of my eye, I am willing to allow you to go home for a visit. Therefore, take this Ponyta, so that you won't have to go so far on foot; but see that you never sing 'Seios, higarima laisido' to her, or else--dragon magic like this is dangerous to a human like you."

[Spellsongs!] Kitsune gasped, starry eyed

Erin stifled a giggle at Kitsune's excitement. "Jack took the little Pokemon without as much as a thank you, and jumping on its back he rode away; but he had hardly gone two hundred yards when he dismounted and decided to see what the mysterious song did, if anything." Brock continued. "So he sang Seios, higarima laisido..."

This time, Rouge was excited. [What a beautiful voice!]

"No sooner had he sang the song than the Ponyta opened its mouth and poured forth rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls, as big as Grepa Berries, if not bigger." Brock made a form in the air to give the off screen audience an idea of just how big the jewels were.

[Goodness! Imagine te wealth you'd get wit' a stone like tat!] Erin gasped in awe

"Jack gazed in amazement at the sight of such wealth, and joyfully filling a huge sack with the precious stones, he mounted the Ponyta again and rode on till he came to an inn. Here he got down, and going straight to the landlord, he said to him...." Brock assumed the role of Jack again. "My good man, I must ask you to stable this Ponyta for me. Be sure you give her plenty of oats and hay, but beware of singing the song 'Seios, higarima laisido...' to her, or I will not be responsible for what happens. Take this heavy sack, too, and put it somewhere secure for me."

[I have a bad feeling about this...] Lita wasn't sure if entrusting a magic item to a stranger was a good idea

"The landlord--who wasn't born yesterday..." Brock added as an aside, to some giggles. "on receiving this strange warning, and seeing the precious stones sparkling through the canvas of the sack, was most anxious to see what would happen if he sang the forbidden song. So he gave Jack an excellent dinner, with a bottle of fine old wine, and prepared a comfortable bed for him. As soon as he saw Jack close his eyes, he hurried to the stables and sang to the Ponyta Seios, higarima laisido... and the Pokemon as usual poured out zillions of precious stones."

[And ten he pulls te ol' switcheroo...] Erin grinned.

"When the landlord saw all these treasures, he longed to get possession of so valuable a Pokemon, and determined to steal the Ponyta from his foolish guest." Brock intoned, quieting the offscreen giggles. "As soon as it was light the next morning Jack woke up, and having rubbed his eyes and stretched himself about a hundred times he called the landlord and said to him..."

"Come here, my friend, and produce your bill, for short reckonings make long friends." he asked as Jack.

"When Jack had paid his account he went to the stables and took out his Ponyta, as he thought, and fastening a sack of gravel, which the landlord had substituted for his precious stones, on the creature's back, he set out for home." Brock went on as himself. "No sooner had he arrived there than he called out..."

"Mother, come quickly, and bring tablecloths and sheets with you, and spread them out on the ground, and you will soon see what wonderful treasures I have brought you." he giddly called to someone as Jack.

"His mother hurried into the house, and opening the linen chest where she kept her daughters' wedding outfits, she took out tablecloths and sheets made of the finest linen, and spread them flat and smooth on the ground." Brock went on as himself, complete with spreading pantomime tablecloths on the stage. "Jack placed the Ponyta on them, and sang Seios, higarima laisido......

Soft laughter went up at the awkward silence. "But this time, he met with no success, for the Ponyta took no more notice of the magic song than she would have done if a trumpet had blasted the loudest, highest, most out of tune note it could play in her ear!" Brock announced. Laughter went up at his observation. "Two, three, and four times did Jack sing Seios, higarima laisido... but all in vain, as he might as well been singing to a rock."

My laughter turned to horror as Brock described what happened next. "Disgusted and furious with the Pokemon, he seized a thick stick and began to beat it so hard that he nearly broke every bone in its body. The miserable Ponyta was so distracted at such treatment that, far from pouring out precious stones, it only tore and dirtied all the fine linen."

[Tat's nut very nice!] Erin was just as appalled as I was.

"Keep in mind Jack doesn't know the ol' switcheroo's been pulled on him yet." I assured Erin.

"When poor Melina saw her tablecloths and sheets being destroyed, and that instead of becoming rich she had only been made a fool of, she grabbed another stick and whacked Jack so unmercifully with it, that he fled before her, and never stopped till he reached the dragon's cave." Brock went on, quieting the uproarious laughter offscreen. "When his master saw the lad returning in such a sorry plight, he understood what had happened to him, and making no bones about the matter, he told Jack what a fool he had been to allow himself to be so imposed upon by the landlord, and to let a worthless Ponyta be palmed off on him instead of his magic Ponyta. Jack listened humbly to the dragon's words, and vowed solemnly that he would never act so foolishly again."

After a pause, Brock went on. "And so a year passed, and Jack was again overcome by homesickness, and felt a great longing to see his own family again. The dragon, although he was intimidating to look upon, had a very kind heart, and when he saw how restless and unhappy Jack was, he gave him permission to go home on a visit. The day Jack left, he gave him a beautiful tablecloth, and said...

As the dragon, he instructs an imagined person "Give this to your mother; but see that you don't lose it as you lost the Ponyta, and till you are safely in your own house beware of singing "Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..." to it. If you do, the misfortune will be on your own head, for I have given you fair warning this time."

We listened as Brock continued "Jack set out on his journey, but hardly had he got out of sight of the cave than he laid the tablecloth on the ground and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... In an instant the tablecloth unfolded itself and disclosed a whole mass of precious stones, food, and other treasures. When Jack saw this, he sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... again, and continued his journey. He came to the same inn again, and calling the landlord to him, he told him to put the tablecloth away carefully, and whatever he did not to sing "Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..." to it."

[Of course he's gonna steal this too.] Rouge predicted.

"The landlord, who was a regular rogue, answered..." Brock switched to a braggy older male voice. "Just leave it to me, I will look after it as if it were my own."

[NOT!!!] Lita jeered, to the Pokemon's giggles. I just shot them The Look--that calmed them down in a hurry.

"After he had given Jack plenty to eat and drink, and had provided him with a comfortable bed, he went straight to the tablecloth and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... It opened right then, and displayed such costly treasures that the landlord made up his mind on the spot to steal it." Brock confirmed Lita's and Rouge's predictions seconds later.

"When Jack awoke the next morning, the host handed him a tablecloth exactly like his own, and carrying it carefully over his arm, the foolish boy went straight to his mother's house, and said..." As Jack again, Brock announced "Now we shall be rich beyond our wildest dreams, and need never go about in rags again, or lack the best of food."

As himself, he continued "With these words he spread the tablecloth on the ground and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... But try as he might to sing the song, it was only a waste of breath, for nothing happened. When Jack saw this he turned to his mother and said..."

He grumbled as Jack "That old scoundrel of a landlord has done me once more; but he will live to repent it, for if I ever enter his inn again, I will make him suffer for the loss of my Ponyta and the other treasures he has robbed me of."

[We kin add 'mimicry' te his list of talents...] Erin was impressed with Brock's ability to do the voices of every character in his tale.

"Melina was in such a rage over her fresh disappointment that she could not restrain her impatience, and, turning on Jack, she abused him soundly, and told him to get out of her sight, for she would never acknowledge him as a son of hers again." Brock intoned. "The poor boy was very depressed by her words, and slunk back to his master like a Growlithe with his tail between his legs. When the dragon saw him, he guessed what had happened. He gave Jack a good scolding, and said..."

"I don't know what prevents me from smashing your head in, you useless ne'er-do-well!" he sighed angrily as the dragon. "You blurt everything out, and your long tongue never ceases wagging for a moment. If you had remained silent in the inn this misfortune would never have overtaken you, so you have only yourself to blame for your present suffering."

After a tense few seconds of silence, Brock continued as himself. "Jack listened to his master's words in silence, looking for all the world like a whipped Growlithe. When he had been three more years in the dragon's service he had another twinge of homesickness, and longed very much to see his mother and sisters again. So he asked for permission to go home on a visit, and it was granted to him. Before he set out on his journey the dragon presented him with a beautifully carved stick and said..."

"Take this stick as a remembrance of me; but beware of singing "Furiya, shuru shamato" to it, for if you do, I can only say I would not want to be you." he warned as the dragon.

"Don't be in the least alarmed, I'm not such a fool as you think, and know better than most people what two and two make." he confidently replied as Jack.

"I'm glad to hear that," he replied as the dragon, "but words are women, deeds are men. You have heard what I said, and forewarned is forearmed."

As himself, Brock went on "This time Jack thanked his master warmly for all his kindness, and started on his homeward journey in great spirits; but he had not gone half a mile when he sang Furiya, shuru shamato..." The words were hardly out of his mouth when the stick glowed blue and started firing arrows of ice with such lightning speed that he was almost a Jacksicle before he could sing the song again. But as soon as he sang the magic words, the stick's glow faded."

Kitsune stiffled a giggle as she pictured Jack as a Popsicle. "Although he had learned a lesson at some cost to himself, Jack was full of joy, for he saw a way now of avenging himself on the wicked landlord." Brock explained. "He arrived at the inn a third time, and was received in the most friendly and hospitable manner by his host. Jack greeted him cordially, and said..."

"My friend, will you kindly take care of this stick for me?" he requested as Jack. "But, whatever you do, don't sing 'Furiya, shuru shamato' to it. If you do, you will be sorry for it, and you won't expect any sympathy from me."

As himself, he went on "The landlord, thinking he was coming in for a third piece of good fortune, gave Jack an excellent supper; and after he had seen him comfortably to bed, he ran to the stick, and calling to his wife to come and see the fun, he lost no time in singing the song Furiya, shuru shamato..."

[Bad idea!] Rouge chirped.

"The moment he sang the stick glowed blue, and battered the landlord so unmercifully with ice that he and his wife ran screaming to Jack, and, waking him up, pleaded for mercy as they shivered with the cold." Brock continued over the laughter in the audience. "When Jack saw how successful his trick had been, he said..."

"I refuse to help you, unless you give me all that you have stolen from me, otherwise you will be frozen to death." he warned as Jack.

"Take back your property, only release me from this terrible stick and its spell!" he pleaded as the landlord.

"With these words he ordered the Ponyta, the tablecloth, and other treasures to be restored to their rightful owner. he assured the audience as himself. "As soon as Jack had recovered his belongings he sang Furiya, shuru shamato... again, and it stopped its spell right there."

He concluded. "Then he took his Ponyta and tablecloth and arrived safely at his home with them. This time the magic songs had the desired effect, and the Ponyta and tablecloth provided the family with treasures untold. Jack very soon married off his sister, made his mother rich for life, and they all lived happily ever after."

Applause went up, and Brock took a bow as the scene faded out, ending the video. "Okay, now it's Erin's turn to pick a video..." I told the Pokemon.

[I want te hear a tele of high adventure!] Erin requested.

"Adventure, huh..." A video titled "The Hunter and the Oni" got my attention, so I clicked it.

The scene came up on Brock in the theater again. "In the mountains of Kanto, it is said that the oni--or demons--of the mountains like to disguise themselves as babies to capture unsuspecting travelers." he explained. "In a certain village by Mt. Moon lived a hunter who was very brave. One day as he was coming home from a long day in the forest, he swore he heard a crying baby in the woods, but he knew well that the crying was a mountain oni on the prowl."

Erin swallowed hard at what she imagined would happen to whoever the oni captured, making a light blue aura appear around her. "He returned home, made a mask of Arceus--who all oni fear--, and returned the next day, where he found the mountain oni by a rock."

The Pokemon listened as Brock went on. "The mountain oni was startled by the masked hunter, and pleaded with him to spare it--as it believes the hunter was really Arceus--before fainting." Some giggles went up as Brock feigned fainting.

As he got up some seconds later, he continued "The hunter wasn't sure what to do with the fainted oni, and took it home. The oni came to on the way, and demanded that it be freed the whole way."

Erin's laughter was the loudest at this. "While he was busy saying his nightly prayers to Arceus, the oni escaped, and disguised itself as the Arceus statue." Brock explained. "But the hunter saw right through the disguise, and told the oni that if it played any more pranks, he would take it to the magistrate the next morning."

[Uh oh...] Lita giggled.

"The oni pleaded that it would behave, and proceeded to make dinner, serve the hunter seconds, and thirds, and fourths,..." Laughter went up at Brock's wry observation. "and massage his shoulders. Desperate to escape, the oni offered to sing a lullaby, which was actually an excuse to sing a sleep inducing spellsong..."

He then sang Gran zirtan vin fangan miti...

Kitsune tried oh-so-hard not to laugh in anticipation. "The oni didn't know that the hunter was holding the other end of her rope, and feeling it go slack was enough to break the sleep spell." Brock continued. "He asks her to clean the house, but the oni decided enough was enough, and escaped into the night, never to be seen again."

He concluded "They say that that night, the oni cleaned her own house for the first time in eons!"

Erin smiled as the video ended. [I culd listen to all tese teles for deys!]

"Well, I know some myself, so when we're not in range to use MyTube, I'll tell some anytime." I assured her as we logged off the PC for the night.
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  #11    
Old November 21st, 2013, 09:18 AM
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Episode 8: A Vision of Lumiose


We left the Pokemon Center early the next morning and started northward on Route 4. [Just up ahead is the really big city, right?] Rouge asked me as she fitted on my shoulder.

I nodded. "If all goes well, we should make it to Lumiose City today."

Just then, I noticed a vaguely humanoid figure sitting peacefully in the sea of yellow flowers that lined the road, oblivious to the Flabebes flying, singing and laughing around it. [What's that?] Lita asked.

Erin bounded into the flowers to try and get a better look at the figure. [It's a Ralts in te middle of its medetetion.] she reported.

"A Ralts?" Piqued, I looked at the Pokedex:

"Ralts, the feeling Pokemon. It is highly attuned to the emotions of people and Pokemon. It hides if it senses hostility."

The Ralts, however, decided to warp closer to us to study us further. Yes...I sense a deep love and respect in this girl's heart.

"Huh?" I was confused by the gentle female voice that resonated in my head. "Who said that?"

I did. The slight grin on the Ralts' face tipped me off that the Ralts was telepathically speaking to me.

"Well, we're going to Lumiose City..." I started to explain to the Ralts.

I know--I can sense that in your Pokemon's excitement. the Ralts smiled before it warped over to my bag and read its contents. Judging from all the stuff in here, you're on your way to challenge the League...

I giggled--the Ralts had correctly guessed why we traveled. "Would you want to come with us?"

The Ralts nodded. I have seen a vision of a brave young girl with a ruby ring driving back a great evil...and you look a lot like her.

[Really?] Kitsune was intrigued by the Ralts' vision. [What else do you know about the vision?]

The Ralts hung its head. Unfortunately, that is all I can see for now...but I would very much like to travel with your master and see if she really is the one in my vision.

[Ye dun't wanna battle awr anyting?] Erin wondered as she assumed a fighting pose.

No--I'm pretty sure your master will allow me to come with you--I shouldn't need to prove myself. the Ralts assured Erin.

I dug an empty Poke Ball from my bag and set it before the Ralts. "Okay--all you have to do is touch this, and you can come."

I promise I will serve you well, now and forever. the Ralts assured me before disappearing into the Poke Ball in a flash of red.

[Wait...what are we gonna call you?] Rouge asked. [We'd like to call you something other than 'Ralts']

A name of my own? the Ralts next message came from inside the Poke Ball. Let's let the girl decide.

I remembered from trainer's school that a female Ralts ultimately evolved into the beautiful princess-like Gardevoir. French names were old hat, but what was a name befitting its ultimate appearance?

My thoughts turned to memories of playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when I was younger--in the game, Princess Zelda had prophetic visions in her dreams, which was a form of psychic power.

"How about Zelda?" I asked my team.

[A beautiful name!] Rouge agreed.

[You mean like that princess in that video game with the hero in green?] Lita asked.

"That's the one--in one game in the series, she is said to see visions in her dreams, which is a kind of psychic power." I explained.

Some gentle giggles resonated in my head. So you think me a princess? I'm flattered and honored you think so!

Kitsune was starry eyed at the notion of having a Gardevoir on the team. [I'm so excited! We have royalty on the team!] she cried as she romped among the flowers.

I gasped as she started to glow white in the middle of a big jump. When she landed, she was slightly larger, and shakily standing on two black muscular legs.

[It's a meericle...Kitsune was so happy to meet Zelda, she evolved.] Erin smiled.

As Kitsune uneasily tottered over to me, I read up on what she had evolved into:

"Braxien, the fox Pokemon. When the twig is plucked from its tail, friction sets the twig alight. The flame is used to send signals to its allies.

[At least we won't be stumbling through caves in the dark.] Rouge noted. [Kitsune can light the way.]

I hurried over to where Kitsune was struggling to walk upright, helped her up, and asked "Need some help while you get used to two legs?"

[Please do...it feels so strange walking like you.] Kitsune weakly replied as I helped her up.

I gently took her paws. "I'm going to hold onto your paws while you try and walk to the team, okay? This way, I can catch you if you start feeling shaky."

[Okay...] Kitsune replied.

Little by little, Kitsune hesitantly took tiny steps towards the other Pokemon. At first, her strides were confident, but she didn't see a rock in the grass, which she tripped over.

I was right there to catch her, so she wasn't hurt. [Thanks...] she smiled as I carried her the rest of the way.

[Dun't warry--Ye'll be walking in no time wit' a leetle practice.] Erin assured her.

[Going from four to two legs is probably a bit scary, but know Serena's here to catch you if you fall.] Lita assured her. [That's what friends do.]

Lita's right--true friends stick by each other through thick and thin. Zelda telepathically agreed from her Poke Ball.

I let Kitsune rest in her Poke Ball the rest of the way to Lumiose. But just as we neared the main entrance gate, a black haired girl and a dull blonde haired boy met us on the path. "Hi! You wouldn't happen to be one of the five the professor gave Pokedexes to, would you?" the girl asked.

"Yeah, why?" I asked "Who might you two be?"

"I'm Sina, and this is Dexio." the girl smiled, gesturing to the boy when she introduced him. "We're the professor's main assistants."

"The professor asked us to escort you to the lab." Dexio added.

I nodded, and followed the two of them through the gate. But none of us were prepared for the immense array of buildings and streets, with a majestic tower off in the distance. [Wow...] Lita gasped.

[Tis plece is huge!] Erin was just as amazed. [It's a wonder ye wouldn't get lost!]

"Oh, you won't get lost so long as you follow us." Dexio assured us. "So if you wanna know where something is or what a particular building is, just ask.

I decided to let my new Ralts out to see the city. "Zelda...we made it to Lumiose."

Sina noted Zelda as she materialized in the air beside me. "Say, you know about the Fairy type, yes?"

"The newest type to be discovered." I explained. "Any suggestions in case we run into a Pokemon of that type?"

"You already have--Flabebe and its evolutions." Sina explained. "Gardevoir is another example you're ultimately going to have."

"Ice, Rock, and Dark types are not effective against them, and forget about using dragons--they won't do a thing." Dexio picked up where Sina left off. "As for what IS effective against them, Poison and Steel types are a big help."

"Point duly noted." I grinned.

Lita, meanwhile, noted a majestic building on street by the lab with a glittering marquee. [Is that a movie theater?]

"Nope--that theater's used to put on plays." Dexio replied. "The professor has a small role in the play that's going to premiere tomorrow night."

I stiffled a giggle--I didn't know Prof. Sycamore moonlighted as an actor! "What's the play about?"

"You'll have to ask the professor--we're not spoiling it!" Sina grinned as we continued on our way to the lab....
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Last edited by EmeraldSky; November 21st, 2013 at 05:19 PM.
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  #12    
Old November 23rd, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Episode 9: A Link to the Past, A Link to the Present


I gasped in awe when we stepped into Sycamore's lab. Assistants were scurrying about with paper, a beaker of some kind of liquid, or a requested item for an experiment. Still others were observing Pokemon, typing a report, filing books or papers or on the phone with a colleague. "Welcome to the lab." Sina smiled. "It's usually this chaotic in here, what with all the experiments we do every day."

Erin was about to say something, but Sina assured her "Don't worry, Miss Riolu--we treat every test Pokemon ethically."

[What does tat mean?] Erin cocked her head, confused.

"It means you don't hurt the Pokemon, and treat them well." I explained. I thought about going into detail about infamous experiments and unethical scientists from days of yore I learned about in Pokemon Research 101, but figured Erin would be bored, if not outright frightened, by that lecture.

"The professor's office is on the third floor." Sina snapped me back to reality.

I hurried on board the elevator behind Sina, then followed her down a hallway to a large and spacious room "Professor, I have Serena here." she announced through the intercom near the door.

"Come on inside, then." came Prof. Sycamore's reply, and the door opened, revealing a huge room crammed with books, the professor's desk, and a magnificent view of Lumiose City from a window that took up most of the north wall.

After setting a paper aside, Prof. Sycamore turned to address me. "So this is the lovely Serena...I heard about your victory against Viola."

"It was easy, really..." I smiled. "My Pikachu and now Braixen handled it very well."

"Your first Pokemon's evolved already?" Professor Sycamore asked. "I knew the five of you had potential, but to obtain the second stage evolution so quickly? That takes a lot of love, and a little patience."

I decided to summon Kitsune for the professor to see. "Here she is."

Prof. Sycamore watched as I steadied Kitsune on her wobbly legs. "It's not unheard of for a newly evolved Braxien to be a bit unsteady on two legs for the first two weeks after evolution. Just have her practice, not unlike a human child learning to walk, and she'll be outrunning a Lucario in no time at all!"

[Reely?] Erin grinned. [Ye'll have te rece me when I evolve, whenever tat mey be.]

[Consider that challenge accepted--I should be used to these legs by then.] Kitsune grinned.

"How sweet, your Riolu and Braixen get along very well!" a familiar voice cooed.

I whirled around to find Shauna and Callum had joined me in the room. "When did you guys get here?"

"Not too long ago--Tierno and Trevor are on their way." Callum replied.

"This place is huge!!!" Shauna agreed. "I'm thankful Dexio showed us the way!"

"Well, while we wait for the two others in your party to arrive, would you three like to see some Pokemon from another region in battle?"

"I do!" Callum cried.

"Yeah!" Shauna agreed.

"I would too!" I added before realizing most of my team was already out. "I'd even pit my team against these exotic Pokemon!"

"I accept your challenge, Serena--come at me with all you have!" With that, Prof. Sycamore summoned a small reptilian Pokemon with a large bulb on its back.

[What's that?] Rouge was intrigued.

I fumbled for my Pokedex to get more information on my strangely cute opponent:

"Bulbasaur, the seed Pokemon. For some time after its birth, it grows by gaining nourishment from the seed on its back."

Seeing that Bulbasaur was part Poison, I decided to pit Zelda against it--only to watch in horror as she just barely warped out of the way of a Vine Whip. I'm sorry--this opponent is much too strong for me...

[I'll take it!] Rouge volunteered as I called Zelda back. She then fired an Ember at the Bulbasaur, making it stumble backwards.

After regaining its footing, the Bulbasaur tried Absorbing some of Rouge's life energy, but it didn't weaken Rouge at all. Another Gust and the Bulbasaur was down for the count.

"Very good..." Professor Sycamore smiled. "Here's the second one..." He next summoned a small blue turtle Pokemon:

"Squirtle, the tiny turtle Pokemon. It shoots water at prey while in the water. It withdraws into its shell when in danger."

[This one's mine!] Lita cried as she relieved Rouge on our makeshift battlefield. Granted, neither me nor the professor were going at full power--I didn't want to inadvertently destroy the next huge discovery in the thick of battle.

[Bring it on, pipsqueak!] the Squirtle taunted before sticking out its tongue and retreating in its shell.

[YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!] Lita screeched angrily as she fired a Thundershock, but the tiny bolt didn't do much, since the Squirtle was in its shell.

A comical game of hide and seek began to unfold there in the room--the Squirtle would peek out, Lita would start charging a Thundershock, and the the Squirtle was disappear into its shell again, negating most of the Thundershock's damage.

Finally, Lita was at her wit's end with the Squirtle, so she darted up to it and headbutted it, forcing it out of its shell as it went flying against the professor's desk. The Squirtle didn't take that too kindly, and sprayed a stream of bubbles at Lita before heaving with exhaustion.

"Okay...Squirtle's had a good fight for today..." Professor Sycamore smiled as he recalled the Squirtle. "Here's your final opponent." With that, he summoned an orange lizard with a small flame at the tip of its tail.

I froze--I didn't have any good Pokemon against a Fire type! I still looked at the Pokedex anyway just to size up my opponent.

"Charmander, the lizard Pokemon. From the time it is born, a flame burns at the tip of its tail. Its life would end if the flame were to go out."

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves--if I had no good Pokemon against a Fire type, I would just fight fire with fire! "You want to take this one, Kitsune?" I asked.

[I guess--i need some practice standing and bracing unassisted.] she agreed.

Next, she mimicked one of the gibberish "spellsongs" I had used in campfire stories! [Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...]

"What was that?" I gasped as a green aura formed around Kitsune.

"That was a Lucky Chant." Professor Sycamore explained. "Although I've never heard those kinds of words to summon it before..."

The Charmander tried to scratch Kitsune, but her legs got caught in a loose thread, and she fell, making the Charmander miss completely.

Inspired, the Charmander fired an Ember at Kitsune as she struggled to get up. But Kitsune was very much aware of the tiny fireball headed for her, and fired a beautiful rainbow colored beam at the Charmander.

"A Psybeam?" I recognized what Kitsune had fired.

"Of course--Braixen is part Psychic, after all." Professor Sycamore assured me.

The Charmander tried again to fire an Ember at Kitsune, but Kitsune put up a Light Screen to protect herself, making the second Ember fizzle out.

Prof. Sycamore smiled as the Charmander threw up its hands in a "I give up" signal. "All right...I concede defeat, Serena--you obviously have talent..."

"That was amazing to watch!" Shauna agreed.

"I have to agree--you could go all the way to the League with that kind of skill." Callum even applauded.

"We missed a battle? No fair!" Tierno complained as he arrived with Dexio and Trevor.

"You should've seen it! First Lita played hide and seek with a Squirtle, then Kitsune overpowered a Charmander..." Shauna gave Tierno a blow by blow of the battle that had ended minutes earlier.

"Bulbasaur...Charmander...Squirtle...aren't those the starters of the Kanto region?" Trevor wondered.

"Exactly--I received some as a gift from a colleague there." Prof. Sycamore explained as he healed the Pokemon he had used in our battle.

He then released all three on the table. "As a reward for that battle, Serena, I would like you to adopt one of these Pokemon."

[Pick me, please?] the Bulbasaur smiled cutely.

[No, Pick me! Pick me!] the Chamander begged, jumping up and down all the while.

[You're gonna pick me?] the Squirtle grinned

I smiled--all of them were very cute and sweet, but it pained me a bit that I could only pick one.

I then closed my eyes and gently touched each Pokemon on the head. "My mother told me to choose..."

When I opened them, I saw my finger was touching the Squirtle's head. "Squirtle."

"An excellent choice..." Professor Sycamore smiled. "Perhaps the three of them may help me get to the bottom of a mystery...."

"A mystery?" Tierno gasped. "The butler did it, I know it!"

Everyone laughed. "Not THAT kind of mystery!" Shauna giggled.

"Yes...it's not that kind of mystery." Prof. Sycamore chuckled. "This kind of mystery concerns certain Pokemon in this world...a long time ago, some of them were able to temporarily evolve into an even stronger form when a trainer wearing a special ring sang a mystical song that captured the emotions of their heart. It was the resonance of the trainer's and Pokemon's emotions that caused this special evolution to occur--a process known as Mega Evolution."

"Cool!" Tierno gasped.

"Have any of these rings been found, or are they known to exist at all anymore?" Callum wondered.

"That's the problem...no one knows where these rings might be, if they still exist, much less how the special songs may go..." Prof. Sycamore sighed. "All I have to go on is that this special song--known as a Heart Song--was very short, and only consisted of a few words to make it easy to remember. Every Heart Song is also unique to every trainer, so no two trainers will sing the same one."

"So, where do we start looking?" Trevor asked.

"There may be a clue in Camphrier Town, so you could start there." Prof. Sycamore replied. "That is, unless you want to train or explore Lumiose...

"We'll do it!" Shauna cried.

"Leave it to us!" Callum agreed.

Prof. Sycamore grinned as he offered us each some theater tickets. "As thanks for all you've done, please enjoy a night at the theater on me--I have a small role in tomorrow night's premiere."

"The professor, an actor?" Trevor gasped when he saw the ticket in his hand.

"This play I have GOT to see!" Tierno agreed as he dashed out the door. I was not far behind, but I wondered--could my gibberish "spellsongs" potentially be real?
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  #13    
Old November 30th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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Episode 10: Diamond Beauty, Red Beast

"Let's see...what am I gonna call you, little guy?" I cooed to my new Squirtle as I stepped into the elevator.

[I wanna be named something powerful and strong, like the Blastoise I'll be one day!] he smiled

"How about....Kaitou?" I suggested.

[A fitting choice!] Erin cried.

It suits him very nicely---the word "kai" can mean "sea" in Japanese. Zelda explained.

[I love it too!] Kaitou cried before the elevator doors opened on the first floor, where he reared back at a man with red hair resembling a male Pyroar's mane speaking to an assistant. [Who's this guy?]

Erin shuddered as a sky blue aura formed around her. [I dun't know, but I have a bad feelin' about him...]

About then, Pyroar-Man noticed us, and smiled at us, but that didn't make Erin's aura disappear. "Oh hello...you must be one of the five the good professor asked to help unravel the Mega Evolution conundrum...my name is Lysandre, tinker, scientist, and inventor of many products used all over Kalos."

"N-nice to meet you..." I stammered, ever aware of my Pokemon shuddering fearfully.

"What's to be afraid of? I would never harm a Pokemon..." Lysandre tried to reassure my Pokemon, but his sneaky looking smile made Erin's fearful aura glow even brighter. "I guess I can come off as a bit intimidating..."

"If I may ask, what got you into inventing?" I asked.

"I want my inventions to create a more beautiful world by preserving our natural environment, and yet adding convenience and a product that lasts forever." Lysandre replied as he accepted some blueprints from an assistant. "I must be going now...I hope we do meet again..." With that, he departed.

[Zelda...d-did you get te same bad feelin' I did around tat Lysandre guy?] Erin asked as we departed the lab.

Before Zelda answered, I heard Shauna call "Serena!"

"Hi, everyone..." I smiled as Shauna and Callum arrived. "What's the plan?"

"I'm gonna explore town a bit...you're welcome to come along!" Shauna offered.

"I was hoping we'd discuss what we wanna see first over coffee--they say Cafe Soleil is famous for its live music." Callum added. "We can't not leave Lumiose without seeing the professor's debut tomorrow."

"True, and he did give us tickets." I added. "I'll come join you for coffee and music, Callum."

"Okay, we'll all meet back at the Pokemon Center later." Shauna agreed before disappearing down a street.

[As I was sayin' befar yer friend rudely interrupted...] Erin was not pleased at Shauna interrupting her talk with Zelda. [Did tat Lysandre guy give you any bad readings, Zelda?]

Oh yes...I sensed a great evil in his heart, and his smile when he greeted Serena was not a sincere one. Zelda replied. I suggest we be on our guard, because he may not be all he seems to be.

"Yeah--his obsession with beauty gives me the heebie jeebies too." Callum agreed as we started down the street towards Cafe Soleil.

The cafe was bustling with people as a gypsy jazz band was wrapping up the last bit of "Minor Swing". The music seemed to calm Erin a little, but as we settled in at a table by the stage, her fearful aura returned much brighter than before. [Tere he is again!]

"Lysandre?" I asked, where sure enough, we spotted Lysandre and a beautiful black haired lady in a white dress-like outfit a few tables over.

"Do you know who that is?" Callum asked my Pokemon, pointing out the lady.

[Who?] Lita asked.

Zelda, meanwhile, got starry eyed. it's the legendary movie star, Diantha!

I giggled at Zelda's dreamy look. "Who would have thought the most famous movie star in all Kalos came here for coffee and live music?" About then, the band finished their song, so we applauded.

"Not just live movie star, but voice actor and singer too." Callum added. "She can play a melodramatic heroine one minute, then a strong willed young adventurer the next---whatever role she plays, she plays well."

[Dunno if she likes whatever it is Pyroar-Freak is telling her...] Kaitou mused as the band started another song.

"Zelda...can you broadcast whatever it is they are talking about to us?" I asked, noting Diantha's unnerved look.

Here goes... Zelda focused her thoughts, then telepathically broadcasted the awkward conversation occurring a few tables over into our minds:

"...so beautiful, kindhearted...and strong no matter what role you play...do you ever yearn for eternal youth?"

"I-I've never thought about it, actually...but youth is not the be-all and end-all of life. Everything changes, and that includes people. And even when I am older, that will give me a chance to broaden my horizons and play new types of roles."

"But eventually everything rots away...so how can we preserve what is beautiful so that it is eternally so? This world is so beautiful....I would go to any lengths, including destroying it, to protect its beauty!"

Just then, he looked over at us, startling Zelda and breaking her telepathic link. "So,we meet again, Serena..." he grinned as he paid his bill, then approached our table. "Do you agree that Diantha is the morning and evening star? The rose of Kalos? An angel of Arceus, here in human form?"

I stifled a giggle at how creepy Lysandre's poetic metaphors were. "You laugh now, but one day, I will discover a way to preserve that beauty--just you wait!" With that, he departed.

"The rose of Kalos? The morning and the evening star? That's just plain creepy, if you ask me." Callum shuddered.

[Only a psycho creep in a scery movie would use such comparisons...] Erin agreed as her fearful aura faded away.

Yet Lysandre is of sound mind--I sense no disability. Zelda interjected.

"Can we talk about something else? Erin's already freaked out enough." I told Zelda.

[Does te band teke requests?] Erin asked.

"Of course this band takes requests--got a song in mind?" Callum asked as he took a blank request slip wedged in between the salt and pepper shakers.

[Ask tem te pley te happiest song te know te git my mind off tat Lysandre fellow.] Erin asked.

A grin formed on Callum's face. "I know just the song..." He wrote down a song title, gave the slip to a waitress, who then delivered it to the lead guitar player.

After conferring for a moment, the lead guitar player counted the fiddler off, and the band started a familiar song. "That's the Athletic theme from 'Super Mario World: Yoshi's Island'! I gasped when I recognized the melody the fiddler was playing.

"Hope that's happy enough for Erin." Callum smiled.

[It is--what a hot beat!] Erin swooped Kaitou in her paws and the two of them danced across the table to the nostalgic video game song.

Some gentle laughter got our attention."I believe you two are trainers, right?" Diantha asked as she approached our table to watch Erin and Kaitou's enthusiastic dance.

"We are." I smiled. "I'm Serena, and this is my friend Callum."

Callum waved hello before offering Diantha a poster of her latest movie--the romantic comedy "The Colors of Love". "May I have your autograph, please?"

"Of course." With that, Diantha signed her name near where her character was on the poster. "Here you are."

"Thank you." Callum grinned as he admired Diantha's elegant, loopy signature.

"Promise me this--train up your Pokemon enough to take on the League, and do something that Kalos will remember for years to come." Diantha smiled.

"We will, Diantha." I smiled and waved as the Athletic theme ended and she departed.

[Such a nice lady....] Lita sighed dreamily.

"Except when you're calling her overenthused names." I whispered, making my entire team laugh, even Erin.

[Wanna boogie some more?] Kaitou asked.

[Why nut?] Erin smiled as they waltzed along to a slower melody. [I could dance to tis music all dey!]
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  #14    
Old December 5th, 2013, 03:09 PM
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Episode 11: Give My Regards to Lumiose (part 1)


The day of Professor Sycamore's debut was actually fairly rainy, so I spent the day preparing the Pokemon for what to expect--when it gets dark, be quiet, use the potty before the show, it's okay and encouraged to laugh at the funny parts, and that sort of thing.

Luckily, the rain had cleared out by the time night fell and I met the others in line at the Theater Lumiere. "I wonder what kind of play we'll be seeing..." Callum mused.

"I hope it's a musical with dancing!" Tierno grinned. "That's one reason why I wanted to learn to dance--cause I loved the smooth moves of dancers in musicals!"

"Well, growing up, I was sick a lot, so we didn't really get to go anywhere that often--so the theater was one of the very few places I got to go to." Trevor explained. "Adventures in exotic lands with elaborate costumes and puppets were my favorites."

"Maybe it's a melodrama!" Shauna interjected. "Beautiful heroines, dastardly bad guys, dashing heroes, and all!"

Callum stifled a giggle at Shauna's enthusiasm and the mental image of Prof. Sycamore as a melodrama hero. "Or maybe it's a mystery..."

"Prof. Sycamore as someone like Falco Dolan?" Tierno gasped. "THAT I'd love to see!"

"With Diantha as Joanna." I added.

"What do you think we're going to see, Serena?" Shauna asked.

"I hope it's a dramatization of a fairy tale or folk tale." I replied. "If it has some giant Pokemon puppets for Trevor to look at, even better!"

"But what if it is a combination of all of what we hope it will be?" Trevor interjected.

We pictured what a musical-adventure-melodrama-mystery-folktale play might look like, then burst out laughing. We were still giggling as we approached the ticket booth and handed over our tickets--it's a wonder the other people in line or the ushers didn't think we were nuts.

"Right this way..." An usher led us into the theater and down to a row of seats towards the middle. "Enjoy the show." he smiled before hurrying off to assist someone else.

I tapped Zelda's Poke Ball as I settled in a seat between Callum and Shauna. "When it gets dark, telepathically broadcast the play to the other Pokemon."

Okay. came her telepathic reply

The lights flashed a five minute warning, then went down, quieting the chatter. "Here we go..." Callum grinned as a soft overture began.

"I'd love to see Prof. Sycamore as Falco Dolan..." Tierno whispered, only for Trevor to shush him.

"Can he even play the harmonica?" Shauna wondered--anyone even considering the role of the famed detective had to know how to play the harmonica, and how to play it well, because the aspiring Falco would have to play said harmonica at least once.

"If this is a Falco Dolan story, we're about to find out." I whispered as a spotlight appeared on a auburn haired girl clad in Joanna's iconic outfit--white shirt (or any other neutral color), a jacket of a color that complemented the neutral color (in this case, it was royal blue), black pants, and black shoes. "Oh, hi!" she waved at the audience. "My name's Joanna, apprentice to the great detective, Falco Dolan. You probably know him and his many adventures..."

Some cheers went up at this. "...and I've learned a lot about being a detective from him." the actress continued. "Take a few years ago, when pirates were running rampant all over Houen...as for Falco and me, we were in the midst of a cold snap when we got the urgent message from the Pokemon League..."

She then caught herself. "But I'm getting ahead of myself here, so let's start from the beginning..."

With that, the lights went down on the stage, and came up on the living room of Dolan Manor. Sure enough, Prof. Sycamore was in the role of Falco, studying an imagined news report on a TV. "Another attack off of Houen?" the actress playing Joanna asked as she entered the scene.

"Sadly yes--I've lost count of just how many have been reported." Prof. Sycamore replied. "And who knows how many more go unreported every day?"

"What I don't get is how the pirates are outrunning the Pokemon League..." the girl mused as she set down by Prof.Sycamore.

"It is very strange--the pirates seem to know where the ships and Laprases are at any time." Prof. Sycamore mused. "It doesn't help that the captains and Lapras trainers have no credible leads, and have not given details as to their treatment by their captors.

"They don't appear wounded, just very scared." the girl agreed. "So why hasn't the League tracked these rogues down?"

"Simple--politics." Professor Sycamore sighed. "Half the league wants to ramp up security of ships entering or leaving port, while the other half wants to invest in deterrent measures."

"Remember 'Pirates of the Sevii Islands'?" the girl mused as she got up. "Captain Jack Spearow and his motley crew had Wartortle Island...maybe our band of pirates have a similar base."

Prof. Sycamore nodded. "They have to, considering they are very aware they could be arrested as soon as they set foot in any regional port."

"Do you think the pirates are in cahoots with Vincent de Guile?" the girl wondered.

"Very unlikely, as I have not heard of any new activity from him, but it is still very possible our nemesis could be behind this." Professor Sycamore replied. "All options are on the table at this point."

A knock at the door startled him from his conversation. "I wonder who that could be?" Professor Sycamore mused as he got up to answer the offstage door. The lights went down over a tense stinger.

They came up on Professor Sycamore, the actress playing Joanna, an actress playing Officer Jenny, and actresses portraying Champion Dawn of Shinou, and Champion Iris of Unova. "Forgive us for not giving you any further notice, Falco...Shinou and Unova have been watching the situation in Houen very closely, and have sent their Champions in hoping they could lend a hand to capture the pirate ringleader." the Officer Jenny fill in explained.

"We both owe Officer Jenny our most heartfelt thanks." the Dawn fill in agreed.

"Please, my Ladies, do sit down." Joanna offered the Champion fill ins a chair.

"And then one of them recaps what we already know..." Callum whispered as the Dawn fill in did just that.

"Is it possible to start from the beginning, Lady Dawn?" Professor Sycamore asked when the Dawn fill in had finished recapping the known facts of the pirate attacks.

"I hardly know more than Iris does, and she knows no more than Officer Jenny does--that's why we came to ask you and Joanna's help." the Dawn fill in sighed.

"The Champions have requested privacy on their involvement in this matter, but I told them I can't guarantee any leaks to the press." the Officer Jenny fill in explained.

"You have our word we will do anything we can to help." Prof. Sycamore agreed.

"I do have one clue, if it would help..." the Iris fill in offered. "The rogues have always demanded gold, and nothing else, based on what one of my negotiators said..."

"Anything else?" Prof. Sycamore asked.

"The pirate king--though I use the term king very loosely--claimed to have killed many--men, women, children, and Pokemon alike. I shudder just thinking about it." the Iris fill in went on. "They appear to be very well organized, and insisted on using this one negotiator of mine, on pain of all Unovan ships in the area being burned and pillaged if I sent anyone else."

She then gave Prof. Sycamore a prop coin. "Eventually he earned their trust enough to receive this."

"Hm..." Professor Sycamore studied the coin.

"So many twists and turns..." Shauna's head was spinning as the actors debated the coin's origins and connections to the pirates.

"That's par for the course in any Falco Dolan story..." I assured her as the first scene ended....
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  #15    
Old December 7th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Episode 12: Give My Regards to Lumiose (part 2)


The lights came up on Joanna again over a slower version of the Falco Dolan theme music. "Falco's been many things to me--teacher, mentor, companion, and most importantly, a friend." she explained. "But sometimes, his theories come way out of left field--like the idea that the pirates weren't really as tough as they appeared, and it was all an act. My first thought was he'd gone nuts, but he assured me there was a method to his madness as we arrived in the Book Nook's cafe to meet Officer Jenny that afternoon..."

She let that hang as the lights went down for a moment, then came up again on Professor Sycamore sipping a cup of coffee, Joanna doing research on a laptop, and the Officer Jenny fill in studying her case notes.

"Everyone's here...good." the Officer Jenny fill in smiled. "When I questioned the coin's last known owner, he told me he was reluctant to part with it. When I told him the buyer had connections to pirates, he assured me he was no criminal. I assured him I was not accusing him, only wanted to question him. He cooperated fully after that."

"What did you learn from your investigation, Officer?" Joanna asked her.

"No more than what we already know..." the Officer Jenny fill in sighed. "What i don't get is how it could be part of a Champion's ransom one moment, and then turn up here in Celadon the next..."

"Then let us put our heads together and retrace the steps of this vexing case." Prof. Sycamore suggested.

"Okay, so the one that bought the coin claimed to be a student..." Callum did his best to glean clues from the dialogue onstage. "Did his best to maintain a humble appearance, but still had hints he was better off than he appeared..."

"He apparently didn't know how rare such a coin was..." Trevor mused.

"and it didn't strike Officer Jenny as weird that a student had something that valuable..." I mused.

So how did a student get such a rare treasure? Even Zelda was intrigued by the events she was telepathically broadcasting onstage.

"That's what we need to figure out." Callum assured her as the lights came up on the living room of Dolan Manor again, apparently later that evening. I grinned as Prof. Sycamore toyed with a familiar harmonica, periodically blowing a few soft chords to see if it was in tune as Joanna arrived.

"Officer Jenny's going to be questioning every private high school student in Celadon at this rate..." Joanna mused. "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack..."

"I wouldn't be so quick to judge, Joanna..." Prof. Sycamore cautioned. "Somewhere within those opulent halls is our person of interest."

"But what if he's not a student as he claims?" Joanna mused.

"That's another possibility too..." Prof. Sycamore sighed, toying with the harmonica. "Makes me want to play the blues..."

With that, he started a bluesy rendition of a song I recognized. "That's 'My Dawn of Love'!"

Some applause went up when Prof. Sycamore finished his rendition of the beautiful air. "That song..." Joanna mused as she arrived with a guitar. "I've been hearing you practice it a lot, but I can never figure out what it is!"

"If you've seen 'The Song Mage Chronicles' it should sound familiar--maybe I should play it again to help your memory along?" Prof. Sycamore offered, readying the harmonica to play again.

"Actually, let me see if I can try it on my own instrument...." Joanna offered as she tuned the guitar.

Tierno was stunned at this. "I didn't know Joanna played anything!!!!"

"Apparently you haven't read enough or seen enough Falco..." I grinned. "In many of the stories, as well as the movies and the TV series, she'll play guitar to Falco's harmonica, saying the jam sessions clear their heads when they're stumped on a case." I explained. "Sometimes they'll unearth a clue this way."

"Many of my favorite ones have a musical clue unearthed by a jam session." Callum added as he listened to Joanna play the song onstage.

"Yeah...This song is 'My Dawn of Love'!" Joanna confirmed my guess minutes later. "But what would a cartoon have to do with our case?"

"Our person of interest was discovered to have a near obsessed interest in the exploits of Arran Seluna and his friends--what is that word you use to describe such a person?" Prof. Sycamore asked, snapping a few times to help him remember.

"Otaku?" Joanna guessed.

"Yes! That's the word I was looking for!" Prof. Sycamore grinned. "Our otaku likely wanted the coin due to its resemblance to a coin Arran found in the episode 'All That Glitters'.

"But that coin turned out to be fake." Joanna interjects.

"In our case, the opposite has happened--Our otaku buys the coin, not knowing it is something far more valuable than a prop." Prof. Sycamore continued.

"Now we're getting somewhere!" Joanna cried, adding a triumphant strum for effect. "It's entirely possible our suspect is part of the pirates' eyes and ears...."

"Exactly..." Prof.Sycamore smiled as a Fletchling puppet landed on one of the set's windows. "I'm sending word out to the Young Fletchinders in the area to keep an eye out for a boy of high school or college age matching our suspect's description--they may have better luck than Officer Jenny is having at the moment." With that, he gave a piece of paper to the puppet.

"The Young Fletchinders are a group of kids that serve as Falco's informants." Callum explained to Tierno as the puppet fluttered away.

"I'm so excited! We may be getting a break in the case!" Joanna giddily cried as she retrieved the guitar again. "Let's jam to celebrate!"

"I'll be more than happy to join you." Professor Sycamore smiled as he fished the harmonica from a pocket in his costume.

Shauna's eyes widened as Prof. Sycamore led the charge into a driving melody in A major. "Whoa...he's GOOD!!!"

"What a hot groove!" Tierno agreed as he tried his hardest not to jump up from his seat and dance right there in the theater.

Yet as we watched Prof. Sycamore and the actress playing Joanna jam onstage, complete with some long and almost jazz-like solos, little did we know Act 1 would conclude with a foreboding twist of fate...
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  #16    
Old December 19th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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Interlude: A Meeting with a Clue


After a wonderful play (it turned out that one of Champion Dawn's attendants caused the whole pirate mess to get attention and money. I won't spoil how Falco arrived at that conclusion, but there were so many memorable moments in that play, I would be here forever listing them all.)

So we departed Lumiose the next morning, with the Pokemon STILL trying to mimic Prof. Sycamore playing the harmonica (he got to play again in the finale). But I'm pretty sure my Pokemon have the attention span of a Vanonat--no sooner did they pass a TV playing teen heartthrob Milo Blue (so named because he wears at least one blue item of clothing every time he performs) and some of the Puppamon singing "All I Need Is Love", they were mimicking the main trio (Leon the Meowth, Lani the Taillow, and Juno the Pichu) dancing with Milo.

Lita's dance was the best--considering her inspiration was a Pichu puppet, she did great. Did you know Brock sometimes performs Leon in public appearances, with the blessing of his original performer, Keith James? Zelda telepathically asked us as we made our way down Route 5.

"Really?" I gasped.

[Did he do Leon in the music video?] Rouge asked.

Yes, and he nails the voice so well, it's very hard to tell Keith and Brock apart. Zelda smiled.

[So how can ye tell if it's Keith doin' Leon and when it's Brock doin' Leon?] Erin asked.

[You don't--it's that hard to tell the voices apart.] Kaitou replied.

Not quite... Zelda cautioned. The only way you can tell who's performing him is to watch the puppet's mouth movements--Keith's are wide and exaggerated, as befits Leon's colorful personality as Meowth about town. Brock's are a little more realistic, so it looks like Leon's actually speaking like a person.

Then something dawned on me. "I loved the song and the video so much I saved it to my Holocaster, so I can pull it up..."

After loading the video and pressing PLAY, the scene opened on a festively decorated house's window, which Leon was peeking through. After realizing the camera was there, the little puppet Meowth addressed the audience. "Oh! Glad ta see ya could come to da party...rumor is Milo Blue is gonna be here..."

The Pokemon exploded in laughter as Juno peeked in the screen and did the cutest little fangirl scream. "...so I'm playin' lookout just in case da rumors are true."

[That's Brock, all right...] Lita noted as she observed the puppet Meowth's mouth and saw it moving realistically.

[Aw, new Puppamon fans...] a voice noted.

I whirled around to notice two Lucarios observing our impromptu dance party. "Who are you?"

[Peace--we mean you no harm.] one Lucario assured me.

[We just felt happiness and love in your aura, and came to join you.] the other Lucario added.

[Sing it, Leon!] The first Lucario was dancing along with my team.

Some laughter got my attention as the Lucarios' owner, a blonde haired girl, skated up to them. "There you are! I've been looking all over for you..."

[We just found this girl dancing to "All I Need is Love", Korrina, and her aura just was bursting with happiness and love.] one Lucario explained.

"That song by Milo Blue and the Puppamon, huh?" the girl smiled. "That song's taking the world by storm..."

[I sense strength in this girl's aura too....] the other Lucario added. [Who knows? She may be a great opponent for us.]

[I heard a Kanto Gym Leader and Champion Dawn performed Leon and Lani for the video...] the first Lucario said.

[Really? I didn't know Champion Dawn was a puppeteer too.] the other Lucario gasped.

Korrina just smiled as her two Lucarios continued chattering. "I'll leave you to your little dance party...I look forward to the day we battle."

"Me too!" I giggled as I waved goodbye...
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  #17    
Old January 9th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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Episode 13: A Song of Fire


After saying goodbye to Korrina and her Lucarios, I put away the Holocaster and led the way down Route 5. The weather was much better than the day before, and no one was enjoying it better than Rouge. [I've got sun shai-ee-ine, on a cloudy day... she sang, making me smile.

She would've sang more had she not seen Trevor and Tierno huffing and puffing with exhaustion by the side of the road. [Uh oh! Your friends are in trouble!]

"What happened?" I asked as I waited for them to catch their breaths.

"See, Trevor n' me were in the nearby forest, and Trevor found a honey tree. We figured the Combees weren't home, and eagerly helped ourselves." Tierno explained.

"It turns out, they were home--we ran into a whole horde and ran for our lives!" Trevor wheezed. "It was a miracle we weren't stung--I'm allergic to Combee stings."

"A horde of Combees, huh?" I mused.

"Yeah-the scary part is, not just Combees come in hordes, so be on your guard in forests and mountains." Tierno cautioned before changing the subject. "Our expedition into the forest wasn't a total bust, though--we did salvage some honey, and I got a new Pokemon I wanna pit against one of yours."

"Let me see the Pokemon first." I assured Tierno.

He complied and heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Come on out, Ruffian!"

A Corphish materialized before me, making Lita spark with excitement as I looked at the charming shrimp-like Pokemon's info:

"Corphish, the ruffian Pokemon. They were originally foreign Pokemon that were imported as pets, but they eventually turned up in the wild. This Pokemon is very hardy and has greatly increased its population."

"Very hardy, huh? Let's see how they hold up to Lita's shocking personality." I smirked.

"You're on!" Tierno replied. "If you win, we'll share some of the honey we found with you."

"Okay!" I smiled. "Give'em a good shock, Lita!"

[You got it!] Lita fired a Thundershock at the Corphish, but was surprised to see the Corphish conjure a teal aura, making her attack fizzle out.

"I'm not going down that easy!" Tierno taunted before the Corphish smacked Lita with a Night Slash. She didn't see the ominous purple claws, got smacked in the face, and flew back several inches to land by my feet.

"Are you okay?" I asked as she eased herself to her feet.

[Yeah--that may have packed a wallop, but I'm not losing to a type I'm naturally strong against...] Lita assured me.

I looked over at Rouge, who was watching our battle from a tree. "Hey, Rouge...sing Lita a little fight song, will ya?"

[Any requests?] Rouge asked.

"Any song you want, so long as it inspires Lita." I replied.

"Aw, da wittle birdie's gonna sing..." Tierno smirked. "But can it compare to Ruffian's moves?" At this, the Corphish started to dance in a circle of glowing swords.

[No time to question your moves! We stick to the path that we choose!] Rouge sang, which made Lita spark even more. [Me and my friends are gonna do it right!
You're never see us run away from a fight!

To be a Master is our dream,
All you gotta do is believe!
]

[I believe!] Lita sang back in reply.

[We've got a chance to win!] Rouge continued as Lita sped into the circle of swords and rammed the Corphish.
[We're on our way to victory!]

She looked to me. [You can be the champion if you just believe!
We're on a master quest,
We want the whole world to see
We're gonna be the very best!
]

Cause all I've gotta do is believe in me! I joined in as Lita fired a Thundershock at the dazed Corphish, knocking it out.

"Wow!" Trevor was impressed. "It's just like when the theme song plays in the middle of the pivotal battle on TV!"

Even Tierno was impressed. "Whoa...I thought your Pikachu was gonna be an easy win!" he gasped.

"Don't judge a book by its cover." I cautioned as I patted Lita on the head.

[I'm so glad you won!] Rouge was giddy over Lita's victory. [I'm so happy, i could burst!]

She didn't exactly burst, but she did glow white--and become a slightly larger red-headed bird with black and gold wings.

"Sweet--your Fletchling evolved!" Tierno smiled.

"Maybe encouraging your Pikachu pumped her up enough to evolve." Trevor suggested before offering me a huge jar of honey. "Here's the honey like we promised."

After setting the honey jar aside, I fumbled for my Pokedex to read up on what Rouge had become:

"Fletchinder, the ember Pokemon. The hotter the flame sac on its belly, the faster it can fly, but it takes some time to get the fire going."

"Interesting..." Tierno mused as he and Trevor turned to leave."Camphrier Town is just up ahead--we're gonna get a look at the old castle there."

"Maybe it could hold a clue to Mega Evolution..." I mused.

We made it to the Pokemon Center without further incident, then followed a stone path leading up to the castle's elegant iron gate. [Welcome to Castle Shabboneau...]

I located the guest entrance and swiped my trainer card, making the gates swing open with a creak. A tour group had already departed down the right hall in the lobby, but Shauna was there, asking one of the guides a question.

"You sure the castle nor Parfum Palace holds nothing about Mega Evolution?" Shauna asked as I approached.

The guide shook his head. "I'm afraid not, miss. You can still look, but I doubt you would find anything--I wish you luck on finding the knowledge you seek."

Just then, Shauna noticed I had arrived. "I was so excited to maybe find a clue about Mega Evolution here...but it turns out we came all this way for nothing." she sighed as we trudged back outside.

Suddenly, a groundskeeper burst into the room. "Have you seen Liam anywhere?"

"No, why?" the guide asked, confused.

"Oh, if he hadn't lost his Pokeflute back at the palace...we have a situation on Route 7." the groundskeeper explained.

I winced at the mention of a Pokeflute--ever since we had to play them in the third grade, I had sworn never to pick them up again.

Shauna noticed my pained wince as we returned back in town. "If it's any consolation, I didn't like playing the Pokeflute in the third grade either."

I heaved a sigh of relief as we entered the Pokemon Center. "It was just twenty nine kids squeaking and squawking through 'Mary Had a Little Mareep' and 'Jingle Bells' over and over and over...I was SO glad when that year was over."

"Oh, but you forget that a Pokeflute can be an amazing instrument in the right hands." Nurse Joy interjected as she made sure a wounded Pidgey was comfortable. "That superstar trainer from Kanto, Ash Ketchum, is just as famous for his skill on the Pokeflute--and its smaller cousin, the tin whistle--as he is for his skill in battle."

"Really?" Shauna asked as Nurse Joy led us to a vacant computer in the tech area, brought up MyTube, and typed "ash ketchum pokeflute solo" in the search bar. "Here we go...this is an original song of his called 'Night Thunder'--or 'Lullaby for Pikachu' This video is when he played it at the Kanto Faire of Fantasy a few years ago." she explained as she clicked it.

"That explains the Final Fantasy red mage costume..." I mused as the image of Ash, as a red mage, started a peaceful, soothing melody on a Pokeflute.

Lita was mesmerized at the long recorder-like instrument's haunting melody. [That is so beautiful...]

Shauna was equally mesmerized. "Wow...this is way better than third grade music class..."

"I know..." I grinned. If Liam--whoever he was--was anywhere as good as Ash, then maybe I would consider playing the Pokeflute again!
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  #18    
Old January 16th, 2014, 03:24 PM
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Episode 14: Panic in the Palace


Shauna and I winced when we saw the Snorlax, in all its dark teal and cream glory, sprawled across Route 7's bridge. "Now I'm really wondering where we can find a Pokeflute..."

A brown haired boy replied "If I knew where in Parfum Palace my Pokeflute was, I'd play something to get this lardball off the bridge."

"No Pokeflute means lardball's going to stay there, Liam--unless you want to find a recording of a Pokeflute." another groundskeeper suggested.

I hurried over to Liam's side. "My friend and I are traveling to the palace--we can try to find your Pokeflute while we're there."

This brightened Liam's mood. "Great! I've played that Pokeflute all over the world--it was custom made for me by a well respected instrument maker--the name Mana Kazeyou ring any bells?"

"Yeah--they say her instruments last a lifetime!" Shauna reported. "She's best known for her flutes and flute-like instruments, but also makes fiddles, mandolins, and guitars, too. You can tell she made it by looking for an eight point star and her signature somewhere on the instrument."

"One of the best Pokeflutes I've ever played, and now its gone..." Liam sighed.

"Could you describe your instrument so we know what to look for?" Shauna asked.

"It's a polymer Pokeflute that looks like dark wood, complete with a grain, and an ivy inlay in gold." Liam explained. "Mana's marking and signature are on the bell end of a flute."

"Okay, so plastic Pokeflute that resembles wood, gold ivy inlay, maker's marking and signature near the bottom." Shauna recapped Liam's description to make sure she understood. When Liam confirmed her description, we started down the path to Route 6.

I checked my Pokedex to learn more about the massive Pokemon that had taken up residence on the bridge:

"Snorlax, the sleeping Pokemon. Its typical day consists of nothing more than eating and sleeping. It is such a docile Pokemon that there are children who use its expansive belly as a place to play."

Shauna wasn't interested in the Pokedex information--she was more interested in the palm trees lining the path leading to the majestic red palace with loads of silver, gold, and zillions of jewels glittering in the sun. "I see it! It looks every bit like a fairy tale!"

"Come with your wallet, you have to pay a thousand credits to get in." a boy commented as we walked by.

[A tausand credits?] Erin gasped. [Tat's highwey robbery!]

It may be, but attraction proprietors have the right to charge whatever they deem appropriate for admission. Zelda reminded her.

[And Callum's book says visit every attraction on the way, no matter how lame and expensive it is.] Lita reminded me.

Shauna sighed--she didn't want to pay a thousand credits any more than Erin wanted me to. "Okay--I don't like it, but we have a reason to pay the outrageous price..." she assured Erin.

"Besides, you get as much time to walk around, daytime fireworks, live bands, and food for a thousand credits." a girl agreed as we walked by.

[You can shoot fireworks when the sun's out?] Kitsune was impressed.

"Typically you only see daytime fireworks at theme parks and places like this." I explained as we approached the palace's majestic silver gate.

The guard grinned as he swiped our trainer cards and gave us guest passes and event schedules. "Take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints." he cautioned as we made our way inside.

"Let's see..." I mused as I put away my trainer card and turned my attention to the event schedule. "Daytime fireworks at 11, 2, and 4 PM...live music daily...."

[I thought you could only shoot fireworks when it was dark....] Kaitou mused.

Just before I could tell Kaitou about daytime fireworks, an attendant frantically scouring the gardens got Kitsune's attention. [How can we help, sir?]

The attendant sighed. "I can't find my Furfrou anywhere...I took her out in the gardens to play this morning, as is our custom, then I went to clean Sir Liam's room, and when I returned, she was gone."

"Well, Liam's in a tizzy looking for his Pokeflute." Shauna explained. "We said we'd find it for him..."

The attendant smiled. "He merely left it in his room..." Then an idea came to him. "If you can find my Furfrou and bring her back to me safe, I will entrust you with Sir Liam's Pokeflute and treat you to a private daytime fireworks display."

"Does she have a name?" I asked.

"Her name is Colette." the attendant explained. "She may be a bit skittish around people she doesn't know, but if she does run away from you, some Sitrus Berries should coax her out."

"Thanks for the info." Shauna replied as we received a small bag of Berries.

I pulled out my Pokedex to read up on our mark:

Furfrou, the poodle Pokemon. Historically, in the Kalos region, these Pokemon were the designated guardians of the king.

Sure enough, an information plate by a fountain of a trio of Goldeens confirmed the Pokedex's info. This beautiful palace was built just after a war with the neighboring regions 300 years ago, as a sign of the ruling monarch's power and authority. Today, it is an historic site dedicated to the arts and the heroes of that era.

[Wow...] Erin gasped at a Pyroar topiary by the fountain.

[Beautiful!] Kitsune gasped at a marble statue of Reshiram by a Solrock topiary.

Just then a flash of white got my attention. "There's Colette!"

The Furfrou must've freaked out over my yell, and darted off down the garden path. "Hey, we just want to take you back to your master!" Shauna assured it, but the Furfrou was gone.

I sighed. Chasing a Furfrou was not how I wanted to spend the day, but if it meant getting Liam's Pokeflute back, Shauna and I would do whatever it took. A private daytime fireworks display was just gravy.
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  #19    
Old January 23rd, 2014, 03:13 PM
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Episode 15: Furfrou Follies

For a moment, Shauna and I stood there in the garden for a moment as the entire garden went on lockdown to prevent Colette escaping. "Which way did Colette go?" Shauna mused. "And how do we go about corralling a runaway Furfrou?"

[We culd try hangin' a rope, which would keep her from runnin', cause it wuld be araund her paws!] Erin suggested.

Kitsune sighed. [Just how many cartoons do you watch a day?]

[Besides, the Mightyena's tried that to catch the Doduo, and we all know how that turned out.] Kaitou agreed.

I stifled a giggle once I remembered the cartoon Kaitou meant. "Okay, so what are some other things we could try?"

[A gag photo booth with a cannon!] Lita suggested.

I sweatdropped at this. "I mean some other SAFE things we could try..."

"Yeah--we don't wanna blow Colette to smithereens." Shauna agreed before getting out a sheet of paper to jot down some ideas.

[Springy shoes!] Chester suggested, [You just jump and grab the Furfrou....]

Shauna didn't seem convinced by that idea. "One, would lugging Colette around make it harder to jump, and two, who am I to guess there's a cliff around here I may inadvertently jump off of, and hurt both Colette and me?"

[No ouchies is key, here.] Kaitou reminded Chester.

"Find out her route and put glue in her path?" I offered.

"Yeah, but then we'd have to clean her up after we unstuck her." Shauna interjected.

[The piano gag?] Rouge suggested.

We all burst out laughing at what would probably happen: Colette trying to play "Believe Me All Those Endearing Young Charms" (assuming she was one of those trained piano playing Furfrous), missing the one note that triggered the net multiple times, and then when we stepped in to show her how to play it right, we got caught in our own net. "Sorry Rouge, but we ALL know what would happen if we tried that, even minus the dynamite." I giggled.

Rouge just puffed up her feathers at this. [See if I ever suggest anything to you again...]

---------

After tracking down Colette happily munching on stray berries in the path (and I got Rouge back in a good mood again), I carefully tiptoed up behind her and reached out my arm to wrap gently around her and lead her back to the bush where Shauna and the Pokemon waited.

But I swear Colette had superhuman senses--she darted away as soon as she saw my hand, making me trip and fall backwards as she ran into another part of the garden.

[Ye okey?] Erin asked me.

Zelda telepathically studied me. She has no serious injury, just a few minor scrapes and bruises that do not appear serious.

"That's a relief..." Shauna grinned as I eased myself to my feet.

"It will be a relief for me when we catch this dumb Furfrou..." I grumbled as we made our way into another part of the garden, making sure to follow Colette's route.

---------

"You sure this is going to work?" I asked Shauna as I put on my arm guards and picked up a bow made of yew wood (the best wood for a bow), painted to look like an exotic dark wood. Granted, I had some archery experience before, but this was probably the weirdest target I'd ever had to shoot.

"Course--just shoot the arrow at the rock, which will make a trip wire--Colette will trip over that, and we have a Furfrou safe and sound." Shauna explained as she tied a rope to my arrow(which Rouge had donated some of her feathers for the fletching)

Whatever you say, Shauna... I thought as I nocked the arrow and prepared my shot.

To Lita's defense, she didn't know that archery requires patience and concentration. But as soon as she spotted Colette frantically running to our position, she squeaked [There she is!].

Naturally, her yelp startled me, I fired too early, making the trip wire AFTER Colette had passed us, and it only ended up making Shauna trip instead (thankfully, she was okay.)

"Next time, signal me quietly when you see what I'm supposed to shoot." I grumbled at Lita as I went to untangle Shauna from the wire.

---------

"Drop a rock on Colette?" Shauna asked.--we were brainstorming our next move for catching Colette safely.

[We don't wanna hurt her, silly!] Chester hissed.

[Dress up as a male Furfrou?] Rouge suggested.

"Not sure where we'd get a costume..." I sighed before thinking some more. "Unleash the fury of a Beedrill swarm?"

"That would be bad for Colette and us." Shauna cautioned.

[Fire a catapult!] Erin suggested.

The Pokemon all started talking at once. [Catch her in a tornado!]

[Block off the garden paths!]

[Fly like a Talonflame!]

[Get a crene and trap her in a box!]

Zelda sighed at the uproar. In Arceus' name, what are we doing?

"How should I know?" I groaned--this was going to be a long day....
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  #20    
Old February 13th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Episode 16: Furfrous and Fireworks


We finally chased Colette into a ring of hedges, where the only Furfrou sized opening was the way she came in. "Now's our chance..." I whispered.

"But we don't want to startle her...." Shauna protested.

"We're not going to startle her--we're going to convince her that one of us is a friend." I explained. "That way, we can take her back to her master, no problem."

Shauna rolled her eyes. "You make it sound so easy, Serena..."

About then, Colette spotted Shauna and tensely approached her. "Hi, Colette..." Shauna cooed. "Your master's worried sick about you...and I know where he is. Want me to take you to him?"

Colette seemed to like that idea, but just before Shauna could lead the way back onto the main path, the whine of the gardener's weedwhackers startled her, causing her to run back outside and through a pond.

"Follow that Furfrou!" Shauna announced before taking off after the panicked Furfrou.

"Right behind y--!" Just then, I realized the pond Colette had so nimbly jumped over was a lot deeper than it appeared, so no sooner had I stepped in the water, did I go tumbling inside with a splash.

The Pokemon doubled over laughing at all the Corphishes crawling all over my wet clothes. [Ye should've seen te luk on yer fece!] Erin giggled.

[How's the water, champ?] Kaitou joked as I carefully picked off the Corphishes and set them back in the water.

"Very cold..." I shivered. "I'm just thankful I didn't land on the ground, or have a Crawdaunt hissing at me...."

Be careful what you wish for... Zelda cautioned as I heard a familiar hiss behind me.

I looked around and gasped at the Corphishes I'd picked off fearfully huddled around an angry female Crawdaunt. "Oh, great..."I sighed as I retrieved my (thankfully dry) Pokedex:

"Crawdaunt, the rogue Pokemon. It is a ruffian that uses its pincers to pick up and toss out other Pokémon from its pond."

I started to back away as the Crawdaunt approached me. "Back! Get back! I'm no Pokemon, I'm just a girl! It was an accident, I didn't mean to fall in your pond, honest! I wasn't trying to harm your babies! Just give me a chance to get out of here and I'll be on my w-AUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Kitsune saw the Crawdaunt pick me up (despite my frantic protests), and heave me several feet into the air and over the hedges. [Heads up!] she called as I landed in the entry pathway with a thud.

[The Pokedex wasn't kidding when it said it would toss out intruders from its pond...] Lita mused, trying oh-so-hard trying not to laugh over my dripping wet, scuffed, and scratched clothes.

"Tell me about it..." I sighed as I brushed the dirt off of me.

About then, Colette discovered me in the entry path and hurried off in the other direction....right into Shauna's arms! "There you are! Let's get you home, okay?"

"Yes, let's." I groaned as Shauna led the way with Colette happily trotting beside her.

Shauna looked back behind me with a quizzical look. "What happened to you?"

"Oh, Colette was startled by the weedwhackers and sent me flying into a pond--where a Crawdaunt just so happened to live." I explained. "The Pokedex isn't kidding when it says a Crawdaunt will throw intruders out of its pond..."

Colette's master was ecstatic when he saw us returning. "Oh, Colette! Thank Arceus you're all right!" he cried as Colette ran into his arms with a happy yip.

"Aw..." Shauna smiled at the happy scene.

"For all the trouble we went through to find her, that right there made it all worth the frustration and pain." I agreed.

After I had a chance to rest, have my clothes washed, and both of us have a quick lunch, we were escorted to the VIP balcony that overlooked the entire grounds. Attention please--daytime fireworks will begin in 10 minutes. the speakers announced.

"Oh wow!" Shauna gasped. "I've never seen fireworks during the day before!"

"For some reason, fireworks have always reminded me of you--always full of energy, happiness and a never say die attitude." I smiled. "That's why I'm glad to call you my friend."

"Hm..." Shauna thought for a moment at what I had said. "I guess you could put it that way..." she mused. But fireworks remind me of you for another reason--you may look like any average girl, but inside, you have a fiery courage and bravery I wish i had--and when one of your friends or your Pokemon is in danger, that courage is on full display in a colorful burst!"

[She's right, ye know.] Erin grinned.

I sheepishly smiled, a little embarrassed by Shauna's compliment. "You know, we've been together ever since we were very little...and I wouldn't trade any of the memories we've shared for the world."

"The time we camped out in Callum's yard..." Shauna smiled over a memory.

"It rained the whole weekend and made the ground sopping wet....poor Tierno had to change clothes twice." I added.

"Needless to say, Callum always checked the weather forecast carefully after that." Shauna smiled. "And who could forget the time we were all snowbound at my house last winter?"

"Trevor's parents were constantly calling Mom for hours just to be sure he was okay...and Mom would graciously tell them that yes, Trevor was just fine, had plenty to eat and drink, and had not caught hypothermia or some other disease." I agreed. "He was a bit homesick after Day 8, but he came through like a warrior."

"Don't get me wrong, Trevor's parents are very sweet, but a liiiittle overprotective." Shauna noted. "It took the professor stepping in to get them to agree for him to go on this adventure."

"Considering Trevor was sick a lot growing up, it's only natural they worry about him." I smiled. "Tierno's family...well..."

"If you looked 'energetic' up in the dictionary, you'd find a picture of them." Shauna grinned. "Tierno gets his love for dancing from his dad, who is a professional tap and jazz dancer, so he tours around the world."

"He's not a pushy stage dad?" I asked.

"Nope, Tierno says that he grew to love dancing by his own choice, and wants to be as good as his dad one day." Shauna smiled.

"Speaking of showbiz, I'll never forget Callum playing the prince in our third grade classes' production of 'Sleeping Beauty'." I smiled.

"What was your role in that, again?" Shauna asked. "I helped on the set crew..."

"I was one of the seven fairies--Ruby, the red fire fairy." I replied. "Still have that costume somewhere in the attic..."

We both sighed in nostalgia as the first round of daytime fireworks flew skyward. "No matter what happens, Serena...we're friends to the end,right?" Shauna asked.

I linked my pinky with hers. "Friends to the end."
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  #21    
Old February 20th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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Episode 17: Clearing a Path


"Thank you so much for the fireworks!" Shauna grinned as we departed the palace with Liam's Pokeflute later that afternoon.

"And thank you both--for finding Colette safe." the butler smiled.

Then, something occurred to him. "In fact, allow me the opportunity to show you that a Pokeflute can be a serious instrument..." With that, he handed both Shauna and me Pokeflute cases.

"Thanks." I smiled. Even though I had once sworn off playing the Pokeflute after that torturous third grade music class, the slender black case in my hands and the memory of Ash playing made me wonder: Was there more to the instrument than the endless renditions of "Mary Had a Little Mareep" and "Hot Cross Buns" all those years ago?

Chester seemed excited by the cases we carried. [I'd like to hear one of you play those Pokeflutes...]

"...and I need to rest from walking...." Shauna wheezed as she sat down in the grass and cuddled Chester.

"Very well--if you're feeling tired, we can rest for a moment." the butler assured us. "But let's not tarry any longer than we need to."

I nodded, carefully opened the Pokeflute case, and studied the instrument inside. It didn't look any different from millions of other deep brown or black plastic Pokeflutes, or the occasional lighter browns wooden instruments sometimes came in.

After looking the instrument over and finding no scratches or cracks, I decided to try playing it. After a few initial weak and flat notes, I started playing an airy and squeaky improvisation trying to remember all the fingerings.

Then I saw a fingering chart in the case, so using that as my guide, I managed to eke out a very mistake-filled rendition of "Jelan's Prayer" from "The Song Mage Chronicles". [Nut bad fer nut pleying in a long time!] Erin smiled as she applauded.

"It'll get better with practice, don't worry!" Shauna agreed.

[Even though it was filled with a lot of airy and wrong notes, you still gave it your all--that's what made it beautiful to me] Rouge smiled.

I was about to acknowledge my applause when a white light got my attention. "What the..." I gasped as Kaitou started to transform into a slightly larger turtle with wing-like ears and a long, furry tail.

"Perhaps your attempt at a song made your Squirtle happy enough to evolve." the butler grinned.

I set my Pokeflute aside and retrieved my Pokedex to read up on what Kaitou had become:

Wartortle, the turtle Pokemon. Its furry tail is popular as a symbol of longevity.

Tears of happiness formed in my eyes. "You really liked that enough to evolve?"

[Of course--I know it'll sound as beautiful as it once did with some practice.] Kaitou echoed Rouge's sentiments as I put my new Pokeflute away.

"Speaking of music, what can you tell us about the songs said to trigger Mega Evolution?" Shauna asked as we started down the road again.

"Not much, I'm afraid..." the butler sighed. "The Mega form lies dormant in the Pokemon said to be able to do this, and only awakens when the trainer's Heart Song is sung. But what these are and the rings used to trigger Mega Evolution have been long since lost." Shauna nodded to show she understood.

The look of pure joy on Liam's face when he saw us arriving with his instrument made Shauna forget about Mega Evolution for a while. "You found it! Thank Arceus it wasn't lost or stolen!"

"It was merely in your room the whole time." the butler assured him as he handed the case to Liam. I wanted to tell Liam about chasing down flighty Furfrou, but decided that would spoil the happiness in the air.

"Say...you have your guitar, right?" Shauna grinned. "Maybe you could back Liam up on whatever tune he plays!"

Liam grinned when he saw me retrieve my guitar and start to tune up. "Any suggestions for what kind of tune will wake up lardball here?" he asked. The Snorlax, meanwhile, just gave a blissful purr as it slept.

"Anything fast, and upbeat." I suggested as I played around with a harmonic progression in A minor.

My little riff seemed to inspire Liam--he started the tune "The Swellow's Tail" over my rhythm, and Shauna helped clapping some rocks together for percussion. Someone joined in on fiddle, and more drums, until a ragtag band was all playing the tune at the bridge.

The Snorlax lifted its head upon hearing the noise, and started to slowly lumber off into the brush as the tune continued. Just as quickly as they had joined in, the other instruments dropped out,until it was just me, Liam, and Shauna finishing the tune.

"Bravo, Liam!" the butler smiled as he applauded. "Wonderful, as always!"

"It was great to play this again..." Liam smiled before addressing us. "Thank you both for playing with me--it's not often I get to have an impromptu session on the road...usually I play for parties and sessions indoors."

"We'll come jam with you again anytime you want!" Shauna grinned.

"Yes...that song and a gift of Pokeflutes for both of us made me want to start playing again." I grinned.

Liam smiled. "Cherish your instruments, both of you, and practice as often as you can for me, okay?"

"We will!" I called as we departed across the bridge.

Erin was singing "The Swellow's Tail" all the way down the road, which got Callum's attention. "Well! I see Erin's in a good mood today..."

[Ye missed a fine session at te bridge!] Erin smiled. [Got even te Snorlaxes dancin']

"I'm sure it sounded wonderful..." Callum smiled before turning business-like again. "But the reason I came was to invite you two over to see the daycare that's not far from here. When I left, Trevor and Tierno were having the time of their lives playing with the babies."

"Baby Pokemon!!!!" Shauna gasped, starry eyed at the prospect of seeing Pichus, Azurills, Happinis, and other baby Pokemon up close.

"We'd love to come see the babies." I told Callum.

"Come on then." Callum motioned for us to follow him down the road...
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  #22    
Old February 27th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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Daycare Interlude: Little Pokemon, Big Dreamers


Callum led the way inside the festively decorated common room. "Keep it down--the younger babies are napping right now." he whispered as we quietly walked past some Pichus sleeping in a heap.

"Aw..." Trevor smiled as he admired the sleeping Azurill in his arms. "Look at them--they look so cute all relaxed like this."

"Hello, and welcome!" a breeder grinned as she carried a dozing Cleffa to the nap room. "Feel free to look around while the younger babies nap. If you have any questions, let me or one of the other breeders know."

"Okay." Shauna smiled before peeking into one of the playrooms, where some of the older babies were playing quietly, under the watchful eyes of older Pokemon. A Tyrogue was explaining the rules of a game to a crowd of Togepis, Cleffas, and Pichus before a male breeder let them all outside to play.

"They're cute, aren't they?" Tierno wheezed as he helped a Riolu put away some scarves. "My little crew and I have been dancing all morning."

"They all are." Shauna agreed before we found another playroom filled with baby Pokemon playing quietly.

A thought occurred to her when she noticed my guitar case. "Say...you could play your guitar and sing with them!"

"Or tell'em one of your campfire stories!" Tierno suggested.

I found a chair overlooking the rug in the center, where some babies were drawing or looking at picture books. "Who wants to hear some stories and songs?"

Forget drawing and picture books--I soon had a crowd of baby Pokemon sitting at my feet as I carefully and quickly tuned up. "Any ideas as to what we should sing?" Callum asked.

I just strummed an expectant D chord The more we get together, together, together, oh the more we get together, the happier we'll be...

The more we get together, together, together, oh the more we get together, the happier we'll be... Callum and Shauna joined in. For your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends. The more we get together, the happier we'll be...

Then Callum started singing I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track
And as I go I love to sing, my knapsack on my back....


Valderi, valdera, valderi, valder-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Shauna and I eagerly joined in.
Valderi, valdera, my knapsack on my back...

"The Happy Wanderer" went over very well--the babies especially liked the "Valderi, valdera" parts. So did my version of "The Ninetales"--most versions of the song end after Old Lady Tachibana screams to John that the Pidgey's gone (the babies really got a kick out of me screaming as Old Lady Tachibana), but I add some verses that presume Ninetales makes it home with her prey. Then Callum led "Sloop John B", and Shauna practically begged for me to play "I've Been Working on the Railroad" (Callum helped by doing some train noises on a harmonica, which the babies loved), and "Clementine" (they eagerly sang along with that one)

When I ended "Yellow Submarine" hours later, I decided it was time for a story. "Once upon a time, there was a king who had seven sons, and he loved them so much that he couldn't bear to be without them, even for a few minutes."

[Aw...] an Azurill sighed dreamily.

Now, when they grew up, six of them were to find princesses of their own, but as for the youngest--we'll call him Jake--his father kept him at home." I went on. "So the king gave the elder six the finest clothes, so fine that the light gleamed from them hundreds of miles away, and each had his Ponyta, which cost many a gold piece, and so they set off."

I played a rhythmic little melody to mimic traveling. "After visiting many palaces, and just as many princesses, they came to a king who had six daughters; who were so beautiful that it was hard to find any to compare in the land."

[I'm sure they were...] a Happini mused.

"Each of the elder six took a princess as his bride, and set off for home again, but they forgot that they were to bring back with them a sweetheart for Jake, their brother, who was at home, for they were head over heels in love with their own sweethearts." I explained, to some giggles as the babies pictured the princes with heart eyes.

"But when they had gotten a good ways home, they passed close by a steep hillside, like a wall, where a giant's house was." I intoned as I played a fearful riff. The giant came out, and just by looking at them, turned them all into stone, princes and princesses alike. The king waited and waited for his six sons, but the more he waited with no word as to where they were, the more worried and sad he got."

[Poor king...] a Magby sighed.

"And if he didn't have Prince Jake, he wasn't sure how he would live without his sons." I went on. "Prince Jake felt sorry for his father, and offered to find his brothers. But his father initially said no--who was he to think he would lose Prince Jake too?"

[Did Prince Jake get to go save his brothers?] a Smoochum worried.

"But Prince Jake would not take no for an answer; and he begged and pleaded for so long that the king was forced to let him go." I continued. "The only Ponyta left in the royal stables was a very old mare--his six brothers and their retinue had taken all the other Ponytas. But Prince Jake didn't care, and set out on his sorry old steed."

"This is getting good...and then?" Callum asked.

"After he had ridden a while, Prince Jake met a Murkrow lying in the road half starved." I continued. "Not being one to see a Pokemon suffer, he gave the Murkrow some of the food he had brought with him, and the Murkrow left an emerald behind as thanks. When he had gone a bit further, he came to a sream, and he found a Seaking flopping about on the shore, trying to get back in the water again."

[So he put it back in the water?] a Pichu guessed.

I nodded. "Yes, Prince Jake put it back in the water, and a sapphire washed up on the shore, which Prince Jake figured was the Seaking thanking him, and put it with the emerald."

Shauna grinned at Callum--once I mentioned jewels in a tale, magic powers were not far behind. "After that he went a long, long way, and he found a Lucario, which was so famished that it lay and crawled along the road on its belly. Prince Jake saw his old Ponyta had died of exhaustion, and gave the meat to the Lucario. The Lucario was very thankful, and offered to let Prince Jake ride on his back. Prince Jake agreed, and the Lucario carried him to the giant's house--way faster than a Ponyta. When they got there, Prince Jake saw his six brothers and their brides turned into stone. He was afraid to go in the house at first--he knew well that giants killed humans. But the Lucario told him..."

Callum jumped in the role of the Lucario. "When you get inside, you'll find a princess named Tara, and she'll tell you what to do to kill the giant. Be sure and do everything she tells you."

I interjected with a tense riff. "Prince Jake went in, but, he was still very afraid. The giant was away at the time, but in one of the rooms sat Princess Tara, just as the Lucario had said, and she was the prettiest princess Prince Jake had ever seen."

"Why have you come here?" Shauna gasped as Princess Tara, "You'll die if the giant finds you! No one can kill him, for his heart isn't in his body."

"Prince Jake explained that he was there to save her, and save his brothers too." I narrated over a quiet Zelda-like riff. "He would save them, or die trying. Princess Tara was really happy someone had come to rescue her, and told Prince Jake..."

"Climb under the bed over there, and listen closely to what he and I talk about. But, be quiet as a Pichu." Shauna instructed as Princess Tara, to giggles from the Pichus.

"So Prince Jake climbed under the bed, and he had hardly gotten under there before the giant came." I intoned.

The babies screamed in fear and delight at this. "Ha!" Callum announced in a deeper version of himself for the giant, "what a smell of human blood there is in the house!"

"Yes, I know there is," Shauna explained as Princess Tara. "A Murkrow passed here carrying a human bone, and it fell down the chimney. I tried to get it out as best as I could, but the smell still lingers despite my efforts to get it out."

"So the giant said no more about it, and when night came, they went to bed." I went on as Callum and Shauna sprawled on the rug. "After they had laid there a while, Princess Tara said...."

"There is one thing I'd like to ask you about, if I can." Shauna whispered to Callum as Princess Tara.

"What is that?" Callum asked in character as the giant.

"Where do you keep your heart, since you don't carry it inside you," Shauna replied.

"If you must know, it lies under the doorframe." Callum mused as the giant.

"The next morning, the giant got up very early, and went off to the forest; but he was hardly out of the house before Prince Jake and Princess Tara set to work looking under the doorframe for his heart; but the more they dug, and the more they hunted, the more they couldn't find it." I continued.

"He has tricked us this time," Shauna grumbled as Princess Tara, "but we'll try again."

"So she picked all the prettiest flowers she could find, and strew them over the doorframe, which they had put back; and when the time came for the giant to come home, Prince Jake crept under the bed." I went on. "Just as he got under there, the giant arrived. He asked who it was that had strewn flowers on the doorframe."

"I did, of course," Shauna grinned as Princess Tara.

"And what's the meaning of all this?" Callum demanded as the giant.

"I'm so fond of you that I couldn't help strewing them, when I knew that your heart lay under there." Shauna explained.

"You don't say," Callum mused as the giant; "but it doesn't lie there at all."

"So when they went to bed that night, Princess Tara asked the giant again where his heart was." I narrated.

"Well," Callum mused as the giant, "if you must know, it lies in the cupboard against the wall."

"The next morning the giant was up early again, and strode off to the forest, and no sooner was he gone Prince Jake and Princess Tara were in the cupboard hunting for his heart, but the more they sought for it, the less they found it."

"Well," Shauna sighed as Princess Tara, "we'll just try again."

"So she decked out the cupboard with flowers and garlands, and when the time came for the giant to come home, Jake crept under the bed again." I went on. "The giant saw how the cupboard was all decked out with flowers and garlands; so he asked who it was that had done that. Princess Tara said she did it."

"And what's the meaning of all this tomfoolery?" Callum asked the giant, to some giggles.

"Oh, I'm so fond of you, I couldn't help doing it when I knew that your heart lay there," Shauna explained as Princess Tara.

"How can you be so silly as to believe such a thing?" Callum asked as the giant.

"How can I help believing it, when you say it?" Shauna smiled Princess Tara.

"Where my heart is, you will never know." Callum sneered as the giant over a tense riff from me.

"Well," Shauna mused as Princess Tara; "but for all that, it would be a pleasure to know where it really lies."

"The giant figured Princess Tara was up to something, but told her anyway..." I narrated.

"Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a shrine; in that shrine is a well; in that well swims a Ducklett; in that Ducklett there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart." Callum smugly replied as the giant.

"In the morning, while it was still dark, the giant left for the forest again." I went on. "Prince Jake told Princess Tara goodbye, and when he got out of the giant's house, there stood the Lucario waiting for him. Prince Jake told him all that had happened , and told him to go to the well in the shrine, if he knew the way. So the Lucario started down the road, over hedge and field, over hill and dale."

After playing a rhythmic song to mimic the passage of time,I went on "After they had traveled many, many days, they came at last to the lake. Prince did not know how to cross it, but the Lucario assured him to hang on. He jumped into the lake with Prince Jake on his back, and swam over to the island. So they came to the shrine; but the keys hung way up on the top of the tower, and at first Prince Jake did not know how to get them down. Then Prince Jake remembered his emerald, held it in the air, and sang..."

Callum grinned when I sang Karuto, iichiida shou...--spellsongs were some of his favorite parts when I told stories.

[What did the spell do?] a Riolu asked.

"The Murkrow from before came, and flew up and got the keys, allowing Prince Jake inside the shrine." I explained. "But when he came to the well, there was the Ducklett, just as the giant had said. Prince Jake stood and coaxed it and coaxed it, till it came to him, and he carefully picked it up, but just as he lifted it out of the water, the Ducklett dropped the egg into the well."

Gasps went up at this, but I quickly assured them "then Prince Jake remembered the sapphire, held it in the air, and sang..." I paused to sing Rou iitsa ron selga vichii... before continuing "...and the Seaking came and got the egg from the bottom of the well. Then the Lucario told him to smash the egg on the ground, and as soon as Prince Jake did that, the giant was dead as a doornail!"

Cheers went up at the giant's demise. "With the giant gone, the six brothers and their brides were restored to their true forms." I went on over a victorious song. "Prince Jake took Princess Tara as his bride, and they all set off for home."

I grinned. "You can only imagine how glad the old king was when he saw all his seven sons come back, each with his bride. But the loveliest bride of all was Prince Jake's bride, so he got to sit at the most prominent place at the dinner table, with Prince Tara at his side."

I concluded "It wasn't long before Prince Jake and Princess Tara were married, and for all I know, they may still be celebrating today!"

The babies applauded as Shauna and Callum took a bow. We would've stayed there all day entertaining the babies, but we still had an epic journey of our own to continue!
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  #23    
Old April 3rd, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Episode 18: Dance Your Cares Away


After telling the babies goodbye, we started down the road to Connecting Cave. But it wasn't too long before Shauna spotted what looked like a castle tower looming over the road."Ooh! A castle!"

"Actually, that's the Battle Chateau--but only the best of the best trainers are allowed in there." Callum explained.

"One more reason we should all try our very best, right?" Trevor smiled.

"That's right." Callum replied.

For the most part, the walk was uneventful, until we came to a small town not far from the road leading into Connecting Cave. Everything was decorated by silver and black Cyllage Rhydons banners and pennants, from the houses, to shops, and even the Pokemon Center. "Boy, everyone must be Cyllage superfans here..." Shauna noted as we passed lamppost after lamppost with a Rhydons banner on it.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we found Grant here..." I grinned. Grant was renowned all across Kalos for his love of sports--especially rock climbing, biking, basketball, and swimming.

Callum was about to answer when the familiar saxophone riff of "Careless Whisper" filled the air. "Sweet! They're having an epic dance party in there!" Tierno smiled, nearly dragging us into a large building apparently used for special events, where throngs of people were dancing on a light filled floor. More lights and a disco ball played across the walls, illuminating those that were not dancing in a rainbow of colors.

"Wonder why they're having this party?" Shauna asked, a little overwhelmed by all the lights and color in the room."

"The Rhydons just won their first championship for the first time in ten years." a voice replied. "Isn't that a good reason for a party?"

Shauna whirled around just in time to see Grant headed our direction with a tray of punch glasses He didn't look too much different from all the pictures I'd seen of him--black shirt, silver pants, and pieces of either rocks or gems in his hair. "Yeah, it's a great reason for a party." she smiled as she took one of the punch glasses.

"Sitrus Paradise--mm!" Trevor grinned as he eagerly gulped the mixture of Sitrus, Meli, Nomel, and Oran Berry juice down.

"You like that, huh?" Grant grinned.

"Yeah--I didn't get to have it very much because I would have to go to bed whenever my mom threw parties at home." Trevor explained.

"And what few opportunities he had to go to parties, he would have to leave because he got sick a lot." Callum added.

"I see..." Grant grinned. "You guys look like a pretty tight group of friends."

"Yeah! We're traveling around Kalos together." I replied.

Tierno, meanwhile, had wasted no time in going out on the dance floor as "Careless Whisper" gave way to the pounding beat of "This Time I Know It's For Real". Not surprisingly, he had the whole floor to himself as he spun, jumped, and whirled to the beat, much to the awe of the crowds.

"Nice moves!" Grant smiled, impressed by Tierno dancing.

"Go, Tierno, go!" Trevor called as he clapped to the beat.

When the song ended, Tierno came jogging back to us. "Sorry for ditchin' you guys, but I had to dance to one of my favorite songs." he explained as he found his punch glass and sipped from it. "When I was a little guy, that song was huge on the radio, and so every time it came on, my dad would crank it up really loud and we would dance together."

"How sweet..." Shauna smiled as another song began.

"So even when you were very little, you loved to dance." I smiled.

"I loved my dad's smooth moves." Tierno sighed nostalgically. "He's trained for a long time, but he especially likes tap dancing and its related styles."

"I bet he's toured all around the world!" I gasped.

Tierno paused to dig out a photo album from his bag, oblivious to "Night Fever" beginning. "I have pictures from the few times I got to come with him on his travels."

"Did he teach or perform?" Grant was interested as he noticed the picture of young Tierno in a black haired man's arms.

"Both." Tierno replied. "Still does both." He then thumbed to a picture of the man tap dancing as young Tierno looked on in awe. "Here we are in Nimbasa, in Unova."

"That explains the glittering lights on the stage." Callum mused as "That's the Way (I Like It)" started playing.

"Believe it or not, he danced to that song when Mom took this picture." Tierno grinned before turning the page to show his young self and his parents before Worlds of Adventures' famous Ferris wheel. "Here we are the day after in Worlds of Adventure. I got royally sick after braving Reshiram's Fury, though."

"They don't call it Unova's longest and fastest roller coaster for nothing." I grinned.

Tierno's next picture depicted the man comforting young Tierno. "He always believed that when things didn't go right, you had to get up and try again--a lesson I have never forgotten. This is from the time I first tried to ride my bike without the training wheels."

"Wasn't easy, was it?" Grant asked as he admired the slightly battered bike in the background.

"Nope--fell more times than I can count." Tierno blushed. "But Dad urged me to get up and keep trying."

"A wise lesson--one I hope you all have learned." Grant smiled before he started swaying to "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough".

"We have--whether it's riding a bike or training Pokemon, you're going to fall." I smiled.

"So when you do lose or make mistakes, you just get up and try again." Shauna smiled. "Cause you can even learn something when you lose."

"It just makes victory that much sweeter." Trevor agreed.

Grant smiled. "I see you all have learned that lesson well--with confidence like that, it makes me all the more excited to battle you back in the Gym."

"We can't wait to battle you, either." I replied.

"For now, let's dance!" With that, Shauna led the way to the floor as we all danced to "Sussudio"

We had the time of our lives dancing, but Tierno loved it more than anyone--if his parents had been there watching him dance out there on the floor, they'd be proud.
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  #24    
Old April 10th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Episode 19: Diamonds in the Rough


After telling Grant goodbye, we departed the party and continued on to Connecting Cave. The one most glad to leave was Rouge. [I am so glad to be out of there and away from that noise! What are ya trying to do? Deafen us?]

[What's te matter with Rouge?] Erin wondered as Rouge continued to rant.

"Maybe when she evolved, she developed a noise sensitivity?" Trevor suggested as we walked into the lower entrance.

"Possibly..." Callum mused as he looked around at the dripping stalactites, the Zubats hanging overhead, and the jewels embedded in the cave walls.

Shauna, on the other hand, was excited about the jewels. "Wow! I didn't know all of these were here!"

Just then, a brown haired breeder saw us approaching in what little light there was from the cave entrance. "Oh, hi! On your way to Ambrette Town?"

"Yes...we hope to find out if the researchers there will help us solve a mystery for the professor." Callum replied, stifling a giggle at the Litleo batting at an Oddish's leaves. The Oddish, meanwhile, did not like the idea of the tiny cub Pokemon using its leaves as a toy, and darted away. This in turn spurred the Litleo to chase the Oddish even more and crash into a Pikachu, making her Berries scatter everywhere. [Hodan...now look what you've done!] she sighed as she darted about the floor picking up Berries.

The Oddish, meanwhile, ran into the breeder's arms. [Mercy, make them stop!] he pleaded.

"Hodan, come here." the girl replied. The Litleo trudged over to where his master, the Oddish, and a Ducklett were waiting--he clearly knew he was in trouble. "You know better than to treat Briar like a toy."

[But the way his leaves dance in the wind--it makes for a good chase!] the Litleo protested.

"I know you instinctively want to hunt things, but Briar doesn't find being prey fun." Mercy explained, gesturing to the sniffling Oddish in her arms. "He scares very easily, and when he finds he's prey, it only scares him even more."

She noticed the Pikachu sparking in annoyance. "I think you owe Nuala an apology too."

The Litleo decided to apologize to the Oddish first. [I'm sorry, Briar...I only wanted to play.]

[Well, next time, pick a game that doesn't involve chasing me.] Briar replied.

[And if you do play chase, please watch where you're going.] Nuala agreed.

[Don't worry, Hodan! You can chase me any time you want!] the Ducklett grinned as she flexed her wings.

"You can run and chase Teal all you want when we get back to the Daycare, okay?" Mercy replied before addressing us. "We spent the day mining gems in Glittering Cave today, and now my charges are all wound up..."

"I'm Callum..." Callum shook hands with Mercy. "and these are my friends Serena..." I waved hello. "Shauna..." Shauna waved before observing a sapphire in one of the cave walls. "Trevor..." Trevor shyly waved before observing Nuala hurrying back to Mercy's side. "and Tierno." Tierno grinned and waved hello."

"Nice to meet you all." Mercy smiled. "You're welcome to come to the Daycare any time you or your Pokemon need to rest, okay?"

"We'll keep that in mind." I replied before Mercy and her Pokemon started back on the main path."

"They're so sweet..." Shauna smiled as we emerged into the late afternoon sun.

Callum was about to reply when he heard the whistle of an arrow fly over his head. "Arrows..."

"Someone's practicing archery out here!" Trevor led the way around a corner of the cliffs, where a brown haired girl in the familiar navy blue shirt, red cloak and cape, and wide brimmed hat of a ranger readied another shot to go flying into the lower part of a target's bullseye, which would make a Leaf Stone pop free.

[Wow...] Kaitou gasped as the girl readied another arrow. [I've always wondered how a bow works...]

The bow itself is essentially a flexible arc. Zelda telepathically explained. A string joins the two ends of the bow, and when the string is drawn back, the ends of the bow are flexed. When the string is released, the potential energy of the flexed stick is transformed into the velocity of the arrow.

[Tank ye, Professor Zelda--tat was fascineting!] Erin smiled.

About then, the ranger noticed us. "Hello there! Are you all headed to Ambrette?"

"We are." I replied, all the while admiring the girl's bow. It looked like a recurve bow made from a high quality wood, painted silver. "Is this painted wood or something else?"

"It's actually painted fiberglass, made to look like wood." the ranger replied before it occurred to her she had not introduced herself. "My name's Amber...you guys look like the five trainers Sina told me to be watching for."

"Wait...you know Sina and Dexio?" Callum gasped.

"Yeah--we've been friends a long time." Amber replied as she set her bow aside and showed us some Pokedex data chips. "She told me to give you all these upgrade chips--since you're nearing the coast, this small upgrade will allow you to document Pokemon seen on the coast."

"Thanks!" Tierno wasted no time in putting in the upgrade chip.

"Yes, thank you!" Shauna smiled as she put in the upgrade chip.

"Will you take us down to Ambrette after you finish your target training?" Trevor asked as Callum helped him install his upgrade chip. "I-I don't feel comfortable walking down those steep cliffs."

"Sure...I'll even take you into Glittering Cave if you want to go gem mining." Amber smiled before taking one of the two Poke Balls clipped at her side. "I'll let Stormy, my Emolga, scout ahead for us so no one slips or gets separated."

With that, she heaved the Poke Ball skyward. "Let's hit the trail, Stormy!"

The Poke Ball opened with a pop, revealing a small white flying squirrel creature with a glowing yellow cape-like membrane and black fur on its head and tail. Emolga, the sky squirrel Pokemon. my Pokedex explained. They live on treetops and glide using the inside of a cape-like membrane while discharging electricity.

"Cool!" Tierno was impressed.

"Thankfully, Stormy will only discharge while gliding in battle, or lightly in caves to light the way." Amber assured us. "A skill you must teach an Emolga early if they want to be a scout Pokemon."

"Point noted if I get an Emolga." Callum smiled as he watched Stormy circle down the cliffs.

Amber led the way down the rocky path, I was next, then Callum. Tierno walked by Trevor's side, and Shauna brought up the rear, all making sure to stay were we could see the tiny Emolga as it glided down towards the rooftops of Ambrette Town in the distance...

To Be Continued...
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  #25    
Old May 15th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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Episode 20: Test Subjects (part 1)

[Wow...] Lita gasped as we finished climbing down the cliffs and into Ambrette Town. She had probably noticed that we had gone down some cliffs, onto, well, another cliff.

"Amazing view!" Trevor agreed.

"As you may have noticed, we're standing on a huge cliff, out of which the first settlers built this town." Amber explained. "So watch your step as you explore--it's a long way down into the water."

Tierno looked down at the waves lapping at the cliff we stood on. "P-point duly taken." he stammered, terrified at the thought of falling hundreds of feet into the water below.

[Have ye ever had te rescue someone tat fell in te water?] Erin asked.

Amber gave Erin a pat on the head. "As a matter of fact, yes--all rangers have scuba certification." She pointed out a large dome-like structure in the distance. "The aquarium allows would be divers to go into the reef tanks for their first real dives--although holding signs is not allowed.

"Cool!" Shauna gasped, impressed.

Callum then spotted a wedge-shaped complex by the Pokemon Center. "Does the lab study more than just fossils?"

"Yes--although fossils are their chief research." Amber replied before starting off towards the Pokemon Center. "When you're ready to go into Glittering Cave, come find me in the Pokemon Center and I'll secure some Rhyhorns for you."

"Okay!" Shauna replied. "Thank you!" she called as she waved goodbye.

The idea of riding Rhyhorns intrigued me. "We have to ride Rhyhorns to GET to Glittering Cave?" the only tamed Rhyhorns I knew about where the kind usually bred for racing--and these "moon Rhyhorns" (so named because they were traditionally bred on Kanto's Mt.Moon and then shipped to Kalos before some breeding farms popped up in Kalos) had been clocked at almost 120 miles an hour.

Callum showed me a page of a pack Rhyhorn in his guidebook. "Oh no, the Rhyhorns here are specifically bred for traveling in places where a human can't go--such as the rocky trail leading to Glittering Cave."

"That makes sense--have you seen how fast racing Rhyhorns go?" Trevor asked me.

"Mom used to race before I came along, actually--remember the time she showed us all her medals and trophies?" I smiled.

"I'm amazed she actually won the Kalos Cup." Tierno mused. "That's one of the hardest challenges for a Rhyhorn rider to win."

Callum changed the subject when he spotted a large wedge-like complex nearby the Pokemon Center. "That must be the lab--let's go see if any of the researchers know anything about the Mega Rings and their songs."

---------

"...so our question is, can you tell us anything about the Mega Rings and the songs they hold?" Shauna asked a researcher.

The researcher hung her head. "Sadly, we know no more than you guys do...but we have found remains of Mega Rings inside Glittering Cave."

"REALLY???" Tierno was so excited at this, that he almost knocked over an array of beakers and test tubes on a table.

"However, we can't seem to go too far into the cave to retrieve any of these--the last researcher that went into the cave hasn't come back yet." another researcher replied as he set a sapphire with a Greek letter inside on a shelf filled with all manner of crystals and gems. "The last dispatch we got from him said that he was holed up in an alcove watching these odd people in bright red suits run roughshod over the cave."

I swallowed hard. "Did they belong to some sort of organization?"

"I think they called themselves 'Team Flare' or something like that." a third researcher replied. "They arrived in town two weeks ago and nearly tore the lab apart searching for anything they could use for whatever nefarious plot they may be planning. When they didn't find anything here, they gave up and went on to the cave."

I noticed Erin's fear aura form. [Ye tink these Team Flare guys are connected te tat Lysandre fellow?]

I'm not sure, but we can't rule anything out just yet. Zelda cautioned. That said, be mindful about jumping to conclusions.

"We'll have to see these Team Flare goons for ourselves." Callum assured Erin. "Rest assured that whatever they are plotting, we'll stop them!"

"Just like the superheroes on TV!" Shauna smiled, giddy at the prospect of having to save the world.

I can see the TV show now... Zelda grinned. [i]Miracle Pokeranger V!</i>

We balked when she broadcast her idea of her imagined TV show's opening into the room--Tierno was an earth based disco dancer-type hero, Trevor was a wind based nature lover, Shauna was the token cute chick with some power like heart or something like that, Callum was the technogeek water user, and I was the fire based leader.

Shauna took one look at Zelda's dream of us in ranger suits with capes and laughed. "You really think I'd be the pink ranger?" she giggled.

"I wanted to be the blue ranger..." Trevor sighed.

Even the researchers were laughing at Zelda's daydream. "You have quite the imaginative Ralts, miss." one chuckled as Zelda's daydream disappeared.

I just patted Zelda on the head. "I don't know if we could be rangers like the ones on TV, but you don't need superpowers to be a hero..."

[Yeah! Think about Officer Jenny and the fire department!] Rouge suggested. [They do heroic things every day, and you don't see them in ranger suits and capes...]

Zelda smiled. You're right, Rouge...sometimes the greatest heroes are right under our noses

"What else do you guys study besides fossils and rocks?" Trevor asked.

"Well, we study human endurance, for one thing." a researcher replied. "In fact, we have a series of experiments called the Human Endurance Assessment Trial--or the HEAT, for short, that measures how the human body measures up to and performs in different conditions."

She then noticed me and Callum. "Would you two like to take the HEAT?"

"Yeah!" I replied.

"Yes!" Callum replied.

After reading over and signing the informed consent form (we would both receive a 10,000 credit Pokemart gift card as thanks for completing the battery of tests), we were led into the debriefing room before the first test. "Okay...this first test measures how the human body reacts to high speed. You will each be enclosed inside a motion simulator, which you will navigate through as many obstacles as possible, with the simulation going faster the longer it moves. When you 'crash', we'll get data on how fast you were going when you crashed, and biometric information about how your body handled that speed.

I was then dressed in a red safety suit (Callum got a blue one), then led into a room with two red simulators that resembled stealth planes. "The respirator inside the helmets also serves as panic shutdown, so if the system detects signs of nausea or hyperventilation, the simulation will stop, okay?"

"Got it!" Callum replied as he ran to the left simulator.

I climbed in the simulator on the right, where an assistant strapped me in. "Good luck." he smiled as he pressed the button to close the simulator, making a matching red helmet drop over my head and a simulation of a hyperspace tunnel blip on the simulation screens.

Begin Test...100 miles per hour. a robotic voice announced as the simulator started to move. Granted, we weren't really going 100 miles an hour, so the rotating rings and squares were easy to go through. 200 and 300 weren't too hard either, but not long after I passed 400, I tripped the panic shutdown.

Callum had stopped before me for roughly the same reason--nausea. While I managed to calm my queasy stomach with a ginger ale, Callum had to throw up. He told the researchers he was okay, and wanted to continue, so on our way we went to the next debriefing room...

To Be Continued...
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