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Old 2 Weeks Ago (2:38 PM).
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
Make the Colors in the Sky!
     
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    Episode 68: Wings n' Things

    "...a one on one tea ceremony is very special--a sign of friendship between the host and the guest." Brock read from the guidebook's chapter on the traditional tea ceremony to Ash and Misty. "Before entering the place where the ceremony is being held, the guests have to wait for the sound of the vina, an ancient harp said to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The vina playing means that the host is ready to receive the guests."

    "How pretty!" Misty gasped, starry eyed as she pictured her and Ash receiving tea from a kimono-clad lady as Brock, as the harpist, played a peaceful melody on a bow shaped harp.

    "I wonder if we can participate in a tea ceremony when we get to Ecruteak?" Ash smiled. "I still have my kimono from last year's summer festival!"

    With that, he skipped down the road with Tintri, singing the bon odori song from the festival at Maiden's Peak the year before. Haa, hanabi agareba...Ha-a, kansei agaru...

    A buzzing in the distance jolted him from his song as a tiny dragonfly-like Pokemon emerged from the tall grass at the side of the road. Interesting Pokemon... he thought as he reached for his Pokedex:

    "Yanma, the clear wing Pokemon. If it flaps its wings really fast, it can generate shock waves that will shatter windows in the area."

    Just as Ash pocketed Dexter, he gasped as the Yanma flew over and snatched his cap! "Hey!" he cried as he and Tintri followed the Yanma into the grass. "That cap's special to me!"

    After fruitlessly chasing the Yanma around in circles for a minute or two, Ash heaved a relieved sigh when he heard a boy's voice call "Sparx, give that hat back!"

    The Yanma looked over at Ash, then its deep blue haired owner, then back at Ash again before dropping the cap at Ash's feet and flying off. "Has your Yanma always been that difficult..." Ash started, before realizing he had not asked the Yanma's owner his name.

    "My name's Zachary--but you can call me Zach for short." the boy replied as Ash dusted off his cap and put it back on. "I'm so sorry about Sparx swiping your cap--no matter what I do to teach Sparx anything, he doesn't want to obey me..."

    "Is everything okay?" Misty and Brock arrived a few moments later. "We heard this buzzing and then you screaming..." Misty began.

    "Yeah--I got my cap back. A mischievous Yanma took it." Ash assured his companions. "This is Zach, the Yanma's owner. Zach, this are my traveling companions, Misty and Brock.

    "Nice to meet you both." Zach replied. "My dad makes windows in town...and Sparx has always been a troublemaker for them.

    "Then we'd better get to town before Sparx causes any more trouble." Misty led the way down the road, making sure to keep Zach in view.

    ---------

    Screams and cries filled the air as the group reached the town some moments later. "Hide your glasswares!" Ash heard a woman call.

    "Sparx is back!" a man cried, spurring many of the townsfolk to take what glasswares they could find and hide them in secure locations as the Yanma flew down the main street.

    "Seems Sparx has already built quite the bad reputation..." Brock mused as he watched Sparx fly to one particular shop, tap one finished window pane, then flap his wings enough to create that same tone, shattering hundreds of windowpanes and glass sheets.

    "I guess that old urban legend about glass shattering at a certain frequency is true..." Misty gasped, both awed and afraid at how powerful Sparx was.

    "Zachary Evans! I thought I told you that that stupid Yanma wasn't allowed within a hundred feet of here!" a man yelled as Zach arrived to corral Sparx. "That's another 200 credits worth of glass you'll have to pay down!"

    "It seems like Sparx has done this before..." Ash mused as he watched the man berate Zach.

    "But Zach doesn't seem like a bad trainer..." Misty noted as she watched the man lead Zachary before a man with similar features to Zach at a nearby house.

    "In most troublesome Pokemon, it usually is the trainer that's the problem, but in this case, it looks like a combination of the Pokemon being rebellious by nature, and the trainer not knowing how to control it." Brock explained as he motioned for the group to follow him to the house, where the two men were talking. "We just need to stick up for Zach and prove he can be a good trainer for Sparx."

    ---------

    "I'm sorry, Mr. Strussel..." Zach told the angry man as the group looked on. "I've tried to keep Sparx under control, but he never wants to listen to me..."

    "Well, if you're clearly putting up an effort and he still breaks everyone's glass, then the only thing to do is return Sparx to the wild." Mr. Strussel replied, a note of anger still in his voice.

    "But--!" Zach protested.

    "As much as I hate to say this, I have to agree, son." Mr. Evans sighed. "I know you've done a lot for Sparx, but if he doesn't want to listen to you, then he may be happy back in the wild."

    Misty watched Zach trudge away towards a park. "Poor Zach...he must really love Sparx to keep training him when Sparx won't even listen to him..."

    "Let's go see if we can cheer him up!" Ash suggested.

    Brock located Zach sitting on a bench overlooking a playground. "Got room for a few more?" he asked as he sat down by Zach.

    "Sure." Zach replied, the awkward discussion from earlier still weighing on his heart.

    "If you don't mind my asking, how did you and Sparx meet?" Ash wondered.

    "Well...it all started a few months ago." Zach began. "A big storm came through the area, and at the time, Dad and I were on the way back from delivering glass to another town. Just as we contemplated finding shelter, Dad spotted a Yanma lying on the ground, battered by the wind and rain. Not being one to just leave an injured Pokemon behind, we took it home and took care of it, and I named it Sparx. However, as soon as he got better, Sparx broke all the glass in Dad's workshop. I decided to train Sparx, but to no avail."

    He sighed. "And that's where you guys came in. Maybe Mr. Strussel is right...Sparx should be back in the wild."

    "WHAAAAAAAT???" the group gasped.

    "How can you say that when you've done so much for Sparx?" Misty gasped.

    "Maybe a window maker's son wasn't meant to be a Yanma trainer..." Zach sighed before tearfully getting up from the bench.

    ---------

    "Good bye, Sparx..." Zach began as he released the Yanma in the forest some time later. "I'll...I'll..."

    Finally, pure emotion overwhelmed Zach as he dashed back down the forest path, only to trip on a rock and fall right at Ash's feet! "I did it...I released Sparx. But it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye..." he whispered before bursting into tears.

    After dusting himself off, he led the group to a ring of rocks. "I wanted to raise Sparx to be a hero--a Pokemon would could help people, not cause trouble for them..." he explained.

    "The townsfolk may have seen him as trouble, but did YOU ever see Sparx as a troublemaker?" Brock asked as he wiped away Zach's tears.

    "No..." Zach replied. "I saw him as a friend, and my hero-in-training. But how could something that small do much of anything besides cause trouble?"

    Brock thought for a moment. "You know, there are millions of stories in the world that tell of tiny beings that did big things, including Yanmas."

    "Really?" Zach asked, intrigued by the three stripes on Brock's vest. "If you're a storyteller, do you know any stories about a heroic Yanma?"

    "Yes, actually...I learned one from a book once." Brock replied. "It's called 'How the Yanmas Defeated the Pansages'."

    With that, he began "One day, a Yanma just like Sparx was traveling from a beautiful tropical island down to another island to the south. The air was steamy, and the sun was high in the sky. After many hours, the poor Yanma was exhausted, but she still had a long way to go. She decided to rest for a while, and spotting a grove of palm trees, she flew down to rest on one. She did not notice the family of Pansages in the tree."

    "Uh oh..." Zach stifled a giggle--the first time he had laughed at all that day.

    "As she was fanning herself with her wings, resting and catching her breath, she suddenly heard a rustling sound beside her." Brock went on, complete with Ash rustling some grass for sound effects.

    "Who's there?" Misty jumps in the role of the Yanma.

    "...and a moment later a Pansage--a green monkey Pokemon native to the far away Unova region-- stood beside her." Brock went on.

    "What are you doing? You're trespassing! You'll have to leave right now." he scolded Misty in a mimic of Team Rocket's Meowth, to Zach's delight.

    "The Pansage looked enormous to the Yanma, and his voice was harsh. She began to tremble with fear." Brock went on as himself. "Still, she was tired. Her desire for rest inspired her courage, so she looked up at the Pansage and said..."

    "Please, sir, I would like to rest here until sunset. I've been flying so long, my wings won't carry me much farther." Misty fills in the dialogue as the Yanma.

    "Poor, tired wings!" Brock jeered as the Pansage. "We don't allow weak creatures to stay in our tree. Go away, now!"

    As himself, he went on "With that, he snapped a twig from the tree and brandished it as if it were a sword. Try as the Yanma might to beg for mercy, the Pansage threw the stick at her."

    "That's not very nice!" Zach cried, appalled.

    "Now, the Yanma was tired, but as we know, Yanmas are quick, and before the stick was out of the Pansage's hand, she was flying away, flying towards her homeland." Brock went on. "When at long last she reached home, she went to tell King Yanmega--what Yanma ultimately becomes--the story of the Pansages in the palm tree."

    "So what did King Yanmega do?" Zach asked as Ash showed him a Yanmega's picture in the Pokedex.

    "When King Yanmega heard the story, he was furious. He decided the Yanmas had to confront the Pansages, and he sent three of his best warriors to speak to King Simisage--what Pansage ultimately becomes." Brock went on. "The Yanma warriors flew to the palm tree, and asked to see King Simisage."

    "Your Pansages treated one of our own cruelly. Our king has decided you must make amends or we will declare war on you." Ash jumps in the role of a Yanma.

    "War, you say?" Brock shoots back as King Simisage. "Tell your king to come back here, and we shall see who wins this war!"

    Brock then interjects as himself "The Yanma warriors understood that winning a war against the Pansages would be difficult, and so they said..."

    "Sir, you never know how these things might end. Perhaps you wish to reconsider? An apology would be fine." Ash suggests as the Yanma.

    "Go now and tell your king my answer! War it shall be!" Brock vows as King Simisage, to Zach's delight at how the group played off of each other.

    Brock continued the story as himself "And so, the Yanma warriors flew back to their king and told him what King Simisage had said, so King Yanmega ordered his whole army to fly to the palm tree for battle. The Yanmas carried no weapons but their wings, and they flew as fast as they could, in strict formation, all the way to the palm tree. As they approached the tree, they saw an army of Pansages wielding branches and sticks."

    "And then?" Zach was interested now.

    "When King Simisage saw the Yanmas approaching, he gave the word to attack." Brock intoned As the Pansages began to scatter down their tree, waving their sticks in the air, the Yanmas flew directly at them. Just as their king had commanded, they landed on the Pansages' foreheads. The Pansages quickly raised their weapons and struck, but the Yanmas were so quick, they flew away, and so the Pansages struck their own foreheads. One by one, the Pansages fell from the tree."

    Zach giggled as he pictured the comical scene. "And so it was that the Yanmas won the war." Brock concluded. "All the Pokemon--and the people, too--learned to admire and respect speed, agility and wit."

    "That was pretty good!" Zach smiled as he applauded. "Maybe I was wrong about releasing Sparx...let's go take him back!"

    The group eagerly made their way back to the clearing, but were crestfallen when they saw Sparx was gone.

    ---------

    "Now where could the twerps have gotten to?" Jessie wondered as Team Rocket climbed through the forest underbrush.

    Just then, she saw Sparx lands by a river to get a drink. "Well well, what have we here? They say a Yanma's wings can produce a tone that shatters glass."

    "Jus' tink of all da havoc we could cause!" Now Meowth was excited. "We could have da Yanma break all da windows somewhere, den we could charge da townsfolk for glass at super-high prices!"

    "Then what are we waiting for?" James asked before taking a net, tiptoeing up to the unsuspecting Yanma, and dropping the net on it!

    [Let me go, you hoodlums!] Sparx demanded, taking advantage James inspecting the next to fly away.

    "Not so fast!" Jessie heaved a rope in the direction the Yanma was flying, which wrapped around Sparx's body.

    "Nice lasso, Jessie." Meowth grinned as Jessie pulled back the struggling Yanma. "Now for part 1 of our plan--go find some windows ta smash!"

    [Get me out of here!] Sparx screeched before flapping his wings, creating a ringing Eb note that rang through the forest, shattering the windows in a nearby empty cabin.

    "Looks like that story about the Yanma's wings is true..." James mused. "Let's go bilk the townsfolk!"

    ---------

    "Mr. Strussel? Have you seen Sparx anywhere?" Zach asked some time later.

    "Course I have--you've allowed him to break almost all the windows in town so those glass hawkers can sell us overpriced glass!" Mr. Strussel grumbled, pointing out Jessie, James, and Meowth--in disguise as glass merchants--in the town square. "I can't believe you'd fall in with hucksters like that--if you try anything funny, I'm onto you!"

    Moments before Mr. Strussel could take Zach by the arm to his father, the others arrived. "HOLD EVERYTHING!" Brock called. "First of all, why are you accusing Zach of something he didn't even do? Those glass merchants were actually Team Rocket!"

    Jessie happened to overhear Brock trying to defend Zach. "How nice of you to say that, it sure saves us the trouble!" With that, the Rockets threw off their disguises, to the gasps of the townsfolk.

    "And because of your generosity, we'll make your pain double!" James agrees, just as Meowth and Sparx arrived back by his side.

    "To protect the world from devastation..." Jessie began.

    "And unite all peoples within our nation..." James smiled, twirling a rose in his hand. Ash just watched and growled in annoyance at the familiar motto he, Misty, and Brock had heard a million times before:

    "To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

    "To extend our reach to the stars above!"

    "Jessie!"

    "James!"

    "Team Rocket! Blast off at the speed of light!"

    "Surrender now, or prepare to fight!"

    "Meowth! Dat's right!"

    Ash growled in anger as he picked up one of his Poke Balls. "Luce, I choose you!"

    "Spritz, go give those Rockets what for!" Misty was not far behind in summoning one of her own Pokemon.

    "Wait!" Mr. Evans cried. "If you all must battle, can we do so in a different place? Sparx would destroy the stained glass. I've worked hard on these windows, and I don't want them ruined!"

    "Is that so?" James smirked before telling the group "Listen up, twerps--if you even so much as attempt to attack, our little friend Sparx will destroy all the windows here."

    "And just to make sure you won't attack, I'll bind you both!" Jessie added before summoning Arbok, who wasted no time Binding the Flaaffy and the Seadra.

    [We...have to do something...] Luce gasped as Arbok's coils squeezed both Pokemon tighter and tighter.

    [I know...but the windows...] Spritz wheezed.

    Just then, Misty got an idea. "Zach...can you try to return Sparx to you? That way you can show Team Rocket you are Sparx's rightful owner."

    "Okay..." Zack then held out a Poke Ball. "Sparx, return."

    Everyone gasped as Sparx was returned to the ball. "He did it!" Ash cried.

    He paused to turn his cap back. "Luce, use Shockwave!"

    "Spritz, use Water Gun to make the Shockwave even stronger!" Misty commanded.

    Zach watched as the massive lightning bolt sliced through the water and shocked the Arbok, forcing it to let go of the Flaaffy and the Seadra. "Sparx, I need your help!" he called, moments before Victreebel used Razor Leaf to wound Luce and Spritz.

    "You want to try battling with Sparx?" Ash paused to retrieve Dexter. "Here, this should help..."

    "Yanma's Known Attacks--number one, Sonic Boom..." Dexter reported.

    "Sparx, use Sonic Boom!" Zach commanded.

    The group watched as Sparx began flapping at a very high speed, creating a loud boom that knocked out Arbok. "Razor Leaf incoming!" Brock warned, pointing out the flurry of sharp leaves headed for Sparx.

    "Yanma's Known Attacks--number two, Double Team..." Dexter continued.

    "Okay Sparx, use Double Team to dodge!" Zach commanded.

    Misty watched as the Razor Leaves went straight through the copies of Sparx, leaving the real Sparx unharmed. "Spritz!"

    "Luce!" Ash called.

    "Sparx!" Zach called.

    "Yanma's Known Attacks--number three, Tackle..." Dexter reported.

    "USE TACKLE!" all three trainers chorused.

    [HAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!] Luce, Spritz, and Sparx barreled at Team Rocket, the resulting impact sending them flying off into the sky with a <i>ping</i>.

    "I don't believe it...Zach and Sparx saved the town!" Mr. Strussel gasped.

    He looked over at Zach. "Look, I jumped to conclusions before, and I'm sorry I accused you of something you had no part of...will you ever forgive me?"

    "Sure..." Zach replied. "It's always better to forgive and forget, right Dad?"

    "Yes, that's right." Mr. Evans grinned.

    He gestured to a window that he had finished moments before, depicting Ash, Misty and Brock as fantasy heroes with a Yanma flying overhead. "As thanks for all you've done, we're hanging this window in the Pokemon Center to remember you three by."

    "I told Dad to make your fantasy self a minstrel, as thanks for the story you told me." Zach explained to Brock. "I think it inspired Sparx too."

    [Oh, it did!] Sparx buzzed. [I want to do all I can to be the greatest Yanma the world has ever known!]

    "Know that you three are always welcome here any time." Mr. Evans smiled. "And you're welcome to come share your stories, too." he smiled at Brock.

    "Aw, it was nothing!" Misty smiled.

    "Yeah--we'll try and come back sometime." Ash agreed. He waved goodbye to the cheering townsfolk as he, Misty, and Brock set off into the setting sun...

    To Be Continued...
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      #77    
    Old 1 Week Ago (4:54 PM). Edited 1 Week Ago by EmeraldSky.
    EmeraldSky's Avatar
    EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
    Make the Colors in the Sky!
       
      Join Date: Nov 2004
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      Episode 69: The Grass Route

      The sun was high overhead as the group rounded a bend in the road to see an array of Grass type Pokemon romping around what Ash assumed were fairgrounds. "Hey guys...check out all the Grass Pokemon!"

      "I see..." Brock looked up from the guidebook and smiled when he saw a Sunflora, savoring a memory of his first Lore Stage. "I see Sunflora, Oddish, Bellsprout..."

      "Is that a Gloom?" Misty asked, pointing out a Gloom in the crowd of Grass Pokemon. "Reminds me of your battle with Erika..."

      "Don't remind me..." Ash shuddered. Being disguised as a girl to enter the Gym was bad enough, but he had at least rescued Erika's Gloom when Team Rocket had attempted to burn the Gym down--so it was worth the humiliation.

      He was snapped from his memories by Brock's voice. "If Saria was here, she would love getting to know all these exotic Grass types."

      Ash smiled at a memory of his beloved Bulbasaur as he read up on a small pink deer Pokemon playing with an Oddish:

      Deerling, the season Pokemon. An exotic Pokemon from the Unova region, the turning of the seasons changes the color and scent of this Pokémon's fur. People use it to mark the seasons.

      "Cool..." Ash smiled before scanning a small bud-like Pokemon dozing near a desk:

      "Budew, the bud Pokemon. An exotic Pokemon from the Shinou region, the bud is said to bloom when it feels the sun's warm touch."

      "I'm sure that must be pretty..." Ash mused to himself as he looked for another exotic Grass Pokemon to scan.

      "What's this cute little owl Pokemon here?" Misty asked as she joined Ash in the field.

      Ash located the brown and green owl Pokemon sunning itself in a tree and scanned it with the Pokedex:

      Rowlet, the grass quill Pokemon. An exotic Pokemon from the Alola region, this wary Pokémon uses photosynthesis to store up energy during the day, while becoming active at night.

      "Interesting..." Ash mused as Brock joined him and Misty, just in time to see a small green Pokemon with a yellow flower on its head. "Huh?"

      As the group followed the little Pokemon, Ash looked it up on the Pokedex:

      "Skiploom, the cottonweed Pokemon. It spreads its petals to absorb sunlight. It also floats in the air to get closer to the sun.

      "How pretty!" Misty gasped as they followed the Skiploom down the path to where a line was forming at a food booth.

      "There you are!" a dull blue haired boy smiled as he hugged the Skiploom, then looked at the group. "Oh, hi! I haven't seen you guys around before...I'm Ephraim, and this is Skippy, my Skiploom."

      [Hi!] the Skiploom smiled.

      "Nice to meet you...I'm Ash, and these are my companions, Misty and Brock." Ash replied, making a grand gesture to his companions, who waved hello upon being introduced. "We're traveling through the region, and couldn't resist stopping by when we saw all the Grass Pokemon."

      "Are any of you guys trainers at all?" Ephraim wondered.

      Ash revealed his three badges, neatly sewn to his right vest flap. "I am, at least--here are the three badges I have so far."

      "Wow...three badges?" Ephraim was impressed. "Is it okay if I can have Skippy battle one of your Pokemon?"

      "Sure!" Ash replied as he watched Brock draw the shape of a Poke Ball in the grass.

      ---------

      "Okay, Ephraim...which side of the Poke Ball do you want to take?" Brock asked.

      "Gold--in honor of the bud on Skippy's head!" Ephraim smiled as he dashed to the left side of the Poke Ball, with Skippy close behind him.

      "Then I'll take Silver." Ash replied before taking the Poke Ball with Aina inside. "I'm not sure how strong Skippy is, so I'll use one of my weaker Pokemon, okay?"

      "That's fair." Ephraim smiled.

      Ash then heaved his Poke Ball skyward. "Aina, time to make your debut!"

      "Since this is just a friendly match, I'm not going to go through the whole introductions, like a referee would do at a real tournament." Brock explained as he hung his referee's whistle around his neck. "So, are both sides ready?"

      Cheers rang across the grounds in reply. "Okay! And three...two...one..."

      As soon as the whistle blew, Ephraim called "Okay, Skippy! Start with Double Team to confuse the Machop!"

      Aina balked as what seemed like hundreds of Skiplooms appeared before her. [Oh my...which one's the real one?]

      "Try Brick Break, and hope it's the right one!" Ash suggested.

      [HAIIIIIIIIII-YAH!] Aina cried as her left hand glowed, allowing her to chop through the duplicates and hit the real Skippy, sending the Skiploom flying backwards several feet.

      Both trainers watched in awe and surprise as the whistle blew again. "Game Set! This match goes to Silver!" Brock announced, to some light applause from some onlookers.

      Ash realized what Aina had just done. "No way...Aina won...her first battle?"

      A euphoric smile formed on his face. "YA-HOOOO!!!!!!" AINA WON A BATTLE! AINA WON--!"

      "ASH!!!" Misty's angry voice brought Ash back to reality. "I'm surprised at you--steamrolling a kid's Pokemon like that, and then celebrating over it?" she snapped. "You should be ashamed of yourself for battering that poor Skiploom--you have higher standards than this!"

      Ephraim, however, was unusually calm about losing. "It's okay...Skippy's taken bigger beatings than that before." he assured Misty as Skippy came to.

      As Skippy flew into his arms, he went on "If you're needing a place to stay, I can ask my mom and dad about using the guest bedrooms at the house. It's not far from here."

      ---------

      "Mom, Dad, I met some new friends at the fairgrounds today!" Ephraim called to a man and a woman with similar features to him having coffee at the kitchen table. "Meet Ash, Misty, and Brock." he smiled, making a grand gesture to the group as they came inside.

      "Nice to meet you three...are you in town for the Grass Tournament?" Ephraim's mom asked.

      "Grass Tournament?" Ash was confused.

      "This was why I wanted to battle before--I'm training Skippy for the tournament." Ephraim explained. "The Grass Tournament is a special competition for Grass-type Pokémon only, with a large collection of Leaf Stones as the prize."

      "Wow!" Misty was impressed.

      "I bet Ethan and Lyra will be here for the tournament--maybe after we settle in for the night, we can head back to the fairgrounds and see." Brock suggested.

      "Explore all you want--the fairgrounds have plenty to do even if you're not competing." Ethan's father smiled. "The guest bedrooms are upstairs on the left."

      ---------

      "Wow..." the group gasped as they returned to the fairgrounds that evening. Carnival rides, a midway, and food stands had been set up as even more people converged on the fairgrounds for the tournament. What trainers were signing up for the tournament were checking in near a large dome, while everyone else rode the rides or tried their luck at winning Pokemon dolls or other prizes.

      "Aw, what's this Pokemon?" Misty asked as she admired a doll of a small blue duck-like Pokemon with a lilly pad on its head as one of the prizes for the pyramid game.

      "Here..." Ash invited Misty to look as he scanned the doll with his Pokedex:

      Lotad, the waterweed Pokemon. An exotic Pokemon of the Houen region, it looks like an aquatic plant and serves as a ferry to Pokémon that can't swim."

      "Fascinating!" Misty smiled as Brock set down a hundred credit bill in an attempt to win one of the Lotad dolls for Misty.

      Both Ash and Misty held their breaths as Brock heaved the ball with all his might...and sent the milk bottle pyramid crashing down some seconds later. "Easy as pie." he smiled as the barker gave him a small Lotad doll.

      "How did you do that? I thought the game was rigged!" Ash gasped, amazed that Brock had won a prize on the first try at a carnival game.

      "Actually, the milk bottle pyramid is in fact winnable if you know what you're doing." Brock explained. "You want to aim for the middle of the bottom row, and throw as hard as you can, like I did."

      "Ah..." Misty smiled as she hugged her new Lotad doll.

      "That's actually fascinating!" a voice called. "Any other tips you can share, guru of the midway?"

      Brock whirled around to find Ethan and Lyra approaching them from the other direction. "Oh, hi! Are you guys just here for the carnival, or are you gonna compete in the tournament tomorrow?" he asked.

      "I'm competing with Hana." Lyra replied. "Just for fun, and see how she'd do in a tournament setting."

      "Having seen Hana battle before, I do you're gonna do great!" Ash smiled.

      "We'll be there to cheer you on, even if you don't win it all." Misty smiled.

      "And for the record, if there's any midway game you DON'T want to play, steer clear of the plastic tubs, and the swinger game is all but impossible thanks to basic physics." Brock replied.

      "Point duly noted." Ethan smiled as the new group of five continued down the midway...

      ---------

      Elsewhere, Kamon and a small lizard Pokemon with a leafy tail made their way down the road. "Huh?" Kamon mused as he found a dropped flyer advertising the tournament and the carnival. "Grass tournament...all ages and skill levels welcome...500 Leaf Stones as the prize..."

      He smiled at the little lizard Pokemon. "Well, Donna...tomorrow's the day of your big debut. Maybe Wonder Boy and pals will be there--this kind of thing is just up their alley..."

      ---------

      "Gold side ready?" the referee announced.

      Lyra and Hana cheered in reply. "Silver side ready?" the referee asked, prompting a boy and his Gloom to cheer. "And three...two...one..."

      Lyra struck first as the whistle blew. "Hana, use Razor Leaf!"

      Ash and the others gawked as Hana landed a critical blow, taking out the Gloom in one hit! "Wow...Hana's gotten way stronger since I saw her last..." Ash gasped.

      "Remember that Hana's been through a lot of major battles, so it makes sense that she be this strong by now..." Brock reminded Ash as the group watched Lyra shake hands with her opponent.

      "I don't know...a lot of these trainers look pretty tough." Ethan mused as the arena was cleared off for the next match.

      "Our next match, Ephraim and Skippy vs. Sterling and Donna." the announcer reported as Ephraim arrived on the Silver side with Skippy.

      Misty, however, balked at Ephraim's opponent. "Is that who I think it is?"

      "Even if it's not Kamon, it sure looks a lot like him." Ethan muttered as a familiar red haired boy approached the Gold side with the small lizard Pokemon.

      Ash fumbled for his Pokedex to read up on the strange lizard Pokemon:

      "Treecko, the wood gecko Pokemon. An exotic Pokemon from the Houen region, the soles of its feet are covered by countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings."

      In the arena, Ephraim shuddered as "Sterling" approached. "I know you're scared, Skippy, but I know you can be brave!"

      [Yes I can!] Skippy charged at the Treecko, knocking it backwards.

      "Donna, counter with Agility!" Kamon called.

      As Kamon's Treecko raced around Skippy, Ephraim "Try to get Leech Seed on him, and then use Double Team!"

      "Yes!" Misty smiled as Skippy paralyzed the Treecko by firing hundreds of life draining seeds from its bud, then flummoxed the lizard Pokemon even more by creating multiple copies of himself.

      "Didn't Lyra try something like that before?" Ash asked Ethan.

      "Yeah--Kamon believes in raw power above all else, so the best way to stymie him is put up defense." Ethan replied as the whistle blew to signal that Ephraim had won.

      The group did not expect Ephraim's parents to hurry down to the arena. "My little boy--great job on your victory!" Ephraim's mother gushed.

      "You're getting better with Skippy every day!" Ephraim's father agreed as he pulled out a camera to take a picture.

      "Mom, Dad, you're embarrassing me!" Ephraim protested as he did his best to shield his eyes from the camera flash.

      ---------

      "Lyra and Hana vs. Sterling and Donna." the announcer began as Lyra and Hana made their way to the arena to kick off the second round some time later.

      [Funny...this Sterling guy looks a tad familiar...] Hana grumbled as she stared down the Treecko.

      "Don't worry...I have a plan for exposing you-know-who's little charade." Lyra smiled as the referee counted down.

      As soon as the whistle blew, Lyra called "Hana, use Razor Leaf!"

      [Got it!] Hana replied as she fired a flurry of Razor Leaves over the confused Treecko and onto "Sterling" and shredding his silver suit, exposing him as Kamon, to the gasps of the crowd.

      Even Ethan was surprised. "No way! That Sterling character WAS Kamon!"

      "You have to give Lyra credit for a clever idea though." Misty grinned as the crowd waited to see how Kamon would react.

      "Okay, I admit it--I solely entered this competition thinking Wonder Boy would be there." Kamon smirked. "And I see him right..."

      He smiled when he found the section Ash and the others were sitting in. "...there..."

      Gasps and screams filled the air as Kamon leaped into the stands and dashed to the row Ash and the others were watching from. "I found you, Wonder Boy...and today, we're gonna battle, right here, right now!"

      "But I don't even--!" Ash protested before some screams and a cry of "Stop!" from a security guard clued him in that Kamon had forgotten about him and was heading for the door with the box holding the 500 Leaf Stones.

      He motioned for Lyra to join him in the stands. "Brock, Lyra, I have an idea...Lyra, tell Hana to charge a Solarbeam..."

      [Right!] Hana smiled as she started absorbing the sunlight from a window.

      "You declared your archery gear before?" Ash asked Brock.

      "Of course." Brock smiled as he retrieved an arrow and nocked it.

      "When I give the signal, fire your shot through Hana's Solarbeam--the resulting bright light should blind Kamon long enough for him to drop the Leaf Stones." Ash explained, noting that Hana had finished charging the bright yellow beam, and was patiently waiting for him to give the signal.

      He waited for Kamon to approach a white line in the arena, then called "NOW!!!"

      The crowd watched in awe as the arrow flew through the Solarbeam, enchanting it with a bright flash of earth energy that caused Kamon to trip, making him drop the box of Leaf Stones.

      "Good riddance...that guy was using his Pokemon like a tool, not a living being." Ephraim grumbled as Kamon was led away by security.

      "Don't worry, Ephraim...he will get his just desserts, and learn that Pokemon are to be loved and cherished, sooner or later." Lyra smiled. "I believe you're the next match..."

      Ethan smiled as a familiar song started over the PA system to pump up the crowd. "Shall we?"

      "Yeah--let's inspire both Ephraim and Lyra with 'Glory in Our Story'." Misty suggested.

      Ash led the singing as Ephraim and Skippy faced a trainer with a Turtwig. We all have a dream inside our hearts that we will follow to the end...

      When you make a wish upon a star, the power flows, inside of you! Misty sang as Lyra faced off against a trainer with a Servine.

      Everybody listen to this song and sadness will just disappear! Brock sang as Ephraim won his match, only to receive more pictures and kisses.

      My wishes, dreams and hopes go forth into the world... Ethan sang as Hana sent her opponent flying, winning her the match.

      Come along and take my hand, come with me for the ride,
      Together we will step through the door
      And see the light shining from our own heavenly land!
      the four friends sang as both Ephraim and Lyra plowed through the field, easily winning against every opponent they were pitted against.

      Come with me and we will see the wonders of the world!
      All of the glory, is in our story!

      As we make our way to heaven, take it step by step
      And get the glory, upon the great stage!

      We can go anywhere, so long as we're together
      I truly believe it with all of my heart...
      The cards here in my hand,
      Show you the way...


      ---------

      "Our final match--Ephraim and Skippy vs. Lyra and Hana." the announcer called, to the roar of the crowd as Ephraim and Lyra met in the arena.

      "Here we go--Ephraim has proved himself a great opponent...." Brock mused as Ephraim struck first with a Double Team, confusing Hana.

      "Now do you feel bad for beating him down with Aina earlier?" Misty asked Ash as Lyra told Hana to use Razor Leaf, only to hit all the copies and not the real Skippy.

      "I've felt horrible ever since that match." Ash sighed. "It didn't help you had to yell at me about it..."

      "It's okay to want to celebrate when your Pokemon wins their first match, but it shouldn't come at the expense of another trainer that is way overmatched." Misty explained as she watched Hana put up a Reflect aura, then heal herself with Synthesis from the battering Skippy was giving her. "Think about all the times you went up against trainers you were overmatched against--how did you feel when you eventually lost?"

      "Angry...and saddened that I lost despite giving my all." Ash replied. "If anything, I want to tell Ephraim I'm sorry for giving Skippy a beatdown yesterday..."

      "You'll get your chance in a minute." Misty assured her friend as she turned her attention back to the match.

      In the arena, Lyra noticed Skippy was starting to tire, and signaled time out to the referee. "Ephraim...you're doing very well, but I don't want to hurt Skippy any more than necessary. If that means you have to concede the match, I'll understand."

      Ephraim looked down at Skippy, who was wheezing with exhaustion. "Skippy, do you have the strength to keep fighting, or do you want to stop?"

      [I didn't come this far just to give up...] Skippy replied. [I want to see this match through to the end, win or lose.]

      Ephraim nodded. "Okay...do whatever it takes to win!"

      [HAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!] Skippy cried as he unleashed a Solarbeam, much to the group's and the crowd's shock. The bright yellow-white beam hit Hana head on, sending her flying.

      No sooner did Hana hit the Gold safety barrier, did Skippy knock her down with a Tackle. "Game Set! This match's winner is...GOLD!!!" the referee announced, to the cheers of the crowd...

      ---------

      "I'm impressed...Ephraim was named one of the youngest winners in the tournament's history..." Ethan smiled as Ephraim received the winner's cup, to cheers.

      "Remember this, Ash--pride and power aren't the only things a trainer needs to win a battle." Lyra reminded Ash. "If that's all you rely on, it will cost you dearly in the end."

      "I know--that's why I want to apologize to Ephraim for what happened yesterday." Ash assured Lyra before locating Ephraim and his parents in the crowd. "Hey...I just wanted to say congrats on your big win--you and Skippy make a great team, almost like me and Tintri."

      "Thanks..." Ephraim smiled as Tintri bounded on Ash's shoulder.

      "But I mainly came to apologize for yesterday...I felt horrible about beating Skippy down like I did, and I'm sorry..." Ash explained. "I let my pride and honor get the better of me--so can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"

      "Of course I forgive you--if that Machop was your weakest Pokemon, i can't wait to see what your strongest ones are like!" Ephraim cried.

      "You did well yourself." Ash went on as he rejoined the others and Lyra. "Hana could very well be League material, if not tournament worthy.

      "Thanks." Lyra smiled. "I had a great time here.

      [Yeah--I look forward to the next time!] Hana smiled as she admired her reflection in Lyra's silver medal.

      "Bye, you three! Until we meet again!" Ethan called as the group parted ways...

      To Be Continued...
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        #78    
      Old 1 Week Ago (12:40 PM). Edited 1 Week Ago by EmeraldSky.
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      EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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        Episode 70: The Apple Corp

        "Lyra did great in that Grass Tournament--I think she and Hana could go all the way to the Pokemon League if she wanted to." Misty smiled as the group continued down the road. It had been a few days since they had cheered Lyra and Hana on in a tournament for Grass Pokemon, but a young trainer and his Skiploom winning it all and Lyra's gracious reaction to coming in second had also taught Ash a lesson in humility, as well

        "Last I checked, she and Ethan are just exploring the region--there's no rule that says you have to compete in anything while on a Pokemon journey." Brock explained as he pocketed the guidebook. "Although winning things certainly does make it more exciting, there are some trainers that just want to explore the world and see all it has to offer without the pressure of having to win a certain number of trinkets, knick knacks, and whachamacallits."

        Ash was about to respond when a sweet smell got his attention. "Hm...does anyone else smell something nice?"

        "I do too...it's coming from that huge apple orchard over there." Misty pointed out what looked like hundreds of apple trees in the distance as the group rounded the bend.

        "Let's go take a look!" Ash suggested. "Maybe if we asked very nicely, the owner would let us have some!"

        "Ooh, and then maybe Brock could bake us an apple pie!" Now Misty was excited as she followed her friend to the orchard.

        "I do have an apple pie recipe, actually." Brock smiled as he followed his companions and Tintri. "Plus, I have ice cream in case you like it a la mode."

        Tintri, meanwhile, noticed that some of the apples at his eye level had tiny bite marks in them. [Funny...something seems to be eating the apples...]

        He gasped as some apple cores came crashing to the ground. "Tintri, did you eat those?" Ash sternly asked as he, Misty, and Brock caught up to him, noticing the pile of cores on the ground.

        [Uh-uh--they came from up there!] Tintri pleaded, pointing up in the direction where the cores had fallen from.

        "I don't see anything..." Brock noted as he looked up into the trees.

        "Me neither." Misty agreed. "Are you SURE, Tintri?"

        Tintri was about to answer when another apple fell into his paws, triggering a net hidden in the soil! [Gah!] he gasped, dropping the apple.

        "Ah-ha!" a girl with neatly braided purple hair cried as she hurried to inspect the net. "I've gotcha, you little apple thief!"

        "But how could Tintri be the thief when he was nowhere near the scene of the crime?" Ash asked, all the while trying oh-so-hard to not explode in anger on the girl.

        "Because the apple was nearby when my trap went off, and it had bite marks that matched many of the others that had been stolen." the girl explained as she undid the net.

        "Tintri, could you open your mouth for a second?" Ash asked. "I have an idea that could prove you innocent."

        [Ah...] Tintri complied, allowing the girl and the group to see his teeth.

        "Notice how large Tintri's teeth are compared to the apple bite marks..." Ash explained as he showed the girl the apple Tintri had dropped. "Tintri couldn't have made the bite marks on the apple, as they’re too small to be a Pikachu."

        "Hm...you're right!" the girl smiled before pulling the net off Tintri. "I owe you an apology, then, Tintri--your master's brilliant observation proved you were nowhere near the apple trees at the time of the crime."

        It then dawned on the girl she had not introduced herself. "Oh, look at me rambling on without introducing myself! My name's Charmaine--allow me to formally welcome you three to Wildflower Grove."

        "Wow..." the group gasped as Charmaine made a grand gesture to the orchard, the surrounding forest, and a large farmhouse that overlooked the orchard. "It's beautiful..." Misty gasped as she glanced around the elegantly trimmed apple trees, as well as a processing facility to make juice and butter from the apples.

        She noticed Brock thinking hard as they approached the large farmhouse. "What's the matter, Brock?"

        "Tintri being innocent begs the question...if Tintri didn't take the apples, who did?" Brock wondered as the group followed the girl inside the house.

        "We can talk more about the mystery of the missing apples over lunch, okay?" Charmaine offered. "No guest ever leaves hungry when they visit!"

        ---------

        "Wow...you look after all this by yourself?" Ash gasped as he set down his silverware. "Wouldn't that be hard to do without any help?" he asked as Charmaine cleared away what remained of the roast Combusken and vegetables they had just enjoyed, and set out dessert plates and clean silverware.

        "Yeah--this land has been in the family for years, so I don't mind doing all the work myself." Charmaine smiled as she arrived with a tray of freshly baked apple turnovers.

        "We can help out for the day, as thanks for the food." Misty offered before biting into a warm turnover.

        "That's okay--I made you lunch expecting nothing in return." Charmaine replied. "I've got the means to do things on my own, so I've never thought of hiring help."

        "Since you went to the trouble of cooking all that for us, we want to help you in return for your efforts--I'm sure it gets hard doing everything by yourself." Brock smiled.

        A smile formed on Charmaine's face. "All right--since you've asked so nicely, I'll let you help me out for today in exchange for a little pocket money for your travels."

        ---------

        "Okay...you'll notice I've rigged some of the trees with alarms to try and capture the apple thieves." Charmaine explained as she pointed out an array of wind chimes in several trees. "When something takes one of the apples off the trees, the chimes will ring, letting me know that something's been there."

        "That's pretty clever." Misty smiled as she arrived to harvest the apples from a particular tree.

        "But this has only complicated the mystery even more--I never see what is taking the apples, even when the chimes ring..." Charmaine sighed.

        Just then, Ash heard ringing chimes not far from the tree Misty was harvesting from. "I think you've caught something!" he called as he saw three tiny yellow mouse Pokemon he remembered as Pichu dash away into the brush.

        He picked up the apple the Pichus had dropped, and saw the same kind of bite marks in it as the one that landed in Tintri's arms before. "I think we found our apple thieves..."

        [Let me go find them, and try to teach them that stealing's not right.] Tintri offered as he bounded off Ash's shoulder and into the nearby forest, making sure to follow the route the Pichu had taken.

        ---------

        There they are... Tintri smiled when he found the three Pichu huddled by a bush. [Why are you taking those apples?] he sternly asked the Pichus. [The lady that runs the orchard needs them for her own livelihood.]

        [But, the berry trees in the forest didn't produce enough berries this year, and we had to get food somewhere.] one Pichu explained. [Otherwise, we would starve!]

        [That still is no excuse for stealing.] Tintri began, before a high-pitched cry interrupted him. He whirled around to see hundreds of Pichus huddled in the bush--and that a large brown bird Pokemon with large wings was trying its hardest to try and capture one of the Pichus in its long beak!

        [Ash! I could use some help over here!] he called as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Charmaine arrived in the clearing.

        "First rule of battling, bud--know thy enemy." Ash assured Tintri as he showed Tintri the Pokedex:

        "Fearow, the beak Pokemon. It uses its long beak to attack. It has a surprisingly long reach, so it must be treated with caution."

        "Tell that to the Pichus..." Misty mused as she watched three of the Pichu jump onto a nearby tree and combine their power to zap the Fearow.

        Ash noticed the three Pichu fall to the ground with a plop, exhausted. "I get it--most Pichus faint after attacking due to their lack of skill in storing electricity."

        "Key word here--most Pichu." Brock reminded Ash. "Some Pichu do manage their power well on their own, but it's fairly rare in the wild. Most Pichu than can often have an owner."

        The Fearow coming to snapped the group to attention. "On top of that, that Pichus' attack only had enough power to stun the Fearow!"

        Tintri growled as he heard the Pichu's frightened squeals. I have to do something to help these little guys...but what?

        Seeing Brock's bow gave him an idea. [Hey, Brock...can I electrify an arrow for you, so we can scare this Fearow away?]

        "Sure...come on." Brock retrieved an arrow from the quiver on his back and set it down on the ground, allowing Tintri to send sparks into the arrowhead.

        The group watched as Brock aimed the sparking green arrow at the Fearow, then fired it into a tree, making a large electrical explosion that engulfed the Fearow in thunderbolts.

        "That's actually a clever idea--enchanting a projectile to frighten away intruders." Charmaine was impressed.

        [According to the Pichus, this year was a bad year for wild Berries, so they had to find food somewhere, so they wouldn't starve.] Tintri explained to Charmaine.

        "Then that explains everything--the hungry Pichus had no other choice but to come to the orchard." Charmaine gasped. "Maybe now I know their side of the story, I can help them out a little."

        ---------

        The group groaned when they returned to the orchard to find Pidgeys helping themselves to the fruit. "First we dispatch one bird Pokemon, only to find another bird Pokemon problem?" Misty sighed.

        [Okay, you guys! This is your chance to show the lady of the orchard that you can help her out in return for food.] Tintri explained to the Pichu. [So go protect the orchard!]

        [YEAAHHHHH!!!] The Pichu cheered as they hurried to attack the Pidgeys. What Pidgeys were not dispatched immediately, the Pichus jumped on to shock.

        Misty smiled as the zaps of tiny Thundershocks and Pidgey cries filled the air. "It's working--you had a clever idea, Tintri." she smiled as the Pichus continued their electrical assault. When one Pichu fainted, another one would take its place.

        After a while, Charmaine watched as the remaining Pidgeys flew away in panic. "Well done, little guys! I'm impressed you managed to protect the apples instead of taking them..."

        [You're not mad we took any?] a Pichu asked.

        "If you guys are willing to pitch in around the orchard, I'm sure Charmaine will forgive you for taking the apples." Ash offered as he motioned for a group of Pichus to follow him.

        ---------

        "Okay, guys...this is what a ripe apple is supposed to look like." Ash explained to the group of Pichus as he showed them a picture of what Charmaine's apple cultivar looked like when ripe. "What I want you to do is look for as many apples that look like that as you can, and put them in these baskets. If it has any bruises, blemishes or bite marks, leave it alone--another group's taking care of the bad apples."

        [Okay!] the Pichus chorused as Charmaine brought over some baskets.

        Misty joined Ash and Charmaine some moments later. "I taught another group to find the reject apples and prune the trees..."

        "...and I've got a few groups working on turning the good ones into juice, butter, and other treats." Brock reported as he glanced over at his team of Pichus happily operating the juicer in the processing facility.

        "You guys are amazing--maybe I don't have to do everything by myself." Charmaine smiled. "I have all the help I could want right here in the Pichus."

        "They make quite the happy worker if you treat them well--and this way they're earning their share of the apples." Ash agreed.

        "Divide them up into teams, let each of them have a turn with each job if they want to, and they will have more than earned what they took." Brock explained. "Although there will be some that prefer certain jobs."

        Charmaine then got an idea. "Okay, Pichus! Which teams need a break right now?"

        [MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!] the Pichus cried as they rushed onto the house's spacious front porch, where Charmaine had prepared hundreds of trays of apple slices for them.

        "Here you go, little guys--as thanks for your hard work, you've more than made up for all the apples you took." Charmaine explained as she gave each Pichu a tray. "So here's some of your earnings for today--fresh apples with a selection of three dips--honey, chocolate, and peanut butter."

        ---------

        ...Just as the retinue arrived, and Orla was in place,
        As the sacrificial Mareep, even then with a peaceful face...
        Brock sang to the Pichus as Ash and Misty played accompaniment to his guitar.

        A shout went up from all the crowd as a knight came into view,
        Twas Brian and Epona! They had come to her rescue!


        We'll go no more a roving, a roving in the night, Even Charmaine couldn't help joining in on the ballad's chorus.
        We'll go no more a roving, let the moon shine so bright
        We'll go no more a roving...


        The earth began to rumble as a dragon did appear, Brock started the next verse.
        But though he roared and rumbled there, our hero showed no fear!
        Through all the fire and the smoke, the crowd looked on in awe
        As Prince Brian and Epona fought the dragon to a draw!


        A crash got the three performers' attention, making Ash and Misty stumble over wrong notes. "What in the world...?" Charmaine gasped as a large humanoid mecha lumbered towards the house.

        "Team Rocket!" Ash growled, pocketing his whistle as sure enough, Jessie, James, and Meowth emerged from a compartment near the mecha's head.

        As Misty and Brock looked on dumbfounded, Ash called "You know what to do, Tintri!"

        "Not today, hat-twerp!" Meowth purred as he triggered one of the mecha's arms to grab Tintri. "We're gonna borrow ya Pikachu for a bit, if ya don't mind..."

        Ash growled as the arm holding Tintri began to glow yellow, and Tintri grew weaker with every passing moment. I see---that mecha arm is leeching Tintri's electricity to power their battery.

        Moments after he watched Tintri close his eyes in exhaustion, the mecha stomped off, stomped to uproot a tree, deposited all the apples into a storage compartment, carefully put back the tree, then stomped off to the next tree.

        One Pichu, who had on a red cloak and a matching red hat with a white plume, rallied the other Pichu to her side. [Okay, guys--we have to save our Pikachu friend.] she explained. [So shock that mecha as hard as you can so we can recharge him and scare those hoodlums away!]

        [Yeah--we need some good fight music too!] another Pichu agreed as he looked back at Ash, Misty, and Brock. [Every good fight scene in a movie has to have cool music!]

        "One round of fight scene music, coming up." Brock grinned before counting Ash and Misty off into a frenetic reel-like melody.

        With the guitar, the fiddle, and the whistle playing them into battle, the Pichus charged for the mecha, with the red mage Pichu leading the way.

        "What good could you little rats do anyway?" Jessie called down to the horde of Pichu.

        [We can do anything if we all work together!] the red mage Pichu shot back. [Right, guys?]

        [YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!] the other Pichus cheered as they began unleashing volleys of Thundershocks on the balloon.

        Meowth, meanwhile, engaged a large fan on the mecha. "So, ya wanna play rough, do ya? Two can play at dis game!"

        [WAUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!] the Pichu screamed as many of them went flying into the grass and against the tree trunks, just as the group finished their fight song.

        "I think the fight song's helping!" Misty smiled as she watched the battered and beaten Pichus gather their strength and charge back into the fray.

        "The one that looks like a red mage is acting like their leader!" Ash agreed as he watched the red mage Pichu give a jolt to a Pichu, giving him more strength to fight. "She's making sure every Pichu does their part to defend the orchard."

        "Let's keep playing then--to let them all know we believe in them." Brock smiled before counting his companions off into another rendition of the song.

        As the frentic fight song echoed across the "battlefield" again, the red mage Pichu located Tintri in the mecha's arms and called to the other Pichus [I see him, you guys! Let's all form a chain so we can revive our friend!]

        Though many of them were exhausted, each Pichu grabbed onto the tail or ears of another one, creating a chain of Pichus that amazingly managed to reach up to the mecha. When the last Pichu was in place, the red mage Pichu skittered up the Pichu chain and grabbed onto Tintri's foot. [Okay, everyone--send up the biggest shock you can!]

        [HAAAAHHHH!!!!!] the Pichus screamed as an arc of electricity streaked up the Pichu chain and into Tintri, jolting him awake!

        [mm-what?] Trinri sputtered as he woke up and saw the red mage Pichu. [You really...rallied all your friends to save me?] he smiled as he slid down the Pichu chain to safety.

        [Of course--you did so much for us, we can to do something good for you in return.] the red mage Pichu replied as the Pichu chain disassembled itself. [So let's give these hooligans what for!]

        [HIII-YAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!] With that, Tintri and the Pichus combined their power to send Team Rocket and the mecha flying into the sky with a ping...

        ---------

        "Well done, you guys...and thank you for saving Tintri." Ash smiled as he petted the red mage Pichu.

        Charmaine smiled. "It's decided--the Pichus and I will be partners from now on."

        She addressed the red mage Pichu. "In exchange for helping me and protecting the orchard, you guys can have all the fruit you want. You've more than made up for all the apples you took."

        As the Pichus cheered, Charmaine approached the group with three thousand credit bills and a small basket of apple products. "And here's your wages for your help today--you're always welcome back any time."

        "Thanks." Ash replied. "We enjoyed ourselves too, even if it did get hairy for a minute or two."

        As the group waved goodbye to Charmaine and the Pichus, the red mage Pichu watched as Ash, Misty, and Brock disappeared down the road and into the setting sun. One day, Mr. Story-singer...I will adventure by your side!

        To Be Continued...
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          #79    
        Old 5 Days Ago (12:16 PM). Edited 5 Days Ago by EmeraldSky.
        EmeraldSky's Avatar
        EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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          Episode 71a: A Ghost of a Chance! (part 1)

          "Welcome to Ecruteak City...a historical city where the past meets the present." Brock read the signpost as the group rounded a bend in the road, with the city in the distance.

          "I can see why!" Misty gasped as she admired the Oriental-esque buildings in the distance. "I've always wanted to see a live Gekijou theater performance!"

          "I've always wanted to learn to play the ancient harp that was usually used by the narrator in a Gekijou play, the vina." Brock smiled. "Or any kind of harp, really--I've felt it would add a bit of a fantastic feel to my performances."

          "You definitely wouldn't be a spoony bard by any stretch!" Misty smiled, giggling as she imagined Brock, as a minstrel, serenading her, as a princess, in a fantasy land.

          "What's the name of that instrument that's always playing all these high trills and runs in traditional Kanto and Johto music?" Ash wondered as the group made their way into the city. "I know it's some kind of flute..."

          "That's because it is." Brock explained before turning to the chapter on traditional music and the theater in the guidebook, specifically the section on the ancient instruments used in the Gekijou orchestra. "There were actually two different flutes used in the Gekijou orchestra--the end blown kidi which has a darker and more mysterious sound, and the instrument you're thinking of, the side blown bansi."

          Ash looked over at the picture of an ornately decorated side blown flute in the guidebook. "Wow! I wanna learn to play one of those!"

          "You sure?" Misty asked. "Not only would it take a ton of practice, you'd have to learn a new way to blow and new fingerings."

          Ash just smiled. "I really want to learn...almost as much as I wanna battle for my next badge!"

          Brock noticed that during their conversation, they had managed to discover what looked like one of several majestic towers that loomed over the city. "This must be the Gym..."

          "Let's go!" Ash led the way inside.

          ---------


          "This Gym isn't like any of the others we've seen before...." Misty mused as the group looked around the inside of the tower. It had clearly seen better days, if not outright damaged somehow, judging from the chaired doorframes and dusty tapestry on the walls.

          "Maybe it's not a gym, but something else entirely?" Brock suggested.

          "Or maybe we've walked into a dungeon straight out of Zelda?" Ash shuddered. "Maybe there's something you can hit with an arrow to show us the way!"

          "If there is a switch I can shoot, where do you think it is?" Brock asked his companion. "I can't shoot at a target that's not there..."

          Ash was about to suggest potential locations for a target when suddenly, a small blue flame flared up before him. 'WAUGH!"

          "I think the dungeon guardians know we're here!" Misty agreed as more ethereal flames appeared around them. "They're obviously blue, so we need something hot to douse them..."

          She looked over to see a gaggle of ethereal cloud Pokemon laughing at the group's fear. "Okay, so those flames were a bunch of Gastlies..."

          Inspired, Ash heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Aina, show us where all those Gastly are!"

          The Machop materialized on the cracked wooden floor seconds later. [Doing a little Ghost Pokemon busting? Let me help you find them.]

          The lightbulb went off in Misty's head as Aina's eyes glowed red, revealing many more Gastly in the room. "Oh, Machop can learn Foresight too, just like those Hoothoots we met before!"

          "In some cases, Pidgeys--and by extension Pidgeottos and Pidgeots--can learn it too, but I'm not going into a long discussion about genetics here." Brock explained.

          "Yes, let's have science class later." Misty nervously stammered, aware of the Gastly approaching them.

          "Aina, now that you've revealed the Gastlies, start Tackling them!" Ash almost screamed as he jumped to avoid a blob of purplish black energy a Gastly had fired at him.

          [You got it!] Aina called before ramming a Gastly, sending it tumbling backwards.

          "Who knew that a Fighting type could do anything against ghosts?" Misty mused as she watched Aina ram Gastly after Gastly, making them disappear.

          "Foresight must expose them, allowing physical moves to hit them!" Ash proposed as some of the remaining Gastlies flew off in terror.

          The group swallowed hard when they saw the Gastlies return a few moments later with larger purple phantasms Ash remembered as Haunters. "They just left to get reinforcements..." Brock broke the uneasy silence some moments later.

          Ash looked over at Tintri. "Get ready for a big fight, bud..."

          [Which of these ghosts do I need to bust first?] Tintri asked as he charged a Thunderbolt.

          Moments before Ash could command Tintri to fire his attack, he saw a large ghost that somewhat resembled a Clefable walk out onto the floor. [The boss! The boss is here!] he heard some Gastly say.

          [Ah, the Gengar must be who all these other ghosts report to!] Tintri recognized the large ghost Pokemon floating in their direction.

          "Then maybe if we defeat the boss, all the others will leave us alone!" Ash suggested.

          "Stop." he heard a voice call. He whirled around to see a blond haired young man in a kimono-like outfit on a catwalk above them "You should understand that the Pokémon here were not trying to harm you guys, but merely trying to protect their home, because they felt threatened by your appearance." he explained as the ghosts, including the Gengar, circled around him.

          "W-who are you?" Ash called up to the man, a note of fear in his voice.

          After shooing away the Gastlies and Haunters, but shepherding the Gengar close to him, the man replied "My name is Morty, Leader of the Ecruteak City Gym. You seem to have met Rocko, my Gengar partner, already--the other ghosts here consider him the leader."

          "No wonder the Gastlies and Haunters were calling him 'the boss' before..." Misty smiled, a little relieved that the ghost Pokemon meant them no harm.

          After taking a minute or two to collect himself, Ash motioned for Tintri to climb back on his shoulder. "I am Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town...I come to challenge you for the badge you hold."

          Morty just smiled, bemused in Ash's politeness. "As much as I would love to battle you in an official Gym battle, we can't do that here. This place was and has been confused as the Ecruteak City Gym by many different trainers that pass through the city."

          "So, just what exactly IS this place?" Brock was intrigued.

          "It used to be a place of brightness and hope; now it's a place of darkness." Morty replied as he came down to the ground floor to meet the group. "That's why so many Ghost Pokémon have come to live here."

          A sick feeling welled up in Ash's stomach. "Now I feel bad for attacking them..."

          "Poor ghosts..." Misty agreed.

          A faded plaque on a nearby wall depicting a familiar phoenix-like bird piqued Ash's attention. "What's this?" Ash asked as he hurried over to get a better look at the bird on the plaque.

          "The Pokemon depicted on that plaque before you is Ho'oh, one of many ancient legendary Pokémon." Morty replied.

          Ash balked at this. "It may be legendary, but I saw one!"

          He proceeded to tell Morty all about how he had met Ho'oh some years before--in an attempt to outrun some Spearows, he had lost Misty in an attempt to get away, and had made the decision to sacrifice himself for both him and Tintri. Tintri, however, did not wish to see his trainer die, and had unleashed a huge Thundershock to save them both. When they had some to moments later, Ho'oh flew overhead as a rainbow appeared in the sky.

          Morty raised an eyebrow at Ash's story. "Are you SURE that it was Ho'oh you saw? She has not been seen for three centuries, when a great hero used the Swanna Song to call her directly."

          "Are you saying you don't believe me?" Ash gasped.

          "No, but I'm going to need more evidence to back up your claim than just one account." Morty assured Ash. "There's a tower that was rebuilt not too far away from the burned out building we're in right now. The tower is a copy of this one."

          "Well, what happened to the original tower?" Ash asked.

          "To answer your question, we need to go back many years ago..." Morty began as Rocko conjured a series of paintings that told the story of the burned tower.

          ---------

          "Long ago, this tower was built to promote understanding between humans and Pokémon, and allowing people to unlock the legendary power of Mega Evolution." Morty explained, referring to a painting depicting a female trainer receiving a ring, then her singing some gibberish runes, inducing a Venusaur to Mega Evolve. "My ancestors protected it for generations." he smiled, showing the group a portrait of who Ash assumed was either Morty's father or grandfather.

          Morty then showed Ash the next painting, depicting Ho'oh and the tower. "Over the decades, the Tin Tower became a special place for another reason. It was the only place in the world where, as well as learning the secrets of Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves, Ho'oh, the rainbow phoenix, made contact with humans. Ho'oh's visits were a sign of peace, but she would only appear to a select few--only those guarding the tower and those proven worthy to see her."

          "Oh..." the group replied as Morty showed them the next painting, depicting a ninja ambush.

          "Then, one day, invaders came who sought to use Ho'oh's power for evil!" Morty announced, displaying the next painting of the tower ablaze. "In the ensuing battle, the Tin Tower was set ablaze! Ho'oh fled... she stopped visiting humans... and she has never returned."

          He showed the next painting of a crowd of people around the charred remains of the tower. "Some wanted to rebuild the tower, but my ancestors insisted that it be left as a witness for future generations of man's brutality -- but they also decided to build a new Tin Tower."

          Morty then displayed the last painting of the current Tin Tower. "Their hope was that Ho'oh might return, to a new place of peace, and the people of Johto could once again have a place to learn to master Mega Evolution and the mysterious Z Moves. So far, these hopes have been in vain....we've waited so long that some people say that Ho'oh was a legend that never really existed."

          Ash contemplated Morty's tale for a moment. "I know I saw Ho'oh that day... it isn't just a legend."

          ---------

          With Ash occupied defending himself, Tintri spotted Ami heading for a hole he noticed only small Pokémon like Marill would be able to fit through. Uh oh...I've known Ami is very curious, and loves to explore, but this isn't a good place to do it--I'd better do something before she gets hurt!

          He jumped from Ash's shoulder and bounded over to stop the curious Marill. [Ami! I know you like exploring, but--!] he started before he ended up accidentally pushing Ami and squeezing himself through the hole at the same time!

          Misty noticed Tintri and Ami had squeezed through the hole. "Uh oh...where did Tintri and Ami get to?"

          "They went through a hole that leads to the upper part of a room in the basement." Morty assured the group. "The room in question is not far from where you first enter the basement."

          Ash swallowed hard as he followed Morty to a stairwell. Tintri...I hope you and Ami don't get into too much trouble!

          To Be Continued...
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          Pokemon Moonlight Silver--A re-imagining of Johto, without all the filler.

          Pokemon Island Sun--a live episode by episode remix of the Alola arc as it airs, done as a collection of letters
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          EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is offline
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            Episode 71b: A Ghost of a Chance! (part 2)

            Previously, on "Pokemon Moonlight Silver"...

            Misty noticed Tintri and Ami had squeezed through the hole. "Uh oh...where did Tintri and Ami get to?

            "They went through a hole that leads to the upper part of a room in the basement." Morty assured the group. "The room in question is not far from where you first enter the basement."

            Ash swallowed hard as he followed Morty to a stairwell. Tintri...I hope you and Ami don't get into too much trouble!


            "Wow...this place is like a maze..." Ash mused as Misty, Brock, and Morty wound through the old tower's many rooms in an attempt to find Tintri and Ami, who had both disappeared into a hole in the wall.

            "Well, you have to remember that because of the fire, a lot of the support beams weakened and fell, making it so that venturing further than where we are now would be too dangerous." Morty explained.

            "But what about Tintri and Ami?" Misty worried. "What if they are too far for us to safely explore?"

            "There are other ways to find your friend's Pikachu and your Marill that don't require human skill." Morty assured Misty before addressing his Gengar. "Rocko...rally the other Ghost Pokémon here and help us find a missing Pikachu and Marill...the Pikachu's name is Tintri, and the Marill's name is Ami."

            [Got it, boss..those should be easy names to remember.] the Gengar smiled before disappearing into the darkness.

            ---------

            Back outside, Team Rocket followed the beeping of a radar-like device to the steps of the tower. "I thing we found something!" James cried as the radar-like device he carried beeped frantically.

            "Personally, that fire breather that gave you this Itemfinder was a fraud..." Jessie sighed as James hurried onto the tower's rotted porch to claim another bottlecap. "We've been finding nothing but bottle caps."

            "Yeah, all dat ting eva finds is junk!" Meowth was equally frustrated.

            "Call it junk if you wish, but there is a collector's market for bottle caps, particularly for brands of soda, water, and juice that don't exist anymore." James explained. "Sometimes these caps sell for millions upon billions of credits.

            He was about to say more when he spotted Ami emerging from a pile of rocks. "Well, well, well, look what we have here..."

            Jessie gasped as Tintri emerged from the rocks moments later. "It must be our lucky day if the little electric rat comes to us for a change!"

            "And with no twerps in sight!" Meowth was equally excited. He wasted no time snatching Ami, making her cry in fear and surprise.

            [Let Ami go!] Tintri arrived moments later, sparking with anger as he charged a Thunderbolt. [Or I'll--!]

            "Forgittin' somtin'?" Meowth warned Tintri. "If ya zap us dis time, you'll hoit Ami too, as she's a watta-type!"

            Angry tears welled up in Tintri's eyes as he stayed his attack. Ami...I WILL rescue you! he vowed as Team Rocket dashed away, laughing gleefully all the while.

            [Cry not, little one...I will go inform Sir Morty and your master what happened here.] a Gastly assured Tintri before warping away.

            [Thanks...] Tintri mustered a weak smile as his tears shone with hope.

            ---------

            [I have found the Pikachu and the Marill] the Gastly reported to the group. [However, before I could lead them back, two hoodlums with a Meowth had Poke-napped the Marill.]

            "What?" Misty gasped.

            "You did well, Tsuki, but this is indeed troubling." Morty replied. "Is the Pikachu still where you found him?"

            [He is...this way.] the Gastly replied before motioning for the group to follow it.

            "How can you understand what the ghost Pokemon are saying?" Ash wondered as he followed Morty and the Gastly through the ruined and cluttered rooms of the tower.

            "Practice." Morty smiled back.

            ---------

            Meanwhile, Team Rocket laughed joyfully as they made a break for the city entrance, with Meowth carrying Tintri and Ami. "At last, we have the electric rat!" Jessie was the most excited. "Imagine how the boss will handsomely reward us!"

            Just then, all three Rockets tripped on something in the road, and went tumbling to the ground. 'did you trip me?" Jessie asked Meowth as she eased herself to her feet and dusted herself off.

            "Nuh-uh...I tripped too, rememba?" Meowth replied.

            "Well, I don't see anything we could've tripped on..." James mused as he examined the road for a moment.

            About then, Rocko materialized before the Rockets, making them gasp in fear. [It was me dat tripped you lot...] he growled as Morty and the others arrived. [Ya got some 'splainin ta do, see?]

            "Team Rocket!" Ash gasped.

            [Give back dat Pikachu and dat Marill, and nobody gets hurt,'kay?] Rocko warned.

            "You? Making threats? That's just asking for trouble..." Jessie warned.

            "Even though you're a ghost, we'll still make the pain double!" James agreed.

            "To protect the world from devastation..." Jessie began.

            "And unite all peoples within our nation..." James smiled, twirling a rose in his hand. Ash just watched and growled in annoyance at the familiar motto he, Misty, and Brock had heard a million times before:

            "To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

            "To extend our reach to the stars above!"

            "Jessie!"

            "James!"

            "Team Rocket! Blast off at the speed of light!"

            "Surrender now, or prepare to fight!"

            "Meowth! Dat's right!"

            "You heard the Gengar, just give back Tintri and Ami!" Ash was unfazed from hearing the Rocket motto for the umpteenth time.

            "I'll give ya sometin' ta tink about!" Meowth retorted before leaping onto Ash, making him stumble backwards into the grass by the road. Before Ash could attempt to get up, Meowth leapt onto him, delivering a volley of Fury Swipes.

            Jessie smiled as Ash's cries of pain echoed into the air. "Nice work, Meowth..."

            "We kin make a break for it while the twerps play docta!" Meowth smiled as Brock arrived to clean and dress the many scratch wounds on Ash's arms and face.

            "Rrrgh...I demand a duel to pay you guys back for hurting me!" Ash roared, mostly out of anger, but also out of pain from Meowth's attack. "You'll pay for taking Tintri!"

            Jessie was about to answer before Meowth interjected "Yanno--every time we try ta battle da twerps, we end up losin' badly ta them. I tink runnin' for it's a better idear."

            "Good point! Let's go!" James agreed before the Rockets made a mad dash for the city entrance.

            "Come back here! No one takes our Pokemon and gets away with it!" Ash and the others were not far behind.

            ---------

            "Rocko! Rescue the Pikachu and the Marill!" Morty commanded as the group hurried to try and catch Team Rocket.

            [Okay, boss!] Rocko replied. But he stopped in his tracks when he found that Jessie and James had summoned Arbok and Weezing to block the grop from catching up. But Rocko just grinned and warped away.

            "Where'd Rocko go?" Misty wondered as Arbok and Weezing looked around, confused. She smiled as Rocko appeared behind them, and knocked them into a nearby thicket.

            [Now that the hoodlum's Pokemon are taken care of, now ta deal with dere masters!] Rocko assured Misty before warping before the human Rockets and Meowth [Hold it!]

            "How can people who are Pokémon trainers steal other peoples' Pokémon?" Morty asked as he joined Rocko and the others. "Answer me that."

            Minutes seemed to tick by like hours, but when Morty figured that Team Rocket was not going to talk, he told Rocko "Use Night Shade to free the Pokemon."

            [Comin' up!] Rocko smiled before firing two black beams at the packs holding Tintri and Ami, breaking them free!

            A Haunter and a Gastly caught both Pokemon and brought them to Ash and Misty. [Here you go...] the Haunter grinned as he gave Tintri to Ash.

            [She's a little banged up, but okay.] the Gastly assured Misty as she delivered Ami to Misty.

            [You okay, Ash?] Tintri asked, concerned by the many bandages all over Ash.

            "Yeah...Meowth got me good back there." Ash replied as he gently hugged his companion.

            "Ami...thank Arceus you're okay!" Misty was equally happy to see her Marill again.

            The group watched as Arbok and Weezing dove for Rocko, only to crash into the ground as Rocko warped away.

            "Arbok, try to Wrap up that Gengar!" Jessie commanded as Rocko reappeared in the sky...only to balk as Arbok only wrapped thin air!

            [Missed me!] Rocko taunted as he reappeared by Morty's side.

            "Let's end this, Rocko...show them your Shadow Ball." Morty commanded.

            [HAAAAAAAAAH!!!!] Rocko growled as he formed a massive ball of dark energy and hurled it at Team Rocket, sending them flying into the sky with a ping.

            ---------

            "Wow...Shadow Ball's pretty powerful!" Ash gasped when he saw the crater that the Shadow Ball had created.

            "I hope that crater spurs you to be careful during your match, now that you know what your opponent is capable of." Brock warned.

            Morty just smiled. "We could have our match right now, but I imagine that you three and your Pokemon must be tired from a long and adventurous day."

            "You're right...resting up will make it a better battle." Ash agreed. "Since we both will bring our A game!"

            "All right...I will see you in the morning." Morty replied before departing.

            "Ash...you sure you know what you're getting into?" Misty asked as the group started towards the Pokemon Center.

            "How do you plan to handle someone powerful enough to make a crater in the path?" Brock was equally concerned.

            Ash, however, was unusually calm as the three travelers made their way into the Pokemon Center. "I do have a plan to beat Morty...but as to what it is, you'll just have to see tomorrow!"

            To Be Continued...
            __________________
            The Pokemon Anime Remix Project:

            Pokemon Moonlight Silver--A re-imagining of Johto, without all the filler.

            Pokemon Island Sun--a live episode by episode remix of the Alola arc as it airs, done as a collection of letters
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